Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Seed Starting’ Category

FIND YOUR MARKET

Spring has sprung literally in the last week, here in the Methow Valley.

We’ve enjoyed the first couple of Farmers Markets held each Saturday 9am to noon. Our early spring heat wave has been kind to all the vendors and welcomed shoppers with a warm embrace.

For years I’ve been a patron to any farmers markets I can find either at home or abroad.  The market can be a unique window into local communities health and its products.  Market atmospheres are lively and festive. They celebrate our earth and what it can produce. Markets highlight and strengthen our ties to how and where our foods are processed and originate. Not everyone can live on a farm and learn from family traditions handed down each generation but most everyone can find a farmers market and take the opportunity to meet and learn from the farmers themselves.

Markets move with the seasons from the beginning seedlings in the early spring to the mounds of apples, spices, jams and jellies in the late summer harvest times.  This seasonal reminder of what our local land provides is something that becomes forgotten in the long outer isles of the mega supermarkets. I know, I love bananas in my smoothies and pineapple too.  I am not ready for a strict change but I do appreciate the fresh reminder to clean out the cob webs in my brain and love the fact that I can challenge myself to finding Saturday night’s dinner at the market.

So tempting…but no she didn’t…really.

If you would like a little help in the area of spring cleaning of the cerebral spider webs there’s an app for that! Ok, not really but if you are tech savvy and have an iPhone, sorry Blackberry and Android, you can download an App to find out what’s in season it’s called NRDC Eat Local.
Wendy Gorden of the Huffington post described the app perfectly in her blog   New App Answers: What’s in Season Near You?  it is worth the read.

I also adore the life lessons the market imparts to our children. They learn from example and experiencing the arts and local agricultural producers at a personal level is such a gift. Taken a little further and the market is inclusive allowing children to try their hand at their own entrepreneurial endeavors. Read my post life lessons a budding entrepreneur at the farmer’s market  to learn more on this topic.

Each Market has it’s own structure and set of guidelines to help it run smoothly so check in with yours before you jump in feet first.

Market Dinner or Breakfast Challenge:

Simple Scramble with Chevre and Spring Greens

Ingredients:

4 eggs
1 Tbsp oil (your choice; coconut oil gives a nice change in flavor, olive or grape seed oil or butter)
1 Tbsp chevre we used organic chevre from sunny pine farms
1 cup spring greens (washed, torn or chopped and stems removed) For a fun you could forage and use Dandelion greens! (remember to properly identify the plant, make sure it hasn’t been sprayed and pick young fresh leaves. Their bitterness will mellow and blend nicely with the eggs).
1 Tbsp chopped fresh seasonal herbs (your choice; chives, rosemary, thyme, parsley, cilantro etc)
salt and pepper to taste

A slice from a fresh baguette or rosemary bread to toast.

Each market is unique to its region and what it can offer, when in France, I love to add olives to this scramble or capers.

Directions:

~Wash, tear or chop spring greens and herbs and set aside
~Pre-warm two serving bowels
~Slice bread and put in the toaster
~Crack eggs in a medium-sized bowel and beat with a fork until mixed. Then add half of your seasonal herbs, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
~In a preheated nonstick or cast iron saute’ pan add oil, and then the egg and herb mix. Scramble the eggs turning from the outside in.  Right before eggs are fully cooked add the chevre  and remove from heat. Then, divide into equal portions (or as much as you are hungry for)and place in your warmed bowel.
~Next, add a tablespoon or so of water and wilt greens in your saute’ pan turning constantly until wilted and then pour over chevre and egg scramble.
~Sprinkle with the second half of the fresh herbs.
~Add salt and pepper to taste

~ enjoy!

Find your Farmers Market!

Here in the Methow we are lucky to have a few:

Methow Valley Farmers Market Saturdays 9am to noon, April through October
Winthrop Market Sundays 10am to 2pm, Memorial Day to Labor Day
Mazama Market Wednesday afternoons, during the growing season

The folks at Local Harvest. Org make it easy to do just that. Click on the link and enter your zip code or state and they will point you in the right direction. It is a great tool to use especially if you are traveling.

Here are a few more links to help you find a market near you:

The USDA Farmers Markets, Food and Wine articles on the Worlds Best Food Markets, Open Air’s market list, and the Huffington Post Photo’s of the worlds largest farmers markets.

See you at the Market!
Rachelle @ Caramelizelife

Starting Seedlings & Garden Planning


After months of cold and dark, we at Caramelize Life love to look forward to spring by starting plants from seed indoors.  Snow covers the frozen earth and the bountiful green garden of last year is hard to remember.  It is time, in the deep dark of February and March, that planning spring starts and a garden layout is particularly inspiring especially here in Northern Mountains of Washington.

For timing your indoor starts, February/March is the perfect time to take stock of your seeds.  If you have gathered seed from last year’s garden, wonderful, and if not, making your mail orders or stopping by your local supplier now fits the timing for spring planting.

In the Methow you can find our favorite seeds sold at http://gloverstreetmarket.com/  They carry seeds from our very own Twisp Ancestree Herbals and Uprising Organics that sources seeds sown by Pacific Northwest growers including Kelleigh Mc Millian’s Sowing Seeds Farm from Twisp River.

Begin by taking stock of what and how much your family will eat throughout the year.  For instance, if you use a lot of onions in your meals, plan a plot that is big enough for cold storage (or freezing) that lasts the year (for our families that is a plot 8×12’ at least).  We use more and more tomatoes every year (for fresh bites for sure, but also for canning, salsas, frozen sauces, you name it) so our tomato plots continue to expand.

We seed cayenne peppers, jalapeño peppers, several tomato varieties and tomatillos.  Each of these plants comes up easily, but you will need a south facing window and possibly an additional light close to your plants (our solution is an old ski pole with florescent light hanging from adjustable ropes to change position as the seedlings grow.)  Watering with mist seems to work best for all these heat loving plants, and their moisture needs are minimal.

Keep a close eye on your seedlings as they come up.  Tomatoes in particular can become gangly, but it’s possibly to gently push them down or build up soil around them.  Little cotyledons (the non-productive leaves) will help anchor the plants, and we like to coax them towards the soil.

Keep in mind when your growing season begins to time your planting of seeds.  For us in the Methow Valley, we count on possible frost until the end of May.  This is the soonest the tomatoes can go in the ground.  Most, however, have a much longer growing season.

If you are curious about your planting season and want to know what zone you live in there are several sites that can help you determine what will grow best in your area and when to plant. plantmaps.com has an interactive map for Wa, Or, and Id. and the Sunset online site has an in depth look at the PNW as well as links to everyplace else.

There is nothing like green little baby plants to lift spirits towards spring.  Love them gently!

%d bloggers like this: