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Monday, December 16, 2013

December

 HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!

Winter has come!  And full force.  A foot of snow and sub zero temps are certainly keeping us on our toes.  Simon is loving the cooler season and went out for his first ski yesterday.  The snow was so deep (and of course he has to go first) he had to do the butterfly stroke the entire way.  He was pooped last night!
 
 
Although I have been spending much of my time still doing farm work (taking inventory of leftover seeds and fertilizers, accounting, organizing, seed ordering...), my body has enjoyed the less laborious side of winter.  We have enjoyed lots of family time, decorating trees, listening to music and of course eating good food!

 
We hope this season finds you with time to rest and refuel with friends and family.  That the stress of the holidays rolls right past you and instead are filled with thankfulness and joy. 
 
 
Thank you all for a great 2013!! 
Loads of generous help and good energy made it a huge success.  All of the seed catalogs have arrived and are already marked up for ordering.  It's crazy how we can be so excited about ordering seeds when we just finished the season, but it feels good!  Looking forward to a splendid 2014...don't wait too long to send in your deposit to hold your spot...
 
 
 
December Share Pick Up
Monday 16th 3-7
 
It will be cold cold cold so bundle up!!!!
 
30lbs of winter squash, pie pumpkins, carrots, beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, rutabaga, leeks, cabbage and parsnips
 plus potato rolls and maple butter!
 
 
 
Favorite Recipes from friends and shareholders:
 
 
 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

November 27th: Thanksgiving

HAPPY THANSKGVING!

Thanksgiving week is always my "button up" week.  Mulching strawberries and parsnips, putting the last of the tools away (big and small), tightening up the hoop house and making sure the cooler is set to go for cold winter nights.  In my 13 years of farming, I have planted onions in the spring during a snowstorm, but never have I mulched strawberries in the snow.  I don't think any of us were expecting the couple inches of snow that fell.  I must say, however, it was MUCH easier spreading straw while it was snowing verses the day before in 20 mph wind!  Simon loves straw because he knows it is where mice like to hide.  He is a way better mouser than the cats and he is already policing the strawberry patch.  I am thankful for Simon!
 
Spending money is easy.  Knowing what to spend your money on is hard.  Running a small farm, I am constantly weighing what to buy--everything is expensive and I must make sure that in the end the extra cost is worth it.  When it comes to tools, I am usually weighing the labor (time and its effect on the body) that is involved if I don't have the tool.  Starting off, I told myself I was willing to spend a little extra on equipment so I could spend more time running the farm efficiently.  A few years ago I decided to spend on building a small straw barn....and I am sooooo glad.  Prior to the straw barn, I would stack newly purchased straw under tarps near the crop that would need mulching.  Despite the fact that the tarps were new, by the time it came to spread the mulch the straw would be wet and moldy, making it tough to spread and hard to breath.  As some of you may know, straw is not cheap, so that added heartache to pain.  But now!  Oh now, this little barn keeps my straw dry and fluffy.  I can mulch the berries in half the amount of time with no black boogers or lung pain and I get to use any extra space in there to store equipment and fertilizer.  I am thankful for my straw barn!

This year was a bountiful year!  The weather is always a challenge, but fall, I think, is when the weather is the most challenging.  Some crops like winter squash and sweet potatoes need to some out before the first frost and then stored a warm place.  Other crops like rutabagas and cabbage enjoy fall frosts and their flavor gets sweeter afterward.  Many crops can freeze and thaw several times in the field, but once they are harvested freezing temps will ruin them.  So for me, I am constantly watching the temps, shifting, covering, insulating, venting, stacking, restacking heavy crates looking for space and the ideal location.  Finally I have enough room in the cooler to squeeze the last of the crates in.  (Winter squash and sweet potatoes are stored in my basement)  This insulated box keeps the crops at about 30 degrees with 60-70% humidity.  Some crops like it even more humid (carrots, beets, parsnips...) so I keep them or cover them in plastic.  I have a fan that is set on a thermostat and if the temperature inside the cooler drops below 29, the fan will kick on to circulate the air above freezing.  For five years this system has worked and has allowed us to enjoy crisp veggies well in to May.  I am thankful for my cooler!
 
 
May you have a flavorful and happy filled Thanksgiving!
 

Monday, October 28, 2013

October 29th: Bonus Pick Up

CHEERS!

(photo credit to shareholder Anna Low)
 
What a fabulous growing season!!!  Thank you all for loving good, local food!
 
