When Life Gives You Cabbage
Last Saturday, my almost one-year-old daughter chose cabbage as her treat from the Port Townsend Farmers Market. This babe in arms reached out insistently for the beautiful green globes. She stole pieces from one head while I visited with the farmers at the Dharma Ridge Farm booth.
Taking a cue from Inez, I have a simple small batch sauerkraut recipe to share. You can make this kraut in a mason jar.
1 medium head green cabbage (about 3 pounds)
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon caraway seeds (optional, for flavor)
Read the full directions here.
Sauerkraut is made through a process called lacto-fermentation. Beneficial bacteria are present on the surface all fruits and vegetables. Lactobacillus, also found in yogurt and many other cultured products, is one of those bacteria. When submerged in brine, the bacteria begin to convert sugars in the cabbage into lactic acid, a natural preservative that inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria. Lacto-fermentation has been used for centuries to preserve seasonal vegetables beyond their standard shelf life. Fermented sauerkraut can be kept for months in storage at about 55°F. Crunchy and delicious, fermented sauerkraut nurtures beneficial gut flora and is a healthy addition to any meal.
If you don’t feel like making your own, visit Midori Farm for some of their kraut and kimchi. They are offering a sale on their kraut and kimchi, all of which uses produce grown by Midori Farm. Regularly priced at $10, you can buy two jars of Midori sauerkraut and kimchi for $18, three for $25 and five for $45 this week at the Port Townsend Farmers Markets. Yum!
Music this week includes: Anne-O and Her Band at the Port Townsend Wednesday Farmers Market from 2pm to 6pm, Larry Dewey and Mary McCormic-McInnis at the Port Townsend Saturday Farmers Market from 10am to 2pm, and Ethan J. Perry at the Chimacum Farmers Market from 10am to 2pm.
Love and Vegetables at Dharma Ridge Farm
The Dharma Ridge Farm story is one of love and adversity. It is the story of two young farmers who fell in love and started their family with the dream of “the good life” for their children. It is the reality of struggling to purchase land and fighting to break even. It is a Jefferson County farm story.
Dharma Ridge Farm got its name from its place. Zach Wailand and Haley Olson met when working as farm crew for longtime Jefferson County grower, John Gunning. They fell in love and started weaving their paths together as husband and wife, parents, and farmers. In 2003, they purchased and began farming their own five-acre parcel on Dharma Road, a small private road in the hills between Center and Beaver Valleys in Chimacum, WA. They remodeled an old rundown house and welcomed their three children into the world while living on this piece of land. With small children wondering among garden rows, Zach and Haley built their farm from the soil up.
As Zach and Haley’s family has grown, so too has Dharma Ridge Farm. The farm kept its name but Zach and Haley sold their homestead on Dharma Road. They now farm the historic 144-acre Boulton Farm in Quilcene, WA. Formerly a cattle, dairy, and hay farm, the old Boulton Farm is located in a wild and beautiful stretch of Leland Valley. Nestled against woodlands, Dharmah Ridge Farm is home to abundant wildlife, and rich, well-draining soil. Zach, Haley and their small crew of farmers work to enrich the soil through cover crops, crop rotation, and organic-approved soil amendments. They grow about 30-35 acres of certified organic mixed vegetables for wholesale and sale at the Port Townsend and Poulsbo Farmers Markets.
Zach and Haley love the land and the soil under their nails. They dream of planting more perennials, building a packing shed and digging their roots further into the soil at their Quilcene farm. Their dreams for Dharma Ridge Farm are “like a boiling kettle ready to burst.” However, they want to own the land before making long-term investments in plants and infrastructure. Haley explains, “A lot of people think we own the farm. The struggle is to actually be able to afford to purchase land in this county on a farmer’s income.” As farmers, they struggle to compete with the low prices of food grown in California and even internationally. This year they chose not to grow zucchini because they can’t compete with the prices of this crops when selling wholesale to grocery stores.
The Jefferson Land Trust has established a 144-acre conservation easement with farm owner, John Boulton. This agreement will keep Boulton/Dharma Ridge Farm in agriculture indefinitely. However, the path to ownership for Zach and Haley is complicated. The Boulton family lived on the land for several generations and John Boulton holds the farm dear. It is the last resting place of his daughter, Janice, and her husband, Pat, who were tragically murdered on this same beloved farm. With seeds planted and plants tended, Haley and Zach are changing the story of this farm to one that is positive and hopeful for the future. They are getting closer to working out a deal to purchase the land.
Farmers markets play an important role for farmers like Haley and Zach. Dharma Ridge Farm is able to earn a greater share of the sale price through direct sales to customers at the Port Townsend Saturday Farmers Market. At the same time, Dharma Ridge Farm offers its customers super fresh, locally grown food at a good price. “You can get good deals at the farmers market,” says Haley. “We always try to have the lowest prices we can because we want our customers to be able to afford local food.”
This week Dharma Ridge Farm is bringing a variety of kraut specific cabbage to market. This drier, dense cabbage is perfect for making sauerkraut. My daughter, Inez, gives the cabbage five out of five stars for crunchiness and flavor. Dharma Ridge also brings cherry tomatoes, sweet onions, and English cucumbers this Saturday. Introduce yourself to farmers John and Jonah, and get your cabbage before Inez eats them all. Additionally, you can find vegetables grown by Dharma Ridge Farm at the Port Townsend Food Co-op, Chimacum Corner Farmstand and at the Fireside Restaurant at Port Ludlow Resort.
From our Vendors
This is the season of fresh oils from Mountain Spirit. Visit Denise for fresh St. John’s wort oil, which is very soothing and good for inflammation. You can get St. John’s wort oil by itself or in Mountain Spirit’s Comfort Oil. Denise also has freshly harvested and dried skullcap, osha root and oat straw. Items with old labels are on sale at half price as Mountain Spirit is moving into using new labels. What a deal! And, of course, Rose Theatre members get 10 % off on all teas.
Midori Farm will have the first of their tomatoes and eggplants this week. They also have loads of french filet beans, and hope to bring the first of their shishito peppers to market.
SpringRain Farm & Orchard will have fresh duck and heirloom tomatoes this week at the Port Townsend Farmers Markets. Stripped Brandywine, Mortgage Lifter, Cherokee Purple, and Carbon are ripening earlier than the rest. The ducks are certified organic and pasture-raised. Certainly the most delicious around. Stock up now because they will go quickly. Spring Rain will also have eggplant, basil, strawberries, blueberries, plums, fresh chicken, salad mix, jam, and pesto.
Sweet Lamb will have blackberry croissants with freshly picked blackberries this weekend.
This week Paella House is finally able to offer Padrón peppers. Grown and freshly harvested by Onatrue Farm, these peppers are originally from Spain. Eating these peppers is like playing Russian roulette. Some are spicy, some are not. Paella House has a very limited supply, so they are extremely exclusive! Try them sautéed in extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with salt from England at the Port Townsend Saturday Farmers Market this weekend.
New this week, Onatrue Farm will have Tromboncino squash.
Red Dog Farm is swimming in green beans! Time to get canning, freezing and eating! They will also be bringing fennel bulb, beefsteak tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, new potatoes, strawberries and baby summer squash with flowers.