“Where are you, what are you doing, and who are you with when you most feel like yourself?”

– from one of our favorite posts  by Happyolks

Hello friends,

April showers bring May flowers…. The past month has been one for the books. We’ve been graced with plenty of sunshine and warmer days mixed with Spring showers & cloud cover – perfect for transplanting and prepping the soil. The happy greenhouse starts are beginning to flourish outside in the soft, brownie mix like soil (soil that has been farmed for the last 130 + years) and we couldn’t be more excited! We love Spring in the Pacific Northwest!

Everyday there’s just a bit more green and a whole lot of inspiration.  Our days toiling the Earth may be growing longer – 7am-9pm, seven days a week – but we are more encouraged than ever.  Our farm lists never get any smaller but we enjoy waking up with the sun, prioritizing the next things on the list and getting them done.  So much food is currently growing outside with much more to be planted in the coming weeks (we’re talking our first tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, squash…. they’re coming!)  The brassicas all love this weather (kale, collards, broccoli, romanesco, cabbage, kohlrabi, cauliflower etc) as well as our first successions of carrots, beets, chard, mixed greens, lettuce… are you guys hungry yet?  We know we are….


The bees are back in town!

This month we also welcomed new life onto the farm.  Our dearest sow, Truffle, had a litter of 5 healthy piglets.  She’s doing a great job being a second time mom and we couldn’t be more pleased.  We love our little American Guinea Hogs and were pleased to see that they’ve moved from the Livestock Conservancy’s  “critical list” to the “threatened list.”  Our newest trio of pigs (large black/tamworth crosess) are still on the critical list but we aim to preserve & encourage species diversification from heritage breeds to heirloom seeds here on the farm.

We also received 100 healthy and thriving Freedom Ranger broilers and with any luck they will be ready come the end of June.  It will be our first experience with broilers but we look forward to offering a product that our members know and trust (ourselves included)!  Lastly, we are so happy to have a flurry of honey bees back on the farm!  After the up and down winter weather this year we only had 1 out of 7 of our hives survive.  We recently picked up 8 new nucleus’ that are now happy and thriving in their new homes.  There is nothing like the the buzzing of bees working beside you… we are just so happy to see them thriving again.  It truly is the beginning of the season that holds the most possibilities…


April is a month of  plant, plant, plant & build, build, build, build!

Spring is always a busy time on the farm and a great reminder that everything we do on our farm is done with the utmost love and appreciation for the environment and our community! Whether it’s growing and providing nutritious, safe, organically grown produce & berries for our CSA members or happy, healthy eggs for our Egg Share members or the other avenues that Brian & I are personally exploring on the farm (bees, animal husbandry, honey, meat, dairy etc) we do it all with love.  Throughout the season we encourage and welcome you to ask us questions about anything that relates to the farm, food, food policy, nutrition, recipes, etc.  These conversations are the connection that we have to each other and why you’ve joined the CSA and why we do what we do… so let’s get excited about food & farming together!

The start of the CSA. So let’s get down to it… our projected start of the 2014 season is the week of May 20th.  As the seasons vary the CSA may begin up to two weeks before or after our estimated start date of Tuesday May 20th and continue on from that date for 28 weeks.  We will keep everyone posted as we get closer!  Our bodies and minds are eager to begin harvesting from the garden…

Time to get ready for the CSA with a few recommendations from your farmers…



Finding a quiet moment every once in a while to take it all in… 

Farmer Recipe Book recommendations:

From Asparagus to ZucchiniThis book is a great guide to cooking farm-fresh seasonal produce just for CSA members. 420 original recipes written by farmers, members & cooks who love veggies in Wisconsin.  **BULK BOOK PRICE: If more than 10 of our members are interested in purchasing this book we would be able to get a bulk price on them. $13/book + UPS ground shipping cost + $1 handling fee per order. Email if your interested and we’ll see if we get to 10 or more!**


An Everlasting Meal –  I love this book written by Tamar Adler.  It breaks down cooking and preparing foods in the most simple and delicious of ways. Great recipes for using what you have, wherever you are. From how to properly boil foods to ‘suggestions for what to do when cooking seems like a chore, and strategies for preparing, storing, and transforming ingredients for a week’s worth of satisfying, delicious meals.’ Here’s a little video that reminds us of the practical pleasures of eating – of just how washing or soaking the greens, pre-roasting/cooking, & storing veggies can make for many more homemade meals in a busy week, increase the longevity of the produce and make cooking enjoyable (as it should be!)

