Thursday, June 18, 2015

Garlic scapes, pawpaws, organic methods and weed control



Hello from your farm, 

It's a great year for lettuce, and we're pretty pleased about that.  How did you enjoy your first week of the harvest?  Fresh and seasonal eating is a great adventure, tastes so good, and you feel alive eating this food.  If this is your first season, we'd be glad for an email giving us some feedback on your experience so far.

This week, like the last several weeks, we've been dodging the rain and working around the muddy conditions as best we can.  The sweet potato transplants are taking hold, the onion patch was weeded and looks wonderful, and our rotoweeder cleaned up the beans, sunflowers and okra. The pick your field will be ready in a few weeks--the flowers and herbs look happy.
I spent a good bit of time fighting with hydraulic hoses and fittings this week, could not resolve the problem to my satisfaction, but was able get a good bit of thistle disked before the rains came again.  
These are "farming full speed ahead" months, and for us,  the days go by like minutes.  We're navigating all sorts of weather--farming is a funny predicament, as you simultaneously wish for rain for about half of your crops and no rain for most of the work that you want to do at any given time :-) 

Hold on to your hats, the harvest is coming through! 

How do you Farm Organically? 

Everyone wants to know how we farm organically and how we manage the weeds--it is a question which could receive a very lengthy answer. However, I'll try to keep it concise.   Organic farming is something old come around again--our grandparents generation and earlier were accustomed to growing without chemicals. Chemical farming had its rise when munitions and chemicals left from WWII were discovered to be fast and efficient weed and pest killers, and people were hooked with the ease of spraying acres of crops instead of doing manual labor.  After all, if it is fast and easy, it must be good, right?  The unintended consequences began to reveal themselves over subsequent years: cancers, birth defects, amphibian and bird decline and more.

Biological/sustainable/organic farming, whatever name you know it by, has its foundation in healthy soil. If the soil is well-mineralized and healthy then the plants will be healthy. If the plants are healthy, they will not succumb to diseases in most cases. Healthy soil even has fewer weeds, as weeds are usually trying to balance something that is out of whack in the soil. So we make the soil healthy by taking soil samples and adding minerals to balance the soil, we also apply compost and like a modern-day Squanto, we use fish emulsion and seaweed to feed our soil microbes and crops.
 Did you notice that our food keeps very well and tastes better than the vegetables in the store? It's because of the super soil we are growing in. Now weeds, they can be the real Achilles heel of organic growing because we don't use herbicides. To deal with weeds we use crop rotation, soil balancing, flame weeding, tractor-drawn cultivating and yes of course, hoeing, mowing and hand-pulling, which are sometimes the bane of our existence! All in all, we hope you'll agree that our food is worth our careful and sometimes Hurculean efforts. 

 
Don't let anyone's farm glamour photos fool you, everyone has a weed challenge somewhere on their farm!  (see if you can spot our carrots)  


Serving Suggestions for the harvest this week:
Lettuce heads: wow, these are beautiful this year. Enjoy as salad, sandwiches, wraps, or farm crew style, just plain munching on! 
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: 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. *see garlic scape pesto recipe below*
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. 
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.  
 Napa cabbage: this Asian cabbage is main ingredient in Kimchee, a spicy kraut or relish of sort.  


Pick Your Own Options: (included at no extra charge with a farm share) 

Snow peas: these flat-podded peas are eaten "hull and all" except for the stem and string. They are wonderful lightly steamed, boiled or in stir fry, even good raw.
Unlimited Picking Begins this week. 
Strawberries:  these are fading away quickly, picking is ONLY if you haven't picked yetSeason Limit is Half shares 1 quart Full shares 2 quarts 

Goodbyes: 
Rhubarb: our young plants have given us a good harvest for this year, and we will let them rest until next year when they will be more established.

Parsnip: we won't see these again until maybe late fall


Check out our baby pawpaw fruits. North America's largest native fruit ripens in September and is sort of like vanilla-banana-avocado custard.  


Garlic Scape Pesto: 1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
3 T. fresh lemon or lime juice
1/4lb fresh garlic scapes
1/2 c. olive oil
Salt to taste

Puree scapes and olive oil in blender until smooth. Stir in Parmesan and lemon or lime juice and season to taste. Serve on bread or crackers. --courtesy of Mary Jane's Farm

 We do have a few more shares available for this season. Email or call if you would like to hop on for the food and farm adventure this season. 