It was a year of abundance:  I have never, in my 13 years of farming, seen so many tomatoes on a plant! (or strawberries for that matter)  The chard and kale were impossible to keep up with their regrowth...and the peppers...yum yum yum!!!
 
I look forward to seeing many of you during the winter share--I am anticipating great bounty there as well.  And to others who seek local food for the winter, there are a few fabulous farmer's markets in Brunswick, Bath and Portland. 
 
Many of you commented on having to go back to the grocery store for the winter....especially for lettuce.  I challenge you to eat seasonally this winter.  Make salads of winter roots (carrots, beets, turnips, kohl rabi...) Dive into the realm of winter squash and kale for high vitamins.  Find pasture raised meats for your omega 3's and vitamin A&D.  It IS possible to eat seasonally and get enough nutrients, even in this cold climate.  It takes a bit of getting used to, but in the end, your body will acclimate better to the seasons and you will save money!!! 
 
Again, thank you for all of your support and love and shared goodies. 
 
 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

October 22nd and 25th: The End of Summer

 Fall Harvest in 80 Degree Weather

The last few weeks we have been going through the motions of fall tasks: sending the animals on their end of life cruise, cleaning out and prepping fields for winter, and preparing to harvest storage crops like carrots, turnips and beets.  The crazy thing is that it has been nearly 80 degrees!!!  It feels a little unnatural to be harvesting storage crops in that heat--fearing that packing the cooler when the crops are so warm may overwork the cooler and potentially decrease their storage life in the process.  It looks like the temps are going to drop this week and we may fall into panic mode (to harvest everything before a freeze) overnight.  I've got my winter coat and hat ready to go! 
 
This week you will find parsnips in your share.  Most of the parsnips we grow are left in the ground, covered in straw and then dug in the early spring for the first summer share pick ups.  Digging parsnips is always a challenge. The roots are sometimes 18" long and it is very hard not to break them or gauge them with the digging fork.  I don't know if folks realize how hard it is to grow and or harvest some of the crops we offer.  Veggies may look simple and innocent when they are sitting on the shelf at pick up, but at times hours of labor went into planting, thinning, harvesting and cleaning them.  To name a few, crops like: leeks, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes and parsnips are very time and labor intensive.  Not that I am looking for sympathy, just thought you might want to know : )
 
Crops like broccoli and cauliflower elude me.  They take up loads of space and just pop out one head (unlike, for example, a pepper plant that needs just as much space, but it pumps out tens of fruit over the season).  Plus they want the temps and rainfall to be perfect for the 100 plus days it takes for them to mature (ha! yeah right!)  Alas, this fall's broccoli and cauliflower are finally starting to head up and look gorgeous!  Savor them sweetly. 
 
 
 
This week's harvest: lettuce, onion, potato, parsnip, carrot, pepper, tomato, broccoli/cauliflower (at least for halves---fulls got it last week), Chinese cabbage, pac choi, tat soi, kohl rabi, fennel....I might be forgetting something...
 
 

Monday, October 14, 2013

October 15th and 18th: Fall Farewells

A Season of Change

As I mentioned before, fall is my favorite season, however with it brings several changes to the farm and sometimes change is hard.  The hardest change is not having the pigs, turkeys and cows around anymore.  Although I am thankful to eat meat, and I raise them so that I know they have had a healthy, happy life, it is still sad to say goodbye.  I am certainly not desensitized to it, which is not easy, but, I think, important.  It builds a greater understanding of life, a deeper appreciation for the food we eat and a sense of community beyond the small one of people around us.  Saying goodbye to the animals reminds me that all of the food we eat is alive and great amounts of time, calories, resources and energy goes into raising it.  A reminder that being thankful for a meal goes beyond just putting food in my mouth.
 
We love you Pedro
 
 
 CIDER and APPLES this week
oooh and they are crisp and beautiful this year!!!
 
 
The last two weeks of pick up are sort of a smorgasbord, clean out the fields, potluck.  There will be a myriad of items so if you feel you can't take all the items this week, don't worry they will be there next week too.  (Meaning don't just load up on potatoes, onions and carrots--be daring try out the fennel and kohl rabi!!)
 
The bounty: lettuce, kale/chard, tat soi/pac choi, kohl rabi, potatoes, fennel carrots, beets, onions, peppers, tomatoes and winter squash
 
 
Fennel Salsa:  there are several online recipes.  This is one a shareholder recommended...
 
