In This Edition:
Recipe: Emmer Berry Salad
Notes from the Farmer
Next Seattle Markets: Aug 5th (Ballard Only)
Online Special: 15% Off Emmer Pancake Mix
Notes from the Farmer
While the rest of the country swelters the ole’ Northwest seems to be coolin’ it. On the first official day of summer the mercury hit 80 here in the Methow. Though perhaps not as wet as the past couple, this June remained just as cool. And since grains are essentially cool season grasses, indeed growing conditions have been excellent.
Our wheat is heading out this first week of July and our earlier emmer is knee high as it stretches inches a day heading into flag-leaf stage. The flag-leaf on grain plants is the last or top leaf of the plant and is much longer and thicker than the rest of the leaves giving a grain field the look of having a million little green flags. Below this leaf is where the plant begins to “bolt." Within a couple days the grain head then begins to “boot," named such because the head first emerges as a tiny green boot.
As growers, we try to keep the plants from bolting too early because fully developed plants generally form bigger heads and also fill each head with more kernels. Grain can bolt early due to any number of stresses including sudden high heat, extreme wind or poor nutrient cycling. Here at Bluebird we are able to manage/off-set some of these stresses by striving to balance the soils (you’ve heard me say before; it all starts in the soil.) Also, through irrigation we can manage moisture in the root zone as the plants grow to make sure they aren’t thirsty for too long. This is a fine line because we also want the plant to work for itself. I wrote briefly about this last time when addressing germination.
When plants stress, they begin to tap their nutrient reserves and cycle them to their fruit, the grain heads in our case. We actually try to stress the plants at the right time, ideally when the heads are full, by shutting down all irrigation. This is when we hope for the hot, dry Methow days later this month and on into August and September so that the grains slowly cure and keep their goodness whole. Not much to ask? Time will tell. Big “MN” bats last and generally holds most of the cards regardless of our plans.
June was filled with irrigating and some foliar feeding as I mentioned in the last notes. From what I saw, the nutrient package we used really helped the grain. We’ll be feeding the same mix on our later emmer crop up valley by the week's end and we’ll continue irrigating into the later part of the month on the emmer. As well, we’ll be mowing and discing down our now blossoming, full, rich, bee-filled cover crops of vetch.
None of the above mentioned has kept this farmer from his early morning cup on the back porch where I’ve been fascinated with the swallow family that has nested, hatched and now fledged from the nearest bird box on our garden fence. These tenacious birds have an even quicker growth cycle than our grain! As well, baby tanagers, robins, hummingbirds, bluebirds… and pairs of fawns teeter about following their mammas through the bunchgrass and bitterbrush while young bucks race about.
We’ve had another good month in the granary where Walt has been kept out of mischief by all your orders. Thank you! We truly feel fortunate for all your support. Despite all the imperfection, we live in a great, great country and hope you enjoyed last week's independence celebrations with “free spirit” and family and friends.
Bluebird News & Events
Monthly online special: 15% off Emmer Pancake Mix
Longtime customer and Chef John Sundstrom of Lark Restaurant, Seattle visited our farm this past month.
John is working on an interactive cookbook (along with an app and e-book). In our kitchen, John prepared farro pappardelle with wild mushrooms, rabbit and fava beans. It was a real treat to host John, his crew, and watch his process. I encourage those who have not had the experience of John’s fare to visit his restaurant in Seattle. I look forward to the publication of this recipe. By the way the meal was delicious!
Trout Unlimited Farm-to-Table dinner is slated for Sept 2 at Methow Valley Ciderhouse. For tickets go to www.brownpapertickets.com or call 509.881.7690. All proceeds go toward helping farmers in Okanogan County comply with Salmon Safe Standards.
We had a visit from longtime CSA subscriber Barbara Ogle of Olympia. Thanks Barbara for taking the time to find us and for your ongoing support.
Seattle Market Schedule
Our next markets are as follows:
August 5: Ballard Market
Please Note: NO U-District Market in August
September 1: U-District Market
September 2: Ballard Market
* Please place your special orders under 100 lbs. by 4pm Friday, July 27 for the August 5 Ballard Market. Feel free to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your special order!
Recipe of the Month:
Emmer Berry Salad with Fruit, Feta, and Pecans
by Georgina Tobiska of Carmelize Life
2 c. Bluebird Emmer Farro
¾ c. crumbled feta or goat cheese
¾ c. dried chopped fruit (dates, cherries, apricots, huckleberries, blueberries or cranberries or combo)
¾ c. toasted pecans
2 c. torn greens (such as kale, arugula, spinach, beet greens)
½ c. minced green onion
Fresh herbs of choice for garnish
As berries cool toss lightly with a little olive oil or rinse with cold water to cool and re-drain. While grain is cooking, toast your pecans. Chop cheese and dried fruits into 1/4 - 1/2 inch pieces. Chop onions and tear greens of choice into 1 inch pieces.
When grain is cool, combine all ingredients and toss well. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss. Garnish with fresh herbs of choice and serve with grilled meat, fish or as a vegetarian main course.
Customer Profile: Laureen Lapitan of Cupcake Luv