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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: JalapeƱo--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!