Thursday, August 27, 2015

fall seeding

 
Hello from the farm, 
 
The cool crisp mornings are glorious as your farmers are working at cleaning out the first greenhouse, starting to remove the plastic mulch weed barrier that some of our spent crops benefitted from, finishing up the onion prep and readying potatoes for this harvest.  We are definitely changing gears in anticipation of the fall crops.  We have a new crop of beets maturing for this harvest, and it looks like a fall carrot crop may be in the works in a few weeks. Carrots are our most difficult crop to produce, so it's a farm thrill to them doing well so far.
We celebrated Farmer Elizabeth's birthday today at lunchtime, so if you see her wish her a Happy Birthday.  We also had a surprise visit from one of our farm crew members who is mending well, so that was great to see.

You don't really think of farming as a sport, but I was contemplating the "hail Mary pass" from football this morning while planting seeds in the field with the seeder.  In late summer we always gamble and hope to win with some crops that are a bit of a long shot: they may not mature before killing frost.  Here's to one more round of tasty beans in October and some chilly sunflowers. 
 
This is the air seeder that we use to plant everything from single carrots seeds at .75 inch spacing, single bean seeds at 2 inch spacing, all the way up to pumpkin seeds at 5 foot spacing if desired.  Even with this capability, we are dependent on the whims of weather. 
 
 
if you look closely you can see the little seeds down in the furrow before the closing wheels cover and press the soil 
 
 

 
Stephanie at Abendessen bread is baking French Bread $5 per loaf
 
 
 
Homefields, Goodwill, Goodwill at Homefields....what? 
 
Has this cluster of names ever confused you?  If so, here is nugget of explanation: 

Homefields: the founder and owner of the farmland and buildings
Goodwill:  the organization that operates Goodwill stores and the farm program here
Goodwill at Homefields Farm CSA: the name of our farm program operated by Goodwill here, but hosted by our gracious landlord, Homefields.  
 
When you buy a farm share you are supporting Goodwill and the farm program. When you donate to Homefields you are supporting the land and facility at the farm. 
 
 
Here is an opportunity to support Homefields and the land:

Picnic in the Fields  
 
Sunday, September 27 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
Join us in a celebration of food to preserve 14 acres of farmland.
Music, child-friendly activities, and a spirit of community!
 ADULTS: $25 in advance, $30 at the door YOUTH 13–17: $10 UNDER 12: FREE Drop-in whenever — Gates open at 10:30 

PULLED PORK BAR-B-QUE ON CIABATTA ROLL • GRILLED CHICKEN BREASTS • VEGAN WRAPS • BAKED BEANS • MACARONI SALAD • CHIPS • VEGAN SALAD • BROWNIES • BEVERAGES • BEER menu subject to change 

Buy tickets at www.homefields.org.

A limited number of tickets may be available at the door. Questions? Email events@homefields.org 
 
 
 A decent row of dug potatoes from a couple of seasons ago. 
 
Suggestions for the Harvest: 
 
Potatoes: whew, these silly potatoes were a hard fought small victory.  We are glad for what we were able to eke out, so we hope you enjoy them this week. 
 
Beets:  Beets are back in town. We grow red, orange and striped beets, beautiful.  mmm, I used to love to eat these after my mother had blanched them and slipped the skins off and they were cooling on the counter.  Super nutritious, they can be roasted, grated for salad, boiled or steamed, then eaten hot or cold, and of course, made into pickled beets or used for pickled beet eggs.  Makes me hungry writing about them.
 
Sweet Peppers: wow, it's been a great season for these lovely peppers. They are slowing down now with the shorter days. Sweet peppers come in all shapes, colors and sizes.  Carmen, a long horn-shaped pepper is a perpetual favorite among your farmers.  We like to snack on them as if they were candy.
 
Tomatoes: these have also peaked and are descending:  tomatoes seem to stand for themselves without words of introduction, but here are some words anyway: delicious, great in sandwiches, BLTs, tomato & cucumber salad, cooked down for sauce, chopped in salad, fresh or canned salsa and more.
 
Green/Purple/Yellow Beans: they are a bit mature this week, but should still be pretty tasty.  Older beans can be saved for vegetable soup, which is what we did growing with vegetables that were a little on the mature side. These beans are so amazingly good it almost puts frozen beans to shame.  The purple variety is beautiful--if heated they turn green, if used in salad their purple looks great.  To cook, bring to a boil in an inch of water or so, then turn down to three lines or so until tender. Yum yum!
 
Garlic: woohoo for our farm's garlic, so fresh and tasty. It goes really well in the tomato cucumber salad I talked about last week. 
 
Storage Onions:  the red and white storage onions should keep for a month or two in cool dark storage.  
 