 

KOHLRABI & APPLE SLAW with CREAMY COLESLAW DRESSING

Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 25 minutes
Makes 4 cups, easily adapted for less

DRESSING
1/4 cup cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon good mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Salt & pepper to taste - go easy here
Fresh mint, chopped

1 pound fresh kohlrabi, trimmed, peeled, grated or cut into batons with a Benriner
2 apples, peeled, grated or cut into batons (try to keep equivalent volumes of kohlrabi:apple)

Whisk cream into light pillows - this takes a minute or so, no need to get out a mixer. Stir in remaining dressing ingredients, the kohlrabi and apple. Serve immediately.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

October 8th and 11th: Fall Fun

We had a BLAST...

Riding on the wagon...

Feeding apples to the pigs and turkeys...

Playing tomato baseball...

Gathering pumpkins...

Celebrating big pumpkins...

and playing Pin the Tire on the Tractor!
 
ThAnk YoU to all who came and made the day
full of life and laughter!
 
 
 
This week's bounty:
lettuce
cabbage
leeks
potatoes
hakurei
sorrel
celeriac
tomatoes
peppers
 
 

How to Use Celery Root

Celery root needs to be peeled - and be aggressive when you do it. Remove all of the slightly hairy brown exterior to reveal the creamy, solid flesh inside. Celery root is most classically and commonly used shredded and cooked in a simple Celery Root Salad. It is also delicious added to soups and stews. Try this Pork and Celery Root or, one of my favorites, use it in this Moroccan Vegetable Stew in place of the potatoes. Add celery root to mashed potatoes for a great twist.
Like all root vegetables, celery root is quite flexible, taking well to roasting, braising, or simmering. See 10 Ways to Use Root Vegetables for more ideas.

How to Use Sorrel

Sorrel is also a half-way point in terms of how to use it. More than anything else I can think of, it falls straight between herbs and greens. Use it as a leafy herb - like parsley or basil or mint - chopping it up to use in marinades and dressings or stirring it into soups (like this Sorrel Leek Soup) or casseroles for a bit of fresh flavor. Or, use it as a green, ripping the tender leaves into salads and stir-fries.
The tart and bright flavor of sorrel makes it particularly good at adding some life to potatoes, eggs, and whole grains. It is also delicious with smoked or oily fish like salmon or mackerel. Sorrel is classically paired with cream, sour cream, or yogurt - adding a vibrant green color and tartness to these plain items as their fatty creaminess tames the sharp flavor of the sorrel.
Sorrel is also a great addition to other cooked greens. Add a handful or two when you cook spinach, chard, or kale for a lovely sour kick.
 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

October 1st and 4th: Lovin' Fall

TURKEY TIME!

 
Order your fresh turkey now--they are the best you will ever taste!!!
 
I love fall.  Maybe it is because of the bright colors, or the cooler weather, or that it is my birthday month, or the crispness, or the fact that soon I will get a break...whatever the reason, fall is my favorite season.  This past week has been sooooo gorgeous and easy to work in, it is a blessing.  We have been busy busy harvesting crops for pick ups as usual and this week we will move into winter storage crops like carrots, potatoes and winter radishes.  I am feeling so lucky and bountiful this season.  I was looking across the fields trying to decide what to give out for pick up this week and there is so much to choose from, it is hard to decide.  I hope you are loving it!
 
This Week's bounty: lettuce, fennel, watermelon radish, purple kohl rabi, chard, onions, colored carrots, tomatoes, peppers, herbs...GARLIC!
 
Next week: ...cabbage, potatoes, leeks...
 
 
 
There are many kohl rabi, fennel salads on the internet but here is one:  http://www.thekosherchannel.com/kohlrabi-salad-recipe.html
 
 
 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

September 24th and 27th: fresh new veggies

FENNEL

 
Okay, I will admit, those are not my hands (although one might argue that I do have man hands) and it's not my fennel.  Zach took the camera on a trip with him, so I was unable to photograph the fennel in my fields....they look just like this...and they taste awesome!!!  I know some of you will be terrified to take one, but I promise, they are a treat: roasted with peppers, tomatoes and onions or sliced thin on a sandwich or it pairs great with seafood...
 
 
Even though my body tells me it's fall and that it is time to slow down, the farm is bustling with activity.  It is actually very hard to prioritize right now.  Several crops are on the list for harvest before too much more rain or too cold of temps, the animals are bigger and need to be moved to fresh pasture more often, and fall tasks (like seeding the hoop house) need to happen before it gets too late.  Oh and I need to remember to bathe and eat : ) 
 
 
A big THANK YOU to the great crew of volunteers this weekend who cleaned hundreds of pounds of onions!!!
 
