You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Harvesting’ category.
We generally like to have our American Blackbelly Ewes give birth in March. The weather has warmed up enough by then that we don’t need to worry so much about a newborn getting chilled, or mama being stressed enough that she decides she doesn’t want another mouth to feed. Because sheep have a 5 month gestation, that means that we put our ram in with our ewes in early October.
But not last year. Kenny, our beautiful ram, had only one fence between him and his girlfriends, and he had been pining after them for MONTHS, and so he promptly rammed his rather substantial head and horns against an inadequate wooden fence post until he broke the post. That, along with the bottom of the fence not being well attached, and in he went with his girls in early September. Read the rest of this entry »
Wow. These last few months just FLEW by. I did my last farmers market of the season on October 29th. I did my first market of the season on April 30th. We got rained out of four. (Because all of my soap and jam labels are paper, rainy markets and I don’t mix. Even though I’m under a tent, its almost impossible to keep everything dry.) We took one additional Saturday off. So I did a total of 47 market days, in four different locations, this year. My sales were up about 40%, so the move into the Pendleton and Richland markets was a good one, even though the first year at a new market is always about building your brand and customer base with the locals. I attribute a large part of the increase to my being able to offer jams throughout the year. Jams were about 27% of my sales this year. Mostly, I am thrilled to be finished. I’ve been pretty darned brain dead these last few weeks. Read the rest of this entry »
When a farmer says corn, no doubt the first thing that comes into your head is sweet corn, dripping with butter, maybe hot off the grill. I know that’s what I think of. But corn has a long and fascinating history. Corn is thought to have been domesticated at least 7,000 years ago, somewhere in central Mexico, from a wild grass called Teosinte. Modern day corn is a plant that literally can not survive without human input, as it needs to be planted and harvested by us in order to continue. It is (or was) a crop with huge genetic diversity. The US Department of Agriculture’s Plant Introduction Station in Ames, Iowa holds 19,780 different samples or “accessions” of corn from around the world. Read the rest of this entry »
When I first started canning, I’d get overwhelmed with a particular item of produce that was available in abundance, and thumb through my canning books looking for recipes that used that fruit or vegetable. For instance, I once had an abundance of peaches, and had already canned plenty of them, so I made peach chutney. The problem? We don’t really eat chutney (this recipe excepted). So it languished on the shelf, beautiful but unwanted, and eventually, several years later, I opened the jars and fed it to the chickens. Read the rest of this entry »
This one comes with a memory. I went to elementary/junior-high/high school in a small town in northern California. This was before the trend to make “middle school” sixth, seventh and eighth grade, so we had a sixth grade graduation, then went to junior high for two years, had had an eighth grade graduation, and went on to high school. The junior high and the high school were in the same building, and my graduating class in high school was about 40 kids. It was a very small town. Read the rest of this entry »
So, the Saturday downtown farmers market started April 30th, and I’ve started attending the Pendleton market on the 2nd and 4th Friday evenings of the month, starting May 13th. Both have been very successful so far. May is always a good month for markets! Come down and see me. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve been learning about edible weeds for a long long time. I have a used copy of “Stalking the Wild Asparagus” that I bought almost 30 years ago. But there is one problem. I never actually get around to eating the wild plants. I know you CAN eat them, but I almost never do. And if the situation ever became more critical (I NEEDED to know how to prepare and eat them) I’d be flying by the seat of my pants and challenging my palate while already dealing with a stressful situation. Not a good combination. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve been on a search for the perfect 8 oz tomato. I grow a lot of lovely heirlooms. German Pink, Dester, Stripped German. Beautiful, huge tomatoes. Some well over 1 lb. But not everyone at market wants to pay $3 or more for ONE tomato. So I’ve been looking for a medium sized red tomato with excellent flavor. What I really want is a red version of Valencia, which is a fantastic yellow/orange heirloom that I’ve been growing for the last two years. Read the rest of this entry »
That moment when you realize you are almost out of garlic chili sauce. And then the dawning realization of “how hard can this be, really, to make?” given that you are staring at a pile of ripe serrano peppers on your counter. The ingredients on the side of the jar are chilies, garlic, salt and vinegar, plus preservatives to make it shelf stable. Read the rest of this entry »
We live in the land of apples here in Walla Walla. According to the US Ag statistics, Washington produces about 58% of the apples grown in the United States, and 68% of those grown for fresh consumption. A lot of those apples are grown within about 50 miles of where we live (though Yakima and Grant counties far out produce us). So much so that with the record-breaking crop this year, I heard of an entire field of gala that the farmer was just going to leave on the trees until they dropped, as all the cold storage warehouses were full and galas don’t command the big prices that honeycrisp do. Made me want to buy a pig, just to fatten it up on apples! Read the rest of this entry »