Eggplant: The Italian and Asian types differ only in shape and color, they are used in the same manner.  I like them sliced and grilled or pan fried with soy sauce, oil, miso etc until browned and crispy.  
 
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. 
 
Chard: this cousin to the beet is appreciated for its leaves instead of its roots.  Use for salads, or as a spinach or kale substitute in cooking.  
 
 
Goodbyes: 

 Watermelons: the watermelon plants have done their duty and given us some great melons.  Shareholders have told us that the Yellow Moon and Stars was not very flavorful, so we will not grow much of it next year.  Sorry it did not live up to its billing.  We may do a small test planting next year to see if it does any better second time around. 
Cantaloupes:  the cantaloupes had a fantastic run, but their time in the sun is done. Law Reh mowed down the spent and weedy patch with quiet glee.   
Cucumbers:  these are all done and and vines shredded to compost them back into the field 
Kale/Collards/Senposai:  these are surrendering to the hot summer weather as usual.  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.
Cabbage: great for a cabbage and chopped peanut with vinegar salad. Simple and surprisingly good in spite of its simplicity. 
Garlic scapes:  these are the would-be flowering stems of garlic--soft, tender, easy to use for stir fries, diced for salad, really anywhere a mild garlic flavor is desired. We like to use it for pesto here at the farm. 
Napa cabbage: this Asian cabbage is main ingredient in Kimchee, a spicy kraut or relish of sort. The quality is great diminished so we are not harvesting it any more until the new fall crop. 
Bok Choi: the joy of choi, this is great for stir fries and goes well with peanuts, cashews, ginger, soy sauce, garlic, peanut butter, chicken.   This will return in fall. 
Lettuce heads: the lettuce did really well, we hope you enjoyed it.
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. 
Rhubarb: rhubarb is harvested only in Spring and is then given a year's rest 
Parsnip: may have a late fall crop of these. 
 
 
 
 The Pick Your Own Field:
There are amazingly nice flowers in the Pick Your Own Field. Feel free to pick abundantly.  There are also green and ripe chili peppers, okra, tomatillos and Sungolds and other gourmet type tomatoes

General rules of thumb:


If plentiful, take a little more, if scarce, go easy on the crop

For herbs--pinch only the tops of stems so that they can regrow. 
 
 
Enjoy the late summer veggies, 
 
Scott 
 
 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Diversified farming


Hello from the farm, 
It's mid-August already, how did that happen?  The season is flying by but we still have all of the way to mid-November for harvesting, so hold on to your hats!  There are many more crops and harvests to come.
No two seasons the same:

The beautiful thing about a diversified farm like ours is that you aren't putting all your energy into one crop. (this wide variety can also be a greatly challenging thing, but that's another story)  In any one season, a lot of what we grow does well, some things go crazy gangbusters well, and a couple of crops just do really badly.  You'll hear us says things like "it's a really good melon year" or "this has been a great season for popcorn or tomatoes or pumpkins."  This season is no different:  it's a fantastic year for blueberries, cucumbers, tomatoes, cantaloupes, sweet peppers and pick your own flowers and hot peppers.  While the cantaloupes went pretty crazy this year, the watermelons weren't nearly as abundant as last year when we had three or four solid weeks of them. The potato crop which is usually Old Faithful for us, is turning out to be "small potatoes" for us, so next week please enjoy the ones that we are managing to eke out slowly with a lot of hard work. If you remember back to the six weeks of clouds, cool temps, rain and mud that was the second half of May and all of June, the weeds were growing so well that we couldn't see the potato beetles that were devouring our potato plants until they they were almost all eaten up.  There's always next year, with its new set of challenges and successes.


Seasons of Change: 

As the seasons change, I will be making some changes this fall as well.  After fifteen years here at the farm, I am preparing to step back and move into a part time support role, while a new farm manager named Taryn  takes the reins in mid-September.  Look for her introduction in a couple of weeks in the newsletter.  I have long had a desire to reinvent my family's dormant farm, operating it with my wife and children. My growing skills with mushroom cultivation and aquaponics will be the starting path to that dream.  It has been an honor to serve and work with farm staff, trainees, shareholders, Homefields, Goodwill and many other friends of the farm who became my close community through growing, soil, vegetables, conservation, ecology, repairs, inventions, fabrications, ideas and wise counsel.  

Stephanie at Abendessen bread is baking Chocolate Chip and Cinnamon Sourdough for $5 a loaf.




Coming Up in September! 

