Happy almost summer! The past month has been *quite* busy here on the farm.
The weather has finally started to warm up a bit and we’re getting into the full swing of the growing season. The wildflowers are still blooming around the valley and I noticed our olive trees started to flower yesterday! Read on to see what we’ve been up to!
This Month on the Farm
At the end of May we spent 10 days planting 4 acres of chiles and 3.5 acres of dry beans, splitting our days to plant in the mornings and evenings so we wouldn’t have to be out in the heat of the day.
Compared to other farms, we grow our starts in the greenhouse for a pretty long time. This year we planted seeds at the end of January and focused on developing incredibly healthy roots before planting the ground in late May. They look a bit lanky when first planted but they have already developed more of their leaves and are starting to thrive!
We also planted a LOT more beans than we have previously and I’m so stoked about it. My 93-year-old grandma was in town during planting and she came on out and helped us plant a small section of Tigers Eye beans. While one variety we planted didn’t germinate, we hope to have solid harvests of the other 9 varieties(!) of beans we sowed.
And we will be ready for them come harvest time with our new bean thresher that we imported from Turkey! I think Alejandro might be most excited about the thresher since he spent the most time riding our bike-powered bean thresher last year.
This machine will *hopefully* take about 3 weeks of work and complete it in a day, maybe even in a few hours of time! Threshers are used to clean beans from their shells which sounds like an easy task but when you are trying to produce over a ton of beans, you really don’t want to do it by hand. We’ll share more about the thresher once we get to use it in September!
Did we also mention that it is also strawberry season? Here on the farm we have 4,500 Seascape Strawberry plants. Once they begin to fruit, they don’t stop until the fall (or we start to run out of water and prioritize the chiles). We’ve been known to walk outside and snack on strawberries well into October and even November.
We sell the majority of our strawberries to the Philo Apple Farm for their strawberry jam, while the rest of the berries head out to restaurants and individuals here in the valley. On Fridays when we have a big harvest of berries, our plan is to sell them on the side of the road in front of Lichen Estate (right next to the farm at 11001 CR 151 in Boonville) in the afternoons. Like I said before, we’ve been busy!
Flavors for Summer
Pick up a variety of whole dried chiles and make Romesco Sauce. It’s a mix of dried chiles, hazelnuts and almonds, bread, and tomato and is a perfect summer flavor to slather on a piece of crusty bread with a thick juicy tomato and even works as a dipping sauce for fresh veggies. When I cooked at the Boonville Hotel, we would spoon it on grilled flat iron steaks. It is definitely *chefs kiss*.
My preference is to use a mix of Ancho, Espelette, and Guajillo chiles with a few Yahualica chiles (or a tiny spoon of Yahualica flakes!) to amp up the heat. As a note, we’re running low on our stock of whole dried chiles. Once they sell out, we won’t have the next crop ready till December or January.
I regularly make the mistake of turning on the oven for long periods of time in the summer to braise meats and this summer my goal is to use my Instant Pot as much as possible. That means making Comapeño Carne Adovada in the electric pressure cooker real soon. It’s great to have on hand for easy tacos, nachos, or even to spoon on top of your morning eggs. Also! We now have Comapeño chile powder available by the individual jar.
What We're Cooking
- We made the first of the season Pesto Pasta using garden garlic scapes, basil, and Calabrian Chile Flakes. The basil is booming so this will be on repeat (but without the garlic scapes!) all summer!
- Cobb Salad forever! We love a big ol' salad of crunchy greens, avocado, bacon, tomato, cucumbers, blue cheese, pickled onions, whatever else we have on hand that seems right, as well as chicken thighs seasoned with garlic powder, oregano, cumin, salt and Piment d'Ville. And some Pimenty Pepitas or even pita chips for some crunch.
- Since it is strawberry season, we're eating large bowls of berries and cream most nights of the week!