Thursday, July 31, 2008

Last Week of July

This Week at the Farm
The tomatoes are picking up speed, and the cucumbers are cruising as the blueberry season fades away. We are starting to harvest melons today. Unfortunately, the groundhogs did quite a number on the melon patch we discovered yesterday, but the watermelon planting looks good. Crows are often quite a nuisance, as they like to peck holes in the almost-ripe watermelon, ruining them. This year, the damage to watermelons is slight however. If you drive along Sun Lane, you can see the pumpkin and winter squash plants starting to vine happily. We have spent quite a lot of time working over there to control the weeds before the vine canopies closed over. Great work Elizabeth and Brian, and all of the trainees!

The Sunflower House
If you haven’t seen it, the sunflower house is the result of Elizabeth’s creativity and effort: a great place to take children or grandchildren and/or be a kid yourself. It is right before the berry patch.Tea and crumpets not required.

Pick Your Own Field Update
The last time I wrote about the pick-your-own field it was still in a mostly miniature state. Some of the current highlights are: excellent signs and descriptions by Jeff and Elizabeth, heirloom tomato varieties including the so-called "black" when ripe varieties, Moldovan green when ripe tomatoes, hot peppers that are starting to ripen—*they get hotter the farther back the aisle you go.* Colorful zinnias, and tasty Sungold cherry tomatoes, and of course, basil: green, purple and variegated. To make pickled peppers, check out the Pepperoncini peppers—they are at the end of the hot pepper bed, but are mild.

Serving Suggestions for the Harvest
  • Melon: chill and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper
  • Watermelon: Chill and sprinkle with a bit of salt if desired
  • Beets: boil until tender, slip the skins, serve slightly warm
  • Eggplant: slice and put on the grill or skillet—brush with olive oil and soy sauce
  • Onions: Walla Wallas in particular, but others as well—brown in the skillet with some butter and enjoy the sweet mild flavor with almost any meal.
  • Cucumbers: great for munching on plain, but also see cuke/tomato salad
    recipe from previous week
  • Sunflowers: see soup recipe below, edible petals!


Upcoming Events

Water Conservation at Home
Saturday, August 23, at 10 a.m.
Water conservation inside the house and out, including cisterns (rainbarrels), presented by Matt Kofroth, Watershed Specialist with the Lancaster County Conservation District. Sign up if interested on the sheet.

September 19th Homefields Golf Tournament
Homefields, our benevolent landlord and host will hold its 12th annual Golf Tournament Sept 19th at Crossgates Golf Course, Millersville. To participate, pick up a copy of the flyer here at the farm or see their website at: Proceeds benefit Homefields.

Minestra di Girasole (Sunflower Soup)
Prep Time:15 min
Cooking Time:35 min

3 pieces smoked bacon
1 spring onion, 1 garlic clove
2 tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, 2 potatoes, 2 courgettes (zucchini)
1 1/4 quarts vegetable stock
2 handfuls of sunflower petals
1 handful of basil
grated Parmesan cheese

Mince the bacon with the onion and the garlic. Slightly pan-fry with butter and oil. Add the chopped carrots, potatoes and courgettes. Add the vegetable stock. Cook for about 30 minutes and then toss 2 big handfuls of sunflower petals in the soup and 1 of basil. Cook for further 5 minutes. Pour the soup in the bowls and sprinkle with plenty of chopped basil and parsley. Add grated parmesan cheese and serve.

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