This morning I was thrilled to check my e-mail and find a message from Anthony Boutard with news of the latest goings-on at Ayers Creek Farm. As mentioned below, pencil in July 30-31 on your calendar and make plans to head out to the farm to purchase the goods direct from the farmers themselves.
Yesterday our local funeral home offered us, for "Absolutely Free!," a copy of their Final Wishes Organizer®. There was also an offer of a prepaid funeral plan, though, for our tastes, R.I.P. stands for Rot In Place, or just leave us out for the vultures, bot flies and carrion beetles. A return to nature. But it got us to thinking that we have been so wrapped up in the business of farming, we had failed to provide any updates.
Linda Colwell's Amish Butter cornmeal crostata with Imperial Epineuse plums.
Some of you may have observed that New Seasons has been carrying our 3.14 cherries and Imperial Epineuse prunes for the last two weeks, and yesterday the stores put out the first of our Chester blackberries. All bear our black and yellow label. The first harvest is always a mite short, but Tuesday and Wednesday the next lot of berries will arrive in those stores. With two new stores, it will be a challenge to meet their needs. At the end of next week, Food Front and Rubinette may be ordering berries from us as well. As the season progresses, the other fruit that we offered at the farmers' market will be available to these stores. (If you want a flat of the early berries, talk to the produce staff of the store.)
Chesters on the canes.
We are always amused by the abject distain Chesters receive in the press. For example, in 2007 the New York Times described them as "mediocre." A couple of years ago, the state's incredible shrinking tabloid of record, otherwise known as The Oregonian, described them as in "the marionberry family, chesters come with small seeds and a bitter taste." Last week, their Food Day article extolling the season's berries completely ignored the Chester, which we guess must be judged as progress. No big deal, weather permitting, we expect to sell between 60,000 and 80,000 hallocks generously filled with Chesters over the next five weeks without the help of the Oregon's tabloid press. Still, it leaves us scratching our heads. For some crazy reason, in 2001 this berry, so reviled in the press, earned "Outstanding Fruit Cultivar Award" by the American Society for Horticultural Science; maybe because it really is so delicious. That's our theory backed by some empirical evidence.
Parched green wheat (i.e. the grain formerly known as frikeh).
We are planning to resume our open farm days the last weekend of July [tentatively 7/30-31], as soon as we wrap up the many loose ends dangling about the place. We need to finish threshing out the favas and barley, and get the chicories planted. We are finishing up the cleaning of the parched green wheat as well. As soon as we have the details nailed down, we will send another update. We know there is some impatience out there, but if we get everything done well here, there will be an abundance available for everyone once we are ready to resume the farm days.
We don't have any social media presence, at least that we know of, nor even a website, but a search for the #ayerscreekfarm hashtag at Instagram offers visual proof that we have been busy in the past two months. And having an Italian-German colleague, Myrtha Zierock, our Resident Fellow, has left us well fed and happy as well.
Photo of plum crostata by Linda Colwell.