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Whipstone Farm: It's About the Dahlias

14 September 2019   Shanti Rade

Harvest moon, Friday the 13th and dahlias.

What a lovely week this has been.  Full harvest moon and Friday the 13th. The temperatures have cooled down so much - it feels as though fall is really here.  Mornings are dark and chilly (hellloooo sweater weather), and the cool nights are helping all the plants know it is time to do their thing, before the frost comes and it is too late.  So, even though everything this year is late, late, late, the peppers are finally turning red, winter squash is starting to mature and the dahlias, well they are pumping out more blooms than ever before.  There is a lot of smoke in the air from the local Sheridan Fire (which they are allowing to burn in a controlled manner) - but it reminds me of LA smog and makes me realize that our normally clear skies are a huge benefit to where we live. 

So, the big news I alluded to, if you follow us on social media . . . is we are hosting a dahlia field day.  While our farm isn't generally open to the public (apart from the farm stand) we are opening up our dahlia field for one day because we really want to share it with you all.  The 5,000 dahlia plants all blooming together look truly spectacular and this year is our best year for dahlias ever.  I used to think dahlias didn't grow well here in Arizona, boy was I wrong! 

This isn't really a commercial endeavor, it's more of an opportunity to check out what we are doing.  There is no charge to come, we just ask that you be respectful and follow a few rules (wear sturdy shoes, no dogs please, tell you friends, tag us in your photos!)  Bring a hat, a snack, some water, cash if you want to buy flowers.  We will have some pre-made dahlia bunches for sale or you can pay by the stem to cut your own, but mostly we just want people to come stroll the field, take some photos, get inspired to grow some of your own next year.  I am happy to answers any growing questions or commiserate with you about all the challenges of gardening on our climate.  Grasshoppers, gophers, blister beetles, weeds, lack of rain, you name it.  I am kind of an introvert, so I'm not sure what inspired this desire to invite everyone out to the farm, but I just had this idea that I couldn't get out of my head.  So, I'm going with it. 

DETAILS: The dahlia field day is Sunday September 22nd 3-6 pm at our field in Paulden - a celebration of the autumnal equinox and the bounty of the fall harvest. While a bulk of our other flower and vegetable fields are nearby, we won't be giving tours of the whole farm or offering everything for sale, it's just too logistically challenging.  We will still be at the Flagstaff farmers market that morning as well. Don't follow google maps to our home address, as the dahlias are in our other field, 5 miles away.  Next week's newsletter will have an address/directions and lots more details about how it will all work. So, stay tuned, but put it on your calendar.  

At the market this week - the season of heavy vegetables continues.  We have more melons - galia, cantaloupes, honeydew and watermelon.  We have beautiful (I mean truly beautiful) green beans (those same beans I had to plant 3 times for good germination!).  We have fresh-shelled black eyed peas, most likely just this week and next.  These are a real treat, you cook them like dry beans but in about 1/6th the time - great stewed with tomatoes and onions, a little bacon never hurts, serve with a side of cornbread or sautéed greens.   They have a lovely flavor and texture. They are also great in soup. You can put them in an airtight container/ziplock bag and freeze them (new years tradition anyone?).

Chile roasting continues.  While we have lots more chiles to come, this is the time of year where my inner squirrel comes out.  I want to hoard all the food for winter. If the thought of trying to get through winter without roasted chiles freaks you out, you should definitely be stocking up over the next few weeks. 

The Prescott Farmers Market - Farm to Table Dinner was a huge success.  Huge round of applause to the organizers and volunteers who put in months of work on this event and the amazing team of chefs who cooked their hearts out and made this event so memorable. I am honored we get to work with so many of them on a regular basis.  I can't believe how much the farmers market and this event have grown over the years.  I am just so proud to be a part of it all (not that we had much of a hand in the organizing of it this year).  There are some photos below to show you what I mean.  If you want to attend next year, get on the PFM newsletter list, that is how you will know when tickets go on sale. 



salad mix
kale - curly and lacinato
carrots - orange and rainbow
bok choy
cherry tomatoes
summer squash
potatoes - red, butterball, purple
peppers: shishito, padron, sahuaro, sugar, charger, bells, sweets, serrano, güerito, jalapeño, poblano
Varietal melons: galia, cantaloupe and honeydew
Green beans
Black eyed peas / crowders

dried chiles

Mixed bouquets
Mason jar bouquets



PRESCOTT FARMERS MARKET   - Saturdays 7:30 - noon.   Yavapai College Parking Lot

FLAGSTAFF COMMUNITY MARKET - Sundays 8:00 - Noon.  City Hall West Parking Lot

FARM STAND - Open daily at the farm, self serve, honor system directions HERE

This newsletter republished by permission. Whipstone Farm is a regular vendor at the Prescott Farmer's Market.




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