The first week of spring….

What a nice run of warm sunny weather we’ve had! This is the stuff I pine away for all winter long. We’ve got fields tilled up.

And the greenhouse is *the* place to be. Lot’s of good stuff in there. Flats of seeds getting ready to sprout. Already growing and making sweet, little bright green leaves are: Herbs, celery, strawberries, cabbages, lettuces, peas, leeks, and carrots to name a few. The last of the cress, arugula, winter spinach, and mache are being eaten or given to the chickens for snacks.
Lettuce and peas over here…..

Cabbages and things over there.

We’ve shuffled things around, moving a blueberry and current bush here, some oregano there, and rescued the strawberries from the deer outside and planted them in a corner of the greenhouse. On the very first day of spring, after a glorious day spent goofing around on the farm and in the wood, we planted 4 types of potatoes from potatoes we saved for seed from last year’s crop and need to do another big bunch again soon. Some brocc, cauliflower, cabbage and celery babies went outside today and we continue to sow flat after flat, after flat, of seeds.

We’ve got eggs galore and have been selling them, dyeing them fun colors with naturals food dyes, crafting with them and generally feeling overwhelmed by them. If you need eggs, please contact us. We’ve got ’em. And they are SO good.

Things are starting to come back to life and feels pretty good. We’re seeing new things in the wood everyday. The girls gave me an un-birthday today and found the first trilliums in honor of my day.

Wood pansies are sprinkled throughout the trees and bleeding hearts are well on their way. Salmon berries are starting to bloom too. The pull of the sun is strong, we are answering! I feel blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful family, friends and nature.
Woodland delights

They both smell even sweeter than they look.

We’re still looking for egg and CSA customers. Now is the time to let us now if you are interested. Things must get planted and planned for at this stage in order for us to bring all that yummy stuff to you soon!

I’m narrowing down the search for a farm stand this year. I’ve decided to pursue this over some of the farmer’s markets due to my need to be closer to my children during the summer months. There are a few locations off hwy 30 that get good traffic and yet are safe for the kids and are just a quick skip from home. We’ll be doing some of the local fairs and fests and will have an honor stand along with our egg hut down at the end of our driveway.

As always I am trying to find the delicate balance of full-time farm work plus full-time business promotion work meets full-time parent to three full-time home schooled children. How’s that working? Rhythm plus routine plus flexibility plus the need for more hours in the day and I think we do ……okay.

Warm Spring wishes from all of us!

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2010 CSA season open for enrollment!

We’re heading into our second season with excitement!
We are growing a wide variety of open-pollinated heirloom vegetables, herbs and edible flowers and look forward to adding some new treats this year like hand-made soaps and herb vinegars.

Our season starts at the first part of June (exact date TBA) and runs 18 weeks. A full share is $600.

Add on items for CSA subscribers:
$75.00 for an 18 week share of a dozen organic pasture raised chicken eggs.
$75.00 for 18 weekly shares of freshly made organic artisan bread.

Egg share only:
18 weeks- $90.00
We will make weekly year-round deliveries for group orders, minimum of 10 dozen eggs, for 10 weeks.

$300.00 is due at the time of sign-up with the remainder due by May 10th. Any shares paid in full by April 15th will receive a FREE bread share!
We accept cash or checks and Paypal. Paypal is our preferred method of payment. Please contact us at applebeanfarm @ gmail .com ( no spaces) for complete details.

A full share should, over-all, provide enough produce for an omnivorous family of four. The weekly shares will be lighter at the opening of the season; greens, peas, scallions, early potatoes etc. but will pick up as the season progresses to include all your summer favorites and will round out with what we hope are bumper crops of tomatoes, carrots, winter squashes, cabbages and potatoes etc. Shares will include fresh herbs on a regular basis. Boxes of vegetables for canning will be offered up for sale as they are available.

We have pasture raised organic chicken eggs available for sale on-farm and in Clatskanie. Eggs are $5.00 a dozen.

We have arranged a drop sites at the Portland Village School in north Portland, and downtown Clatskanie. We are looking for other venues in Columbia and Cowlitz counties as well as greater Portland. If you have site in mind, please let us know! Farm pick-up is available and encouraged.

Contact us: Denice or Doug
applebeanfarm@gmail. com ( no space)
ph: 503.728.0238

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Order your spring and summer garden starts now!

Here we go, it’s that time again!

Applebean Farm is offering ready-to-plant packages of organic vegetables, herbs and flowers for your garden. We are offering several packages. Early, cool season crops and later, warm season crops, or a flat of just herbs and/or companion/edible flowers.

