Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dining in the Fields September 7th for Homefields, Purple Viking Potatoes



Hello from the farm!

The days go by quickly here at the farm as we are preparing for the fall crops that will take us all the way into November.  The tomato plants are going to put forth quite a harvest again this week--be ready :-)  We're also getting ready for the Dining in the Fields event which is only a little more than a week away now.  The fall crop seeds which have been planted in the last two weeks, have not received any rainfall, so we have been making it rain with considerable effort, thanks to hoses, sprinklers, and an able farm crew.  Thank you Elizabeth, Law Reh and trainees for getting water on the fields!

Win some lose some

Judging by blog pictures, Pinterest and Facebook, one could easily conclude that farming is the idyllic practice of sitting around and gazing with appreciation at a calendar page freshly-picked tomato or pepper.  With farming, we have our fair share of bumps in the road.  On Monday, we spotted late blight on the cherry tomatoes.  Late blight is the fungal disease that was responsible for the Irish potato famine and it is also quite adept at wiping out your tomato crop in just a matter of days.  If you look at the cherry tomato plants you can see the blackened plant tissue.  We immediately applied an organic treatment to prevent further damage and we'll hope that the Sungolds continue to do well. 
A tough little critter called a flea beetle and his cohorts wiped out our field of broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower plants that were growing for fall harvest.  We wanted to have those crops for you this fall, so we started over by buying plants from another farm and replanting. Hope with us that they will mature in time before the very hard freezes arrive.    Never a dull moment when farming and working with weather, plants, insects and animals :-)   We're grateful and very pleased at the abundant harvest of many good things this year including the tomatoes, melons, carrots, potatoes, Sungolds and others.  

*The Week of Sept 7th we will close at Noon on Saturday 

Need Tickets for Dining in the Fields?  Sept 7th is Farm to Table Time!

 Homefields, the organization that founded and owns the farm and land, is putting together the 2nd annual Dining in the Fields event.  The meal will showcase the food grown here at the farm as presented by chefs Steve and Barb. 
 Stay connected as they fine-tune the menu, seeing what seasonal organic crops rise to the occasion as we approach the date. Facebookemail , and check out past sponsors, menu, and more here.  Proceeds go to Homefields for the adjoining farm land that they secured for future vegetable growing.
Purchase tickets at:  www.homefields.org


Goodwill at Homefields Farm is on Facebook: 
Check out our antics, glamour veggie photos, quips, goofy fun and more at: 
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Goodwill-at-Homefields-Farm/121147947971207?ref_type=bookmark

Feedback wanted:  How much do you value the carrots that we grow? We spend many times the effort on carrot growing than any other crop.   Just send us an email saying:
a) very very highly
b) highly
c) somewhat
d) a little
e) not at all. (would not miss them) 

   
Purple Viking Potatoes are featured this week.  These are not novelty potatoes, but are a great flavored, well textured potato that is also high in antioxidant anthocyanins known to control blood pressure, slow aging, and are good for heart health.  They won't do your laundry though but they sure taste good. Pass the potatoes please.  


Monthly Farm Tour: 
Want to get a behind the scenes look at the workings of the farm? There is a monthly farm tour on the 1st Tuesday of the month at 9am.  If you are planning to attend, please email sbreneman@yourgoodwill.org.  Tour lasts approximately 30 minutes. 
No tours during Dec/Jan/Feb due to Volcanic winter, ok, just joking about the Volcanic part) 

Torrential Downpour of Tomatoes Predicted: you may wish to seek shelter in a kitchen, wash, core and cut up your tomatoes, place in a large pot with a bit of added water, cook on medium, stir until soft, place in cone or mill type food mill and process for juice/paste.  Cool and freeze in freezer boxes or can in a water bath canner.  (You can see the beginnings of my sauce project last night)
 

Serving Suggestions for the harvest this week:

Purple Viking Potatoes: see the picture of the purple and pink-splashed potato up above.  

Red River and Sterling White Onions: both of these are good storage onions and are desirable for just about any purpose. 
Sweet Peppers:  whether green, yellow, orange, red, or purple. bell shaped or horn shaped, we'll have a sweet pepper for you. Our perennial favorite is Carmen, a lipstick red bull's horn type sweet pepper. 
Tomatoes: the tomato plants are going gangbusters.   Look for the harvest to slowly decrease as fall approaches.  Mmm, tomato and cheese sandwich anyone?  
Eggplants:  We really like the long slender Asian type eggplants! They are user friendly, mild and great for grilling with soy sauce, miso etc on the grill or use in any recipe that calls for eggplant--in short, treat them the same as the Italian "bell-type" eggplants.  
 Scallions: These mild-mannered onion family folks give an easy onion flavor to salads, sandwiches, stir fries and more.  Or you could do the old classic buttered bread and sliced scallion treat: my grandparents talked a lot about enjoying them in spring.  We found a few more. 
  
