In This Edition:
Recipe: Methow Valley Salad
Leon Bloom from PCC's Deli
Notes from the Farmer
Seattle Markets: July 7 & 8
On Sale: Whole Grain Emmer
Notes from the Farmer
Full moon in June is when I write this month’s notes, though we could not see the moon here at the granary behind the cool and welcome rain clouds. The last time I wrote my farmer notes was also the last time it rained here in the Methow. Hard to believe, after the last couple years of wet planting seasons, this time around we received no significant precip for the entire month of May. The good news is that May remained very mellow and mild without real wind until the last week. Consequently, we were not held up at all in field prep and planting and indeed had everything sown by the month’s end.
We ran two cycles of irrigation on our early cover crops and one cycle on our earlier grains. On our last plantings up in Mazama, the seedbed was getting dry enough by the time we drilled the grain that I wasn’t sure whether we’d have the moisture for germination. Generally, even as late as June, the more we work the soil the more ground moisture we can bring up to the planting zone. Yet even setting the drill discs as deep as they’d go, I wasn’t sure we hit consistent moisture. Then three days later, here came the rain!
Yes, we have irrigation for all our fields but there are reasons why we do not like to irrigate to activate seed germination. First, due to the fact we still have “manual irrigation” (rows of 40-foot hand lines that get moved across the field every 12 hours 60 feet at a time), we would end up with uneven germination. Some acreage might be irrigated five days before the last acreage. Uneven germination can be something that affects us right into harvest. Even if the majority of the field is ready to harvest, there may be enough late-curing grain (late germinating) to force us to wait. And I'll tell you, it doesn’t take a very high percentage of “greenies” to spoil a load of cured grain.
Secondly, irrigating bare soil makes a muddy mess that, once dried, can actually seal up and prevent the seed sprout from popping through. Third, as with most living things, a bit of struggling generally makes for more strength overall. For plants, if the sprouts are forced to seek out their own moisture, their root systems will develop more completely and hold up better during times of stress whether it is extreme heat, wind, excessive moisture, and the like. And so, yes, thank you MN for this perfect, slow rain.
I mentioned I’d write a little about some of the foliar feeds we’re using this year. One combination we’re trying both as a foliar but also as a pre-plant is a combo of liquid fish and a nitrogen-fixing bacteria branded Nutritech. Plenty of information is available about the attributes of using fish fertilizer, yet we’ve never used any here at Bluebird. Since I got a little lengthy on germination this time, let me get into foliar feed talk and different sources next time. By then, we may be able to convey some of our very own observations from the fields.
June, June, sweet June! It is, truly, still a spring month here in the foothills. The month all the juices are set in motion for the long, warm, sunny days of July. So far, our crops are looking pretty good.
Wishing you all happy school-out and the beginning to a great summer.
Bluebird News & Events
Monthly online special: Whole Grain Farro 15% off.
I had the pleasure of attending Cafe Flora 20th Anniversary & benefit party last weekend. The spring farro risotto prepared by Cafe Flora chefs was outstanding and had lines all evening! Congratulations to Cafe Flora, and thank you for your continued partnership.
Over memorial day we attended local meat producer Crown S Ranch's tour and BBQ. Great tours and hearty BBQ ribs made this a grand day. Check out their NEW farm store just off of Highway 20 between Winthrop and Twisp.
Chef John Sundstrom of Lark Restaurant Seattle will be visiting our farm this Tuesday. John is working on a App/cookbook, among other things. He tells me to be prepared to eat, he is bringing a mobile kitchen!
Seattle Market Schedule
We plan to be at U-District and Ballard Markets the first weekend of every month. Our schedule is as follows:
July 7th: U-District
July 8th: Ballard
* Please place your special orders under 100 lbs. by 4pm Friday, June 29. Feel free to e-mail email@example.com with your special order!
August 4: U-District
August 5: Ballard
All kinds of love happening here on our farm.
Recipe of the Month:
PCC Deli's Methow Valley Salad
Copyright PCC Natural Markets
PCC Deli's Methow Valley Salad has won the hearts of many. Hearty, fresh greens mixed with herbs and Bluebird's signature Farro.
1/2 cup Bluebird Grain Farms Emmer Farro
1 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup basil oil
1/4 pound roma tomoatoes, diced into 1/2-inch, half-moon chunks
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1/3 pound chard and kale mix (equal parts green kale, red kale, and red chard, stems removed, cut into 1-inch pieces)
Soak farro in water overnight. Bring water, pre-soaked farro, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 45 minutes. Drain in a colander and let cool slowly at room temperature. Do not rinse. When cooled, place in a large bowl and refrigerate. Mix together lemon juice, garlic, dill, basil, remaining salt, pepper, and both oils until dressing is blended. Toss dressing with grain, tomatoes, cucumber and carrots. To serve, toss equal parts farro-vegetable mixture and loosely packed greens in a bowl.
Customer Profile: Leon Bloom of PCC Natural Markets