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Dear Veggie Lovers,

Do many of us ever stop and think back to the origins of agriculture itself as we bite into an apple? Shockingly, the practice of sowing, cultivating and harvesting crops has only been around a short time in comparison to the Earth – scientists tell us Earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago – and to man (homo sapiens sapiens to be specific) who’s been around for about 200,000 years – crop cultivation started a mere 10,000 years ago.

Yep, just 10,000 years. 

What were our humanoid ancestors doing before this time for food? Probably hunting, fishing, and writing bad checks at the supermarket. :p

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Homo sapiens sapiens – he’s got the hang of the dirt, all right!

You’ll notice that the number 10,000 coincides nicely with the emergence of what scientists refer to as the first civilized city: Jericho, which is about 8,000 years old. At Jericho they grew wheat and barley and probably – I’m saying it’s certainly possibly, maybe even likely, but not for positive – the world’s first farmers market began there.

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Jericho looking a bit worse for wear.

No, it wasn’t in Wenatchee. I know we all think life originated here, but no such luck!

I do remember though as a little girl that the Wenatchee Farmer’s Market used to be held on the loading dock of the Wenatchee Museum and Cultural Center. Yes, I’m that old – and before you ask, no, I don’t remember the moonshiners, but I’ve heard tale of them…

Anyway, put down that coffee cup for just a second and send your brain back 10,000 years – just for fun, but don’t let it stay too long – then snap it right back to present. Right back here, with the fruit growers, the backyard gardeners, aunt Judy with her tomato pots, and uncle Fred with his apple tree in the backyard. Too many numerous small local growers to count. How did they all get here and what took them so dang long? Well, it took a lot of time and perseverance just to grow that head of lettuce in your fridge, and a lot of very smart people.

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Lettuce be thankful for our lettuce!

Kind of gives you a different perspective on what farming is all about when you think about it, doesn’t it?

See you at the Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market on Saturday, May 19th.

Eat your veggies!

Hi all,

We have just 10 more days until the start of the 2012 Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market! Can you believe it?

Just an update – Flicker Farm is now listed on the NCW EAT site under the “Food Search” tab located here.

If you haven’t already checked out EAT you are sure to find it an excellent source for locally gown food. They even have some recipes ready for your summer eating needs.

I’ve been drooling a bit over these wine and fruit ice pops from SHAPE Magazine. Don’t they look yummy for a hot summer day? Maybe after a hike? Or just out on the back porch after dinner?

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I wonder if you could put kale in that….

See you at the Market on May 19th!

Dear Veggie Lovers,

I’ve been meaning to write a post about winter gardening for a while, but it looks as though I’ve waited nearly too long. Though the days are still chilly, most of the snow in Wenatchee is gone, and as any good gardener knows, snow is the key to successful winter gardening.

In fact, it’s better to have snow than simply freezing temps. Last winter, the Wenatchee area saw severe cold snaps in November 2010 and February 2011 that damaged fruit trees at higher elevations.

Kale, collards, cabbage, and other traditionally cold-hearty crops also died in the home garden. All that was left to eat was the spinach!

But this year, we got enough snow cover during the coldest part of the winter — knock on wood — that helped most of the cold crops breeze right on through. Right now, we have kale, carrots, beets, leeks, and yes, even spinach out there thanks to the season’s earlier snow cover. Here’s how it looked in the home garden back on January 22nd, 2012:

Digging leeks from under the snow, Jan. 2012.

A good find! Leeks for leek-and-potato soup.

Covering the leeks back up with snow.

Digging carrots from under the snow and mulch, January 2012.

A few nice carrots for a small bit of work and lots of pre-planning.

With careful preparation and mother nature’s cooperation, home gardeners can basically “store” their winter crops right out in the field, and dig them up when needed.

And boy are they yummy! Tonight, we had beetroot casserole for dinner – a very filling meal from a Russian cookbook called:

The Food and Cooking of Russia by U.K. author, Lesley Chamberlain

I highly recommend the dish if you happen to like beets. The intersection of beet flavors with sour cream and lemon is distinctly Russian, and makes one want to reach for the vodka bottle on a cold winter’s night.

Dancing not included. ūüôā

But on a more serious note, more interest in winter gardening is good for local growers and veggie lovers too. All across the country (do a Google search and you’ll be amazed at what you find) winter’s farmers markets are gaining in popularity. Here’s a recent article on the All You Can Eat blog at the Seattle Times on the subject.

I say, if Indianapolis, Chicago and Milwaukee can do it, then certainly Wenatchee and the surrounding areas can as well, can’t they?

Then everybody could enjoy some fresh beet root all winter long!

Happy eating.

Dear Veggie eaters – especially those that like their food HOT! —

Here’s ¬†a pepper you would not expect to see in Wenatchee, WA: the Bhut Jolokia or Ghost Pepper. But we actually have (3), courtesy of our neighbor at the Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market. Now, when I tell you that this is one hot pepper despite it’s size, you might look at me kinda funny. This teeny tiny pepper would fit in a squirrel’s coffee cup!

