Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wintery Days at the Farm

As we enter December, the farm has been put to bed. We have laid down hay on 8 new no-till beds, mulched the strawberries with hay, planted and mulched the garlic, cut new ground for next year, gotten all of the row cover, hoops, tomato stakes, and harvestable produce out of the fields, and put away the electric tractor for the season.

Next we hope to enjoy several weeks of rest, before getting our seed order together after the New Year. Part of our day (morning and late afternoon) is always spent taking Rocky for a walk. Being a mountain dog, he loves the snow, and is full of energy this time of year. Here's a little video showing what a happy dog looks like.

Perhaps more than anything, since becoming a farmer I have learned to understand and appreciate the annual movement of the sun through the sky. This time of year the sunrise is low on the southeast horizon. The photo below is due east from our kitchen window, as it is zero degrees F right now. Every morning for the next 10 days the sun will rise just a little more to the right. In the old days people rejoiced after the winter solstice since the sun turned around and headed north again.

We celebrate the return of the light in late December too, knowing that another planting season is on the way.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What to Do With Your Thanksgiving Share --- Part 2

Late Fall harvesting

The Thanksgiving holiday is but a week away, and it's time to start planning the menu (and harvesting the vegetables!) In the previous blog we suggested a cheesy root soup as a starter. For this blog I refer you to yesterday's Washington Post's Guess Who's Coming to Thanksgiving Dinner article. Resplendent with recipes from the likes of Julia Child, Alice Waters, James Beard and Fannie Farmer, I can think of no one place to go that has such a wonderful array of recipes to offer.
There are three different greens recipes; for Brussel sprouts, cabbage and greens. Edna Lewis' silken turnip soup sounds familiar, and is also recommended as a meal starter. Jacques Pepin teams with Julia to bone out part of the turkey before stuffing with sage/cornbread stuffing and roasting it. Go to the link to see the many other recipes, from rolls to cranberry sauce to pies. We hope you all have a healthy and happy thanksgiving.
Rebecca and Tom

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What to Do With Your Thanksgiving Share Part 1

Tuesday morning at the farm
We are pleased to have had such a mild November so far, with lots of sunshine to keep the crops in the fields growing. Since the season ended, many vegetables still in the ground have doubled in size, making them just right for a Thanksgiving share. While we still have some picking to do (once the snow melts), we anticipate the share to include the following:

Broccoli (1/2 to 1 lb)
Brussel sprouts (2 decent sized stalks)
Carrots (Red Core Chantenay, good for eating or storing)
Beets (our best planting yet)
Bulb fennel (the cool weather makes them mild, sweet and delicious)
Celeriac (adds a subtle celery flavor to veggie mashes and stews)
Endive (a bitter green)
Leeks (maybe only 1/2 lb, but a great addition to any dish)
Garlic (2 nice heads)
Chard/kale (add some greens to an otherwise brown dinner)
Herbs (choice of thyme, sage, mint, or dried)
Onions (1 quart of good storage onions)
Roots medley (1 quart of mix and match radish, rutabaga or turnips)
Cabbage (a large savoy type)

White Soup with Cheese
One thing we hope to become a part of over the years is your Thanksgiving tradition. 2009 has been a good year, with quite a final bounty. We expect most years to have many of these same vegetables available, so you can create dishes that are uniquely local, seasonal and tasty.

One dish that often is overlooked at Thanksgiving is soup. With the usual 10 choices of dishes, piling our plates and digging in can be the norm. I know that this year as we host Thankgiving for Rebecca's family, we are going to try to keep the choices down, and start the meal with a cup of soup. The blending of flavors in the white soup recipe below is just the thing to get one's taste buds ready for the meal of the year.

