Greetings from the farm—and welcome to February! After January’s bout of snow, this is a month of contradictions here at the farm, as we have seen both days of wintery rain and then a few early glimpses of spring, too, as the blossoming witch hazel tree and delicate snowdrops bring a smile to our faces every time we pass by, as do the tiny shoots of green courageously poking out the soil here and there.
On milder days, the resident animals are beginning to venture outside their warm, straw-lined stalls and coops. The ‘girls’, still thick with their winter coats, nibble on hay and tidbits of grass under the eaves of the barn, clamouring to say hello as we go by; the donkey lazes in his paddock; and the chickens are busy, busy, busy laying eggs with breaks taken in their outdoor enclosure. We, too, try to take advantage of the longer afternoons, getting compost prepped for spring gardening, gathering herbs from the greenhouse and visiting the creamery to check on the cheeses aging in our cave.
Much of this time of year is still spent in the warm and cozy farmhouse kitchen. There, you can find us prepping for the next in our Classes on the Farm workshops—we are so excited to welcome professional cheesemaker Meghan McKenna for four classes in March as she instructs us in the art of butter-making and crafting fresh cheeses at home. Save the dates for March 8th and 29th and get your tickets for these classes today!
Also, on this upcoming Sunday February 9th, we will be hosting our Winter Scampagnata Lunch, the fourth installment in an inspiring four-season series of dining experiences here at the farm to benefit Slow Food Seattle. It’s sure to be a magical (and delicious!) afternoon—join us!
On Wednesdays, we are busy readying recipes and seasonal produce for the weekly box delivery. February is 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 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 and hardy greens like kale and chard.
As we wait for 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 until spring truly arrives:
Spicy Honey-Glazed Parsnips
Drizzled with chili-honey butter, this roasted parsnip recipe from Bon Appetit is a real winner.
These delightful beets from Rick Rodgers’ The Big Book of Sides are sure to be a new fall favorite.
Braised Root Vegetables & Cabbage with Fruit
This ingenious recipe from Food & Wine boasts extra flavor thanks to the addition of apples and pears.
Happy New Year! As 2020 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 six years now! We couldn’t do it without you and truly appreciate your enthusiastic feedback and support. To our new 2020 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. It has been an especially exciting time for us in that regard as in December we held the first of many workshops in our new Classes on the Farm series here at the farm. Our inaugural class was so joyful: Our guests spent a delightful time crafting a holiday wreath, centerpiece, or sometimes even both, and then we all enjoyed a cozy lunch of hand-crafted soup and toasted ham and four-cheese sandwiches.
Our next class is coming later this week, Galettes Galore on January 11th! In this workshop, we will master the art of crafting the perfect galette dough and then transforming it into both savory and dessert galettes. We will share the fruits of our labor together over a light meal, and each student will leave with a galette of their own creation. We hope you’ll consider joining us either on Saturday, or at another upcoming class!
In other event news, the fourth installment of our Scampagnata dining series is also coming up. Join us on February 9th as chef Shane Ryan of Upper Left Catering takes us on a seasonal culinary journey featuring the best the Northwest has to offer. Proceeds from winter lunch benefit Slow Food Seattle; tickets are on sale now!
Elsewhere around the farm, we have finished putting the gardens to bed until spring; though we are still pulling up the last few carrots and parsnips from the soil. The weather has been mild enough that we have even spotted a few confused blooming roses, and one last pear growing on an orchard tree! Though the goats are a bit less energetic this time of year (it’s not uncommon to find them taking a midday snooze in the barns), our hens are quite busy. We are finding quite a few smaller pullet eggs as the younger hens get the hang of laying; fun fact: younger hens are much more likely to produce double yolks! In the pullet eggs we’ve collected so far, we’ve already found two of these doubled-up delights!
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 2020!
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!