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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

October 16th and 19th

FALL FUN and a HUGE THANK YOU
Sunday our friend and owner/chef from Flux came over with his beautiful family to carve one of our monster pumpkins!  We enjoyed a glorious fall day sipping cider, cracking walnuts and playing with Simon and the cats.  It's been so much fun having their new restaurant in town, try it out if you haven't.  Like me, Jason loves what he does and it shows in his work!! 


Well here it is, the last pick up week for summer shares.  I know it sounds cliche, but this year REALLY DID fly by.  With the first frost just coming a few days ago, my head is still in September.  When I realize the actual date, I start to panic a bit because we still have loads to do and tons of vegetables to bring in for the winter!!  We hope you enjoyed your summer share as much as we enjoyed growing it for you.  Please spread the good word about Little Ridge Farm and we hope to see you as a part of the LRF community for many years to come!!!

And Order your turkey!!  These fabulous guys will be ready this Saturday the 20th, we have a few left, don't miss out on happily raised meat!!

  
And finally and MASSIVELY HUGE THANK YOU to my valued employee and friend, Jean.  She has been invaluable on this farm; many hours logged sweating, freezing, getting wet and muddy, laughing, talking and well down right working hard!!!  She has been my constant, never complaining, always moving, my get up and go when I am exhausted.  Plus she comes with a husband, Dave, who has been equally sucked into the farm volunteering, even working in her stead for a short stint when she was injured (!) and farm/animal sitting allowing myself and Zach to have breaks away and vacations.  How will I replace her?!?!?  She is irreplaceable!!!  Jean you are much appreciated and will be missed.


This Week's Bounty: lettuce, pac choi, kale, cabbage, fennel, potato, carrot, beet, pepper, eggplant, tomato, winter squash, leeks, onions, garlic!!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

October 9th and 12th

Culture of Food

We just ate and danced our way through New Orleans and loved every second.  Although we ate more than usual, we still did not get to try everything, the amount of classically cultural food in this town is over the top!  Cajun, creole, soul food...  Above is one of our favorite brunch spots, The Ruby Slipper.  Fried chicken in pork tasso sauce, candied bacon, bbq shrimp, braised pork and poached eggs all over buttermilk biscuits. 


Loads of warm water oysters.  These were good shots of vitality after late nights of dancing.


Black eyed peas and gravy with a side of collard greens.


My favorite meal; etouffee and gumbo at Coop's Place


A fancier fare: Pork tasso stuffed shrimp over okra and hot pepper jelly.


We didn't indulge in beneighs this time, but I had an awesome homemade chocolate ice cream.  And of course a few late night hot dogs at Dat Dog, fried green tomatoes and chicory coffee.


We just got in last night, so I am a little over stuffed and over tired still but I think this is what will be this week's bounty:
lettuce, pac choi, broccoli, radish, hot peppers, onion, garlic, radish, tomato, delicata squash, pumpkin.....


Monday, October 1, 2018

October 2nd and 5th

Happiness Is...


when your peppers smile right back at you...

when your help is awesome and they love what they're doing...


when your crop is plentiful...


when the bees still have flowers to flit through in October!

Hope you're finding your happiness.


This Week's Bounty: lettuce (I think), hakurei turnip, radish, celery, fennel, eggplant, pepper, cabbage, potato, onion, tomato, edemame, cilantro

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

September 25th and 28th

HAPPY DAYS

Well the shift in the weather was slightly drastic, but welcome (to me anyway!)  I will admit currently my hands are a bit numb and typing is difficult.  I just washed the lettuce in what felt like warm water (in comparison to the air), but apparently it was not as warm as I thought!  We did cover a few sensitive crops this weekend just in case of frost.  We had some patchy spots in real low lying areas, but nothing drastic.  It is hard to let all the beautiful color go, so I am happy the flowers were spared for another week!