 
This week's bounty: lettuce mix, hakurei with greens, fennel, peppers, beets, potatoes, colored carrots, herbs chard/kale/tat soi/ pac choi, and lots of tomatoes!
 
 
FENNEL
 
Click here to learn about about fennel 
 
Don't throw out the fennel tops!!!  Click here for fennel top pesto

Sunday, September 15, 2013

September 17th and 20th: fall is a comin'

A respite from the rain!

Ahh these last couple of days have been MUCH needed!  The past few weeks have been an effort to keep everyone afloat: pigs, turkeys, carrots, potatoes...myself, Jean and workshares!  Despite our best efforts, the fields are still wet and sloppy and many times we have been harvesting for pick-up up to our ankles (or shins) in mud.  It's the worst, I think, because  I feel like I am destroying the soil structure, but also I am starting to worry about some fall crops. Typically I wait until the weather gets cooler to harvest crops for winter storage as the cooler temps make the crops sweeter, but I am starting to wonder if I should just forge ahead before they rot.  Alas, we have not been able to harvest potatoes for pick up since the fields have been so wet...hopefully this week....

   Cover Crops

One of the most important parts of organic farming is planting cover crops.  These are seeds (generally grasses) that go into the ground where edible plants are not planted.  For example, I have 4 acres of open land that I could potentially plant vegetable crop on.  I try to keep at least .5 acres, if not 1 full acre, out of production each year so that that field may "rest".  Resting the field allows for the soil microbes and nutrients to reestablish themselves.  And typically if I plant a cover crop there, the plant material gets tilled right back into the soil, adding important organic matter and nutrients, rather than harvesting it for our plates. Every cover crop has a different importance to the field.  The tall grass behind me is sorghum sudan grass.  It is a warm weather crop, I usually plant it just after the 4th of July.  It is great at suppressing weeds because it grows so fast and it adds a huge amount of organic matter to the field. Organic Matter is important because it helps to maintain moisture, but still allowing for drainage, and allows a field to hold onto nutrients, rather than having them run off with the water.  In the foreground is oats and peas. The peas add nitrogen, essential for plant growth, and the oats just add soil stability for hard core rain, so we don't get soil erosion (aka loss of nice soil and nutrients). 

This cover crop is hairy vetch.  It is in a mix of peas, vetch and oats (aka PVO, or soil building mix).  It was seeded in a fallow (resting) field in the spring.  The oats grow fast, and support the peas as they grow. As the summer progresses, the oats and peas die allowing the vetch to take over. Vetch  survives the winter and sometimes is hard to kill in the spring, especially if it is a wet spring...next year I will allow the pigs to forage in here, adding additional nitrogen and have them help to kill the vetch.  I will not plant vegetable crops in this field until 2015.


In the PYO garden: 
Tall white flower on the left: gladiola (harvest when the bottom flower is fully opened)
Tall white flower in the center: Ethiopian gladiola (harvest when the bottom flower is fully opened)
Smaller orange flower: Sunburst orange marigold
Larger orange flower: state fair zinnia mix
 
 
This week's bounty: lettuce, arugula, radish/turnip, greenbean, pepper, onion, tat soi/pac choi, edemamae, carrot, melon, corn, herbs...lots of tomatoes....

Monday, September 9, 2013

September 10th and 13th: Fall air

Fall means TURKEY TIME!

 
These lovely ladies and gents are gobbling their way through our pastures...right to your plate!  Oh, was that mean?  No seriously, I love these guys while they are here.  They are quite the characters and, if I let them, they would just follow me all over the farm, right into my bed at night.  This week we are moving them way back to hang with the pigs, so be sure to visit them.
 
TAKING TURKEY ORDERS NOW!
Don't miss out!
Please contact me via email or at pickup--$40 deposit
They will be ready, fresh, October 12th
 
 
Once again the air is brisk, a reminder that fall is right on our heels.  This time of year always makes me a little nervous, hoping that the last of my fall crops will have time to mature before first frost.  Your share last week started to move back into cool weather crops (arugula, turnip) and this week even more (tat soi, radish...and no more cukes!).  Hope you are ready for a punch of sweet fall greens and cabbages!
 
 
This Week's Bounty: (subject to change) lettuce, tat soi, kale, beets with greens, cabbage, yellow wax and green beans, hakurei turnip, radish, edemame, the very last of the zukes and summer squash, tomatoes, herbs, melons and corn
 


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September 3rd and 6th: Rainy Days

I  Love my Rain Gear

We needed some rain, but 4 hard falling inches was a little much.  We are lucky to not have many erosion problems, but it certainly gets sloppy.  Jean and I picked beans in the pouring rain Monday and couldn't even see our knees we were buried so deep!  Looks like we are going to have a quick change from super hot and humid to a high of 65 tomorrow and low of 40.  That's pretty drastic.  Already the fields are changing and soon, very soon the summer crops (cukes, zukes, summer squash, basil...) will stop production...it feel like I just planted them!

