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Stop by Horse Drawn Farm’s self-serve farm stand on Port Stanley Road…
The First Annual Lopez Lamb and Wool Festival will fill the Lopez…
Home gardeners like a challenge and will often go to great lengths…
If we are what we eat, what does the food we buy…
Vegetable gardeners who enjoy a challenge have already begun their 2011 planting,…
It’s January and for passionate vegetable gardeners in our temperate, maritime climate,…
Gingerbread people and loaves of stollen from Holly B’s Bakery on Lopez are wonderful, local holiday gifts, but if you weren’t lucky enough to get to the bakery before it closed for the season, take heart! You can still bake your own.
It’s November and people are planning Thanksgiving dinner menus and inviting friends and family.
For me and for many of my vegetable gardening friends, the Seed Savers Exchange Catalog and the annual Seed Savers Yearbook are favorite sources of heirloom seeds.
I’ve been gardening in the Pacific Northwest for 30 years and I’m…
There is a lot of interest in grass-fed, pastured, humanely raised cattle, sheep, pigs and goats. Especially with the recent 10th anniversary of the Island Grown Farmers Cooperative and its Mobile Slaughter Unit that have made raising these animals profitable for local farmers.
This fall is the tenth anniversary of the Island Grown Farmers Cooperative. It is also the ninth year of USDA-inspected meat processing with the IGFC’s Mobile Slaughter Unit and its cut and wrap facility in Bow.
Locally Grown is the theme of this year’s San Juan County Fair, Aug.18-21.
“Native Plants, Textiles, Baskets: Inspired by Traditions of the Salish Sea” is the new show opening at Chimera Gallery June 12, and continuing through July 9.
June is “Dairy Month,” a designation begun in 1937 by the National Dairy Council as a way to encourage milk drinking and support dairy farmers. But before there were dairy associations promoting the milk, cream, butter, ice cream, yogurt and cheese we buy in markets today, many families had their own cow. And here on Lopez some still do.
Those who’ve lived in the San Juan Islands for many years remember farms large enough to sustain a herd of dairy cows and operate a dairy or to raise large numbers of hogs, sheep or cattle and grow fields of grain to feed them.
Maybe it comes from growing up in New England eating baked beans in the winter and shell beans in the summer, but for as long as I’ve had a garden I’ve grown beans, not for the pods but for the seeds inside. Occasionally I’ll meet another bean lover and we’ll talk like long-lost relatives, members of the happy family of bean growers and eaters. Lately, with current interests in local food and food security, I’ve met other gardeners who want to join the bean family. Here’s what I share from my experience with varieties, planting, shelling and eating.
When Lopezian Denise McIntosh heard about Grow a Row from a friend in Friday Harbor, “I got an instant picture of exactly what it was. I think it would make sense to most people.” After attending the Jan. 30 Lopez Community Land Trust Food Charrette and learning of food needs on Lopez, Denise decided to create a Grow a Row project here.
It’s time to prune fruit trees and there are many print and Internet resources for guidance if you’re new to pruning or want to review. Another great resource is friends with experience pruning who will let you tag along as they prune.
For all of us who grow vegetable gardens, the New Year is a good time to pause and consider why we choose to spend our time planting and harvesting food. There’s the food, of course, but as a sampling of Lopez gardeners reveals, there’s also a sense of self-reliance and most of all there’s the garden itself.
Two ways to harvest grain: David Zapalac’s cradle scythe and Gary Buffum’s combine.
Lorri Swanson admires the Scarlet Emperor runner beans which students will study this year in class.
Crowfoot Farm UPick raspberries will be ripe soon.
Nick Jones checks Sweetwater Shellfish oysters. In the background, Robin Minkler digs clams.
When I read ARC (Agricultural Resources Committee) Farmland Preservation Coordinator Tim Clark’s article “Mapping our Foodshed” in last July’s Project Home, it was busy mid-summer so I put the article aside. Still, the idea of making maps that tell us what is grown in San Juan County, where it’s grown, and how much farmland is left intrigued me, so this winter I called Tim to find out more. He arrived with maps and data and optimism for what the project can contribute to preserving farmland and sustaining our farmers and food supply.
Ever wonder what happens to all the wool from Lopez sheep? For the past year and a half, a lot of it has ended up with Maxine Bronstein and Debbie Hayward at their Lopez business Island Fibers.
If you’re spending some of these winter days pouring over fruit tree catalogs, imagining new plums and cherries, pears and apples, maybe you should add grafting to your studies. Learning what it is, how it’s done and why people do it may inspire you to graft some new varieties onto your existing trees or start some new trees that strike your fancy.
Bite into a slice of apple and ask yourself: crisp or soft; sweet or tart; juicy or dry; fresh or in pie, sauce, juice, or cider? That’s what small groups of Lopezians have been doing at November evening apple tastings hosted by Elf Fay and Eric Hall at their Crowfoot Farm.
One challenge to an all-island diet is finding locally grown grains. With this challenge in mind, 30 islanders, many with experience growing and harvesting grains here, met in Friday Harbor in late September for a WSU Extension workshop titled “Growing Grains.”
Why am I writing about cider in May? Because, as Rich Anderson of Westcott Bay Cider explained to me, “It’s a perfect summer drink. It’s a little lighter than beer and has less alcohol than wine.”
Honeybees are a presence in many Lopez gardens. I’d noticed them most recently in my mid-September garden, busy on the purple blooms of anise hyssop and summer savory. Wanting to know more about bees and beekeeping, I called Kevin Murphy and Mary Hayton, whose hives I’d noticed in their garden off Farm Road.
How do you learn to farm? If you didn’t grow up with farmers, you could apprentice yourself to some. That’s what Eleanor Burke and Andre Entermann have been doing with Ken Akopiantz and Kathryn Thomas at Horse Drawn Farm on Lopez since March and plan to continue doing for another year and a half.
“I know it’s spring when I can buy Christine’s greens again,” a friend said at the end of last winter. The self-serve bins of Christine Langley’s Local Harvest Lettuce Blend and Island Greens appear in early April at Blossom and Lopez Village Market, and the greens keep coming until November.
Drive along Baker View Road on Lopez toward Spencer Spit and it’s likely that you’ll see a car or two pulled over and people taking pictures of Ken Akopiantz leading a team of oxen yoked to a cultivator and Kathryn Thomas sitting on the cultivator guiding it through the rows of vegetables.
Have you ever thought about raising a few chickens in your backyard? Talking with Todd Goldsmith and Diane Dear of T&D Farms, who have 88 Barred Rock laying hens, I learned that raising chickens is one part worry, one part daily chores and one part entertainment.
Baby goats, baby animals of any kind, are so cute. Watching them frolic about this time of year, it’s easy to assume that everything else about them is just as carefree.
With the 2008 seed catalogs showing up in mailboxes, tempting gardeners and non-gardeners with glossy, color photos of luscious vegetables, each whispering, "what food could be more local than vegetables you grow yourself?"
We can eat fresh, local, seasonal meals by buying food from Lopez…