Three Weeks Later Chefs volunteer at Willowood Farm - by David Stern

Three weeks after the fire that destroyed the Smith Barn, Farmer Georgie and her crew still show no signs of slowing down. With a temporary packing shed constructed by farm staff and volunteers completed, at least one more step of the process can now return to Willowood Farm. And with the packing shed, a feeling of normalcy begins to return as well.

Kale raab getting a rinse
35+ boxes of produce were packed for delivery
Stacks of boxes waiting to be packed by Jelani, an employee from Salare.

This is a special week because volunteers came up to Coupeville from Seattle to help with the huge task of helping harvest and packing the orders that are sent to stores and chefs each week. All volunteers are special, but Jhonny, Jelani, Issac, Alex, and Kyle came to Willowood from the highly respected Salare and (soon to be opened) June Baby restaurants located in the Ravenna neighborhood north of the University of Washington.

Jhonny jumping off the farm truck, psyched to harvest some greens.
"I miss riding in the back of trucks."
Jelani in the back of the truck. The ruins of the old barn in the background.
Alex and Isaac (left to right) making bunches of Kale
Jelani and Jhonny (left to right) comparing kale bunches

Chef Edouardo Jordan has been ordering from Farmer Georgie since he opened Salare. Formerly of Chef Matt Dillon's Bar Sajor and the famous French Laundry, this man knows good food. In 2017, he is up for a James Beard Award for Best Pacific Northwest Chef. The menu at Salare includes mouthwatering selections such as pork with sunchokes and salsify, grown at Willowoood Farm.

From Anacortes to South Seatac, the best chefs in the Northwest use Willowood Farm's fresh vegetables.

What made this volunteer opportunity so special was a chance for the staff of Salare and the soon-to-be-opened June Baby to connect with the food they prepare and sell in a much deeper way. By helping harvest and pack they are able to more fully understand the love, care, and sometimes backbreaking work that goes into being a vegetable farmer. The whole crew seemed to be having a great time despite some classic Whidbey Island weather.

Also new to the farm this week is a tractor that will begin to replace the old machines that were lost in the fire.

Purchased at auction, this Farmall should do the trick.

Even with all the progress, reminders of the fire are still everywhere.

an aptly named brew being consumed by the crew after hours
just outside the new packing shed is the burned out wreck of the recently purchased delivery van
sad couch was too close to the fire.

Many hands make light work.

Peanut approves.

copyright 2017. David Stern. Whidbey Custom Photography. All Rights Reserved.

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Created By
David Stern

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