Goodbyes: 
Watermelons and cantaloupe: it was nice melon run, but sooner or later, we knew they'd be done.  We hope you enjoyed them as much as we did.  
Cucumbers:  these are finished for this season, we're sad to see them go. 
Carrots: carrots are really good roasted in the oven with some coconut, olive or peanut oil. Of course they are also good as carrot sticks or in salads. We will miss the fresh taste of farm carrots, it's just not the same getting them from the store. 
Summer Squash:  add raw to salads, steam lightly, or stir-fry. Don't overcook unless you like soft consistency. 

Kohlrabi: sort of a mini-broccoli little crunchy dude, these are tasty raw and taste kind of like mild sweet broccoli. Usually eaten raw.  Some people peel away the outer layer.  May return in autumn. 
Greens: these succumbed to the heat, with the exception of chard which continue to grow through the summer heat. We like to fry these in a skillet with butter or coconut oil until crisp, add some onions and saute them as well--a superb topping for rice, fried eggs or stand alone too.
Broccoli: Broccoli is dicey as a spring crop and the heat has made it flower and diminished its quality--look for a new crop in fall. 
Garlic scapes: we hope you enjoyed the delightful flavor of these. 
Lettuce heads: these have run their course and are stretching skyward--a precursor to bolting--flowering to make seed. 
Lettuce mix--the leaves have given it their all and are now finished.  
Green garlic: this is garlic harvested before the base swells and becomes a bulb. It has a milder flavor than bulb garlic and can be used anywhere garlic is called for. Keep refrigerated as you would green onions/scallions. 
Cilantro: this herb has run its life cycle and is "bolting" or going to seed.  

Thank You

Thank you trainees for an excellent harvest. Kudos to Law Reh and Elizabeth for setting up and running irrigation. Pat on the back to farm staff for getting in the last hurrah of brassica transplants, thank you Butch for welding the potato digger and thank you Bob for the shade umbrella on the weeder.

Have a great weekend,

Scott and the merry band of farmers

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sept 7th Dining in the Fields, Proliferation of Peppers, Tomato Tornado



Hello from the farm!


Does being a farmer mean that you are never content with the weather? It's funny (sort of) how we can be complaining about it being too wet one week and only a week later the soil is dry and we are again pining for rain! :-) 

This week we are reveling in the tomato harvest, which according to our highly calibrated memories, is one of the best, if not the best tomato seasons ever in fifteen seasons of growing them.  The sweet peppers are also coming along really well and there will be a dazzling display of colored peppers this week.  They are all sweet, whatever their shape and color may be :-)
This week is about the midpoint of our growing season and as the days are noticeably shorter, our minds turn to thinking about fall crops.  This week we seeded an assortment of lettuce, Asian salad greens, scallions, Asian cabbages, chard, and funky black and watermelon radishes for fall. Next week we'll be planting another round of broccoli, kale, cabbage and cauliflower for October harvest.  

 

 a palette of purple peppers and other colors 


September 7th  is Approaching:   Dining in the Fields, 2014

 Homefields, the organization that founded and owns the farm and land, is putting together the 2nd annual Dining in the Fields event for September.  The meal will showcase the food grown here at the farm as presented by chefs Steve and Barb. 
 Stay connected as they fine-tune the menu, seeing what seasonal organic crops rise to the occasion as we approach the date. Facebookemail , and check out past sponsors, menu, and more here.  Proceeds go to Homefields for the adjoining farm land that they secured for future vegetable growing.
Purchase tickets at:  www.homefields.org


 


 The tomatoes have hit their stride--this is probably the peak week for them. They will continue to bear up until frost, typically around Oct 15th



Goodwill at Homefields Farm is on Facebook: 

Check out our antics, glamour veggie photos, quips, goofy fun and more at: 
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Goodwill-at-Homefields-Farm/121147947971207?ref_type=bookmark

Bread Baker Stephanie is baking Sun-dried Tomato Bagels at $4/half dozen and $8/dozen.   


Monthly Farm Tour: 

Want to get a behind the scenes look at the workings of the farm? There is a monthly farm tour on the 1st Tuesday of the month at 9am.  If you are planning to attend, please email sbreneman@yourgoodwill.org.  Tour lasts approximately 30 minutes. 
No tours during Dec/Jan/Feb due to Volcanic winter, ok, just joking about the Volcanic part) 



Serving Suggestions for the harvest this week:


Red River Onions: cooking up some burgers or making a mean sandwich or salad? This red variety is both beautiful and delicious.  It stores very well, for months and months, something that the Walla Wallas are not capable of doing. 

