Tag Archives: organic gardening

Spring Bloom 2018 – Farm to Table at Morningstar Farm

Teri Williams, T WIlliams RealtyBy Teri Williams

This event was island born! It was about community. It was about family. It was about local food and farmers. It was about wine and connecting. 

Here is an email I received from Kika Westoff, event coordinator, describing the unique details of the experience:

We’re all getting super excited for our upcoming farm dinner on Orcas! Nate and I were up on the island this past weekend tasting wine with Stephanie and Cole Sisson, meeting with farmers and fishermen who will be providing all the food for the meal and taking final measurements of the beautiful barn with Steve and Mimi who own Morning Star Farm.

Needless to say, Orcas is magical and we’re beyond excited to share this experience with you all!

An additional bonus is that Cole and Stephanie (Doe Bay Wine Co.) were able to connect with seven Chilean winemakers who will attend the event and showcase their wines. The group is visiting the U.S. as part of a tour with their importer, and will serendipitously be in the San Juan’s after stops in New York and San Francisco. Many of these wines have never been sold in the states, so this will be quite the introduction!

Again, we are SO very excited to share this unique dinner with you all and thank you in advance for making your way to the Island!

And, here is the email blast from Doe Wine Company (Let me just say I was sooooo honored and excited to get 2 tickets for the event!):

Farm to Farm Table dinner featuring Orcas Native Chef Nate Simmons and Chilean Winemakers at Morningstar Farm, Saturday, June 16th – The winemakers are visiting the San Juan Islands as part of a US tour to introduce their wines. These wines are brand new to the US market, many are not even available for sale yet. Chef Nate Simmons went to school on Orcas, ran the kitchens of renowned Seattle restaurants Serafina & Cicchetti and now helps develop and manager the culinary program for Facebook. His events are legendary and always sell out quickly. $135 per person and 30 of the 40 seats for this event were pre-sold to his list.  Only 10 seats remaining. RSVP to reserve your seat.

This was also about island raised generations coming back to Orcas to showcase and share what they have learned in the world. Both Cole Sisson and Nate Simmons went to school and grew up on Orcas. Nate’s dad, Eric Simmons (good to see ya again!) was the Spanish teacher for Orcas Island High School. The barn was located on Mimi and Steve’s Morningstar Farm where they have raised a family and mentored many interns of farming.

The dinner was so tasty and engaging … this is the only picture I took of the food.

The fresh menu was simple and tempting:

SEA – Dungeness crab, manila clams, seaweed, salmon skin and nori puff. The appetizers displayed on a wood tray at our table built anticipation around the menu and the wine pairings. I sipped a Jose’-Ignacio Sauvignon Blanc 2015.

GARDEN – coal roasted baby root vegetables, local mushrooms, raw milk ricotta & whey. Baby greens, peas, peavines & hen yolk, sourdough bread, farm butter with $ sea salt. A juicy Jose’-Ignacio Maturana: Camermenere 2014 was poured.

LAND – Buried lamb leg and lamb jus, smoked baby carrots, radish, honey and spruce, new potatoes, butter, herbs and garlic. Enjoyed a  Jose’-Ignacio Maturana: Cabernet/Syrah 2013.

There were SWEETS served of raw milk panna cotta and strawberries, fresh chocolate cookies. We were so full by this time we had to take a pass on the last course. However, we did go down to the lower level of the barn where all the magic was happening with the food, thanked our food crew, caught a glimpse of the plating of the delicate dessert and wondered what the pairing would be for the finale.

I made many new friends from Orcas, Seattle and Chile and renewed connections with old (and younger) Orcas friends. 

I definitely came home full.

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Proof of Life

By Teri Williams

Orcas Island offers many surprises in the season of Winter. And yes, by the end of January you begin to wonder if Spring will ever get here. But … if you pay attention and look around you will see proof of the life that Spring will bring to us.

Here’s a peek at life on Orcas. Spring bulbs with the promise of  color. A new gate for the orchard. A surprise head of broccoli from last year’s plantings. New leaf buds on the blueberry bush. Blue sky reflected in a pond. Rhubarb nudging out of the soil. Hellebore in pink, yellow primroses. Greenhouse supply of last years Swiss chard. A trip to Driftwood Nursery. Last years onions and leeks still offer up taste. Green garlic. Brussels sprouts waiting to be plucked. Beds looking to be turned. Greenhouse storing of plants and seeds for this years garden. New garden gloves. Sprouting ginger. Lettuce growing in Mary Ann’s green house. Compost piles. Flowering trees in Island Market’s parking lot.

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I am always on high alert for life in the garden and in the landscaping around me. Something is growing and producing life always. Stay tuned for the first of the harvest season in May.

 

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Orcasong Farm

By Teri Williams

Now this is the way to welcome Fall – by celebrating with our community at Orcasong.

