Sunday, December 8, 2013

what a year it's been.

Winter is here. No doubt about it.

I wish I was better about taking pictures. Then you all could have seen the snow blanketing the farm this past Friday morning. What a sight! We've had some unusually cold temperatures as has much of the west. If you are interested in a detailed account of the weather events in the Pacific Northwest then look no further then the Fox 12 Weather blog.

The crops at the farm are nice and frozen. I won't be able to harvest anymore this year. I do believe that a lot of the crops that are in the ground will pull through and begin to grow again early next year. That's the hope-and that's the best I can do for now.

It's been an incredible season. How lucky I feel.

First of all the biggest and best news is that Devin is going to be a dad-again! He and his partner, Carrie have a little one on the way. This is exciting news because all of you who have met Abi, their daughter, know that they make great kids. So be sure to congratulate Devin, Carrie, and Abi next time you see them! The sad part of this news is that Devin won't be able to continue with the farm next season. Although I know Devin loved working at the farm, we know that it isn't the most lucrative of professions nor the most easy on one's body. With a baby on the way, he has to save his time, money, and body for the work ahead.

I just want to spend a moment in appreciation for Devin (I'm sorry, Devin, if it sounds like a eulogy, I know you are very much alive). Devin has been awesome to work with. From the start he was super motivated to take on the farm as a partner. He motivated us to look at what our urban farmer friends are doing, what materials could we build to assist our work, what varieties could we grow to increase our diversity, what other kind of delicious pickles could he make. His love for growing things has always been so clear and evident. Mostly Devin is a pleasure to be around. I think anyone who has met Devin can agree that he is just such an incredible person. He's super kind, thoughtful and so funny. Like the time when a woman at the farm stand said that she wasn't a big pickle fan. Devin responds by saying,"well, luckily we have small pickles!" Too funny. Anyway, I will miss working with him. I know that I will still see him a lot, but I will miss the day to day. Thanks Devin, for all time, labor and heart you've put in the farm. You're the best.

If folks are wondering what the farm will do next year, I am still trying to sort that out but check back in January for what's coming next! In other news, I received a copy of the latest magazine that featured the farm. "Elle la Table." A Japanese foodie magazine!

Monday, October 14, 2013


Tuesday, October 15th will be the last farm stand at blue house greenhouse farm for 2013! Come by and say "hello/see you after winter," drink some cider, eat some zucchini bread, and- if you want- get some veggies and Kumi's breads. We will re-open come spring- fear not!

Remember, 4-7 pm Tuesday. The weather is supposed to be lovely.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Blue House Greenhouse Farm is getting some press! It's pretty exciting. Check out our new press link for other stories.

We were mentioned in a graphic piece (a piece that is a graphic not that the content is graphic) in the September issue of the Portland Monthly! You can buy this mammoth magazine at many local retailers and the online version will be available next month. For now, I took a couple photos for you to check out.

It's an interesting piece. It's about the "growth spurt" that North Williams Ave has been experiencing in the past year: New Seasons, mixed-use buildings, cute shops. It also mentions why North Williams has all these vacant lots and empty storefronts and it briefly notes that it was a vibrant hub of African American culture and community before the demolition and displacement of most of this community (so brief, it was in parenthesis).

This neighborhood has had an dense history of displacement and gentrification following very clear racial lines. For a complete history of this area, read this paper. Bleeding Albina: A History of Community Disinvestment, 1940-2000. This article from a few years ago from The Skanner gives a good overview. Portland Gentrification: The North Williams Avenue That Was- 1956.

The Portland Monthly piece also mentions that the farm is part of this "re-making" of North Williams. I have mixed feelings about this claim. It wasn't my intention to be a part of the gentrification of this neighborhood. My intention was rather single minded- to find a piece of land in the city to grow food and sell it to our local community. I didn't think of what it could mean for the culture of the neighborhood: a young white woman selling foods for people who care (and can afford to care) about local food.  I think the ignorance I had was the same as many young white people, unknowingly moving to affordable areas making them less and less so for the people who originally live there. I also know that this very "re-making" that the farm is a part of will eventually be the un-making of the farm. It is a prime piece of real estate and will most likely end up as another mixed-use building.