2 medium onions
4 cloves garlic
2 to 3 Hakurei turnips
1 celeriac
1 bulb fennel
1 rutabaga
1 kohlrabi
(You can also add cauliflower, regular turnips and/or potato. You want about 2+ quarts of chopped vegetables total)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 to 2 tsp sea salt
1 quart stock or water
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
1 cup grated cheese (we used Parmesan)

Clean and chop the vegetables. They all need to be peeled, and their unique shapes require different techniques. Veggies like celeriac and kohlrabi are best cleaned with a large knife. Simply place them on their side and "shave" off the outer layer, as shown in the photos. You can do some final peeling with a paring knife or peeler. Treat fennel like celery, cutting off the root end and ferny tips. Rutabaga can be peeled with a veggie peeler.

Saute the onions, fennel and celeriac in the olive oil and butter for about 5 minutes over medium high heat. Add the salt and remaining vegetables. Stir and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the stock (just enough to cover the vegetables), cover and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are very tender.
Strain the liquid from the vegetables and return it to the soup pot. Puree the vegetables until smooth and add back to the liquid. Stir in the milk, cream and cheese and simmer for 5 minutes to blend the flavors. Serve hot.

Monday, October 19, 2009

What to Do With Your Share---Week 24

Rooting in the End
We are glad to have had such a good season this year, and bid the 2009 CSA harvest a hearty thank you. In closing, the fields bring you mainly root crops, vegetables that have the ability to keep all winter long, if given the right conditions. That means making them think they are still in the ground and at rest during the dark winter. The roots we give you are alive, so alive that they will make seeds if planted in the Spring. They need to be treated accordingly.

So if you have more than your fridge can hold, or want to buy some bulk and wonder how to store them, all just get a Rubbermaid container and some sand and follow the lead of the pictures below. After layering the roots with the sand you give them a little watering (wet the top of the sand ) to keep them damp so they don't dry out. A few ventilation and drainage holes in your tub will help too. Keep the tub in the coolest part of your house that doesn't freeze. A basement or heated garage works fine.

Garlic Braids
We several items available in bulk that have been there awhile (see below). We also are adding garlic braids to the list this week. We have a limited number, so it is first come first serve. They are $16 for a braid of 12 Silverskin garlic heads. They are our best keeper. If kept near 32 deg F in a dry place they will last until Spring. If you hang them in your kitchen be sure to use them. A garlic braid that is being used is just as attractive as a full one that dries out.

Bulk Order Week of 10/17/09
Garlic $8.00/lb
Garlic braids (12 heads) $16.00
Chard $3.00/bunch
Kale $3.00/bunch
Beets $3.oo/qt (specify Chiogga (stripped), or red beets)
Jalapenos $2.50/pint, $4.00/quart
Arugula $2.50/bunch
Dried herbs $2.00/tin (thyme, marjoram, dried hot peppers, lovage, lavendar flowers, coriander, oregano, rosemary)

In the Share: Week 24

GREENS (F) cabbage, kale or chard
HERBS (F/P) cilantro, dill or arugula
VARIOUS ROOTS (P) choice of beets, turnips, rutbagas, watermelon radishes and kohlrabi (not really a root, but it looks a bit like one.) Check Tom's blog from last week for a photo i.d. of the various roots.
CELERIAC & CARROT (P) a bit of each for a nice soup or salad
BULB FENNEL (F/P) eat them like they do in Calabria in a salad
BEETS OR KOHLRABI (F) A bumper beet crop this fall. They're still on the bulk list!
FRENCH BREAKFAST RADISHES (F/P) the mildest, most delicate radishes.
WINTER SQUASH OR SWEET POTATOES (F/P) Tis sad, but true, the winter squash harvest this year was a bust. We've got about 60 shares worth between the pumpkins and butternuts that made it. We only grow pumpkins fit for pies and such, so only take one if you plan to eat it. They will keep until after Halloween if you must use them as decorations first.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Parker Farms delivery

NEXT WEEK: Take stock of your crisper drawer. Hopefully you've accrued another week's worth of Fair Share Farm veggies.

The day is about to come when the CSA season is complete. Since February we have been counting down to this day: the final plantings done, the earlier crops turned under, but somehow it always feels suprising when we arrive at the final week of the season. Last week the chilly, wet weather made the season's end seem eminent. But then the sun came out for the first time in weeks heralding the Indian Summer. The sunshine and warm weather has gotten us moving again. It is just too darn perfect outside not to.