So honored to receive the invite and have a chance to check out this new and exciting farm I’ve been watching for many months. I live just around the corner and have been watching the transformation, the newest being the lavender fields.

You can feel the energy coming from the farmers tending the land. Fencing was erected, the ground was tilled, materials and farm hands showed up and then the planting. What could it be? Lavender … and the promise of color and sweet fragrance to come!

But lavender is not all this farm is producing.

Orcasong’s mission is to restore the land they steward on Orcas Island using ecologically regenerative practices. Guided by the wisdom of nature, they are committed to local resilience and social change and to advance through holistic education, arts and event programming, environmental advocacy and interwoven farm-based enterprises.

You can feel the mission statement when you arrive. On this day, farmers were working in the gardens and offer big smiles encouraging me to come help harvest fresh vegetables, wander and dream in the flower-filled overgrown garden laid out with purpose and standing proud in the soil. I love the mix, feeding the soul and the body.

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Walking around the grounds, you can see the love and intention given to every detail. These farmers really walk the talk, collaborating with a team that searches for solutions to keep them connected to the land, the people and this community.

Standing among them, I can’t help but feel how life can keep us spinning in our own worlds, keeping us from slowing down and taking in the gifts right in front of us.

Food, friends, song, sharing, dreaming – it just doesn’t get any closer to “island life” than this experience.

In Gratitude.

www.orcasongfarm.org

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Pickle Camp 2015

teri-williams-summer-cropBy Teri Williams

I look forward to pickle camp each year. Friends and family gather to share stories and the thrill of scrubbing cucumbers and peeling garlic.

"pickle pals" for life, Elsa and Teri

“Pickle pals” for life, Elsa and Teri

There are also plenty of laughs and good food enjoyed by all as we sit back at the end of the day and get that warm feeling about what we accomplished, and begin to start counting down the calendar days until Thanksgiving, when the first jar is popped open and pickle camp comes back to life, one jar at a time.

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Fresh, ready-to-pack ingredients line the counter for packing jars.

Fresh, ready-to-pack ingredients line the counter for packing jars.

Elsa had the liquid measurements on her wrist likened to a quarterbacks play list. The assembly line behind her was moving fast.

Elsa had the liquid measurements on her wrist likened to a quarterbacks play list. The assembly line behind her was moving fast.

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ELSA’S PICKLES

Place the following in the bottom of a quart canning jar:
1 head of dill
2 cloves of garlic
½ tsp mustard seed
1 red chili pod
¼ tsp turmeric
4 whole pepper corns

As jars are being filled, another garlic clove, red chili or a pinch more of dill can sneak into the jar, making the recipe really just a guide line.

For 7 jars, in a sauce pan heat:
6 cups vinegar
7-1/2 cups water
1 cup kosher salt
3/8 cup sugar

Place cucumbers in jar standing on end, pack tightly. Fill jar with vinegar liquid mix, place canning lid on top and screw lid on tight. Place into a water bath canner (water should cover top of the jar) and bring to a rolling boil. Process for 15 minutes. Do not open until Thanksgiving.

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Green Goddess

teri_cropI have no patience for waiting on the greens in the garden to mature, so with a little help from my local farmer John at Maple Rock Farm, I learned to create and use some of the bounty early.

I have never been good at following recipes and measuring. Everything is done by eyeballing, more liquid or greens can be added to get consistency desired.

Parsley- Walnut Pesto

IMG_0583Fill your blender with 2 cups of chopped parsley, 1 cup chopped walnuts, 3-5 cloves of garlic.

Pour in ½ cup of good olive oil (I used Olivar De La Luna organic extra virgin). Begin blending, add more olive oil as the paste begins to pureé. You do not want it so thick you cannot get it out of the blender, but it should not be too runny.

Use a spoon and scoop into ice cube tray and freeze.IMG_0584

Once cubes are frozen solid, place the tray in a pan of hot water for a few minutes to loosen cubes of pesto, then place them on a cookie sheet to freeze hard again, then store in a container in the freezer.

When you want pesto, place a cube (or several) in a bowl and thaw to room temperature. Add hot or cold pasta and mix.

Grate parmesan cheese over pasta and mix. Do not add cheese before freezing, (it will turn into globs when heated).

Green Garlic Paste

IMG_0743Early summer-late spring, cut the garlic scape off of last year’s garlic you planted in the fall. These can be chopped and put into dressings, sauces and salads, but I like to make a garlic paste that is versatile and keeps in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Fill blender half full of chopped garlic scapes, add ¼ cup of good olive oil and begin blending. You will add more olive oil as the combo begins to blend into a chunky paste.

 

IMG_0748This paste does not get smooth but will have texture.

Add more oil, or scapes, until you get a consistency of soft paste (if it is too thick you will not get out of the blender). Place green garlic paste in a mason jar with lid and keep in the refrigerator.