As I said, I have mixed feelings- I do think that this neighborhood needs reinvestment. I believe in dense urban housing. I am glad that the New Seasons opened a block away from the farm, because that's where I shop (and the farm now sells to them too, which is exciting). Also it's pretty incredible that an urban farm is seen as reinvestment. But how to "reinvest" without displacing even more of this neighborhood's original community? As you can tell I am confused about this issue and the role of the farm and my own role in this neighborhood. I am open to any thoughts.

Monday, August 26, 2013

it's been too long...

So, it's been a little while since our last post. I know, you all must be wondering what's been happening! I've also been wondering-it all has been going by so quickly, I'm not totally sure what's happened.

This is why we write (or assemble photos), I guess, to reflect and to remember.

The farm stand has been going super well. (EVERY TUESDAY 4-7 PM)! We've really been having a lot of fun getting to see our regulars and getting to know the newcomers!

This time of year has our greatest bounty. We have lots of summer crops and our fall crops are beginning to come on. We had a beautiful garlic and potato harvest. Our tomatoes and cucumbers are crazy prolific. Devin has been making these delicious pickles from our harmonie cucumbers. They are pretty perfect pickles (try saying that fast).

Blue House Greenhouse Farm had it's first farm to table dinner! Kusuma Rao of Ruchikala had 17 guests and made a crazy good Indian-Mexican fusion meal from our produce. We set up tables and chairs around the farm. It wasn't even too loud with traffic because it was Sunday! I think another meal is in the works. I'll be sure to post the next date. Here are some photos from that beautiful day.

the menu

Kumi, plating dishes while eaters await


diners on the farm


 What else has been happening on the farm? For a short while we had goats! Devin has a friend that owns goats who were hungry for fresh greens and we had a blackberry/morning glory/alianthus patch that was out of control. At our last work day, volunteers built a fence and then the goats came and ate. And ate and ate. After a week, they had done such a good job that we tried to move the fence to give them access to more plants to eat. We also happened to give them a way out of the fence. The following day while Devin and I were at our other jobs the goats escaped! Meaning, they were eating grass in the adjoining field. Luckily, our neighbors at the Red Cross and Pizza A Go-Go were around and very sweetly took the time to corral the goats and lead them around the farm, back into their pen. I love our neighborhood. The goats left shortly after for greener (larger) pastures. It was really fun while it lasted!


In other news we are going to have a farm harvest party Sunday, October 6th! All are welcome to attend. We will post details soon. Come check out the farm in the mean time! Come to the farm stand! See you soon.

we are excited to see you!

Monday, July 15, 2013

work party! Saturday July 20

our last work party! looks like fun, huh?
That's right friends! blue house greenhouse farm is having another super fun work party! and we'd love for you to come.

SATURDAY July 20th 9-4 pm (you can come for whatever part of that works for you, but if you could let us know when you are planning on coming then we can plan accordingly).

We need help! oh my goodness do we. We've got a boat load of projects. some of the tedious/meditative kind some of the interesting figure something out kind. we are sure that there is something for each of you! be it weeding, cleaning garlic, building a fence, spreading wood chips,prepping beds... and so much more!

Let us know if and when you can come so we can make sure to have lunch for you! That's right! we will prepare a delicious lunch for all of you!

kettle river giant

There is a ton happening on the farm these days. We are in the midst of harvesting and hanging garlic- it's looking really beautiful and delicious! The summer crops are coming in- a variety of cucumbers, grey zucchini, and maxibel french filet beans for starters. You should definitely come see them all at the Farm Stand! We are also getting our fall plantings in slowly. We just transplanted Gonzales cabbage. I know. You are getting excited for cabbage.

Andy, our bee friend and bees!
And I know you are dying to hear the latest in our bee saga! As some of you may know that our bees died last winter (as I guess many did in Portland, I hear). Our friend, Andy asked to keep his hives at the farm, which is great on it's own. Then one of his hives got a little over populated and what did they do? swarmed! Right into our little persimmon tree. The bees were gently gathered into our little bee box where they are happily living today! What a beautiful story.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Happy Summer!

