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Week 6 recipe – “What do I do with this?” 

July 9, 2015

“How do I get the most out of all these veggies?” This is a question we hear as often as “how much are your eggs?” Did yew know: broccoli greens taste just like the florets, chard stems can be quick-pickled in 24 hours, and carrot tops can be magically transformed into pesto. Our larder is often filled with label-less experiments in varying stages of developmental deliciousness. And since carrots came out this week, here’s a fresh way to flip that frond upside down. Enjoy your veggies. 

Carrot top pesto

Yield: aprox 1 1/4 c

2.5-3 c carrot tops, minus stems
1-2 Tb cilantro, or fresh coriander leaves
1 orange
1/4 c chopped, toasted, hazelnuts
3-4 cloves fresh green garlic
1/4 – 1/3 c pecorino romano cheese or Black Sheep Creamery’s Adnatou sheep cheese, finely grated
Olive oil
Salt/pepper to taste
Chop the nuts roughly and toast in a dry cast iron skillet, 6-10 minutes, using your nose to smell for burning, and toss or stir to keep from sticking. While toasting, chop up carrot tops and cilantro and place into food processor. Add the nuts. Halve the orange so the circumference opposites the stem and squeeze out the juice of both sides into the processor. Mince the garlic and add as well. Pulse a bit to mix up, then add cheese. 
Run the processor and drizzle in oil until yew get the consistency yew desire. Yew may have to scrape down the sides with a spatula or spoon, remembering to shut off the machine first. Season to taste with salt/pepper. 
Spoon out into sterilized jars and cover with a tablespoon, or so, of olive oil to keep color. Keeps in fridge 3-5 days – as if it lasts that long. 

Help Mama Tee’s Build a Deer Exclusion Fence!

March 16, 2015

Hello Mama Tee’s blog followers!

We are trying to raise money for a deer exclusion fence that is much need around the vegetable fields. Can you help? Check out the campaign and spread the word.  We truly appreciate your support of small, organically grown farms!

http://www.gofundme.com/mamateesdeerfence

Love,

Mama Tee’s Farmstead

Mama Tee’s 2015 CSA Membership is OPENED!

January 15, 2015

Mama Tee’s 2015 CSA Shares are currently Available!

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Welcome to season four of Mama Tee’s Farmstead. We have an exciting year ahead! Farmer and owner, Carrie, is eager to increase the Farm-ily this year and feed folks with incredibly wholesome and delicious food grown and raised organically. We will be back with the vegetable and fruit shares and our bi-monthly egg share. We are so EXCITED to be offering, new this season, a value-added share and, working with some wonderful neighboring farms, we will be offering a fresh baked bread and meat shares this year as well! Check out the information below for more details.

What is a CSA anyway?

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It is a shared commitment between farmer and consumer ( or share holder—YOU) that helps the farmer pay up front costs in the time she needs it most and supplies the share holder with a plethora of vegetables, herb, fruits, eggs, and/or preserves each week during the season. CSA’s share the benefits and costs of farm production with its members, thus keeping everyone in the community connected to where their food comes from and keeping the farm’s practices transparent and open.

How Mama Tee’s CSA works…

Starting in January, members can sign up for the CSA share they choose (see below) which helps cover initial costs and expenses when the farmer needs it most (the beginning of the season). Then, starting in June, you will pick up your box full of produce either at the farm or a designated spot in Portland.  The season will continue 22 weeks and includes a special Thanksgiving share to end the season in late November. Your full share includes anywhere between 8 and 12 items and is estimated to feed 2-4 heavy to moderate veggie eaters. The half share usually includes between 5 and 7 items and is estimated to feed 1-2 moderate to light veggie eaters. Pickup days and times, more information on each share, as well as costs are listed below. Both the full and half share have a choice of either a discounted full payment due with the form or an installment plan. Just click on the 2015 CSA member form of your choice, fill out the information, sign and send it in with  your choice of payment required on the form.

Mama Tee’s is happy and proud to be able to accept SNAP/EBT benefits this year for our CSA shares. If you are snap2interested in joining the shares via Oregon Trail card please email mamateesfarm@gmail.com and ask how it works!

Sign up today and enjoy the bounty throughout the season!

2014 CSA share updates!

March 5, 2014

We have extended the CSA share discounts until March 15th and we have a new drop off point in Sheridan! Please see the updated website page for full details. Hope to see you in the FARM-ily this season!

https://mamateesfarm.com/csa-and-vouchers/

And, did you know we have a Facebook page?

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mama-Tees-Farmstead/218287681606933?ref=hl

Thanks for your support!

Farmer and owner,

Carrie

2014 CSA Membership is Opened!

January 15, 2014

Hello from the Farmstead!

The 2014 CSA season is now opened and accepting members. Please join us for a spectacular year of hearty and healthy vegetables and fruits grown organically as well as pastured chicken eggs and, of course, Mama Tee’s homemade preserves.

