2019 Crop Plan

2019 will be our fifth growing season. Each year we (hopefully!) learn from the past and improve our produce selection and quality, increase our crop yields, and achieve our goal of being the coolest small farm in Oregon.

We select what we’re going to grow based upon:

  • Crops that have performed well in previous years
  • Varieties that are popular with our customers
  • What looks new and interesting from our seed vendors

With this in mind, here’s what we’re planning for 2019. Of course, this is all subject to change based upon weather conditions, seed availability, the whims of Mother Nature, etc.

ALLIUMS

In general, alliums are slow growing, so we start as early as possible in the season.

Our 2019 garlic has already been planted back in early October 2018. We love garlic, and we planted four varieties selected for their robust flavor and value in the kitchen. Three of the varieties are hardnecks, meaning they have a stiff central stem that produces a scape which we sell in mid-spring. Most varieties you buy in the local store are softneck varieties because they store longer, however hardneck varieties have much better and more interesting flavor. Our varieties this year include:

  • ZemoA large, beautiful and well-formed porcelain garlic similar to German White. A hardneck variety, its flavor is very strong and robust and sticks around for a long time.
  • Chesnok RedA full flavored hardneck garlic with a mellow aftertaste that sticks around nicely for a while. Best baking garlic and a great all-around garlic. Chesnok Red is the sweetest roasting garlic of them all.
  • Lorz Italian – An heirloom softneck brought from Italy around 1850. The perfect choice for those who like their garlic hot and spicy. Robust, large cloves are easy-to-peel and often times exhibit purplish tints on the skins. Large heads are also great for roasting.
  • Georgian Crystal – This is a popular variety also from the Republic of Georgia. The cloves are huge and a bit milder than our other varieties. Another hardneck.

We’ll have two successions of onions this year. The Spring crop is already growing in our high tunnels. We’ll have a second summer/fall crop too. We growing f0ur varieties this year:

  • Walla Walla – Very large sweet onion. We grow it every year and it is always popular
  • Cabernet – Beautiful red onion, we can’t grow enough of them
  • Courtlan– A big round yellow storage onion (i.e. not a sweet onion)
  • Red Carpet – Another red onion variety

We’re growing one leek variety this year: King Richard. They’re long and slender with great flavor.

We’re growing shallots again for 2019. Like our garlic, our shallots were planted last fall and are overwintering for a Spring harvest. The variety we’re growing is: French Red which is medium sized with mild flavor. It’s a staple in French cuisine.

BRASSICAS

We’ll be growing several types of brassicas this year, with both a summer crop and a fall crop.

  • We’ll plant two types of broccoli – Belstar and Batavia. These both produce large heads. Belstar is more heat tolerant just in case we get a hot summer.
  • We’re going to plant a single cauliflower variety this year: Janvel. We’ve grown it the past couple of years with some success. We’re hoping to get better yields in 2019.
  • Kohlrabi is one of our favorite brassicas and we’ll be growing Korridor. It performed quite well last year and we had many positive reviews from our customers.
  • We’ve picked three varieties of cabbage for 2018: Integro which is a beautiful purple variety; Famosa which is a savoy – type green cabbage; Capture which is a large, smooth leaf green cabbage.

CUCUMBERS

Cucumbers are very popular, so we’re looking to double our production in 2019. After growing for several years now we’ve narrowed our varieties to those that are the clear winners with our customers.

  • National Pickling – This has been a popular pickling cucumber every season. We try to harvest them around 5” long so they’re crisp and sweet – not bitter. Many of customers buy this variety for eating fresh week after week.
  • Green Finger – This is a long tender slicer cucumber with thin skin, slight ribbing, and a small seed cavity.  A burpless variety.
  • Lemon – This is a specialty variety that is very popular. They’re round and yellow (thus the name) with a delicate flavor and crunchy texture.

FLOWERS

We grow flowers many to attract beneficial insects. If you visit our farm (and you should!) you’ll see stands of flowers interspersed with our vegetable crops. If we get a particularly creative crewmember, we might make “country bouquets” every once in a while. Varieties we typically plant include:

  • Sunflowers
  • Marigold
  • Bachelor Buttons
  • Zinnia
  • Snapdragon
  • Cosmos
  • Calendula

FRUIT

We have plans for an orchard on the farm, but for now our fruit varieties are somewhat limited. We do grow melons every year. By growing them in one of our hoop houses, we jack up the heat and humidity. We routinely get much bigger and sweeter melons this way.

  • Every year, we’ve grown a Tuscan cantaloupe called Tirreno. The flavor and texture are simply phenomenal.
  • We’re going to grow Arava again. This is a Galia – type melon which is a cross between a cantaloupe and a honeydew. With netted skin like a cantaloupe but green flesh like a honeydew, the result is a tropical flavor we really enjoy.
  • We have a couple of Bartlett pear trees that usually produce enough for our CSA members and maybe a few for market.
  • We have two types of plum trees. The Shiro plums ripen in spring. They’re mildly sweet and very juicy. Later towards summer the Italian plums ripen. These are the classic dark purple and even sweeter. They’re popular fresh or dried.
  • Like most of the Willamette Valley, we have many stands of Himalayan blackberry. Although this is an invasive species, the berries produced have a wonderful flavor and sweetness. The thorns are nasty, so the number of pints we harvest depends upon how tough and masochistic our work crew is.

