It’s February! The Latest News from Farm & Larder and Bella Luna Farms

Greetings from the farm! Though Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring, February has so far been anything but spring-like here in the Northwest—the farm has been a winter wonderland ever since the February 4th snowfall that blanketed the region!

On that note, we have had to cancel the February 14th F&L delivery due to the toll the inclement weather is taking on the local crops and provisions. We will be emailing all F&L subscribers with more information shortly.

For the most part, the resident farm animals have been hunkered down snug in the barns, where we’ve laid extra straw for them to bed down into during the very chilly nights; twice daily along with flakes of fresh hay we refill their frozen water buckets with warm water which they gulp down noisily with great gusto! Despite the cold, those curious goats and the donkey want to see what all the fuss is about, and they’ve been venturing out each day to check out the snowy view.

Our Meyer lemon, lime and tea trees have all been squeezed into the barn to protect them from the cold where it has stayed just above freezing even on the coldest nights with the help of a couple of heaters to keep them, and the plumbing, from freezing.

As for us, we’ve been kept extra busy (and bundled up) both with cold-related chores and visiting the now-frozen hoophouse for herbs and kale. Inside, we’ve been keeping warm and cozy in the farmhouse kitchen prepping recipes and seasonal produce for the weekly box delivery. Being snowed in gives us the opportunity to dig deep into the seed and nursery catalogs and prepare for spring planting while work in the garden is on hold.

February is also prime season for hearty and healthy root vegetables (no doubt you’ve noticed from the plethora in your box each week!) and though these veggies are perhaps less colorful, and often less well-known than their summer companions, they are true examples of what it is to eat seasonally in the Northwest. This is why the theme and tone of your box changes as we capture a snapshot of each unique growing season—even this one, chock-full of ‘dirt-lovers’ such as carrots, beets, parsnips and turnips.

As we wait for the snow to melt and for signs of spring to arrive, we’ll endeavor to find new and delicious ways to enjoy our roots and winter greens—be sure to keep checking our weekly recipes for suggestions. Here are a few of our recent favorites to tide you over:

Spicy Honey-Glazed Parsnips
Drizzled with chili-honey butter, this roasted parsnip recipe from Bon Appetit is a real winner.

Braised Winter Greens
A simple and delicious method to cook these hearty greens. They make a great accompaniment to any main dish!

Warm Roasted Beets with Curry Spices
This heavenly side dish is fragrant with warm spices; a must-try for a chilly winter’s night.

Balsamic-Glazed Root Vegetables
An herb-packed marinade infuses fresh flavor into winter produce staples like carrots and parsnips.

Hello, January! The Latest News from Farm & Larder and Bella Luna Farms

Happy New Year! As 2019 gets underway, we would first like to convey our heartfelt thanks: We have been delivering our weekly boxes filled with fresh, seasonal fare and housemade provisions for five years now! We couldn’t do it without you and truly appreciate your enthusiastic feedback and support. To our new 2019 subscribers, welcome! We cannot wait to share the best of the farm with you in the year ahead.

As we wind down from the busy holiday season, now is a time of planning here at the farm. The year has so far graced us with milder weather, affording us with more opportunities to work in some of the growing areas now heavily mulched for winter with composted straw and hay from the barns. It seems as if we are always racing against the setting sun on these short winter days, trying to get other garden chores like pruning the apple and pear trees finished before the daylight wanes. But, when it does set, we head inside to the barns, where our resident farm animals are staying warm and toasty, snuggled up in extra straw to weather the cold nights.

January is also the month for slating out upcoming cheesemaking, gardening, floral arranging and cooking classes for the spring and summer, and for pouring through seed and plant catalogs looking for new flower and vegetable varieties to order for the upcoming growing season.

In the kitchen, we are busy looking through cookbooks new and old for inspiration for seasonal winter fare to share. From hearty soups and rich pasta sauces to luscious risottos and more, we always love making the best of what the Northwest has to offer during the winter months.

Our gardening company, Parterre, is busy each day in our clients’ gardens as well, with wintertime tasks such as pruning, mulching and planning new designs for spring. The snowdrops and narcissus that we planted in the fall are beginning to peek their heads out of the soil, and the hellebore and witch hazel are also beginning to bloom, adding cheer to the otherwise grey winter palette.

We hope your New Year is off to a terrific start—here’s to good growing and great eating in 2019!

Hi, December! The Latest News from Farm & Larder and Bella Luna Farms

As we transition from our wet and surprisingly mild November into the first days of December, the days are getting shorter and shorter while also seemingly getting busier and busier during this merry holiday season. And though we people are busy meeting up with loved ones and friends and hurrying about, it is ironically quite quiet around the farm.

Blissfully unaware of the hustle and bustle occurring just beyond the gates of Bella Luna, the goats, donkey, and chickens go about their daily routine of eating, ruminating, and sleeping. Such a life! A hush has fallen around the hives in the apiary as the bees are now in their winter clusters, huddling around the queen to keep everyone warm and fed. The last of the leaves have fallen, and the bounty of the summer and fall has been stored away—the apples and pears have been harvested and the tomatoes have been canned to enjoy throughout the upcoming winter.

We have been busy putting the ornamental flower gardens to bed and also adding heavy straw mulch to the vegetable plots, which will remain fallow over the winter to protect the soil and keep weeds at bay. In other areas of the vegetable garden and in the new cut flower field( more news to follow soon!) we planted cover crops which will be tilled in during the spring to help add nutrients to the soil before planting.

If you are searching for a holiday gift, look no further than the farm: Give the gift of a subscription to Farm & Larder’s weekly delivery service, or a gift basket. In addition to our classic Nonna Pat’s Sunday Supper basket—which includes Italian provisions such as hand-crafted pasta, dipping oil and our own marinara sauce—we can also customize a box for you, carefully-curated with our housemade jams and other farm products; just drop us an email!

Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year!

Hi, November! The Latest News from Farm & Larder and Bella Luna Farms

As we turn the corner into late-fall with the arrival of November, the farm is awash in color—from the beautiful fall leaves fluttering to the ground in bright scarlet and yellow hues from our collection of Gingko, chestnut, oak and maple trees, to the crisp and colorful apples and pears we are still harvesting. The birds are busy feasting on the dark purple Evergreen huckleberries, bright orange rose hips and windfall apples both in the garden and orchard. Squirrels are busy seemingly everywhere burying walnuts, hazelnuts and acorns for their winter food.

As November has brought with it some wind and rain, we are catching up on some indoor chores in and around the barn to prep for the upcoming winter, also ducking into the creamery to check on our current batch of cheese, which is ripening and aging in the cave. We are also taking advantage of the wet days by finishing putting up the last of the harvested tomatoes—this fall, we have preserved over 900 pounds of juicy, ripe tomatoes in big batches of our Nonna Pat’s marinara sauce. The orchard apples are also making their way into apple sauces and apple butters, and we are also setting aside spiced pears and beets and making grape preserves.

And as much as we don’t mind the rain, our beloved gaggle of goats couldn’t disagree more, as they despise getting wet! On wet days then, you’ll find our very tame and social goats hanging out in their barn, and now that they have all day to dream up trouble, they seem to be up to even more mischief than usual. They are a curious bunch, keeping their eyes on both what we are up to and all the goings on at the farm.

One special note: There will be no F&L box the week of Thanksgiving (November 22nd). Your delivery will pick back up again on Thursday, November 29th—have a happy turkey day!

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