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May 2012

Tonnemaker Farms CSA

Tonnemaker Certified Organic CSA

Here at The Weed Patch we are SO excited to be able to be a drop site for Tonnemaker Farm's CSA program for 2012!  

Before we get into everything, you can check out Tonnemaker Farm's website, as well as the CSA program details. Their blog features tons of great information as well as some very tasty looking recipes... 

So who is Tonnemaker Farms, and what is a CSA? Tonnemaker Farms is a certified organic family farm located in Royal City, Washington.

From their website:

"The Tonnemaker brothers, Kole and Kurt, currently farm 126 acres on the north slope of the Frenchman Hills in Royal City, WA, and grow over 400 cultivars of organic fruits and vegetables.

Mission & Philosophy:
Our mission is to provide fresh, great tasting fruit and produce in a sustainable way at affordable prices.

We want to develop a direct relationship with those who eat our food. Customers have the opportunity to know the farm and the farmer.

We feel the responsibility to use the resources we have in such a way that the land can continue to produce healthy food for generations to come. In a sense we do not own the land but instead have borrowed it from our grandchildren.

Our family strongly believes that organic food should not be priced beyond the reach of the average consumer."

Some apples

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Essentially, a CSA is a way to both a) support a local farm, and b) get your produce slightly less expensively even than a farmers market. When you join a CSA, you buy into a program where fresh produce is delivered to you directly; some programs will deliver to your door, some have a community drop site. You can check out the full Wikipedia CSA article here, if you're so inclined for a more in-depth answer.

Tonnemaker Farms has participated in the Bothell Farmer's Market (facebook page) here at Country Village (where our shop is) for the last several years. We have tasted the fruits of their labor (get it???) and we are proud to participate in their CSA program. We have no hesitation to recommend them to any of our wonderful customers. In part, that's because we have known some of their key people for years and years; we trust them, and we know their passion for sustainable, organic produce. Win-win!

Some veggies

If you're a local and you're interested in more information, we encourage you to visit the Tonnemaker Farm's website (facebook) and check out the CSA fliers. We would also highly encourage you to come visit the Bothell Farmer's Market and say hello to them in person! If you can't make the Bothell market, check their website for other markets they are involved in!<


Weekly Specials - May 28th

Hello all!  

Hope you are recovering nicely from your holiday weekend.  We ended up having some truly lovely weather, and enjoyed lots of visitors at the store.  There seemed to be more focus on the actual memorial part of Memorial day this year - either that, or I've just been paying more attention this year.  Yesterday, I really thought a lot about people who have served our country, what their lives and the lives of their families must have been like, what things they went through, etc.  We've experienced some challenging times in our personal life recently, and I find myself thinking more about how we're all in it together in this world, and how much I appreciate what our veterans have gone through to serve our country, as well as those currently in service.  I appreciate our teachers, who go through so much for so little tangible benefit, with what seems like so little support from all those people who decide where our tax money goes, in order to give our children the knowledge, experience, and confidence they need to make it successfully in this world.  I think we all deal with so much in our own lives, and it is hard to remember that other people are also going through their own set of challenges.  It's so easy to focus on ourselves, to dwell deeply in our troubles, maybe even to take things out on those around us.  I don't know that any of this has anything directly to do with memorial day, but I guess the holiday is a time for rememberance - of thinking beyond ourselves for a day, and to consider (and maybe even appreciate) others.  I'd never really thought too much about Memorial Day before, I guess this is the year it has clicked with me.  I hope it was good for all of you too!

Anyway, I meant to just let you know that I updated the Weekly Specials!  All this week, another set of products are on sale for 10% off.  Here are a few:

933023M

Americana Star Kitchen Gift Set

40213M

Family Table Dinnerware - Cookie Jar 

 

91349L

Bird Perpetual Calendar Set, by Lone Elm Studios

1011-83664M

Black Sheep, by Blossom Bucket

428-01L

Olde Forge Placemat, by Park Designs

The rest are all online here.  Enjoy! :)

 

--Janene


Memorial Day 2012

Perform, then, this one act of remembrance before this Day passes - Remember there is an army of defense and advance that never dies and never surrenders, but is increasingly recruited from the eternal sources of the American spirit and from the generations of American youth. ~W.J. Cameron

Matt Mathews: Remembering Our Lost Soldiers, memorial day 2012

I am PROUD to be an American. I'm proud to live in a country where everybody is welcome to their own opinion, their own beliefs, and their own lives. I'm proud to live in a country where everyone who chooses to can have their own voice, free from worrying about persecution. A country where a person can work to make a life, regardless of their background, if they're willing to work hard enough for it.