Picnic in the Fields  
Sunday, September 27 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
Join us in a celebration of food to preserve 14 acres of farmland.
Music, child-friendly activities, and a spirit of community!
 ADULTS: $25 in advance, $30 at the door YOUTH 13–17: $10 UNDER 12: FREE Drop-in whenever — Gates open at 10:30 — Rain date: 10/4

PULLED PORK BAR-B-QUE ON CIABATTA ROLL • GRILLED CHICKEN BREASTS • VEGAN WRAPS • BAKED BEANS • MACARONI SALAD • CHIPS • VEGAN SALAD • BROWNIES • BEVERAGES • BEER menu subject to change 

Buy tickets at www.homefields.org.

A limited number of tickets may be available at the door. Questions? Email events@homefields.org 

 
Okra has beautiful flowers. You can tell it's in the hibiscus family



The Sentinel Sunflower stands watch over the Pick Your Own field

Suggestions for the Harvest: 



Sweet Peppers: sweet peppers come in all shapes, colors and sizes.  Carmen, a long horn-shaped pepper is a perpetual favorite among your farmers.  We like to snack on them as if they were candy. 
Tomatoes: tomatoes seem to stand for themselves without words of introduction, but here are some words anyway: delicious, great in sandwiches, BLTs, tomato & cucumber salad, cooked down for sauce, chopped in salad, fresh or canned salsa and more.  
Green/Purple/Yellow Beans: these beans are so amazingly good it almost puts frozen beans to shame.  The purple variety is beautiful--if heated they turn green, if used in salad their purple looks great.  To cook, bring to a boil in an inch of water or so, then turn down to three lines or so until tender. Yum yum! 
Garlic: woohoo for our farm's garlic, so fresh and tasty. It goes really well in the tomato cucumber salad I talked about last week. 
Storage Onions:  the red and white storage onions should keep for a month or two in cool dark storage.  
Eggplant: The Italian and Asian types differ only in shape and color, they are used in the same manner.  I like them sliced and grilled or pan fried with soy sauce, oil, miso etc until browned and crispy.  
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. 
Chard: this cousin to the beet is appreciated for its leaves instead of its roots.  Use for salads, or as a spinach or kale substitute in cooking.  

 Goodbyes: 


Cantaloupes:  the cantaloupes had a fantastic run, but their time in the sun is done. Law Reh mowed down the spent and weedy patch with quiet glee.   

Cucumbers:  these are all done and and vines shredded to compost them back into the field 
 Beets:  We grow red, orange and striped beets, beautiful.  mmm, I used to love to eat these after my mother had blanched them and slipped the skins off and they were cooling on the counter.  Super nutritious, they can be roasted, grated for salad, boiled or steamed, then eaten hot or cold, and of course, made into pickled beets or used for pickled beet eggs.  Makes me hungry writing about them.  
Kale/Collards/Senposai:  these are surrendering to the hot summer weather as usual.  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.
Cabbage: great for a cabbage and chopped peanut with vinegar salad. Simple and surprisingly good in spite of its simplicity. 


 The Pick Your Own Field update:
There are amazingly nice flowers in the Pick Your Own Field. Feel free to pick abundantly. There are also green and ripe chili peppers, okra, tomatillos and Sungolds and other gourmet type tomatoes
General rules of thumb:

If plentiful, take a little more, if scarce, go easy on the crop
For herbs--pinch only the tops of stems so that they can regrow. 


Scott  

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Homefields Botanical Garden?


Hello from the farm, 

As you may have noticed, there was no newsletter last week due to internet problems.  Even down on the farm technology seems essential for so many tasks.  This week a new planting of beans is reaching maturity so you will see them in this harvest.  The big flat-podded Roma variety is favorite kind that I remembered from growing up.  We are also harvesting melons, both watermelon and a few latecomer cantaloupe.  The fall planting of broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage transplants appears to be taking off after sitting quietly for a while and the butternut and acorn squash, and pumpkin plants are flowering nicely for what will be a late September harvest.  
Your farmers seem a little bit sleepy this week, like the changing day length just suddenly hit us unexpectedly.  We are looking forward to the arrival of the cooler season and all of the fall crops that come with it.  

 
John smiling big about all these beans, as well he should.  Your farmers picked over 250 lbs of beans--if you've ever picked beans, you know that it is a Herculean task.  Way to go guys!  

Abendessen Bread: This week Stephanie is baking Sourdough for $5 a loaf.

Did you Know?  An inch of rain falling on an acre is 27,000 gallons. 

The Homefields Botanical Garden?  

