Strawberries

We’re right in the middle of strawberry season, but unfortunately, the situation doesn’t look good. We primarily grow ‘seascape’ strawberries, which are ‘day-neutral‘. Day-neutral strawberry varieties (as opposed to June-bearing) will continue to set fruit as long as temperatures are mild-hot. They usually flush two or sometimes three times: once in late May/early June, once in August, and (hopefully) again in late September/October if the weather doesn’t get too cold. In each flush, the whole patch of seascape berries ripens up pretty quickly, so the window of opportunity to pick and sell the fruit is short. This year, that window has coincided with several heavy rains, which will ruin a good portion of this year’s spring crop.

When picking berries after it’s rained, the crew has to examine each fruit for rotten spots or marks. Lots of berries get thrown out, and the extra inspection makes for a very slow harvest.

All our strawberries are grown on plastic mulch, which adds heat to the soil and ripens the fruit a little early. After a rain, however, plastic mulch will also prevent water from draining into the soil, so the berries are often sitting (and rotting) in little puddles.

The berries that do end up at markets are good ones. They look good, and they taste good. The berries that come on later in the summer, however, will be even better because they’ve seen more sun and hot days to sweeten them up.

The crew recently planted some more ‘seascape’ berries that will hopefully begin to bear fruit in August. A few times per summer, the crew will clean up the rows by cutting strawberry plant runners to encourage more fruit production. We usually harvest off each strawberry field for two years before plowing under the plants and moving on to newer, more productive berry patches.  In the fall, the plan is to plant some new June-bearing strawberries (‘Benton’ and ‘Hood’). We purchase all our strawberry plant starts from Lassen Canyon Nursery.

This year, we have two large greenhouses planted with strawberries. In an attempt to get fruit as early as possible, these plants got an extra “tent” layer of floating row cover for added heat.

The strawberries coming out of the greenhouses look great. These plants ripen fruit over a longer span of time, so the yield from any single picking is a little lower than a good harvest of field strawberries, but they’ve certainly pleased many fruit-hungry farmers’ market customers in the past month or so.

Our strawberry offerings in the next few weeks may be somewhat slim, but keep an eye out for more of our berries later in the summer.

 

Views Around the Farm Stand + Lunch Menu for June 5-8

strawberry-walnut bread

The farm stand is now officially on summer hours, which means that we’re open until 6:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday (9-5 on Saturday). Our Thursday and Friday dinners are getting quite busy, so if you’re interested in coming out, be sure to make a reservation by calling 541-231-1646.

new potatoes with romesco and aïoli

The Menu (subject to change based on availability)

to start: 

country pâté of lamb and pork served with house pickles and mustard
new potatoes with romesco and aïoli
frisée salad with lardon and poached egg
mixed greens with balsamic vinaigrette
GTF salad with strawberries, toasted almonds and tarragon vinaigrette
onion soup with artisan bread
chunky vegetable soup with artisan bread

 

pizze:

roasted garlic/basil/tomato/mozzarella
duck/feta/kale/tomato/mozzarella
pepperoni/caramel shallots/tomato/mozzarella
ham/caper/mozzarella

 

secondi:

herbed ricotta agnolotti with favas
Mosaic Farm ragú with kale and tagliatelle
gratinata with walnuts, blue cheese, and arugula
beet risotto with walnuts, blue cheese, and arugula
cacciucco with rockfish and prawns in roasted pepper stew
beef short ribs with carrots and polenta

 

frisée for the frisée salad
chunky vegetable soup with artisan bread
duck/feta/kale/tomato/mozzarella
ham/caper/mozzarella
herbed ricotta agnolotti with favas
beet risotto with walnuts, blue cheese, and arugula
cacciucco with rockfish and prawns in roasted pepper stew
doughnuts and strawberries
the makings for Ana Patty’s perfect vanilla bean sugar cookies 

Training Caneberries

A few years back, the farm management decided that marionberries and boysenberries would be a welcome addition to our produce offerings. We have a lot of good farmers in our midst here, but none of us had much experience growing caneberries (berries that lose their core and look like a thimble – blackberries, raspberries, boysenberries, etc.). The plants, however, grew and thrived and bore a whole lot of fruit.

Problems arose during harvest and again when the plants needed pruning at the end of the season. Most caneberries produce fruit on year-old canes, so during the spring, summer, and fall, both last-year’s growth and new sprouts must be encouraged to thrive, meaning that the crew had to pick fruit that was hidden in the interior of the plants behind a thorny veil of new growth. This system made the harvest slow and sometimes painful. In the fall and early winter as they pruned, the crew again had a hard time disentangling the old, spent canes from the ones that would produce the following year’s fruit, which took extra time and did some damage to the newer canes.

Last summer, a woman name Brigida joined the crew. She had extensive experience working on other berry farms and offered up a solution to ease both harvesting and pruning. We’re trying it for the first time this spring, and so far, it seems to be working really well.