 

In the PYO garden...

background: ageratum--dondo blue
foreground: purple love grass

celosia: China town

left: holy or sacred basil--a wonderfully scented herb.  Used in Thai dishes and also has many home remedy benefits http://hinduism.about.com/od/ayurveda/a/tulsibenefits.htm
 
right: opal basil--tastes just like the green, but adds a little flare to your dishes
 
 
This Week's Bounty: lettuce, arugula, chard, carrots, hakurei turnip with greens, sweet and hot peppers, edemame, green beans, yellow wax beans, sweet onions, melons, corn for full shares, eggplant for some, herbs and unlimited cukes, zukes, summer squash, tomatoes

Monday, August 26, 2013

August 27th and 30th: The Color Red

TOMATOES!!!

So far this has been a pretty sweet year for tomatoes (I hope I didn't just jinx myself).  The field tomatoes are looking awesome, yet ripening a couple weeks later than "usual".  However considering the past four years, where late blight had nearly wiped out the entire field by now, we are doing really well!  And with the new hoop house this year--you all started receiving tomatoes a month earlier than ever before!  The headache and time spent putting up the hoop house this spring all seems worth it now.  We are harvesting 3x the amount of tomatoes out of the house verses the field even though there are 2x the amount of tomatoes in the field!  We have spent a bit of time fixing trellis in both the hoop house and the field because the plants are so weighted down, they are pulling the trellis over--a bit of a pain, but a good sign : )

Since we have had so much trouble with late blight these past four years, sadly I have had to move away from planting some of my favorites because they just get wiped out too easily.  This year I have planted several "blight resistant" varieties outside, along with a couple of varieties I have found stand up to blight better.  The hoop house is all non resistant varieties, but hopefully the plastic cover will keep the leaves a little drier and therefore a bit more protected from evil spores.  Zach and I will be taste testing the new varieties to make sure they are up to our standards.  Mostly, I planted a myriad of red slicing tomatoes, but here are a few that stand out visually:

Left: Mountain Magic--new to me this year and I love them!  Sweet AND blight resistant
Right: Juliet--sweet, but not too juicy, great for sauce, salads or just popping them in your mouth

Heirloom Varieties
You may not want to hear it, but the ugliest tomatoes in the crate will be the tastiest.  Heirlooms are hard to grow because they tend to crack, "catface" or have green shoulders.  Don't be shy, give them a try--you won't be disappointed.
 
Left: Pruden's Purple--Brandywine type, sweet and meaty
Right: Black Krim/Black from Tula--Russian heirlooms, yummy yum yum!
 
I have a yellow heirloom out there too, but they have not ripened yet--
Manyel--"Many Moons", thought to be of Native American origin
 

PYO Flower Garden

 
Pink: Lisianthus--harvest when flowers are open
Purple: Heliotrope--fragrant and beautiful
 
 
This Week's Bounty: lettuce, kale, beets with greens, cabbage, edemame soybeans, tomatoes, melons (half shares--hopefully I will be able to pick enough for all this week, if not, next...), peppers/eggplants/broccoli? zukes, cukes, ss, herbs...enjoy!
 
 
Edemame:
1. pluck all the pods from the stem and rinse--do NOT shell b4 cooking!
2. place entire pod in boiling salty water
3. lightly boil until the bean softens to your liking
4. pull pod through your teeth
 
**you may toss cooked pods with olive oil and garlic so when you pull it through your teeth, you get he flavor.
 
** you may pop the beans from the cooked pods into salads, pasta...
 
 
 
 
Zuchinni Pie--Just like Apple pie!!!!
 
 
 
 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

August 20th and 23rd: Summer Goodies

Community Supported Agriculture

 
Our farm is so lucky because we are indeed supported by our community.  Of course you pay for your food and that supports me, but it is WAY more than that.  Because you all care enough to know where your food comes from, I get to meet each and every one of you, and your families, and often times your extended families and friends.  I get wonderful gifts such as hand painted "Caution Farm Entrance" signs (see it coming on Gould Rd from the west), hand made Japanese Beetle traps, volunteer labor and tips.  Plus I get samples of many kitchen creations--strawberry jam with Jack Daniels, baba ganoush, strawberry rhubarb jam, zucchini bread, pickles, fermented green beans, dilly beans, beer.... Not to mention all of the wonderful comments and emails describing full meals created solely by our farm's products.  We love having you all come to the farm, explore the fields and enjoy the PYO garden.... we hope you feel as blessed and supported as we do, thank you.
 

