Homestead Review: February-March 2016

In the nursery, we’re potting up the bare root trees, getting those little roots into soil before the trees start to bloom.

It’s always a rush, this time of year, as the internal clock of the trees and the season’s weather combine to set the trees to blooming before they’ve gotten their roots in the ground. We’ll keep them for a few weeks before offering them for sale again, to ensure that their young roots have an opportunity to grow undisturbed for a while: to minimize transplant shock.

And we’re getting ready for the summer vegetables; it’s not quite time yet, but we’re making plans to keep those first brave tomatoes and basils protected under frost blankets. It’s hard to be a pioneer, ahead of your time! We want to do right by those warm-weather sprouts.

The recent rains have dampened the soil, and the ground is perfect for planting. We’re slipping a few of our flowery favorites into the demonstration garden, to make floral food for the bees, and sweet bouquets all season long. Included are: Salvia clevelandii, the sweet-scented native sage with periwinkle blue flowers; Eriogonum arborescens, with wide, lacy cream-colored blooms that fade to apricot and then to rust-brown; and Achillea, or yarrow, friend to so many beneficial insects. There’s room in the garden for these and more! Now is the perfect time to get them in the ground, while the weather is cool and the soil is damp.

We are also expecting a new pottery shipment to arrive soon, which will add some new color and style to the budding, blooming plant population in the nursery.

Last year, we enjoyed a long-running series with the Santa Cruz Farmer’s Market, where we taught classes at several of their locations on a wide range of traditional-food subjects. We’re excited to be working with them again this year, though the format will take a slightly different shape. It’s still in the planning stages, but those of you that are looking forward to another year of meeting us at the markets will not be disappointed.

We’re finishing up our winter series of Mountain Feed classes, which we have been holding at the Alba School house, and after that we’re going to take a breath to regroup and do some planning.

What kinds of classes would you like to see us offer in the year ahead? Let us know.

Our ears are always open, but now is an especially good time to chime in, if you have something that you’d particularly like to see featured in the year ahead.

We’ve been seeing a lot of people coming into the store for sausage casings lately; it’s butchering season! The simple sausage recipe in this month’s journal can be stuffed into casings or shaped into patties, but the wide world of sausage can be far more complex and challenging than the simple recipe featured this month.

We’re seeing lot of ambitious curing projects, from summer sausage to salami, which we’re happy to facilitate by providing casings, curing salts, and cultures to inoculate the sausage with the right levels of lactic-acid bacteria. It’s quite exciting to see what our friends and neighbors are getting up to, in the wide world of food production. We are continually impressed and inspired.

Keep it up!



Over to You

It’s part of our mission here at Mountain Feed to help you make delicious, sustainable, homemade food more often. Stop by and say hello on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Or, as always, you can do it the old fashioned way and come by the store to speak with one of our in-house experts.