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Food Preservation in a Hurry

Nathaniel and our custom kraut smusher.

I’m sure I’m not the only one of us who has made it through all of summer only to now notice the pantry is absent of any preserves and the freezer lacks any sign of this year’s harvest. Never fear! Time Constrained Preservation Princess is here (yep, that’s what I’m now going by).  Now is as good of time as any to capture the tastes of summer in quart jars and freezer bags. I never do anything too complicated, as time is still limited and precious, but my oh my do I love myself in the winter for doing the deliciously easy stuff now. So… here’s what I prioritize in preservationville (not quite as exciting as Margaritaville, RIP Jimmy Buffet).


Pesto!! We make boat loads and just freeze it in pint sized freezer jars. No water bath shenanigans, super easy peasy (and basily). I also dehydrate tons of basil and jar it up for future pizzas, soups, pastas and gifts. It’s so much sweeter and more flavorful than the old store stuff.


Next, we freeze tomatoes whole in ziplock bags, especially cherry tomatoes, but we do this with the big guys, too. You literally don’t have to do anything expect take off their green stems. We pour the frozen flavor bombs into soups and stews come cold season. Boomshakala!  I also roast tomatoes whole with a little olive oil and salt until they’re pretty much caramelized. Once cooled, I jar or bag this sludgy bliss and toss that into the freezer for casseroles, pizzas, soups, etc. Lastly, I cook down tomatoes whole with the skins on (most recipes tell you to remove the skins, but I’m not that kind of girl).

I use the immersion blender to break ‘em up if I want sauce and leave some in full tomato form for stewed tomatoes. Once they’re cooked down to my liking, I put the tomatoes in sterilized jars, add 2 TBS of bottled lemon juice per quart, seal it up, and water bath the beauties for 20 minutes. Yes, this is a bit of effort, but for farm fresh, heirloom tomato gloriousness, it’s worth it.


We’re all about making loads kraut, kimchi, curtido, and more kraut. They all maximizes the health benefits of cabbage with all its probiotics that make food more digestible and improves your guts ability to absorb nutrients. Fermented foods are also easy to make. I use the Sandor Katz’s book “Wild Fermentation” for the specifics, but their are oceans of recipes on the ol internet. This is an excellent mode of preserving cabbage and more for 4-6months.

Carrots, Radishes, Cucumbers, Onions, and Garlic

Other than that, I’m pretty into quick pickling carrots, radishes, and cucumbers, dehydrating garlic and onions for garlic and onion powder. I’d love to hear your preservation passions and secrets to keeping the harvest!

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Wrapping up 2019

It’s been a bountiful year here in the fields of Deep Harvest Farm. We grew over 50 varieties for seed, including 15 new vegetables and 10 new cut flowers, bringing our catalog total to 110 varieties. You might wonder why our variety selections are rather slim compared with most other seed catalogs you receive in the mail. This is because we choose to only sell seeds grown on our home farm on Whidbey Island.(Occasional exceptions occur due to unexpected crop losses, in which case we’ll bring in a bit of seed from another certified-organic, Pacific NW seed grower). We take pride in our small, highly curated batch of varieties, many of which we’ve been selecting and refining for several years. We’ve chosen to only produce seed from varieties that have also performed exceptionally well on the vegetable side of our farm business; those that have become staples for our CSA, farmers market and restaurant accounts. You can know that our seeds have been trialed and tested for suitability to organic, low-input soil conditions as well as the climate and seasons of the Pacific Northwest.

The Deep Harvest Farm CSA

Almost 50 years after the start of the modern Community Supported Agriculture movement, the US is now home to well over 10,000 CSA farms. That’s not at all hard to believe, as even our little island community enthusiastically supports around 10 such operations. The majority of CSAs aim to get customers the most local, fresh, and seasonal produce possible along with meaningful relationships with growers – huge perks the average grocery chain doesn’t provide.  At Deep Harvest Farm, we take local to the next level by growing most of our produce with our very own farm-grown, organic-certified seed.  Due to the added complexity of running both a vegetable and seed business, we safely guess that only a handful of CSA farms grow the majority of their own seed. In the age of global climate change, we passionately believe that regionally adapted and locally controlled seed is a crucial part of a secure, decentralized food system.  Our electric tractor, solar panels and farm-grown seeds help us and our customers keep our carbon footprints down. Following the Black Friday release of the latest US Climate report this is more important than ever.

We’re now taking sign-ups for our 2019 farm-share season. Go HERE to learn more about all our program’s options and to become a Deep Harvest member. We’d be elated and honored to be your farmers!

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Why Buy Organic, Local Flowers and Flower Seed?

by Annie Jesperson

I’m guessing you’re not a big flower eater (am I wrong?) so seeking out blossoms grown without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers might not seem as vital as buying organic groceries. However, the joy and beauty flowers bring might be seriously diminished if you consider how they were likely raised.Whidbey Bridal Bouquet

The average grocery store bouquet gets shipped from countries often in South American that haveminimal, if any, herbicide, pesticide, and fungicide regulations. According to the CA Cut Flower commission, a whopping 80% of our flowers are imported. In 2007, the International Labor Rights Fund discovered Ecuadoran flower companies use over 30 different pesticides and that 20% of the chemicals applied on flowers in Colombia are restricted or banned in the US. The global flower industry is dangerous for field workers, florists and consumers alike and does serious damage to soils, waterways, pollinators and environmental health. The International Labor Organization found more than 60% of South American flower industry workers experience headaches, nausea, blurred vision or fatigue and suffer more than the average number of miscarriages.

Luckily, we have more opportunities than ever to buy flowers that support safe working conditions and a healthy natural world. In 2005, U.S. consumers bought $16 million in organic flowers and according to the Organic Trade Association that demand is increasing by 50 percent a year. “VeriFlora,” a labeling and certification program started by U.S. consumers, growers and retailers helps fuel that growth. Over 30 farms Colombia and Ecuador boast the VeriFlora label, which bans more than 100 chemicals and requires transitioning to organic growing techniques.

Also, the burgeoning Slow Flower Movement, started by flower farmer and activist Debra Prinzing, encourages consumers to know their flower growers and buy flowers raised close to home. Doing so hugely lowers the carbon footprint of your bouquets—and it’s not hard to do as the local flower movement is exploding. Between to 2007 and 2012 the number of US cut flower growers grew 20%! Knowing your farmer is a worthy and attainable goal for your flowers and foods alike.

Of course the surest route to chemical free blooms are to grow your own from organic, local flower seed. If you’re not a gardener, no problem, just seek out a local flower farmer or florist whom you can talk to about their growing practices and flower sources.

Let’s stop rubbing our noses and hands on the toxins of conventional flowers. With the rise of the local, organic flower movement, it’s easier than ever to ignore anonymous blooms. Show your friends, family and the earth your love buy supporting organic, local flowers.

Whidbey Island Flower Growers:

Organic, Non-GMO Zinnea Seed
Salmon Rose Zinnea from Deep Harvest Seeds

Deep Harvest Farm

Flying Bear Farm

Sonshine Farm

Organic Flower Seeds:

Deep Harvest Farm

Uprising Organics

Wild Garden Seed

Adaptive Seeds