Summer has finally arrived!! Personally, I much prefer the cooler weather, but my crops have been enjoying the sunny, warmer weather. We are starting to harvest tomatoes and cucumbers, they always start slowly, but hopefully we will be getting more quantity soon! The green beans are getting very close (I ate a small one yesterday), so watch for those to start showing up in the farm stand in the next week or so. The zucchini is still mad about the cold spring. The plants are not recovering well, so cross your fingers they will start to produce soon! I do update my website daily, so click here to see what produce is available.
We are busy turning over beds and transplanting fall and overwinter crops. It often feels that life on the farm is living a season ahead. My goal is to keep the farm stand open until Thanksgiving. I am really hoping for good growing weather through the fall to make up for the challenges of this past spring. Every year is different and there is never a shortage of lessons learned in farming!!
Sungold Cherry Tomatoes!!
Farm To Table Dinners
Chef Courtney of Rainbow Eats does a truly amazing job creating these events from all locally produced goods including all the meal ingredients, the flowers and all of the table decorations. These events are a great way to meet new people, eat good food and support many locally owned small businesses. The last dinner included ingredients, flowers and other goods from 16 local businesses!
Thank you!!! I greatly appreciate all of you for your support and for shopping at my farm stand!! The local food system is more important than ever right now. I would not be here without you! Farming on Camano brings me joy and keeps my life very interesting!
If you want more about what we are up to here on the farm, find me on Facebook and/or Instagram under Island Harvest Farm.
As I am sure you have noticed, it has been colder and wetter than usual!! My overwintered crops survived and kept the farm stand stocked February through April and we have been waiting (sorta) patiently for the new spring crops. The rainbow chard is loving this weather, the lettuce mix is back and peas are starting to ripen! Slowly, but surely the stand will be more stocked in the coming weeks. I do update my website daily, so click here to see what produce is available.
Thank you for your patience and for supporting local farmers through this challenging spring!!
Farm To Table Dinners
Farm to Table Dinners are back! Chef Courtney of Rainbow Eats does a truly amazing job creating these events from all locally produced goods including all the meal ingredients, the flowers and all of the table decorations. These events are a great way to meet new people, eat good food and support many locally owned small businesses.
I greatly appreciate all of you for your support and for shopping at my farm stand!! The local food system is more important than ever right now. I would not be here without you! Farming on Camano brings me joy and keeps my life very interesting!
Current Harvest Schedule The farm stand is still open 7 days a week, but I am mainly harvesting on Mondays and Thursdays. Click here for a link to my website where I update what’s in the farm stand every day. The farm stand will remain open until at least Thanksgiving and will re-open in 2022 as soon as I have produce to sell, usually this is sometime around late February/early March, but it has been different every year so far…
Overwintering spinach has germinated inside a greenhouse
What’s in the Farm Stand? Right now there is still lots of Romanesco! Such a gorgeous vegetable and great flavor too (similar to cauliflower, but with a slight nuttiness to it). I either steam it or roast it. Dry beans are still available, mostly the Rockwell variety. Rockwell beans were brought to Coupeville over on Whidbey in the 1800s and are known to be a great baking bean with a creamy texture. I still have plenty of delicata squash, shallots and yellow onions! You might also find: cabbage, kale, turnips, leeks, spaghetti squash, acorn squash, kohlrabi and maybe a few others things…
Need Recipe Ideas? Dishing up the Dirt is a GREAT website for recipes and is organized by vegetable! So if you are looking for a new way to eat your delicata besides just cutting into half moon shapes and roasting it, click here for winter squash recipes. The other website that I have been using a lot lately is the Minimalist Baker. Many of the recipes here are one pot, easy and packed with flavor!
Need Gift Ideas? The holidays are heading our way and there are always birthdays, anniversaries and other reasons to give gifts! Did you know you can purchase farm stand credit to give as a gift?! Contact me at 360-618-2813 or firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set it up. I can take credit cards over the phone and also venmo and paypal.
The dry beans are also a great gift!
Comments/Suggestions/Questions? This is the time of year I try to learn how to be a better farmer and plan for next season. Feel free to send an email to email@example.com with suggestions of things to grow or any other suggestions and comments or questions about the farm.
Thank You!!! I was deeply honored to recently be nominated for 2021 Business Woman of the year. I love being a farmer and providing seasonal, healthy options for your meals and snacks. Thank you so much for all your support and for shopping at my farm stand!! I would not be here without all of you! Farming on Camano brings me joy and keeps my life very interesting! If you are interested in more frequent updates on what we are up to here on the farm, find me on Facebook and/or Instagram under Island Harvest Farm!
My life is closely tied to the seasons, so the darkness of winter is when I get a chance to slow down and rejuvenate mentally and physically from the bright and energetic days of summer. There is still plenty of weeding to be done, winter projects to complete and farm planning to fill the short daylight hours, but over the past couple months I have also done lots of yoga, watched lots of football and read lots of books (some for fun and some to learn from). Now I am super excited that spring is around the corner!
