*CSA boxes with weekend pickup may vary slightly.
*CSA boxes with weekend pickup may vary slightly.
Summer is coming on strong. We have our first ripe tomatoes in the farm stand along with basil, berries, and new potatoes. The flowers are blooming, the plants are growing, and the meals are as bright and fresh as ever.
The Lunch Menu (subject to change based on availability)
antipasti:pâte of lamb and pork served with house pickles and mustard new potatoes with romesco and aioli smoked paprika coppa with aged cheddar and tomato caramel mixed greens with balsamic vinaigrette GTF salad with grilled flat iron, pumpkin seeds, and roasted garlic-italian pepper vinaigrette onion soup with artisan bread carrot soup with artisan bread
pizze:roasted garlic/basil/tomato/mozzarella duck/feta/spinach/tomato/mozzarella peppers/kale/potatoes/tomato/mozzarella ham/caper/chard/tomato/mozzarella
secondi:agnolotti with favas and walla wallas beet risotto with grilled scallions and blue cheese gnocchi with herbed ricotta, romas, and pesto grilled pork loin with apple and caper relish brodetto with rockfish, pork belly, and aïoli
GTF pastry chef, Ana Patty, made this two-layer carrot cake for a group that came out to the farm stand for a lunchtime birthday celebration.
If you would like to order one of Ana’s cakes (to serve with lunch or dinner at the farm stand or to take away to your own private event), contact the farm stand at 541-929-4270 at least two days ahead. Cake prices start at $25.
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.
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.
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
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.