Herbs and flowers can be mixed into either of the veggie packages as long the seasonal timing works out. (Example: Parsley and coriander love cool weather but basil *must* wait for warm weather)

Cool season crop packages will be ready approx. 6 weeks from time of order. The sooner you order the better! Warm season crops will be ready mid to late May.

I know, I know, there’s that whole thing about planting tomatoes on Mother’s day, but 18 years of gardening in the PNW has taught me that the plants will survive the long, cool, wet springs, but only just. They don’t really take off until the weather gets nice. In June. Don’t let the garden centers fool you! The first part of June is when I plant out my warm season stuff and I don’t have to worry about cold nights and soggy, slug infested soil.

A package consists of a 72 cell pack with up to eight varieties of your choice! In case that sounds like too many plants. It isn’t. There is NO SUCH THING, HA! No, really, most of these plants grow very nicely in compact beds and bundles. This is a good idea for small kitchen gardens. The plants will be smaller but will produce over a longer time frame. Just right for harvesting a meal at a time.

Our seeds are open-pollinated heirloom seeds grown in organic seedling medium and given organic snacks and TLC. All of our seed varietals are chosen to be early finishers for our northern climate. Make your own custom mix, or tell us what things you want and let us choose a delicious and colorful assortment for you.

Tray packs are $40.00 each. Half flats of just peas or allium starts are only $15.00. You will receive healthy, organically grown starts in mid- spring through early summer just ready and waiting to meet your garden. All you have to do is amend a nice spot with some fresh compost and you’re ready to go! Because we are growing to order, we are requesting a deposit of 50% of the total, with balance due at delivery. At this time, we prefer Paypal or cash. We now have pick-ups at the farm, downtown Clatskanie and North Portland ( Portland Village School), other locations will certainly be considered as needed.

***DISCLAIMER*** We are not a certified organic farm nor are we seeking to be. It is cost prohibitive for the micro-farmer. I’ll save you my political big-business rant!
HOWEVER, we do use NOP (National Organic Program) approved organic materials, amendments and fertilizers. We DO NOT USE ANY synthetic fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides. Instead we employ the use of good culture, crop rotations, companion plantings, beneficial herbs, flowers and insects, green manures, cover crops, compost and good old-fashioned manure. We care about our soil, our planet and the health of our customers. This is the food we feed our small children and we feel very good about it, you can too. ******

Our seed assortment includes, but is not limited to:

COOL SEASON ASSORTMENT

Peas:
Sugar Snap Pole, and numerous English bush peas, Tall telephone
Alliums:
scallions, sweet and storage onions- all colors, plus leeks
Broccoli
Purple and Green Sprouting as well as Waltham 29 which makes compact heads, all good choices for kitchen gardening.
Cauliflower
Purple of Sicily, Snowball, Green Macerata (sometimes called Minaret broccoli)
Cabbages
Too many to list them all!- Green ball, Chinese, Bok Choy, Savoyed (curly leaves), red, ox heart, loose leaf, Brussel Sprouts etc.
Lettuces
Oodles of choices- Green Loose Leaf, Romaines, Oak leaf, Reds, Speckled, Butter Head, Endive, Radicchio, Cress, Iceberg, Corn Salad (Mache), Chicory ( dandelion)and my personal favorite: Applebean Mix – a nice assortment of picking lettuces with a hint of spice.
Greens
Swiss Chard- all colors, Collards, Mustard ( green and red), Spinach, Pak Choy and various other Asian greens, Mustard (green or red,) Kale (green or purple- Ragged Jack)
Hardy herbs:
Flat Leaf Italian Parsley, Moss Leaf Curly, cilantro, chervil, tarragon, chives, arugula, dill
Rhubarb
Victoria
Fennel
Finocchio
Celery
Tendercrisp

WARM SEASON ASSORTMENT
Note: warm season assortments may contain any of the cool season stuff with the exception of spinach, celery, and peas. Varieties of lettuces/greens will be chosen for bolt resistance. Onions/leeks will do better when planted earlier or waiting until fall. We will be offering fall starts later in the season.
Tomatoes
D= determinant ( compact bushy plant) ID= In-determinant ( rangy growers that need pruning and staking or trellising)
We have numerous varieties, nearly all early finishers. But here are are a few of our favorites:
Black Cherry ID ( Applebean Farm’s hands down favorite, rarely made out it of the greenhouse in fact.)
Black Krim D
Seattle’s Best of All, Sub-Artic Plenty, Thessoloniki, D- These three are stellar performers of early, red, all purpose tomatoes. Seattle’s Best is particularly good for canning
San Marzano and Amish Paste ID- both canning/sauce types
Tigerella ID -small, ping pong ball sized striped tom. VERY prolific and super tasty with a natural saltiness
Thai Pink Egg ID -yes, a truly pink tom the size and shape of a bantam egg. Cute as hell.
White Currant ID- very prolific
Reisenstraube – ID but stays fairly compact – large clusters of red cherry toms
Golden Jubilee ID- medium to large toms that are firm and solidly deep gold all the way through. Tasty and beautiful.

