In This Edition:
Potlatch Pilaf Frittata
Mother Nature is Perfect in Every Way
Einka & French Lentil Blend
Monthly News Transitions to Blog
Jessie Moore of Whole Foods Market
News & Announcements
February has been a big month for us. Projects that we have been working on over the past few years have finally come together. Both our new packaging and new products are now out, phew!
Our dinner line has hit grocery shelves and now has a better, more accessible price point. Einka, Einka Flour, and Split Emmer Farro (an ancient grain bulgur) is now available for direct-wholesale sales! If you are a wholesaler you should have received an updated price list with our new items and new pricing. If you have not received this please give
me a shout and I will forward it to you right away.
By the end of this month we will have one more product to roll out: a blend of Einka & French Lentils. This lovely blend of our organic whole grain Einka and rich peppery organic french lentils makes a wonderful side dish, soup or salad. This blend embodies a new flavor profile that is extraordinary.
Sam and I enjoyed attending the Nevada Small Farms conference. We both gave presentations on various parts of our farm business. BTW... I have a 90 minute presentation on marketing value added products if you are interested in having me present, I love to share this stuff! I appreciated meeting Nevada's community food advocates that are working night and day to make farm direct food accessible to their communities.
Last but not least... next month we will transition from a newsletter to a blog. Throughout the month we'll post stories related to Bluebird Grain Farms - the kind that you've come to enjoy. At the end of each month we'll alert you about all the wonderful posts you can read. For example, profile stories by Ashley Lodato, Notes from the Farmer, Recipes and News & Announcements from Brooke. It's under construction as we speak so we'll email you at the end of April when it's ready! We're very excited about our new blog and we hope you will enjoy it!
Notes from the Farmer
Mother Nature is perfect in every way. I’ve often said: Maybe we don’t understand her actions but they are necessary and perfect. Lo…I’m still scratching my head about that end-of-January Robin? Since our last newsletter went out, the Methow has received nearly 4 feet of snow. Once again, a generally quiet month – February – couldn’t have been any more active. In a month’s time our snowpack has pushed above average, we’ve given the snow blower and plow a steady work out around the granary here along with the shovels, and still have had time for a few powdery runs on the Butte! I’m not alone in surprise that the two wettest months of the last 12 have now been last September and this February. Neither are generally big precip months. Okay – go figure.
So I remain ever more perplexed by that robin I saw January 30th. Our feeder now is busier than ever, but not so much with spring birds as with birds that previously were able to peck and scratch and bud elsewhere until the steady snows hit. Sapsuckers; nuthatches; grosbeaks now join the winter-long chickadee and finches. February not only secured our water supply for another year, but it bought this farmer more time as, what looked surely to be an early spring, is now shaping up to be a later one. Fine by me; we were busy enough with snow removal and meeting our reluctant freight trucks that grew very shy of the Rendezvous. We’ve had no time for seed selection and hardly much time for spring planning.
Alas, the sun is reaching higher and daylight is fairly an even 12 hours. Although the mercury sat at 10 FH this morning, the sun and longer days of March will soon go to work on the snow. Hopefully, the early frozen ground will mellow some now, and when the snow begins to melt we’ll have some good absorption. Having a late and dry fall, followed by below zero temps. sometimes can seal the ground.
This month we will get to selecting that seed stock! This month I will be contacting our crop advisor and laying out a spring plan. My guess is we’ll be on some fields if not by the next newsletter, by mid-April. Meanwhile, we’re pleased with the run of grains we’ve been into most all winter. Consistent cleaning makes consistent milling and orders have been lively enough so that we’re sending out lots of fresh product every week. Though we do not farm in the winter, we get to taste the farm year every week while milling our grains. This is yet another attribute to growing our own products. Not only do we get to see how we did in the field, but we are never too far from the soil in this regard. Whenever we open the lid on a barrel of our fresh-run emmer, and take in that sweet, nutty aroma, one can easily drift back to the ripening August sun and the turning-blonde grain heavy with Mother’s goodies.
When customers drop by during our open houses and we step into the granary, often I hear them remark: Oh, it smells good in here! Reminds me of my grandfather’s, or Uncles, or some other fond memory of farms and grains. It is a sanctifying comment and one I treasure. It is a spoken compliment to us and our staff here. It makes us feel good to know our customers and share our “space.” Every farm should be happy to have visitors and be glad the visitors are curious about their food.
After being guests at the Nevada Small Farms Conference this past month, where there is precious little snowpack again this year, Brooke and I drove back to the Methow in another blizzard - tired yes, but also gleeful. We are fortunate here in the Cascades to have the beauty and water, once again. We are so fortunate to call this Valley our home and to have such wonderful customers here and elsewhere. Leaving town, sometimes, can drive home the fact of how good we have it.
And so when all this lovely white turns to muck and the Rendezvous transforms into a “monster truck” track and the spring winds begin to kick, we’ll remember the farmers in Nevada and California who will not have the moisture to farm this year. We’ll remember that, without water no plant can truly thrive. It was a pleasure to meet and talk to farmers in a completely different paradigm. For their sake, I hope the March snows come. Enjoy the Ides of the mighty month of March! As much could easily transform this month as it did last. Thank you winter for staying around. I know by next month it will be goodbye to you for another year.