As you have probably already figured out the farm is pretty fruity and nutty in addition to being very veggie.  One of the neatest parks I've ever been to is the Fruit and Spice Park in Homestead, Florida. There you can see just about every kind of edible tropical plant growing, from Eggfruit to Ice Cream Bean, to Starfruit and Mango. Along the same lines, but in temperate climate fashion our farm features some fascinating edible and ornamental plants including hardy kiwi growing on the distribution area pergola, a pawpaw tree planting, persimmons, jujubes, Chinese pistache, passionflower, figs, black walnuts, edible dogwood, goumi berries, blueberries of course, pink blueberries (plants are not bearing age yet) elderberries, Asian pears, grapes and more. 

 We planted a few of these Moon and Stars watermelon as an experiment.  They grew well and their unique coloring makes them stand out. Will definitely revisit them next year. 


Serving Suggestions for the harvest this week:

Melons: there are so many kinds of melons that one could grow, but we have to limit ourselves to a few varieties of each watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew.  Then there is the question of chilled vs. room temp eating, to put salt on your watermelon or not, or to add fresh ground black pepper on cantaloupe (you should do the pepper ;-) just kidding, I happen to really like it that way--Scott.  We have a bunch of old fashioned heirloom watermelons and yes some seedless ones also.  How does watermelon become seedless?....well, a little bit like crossing a horse and a a donkey to get a mule--plant breeders cross two different types of watermelons that have differing numbers of chromosomes.   Let's say "Big Red" with x number of chromosomes is pollinated by "Sweet Red" which has a lesser number of chromosomes.  This watermelon grows to maturity and forms seeds that are collected for next year.  Next year, those seeds will grow and produce watermelons that are referred to as "seedless watermelon."   We are not plant breeders here, so we purchased the seedless variety seeds when we want to grow seedless melons. 

Sweet Peppers: sweet peppers come in all shapes, colors and sizes.  Carmen, a long horn-shaped pepper is a perpetual favorite among your farmers.  We like to snack on them as if they were candy. 

Tomatoes: tomatoes seem to stand for themselves without words of introduction, but here are some words anyway: delicious, great in sandwiches, BLTs, tomato & cucumber salad, cooked down for sauce, chopped in salad, fresh or canned salsa and more.  

 Green/Purple/Yellow Beans: these beans are so amazingly good it almost puts frozen beans to shame.  The purple variety is beautiful--if heated they turn green, if used in salad their purple looks great.  To cook, bring to a boil in an inch of water or so, then turn down to three lines or so until tender. Yum yum! 

Garlic: woohoo for our farm's garlic, so fresh and tasty. It goes really well in the tomato cucumber salad I talked about last week. 
Storage Onions:  the red and white storage onions should keep for a month or two in cool dark storage.  
Eggplant: The Italian and Asian types differ only in shape and color, they are used in the same manner.  I like them sliced and grillled or pan fried with soy sauce, oil, miso etc until browned and crispy.  
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. 
Chard: this cousin to the beet is appreciated for its leaves instead of its roots.  Use for salads, or as a spinach or kale substitute in cooking.  

 Goodbyes: 

 Cucumbers:  these are nearing the end of their life cycle, enjoy them while they fade away. 

 
Beets:  We grow red, orange and striped beets, beautiful.  mmm, I used to love to eat these after my mother had blanched them and slipped the skins off and they were cooling on the counter.  Super nutritious, they can be roasted, grated for salad, boiled or steamed, then eaten hot or cold, and of course, made into pickled beets or used for pickled beet eggs.  Makes me hungry writing about them.  
 Kale/Collards/Senposai:  these are surrendering to the hot summer weather as usual.  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.
Cabbage: great for a cabbage and chopped peanut with vinegar salad. Simple and surprisingly good in spite of its simplicity. 
Garlic scapes:  these are the would-be flowering stems of garlic--soft, tender, easy to use for stir fries, diced for salad, really anywhere a mild garlic flavor is desired. We like to use it for pesto here at the farm. 
Napa cabbage: this Asian cabbage is main ingredient in Kimchee, a spicy kraut or relish of sort. The quality is great diminished so we are not harvesting it any more until the new fall crop. 
Bok Choi: the joy of choi, this is great for stir fries and goes well with peanuts, cashews, ginger, soy sauce, garlic, peanut butter, chicken.   This will return in fall. 
Lettuce heads: the lettuce did really well, we hope you enjoyed it.
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. 
Rhubarb: rhubarb is harvested only in Spring and is then given a year's rest 
Parsnip: may have a late fall crop of these. 



 The Pick Your Own Field: Hot Chiles 

If you are a hot pepper fan, there are some tasty fiery chiles down in the field.
Use caution around hot peppers, their oils can stay on your skin and get in your eyes. Yow!  A long time ago, I processed a dishpan full of serrano peppers with bare hands and found out the hard way when, after repeated washings with soap, my fingers still got hot pepper oils on my contact lenses.  I encountered the capsaicin oil next morning when I put my lenses in. Double yow! Don't do as I did...
General rules of thumb:

If plentiful, take a little more, if scarce, go easy on the crop

For herbs--pinch only the tops of stems so that they can regrow. 