Sweet Peppers:  whether green, yellow, orange, red, or purple. bell shaped or horn shaped, we'll have a sweet pepper for you. Our perennial favorite is Carmen, a lipstick red bull's horn type sweet pepper. 
Tomatoes: the tomato plants are going gangbusters.   Look for the harvest to slowly decrease as fall approaches.  Mmm, tomato and cheese sandwich anyone?  
 French Fingerling Potato:  we are harvesting the diminutive French Fingerling potatoes this week. These cute little guys are a gourmet delight and posh places love to feature them.  Hmm, does that mean we are posh too...? ;-)
--see recipe below for fingerlings

Garlic: it is so nice to have fresh garlic. We're not sure why, but our garlic did extremely well for us this year. Our neighbor planted the same type garlic and it didn't fair so well. We're not sure why it did exceptionally well, so we'll just be glad.
For maximum health benefit, cut and let stand for about 10 minutes to oxidize and thereby form the beneficial compounds. Not just super tasty, garlic also is known for reducing blood pressure, heart disease and cholesterol.

Eggplants:  We really like the long slender Asian type eggplants! They are user friendly, mild and great for grilling with soy sauce, miso etc on the grill or use in any recipe that calls for eggplant--in short, treat them the same as the Italian "bell-type" eggplants.  

Scallions: These mild-mannered onion family folks give an easy onion flavor to salads, sandwiches, stir fries and more.  Or you could do the old classic buttered bread and sliced scallion treat: my grandparents talked a lot about enjoying them in spring. Probably the last harvest for these--may return in the fall. 

  
Goodbyes: 
Watermelons and cantaloupe: it was nice melon run, but sooner or later, we knew they'd be done.  We hope you enjoyed them as much as we did.  

Cucumbers:  these are finished for this season, we're sad to see them go. 

Carrots: carrots are really good roasted in the oven with some coconut, olive or peanut oil. Of course they are also good as carrot sticks or in salads. We will miss the fresh taste of farm carrots, it's just not the same getting them from the store. 
Summer Squash:  add raw to salads, steam lightly, or stir-fry. Don't overcook unless you like soft consistency. 

Kohlrabi: sort of a mini-broccoli little crunchy dude, these are tasty raw and taste kind of like mild sweet broccoli. Usually eaten raw.  Some people peel away the outer layer.  May return in autumn. 

Greens: these succumbed to the heat, with the exception of chard which continue to grow through the summer heat. We like to fry these in a skillet with butter or coconut oil until crisp, add some onions and saute them as well--a superb topping for rice, fried eggs or stand alone too.
Broccoli: Broccoli is dicey as a spring crop and the heat has made it flower and diminished its quality--look for a new crop in fall. 
Garlic scapes: we hope you enjoyed the delightful flavor of these. 
Lettuce heads: these have run their course and are stretching skyward--a precursor to bolting--flowering to make seed. 
Lettuce mix--the leaves have given it their all and are now finished.  
Green garlic: this is garlic harvested before the base swells and becomes a bulb. It has a milder flavor than bulb garlic and can be used anywhere garlic is called for. Keep refrigerated as you would green onions/scallions. 
Cilantro: this herb has run its life cycle and is "bolting" or going to seed.  
Easy Recipe for Oven Roasted Fingerlings with Fresh Herbs and Parmesan Cheese  from http://www.thegardenerseden.com/?tag=fingerling-potatoes







Oven Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Parmesan and Fresh Herbs

Ingredients:
(serves 4, double recipe to increase quantities as you like)
2 lb           Fingerling potatoes, washed and cut in half lengthwise
1/4 c         Olive oil
1/4 c         All purpose flour
1/4 c         Reggiano parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp         Sea salt, fresh ground or regular table salt
1 tsp         Black pepper, fresh ground
sprigs       Fresh rosemary and thyme, a few sprigs to taste
(try this with a clove of garlic and other herbs if you like)
Directions:
Preheat oven, (rack toward the top), to 475 degrees fahrenheit.
In a small glass bowl, (or in a large plastic bag), measure in olive oil, flour and parmesan. Add salt and pepper. Stir or shake to mix well.
In a large bowl, toss cut fingerlings with 1 tbs olive oil to lightly coat. Add dry mix to the large bowl, (or add potatoes to the large plastic bag), and toss with hands, (or shake bag). Be sure the potatoes are thoroughly and evenly coated.
Coat an oven-to-table baking dish with the remaining olive oil and arrange the potatoes cut -side up. Sprinkle with fresh rosemary and thyme.
Roast for approximately 15 minutes, Turn the potatoes and roast for approximately 15 more minutes more. Turn one last time and roast until crisp and golden brown, (approximately 10-15 more minutes).
Cool dish for a few minutes, garnish with a few more sprigs of herbs and serve hot with a tablespoon of sour cream if you like.