Enjoy the fresh harvest, 
Your farmers 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Getting ready for the new Season! Fruit shares and cheese shares too



Hello from the farm,

Chances are, you've had enough of the cold, ice and snow. Ready for warm weather and fresh food from the farm? We sure are.  Despite the snow and cold, we are preparing for the summer harvest even now--gathering supplies and seeds and getting ready to start planting in the greenhouse. Turning the greenhouse heat on in early March is a season highlight. It won't be long until it looks like this: 

 


 
And then the lettuce patch will follow and look like this! 

Now is the time to sign up for a share while you are thinking about it.  We often sell out of shares and we want to make sure returning shareholders are able get a share before we fill up.

The farm vegetable share signup is at: http://goodwillathomefieldsfarm.csasignup.com/members/types
If you want to read more about the farm program and the share first, check out http://www.yourgoodwill.org/grow/homefields-farm

Fruit and Cheese Shares from other Farms:

These shares from other farms will be available for you to subscribe to and pick up at our farm. Please see their web sites and contact information to sign up.  

Cheese share from Hillacres Pride
 
note from Mandy--We wanted you to know that we will be offering our cheese share through Goodwill at Homefields again this year.  You must be a veggie share holder there to get the cheese share. Our share will be very similar to last year, running 11 deliveries of 2 cheeses each, for a total of 22 cheeses.  We will donate 5% of the cheese share to the organization as well.
http://hillacrespride.com/?q=content/csa-shares to sign up. 
Thank you for supporting our farm in 2014 and we look forward to working with you in 2015.  As always, if you have any comments about our cheese or the share, we would love to hear from you.
Sincerely,
Mandy Arrowsmith
Hillacres Pride

North Star Orchard fruit share--note from Lisa. Would you like to pick up a CSA Fruit Share when you come to get your vegetables at the farm? It’s time to sign up NOW with North Star Orchard for their weekly Fruit Share, which is available for pickup for 15 weeks starting in August.

CSA Members here have been enjoying the Fruit Share for years, and we encourage you to take a look at what the share has to offer here: http://www.northstarorchard.com/csa_fruit.php

This is not ordinary fruit, but unique and heritage varieties which are full of flavor: plums with pizazz, perfect peaches, amazing Asian pears, and astounding apples. Plus a sprinkling of heritage pear varieties and hopefully this year, some table grapes!

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this one consists, in part, of these:  sweet, tart, juicy, crunchy, crisp, aromatic, sugary-tart, rich, velvety, smile, slurp.

We're looking forward to a great harvest of all the vegetables and fruits that you've come to know and love here--Sungold cherry tomatoes, Carmen red peppers, Orangeglo and seedless watermelon, beautiful lettuce and tasty beans, and of course strawberries and blueberries!   Summer has never failed to arrive, and so we look forward to crisp, tasty vegetable harvests sooner than Old Man Winter would have us think! 

Scott for the farm crew

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Lancaster County Gift Boxes for your customers, clients, teachers, and family


Hello from the farm, 



 
 Farm elves in the office                  

 The garlic is happily planted, the irrigation is put away, the farmers are happy to be indoors this dreary day.  
It is gift box time here in the barn, as we listen to Christmas music and smell the aroma of freshly-roasted coffee, something no one complains about :-)
These boxes are great gifts for family, customers, clients and friends.  


The small gift box includes a packet of College Coffee Roaster’s custom blend, “Goodwill at Homefields Farm” coffee, an eight-ounce bag of tasty Wilbur Buds, one eight-ounce jar of Kitchen Kettle Apple Butter and a bag of Snyder's of Hanover Peanut Butter Pretzel Sandwiches.Price: $18.95

 

The large gift box features more Lancaster County flavors. It includes a 1/2 pound bag of “Goodwill at Homefields Farm” blend coffee from College Coffee Roasters, an eight-ounce bag of yummy Wilbur Chocolate Buds, one 8 ounce jar of Kitchen Kettle Apple Butter and one 8 ounce Bauman's Pear Butter, (a delicious Lancaster County treat that spreads easily on bread and crackers) and an 8oz bag of Snyder's of Hanover Peanut Butter Pretzel Sandwiches. Price $24.95

Order deadline is Dec 5th Place orders by emailing sbreneman@yourgoodwill.org or call us at 717-871-3110. Please Pick up Gift Boxes at the farm on Dec 16th and 17th between 8:30-4pm.