GREENS

  • Arugula is popular, and we’ll have it available as often as possible. We tend to have it more in the spring and fall. It’s difficult to have it available in the heat of summer when it bolts very quickly.
  • Kale is a staple for us. For 2019 we’re growing three varieties: Tuscan (Lacinato), Curly, and Red Russian.
  • Chard hasn’t been as popular with our customers as other greens, but we’ll be growing a Rainbow variety this year.

HERBS

  • We like to have a variety of herbs, so we grow lots:
    • Basil – We grow Genovese – the best variety for classic flavor. Awesome for pesto. We grow as much as we can between our tomato plants inside a high tunnel giving us a long season.
    • Cilantro – We’re going to try to have cilantro as often through the season as possible. It bolts quickly, so we have to plant new rows constantly.
    • Dill – We grow dill both for the fronds as well as the seeds for pickling.
    • Thyme – We have a long row of German Winter thyme. It’s great in all sorts of dishes and thrives all year long.
    • Oregano – We have another long row of Italian Oregano. We love it in our red sauces.
    • Sage – We have several plants that we harvest from.
    • Parsley – We grow both Italian (flat leaf) and the more common curly leaf varieties.
    • Rosemary – This will be our first year of serious harvesting off these perennial plants.

     

LEGUMES

  • We love beans of all types. This year, we’ll be growing just fresh beans – sorry no dried beans yet. In the past, we’ve grown fancy/exotic varieties like purple beans, spotted beans, etc. but we just keep coming back to the standards.
    • We grow Fava beans even though many people hesitate to try them. They’re a bit of work to prepare, but they have a great flavor, they’re good for you, and there are a lot of ways to prepare them. Besides that, they’re one of the few vegetables that will grow in early spring when it is still too cold and wet for anything else
    • One of our favorite pole beans is the Blue Lake variety and we’ll be growing three or four successions of them. Great flavor and texture, and almost universally loved by our customers.
    • We skipped them the last two years but we’ll be growing Romano beans again in 2019. Also known as Italian Beans, Broad Beans, or Flat Beans, these are flat, wide green beans with a crisp texture and buttery flavor. They’re a real treat, just don’t overcook them.

     

LETTUCE

  • Everyone loves lettuce, and we’re hoping to triple our production over 2018. There are so many varieties, with more coming out every year.
    • Lettuce Mix – this always been popular and we will grow it all season long. Our seed mix is a combination of red and green oak leaf, romaine, bibb, butterleaf, and lallo. Though the seed mix is the same, the resulting packages tend to look different between Spring, Summer, and Fall because different varieties grow faster/slower depending upon the weather conditions.
    • Head Lettuce – we will try to always have at least one variety of green butterleaf, red butterleaf,  and green romaine.

     

PEPPERS

  • We grow a variety of peppers, mostly mild and/or sweet varieties. All our peppers are grown in a high tunnel so they get lots of hot weather with protection from bugs.
    • California Wonder– This is a big, boxy red bell pepper. Great sweet flavor and crisp flesh.
    • Picnic – Sometimes known as lunchbox peppers, these peppers come in three colors: red, orange, and yellow. They’re small with thick walls, great flavor, and amazing sweetness. We like to much on them as a snack. They’re that good.
    • Shishito – We’ve grown these every season and they’re always a big hit. They are a small, mild Japanese pepper that is great roasted, pan – fried, or grilled. Many restaurants sell them as appetizers. Very similar to Padron.
    • Jalapeno – We grow an early variety that produces like crazy with medium size fruits and medium heat. We pickle lots of these.
    • Jimmy Nardelo– This is an old Italian heirloom pepper. They’re long bright red and very sweet. One of the best frying red peppers.

     

POTATOES

We start our potatoes in spring for a summer crop. Planting potatoes in the heavy clay soil common throughout the Willamette Valley is challenging but our crop has been better every year. For 2019, we’re planting 50% red potatoes and 50% white/yellow.

  • Yukon Gold – one of the most popular varieties grown, not too starchy. They’re medium sized with thin yellow skin and flesh. They’re great roasted, mashed, and boiled.
  • Norland Red – this has been a great producer every year. They’re medium/large red potatoes with thin skin and yellow/white flesh. Awesome flavor and texture when roasted.
  • German Butterball – this is a beautiful mid-size potato, round, smooth textured, and waxy (meaning it retains it’s shape after boiling) with a creamy, buttery flavor.
  • Red Chieftan – this is a large coppery-red potato with firm, moist flesh.

