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Pear Quinoa Salad


1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth

1 cup quinoa (see Tips), rinsed if necessary

2 tablespoons walnut oil or canola oil

1 tablespoon fruity vinegar, such as pear, raspberry or pomegranate

1/4 cup snipped fresh chives

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 ripe but firm pears, diced

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted (see Tips)

Bring broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in quinoa, reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa has popped, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk oil, vinegar, chives, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add pears and toss to coat.
Drain any excess liquid from the cooked quinoa, if necessary. Add the quinoa to the pear mixture; toss to combine. Transfer to the refrigerator to cool for about 15 minutes or serve warm. Serve topped with nuts.
Recipe and photo credit:


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Sweet corn needs more fertilizer next year


I just finished planting the cover crop for this winter in time for last week’s “heavy mist,” so we should see germination very shortly. Most of our plantings from June and July are coming to fruition and we should be able to harvest those in the next few weeks, except for corn. Ugh! Corn has been a bummer all season. It really needed a lot more summer than what we got this year.  The joke around here is that I have corn for the end of October, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  In a normal year we would have sweet corn by now, with the second planting close behind and the third planting for mid-October. This year hasn’t worked out as well. We got it in early enough, but it just didn’t get going. I am not giving up on it, but if that acre is going to pay for itself we are going to have to have the most incredible Indian summer ever.
If I could have gotten water on my last planting of corn, it might have done the best because of the hot weather that blessed us soon after planting it.  Of course, the third planting is always a gamble.  In hindsight, corn needs a lot more fertilizer than other vegetables, and based upon what I see, it needed a few more nutrients and heat units this season. Oh well, that is farming—not every crop pays the bills. We will have corn and it will be sweet, but a smaller harvest than planted and planned for. 
With that said, I participated in a WSU research trial using Cedargrove Compost this season. Here is what I have noticed. In the cover crop trial there was a noticeable difference in the compost areas to non-compost added areas. The potatoes were markedly larger plants and the corn plants are greener and taller where the compost was applied. 
Compost definitely works and I would encourage everyone to use it around your flower beds and vegetable gardens. We apply compost in the spring before planting and right now. Appling compost now will mimic nature because fall is the time that nature sheds its summer growth and the microbial and other ground critters make those nutrients available for next spring. In the fall we apply compost more like a mulch and in the spring we apply it more thinly and work it in. So after you clean those flower beds, muster the extra energy to mulch with compost. Your spring growth will be better and your soil happier!
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Pie in Jar


Pie Dough
2 Cups peeled and diced apples
2 Tablespoons of brown sugar
2 Tablespoons of cinnamon
Melted butter
1. Make a topper and line the jar: Roll out a small handful of dough. Enough to cover the top of your jars, you can use the metal lid that comes with the jar as a cookie cutter. Line the jars.
2. Mix all apples, sugar and cinnamon.
3. Fill the jars (about 1/2 C filling for each jar)
4. Top it off: Make sure your “lid” has a vent so steam can escape. You can use a knive to make a couple of slits or a tiny cookie cutter to make it decorative.
5. When your topper is ready, slip it onto the top of the pie. It will be large enough that the outside edge goes up the side of the dough-covered jar a bit.
6. Brush pie tops with butter and sprinkle with sugar.
7. Freeze:  When your pies are all done and topped, place metal lids back on and seal them tight. Then pop these them in the freezer. 
8. Bake: Bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and the middles are bubbly. If you’re baking them fresh and not frozen they take about 45 minutes. 
NOTE: If you are worried about putting these jars in the oven directly from the freezer, just remember these are canning jars – they are designed to be boiled, pressure cooked, etc. They bake just fine! If you’re really worried you can always let them sit at room temp for a bit first before putting them in a cold oven.
Original recipe:


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I thought summer was my busy time!

At last, fall has arrived, the geese have returned and the mornings are crisp! This time of year is full of hustle and bustle on and off the farm. It seems that during the summer we are busy farming and tossing in a few family outings, but when fall rolls around and school starts up, hang on.
It is the convergence of harvest, school and SOCCER! Does anyone else feel like you need a summer vacation to get ready for fall soccer? This year we have three soccer players and one ballerina. Between all the practices and games I can scarcely find a free night. I do love this season though. 
This year, I got the “your son’s team doesn’t have a coach” phone call. So I volunteered to coach, after all I was going to be at practices, anyway. It has been nearly 40 years since my parents were coaching my 5 year old teams. Hmmm, is this a generational commitment? Really how hard can it be to coach 5 year old boys? Pretty easy. My motto: keep them moving, ask them if they want to do the drills the big boys do, and take frequent water breaks. We are having a ball with the ball, playing games and scrimmaging. It is so much fun. 
But, we still have the farm work to fit in amongst school, homework and soccer. That is why this season is so busy. So for a few months our family will be harvesting crops, doing homework and playing soccer. Then just about the time soccer ends, the farm work will come to an end as well and then we will rest.
So, in between coaching, watching soccer or helping with homework there will be more fruits and veggies coming your way.
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Jeffery Smith is coming to the San Juan Islands.  Jeffery has lead the way in exposing the health risks of GMO’s. “Eating genetically modified food is gambling with every bite.” In his new book, Genetic Roulette, Jeffery shatters the biotech industry's claim that genetically modified (GM) foods are safe.
Jeffery Smith on San Juan and Lopez. Jeffery will be presenting on the evening of the September 17th on San Juan followed by an afternoon and evening presentation on Lopez on the 18th. He will also be presenting on September 19th on Orcas.
This is a great opportunity to further our efforts to pass Initiative 2012-4 and keep San Juan County GMO-Free.
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Planting & Harvesting

This is the time of year where I want to be done, but all the energy of May, June and July are coming to fruition now. During this season we are mostly harvesting and getting ready for flood season. Flood season???? Yes, I am getting ready for flood season. I realize that we haven’t had any significant precipitation for over a month, but now is the time to start preparing for it. We haven’t had a flood of any consequence for two years, which means this year can be benign or  devastating, so we plan for the worst and pray for the best.

