Tag Archives: Education

Plan to Can?

BI Q&A FLier

WSU Small Farms Team is here to help!   The Bainbridge Grange has invited us for a Home Canning Q&A  on August 13th at 7:00pm!  The grange is located at 10340 Madison Ave NE, Bainbridge Island.  Topics covered will include basic canning principles, water bath vs. pressure canning, types of equipment, and approved recipes and resources.  Pressure gauge testing will be available at the workshop for $5.00. Whether you are just getting started or would like to update your knowledge of home food preservation, join us and learn!

If you can’t make it to the workshop WSU is available to answer food safety and preservation questions by e-mail or phone.  Contact Diane Fish (dfish@wsu.edu) or call the Small Farms Program at 360-337-7026.   Online food preservation and safety information is available on the WSU Kitsap Extension website (http://county.wsu.edu/kitsap/agriculture/food/Pages/default.aspx).   Pressure gauge testing is available by appointment for a $5.00 fee.  Gauges should be tested annually.


Rubbing shoulders with the people who feed you!

A while back I posted about Kitsap Farmer’s Markets for those folks who were looking to get up close and personal with a farmer (sort of like going to the zoo but it costs less and you get zucchini!)  If you have taken that baby step and want to get even more farmy there are lots of events coming up this summer and fall where you can even see farmers in their natural habitat!

July 20th – Poulsbo Farmers Market Kids’ Day / Touch a Tractor

Bring out the kids for a day all about them! To start, show the kids how all of the delicious food at the market is grown by taking them around to all of the tractors that will be scattered throughout the market – some brand new, some 60 years old! Next, grab a fun tie-dye shirt, for which the PFM is famous! Choose your own size and colors!

August 3rd – Manette Edible Gardens and Chicken Coop Tour

Recalling the self-sufficiency of previous generations who planted Victory Gardens, Manette edible gardeners are opening their gardens to their neighbors to show techniques for growing food in small urban spaces. The tour is also a great way to learn about animal husbandry in the city.

August 15th – Friends of the Farm “Farm to Table  Dinner”  

All welcome to join us for the third annual Farm to Table Dinner on Bainbridge Island. Enjoy local food and spirits with delicious tastes from ten local restaurants, bakeries and wineries. Live country and western swing music provided by The Jangles.  Tickets available online.

Time: 6-9 pm
Location: Bainbridge Island Town Square (Madison Avenue by City Hall)

August 21-25th – Kitsap County Fair and Stampede!

So much fun you will have a cow!  Livestock exhibits and shows, educational displays and much more!  Come on Saturday, August 24th for the Kitsap Junior Livestock Association 4H and FFA Market Animal Auction and bid on hogs, lambs, goats, steers, rabbits and broiler chickens.  Auction begins at 11:00am.  Complimentary lunch sponsored by Kitsap Bank!

Kitsap County Fair Logo 2013

August 24th – Picnic at the Pig

Join the vendors and more after the market for a kid-friendly event, fun for the whole family! Pulled pork picnic dinner, live music, farm games and contests, a raffle, and a silent auction featuring goodie bags and baskets generously donated by local businesses and regular PFM vendors.

Time: 3:00-7:00pm

Adult – $15 (includes 1 free drink, alcoholic or non-alcoholic)
Child (10 years or younger) – $5.

September 15th – Peterson Fall Farm Fair

Proceeds from the Petersen Farm Fall Fair support the Kitsap Agricultural & Community Alliance (KCAA) and the Kitsap Community Food Co-op (KCFC), who are partnered in this effort to increase access to local food to the Kitsap community.

Come to this family-themed fair and enjoy hayrides, hay bale maze, carnival games, live music, farm tours, vendors and much more!  In Silverdale, WA off the SR3 Trigger Avenue Exit.

Peterson Fall Farm Fair

September 23rd – Kitsap Grown Harvest Dinner

Local chefs prepare an amazing Kitsap Grown meal!  Hosted by KCAA.  Follow them on Facebook as more information becomes available!

September 29th – Friends of the Farm Harvest Fair

Friends of the Farms sponsors and organizes the annual Harvest Fair at Johnson Farm on Bainbridge Island. This educational and fun event brings our community together to celebrate, appreciate and nurture local farming.  Not just for the kids, Harvest Fair encourages everyone to take a day and join us on the farm.