Thank you for supporting the farmers and the CSA program.

Your farmers

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Snowy Thanksgiving



Hello from your snow-gazing farmers, 

As the growing season comes to a close, we are grateful for the encouragement and help that arrived this year in both material and non-material ways.  For the our CSA members who make our training program and food growing possible, for Homefields, who hosts our farming on their land, for arborists and landscapers who bring us wood chips for mulching the berry patch, and leaves to compost to enrich our soils, for friends who donate time and materials for projects including mechanical, plumbing, construction and maintenance.  
The Extraordinary Give Day was fruitful for Homefields, the non-profit which owns the land and structures that we farm with.  Over $8,000 in gifts were given to Homefields that day, a nice boost towards paying for the new acreage that Homefields purchased for our sake.  




 
The snowy view from the distribution area 


We're so glad we got the rest of the garlic planted yesterday!  The snowy farmscape is beautiful and serene 


Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving from the farm!  


Thursday, November 13, 2014

peanut harvest, looking back at the season





Hello from the frosty farm on this final harvest week.  This week we are planting garlic for next season. Garlic is the only vegetable that we plant in the fall.  We break each bulb into the six or so cloves and plant each clove base-down in the soil. Over the winter the little guy puts down roots and then begins to grow flat leaves in the spring and bulks up in time for a July garlic bulb harvest.  
A neighbor planted much of the farm with our cover crops for us in preparation for the winter, and we are harvesting some of the surprises that we mentioned would be found in this final week.

Due to the cold, the farm crew is not spending as much time in the water rinsing vegetables, so you may want to give some of your produce a little more rinsing than usual.  

We got out our shovels and headed for the doubtful looking experimental peanut plot and this is what we found....peanuts!

 Surprise!  Elliott holds up a peanut plant

Looking Back at the Season:
"No two seasons the same" we like to say here on the farm. This year started off with the polar blast and the coolness never seemed to really leave, giving us very comfortable weather to farm in.  This is the first year that Tabasco peppers didn't ripen for us because they didn't get enough heat.  The landmark willow tree was removed because of its decline, our tractor suffered a broken frame but was deftly put back together thanks to "Doc Flanagan" of Flanagan Welding, strawberries did really well even though they ripened much later than usual thanks to the coolth :-).

Gumby was an awesome blueberry patch protector until some college students swiped him much to our chagrin--they apparently didn't realize what we had him for, a generous friend donated every little boy's storybook tractor, the 1939 Ford 9N, harvests of our standard crops went really well including those awesome red Carmen sweet peppers, watermelons, cantaloupes, tomatoes, Sungolds, Dragon carrots, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, squashes, pumpkins and more.  It was really neat to see the pawpaw and jujube trees come into bearing age, and the Asian pears turned in an excellent year as well.  
For farm staff it a finely-honed team of veterans including Elizabeth, Law Reh and Kim each experts "out standing in their field). Elizabeth fielded the group of trainees, field and harvest operations and shareholder accounting, Law Reh was lead worker and specialized in tomato tying, harvesting and equipment operations, Kim shined with harvest details in the distribution area. Thanks to each of you for making it all function!  
The trainees, about fourteen different ones this season, did greenhouse seeding, transplanting, landscaping and mulching, hoeing and hand weeding in the vegetables, harvesting veggies and washing them, boxing them, and displaying them for you on the harvest shelves. Thank you Brad, Scott C, Elliot, Cameron, John, Brian B, Brian M, Del, Christina, Matt, Patrick and others who came out to pitch in here and there.

Thank you to helping hands coming out the woodwork, Butch for countless plumbing, electrical and mechanical repairs, Tom for farm infrastructure and counsel, Bob for repairs and improvements including the powered weeder and the boot rack, Flanagan Welding for donated time and materials and you as a farm member for making the farm program possible. 

Gleaning the Fields begins the Week of November 24th. You'll receive an email with more details about how to proceed.