The Saturday crew prepared the seed garlic for planting:

clipping the heads

separating the cloves

We planted the hardneck today and will plant the softneck over the course of this week.

Tom and I may be the farmers at Fair Share, but we wouldn't be successful without the labor, energy and spirit of many people. A huge thank you to Lori Watley and Kara Jennings, our brave apprentices who slogged it out with us all season long. It is an accomplishment to even stick it out and they did so with such style and grace. We wish them bountiful harvests in all that they endeavor. And to all of you who pay us in advance in the hopes that we will feed your family for 24 weeks, thank you for sticking with this also. Your support and crazy faith in us is just amazing. We were lucky this year. The weather was moderate and the harvest was good overall, unlike many farms in the northeast where blight and flooding dominated. So, finally we must thank the soil that grew our food, the moderate rains that watered it and the mild temperatures that ripened it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

In the Share - Week 23

LETTUCE (F/P) We will be pulling them out from under their blanket of double row cover.
FALL CARROTS (F/P) Finally found the Bolero carrots that I know I planted somewhere amongst the storage carrots. Darn sweet and long-legged, perhaps the best of the season.
GARLIC (F) Mostly our artichoke variety. Partials have a choice with the herbs.
GREEN PEPPERS (F/P) A long, slow frying releases their sweetness
VARIOUS ROOTS: HAKUREI TURNIPS, RUTABAGAS & WATERMELON RADISHES (F) See Tom's blog for an identification lesson.
GREENS CHOICE: KALE, SWISS CHARD OR BOK CHOI (F) See if you can taste the difference after a couple of frosts.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Bread of Life Bakery delivery

NEXT WEEK: Our last CSA distribution for 2009. Next week we'll have lettuce, herbs, greens, more carrots, beets, kohlrabi, celeriac and radishes. The few winter squash that we harvested plus the last of the sweet potatoes and bulb fennel.
THE FIELDS: Fall is in full expression at the farm. Frosty mornings, the yellowing leaves and some glorious sunrises. All that remains after the frosts last week (29 degrees or thereabouts) are the brassica family standing solidly with no need for cover, as are the last of the leeks and celeriac. Then, there are those that are hardy with a bit of help from us: the lettuces, beets, carrots, arugula, herbs. The summer crops are in various stages of decomposition. After we remove irrigation tape, trellising, stakes and cages, we mow and then spade the crop under. When not deconstructing the season, we mulch. This week it's the speedy kind. Take an empty 200' bed, a round hay bale and three farmers and in 20 minutes or less it is covered with a thick winter blanket of organic matter.

After a morning of cold-weather farming, the farm crew appreciates a pot of tea and some indoor work. Today we inventoried what is left of this year's seed and processed seed we had collected earlier this season. It's a necessary step in the process of planning for next year's harvests. Can I say I'm already looking forward to next season??

What to Do With Your Share---Week 23

Roots Medley
Roots, the hardiest of the vegetables, dominate the last few weeks of the season. We had good but mixed results with the roots this Fall. The beets, carrots, and Hakurei turnips were as good a crop as we have ever had. The purple top turnips, rutabagas and radishes however have struggled at best.

For the full shares mixed root choices (next week for partials) we have a refresher photo below to tell things apart. From left to right are rutabaga, Hakurei turnip, and 2 varieties of watermelon radishes.

Carrot and Pecan Soup
While we were in the field today I was thinking about coming up with a good recipe. As we started our carrot harvest Irealized I had to cook something with the great carrots coming out of the Fall beds. Carrot and chestnut soup came to mind, so making due with some Missouri pecans I adapted a recipe from Cooking at the Academy.

