From songbirds in the trees to honey bees out by the hives, Marshall Mouse, our resident rodent on the farm, has many farm friends. All of the wildlife on our farm provide “ecosystem services”–benefits that we humans gain from the environment going about its business.
Perhaps one of the greatest benefits we gain from farm animals is the good work that chickens do. When we think of chickens, our minds might immediately go to the eggs that they provide. But at the 21 Acres farm, our chickens do much more than that.
Goliath, or “Princess Warrior” as she came to be known after surviving an encounter with a coyote, is one of our hens. Did you know that ancient Egyptians and Romans both worshipped chickens as gods? While Goliath might not be a goddess, she is still queen of the farmyard. She scratches at the ground to turn the soil, eats bugs that are a nuisance to our crops, and gobbles up vegetable waste that humans no longer want to eat to return those nutrients to the soil.
Out at the chicken coop, you might also see Coyote, a striking black-and-white speckled lady, Stu, one of our roosters who protects the flock from predators, and Duke Duck, a misplaced mallard. Duke Duck is a fancy gentleman who was hatched with the chickens. If you ask him what manner of bird he is, he’d definitely say “cluck cluck” rather than “quack quack!”
Did you know that chickens are one of the oldest domesticated breeds? Humans have kept chickens for about 3,000 years, making them one of our oldest companions. Stop by the 21 Acres farm to say hello to our feathery friends!
Want to learn more about the wild farm life and get up-close-and-personal with our chickens, amphibians, bugs, and more? Sign up for Farm Life Safari starting on August 5.
By Amanda Bullat, MS, RDN, CN
Our newest Farm Market employee, Charlie Wainger, wrote this message last week. If you haven’t had a chance to meet him, hopefully you will as he’ll fill in periodically when staff take vacations or we have a particularly busy day planned.
“I started working in the 21 Acres Market in May and I can’t believe it is already the end of June and the multi-colored tomatoes are on the table. Now the stone fruit and cherries spill onto the scale. Soon I’ll be tending to my own tomatoes at Hidden Valley Camp, a 60-acres overnight camp nestled in Granite Falls. The corn will be thigh high in July while the nasturtium and squashes flower. The herb spiral already dances with bees and the garter snakes sneak through the strawberries.
It will mark my 17th summer at Hidden Valley Camp right as the camp turns 70. I started in the 90’s as a camper and now I run the quarter-acre farm program, which allows campers from 7-17 to plant, harvest, and cook fresh produce. We collect rainwater, compost, tend to the chickens, and cook food in our new cob oven. Check us out at hvc-wa.com.” — Charlie
At 21 Acres we’re fortunate to have staff who really appreciate giving children experiences on the farm like the one Charlie describes. Our 21 Acres farm camps are run by the amazing and extremely talented Andrew Ely. They are full for the summer with the exception of the last session, August 1-5, Pizza Organica! If it interests you for your child ages 7-12 be sure to register right away!
Spring into Spring with fresh meal inspirations from the Culinary Program at 21 Acres. All of our culinary classes highlight the use of local, seasonal and sustainably-grown ingredients. Our goal is to inspire and empower guests to consider using more whole foods as the foundation of their diets in order to promote personal and environmental well-being.
Here’s the current schedule:
Cultural Classics: Chutney, The Ultimate Flavor Enhancer | Thursday, April 14, 6:30-8:30pm
Chutney is a thick sauce of Indian origin that often contains fruits, vinegar, sugar, and spices. This flavorful condiment has been used throughout history and across many cultures to enhance mealtime flavors. Inspire your senses in this hands-on class.
Local Foods for Local Adventures and Weekday Snacks | Friday, April 15, 6:30-8:30 pm
Join Chef Kristen Fuerstein in this hands-on exploration of locally delicious, easy-to-prepare portable snacks. Menu items to include: Not Your Basic PB&J Granola Bars, Savory Veggie Bites, and other pack-able snacks.
One Food Three Ways, Sea Vegetables | Saturday, April 30, 1-3:00 pm
So you think veggies only come from your garden or the farm? Welcome to the new world of seaweed! These sustainable plants might be your new go-to green. In this hands-on class you’ll have the opportunity to use various seaweeds in three delicious dishes: salad, a main course of salmon infused with sea veggie butter, and a decadent dessert.
Spring Salads & Salad Dressings | Friday, May 6, 6:30-8:30pm
Are you ready to lighten up for Spring and Summer? As the weather gets warmer, our bodies naturally begin to yearn for lighter and fresher foods. Join culinary educator Rebecca Sorenson in this hands-on kitchen experience to learn how to build tasty and satisfying salads.