Here come the daikon.  Daikon, which is Japanese for "the best one" or the "biggest one," is hugely popular is Japan and is used to make pickles, salads and kimchi to name a few things.  In the West, in addition to its food uses, we also use it as a cover crop.  Its rapid growth chokes out little weeds and its taproot goes down as far as 7 feet, loosening the soil in "bio-bulldozer" fashion and bringing up minerals from the deep subsoil. It's a winner all around.  Enjoy. We like it best for kimchi here at the farm. 


A Farm-style gift for staff, employees, clients, and anyone who enjoys Lancaster County goodies;

 
We are getting ready to make and sell gift boxes for Christmas. Local yummy contents include apple butter, Peanut Butter pretzels, College Coffee Roasters coffee and Wilbur Buds.

Small Box 18.95

Large Box 24.95 (adds a half-pound coffee bag and pear butter)

To order:  email us with your order by December 5th or give us a call.  Check or cash at pickup is preferred, but we can process credit cards if you prefer. Pickup is Dec 16 and 17 8:30-4:00 unless other arrangements have been made. 

 
 Going Great Greens 
 
 
Surveys and the end of the harvest season
Please take a few minutes to fill out a farm survey.  We will have them available on the sign in table during these final weeks.  Your feedback will help us to grow and improve the farm for next year.
  
Greater Gifts for Homefields: want to see your dollars do double duty?  By giving to Homefields on the ExtraGive day Friday November 21st, your gift will be amplified by matching funds and prizes from the Lancaster County Community Foundation.  Thanks for thinking of Homefields.  See www.extragive.org|
Proceeds benefit Homefields Inc. for the new land.


Suggestions for the harvest:
Peanuts: this is a new one for us and we have a few dozen plants, so it will be a choice among other items. If you choose to get a peanut plant, you should allow it to dry in warm open air somewhere indoors.  When the shells feel dry and brittle, test one peanut to see if the skins are dry.  If so, try a peanut. You'll probably want to roast them in the oven for best flavor.

Celeriac:  This is a cousin of celery, you can see that the leaves look like celery leaves.  Use the leaves in lieu of celery and use the root too--IF it is big enough to use.  They didn't seem to develop much of a root.

Daikon: mentioned above with the picture.  Use as you would a regular radish, or for kimchi, stew and soup, salad, or try a pickling recipe.  


Napa Cabbage: use like lettuce, or make kimchi, my favorite use for it.  (It turns a fridge-full of napa into a quart container of kimchi :-)  See recipe below

P
arsnip: what did you think of the parsnips?  Great roasted with beef or in a root crop bake, as in roasted sweet potato, potato, parsnip and onion in the oven with olive or coconut oil until carmelized.
Funky Black Radishes: these iconic winter-loving radishes make a great salad.  See the recipe at the top of the page if you missed it. 
Napa Cabbage:  great for making Kimchee and Asian coleslaw.
Long Island Cheese squash: along with butternut squash this is one of the best tasting and best keeping winter squash and has been our favorite here at the farm for many seasons. 
Bok Choi: this Asian cabbage shines in a Japanese or Chinese stir fry, great with soy sauce, sesame oil, peanuts, garlic, garlic, ginger.  Well-suited to peanut butter sauce and/or chicken dishes.
Popcorn: homemade popcorn from our fields is just the thing for cool fall evenings.  Everyone seems to have a slightly different technique for popping popcorn but here is what works for me:
-shell the popcorn by rubbing two ears together. 
-winnow the chaff out by pouring from one pan to another in the breeze outside. (optional, the chaff doesn't seem to hurt anything)
--store in sealed container in the freezer until ready to use. 
-heat oil in a pan to cover the bottom generously
-throw in a test kernel or two
-when they pop, pour enough popcorn in to cover the bottom of the pan plus a little more, stir well to coat with oil, put lid over top of pan, allowing steam to escape, and keep shaking on high heat until popping slows considerably. Remove from heat, salt and eat! 
Pumpkin: Do you have a pumpkin lurking?   Yes, they edible, especially the tasty seeds when roasted in the oven with some oil or butter.  The pumpkin is not nearly as tasty as butternut squash, which is what is really contained in a can of so-called "pumpkin" from the store. They can also make great soup--either sweet spiced soup or curried. 
Butternut Squash: one of the very best winter squash for flavor and long keeping! Roast in the oven in halves, you can also roast the seeds as per pumpkin seeds.

