Tag Archives: organic gardening

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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