“Know your food, know your farmers, and know your kitchen.” – Joel Salatin

Hi Friends & Farm-ily,

Can ya believe this October weather? Lots of rain this past week but still very mild temperatures for this time of year. We are a bit surprised every week when looking at the 10 day and we don’t see a light frost in the forecast. We’ll see how some of those roots and brassicas will fair without it (remember a frost makes the Fall veggies sweeter because in order protect their cells from bursting they produce more sugar… mainly we’re thinking about those parsnips – we don’t think our carrots could get any sweeter!)

We hope you all faired well in the storms over the weekend. That wind was something else. Most of the farm was accounted for by the end.. all the animals were safe and sound, all the tools and equipment were put away, the greenhouses and their covers were safely secured, we didn’t lose power etc – There were fly away harvest bins and flipped over tables and the worst of it included a torn up ridge cap on the shade structure roof but it’s fixable! We’re grateful that that was the extent of the damage and all critters and farmers were accounted for!


Broccoli shoots begin to form after the main broccoli heads have been harvested, winter storage onions and some cucumber volunteers making the most of this mild Fall weather!

Feeding the Farmer.


We found inspiration over the weekend on NPR (Terry Gross’ Fresh Air) and in a documentary called American Meat…. And it got us thinking about our own story involving all the animals on our farm.

Vegetables are the heart of our farm. They are the bread and butter and usually make up at least 75% or more of our meals 3x a day. We love our seasonal veggies and find them to be delicious and versatile!

Having grown up on a homestead where we had our own veggie garden and my dad – the commercial lobster fisherman – brought home the day’s bountiful catch (fish, lobster, scallops, tuna, clams… you name it) in the summer and fall and stocked up our freezers for the winter with venison, pork, chicken, turkey all from our own back yard. I learned a lot about where our food came from and knew all too well that the food from the grocery store was not at all like the food I grew up knowing. Once I left the nest for the city I realized just how good I had it growing up. The lack of amazing ingredients I could find in the city really encouraged me to play around in the kitchen with the best possible ingredients I could find which most of the time (nearly 100% of the time) did not include meat. I picked up the Moosewood Cookbook and began my journey in the kitchen where I really fell in love with vegetables. Cue in the Omnivore’s Dilemma and in 2007 that’s where I was at.


Bunching onion tops, the Celosia flowers are the only flowers left in the garden & some frisee endive…

In 2011, when Brian and I met and partnered up we were both veggie farmers who decided to take on a few extra acres and a barn.

More space meant farm critters!

It started with a flock… In the Spring of 2012, we invested in our first flock of chickens. Having grown up with a family flock and after paying for the most expensive eggs at the grocery store – that left much to be desired – we were inspired to do better. We knew we wanted to offer the best possible product to our members and sought after the best possible feed we could find locally – which ended up being Scratch and Peck Feeds out of Bellingham, WA. We love having fresh pasture raised eggs to offer our members and the taste is beyond compare to that of store-bought-far-from-farm-fresh eggs.

And then dairy.. Ellie was our first big investment that Brian and I made together. When we first met each other in 2011 it seemed like a really romantic idea to have our own dairy cow but it didn’t take long to find our sweet jersey cow after the first idea was planted… in the summer of 2012 we brought Ellie home where she soon calved and freshened and we were the two newbie dairy farmers hand milking two times a day, every day (which meant 6-8 gallons a day). It was our first time cooking and baking with real, raw milk. We made butter from scratch, which meant the most glorious buttermilk pancakes and homemade béchamel sauce for dinner dishes. Rich creamy yogurt by the gallons and ohhhhhh, the homemade ice cream….


We love big beet and we cannot lie, at the end of a CSA pick up, our first harvest of Romanesco Broccoli…

After several months of hand milking (on top of vegetable farming) we realized the milk was probably the only thing keeping our hands and bodies strong. (Trigger finger, sore wrists and back problems seemed to be plaguing us during that growing season). It felt really good to incorporate more protein in our diet with the long, labored days that vegetable farming brings.

