Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Week 8--The Follow Up

I have had several folks ask me about the Late Blight, so I wanted to follow up on that topic. Unfortunately it has spread into the potatoes quite rapidly, so I will be harvesting a lot of "new" potatoes this season. I suppose this isn't too bad since new potatoes are very tasty, however this means I won't have as many storage potatoes to sell in the winter.

So how does this Late Blight affect you? Besides the fact that we may not have as many tomatoes or storage potatoes, and that you have to hear me complain about it, it won't affect you at all. LATE BLIGHT WILL NOT MAKE YOU SICK!

The turkeys just celebrated their 5 week birthday! They now have a run outside, but still go in the barn at night. Feel free to visit them on the back side of our house, but don't touch the fence, it's electric! (Boogie Woogie!).

HELP WANTED: This late blight has taken up so many hours of my day I am in need of help! Looking for a strong individual to help with harvesting and weeding 5-10 hours a week ASAP through mid October. Must be willing to work in the rain : ) I will "pay" the equivalent of $8/hour in produce.

This week's loot: lettuce, baby carrots, hakuri turnips, cilantro, green beans, snap peas and a taste of summer

Next weeks' loot: the same with the addition of chard, I promise! and some other herb like dill : )

Pickled Dilly Beans2 lbs fresh green beans
4 small garlic cloves
4 heads of dill or 4 tsp dill seeds
½ tsp red pepper flakes
2 ½ cups white vinegar
2 ½ cups water
2 Tbs salt
Sterilize 4 pint jars and place one peeled glove of garlic, 1 head or 1 tsp of dill seeds and a pinch of red pepper in each. Fit beans in jar allowing 1/2 inch of head room. (trim beans if necessary.) Bring vinegar, water and salt to a boil. Pour over beans, filling within 1/4 inch of the top. Fasten jars and place in a boiling water bath, covering the lids with 2 inches of water. Process at a hard boil for 5 minutes. Remove and cool.

Freezing Beans Bring enough water to a boil to emerge beans. Dunk beans in water and start timing right away. Leave in water for 3 minutes. Remove from hot water and emerge beans in ice water until cool. Drain, bag and freeze.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Week 7--The Bad and The Good

Well just when I thought that by the sun coming out, all of our worries would bake away...I discovered we are a victom of the early late blight. Many of you may have heard about this disease that affects potatoes and tomatoes on the news. It is the same fungus that caused the Potato Famine in Ireland in 1845. Luckily we are not as dependant on the potato as those folks were so we shouldn't have mass starvation. However, it is still a terrible disease that can quickly have a devestating affect on our crops and surely affect us economicaly. It is spread by spores that travel on the wind and are extremely active in cool, damp weather. Typically this disease doesn't reach Maine until late in the season, just before the crops are about to be hit by frost. (Frost kills the spores). But this year, the blight hitch hiked on some tomato transplants coming up from the south and in combo with our excessive wet weather the spores spread like crazy. The blight is now widespread throughout the northeast and we are all scrambling to check out our plants daily, remove any plants that are affected, burn them and then spray copper (a natural fungicide) weekly in order to control the spores from spreading---hopefully. So keep your fingers crossed that it doesn't spread throughout our tomatoes and into the potatoes. And that come next month we will be feasting on tastey red fruit!

So with all the craziness that has happened this year, you may wonder what is keeping me going. Well, there are a few things that may only excite a farmer, but that bring a lightness to my step despite the clods of mud that try to weigh me down. Here are a few photos to explain...

This week's Loot: Lettuce, Hakuri Turnips, Baby Carrots, Chinese Cabbage, Chard, Peas, Garlic Scapes, mint
Next Week's Loot: Lettuce, Baby Carrots, Baby Beets?, the last of the peas, green beans?

Washing Tip--I find things like beet greens, leeks, chinese cabbage...that it is easier to cut up the leaves first, then wash in a strainer. That way the soil has more of a chance to wash off rather than to slide into another crack.

Summer Hakuri Turnips!
These beautiful globes may be eaten raw or cooked. They aren't quite as spicey as a radish and have a wonderful crunch.

Shell Peas! These are great raw on salads!
Freeze a quart bag, I promise, you will be sooo happy you did mid winter!
Shell peas, bring water to a boil, put peas in and blanch for 2 minutes, drain and place peas in ice water to stop cooking. Drain again and place in a freezer bag.

Carrot Top Soup

1 bunch carrots, including the greens
1/2 cup brown rice
2 garlic scapes, chopped
6 cups water, light chicken stock, or vegetable stock
thyme, to taste, and whatever other herbs suit your fancy
salt & pepper, to taste

In a small saucepan, bring 3/4 cups water to a boil. Add rice. Simmer until tender, and set aside. While the rice is cooking, chop carrot tops, enough for 2 to 3 cups,loosely packed. Wash thoroughly, then chop finely.
Chop the carrots into fairly small pieces.
Melt a couple tablespoons of butter in a soup pot. Add the carrot topsand carrots, garlic and herbs. Cook for a few minutes, turning everything a few times, then add the water or stock, and salt. Bring to a boil, and simmer until the carrots are almost cooked. Add the rice, heat through until the carrots are tender, then taste for salt and season with pepper.

Baby Turnips and Greens

16 turnips with greens
5 Tbs Butter
Salt and Pepper
Cut Leaves from turnips, cut and wash well
Melt 3 Tbs of butter in a sautee pan
Layer sliced turnip in the pan, cook 2-5 minutes so they brown but are still crunchy
Melt in remaining butter and stir in greens

Stir, add salt and enjoy!