Time:  11:00am – 5:00pm


October 6th – Poulsbo Farmers Market Harvest Dinner

 The PFM Harvest Dinner is an annual fundraiser which showcases the very best that the market has to offer! Hosted by Chef John Nesby at Mor Mor Bistro in Poulsbo, this dinner features fresh, local ingredients purchased primarily from the PFM. The event begins at 5:30pm with cocktails, followed by dinner and a live auction.  Tickets available at the market starting in July.



Seems lately that most of the things I do happen by moonlight (or Moooo-nlight as the cows would say!)  As summer comes to and end and the days get shorter there just doesn’t seem to be enough daylight for me to accomplish all the things on the list.  Milking by moonlight has become a common affair, as well as doing the rest of the chores.  At our house evening chores consist of putting the chickens to bed, including rounding up the few that feel the need to roost on the apple trees in the orchard rather than in the safety of the coop.  Then, we milk and feed the cows, give the calf some milk and tend to the hogs.   Milking is fairly straight forward, taking about 5-7 minutes per cow on a good day, but it doesn’t take much to upset the girls and slow things down.  Cows are really creatures of habit; they thrive on constancy and change upsets them.  Elinor gets milked first, followed by Alexis.  They greedily race out of the field and into the milking shed in anticipation of the grain in the feeder – unless I have forgotten to toss the grain in, or if someone is visiting and decides to watch me milking, or if there is a wayward chicken in the feeder, or if a truck is running in the hay barn…and the list goes on.  Any of the aforementioned things can throw the cows into a tizzy resulting in them ducking out of the milking shed and ending up in the middle of the barnyard, sans lead rope and halter, while I frantically try to entice them back with a bucket of grain.  As you can imagine, this is much easier in the daylight.  Fewer shadows to spook the cows, and they are easier to see in the daylight as they run around the yard!  Fortunately, we have never had to chase them back from the road, and they are pretty easily coaxed back by their fundamental greed for grain.  After one of these merry chases, they will fuss and squirm during washing up and milking, taking forever to let milk down and dancing around during the process as well.  After all, they don’t get out much and a gallop around in the moonlight tends to get one all worked up – even if you are a cow!  After we are done milking we feed Frank(enfurter) the bucket calf and give the remaining milk to the hogs.  Frank was supposed to be grafted on to Alexis so I would only have to milk one cow, but apparently she has NO interest in being a foster parent, and after two weeks of trying to overcome her homicidal (bovicidal?) tendencies while he nursed, I gave up and he now drinks from the bucket.  This isn’t to say that he doesn’t persist in trying to nurse on the girls when he is out in the field with him, but they treat him like a very large, black and white spotted fly; they kick and swat at him until he goes away.  I don’t let him out with them very often because he is so annoying that they end up exhausted from running away from him.

Other late night activities at our house?  Snapping and blanching green beans, making freezer jam, canning pickles, processing peaches and tomatoes, and making salsa.  Seems that by the time you spend all day picking beans, berries and cucs and working on the farm, the only time left to preserve and process is after the sun goes down!  So, after all the outside chores are done, we clear off the kitchen table, dump a 5-gallon bucket of beans on it, turn on a good movie and the entire family snaps beans.  It is something I remember doing as a child, and I am sure my kids will have similar memories.   In talking to Shannon, apparently having a “family snap” wasn’t unique, though she remembers doing it while watching sports on TV!  Involving your kids in food preservation is a good way to start them off right eating seasonally and locally.

If you want to learn more about food preservation by moonlight (or even by daylight!) check out our newest series of classes.  We are partnering with the Kitsap YMCA to offer a fall canning series.  Follow this link for registration information.  If you want to learn more about sustainable farming (mostly during daylight hours!) WSU Kitsap Small Farms team is offering the Sustainable Farming and Ranching Class beginning on September 29th.  Information on this class is on the web at http://county.wsu.edu/kitsap/Documents/2011_Small%20Acreage%20Flier%20and%20Registration-%20Silverdale.pdf.  Learn what it takes to have a sustainable small acreage farm or ranch and take a realistic look at goals, resources needed and opportunities available. Guest farmers speak to the class and field trips are taken to local farms. Open to academic students and community members for continuing education units.


Urban Farming Showcase

Join WSU Kitsap Small Farms Team on our last educational farm walk demonstrating the productive potential of small spaces!

