As we transition from the Thanksgiving holiday weekend into the first of December, the days are getting shorter and shorter while also seemingly getting busier and busier during the start of this merry holiday season!
One upcoming event has us feeling especially merry here at the farm this year: The first of our new Classes on the Farm workshops will be held this Saturday, December 7th! We are eagerly anticipating this festive morning spent with our guests, who will have the opportunity to create their own wreath, garland or holiday centerpiece from freshly-harvested foliage, evergreen boughs, fragrant herbs and more.
We hope you’ll consider joining us—either on Saturday or at another upcoming workshop!
There’s a little something for everyone with such subjects as traditional food crafts and techniques, nature-inspired decor, and even family-friendly fun in the kitchen; tickets and class details can be found here!
Additionally, if you are searching for a holiday gift, look no further than us: We are now offering gift cards that can be redeemed for any of our classes here at Bella Farms, or applied to a Farm & Larder subscription or a holiday gift basket; get yours today.
In other news, the goats, donkey and chickens are seemingly unaware of all this hustle and bustle occurring around them as they 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 also 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, we planted cover crops which will be tilled in during the spring to help add nutrients to the soil before planting.
We hope to see you soon here at the farm and we wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season!
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 clear and cold weather, we are catching up on some chores in and around the barn to prep for the upcoming winter. On these crisp, cold mornings, 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, hoping for treats every time we pass by.
We are also taking advantage of the 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 preserved lemons with the remaining fruit from the Meyer Lemon trees now pulled close to the barn for shelter from the cold.
One special note: There will be no F&L box the week of Thanksgiving (November 28th). Your delivery will pick back up again on Thursday, December 5th—have a happy turkey day!
While the afternoons can still be sunny and pleasant as we start the month of October, the cooler nights and drizzly mornings tell us it is truly now fall.
Here at Bella Luna, the leaves are beginning to turn brilliant shades of red, yellow and orange, and the local wildlife are beginning to stash provisions like crazy: Squirrels are busy darting to and fro, carrying off acorns, walnuts and chestnuts—some as big as their heads—to bury for food during the winter months. The blue jays are also busy squabbling with one another, battling the squirrels and each other for hazelnuts.
With the last of the grapes behind us, the apple and pear harvest has officially begun—the sweet, aromatic Macoun and crunchy, mildly-tart Liberty are the first apples to ripen in our orchard, with the Asian and European pears right behind them. We admit to snatching a few, fragrant and crunchy, right off the tree while walking past to do chores in the barn or garden, with the donkey enjoying an apple here and there as well! Soon, we will press and enjoy our first batch of fresh cider, and start cooking up homemade batches of applesauce and apple butter in the farm kitchen.
In addition to days spent tending our clients’ gardens for our landscape design firm Parterre, at home we are pulling the last of the heirloom tomatoes out of the hoophouse, which are destined for more batches of our Nonna Pat’s tomato sauce, making way for fall plantings of kale, cabbage and chard to overwinter for early spring harvest. These hardy crops always renew our excitement for fall—foraging for mushrooms in the woods, or enjoying the distinct flavors of autumn over a cozy supper.
We hope you are well and also enjoying the month of October!
Fall is in the air! Here at Bella Luna Luna Farms we are enjoying the best that September has to offer with dewy mornings, cooler evenings and, yet still, sunny days:
As the summery weather lingers, we continue to enjoy seeing the blue jays and squirrels dashing about competing for walnuts and hazelnuts and the honeybees busily filling their hives with their winter honey; in the garden, we continue the everyday ritual of harvesting fresh tomatoes, beans, peppers, cucumbers and summer squash from the beds and hoophouse. This sunny season continues to keep us busy out and about off the farm working on our clients’ gardens for our landscape design firm, Parterre and then here at the farm with weddings and special events.
One such special event is our upcoming Autumn Scampagnata Supper on September 7th, the third in an inspiring four-part series of outings here at the farm that benefits Slow Food Seattle. The evening will begin with Chef Shane Ryan’s house-made charcuterie and traditional-style pizza baked in our wood fired oven, then move on to a six-course, family-style feast showcasing the authentic flavors of the Northwest. Supper will include such delights as octopus from the Salish Sea, Nicky Farms quail and an autumn bounty of farm fresh produce. Tickets are still available; join us!
This autumn-inspired event sure has us looking ahead to the cornucopia of the fall harvest: In the next few weeks we will see the apples and pears, squash and pumpkins, hardy kales and cabbages, that take us into the next season each year. The early apples will be the first ready with the crisp, tart Honeycrisp and Akane varieties; next up come the Asian pears, and the last of the blueberries. In the gardens, the kale, cabbage and broccoli seedlings are going into the ground to overwinter, right as the fresh garlic and storage onions like our favorite flat Italian Cipollinis are coming out of it. Cover crops have been sown in the fallow plots to turn under in the spring and help enrich the soil.
The kitchen continues to bustle with pickling, preserving and canning as we put away the summer bounty. September is always busy spent crafting big batches of Nonna Pat’s tomato sauce to carry us through the winter months. We are also putting our favorite Mathilde cucumbers to delicious use in small-batches of our signature French-style cornichons. Made using a traditional recipe, each jar is packed with a Grapehouse grape leaf during pickling to keep these tiny pickles crunchy and crisp.
From our family to yours, happy September!