Saturday, March 29, 2008

When We Will Be Where

The start of Market Season always feels a bit like those autumnal first days back at school-  it's hard to put the harness back on and settle down to a regimented schedule, but it's so much fun to see everyone again- familiar friends with stories to tell, and all kinds of new and interesting people to meet and get to know.  I approach it with equal amounts of excitement and anxiety, but I am so looking forward to this season that excitement is winning out this year.

2008 is shaping up to be a busy season for us, and we wanted to let you know what our plans are so that you can come out and meet us at one of the events or markets we will be at.  We will have lots of great plant starts, edible things and gorgeous flower bouquets to share with you, as well as a whole host of crafty stuff and catnip temptations that Eddie the Cat has been quality testing for us all winter long.

Come see us!  We have stories to tell, and can't wait to hear yours.

2008 Ostman Farm Calendar  (So Far)

Clatsop County Master Gardeners present:
'Spring Into Gardening- from 'A'phids to 'Z'ucchini'

Saturday, April 12, 2008
8:00 am- 4:00 pm
Clatsop County Fairgrounds

The Clatsop County Master Gardeners annual garden education event promises to be a good one this year- wonderful speakers (ahem!), great vendors, the always tempting Master Gardener Plant Sale and a fantastic raffle will no doubt help to get all of our gardening juices going out here on the North Coast.  I really enjoy this event, and it is a great start to the market season for us.  I realize I am confessing to being a complete gardening geek here, but  I just find it so stimulating to spend a whole day talking and sharing information with hundreds of other garden enthusiasts who really aren't just pretending to be interested in what happened to your garden over the winter.  I'll be giving one of the talks this year (more on that below) which I am...mostly...ready for.

This event is one of the best values around- $15 if you preregister,  and $18 if you pay at the door.  That gets you into all of the classes, which look to be especially good this year.  There are four one hour long classes, and I think they start at 9:00 am.  The Keynote speaker is Glen Andresen, who hosts the radio show 'The Dirtbag' on KBOO in Portland.  Through the magic of the internet, I have been able to listen to some of his shows, and he is a very entertaining speaker.  He focuses on edible gardening, a subject dear to my heart, and I am really looking forward to his talk.  I am so annoyed that someone scheduled Rose Marie Nichols McGee's talk on container gardening at the same time as the talk I am giving, so if you go to her talk, take good notes and tell me what she says.  She's giving another talk in the afternoon session on heirloom vegetables, which should be great.

Ostman Farm will have a booth in the Vendor Marketplace, which is open free to the public all day.  Come check out some of this year's new crop of tempting plant starts, as well as all of the lovely crafty things we have been busy making over the winter.

I have come to realize that a great way to interest people in what I have to say is to feed them while I am saying it, thus my talk this year is:

'From the Garden To the Table'  11:00 am-12:00 noon

I will be joined by the fabulous Iris Sullivan from the Blue Scorcher Bakery Cafe in Astoria, and we will be giving a talk on what to do in the kitchen with all of that great produce that you are going to grow this year.  (Or buy at one of our many wonderful farmer's markets.) Creative cooking tips, cooking demonstrations, recipe handouts and best of all-  yummy samples to tempt your taste buds, and inspire you to plant all kinds of delicious and beautiful vegetables in your garden this year.  Including kale.  

For more information about this whole event, 
contact the county extension office at: (503) 325-8573

Clatsop County Community Garden Event
'The Garden Graze'
May 8th, 2008
The Seafood Center, Astoria, OR

Ostman Farm will be donating something wonderful to the Silent Auction fundraiser part of this event.   Packy and I will both be there to support this great benefit event for the Community Gardens and Food Bank, and to enjoy the wonderful local and regional wines and cuisine being served.  Rumor has it that there will be a Community Garden starting in Seaside this year, which we are very pleased to hear about.  Come out and join us in supporting our local Community Garden movement!

For more information contact Sunny Hunt at the County Extension Office: (503)325-8573

Sundays from May 11th (Mother's Day)- October 5th, 2008
10:00 am-3:00 pm

Located in beautiful, historic downtown Astoria, Oregon.  ASM is the Big Market on the North Coast, just heaving with vendors and temptations, of which Ostman Farm is, of course, one of the most tempting and beautiful.  Our booth is on 12th Street, just opposite the Hotel Elliot, and right in from of the wonderful Lucy's Books.  Stop by early for the best selection of this year's tomato plants, as well as all of the other great plant starts and crafty stuff.  Flower bouquets will probably start up at the end of May, or early June, depending on what the weather does. (Oh, the Sweet Peas I am starting this year!  Glorious!)

Manzanita Farmer's Market
Friday afternoons from June 27-September 12th
467 Laneda Street (in the Windermere Real Estate parking lot)
for more info contact:

Such a great little market, located in one of the prettiest towns on the Oregon Coast.  We love the relaxed, welcoming atmosphere of this market- friendly locals, happy tourists in town for the weekend, wonderful vendors, lots of organic produces and the best selection of local, pasture raised meat we've seen this side of the Coast Range.  Round the whole thing out with great food (We hope the Sushi People will be back! And those fantastic burgers made with Lance and Tammi's pasture fed beef are worth waiting in line for) and wonderful music and it all makes this market feel more like a weekly community barbeque.  We love it.  We'll have lots of edible plants, cut fresh herbs and other edible temptations, all the great crafty stuff and of course our ever popular flower bouquets.  We are planting extra flowers this year to keep up with demand!  Hope to see you there.