On August 8, 2011 urban agriculture and gardening enthusiasts can get an inside look at how Start Now Gardens successfully farms in an urban setting.  Located in Bremerton at 1134 Bloomington Avenue, Bremerton, WA 98312, Start Now Gardens farms on three adjoining city lots growing for farmers markets and wholesale customers.  This is the final stop in the WSU Kitsap Small Farms Team HOT SUMMER NIGHTS series of education farm walks showcasing the bounty of sustainable, small acreage farms.  Run by Jean Schanen and Glenn Huff, Start Now Gardens is a marvel of intense productivity and an inspiration in sustainable living!  Jean and Glenn have been in the news more than once for their gardens – read about them in the Seattle PI and the Kitsap Sun.

Attend this farm walk from 6:00 – 8:00pm at Start Now Gardens at 1134 Bloomington Avenue, Bremerton, WA 98312.  It is open to individuals and children over 12 years of age.   No pets please. The cost is $15 per family and pre-registration is requested.  You can register online at http://kitsap.wsu.edu/ or by mail at WSU Kitsap Extension, 345-6th Ave, Suite 550, Bremerton, WA 98337-1874.  For more information on HOT SUMMER NIGHTS please contact Diane Fish at 360-337-7026 or by email at dfish@wsu.edu.


Walk with us!

Farmers are, for the most part, friendly folks.  They like to share what they know and have learned with other farmers. Farm walks are the best kind of education – farmer to farmer.   In the Puget Sound farmland is at a premium and large parcels are often too expensive for new or beginning farmers to access.  So, the WSU Small Farms Team decided to focus on creative things that farmers are doing on small parcels of land – some times less than an acre – to grow amazing amounts of food.  On Monday, July 18th you can join us for one of those experiences.

In March at the West Sound Small Farms Expo farmer Andrea Wigglesworth shared her experiences in intensive multicropping with a standing room only crowd.  She got a nice write-up in the Capital Press after the Expo – and we had people clamoring for more information on her system for succession planting.  So, in response to popular demand we are hosting a farm walk with Andrea!  See how she manages to squeeze the maximum production out of every square inch of land using season extension techniques, french intensive methods, computer skills and hard work!

Join us at Red Barn Farm and Wyckel’s Farm for WSU’s Hot Summer Nights Farm Walk off Central Valley Rd on July 18th. All farm walks run from 6:00 – 8:00pm and are open to individuals and children over 12 years of age.   The cost is $15 per family and pre-registration is requested.  You can register online at  http://kitsap.wsu.edu/ or by mail at WSU Kitsap Extension, 345-6th Ave, Suite 550, Bremerton, WA 98337-1874.  For more information on HOT SUMMER NIGHTS please contact Diane Fish at 360-337-7026 or by email at dfish@wsu.edu.

Are you Hip?

Shannon and I talk to people all over the county and beyond about what we do and everyone has advice for us about what classes we should offer (it is sort of like being pregnant actually!)  After looking at all the requests, and discarding some of the more unusual (do people REALLY want to learn how to make their own shoes??) we put together our summer/fall offering.  In keeping with the national trend toward sustainable lifestyles and looking back at cool skills that are still relevant today, we put together what we think represents a pretty cool offering!

So, grab a gal or guy friend and join the WSU Kitsap Small Farms Team this summer in a  six-week adventure exploring the tricks and techniques to living a more satisfying and sustainable lifestyle!  Whether you want to preserve the best of the berry season with jams and jellies, take your home brewing to the next level, conquer your fear of pressure canning, make creamy fresh cheeses, learn soap-making, or your mission is to preserve the crunchiest pickle, Hip Homesteading has something for you!

Thursday Classes  10 am—1 pm

  • July 7th—Jammin’ ~ Make delicious jams and jellies
  • July 21st— Cheesemaking ~ Fresh cow and goat milk cheeses
  • July 28th—In a Pickle ~ Crisp and crunchy pickles and relishes
  • August 4th— Soap Making ~ Sweet-scented delights for the bath and body
  • August 11th- Under Pressure ~ Pressure canning and preserving low-acid foods

Fieldtrip:  Thursday, July 14th 6pm—9pm ~ Homebrewin’ @ the Slippery Pig Brewery with Brewmaster Dave Lambert

Monday Evening Classes  6pm—9pm

  • July 11th— Cheesemaking ~ Fresh cow and goat milk cheeses
  • July 25th—Jammin’ ~ Make delicious jams and jellies
  • August 1st—In a Pickle ~ Crisp and crunchy pickles and relishes
  • August 15th—Soap Making ~ Sweet-scented delights for the bath and body

All Classes are held at the Silverdale Community Center, except for Homebrewin’ which will be taught at: Slippery Pig Brewery, Finn Hill Rd, Poulsbo WA  98370.   Cost is just $35 per class, and as always 4H and FFA youth are FREE.