Hakurei turnips: aka salad turnips.  The tasty turnips from Japan are sweet, mild, and best eaten raw.  Yum. You'll soon be a surprised turnip enthusiast!
Scarlet Queen Turnip: stunning color, can be eaten fresh or cooked, as in potato and turnips mashed. 

Indian corn/ornamental corn: this makes incredibly good and fresh cornmeal for use in cornbread, cornmeal pancakes, waffles and more!  Allow to dry a few weeks, then shell it, bring kernels to the farm and grind in our grinder. Store cornmeal in freezer if not using immediately.  
Winter squash:  firm winter squash are great for baking, "pumpkin" pie, faux spaghetti noodles in the case of spaghetti squash or halved and baked in the oven with butter and maple syrup and/or brown sugar.  The acorn and delicata squash we are harvesting now are not types intended for long storage. Use within a week or two for best results.  (The Long Island Cheese squash and butternuts that will be harvested later on are the best keepers, which is why they are at the tail end of things). 

Kimchi Recipe

This Korean spicy "sauerkraut of a sort" is outstanding. It is enjoyed in Korea and Japan. When buying it, I like to get it from the Viet My Asian grocery across from McCaskey High School--the brand they carry is Kimchee Pride from NYC and the favorite of the kimchee I've purchased.  This recipe resembles Kimchee Pride type kimchee

1 large head Chinese (celery or Nappa) cabbage
Salt--non iodized, esp. sea salt preferred.
4 green onions (including tops)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup paprika to taste --or Korean chili powder if you want to go to the Asian store for the real deal. ( Paprika does pretty well I think)
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated

1. Cut cabbage into pieces, 1-inch long and 1-inch wide.
2. Sprinkle 2 Tbs salt on cabbage, mix well, let sit 15 minutes.
3. Cut green onions in 1-1/2 inch lengths, then cut lengthwise in thin slices. Wash salted cabbage three times with cold water. Add the onions,garlic, chili, ginger, 1 Tbs salt and enough water to cover. Mix well. Cover with a cloth and let stand for a few days.
4. Taste mixture every day. When it is acidic enough, cover and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.



Scott 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Parsnips, Black Radishes, Gift Box time approaches



 Hello from the farm, 
Your farmers are pleased as parsnips about the parsnip harvest this week. These sweet roots are close kin to carrots and are wonderful in a roasted veggie dinner or roasted with a beef roast.  They were shoveled from the ground with great care. Enjoy!  A few years ago we made turnip and parsnip sauerkraut and found it to be quite good. 


We are also harvesting black radishes. Black Radish Russian-style First peel the black skin off. In a bowl, grate the radishes, chop or mince green scallion, grate a carrot and dice fresh cucumber...mix together with sour cream.  If you want more of a spicy tang, use less carrot and cucumber.  If it's too spicy then use more carrot and cucumber. Use as a salad or eat on crackers. --adapted from chowhound.chow.com 


Despite the predictions for a doozy of a cold snowy winter, this fall has been pretty mild: witness the sunflower's persistence and the landscape banana plants not being zinged yet.  

Next week we'll unveil the rest of our bag of tricks as we bring in the remaining crops whose maturity coincides with the very end of the season.  We're not telling...

We got to try some of the Estonian pickled pumpkin recipe this week. Delicious!  Thank you shareholders Rein and Virginia for sharing it with us. 

 
We are getting ready to make and sell gift boxes for Christmas.  Local yummy contents include apple butter, PB pretzels, College Coffee Roasters coffee and Wilbur Buds.
Small Box 18.95
Large Box 24.95 (adds a half-pound coffee bag and pear butter)  

Surveys and the end of the harvest season
Please take a few minutes to fill out a farm survey.  We will have them available on the sign in table during these final weeks.  Your feedback will help us to grow and improve the farm for next year. Our final harvest is scheduled for November 13, 14 and 15.


