Last month, we visited Cascadian Farm’s home farm in Skagit County, Washington (two hours outside of Seattle). It was truly fantastic from start to finish. We learned so much about sustainable, organic farming and how Cascadian Farm became a pioneer organic farming company in the US. And of course we enjoyed some amazing company and delicious food (and wine!). Huge thanks to Cascadian Farm and The Feedfeed for putting on an amazing trip. We’re sharing highlights from our trip and a recipe for Fall Vegetable Minestrone made with Cascadian Farm Organic Mirepoix Blend!
We began the day on a bus from Seattle to the Skagit Valley. This was our first visit to the Pacific Northwest, so we were absolutely captivated by the landscape and scenery (most definitely planning a return trip!). The Cascadian team greeted us at the farm with a beautiful breakfast spread and gorgeous views. Plus we were thrilled to find a pair of red Hunter boots to protect our feet from the quintessential PNW rain.
The farm tour was fascinating and incredibly informative. We’re grateful to the Cascadian Farm team for taking the time to educate us about the benefits of organic farming. They discussed the steps they’re taking towards regenerative agriculture and the (many) difficulties that come with these practices.
Regenerative agriculture includes sustainable farming practices and an effort to increase biodiversity, improve ecosystems, and strengthen farming communities. Essentially, it’s a holistic approach to farming that aims to reverse some of the damage done to soil and climate health. It also calls for avoiding artificial pesticides and unsustainable practices. It’s our duty as consumers to support business (both local and national) working to improve our ecosystem, not just sustain it (or worse, cause harm!).
The most important organic farming practices include crop rotation, cover crops, composting, and protecting bees. Crop rotation is vital for both the crop itself and the soil. Farmers have to rotate annual crops between growing fields every year to provide the best possible soil climate. This takes an incredible amount of planning and coordination, but it allows organic farms to avoid harmful pesticides.
Cover crops are (as the name implies) crops that protect soil from harmful weeds and erosion. They also enrich the health of the soil. Farmers don’t typically grow these crops for consumption. Though they play an important part in soil protection. Compost is decayed organic material. It often consists of grass and plant clippings, organic waste, and sawdust. All of this breaks down over time to produce a nutrient-rich material that contributes to soil health.
Bee protection is also vital to organic and regenerative farming. Bees pollinate the crops that we consume. Without them, we would be in serious trouble. In fact, bee populations are disappearing at an alarmingly high rate. So it’s now more important than ever to do what we can to preserve and foster their existence. One of the best ways to help is to plant wildflowers in our own backyards. The wildflowers must be native to the area, however, so we urge you to do some research before planting! There are tons of online resources to learn more. Bee Friendlier, specifically, is a great site curated by Cascadian Farm!
We generally prefer eating organic as much as possible for our own health. And now that we’ve learned so much about organic farming, we plan to support organic farming even more. We want to do our part to help the environment, and we encourage you to do the same!
Apart from our fantastic farm tour, we also enjoyed a lot of delicious food, wine, and great company. Thank you so much to Cascadian Farm and Feedfeed for a memorable trip!
Now onto the recipe for our Fall Vegetable Minestrone…
We constantly look for tricks to get dinner on the table quickly after a long day, without sacrificing flavor. This Fall Minestrone Soup starts with Cascadian Farm Organic Mirepoix blend. That way, we can skip the prep and get right down to business! We also packed this hearty soup with fresh veggies and herbs, including butternut squash, yellow squash, potatoes, kale, and kidney beans for a bit of protein. Enjoy!
Cascadian Farm Organic Mirepoix Blend gets this recipe off to a great start! Perfect for a chilly fall or winter weeknight dinner.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 bag (10 oz) Cascadian Farm Organic Mirepoix Blend
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 cups butternut or acorn squash, peeled and diced
- 1 cup yellow squash or zucchini
- 2 cups Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1 can (15 oz) fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
- 3 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 can (15 oz) kidney beans
- 4 cups chopped lacinato kale
- 1 box (8oz) gluten free pasta shells, cooked according to package directions
- Heat a large stock pot to medium and add olive oil. When heated, add entire bag of Cascadian Farm Organic Mirepoix mix. Stir and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add minced garlic, stir and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add diced squash and potatoes, stir and cook for a minute or two. Add tomato pasta and tomatoes, stir to coat. Add all vegetable broth, salt, pepper and herbs and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer about 40 minutes, or until vegetables are mostly softened.
- Add drained and rinsed kidney beans and kale. Stir and let simmer for additional 10-15 minutes. Add cooked pasta before serving. Enjoy!
You can use pretty much any squash you can find!