It's here! Summer, with all it's bright beautiful sunshine. It actually feels like it's been here for a while. Since my time here (this is my fourth spring) it's been pretty cold and rainy through June. But not this year- it's been a beautiful spring! I am getting differing accounts whether or not this is abnormal. I hear that it's been the past three springs that have been abnormal. Well lucky me.

Devin, trellising cucumbers in the greenhouse
There is so much happening at the farm these days! All of our summer crops are in the ground and being trellised, they are on their way to flowers and fruit.  We've put in nine different varieties of tomatoes- San Marzano, Striped Roman, Persimmon, Stupice, Isis, Sungold, Jaunne Flamme, Black Cherry, and I am pretty sure there is one more that I'm forgetting. Also the peppers, squash, basil, beans, and cucumbers are doing great! We are growing some cucumbers in the greenhouse this year- to utilize the space and the warmth. I'll let you know how it turns out.

the bike tour! 
What else? The farm stand is doing great. If you haven't stopped by in a while- come on by! 4-7pm every Tuesday. We've been snacking on sugar snap peas for weeks now! We are also planning another work party in July- a garlic harvest! Stay tuned for dates and details.

Lastly, I wanted to share what a HUGE success the Urban Farm Bike Tour was! Holy moly! 140 people attended- it was amazing. Thanks to Grow Portland for sponsoring such an awesome event!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

PEDALPALOOZA! get ready!!

Grow Portland is sponsoring a Northeast Portland Urban Farm Tour during Pedalpalooza! And it begins at our very own Blue House Greenhouse Farm! Well, that's not only because the farm is in a central location, but also because I (Amanda) am organizing the ride. Convenient! 

We'll embark on a fun and informative tour of Northeast urban farms! We'll take a relaxing ride visiting a variety of farms, learning from the farmers, and sampling some farm delights! The tour will end in the Cully neighborhood. Stops along the way include: Our very own Blue House Greenhouse, Albina Farms, Sowing Circle Farm, Side Yard Farm, Cully Neighborhood Farm, and more! 

Have questions? Ask me

Monday, May 27, 2013

are you ready to work?!

Awesome. Because we are having a work party! 
June 2nd 9-4 pm 

(you can come for whatever part of that works for you, but if you could let us know when you are planning on coming then we can plan accordingly)! It may be more aptly named a weed and feed, because that's what we are hoping for-we weed and then we feed you! There will also be more fun things for us to do, spread wood chips, prep beds, maybe even some transplanting. We'll have to see. Let us know if you can come so we can make sure to have lunch for you!

Monday, May 13, 2013

vegetable gardening basics workshop SATURDAY!

Blue House Greenhouse Farm will be hosting (and Amanda will be teaching) a Grow Portland Vegetable Gardening Basics Workshop! Saturday, May 18th 9am-12pm. A workshop for the super beginner! Learn about selecting a site, NW soil basics, how to plant seeds and transplants, when to plant them, and how to water them. Never planted a thing in your life? No problem! Here’s where to start! Pre-registration is required: It will be fun!

Friday, May 3, 2013

the farm stand reopens TUESDAY!!

That's right people! get ready! 

This Tuesday, May 7,  4-7 pm the farm stand at blue house greenhouse farm will be open!

You have to come, you won't be sorry. What will we have available, you ask? What won't we have available is a better question. Okay, actually there's a lot that won't be available because even if it feels like summer, it's still only spring and our farm is little so we are limited on what we can grow...

ANYWAY what we will have is a whole lot of deliciousness!

bright lights swiss chard, lacinato kale, various head lettuce, pink beauty radishes, hakurei turnips, olympia spinach, spicy mustard braising mix, cilantro, parsley, arugula, and our signature salad greens! and that's just the vegetables... 

Kusuma Rao, baker and chef extraordinaire (, will join us with delicious loaves of bread the likes of which you have never tasted! You definitely want to be at the farm stand for that. 

AND we'll have incredible farm fresh eggs! Not from our farm but Lazy Parrot Farm, located outside Wilsonville, run by Alix Danielsen. ( where they can have more than three chickens.