 Suggestions for the harvest:

Parsnip: we're pulling out all the stops now as winter approaches. Looks a good parsnip harvest!  Great roasted with beef or in a root crop bake, as in roasted sweet potato, potato, parsnip and onion in the oven 
Funky Black Radishes: these iconic winter-loving radishes make a great salad.  See the recipe at the top of the page if you missed it. 
Napa Cabbage:  great for making Kimchee and Asian coleslaw.
Long Island Cheese squash: along with butternut squash this is one of the best tasting and best keeping winter squash and has been our favorite here at the farm for many seasons. 
Bok Choi: this Asian cabbage shines in a Japanese or Chinese stir fry, great with soy sauce, sesame oil, peanuts, garlic, garlic, ginger.  Well-suited to peanut butter sauce and/or chicken dishes.
Popcorn: homemade popcorn from our fields is just the thing for cool fall evenings.  Everyone seems to have a slightly different technique for popping popcorn but here is what works for me:
-shell the popcorn by rubbing two ears together. 
-winnow the chaff out by pouring from one pan to another in the breeze outside. (optional, the chaff doesn't seem to hurt anything)
--store in sealed container in the freezer until ready to use. 
-heat oil in a pan to cover the bottom generously
-throw in a test kernel or two
-when they pop, pour enough popcorn in to cover the bottom of the pan plus a little more, stir well to coat with oil, put lid over top of pan, allowing steam to escape, and keep shaking on high heat until popping slows considerably. Remove from heat, salt and eat! 
Pumpkin: Do you have a pumpkin lurking?   Yes, they edible, especially the tasty seeds when roasted in the oven with some oil or butter.  The pumpkin is not nearly as tasty as butternut squash, which is what is really contained in a can of so-called "pumpkin" from the store. They can also make great soup--either sweet spiced soup or curried. 
Butternut Squash: one of the very best winter squash for flavor and long keeping! Roast in the oven in halves, you can also roast the seeds as per pumpkin seeds.

Hakurei turnips: aka salad turnips.  The tasty turnips from Japan are sweet, mild, and best eaten raw.  Yum. You'll soon be a surprised turnip enthusiast!
Scarlet Queen Turnip: stunning color, can be eaten fresh or cooked, as in potato and turnips mashed. 

Indian corn/ornamental corn: this makes incredibly good and fresh cornmeal for use in cornbread, cornmeal pancakes, waffles and more!  Allow to dry a few weeks, then shell it, bring kernels to the farm and grind in our grinder. Store cornmeal in freezer if not using immediately.  
Winter squash:  firm winter squash are great for baking, "pumpkin" pie, faux spaghetti noodles in the case of spaghetti squash or halved and baked in the oven with butter and maple syrup and/or brown sugar.  The acorn and delicata squash we are harvesting now are not types intended for long storage. Use within a week or two for best results.  (The Long Island Cheese squash and butternuts that will be harvested later on are the best keepers, which is why they are at the tail end of things). 

Goodbyes:
Tomatoes, eggplants and peppers are just about finished. We still are getting some peppers and tomatoes--pretty wild for almost November!  
 Thank you to Elizabeth, Law Reh, Butch, and  all of the farmers who worked together to make a great harvest last week. 

Summer crops march into Fall, November Sunflowers


 Hello from the farm!

This week we are grateful for warmish days, sunshine, and plenty of crops in the fields to harvest.  The soil dried out over the weekend and we were able to prepare more of our fields for cover cropping.  After the wildness of summer growing, it feels good to put beds to rest and get things looking a little tidier.
Wednesday morning our farm crew was out digging root crops.  We heard a rustle in the tree line and I asked "What was that?"  I thought it might be the beginnings of a rain shower. Cameron replied, "That is the sound of fall."  I looked up and what I saw was a leaf shower. It hadn't made it on the weatherman's forecast, but there it was.  We watched  the yellow leaves blow off the trees, catch on the breeze, and meander their way down to the fields.  You may just find one of those magical leaves going home with you this week, as they have a habit of showing up in the most unusual places.

Surveys and the end of the harvest season
Please take a few minutes to fill out a farm survey.  We will have them available on the sign in table during these final weeks.  Your feedback will help us to grow and improve the farm for next year.  Our final harvest is scheduled for November 13, 14 and 15.


Thank you to our leader, Farmer Scott!
It is a little quiet around here this week without our Farm Manager Scott Breneman.  Our favorite farmer is taking a few days away this week, much deserved after a very busy harvest season.  Scott is known for his love of trying new things.  Not every experiment can be a success, but this year he took a gamble planting a late crop of beans and sunflowers. His gamble paid off, and we have been able to enjoy these "summer" crops well into October.  