Mama Tee’s is looking forward to a bountiful year with YOU!

For more info: https://mamateesfarm.com/csa-and-vouchers/

Farm News: Elation, Uncertainty, and Week One, Season Two!

May 26, 2013

WEEK ONE, SEASON TWO

This part needed to come first, just in case you don’t have time to read the rest right now. 🙂

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A sample of the veggie starts you will see at market this Thursday.

Mama Tee’s first CSA share and first Farmer’s Market of the season are among  us this week! CSA Full share and Half share pickups are at the Buckman Farmer’s Market this Thursday from 3-7pm. The market is in the parking lot of Hinson Church on the corner of SE Salmon and SE 20th. If you don’t have a share, and want one, there is still time and a few more spaces! Goodies for the Full share this week will include spinach, spicy greens, pea sprouts, herbs, radish, and pickles.

Mama Tee’s will have a wide array of starts for sale at the market. Including, herbs, lettuces, peas, tomatoes, beans, squashes, arugula, and maybe some peppers and artichoke as well! And, Mama Tee’s famous pickled radish is back and will be available at the market as well. Come out and say hi! Let’s start week one, season two out with a bang!

ELATION

Now on to the nitty-gritty.

Willamina. Ten acres. The new Farmstead home. It’s beautiful and tucked away in the Eastern Coastal Foothills just a stones throw away from some of the best Wine Country Oregon has to offer. It came with a 2-bedroom house, some infrastructure, small animal quarters, a greenhouse, water rights, an orchard, a separate annex, and plenty of camping space.  Two very encouraging, helpful, and supporting owners as well. We started off with a ten year lease. It just felt right. I don’t think I could of dreamed of a better home for Mama Tee’s.  Moved the farm the last two weeks of February.

Breaking ground began March 25th. To date, a little under half an acre is tilled and limed. Half of that is amended and has spring goodness growing in it! The warm season crops will be going in next weekend. Another half acre will be tilled up for fall vegetables.  Another two to three will be disked and planted in cover crops this fall. And that is only half of it.

Three goats are rotated between two paddocks. Two more paddocks are in the works. Two of the girls will be bred this fall and kids and milk will arrive next spring. This season they will be working to remove Himalayan Blackberry and fertilizing the soil.

Sixty baby chicks are on their way June 10th. They will be my debugging, fertilizing, tilling (ok, more like scratching), egg, and meat crew. After a six-week brooding period, they will head out to pasture and rotated every month thereafter. The roosters will be butchered come Labor Day. That’s perfect because that’s when the first round of Red Rangers should arrive.

Last, but not least, at least one Farm to Table dinner is in the works for Fall and hopes of a cob oven building workshop as well.

That’s the plan for the season, in a nutshell. Elated. Here are some pictures of before and after of the fields and a front porch view of the farm:

This is a picture in January of the South Field, before it was mowed and tilled.

This is a picture in January of the South Field, before it was mowed and tilled.

South Fields with spring veggies and tilled warm season ground as of 5-26.

South Fields with spring veggies and tilled warm season ground as of 5-26.

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Upslope field March 25th

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Upslope field May 25th.

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Porch view

UNCERTAINTY and, at moments, DESPAIR

Yeah, breaking ground on fallow land and putting it into production immediately comes with some extra added, not so happy

times. It ain’t all roses and sunshine all the time:

– Within days of planting the strawberries, the deer started sampling them.  We covered the strawberries almost immediately. Temporary solution.

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Arugula with flea beetle damage

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Peas with Pea Leaf Weevil damage

– Within days of the arugula and radish coming up, flea beetles decided they liked them. Pea Leaf Weevils were taking some serious chunks out of my new arisen pea leaves. We are adding beneficial nematodes (3 varieties) in stages across the entire planted area. We are also weeding the area at least once a week to keep it clean. The flowers are coming as well, which brings beneficial insects, but they are still weeks off from providing support.

– Then, the deer nibbled the peas. Covered them with hoops and remay…they are outgrowing their protection fast.

– The lettuces and radish were not growing up to speed. Decided to added some more organic fertilizer.

– Root borers started eliminating broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and collard transplants. Again, adding beneficial nematodes that seek out and lay eggs within over 250 soil dwelling crop pests.

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Deer-nibbled lettuces

– This morning, the deer decided they liked one of my lettuce varieties as well. Seriously, enough to drive a sane farmer crazy. And yesterday morning, after the deer and the lettuce, I almost lost it. Tears were welling up. One thing after another. More fencing is so expensive. Remay cover only lasts so long…

So, I proceeded to the greenhouse where I knew I would feel better until…

– Slugs decided they would eat several of my bean starts.

(Big Sigh here) Breathe. It’s no wonder it is so easy for a farmer to reach for a pesticide. The quick fix and all the frustration goes away (for a while at least).

