In This Edition:
Great Basin Brewing makes Emmer Beer!
Farro Garden Salad
Farm Dinner Coming up August 21st, join us.
Notes from the Farmer
Summer it is! The big smooch that Mother Nature always seems to give sooner or later – in this case later – most every year. Better grain growing conditions we couldn’t have asked for with lots of sun, not overly hot days and still coolish nights to finish July and begin August. The ole’ August heat we used to some years dread is welcome this year of late beginnings. Clear, crisp days fairly make us forget all the cantankerous weather of early on. Are earlier plantings - which we seeded about when we’d hoped after all – are now beginning to cure in the sun and have filled out quite nicely. Good height on the plants and good size heads encourage a quality crop. If the weather we have at present holds we should begin harvest by the last week of the month
Our late plantings are growing dramatically by the day and we’re on our last cycle of irrigation – a fair bit later than usual. We’ll need several weeks of this sort of weather to foster a good harvest on these fields but many years September can be the gem of all. Last year, October was the clearest month so we are encouraged by recent memory, plus the fact that these crops have really come on and are heading out as I write with very good plant height and good color.
We are about to incorporate our cover crop fields as they’ve reached their peak of nutrient building. Though we got them in late as well, they’ve caught up and I’m hopeful we’ll reap the benefits we’d planned for. Fall soil tests will certainly tell.
The granary has been quite busy in the meantime as we’ve welcomed a couple new accounts in the last month. Our inventory is holding out well, but volume of this year’s harvest is just as critical as any in the past. Go grain!
Yes, I found my fly-rod and have even put on some new leader and fished for trout once. A good warm up, but that first batch of brookies rolled in cracked emmer and fried in hot oil was so yummy… makes me look forward to more!
The kids are enjoying some nice swimming, some ice cream and glory be…
I look forward to reporting on the harvest in the next letter. Meanwhile, we sure hope you all are enjoying the summer days as well.
Cheers, Farmer Sam
Bluebird News & Events
Next Seattle Market Bulk Delivery: August 13th
Bluebird will be sampling farro caprese salad this month at Whole Foods Market Redmond at their Local Vendor Fair on August 13th and Central Market in Poulsbo on August 20th.
Join US for a Bluebird weekend August 20th and 21st!
August 20th: Farmer Sam will take you on a tour of his fields. Learn about the intricacies of organic grain farming in our region. Tour will be from 10:00 to 12:30. Free. Please e-mail Brooke brooke@bluebirdgrainfarms if you would like to sign up for the field tour. Kids welcome!
August 21st: A Feast of Field and Stream at Bluebird Grain Farms August 21st, 5:00-9:00. Join Bluebird Grain Farms, Trout Unlimited, and a host of regional farms for a celebration of local food, wine & beer. Tickets are $45.00 Proceeds go to Trout Unlimited and the Salmon Safe program. Purchase tickets online at Brown Paper Tickets.
Here are some recommended places to stay:
Recipe of the Month: Farro Salad with Fresh Garden Vegetables
4 C Water
1 C Farro
1/2 C Olive Oil to taste
1/4 C Red Wine Vinegar to taste
1/2 C Chopped Red Onion
1/2 C Chopped Celery or Fennel
1/2 C Chopped Carrot
1/2 C Peeled & Seeded Cucumber
1/2 C Tomatoes, Seeded & Chopped
Handfuls of Chopped Arugula
2 Cloves Finely Chopped Garlic
1 Small Fresh Red Chili Pepper
2 Tablespoons of Capers, drained
1/4 C Flat Leaf Parsley
1/4 C Basil or Mint
Oil Cured Black Olives for Garnish
In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil and salt it lightly. Add the farro, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer 50-60 minutes or until the grains are soft but still have some firmness at the center. If the farro is ready but has not absorbed all the water, drain the cooked farro in a sieve. Place the drained farro in a bowl and cool.
Add olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper to the farro; toss to coat. Fold in the onion, celery or fennel, carrot, and cucumber. Add tomatoes, arugula, garlic, and chili, if using. Add capers, parsley, and basil or mint, and taste and taste for seasoning. Add more oil, vinegar, salt, or pepper, if you like. Garnish the salad with olives, if using. Serve at room temperature.Customer Profile: Ryan Quinlan of Great Basin Brewing Company
When the Nevada Museum of Art decided to curate an ancient Egyptian exhibit, they turned to an unlikely source to help lend an air of authenticity to the show: Great Basin Brewing Company’s production manager, Ryan Quinlan. The museum was interested in showcasing an authentic period beer to commemorate the Egypt exhibit and Quinlan was the man to provide them with this brew.
Quinlan—whose background includes biochemistry and art as well as an abiding interest in historical styles of food and drink—met with a historical nutritionist to learn about the grains of ancient Egypt and then sourced emmer farro from Bluebird Grain Farms. Lance Jergensen at Rebel Malting Company helped Quinlan “malt” the emmer farro (malting is a process by which grain is germinated by soaking in water, then stopped from germinating further by drying with hot air).
The brew Quinlan and his production team created for the Nevada Museum of Art is emmer farro based, but includes several other ingredients as well, including juniper berries and coriander. Egyptian beer didn’t have hops, explains Quinlan; hops weren’t used in beer until about the 8thCentury, when Bavarians began experimenting with using hops to add flavor and stability to beer. Hops also have antibacterial properties, but in the Egyptian Beer the juniper berries (hand picked locally by Quinlan’s team) and coriander provide antibacterial activity.
The flavor of Great Basin’s Egyptian beer is unique and apparent, says Quinlan. “It’s brewed with a wild strain of yeast,” he explains, so it has an “earthy, grainy flavor, with undertones of fruit and funk.” “It has a wide bouquet of flavors,” Quinlan goes on, “as opposed to the clean, neutral strains of commercially produced light lagers.” It’s also unfiltered, Quinlan explains, as it would have been in ancient Egypt. The cloudy beer drunk by Egyptians was so full of proteins, vitamins, and minerals that it was highly nutritious and was a staple of the diet of both poor and wealthy citizens. With emmer farro’s high protein content, Great Basin’s Egyptian Beer is equally nutrition-packed.
Quinlan started brewing beer on a lark, when he was invited by a friend to partake in a homebrew session. “I hadn’t really realized how accessible it was,” he says. “I was just really moved by the fact that I could personally create tasty beer.” From that first homebrew experience, Quinlan went on to experiment with different homebrew flavors and styles, employing his love of cooking with his understanding of chemistry and historical tastes. “In brewing there’s always more to learn,” Quinlan says enthusiastically. “I went to a local lavender farm recently and tasted hot cocoa with lavender in it. That got me to thinking—I could make a beer with lavender in it.”
“When I started brewing beer professionally,” Quinlan goes on, “I realized that I could combine all of my interests—cooking, art, chemistry, history, manual labor. Brewing lets me exercise my mind in all of these ways.” And the fourteen-hour bottling sessions? Those can be grueling, too.
Great Basin’s Ancient Egyptian Homebrew will be featured at a Nevada Museum of Art reception on August 11th, when brewery owner discusses the craft of recreating an ancient brew.