Posted by Josh | Posted in Farm Updates | Posted on 09-05-2011
overwintered Arugula blossoming. The tiny flowers are great for beneficial insects, as it provides them with the nectar they need to stick around and protect the farm!
The new season for our CSA is coming. It has been a rocky start again this year, with some quite frankly crazy weather. Windstorms destroyed our cold protection tunnels earlier in the year, which we were going to use to get a head start. Cold and rainy months never seemed to stop spitting out rain and the occiasional near frost overnight. And the urban farmer’s tractor – the rototiller – broke, with the handle literally snapping off, and having to wait for at least a couple of weeks for a replacement. I still continue to hear comments from other gardeners and farmers about how slowly everything is coming up.
But summer is on its way, and we are looking forward to the first harvests, probably in early June now. It’s been a long winter waiting for those fresh veggies, and its been months of preparation on the farm tilling, planting, weeding, and more! We started in February with the first bits of work, getting the land ready and the first crops started. Overly cold, wet weather led to some poorer germination rates, but we persevere to get the urban farm moving. Every yard we grow in is a little different.
As the season approaches, we will be in greater contact with updates. It has been an extremely busy Spring, both on the farm and your farmer’s life. The economy has been personally hard, but the farm continues on, and growing. We have already filled the available spots in our CSA this Spring. Granted, we are a very small, hand managed operation with a very limited number of spots, but we have been growing thanks only to word of mouth and digital clicks despite the still struggling economy. That is a testament to your support of passionate urban growers such as ourselves. It is no small feat to turn some yards in West Seattle into a thriving urban farm with a growing CSA program!
And we thank you for your support as we grow whether the weather cooperates or not!
Posted by Josh | Posted in Farm Updates | Posted on 24-09-2010
Planting for the year is dying down as the summer harvest reaches its height with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, squash, and much more. Magic Bean Farm has been harvesting a great variety of late, from potatoes and onions, to fennel and kohlrabi, to the sumptuous tomato. Soft green foliage curls, splashes, sprays, and bursts everywhere on the farm– climbing trellises, shooting from the soil, reaching for the sky beneath fireworks of white and yellow blossoms.
And glorious lavenders, fiery oranges, rich umbers and purples, decadent reds – color abounds amongst the green everywhere you look. Sunflowers burst with regal splendor, peering over the beds below. Juicy tomatoes transform, filling with fiery vibrance as if touched by the sun. Dragon carrots spray delicate wine stained foliage. And purple traces perplexing mazes over maturing Dragon’s Tongue beans.
Posted by Josh | Posted in Farm Updates | Posted on 23-09-2010
One of our land partners, who in turn also receives some of our produce in exchange, wrote this wonderful letter, and I had to share it!
Thank you SO much for the produce. It is SO fresh and tasty. It feels so good to eat food knowing we are so close to who grew it and where it was grown. Honestly, it’s made me want to cook. Cooking has been a stressful part of my life. I can’t say I ever found true joy in it. I just never know what’ll go together. And with working, raising a kid, etc, it’s just added up to a necessary hassle (my one saving grace has been that I can’t bring myself to feeding my son crap so I buy organic and do the best I can.. Grudginly).
But receiving the box made all the difference. The beautiful produce just begged to be eaten with delight. The tomatoes were amazing, the sweet basil made for a dreamy Caprese salad that even my 4 yr old enjoyed (he dipped the leaves in the olive oil and soaked up the tomato juice and then popped the little tomatoes in his mouth and smiled, it was so fun to watch!). Then there was the red rubin basil.. OMG! I made an incredible pesto sauce and my son and I just devoured it. I haven’t even finished eating all the stuff, but really, I already know I’ll be tasting loveliness with every bite.
Above all, I just have to tell you that what you do has revolutionized my relationship to food entirely.
You guys rock!
All new recipe from a new contributer and subscriber Melody Leung! A delicious use for our gourmet potatoes and fresh herbs. We have been freshly digging up some of these buttery La Ratte Fingerling potatoes, an heirloom form the 1800s developed in the Ardêche region of France, and a favorite of French chefs! And previously, our deep purple-blue All-Blue potatoes were used, with a starchier consistency and bringing a unique and striking color to the dish!