Upcoming Harvest Update
I do need to turn over beds in my new greenhouse, which means I will be harvesting for the farm stand on February 3rd! The stand will be stocked mid-afternoon this Wednesday with mustard greens, bok choy, beets, and a few other things. My overwinter crops include cauliflower, purple broccoli, cabbage, leeks and spinach. The spinach will be ready later in February and the rest will be available later in the spring.
I am adding contactless payment options to make sure you all feel safe in the farm stand and to make paying easier. If you like the cash or check system, do not worry, I still happily accept cash and check! Here are the three contactless payment options I have for this season:
PayPal – I now have PayPal with a QR code. There is a sticker on the pay box with the QR code. Through the PayPal App, you scan the code, enter your payment amount and then send payment. You can also find my profile on PayPal by searching my phone number 360-618-2813 or my email firstname.lastname@example.org
Zelle – Same as last year, you can pay me through the Zelle app and find me with my email address: email@example.com
Venmo – I also accept Venmo. My user name is: @Rachel-Pigott-2
Farm Stand Credit Notebook
The farm stand credit notebook has become cumbersome. The binder is not going away, so if that system is working for you, then keep using it as you always have in the past!
In addition to adding contactless payment options that do not require you to always have exact change, I am also offering to set up a Google Sheet for you to use, meaning you can skip the binder all together! Please contact me if you would like to try out this option. I will set up a google sheet for you that only you and I will have access to. If you get the Google Sheets App, then you can access it directly from your phone while you are in the farm stand. I am not the most tech savvy person, so let me know if you have questions or trouble using these new options and we can work through it together!
My newest greenhouse, meant for shoulder season production, was constructed last October! This greenhouse is 30′ x 75′, so it provides quite a bit of space to extend my growing season. On Monday, I will be seeding my first round of flats to be transplanted into this greenhouse! My hope is that I will now have lettuce and a few other crops earlier than in past seasons!!
Inside the new greenhouse, there are currently two beds of mustard greens that will be harvested next week for the farm stand. A bed of spinach that will be harvested throughout the spring and 3 beds that have already been turned over with compost added to them!
Vegetable Starts for your Garden
I will be growing starts to sell again this year! No need to special order them, I will have plenty. If you would like to receive an email when the starts are available in the farm stand, let me know by replying to this email. Lettuce, Kale, and Swiss Chard will be available late April. Tomatoes, zucchini, winter squash, cucumbers and pumpkins will be available early May. Starts will be available in the farm stand until early June.
Thank you!!!I greatly appreciate all of you for your support and for shopping at my farm stand!! The local food system is more important than ever right now. I would not be here without you! Farming on Camano brings me joy and keeps my life very interesting!
One of the many things I love about farming is the seasonality of the work. This past week, I have been working on preparing the parts of my fields that are done with their work for this season for next season! I sowed a winter cover crop (rye/vetch mix, Austrian winter peas, fava beans, and crimson clover) to add organic matter and nutrients back into the soil, reduce erosion and suppress weeds.
Like last year, I broadcast my cover crop seed (put the approximate amount needed into a bucket and walked through the field throwing the seed out by hand). It feels very different this year. Last year, I had owned this farm for less than a month when I threw out the cover crop seed. Here is a picture from September 2014:
My mom helped and we celebrated the first things planted on the farm. I was so worried it would not germinate and I had no idea how my first year of running a farm would go. Today, it is so weird to see this field with no crops, just cover crop seed…almost like this past season did not happen. Here is the field in May 2015:
The only reminder being the over-wintering leeks I planted in the middle of the field! Here is a picture taken from a similar spot in September 2015:
As I sowed my cover crop seed, I could not help but think about everything that has happened in the year since I sowed my first winter cover crop. I am feeling thankful for the past year. Thankful for all the hours, thought and energy my dad put into my dream, this farm and thankful to my mom who is a wonderful, cheerful presence at the farmers market and thankful for everyone who has helped or encouraged me since I started farming three years ago.
Thankful for all the support of the community and their excitement about local produce options. Thankful for my neighbors who shared recipes they made with my produce! And most of all, thankful that I get to farm again next year!!
I have a new field! This field will help with crop rotations, which is important for pest and disease control and soil health. It will also give me additional space to plant more, so that hopefully, the farm stand can be more reliably stocked next season! In addition to adding nutrients to the soil, the winter cover crop will help loosen the soil. I plan to rotate my brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, kale etc.) to this field next year!
I am excited to create my 2016 farm plan this winter. To be a good farmer is to constantly be open to learning. I have learned so much this season and I look forward to incorporating what I learned into next season. I know that when I sow next seasons winter cover crop, I will have learned even more!
All that being said, the farm stand is still full of fresh produce for fall! The weather may be cooling down and the days getting shorter, but the farm stand is still open!
This week, I wrote a guest blog post for the NW Healthy Mama website. Since, I am thinking about my fall/winter harvests, that is what I wrote about! In the interest of time efficiency, instead of writing a separate blog for my website, I am just adding the link here to to that post. It is a fun website to explore!!
The greens and radishes are done in the hoop house. Today, dad and I started clearing and preparing the beds to get ready for…TOMATOES!! The tomatoes are ready for more space and a new home! We hope to have them transplanted into the hoop house by the end of the week!