It's Pepper Time!  Mid September marks the time when the peppers are in full production and harvest is full of surprises.  This week, we had a few funny folk; horns, ears and mouths : )  We have been using the peppers as a scoop or utensil or vehicle for things like hummus, tuna salad and cheese.  Super sweet and gorgeous to look at, it's a crop to be enjoyed!


Then there is this silly farm entertainment! We harvested sweet potatoes Monday and fed all of the vines to the pigs.  They were the picture of "Hog Heaven", laying on a bed of soft vines while munching half asleep.  I mean look at that guys smile on the left!!


This Week's Bounty: lettuce, arugula, chard, radish, celery, fennel, beet, hot/sweet pepper, eggplant, onion, winter squash, edamame, basil, dill, cilantro

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

September 18th and 21st

 Cascading Summer

Alright so I will admit I complained about the hot sun a bit yesterday, knowing I shouldn't because cold weather is on its way.  Visually, I have been savoring the beauty and color the late warm summer has brought us.  The pyo flower garden is bright and vigorous, the cascading nasturtium wall the most beautiful and even the field plants, ones who are normally tired and waning by this time, are bright and full of life.  It's a bitter sweet time of year for me, shifting from summer to fall.  My work load literally gets heavier, but the length of the day's labor is less; the bounty is fun to harvest, but it blows my mind--feeling like I just planted the plants not to long ago!  


We pulled in the last of the winter squash yesterday.  It was a great haul.  I haven't done the numbers yet, but I think one of my best yields thus far.  Hopefully they will store nicely and we will enjoy these fruit well into winter.  Spaghetti Squash will be first in your summer share, although not yet!  I feel like giving winter squash in the share marks summer's end and I'm not quite ready yet : )

Moving the turkeys in the low evening light.
These fun critters get moved into fresh grass a few times a week.  I take down their fence and move their hut/feeders/water.  In the meantime, the turkeys wander around, exploring new places and clucking in excitement.  About the time I have their new pen set up, the come looking for me, happy to back "home" and I feed them their evening meal in their new space.  Curious and happy.  


This Week's Bounty: kale, radish, edemame, leek, eggplant, cukes, beans, pepper, carrot, potato, tomato. yum!!!

The Farmer's Table:
we are savoring so many things in their raw simple form; using the peppers as a scoop for tuna fish salad, arugula as a wrap for tomatoes and cheese, cucumbers as a vessel for homemade herbed dip, melons as dessert!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

September 11th and 14th

Mmmm Cheese

Sunday I took the afternoon to go the Maine Cheese Festival with a friend.  Maine is incredible for its access to local food and the amazing people that produce, preserve, render, grow and transform it.  Many folks make the same "kind" of cheese (bloomy rind, tomme, soft....) but the flavor is unmistakably unique from each place.  Super fun to see this thriving venture and to TASTE it all!!


Fun to see some critters (the Festival was at Wolf's Neck Farm) that we don't see around our place.  I snapped many photos of these goats, but they would not stand still!


Speaking of critters, our pigs recently moved to the woods.  They are having fun in their new environment.  I went to feed them yesterday morning and they were still fast asleep from their adventuring and the cool weather.  Sleeping pigs makes feeding them MUCH easier!!!  Maybe with today's rain, I'll be able to sneak up on them again : )  


Pepper Time!  Lots of sweet colors harvested yesterday!


This Week's Bounty: chard, arugula, fennel, cucumbers, summer squash, zucchini, onion, eggplant, beans, pepper, tomato, herbs

The Farmer's Table:
*Roasted chicken, with classic Cajun sauce--celery, onion, green pepper
*Omelet w/ tomato, cilantro, pepper, chard and leftover chicken
*Roasted Pork Shoulder
*Loads of fresh cucumber
*Chicken Wings w/ homemade ranch (football season has begun!)
*Cabbage, tomato and chili pepper slaw
*Halibut w/ fat back, sage, corn (oh my, soooo goooood!)  tomato and green beans

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

September 4th and 7th

Some Like it Hot

Another few hot and humid days.  So much fun!!!  The heat is great for many of our crops; peppers, tomatoes. melons, corn.... but the humidity, well it could be nonexistent and I don't think anything/anybody would miss it!


