Sunday, September 25, 2016

September 27th and 29th

Preparing for Frost

Today it suddenly hit me....this is the last week of September!  I sort of feel like I am in a time warp. Usually by this time of year, most of my crops look tired and have grown to their full potential.  And when the first frost comes, I do not feel too bad letting them go.  but this year, with the cool start and dry season, many of my plants are 2-3 weeks behind and are still vibrant and full of life.  As we covered the pepper plants, I told them that I was sorry that they lived in a cold climate.  

This picture was taken after I reset the fabric on the plants and the wind pulled it off the tomatoes...again.  A painstaking task, covering plants, trying to eke out a few more days or weeks of growth. It always seems to be very windy just before a frost, making covering even more challenging. I'll just have to head out with my headlamp, after the wind dies down, to fix it one final time.  At least it's not raining or lightening, which has happened to me often enough in the past as well.

Carrots...still with their bright green tops, ready to grow.

Peppers and eggplants with happy leaves and tops loaded with flowers and baby fruit.

Today I finally caught up with my pile of "reject tomatoes" that has been stacking up in the barn over the past few weeks.  As we harvest, we set aside the fruit with spots, blemishes, splits etc...and these are what we use to fill our freezer and cupboards for our winter stock.  If any are too far gone, the pigs or the turkeys enjoy it.  I stacked nearly 16 gallons of tomatoes and peppers into my freezer. Then a friend came over, we put on our gloves, and made jalapeno poppers.  In fact they are in the oven right now and I can small them cooking.  Maybe I should check on them...done to perfection. Yum!  It's a game of roulette eating them, some are just a tad spicy and others are blow your head off!!!

While working on a farm in France a couple of years ago, I was introduced to Romanesco.  It's in the broccoli family, but closer related to cauliflower.  It is so crisp and sweet, I love to eat it raw.  It's kind of alien looking and the whole planting doesn't seem to be ripening all at once like the broccoli does, so look fir it trickling in with some cauliflower this fall.

Back to the Sandy field that I talked about last week....  It has a bit if a slant to it and the lower end is also in the shade a bit.  So naturally any water settled down hill and the shade kept it cooler and moister.  Although the entire crop had nice sized heads, this added moisture really shined in these heads, each a good 9" in diameter.  They came from the end plant in each of my 4 rows.  So a bit more water does make difference!

This Week's Bounty: lettuce, a bit o spinach, broccoli/romanesco/cauliflower, carrots, onion, tomato, pepper, hakurei turnip with greens, edemame soybeans, tat soi or maybe pac choi and basil?

The Farmer's Table:
Eggplant Parm
Jalepeno Poppers
Stuffed Peppers
Pasta with a huge amount of veggies
Loads of crudites with a homemade yogurt chipotle dip

Sunday, September 18, 2016

September 20th and 23rd

Putting the Animals to Work 

Puffa...prepping the the root washer.

Simon...performing a quality control taste test on the corn.

Simon...managing our green bean harvest.

This is the Sandy Field.  It has held a multitude of your food this year.  And although it's the sandiest field we have (hence the name), it has performed quite well this year despite the dry.  When soil becomes overly dry, it is actually sand that can adsorb and hold any bit of moisture we put to it, verses our more clayey soils.  In clay, the drier it gets, the tighter the soil becomes, losing any air space between soil particles as well as space to hold water.  It seems a bit counter intuitive, but this year has been a visual proof.

From the Sandy Field we are currently picking green beans, chard and kale.  And soon spinach, hakurei turnips, cabbage, chinese cabbage and broccoli.  There is also a gorgeous planting of cauliflower and romanesco, which we HOPE will make a nice head before it gets too cold.  Even though this soil can hold a bit of moisture, crops are still a week or so behind.  Since this year was so dry, we've had to do extra work to get many of the crops to perform: overseeding, irrigation, row cover protection, extra nutrients...  A LOT of energy and love go into ALL the crops we grow and to see things thrive is a glorious feeling.  I find myself holding my breath this year, just hoping the last of the harvest will be just as we'd hoped.

This Week's Bounty: lettuce, celery, carrots, cabbage, onion, tomato, pepper, corn, green beans 

The Farmer's Table:

 Spiralized Tater fries, pulled pork with cole slaw, cherry tomato salad.