Thanks to a grant from the HumanLinks Foundation, I now have an automated irrigation system! No more watering entire fields like this…
The system was delivered in a bunch of boxes
Little by little, those boxes of parts disappeared!
Many wonderful people have helped with farm projects in May! If you are interested in volunteering, please contact me!
My brother and my 3 year old nephew helped make the parking lot!
My mom, grandma and great aunt helped seed flats!
The RISE Now Seattle Chapter spent a day building beds, transplanted some lettuce and then we had the first BBQ of the year!
Ben Laine fills in from time to time as the Island Harvest Weekend Farm Manager, allowing me to leave the farm without having to worry about my baby plants drying out in the propagation greenhouse!
My dad works on the farm everyday! I am so thankful for his unwavering support, his expertise and the chance to spend my days with him creating this farm!
The farm stand is Open! It is starting slowly, but will fill up as the weather warms up! Watch the signs by the road for an idea of what is in the farm stand!
Last, but not least, it turns out that I now have a gorgeous clematis!
Today, I woke up to blue sky and a perfect day for planting!! Fueled by the promise of fresh vegetables and over-caffeination, I raced around this morning gathering seeds that need planting, moving flats of seedlings outside to harden off and found the best ground ready for planting!
We started with potatoes! Dad and I took turns using the wheel hoe to dig a furrow for the potatoes…so much easier on your back than digging with a shovel!
Once the furrow was deep enough and all the big rocks removed, in went the potatoes! Here are the Rose Golds:
We also planted Huckleberry Gold, Yukon Gold and German Butterballs!
Next, we planted half a bed of carrots, an orange and a yellow variety. The very delicious Carrot is a diva that will grow into funny shapes without a nice fluffy, rock and clump free bed. The carrot is worth the extra effort, so we dug out the paths, adding a little extra depth to the bed and went through by hand to remove rocks and clumps and roots left behind by the cover crop. The second half of the bed will be planted in a week or two.
We finished the day transplanting three varieties of kale and one variety of cauliflower. This bed did not get the same attention to detail that the carrot bed enjoyed. It was measured, the path walked out and we raked it once to get out the really big rocks (There is quite the rock pile growing, I wonder if the Whidbey fighter jets that fly over can see it yet).
Tomorrow, if it stays dry, we will plant more outside (chard, spinach, radishes)! If it rains and storms as predicted, there is another bed that is waiting to be planted inside the hoop house and more flats to be seeded!
I was recently told that there are over 200 produce items available at the grocery store, but the average person only eats about 15 of them. Next time I am at the grocery store, I plan to count everything in the produce section or perhaps I will start with asking someone who works in the produce section.
Anyway, it got me thinking! I looked at my seed list and I have everything divided into 39 categories (these are not official categories, just my categories) with 155 different varieties!! The 2015 Vegetable Challenge is to pay attention to how many different things you eat from the produce section or buy from a local farmer and then see how many you can eat in 2015! I would love to hear about new favorites and good recipes!
Today, we planted two beds in the hoop house! The tiny white tags tell you that we planted 2 varieties of lettuce plus a lettuce mix, 2 varieties of radish, 3 varieties of mustard greens and 1 variety each of spinach and arugula!
If you are interested, here is my list of categories and the number of varieties per category…
Yesterday, as we stretched the last section of fence, I spotted two deer…INSIDE the fence. After chasing them for an hour, one jumped a short section of fence leaving the other one behind. I left all my gates open, hoping the remaining deer would find the way out overnight. No such luck…
We knew this deer could not jump any part of the fence, so the plan was to herd the deer around the perimeter of the property and out the one gate. For this to work, we needed to create a barricade to keep the deer from continuing on past the gate…we lined up 3 cars and the tractor and covered them with tarps.
Some friends headed over to help and we needed them! On our first try, the plan nearly worked, but the deer turned at the last second and took off in the opposite direction of its gate to freedom. Every time we successfully got the deer up to the front of the property near the gate, it would turn and sprint back to the shelter of brush and trees. More than once, the four of us thought we were herding the deer through the brush, while the deer had snuck past us and was on the opposite side trying to find an opening in the fence.
It became clear that the biggest flaw in our plan was the deer felt more comfortable on the backside of the property in the brush and trees than in the open fields near the road where the gate is. New Plan! We cut a hole in the fence at the back corner of the property and after a few tries, the deer found the hole and was gone! We patched the hole and our fence has passed the test!
Getting that deer on the outside of the fence was a dramatic end to a huge project! The deer fence almost four weeks to build and 8 rolls of field fence (2,640 ft). This project took me to parts of my property that I had not yet seen and it turns out that building an 8 foot fence is a good way to meet your neighbors! Working near the road gave me a chance to chat with some neighbors who were out for a walk!
NEXT PROJECT: Construct hoop house! I ordered a custom made hoop house kit from Steve’s Greenhouses (http://stevesgreenhouses.com/) and it has been patiently waiting in the barn for the deer fence to be done! The hoop house will be 20ft by 96ft!