I have the privilege of saying good morning to Mt. Pilchuck and the Three Fingers every morning. The sunsets are obscured by the tree lines, but the mornings in the valley are stunning. I have been getting up early for so many years that sleeping in looks like 5:15am! That 4-5 a.m. start happens to be the quietest part of the day; a time to read my Bible, gather my thoughts and mentally prepare for the day ahead. This morning reminded me of how my early to rise habits can be breathtakingly satisfying. For a good part of the year everyone in our household gets to see the sunrise, especially during the fall and winter months. This time of year, as we dutifully march towards the solstice, you need to get up pretty early to catch the yellow orb as it peeks over the peaks.
The increasing day length is one of the NW advantages in the farm world. A lot of crops really respond to increasing day length and WARMTH. Lately, we have been missing the warmth! It has been a good year for spinach and peas, but the early green beans, cucumbers and tomatoes –meh??? I think they are hunkering down, building some roots and “praying” for a few more degrees on the thermometer. Personally, I would be happy with a few more degrees, too.
This week we are harvesting our experimental crop of pea vines. Did you know that pea vines are considered a delicacy? Most of the peas we planted are Sugar Snap peas and even the kids know that they better not eat the shoots off those! We’ll be eagerly waiting the Sugar Snaps. But we put in a variety specifically to harvest as shoots. I must admit I’m half tempted to string the whole patch and wait for another month and then harvest them as full pods. This variety is called Oregon Sugar Pod 2. It’s a giant snow pea variety. They are also ideally suited for bunching as pea vines. I will probably end up somewhere in the middle and harvest most of them as pea vines and keep a small test plot to trellis. The pea leaves and tendrils are tender and full of nutritional fiber. They’re an excellent addition in salads, eaten raw or stir fried.
Trying new things like this is fun and keeps it interesting! Over the years we’ve tried a lot of different things. We’re first generation farmers so let’s just say, we’ve done a lot of trial and error! Add the fact that each soil type is unique and subject to different advantages and disadvantages, and you could say we’ve fumbled through figuring out what works best for our farm. With our soil being heavy and clayish it doesn’t grow the prettiest carrots. Carrots do better in sandier soil where they can easily grow into the loose soil. We have purchased carrots from Ralph’s Greenhouse in Mount Vernon for 20+ years! They have great soil for carrots and they do an amazing job growing delicious varieties!
We love the fact that we can bring you great local produce from all around the PNW and we can all do what we do best!