Saturday, July 31, 2010

Week 11 Aug 3rd and 6th

Potatoes, Spuds, Taters

This amazing root vegetable grows beautiful bulbs of red, yellow, purple, blue, white and brown. Mostly I dig potatoes by hand: pulling up a plant and then immersing my hand into the soil sifting for "gold". A good yield is harvesting 10# of taters for every 1# planted. I don't know that my yield is quite that high, but it is pretty darn good.

When you look at the potato, you will see little "eyes" or sunken spots on the tuber. It is from these eyes that a potato sprouts a branch. In early May, I set a piece of a potato, about the size of an egg, into the ground and cover it with about 4 inches of soil. Soon, those eyes have set branches and eventually they poke out of the soil. At 6 inches tall, I mound more soil up around the branches and then once again when they are 12 inches tall. This gives a nice soft mound of soil for the potatoes to grow in which makes harvesting easier.

The potatoes you are receiving now are considered "new potatoes". That means that their skin is thin and that they would not store for a long time outside of your fridge. Some potato varieties are good "storage potatoes". These varieties I let stay in the ground until their leaves naturally die. This is an indication that the skins on the potatoes have toughened up and cured so that they will be able to store for up to several months. These potatoes I will not wash for you, as they are best stored unwashed in a dark, cool, dry place.

"The annual diet of an average global citizen in the first decade of the twenty-first century included about 73 lb of potato."

A Bird's Eye View
A porcupine has found the weakness in my hero farmer right through it. This little spiky animal has consistently eaten 10-20 heads of lettuce a night. We have sat out for 4 consecutive evenings waiting for him to show his face before dark, but alas, I think the crows are alerting him to our whereabouts. They are certainly in cahoots, although I am not quite sure what the crows are getting out of the deal. Maybe the porcupine promised to stay out of the tomatoes if he could get all the lettuce he wanted. Well their little conspiracy is working...bummer!

Dilly Beans, Frozen Beans, Pickles, Zucchini Relish
Let me know if you are interested in aquiring more cucs, zucs and/or beans for preserving!

This Week's Loot: Lettuce? Cucs, Zucs, Green Beans, New Potatoes, Kale, Herbs, Jalepeno Peppers, Corn?

Next Week's Loot: Lettuce? Cucs, Zucs, Green Beans, Carrots, Beets, Green Peppers?

Vegetable Lasagna
Basically just layer every vegetable you get into a pan...beans, squashes, greens, carrots
In between layers add cheese, oil, herbs, sauce...
Bake it covered at 350 for 30 minutes, then remove cover and bake until cheese is bubbly

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Week 10, July 27th and 30th

Cucumbers are such a treat. Crisp and watery, the perfect refreshment for summer. I generally eat 4 or 5 during harvest. I typically take on the raw food harvest diet during the summer months: (peas), green beans, cucumbers, peppers, melons, tomatoes and the occasional carrot, although field cleaning them is a little trickier.

So your cucumbers are squashed in this bed between the corn/pumpkins and the zucchini/summer squash. Needless to say, it is a little tight, but it helps to shade out the weeds and to make harvesting like a game of twister. Between their green color and the canopy of leaves, they hide well and can make the daily trip to the cucumber patch a little backbreaking. But they are worth it!
I grew 3 kinds of cucumbers this year:
cross country pickling (squat, green) Good for pickling, relish, slicing--a standard pickling type poona kheera (yellow) Good for pickling, relish slicing and cooking--an Asian variety
diva (smooth, slenderer and green) Good for slicing--a specialty seedless, non bitter variety