Eat Your Weeds: An Introduction to Spring Foraging | Saturday, May 7, 1-3pm
Don your farm boots and possibly a rain jacket to join culinary educator and wild plant expert Rebecca Sorenson in exploring the fields of 21 Acres. Rebecca will guide you in search of wild, delicious, and nutrient dense edibles. After foraging, we will assemble our bounty in the kitchen and transform it into a flavorsome wild green pesto served with fresh farm bread, a tasty wild salad, and a mouth-watering beverage of nettle infusion.
What’s On Your Plate| Tuesday-Friday, May 10-13, 6:30-8:30pm & Saturday, May 14 12-2pm
Note: This course has been approved for 10 CPE credits for Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Calling all nutrition professionals, educators, and anyone else with an interest in the inspiring story of local food history. Join Ruth Fruland, Ph.D, and professionals from the 21 Acres staff as we explore the essence of food culture in the Pacific Northwest within the context of environmental sustainability over the course of four evenings; we will examine and celebrate four iconic Pacific Northwest foods: including salmon, potatoes, apples, and wheat.
Cultivating Cooks 201 | 5 consecutive Wednesdays, May 18-June 15, 6:30-8:30pm
Calling all aspiring chefs! Our Cultivating Cooks Youth Culinary Series is under way for the 2016 season. We’re excited to introduce Chef Andrea Roelen as the fearless leader of this inspiring program best suited for young adults ages 12-17.
Spring into spring with fresh vegetarian flavors | Friday, June 3, 6:30-8:30pm
Looking to expand beyond meatless Mondays? Are you looking for new veg-menu inspirations? Join Chef Kristen, our resident vegetarian chef, in this hands on culinary experience. We will use locally sourced ingredients to create a plant-based menu guaranteed to delight your taste buds as well as promote a steady flow of energy throughout your day.
Bring the entire family to 21 Acres this coming weekend for a free open house, Saturday April 2, noon to 1:30 pm. Spread the word to anyone you know who is interested in getting more kids in the kitchen and on a farm. There will be lots to do, including being able to:
- Create and taste kid-friendly recipes with Chef Asako and Chef Laura
- Visit the “farm-igami” station where kids can create origami pots, then add soil to plant a seed to take home
- Create a pollinator-friendly flower ball to plant at home to attract bees and butterflies throughout the summer
- Explore 21 Acres Farm—take a guided walk about the farm and stop
to say hello to our resident goats, Lucky and Skippy!
- In honor of International Children’s Book Day, celebrate food literacy as we
launch locally-authored Readers to Eaters book titles for sale in the Market.
- Learn more about 21 Acres’ children’s programming including: Farm Camp, School Field Trips, Storybook Farms, Cultivating Cooks culinary classes and more!
Take the time to talk to our staff who will be on hand during the open house and learn about our summer farm camp program:
NEW for Teens: Farmer-in-Training June 27 – July 1; Ages: 13 to 18 years
Food from the Fields July 11 – July 15; Ages: 7 years to 12 years
Minds Crafting Your Garden July 18 – July 22; Ages: 7 to 12 years
Recently, the New York Times published an Op-Ed piece, A Hidden Cost of Giving Kids Their Vegetables, discussing the blame game that is often played on people with limited resources for not feeding their children healthy food. When it comes down to it, children are picky eaters, regardless of family income. This fact, weighs a heavier burden on low-income parents. When money is tight, rather than waste food that children will not eat, parents tend to provide their children with food they know they will eat. This food is oftentimes nutrient deficient, bland and sweet, a trade off that I truly understand.
I am a mother of 2 small children. I work, my husband works, we are busy and tired. Occasionally, a day or two before payday, we are out of pretty much everything, left with only pantry staples like rice or pasta and beans and we have to be really creative about “what’s for dinner.” I was raised by a single mother, we were food insecure, especially when the food stamps ran out near the end of the month. I understand some of the struggle and hardships that are part of “going without.” (more…)
A great cheat sheet to help you when making purchases. Make Every Dollar Count!
It’s become a lot easier if you’re tech savvy to be more ‘green!’
We seem to be doing everything on our phones and devices these days through mobile apps; reading the paper, checking weather, watching movies, monitoring investments. Why not give a mobile app a try when making ‘in the moment’ purchases and you want every dollar to count?