This variety of corn is a bit more dense than the first, but still not as large as it has been in the past.  I am thinking it was the super dry spell we had caused the kernels not to form as large as usual.  But that is ok, it's still succulent and sweet -- perfect shaved off the cob into salsa or a burrito!!!


"Lettuce" be known that lettuce is a cool weather crop. Traditionally I can make it happen all summer long without a glitch, but this year it has been very difficult for me to grow in this heat.  But alas it has made an appearance again this week (and hopefully from here on out).  It's funny how smooth some crops grow and how tricky others are from year to year.  For those of you who are anxious for fall, the winter squash is looking better than ever!!  Now, if I could just keep the porcupines from nibbling it....


This Week's Bounty: lettuce, cabbage, carrot, zucchini, onion, summer squash, eggplant, cucumber, corn, tomato, melon/broccoli (full shares), hot pepper, cilantro, dill, parsley


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

August 28th and 31st

Bounty

Harvesting has been on the forefront of our priority list these days and will be for the rest of the season.  I still have several weeds I'd like to pull and there is a myriad of other tasks that need to get done, but many days those tasks get pushed off the list.  The late season rain has really helped the crops and most are producing happily.  I feel like we are right on the cusp of fall, seeing the winter squash starting to peak through the mass of leaves, but I am not quite ready and am still enjoying crisp cucumbers and juicy tomatoes.  Today's heat will surely push any fall thoughts straight our of my head!


Beans are back this week and we have some yellow wax beans in the mix this time.  The plants look gorgeous and we weeded as we picked yesterday, so it was a 2 for 1 and it made me very happy : )


Celery makes its appearance this week too!  It's not your "normal" store bought celery; the stems are darker (because I do not blanch them) and it has a much more robust flavor.  Dry weather can sometimes make the stems tougher or stringy, but hopefully the late season rain softened them up.  Use it from top to bottom, the leaves are great to eat too!  They make nice "chips" (think kale chip) and can also be used chopped fresh as an herb in your salad or mixed with cucumbers, tomato....


Off to harvest!!!!


This Week's Bounty: beans, celery, cukes, zukes, summer squash, chard, onion, carrots, beets, eggplant, pepper? melon, tomato, herbs

Sunday, August 19, 2018

August 21st and 24th

Luscious

The farm is lush and green and beautiful.  The first few harvests of each crop has been fun but challenging this year, sifting through leaves and branches searching for beans, cucumbers, melons, eggplant and now peppers!  I sometimes wonder what it would be like to farm in a frost free climate, where the growing season is longer; where our efforts of growing and planting a seedling would be rewarded with several months of harvest, rather just several weeks.  My peppers, tomatoes and melon plants are loaded with flowers that will never mature before frost, which is a little sad but true.  This week we will dive into sweet and hot peppers, the first of many that will ripen before cold temps hit...hopefully : )


The melons are going strong and tasting sweet!  We are starting to transition from the early varieties to the later maturing ones...can't believe it is mid August already.


This week's bounty: lettuce, onion, garlic, pepper, eggplant, tomato, cucumber, summer squash, zucchini, carrot, beet, chard, melon, corn? (not sure if it's ready yet) dill, cilantro, parsley

The Farmer's Table:  (sorry for the lapse...we have been eating but I've been so busy, my blogs have been quickly written : )

*chard with tomato -- saute onion and garlic, add tomatoes and chard.  Serve over zucchini noodles.  Add sausage if you'd like. yum.

*zucchini, egg, mushroom frittata -- yum

*lots of raw cucumbers, carrots, hakurei and kohl rabi with homemade dip -- yum.

*homemade pizza with kale and sauteed eggplant and mushrooms -- yum

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

August 14th and 17th

The Picking is Good!