2 tbsp olive oil
5 medium carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 potato, chopped
1-1/2 cups shelled Missouri pecans
1-1/2 tsp salt
6 cups stock or water
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

Use the food processor to chop the pecans into a coarse meal or flour. Don't bother to wash the food processor, as you will need it later to puree the soup.
Saute the carrots and onion in the olive oil for 2 minutes over medium high heat.
Turn heat to medium and cook 5 minutes more, add the pecans, stir and cook for 2 more minutes.
Add 2 cup of stock, bring to boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes
Add remaining 4 cups of stock and simmer for 30 minutes
Strain the soup and puree only the solids. Blend puree with liquid part of the soup, adjust taste with salt and pepper. At this time you can also add some cream for even more richness of flavor.

Bulk Order Week of 10/12/09
(Sorry for the late posting)
Garlic $8.00/lb
Chard $3.00/bunch
Kale $3.00/bunch
Beets $3.oo/bunch (specify Chiogga (stripped), or red beets)
Jalapenos $2.50/pint, $4.00/quart
Arugula $2.50/bunch
Dried herbs $2.00/tin (thyme, marjoram, dried hot peppers, lovage, lavendar flowers, coriander, oregano, rosemary)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

In the Share: Week 22

Sweet potato harvest

GREEN TOMATOES (F/P) We've gleaned the patch in preparation for the coming frost. Check Tom's blog for info on cooking them.
CELERIAC (F) The perfect fall ingredient in soups and salads
SWEET PEPPERS (F/P) The last of the colored peppers. Next week we'll have green ones.
EARLY JERSEY WAKEFIELD CABBAGE (F) Sweet heirloom with a pointy head
BEAUREGARD SWEET POTATOES (F/P) The orange-fleshed sweets everyone knows and loves.
LEEKS (F/P) Another week of the buttery alliums
LETTUCE (F/P) More smallish heads from the fall crop that refuses to get very big before bolting. What gives, dear lettuces?
BROCCOLI OR CAULIFLOWER (F) Not much left after this week. The partial shares will get whatever we have next week.
SUMMER SQUASH, SALSA PACK OR EGGPLANT (F) Should be the last of these too depending on what happens tonight.
HERB CHOICE (F/P) Rosemary, sage or parsley or a dried herb

ALSO THIS WEEK: Parker Farms delivery

NEXT WEEK: More lettuce, greens, green peppers and cabbage. Beets, turnips, kohlrabi and garlic. Watermelon radishes.

THE FIELDS: Today we prepared for the possibility of frost. The forecasters are predicting 36 degrees which is close enough to freezing to get the row cover out and bring the tender crops in. We harvested all of the green tomatoes, peppers and baby eggplants. Most of these will be in the shares this week, with just the green peppers holding in the cooler for next week. We covered the lettuces and tender greens that might get nipped by the frost. A thin layer of the fabric gives an extra 4 degrees or so of warmth. We also pulled the drying pepper plants up by their roots and hung them in the greenhouse to dry.

Mulching with hay has been an almost daily task lately. We are laying down thick layers on all of the perennials as well as many new areas that we are converting to the no-till system. The hay makes me sneeze, but the crops appreciate it as do those who get to ride in the back of the truck with a full load. Lori and I are joined here by Mindy, a student from the 'Ecology of Food' course at William Jewell College.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 22

Fall Favorites
The weather is changing, and Fall is in the air at the farm. The cool but not cold temps and wonderful blue skies create a hankering for the comfort food of Autumn. As we have been handing out more than expected the last couple weeks, no doubt you have a full fridge. Keep in mind over these last few weeks that some veggies keep better than others, so you may want to prioritize what gets cooked first.

The eggplant, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, summer squash, herbs, lettuce and greens should be first on the list to use. The sweet potatoes will hold for months if kept in a warm, dry and dark place. Turnips, beets, kohlrabi, celeriac, cabbage, leeks, green tomatoes and peppers will keep several weeks or longer if kept in a bag in the fridge, though eat them up too if the mood strikes.

Green Tomatoes
As year 6 of the CSA draws to a close "what do I do with green tomatoes?" hopefully isn't a questions members have in mind. Fried green tomatoes, green tomato and pepper relish, green tomato salsa, and green tomato curry are but a few of the recipes from our archives. Tried and eaten many times by us farmers, we can attest to the wonderful flavor green tomates can impart upon a dish.