We hope you are enjoying the August harvest goodies,
Scott  

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Here come the hot crops


It is tomato time down on the farm this week as your farmers take cover from the downpour and do some work up here under the barn.
  
I slow cooked some of last week's lesser tomatoes into sauce. Homemade sauce is well worth the effort.

The tomatoes are kicking into a higher gear this week and that's pretty exciting. We are picking the very first green peppers today and the cantaloupe harvest is imminent.  Despite the heat and humidity there is ample soil moisture and field conditions are pretty good.  We finished harvesting the storage onions and garlic this week and they are being cured in the greenhouse and barn respectively. The curing process makes them store better, enhances the flavor, and in the case of onions, dries the neck down to reduce the likelihood of rot.  
 

Christina boxes up the beans with care.  She is the only female trainee out of the dozen or so that work at the farm this season. Reliable, upbeat and strong are words that fit her well. Thanks for the great job that you do Christina! 


Abendessen Bread: This week Stephanie is baking Sun-dried Tomato and Roasted Garlic Sourdough this week for $5 per loaf.

Did you Know?  A green sweet pepper is simply a pepper picked before it is fully mature.  A mature sweet pepper changes color to red, yellow, orange or even chocolate or purple.  Why do colored peppers cost more?  They are much more prone to diseases while ripening, which means that the farmer has to compost a lot of colored peppers.    

we never tire of seeing the beautiful beans (well...after they've been picked that is) ;-)
Serving Suggestions for the harvest this week:

Tomatoes: tomatoes seem to stand for themselves without words of introduction, but here are some words anyway: delicious, great in sandwiches, BLTs, tomato & cucumber salad, cooked down for sauce, chopped in salad, fresh or canned salsa and more. 
 
A parade of tomatoes all queued up.

Green/Purple/Yellow Beans: these beans are so amazingly good it almost puts frozen beans to shame.  The purple variety is beautiful--if heated they turn green, if used in salad their purple looks great.  To cook, bring to a boil in an inch of water or so, then turn down to three lines or so until tender. Yum yum! 

Garlic: woohoo for our farm's garlic, so fresh and tasty. It goes really well in the tomato cucumber salad I talked about last week. 

Sweet Onions: these are mild and sweet and so good in salads or caramelized in the frying pan with butter. 
 Storage Onions:  the red and white storage onions should keep for a month or two in cool dark storage.  
Eggplant: The Italian and Asian types differ only in shape and color, they are used in the same manner.  I like them sliced and grillled or pan fried with soy sauce, oil, miso etc until browned and crispy.  
Cucumbers:  these are nearing the end of their life cycle, enjoy them while they fade away. 
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. 
Beets:  We grow red, orange and striped beets, beautiful.  mmm, I used to love to eat these after my mother had blanched them and slipped the skins off and they were cooling on the counter.  Super nutritious, they can be roasted, grated for salad, boiled or steamed, then eaten hot or cold, and of course, made into pickled beets or used for pickled beet eggs.  Makes me hungry writing about them.  
Chard: this cousin to the beet is appreciated for its leaves instead of its roots.  Use for salads, or as a spinach or kale substitute in cooking.  

 Goodbyes: 

Kale/Collards/Senposai:  these are surrendering to the hot summer weather as usual.  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.
Cabbage: great for a cabbage and chopped peanut with vinegar salad. Simple and surprisingly good in spite of its simplicity. 
Garlic scapes:  these are the would-be flowering stems of garlic--soft, tender, easy to use for stir fries, diced for salad, really anywhere a mild garlic flavor is desired. We like to use it for pesto here at the farm. 
Napa cabbage: this Asian cabbage is main ingredient in Kimchee, a spicy kraut or relish of sort. The quality is great diminished so we are not harvesting it any more until the new fall crop. 
Bok Choi: the joy of choi, this is great for stir fries and goes well with peanuts, cashews, ginger, soy sauce, garlic, peanut butter, chicken.   This will return in fall. 
Lettuce heads: the lettuce did really well, we hope you enjoyed it.
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. 
Rhubarb: rhubarb is harvested only in Spring and is then given a year's rest 
Parsnip: may have a late fall crop of these. 



 The Pick Your Own Field: 

Each year we plant the pick your own field with lots of favorites like sunflowers, zinnias, Sungold cherry tomatoes, and basil, while also adding in some experimental and novelty things like rice, amaranth, quinoa, insanely hot peppers (and milder ones). 
General rules of thumb:

If plentiful, take a little more, if scarce, go easy on the crop

For herbs--pinch only the tops of stems so that they can regrow. 