Thank you 

Thank you for being a part of the farm and appreciating the harvests that we do.  Thank you farm crew for outstanding work each week to make the harvest happen.  Elizabeth, Law Reh, and Kim, thank you for being outstanding in your respective fields. :-)  

Farmer Scott 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Dining in the Fields September 7 for Homefields, soaking rain



Hello from the farm!

The steady soaking rain this week was a blessing in many ways. We spend great quantities of time and effort concentrating on planting, weeding and harvesting, all of them high priority outdoor endeavors.   When the soaking rain arrives, it gives us license to work indoors on greenhouse organizing, prepping storage crops like onions and garlic and generally putting things in order that have taken a back seat. It's a welcome change of pace. 

The rain was also a boon to the newly planted seeds for fall including green beans, beets, cilantro, arugula and radishes. With a long soaking rain, germination of these seeds is almost guaranteed
The sweet peppers are picking up a lot of momentum as are the tomatoes. You'll see them abundantly this harvest :-)  


 Amaranth is an interesting crop to observe and has ornamental value too.  

September 7th  is Approaching:   Dining in the Fields, 2014

 Homefields, the organization that founded and owns the farm and land, is putting together the 2nd annual Dining in the Fields event for September.  The meal will showcase the food grown here at the farm as presented by chefs Steve and Barb. 

 Stay connected as they fine-tune the menu, seeing what seasonal organic crops rise to the occasion as we approach the date. Facebookemail , and check out past sponsors, menu, and more here.  Proceeds go to Homefields for the adjoining farm land that they secured for future vegetable growing.  www.homefields.org


 
 Did we mention that the onions went gangbusters this year?  These are Red River Onions, great tasting and a superb storage onion to boot.


Goodwill at Homefields Farm is on Facebook: 
Check out our antics, glamour veggie photos, quips, goofy fun and more at: 
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Goodwill-at-Homefields-Farm/121147947971207?ref_type=bookmark



Monthly Farm Tour: 
Want to get a behind the scenes look at the workings of the farm? There is a monthly farm tour on the 1st Tuesday of the month at 9am.  If you are planning to attend, please email sbreneman@yourgoodwill.org.  Tour lasts approximately 30 minutes. 
No tours during Dec/Jan/Feb due to Volcanic winter, ok, just joking about the Volcanic part) 

 

Serving Suggestions for the harvest this week:


Red River Onions: cooking up some burgers or making a mean sandwich or salad? This red variety is both beautiful and delicious.  It stores very well, for months and months, something that the Walla Wallas are not capable of doing. 

Sweet Peppers:  whether green, yellow, orange, red, or purple. bell shaped or horn shaped, we'll have a sweet pepper for you. Our perennial favorite is Carmen, a lipstick red bull's horn type sweet pepper. 

Watermelon: our favorite watermelon is orange.  Orange?  Yep, that's right. The Orangeglo variety is great flavored and very sweet.  The rind is edible too, see my tasty watermelon rind pickle recipe below

Cantaloupe:  our best suggestion for cantaloupe is to eat it. It seems like the best-tasting cantaloupe we've ever grown.

Tomatoes: the tomato harvest is beginning in earnest.  Look for it to build to a peak in a few weeks and then slowly descend as fall approaches.  Mmm, tomato and cheese sandwich anyone?  

Potato: this week we are harvesting Red Gold potatoes in addition to Evas.  They have a smooth texture that potato experts refer to as "waxy"  Red Golds are red-skinned with yellow flesh.  We also have Eva, a tasty white potato with a great texture. 

Garlic: it is so nice to have fresh garlic. We're not sure why, but our garlic did extremely well for us this year. Our neighbor planted the same type garlic and it didn't fair so well. We're not sure why it did exceptionally well, so we'll just be glad.
For maximum health benefit, cut and let stand for about 10 minutes to oxidize and thereby form the beneficial compounds. Not just super tasty, garlic also is known for reducing blood pressure, heart disease and cholesterol.

Carrots: 
carrots are really good roasted in the oven with some coconut, olive or peanut oil. Of course they are also good as carrot sticks or in salads. 

Eggplants:  We really like the long slender Asian type eggplants! They are user friendly, mild and great for grilling with soy sauce, miso etc on the grill or use in any recipe that calls for eggplant--in short, treat them the same as the Italian "bell-type" eggplants.  

Cucumbers!:  while most people don't usually drool over cucumbers, maybe they should over these. We don't like to boast, but these cucumbers are fabulous. Check out the Poona Kheera cucumber from India--they are golden brown when ripe, very crisp and juicy and never bitter. A real winner. 

Summer Squash:  add raw to salads, steam lightly, or stir-fry. Don't overcook unless you like soft consistency.