As we move toward a greener, healthier lifestyle, many of us make decisions based on our values. It seems overwhelming at times, when you’re ‘in the moment,’ perhaps at the grocery store or pharmacy, to take the time to research an ingredient or make the best possible choice for a purchase. We don’t always have the information right at hand to help us decide. Give these mobile apps a try whether you’re looking for food additives, researching a restaurant, or digging into a company’s best practices. Make every dollar count, and find the products that are in line with your values.
Here are some mobile apps to help you get started:
Think Dirty: This app allows users to scan a personal care product’s barcode and get not only a list of the ingredients, but also see how they stack up in terms of their potential toxicity to the human body. The app gives products a score on the “Dirty Meter,” based on the inclusion of certain carcinogens or allergens, and offers alternative options for cleaner products. Includes over 1600 brands, and 60,000 products, and is available for iOS or on the web.
GoodGuide: The GoodGuide app instantly reveals whether products are safe, healthy, green and socially responsible while you shop. The app’s barcode scanning feature lets you quickly access GoodGuide’s science-based health, environment and social ratings for over 170,000 products. (more…)
Sneezing, aching, nose-running, snot-forming, cough coming on – yep that was my life over the latter part of last week and through the weekend. I’m sure many of you can relate. Tis’ the cold and flu season. There are many nourishing whole foods, however, that we can turn our focus toward this time of year. In fact, in case you missed it, the culinary education team at 21 Acres just provided a cooking class centered around this very topic. Rebecca Sorenson, a naturopathic doctoral student at Bastyr University, provided extremely useful information on how and why whole foods can provide us with germ fighting defenses. I was impressed with the knowledge and “work-ability” of the suggestions Rebecca presented and I thought it would be worth everyone’s while if I share similar information here. I can also attest to the effectiveness of the ingredients listed below and the recipes that follow. After 2 large bowls of the ginger chicken soup and a good dose of onion syrup that Rebecca graciously shared, my cold was well on its way to being history. (more…)
Perhaps the idea of terroir (the combination of soil, sunlight and climate that gives produce, greens, grapes, and such, their distinctive flavor profile and character) has never been a significant factor when contemplating your next culinary experience. This new dinner series at 21 Acres may change that.
Just as terroir plays an important role in the distinctive character of a good wine, so too will it excite your taste buds with the complexity, vitality, taste and textures of farm-fresh chemically-free foods grown on farms here in the Puget Sound. You’ll explore how the same fresh ingredient can have very different flavors depending upon where the farm is located that the food was produced.
As your palette is reawakened to the excitement of simply tasting clean food, it begins to shed its dependency on salt, sugars, and foods that are highly processed and refined.
Please join us at 21 Acres, Feb 13, for a dinner event titled Chef on the Farm. Guest Chef, Matt Cyr will prepare six-courses of terroir-inspired, seasonally available savories paired with four exceptional Salmon-Safe Washington wines. Experience terroir. (Read on for more about the event below….)
— Jane, 21 Acres Sustainable Events Specialist
Man it was dark today, mostly due to the low clouds and fog I believe. I guess winter has officially started. As the dark days slowly welcome back the light, there are a handful of mood-boosting foods to include with your meals or snacks – especially if you’re prone to seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It’s no secret that some foods just plain ‘ole make us feel better. Foods such as chocolate, creamy casseroles, fresh baked bread, warm saucy pasta, or mashed potatoes all have key nutrients that give our mood a boost. Let’s look at some specific examples.
Chocolate is rich in magnesium, which according to recent research out of Norway, a country cloaked in darkness six months out of the year, has been associated with lower incidences of depression. Keep in mind that the higher the cocoa content of the chocolate, the greater amount of magnesium and the lower amount of sugar. (For many of my clients sugar increases feelings of depression and anxiety.) A good rule of thumb is to aim for at least 70-80% cocoa content in your one or two ounce chocolate treat. While 21 Acres recognizes that chocolate in not locally produced, the kitchen and culinary education team do on occasion work with local chocolate companies whose values are in line with 21 Acres in terms of economic and environmental sustainability. Our culinary classes and kitchen source chocolate from Seattle based Theo Chocolates as needed. (more…)
“I’m gonna make a change, for once in my life. It’s gonna feel real good, gonna make a difference, gonna make it right.” Michael Jackson, Man in the Mirror
With New Years just around the corner, I often reflect back on what I’ve learned, where I’ve been, and who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting over the last year. I then start to think about where I’d like to go, what I’d like to learn, and who I’d like to meet in the coming New Year. This concept of making a change, setting a resolution, making an intention is familiar to many of you I’m sure. As a nutritionist dietitian I often receive comments from clients or acquaintances in regards to what they’re going to give up (food-wise) or how much more time they’re going to spend at the gym. These common “New Year’s Resolutions” are of-course well intended, but what if the resolution was a little less self-punishing and a little more self-promoting or better yet more beneficial for the larger community? (more…)
We wish you a happy, healthy, and peaceful holiday season. Enjoy some of these favorite memories and traditions shared by the staff of 21 Acres.
