why boutique?

back of the truck boutique items!

*why “boutique”?  the origin of the word is from old french, ‘botica’ for apothecary, which meant storehouse of herbs, medicines and special foods. for a long time boutique also meant just storehouse of unique items. storehouse ‘keepers’ became shopkeepers in 1366. but the boutique / storehouse did not become an actual retail shop until 1776, and it was in 1953 that boutique became dominantly known as a small elite fashion shop obscuring the previous use of the word.

this reclaiming the word boutique is inspired by the concept of food as medicine. it is also to honor the uniqueness of these products and the extensive effort involved in their production. we have laughed at our operation as ‘boutique farming‘ when we touched and handled these grains once again along the journey of them getting from the fields to your kitchen. and also the barn where they are kept is a storehouse of these precious living seeds. i also feel like a ‘seed-keeper’, stewarding these nutritious grains, co-evolving with them to this bioregion, and contributing to the food security and health of whidbey island, by having them available to sell and distribute to the people. to you!

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Dreaming of a traditional stone oven and fruitwood to heat it!

The oven at Ciao Restaurant, Coupeville

While I have put my attention on building soil over the last 16 years, and enjoyed the alchemy of many compost piles, I have missed out on the incredible art of baking. Now with several tons of organic whole grain sitting in the barn, infinite possibilities involving flour begin to swirl in my imagination. I realize, like the complexity of soil biology, the world of baking is vast and refined. What is compelling me the most about baking right now is the element of fire. I have deep respect for bakers who continue to fire their ovens with wood, and have longed for access to a clay oven somewhere near here, sometime soon, where one could experiment with wood qualities in addition to the blend of flours, ancient sourdough starters and delicious bread recipes.

I recently dropped off some fresh flour (kamut and a red hard spring wheat) at the new local pizza place “Ciao” on Main Street, in Coupeville. Mark, who has the very coolest oven (seen in the picture) increased my oven envy by telling me exactly how it was created, including the details about the volcanic sand from Mt Versuvius used in the mortar…..

I’m looking forward to Mark’s experimentation with my locally grown flours, combined with his creativity and of course his fabulous oven! He mentioned something about chocolate dessert and a pasta dish….. If the pizza’s are anything to go by, we might be in for a real treat. Mark is on an inspiring track, using local produce right from Ebey’s Prairie, the food here tastes good and the service is excellent! Check out the oven while you are at it, and the apple wood stacked below it.

Thinking about burning different woods, I remembered and found this fascinating old verse, cute enough to post: (found in Foodwise by Wendy E Cook)

Burning Wood – traditional verse

Oak logs will warm you well

If they’re old and dry.

Larch logs of pinewood smell

But the sparks will fly.

Beech logs for Christmas time,

Yew logs heat well.

Scotch logs it is a crime

For anyone to sell.

Birch logs burn too fast,

Chestnut scarce at all.

Hawthorn logs are good to last

If you cut them in the fall.

Holly logs will burn like wax,

You should burn them green.

Elm logs like smouldering flax,

No flame to be seen.

Pear logs and apple logs,

They will scent your room.

Cherry logs across the dogs

Smell like flowers in bloom.

But ash logs, all smooth and grey,

Burn them green or old;

Buy up all that come your way,

They’re worth their weight in gold!

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wheatgrass shots – green sunlight – so good!

a green shot to make my cells happy!

 

a sweet way to cleanse your system, mainline some nutrients and balance your blood. wheatgrass juice is used therapeutically for chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes. it’s benefits are widely documented. i recently purchased a fancy stainless steel manual wheatgrass juicer to try my very own wheatgrass shots grown here on ebey’s prairie. i’m very happy with the germination and flavor of the “hank” variety of red hard spring wheat. i am now selling small bags (2.5 lbs) for $6, or larger sacs (20 lbs) for $40. these seeds are locally grown and certified organic. i am also growing wheatgrass flats by request. a large flat is $25. you can get two cuttings from this. i use a biodynamic compost blend in my greenhouse. let the chlorophyll flow!

red hard spring wheat seeds & flour

 

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simple grain recipes with parsley

Firstly, it’s important to soak grains overnight or for at least 8 hours, this activates the seed enzymes, making grain much more digestable and nutritious. Once soaked overnight, they can be cooked for a shorter period – about 40 /60 minutes depending on equipment and method. (Note: 1 cup of the raw berries will yield about 2 1/2 cups cooked).Here are some recipes to get started:

(Note the fresh parsley theme running through all the following recipies – an excellent herb packed with nutrients, vit C, minerals and more – if you don’t like parsley, let me know, I have lots more yummy recipes to come).