I started exploring my options. I covered half the lettuces (all of the variety they apparently have an affinity for), decided an organic certified slug bait was needed for the greenhouse and began researching more deer fencing considerations. Yesterday evening, while I was watering the greenhouse later than usual, I caught 5 slugs approaching the beans! Hmmm, maybe Sluggo wasn’t necessary, just better timing in the greenhouse.

As for the deer: a fencing project around all the fields is in the works with the land owners. Maybe a temporary baited electric line around the upslope field (where the strawberries, lettuces, and peas are) for the short-term. Row cover will have to do for now.  Again, to be continued….

These challenges will be a continuous process with no easy fixes, trying the patience and will of the farmer. From an agroecological perspective, long-term fertility and health of the farmscape means increasing diversity throughout, not eliminating or sterilizing it with pesticides (even if they are organic). So, I continue to think this way and act accordingly, knowing this is better for the long-term production of the land. This plan does not eliminate the present uncertainty one feels when multiple issues all hit at once, however. No one ever said it would be easy to live in sync with Nature.

I read a quote the other day that resonated. Not sure of the author:  “Sometimes when things are falling apart, they may actually be falling into place.”

I hesitated to publicize this. You never hear about beginning farmers dealing with what could, potentially, sink their farm. Farmers, at least this one, don’t like to be seen as vulnerable. You also never hear about the choices they make to resolve or improve these conditions. You usually only see romanticized versions of the small, sustainable, cheery farmer with all his happy plants and happy animals running around the pristine looking farm. Of course, most sustainable farmers know rotational crops, cover cropping and the above mentioned are all part of the “happy” farm, but what about when you are starting out? All those things DON’T happen overnight. So, I realized this is important to the future of our food, our land, and our health. How the farmers chooses to deal with issues that maintain the farm is the root of where the sustainable food movement grows and needs to be transparent so the public can better understand.  There needs to be a cohesion and cooperation between land and human, not this 70 year idea of “battling its forces by eliminating the enemies.” That’s why I won’t use words like battling or fighting Nature. We can’t beat her, we must stop trying and live our lives more in tune and connected to her needs. If not for Nature, we must do it for the human race. If we don’t change this paradigm, the human species is seriously at risk of exterminating itself by destroying the very thing that gives us life.

A short disclaimer about “organic” here. Hands down, organic is better for you and the land. Unfortunately, the word organic gets associated with the inevitable bureaucracy of the USDA run organic certification program. This program, although flawed, is probably one of the most important investments for human and land health and ranks up there among the creation of the Endangered Species Act and formation of our National Parks. It remains, at its core, a program that encourages health of the land and the people first. It does, however, allow the use of some naturally-derived and certified by a scientific Board of Advisors (whom Monsanto has NO part in) pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides as a last resort. The policy is also distorted when organic farmers pay fees and must label their product, all the while the conventional farmers using toxins and unchecked GMO’s pay no fees and do not have to label their products. This is the biggest flaw by far and why organic “costs more.” But, this is our government currently: those with more profits, have more power, and in return buy more government support. Please get involved if you’d like to see this change. There are several NGO’s currently working to help create better policy within the USDA for sustainable farming. For more information on the Organic Program and its principles click here.

The Three R’s

December 30, 2012

Rest. Reflect. Reignite.

There are some good reasons I haven’t taken the time to write another complete blog post (one was started one at the end of June, but never finished it)  since May 9th. A 22-week CSA; three farmer’s markets; a continuous stream of planting, weeding and harvesting; a trip to California for two dairy goats; a daily routine of milking those goats; one Farm to Table dinner; and a part-time job are the main reasons for the writing absence. I still get exhausted just writing it down and when it was all going on at once from June through October the only things that were usually on my mind at the end of the day were food and bed. Blog posting was a distant thought at the time.

With the first two reasons for the absence under the belt, the third significantly reduced, and  most of the farm for the year put to bed, this farmer was finally starting to feel more rested by early December (when I began this short post). Another farmer friend of mine has coined the term “winter hibernation mode” as what farmers go through after the fall harvest until the first sowings of the spring.

As my body and mind have been slowly transitioning, I am beginning to gather my thoughts and memory from the entire first year of Mama Tee’s Farmstead.  When given a chance to breathe deep and sit still, I start to reflect on the season. Part of this reflection involves this blog.  This is one way to capture the first season of a new farm and its farmer, share it with the willing audience, and, perhaps, learn from it.  This is a critical part in ensuring that the farm and the farmer’s next season will be stronger and wiser than the last. And it really helps to build motivation and strength for the farmer.

And, after the rest, somewhere during the midst of this reflection, the flame of the soul of the farm that is turned down for the winter reignites and casts its warmth and food goodness back out into the world.

That time is near. Get ready!