This week I will open the PYO cherry tomatoes and tomatillos!  The tomato patch is like a hanging garden; a forest of green with orange and red jewels hanging from the limbs.  So thick and lush, you may just have to crawl on your hands and knees : )

The tomatillos are always a tangle of leaves and branches.  And of course the ripest fruit are those nearest the ground and buried in the center of the plant.  But these treasures are worth it; create a lovely verde sauce tonight!  The photo shows how to pick a ripe fruit.  Top: the fruit must fill the papery wrapper.  Bottom: the yellow ones are riper and a bit sweeter than the green.



We are BUSY BUSY with harvest!  A break in the green beans, has given us a bit of time to catch up.  It's mid August and my mind is starting to shift to storage crops like onions, garlic and yes even winter squash!  We pulled the garlic crop in yesterday and it looks fabulous.  The summer shares will get a taste of these beauties soon! 

A reprieve in the heat is making this week much more bearable.  And with all we need to accomplish it is much appreciated.  The wonder of the little seeds we started 3-5 months ago makes me pause every year.  The bounty that comes from something so small is a blessing not to miss.  My workshares get a taste of how challenging it is to tend to and harvest something as common as a cucumber.  To many people food is something that just appears on the grocery store shelf or on your plate at a restaurant; fast and easy, accessible and constant.  There is a lot of food waste in our society, culling out the imperfect or tossing because it's marked past due.  Each vegetable you take here at Little Ridge Farm was hand grown with careful thought; a contentiousness of the environment, and the flavor it will bring to the consumer.  Many of you revel in the fact that near 100% of your meals are made with Little Ridge Farm produce and I love that.  A sense of closeness, a sense of real food.  We love growing it, we're glad you love eating it! 


This Week's bounty: kale, pac choi, leeks, zucchini, summer squash, cukes, eggplant, potato, tomato, herbs and melon!


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

August 7tha nd 10th

Fine Farm Moments

Already looking forward to 2019, we planted 1000 new strawberry plants this past month!  They are looking fine and loving the rain. 


Sea of cucumbers, melons and winter squash.  It's hard to imagine but we penetrate this vast tangle of vines 3 times a week to harvest cucumbers.  Soon it will be a daily task as the melons are ripening fast in this heat.  I'll admit every time I set my eyes on the patch, it looks daunting.  But then I settle into the task of swimming through the tangles, shifting leaves about searching for cucumbers that I know will delight the palate.  There are loads of yellow flowers and tiny fruit still to come and the sound of bees working hard at collecting their pollen make it seem like I'm working with a 1000 others.  

I don't know if you realize that cucumbers have spines on them; the fruit and the vines.  And if you have not noticed, it's been really, really hot outside : )   A HUGE HUGE HUGE shout of  THANKS to my amazing crew (work shares and paid employees) who have lugged cucumbers, picked beans and harvested/weeded/transplanted in conditions that are not as romantic as one may dream of when thinking of farming.  YOU ARE THE BEST!!!


Simple ingredients make an amzing burst of flavor. Grated carrot, beet, kohl rabi with parsley, dill garlic and horseradish.  Mmmmm now that's a salad!


Eating well here at Little Ridge Farm!!! Home made roast beef with fresh veggies!!!


This Week's Bounty: cabbage, chard, onion, beet, carrot, beans, zukes, summer squash, cukes, tomato, kohl rabi, hakurei, basil, parsley, cilantro.....

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

July 31st and Aug 3rd

Look Who's Here!

Seasonal eating can require some patience...but it totally pays off!! Cucumbers are back!  Although prickly and well hidden while harvesting, they are sweet and crunchy on your palate.  Monday was a treat in that I had lots of extra help, so picking 800lbs went by in a snap.


Greenbeans have matured too and will embellish any plate in a raw bean salad or lightly sauteed.
Although the beans hide just as well as the cukes, the plants are soft and I find harvesting them very relaxing.  


