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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

February

Can you Feel the Love?!

I think February to me feels like what April feels like to the average human living in a northern climate.  The sun is higher in the sky, the days are longer, warmer, brighter.  It smells different, the animals are more active, it feels different.  I can detect a significant shift in February's nature (a similar shift to what most folks feel and enjoy in April) and I love it. I love it because, February is still winter and for me that means I have a few more weeks of farm planning and preparing, going on walks with the pooch and reading thought-provoking books.  (In the summer I only read brainless YA fantasy!)  For me the April shift is exciting and lovely but no longer restful.  So for now, I'll bask in the February love. 


Thankfully Simon is feeling much better and he can accompany me on my daily walk.  He even chased a squirrel the other day!  The snow cover and icy crystals have made for some glorious tours.

My walks are often when I do my best farm brain storming.  I think it clears my mind enough to let new thoughts emerge.  I am excited to continue our local CSA, building it stronger and better; continuing to fine tune the shares to bring the best flavor and weekly diversity.  I'm looking at some new ways of marketing to local folks and I even started an Instagram account!  I'm not the best with social media, but it's yet another avenue for you to see this beautiful place and the wonder of growing food in the moment.  


Once again we idolized our new kitchen equipment and had a meat slicing party!  Our friends brought homemade pastrami (from our grass-fed beef) and Zach cooked one of our hams.  We had several sliders with all sorts of condiments on local rye and homemade potato buns.  Yum yum yum!


So I never knew that "sheet pan dinners" were a thing, but I know realize there are hundreds of recipes online.  We have often cooked chicken in a deep dish surrounded by veggies, but the sheet pan allows for even more veggies.  Of course you could have 2 pans in the oven, one meat and one veg, but the wonder of cooking it all together is a) you only dirty one pan and b) you get the meat juices to help flavor the vegetables.  This one is chicken legs with potato and winter squash.  I'll admit the chicken was a little dryer than we'd like, but the has potential and I think it is a great asset to a CSA share...quick and easy healthy meals!


Eat More Veggies!
Join our CSA

*Supurb Flavor
*Always Fresh
*Certified Organic
*Outstanding Value
*Free PYO flower garden


This Month's Bounty: red/green cabbage, carrot, beet, turnip, potato, sweet potato, onion, garlic, celeriac, watermelon radish, winter squash and spinach


The Farmer's Table:
*Sheet Pan Delight -- check out this site for loads of ideas
*kimchi -- it's usually made with chinese cabbage, but i made mine with a green cabbage and watermelon radish and it's so crunchy!!  We are using it in soups, on nachos... check out this site to see what you can do with kimchi.  it's super great for your digestion too!
*beef enchiladas -- from Gimmesomeoven one of my favs, my secret ingredient is chimichurri i have in the freezer which i made this summer.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

January

Winter!

Well, we certainly have had quite the winter so far!  Below average temps and above average snowfall, it's been both challenging and beautiful.  During the 2 week stretch of single digit weather, the inside of the hoop house was covered in hoarfrost.  It is formed basically when the air gets so cold, the water vapor in the air condenses and turns to frost....yes that means it was really cold!  The "fuzzy" stuff on the walls of the house in the picture above is all hoarfrost.  My camera could not pick up the individual crystals that I could see down the entirety of the house.


This is a close up of one of the individual crystals covering the wall.  Huge and magnificent!
Needless to say, I do not think the greens under the cover in the hoophouse liked the subzero stretch of weather.  I believe they are still alive and will pull out of it, but harvest this week is not likely.


When I am not shoveling, snowplowing or plowing snow I am keeping my office chair warm.  I have attended 2 farming conferences this winter as well as a 3-day farm business workshop, which will include 20 hours of Technical Assistance.  All of been extremely helpful and worthwhile, although I am starting to dream that I have gone back to college!  My brain has been a slurry of ideas, growing tips and numbers.  As always, just trying to improve my farm from all sides.

Seed ordering is complete and most have already arrived in the mail.  It's always a pleasurable task and although I tend to order the same varieties year after year, I am still in awe of the plethora of seeds to chose from.  After visiting Peru last year, I was reminded how the food in our local area shapes us.  And how wondrous mother nature is at giving us something nourishing and the flexibility to grow it in different places.  Fedco hit on this point exactly in their catalog this year talking about how seeds have migrated from one place to another, through animals, wind, water, humans.  They have "traveled over time, across cultures, navigating change" and are "adaptable, generous, tenacious, diverse and beautiful".  

This next part, hit me in the heart, because I think it is true....seeds have "charmed" me into tending them...

"We say that we have domesticated seeds, but perhaps they have domesticated us, attracting us with their charms into a mutual relationship where we weed, water, harvest and transport, taking them into our homes, our bodies, our lives.  People throughout the ages have loved seeds, tucking them into skirt hems, saddle bags....to preserve culture, stories, memories of homeland...for seeds are life--we need them as we need water, warmth and air." --Nikos Kavanya


We continue to be charmed by food in our kitchen this winter, experimenting with water kiefer and sourdough bread.

Veggie prep for Borscht.


Thank you to those who are also charmed by the nature of good food.  The simplicity of it that can be turned into a fanciful meal with few ingredients, respect and love.



This Month's Bounty: carrots, beets, celeriac, turnip, kohl rabi, potato, sweet potato, onion, leek, cabbage, garlic and winter squash


The Farmer's Table: 
 *Borscht
 *Lasagna with ham steak.  We cook the hamsteak in canned tomatoes we are making into a sauce.  The sauce ends up with a lovely ham flavor which we then use in the lasagna.  The ham steak can then be used as a separate meal or added to the lasagna
 *LRF grass fed strip steaks. yogurt sweet potato/potato mash. frozen peas and corn.
 *LRF pork stir fry with carrots, kohl rabi and dried mushrooms.
 *LRF grass fed tenderloin. dry brine. honey butter peas. horseradish yogurt mashed potables. port reduction sauce.
 *LRF German style country spare ribs. sour cream yogurt leeks. apple juice vinegar braise.
 *Butternut Squash Bisque