No doubt a suspect vegetable for many, celeriac (or celery root) continues to find favor in our household. If you are not sure where to start using it, try the mashed white root recipe from our October 6, 2004 newsletter. We have found that when it makes up about 15 to 25% of a dish, it's subtle flavor creates a delicious and out of the ordinary taste. The other night we made a potato leek soup that included one medium celeriac in the mix and felt it was as good a soup as we have ever made.

Bulk Order Week of 10/5/09
Garlic $8.00/lb
Chard $3.00/bunch
Beets $3.oo/bunch (specify Chiogga (stripped), or red beets)
Jalapenos $2.50/pint, $4.00/quart
Pepperoncinis $2.50/pint, $4.00/quart
Arugula $2.50/bunch
Hakurei turnips $3.00/bunch
Dried herbs $2.00/tin (thyme, marjoram, dried hot peppers, lovage, lavendar flowers, coriander, oregano, rosemary)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

In the Share: Week 21

hakureis waiting to be harvested

TOMATOES (F/P) The last week of ripe tomatoes. Next week you'll get green ones.
JADE BEANS (F/P) The last week of these too. What a great harvest it was - 354 lbs. so far! Partial shares get a choice with okra.
BEETS OR KOHLRABI (F/P) Partials get a choice of turnips too.
HAKUREI TURNIPS (F) A beautiful crop of the raw treat.
SWISS CHARD (F/P) The chard has grown back gloriously from its summer cutting.
LETTUCE (F/P) One head for all. We're letting the rest grow until next week.
PARSLEY OR ARUGULA (F/P) Partials also have the choice of garlic.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Bread of Life Bakery delivery

NEXT WEEK: More lettuces, greens, turnips, broccoli and cauliflower. Sweet potatoes and more leeks. It might be time to harvest all the green summer fruits. We're watching the forecasts to see if a frost is coming. If so, we'll have green peppers, green tomatoes and baby eggplant. If not, they'll at least be green tomatoes and ripe peppers and eggplant.
THE FIELDS: Ah, autumn. Have I mentioned that I love fall. Yes, while all of you dear members are lamenting the end of the season, your farmers are thrilled! While, of course, we hate to see the fields empty we are looking forward to time to rest and replenish ourselves. To kick off the restful season we are looking forward to celebrating the harvest at the ...

FAIR SHARE FARM CSA END OF SEASON DINNER Saturday,October 24th, 5-7 pm

Mark your calendars now for the best potluck in town, awesome door prizes, activities for the kiddos and the chance to converse with your favorite farmers (ahem.) FSF CSA Social Coordinators Ann and Mark Flynn are getting the party started with an invite which will soon appear in your inboxes. They will be assigning potluck dishes, looking for door rizes and recruiting volunteers to help with set-up and break-down. Hope to see you all there!

But before we can celebrate, we've got a month of work to do. Right now our time is split between harvest and clean-up. We've begun dismantling the tomato trellising. Most of the cages are stacked back at the barn. As are the t-posts that supported the trellises for the paste and hybrid varieties. The heirlooms are all that remain, leaving their hybrid compadres in the dust.
This year we are really seeing the effects of our fertility management systems. Areas where we used the no-till method or turned under a lush cover crop before planting are really thriving. Here's our healthiest squash ever in a no-till bed:

What to Do With Your Share---Week 21

The harvest continues, and our best year of green beans is coming to an end. If you are wondering what to do with some of the ones you may not have eaten yet, or that you get in this week's share, we recommend the recipe below. Many years ago I went to a small restaurant in Webster, New York that had a chef there who was a master at sauces. He was good with simple veggies too, and I had a dish of green beans with Asian five spice powder. The combination was superb, and I've used it often. We had the recipe below the other night.