Last fall, the crew cut and removed all the old canes. As the plants have greened up this spring, it’s been easy to distinguish the year-old canes from the new growth (next year’s productive canes). When the new shoots were about 18 inches tall, all the shoots in one area were gathered together in a bundle, flattened on the ground, and pinned down to keep them from growing up into the older canes.

As the new canes continue to grow, they will be flattened and pinned again and again until there’s a whole line of canes running horizontally along the ground.

At harvest time, the crew will only have to contend with the thorns of the fruit-bearing canes that are growing on the trellis, so the fruit will be easier and faster to pick. At the end of the season, those spent canes will be clearly separate, so the crew can cut and haul them off without damaging next year’s production.

When the old canes are gone, the newer canes will be unpinned from the ground and trained up onto the trellising for the next summer harvest.

We are hoping for a good marionberry and boysenberry year. We should begin harvesting the fruit in July and will have berries available at our farmers’ market booths, in our CSA, and at our farm stand.

Views Around the Farm Stand + Lunch Menu for May 29 to June 1

smoked duck breast with rhubarb mostarda

New in the farm stand this week we have herbs, green garlic, and a more consistent supply of head lettuce and salad mix. The fields around the farm stand are mostly planted with summer produce and are beginning to color up, too. Our guests and customers are more than welcome to take self-guided walking tours around the farm to see for themselves what we’re up to.

GTF salad with strawberries, pistachios, tarragon goat cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette

The Lunch Menu (subject to change based on availability)

to start:

country pâté of lamb and pork served with house pickles and mustard
smoked duck breast with rhubarb mostarda
 
mixed greens with balsamic vinaigrette
GTF salad with strawberries, pistachios, tarragon goat cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette
 
carrot and coriander soup with artisan bread
chunky vegetable soup with artisan bread

 

pizze:

garlic/thyme/tomato/mozzarella
basil pesto/prawn/kale/tomato/mozzarella
roasted peppers/spinach/mozzarella
duck/mushroom/zuke/tomato/mozzarella

 

secondi:

lamb agnolotti with green garlic and parmesan brodo
Mosiac Farm pork ragú with kale and tagliatelle
olive bread pudding with beets
gnocchi with roma tomatoes and herbed ricotta
cacciucco with rockfish and prawns in roasted pepper stew
duck confit with new potatoes and braised cabbage
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Callista (above left) has been working in the farmstand for six years now.

The farmstand is currently showcasing paintings by local artist Lê trung Chính (above right).

We just got in a new batch of beers from Oregon Trail Brewery. How cool are those reusable bottles?

lamb agnolotti with green garlic and parmesan brodo
gnocchi with roma tomatoes and herbed ricotta
cacciucco with rockfish and prawns in roasted pepper stew
bear claw

Views Around the Farm Stand + Lunch Menu for May 22-25

bacon/blue cheese/zuke/tomato/mozzarella pizza

The weather is a little gloomier this week, but the farm is definitely in full swing now. The farm stand is stocked with strawberries, snap peas, cucumbers, fresh carrots, and first of the season basil. We’ve also turned on the heaters to warm up the deck dining room, and the pizza oven always radiates warmth. We’d love to welcome you in to take the chill off with fresh coffee and a hot meal.

The Lunch Menu (subject to change based on availability)

to start: 

country pâté with pistachios served with cornichon and mustard
duck crostini with sour cherry mostarda on grilled baguette
 
mixed greens with balsamic vinaigrette
GTF salad with smoked duck breast, rhubarb, turnip, and honey vinaigrette
 
ham and vegetable soup with artisan bread
creamy roasted pepper soup with artisan bread

 

pizze:

garlic/oregano/thyme/tomato/mozzarella
olive/shallots/goat cheese/tomato/mozzarella
bacon/blue cheese/zuke/tomato/mozzarella
ham/capers/chard/mozarella

 

secondi:

mushroom agnolotti with zucchini
pork ragú with chard and tagliatelle
polenta, farmers choice vegetables, and poached egg
beet torta di crespelle
GTF brodetto with rockfish
chicken galantina, new potatoes, and carrots
 

A note about these flourless almond macarons with chocolate ganache: they may not look like much, but they are delicious. The cookies are made of a mix of almonds, powered sugar, egg whites, and sometimes almond extract, and the ganache is surprisingly rich. They’re not big cookies, but they are quite filling. These treats are gluten-free, but even gluten lovers will not be disappointed.

Often times, macarons are generously dyed with a rainbow of food coloring to enhance their appeal, but Ana Patty (GTF pastry chef) has made the decision to keep things natural.

quick pickles
smoked duck breast
creamy roasted pepper soup with artisan bread
chopped oregano and thyme
sugar snap peas
smoked paprika and parsley oil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gaelen does one heck of a job washing dishes in the kitchen. (His mom made the cute hat.)

base for the beet torta di crespelle
trimming the house-made bacon
slicing the house-made bacon
house-made bacon
salad turnips