And then there are these beauties!  New Potatoes!  So creamy and delightful.  Super delicate to harvest as their skin is very thin, but fun unearthing such treasures.

...off to finish harvest...enjoy!!


This Week's Bounty: lettuce, pac choi, fennel, zucchini, summer squash, new potato, green beans, sweet onions, dill and basil.

Monday, July 23, 2018

July 24th and 27th

Flavors of the Farm

Raspberries!  Have been wonderful this year!  What a joy to pick these luscious bites.  There are loads of fruit still ripening, but the season will pass before you know it, so be sure to come by and fill a container or two as soon as you can!  Come every few days so you have a fresh eating supply:) Raspberry vinaigrette, raspberry pie, raspberry jam, fresh eating, anything thing raspberry with dark chocolate.....


Shiitake Mushrooms!  I still marvel at the flavor of these beautiful buttons of fungus.  No matter what dish I put them in their flavor stands out and enhances every meal.  And did you know shiitakes offer good fiber, B vitamins and immune boosting support?!


Ok so I admit the farmer got dibs on the first ripe tomato.  To be honest, Zach ate it, which is fair since he does most of the cooking.  They are still teasing us, hanging green on the vine, but soon....


Pork belly with Asian style slaw.  What more can I say?


Zucchini noodles used as the base of the Asian slaw.  We have not been eating grain as of late and the "spiralizer" has been a great kitchen addition.  To be honest I am not a huge fan of zucchini (although I love summer squash) but zucchini noodles are a win for me.  I love the crunchy texture and pasta like feel.

We have also been loving sliced kohl rabi, sometimes dipped in hummus, other times just plain as a crunchy side.  If you haven't tried them you should!!!  They are amazing roasted, sauteed....crunchy and sweet!


This Week's Bounty: lettuce, cabbage, pac choi (i think), mini red onion, broccoli, baby carrot! beet, hakurei, snap peas, zukes, summer squash....the garden's are starting to explode!!!  Cucumbers are on their way...I direct seeded them rather than transplanting them, so they are a little later than my usual.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

July 17th and 20th

Summertime Fun

The little turkeys are finding their legs and running around the barn.  Unfortunately they are too little to be let outside yet (they slip through the fence and into danger), so instead I open up the barn door so they get plenty of light and fresh air and toss them clover and pea vines.  They LOVE it!!  They tug at the vines, grab a leaf and shake their heads like a dog would a toy.  All of my animals give me joy.  If I am in need of a pick me up, I just visit the turkeys or hose down the pigs, either event is guaranteed a smile. 


Bountiful heads of broccoli!  A lot of effort goes into planting broccoli.  It also takes up a lot of field space for several months (we just planted broccoli for late September harvest).  Plus you guys love it.  So I try and grow beautiful heads every time and space out my plantings so you may have broccoli several times in your share throughout the season.  The plants, when happy, are able to grow side shoots after I harvest the main head.  That is what the little baby "florets" are that you sometimes see at pick up.  They are more time consuming to harvest and of course do not weight as much, but it is nice when we can get more than one harvest off a planting, so we try and take advantage of that.  Plus it's a little less kitchen prep for you : )


PYO Flowers are full of color!!!  Hope you are enjoying them! You will also find basil and parsley in there.  Help yourself, don't be shy, it gives Zach great pleasure knowing you are harvesting them.


PYO Herb patch along the rock wall.  Fennel, sage, rosemary, thyme, lavender, marjoram, oregano.... 
You may also grab a handful of blueberries from those 3 bushes in the background as you pass!


FARM TOURS!
Come see the farm close up this Sunday July 22nd.
First tour 11am, 2nd tour 1pm

bring a friend!


This Week's Bounty: lettuce, kale, chard, mini red onions, scallions, hakurei, summer squash, zuchinni, snap peas, broccoli, cilantro, parsley, garlic scapes