Sweet Potato Greens
There will be a handful of samples of sweet potato greens at the end of the line this week. Ted Carey of KSU, who we buy our sweet potato starts from, has been working to re-introduce the many benefits of this delicious tuber to the area. Among the benefits is that you can eat the leaves of the plant, not just the root. Cooked, the greens are quite mild, but very healthy and full of antioxidants. Rebecca made a wonderful dish the other night based on this recipe. She modifed it quite a bit, using only a couple tablespoons of oil, subsituting fish sauce for the fish, and adding ginger. Google "sweet potato recipes" and see what you like. There is a simple recipe here. If people like them we will make them a regular share item in the fall.

Green Beans with Asian Five Spice Powder
1 lb fresh green beans
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
2 tsp Asian Five Spice Powder
1 to 2 tbsp butter
pinch of salt
3 tbsp sunflower seeds

Clean the green beans by snapping off and discarding the stem end, and then snapping the beans in two.
Steam beans for 5 to 10 minutes, or until tender but still crunchy
Transfer to a bowl and mix with remaining ingredients
Serve hot

You can also cook the beans by sauteing them in a skillet for 5 to 10 minutes over medium high heat until they start to carmelize a bit and then tossing with the remaining ingredients.

Bulk Order Week of 9/28/09
Garlic $8.00/lb
Chard $3.00/bunch
Eggplant $3.00/lb
Beets $3.oo/bunch (specify Chiogga (stripped), or red beets)
Jalapenos $2.50/pint, $4.00/quart
Pepperoncinis $2.50/pint, $4.00/quart
Tomato seconds (as available heirloom and hybrids) - $2.50/lb; $2.00/lb over 10 lbs
Basil $2.oo/bunch
Dried herbs $2.00/tin (thyme, marjoram, dried hot peppers, lovage, lavendar flowers, coriander, oregano, rosemary)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Day Off

Several people have asked us to post some pictures from our weekday vacation last Wed/Thurs. We took a leisurly drive through rural Missouri to Arrow Rock, MO for our first trip off the farm since Spring. It is the site of one of the first major settlements in Missouri. At one time it was at the head of the Sante Fe trail, serving as a major jumping off point for western settlers. Below is a running photo shoot w/some links if you want more info.

Jim the Wonder Dog, Marshall, Missouri. The plaque speaks for itself.

The Down Over bed and breakfast. So named because from Arrow Rock you can go down to New Orleans, or over to Sante Fe.

In the 1830's the Missouri River took a very different course than where it is today. It swung a mile or so further west to Arrow Rock landing, at the base of the arrow rock where flint could be procured, and just down the bluff from the town of Arrow Rock. The photo on the left is Arrow Rock landing today, dry unless the river is flooding. The photo on the right is the river bank today, much as it might have looked back then.

Spring where travelers filled their water barrels before heading out on the Sante Fe trail. The trail was used more as a commercial trade route than as a path for settlers.

Arrow rock, with flint layer in the bluff.

Tavern in the town of Arrow Rock.

From the Arrow Rock museum. Back then it was possible to feed a 100 member CSA with a lot less plants.

DuPont experimental farm for corn and soybeans. The sign called it the "corn pipeline." Other signs we say along the road exhorted how a certain brand of seed would yield "More Ethanol Per Acre." Doesn't sound like very appetizing crops.

Grain bins in Malta Bend, MO.

Space age water tower near Waverly, MO.

On the veteran's memorial in Lexington, MO.

Lafayette County Courthouse with cannonball stuck in it's column from the Civil War battle of September 1861.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

In the Share - Week 20

TOMATOES (F/P) A few more from the dwindling patch
BROCCOLI (F/P) A bountiful crop (hooray!)
JADE BEANS (F/P) Another big week for the beans from this last planting.
SWEET POTATOES (F/P) This week they are the specialty Japanese type with the white flesh. Extra sweet and creamy.
LEEKS (F/P) The first fall harvest of the most buttery allium.
ASIAN GREENS (F) An assortment of tat soi, bok choy, etc. from the patch.
SWEET PEPPERS (F/P) Despite their image as a heat lover, they really thrive in the cool weather of early fall.
OKRA, SUMMER SQUASH OR EGGPLANT (F) Summer crops that are still kicking it into the fall.
ARUGULA (F) Partials have a choice of arugula with their herb choices.
HAKUREI TURNIPS OR RADISHES (F/P) The Hakureis are just melt-in-your-mouth good right now. They are tasty cooked, but they usually go right in our mouths raw.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Parker Farms delivery