Thought I would give you an update on that blue ribbon costata romanesca zucchini I've got growing out there! I may need some help bringing that in in the fall!
A few notes on GREEN BEANS:
*They store better unwashed, however be sure to wash them before you eat them. After these heavy rains, they are a bit splattered with dirt.
*I have extra for sale this week! $2/#
*I may have a free PYO row open for this week only, but ask me at pick up.
Yoga and Lunch
Sunday, Aug 7th!
Join shareholders Gabrielle Copeley and Kendall Scott as they lead you through a healthy stretch and meal.
Fliers in the Community Barn--Bring a friend!!!!
This week has flown by! I have found myself several times this year being so thankful for this place. As I go out to take photos for the weekly blog, I tend to be crawling through the plants truly immersed, surrounded by the sound of buzzing bees and healthy plants. Such a movement of activity and life. I was harvesting green beans on Sunday afternoon (a gorgeous day) and could hear the voices of folks in the raspberry patch. I peaked over and saw 2 families there. Babies on backs, toddlers giggling and chasing each other. Milo, the cat, zipping through the berries, his little bell jingling. The ducks playing in their pond. Simon chewing on his favorite bone. And the ruby red berries hanging from the branches. All was right in my world.
This Week's Loot: Carrots, Scallions, cucs, zucs, beets, lettuce, celery, sage and mint, oh yea, and green beans!
Next Weeks' Loot: Lettuce, potatoes, green beans, cucs, zucs...peppers?
Chilled Cucumber Soup (there are TONS of these recipes online, check to see which one you like best!)10 cucumbers
1/2 cup chopped parsley
6 scallions, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 quart buttermilk
1 pint yogurt
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Peel cucumbers and cut them in half, scraping out seeds. Sprinkle the cucumbers with salt and let them stand 30 minutes. Drain excess water.
Chop the cucumbers coarsely and put the pieces in the blender along with scallions, dill, lemon juice, buttermilk, and yogurt. Blend at high speed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill well before serving. Read More
Viennese Cucumber Salad
Adapted from Gourmet, December 2004
Makes about 4 cups
2 lbs of cucs
1 tablespoon salt
1/3 cup white-wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons sugar
1 garlic clove, forced through a garlic press
1 teaspoon dill seed, you can use dill weed too, just use a bit more
Score cucumbers lengthwise with a fork
and slice thin, preferably with slicing disk of a food processor. In a large bowl toss cucumbers with salt and let stand 1 hour.
In a small saucepan bring vinegar and water to a boil with sugar, garlic, and dill seed, stirring until sugar is dissolved, and let dressing cool. In a colander drain cucumbers and rinse under cold water.
Drain cucumbers well, squeezing out excess liquid. In a bowl combine cucumbers with dressing and marinate, covered and chilled, at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours. (After about two hours cucumber skin will discolor, but there will be no effect on flavor.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Week 9, July 20th and 23rd

Green Beans

In skiing there is a phrase called "hero snow". It means that the conditions are sooo perfect, that any skier, at any ski level can look fabulous. I was joking with some shareholders, at pick up last week, that this growing season is like "hero farming". You can expect good food from me every year, but maybe not this early or to this bounty. I guess I can take the heat if I get to be a hero farmer : )

So this week we get green beans! Mmmmm. These beans grow on small "bushes" from a flower that looks a bit like a snapdragon. They grow plentiful and need to be picked every other day.

How to Blanch Green Beans (for freezing) Fill a mixing bowl halfway with ice and enough water to cover it. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the green beans until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the green beans from the pot to the ice bath. Drain when cool, about 1 minute.

How to Steam Green Beans Fill a large saucepan with 1 inch of water and fit with a steamer basket. Bring the water to a boil. Place the green beans in the basket, cover, and steam until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes.

How to Store Green Beans Refrigerate unwashed green beans in a plastic bag or container in the vegetable drawer.

Thank you to all who bought ice cream last week; )
Fish shares are still available. You can get them for as few or as many weeks as you would like. This is a photo of our red perch over zucchini, kale and rice. It has been very tasty, SUPER fresh and well worth it!
This week's loot: lettuce, new potatoes, green beans, zucs, summer sq, cucumbers?, scallions, cabbage, cilantro, oregano
Next week's loot: very similar : )