 Enjoy! Scott  

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

curing onions and garlic


Hello from the farm, 

This week we were afield wondering to ourselves "why build a sauna when we can just be working outside in Lancaster County?"
We welcomed the cooler drier air with smiles and renewed energy. Since last week's harvest we have been pulling and curing storage onions, digging and curing garlic, tweaking the root crop digger with a few modifications to handle weeds better, drinking lots of water, and starting to look towards fall with getting fields ready for fall crops and cover crops.

Cover crops like rye, buckwheat, clover and oats are used to suppress weed growth, add organic matter, and even add atmospheric nitrogen to the soil via the vascular system of plants that store it up on root nodules. To put it simply "free fertilizer." :-)

The heat is encouraging the tomatoes and peppers, and the cantaloupes should be ready in about two weeks, and then maybe 3-4 until the watermelon are ripe.

 It's bean a really good harvest :-)  These fresh beans are amazing! 

Abendessen Bread: 

 Law Reh and Brian (trying to not be in the picture) :-) head out for another load of onions to cure in the greenhouse. 



Serving Suggestions for the harvest this week:

Green/Purple/Yellow Beans: these beans are so amazingly good it almost puts frozen beans to shame.  The purple variety is beautiful--if heated they turn green, if used in salad their purple looks great.  To cook, bring to a boil in an inch of water or so, then turn down to three lines or so until tender. Yum yum! 

Garlic: woohoo for our farm's garlic, so fresh and tasty. It goes really well in the tomato cucumber salad I talked about last week. 

Sweet Onions: these are mild and sweet and so good in salads or caramelized in the frying pan with butter. 

Eggplant: The Italian and Asian types differ only in shape and color, they are used in the same manner.  I like them sliced and grillled or pan fried with soy sauce, oil, miso etc until browned and crispy.  

Cucumbers: We are probably biased, but our cucumbers are delicious!
Some Russian friends served me this type of cucumber salad years back, and it's been my favorite salad since:

Chop cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and mince garlic cloves or scapes, mix and douse with olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste.  The flavors blend and it tastes even better if it sits for half and hour or so before eating it, but you can eat it immediately too.



Zucchini: use for zucchini bread, puree for soup stock, or slice and fry with oil and seasonings, or dice for salads.
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. 
Beets:  We have some golden and striped beets coming in this week., beautiful.  mmm, I used to love to eat these after my mother had blanched them and slipped the skins off and they were cooling on the counter.  Super nutritious, they can be roasted, grated for salad, boiled or steamed, then eaten hot or cold, and of course, made into pickled beets or used for pickled beet eggs.  Makes me hungry writing about them.  
Kale/Collards/Senposai: 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.

Chard: this cousin to the beet is appreciated for its leaves instead of its roots.  Use for salads, or as a spinach or kale substitute in cooking.  




Goodbyes: 

Cabbage: great for a cabbage and chopped peanut with vinegar salad. Simple and surprisingly good in spite of its simplicity. 
Garlic scapes:  these are the would-be flowering stems of garlic--soft, tender, easy to use for stir fries, diced for salad, really anywhere a mild garlic flavor is desired. We like to use it for pesto here at the farm. 
Napa cabbage: this Asian cabbage is main ingredient in Kimchee, a spicy kraut or relish of sort. The quality is great diminished so we are not harvesting it any more until the new fall crop. 
Bok Choi: the joy of choi, this is great for stir fries and goes well with peanuts, cashews, ginger, soy sauce, garlic, peanut butter, chicken.   This will return in fall. 
Lettuce heads: the lettuce did really well, we hope you enjoyed it.
 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. 
Rhubarb: rhubarb is harvested only in Spring and is then given a year's rest 
Parsnip: may have a late fall crop of these. 



 The Pick Your Own Field: 

Each year we plant the pick your own field with lots of favorites like sunflowers, zinnias, Sungold cherry tomatoes, and basil, while also adding in some experimental and novelty things like rice, amaranth, quinoa, insanely hot peppers (and milder ones). 
General rules of thumb:

If plentiful, take a little more, if scarce, go easy on the crop
For herbs--pinch only the tops of stems so that they can regrow




This week at the Farm, 7/25: Loosen up with a yoga sampler before you gather this week's harvest ! Certified instructor Karen Simpson will lead three sessions, 20 minutes each, starting at 9:15 am, with a break between sessions. BYO mat or beach towel & water. Sessions will include Restorative & Family yoga, as suits our audience. No registration needed; suggested donation $5.

We hope you are enjoying the summer harvest!  

