Tomorrow I'm going to the opening of Nash's new farm store. For years, I visited this little store. I'll miss the retro 70's hippie look, but I can't wait to see what the new farm store will look like.
Last summer I contributed to the building of this store. I don't really have a lot of spare change to donate, but even just a small amount made me feel like I'm part of this food web that feeds the community, Seattle farmers' market customers, and supplies PCC Natural Markets with amazing local produce.
Since I'm going to this farm store grand opening, I thought I'd share a few photos of Nash's farm and produce from my files.
These photos were taken when I visited the farm in 2008. Kia Armstrong gave me a tour and told me all about the various parcels of land that add up to 400 acres. Nash's farm is also growing young farmers who will eventually take over the helm of Nash's Organic Produce.
At the market in the U-District, I always look for fresh whole wheat pastry flour. The flavor is amazing. Whenever I use it, I'm reminded of how stale whole wheat flour from bulk bins and bags in grocery stores tastes. Really, I can taste the stale flour in baked goods all around me now. The light nutty flavor of Nash's flour wins fans for my recipes who wonder what my secret is. I won't tell. If you buy some, it keeps best in the freezer
Nash's Organic Produce also sells triticale and field peas. My friend David loves these peas cooked with rice. I haven't found the right herbs and ingredients to pair with them yet. Maybe I'll get some good tips tomorrow.
The big clunky carrots from Nash's farm have become famous. At PCC Natural Markets on the "Walk and Talk" store tour, Goldie Caughlan used to call them carrot candy. Recently I asked Nash why these carrots taste like candy in the winter months. He said when the ground gets very cold the sugar in the carrots becomes more concentrated.
Last winter it seemed like no matter how many carrots I came home with, they disappeared right away. My Cooking Assistant loves them as much as I do.
I taught him the phrase "Nash's carrots" He's into learning new words now.
Nash's farm profile in my book deals with saving seed and saving land. This is what a carrot seed crop looks like. If I didn't know and I wasn't a gardener, I might mistake it for weeds. (Even though my roots are in small towns, the word city slicker comes to mind.)
A farmer needs additional acreage to grow seed crops because you have to let the plant stay in the ground long enough to produce seeds. The seeds are tightly bound in these dry flower pods. Getting them out and cleaning them up is a skill, and it's not something you usually think about as you grab a package of seeds to plant in your garden.
Nash's farm crew sells vegetables at a number of Seattle markets, and the Port Townsend, Port Angeles and Sequim markets. They also offer a CSA. When you sign up you get recipes and farm news. Sometimes I check their farm newsletter on their website for recipe ideas. Occasionally I'm surprised to see my own recipes there. But I shouldn't be because I got some of my best ideas at Nash's farm stand. Check out the "Carrot Hummus" recipe in my book.
Nash Huber won Land Steward of the Year Award in 2008. In 1999 a farm near his went up for sale, he contacted Joe Hardiman from PCC Natural Markets. After taking the idea (of buying the farm) to the Board of Directors, the co-op Board bought the farm and started PCC Farmland Fund, later changed to PCC Farmland Trust. Nash has long term leases on most of the farmland he tends now. That's how he's able to grow carrot seeds. The farm feeds the community. Farms not tract homes!
I can't take my Cooking Assistant tomorrow. It's not good manners to bring your canine friends to the farm, so as I piddle around getting ready, Finn pulls a long face even if Tom is home.
It's an act, and I have my suspicions about where he'll spend the day.