Hey, here’s the latest on what I’m up to. Gonna try to be more on top of this blogging concept, because I want to document the season well. Additionally, my blog photos have looked like it’s mid-spring since… mid-spring, and there is so much new stuff happening and getting ready to go off right now!
I have narrowed my market scope to Tuesdays in Ashland, and Thursdays in Medford, at the armories. At some point I’d like to be in a postition to do Saturdays in Medford at the new Black Oak Village market as well, but all in good time. I learned by going to them that some of the other markets around the valley I’d listed a while ago seem to lend themselves better to crafters and food vendors than to growers.
It’s funny reading my early blog posts about how I thought I’d be doing soooo many markets! FusionFarm, EVERYWHERE, eight days a week!!! Crazy, and hilarious now, there is just no way. I’m settling in to the idea of twice and week, which literally is all I can humanly do, and that feels right for now.
The whole point in devoting large chunks of each day to market gardening was to continue to shift my livelihood in a way that supports my main job, which is MOM. Aside from the fact that I don’t have enough produce to sell more than 2 days a week, if I tried to do more right now, I’d pretty much never see my kids. The realities of how long everything takes (seeding, transplanting, planting, fertilizing, watering, harvesting, cultivating, selling, etc…) are, well, pretty real. I am having a great time, working my ass off, and I am seriously tired, salty, and sore at the end of each day. Feels great. I love it when the kids come down and hang at market. They are really good about helping me harvest when I need it as well–they’re becoming good little calendula pickers, cooler carriers, waterers, garden companions…
Huge props as well to my main partner in crime/super workhorse/cheerleader/all-around incredible human being…Marcus. Talk about a hard worker. You tore up your whole front yard for us to grow, and are becoming a master gardener before my eyes. I can never thank you enough, love.
As I’m sure you’re all aware, it is July and extremely sunny right now. My greens look up from their beds at me and say… Seriously? I’ve got them shaded and well-watered, but this is not their favorite scene to grow in. Some of my Asian greens just refuse to hang on, and I understand. It’s hot out.
My borage is pretty much done, snow peas are over. They are positively, divinely beautiful flowers, and I miss them in my mix. However, the beauties that are happening intensely right now are the nasturtiums and the day lillies, which are glorious–bright oranges, yellows and reds. They contrast gorgeously with the purple and blue of the violets and greens of the nasturtium leaves and stems.
Adios, lovely peas
Biz ebbs and flows for sure, I have a couple of regulars who come specifically for the greens mix, and all kinds of people are starting to stop and chat. Lately, the conversation usually starts with how daaaaarling the baby artichokes are. I have a plant that volunteered in my garden about 10 years ago, that is now over 7 feet tall and LOADED with these crazy little walnut to raquetball-sized artichokes. I wasn’t sure what to do with them, because I could not for the life of me find pictures of this particular variety anywhere online. So, I just decided to cook some up and see if they worked. I always give my customers the disclaimer that they’ve gotta want it if they’re going to buy the baby artis. The reason is that you have to remove the top, bottom, and most of the leaves before you get to the goods, and you need at least 10 of the babies to get a pound of them. Labor intensive doesn’t begin to describe it–but man, they are worth the work. Delicious.
Baby artichokes flying high
I will be including a recipe each week that goes with whatever I have on the table. Today, for example, I had a bunch of the artichokes, and included a simple sautee recipe with them. I also had stir-fry bunches with red mustard, mizuna mustard, spinach mustard, and joi choi. I sold the last of my snow peas, and several bags of greens and flowers.
So, if the conversation starts with the baby artichokes, most often it seems to end with the flowers. I had my best day ever in Medford last week, which was very encouraging. Even if people aren’t buyin’, they smile, or comment on how beautiful the display is–my twice-weekly art projects seem to be working. I certainly get a lot of happiness from this art form. It is dumb that I don’t have a photo of one of the flower mandalas that I make for my table display, but I’ll take one on Tuesday…
The folks who notice the display best are always kids. Their parents will walk by, but the kids stop. Some are adventurous and willing to try eating flowers, some not so much, but all of them will look and many have great questions. I don’t necessarily miss having 30 of them in a classroom on a daily basis, but I love that what I’m doing draws that bright, clear, and curious kid energy around the FusionFarm booth. It really loosens up that way-too-in-a-hurry-all-the-time adult energy.
OK, that’s it for now, more soon!
- Shaded baby greens