Your farmers

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Garlic harvest, the deluge continues


Hello from the farm, 

Well, soggy acres continue here the farm, with two torrential downpours landing squarely on 150 Letort Rd in the last week. The first was Thursday evening and the next one was Tuesday evening with reports of 2 1/2 inches falling quickly in Millersville. 

The hot crops, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants are picking up speed, albeit slowly.  The many cloudy and relatively cool days have a way of hindering photosynthesis and growth, so our tomatoes and peppers are progressing much more slowly than in a typical season.  We're not worried, once they are up to speed, they'll produce their usual bounty.  

This week we were pleased to get the rest of the butternut squash planted on Monday before the rains came again and we also dove into the garlic harvest and starting harvesting sweet onions as well.  We had a close call with Gumby having too much to drink one night (when it stormed) but fortunately his electric motor was not ruined and he is back up and running. 


The garlic is curing nicely in the barn and the first batch is ready for this week! 

Abendessen Bread: This week Stephanie is baking French Bread for $5 a loaf

Serving Suggestions for the harvest this week:

Garlic: woohoo for our farm's garlic, so fresh and tasty. It goes really well in the tomato cucumber salad I talked about last week. 
Sweet Onions: these are mild and sweet and so good in salads or caramelized in the frying pan with butter. 



Eggplant:
 The Italian and Asian types differ only in shape and color, they are used in the same manner.  I like them sliced and grillled or pan fried with soy sauce, oil, miso etc until browned and crispy.  

New Potatoes: postponed another week due to muddy fields. wow, new potatoes are delicious boiled or steamed until tender and then topped with a little bit of salt and butter


Cucumbers: We are probably biased, but our cucumbers are delicious!
Some Russian friends served me this type of cucumber salad years back, and it's been my favorite salad since:

Chop cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and mince garlic cloves or scapes, mix and douse with olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste.  The flavors blend and it tastes even better if it sits for half and hour or so before eating it, but you can eat it immediately too.



Zucchini: use for zucchini bread, puree for soup stock, or slice and fry with oil and seasonings, or dice for salads.
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. 
Beets: mmm, I used to love to eat these after my mother had blanched them and slipped the skins off and they were cooling on the counter.  Super nutritious, they can be roasted, grated for salad, boiled or steamed, then eaten hot or cold, and of course, made into pickled beets or used for pickled beet eggs.  Makes me hungry writing about them.  
Kale/Collards/Senposai: 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.

Chard: this cousin to the beet is appreciated for its leaves instead of its roots.  Use for salads, or as a spinach or kale substitute in cooking.  

Cabbage: great for a cabbage and chopped peanut with vinegar salad. Simple and surprisingly good in spite of its simplicity. 


Goodbyes: 
Garlic scapes:  these are the would-be flowering stems of garlic--soft, tender, easy to use for stir fries, diced for salad, really anywhere a mild garlic flavor is desired. We like to use it for pesto here at the farm. 
Napa cabbage: this Asian cabbage is main ingredient in Kimchee, a spicy kraut or relish of sort. The quality is great diminished so we are not harvesting it any more until the new fall crop. 
Bok Choi: the joy of choi, this is great for stir fries and goes well with peanuts, cashews, ginger, soy sauce, garlic, peanut butter, chicken.   This will return in fall. 
Lettuce heads: the lettuce did really well, we hope you enjoyed it.
 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. 
Rhubarb: rhubarb is harvested only in Spring and is then given a year's rest 
Parsnip: may have a late fall crop of these. 



 The Pick Your Own Field is Coming Alive: 

Each year we plant the pick your own field with lots of favorites like sunflowers, zinnias, Sungold cherry tomatoes, and basil, while also adding in some experimental and novelty things like rice, amaranth, quinoa, insanely hot peppers (and milder ones). 
General rules of thumb:

If plentiful, take a little more, if scarce, go easy on the crop
For herbs--pinch only the tops of stems so that they can regrow


This Saturday--Join cookbook author and food blogger Marisa McClellan for a canning class at Homefields. Saturday, July 18, 10:30-12:30. We'll make a batch of Nectarine Lime Jam, dig into the mechanics of boiling water bath canning, & talk about how to make the safest & most delicious home preserves possible. Marisa will demystify canning for the beginners & will offer useful tips & short cuts for seasoned preserves. All participants will go home with a small jar of the jam made in class, as well as the knowledge to go home & make more! Class size is limited, so register with a friend for a great morning; to register, please send your name & phone number to Heather@Homefields.org; the fee is $22 per person, check payable to Homefields or with a credit card here: https://www.homefields.org/

next week at the Farm, 7/25: Loosen up with a yoga sampler before you gather this week's harvest ! Certified instructor Karen Simpson will lead three sessions, 20 minutes each, starting at 9:15 am, with a break between sessions. BYO mat or beach towel & water. Sessions will include Restorative & Family yoga, as suits our audience. No registration needed; suggested donation $5.

