Wednesday, August 26, 2015

August 26 or 29

Small boxes:  3 small butternut squash, 3 pounds of beets, 1 yellow bell pepper, 1/2 pound antohi romania pepper, 1/2 pound red onion,1 bunch of chard.
Regular boxes: 2 large butternut squash, 3 pounds of beets, 1 yellow bell, 1/2 pound antohi romania pepper,1 pound red onion, 1 bunch of chard, 1 pound of okra, 2 pounds of mountain magic/ clementine tomato mix.
(Saturday boxes will have a bunch of kale rather than chard.)

The butternut squash is ready to eat now or can be stored for later use. To store, keep on your counter or in a cabinet.
The antohi romania peppers are an heirloom variety.  They have thick walls and are excellent roasted as well as any other way you enjoy sweet peppers.

Roasted Beet Salad
3 pounds of beets
3T olive oil
2 T minced red onion
1-2 T fresh lemon juice
2 T red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sesame seeds
lettuce, arugula, any salad green
1. in 425 degree oven, roast beets for 1 to 1 1/2 hours (until soft). ( it is recommended to wrap the beets in foil but i always toss them in a little oil and roast uncovered on a sheet pan because I try to avoid using foil)
2. While the beets are cooking, toast the sesame seeds in a hot skillet on the stove top until they start to pop.  It takes only a few minutes.  Remove from the skillet.
3. Prepare the dressing by combining all other ingredients and shaking in a jar with the lid on.
4. When the beets are done and have cooled enough to handle, slip the peels off and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices.  Pour the dressing over them and toss. (The beets can be stored like this in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days.
5. To assemble the salad, put the greens in a bowl, add the beets and sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds on top.

Some of the winter squash curing in the barn.  This winters' hay and our All-Crop Combine are in the background.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

August 19 or 22

Small box:  2 1/2 pound Nicola Potato, .60 pound okra, 3 Delicata Squashes, 3 bulbs garlic, 2 pounds Sweet Peppers, 1 bunch parsley, 1 fennel bulb, 1 pint cherry tomatoes. 
Regular box:  5 pounds Nicola Potato, 1 pound okra, 5 delicata Squash, 5 bulbs garlic, 3 pounds Sweet Peppers, 1 bunch parsley, 2 fennel bulbs, 1 celeriac, 2 Italian Eggplant, 1 pint cherry tomatoes. 

Storage: delicata squash and garlic in dry and dark(no direct sun) place on counter or in a cabinet.  Peppers on counter if you're going to use them within 3 days.  Otherwise, in the refrigerator with everything else.  Parsley, fennel, and celeriac in a bag with the air squeezed out.

Sweet Pepper Sauce
Wash, de-seed, and coarsely chop all the sweet peppers.
Heat a cast iron skillet on medium high heat with 1 T lard or safflower oil.
When it is hot, add the peppers and
1 to 3 onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 to 5 garlic cloves, peeled
1 to 3 T oregano
Let all this sizzle and blacken a little, stirring once in awhile.
I let it cook about 30 minutes until the peppers are soft and their skins somewhat blackened.
Remove from heat and run through the food processor to the consistency you desire.
Return to the skillet and season with salt and black pepper or a little cayenne or some other hot pepper if you like.
We like this sauce with roasted eggplant, on pasta, on sandwiches, with beef roast.

I know some of you have voiced being tired of tomatoes. Some of you buy more tomatoes than we put in your box. The tomatoes are coming to a close so we're putting cherry tomatoes in this week for those of you who are still in love with them. If you're tired of them, give them to a friend or neighbor. A salad of cherry tomatoes, parsley, and hard boiled egg with a red wine vinegarette is yummy. 

The delicata squash is a sweet squash, enjoyed best roasted in the oven and eaten plain.  We don't put anything on it and our kids eat a whole squash each when we make it.  It is not a good keeper so eat them within a month.  The garlic is cured and will keep through December atleast if you keep it in a coo,l, dry, dark spot. 
The Nicola Potatoes are of a waxy texture and make a really great potato salad.  They are also good in soup or stew where you want the potato chunks to keep their shape.  The fennel is a nice change from celery in potato salad if you like the flavor...
View from bridge over Newfound Creek.  We grow crops on both sides of the creek and our cows sometimes live in distant pasture.

August is the most difficult month on the farm.  The days are still hot, we are tired, the days are shorter, the failures of the season are felt.
The huge amount of time and effort required to grow field tomatoes, eggplant, onions and peppers well left us and the crew little time for else in June and July and so now we feel that loss.  The beds and beds of carrots and beets and lettuce that were sown directly into the field during June and July failed to germinate well because the soil was hot and rain was sparse and so effort was not rewarded with carrots to dig now.
Subsequent seedings were buried too deep by pounding rain and did not germinate.
Now we have a good stand but they will be late Septembers' carrots.
It is a trick that asks for patience and prayer, at this hot cusp of fall, to get food growing now that prefers cooler weather...but things look good.  Kale is growing.  Arugula and Radishes are sprouting under row cover (to keep the bugs at bay) in the field.  Peas are 2 inches tall.
Tomatoes are dying.  Summer squash is gone.
Some winter squash is curing in the barn and ready to eat.  Lots is still in the field growing.  Weekly, more is ready to harvest.  We will pick a couple truckloads today.
Garlic looks good.  Onions onions onions.  Some varieties are a total loss due to disease.  Some varieties, mostly the red ones, look good.
It may feel like the CSA boxes haven't been full lately but the value of what is in them is greater that that of head lettuce and greens.  (Both in terms of effort put in and $ value in the marketplace.)
If you grow your own garden your successes are similar to our successes.  All of ours' success is tied to the weather.
All of our success with the CSA is tied to your ability to see it as a whole when it comes to you in parts.  Some weeks are thinner than others.  Some weeks are a feast.  You have to be willing to eat what we succeed in growing.  It is an adventure that we are involved in together.  Thank you for making the journey with us.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

