January Farmer Notes

Farmer Notes

The new year has come in with the same sort of gray mantra as the old went out.  A pall of low clouds, frequent fog, and little snow anchors the countryside.  Some days have seemed more like March than December.  It couldn’t be much more opposite than the new year of last with its deep blue skies, cold nights, and ample powder snow.  What a difference a year can make!  As we slip into 2024, it’s hard to truly know what might lie ahead – weather-wise or otherwise?

One thing that has remained strong is the growing interest in the Bluebird Grain Farms story, and our operations here at the new site.  This was highlighted on the final Saturday of the year with heavy attendance for another of our Open Houses.  We offered two rounds of the operations tour when folks learned about our grains and saw how we brought them first  into storage, cleaned them, then milled or directly packaged them for shipping.  Lots of great folks came from all over – including some from right here in the Methow.  We welcomed one and all and are most grateful for all the interest and questions and being able to celebrate the farming ethics we adhere to, as well as the importance of healthy food.  It seemed to be an engaging and a fun time for all, or so I hope.  It was for me!  We look forward to many more of these sorts of gatherings in 2024.

Meanwhile the winter birds are a little nonplussed by this unseasonal weather.  The chickadees are going through their motions and visiting our feeder but once in a while, I will catch them singing what I’ve always thought to be their “spring” song?  It has been a gentler start to winter  for the quail and other ground-grazers looking for seeds and grasses.  With the small amount of snow covering the ground, scratch marks along the edges of the trees reveal quail and other birds at work.  Deer easily munch bitterbrush and sage while coyotes yip at night, perhaps wishing for easier meals?  Ravens soar, always looking to cash in on an unsuspecting mouse, mole or leftover snack from coyote or cougar.

We closed the processing operations of the granary for the holidays.  We only shipped out retail orders during the week, but we are back to full production as we welcome the new year orders already accumulating on our clipboards.  Our dedicated crew here is rested and will begin the new year of grains for real: Cleaning, milling, bagging and shipping direct.  We are anticipating a very good year in 2024.  Our grain supply is excellent and our processing capacity has substantially increased with our new line.  No matter how busy we get, however, we will never lose sight of our roots and why we began Bluebird 19 years ago: For the love of the land – more than ever – and for the love of good, fresh food.

As orders increase, it will be more of a balancing act on how far ahead we generate finished products.  The main pillar of our reputation is that of fresh whole grains and whole grain flours.  Whether it is our signature ancient wheats –  einkorn and emmer – or our more current varieties of hard and soft white wheat, or the red and rye.  Our goal is to process as much as we can, like we have always done, on a weekly basis.  This is the way we can send fresh grains and flour to all of our customers.  This is how we identify ourselves as a true custom mill.

Working with our stalwart farm partners that dedicate so much work into raising these nutritious grains in an organic/regenerative system, we’ve been able to hit that consistency of quality and nutrition that sets us apart from other operations.  This is what you pay for at Bluebird Grain Farms: Top quality, reliability, and swift customer service.  Our crew here at the Farm is first rate, and we couldn’t do what we do if we didn’t all believe in the same ethics.  We look forward to serving you in a variety of ways in 2024.

As we enter the New Year the buzz around regenerative agricultural practices continues to build.  To be sure, there are different thoughts on what it means to be “Regenerative” but when all is said and done, more sustainable farm practices are becoming commonplace as many of our farm soils are literally “farmed out.”  More commercial corn and soybean growers are turning to biologicals as import fertilizer costs spike.  Many are already seeing positive results and at reduced costs.  Although the benefits of using biologicals isn’t new to many of us, I’m pleased to read more and more about this transition – be it forced or otherwise.  I truly believe most farmers of all types care about the land and want to do the right thing.  All of us are learning by the day, and learning something new.  This is what keeps farming exciting.  This is why we farm.  We have to work together to improve upon the increasingly damaged food system we’ve been under in this country following WWII.  Here’s to that challenge.  Here’s to collaboration!


Farmer Sam