Category Archives: preserving

pickle watch 2012 with photo

So…  I sing to the cucumber plants while I water them.  I also share about the customers who are inquiring about their health and growth.

Here is the situation:

showing immature cucumbers

I’m starting to see immature cucumbers gow out of the vines.  The larger flower heads need to open before the cucumber can become pollinated and begin to grow.   Once that happens in the summer heat, the cucumbers grow quickly, and I’ll have to harvest every day.

I don’t know when we’ll have cucumbers.  I’ll call other farms again this week.

I had a total cow today, by the way, because a friend in California sent me a recipe for a salad made with tomatoes, peaches, and corn.  What a tease!  Those ingredients are a month or more away from me right now.  I want these flavors *now*, and I want the cucumbers, too.  I want to *juice* the too-big-to-pickle cucumbers and just feel their good energy sink into my soul.

So, yes, I sing to the cucumber plants — for selfish reasons.


market joy and classes

Curious Farm booth at Beaverton Farmers Market

It poured most of the morning, and lots of folks stayed home from the Beaverton Farmers Market.  Those that came anyway were wearing rain gear in a rainbow of colors.  The fun jackets, the flowers, the colorful tents — all made the Market seem even more like a crazy quilt of joy and bounty. 

It wasn’t a warm summer rain at all, and I laughed at the kids wearing shorts, flip-flops and wool ski caps…  until I looked down at my shorts and sandals and realized that I probably was just jealous of their ski caps (making mental note to put one in my supply box).

But what I really want to share is that four formers students swung by today to tell me about their sauerkraut and kimchi-making adventures.  They all are on fire with how this process transforms the season’s bounty into deliciousness.  They told of friends’ stealing their sauerkraut, of making new friends through sharing their fermented vegetables, and of discovering a whole new way of enjoying their gardens this year. 

 photo taken by student Sarah from winter 2012 class  (thank you, Sarah!)

From these conversations, *I* came away with some fabulous ideas for new products.  In fact, one former student’s recipe was just so simple and so perfect for Curious Farm customers — just as she shared — that I asked her if I could bring it to the Market and name it after her.  She said yes!  So look for Mary’s Special Sauerkraut by September.  You’re going to love it. (And, since I’m a former writer and veteran of the publishing industry, please know that somehow I will compensate Mary for her gorgeous recipe.)

There’s nothing I love more than teaching classes, but I’m in a pickle right now.  I’m worried about scheduling a class during the summer in the new Pickle Lab because the class may fall on a very warm day/eve.  There is no air-conditioning in the Pickle Lab.  Too many bodies, too many brassicas, too many alliums, and too much heat = uncomfortable.

I am considering the idea of waiting until September/October to do more classes.  However, I know that some customers have been waiting very patiently for pickling and kimchi classes, and it might be very frustrating to wait until autumn.  Thoughts? 

If you want to be put on the email list for notifications about upcoming classes, please email me.  If you so so so want to learn about kimchi-, pickle-, and sauerkraut-making soon (!) that you don’t care how warm the Pickle Lab might be (or what aromas of transformation you might encounter), please email me about that, too.  Okay?  This new commercial kitchen space is an unknown environment for me in summer months.

Thank you.  And thank you to everyone who came to the booth at the Beaverton Farmers Market today — students, regular customers, old friends, and new friends.  You brought such joy on a chilly morning!


love! appreciation! patience!

Curious Farm booth at Beaverton Farmers Market

Hi Curious Farm friends!

On June 2nd, we had the best day ever at the Beaverton Farmers Market.  We sold out of *all* of our sauerkrauts and most of our kimchi.  I brought considerable stock of five sauerkraut varieties (and I’m so pleased that you like the new Nettle variety because I think it’s special, too), and it was all gone before the end of the Market.  Thank you for appreciating all that goes into a jar of Curious Farm Sauerkraut.

Although I doubled production earlier this year in anticipation of a busy Market season, I see that I need to double production again.  Thankfully, now that the new Pickle Lab is finished, there is more room for me to work, and there is more room for sauerkraut to rest safely during its two-month fermentation period.

This means that sauerkraut availability will be limited until August.  Our booth at the BFM may sell out of sauerkraut each Saturday.  Please come to the Market early if you are looking for Curious Farm Sauerkrauts.  (Or purchase them from New Seasons at Cedar Hills, Orenco, Progress Ridge or Raleigh Hills *or* from Food Front on NW Thurman Street.)  The sauerkraut simply can’t be rushed.  The flavor you love comes from that two-month fermentation period.

Beginning this week, I will increase production of our kimchi and live-cultured vegetable pickles to satisfy some of your hunger for Curious Farm’s live-cultured goodness.  These fermented products often only take two – three weeks to become delicious, and these can tide us over in a lovely way until larger volumes of sauerkraut are available.

Curious Farm is a very small family business.   Making live-cultured foods — with organic produce  and at this scale —  is labor-intensive and costly.  I do all of the vegetable processing, fermenting, and recipe development myself.  My husband D helps me with technical aspects and business decisions.  He also built the new Pickle Lab (all by himself) so that I can produce more for you.  I won’t be able to afford to hire a helper with the vegetables until next year.

In the meantime, remember that I teach classes and will be scheduling a new round of them soon.  You can learn to make delicious sauerkraut, kimchi and pickles, too!

Thank you for supporting Curious Farm.  Your enthusiasm for our products is exciting and affirming.  We are trying very hard to thrill your taste-buds and keep your systems humming with lively culture.  You bring us so much joy!


spring harvest kimchi

curious farm spring harvest kimchi

Not all kimchi is scorchingly hot.  This is a picture of Curious Farm’s Spring Harvest Kimchi — uncrocked today and soon to be available at the Beaverton Farmers Market.  It’s sour, crunchy, and refreshing.  Most of its heat comes from lively ginger.  Garlic and chili flakes play minor roles.

We also offer two radish kimchi: Curious Farm Spicy Radish Kimchi and Curious Farm Sweet Radish Kimchi.  (The Spicy Radish Kimchi variety is available also at Food Front on NW Thurman Street.)

While I love making all of the products we offer, making kimchi is pure joy from start to finish.  I love the bright, zingy flavors in each variety of kimchi.  Each batch of kimchi seems like a flavor snapshot of a particular moment in the season.