What else will we have at the farm stand? We'll have music and free stickers (thanks to the wonderful Dwight at peace supplies- you are the best)! You definitely want to get one for yourself.

Come to the farm stand and tell your friends!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

hold on tight, spring is blowing by!

Does it ever seem that all of a sudden, life just speeds up? It never ceases to surprise me, each spring that after months of imperceptible growth the plants grow inches in days. Okay, maybe not that fast... but fast nonetheless. Life in general seems to do the same! So here we are trying to hold on as the year moves forward. We have a lot going on at Blue House Greenhouse Farm, as you can imagine. First of all, you can begin preparing yourselves for the reopening of the farm stand which will happen Tuesday, May 7 as always from 4 till 7 pm. Mark your calendars and get your shopping bags ready!

What else? I (Amanda) will be offering a class through Grow Portland, a local non-profit whose mission is to "empower our community to grow healthy food,"  entitled Vegetable Gardening Basics Workshop! It will be held right on the farm! It's a workshop for the super beginner. Never grown a vegetable before in your life? No problem! We'll discuss site selection, NW soil basics, how to plant seeds and transplants, and so much more. If you want more information or would like to sign up click here.

I also wanted to share pictures from yet another super fun and super productive work party! You really don't want to miss out next time!

Mollie and Russ, a vision in purple, sifting compost

Hava and Devin, happily constructing a picnic table

Bobby, Jeff and Wynne, leveling out a new area of the farm

Lunch! Laura (right) made chili!

work happening on so many levels
(notice Brandon at the fence weeding)!

Amanda at the finished picnic table

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

a cart and starts and so much more!

First of all, I know... it's been a while! Not writing is a sign that a lot has been happening-so that is good. Let's get to the important information:


-lacinato, rainbow lacinato, and red russian kale
-flash collards
-all star lettuce mix
-flat leaf italian parsley

contact me if you are interested in getting some for your garden!

We have a beautiful new addition to our farm. It doesn't have a name yet, but it should. 
Behold, our cart

It was built by one of our incredible subscribers, Clay Dennis, in trade for vegetables! Lucky us. It's a wonder. We can carry all sorts of weight and it's the correct width and height to fit over our rows. A huge thanks to Clay- I'm not sure how we lived without it!
What else? Another work party? why,YES! 

This Sunday, April 7 9am-4pm (you can come for whatever part of that works for you, but if you could let us know when you are planning on coming then we can plan accordingly)!

We are working on expanding the farm! With your help, we will take out grass to create a whole new growing area. We will also be building a picnic table, spreading wood chips, and so much more. 

Bring water, gloves, clothes you don't mind getting dirty, and a shovel if you have one.

Lunch will be provided (something delicious), so... are you coming?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

the most productive work day yet

the trusty crew: Bobby, Jeff, Laura, Brian,
Kim, Amanda, Wynne, Mollie, and Devin
photo  credit: Kurt Armstrong
On Groundhog's Day, a gorgeous sunny day, blue house greenhouse farm underwent some serious changes. Great changes, done by some really great people! Thank you to those great people- Jeff, Brian, Laura, Mollie, Kim, Wynne, Jennie, David, Nathan, Bobby, Carrie, and Abby-thank you, thank you, thank you! We did so much!! We made potting soil and started seeds in the greenhouse-a variety of lettuce, kale, chard, collards, and onions. We built washing and packing tables for harvested vegetables and a shelter for those tables (previously we had a pop-up tent and crappy folding tables). And we spread mulch, cleared blackberries, and enjoyed the day! We want to give a super special thanks to Laura and Brian who brought a delicious lunch-homemade chili and cornbread-for everyone! What a day, we couldn't have asked for a better one. Look below for photos and come by sometime and check out the changes!

Laura, filling trays with potting soil

Brian, multi-tasking: building the shelter
and cutting back blackberry with a machete

Devin and Wynne, staining a table

Finished table! With the drawer shelf out

....and with the drawer shelf in

Finished washing table! with folding shelf out

Jeff demonstrating the closing of the shelf

Devin and Amanda with the finished tables under the finished shelter!

I wish I could show you the before picture, it was a sea of blackberry.

Laura, heating up our lunch. yum!