I use this as a rub on chicken; add to tomato paste-balsamic vinegar-olive oil as a marinade for beef; add to good olive oil-balsamic vinegar and salt/pepper as a salad dressing; stir into pasta; add to any dish you would add garlic to.

 

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Just a Simple Farm Girl

teri_cropBy Teri Williams

Sometimes I stray too far from the barn, but a day at Coffelt Farm Stand brings me right back to what really is important, family, farming and friendships.

 

Local berries make a sweet colorful gift and reminds me of kitchen time with grandma

Local berries make a sweet colorful gift and reminds me of kitchen time with grandma.

My grandparents had a dairy farm complete with chickens, horses and bottle fed calves. Grandma’s garden filled canning jars and the cellar was filled with pears, apples and plums from the orchard. These are fond memories deep in my soul. I spent many summers picking berries with grandma, never wanting to eat any so my bucket would be as full as hers. Jams and pies were  yummy results. I still remember when grandma left the pie making to me for a family gathering. Her shared crust secrets and faith in me still show in my pies today.

Grandma T's garden shares ready to eat sweet peas and the promise of greens for a meal

Grandma T’s garden shares ready to eat sweet peas and the promise of greens for a meal.

Wanting to get out of the city, I moved to Orcas Island 27 years ago with 3 sons and a desire to find my roots again. The boys are grown and raising their own families now.  It is my garden and orchard they will remember in their hearts and souls, as well as the many trips to local Orcas Island farms.

In my garden, each year I look forward to planting new things, talking to other farmers about their favorite seeds and sharing tricks to invite worms to feed the soil.  I have starts from Sid Coffelt, plum trees from my great grandma’s orchard, tomatoes from John Cadden, garlic from Mary Ann Sircely, raspberry bushes from my mom, Arlene Carlson and blueberry shrubs from Faith Deeds garden. There is much heart and soul in my garden and I dance with joy thinking about the harvest with my grand kids!!!

Brand new lambs and a proud mom

Brand new lambs and a proud mom.

The Coffelt Farm, located in Crow Valley, Orcas Island, gives tours to school children in the spring time when new born run the barn yard. This spring the farm welcomed several new piglets, lambs and a couple of calves.

Orcas Island School children enjoy a day on the farm learning about all the animals and what it means to be a farmer

Orcas Island School children enjoy a day on the farm learning about all the animals and what it means to be a farmer.

This farm girl says get busy, visit a farm, offer some volunteer time in a garden, share an afternoon canning the harvest, spend time with your grandma, bring a friend and create a memory to nourish the soul.

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SEEDS

Posted by Teri 

Third Annual Heritage Seed and Plant Exchange

Feb. 2012 Westsound Seed Exchange. Includes anyone with extra seeds/plants/bulbs/tubers to share; anyone who wants to come and learn about seed saving and wants to acquire seeds and knowledge; anyone with knowledge or interest in seed saving.

Westsound Yacht Club 2012 Seed Exchange

The set-up: the Westsound Yacht Club was filled with tables covered with packets and jars of seeds. There were few rules explained at the beginning of the event. I believe “no elbowing thy neighbor” was one unspoken rule.  Was just thinking I may need to do this due to the way people were hovering over the tables they were going to work over first. It ended up very civilized and all went home with all the seeds they can manage for this season. Two rules: take only the amount of seeds you need for the coming grow season, and bring back seeds to share and exchange next year.

The tables were arranged by ease of growing. Seeds for beginners: radishes, pole beans and kale. Seeds for green thumbs: tomatoes, carrots and corn. I collected from all tables and collected several local seeds- Doe Bay Resort Garden, Bond Brothers Garden, Orcas Parsnips-5thgeneration.

Jars of Local Seeds

This event was sponsored by Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and Seed Saver Exchange. Excess seeds are donated to the school’s garden and the food bank.

Another local group supporting “grow your own food” – Food Masters. Contact Lerner Limbach 376-4048 or foodmasters.orcas@gmail.com and find out how to order organic spuds. I just ordered 25 lbs. !!

Your will find me in my garden dreaming and planning this year’s harvest.

Looking to enjoy the simple life on beautiful Orcas Island? Contact T Williams Realty – we’ll help you find your way home.

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Spud Time: All Eyes Are In The Garden

Posted by Teri

Mr. Potato and Friends

One of my must-dos in May include planting spuds. This year I purchased organic seed potatoes from a new local group called Food Masters who are working towards creating a sustainable food supply on Orcas by helping islanders grow their own food. They purchased 700 lbs of organic, certified disease-free seed potatoes (25 varieties!) from Eastern Washington growers. They say if all those potatoes average 7:1 return — the typical return is anywhere from 5:1 to 10:1 or even better — Orcas should have 3500 lbs of homegrown potatoes next fall!  Continue reading

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