ROOTS

  • We love all sorts of root vegetables, but they’re a challenge for most farms in the northern Willamette valley. That’s because the soil here has a lot of clay in it when can make it difficult for root vegetables to expand in as they grow. Carrots are not necessarily long and straight, beets aren’t always uniformly round, etc. This doesn’t affect the flavor though.
    • We’ll be growing two types of carrots: Danvers and Napoli. These are both bright orange, very crisp and tasty. Danvers is selected because it’s one of the sweetest varieties. Napoli is selected because it does a bit better in the cooler spring and fall periods.
    • We’ll be growing three types of beets: Detroit Red (classic deep red), Chioggia (an heirloom variety with concentric bands of red/white), and Touchstone Gold (yellow). All three are great either fresh, roasted, or pickled.
    • We’ll be growing a few types of radishes: Pink Beauty, and Rudolf. They’re both bright colored, crisp fleshed, with mild flavor.

     

SUMMER SQUASH

  • We love summer squash. If you let them get too big, squash can become mushy and pithy with lots of seeds. That’s why we harvest on the relatively small side.
    • Dunja – Our standard for a green zucchini. It’s a medium green zucchini with great taste.
    • Costata Romanesco – An Italian heirloom zucchini, with a slightly nutty flavor and exceptional texture. They’re a heavy ribbed gray-green color.
    • Yellow Fin – This is a deep yellow zucchini with flavor half-way between zucchini and crookneck squash.
    • Y-Star – A yellow Patty Pan squash.
    • G-Star – A green Patty Pan squash.

     

TOMATOES

Tomatoes are one of our favorite crops to grow. The plants and their fruits are so varied and beautiful, the different varieties are fun to experiment with. Most importantly, there is simply no comparison between the quality of our tomatoes and those you can buy from your local store. We grow our slicer tomatoes in a high tunnel. This generates lots of heat that the tomatoes lover and ensure a long growing season well into the fall.

  • New Girl – This is our standard, beautiful round and deep red with great flavor and texture. They’re not as fancy as some of our other varieties but we grow three times as many of these plants because they are so popular for fresh eating as well as canning.
  • Brandywine – One of the original “heirloom” varieties. They’re huge, rose-pink, smooth flesh, and the perfect blend of sugars and acids.
  • Cherokee Purple – An old heirloom that traces its roots back to the Cherokee in Oaklahoma. The fruits are big, mauve/red with green shoulders. The flesh is smoky and sweet. By far our best tasting tomato. A bit challenging to grow.
  • Green Zebra – Last year we had customers show up extra early to buy as many of this heirloom variety as they could get. When ripe they’re medium sized, pale green with dark green stripes. The flavor is sweet but with more tart acid than other varieties. They look beautiful on a plate.
  • Rose de Berne – Another heirloom, they’re big, round, and a deep scarlet rose color with a sweet flavor.

We will be growing lots of cherry tomatoes this year. They’re a more robust plant so we grow these in the field under plastic. After several years, we’ve developed a great selection of very sweet varieties:

  • Sun Gold – By far the most popular cherry tomato I’ve seen with customers constantly asking about it.
  • Montesino – My personal favorite. It is a bright red grape tomato with excellent flavor and sweetness.
  • White Cherry – A big pale yellow variety with mild flavor and sweetness.
  • Sweetie – The standard for cherry tomatoes, very popular with kids because of its bright candy-red color and sweetness.
  • Jasper – Another candy-red variety that is small – only 3/4″ diameter, perfect for snacking.
  • Cherry Bomb – Another candy-red variety, these plants are bullet-proof and ensure we have as long a season as possible.

WINTER SQUASH

  • We love winter squash almost as much as summer squash. We like stuffing them, roasting them, making soup with them, and – of course – baking with them. For 2019, we’re planning to grow only culinary (i.e. edible) squash – no gourds.
    • Delicata – One of our favorites, and a favorite of our customers too. We sold out in just one month in 2018, so we’re planning to triple our production level for 2019.
    • Honey Boat – This is a “refined” variety of Delicata, developed at OSU. It has darker skin and a sweeter flavor. 2019 will be our first year for this variety.
    • Butternut – Another favorite. We grow the “Waltham” variety which is the standard for butternut squash.
    • Spaghetti – This squash has a loyal following.
    • Acorn – This is the one “sweet” squash we’re growing this year. Great for baking. Makes better pies than using a pumpkin.
    • New England Pie – We’ve tried many different varieties of pumpkins and this is our favorite. They have great flavor and texture, especially for baking. They’re not too big, so it’s not such a big project to prepare one of these and you don’t wind up with lots of waste.

     

OTHER STUFF

We’ll be growing two types of eggplant. These will be grown in a high tunnel because the plants love the heat.

  • Traviata – This is a classic Italian eggplant. This variety is a glossy dark purple and medium sized. We get lots of compliments about our eggplant being smaller and more tender than usual.
  • Little Finger – This is a Japanese eggplant. Also glossy purple, this variety is long and slender with minimal seeds.

We’ll be growing a green tomatillo variety known a Toma Verde. The Latinas from the Forest Grove market we attend have emphasized to us that we must harvest these when they just fill out the husk and are still mostly green. That way they are crisp and tart. If they are left longer, they become pale yellow and overly sweet.

We will have a few successions of fennel this year. The variety we grow is Preludio. It has excellent flavor and grows well in our soils.

We’re going to try growing Artichokes this year. This is a bit tricky because artichokes won’t survive a typical Oregon winter so we have to grow it as an annual. The variety we’re using is Wonder.