Turnip Slaw
1# turnips, grated
1/2 carrots, grated
1/2 pepper, thinly sliced
3/4 c thinly sliced celery
1/4 C diced chives
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 C cider vinegar
1/4 C water
Combine all and let sit to wilt for 30 minutes
Serve over or mix in with lettuce
Add blue cheese or chevre on top

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Week 6 The Break in the Clouds

Ahhhh! Today the marks the fourth day of sun in a row! It is amazing how the plants respond and how the daily tasks that had to be done, even if it was pouring, are so much easier. So maybe in a month when we are in a drought, I will be praying for a drop of rain, but for now, I am enjoying waking up to sun.

So how did we survive that month of rain? We pulled weeds until our hair curled up and our boots were laiden with slop, then when a tiny break in the deluge came, we scurried and picked enough berries to make jam. Then, as the rain fell, we cooked and stirred and ladeled strawberry sweetness...

...well I did. Simon was depressed, so he slept : )

This week's loot: New Potatoes!, Chinese Cabbage, Beet Greens, Lettuce Mix, Peas

Next week's loot: The last of the garlic scapes, peas, summer turnips, head lettuce (I hope!), baby carrots, chard
Eat your beet greens!!!!!! They are very similar to chard. Use them in any recipe that calls for greens. (You can use last week's recipes). The greens are a powerhouse of vitamins A and C, iron, potassium, and calcium, plus fiber. One shareholder chopped them and ate them raw mixed in with the lettuce.

Moroccan Beet Green Salad RecipeA bunch of beet greens,1 teaspoon olive oil,1 tablespoon water,1 clove garlic, peeled and minced1/2 teaspoon paprika,1/4 teaspoon salt,1 tablespoon lemon juice

Separate beet stems from leaves and chop both.
Sauté beet stems with oil and water in large frying pan over medium-high heat for 3 minutes.
Add chopped leaves and remaining ingredients, except lemon juice, and sauté 5 minutes longer.
Add lemon juice and sauté 1 minute more.
Serve warm or chilled.

Florentine Stuffed Meatloaf Recipe
1 lb. ground beef,1 egg, slightly beaten,1 sm. onion, chopped,1/4 tsp. salt,1/4 tsp. pepper,2 pkg. (10 oz. each) frozen chopped spinach (use beet greens!),1/2 c. shredded Mozzarella cheese

Combine meat, egg, onion, salt and pepper. Line sides and bottom of 9 x 5 loaf pan with 2/3 of meat mixture. Set aside. Cook spinach and drain thoroughly.In bowl, mix spinach and nutmeg. Spread half over meat in pan. Press lightly. Sprinkle cheese over spinach. Top with remaining spinach. Press lightly. Form remaining meat over top, sealing seams. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.
dressing (mix and let set for 1 hour to permeate flavors)> 1/3 cup canola oil> 3 T white vinegar> 2 t sugar> 1/2 t pepper> 1 seasoning packet from Ramen Oriental or Chicken flavored noodles> SALAD> 1 lb shredded green cabbage (use chinese cabbage)> 6 green onions, chopped> 1 pkg Ramen noodles, crumbled> 1/3 cup dry roasted sunflower seeds> After you toss dressing and salad serve immediately to maintain crunchiness

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Week 5 The week of Rain

So I am trying to remain positive, but I admit all this rain has been a struggle! These past few days of sun gave a much needed lift to my spirits. Some crops are looking especially good like the peas, potatoes, onions and the green beans are starting to flower.

Wanting to "bulk up" this pick up, I decided to give every one farm fresh eggs. When I went to pick up the eggs, my friend offered us her lettuce! How gracious! She was just going to feed it to her chickens...thank you for sharing chickens.

Half Price Maine Farmers and Gardeners Association membership! MOFGA has generously offered to allow any CSA shareholder to buy a NEW MOFGA membership at half price (not renew). If you aren't familiar with MOFGA, they are a HUGE agricultural resource for Maine and for me. For several reasons I have chosen not to be certified organic, but I make sure that the certification fee I would pay goes directly to MOFGA as a donation. They have supplied excellent talks and conferences that I have attended not to mention countless expertise from advertising to animal husbandry to insect identification. They are an integral part of farming in Maine. http://www.mofga.org/Portals/2/Resources/MOFGA%20memb%20promo%20for%20CSA.pdf

This week's Loot: Head lettuce, garlic scapes, turnip greens, shell peas, sage, strawberries and farm fresh eggs

Next Week's Loot: Lettuce, beet greens, chinese cabbage, peas, new potatoes?
Greens with Pine Nuts
1 large bunch of turnip greens
1 TBS pine nuts
2 tsp sesame oil
1 TBS rice vinegar
1 TBS soy sauce
Steam greens until just tender, remove from heat. Toast pine nuts and mix with greens. Add the sauce one tablespoon at a time on individual servings to taste.
Fresh Greens Pasta Pie
6 oz vermicelli
2 TBS butter
1/3 cup parm cheese
5 eggs
2 tsp cooking oil
1 small chopped onion
2 cups chopped greens
4oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Heat oven to 350. Lightly greens a large pie plate. Cook noodles according to package. Stir butter and parm into hot noodles. Beat 2 of the eggs and stir well into pasta. Put mixture in pie plate. Cover with foil and bake 10 minutes. Saute onion wit the oil. Beat remaining 3 eggs and combine with greens, milk, mozzarella seasonings and sauteed onions. Pour over pasta. Cover with foil again and bake 35 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 5 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.