August 12 or 15

Cyril sampling the honey from the extractor
Small boxes:  1 pint edamame, 1 pint juliet roma tomatoes, 1 pound bell peppers, 2 pounds beets, 1 garlic, 1/2 pound cipollini onions, aji dulce peppers.
Regular boxes:  1 pint edamame, 2 pints juliet romas, 1 pound bell peppers, 2 pounds beets, 2 garlic, 1/2 pound cipollini and 1/2 pound sweet onion, 1 pineapple-bi color tomato, 1 canteloupe, aji dulce peppers.

Storage:  edamame, beeets, onions in refrigerator.  Garlic, peppers, tomatoes on counter.  Canteloupe, eat within 2 days.
Pineapple bicolor tomatoes, because of their size, split even before fully ripe. They are still good to eat!  You may want to keep it in your fridge if you're not going to eat it right away so the fruit flies don't find it. 

The kids and Aunt Renee and I had a monumental experience Monday of extracting honey made by bees living here on our farm.  It was really cool to be part of the process and never would have happened without the great mentoring of Dave Cowart.  We got 2 gallons.  Maybe we'll be able to keep them healthy thru the winter and harvest enough honey to put in the csa next year!

Aji dulce peppers look like habaneros but are different.  They have very little to no heat and a very fruity flavor.

Edamame needs to be washed before cooking.  To cook, get 3 cups of water boiling and pour the washed edamame into boiling water and let cook 5 to 10 minutes.  Strain and salt to taste.  To eat, break open the pod with your teeth and eat the beans inside.  Discard the pods.

Try oven roasting your beets. If you got big beets, cut them in quarters. Smaller beets can be roasted whole. I toss them in a little oil, salt, and pepper and roast in 450 degree oven until tender (20 to 30 minutes).   We like to put 1 T of horseradish in 1/2 cup sour cream and dip the roasted beets in that. 

Following is a favorite recipe here at the farm.  A women named Gabriel who worked with us here in 2009 got this recipe from her Mom.

Tomato upside down Cornbread
Heat oven to 400
Slice and have ready:  1 large tomato or several romas in 1/4 inch thick rounds
In a cast iron skillet on low:
heat 3 T olive oil and saute 1 1/2 tsp oregano, 2 cloves garlic sliced thinly, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper
While above ingredients slowly saute, Mix:
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all purpose or whole wheat flour (I've also made it with 2 cups cornmeal and no flour)
1 T honey
1 T baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 to 2 aji dulce peppers or 1 bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 onion, diced
1/2 tsp oregano
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/2 cup olive oil or 1 stick of butter, melted

over the ingredients in the hot skillet place the tomato slices and then pour the batter over
Bake  for 25 to 30 minutes.  Check at 25 minutes to see if the center is cracking slightly(remove from oven) or still wet(let bake a few minutes more).
Use a knife to loosen the bread from edges of the skillet and turn upside down on a plate or cutting board.

we eat this warm from the oven, cooled off, or reheated in the skillet for breakfast the next day.

Unusual Ant hill

Pepper Field

Aaron and Cyril pulling edamame from the stalk

Princess Addiebelle pulling edamame

Ellen with Pepper harvest

Addiebelle watering tiny lettuce seedlings

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

August 5 or 8

Cherry Tomatoes in the morning sun
Small boxes:  1/2 # Jimmy Nardello sweet Italian Frying Peppers, 2 yellow bell peppers, 1 # Machiaw Eggplant, 1 # pungent onions, 1 garlic bulb, 2 pints cherry tomatoes, 1 pint okra.
Regular boxes:  1/2# Jimmy Nardellos, 3 yellow bell peppers, 1 # Machiaw Eggplant, 1# pungent onions, 2 garlic bulbs, 2 pints cherry tomatoes, 1 pint okra, 2 fennel bulbs, 2 # Satina potatoes.

Storage:  onions and garlic can be kept on the counter.  Cherry tomatoes and peppers that you'll eat within a couple days can stay out, everything else will keep best in the refrigerator drawers.  Okra stores best in a paper bag.

Vegetable Curry Recipe using okra, eggplant, and tomatoes

It is strange and surprising that it can start to feel like fall when the days are still so hot and the workload still so great.  I suppose the workload feels great because of the heat.  Anyway, the tomatoes are dying back, the crickets are singing late into the morning, the quail call to their young with a different song that the characteristic "bobwhite" we've been hearing them use to call their mate up to now.  There is a lull between summer crops and new fall crops.  We spend time in the barn cleaning cured onions and garlic and we will begin the winter squash harvest today of butternut, kabocha, and acorn squashes. Kale, cabbages, broccoli, carrots, lettuces are being planted.  We are eying the sweet potato rows with interest in seeing if tubers are developing.  You'll see more peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant over the next few weeks.  We hope the 2nd planting of canteloupe will yield well and we can put them in your box again.  You are welcome to have hot peppers any time you want them as long as we have them.  We won't put them in the boxes because so many people don't eat them but if you want to eat them, please help your self!
Preparing to transplant fall crops of broccoli, kale, cabbage