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!
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!)
Plans for spring are picking up in the gardens we care for away from the farm too. Our gardening and landscaping company, Parterre, is busy planning new designs for the installations of both food and ornamental gardens. These combine year round seasonal color—think: edibles such as blueberries, tree fruits, savory herbs and even edible flowers can give a garden a four-season appeal—as well as food for the table! Each garden we design, plant, and care for is unique and personal; it is so gratifying to see each one come to life in the spring and summer.
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.
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 buds of the witch hazel tree and delicate snowdrops make us smile each time we pass by, as do the tiny shoots of green courageously poking out the soil here and there.
On drier days, the resident animals will venture outside their warm, straw-lined stalls and coops. The ‘girls’, still thick with their winter coats, nibble on hay, alfalfa, and tidbits of grass, lazily ruminating under the eaves of the barn, then clamoring to say hello and get a treat when we go by; the donkey lazes in his paddock; and the sheep are content to share the barn with the gaggle of goats in the evenings. We, too, try to take advantage of the longer afternoons, getting compost prepped for spring gardening, gathering herbs from the greenhouse, checking seed starting supplies and finishing up the last seed orders.
Much of this time of year is still spent in the warm and cozy farmhouse kitchen. On Wednesdays, we are busy prepping the weekly box deliveries. February is the prime season for hearty and healthy root vegetables and winter storage crops (no doubt you’ve noticed from the plethora in your box each week!). 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, and the many varied types of winter squash.
As we wait for spring to arrive, we’ll be busy looking for 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:
Beet, Carrot & Pomegranate Salad
This colorful salad is perfect for winter and beyond.
Kale & Brussels Sprouts Salad with Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette
This hearty salad is accented by apples, dried cranberries and a lemon-kissed dressing.
Balsamic-Glazed Root Vegetables
An herb-packed marinade infuses fresh flavor into winter staples like carrots and parsnips.
Curry-Spiced Roasted Beets
This heavenly side dish is fragrant with warm spices; a must-try side dish!
Hello, January! The Latest News from Farm & Larder and Bella Luna Farms
Happy New Year! As 2023 gets firmly 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 ten years now! We couldn’t do it without you and truly appreciate your enthusiastic feedback and support.
To our new 2023 subscribers, welcome! We cannot wait to share the bounty of the farm with you in the year ahead.
On that note, you can expect your first Farm & Larder delivery of the year on Groundhog Day, Thursday, February 2nd. We have been working to complete the second phase of our kitchen and dining room remodel and soon our new and improved workspace will be ready. Meanwhile, with the farm kitchen closed, 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 you might have gleaned from the above, 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!
After the icy, frigid weather over the holidays which brought the loss of several significant trees, the weather seems to have normalized a bit, though it’s still chilly enough to keep us clad in our winter gear and trusty winter boots as we trudge 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 off-moments inside, 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 doing and planning for our clients’ gardens as well, with wintertime tasks such as pruning and mulching taking place, as well as creating new planting designs for spring.
We hope your New Year is off to a safe and healthy start—here’s to great growing, connecting and, of course, eating in 2023!