NEXT WEEK: Fewer tomatoes and beans. Lots more broccoli, turnips, greens and peppers. The summer squash, eggplant and okra continue. Lettuce returns along with beets, kohlrabi and garlic. The beginnings of the cauliflower.

THE FIELDS: As I write this the sun is setting on the first day of fall. It is a happy time of year at the farm. The season for planting has passed and our responsibilities now rest with tending to the crops we have. Whatever we have has to be good enough, no more can be squeezed in before the approaching frost. In our case, this year, we are pretty content with the state of the crops. The cauliflower appears to be smaller than we would like and there's spots on the leeks, but overall the harvest is good, even perhaps great. This week you may notice that your shares are pretty hefty. Full shares are getting 11 items this week, partials 8. The fields are yielding a bounty and we are very pleased to be able to share it with you.

Besides harvesting the bounty this week we found some time to turn the compost pile. We have a three-bin system. Raw materials go in the first bin and accumulate, then we shovel them into the second, and by the time we get to the third it's beautiful black gold. The finished product is destined for next February's first seedlings in the greenhouse.

As Tom mentioned we are going on a short overnight trip after the harvest tomorrow. We are excited about our first overnight away from the farm since, well, February? We have planned nothing yet and will be largely making it up as we go. Destinations may include Arrow Rock and/or Powell Gardens new Heartland Harvest Garden. Many thanks to farm apprentice, the lovely Lori Watley for keeping track of the animals during our short absence.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 20

There is so much in the share this week that we are referring you to past recipes for your meal suggestions. Also, we are taking a short day trip tomorrow and are skimping on our blog time tonight.

Sweet Potato Ravioli with Lemon Sage Brown-Butter
Mashed Hakurei Turnip and Potatoes
Variations on Fried Peppers and Onions
Sweet Potato Latkes
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Sage
Radish and Arugula Salad
Ruggieri Zucchini Fritters

Japanese Sweet Potatoes
While we didn't have quite the harvest we hoped for (the voles ate a portion of the crops), we are able to give everyone some sweet potatoes. The Japanese variety have a beautiful purple skin with cream white flesh, so don't be alarmed that these aren't like your normal sweet potatoes. Be aware though that the flesh will darken after being cut and exposed to air, so use them immediately upon cutting. Cook them like you would any sweet or regular potato. The orange sweet potoatoes will be dug this Saturday and handed out in two weeks.

Bulk Order Week of 9/21/09
Green beans $2.50/lb
Garlic $8.00/lb
Broccoli $3.00/bunch
Sweet Peppers $5/lb
Chard $3.00/bunch
Eggplant $3.00/lb
Jalapenos $2.50/pint, $4.00/quart
Pepperoncinis $2.50/pint, $4.00/quart
Tomato seconds (as available heirloom and hybrids) - $2.50/lb; $2.00/lb over 10 lbs
Basil $2.oo/bunch
Dried herbs $2.00/tin (thyme, marjoram, dried hot peppers, lovage, lavendar flowers, coriander, oregano, rosemary)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

In the Share - Week 19

Bean picking

TOMATOES (F/P) A quick flush from the summer planting of hybrids
KOHLRABI OR BEETS (F/P) Mostly beets, Chiogga and Cylindra. Not a beet fan? Give the Chioggas a try with Tom's hash recipe.
RADISHES (F) Partial shares get a choice with the kohlrabi and beets.
LETTUCE (F) Two heads
GARLIC (F) A choice for the partials with the herbs.
HERB CHOICE (F/P) The full shares get the choice of okra or basil, parsley or thyme.
CHINESE CABBAGE (F) The perfect stirfry or Asian slaw green. Check Tom's blog for more.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Bread of Life Bakery delivery

NEXT WEEK: A few more tomatoes, okra and squash. Peppers and eggplant return. More broccoli, radishes, green beans and kohlrabi. The first of the fall Hakurei turnips, sweet potatoes and leeks.