Yours, Farmer Sam
Potlatch Pilaf Frittata
w/ Roasted Cauliflower & Sweet Onion
Recipe by: Bluebird Grain Farms
3 C Water
6 Large eggs
8 oz. Mascarpone cheese
2 T Flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 t Sea salt
½ t Freshly ground pepper
¼ t Ground nutmeg
½ t Sweet paprika plus pinch for garnish
2 T Extra virgin olive oil
1 C Sweet Onion in long thin slices
1 Medium cauliflower head, diced small
½ C Finely grated Parmesan
Turn oven to 375.
Bring 3 cup water to rolling boil, add Potlatch Pilaf and simmer on low for 35 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 10. Drain any excess liquid if necessary.
While pilaf is cooking; chop sweet onion and cauliflower. In medium bowl combine onion and cauliflower and toss with 2 tablespoon of olive oil, ½ teaspoon sea salt and ½ teaspoon sweet paprika until olive oil, spices and vegetables are evenly distributed. Pour mixture into shallow roasting pan and roast for 30-35 minutes, frequently tossing mixture with a spatula, until cauliflower and onions are golden brown. Remove from oven.
Turn oven to broiler setting.
In medium bowl whisk together eggs, Mascarpone, parsley, remaining sea salt, pepper and nutmeg, set aside.
In large bowl combine cooked pilaf and roasted cauliflower mixture until evenly incorporated. Pour mixture into a cast iron skillet.
Pour the egg and mascarpone mixture evenly over the mixture of pilaf mixture. Cook on stovetop, partially covered, until edges become firm, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the top with parmesan and remaining paprika. Place the pan under the broiler until frittata is puffed and the eggs are nicely browned, about 3 minutes.
Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes.
Customer Profile: Jessie Moore of Whole Foods Market
by Ashley Lodato
One of Jessie Moore’s earliest memories is helping her mother level off cups of flour and counting tablespoons, standing on a chair so she could reach the counter. The youngest of four children, Jessie remembers the kitchen of her childhood as the heart of the home, with her mother cooking nearly everything—even baby food—from scratch.
As soon as Jessie was old enough to work in a kitchen, she got a job as a pastry assistant in her hometown of Rochester, NY, which fostered a lifelong (so far!) love of baking and pastry. After attending culinary school in upstate New York, Jessie moved to Yosemite National Park for an internship with the upscale
Ahwahnee Hotel in the park. Under the stunning backdrop of Yosemite scenery, Jessie made truffles, petit fours, and other dessert specials and relished the creativity of pastry preparation. Five years later, Jessie had under her belt an intimate knowledge of Yosemite, an education from world-class pastry chefs and chocolatiers, and two summers as a chef at
Yosemite High Sierra Camps, where she prepared hearty dinners and breakfasts for grateful hungry hikers —“a tremendously rewarding experience,” Jessie says.
A move to Portland left Jessie a bit disenchanted with the life of a pastry chef, however. Although she still enjoyed the artistry of pastry and had full creative expression and her own menu at a Northwest restaurant, without Yosemite’s trails out her back door Jessie found it increasingly difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle. She had finally realized her childhood dream of being a pastry chef, but the rich foods she surrounded—and, inevitably, filled—herself with began to take their toll on her.
A switch to the prepared foods kitchen at
Whole Foods Market Hollywood, (WFM) in Portland, OR, gave Jessie entre to a healthier work environment that trickled down into her personal life—she began eating more fresh fruits and veggies, started working out at a cross-fit gym, and even took wearing a bike helmet more seriously. “I was driven to work closely with people to help inspire cooking healthfully at home,” Jessie says, so moving into the position of Healthy Eating Specialist & Cooking Coach at WFM was a natural fit.
“Being able to answer questions about food ingredients and alternative healthy cooking methods is a constant learning process,” says Jessie, “but it’s a very empowering role. I get to work with children, the elderly, people with special needs, high school students, WFM coworkers, WFM customers, nutritionists and dieticians, other healthy eating specialists from the Pacific Northwest.” She continues, “It is such a privilege to share this knowledge with people because it truly can save lives and take away suffering. I believe that I am positively impacting the world—without a doubt—and that feels so good.”
Jessie knows that some WFM customers want the resources to cook healthfully for their families with recipes that are creative and delicious. Some want to sample the
healthy recipes she cooks up and then try them at home for their families, others want basic instruction in the fundamentals of cooking. Through WFM, Jessie can provide it all, whether it’s helping someone adapt a favorite chocolate cake recipe to eliminate refined sugar or adjusting a diet to prevent or reverse a disease.
Jessie learned about
Bluebird Grain Farms by experimenting with the grains in the bulk section at WFM, where they carry the
cracked emmer farro, and
organic heirloom rye berries in bulk bins. The
nutritional value of Bluebird’s whole grains appeals to many health-conscious WFM customers. The heirloom rye berries, for example, are high in fiber and protein, as is the potlatch pilaf, which also contains magnesium and zinc—two minerals key for the human digestive and immune systems. The cracked emmer farro is the most nutritious of the bunch, with all of the above dietary essentials plus a healthy dose of niacin, which helps lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and prevents the accumulation of arterial plaque.
All of the Whole Foods Markets in the Pacific Northwest have healthy cooking coaches—in-store educators who provide
healthy eating education to their communities. Says Jessie, “Please use us as a resource if we can be of service to you in spreading healthy cooking and eating knowledge to your neighborhood!”