In This Edition

Squash and Cider Soup with Caramelized Farro & Apples

Customer Profile:  Tipi Dinners with Suekii

Next Seattle Market: FEB 29th/30th

Note from the Farmer

January began with some good, cold and clear weather that led into a very nice snowstorm during the second week.  Both Brooke and I got some more nice runs in on the Butte above the house before the rain hit around Martin Luther weekend and the January thaw began in earnest.  Though the snow pack has slowly been eroding ever since, knowing we had very good ground moisture leading into winter, plus the fact we did have 30 inches of snow on the ground at one point, this farmer isn’t too concerned about this spring’s moisture, or lack thereof, yet.  February is not generally a big precip month in the valley here, but snow is not uncommon in the high country from now thru April.  At the very least, we’re hoping for plenty more snow above 3000 feet.

Meanwhile, January was a relatively slow month in the granary which gave us time to re-organize a few things and do some more grain quality testing.  As I mentioned in our past newsletter, the runs of grain we’re into now seem to be better than I’d first thought and the milling quality very sound.  In fact just yesterday I milled a few hundred pounds of emmer flour for some mixes and a couple custom orders – one back to New York - and the sweetness of the fresh emmer flour was as poignant as I can remember.  It fairly sanctified the sweet sound of the chickadees now already changing song toward spring as I sat in the sun on the granary porch and ate a bowl of squash soup from a brand new recipe Acacia just came up with.  Yumm, yumm!

Already I feel February sliding by too fast even though it’s just begun!  This farmer could sure use another good month of winter to rest up, but I must admit, the occasional spring sound and light has me already jotting a few notes on planting season.  As well, we’re working on some possible new leases as we increase our acreage.  This will not only allow us to grow out more grain, but as importantly, grow more succession of green manure crops so as to keep feeding our soils and reduce actual inputs.  Here at Bluebird we’re always experimenting with our green crops and have used a variety of combinations.  In next month’s newsletter, I will write more on this subject and explain why we feel the green-crop rotation is so important to our operation.  Along these lines, I’ll be headed to Spokane to attend Tainio Technology’s annual pre-spring seminar.  Tainio is where we get most of our microbial and enzyme soil conditioners.  Alas, next month we’ll have to be thinking spring…

Did I mention how good the waterfowl season was?  And how proud I am of our new pup Tucker - now 11 months and who really came on toward the end of the season.  We had some great hunting this past month, and now Tuck is on his way to being a seasoned water-dog on the heels of 7 year old Teal, our avid water dog from the get-go.  Just last night we had grilled wild duck served with our potlatch pilaf and a green salad.  The kids went for seconds, even before they knew we had cookies!

Be well, and enjoy the waning winter days. 

Very best to all,  Farmer Sam 

Bluebird News

Bluebird Farmers Market & Bulk Delivery Schedule 

  • February 29/30th  Please have bulk orders in by February  18th

  • April 2nd/3rd  Resume our weekly market Schedule through October.  Bulk deliveries TBA.

 Farmer-Fisher Chef Collaborative- February 28th:    

We look forward to seeing some of you at the 6Th annual gathering of the Seattle Farmer-Fisher Event in Seattle.  Click here for more info.

Fresh Tracks out our backdoor

Recipe of the Month:  Squash & Cider Soup with Carmalized Farro & Apples

This is a deliciously different winter squash soup, sweet and savory, with golden crispy farro and apples standing in for croutons. The apple pie flavor of the caramelized farro & apples also makes it a strange and wonderful topping for vanilla ice cream!

Read our Squash and Cider Soup with farro Recipe

Customer Profile: Suekii Cornwall of 
Winthrop Tipi Dinners

Suekii Cornwall’s relationship with cooking professionally has evolved over the past forty years, beginning with owning a small catering business in the Seattle area. When she moved to the Methow Valley she quit the catering business for a while and pursued other professional interests for a while.
But then Suekii and her husband Wayne began attending the Pacific Primitive Rendezvous—a re-enactment of mountain man fur trading life during the 1820s-1840s—and she found herself a new niche for cooking food for others. The Rendezvous gatherings recreate life from the fur trading era and participants strive for period authenticity, from the way they dress to the games they play to the tipis and wall tents they sleep in to the food they eat. Suekii began cooking authentic mountain man style meals at the Rendezvous—bison and other game—and discovered that this was something she could share at the Rendezvous.
A friend who knew of Suekii’s talent for producing fresh, nutritious, and hearty meals suggested that Suekii start a business serving meals in rustic settings, but for a while Suekii was content to offer novelty tipi dinners for fund raisers, setting up a banquet table in her tipi during the summer months and serving fresh, seasonal dinners. Winthrop Tipi Dinnerswas born when Suekii learned that she could build a commercial kitchen in her studio and use this kitchen to prepare hot meals, which she could then transport to her tipi and serve guests.
First-time visitors usually gasp when they enter Suekii’s 22-foot nomadic tipi. Custom birch tables circled around a central fire provide intimate seating for up to eight guests. In the winter, diners snuggle into soft sheepskins draped on their chairs and bury their toes in sheepskins at their feet. Because the tipi is lined, it gets quite toasty; guests usually dine in light shirts and bare feet. Lanterns provide a warm glow in winter and during the late evenings of summer the bone-colored tipi provides a beautiful natural light.
Suekii pulls her fur-lined wagon over from her kitchen, laden with the meal she serves family-style. Bison, salmon, and game hens feature prominently as main dishes, complemented by a series of creative and savory side dishes made from locally-grown ingredients, such as Bluebird’s Emmer Ferro pilafwith sun dried tomatoes, mixed wild mushrooms, nuts, golden raisins and black sweet rice and Bok Choy saute with red bell peppers, onions and ginger.

“I’ve been monkeying around with whole emmer for a long time,” says Suekii. “I just love the product.” Suekii needs foods that can be transported from her kitchen to the lodge without losing flavor, texture, or integrity and she finds that emmerin all forms does this perfectly. “It tastes wonderful,” she says, “and it just doesn’t break down no matter what you do to it. Now I’m thinking I’ll do some emmer stir fry dishes in the summer, as well as some emmer saladswith vinaigrette dressings.”
Suekii wants her guests to feel satisfied, but not stuffed, so she sticks to a low-wheat, low-sugar, low-sodium, low-fat menu. “Nothing fills people up faster than a basket of white bread,” says Suekii, “so that’s why I prefer to use the emmer flourin my 5-seed bread. It’s a hearty, dense bread, with almost a pumpernickel type consistency, but you don’t feel stuffed after eating it.”
After the seed bread, after the bison and the emmer pilaf, after the roasted yams and bok choy and sautéed mushrooms, come warm mixed fruit crisps, topped with a puff of whipped cream. Individual French presses for each diner provide Blue Star Coffeeor hot tea, with cream and sugar on the side. The setting may be rustic, but the details are nothing less than elegant.  
It’s no surprise that guests typically spend four hours at a Tipi Dinners dining experience, lingering long after the last bit of fruit crisp has been scraped up from the side of the bowl. Some sip hibiscus elderberry tea or Lost Riverwine, others simply soak in the ambiance of the most unique dining experience they may ever have.
Find more information about Winthrop Tipi Dinnersor call 509-322-1751.