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

As we greet the month of April here at the farm, spring seems to be in full swing! As we are busy both indoors during the drippy days, and then outdoors during those glorious sun breaks, there are lots of developments to share:

This month, we kick-off the first of our Classes on the Farm spring workshops, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome the expert instructors, and you, our guests, to the farm for one of these one-of-a-kind experiences. The full April roster is listed here below and our May calendar has just been posted; take a peek and reserve your spot today! (Hint, hint: Any of these classes would make for a lovely Mother’s Day gift!)

Elsewhere around the farm, in the orchard, we have just finished the last of the winter pruning as the orchard is beginning to wake up. Just in time, too, as a new resident is about to move in and join our budding fruit trees—a new apiary site is underway, with new honeybee hives arriving from RainyDay Bees later this month. In the creamery, we have been busy checking on the cheeses aging in the cave in between whipping up batches of fresh ricotta or silky crème fraîche.

We have also been busy dividing last summer’s dahlia tubers, getting them ready for planting , and have also just planted 120 peonies and over 1500 perennials as we expand our cut flower production-we are very excited to see last year’s perennials already popping up, and are hoping for an exceptional cut flower season ahead!

Spring is also starting in the vegetable garden, where we have been both pulling weeds and adding compost, planting onions and leek starts as well as hardy lettuces, kale and peas, with hundreds of seeds going into flats in the hoophouse for starts to be ready for planting later in the month. The herbs continue to grow in the walled garden, kissing the air with the savory scent of thyme, parsley and chives, and the Shiro plum tree that graces the east wall is about to burst into bloom⁠—hopefully the weather will cooperate for a good crop of juicy golden fruit this summer!

Here’s to a bountiful and beautiful spring!

CLASSES ON THE FARM

Epicurean Experiences, Curated Classes & One-of-a-Kind Workshops—All Enjoyed in Very Good Company
DETAILS & REGISTRATION

FRENCH SPRING SUPPER (April 14th):
Former Sitka & Spruce Chef Danny Conkling explores the beautiful bounty of spring through a classic French supper during this one-of-a-kind cooking class.

THE ART OF BUTTERMAKING (April 20th):
Back by popular demand, professional cheese and buttermaker Meghan McKenna teaches us how to make glorious cultured butter at home.

SOULFUL FLAVORS OF THE SOUTH (April 21st):
Chef Matt Lewis of Where Ya At Matt? Fame will guide us through an exploration of classic New Orleans recipes, including gumbo with a Northwest twist, and freshly-made beignets!

CREATE YOUR OWN BOTANICAL JEWELRY (April 27th):
Learn how to make beautiful botanical jewelry! Join expert gardener designer and garden coach Susan Papanikolas for this dreamy workshop and learn what plants work well for these stunning adornments.

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

Spring is coming: After a gray, cold, and wet February, we are greeting the arrival of March with extra enthusiasm this year as we hope it will soon bring more encouraging glimpses of spring-like weather with the first official day of the season just around the corner. The pop weed in the garden has certainly woken up despite the cold, providing fresh greens for the hens to enjoy!

Plans for spring are picking up and we are excited to announce that we have an expansive roster of Classes on the Farm workshops planned for you this season! The months of March and April will include the following highlights:

TRUFFLE EXTRAVAGANZA (March 23rd):
Sunny Diaz of Cascadia Truffles and Stella, her truffle hunting Lagotto Romagnolo dog, will demonstrate how to search for truffles in the wild; the hunt will be followed by a stunning meal centered around this distinctive ingredient.

FRENCH SPRING SUPPER(April 14th):
Former Sitka & Spruce Chef Danny Conkling explores the beautiful bounty of spring through a classic French supper during this one-of-a-kind cooking class.

THE ART OF BUTTERMAKING (April 20th):
Back by popular demand, professional cheese and buttermaker Meghan McKenna teaches us how to make glorious cultured butter at home.

SOULFUL FLAVORS OF THE SOUTH (April 21st):
Chef Matt Lewis of Where Ya At Matt? Fame will guide us through an exploration of classic New Orleans recipes, including gumbo with a Northwest twist, and freshly-made beignets!

CREATE YOUR OWN BOTANICAL JEWELRY (April 27th):
Learn how to make beautiful botanical jewelry! Join expert gardener designer and garden coach Susan Papanikolas for this dreamy workshop and learn what plants work well for these stunning adornments.

Full details and registration information can be found on our Classes on the Farm site; check your calendars and reserve your spot; we’d love to have you join us! (Keep your eyes peeled as well: May classes will be posted soon!)