Matt Mathews: Remembering Our Lost Soldiers, memorial day 2012

And I am eternally thankful for those men and women who place themselves in harms way to protect my rights, my beliefs, my life. They chose a high road, a hero's road. Each and every one of them is a living, breathing, modern day hero. Those that have made the ultimate sacrifice, those who we owe the most to, let us never - EVER - forget these brave soldiers. Let us never forget their spouses, their kids, their familes - for their sacrifice is exponential.

Matt Mathews: Remembering Our Lost Soldiers, memorial day 2012

Today is a day to remember the fallen heros. Today is a day to remember their families. Today is a day to be thankful that there are those among us who are willing and able to step up to be our defense. So to all who have ever served, and who ever will serve - thank you.

Matt Mathews: Remembering Our Lost Soldiers, memorial day 2012

Many thanks to Matt Mathews Photography for the generous use of his images. Check him out on facebook, and take a gander at his website!


Planting the Orchard...

“The best time to plant trees was 20 years ago. The next best time is NOW.”
~ (so many people have said this, I'm not sure who to attribute it to.  If you know, drop a comment, please!)

 

In addition to the store, Janene and I are quite passionate about living a simpler, less complicated life. We've been learning and moving towards an urban homesteading lifestyle. I am incredibly passionate about gardening - both vegetable and floral / landscaping. Among the goals that we have is to turn the house into an urban homestead - we had even discussed bees, goats, and chickens for this year, but decided that was far more than we could handle. Which, given the way this year has gone, turned out to be a VERY good decision.

Semi-Dwarf Honeycrisp Apple Tree

One thing we HAVE managed to do this year, however, was to plant some fruit trees. We were blessed to receive some trees from a friend, and also to find a smokin' hot deal at one of our favorite nurseries (The Plant Farm) on bare root trees. This is something we're especially excited about, and wish we had been able to do a few years ago when we first moved in, as we would be that much further along... But now we have a start, and over the next few years we'll be able to harvest more and more of our own apples, pears, and prunes. In the meantime, farmer's markets it will be!

Orchard

Ben was SO excited to help plant them, and he CONSTANTLY is asking when he can pick the fruit off the trees. This is so important to us, because we feel strongly about teaching the kids the importance of environmental responsibility, and that includes growing our own food and understanding where it all comes from.

So, what did we end up planting?

Honeycrisp Apple:
"Honeycrisp Apple has become increasingly popular in American grocery stores over the past few years. Primarily due to its explosive crisp texture and well-balanced sweet/tart flavor, it is said to be the "fun to eat apple". A relatively new patented variety, Honeycrisp Apple has a texture similar to a crisp watermelon or Asian Pear. The fruit size is very large and predominantly red over a yellow background." ~Willis Orchard Co. (http://www.willisorchards.com/product/Honeycrisp+Apple+Tree)

Dwarf Early Italian Prune Tree

Dwarf Early Italian Prune:
"Similar to Italian, but sweeter, slightly larger & more productive. Shorter growing season than Italian. Originated near Yakima, Washington in 1935. Self-fruitful." ~The Plant Farm (http://www.theplantfarm.com/trees/plums.htm)

Grafted Dwarf Apple:
Jonagold, Yellow Delicious, Gravenstein, Melrose, and Liberty. How cool is it that we can get five different apple varieties from one tree, and that the tree will self-pollinate? Given our limited space, these grafted trees are an awesome option.

Grafted Apple Tree

Grafted Dwarf Pear:
Anjou, Flemish Beauty, Conference, Bartlett and Red Bartlett. These trees are wonderful; we'll get a variety of pears from this beauty, and (since we have limited space) we can plant just the one tree and it will self pollinate! (Apparently European and Asian pear trees don't cross polinate well, which doesn't necessarily bode well for the Asian Pear tree...

Shinseiki Pear:
"The Shinseiki Pear Tree is a round, medium sized, golden pear with white, sweet, crisp, and juicy flesh. The fruit of the Shinseiki Pear Tree ripens in late July, to mid August and stores extremely well until March. The Shinseiki Pear Tree bears fruit at a young age and requires 250-450 chill hours to set it's good quality pear fruit. Zones 5-9a." ~Willis Orchard Co. (http://www.willisorchards.com/product/Shinseiki+Pear+Tree)

Unknown Apple:
We're not sure what this is. This is one that we inherited from our good friend, and the tag on it is completely faded off. It will be interesting to see what develops!

