Here we go again folks – Coupeville Market opens TODAY!

I’ve been sending veggies to the Coupeville Farmer’s market now since the summer of 1999!  14 years.  Wow.  And if it wasn’t for the Coupeville Farmer’s market I wouldn’t be where I am today (farming 12 acres, selling in 3 counties, employing about 8 folks!).  So I definitely think fondly of the market.  That’s the great thing about farmer’s markets, they are great “incubators” for small businesses.  Especially when it comes to local food, it’s hard to have a better start then a great local farmer’s market!

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The Prairie Bottom market booth in the height of the season! How much can one farm trailer hold? A LOT!

You won’t see me personally so much at the farmer’s market these days however although Willowood Farm food is there.  That’s just the nature of getting “bigger” and as my time and energy has needed to go elsewhere.  At Coupeville we partner with Prairie Bottom Farm and farmer’s Wilbur and Julieanna (and wee Henry too!), do a great job there with their tractor and trailer farm set up.  Our farms have grown together (Wilbur started selling at the farmer’s market with me I think by even the 2nd year I was going!) and they know my food as well as anybody so I’m thrilled they are selling it.  Then later in the month, we will open down at Bayview Farmer’s Market and I will have one of my stalwart crew (Paige Handy, returning intern from last year), manning the booth down there with myself as the occasional fill-in.  

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Paige looking bounteous…

Meanwhile here on the farm we are busy busy busy putting in the new season’s crops.  April is very much a transitional time as many as our overwintered crops go away (we’ve been selling to restaurants on Whidbey and in Seattle since January believe it or not!), and we wait IMPATIENTLY for the first of the new season’s plantings.  (I’m currently can’t stop thinking about Japanese turnips. JAPANESE TURNIPS!  Nom-nom-nom…).  Over the past few weeks we’ve planted I believe it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 9000 starts.  Yes that’s thousands not hundreds.  Lettuce, kale, collard, baby pac choi, broccoli, early walla onion starts…We also sowed thousands of row feet of early seeds in the last few weeks – things like mustards, radishes, mesclun, beets, carrots, chard, peas, fava beans…And meanwhile we still have somewhere in the neighborhood of another 60,000 thousand starts to plant.  Yes that’s as in 60 THOUSAND!  We have 55,000 onion, leek and shallot starts to plant alone.  And of course, that’s not even counting the 300 lbs of dry beans we will plant, or the acre of potatoes!

So that’s quite a bit more of a garden then the little 15′ by 40′ foot plot i started with by in 1999!  Amazing how these things do grow and makes me wonder where the farm will be in another 14 seasons…But since what I really know all you folks care about is WHAT VEGGIES will be available at the market today for your hungry hungry tummies, here ya go with the list:

From Willowood:

* Leeks (overwintered baby leek very very yummy * French Breakfast radishes – super good and not as many as I hoped for market today, they’ll go fast * Potatoes – Stored from last year.  We’ve still got Yellow Finns, German Bs, Maris Piper and Kerr’s Pink * Purple Sprouting Broccoli – a cool overwintered veggie.  Try mixing them with spring asparagus! * Collard Raab – The tender sprouting shoots of collard plants and leaves.  So yummy. * Rhubarb.  The first picking of the season!

Meanwhile I believe Prairie Bottom has quite a selection of goodies including kale, kale raab, chard, spinach, onion bunches, winter squash, Rockwell beans and maybe some other things as well! 

So head down to Coupeville today, 10 to 2 p.m. in the field behind the library, and check out the local food offerings!

Farmer Georgie, Willowood Farm of Ebey’s Prairie

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