Monday, September 29, 2014

September 30th and October 3rd


I know it seems early, but it's time to order your Thanksgiving bird!  Several years ago I decided to raise the turkeys only until the grass was good for grazing and the air temps were warm enough to not freeze their water.  Turkeys like it hot, and when I tried to keep them all the way through November, they just didn't seem happy in those cold November rains.  Turns out, it was a good decision as now most butcher shops will not process birds beyond the middle of October.  That means the bird has to go in the freezer before thanksgiving.  Some folks say a fresh bird is better, but I believe, if they are raised right, fresh or frozen, either way they taste amazing.  I mean look at them...fresh grass, warm sun, a pet dog--how could a turkey's life get any better!?
 Don't delay--order now!
We have been busy harvesting storage crops in this fine dry weather.  We are almost done with the onions and this week, we will start on more potatoes.  Although the drier weather is not great for the fall crops that are still growing, it makes harvesting oh so easy and delightful.  Of course, I still have another month or so of harvesting to get through: carrots, turnip, rutabaga, leeks, cabbage...I am feeling good about our progress so far.  The stressful part?  Where do I put it all?!  I am scrounging for crates and soon I will have to squeeze thousands of pounds of food into my tiny little walk in.  It is a good dilemma to have, I am thankful for the bounty.
Fall Farm Potluck!
All Shareholders invited (meat and veggie)
Sunday Oct. 5th 1-3
This week's bounty: lettuce, tat soi/yokata na, kale, savoy cabbage, leeks, potatoes, tomatoes, sweet peppers, fennel, acorn squash...
The Farmer's Table:
*chicken soup with homemade stock and fresh veggies
*pork burritos with homemade adobo sauce
*broccoli lasagna with a crunchy lettuce salad
*beef stir fry with green beans and baby summer squash

Monday, September 22, 2014

September 23rd and 26th

Bitten by Frost

Friday and Saturday night we were hit with frost.  The earliest I have seen since we have been here.  Nothing too important was lost.  Many times there is huge "pre frost stress"...frantically running around covering and harvesting in the wind and rain (and one year I remember, lightening storm). Luckily we had already brought in the sensitive winter squash and pumpkins and we did cover the peppers.  The saddest loss was the PYO garden.  The forecast was for patchy frost with temps between 35 and 38, I guess we were on the hopeful side.
The animals have surely bundled up.  There is a pig pile every morning and the turkeys huddle under their circus tent.  Despite the fact that it feels like October already and summer is coming to an end (wait, did we even have a summer?), I can't complain.  I think I can count on one hand how many days over 75 we had and even though it felt like it rained every day for a chunk of time, the working conditions this year have been pretty ideal and the crops look amazing.  I still have lots to harvest, and many things could still go wrong, so I hope I am not jinxing myself, but I almost feel like I can take a sigh of relief, another growing year under my belt. 
This weekend was full of stocking up for the winter...freezing corn, making salsa, roasting peppers, snapping beans, plucking edemame and whipping up my new winter favorite treat: chimichurri.  I hope you have found some space on your storage shelf or freezer for a little taste of summer in winter too.
This week's bounty: lettuce, chard, tat soi (I am going to keep giving it to you until you eat it all!), carrot, sweet pepper, onion, tomato, spaghetti squash
The Farmer's Table:
*French toast with Paul's walnut raisin bread and plum sauce from Zach's plums
*Bangalore Spicy Eggplant and Rice Casserole
*Beef burritos with chinese cabbage and cucumber/corn/cilantro salsa
*Stir Fry with beef, broccoli, radish, edemame, tat soi and plum sauce
*Italian Casserole with potato, tomato, edemame, hard cheese and sopressatta
The Shareholder's Table:
"Thank you for the ingredients for the perfect harvest soup.
Purple cabbage and carrots cooked in homemade chicken broth.  Pasta added to make it more hearty, then garlic, hot peppers and parsley at the end.  And your bread to sop up the broth- what more can I say!"

"Hi Keena. Just thought I would share this with you. I made Succotash that was off the charts with this weeks bounty. Replaced the traditional Lima beans with edamame. It has white wine, basil, parsley, rice vinegar.

All of your food is soooo good."


