Wednesday, August 30, 2017

August 29th and September 1st

The Color of Bounty

I have several parameters when choosing which seeds to buy and grow for the CSA:  
1st) Flavor 
2nd) Disease Resistance/Growth Performance on our soil
3rd) Size at maturity (I don't do baby or gigantic)
4th) Price of the seed
and lastly) Appearance

I don't usually get sucked in to the descriptions of appearance in the catalog, but I am a true sucker for flavor descriptions.  However, while harvesting, I am amazed at the colors.  And I can't lie, it makes harvesting much more fun. 

Harvesting peppers is my favorite.  The plants are soft, not spiny or hard to get into.  The bright colors treat my eyes and my stomach knows how sweet they will taste.  Lots more to come in your share this season!!

Beets! I know not all of you love them, but you must be inspired by their impressive color!  Yes, they stain our hands a dark purple when we harvest, but they are another of my favorites to look at.

Tomatoes!  Talk about drooling while reading the seed catalog!  It's almost overwhelming the sheer amount of tomatoes to choose from nowadays.  Still I focus on flavor and disease resistance...that's what will give us beauties in end.  Indigo apple was a new one last year and the flavor is well as pleasing to the eye.  I can't say that our hands are very pleasing after tomato harvest, they are usually a hornworm green and remain stained for several washings!  

I hope your eyes are dazzled by color during pick up and food prep.  And your bellies are happy too!

This Week's Bounty of Colors: lettuce, carrots, chard, onions, garlic, tomatoes, cukes, zukes, melon, corn, dill, parsley, cilantro

Farmer's Table:

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

August 22nd and 25th

 Ahhh Rain!

We ended up with 1.4" of rain last Friday and it was wonderful!!!  I did a walk around Saturday morning and it was so nice to see the soil a little darker and the plants perkier!  Even the birds and the bugs seemed livelier!  This photo is of buckwheat cover crop.  It has a beautiful white flower that attracts all sorts of pollinators.  If you could only HEAR this photo, it is BUZZING with activity!

The next succession of green beans and cabbage are looking happy!

This field is full of the late fall/winter luxuries like cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, beets and carrots.

The rain even spurred the spinach to germinate--yeah!
Be sure to take a moment during pick up and walk around the farm.  It's at its peak right now and soon crisp fall air will be taking over.  See it whiles it's hot!

I spent much of my weekend in the kitchen preserving and baking.  It was lots of fun and a good break from harvesting and other serious farm labor :)  Our peach trees didn't yield quite as many peaches as we hoped, but enough to can some for the winter AND eat lots fresh.

Then I made some blueberry goodies, pickled pepperocini peppers and pesto.

Hope you are preserving summer too!

This week's Bounty: lettuce, kale, beets with greens, beans, broccoli, melon (?), pepper, eggplant, zukes, summer squash, cukes, tomato, dill, cilantro, basil

The Farmer's Table:
-cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and balsamic
-cucumber, sour cream and dill salad
-sauteed mushrooms and pepper with steak and eggs
-fresh pepper, cucumber, tomato and cheese

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

August 14th and 18th


I'm beginning to feel like my garden plots are little island oasis amidst a desert.  I'm sure you have noticed, the lack of rain has made the ground rock hard, the native plants, like golden rod and milkweed, wilt and the grass turn a crispy brown.  I grew up in Ohio and then lived in West Virginia awhile where the trees where huge, the road edges lush with wild flowers and the poison ivy leaves were bigger than my head.  Alright, I don't miss the large poison ivy, but I am starting to miss lush green.  We've had three dry years in a row now and I think I have decided to drill a new well.  It's an unexpected expense, and I would much rather buy a new implement, but I feel as though we are starting to tax our personal wells and is an important step.  A friend and dowser came and picked "the perfect" spot, so hopefully we'll strike it rich!  I even felt a pull with the dowsing rod, so just maybe...

Color me red and yellow and pink and orange and purple!  The tomatoes are coming in strong and their bright colors are much appreciated.  And the flavor is outstanding!  

This Week's Bounty: lettuce, hakurei, cabbage, carrot, beans, cukes, zukes, summer squash, eggplant, pepper, tomato and basil

The Farmer's Table: (a small sample of what we indulge in here at the farm!)
*more roast beef sandwiches, this time sliced with our new meat slicer : )
*a take on Tiella Barese, but with lobster instead of mussels (thanks to a generous gift from a shareholder!)  new potatoes and Pink Oyster mushrooms

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

August 8th and 11th


The "baby" turkeys (now 4 weeks old), have been released from the barn into the jungle of tall grass, and branches. Don't worry, they can still hide in the barn if they are feeling timid and I still shut the barn door at night to keep them safe.  They still have another few weeks before they'll be feathered enough to sleep outside on their own, but for now they are having fun chasing bugs, sunbathing and exploring their new world. 

Speaking of jungles, we have been wading through the sea of cucumbers these past couple of weeks.  It's a tangle of vines, bees and prickly leaves.  We planted less this year and have harvested more than usual.  We had a record 674 lbs last week!  The field is 200' long and we have to traverse this distance while doing Cucumber Yoga the entire way.  (Cucumber Yoga is a cross between Twister and difficult yoga poses!)  And soon we will be wading this sea for melons-yeah!

Thanks to all who picked up more cukes this weekend.  I did my part to and made some Sour Mustard Pickles.

RAIN!  We ended up with .35" last night/this morning and it felt so good!  I am sure the plants will respond positively to the much needed moisture.  As you can see, the blog is a tad late this week again this week.  We have been busy!!!  Setting irrigation takes a lot of time and because of the possibility of rain, we worked double time this weekend, seeding fall crops, cover crops (to protect the soil this winter), mulching asparagus (with a rented mulch chopper/blower) and harvesting.  There is still a bit of weeding and planting here and there, but mostly now we get to harvest the bounty. Life is looking good here at Little Ridge Farm, thanks for joining in on the fun!

This Week's Bounty: lettuce, hakurei turnip w/ greens, beets w/ greens, sweet onions, green beans, new potatoes, zukes, cukes, summer squash, tomato, dill, parsley and basil

The Farmer's Table (a sample of what we're cooking for dinner)
*Roast Beef sandwiches, from our top round roast, soaked in a sugar salt brine.  Made with lettuce, tomato and yogurt horseradish sauce. (now Zach wants a meat slicer!)
*Oyster mushroom Duxelle.  So good!!!  can eat on pasta, with beef or on crackers
*New potatoes with parsley and lemon
*Summer Casserole/Lasagna.  Ham steak braised in tomato sauce.  Lovage, zukes, grated beets and cheese.
*Pasta Free--used chard leaves, eggs, ricotta, mozzarella summer squash!

Yes we ate well this week!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

August 1st and 4th

Fruits of our Labor  

Tomatoes are starting to ripen!  With some exciting new varieties!  (This is Tye-Dye)

New Red Oyster Mushrooms too! 

We're working hard! (just a few weeds)

And eating well, hope you are too!

This Week's Bounty: lettuce, fennel, cabbage, carrots, purplette onions (mini red), scallions, zukes, cukes, summer squash, a tomato and dill

The Farmer's Table (a sample of what we eat here on the farm!)
-Italian Short Ribs--fennel, scallion, red wine and clove
-Eggplant Caponata
-Whole chicken with cajun spiced summer squash