Posted by Josh | Posted in Farm Updates | Posted on 27-08-2010
The summer is in full force – 90 degree days, desert-like conditions, tomatoes and cucumbers starting to ripen. But I’m not in summer, I am in fall! The summer harvest continues, but planning has already started for the fall and winter crops. Now I’m starting seeds and transplants of all those cool weather crops – the greens, the roots, the bulbs, the broccoli’s and cauliflowers and their kin.
The seeds taking center stage, and growing little seedlings in the greenhouse, have moved towards those who don’t prefer this heat as the summer loving tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, and tomatillos do. In fact, peas can simply give up when the red line rises too high in the thermometer! But I do love
Posted by Josh | Posted in Farm Updates | Posted on 25-08-2010
Magic Bean Farm has been featured in a series on urban agriculture across the nation on Grist.org this last week! National recognition for our efforts. Check it out at http://www.grist.org/article/food-seattles-new-urban-ag-models-are-sprouting-in-friendly-soil/
Posted by Josh | Posted in Farm Updates | Posted on 25-08-2010
Puget Sound is such a paradox of growing conditions. We are here in a USDA hardiness zone of 7B, much better than my hometown of Rockford, IL with it’s much colder hardiness zone (5A). We have rare frosts here, none of the hard frosts I had back in IL. We have a multitude of frost free days. Yet it can be such a struggle to grow here. But why?
Posted by Josh | Posted in Farm Updates | Posted on 31-07-2010
Comfort food in this spat of dreary, cold mornings. Mac’ and Cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods, at least it is these days. Long gone are the days of Kraft. In fact, it only really came onto my radar of loved comfort foods when I became gluten intolerant. With more limited options for prepared foods, I went to the gluten free macaroni and cheese, and found something much better. Frozen, it used actual cheese, and tasted good! Especially when I started adding this or that to it to make it a little more interesting. Of course, I eventually started making my own, and freezing portions for future use, often doing two dishes at a time for more freezable leftovers!
Sausage and Greens Southern Mac’ and Cheese
I love macaroni and cheese, and this is my modification to make it something more substantive than cheese and carbs! And it refrigerates and freezes fine for pop-in-the-oven meals later on, which is why I’ll make a couple kinds at the same time, such as another loaded with fresh spinach.
Posted by Josh | Posted in Farm Updates | Posted on 28-07-2010
I can see the produce growing every day, taunting me with the beautiful, delicious items they will become. Nature can be such a tease, and has certainly played hard to get this year! But the sun is here, we scramble to lay all the drip irrigation lines, and watch as the long wait finally starts to show some results. In fact, it can be hard to patient as I want to just go out and pick everything, but remind myself to wait and let them grow to their proper maturity.
We continue to grow as well, adding more capacity through new land partners providing us land to grow, and converting those grassy lawns to fresh beds for planting. A long process commences as their time arrives, first removing the grass and the roots. We follow with the proper application of minerals, trace minerals, biological innoculants for healthy soil life, mycorrhizea, and food for all the biology. And when all is amended, we shape our beds and plant, spreading cover crop seed along the pathways and amongst some of the crops as well.
Posted by Josh | Posted in Farm Updates | Posted on 21-06-2010
This has been a cool spring. We have been setting records for how long our cool temperatures are lasting, I’ve been told. Cool springs are not my friend. The crops are growing slowly, and we wait for the variety we need on a consistent basis. Cool springs definitely are not my friend.
Sprigs of color have been popping up to brighten these blues, however. If nothing else, blossoms of vibrant color speckle the landscape of our farm plots. Cover crops established early in the year now bloom, from the whites of Sweet Alyssum to the fuchsia of Purple Vetch. Borage and Broccoli Raab bloom, along with the large, short lived yellow lily-like blossoms of squash, and the small overlooked blossoms of tomatoes and peppers planted from the greenhouse.