Not just any turnip. Introducing the Hakurei Turnip, a sweet and crisp Japanese turnip; its light and fruity flavor is finally part of Blue Fingers’ first summer.
I like to take the time to mention these guys because I’ve never seen a vegetable create more faces of surprised delight when a customer tries one. Last week in Priest Lake a customer drove away and then came back a minute later saying she tried one in the car and immediately turned around for more.
Sadly the root maggots got to 2/3 of the first planting, but I’m seeding more now, and this time I’ll see if I can get more to the markets. We’ll hopefully have a steady supply of them from here on out! (Albeit limited quantities)
I think I like farming because I love catastrophes. I’m not speaking for all farmers, and I don’t even consider myself a farmer yet, but the farmers that I’ve met remind me a lot of EMTs. There’s a lot of dark humor there. A lot of gossiping about horrific accidents. A fair measure of superstitious protections. And if you’re lucky, there’s also a healthy dollop of tranquil acceptance.
In our first month of farm independence, my co-conspirator Caitlin has been teaching me about Radical Acceptance, which according to Psychology Today means, “completely and totally accepting something from the depths of your soul, with your heart and your mind. You stop fighting reality. When you stop fighting you suffer less.” It also says “Radical acceptance is easier to understand than it is to practice.”
Here are my attempts at practicing radical acceptance.
In my first month of growing food, I built a hoophouse that was supposed to help me sell food a month early; it turned into a mysterious deathbox…everything that I planted in it turned yellow and grew a hunchback. I put some more topsoil in, prayed to the all-seeing all-knowing farm books, and put the tomatoes in it. They’re my most valuable crop, and I know they might die, and I probably don’t know enough to save them. But they might not! Radical Acceptance.
Root maggots got the first batch of radishes. Usually you can beat them if you cover your crops with Row Cover. But since 90% of my most frustrating farmhand moments have been wrestling row cover, I hoped root maggots hadn’t moved to Oldtown yet and left the radishes uncovered. Now I know better; row cover is an incredible waste of time and energy…but it’s the only thing that can defeat the maggots. Radical Acceptance.
This winter I was riding a wave of big dream realization, and planned after Curtis Stone’s audaciously optimistic farm profit models. Now I have $600 worth of produce, most of which is beautiful, all ready to sell! But as a first year farmer, I’m that weird new kid on the block who nobody wants to be friends with yet. It takes time to build a customer base, so I’m dumping most of those tasty little plants into the compost pile. Everybody says start small and build up! Now I believe them. Radical Acceptance.
This feels a lot like skiing….I planned the perfect route, launched myself over the edge, and am now tomahawking down the hill. But I can’t say I’m not having a good time? It’s gonna be a great story someday. And I know for a fact that this is just the beginning. The seasoned farmers I’ve worked for are kind of like pro skiers…they get good at one cliff, then find a harder one to jump off. I respect that bravery.
The radishes are covered, the tomatoes are surviving so far, and I had two big restaurant orders come in last weekend. Now I might not have enough greens for the next order? Radical Acceptance.
We’re going to market! Finally! Despite all odds, and some incredibly lengthy rainy spells, we made it to a market in May! We must admit, the selection is low right now, but the arugula is BOOMING and highly recommended! Below is a list of available chow. We will be there from 3:00-5:30.
BULK SALAD CROPS: (see How We Sell for details)
Arugula! It loved us by growing quickly, and we intend to repay it by selling it to you. Ideal peppery and tender taste in the spring.
Spicy Salad Mix: If you like the arugula, you’ll love the mix. Red and green mustard greens, mizuna, and tatsoi. Great fresh or lightly braised.
Radish Mix: The radishes have been neck and neck with the arugula. French Breakfast Radishes, White and Pink Easter Egg Radishes, and the classic Red Radish! May we suggest a French Breakfast Radish sliced thin on a piece of Lydia’s Simple Bread, with butter “bien sûr.”
Baby Kale: Come meet kale at its most tender. Green Curly, Red Curly, Red Russian, and Tuscan.
We may or may not bring lettuce…come to the market and find out!
Lydia’s Bread will also be present. I hear she’s baking Simple Bread (a wondrously chewy white bread) and Cranberry Raisin Honey, which I haven’t tried but intend to ASAP.
And Plant Starts! If you like the kale, why not grow some?
We have been making signs all week and I can now say I have officially mastered free-handing Google’s “Rye” font. Can’t wait to show them to you! And my Sharpie Paint Pen blisters.
We are beyond excited to eat and sell this bread. We intend to give away free samples of a loaf every day the produce stands are open. Please come try a sample before we eat all of them.
Baked by the incomparable Lydia Tollbom, this bread was born the morning that you buy it. Organic flour, and incorporating herbs grown by Blue Fingers Farm. Crunchy, yet chewy, it’s the unicorn of breads. SELLING A LOAF FOR $5. That’s the same price as Dave’s Killer Bread…made by a local wonderwoman!
Three Rotating Flavors (So Far):
Roasted Garlic Dill
Cinnamon Honey Craisin
I heard a rumor Lydia is currently working on a Coffee Chocolate Bread….made with coffee instead of water during the rising process. I don’t understand the science but I will absolutely let you know if this sweet princess makes it to market! That Lydia….what is she going to come up with next?
THE SUN IS OUT. I REPEAT, THE SUN IS OUT. WE CAN PLANT NOW.
Plant starts are not our usual modus operandi, but we have some extras from our starts this year, and I’d love to share them with you! For a modest fee. (4 PLANTS FOR 5 BUCKS *cough*) Here’s what I’ve got:
“Tough Guy” Kale: Did you know kale can overwinter? Even a North Idaho winter? In fact, winter is when kale is the sweetest and most flavorful. Snake River Seed Co-op started a community plant-breeding project where over a dozen area farmers and gardeners saved seeds from kale that overwintered for them. These kale starts were grown from that seed! SHAZAM.
Cherry Tomato Runts: In North Idaho, the tomato growing window is short and rather chilly. Cherry tomatoes are the solution. Tomato germination makes me nervous, so I started too many…having already planted all the big guys, I’m now offering you, the consumer, the runts for cheap! Selling two varieties: SunGold (Orange), and Supersweet 100 (Red).