Enjoy the harvest, 

Your farmers

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Window of Opportunity, garlic harvest

Hello from the farm, 

The great news this week is that despite the continuing rains, it dried out just enough to get some much overdue transplanting done.  There is about a two week gap between the first strawberry plants we put in and the remaining half that we got in on Tuesday.  Yesterday we pushed determinedly to get a field disked, rototilled and planted with pumpkins and winter squash all by the end of the day. We didn't get them all transplanted in spite of intense and valiant efforts, but we planted about three-fourths of them and were happy with that. We had to conclude that good enough is perfect and call it a day. 

 
transplanting always evokes smiles from your farmers! 


The garlic harvest is starting, and it looks to be a splendid crop! (despite the dark picture, sorry) After it is harvested and cleaned, it is cured for a few weeks in the barn to dry it down.  You'll see it possibly next week or the following. 

Abendessen Bread this week:  Sun-dried Tomato Bagels at $4 for a half dozen.  

Serving Suggestions for the harvest this week:

Eggplant: The Italian and Asian types differ only in shape and color, they are used in the same manner.  I like them sliced and grillled or pan fried with soy sauce, oil, miso etc until browned and crispy.  

New Potatoes: postponed until next week due to mud. wow, new potatoes are delicious boiled or steamed until tender and then topped with a little bit of salt and butter


Cucumbers: We are probably biased, but our cucumbers are delicious!
Some Russian friends served me this type of cucumber salad years back, and it's been my favorite salad since:

Chop cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and mince garlic cloves or scapes, mix and douse with olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste.  The flavors blend and it tastes even better if it sits for half and hour or so before eating it, but you can eat it immediately too.



Zucchini: use for zucchini bread, puree for soup stock, or slice and fry with oil and seasonings, or dice for salads.
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. 
Beets: (taking a week or two off to size up) mmm, I used to love to eat these after my mother had blanched them and slipped the skins off and they were cooling on the counter.  Super nutritious, they can be roasted, grated for salad, boiled or steamed, then eaten hot or cold, and of course, made into pickled beets or used for pickled beet eggs.  Makes me hungry writing about them.  
Kale/Collards/Senposai: 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.
Garlic scapes:  these are the would-be flowering stems of garlic--soft, tender, easy to use for stir fries, diced for salad, really anywhere a mild garlic flavor is desired. We like to use it for pesto here at the farm.
Chard: this cousin to the beet is appreciated for its leaves instead of its roots.  Use for salads, or as a spinach or kale substitute in cooking.  

Cabbage: great for a cabbage and chopped peanut with vinegar salad. Simple and surprisingly good in spite of its simplicity. 


Goodbyes: 

Napa cabbage: this Asian cabbage is main ingredient in Kimchee, a spicy kraut or relish of sort. The quality is great diminished so we are not harvesting it any more until the new fall crop. 
Bok Choi: the joy of choi, this is great for stir fries and goes well with peanuts, cashews, ginger, soy sauce, garlic, peanut butter, chicken.   This will return in fall. 
Lettuce heads: the lettuce did really well, we hope you enjoyed it.
 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. 
Rhubarb: rhubarb is harvested only in Spring and is then given a year's rest 
Parsnip: may have a late fall crop of these. 


 The Pick Your Own Field is Coming Alive: 

Each year we plant the pick your own field with lots of favorites like sunflowers, zinnias, Sungold cherry tomatoes, and basil, while also adding in some experimental and novelty things like rice, amaranth, quinoa, insanely hot peppers (and milder ones). 
General rules of thumb:

If plentiful, take a little more, if scarce, go easy on the crop
For herbs--pinch only the tops of stems so that they can regrow


BIG NEWS from Homefields--Join cookbook author and food blogger Marisa McClellan for a canning class at Homefields. Saturday, July 18, 10:30-12:30. We'll make a batch of Nectarine Lime Jam, dig into the mechanics of boiling water bath canning, & talk about how to make the safest & most delicious home preserves possible. Marisa will demystify canning for the beginners & will offer useful tips & short cuts for seasoned preserves. All participants will go home with a small jar of the jam made in class, as well as the knowledge to go home & make more! Class size is limited, so register with a friend for a great morning; to register, please send your name & phone number to Heather@Homefields.org; the fee is $22 per person, check payable to Homefields or with a credit card here: https://www.homefields.org/

Enjoy the harvest, 

Your farmers