Our 13-acre farm in Indianola includes two cultivated acres, orchard, pastured poultry, open fields and habitat for birds and other wildlife. Biodiversity is key to our success. We provide our customers with a wide array of vegetables while maintaining a balanced ecosystem in our gardens.

Farmer Rebecca Slattery uses careful crop rotations, homemade compost, beneficial insectaries and patient observation to avoid pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Though not certified organic, our practices are stricter than the national organic standards. Deep ecology and sustainability are our aims—“moreganic.” —Watch a video about the farm by Chris McElroy.

Governor Jay Inslee and Rebecca at the Persephone stand.

Look who stopped by our stand at the Bainbridge Island Farmers’ Market last week!  Governor Jay Inslee was asking for ideas on how to spruce up his leek soup recipe.  We were happy to provide some inspiration!  We’ve got lots of spring greens, leeks and flowers.  Come visit us at the market Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Cheerful flowers on the opening day of the Bainbridge Island Farmers’ Market.

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Now is the time to forage (carefully!) for nettles or find them at the farmers market. Thanks to Marcia Newlands for bringing this spring recipe to our attention!

Nettle Risotto

(Serves 2 as a main, 4 as an appetizer)

Blanched, nettles will keep their emerald loveliness even after a good 15 minutes of cooking, which makes this risotto visually stunning. The dish itself is pretty simple: Risotto rice, cooked nettles, butter, shallot, garlic, a little pecorino cheese and beef stock. The basic structure of this risotto holds with all sorts of variations. You could use a different grated cheese, such as parmigiano or a Greek mizithra.

Note: Depending what variety your nettles are, you will need four or five big tongs-fulls of fresh nettles to get your cup of cooked nettles. Regular nettles (urtica dioica) are more substantial than their daintier cousins, the dwarf nettle (urtica urens) and retain more of their volume when cooked. I say tongs-full because you do not want to pick up fresh nettles, as they will sting you. Thus the name.

1 cup risotto rice

1 cup cooked, drained nettles or spinach (see note above)

2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2-3 tablespoons grated pecorino cheese

1 large shallot, minced

3 minced garlic cloves

4 cups chicken, vegetable, or beef stock

Salt

Get a large pot of water boiling and add a handful of salt.  Add the nettles. Stir and boil for 1-2 minutes for dwarf nettles, about 5 minutes for regular nettles. When done cooking, dump them into a big bowl with ice water in it. Once they are cool, put them in a colander to drain. Put the nettles in a clean tea towel and twist to squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Chop the nettles finely (a food processor will turn them mushy). The finer you chop, the smoother your risotto will be. Remove any stray stems.

To make the risotto, heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large heavy pot set on medium-high. Wait until the butter stops frothing and add the shallot. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and rice and stir to combine. Stirring constantly, cook for a minute or so or until all the rice is well coated with butter. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and the first cup of stock. Turn the heat to high and stir in the rice. When it starts boiling strongly, turn the heat down to medium and stir often, at least every minute or so, until the rice absorbs the stock. Repeat with a second cup of stock. When the second cup is absorbed, add the nettles and the third cup of stock. Stir well to combine. Keep stirring constantly to develop the creaminess in the risotto. Taste the risotto, and add salt if needed. It may need the remaining cup of stock, as you want the dish to be loose.  Add the butter and cheese and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes, stirring often. Serve at once.

recipe by Marcia Newlands, The Savory Gourmet

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Rebecca in Fidelity Ad with Fidel Castro on Time Magazine cover

It was wild to get a call that Fidelity Investments wanted to use my image for an ad campaign! You just never know what’s going to come your way. The ad is in this week’s Time Magazine, the one with Fidel on the cover!

Here’s the story: last summer, a fashion photographer from NYC, Brian Doben, contacted us and asked if he could shoot some pictures at Persephone for a personal project he calls the “At Work” project. www.atworkproject.com

He seeks to photograph people in all sorts of occupations who are passionate about their work.
That sure fits us; so we said yes.

Here are a few images from our day together.

Happy female farmer

Photo by Brian Doben Photography

Female farmer tending the crops

Photo by Brian Doben Photography

Out of the blue, a year later, Brian contacted me again and this time asked for my permission to have one of the images used by Fidelity. I guess, rather than feeling old (a retirement ad? Really? Me? Already?) I should look at the message as a positive one: if you plan now for your retirement, you too, could be living the dream of owning a beautiful small farm, dirty fingernails and all.

BTW that score of 81 is bogus. I never even took the test. It’s just an ad!

But, in case you’re wondering, yes they did pay me for the picture. And I gotta say, it was easier money than bunching the equivalent amount of carrots.

Feel free to contact me for more modelling gigs. ;-)

Livin the dream,
Rebecca

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End of the Season

Rainbow over Persephone Farm

A rainbow over our last CSA harvest yesterday.

Happy (last) CSA Wednesday, everybody! What a season! As the CSA wraps up this week, so does our season here at Persephone. Our last official day of work is Friday, then we’ll all move on to our next steps in the next week or so. Looking back over the past 8 months it is really incredible how much this farm has transformed. Brand new areas have been turned into productive farmland, and all of us workers have grown and learned so much valuable knowledge. This week we’re wrapping up any loose ends, getting as much cover crop in the ground as possible, and harvesting our last rounds of flowers and vegetables. The weather today is a nice full-circle reminder of when we got here at the end of February, and the farm is starting to look more and more like it did when we arrived. Our few over-wintering crops are being prepped for colder temperatures to come, some by being nestled in the greenhouses or others by being sprayed with a cold-toughening kelp spray.

Five Persephone farmers posing with flowers

A throwback to one of our late Fridays making bouquets for market as a crew! From left to right, Brian, Kristina, Rebecca, Taylor, and Brooklyn, Persephone crew 2016

We hope that you all have enjoyed sharing in the bounty of the season with us. By supporting our farm you have allowed all of us flower-novices to learn the full cycle of flower growing, harvesting, and arranging — an experience we will all cherish for a long time. We have also all learned so much about vegetable production as well, and have been exposed to delicious regional treats such as pea shoots, sweet turnips and purple sprouting broccoli! From all of us at Persephone Farm 2016, including all of our pollinators like the one below, we would like to thank you for your kind words and continued support, and hope that you have a nice and relaxing winter.

– 2016 Persephone Interns

Farmer Rebecca holding a flower with a honeybee

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