Other types include:
striped: green, red and orange
rainbow colors: black, purple, yellow, orange, red, pink, white varieties
cherry types in various colors
plum/roma/banana types of yellow, red, orange, green and striped
Brandywine- this and Black Krim are about the only large beefsteak type tomatoes I grow as our season is too short and they tend to split before ripening

Peppers
Sweets: Mini bells, long sweets, browns, purples, yellows and reds, Italian frying peppers
Hots: Hungarian Wax, Tams (mild jalapenos,) Indian Jwala, Serrano,Cayenne, Tomato, Sante Fe Grande, Black Hungarian

Eggplant
numerous types: small, large, elongated and round; greens, pinks, whites, purples and orange and black

Melons
Melons *must* be given a very warm sunny spot in which to grow. They need very fertile soil, rich in bulky organic material. They don’t like winds and dislike cool nights even more. Growing over black mulch with a row cover at night will increase your chances of getting ripe fruit before the nice weather is gone. Short season watermelons will probably fair better then the ‘lopes but hey, this cool northern climate has never stopped me from trying! Fruit is ripe when it slips easily from the vine, but not before.
I have several varieties of Icebox or Sugar Baby type watermelons- yellow, white and pink fleshed and several varieties of cantaloupes chosen for northern climes.

Herbs/ Flowers
Basils: Sweet Italian, Genovese, Thai, Sacred Purple, Purple Opal
Marigolds: Lemon Gem, Tangerine Gem ( I could not live without these sweet smelling, delightful companion plants
Nasturiums, Chives, Tarragon, Parsley, Cilantro, Hyssop, Arugula, Dill

Squashes
Winter: Butternut, Acorn, Spaghetti, Stripetti, Sweet Dumpling, Sweet Meat, Red Kuri, Golden Delicious, Long Island Cheese, Black Futsu, Turk’s Cap
Pumpkins: Sugar Pie, Jack Be Little, Connecticut Field
Summer: scalloped-green and yellow and white, zukes-yellow, green, silver, black, crookneck, straight neck, Ronde de Nice

contact us at applebeanfarm@gmail.com to order

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Be a Hero

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Farm News and what not July 9

Hope everyone enjoyed their fourth. I know we did. Gotta love a small town parade on a hot July day. Followed later in the evening with fireworks in the park. Lovely. And just in time it would seem as today I was wearing a hoodie and complaining of being downright cold.

Oh what do you do in the summertime?

Oh what do you do in the summertime?


Not too much is new around here except that we are getting ready to put in our fall crops. I’m looking forward to that. Fall is such a lovely times for growing things. We are going to do one final round of potatoes and speaking of, we are getting some lovely new potatoes right now. I’m trying to be patient and let them size up a bit. But it made my day to feel around and find all kinds of cute tater babies under all that mulch.
View from the South east corner of the garden.

View from the South east corner of the garden.

Kale, chard, herbs, onions, peas,and broccoli are all tasting yummy with more goodies coming on soon. I can’t believe how many tomatoes I’m seeing! What we’ve really been enjoying is the abundance of wild berries around. Salmon berries galore, wild and himalayan blackberries, huckleberries, elderberries and adorable thimble berries. Trudging around hunting for them is lots of fun and we’ll have some local friends out here in the fall to help us identify our many types of mushrooms. We know this area has some fine edible mushrooms.

 Salmon berries. Subtly sweet and oh so good.

Salmon berries. Subtly sweet and oh so good.


After busting our butts during the hot spell keeping all the seed beds moist, the greenhouse from over heating, the seed starts from withering and the humans from heat stroke, we now need to knock out a very healthy crop of weedlings that also enjoyed the constant attention. We are making good use of the cool spell doing farm work that is otherwise a complete drag when it’s 90 degrees out.
The ones that made it became thai coconut red curry with cilantro, scallions and chicken.

The ones that made it became thai coconut red curry with cilantro, scallions and chicken.