PEPPERS!

This weeks brings peppers!  Since I have not harvested them yet, I can't say who or how many you will get but they are looking great in the field, so if you don't get any this week, there are loads more to come.
 
SWEET
top left: Gypsy--sometimes yellow/red, great for frying and sauteeing
top center: Islander--mildly sweet
top right: New Ace--standard bell
bottom left: Carmen, my favorite--so sweet
bottom center: Flavorburst--yellow sweet, great for salads or stuffing
bottom right: sweet banana superette sweet, mild --great for frying, pickling, and is an excellent choice to make pepper rings for sandwiches.
 
HOT
left: Banana -- tangy 0-500 Scoville units
top center: Beaver Dam--if you remove the seeds and ribs, they are so flavorful and not so hot 500-1000 Scoville units
bottom center: Jalapeño--2500-8000 Scoville units
top right: Purple and Red cayenne--30000-50000 Scoville units
bottom right: Bulgarian Carrot Chile--chutneys, marinades and salsa..I like them in chocolate brownies 2000-5000 Scoville units
 
I am a whimp--so they are all spicy to me!
 
 
This Week's bounty: lettuce, green cabbage, new potatoes, kale, onion, peppers (for some or all?), zukes, cukes, summer squash, carrots, tomatoes, herbs, melons (full share)
 
Dinner Ideas:
homemade veggie pizza
gazpacho
summer squash casserole
 

Monday, August 12, 2013

August 13th and 16th: New Fruits this Week!

PEACHES!

 
I have never seen our peach trees so full!  We had to prop up their branches, hoping they won't break, and that was after I had thinned off hundreds of little peaches!  I am currently eating a bowl of peaches, blueberries and raspberries.  A pretty rocking breakfast I must say.  And YOU can have one too!  Peaches and blueberries will be for sale at pick up this week and there are a few raspberries left in the patch for Upick.  Maine summers are short, but oh so sweet.  And after a gorgeous weekend like the one we just had--wow!

 TOMATILLOS

  
are ready for PYO!  They are up by the hoop house, right next to the strawberries.  Look for fruits like in this photo--the more yellow they are the sweeter they will be.  You literally have to dive into the bush to pick them since the ripest ones are way down in there closest to the ground.  In fact, the ones that have fallen off and are on the ground are usually the best : ) 
 
Here is a nice link about tomatillos (it even has a pronunciation key for those of you who can never seem to get it right -- mom : )  http://whatscookingamerica.net/tomatillos.htm

GOOD BUGS

 
Some of you know this lovely critter, the tobacco hornworm.  A few of them have been dining on my tomato and pepper plants.  Usually when I find them I yank them off the plant and stomp on them with my foot (generally with an "ha!  I found you!" exclamation).  But this guy, and his buddy on the neighboring pepper plant, were spared.  Why? you ask.  Genetically hornworms don't have those white spikes on their back.  They are actually cocoons of a parasitic wasp.  The adult wasp lays her eggs just under the skin of the worm.  When the larvae hatch, they feed on the worm, chew their way through the skin and make a cocoon attached to the outside of the worm.  When the wasps emerge, the worm is already pretty weak and will soon die...no stomping involved.  I have never seen any on my farm in the 10 years we have been here so I was excited to see evidence of this beneficial insect!  Here is a pretty cool YouTube of wasps hatching http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRAxdkI4-X8
  
 
The Yellow and Black Argiope. Or as I called it growing up: the zipper spider.  This is a common garden spider, but this year it seems to be everywhere.  I will say it has become my new favorite friend....the bug wrapped up to the right of the spider is a Japanese beetle.  Every web I have seen from this spider has been full of them!  Here is another link for those strange folk like my self who find good bugs fascinating http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argiope_aurantia


Ok so now that I have totally freaked all of you out!  (Notice I did start with a lovely picture of peaches.)

I believe we have passed through the crazy harvests of cukes and zukes, (ahhh, nice for me but bad for those of you who may have missed canning them) so now they will be a part of your weight.  And we are SO close to having tomatoes for all, but not quite yet so please be mindful to read the signs. We will have a couple week break in lettuce since the 95 degree heat destroyed two plantings.

