Bluebird Grain Farms - April 2009
A Note from the Farmer
What I first thought to be a likely early spring here in the Methow has become less early all the time, with the winter that was so reluctant to come proving even more reluctant to leave. Typically by this time in April I would have taken some soil tests, if not gotten on the fields themselves. But with fresh April snow showers these past few days, it looks like we'll be waiting a while to do either.
Meanwhile, the mountains have been getting a bunch of late snow which bodes well for our irrigation supply. We’ve seen our first robins AND… our first bluebirds! I’ve been planning more definitely our exact acreage for planting and for which grains. Once these numbers are determined, we’ll begin cleaning and setting aside enough seed out of last years crop. Then do a little more prep work on our field equipment, once it all thaws out, and be ready to roll once the snow/crust has had a few days to thoroughly melt in.
Plenty to do in April beginning with discing up all the alfalfa that will then be plowed out, packed and resurfaced for planting. We’ll soil test, cultivate and amend other fields with appropriate enzymes and microbes and ready them for planting second year grain, or into cover-crop. We’re very fortunate that my dear cousin Frank is coming over from Idaho for the month to help us with field work. With all that needs doing, we’ll try our best not to be distracted by the abundant early spring wild flowers and bulbs and new bird song every day. Few greens are as green as the Methow in April! And daylight will suddenly seem not to last long enough.
April’s progress will set the stage for May planting. Ideally, we‘ll be ready to plant on either side of the full moon around mid-May. We’re excited about the prospect of putting in our biggest crop ever and, more importantly, our best quality crop. I hope this finds you enjoying the warmth and first spring sounds and smells wherever you are.
Best to all, Farmer Sam
Farmers Market Season
* Methow Valley Farmers Market
Eagerly anticipated by locals who have been living off canned and frozen produce all winter, the Methow Valley Farmers Market opens on April 11. The market is open every Saturday from 9:00am to 12:00 pm from April through the last week in October, except on holiday weekends when the market remains open until 1pm. The Bluebird booth stocks a sampling of everything in our granary and we often have some fresh home-baked sweets available for immediate consumption.
* Seattle Markets
The liveliest places on the west side to buy Bluebird products are at two Seattle Farmers Markets, in the University District and in Ballard. The U-District Market is open Saturdays 9am-2pm and the Ballard Market runs on Sundays 10am-3pm. Both markets are open year-round (although Bluebird only operates a booth each weekend April 25th - September 27th).
We’re thrilled to introduce the newest members of the Bluebird family—Hannah Viano and Joe Talbert, who will be running our Seattle markets. Hannah, who will be staffing most of the markets, is looking forward to connecting consumers and vendors with fresh, whole grain products that they might not yet be familiar with. Joe and Hannah live on their boat on Lake Union along with their 6-month-old son, Ely, who has already been enjoying Bluebird's Whole Grain Emmer Cereal. Stop by the Bluebird booth at one of the Seattle markets and introduce yourselves!
New in the Granary:
Our latest product is a pilaf: a flavorful blend of split Emmer Farro and Wild Rice.
We are partnering with Oregon Jewel, wild rice farmers in the Willamette Valley, to bring to you a full-bodied and nutrient-dense pilaf. Reports on the pilaf from around our area have been positive and we hope to have this product ready for purchase by the end of May. Our CSA subscribers will be receiving a free sample of our pilaf in their next CSA box. Please let us know your thoughts and suggestions about taste, cooking time, and product name. A few suggestions for names have been: Northwest Pilaf, Potlach Pilaf, Split Farro and Wild Rice Pilaf. We always appreciate your thoughts, and particularly your recipes!
Recipe of the Month:
Pancakes are a perennial breakfast favorite (and can even double as a snack or sandwich when rolled up with PB&J or savory cream cheese). But with their traditional reliance on eggs, pancakes have not always been vegan-friendly. We think you’ll like our Vegan Emmer Pancakes as much as you enjoy traditional cakes, however. The pancakes are thick and fluffy and with their nutty whole-grain emmer flavor, they’re more than just a vehicle for syrup. Using our Emmer Pancake and Waffle Mix plus just four other ingredients, you can cook up an easy and delicious breakfast.
Cook ‘em as pancakes or cook ‘em as waffles for variety. Top with your favorite syrup or fresh or stewed fruit.
The screening date we published in our March newsletter has changed. The new Methow Valley screening date for the documentary film Good Food is April 14th at 7pm at the Twisp River Pub. Doors open at 6pm for those wishing to order food prior to the film. $5-$10 suggested donation.
The film, produced by Melissa Young and Mark Dworkin, focuses on sustainable food and farming in the Pacific Northwest. Bluebird Grain Farms is featured, along with other small family farms where fresh, nutritious food is being grown in abundance using less water, land, and energy than food grown on factory farms. Good Food explores the changing relationship between people, the food they eat, and the places that produce the food.
Don’t have time to wait for an order from Bluebird’s online shop? Did you know that you can purchase Bluebird Grains at many retail locations in Washington and Oregon? Visit our retail locations page for a complete list of vendors.