Scallions: Probably the final harvest for these. These mild-mannered onion family folks give an easy onion flavor to salads, sandwiches, stir fries and more.  Or you could do the old classic buttered bread and sliced scallion treat: my grandparents talked a lot about enjoying them in spring. May return for fall. 

  
Goodbyes: 

Kohlrabi: sort of a mini-broccoli little crunchy dude, these are tasty raw and taste kind of like mild sweet broccoli. Usually eaten raw.  Some people peel away the outer layer.  May return in autumn. 
Beets:  these are good roasted or grated raw in a salad. For more work :-) look up a borscht recipe online.  Hope to see again in fall. 
Greens: these succumbed to the heat, with the exception of chard which continue to grow through the summer heat. We like to fry these in a skillet with butter or coconut oil until crisp, add some onions and saute them as well--a superb topping for rice, fried eggs or stand alone too.
Broccoli: Broccoli is dicey as a spring crop and the heat has made it flower and diminished its quality--look for a new crop in fall. 
Garlic scapes: we hope you enjoyed the delightful flavor of these. 
Lettuce heads: these have run their course and are stretching skyward--a precursor to bolting--flowering to make seed. 
Lettuce mix--the leaves have given it their all and are now finished.  
Green garlic: this is garlic harvested before the base swells and becomes a bulb. It has a milder flavor than bulb garlic and can be used anywhere garlic is called for. Keep refrigerated as you would green onions/scallions. 
Cilantro: this herb has run its life cycle and is "bolting" or going to seed.  

Watermelon Rind Pickle Recipe--adapted from www.gardeninthemitten.com



  • Rinds from 1/2 of a large watermelon, prepared as described below
  • 4 cups vinegar (white, apple cider, or white wine would all be good — I used regular white distilled vinegar this time)  (farmer used cider vinegar)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1/3 cup of kosher salt
  • shake of ground mustard (farm addition)
  • shake of ground dill farm (farm addition)
  • 1 star anise (farm addition)
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1. Prepare the rind. If you slice your watermelon into 1-inch slices, that will make prep easy. You want to end up with roughly one-inch chunks for your pickles. Try to leave at least 1/4 inch of the pink watermelon flesh on the rind — this adds nice flavor and really pretty color to your brine. You need to take off the outer green layer of rind. It was really easy to do this by using a regular vegetable peeler to remove the green parts. Do this, and you’re left with slices that look like this:
Peel Watermelon Rind
After you’ve got the slices peeled, then just cut them into roughly 1 to 1.5 inch cubes. TIP: The areas of the rind that have turned yellow are much tougher than the green areas. Avoid using this part, or, if you choose to use the yellow part of the rind, forego the vegetable peeler and use a paring knife instead; you’ll have to remove more of the rind to get down to the softer white part.
Set your cubes aside while you make your brine.
Bowl of Peeled Watermelon Rinds

To make the brine, just add your vinegar, water, sugar and salt to a pan that will be large enough to accommodate the brine plus all of your watermelon rinds. Bring this to a boil, stirring regularly to help dissolve the sugar and salt.
Once the brine has reached a boil, add your watermelon rind and bring the mixture up to a boil again. Let it boil for about a minute, then remove it from the heat. Add your cinnamon and red pepper flakes, and let the mixture sit and cool for an hour or so.
Once the mixture is cool enough to handle safely, add the pickles to jars or other containers, adding enough of your brine to cover the pickles completely. Store them in the refrigerator. You can eat them as soon as they’re cool, if you want (and I did….) but they’re even better if the flavors are allowed to meld a bit overnight.
These pickles will keep for about a month. Please note that these are not pantry storage pickles — they need to be kept in the refrigerator and eaten within a fairly short amount of time.
These were SO good. And you can really mess with the recipe quite a bit. I wanted something fast, and many of the traditional recipes recommend making the brine, soaking the rind in it overnight, and then doing a hot water bath process so you can store them in the pantry. I may try that later on. You can also play quite a bit with the spices:


These are quite good, and a great to use something that would otherwise go to waste. 

Enjoy the summer bounty, 

Your farmers 



Thursday, August 7, 2014

Gumby returns, monthly tour and more




Summer keeps rolling on and with it the harvests keep changing. The second crop of beans did really well and this may be the last week for them, so savor them while they are around.   The tomatoes and peppers are racheting up a little each week and will go gangbusters in a week or two.

It's different here this week without Elizabeth, the Asst Farm Manager, as she takes some time off. Elizabeth is responsible for training and directing the trainee farmers, bringing in the weekly harvest and making it presentation ready, drip irrigation work, shareholder accounting and much more. Her cheer and steady perserverence are appreciated by everyone on the farm crew.  Thank you Elizabeth, we're glad for all that you do and that you have a chance to step out of the growing season for a bit.  