Veleda – Event Staff and Volunteer@21Acres
My younger sisters and I used to sneak out of bed and peek to watch my mother sewing dolls for us on her treadle sewing machine. We saw where she hid the projects and would check the progress daily, until she removed the completed dolls to a better hiding spot until Christmas. We were always very “surprised” to find the now -dressed dolls under our tree. I still have one of those dolls.
In order to allow more time for gift exchanging and enjoying on Christmas morning,, I discovered that my kids were delighted to each have a box of their favorite breakfast cereal wrapped and under the tree among other gifts, to be eaten as each was ready. This became a tradition which each of them now carries out with their own families.
Deb – Adminstrator@21Acres
Throughout my childhood, every Christmas Eve, we went to my Grandparent’s home for dinner. On the way there, we always looked for a house bordering the freeway with a large blue star high above their roof (a bit of a competition to be the first to announce the sighting!). Returning to my hometown (the Olympia area) as an adult with my own children, “progress” had replaced the home with a strip mall, but much to my delight, the strip mall continued to put up the star and my children learned to look for it as we traveled between their grandparent’s homes for Christmas Eve and then back to our home in Woodinville. To this day, the star is there and for me, it represents the spirit and magic of Christmas –God’s love, peace, safety, family, tradition and giving. Hoping to share the star with my grandchildren in the coming years.
Liesl – Market Manager@21Acres
Christmas as a child was always spent at grandma’s house. She had a beautiful stone fireplace where the stockings were hung and always picked a tree that reached the ceiling; I thought they were bigger than life. When Christmas morning came, my sister and I were always up early, very early. There was a strict policy to not wake Mom and Grandma until 7:30. Until that time we could look in our stockings, but never unwrap the presents under the tree. My sister and I would slowly pull each item out of our stockings, always ending with an orange in the toe. Then just before 7:30, we would repack the stockings so we could open them all over again with the rest of the family. The suspense and untethered joy of Christmas morning is a rare ]gift; be blessed this holiday season!
Brenda –Public Relations & Communications @21 Acres
Celebrating Sinterklaas – For those of you who know me well, you may know this is a Dutch tradition for the Vanderloop/Jacobson family. The wooden shoes go outside the front door the eve of Dec. 5, in celebration of St. Nick’s birthday, and they are magically filled in the morning with treats and a gift. A few things have changed over time, I used to get chocolate “fairy food” left in the milk chute when I was little at home in Wisconsin; As the kids got older, treats changed from chocolate to craft beer, my son 🙂 and chocolate to a vintage classic book, my daughter :). Some years, St. Nick actually plans ahead, as he has to use pony express to deliver to the ‘kids’ no longer at home. And yes, there are a baby pair of wooden shoes awaiting a new grandchild next year!
Amanda – Local Foods & Nutrition Education Coordinator @21Acres
During the holidays of 1999-2000 I was living in Salzburg, Austria. When it comes to Christmas, you really can’t hold a candle to how well the Europeans celebrate the season. From shopping for hand made gifts at traditional outdoor holiday markets, to sipping Gluhwein while listening to traditional Christmas carols (Silent Night was written in Arnsdorf, Austria in 1818), Europe really is a magical place this time of year – especially in the small towns like Gimmelwald, Switzerland.
After we finished fall semester finals, a handful of classmates and I boarded a train heading for the Swiss Alps. We first arrived in Interlaken, Switzerland. Then boarded a smaller train to ride further into the mountains. Upon arrival, we walked a short distance to a cable car tram that took us literally up the mountains to the very small village of Gimmelwald, population 100. We spent two nights in the appropriately name Mountain Hostel run by an American couple. The woman was from Eugene, Oregon – she and I bonded over our Oregonian-ness.
The hostel had a kitchen for us to use, but having arrived with just our backpacks and only a few snacks, we were in need of groceries. The next village up the “road” was home to the only grocery store at that elevation. In fact as I remember the store wasn’