In This Edition
Potato & Emmer Gnocchi with Mint-Pistaccio Pesto
Customer Profile: Nicole Ringgold
Notes from a Farmer
April was an interesting month here at Bluebird, seemingly more so than usual. Known for a hodge-podge of weather, April in the Methow is seldom associated with much moisture other than the customary April Fool’s day snowstorm, which we did receive again this year. And several storms hit the Cascades above 4000 feet. Alas, this April we received a good 1 ¾ inches of rain! Combined with a wet fall last and a mild and wet winter, we actually missed some days in the field due to excessive moisture—almost unheard of in the past. I never feared that things would stay wet long, however, and the past week of 25 mph winds confirmed the “spring of old.”
We had a few more break-downs in equipment than we cared for and encountered a few more rock piles than I remember being in some of our fields. The good news here was on the days too wet for tillage, we got to pick rocks. I recall one morning after a nice rain being out with cousin Frank piling rocks in the tractor bucket and smelling the early, fresh earth with nothing but spring bird sounds: robins picking worms, sparrows pecking seed, geese heading north, and four big swans flew over at one point, stalling us in our work.
Other positives included a very busy month at the granary with several large orders going out weekly and smaller orders daily. Thank you! The pressure is on to get more ground planted than last year!
That said, we are still on mark for our general planting dates beginning around mid-May. And as stop-and-go as the month of April seemed in the fields, we actually did put in a small, early field of emmer just as another trial to see if it actually matures any earlier than the rest that we’ll put in this month. I’ll keep you posted.
We are sorry to say goodbye to Cousin Frank who stayed and helped all month but headed back to Idaho to rejoin his wonderful family there. Thank you once again, Frank, for your generous support and general enthusiasm for “flying at ‘er”! Meanwhile, we welcome Robert Courtney on for May field work and Kris Borgias now at the granary to work with Steven to make sure all orders get cleaned/milled sacked and out to you all. AND, of course the latest member of the Bluebird family: little Tucker our perfect, fuzzy, chewy Black Lab pup from Sunnydaze kennels. He joins six-year-old Teal and is beginning to learn his way around the farm. We look forward to a long, happy life together… all of us.
Next month we hope to share some photos of new rows of grain. Until then, stay well!
If you can’t make it to our weekly market booths at U-District or Ballard we now have Bluebird pick-up options in the Seattle area! Crown S Ranch has graciously offered to deliver Bluebird products along with their grass fed meats and eggs during their scheduled deliveries to the Seattle area starting in June.
Beginning June 20th you can pick up special orders throughout the summer at the Mercer Island Farmers Market every Sunday from 11-3pm.
OR you can pick up special orders under 100 lbs on the following dates:
June 13th and 27th
July 18th and 25th
August 8th and 22nd
In the following neighborhoods:
Mercer Island from 12-2pm
Montlake from 1-3pm
Wedgewood from 2-4pm
Shoreline from 2-4pm
Ballard from 3-5pm
Queen Anne from 3-5pm
Need to be ordered via phone and pre- paid (1-888-232-0331)—we’ll send out e-mail reminder! Must be collected during the Crown S Ranch delivery time slot.
For directions to your neighborhood pick up location please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Recipe of the Month
“Gnocchi” (pronounced nyo-kee) means “lumps,” but don’t let the dull translation deceive you—these dumplings are anything but boring. The traditional Italian dish consists of tender noodles or dumplings made from semolina, wheat flour, or potato covered with a savory sauce such as pesto or red sauce. In this recipe, created by Bluebird’s recipe developer Chef Becky Selengut, emmer flour gives the dumplings a hearty whole-grain flavor that is perfectly complemented by the minty, nutty taste of the pesto. Make a big batch now, eat some and freeze the rest for later
Customer Profile: Nicole Ringgold, Methow Valley resident
Methow Valley resident Nicole Ringgold began her first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) subscription with Bluebird Grain Farms quite by chance. Shortly after moving to the Methow Valley in 2006, Nicole, her husband Derek, and young daughter Cymone decided to spend a year eating primarily foods that were produced close to their new home. In their search for locally produced products that would appeal to and sustain them in their locavore year, they discovered Bluebird Grain Farms and signed up for what would become their first of many Bluebird CSA shares.
Three years later, Nicole and her family enjoy Bluebird products just as much as they did during their locavore year. “We like all the products,” says Nicole, “but the Old World Cereal blend is probably our favorite. Put brown sugar on it—yum. Even my seven-year-old daughter loves it.” The integrity of the products appeals to Nicole, too. “We feel great about eating Bluebird grains,” she says, “because the farming methods are sustainable and we trust the products.”
“We also like the idea of supporting a small family farm,” Nicole adds. “We get great customer service from Bluebird. Our orders are exactly as we expect them to be and the local delivery options couldn’t be more convenient—one of them is right at my workplace!”
Brooke and Sam’s daughters, Larkin and Mariah, both attended Little Star Montessori School, where Nicole is the School Director, and Nicole appreciates this connection, too. “I love the bonds that tie this community together,” says Nicole, referring to the tight-knit Methow community. “My neighbors grow my grain, other neighbors raise my meat, their children attend the school I direct—we’re all linked.”
Nicole and Derek have broadened this connection among communities, introducing their friends in their former Seattle and Bainbridge Island neighborhoods to Bluebird’s products. “We give Bluebird grains and blends as gifts a lot,” says Nicole, “and some of our friends on the west side got so hooked on the products that they started going into their local QFC and PCC markets and requesting that those grocers carry Bluebird grains.” (Both market chains now stock Bluebird products.)
Nicole and Derek still maintain strong ties to their west side communities, but they’re “here to stay” in the Methow, they say. “We love this place,” says Nicole. “There’s enough of everything: outdoor recreation, incredible scenery, a supportive community. There’s such a wealth of knowledge here, from organic farming methods to PhD biologists to the arts. It meets our whole family’s needs. It’s never boring.”
Bluebird’s CSA shares are anything but boring, too, with a variety of products in several different 4- and 6-month packages. Tired of the same old products? With Bluebird’s small family farm flexibility, you can mix and match CSA items to suit your family’s particular tastes and keep things exciting. Learn more about Bluebird’s CSA or contact Bluebird to sign up for your share.
When you were a kid you made your mom breakfast in bed for Mother’s Day. You probably can’t do that anymore (although if you can, Mom would be thrilled with some emmer waffles!) but you can still give her the gift of freshly-milled organic grains and blends. Bluebird’s gift baskets make appealing and useful presents for Mom (and they last much longer than flowers). Or knock her socks off with a Bluebird CSA share. Mom gave you an appreciation for fresh, homemade food; now it’s time to thank her.
Bluebird in my home town of Wenatchee!
We are excited to be offering our products at The Farmhouse Table in Wenatchee. The Farmhouse Table has recently opened at 10 North Mission St. in Wenatchee and is an excellent resource for buying fresh, locally produced meat, dairy, bread, grains, honey, fruits, nuts, and vegetables in the greater Wenatchee area.