We plan for flooding by planting cover crops on our farm. The cover crops are multi-purposed. If/when it does flood, a good stand of wheat, rye or vetch will help keep unnecessary soil from escaping to the river and also scouring our fields. While that is important, cover crops also hold our soil nutrients from leaching away with the incessant rains we have. Leaching of nutrients from farm fields has huge environmental impacts, from dead zones in bodies of water to contaminated aquifers. Another, advantage to cover crop planting is that the soil stays uncompacted, which makes it easier to prepare for spring crops. If you haven’t noticed, I am a huge proponent of cover crops. 
So this week on the farm we will be putting part of the cover crop in the ground and continuing to harvest other crops. Harvesting…what are we harvesting? This week we finished digging the potatoes—I am sorry they are dirty, but they do last longer if they are not washed. We are also bunching beets, picking carrots, zucchini, cucumbers and a splash of fall strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries.  This should also be the last week of our green beans—my farm crew is pretty happy about that! They have hand-picked over 3,500 lbs. this season and have bent over those bush beans for what seems like forever.
There is still corn, winter squash, cilantro, spinach, beets, chard, some apples, Italian prunes and Bosc pears to come. I better stop writing and get busy!
Enjoy the bounty of your local farms, we are in full swing.
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This salad is summer. So bright, clean and full of vibrant flavors. Feel free to adjust this recipe. Other fresh herbs would be lovely, as would some goat cheese in place of the feta or no cheese at all. Make sure your corn is perfectly sweet and tender. 

1 cup corn kernels (just off the cob)
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 T chopped basil
1 cup arugula (optional)
¼ cup crumbled feta 
Toss the above ingredients with enough vinaigrette to cover
1 t good quality mustard
3 t minced shallot
½ t honey
2 T champagne vinegar
½  cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Add the first four ingredients, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Recipe from Ashley Rodriguez from



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In the demonstration I used orange and purple carrots which made the salad particularly lovely. Play around with the ingredients here adjusting to your taste.

3 cups carrot ribbons (about 2 medium carrots)
2 T olive oil
1 T yogurt
2 t lemon juice
¼ t cumin
¼ t coriander
Fresh cilantro
Pinch pepper flake
Combine the oil, yogurt, lemon juice, cumin and coriander in a small bowl. Add a pinch of salt. Taste and adjust dressing to your desire. Toss with the carrots. Finish with fresh cilantro roughly chopped or simply torn. Add a bit of pepper flakes if you would like some heat. Taste and add more salt if needed.
Recipe from Ashley Rodriguez from
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This is sort of a rough approximation. Use as much or as little blue cheese as you’d like. I like to use a tart apple here – Gravenstein, Granny Smith or a vibrant Pink Lady are nice.

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 apple, thinly sliced
2-4 ounces blue cheese
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil 
Toss the fennel and apple with just enough olive oil to lightly coat. Crumble in some blue cheese and a pinch of salt. Taste and adjust to your desire.
Recipe from Ashley Rodriguez from
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Experiencing Farm-Fresh Produce

The sun was warm and the kids were ready. Their eager feet carried them out of the car and into the sprawling field, without stopping until well into our drive back home when their weary heads finally succumbed to sleep. A chance to run around, play in the dirt, and to see, feel and taste where their food comes from is such a treasured experience for my little city kids. 
Those of you who were at the farm day had a chance to see my two boys eagerly “assisting” me throughout my demonstration. To them it was as if we were at home in the kitchen helping mom with dinner. But this time was a bit different – I was sharing with you all. Not the voice behind a newsletter, but face-to-face and it was such a joy.
At the event, I shared three salads that use raw vegetables. I could go on and tell you how eating raw preserves many of the nutrients in your food and that eating raw can reverse or stop the advance of many chronic diseases. But instead I’ll tell you why I love using raw vegetables in salads – it is so quick and easy. In the course of my twenty minute demonstration I made these three salads, while trying to wrangle my “assistants” and talk into a microphone. Making the salads was the easy part. 
I also love the taste of raw produce. As I opened up the box of fruits and vegetables that I was to use during the demonstration, I was giddy. There is little better than a sweet carrot just plucked from the earth. Or fresh fennel, so crisp with a soft licorice flavor. With great produce there really is so little you have to do to elevate it. 
These salads are also a great way to get a bite of freshness in the dead of winter when you want nothing more than a crisp, bright taste to remind you of summer’s bounty. 
Thank you to all who joined me at the demonstration. It was so great to meet a few of you. And for those who couldn’t make it, I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we do.
by Ashley Rodriguez
food blogger