Espalier Apple Tree

Depending on how our landscaping comes together, maybe next year we'll look into some espalier apple or other fruit trees... I've got a GREAT spot for them, if things come together the way they might ... and a living wall of scrumptious edibility is extremely appealing! The other thing I'm very excited about looking into is columnar apple trees - I can grow them in pots; they get to be 8'-10' tall, but only 3-4' wide... and I have an AWESOME spot between us and our wonderful neighbors that gets full sun - but I don't want to plant anything right on the property line. These would be PERFECT!

Espalier Fruit Tree

Do you have any fruit trees? What's your favorite?

 



Featured Shop: Quite The Find

Welcome back to our "Featured Shop" posts! Here we'll be once again introducing you to other shops that share our home at Country Village, in Bothell Washington (find the Village on Facebook, too!). We'll do this roughly once a week, so keep your eyes peeled, as there's a whole lotta great shops around us - all small "mom and pop" shops that we know you'll love!

Today we'd like to introduce you to Quite The Find. Nancy Stoll took over the space where Gina had The Well Dressed Home (Gina's life went a different direction back earlier this year), and we are SO loving having Quite The Find across the street from us. Nancy and her team have done a beautiful job with the store, creating a beautiful mix of antiques and new finds in an inviting and comfortable space. You can find Quite The Find on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/quitethefind and on the main Country Village Shops website at http://www.countryvillagebothell.com/quite-find

And now, because a picture is worth 1000 words, here's a small gallery of Quite The Find - we hope you enjoy it, and we hope you walk across the parking lot and check them out the next time you're here at The Weed Patch!

Quite the Find in Bothell's Country Village Shops

Quite the Find in Bothell's Country Village Shops

Quite the Find in Bothell's Country Village Shops

Quite the Find in Bothell's Country Village Shops

Quite the Find in Bothell's Country Village Shops

Quite the Find in Bothell's Country Village Shops

Quite the Find in Bothell's Country Village Shops

Quite the Find in Bothell's Country Village Shops

Quite the Find in Bothell's Country Village Shops

Quite the Find in Bothell's Country Village Shops

Quite the Find in Bothell's Country Village Shops

Quite the Find in Bothell's Country Village Shops

Quite the Find in Bothell's Country Village Shops

Quite the Find in Bothell's Country Village Shops

Quite the Find in Bothell's Country Village Shops

Quite the Find in Bothell's Country Village Shops

Quite the Find in Bothell's Country Village Shops

Quite the Find in Bothell's Country Village Shops

Quite the Find in Bothell's Country Village Shops

Quite the Find in Bothell's Country Village Shops

Quite the Find in Bothell's Country Village Shops


Thoughtful Friday, May 25 2012

How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes! ~Maya Angelou

Memorial Day is upon us this weekend, and all through America people will spend time picnicing, barbequing, and hanging out with their friends. We truly hope that you will spend some time this Memorial Day recognizing that there are thousands of dedicated, brave, and unselfish men and women who are putting themselves in harms way to keep us safe. They have families who sacrifice so much, on a daily basis - living life away from daddy or mommy, from their lovers and their soulmates.

Matt Mathews Photography: Remembering Our Lost Soldiers

While you play all weekend - and play you should - think about these men and women. If you know them, or their family, make it a point to call them and tell them thank you. Tell them you appreciate them, and all they do. If you're in a position, offer to help, if they need it. Think of them often, and always remember - every day - those that protect us.

And when you play, play hard, for that is what these brave soldiers would truly want.

Many thanks to Matt Mathews Photography for the generous use of his image. We'll feature a few more of his powerful works on Monday May 28, 2012 - and in the meantime, check him out on facebook, and take a gander at his website!

Memorial Day 2012


Building his first birdhouse

Ben painting his birdhouse

Back in February this year we lost a dear family member when Janene's brother-in-law unexpectedly passed away due to a massive heart attack. After the funeral, Janene was able to stay down at her mother's for an extra week to process everything. This meant that Ben and I (Ben having to return to school) got some quality time with just the two of us, which I always enjoy. Upon waking one morning Ben announced that he wanted to go to My Garden Nursery - one of our favorite haunts. :) You see, he had seen a birdhouse there (by Melissa and Doug) that he had set his heart on.

Ben putting in the screws

So we made the trip down to see everybody there, and we ended up (of course) bringing the kit home. Ben was absolutely beside himself with excitement - he could not WAIT to get home and put this together....

Ben screwing things together!

And he was SO helpful. :) He mostly put the entire house together himself, only needing help with a couple of pieces that didn't quite line up right.

Birdhouse kit by Melissa and Doug purchased at My Garden Nursery

SOOO excited to see inside!

Ben with is finished unpainted birdhouse

A few days after the house was built (and the novelty wore off) we pulled out the paints and his excitement was renewed... He had some help painting the first leaf or two with Grandma Elaine, but he finished up painting the other two leaves all by himself - and he did quite a decent job of it! He and Janene then painted the rest of the house together, and one of these days I will remember to get a picture of it...