During this time and the years prior – vegetables were our primary source of nourishment! Mostly, because that’s what we grew and that’s what we could afford to eat but also because our options seemed limited for the quality of meat we were looking for.

So, why not grow it ourselves?

After forming a bond with our dairy cow and really learning a lot about animal husbandry, Brian and I decided to invest in a breeding pair of pigs. Yes, this was definitely a much bigger investment than just buying a couple of feeder pigs to trial but we’re so glad we did it this way.   It was important to us that we always have animals that stay – all our mama pigs and mama cows… they continue to grow, thrive and raise their babies on the farm – season to season… we grow in a circle.  With each season we’re all growing better than the last and we’ve learned so much. In January of 2013 Truffle and Otis the young American Guinea Hogs came to live with us at WHF. It would be 6 months later that Truffle and Otis would breed for the first time and 3 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days later that Truffle would farrow with her first litter.


Joan Rutabagas, Braising Mix and some fennel that has gone to flower…

This past summer was our first experience trying the meat we had spent over a year and a half raising. This included pork and chicken. There was so much build up, and time, and tears and work and love put into raising these animals… and we had finally come full circle on this idea that started 2 ½ years ago. Needless to say, upon trying the farm fresh fare, there were many fist pumps and high fives and life felt different on the farm. We had come full circle. It felt purposeful and productive. And we felt stronger.

This season is the strongest we’ve ever felt. Physically, emotionally… you name it. But most obviously would be the physical part. Both of us feel like the strongest versions of ourselves. Incorporating high quality, pasture raised meat into our diet has really changed our capabilities on the farm for the better. We haven’t had one physical injury or any pain this year (knock on wood).  Our diet still remains 75% or more of veggies but to have access to the best possible meat products makes all the work worth it (not to mention the taste and quality) and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s been 2 ½ years since we first began our journey with animal husbandry and we’re now expecting our third and fourth litters of piglets and our first pair of angus calves over the next few months. We’ve raised 200 freedom ranger chickens, 15 turkeys and 150 layer hens. All of them on pasture, rotationally grazed, in harmony with nature and fulfilling these two farmers experiences on the farm exponentially.


Delicious Fall celery, Ahab finding his sea legs and rainbow lights chard…

We love our connection and commitment to this farm, these animals, the vegetables, to the consumers and to ourselves. We really do feel like all things on our farm continue to move in a circle, the same way things do in nature.

It’s not always easy but we’re constantly learning.

We’re learning and even re-learning how to cook again as adults with amazing farm fresh meat products. We find so much inspiration in our members (who are learning right beside us), Americas Test Kitchen, our own kitchen trials, farm cookbooks, fellow farmers raising pastured livestock and their recipe successes, local chefs, etc We are all growing better together.

Thank you for supporting us and for being a part of our story on this farm.  Know your farmer, know your food.


At the beginning of a Fall CSA pick up…

Here are the two inspiring factors for this week’s newsletter from the farm:

Test Kitchen on Fresh Air. For all our CSA members who purchase our pasture raised meat or consume/cook with meat in general – this This Fresh with Terry Gross interview is a great listen! It’s about The Cook’s Illustrated Meat Book that just came out – that gives tips on how to shop for, store, season and cook meat! Very inspiring for these two farmers as we are constantly trying to grow, cook, feel better and really savor all these wonderful fresh ingredients!

Here’s the interview:

American Meat. We really enjoyed watching this great documentary over the weekend called American Meat. It’s a very balanced look at the American Meat system and “explains how America arrived at its current industrial system, not through hidden cameras but through the eyes of the farmers who live and work there. The story shifts to the burgeoning movement of farmers, chefs and everyday folks, influenced by Salatin’s ideas, who might just change everything about the way meat reaches the American table.”

Here’s the trailer:


We love our WHF cedar crates, an afternoon scape on the farm and some more celosia..

And one fun tidbit worth sharing: Someone brought this to our attention at the beginning of last week…Brian and I made the Buzzfeed List for top 25 “farmstagrams”! If you enjoy following our farming adventures this is a great round up of farms on instagram to check out…

We’ll see you all this week!

With fondest regards,

Your farmers

Jess & Brian

dirty hands, clean hearts