Monday, September 15, 2014

Sept. 16th and 19th


This week's bounty: lettuce, radish?, tat soi, carrots, new potatoes, corn, broccoli, onion, peppers, edemame, tomatoes, sage, dill, cilantro
Family Friendly Tat Soi Recipes:
stir fry with pork/tofu
brown butter pasta

Sunday, September 7, 2014

September 9th and 12th

The Little Kicks

The humidity has dropped and life if feeling good right now.  We had a relaxing weekend this weekend -- moving the pigs and turkeys, canning tomato sauce and elderberry syrup, harvesting melons, broccoli and squashes and washing the pooch to free him of his fall itch.  (I think he takes after his mother in being sensitive to all that crawls in the fall). 
I am feeling so blessed with a full harvest this summer.  Crops are robust and ready earlier than usual.  Even though the onslaught of early season rain seemed like too much at the time, most crops enjoyed the long drink.  (A note to self to try and irrigate more steadily when we have a lack of water.)  There are so many variables that go into producing a good crop of anything that I find myself scratching my head trying to figure out the nuances of it all.  However, giving Zach and myself a few props, we have worked hard over the last 8 years studying and asking questions to better understand our soil and climate and have used that knowledge to build the soil.  We still have some weak spots, but all in all, the farm is shaping up to be a place we feel proud of.  We hope you feel proud to be a part of that too, because each of you have helped make this farm whole. 

I am an Ohioan after all.  Born and raised, lived in the same house until I headed off to college and even that was done in Ohio.  You would think I would know a thing or two about growing corn.  I certainly saw many many, many, many rows of it as I drove our country roads.  Most places, I could have touched it as I drove by, it was so close to the road's edge.  And I definitely knew how to shuck it and eat it...many ears at a time...but I never experienced growing or harvesting it.

My learning curve has been great, and still growing.  This year we actually transplanted 1000 plants instead of direct seeding them.  It took a lot more time (maybe 4 hours in comparison to 30 minutes), but the results are amazing.  There is a plant every foot and on every plant there are 2 beautiful ears of corn.  That's 2000 ears of corn that will be ready pretty much all at the same time.  Yowza!  You see, every year I have to plant in excess to ensure a good crop no matter the circumstances...and when things all goes planned (like ample rainfall) we get the bumper crop.  How many shucks could shareholder shuck if a.... 
This week's bounty: lettuce, Chinese cabbage, red cabbage, kale, peppers, summer squash, melon, beans, broccoli, corn, edemame?, tomato, parsley, dill (maybe some zukes/cukes/eggplant)....

Monday, September 1, 2014

September 2nd and 5th

My Favorite View

Walking over the little ridge into the back field always fills me with joy.  I know everyone knows it's there now, but to me, it is still a hidden little secret.  A secret full of delight.

Even though today was MIERABLY hot and humid, the plants tell me fall is here.  The cukes, zukes and summer squash are getting tired, the garlic finally dried it's outer wrapper, and the onion tops have fallen.  All summer the green leaves of an onion grow and grow, each representing a layer of the onion itself.  When the "neck" of the onion softens and bends over, it's the sign telling me that the onion is done growing and is ready to cure for storage.  At this point, we harvest all the bulbs in shallow crates and set them to dry in the upstairs part of the community barn.  Drying out the outer skin, giving it a protective coating so that it will last well into June.  Not all onions are storage onions, some skins will never fully dry and therefore need to be eaten sooner rather than later.  The sweet onions that you have been enjoying the last coupe weeks are one of those types.
Fall is so full of harvest and this year the crops are looking robust.  It's a farmer's goal to have something to harvest, but if you ask one, they will probably tell you that harvesting is one their least favorite parts of the job.  Kind of strange, I know, but I think it is because harvesting takes so much time.  When one is in their 4th hour of picking the same crop, it's hard not to think about all of the other farm tasks that need to be attended to as well.  However, if you ask a volunteer what farm task they would most want to do, it would probably be to harvest!  ....keep your ears open, I may ask for a volunteer or two in the coming couple of months : )

Anniversary Get Away 

Thanks to a lot of help from my employee, Jean, her husband and several work shares, Zach, Simon and I were able to escape the farm for the weekend and celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary.  It felt great to paddle around a couple of ponds, the Penobscot Bay and read in the waning light of day. Simon loved it too...although I think every day is a vacation for him : ) 
This week's Bounty: lettuce, Chinese cabbage, corn, peppers (hot and sweet, I believe), zukes, cukes, ss, broccoli, beans, onions, melons, tomatoes, cilantro...I think that is it, but I may have forgotten something
Next cabbage! kale? more corn? ....last of the melons...