Happy Labor Day

elisa

A farm is truly a labor of love. I love coming home and looking at my old barn and silo. I love digging in the dirt and checking on my little garden. I love harvesting garlic and meeting customers at our annual garlic sale (happening now). I love making my rounds and visiting the cows (two new ones recently added), chickens, goats and pigs (if you follow our Instagram or Facebook accounts you would know we added pigs recently) when I get home from my 9-5! And, I love sharing all the simple goodness with my family and friends. It is the love of farming and rural living that I put in the extra hours, occasionally blood and a few times tears to our little farm. Across America there are farmers who labor tirelessly so that their families and the rest of the nation has food to eat. Today, we will be gathering with family for one last BBQ before the rain starts to pour and we will grill up some delicious hamburgers and brats and feast on salads all thanks to the hard work of farmers. So, on this labor day I want to say THANK YOU  to everyone out there who works in acres, not hours (because there are way too many to count them all) and HAPPY LABOR DAY!

 

 

Sauteed Garlic Scapes

Thank you to Malia of Ramblings of a Small Town Girl Blog for the guest post. Malia always has the BEST pictures of her food!

The Ramblings of an Aspiring Small Town Girl

Garlic scapes are the treasure of every garlic lover. These coveted gems are a new and cherished delicacy in our household. Easy to make, and packed full of the most perfectly mild yet rich garlic flavor you will ever taste. I can’t say enough about this new find in my flavor world!

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This is a guest post written for the fabulous ladies at Simple Goodness Farm. Thank you Venise and Belinda for the opportunity to share in the garlicy fun! Among their many talents, growing garlic on a large-scale is a big part of their lives.  I liked growing garlic before I met them. But now I loooooove growing garlic. I’ve learned so much. If you enjoy reading about permaculture, homesteading, and small town life, check these girls out. They are great!simple goodness girls

Our story begins at the local watering hole, where I met Venise about a year ago through our mutual friends, the Stouts…

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Growing Garlic: Cutting Scapes

Farmer Ross and I have gotten a lot of questions recently filled with anxiety and enthusiasm asking “what should I be doing with my garlic”?  Because garlic is a winter crop, it is often one of the first crops to be harvested in the summer. Since I had so many questions this year I thought I would write a quick post about what the next few months entail for all you budding garlic farmers!

First, if you are growing hardneck garlic in the Pacific Northwest, your scapes should be ready to cut. I usually cut ours as soon as the scape has made a full curl. The scapes are the stalk of the garlic and if left on the plant they will eventually flower. While there seems to be some controversy around whether cutting scapes is benefitial, we do cut ours. The idea is that if you cut the scapes, the plant will put the energy into the bulb and not into the flower. If that’s not enough to convince you then you should also know that garlic scapes are edible and taste like a delicious cross between a string bean and asparagus. Bring them to a BBQ, cut the flowering part off, wrap them in tin foil and butter and become one of the coolest people at the party!

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This garlic scape has curled once and is ready to be cut.

The scapes are easy to just snap off with your fingers so long as you don’t mind the smell of garlic on your hands. Once they are cut we store ours in burlap bags in the basement and they last at least a few weeks. They are also delicious pickled. Be on the lookout for my pickling recipe soon.

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The flowering part of the garlic plant can be used to propagate seed if desired.

Once the scapes are cut, leave the garlic in the ground and start watching the leaves. If you are growing garlic for your own consumption you will want to harvest them when the leaves start to die back but there are still THREE GREEN LEAVES left on the plant. If you are selling your garlic you might want to harvest a little earlier. The reason is that the leaves typically represent the number of wrappers on the garlic. If there are three leaves on the plant there should be approximately three layers of the paper-like wrapper on the bulb. Commercial growers will want to have a few extra wrappers since the garlic will go through extra processing steps before reaching the consumer, all of which can easily damage and remove wrappers.

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This is an immature hardneck garlic bulb. It will get much bigger than this before harvest time.