 
 A standing ovation of sunflowers greet an otherwise gray morning earlier this week

Dining in the Fields, 2014


Save the date! September 7

Homefields, the organization that founded and owns the farm and land, is putting together the 2nd annual Dining in the Fields event for September.  The meal will showcase the food grown here at the farm as presented by chefs Steve and Barb. 


Stay connected as they fine-tune the menu, seeing what seasonal organic crops rise to the occasion as we approach the date. Facebookemail , and check out past sponsors, menu, and more here.  Proceeds go to Homefields for the adjoining farm land that they secured for future vegetable growing.  


Goodwill at Homefields Farm is on Facebook: 
Check out our antics, glamour veggie photos, quips, goofy fun and more at: 
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Goodwill-at-Homefields-Farm/121147947971207?ref_type=bookmark

 
Cameron keeps the mower humming along, weeds fear him. Thanks "Dexter" 

Stephanie's Bread of the Week: 
Pretzel Rolls this week at $4/half dozen and $8/dozen. 


Monthly Farm Tour: 
Want to get a behind the scenes look at the workings of the farm? There is a monthly farm tour on the 1st Tuesday of the month at 9am.  If you are planning to attend, please email sbreneman@yourgoodwill.org.  Tour lasts approximately 30 minutes. 
No tours during Dec/Jan/Feb due to Volcanic winter, ok, just joking about the Volcanic part) 


Gumby Makes a Comeback!

Thanks to some astute staff observations and the help of Manor Township Police, the college student party with Gumby is over and he is hanging out with us again. He says he's much happier with us.  He was kind of deflated about having been away.  Next year's blueberry out look is very bright.

Serving Suggestions for the harvest this week:

Watermelon: our favorite watermelon is orange.  Orange?  Yep, that's right. The Orangeglo variety is great flavored and very sweet.  The rind is edible too, see my tasty watermelon rind pickle recipe below
Cantaloupe:  our best suggestion for cantaloupe is to eat it. It seems like the best-tasting cantaloupe we've ever grown. 
Tomatoes: the tomato harvest is beginning in earnest.  Look for it to build to a peak in a few weeks and then slowly descend as fall approaches.  Mmm, tomato and cheese sandwich anyone?  
Sweet Peppers:  whether green, yellow, orange, red, or purple. bell shaped or horn shaped, we'll have a sweet pepper for you, probably quite a few, in the weeks to come.  This week they are purple or green.

Potato: 
this week we are harvesting Red Gold potatoes in addition to Evas.  They have a smooth texture that potato experts refer to as "waxy"  Red Golds are red-skinned with yellow flesh.  
Garlic: it is so nice to have fresh garlic. For maximum health benefit, cut and let stand for about 10 minutes to oxidize and thereby form the beneficial compounds. Not just super tasty, garlic also is known for reducing blood pressure, heart disease and cholesterol.

Carrots: 
carrots are really good roasted in the oven with some coconut, olive or peanut oil. Of course they are also good as carrot sticks or in salads. 
Beets:  these are good roasted or grated raw in a salad. For more work :-) look up a borscht recipe online. 
Walla Walla Sweet Onions: Mmm, what could be better than carmelized Walla Walla sweet onions?  Take a heavy frying pan, put in a big pat of butter (the pendulum now has swung in butter's favor)  and a whole mess of sliced onions and fry medium low stirring every five minutes or so until golden brown. Wow.  Then, put on top of fried egg and cover with your favorite cheese and broil.  Perfection! 
Eggplants:  We really like the long slender Asian type eggplants! They are user friendly, mild and great for grilling with soy sauce, miso etc on the grill or use in any recipe that calls for eggplant--in short, treat them the same as the Italian "bell-type" eggplants.  

Kohlrabi
: sort of a mini-broccoli little crunchy dude, these are tasty raw and taste kind of like mild sweet broccoli. Usually eaten raw.  Some people peel away the outer layer.  I ate one this morning unpeeled and enjoyed it.  
Cucumbers!:  while most people don't usually drool over cucumbers, maybe they should over these. We don't like to boast, but these cucumbers are fabulous. Check out the Poona Kheera cucumber from India--they are golden brown when ripe, very crisp and juicy and never bitter. A real winner. 

Summer Squash:  add raw to salads, steam lightly, or stir-fry. Don't overcook unless you like soft consistency.

Scallions: These mild-mannered onion family folks give an easy onion flavor to salads, sandwiches, stir fries and more.  Or you could do the old classic buttered bread and sliced scallion treat: my grandparents talked a lot about enjoying them in spring.  "A good spring tonic" says my 101 year old grandma. 