This weeks bounty: Chinese cabbage (use in place of lettuce), chard (makes a nice salad too), beets, leeks, green beans, cukes, zukes, summer squash, (broccoli/tomatoes for some) herbs (basil, cilantro, dill, mint, parsley, cutting celery)

BABY LEEKS for grilling!  This year I decided to plant loads of leeks so that I could give some out in the warmer summer months for grilling.  The best way to clean them is to cut them lengthwise and rinse.  Toss them in a little oil and spices and grill 'em up!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

August 6th and 9th: Eat your cucumbers!

The Help

Meet Jean.  She is...let's just say older than me and is totally kick a**.  She works on the farm twice a week and does anything I ask without complaint.  "Hoe that 1600' of completely weed filled carrot bed.  Pick over 200lbs of cucumbers in the sweltering heat.  Lift that heavy bag of grain and feed the pigs."  She is my extra oomph when I am beat and many things would NOT get done without her. 

Work Shares...this year I have 8 folks who come once a week for 2-4 hours.  They too do anything I ask without complaint in the pouring rain and humid heat!  In exchange, they get some money off their share, but I do not think that is why they do it.  Some come to learn, some come to get away from their desk for a few hours, some come for solace and some come to fulfill a romantic dream they have of farming (which is quickly shattered when they realize how much work it is--ha!)  I don't have any pictures of them but you can be sure that they are filthy and happy at the end if their shift each week.

A big THANK YOU to my employee, work shares and volunteers!!!!  This farm runs because of you. 
 
 
The farm looks great!  Lots of rain, but not too much yet.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that we will be void of any major disease due to wetness and humidity.  I have been spraying beneficial fungicides as a preventative measure.  Field tomatoes are moving right along and hopefully in the next few weeks we will see a more substantial amount at pick up.  New potatoes and peppers are also right around the corner and the melons have TONS of flowers so hopefully the bees are doing their job and we will see the fruits of their labor soon.
 
 
This Week's Bounty: lettuce, an onion of sorts, green beans, zucchini, summer squash, carrots, green cabbage/Chinese cabbage, chard, parsley, dill, cilantro, cutting celery...oh and cukes of course!
 
 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

July 30th and August 2nd: August already?

This Season is Rockin'!

PYO raspberries are looking great and the flavor is OUTSTANDING!!!  The best I have tasted.  Don't delay--berry season goes fast!
 
 
Eggplants this week...Top: Galine--your standard looking, but above standard tasting (since it was grown here at Little Ridge!)

Bottom: Ping Tongue: Heirloom from Taiwan.  Great for stir fry and grilling.

The turkeys are out!  I let them out last week and they are so happy exploring their new outdoor life.  They are innocently stupid, very cute and noisy!  Some are finally getting big enough that they can't squeak through the fence...and luckily I think they are big enough that the cats won't get them if they do (although the cats are still lurking about with interest!)
 
The piggies are in a new spot!  Don't forget to visit them.  They are way out back beyond the hoop house.  From here you will see the bee hives too!
 
The cooler weather has brought relief to both the farmers and animals.  All were much friskier this week : )  The plants responded well too, the tomatoes are ripening nice, the green beans are pumping out beans and the cukes and zukes have slowed down to a reasonable harvest (ahh thank you!). 
 
 
This week's bounty: lettuce, purple bunching onions and scallions, tomatoes/eggplant/peppers for some, carrots, beets, green beans, cukes, zukes, summer squash, basil, cilantro, dill, parsley, cutting celery
 
 
Two great sites for recipes--
kitchen magpie does nice step by step photos and nouveau raw is all raw foods
 
 
...someone also mentioned she made zucchini parmesan....mmmm.
 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

July 23rd and 26th: ahhhhh

COOL as a CUCUMBER

ahh the cooler/dryer weather is so welcomed!  Looks like we are in for some rain this week too, which in small doses will be nice.  The harvest just keeps getting more and more bountiful, sometimes even I am overwhelmed with the bounty of the farm.  Know that each season is different and I pass whatever the gardens grow on to you.  Sometimes the weight I say you may take home may seem like too much for your family to eat in a week, please do not feel burdened by your share, but rather just take what you can and enjoy!
 
Harvesting is daily task these days.  Cukes, zukes and summer squash already grow fast but the heat we were having made them explode.  Picking cucumbers is sort of like Farmer Twister.  The plants are thick and trailing and we try to step between the leaves and cukes, not on them.  Sometimes we get our legs so stretched out, it is hard to stand back up!
 
I wanted to give you a tutorial on the cukes, zukes and summer squash we grow, so you can try the different varieties and see which are your favorite...
 
