Thursday, August 7, 2008

1st Week of August

This Week at the Farm

Mid-July to Mid-August tends to be hot and dry. This coincides with us trying to start transplants and seeds in the field for fall crops—it can be quite a challenge to get them off to a good start. This week we’ve been transplanting fall brassicas—broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels, and cabbage. We avoided a die-off of brassica transplants from the hot dry wind, that had just been planted yesterday via some very quickly installed and operated drip tape irrigation thanks to Brian Martin. The spader, which is like a tractor-mounted roto-tiller had the bearings go out on it yesterday, and there is never a good time during the growing season for equipment to break down, but it will hopefully be operating by early next week to resume fall seeding of crops. The
tomatoes are doing really well this week and will probably be at their peak yield two weeks from now. Deciding which melons are ripe in the field is more of an art than a science, and if your melon was not quite ripe last week, we are sorry and hope they are more ripe this week. If you have not tried the sweet onions fried in a skillet with some butter until caramelized you are missing out on something special! We have the variety "Candy" this week, and it lives up to its name, possibly surpassing the Walla Walla in sweetness.

Serving Suggestions for the Harvest
  • Melon: chill and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper
  • Watermelon: chill and sprinkle with a bit of salt of desired
  • Beets: boil until tender, slip the skins, serve slightly warm or roast instead
  • 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 great as tomato/cuke salad

Did you know?

The world Record watermelon weighs 262lbs. A few plants of this Carolina cross are growing in the Pick Your Own Field. Come see how they do here at Homefields!


Upcoming Events and Recipes

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 at Homefields or email Scott at

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

Chard Stuffed With Risotto and Mozzarella
(From the NY Times via Shareholder Sara Salfrank)
Time: About an hour
6 cups vegetable broth, more if needed
1 cup arborio rice
Large pinch of saffron
2 lemons, zested
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, more for garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 big chard leaves
1/2 pound mozzarella cheese
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling.

1. Cook rice in vegetable broth, starting with one cup; add broth in stages, using about 3 cups total, until rice is barely tender. Reserve unused broth. Dissolve saffron in juice of one lemon. Add to rice, along with butter, Parmesan, zest of one lemon, salt and pepper to taste. Allow rice to cool a bit. Recipe can be made up to an hour in advance at this point, but do not refrigerate rice.
2. Poach chard leaves in about 2 cups remaining broth for about 30 seconds. Take out, drain on a dishcloth, and cut out the hardest part of central stem. Reserve cooking broth.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. With wet hands, form 6 balls of rice 2 to 3 inches across. Dig a hole in ball and insert a piece of mozzarella. Wrap each ball in a chard leaf.
4. Put balls in a close-fitting oven pan, with enough reserved broth to come about a half-inch up sides of balls; bake 15 minutes. Serve balls topped with a little more broth, more lemon zest, Parmesan and olive oil.
Yield: 6 servings.

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