Scott admires one of the pawpaw trees that he started many years ago from seed. Scott has a love of unusual trees, both native and tropical.  He has grown tropical loquat trees here, and established a lovely grove of pawpaws.  The jujubes are one of his contributions, too.  I think of Scott as the Johnny Appleseed of pawpaws, as he saves pawpaw seeds and spreads them wherever he goes.




Scott checking out a mushroom in the treeline.   If he doesn't know the name of a mushroom right off the bat, he is sure to find out! Through close observation of skin color, texture, stem, gills and spore prints, Scott is able to identify most mushrooms.  

Thank you Scott for your warm and generous presence here at the farm.   You are always ready to share your knowledge, listen to our ideas and brighten our days with yummy farm treats.  We appreciate all of your hard work leading us through another growing season.

 
Congratulations to our bread baker Stephanie Breneman and her husband Duane on the arrival of baby girl Addison Grace!  
 
 
 Suggestions for the harvest:

Napa Cabbage:  great for making Kimchee and Asian coleslaw.
Spaghetti squash:  Courtesy of Promise Land Farm. Thanks to friend and neighbor Amy Yocum of Promised Land Farm down the road, we were able to trade some of our abundant crops for some of hers to your benefit. A good neighbor indeed.  Bake spaghetti squash and enjoy with your favorite sauce.
Long Island Cheese squash: along with butternut squash this is one of the best tasting and best keeping winter squash and has been our favorite here at the farm for many seasons.
Bok Choi: this Asian cabbage shines in a Japanese or Chinese stir fry, great with soy sauce, sesame oil, peanuts, garlic, garlic, ginger.  Well-suited to peanut butter sauce and/or chicken dishes.
Popcorn: homemade popcorn from our fields is just the thing for cool fall evenings.  Everyone seems to have a slightly different technique for popping popcorn but here is what works for me:
-shell the popcorn by rubbing two ears together.
-winnow the chaff out by pouring from one pan to another in the breeze outside. (optional, the chaff doesn't seem to hurt anything)
--store in sealed container in the freezer until ready to use.
-heat oil in a pan to cover the bottom generously
-throw in a test kernel or two
-when they pop, pour enough popcorn in to cover the bottom of the pan plus a little more, stir well to coat with oil, put lid over top of pan, allowing steam to escape, and keep shaking on high heat until popping slows considerably. Remove from heat, salt and eat!
Pumpkin: Do you have a pumpkin lurking?   Yes, they edible, especially the tasty seeds when roasted in the oven with some oil or butter or see the recipe above.  The pumpkin is not nearly as tasty as butternut squash, which is what is really contained in a can of so-called "pumpkin" from the store. They can also make great soup--either sweet spiced soup or curried. 
Butternut Squash: one of the very best winter squash for flavor and long keeping! Roast in the oven in halves, you can also roast the seeds as per pumpkin seeds.

Hakurei turnips: aka salad turnips.  The tasty turnips from Japan are sweet, mild, and best eaten raw.  Yum. You'll soon be a surprised turnip enthusiast!
Scarlet Queen Turnip: stunning color, can be eaten fresh or cooked, as in potato and turnips mashed.

Indian corn/ornamental corn: this makes incredibly good and fresh cornmeal for use in cornbread, cornmeal pancakes, waffles and more!  Allow to dry a few weeks, then shell it, bring kernels to the farm and grind in our grinder. Store cornmeal in freezer if not using immediately.
Winter squash:  firm winter squash are great for baking, "pumpkin" pie, faux spaghetti noodles in the case of spaghetti squash or halved and baked in the oven with butter and maple syrup and/or brown sugar.  The acorn and delicata squash we are harvesting now are not types intended for long storage. Use within a week or two for best results.  (The Long Island Cheese squash and butternuts that will be harvested later on are the best keepers, which is why they are at the tail end of things).

Goodbyes:
Tomatoes, eggplants and peppers are just about finished. We still are getting some peppers and tomatoes--pretty wild for almost November!
 Thank you to all of the farmers who worked to bring this harvest together.
We hope you enjoy this harvest.  Wishing you lots of treats and not too many tricks!


--Your Farmers