Greetings from the gardens!  The celebration of life is so much more apparent when the sun is shining. The preparations must be accomplished no matter what the weather, and, with the right outlook, they can be enjoyed during a downpour. But when the blue sky is above me and the sting of the sun is upon my skin, duties become festivities. Children are shirtless and covered in mud, chickens are pecking at fresh blades of grass, goats munch down the incessant blackberry brambles, and the transplants find new homes where they can spread their roots deep and bask in the sunlight.

Each of the gardens established during our first year are now planted in beneficial rotations of seeds and transplants, and the new spiral garden is beginning to take shape. Plants and seeds that will assist each other as well as build the soil for gardens to come are carefully introduced to each new section of garden before spiraling on, mounding with compost, soil and manure until we reach the center. Upon the completion of this spiral garden alone, our growers’ footprint will almost double! Build it and they will eat.

I am not the only one at Coffee Creek who feels the spring time in all of its glory. The chickens are out and about and on the prowl, and they are great company in the garden when they find and feast upon bugs and grubs that would soon be munching on the plants.  They are, however, quite pesky when they themselves munch on the fresh plantings! Just after the over-wintered kale was pulled up for crop rotation, the chickens found the fresh crop and had a little taste. My apologies for the lack of greens:  my master plan of an overlapping harvest was foiled by fowl. They are hard to argue with - you, too, have tasted their eggs. The plants will recover, thankfully, and you will be up to your ears in hearty greens before you can say, “roughage.”

 The new kombucha batch is a little off schedule as well, so I do not have any to include in this basket. By the next delivery I will have had some time to bottle ahead and there will be more of a selection of fruits and herbs to flavor the beverage and enhance the medicinal properties. I hope that you have been enjoying the benefits of this elixir, and if anyone is feeling as adamant about regular intake as my three year old is, I would be more than happy to make a special delivery next Wednesday, the 29th. Please send a note if this is something you desire.

 As you may know, I teach children’s yoga in Pierce County as well as at home in Centralia. Commuting can be troublesome when there is so much to be done on the farm, so I have condensed my CSA and yoga teaching schedule into one convenient summer-sized package!  I now have the rest of the season’s city trips planned out, and you may pick up your boxes as follows: May 12 and 26 (half shares available on the second date given for each month), June 9 and 23, July 14 and 28, August 11 and 25, September 8 and 22, October 13 and 27, and November 22 (whole shares only). On these second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, we will share in the bounty of the season, from the winter preserves to the fruits of fall. Our region is so diverse and our climate so unique, that many amazing crops can be grown here. I specifically designed your shares to supplement, not replace, your own gardens and trips to your neighborhood farmers’ market.  Whenever my son and I have a chance to visit a farmers’ market as a patron and not a vender, we do not simply shop, but make a morning of it, snacking, learning and networking all the way down the street. Find out when the opening day of your favorite market is, get involved, and have a great time!

Featured truffles from Blissful Wunders are Espresso and Milk Chocolate. These are the traditional cream based recipe, but in case you had not noticed, the last batch was a coconut milk based vegan recipe! All of the truffles varieties are available with or without dairy ingredients, so if you have a preference, just let me know. Of course, they are all organic, handmade and delectable.

Beginning next month, orders for extra eggs may be made by the preceding Monday. You will continue to receive one half-dozen eggs with each box, but if you desire more (on a regular basis or for a special occasion) they are available. Purchase eggs one half-dozen for $2.50, or a dozen for $4. To receive a full dozen with each box for the rest of the season you may pay $32 in advance.

Dried tomatoes and basil are wonderful tossed with pasta and olive oil, or sautéed with mushrooms and served atop an Alfredo. Fresh Chocolate mint is a great addition to a refreshing glass of water or iced tea, or chopped and served in salad or sprinkled on vanilla ice cream. Chives dress up almost any bowl of soup or roasted vegetable dish when chopped and sprinkled just before serving. While chives are best used fresh, a bundle of mint may be hung up to dry out of direct sunlight. Stored in an air tight bag or jar, dried herbs keep for years. Mint is a great digestive herb and a warm decoction is very helpful for upset stomach and indigestion. It also promotes mental clarity and can be quite energizing.

One jar of freshly canned, salt-free garbanzo beans makes a bowl of hummus fit to be shared. Use the fresh mint to flavor a tabouleh salad and you will have a Mediterranean feast!

Basic Hummus Recipe

One jar prepared garbanzos, drained

2 tbs. tahini

1 tbs. olive oil

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp. cumin

 Salt to taste

Make paste of beans with potato masher or in food processor. Mix in tahini, garlic and cumin. A couple teaspoons of water may be added for consistency. Fold in olive oil before serving with warm pita bread and fresh veggies. Tasty additions include: roasted sweet peppers, kalamata olives, pine nuts, or cayenne pepper.

                Enjoy these goodies, enjoy the spring, for as more sun shines, more freshies I will bring!