 

 

And finally, just because. Savannah and her binky.
Savannah, just because.


White bean, Sausage, and Kale Soup

White Bean, Sausage, and Kale Soup

White Bean, Sausage, and Kale Soup

I’ve made a rendition of this soup a few times, and keep forgetting to write it down, so this is just the most recent version I made. You can experiment a bit with the type of beans to use, sausage flavors, different greens, etc. Whether you use dried beans or not is up to you – canned are just fine, but if you have the time to use the dried, they really do taste so much better. I may never use canned beans again! Other than the beans, the whole thing comes together fairly quickly. It is also gluten free, if that is important to you (though check your sausage, to be sure). Typically I would put carrots in here, but cooked carrots are a no no for two people in our family, so I used mushrooms here instead. Do whatever sounds good to you!

Ingredients

  • 1 bag dried Great Northern Beans (small white beans are OK, but we find them to be the kind that gives you a gassy tummy. I’ve used garbanzo too)
  • 3-4 links sausage – pick out a really good quality tasty sausage. My favorite have been with a turkey sausage, like Adele’s, but I did a pork/beef blend once and it was fine. I like my soup to be more veggie heavy and found 3 links to be plenty, but feel free to use all 4 if you want.
  • 2 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion, medium sized – chop it somewhat finely
  • 1 lb Button Mushrooms – halve then slice them
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ - 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ - 1 tsp dried sage (or 2-3 tsp fresh)
  • ½ - 1 tsp dried thyme (or 2-3 tsp fresh)
  • 1 small bunch of Kale (or whatever your favorite dark green is – you may have to cook more/less, depending on the green) – pull the leaves off the thick ribs and tear them up. You’ll have 4-5 cups worth
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (optional)

 

Directions

  1. If you elected to try out dried beans, yay you! You won’t be sorry. Not only are they cheaper, they taste better, and you won’t have all that extra sodium. I follow the directions on the back of the bag, only I don’t dump out the soaking water – it is full of flavor and nutrition from the beans. Basically, rinse and sort your beans, put them in a large pot and cover with water (at least 2 inches above the beans). Bring them to a boil, then remove from heat and let them soak for an hour. Put them back on the heat and bring to a simmer. They’ll soak up a bunch of the water, and so you’ll have to add more. Simmer them for 1.5-2 hours, or until they are tender. Don’t overcook them, as they’ll get cooked a tad bit more in the soup. When you’re done, drain the beans, reserving the soaking liquid. (if you’re using canned beans, just skip this part)
  2. Cut sausage links in half lengthwise, then cut into half moons (however thick you’d like). Brown them for a few minute in a large soup pot over medium to medium high heat. Some people cook sausage in a tad bit of oil, but I think sausage is fatty enough – if you need a little something to keep it from browning too much, just add a bit of water. When it is browned, remove it and set aside.
  3. Add 2 or so teaspoons olive oil to the pot and add onion. Saute 3-4 minutes, or until it starts to soften. Add garlic, and stir constantly for 30 seconds (don’t let it burn!). Add mushrooms, and sauté another 5-6 minutes, or until they give up their liquid and are starting to brown a little.
  4. Add the sausage back in, along with 4 cups of the beans (or 2 cans of rinsed and drained canned beans), the sage and thyme, and about 6 cups of water. Stir in salt and pepper to taste – I use kosher salt, and as the grains are larger, I sometimes seem to need a bit more than if measuring out table salt. My rule of thumb is to start with half and taste it, cuz you can always add more. So, put in ½ tsp salt, and maybe ¼ tsp worth of ground pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on medium low heat.
  5. At this point, all the ingredients are cooked, so you can simmer about as long or as little as you want. Try to give it a good 10-20 minutes for the flavors to mix and mingle and get all yummy. Taste it again, and add another ¼ go ½ tsp of salt, if needed.
  6. When you get to about 5-10 minutes out from wanting to sit down to dinner, stir in the kale. Let it cook 5-10 minutes, depending on whether you like it green with a little bite to it, or dark and soft.
  7. Grate some fresh Parmigiano Reggiano over each serving. It isn’t required, but it is like icing on the cake. Parmigiano Reggiano sounds extra fancy, but I just get it in the “fancy” cheese section of safeway. It is obviously pricier than your basic cheddar, but it keeps forever loosely wrapped in the fridge, has incredible flavor, and a little bit goes a long way. I find that just a tad bit of it is what makes a good dish great.

Enjoy (we sure did!)

White Bean, Sausage, and Kale Soup - empty bowl!