  
Goodbyes: 

Greens: these succumbed to the heat, with the exception of chard which continue to grow through the summer heat. We like to fry these in a skillet with butter or coconut oil until crisp, add some onions and saute them as well--a superb topping for rice, fried eggs or stand alone too.
Broccoli: Broccoli is dicey as a spring crop and the heat has made it flower and diminished its quality--look for a new crop in fall. 
Garlic scapes: we hope you enjoyed the delightful flavor of these. In a couple of weeks the garlic bulbs will be ready! 
Lettuce heads: these have run their course and are stretching skyward--a precursor to bolting--flowering to make seed. 
Lettuce mix--the leaves have given it their all and are now finished.  
Green garlic: this is garlic harvested before the base swells and becomes a bulb. It has a milder flavor than bulb garlic and can be used anywhere garlic is called for. Keep refrigerated as you would green onions/scallions. 
Cilantro: this herb has run its life cycle and is "bolting" or going to seed.  

Watermelon Rind Pickle Recipe--adapted from www.gardeninthemitten.com


  • Rinds from 1/2 of a large watermelon, prepared as described below
  • 4 cups vinegar (white, apple cider, or white wine would all be good — I used regular white distilled vinegar this time)  (farmer used cider vinegar)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1/3 cup of kosher salt
  • shake of ground mustard (farm addition)
  • shake of ground dill farm (farm addition)
  • 1 star anise (farm addition)
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1. Prepare the rind. If you slice your watermelon into 1-inch slices, that will make prep easy. You want to end up with roughly one-inch chunks for your pickles. Try to leave at least 1/4 inch of the pink watermelon flesh on the rind — this adds nice flavor and really pretty color to your brine. You need to take off the outer green layer of rind. It was really easy to do this by using a regular vegetable peeler to remove the green parts. Do this, and you’re left with slices that look like this:
Peel Watermelon Rind
After you’ve got the slices peeled, then just cut them into roughly 1 to 1.5 inch cubes. TIP: The areas of the rind that have turned yellow are much tougher than the green areas. Avoid using this part, or, if you choose to use the yellow part of the rind, forego the vegetable peeler and use a paring knife instead; you’ll have to remove more of the rind to get down to the softer white part.
Set your cubes aside while you make your brine.
Bowl of Peeled Watermelon Rinds

To make the brine, just add your vinegar, water, sugar and salt to a pan that will be large enough to accommodate the brine plus all of your watermelon rinds. Bring this to a boil, stirring regularly to help dissolve the sugar and salt.
Once the brine has reached a boil, add your watermelon rind and bring the mixture up to a boil again. Let it boil for about a minute, then remove it from the heat. Add your cinnamon and red pepper flakes, and let the mixture sit and cool for an hour or so.
Once the mixture is cool enough to handle safely, add the pickles to jars or other containers, adding enough of your brine to cover the pickles completely. Store them in the refrigerator. You can eat them as soon as they’re cool, if you want (and I did….) but they’re even better if the flavors are allowed to meld a bit overnight.
These pickles will keep for about a month. Please note that these are not pantry storage pickles — they need to be kept in the refrigerator and eaten within a fairly short amount of time.
These were SO good. And you can really mess with the recipe quite a bit. I wanted something fast, and many of the traditional recipes recommend making the brine, soaking the rind in it overnight, and then doing a hot water bath process so you can store them in the pantry. I may try that later on. You can also play quite a bit with the spices:

These are quite good, and a great to use something that would otherwise go to waster. 

Your farmers 



Thursday, July 31, 2014

Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death, Monthly farm tour, are stinkbugs edible and more.




The surprisingly cool temperatures have been a joy to work in this week-- it made me think of the story of the year 1816: "Eighteen-hundred and froze to death" or the Year without a Summer," a story in which truth is stranger than fiction.  
Due to low solar activity and a succession of volcanic eruptions including Mount Tambora in current day Indonesia, there was ice on lakes and rivers as far south as Pennsylvania during the summer, crops froze and failed all around the world causing massive famines and migrations of people.  Killing frosts took out people's crops even in August.

We're grateful that there is no volcanic dust winter occurring this summer, and most likely it will be hot and muggy again before Fall.  :-)  

It's bean a good harvest, we're glad to have a second planting of beans! 


Monthly Farm Tour: 
Want to get a behind the scenes look at the workings of the farm? There is a monthly farm tour on the 1st Tuesday of the month at 9am.  If you are planning to attend, please email sbreneman@yourgoodwill.org.  Tour lasts approximately 30 minutes. 
No tours during Dec/Jan/Feb due to Volcanic winter, ok, just joking about the Volcanic part) 

Homefields Presents Pressure Canning with Lisa Sanchez! 