KHORASAN WHEAT (KAMUT) BERRY SALAD

Ingredients:

* 1 cup kamut berries, soaked overnight
* 1/2 cup raw wild rice
* 2/3 cup toasted chopped pecans
* 1 cup dried cranberries
* 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
* 1/2 cup chopped green onions
* 3 tbs fresh lemon or lime juice
* 1 tbs honey
* 1 tbs dijon mustard
* 1 tsp kosher salt
* 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Preparation:

1. Soak the kamut berries overnight in cold water, covering them 3 inches. Drain the water in the morning.
2. Boil the berries in 6 cups of water for about 50 to 60 minutes, or until tender. Add more water as necessary to keep wheat berries covered during cooking. Drain excess water from the kamut berries when done.
3. In another small pot, boil 2 cups of water. Add the wild rice and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the rice begins to split. I prefer to undercook the wild rice slightly so that it retains some structure. Drain excess water.
4. Combine the cooked wheat berries and wild rice in a large bowl.
5. Whisk the lime juice, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper to make the dressing. Add the dressing to the kamut berries and wild rice, mix thoroughly.
6. Now add the cranberries, pecans, parsley, and green onions and combine well.

KAMUT WITH SHALLOTS AND PARSLEY:

2 1/2 tbs butter
6 shallots or 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup Kamut
3 cup chicken/vegetable stock
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 tsp pepper

Melt butter in large skillet.

Add shallots and cook over med heat till wilted.

Stir in kamut and stock. Bring to boil.

Turn off heat, cover and let stand 45 min.

Add pepper and parsley and toss.

Warm over low heat for 5-10 min and serve.

BARLEY MUSHROOM SOUP

The crimini mushrooms and tawny port (optional) gives this Barley Mushroom Soup extra flavor. This soup is a great way to enjoy the health benefits of barley.

Prep and Cook Time: Prep time: 20 min; Cook time: 55 min

Ingredients:
*1/2 cup of purple barley

* 1 medium onion, chopped fine
*3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
* 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced in ¼-inch cubes
* 2½ cups crimini mushrooms, cut in half and sliced
* ½ cup Tawny port/sweet white wine (optional)
* 1 tbs + 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
* 1 tbs chopped fresh parsley
* 1 tbs chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried thyme)
* ½ tbs chopped fresh sage (or ½ tsp dried sage)
* Salt and black pepper to tasteDirections:

1. Rinse and soak barley in 1 cup of warm water while preparing rest of ingredients.
2. Heat 1 tbs broth in a medium soup pot. Healthy Sauté onion, garlic, and carrots in broth for 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently.
3. Add mushrooms and continue to sauté for another 3 minutes. Add drained barley and Tawny Port and cook for about 2 minutes.
4. Add rest of broth and bring soup to a boil on high heat. Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until barley and carrots are tender.
5. Add herbs, salt, and pepper at the end of cooking and serve.

Serves 4

Tip:
If you are using dried herbs instead of fresh ones, add them in step 4 before you simmer the soup.

PURPLE BARLEY TABOULEH

Serves 4-6

Mint, lemon and parsley are all highlighted in tabouleh, a fresh barley salad.

Ingredients

1 cup purple barley
2 cups chopped tomatoes
2/3 cup finely chopped scallion, green and white part
1 cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup finely chopped mint
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
Ground pepper, to taste
Method

Bring 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Stir in barley and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer over low heat until tender, about 1 hour. Rinse with cool water, drain and set aside. In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, scallion, parsley, mint and lemon zest. Toss in well-drained barley.

Whisk lemon juice with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over salad and toss to combine.

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biodynamic grains on whidbey island?

mark and mary spraying biodynamic preps

in 2009 i chose to become kin with some land on ebey’s prairie near coupeville. drawn by the dark soft soil, supported by the openness and generosity of a local landowner, ken pickard, an experiment was begun: to grow high quality nutritious grains for human consumption, without machinery or cows! ambitious, and some say crazy!

ken with his rake and seed disperser ready for some hand planting

we began with a 7 acre slope, and in the spring of 2010 we turned in a hay field, sprayed some biodynamic preparations and planted some khorasan wheat from eygpt, (aka kamut), some purple prairie barley from tibet, and a red hard spring wheat called ‘hank’. the summer was quite cold and quite wet, not ideal conditions for the ripening of grains.  fortunately, we did harvest these crops, dried them for safe storage, and began the challenging project of cleaning these grains. i mentioned the lack of machines, well capital is a little lacking too, despite the kindness of my very supportive father, we could not yet justify buying a seed separator ($7000), so it has taken until now to have these 3 grains ready to market. however they are ready to find their way to your kitchen pantry and dining table soon!

ken and georgina, first time spraying the field biodynamically!

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with love from the prairie

growing grains: building soil i wholeheartedly embrace, building a blog or a website is far from my skill set, however with the intention to share delicious recipes, nutritional inspiration, tips on growing grains and anything else i can offer – here goes – georgina’s first blog!

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