Tuesday afternoons from June 17th-September 30th
S. Hemlock Street & E. Gower Street

The new market in the area, and practically in our own back yard, so how can we not participate?  We are so pleased to see this market starting up, especially for its wonderful focus on fresh produce and edibles, and for its commitment to being a good market for locals, not just visitors to the coast.  South Clatsop County residents will now have easy access to the freshest produce around, plus lots of other edible temptations to inspire you in your kitchen.  We can't wait to connect with all of you Cannon Beach folks, and to meet more of our South County neighbors.  Come out and join us in supporting this market in its fledgling year.

Lughnasa Festival
July 26th, 2008
in the parking lot next to the Blue Scorcher Bakery and Fort George Brewery
Astoria, Oregon

The second annual Lughnasa Festival is shaping up to be even more fun than the first one, and that was plenty fun!  Lughnasa is a traditional Celtic festival marking the end of the summer growth and the beginning of the Autumn harvest, also called Lammas in some traditions.  One of the key elements of this festival is a blessing of the first bread of the harvest, and who better to offer up the best bread for that honor but the greatest little bakery on the North Coast, the Blue Scorcher.  Partnering with their great neighbors the Fort George Brewery, the folks at Blue Scorcher put on a lively festival, with great music, lots of good food, farmers like us, selling their bounty of harveted goods, brewing demonstrations, games for kids, several cake walks which were amazingly popular, more good music, lots of happy people and some very well-blessed bread.  

Harvest Festival
Sometime in early October

We'll let you know the date as soon as it is set, but we encourage you to come out for this great Harvest Festival down in Manzanita.  The Lower Nehalem Community Trust property at Alder Creek Farm is so beautiful, and the Harvest Festival is a great way to wind up the summer.  Fun music, fresh pressed apple cider, the best pie potluck ever (there are some great cooks on the North Coast!), great friendly people, wonderful local vendors sell all kinds of bounty from their harvests, an inspiring permaculture vegetable garden and fruit orchard to tour, wildlife to spot (birds and elk mostly, some people...) and a wonderful atmosphere make this one of our favorite annual events.  

That's all that is officially on our calendar so far for this year, but keep checking back to see if we add something else to the list- there are some good things coming that are still in the planning stages, but may hit the official calendar soon.

We look forward to seeing you all this season!

Friday, March 28, 2008

NOT The Color of Spring!

I don't know what the weather is doing where you live, but here on the North Coast of Oregon, it has been snowing and hailing and slushing and sleeting and just in general behaving in a very Un-Springlike Manner.

I've never been really keen on white as a color, and this weather is doing nothing to change that opinion.

All this wonky weather is wreaking havoc with our attempts to get our new greenhouse finished- the grow lights in the house are all full to bursting point with seedlings waiting for their chance to head outside, except they need that all-important transition period in the greenhouse first. I am beyond frustrated by this!

And don't even try talking about going outside to Eddie the Cat, he hasn't moved from his position in the chair next to the wood stove for days.

Cats are not dumb.

If you have an excess of sunshine in your area, please send some our way- we will make good use of it, I promise.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Color of Spring

Yellow has never been my favorite color. I don't dislike it, but it has never been the color that came to mind first when asked the inevitable "what's your favorite color?" question. When I was about nine years old, it was unequivocally purple, any and all shades of purple (I know, I know, but at least is wasn't pink).  Somewhere along the line, my preference shifted to green, where it has remained. Green is an amazing color, and the more that I work with plants, and observe the natural world around me, the more I realize just how many shades of green there are. The first flush of leaves on a vine maple tree, new spring grass, the soft grey green of sage leaves, the beautiful deep blue green of Tuscan kale, the deep greeny green of cedar trees- there are hundreds, thousands of shades of green, and all of them are lovely and interesting to me.

But ever since we moved to Ostman Farm, yellow has been moving up in the ranks, thanks largely to the late Hilma Ostman and her daffodil bulbs. Mrs. Ostman planted these bulbs back in the 1930s and 40s.  They are everywhere on the farm, but thickest here on the hill just below where our lavender is planted. I'm not exactly sure which variety of daffodil it is, although working my way through the bulb possibilities at Old House Gardens, the amazing heirloom bulb company, the one it seems closest to is called 'Van Sion'.

When we first moved here, this hillside was covered with a 10 foot tall thicket of blackberries, but we were told by a former tenant that there were bulbs growing underneath the vines. This meant cautious vine removal, no scraping of the hillside for easy invasive eradication. It was a herculean task, involving a lot of cursing and fighting with 20 foot long vines that ripped at our clothes and got tangled in our hair, but in the end we won, mostly. It is a truce at best, and we know that several years of neglect would bring the blackberries roaring back. However, the incentive to stay on top of them is this:

Every spring, starting sometime in late January, the bulbs start to pop up. By mid February they have started to bloom- usually just in time to trigger a massive hailstorm, it seems. But there are always lovely sunny days when the hillside just glows with golden yellow, and the sight of all of these daffodils swaying in the breeze makes me ridiculously happy.

The other sure sign around here of the shifting seasons is a less celebrated plant, but one that holds a place of deep affection in my heart. Skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanum) is aptly named, as it really does have a pungent smell reminiscent of an encounter with our little furry black and white friends. Native throughout the Pacific Northwest, it grows thickly in the wetland
and boggy areas of our farm, and it usually beats the daffodils by a week or so in popping itself up out of the ground in all of its yellow and green stinky glory and announcing that no matter what anyone else might think, Spring is On The Way.

I'll be honest, I enjoy strolling along Daffodil Hill admiring the blooms far more than slogging through The Bog to go look at the skunk cabbage, but the giddy happy feeling that all that yellow inspires in me is pretty much the same when I look at both plants. Spring isn't here quite yet, but I know it is wandering briskly in our direction.