Yellow Bhut Jolokia peppers

The ones we have are maybe one whole inch long, but boy do they pack a mean punch!

Peppers – hot peppers – are rated for heat level on what’s called the Scoville Scale. At the very bottom of the scale, you have the Green Bell Pepper. (Mmm.. my favorite in-garden snack!) ¬†Further up, the Anaheim, the lovely long green tapered peppers used to make Chile Rellenos. Interestingly, on some scales I’ve seen, Anaheims are rated in two different categories – 1,000-2,500 and 3,500 to 8,000. I know I’ve been fooled before when what looks like a mild one turns out to be a double burner! But they are sooooo much lower on the scale than the Bhut Jolokia that the amount of heat we are talking about here is laughable. Yes, laughable!

Take a look for yourself:

Scoville Scale

People who know peppers and love hot pepper talk about Jalapenos, Serranos, Habaneros, and Cayenne. I’ve also heard Scotch Bonnets and the Arbol name bandied about. But folks, these peppers don’t even come close to the Bhut Jolokia, which rates at 1,000,000 on the Scoville Scale, right under police-grade pepper spray. (Could it blind you? No doubt!)

So…why do we have the seeds? To grow ’em, of course! For fools that love things hot, hot, hot, and will not take “mild” for an answer. You might even already be interested in growing them yourself.¬†(Who says misery doesn’t love company?)

Unfortunately, these puppies take a long time to grow – about 9 months – so we’ll be starting them indoors soon for next year’s harvest.

I sure hope my 14 year-old cat doesn’t get into them…. ouch!

In the meantime, here’s a rather whimsical and graphical depiction of the Scoville Scale to keep in mind when you go to the market in search of peppers. Let the heat levels guide you to the best pepper for you!

Ciao!

Ken eating lunch

Dave eating lunch

 

Well, the boys have to eat some time!

 

Happy veggie day to all!

Grumpy cook ramblings

Is it just me, or is it damn hard to find a ripe avocado in this town? Either they say ripe, and you cut them open and they are HARD AS A ROCK, or you cut them open and they are BLACK. Ick!

And what’s with the dearth of Feta cheese crumbles? Seriously, people. ¬†When Grocery Outlet is out of Feta crumbles, you’re pretty much screwed! You’ll pay $5.99 for a tiny box that will be dry and flavorless, and it’s “goat cheese,” not Feta cheese.

Sigh.

Why was I looking for avocados and Feta anyway, you ask? For this:

Yvette's Tabouleh

Tabouleh.

Now, depending on who you ask and where you get your recipe, Tabouleh might be made with couscous, or it might be made with¬†Bulgar¬†wheat. Since I can’t even find Feta, I scratched the bulgar and went with the couscous. Here’s how my recipe goes:

1 cup couscous

1 & 1/2 cups water

Cook the couscous, and cover it. Then, throw in everything but the kitchen sink!

Tomato

Cucumber – the round lemon kind

Spinach leaves – add ’em while the couscous is hot, just after you’ve fork-fluffed it

Avocado – RIPE, preferrably

Feta cheese crumbles – I used 1/2 a container

Several “swirls” of olive oil

Several “squirty swirls” of lemon juice

Mix and eat hearty!

Oh, and if you’re in a mind to see what I ate with it for dinner, it was grilled tofu splashed with soy sauce. Yum!

Mmm grilled tofu!

That, with a shot of rum makes for a perfect vegetarian meal in my house!

Eat hearty me lads. Ho ho!

Jacketed potatoes

Dear veggie eaters,

One half of Flicker Farm – Dave – has come up with an idea that might just take off here in Wenatchee. During the winter months, he’d like to sell “jacketed” potatoes on the street corner.

What’s a “jacketed” potato? Well, it’s a baked one of course!

Here’s one that looks yummy, with just butter on top:

Mmm is that a sprinkle of salt and pepper I see? Looks marvelous.  Dave says they sell them on the street corner in England all the time. So why not here? The hot dog guy has been doing very well, so why not pull up next to him and offer a spud to go with the banger?

And here I thought they only sold this on street corners in England:

fish and chips

Well, alongside the Indian food that is.

So, I started thinking about condiments. You’ve got your usual – ketchup, mustard, brown mustard, scallions, sour cream, crumbled bacon bits, butter, salt, pepper – and then you’ve got your more unusual. Take a look at this potato from an Istanbul street vendor:

I think that’s got a bit of everything including the kitchen sink! That could feed two people quite easily – 0r maybe just one hungry produce grower…

‘course, someone’s got to grow the potatoes!

So drop us a note here or on Facebook at Flicker Farm and tell us what you’d want to put on your street side hot and ready-to-eat potato!

Happy eating!

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