Pesto Potato Salad with Green
Now, I’m going to have to insist that you make your own pesto. Okay, I can’t insist, but I do highly recommend it. Even the best store-bought stuff lacks the flavor wallop of making your own — they may look green, but turn out to be mostly oil — and with basil inching its way towards Greenmarkets, it’s more delicious than ever to make your own. Brightening the flavor with vinegar and a good helping of salt and pepper keep this from bland-dom (a critique of many pesto potato salads), and the green beans provide the perfect antidote to those carb-phobic types.
2 pounds small Yukon gold or red-skinned potatoes, quartered1 pound green beans, cut into one-inch segments
1 to 2 small garlic cloves, peeled
1 bunches of basil (about one ounce each)
1/8 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons (or more to taste) mild vinegar, such as champagne, white wine or a white balsamic
1/8 cup chopped green onions (scallions)
1/8 cup pine nuts, toasted
Parmesan cheese to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 10 minutes. Add beans; cook four minutes longer. Drain well and let cool, then transfer potatoes and beans to a large bowl.
Meanwhile, discard the stems from the basil and wash and dry the leaves. Puree them in a food processor with garlic, drizzling in enough olive oil that it gets saucy. Season the pesto with salt and pepper. [Alternately, you can swap this step with one cup of prepared pesto, but seriously, I think you'll be missing out.]
Toss the beans and potatoes with pesto. Stir in vinegar, green onions, pine nuts and season with salt, pepper and/or additional vinegar to taste. Finally, shave some wide flecks of parmesan over the salad with a vegetable peeler.
Serve immediately, or make this up to two hours in advance. It can be stored at room temperature.
Green Bean Zucchini Salad
In a small saucepan with enough boiling unsalted water to cover, cook the green beans until tender but still crisp 3 to 4 minutes.Drain in a colander, rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking, and drain again.In a medium size bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, tarragon, and pepper.Add the green beans, zucchini, and onion and toss well.Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours, tossing occasionally

Monday, July 12, 2010

Week 8, July 13th and 16th

Full double rainbow at our house Saturday : )
If I could have one wish, it would be that every growing season was like this one. Yes there have been a few glitches, but in comparison to most, this is dreamy. The gardens are just busting at the seems, check out the sugar snap peas this week and you'll see what I mean!

This week we have zucchini and summer squash! 2 weeks earlier than I have ever had it here in Maine. I am trying a few new varieties this year, so let me introduce them to you...

Zucchini: From left to right...
Raven, Cocozelle, Sebring, Costata Romanesca
Raven is your typical zucchini, but darker skin, lots of antioxidants
Cocozelle is rich flavored Italian zucchini
Sebring just like a green zuc, but yellow
Costata Romanesca has a "distinctively sweet nutty flavor"
(they say I can win a blue ribbon for the biggest zuc with this one...maybe I will try.)

Summer Squash: from left to right
Zephyr, Sunburst (A Patty Pan)
Zephyr "delicious nutty taste and firm texture"
Sunburst a 1985 All-American Selections Winner

Ice Cream! Ice Cream! We all Scream for Ice Cream!!!
(Ice Cream for sale this week at pick up, $3 a scoop!)
As you may know the biggest even in Maine happened this past weekend--Moxie Fest--and unfortunately, it was a wash out. I serve on the board for the county extension office--an extension of the university of Maine where folks, like you, can receive a myriad of services such as gardening expertise, 4-H clubs, energy questions answered, food preservation skills and much much more. I have used extension over the years to answer many of my pest control and disease questions and I find them to be a great community asset, building roots in both agriculture and healthy eating/lifestyles.
My point...we tried to sell ice cream at the Moxie Fest to raise money for the extension office and well since most people were running for their cars in the deluge, we didn't sell much ice cream. Sooooo I am going to sell cones at pick up this week!!! (okay so it's not really "healthy" eating, but the ice cream was hand made locally).
This is a good segway into the "Ice Cream Theory" book you may see sitting on the table in the barn. An award winning book written by one of our shareholders!

are DRIPPING off the canes. get them while you can! they show their ruby faces only once a year!!!

This week's loot: lettuce, lettuce, lettuce, hakurei turnips, carrots, shell peas, snap peas, red onions, kale, sage, tarragon, cilantro, and zucchini!

Next week's loot: lettuce, zucs, summer sq, potatoes and green beans?