In between preparing and planning for these curated classes, we’ve been spending more and more time out of doors, as are our resident animals. The chickens are busy daily scratching for bugs in their outdoor enclosure and the ‘girls’ and the donkey are starting to shed their thick winter undercoats in favor of a sleek new look. Each day we keep an eye out for the postman: Seeds continue to arrive daily, including lots of new varieties we are excited to try. Strawberry, onion and asparagus plants are on their way, as well as seed potatoes and artichoke starts, and the kale, broccoli, and cauliflower seeds are just starting to emerge in the hoophouse. Later this month the spring peas and onions will be planted outdoors under row covers, and we hope to begin harvesting our first crops of flavorful baby spring greens from the hoop house by the end of the month. (Fingers crossed!)

As the days continue to lengthen, we look forward to saying good-bye to winter and hello to spring and all the fresh and bright flavors it provides; we hope to host you here soon!

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

Greetings from the farm—and welcome to February! This is always a month of contradictions here in the Northwest, as we see both days of wintery rain, sleet or snow and then a few early glimpses of spring and blue skies, too.

As they start to emerge from their winter slumber, the fragrant yellow flowers of the witch hazel tree and delicate snowdrops make us smile each time we pass by. In the garden, we are taking advantage of the longer afternoons, getting compost prepped for spring planting, pruning apples and plum trees, gathering herbs from the greenhouse, checking seed starting supplies and finishing up the last seed, root and tuber orders. Spring is in the offing and we can hardly wait!

After the successful move of our headquarters to a larger workspace just down the road, our Farm & Larder deliveries resume again this week, and we couldn’t be more excited to share the season’s best from the farm with you!

In addition to packing and moving, we spent much of January meeting with chefs, bakers, local artisans and more to plan a full roster of workshops and classes for our Classes on the Farm series. This upcoming spring and summer will be packed with many farm- and food-based experiences, covering everything from cooking and cocktails to gardening and wood-fire cooking, and more! Keep your eyes peeled on our Classes on the Farm page as the full calendar will be posted soon. We sincerely hope you’ll enjoy us for one, or maybe even a few, classes, as we think everyone will find something that they will enjoy.

We’ll leave you with one of our favorite soup recipes, fit for those chilly February weekends that call for a relaxing day indoors, staying warm and cozy—happy cooking and happy hibernating!

Caldo Verde Kale & Potato Soup
This rich, traditional Portuguese soup—called caldo verde (green broth)—is given a modern spin by a medley of potatoes and fresh kale.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion or large leek, finely diced
3 medium cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large russet potato, peeled, quartered, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, quartered, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 bunch curly or Lacinato kale, tough stems removed, leaves finely chopped
12 ounces cooked linguiça or other garlicky pork sausage, cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch slices
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper|
Minced fresh chives, for garnish (optional)

Method:
1. Heat butter in a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add onion (or leek) and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes, adding olive oil as necessary to keep the mixture loose and moist.

2. Add potatoes and stock and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Add kale and continue to cook until the russet potato slices have completely broken down (you can press them with a spoon or potato masher for an even thicker texture), the Yukon Golds are tender, the greens have softened, and the soup has thickened to a creamy consistency, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in sausage. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper and serve garnished with chives, if desired.

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

Happy New Year! As 2024 gets underway, we would like to convey our heartfelt thanks: We have been delivering our weekly boxes filled with fresh, seasonal fare and housemade provisions going on 11 years now! We couldn’t do it without you and truly appreciate your enthusiastic feedback and support. To our new 2024 subscribers, welcome! We cannot wait to share the bounty of the farm with you in the year ahead.

On that note, we are in the midst of moving our F&L headquarters into a new warehouse space located near to the farm that will enable us to have more room to prep your weekly boxes. Once that move is complete, we will update you on when you can expect those weekly deliveries to begin! Meanwhile, in between trips to and fro, we have been pulling together some exciting new menus and organizing fresh and fun provisions for the months ahead; we cannot wait to share the best of the farm with you.

As we also wind down from the holiday season, now is a time of planning here at the farm. Seed catalogs are beginning to arrive, a most awaited and favorite time to read of new varieties and old favorites, reminding us of the delights of spring with the anticipation of new seedlings soon to be popping up in the greenhouse. The milder than usual winter weather has made farm chores seem like less of a chore, as we walk about the farm caring for the animals. The “girls” are still busy laying while all snug in their coop and the other resident animals are staying warm and toasty, cuddled up in extra straw to weather the cold nights.

During darker evenings or gloomier days, you can find us in our happy place: our in-house creamery, Bellsong, where our two resident cheesemakers Pam and Meghan are ever-busy working on new creations like herbed-kissed fromage blanc, creamy ricotta or silky crème fraîche. And, of course, we are all eagerly anticipating our first Classes on the Farm workshop of the new year on January 27th covering these very same cheeses; register today and join us!

We hope your New Year is off to a safe and healthy start—here’s to great growing, connecting and, of course, eating in 2024!

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