TALKS IN THE FIELDS

Pressure canning

Saturday, August 2, 10:00 a.m.
Goodwill at Homefields’ Farm
150 Letort Road, Millersville, PA
Lisa Sanchez, Park Naturalist with Lancaster County Parks, will demonstrate pressure canning. Because there is a fee associated with County Park speakers, we will be asking for assistance from participants in the form of a $5 attendance fee collected at the door.
Email talks@homefields.org or call 717.872.2012 for more information. Please provide your name and phone number.
*Be sure to ask Lisa if stink bugs are edible* :-) 


 
 Your farmers can always find something to smile about. Here it's the onion deluge or maybe some friendly banter...

 Uh oh, look what happens when you plant ten thousand innocent little onion starts back in April!  They are in the greenhouse to cure for a week or two out of the rain.  

Serving Suggestions for the harvest this week:

Tomatoes: the tomato harvest is beginning in earnest.  Look for it to build to a peak in a few weeks and then slowly descend as fall approaches.  Mmm, tomato and cheese sandwich anyone?  
Sweet Peppers:  whether green, yellow, orange, red, or purple. bell shaped or horn shaped, we'll have a sweet pepper for you, probably quite a few, in the weeks to come.  This week they are purple or green.

Potato: 
this week we are harvesting Red Gold potatoes in addition to Evas.  They have a smooth texture that potato experts refer to as "waxy"  Red Golds are red-skinned with yellow flesh.  
Garlic: it is so nice to have fresh garlic. For maximum health benefit, cut and let stand for about 10 minutes to oxidize and thereby form the beneficial compounds. Not just super tasty, garlic also is known for reducing blood pressure, heart disease and cholesterol.

Carrots: 
carrots are really good roasted in the oven with some coconut, olive or peanut oil. Of course they are also good as carrot sticks or in salads. 
Beets:  these are good roasted or grated raw in a salad. For more work :-) look up a borscht recipe online. 
Walla Walla Sweet Onions: Mmm, what could be better than carmelized Walla Walla sweet onions?  Take a heavy frying pan, put in a big pat of butter (the pendulum now has swung in butter's favor)  and a whole mess of sliced onions and fry medium low stirring every five minutes or so until golden brown. Wow.  Then, put on top of fried egg and cover with your favorite cheese and broil.  Perfection! 
Eggplants:  We really like the long slender Asian type eggplants! They are user friendly, mild and great for grilling with soy sauce, miso etc on the grill or use in any recipe that calls for eggplant--in short, treat them the same as the Italian "bell-type" eggplants.  

Kohlrabi
: sort of a mini-broccoli little crunchy dude, these are tasty raw and taste kind of like mild sweet broccoli. Usually eaten raw.  Some people peel away the outer layer.  I ate one this morning unpeeled and enjoyed it.  
 Cucumbers!:  while most people don't usually drool over cucumbers, maybe they should over these. We don't like to boast, but these cucumbers are fabulous. Check out the Poona Kheera cucumber from India--they are golden brown when ripe, very crisp and juicy and never bitter. A real winner. 

Summer Squash:  add raw to salads, steam lightly, or stir-fry. Don't overcook unless you like soft consistency.

Scallions: These mild-mannered onion family folks give an easy onion flavor to salads, sandwiches, stir fries and more.  Or you could do the old classic buttered bread and sliced scallion treat: my grandparents talked a lot about enjoying them in spring.  "A good spring tonic" says my 101 year old grandma. 

  
Goodbyes: 

Greens: these succumbed to the heat, with the exception of chard which continue to grow through the summer heat. We like to fry these in a skillet with butter or coconut oil until crisp, add some onions and saute them as well--a superb topping for rice, fried eggs or stand alone too.
Broccoli: Broccoli is dicey as a spring crop and the heat has made it flower and diminished its quality--look for a new crop in fall. 
Garlic scapes: we hope you enjoyed the delightful flavor of these. In a couple of weeks the garlic bulbs will be ready! 
Lettuce heads: these have run their course and are stretching skyward--a precursor to bolting--flowering to make seed. 
Lettuce mix--the leaves have given it their all and are now finished.  
Green garlic: this is garlic harvested before the base swells and becomes a bulb. It has a milder flavor than bulb garlic and can be used anywhere garlic is called for. Keep refrigerated as you would green onions/scallions. 
Cilantro: this herb has run its life cycle and is "bolting" or going to seed.  

Thank You: Thank you to farm staff and trainees for a job well-done. You have planted seeds, placed transplants, watered and weeded, and brought the harvest to fruition.  Your good labors are evidenced by the heaps of onions, racks of garlic, baskets of potatoes and much more.   Thank you Bob for making beautiful and useful wooden shelves and rack for keep our boots and tools at hand. Thank you Butch for countless repair runs and fixes when things aren't functioning quite as they should.  

Thank you for being a part of the farm, we hope you are enjoying the harvest.   

Your farmers