spotted wing drosophila on flower

SWD

No, it’s not Single, White Divorcee. It’s Spotted Wing Drosophila (aka Drosophila suzukii), and it’s the enemy of berry lovers everywhere.

SWD is a fruit fly from Asia, first detected in California in 2008.  2008 doesn’t seem that long ago to me, but this little fly is no laggard.

Keep reading...

A field of elderflowers in bloom

Is this Elderberry?

Elderberry has huge white, umbrella-like flowers but so do poison hemlock, Queen Anne’s lace, or pokeweed, all of which bloom at the same time. That can cause some (understandable!) hesitation if you are trying to harvest elderflowers for culinary or medicinal use. So here’s how to distinguish elderberry from these lookalikes.

Keep reading...

elderflowers close up - white with yellow stamens

Elderflower Eruption

The elderberry bushes are now flowering outrageously. What a month ago resembled small florets of broccoli have developed into 6” wide umbels of creamy white bloom. These blooms will roll out in waves over the next month or so, transforming our humble field of bushes into an ever changing floral ocean. 

Keep reading...

violet jelly

Violets in Spring

Just as I was starting to think about preparing the lawn mower for its first run, the yard breaks out in purple. 

A thousand wild violets dot the lawn, welcoming the early bees.  I set the mower deck high and shave the grass above their heads.  Mowing so high means I’ll have to cut it again soon, but it’s worth it to let the flowers continue their bloom. 

Keep reading...

spring garlic in hand, with roots and dirt

Spring Garlic

Spring brings some fleeting culinary pleasures such as rhubarb, asparagus, and violets. Among them we count spring garlic, which we have been enjoying these past few weeks. Their mild garlic flavor is a great accompaniment to meat or rich vegetarian entrees, or a nice addition to your morning omelet.

Keep reading...

northern_flicker

Rare Catbird Sighting

I’ve never been much of a bird watcher. Birds are great and all, but I never put the effort into learning them beyond the common robin or chickadee.

It’s difficult; they’re small, far away, and move quickly. So it was with some excitement that I heard an unusual birdcall the other day.

Keep reading...

matheus-frade-KO46ZfbNdtY-unsplash

A Seat at the Local Foods Table

Last month I attended the 14th Annual Buy Local Foods Seminar, and I was excited to hear from their lineup of local food producers. It’s takes extra effort to seek out local products like these rather than just buy what’s sitting on the grocery store shelf. But in return for the effort you get food you know, with a story close to home.

Keep reading...

Rural-Action-Logo

Rural Action

I recently completed Rural Action’s Whole Farm Planning and Mentoring program. What a fantastic experience! For eight weeks I got to hear first hand from experienced farmers and entrepreneurs.

Keep reading...