THE FIELDS: The fall harvest is in full swing. The green beans are especially exuberant at the moment. Those who answered my plea for help with the picking tomorrow are much appreciated. We realize most of you can't drop everything to pick beans, but we encourage as many of you who can to do so. Today we spent the entire day harvesting for tomorrow's shares to reduce the amount that needs to be done. Still, we've got herbs, lettuce, chinese cabbage and yes, beans to pick. A super size crew did a bang up job on Saturday.

We also managed to harvest the first crop of sweet potatoes on Saturday. We have three rows, 2 are the standard orange-fleshed type, Beauregard. We dug the third row which is a Japanese variety with white flesh with a jewel-like purple skin. Very pretty. They will be in your shares next week.

Tom and I are often asked what we do when we are not farming. The question always stumps us as for the most part we spend all our waking hours either physically working on the farm, writing about working on the farm or planning for our work on the farm. But every now and again we actually leave the farm to do something entirely different. Such was the case this past Sunday when Tom and I and our pals from the Bad Seed, Brooke and Dan went to work on a vineyard. I know, quite the 'busman's holiday', as someone pointed out to us in the vineyard. Ah vel. Last season we started the tradition of picking at our friend's vineyard and making wine from the grapes. We've been drinking last year's product for a couple of weeks now and it is pretty decent table wine already. Here's the process in nutshell with some steps omitted (there is a 'racking off' process at some point, and we let the wine age for a year before it is bottled. Ask farmer Ruggieri for the real dealio on making your own vino).
grape harvest
crushing the grapes

Then, the pressing
and bottling

What to Do With Your Share---Week 19

Chiogga Beets
An heirloom Italian beet, they are growing as well as they ever have for us right now. After sowing the seeds and letting them come up, we thinned them a little farther apart than normal. That, along with the mild weather of August/September, and the oats/vetch cover crop that preceeded the planting probably all contributed to the success.

The white and red banding of this beet makes it half as red, and much milder than the deep red beets most of you are probably used to. The greens are also quite tender and delicious, both raw and cooked.

Chinese Cabbage
Also know as Napa cabbage, this is the first time in over a year that we have had a good crop. Rather than repeat myself, check out our October 7, 2008 blog for a kim chee recipe and more info on Chinese cabbage.

Beet Hash
A month ago our good friends from Bad Seed, Brooke and Dan, came by for a Sunday brunch. Their contribution was a delicious beet hash that they often make. Here is our stab at it, it turned out great. This works well with any beets. You can also add some chopped beet greens for the last 10 minutes of cooking.

1 bunch of beets
1 onion
2 large cloves of garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp dried oregano, marjoram, summer savory or thyme
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter

Cut the tops and root end off the beets. Cut them into 1/4 inch thick rounds. Stack the rounds and cut them into matchsticks. Chop the onions and garlic.

Saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil for 2 minutes on medium high heat. Add the beets, salt, and oregano. Mix. Cook for 5 minutes more.

Stir and turn heat to medium low. Cook for approximately 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. Add butter during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Hash is ready when beets are tender and slightly browned.

Bulk Order Week of 9/14/09
Green beans $2.50/lb
Garlic $8.00/lb
Broccoli $3.00/bunch
Chard $3.00/bunch
Eggplant $3.00/lb
Jalapenos $2.50/pint, $4.00/quart
Pepperoncinis $2.50/pint, $4.00/quart
Tomato seconds (as available heirloom and hybrids) - $2.50/lb; $2.00/lb over 10 lbs
Basil $2.oo/bunch
Dried herbs $2.00/tin (thyme, marjoram, dried hot peppers, lovage, lavendar flowers, coriander, oregano, rosemary)