Pepper, Tomato and Sausage "stuff" with sausage and kale.  I think he sauteed the peppers and sausage and then stewed the tomatoes with olive oil and salt and then mixed it altogether.  Yum!!! oh, and those are smoked jalapenos in the background.

This is chopped up onion, pepper and celery (the Holy Trinity of Cajun cooking)...the start to etouffee

From the Shareholder's Table:

Thai style cabbage
Combine about 12 cups shredded cabbage with 1/2 cup chopped peanuts and 1 cup chopped mint (cilantro works nicely as a substitute). Combine 3 tablespoons fish sauce, 1-2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon neutral oil, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, the juice of a lime, and some minced hot chili to taste. Whisk to combine the sauce, then toss with the cabbage. 

A simply tasty meal from LRF food!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

September 13th and 16th

A Colorful Heaven

From Top Left: Chef's Choice Orange, Pruden's Purple, Taxi
From Bottom Left: Peach, Big Beef, Juliet, Mountain Magic
Oh!  I forgot the Indigo Apple...It has purple shoulders and a reddish/orange bottom.

A mix of Heirloom and Hybrid varieties guarantees color, flavor and production.  Some are meatier, sweeter, juicier...try them all and see what you like!

Cheyenne Cayenne (long red) -- sweet and moderately hot, great fresh.
Capperino (round red) -- moderately hot, great for stuffing and pickling
Beaver Dam (big red) -- Flavorful with moderate heat.  Great fresh or stuffed.
Jalepeno (green) -- Hot!
Carrot Chile (little orange) -- Fruity and hot.  I like mins in chocolate brownies.
Hungarian Hot Wax (The yellow and the orange ones) -- Hot. Great fresh or fried.

Tis the season for colorful eating!  Although the tomato and pepper season have come a few weeks later than usual for us, we are enjoying it fully now.  Our counter is covered in fruit, ripe for stuffing, grilling, snacking and salsa making.  It's a mouth watering, belly filling, eye watering, finger tingling time of year!!!

This Week's Bounty: lettuce, colorful carrots, green beans, leeks, chard/kale, zukes, summer squash, corn, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, herbs and your choice of watermelon or winter squash.


Zucchini tahini salad -- Mark Bittman's book matrix
Slice 1 pound zucchini thinly, or use a mandolin.
Whisk together 2 tablespoons tahini, 1/4 cup olive oil, juice of a lemon, salt and pepper to taste. Toss together. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Thai style cabbage -- Mark Bittman's book matrix
Combine about 12 cups shredded cabbage with 1/2 cup chopped peanuts and 1 cup chopped mint (cilantro works nicely as a substitute). Combine 3 tablespoons fish sauce, 1-2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon neutral oil, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, the juice of a lime, and some minced hot chili to taste. Whisk to combine the sauce, then toss with the cabbage.

Zuchinni Yumminess -- 

Monday, September 5, 2016

September 6th and 9th

Late Night Farm Patrol

I bought a night vision game camera couple of years ago so I can capture pictures of what is hunting my livestock or eating my crops.  It helps me know what kind of control to use, since each critter is different.  Here Simon is out on his own checking the trap (the metal box Left Center) at 8:24 pm. 

And here is our prickly little corn-eating culprit.  Well, his back half anyway.  Bottom left, you can see that spiny porcupine checking out the corn's ripeness.  He seems to visit every other day. And actually, right now, I am headed out with my headlamp to see if I can catch this little punk!  

Tired of your Zucchini?  Spiralize it!!!  My mom just bought us this gadget and we are obsessed. We've spiralized carrots, potatoes, zukes, cukes...everything is more fun in spirals!!!  We can make ribbon cuts too!  Just a light saute or a little dressing and it's like a whole new vegetable!  Yes, I am excited about the spiralizer!

PYO Tomatilloes are found right next to the hoop house.  These tart little fruits make a mean salsa verde (green salsa).  Salted and roasted, they are great on pork too.  You know they are ripe when the "skins" split, like in the photo above.  The yellower they are, the more ripe.  Fish for the ripe ones down at the base of the plant.  They take a bit of work, but it's a special taste of summer!

This Week's Bounty: cabbage (great on tacos, Mexican style, with salsa!), beets, green beans, potatoes, sweet and hot peppers, onions, zukes, summer squash, cukes, tomatoes and herbs ...oh and the last of the melons ; )  ....lettuce and corn next week