Vegetable Literacy – A beautiful cookbook written by Deborah Madison featuring over 300 vegetable recipes. “Destined to become the new standard reference for cooking vegetables, Vegetable Literacy shows cooks that, because of their shared characteristics, vegetables within the same family can be used interchangeably in cooking.” Fascinating and inspiring (both in written and visual form) for the cook in the family!


The girls have been loving their luscious new pasture.. it’s so amazing to see cows out there everyday..

Recipe Website Recommendation:


CSA Cookoff – Get Farm Share Recipes –  The CSA Cookoff is’s ongoing series devoted to putting their weekly farm share bounty to good use. Click on their photos for their weekly CSA recipes.

Preservation!  Check out our write-up on preservation ideas (and book recommendations) for all your extra weekly goodies and getting creative in the kitchen.

Our recommended food blogs – Check out our write-up on some of our favorite food blogs.  Also, be sure to check out one of our member’s blogs – Miss Kali Martin – who is the cook and creator of all this delicious at Bird is the Word.


PIWe’ve decided that piglets are the most adorable baby animals on the planet (look at those wrinkles!)

Farmer Documentary Recommendations:

To Make A Farm – This one hits close to home. It was inspiring, heartwarming, hopeful and very real. A must watch! This doc explores the lives of 5 young farmers who have decided to become small-scale farmers. “exceptionally hopeful, giving us a close-range view of humanity along with a detailed portrayal of the nuts and bolts of agriculture.”  The trailer can be found here… it’s available on Amazon, google play & itunes.

Food, Inc. – This one is a few years old now but it’s one of our favorite food documentaries. This is a great example of why we do things the way we do and keep it small, safe and the best!  Here’s the trailer and it’s available on Amazon, google play & itunes.

More than Honey –  These little honeybees are at the heart of our food system so why are they facing worldwide extinction? Beautifully filmed revealing a fascinating, complex world in crisis.  Find the trailer here and it’s available on Amazon, google play & itunes.


Chickens LOVE this time of the year.. they are just so darn productive!   In a month’s time our immature layers will move into the Chateau!

Quick Web Videos/Interviews:

Author Jo Robinson in this interview on NPR ‘Eating On The Wild Side:’ A Field Guide To Nutritious Food.  The book talks of how wild forage that our ancestors used to eat was more nutrient dense than the food we eat now –  to “cultivate the wild plants that were the most pleasurable to eat.” More pleasurable generally meant less bitter and higher in sugar, starch or oil.   It’s a great listen.   She has some interesting facts too.. like how it takes 10 cups of iceberg lettuce to get the same amount of nutrients as ½ cup of loose leaf lettuce.  Or, “compared with spinach, one of our present-day “superfoods,” wild dandelion leaves have eight times more antioxidant activity, two times more calcium, three more times vitamin A, and five times more vitamins K and E.”  It’s why we grow the diverse crops that we do… and probably why you joined the CSA – for the diversity, to eat seasonally and to feed your body the best that you can.  

Birke Baehr: What’s Wrong With Our Food System  – How can you not love this kid?  11 year old Birke explains what’s wrong with our food system and what we can do to help.

Robyn O’Brien at TEDxAustin 2011 – Say no to GMOs!   Just another reason why we do what we do…. she’s talkin’ kids, food allergies from GMOs, and why every other country bans the “food” that we consume in the U.S. here.


Our pups are getting too big, too quick… farmer Brian is already on schedule for his 5 minute recharge nap after lunch.  

There are plenty more books, videos, documentaries etc that we could recommend but this is a great place to start!  We are looking forward to the season ahead and sharing the bounty with you all.  Thank you for your support, encouragement and positivity!  All that energy gets stored up in us and inspires us to grow better, not bigger.  You’ll be hearing from us soon.. until then keep root-ing on your farmers… it’s GO TIME!

Kindest regards,

your farmers

Jess & Brian

dirty hands, clean hearts

p.s. You will find the biggest slideshow of images ever below…

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