Tuesday, May 7, 2013

May 7th and 17th: 2013 Summer shares begin!


Welcome to Little Ridge Farm! 

Here's the line up.  Nine little piggies arrived last Friday.  They are still a little timid, but soon they will warm up to us and ask us to scratch their rumps and rub their ears.  For a bit of time, I keep them in this pen so they get used to their home, then we will let them out and train them to the electric fence. 

They will rotate around the farm, so wherever they are, feel free to visit them!

A big shout out and THANK YOU for the awesome volunteers who helped to raise the hoophouse addition this past Saturday!  Their generous gift of time, tools and food made it possible. 

Next step:  Add a bit more hardware to the end walls and sides, then wrestle with the plastic!

These past few weeks have been crazy busy.  The amazing weather has helped to accomplish many tasks that sometimes can never happen in a wet spring.  The heated greenhouse has been pumping out beautiful transplants and we have been setting them in the ground and then covering them with a thin fabric.  The fabric helps to protect against cool nights, brutal wind and deer--which is actually what I am most worried about right now.  There have been a good many visiting the back field and although Simon chases them away, I feel like they are just waiting for me to let my guard down. 

With the severely dry (although pleasant) weather, we have been wrestling with drip irrigation sooner than expected.  I have laid lines on everything and take turns morning and night on the different fields.  We don't have much water so the lines can only drip for a couple of hours at a time, but I think it is helping.  Tiny seeds are starting to emerge through the soil's crust and transplants are slowly starting to transition from transplant shock to growth.  The heavy fog felt luxuriously moist on my skin this morning and the rain forecasted is welcome.

So the first pick up.  It is sort of a clean out the cooler, fields, hoophouse smorgasbord.  Crops aren't really starting to grow yet in the fields, but I am able to save some produce in my long term storage to help supplement the fresh hoophouse spinach. 

From the fields--overwintered under straw:
Parsnips--a carrot like root, lovely roasted
Hamburg Parsley--tastes like parsley, looks like a small parsnip.  Good roasted or boiled and smashed with potatoes.

From the hoophouse:

From storage:
celeriac--nice celery flavor.  Wonderful in soups or mashed with taters
and possibly a few beets and potatoes

Root vegetable pilaf

2 cups chicken stock, homemade or low-sodium purchased
  • • 1 teaspoon salt
  • • 1 cup pearl barley or brown rice, rinsed and drained
  • • 6 ounces bacon, or pancetta, diced, or 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • • 1 large shallot, minced
  • • 2 cups, root vegetables (such as celery root, carrot, turnip, rutabaga, and parsley root), peeled and cut lengthwise in1/4-inch strips
  • • 1 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • • 1 large red bell pepper, cut lengthwise in strips
  • • Pinch of sugar
  • • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper or red pepper flakes to taste
  • • 1 teaspoon turmeric or 1/2 teaspoon saffron
  • • 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
    1. Bring 2 cups chicken stock, turmeric or saffron and salt to boil in medium saucepan. Mix in barley or rice. Cover pan, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until barley is tender, about 30 minutes (for rice 20 minutes and low heat).
    2. Sauté bacon or pancetta in large pot over medium heat until brown and crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons drippings from pot. Add shallot; stir 2 minutes (when using olive oil, add the shallot right away).
    3. Add mushrooms; brown for about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the red bell pepper, root vegetables and sugar; sauté 10 to 15 minutes; then add the cooked barley or rice, lemon juice, and herbs; stir about 2-3 minutes.
    4. Mix in bacon; season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 hour ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Cover and place in oven to rewarm.)