We are still offering canning shares for those of you who are interested. Tomatoes, cabbages (in the fall,) cukes, and peppers. Green beans if you tell me now, otherwise I shall not plant another big bed. My freezer and pantry are already vying for space!

We also selling fall shares now. We will have a 10 week season beginning Mid -August through October. Shares will be $200.00. Current CSA members can extend their summer share at a pro-rated cost. Please see our new page. We are offering custom orders of organically grown plant starts for your fall garden!

I’m working on posting up our weekly recipes using CSA share ingredients. I’ll try to finish it up soon. And I’m always up for new ideas so bring ’em on! Support local farmers, Shop farmers markets!

Setting up at the Vernonia Market.

Setting up at the Vernonia Market.

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The veggies are here, the veggies are here!

At least some of them are. The season is off to a slow trickle but is starting to pick up some steam. Finally.

what's growing in the greenhouse

what's growing in the greenhouse

We have loads of lettuce, both a lovely lime green loose leaf type called Black Seeded Simpson, and a very lovely deep red romaine. Here’s to hoping we can get some to market before it bolts. It’s big and beautiful, and therefore I fear it will to run to seed if I blink. The spinach already came and went before we could do much with it. I’ve about had it with skimpy spinach that bolts before you’ve eaten three good salads. The extra dwarf pak choy also bolted, but I knew it would, and am prepared to call it chicken food.

Black Seeded Simpson lettuce

Black Seeded Simpson lettuce

We are getting our shade house organized to do some more crops of salad greens etc. All the seedlings and flats up there are quite satisfied with the arrangement, so I remain ever the optimist that it is not too warm for some good tender greens, perhaps even that persnickety spinach.

Red romaine in the shade house

Red romaine in the shade house

We’ve also got peas!!!! Just a few to nibble here and there but within the week we shall have oodles. Yum. The best thing about spring as far as I’m concerned. We have some nice Wong Bok cabbage, which is a mild mustard green. If you’ve not tried mustard green pesto, you should. It’s fabulous.

pea flower

pea flower

Aside from some herbs, that’s about it for what is ready for harvest but our greenhouse tomatoes are flowering and look exceptionally happy. We will have tomatillos shortly and celery, chard, radishes and green onions are not far behind.

tomatillo

tomatillo

To our dear CSA customers, we would be humbled to bring you our first harvest share in the next week. We are truly looking forward to sharing the season’s offerings with you. Look for an email with more info.

We will also be at the Vernonia Open Air Market next Friday. There is still room in the CSA program and we are actively seeking folks that want canning shares. We will devote more space to all-at-once crops if we know we can move them. Don’t get me wrong, I love to can and pickle etc. etc. But who hasn’t faced, with grim resolve, a mountain of vegetables that need preserving Right Now. It would be nice to plan ahead so that we could spread the joy out.

Everything including the animals and humans are feeling the strong forces of the summer equinox upon us. The soil is warm and luscious and everything is really taking off now. Notable exception would be the strawberries which our family flock of chickens took care of by eating nearly every single leaf off the freshly planted babies. Grrrrrr. They are barely starting to make a come back but this year’s outcome will be next to nil. Even the cauliflower and brocs that we planted just before the monsoons have found their groove. They look big and vibrant as do the many many potatoes we planted.

cauliflower

cauliflower


Meet Stormy. He may be small but he keeps everyone in line.

Meet Stormy. He may be small but he keeps everyone in line.

I could go on and on but the idea to take home here is that regardless of how early you start your seeds or baby them through your dining room into the greenhouse, out to the field…… really, everything likes to grow well when the weather is NICE. And the weather isn’t nice until June around here.

keeping carrot seedlings moist

keeping carrot seedlings moist

Still, our hard work is tangible. We’ve put untold hours into hoeing and seeding and transplanting and watering and amending. It feels like the farm is starting to breathe on it’s own. Sigh.

dusk

dusk

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Time flies when it won’t stop raining

Phew! A little stretch of dry weather would be mighty mighty nice. The grass is TALL, the fields are chock full of weed babies and the kids are going stir crazy.

It seems to have arrived and the word on the street is that we should have a week of dry weather.

All around are the many signs of life that have sustained me through a rather brutal run of nasty weather. We’ve got mushrooms, salmon berries, wild mint, garden sorrel and wood sorrel, trilliums, wood pansies, violas, bleeding hearts, ferns, blackberries (of course) and many other woodland plants growing in abundance here. It is a joy to walk around and see what is new.