All of these cukes are great for fresh eating and pickling:
 
Far Left: Cross Country pickling cuke
Middle: Phoona Keerna (an heirloom from India that grows from light yellow to looking like a russet potato. Crisp and sweet at any stage.  The more mature fruits can even be used in stir-fries and noodle recipes, chutneys and long marinades)
Far Right: Tasty Jade, thin skinned Japanese cuke

Zucchini
From the Left:
Safari, Sebring, Costata Roamnesca, Noche, Jackpot
 
Summer Squash:
Zephyr and Sunburst Patty Pan
Both are sweet and nutty, can be used for fresh eating, grilling, stuffing...

 
Orient Express Eggplant.  Not for eggplant parm, but great for stir fry or frying in a light batter.  Because a few shareholders twisted my arm, I have been experimenting with eggplant these past couple of years.  I know not everyone likes them, so I only grow a few.  If you don't get any at this week's pick up--there will be more to come!


PYO FLOWERS
The PYO garden is bursting with color, even the cherry tomatoes are starting!  Please know that the herbs, flowers and fruits in this garden are free with your share and for your enjoyment!
 
 
This Week's Bounty: lettuce, beets with greens, cukes, zukes, summer squash, green beans, green cabbage, scallions, eggplant/tomato for some, garlic scapes (sorry i didn't have them last week, I ran out of time to harvest them!)basil, dill, cilantro, cutting celery (an herb with great celery flavor)
 
 
super fast super tasty super crunchy salad
Mix and match cukes, zukes, summer squash, scapes, scallions, basil, dill, cilantro, cutting celery
chop and mix
add salt/vinegar/oil ... or not
 
 

Monday, July 15, 2013

July 16th and 19th: The lettuce and I are melting!

Gad-ZUKES!

 
Well the peas didn't amount to much this year (not that I didn't try...three times I seeded them), but the zucchini, summer squash and cucumbers are well on their way!  ...and green beans are not too far behind!!!  It is too hot out there for peas anyway...and dogs...and farmers.  (Yes I will admit, I was thinking about my AC bedroom today as I was harvesting cucumbers at 8am in the 106 degree hoop house!)
 
 
Well the tomatoes are happy in the hot hoop house!  This week is the first tomato harvest and they will grace the plates of those who helped build the house this spring (THANK YOU!) 
 

ICE CREAM!

Cool down with an ice cream cone this week at pick up...all proceeds go to, LACO, our area food bank.

Bring yourself, your kids, your grandkids, your neighbor's grandkids...

 
 
 
This week's bounty: lettuce, scallions, chard, Chinese cabbage, pac choi, cucmbers, summer squash, zuchinni, carrots, garlic scapes, basil, dill, cilantro and oregano
 
Next week's possibilities: lettuce, green cabbage, beets with greens, carrots? cukes, zukes, ss, herbs...
 

 

Pac choi Recipe: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/8073/stirfried-pak-choi-with-sesame-sauce

 

Scallions

Both the white base and the green stalks of a scallion are edible. They can be cooked whole the same way you would cook a leek, chopped and served raw in soups and salads, or lightly cooked.



CHIMICHURRI *(parsley/cilantro)
Traditionally served with grilled steak, and is an essential part of the Argentinian parilla, but it goes great with chicken and fish too.
Works well as a marinade, and is also delicious on vegetables. 
  • 2 cups fresh parsley and/or cilantro, firmly packed
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves (optional)
  • 3-6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (optional)
  • Kosher salt and red pepper flakes to taste
  1. Pulse the garlic and onion in the food processor until finely chopped.

  2. Add the parsley and/or cilantro, and oregano if using, and pulse briefly, until finely chopped.

  3. Transfer the mixture to a separate bowl. Add the olive oil, lime juice, and vinegar, and stir. (Adding the liquids outside of the blender gives the chimichurri the correct texture. You don't want the herbs to be completely puréed, just finely chopped).

  4. Season with salt and red pepper flakes to taste.

  5. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

 

 

Stir Fried Chinese Cabbage and Zucchini

1/2 head of napa cabbage, chopped
1 zucchini, halved and cut into half moons
1 inch ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 tsp olive oil
splash chicken broth or veggie broth
1-2 tbsp oyster sauce (use vegetarian if you are one)
2 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
salt and pepper
Heat oil in pan. Sautee garlic and ginger, along with white scallion parts, for one minute. Add zucchini, season w/ salt and pepper, and brown on both sides. Add cabbage and green parts of scallions, and stir fry with oyster sauce and soy sauce. Add a splash of chicken broth if you need to.