As you get ready to harvest make sure your bulbs are dry. Which means if you are watering your garlic, stop at least a week before you harvest. You want your bulbs to be nice a dry when you harvest otherwise you will have issues with mold. On our farm we don’t water our garlic and we typically end up harvesting sometime in July when we have lots of nice, dry, sunny weather.

Next, you will harvest your garlic. I will post all about harvesting as we get a little closer. Happy garlic growing!

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The cutest little garlic farmer assistant!

 

Chelan Succulent Garden Surprise

These succulents have grown into their pots and are now waiting to be divided so they can continue to multiply

These succulents have grown into their pots and are now waiting to be divided so they can continue to multiply

As we always do when visiting Chelan, for Kate’s 14th birthday weekend, we stopped by the Lone Pine Fruit and Espresso. Just outside their front door we came across a new surprise. I swear this place just keeps getting better. They already had fresh veggies, chai tea lattes, home baked pies, local wine and ciders, and my heart… now they have partnered with Buffalo Plants of Chelan and have a succulent and cactus nursery/store on premise, too!

Kate happens to have a random but thorough obsession with tiny cacti and has a growing collection of them lined up in her window at home. Coming across this unique addition to one of my favorite Chelan spots on her birthday felt a little bit too perfect, that’s how into the plants she is. We all also have fond memories of nanny’s prolific hens and chicks, “pecking” their way across her garden and spilling out of old toilet tanks, the prettiest of possible plumbing woes (nanny let nothing go to waste!) So, us girls wandered through the greenhouse happily for an hour, learning about the care and proliferation of succulents and cacti.

The proprietor explained that these plants can be multiplied innumerably if you clip off a succulent leaf or cactus “arm,” let the wound heal for a few days by resting the clipped piece on top of the dirt until a little root sprouts, and then replant the piece in a new container. He recommended an even mix of topsoil, vermiculite, sand, small pebbles, and compost for the planting and a thorough watering spaced a few days apart so the pot is allowed to dry out completely after watering. We took this advice and a few of each of our favorites home with us to the Westside, along with the first beginnings of our summer tans and our newly wizened, aged little sister.

Newly divided and re-homed succulents

Newly divided and re-homed succulents

The proprietor and succulent whiz kid, preparing for surgery. He removed one arm of a cacti Kate loved so that she could take it home to plant, for free!

The proprietor and succulent whiz kid, preparing for surgery. He removed one arm of a cacti Kate loved so that she could take it home to plant, for free!

Love Is War Fundraiser Update

WOW… this is really cool guys. We raised a total of $2,210 at our photos shoot fundraiser to benefit the St. Baldrick’s foundation for childhood cancer research. This was our first event at the farm that we publicized outside of our friends and family and it was awesome to see the response as you all rallied behind us.
Some big thanks are in order for such a successful day. Thank you to everyone who spread the word on social media and told their friends about this event, we could not have done it without you! Thank you for our raffle basket donations, they were a fun addition to the day. Thank you to our photog assistance Kate Adair, who ran back and forth to the back pasture with us about 20 times (I was so sore after that day!) Thank you to my college roommate Simone, who introduced me to this organization and inspired me to give in my own way (check out awe-inspiring photos from her St. Baldrick’s shaving party last month!) Thank you to Farmer Ross, who was behind us from the start and encouraged us all along, even checking in daily to see how many tickets had been sold. Thank you to everyone who shared their families with us on that very fun day of silly photos, mud puddles and big smiles. And especially, thank you to our photographers who donated all of their time that day, all proceeds from the photo sales and all of their time editing and posting the photos for the families! Thank you all for joining us in fighting dirty against childhood cancers!
Bath basket winner: Ruby Faye Cunningham
Tea Winner: Debi Cunningham
Jewelry winner: Denise Anderson
Coffee winner: Jennifer Meyers
Our little barn office was awash with squeals as we sifted through the final photos from each photographer. You guys are all gorgeous people, and all the prettier and more handsome for the obvious joy that emanates from your faces in these pictures. We loved watching parents, grandparents, babies and 9 year “newlyweds” play together on the farm. and some are just too cute not to share!
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