Tarragon-Spiked Lady Grey Iced Tea
Zest of 1 lime, removed in strips with a vegetable peeler
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup packed fresh tarragon leaves
4 Lady Grey tea bags
8 cups boiling-hot water
cut off any white pith from zest. Bring zest, juice, sugar, and cold water to a boil, stirring, then let stand, uncovered, off heat 15 minutes.Discard zest. Blend syrup with tarragon in a blender 30 seconds. Strain through a sieve lined with a dampened paper towel into a glass measure and cool completely.Pour boiling-hot water over tea in a heatproof pitcher and let steep 6 minutes, then discard tea bags. Cool tea completely.Stir syrup into tea and chill at least 1 hour and up to 6 (cover tightly). Serve over ice.

Greens on
Holistic Health Coaching
This recipe is a super easy side dish. The leafy green vegetable used in this recipe is kale,
but any green can be substituted. The tahini dressing can sit covered in the refrigerator for
several days for use on veggie dishes, salads, chicken, fish and rice dishes throughout the
week. Delicious!

1 inch of water
steamer basket or stainless steel steamer
1 bunch of kale cut into bite-size pieces (can use collards, bok choy, cabbage, etc.)

Put water and steamer into a pot. Add kale and steam for 5-7 minutes or until bright
green. Top with Tahini Dressing. Serves 4.
Tahini Dressing1/3 cup sesame tahini (sesame seed paste)
3 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
1 tablespoon umeboshi vinegar (use regular vinegar if can’t find umeboshi)
½ bunch fresh parsley, chopped
½ bunch scallions, chopped
1 cup water (more or less)
Put tahini, shoyu, vinegar, parsley and scallions in a food processor or blender. Blend and
add water slowly to achieve desired consistency.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Week 7, July 6th and 9th


Usually when I think of peas I think of cool spring weather and the beginning of some weight in the farm share. This year, I think the weight they are giving us is in perspiration from all the heat!!! Happily though the peas are still sweet and seem to be surviving, even though they are a cool weather crop.

How Do I eat Peas? The peas on the left in the above photo are SHELL PEAS and the peas on the right are SUGAR SNAP PEAS. Shell peas, you shell and eat the peas inside; sugar snap peas you snap off the top and eat the entire pea. I had several folks ask, "why can't I eat the pod of the shell pea?"'s just genetics, their shell is kind of tough and stringy, it's not because I laced them with some crazy chemical : )

Both can be eaten raw or cooked. I like to throw the shell peas in pasta and just let the heat of the pasta cook them a bit...or in salads...The snaps I eat raw like a snack.

What is the nutritional value of peas? Green peas, botanically classified as a fruit (I didn't know that!!! Did I mention that I do have my BS in Botany?) have been used as vegetable, for cooking purposes, since ages. They can be described as the small, spherical seeds or the pods of the legume Pisum sativum. Green peas are mainly cultivated during the cool season i.e. from the start of winters to early-summers. Apart from being very rich in protein, they hold a high nutritional value in the form of vitamins and minerals too.

Shell Peas growing on the vine. These guys grow low, like a ground cover, and are harvested by hand plucking them off the pant while I crawl on my knees from plant to plant...

Sugar Snap Peas grow on a tall vine (up t0 7 feet tall) and need to be trellised. These too are hand plucked from the plant, but I am able to stand up for most of this harvest (whew!).

Baby Turkeys on the loose!!! These guys are only 3 weeks old, but it has been so warm, I decided to let them out a little earlier than usual. They are LOVING it!
They wanted me to tell you that they taste great for dinner, lean and juicy...order one now!
$40 deposit, $4.25/#, ready the end of October

This Weeks' Loot: All you can eat salad bar (lettuce), radish, hakurei turnips, cabbage, shell peas, sugar snap peas, baby beets, scallions and new potatoes!
Next week's Loot: Lettuce, radish?, snap peas, kale (for real this time), carrots...
Instead of recipes this week, I will give you a few tips and then you are on your own...because I am going to the pond for a swim : )
Scallions: these are an early onion, light in flavor, eat the whole thing (except the roots) raw or cooked.
Cabbage: "Tendersweet" this is a new variety for me. It claims to be "Exceptional flavor for taste-conscious consumers. Tender leaves are very thin, sweet, and crisp - perfect for coleslaw or stir-fries."
Have fun, Enjoy and Thank YOU!!!
PS Lots of raspberries to pick, strawberries are done.