Trillium

Trillium


My oldest brother has come to spend the summer on the farm with us. Not only is it good to see him but he is a great cook, loves kids and is digging the farm life so far. Welcome big brother!!!! We’re already enjoying his company … and food!

Outside our potatoes are wet and cold and full of snails. So I will be going through the beds and have already told the kids that they get a nickel for every snail they bring me. The spring planted garlic looks very good. I know it’s a fall crop but we weren’t here soon enough to plant it and I can’t live with out it. We’ve got two kinds of cauliflower and three kinds of broccoli holding their own outside.

The peas… the peas. In the greenhouse I have a long gorgeous row of 6 varieties of peas. Outside, I have planted the same bed twice already and may re-seed it again in addition to my next succession. They are not germinating very well. I think crows ate a bunch of the first try, so now we have everything but the taters and garlic under agricultural fabric and it seems to be helping quite a bit, but the peas still look sporadic. On the other hand, I say this every, every year and get all stressed out that I won’t have the millions of fresh peas I desire and then the weather warms up and the sun comes out and the peas start growing just as they should. I think we may try sowing flats of peas in the greenhouse for pea shoots. If you haven’t tried them, you should. Yummy. All the flavor of a sugar snap pea pod with the crispy texture of romaine lettuce.

peas, taken a few weeks a go, they're much bigger now

peas, taken a few weeks a go, they're much bigger now

In the greenhouse, we have many types of basils, peas, tomatoes, tomatillos, lettuces and spinach growing in beds, and you name it in pots or flats waiting transplanting outside. Oh! I am so itchy for the sun!

tomatoes, tomoatoes, tomatoes

tomatoes, tomoatoes, tomatoes


Additionally, all the baby chicks are getting big and frisky in our chicken ark. We’ve got it in the greenhouse were it is warm and safe and dry and will be bringing them out side pretty soon. We did some work on the ark the other day, and due to a lack of forethought, spent a good deal of time chasing baby chicks all over the greenhouse. They are so cute, but nothing will make a person feel more frustrated and incompetent than chasing a chicken in circles. We’ve got Plymouth Barred Rocks, Silver Laced Wyandottes, Rhode Island Reds, Golden Comets, and a couple more sweet Buff Orpingtons for setters.
little chickies tucked in for the night

little chickies tucked in for the night

Speaking of chickens, I am late on an update, but Pep, our broody hen, hatched out 1 lovely little chick which has been the delight of the family. As we neared hatch day back in April we set Pep up in the then empty ark so she had a nice place to raise chicks. Right on cue, the chicks started breaking open the shells. Well, we were very excited about this. So were the other chickens who came around to see what was up. I think we spooked Pep. She sat back down on those eggs and didn’t BUDGE for over 24 hours. The next day, Peep, a sweet little chick, appeared under wing. Cute doesn’t cover how wonderful it is to see a tiny fluffy head peeking out of a big pile of mama’s wing feathers.

less than a day old

less than a day old


and cute as hell

and cute as hell

As it turned out, two of the chicks in the other eggs got smothered and didn’t make it and one egg was a dud. But Pep and Peep make a great team. Pep is for the most part, a doting mother and until you’ve seen a hen and with her chick running around together… you get the idea. One of our bantams was very jealous of the Pep. She wanted a baby too and as Peep got older and Pep got bored, Honey Butter took over many mothering duties. So if Pep is off galavanting, you can be sure that Auntie Honey Butter has got Peep under her watchful eye. Aww.

now she/he? is a regular member of the flock, frisking about with the rest of them

now she/he? is a regular member of the flock, frisking about with the rest of them


Last but not least, in other farm news, the business is picking up slowly but surely. There seems to be a lot of interest in canning shares so be sure to check out that page for more information. We will be deciding how much to plant of certain crops based on this interest and we are really excited about the possibilities.

I’m still zeroing in on farm stand sites and drop sites. There is potential for something in Scappoose that will feature other local businesses that I am super excited for. I know lots of other creative enterprising folks out here in Columbia county. It’s turning out to be a great place to live in spite of our rather dire economics. The spirit of community and generosity is alive and well. Our farm will be pairing up with other local farms to showcase some of the many wonderful products grown and raised in the area. Wool and hand spun fibers, soaps, arts and crafts and other local food products to name but a few.

I think we will be vending at the Vernonia open air market, the Portland Village school, and hopefully Scappoose. We’ll see what other avenues present themselves in the coming weeks. If you have ideas, I’m all ears.

Okay, that will have to do for now. I’m off for a second cup of coffee and then greenhouse bound. On today’s list, brewing up compost tea.

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