Register Online at: http://county.wsu.edu/kitsap/(click on “Calendar”) or by mail: WSU Extension Kitsap Small Farms Team, 345 Sixth Street, Ste. 550, Bremerton, WA 98337. For more information contact: Shannon Harkness at shannon.harkness@wsu.edu or (360) 337-7026.

Small is beautiful and bountiful!

Shannon and I have been blogging about life on the farm for the last couple weeks and will continue to do so over the summer.   It is a way to share our little lives with folks who are learning to farm, want to learn more about farming because they are thinking about buying some acreage, or merely enjoy watching us farm from the comfort of home!  So, keep checking back to see what is happening at Fish Farms and Red Barn Farm!

In addition to looking on our farming exploits, this summer you have the chance to visit a couple local farms and learn more about what they are doing!  Our HOT SUMMER NIGHTS Farm walks explore the diversity and possibilities for farming on small parcels of land.  If you have ever wondered how much can be done on three acres or less (in some cases MUCH less) this is your chance to find out.  Join us and learn about raising livestock and produce sustainably and small!  Perfect for those individuals wanting to explore the potential for their little piece of heaven.

  • June 27th – School Bell Farm, Port Orchard – Small, sustainable livestock/poultry and market garden farming.
  • July 18th – Red Barn Farm / Wyckels Farm – Intensive Multi-cropping
  • August 8th – Start Now Gardens – Urban Farming

For information or to register for one or more of the farm walks please visit the WSU Kitsap Extension Website and click on the calendar!

“This Little Piggy…”

Ever wondered what it takes to raise hogs, keep them in a pen or get them to market?  Have we got a class for you!  Join the WSU Small Farms team and learn how to successfully raise hogs from “field to fork!”  For beginners or more experienced farmers, this class covers all aspects of raising hogs for your own family, custom slaughter and USDA slaughter. Workshop topics include weaner pig selection, feeding and managing feeder hogs, marketing farm-raised pork and farming systems and husbandry to raise and finish hogs.

Hogs 101
Saturday, April 30, 2011
10:00am – Noon
At Possum Run Farm
9931 Bethel Burley Rd SE, Port Orchard, WA 98367
$35/ person or $50/ family
Register Online: http://kitsap.wsu.edu

In a Pickle!

Is there a pickle that tickles your tastebuds?  For me it is PICKLED ASPARAGUS!  I LOVE it!!  In late summer when I was inundated with cucumbers I put up about 20 quarts of baby dill pickles, sweet pickle chunks, and bread and butter pickles – I made saurkraut with cabbage from Pheasant Field Farm.  Frankly I pickled and preserved until I lost my will to can.  By the end of September I was calling Shannon and begging her to take my cucumbers because she has a passion for pickling.  Her pickles and canned good are amazing.  And even she was flagging a bit under the pressure to preserve every last bit of summer.

But, that was months ago!  Now that spring is (almost) upon us, the Farmers Markets are starting up and soon they will be bursting with local fruits and veggies, and a girl’s mind can’t help but turn to canning and preserving again!   It will be months before pickling cucs show up in markets but there is so much promise in spring vegetables!  Asparagus is starting to come up in my garden and what we don’t manage to eat fresh out of the garden (it can be hard to get enough to the house to serve for dinner!) I love to pickle.  It is a perfect accompaniment for summer suppers.  I would post a picture of my pickled asparagus – but we ate it all so you will have to be satisfied with a snapshot of asparagus in the garden from last year.  I think I ate it right after the picture was taken!

Spring is also when the chickens are laying eggs like crazy and it is so easy to make pickled eggs!  Do them in beet juice and they are colorful AND delish!  Think of them as Easter Eggs for adults!

Farmers Market season is upon us and soon they will be bursting with local veggies.  Get ready now and learn how to pickle and preserve the taste of spring for cold days to come.  Join Shannon for “In A Pickle” April 16, 1-4pm @ Silverdale Community Center and April 19, 6-9 @ the Fairgrounds President’s Hall Kitchen.  Cost: $35/ person or $50/ family. Register online: http://kitsap.wsu.edu/