Thursday, September 24, 2009

4th Week of September

Notes from Your Farm:

This week we are happily harvesting ornamental corn as well as tending to the fall crops. The ornamental corn consists of two varieties--Rainbow and Earth Tones Dent. These corns make incredible corn meal when you are finished using it ornamentally. We'll have a grain mill here for your use, if you would like to bring yours back when finished with it. Our family made incredible corn bread with it a few years ago.

Usually the lull between summer crops and fall crops falls in late August to mid-September, but this year, the cool and cloudy days are causing summer crops to begin bearing and peak later. It's been a great season so far and this crop transition is a good time for the farm staff to get some time away from farming. I'll be taking a few days away from the farm this week and next to spend some time with my family. The fall crops will be coming into their own in the next couple of weeks, with arugula, radishes, and winter squash first in the lineup, while the summer crops have peaked and are now fading away. The tomatoes are done, and peppers and eggplants are slowing down but will continue to bear up until frost hits, which is usually around Oct 15th here. How long does the season go? We expect the final harvest to be on Nov 12, 13 & 14. We hope you are enjoying the diversity and variety of the food as we progress through the season.

Fun Veggie Facts:
World's Largest Watermelon 268 lbs
World's Largest Pumpkin 1689lbs --almost a ton

Fall Potluck
Saturday evening October 3rd, 5-9pm
What to Bring: a hot or cold dish, chairs, jackets? We'll provide plates, utensils and drinks.
We'll have a nice campfire at dusk weather permitting.

Pick Your Own Field Highlights:
  • Asian Pears: these sweet juicy pears are delicious. A golden color indicates ripeness. Limit 2 per share.
  • Stevia: this natural sweetener is 200 times sweeter than sugar, and has no glycemic impact for people with diabetes or who are limiting sugar intake. Pinch off a few nodes and put in your coffee or tea.
  • Jerusalem artichokes: beautiful sunflower-type flowers for cutting! They are near the neighbors sheep fence. We will dug some up after frost for their edible tubers, but as Brian Martin said last year, "starts out like a carrot, ends up like a frying pan" in flavor. :-) frost will sweeten them up somewhat.
  • Hot Peppers: signs are posted in the row this week. The farther back the row you go, the more capsaicin! the Nippon Taka variety is said to be incendiary.
  • Black-eyed Susan flowers: these are beautiful in the kitchen or elsewhere.
  • Ground Cherries: check out these tasty little paper-husked treat that have a hint of pineapple. Pick when paper turns golden brown or fruit is on the ground.
  • Sungold cherry tomatoes: yes, they have the late blight too--but there are some tomatoes there.
  • Heirloom tomatoes: various types located in the first row.
  • Pole beans: including Red Noodle and Roma types, down at the low end of the PYO field
  • Cut flowers: zinnias, snapdragons, celosia
  • Basil: pinch off the tips just above where they branch--not sure, ask Bradley
  • Tromboncino Squash Tower: Check out this rapidly growing vine and the bamboo tower that Bradley made for it.
  • Summer Savory: this herb located beyond the grapes in the PYO field. Very strong by itself, it is excellent with tomatoes
  • Edible flowers: Nasturtiums, and Calendula and Borage are edible and are located also toward the end of the PYO field.

About Some of the Characters:

  • Collards: a nutritional phytonutrient powerhouse and loaded with calcium. De-stem, chop and sauté with oil and garlic and serve as a side and see recipe below.
  • Arugula: a nutty, sort of spicy green--great addition to any salad and see Arugula Pesto recipe below.
  • Asian and Italian type eggplants: the slender Japanese type eggplants are said to be sweeter and milder than the classic Italian types--but, when we did a taste test, they all were pretty much the same in flavor. Their color is fabulous. Coating slices with oil and soy sauce and grilling them is quick and delicious.
  • Bell Peppers: these are the most nutritious when raw, and the long Carmen variety is the new favorite here.
  • Bintje Potatoes: these are a favorite potato world-wide, but little known here due to their yellow flesh and smaller size. They have great flavor texture and versatility.
  • Greens: discard the stems or ribs, and use the leaves sautéed with olive oil, garlic, onion, soy sauce etc.

Thanks for being a part of the farm and appreciating all the work that goes into bringing about the harvest each week,


Not your grandma’s collard greens
A meatless collards recipe featuring peanut butter

bunch of collards
1 onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 carrot, diced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tomatoes, peeled and diced or 1 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes
2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
1/4 cup of smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

1. Thoroughly clean each collard leaf, remove ribs and stems. Tear each leaf in half.
2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, sauté on medium the onions and carrots in the olive oil, until lightly brown, about ten minutes.
3. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.
4. Add the tomatoes and chipotles.
5. Add torn leaves to the pot and add four cups of water.
6. Bring water to a boil, and then turn heat down to a simmer.
7. Add the vinegar and stir in the peanut butter.
8. Cook greens for an hour and a half, or until they are the texture you prefer.
9. Serve with pepper vinegar or hot pepper sauce such as Tabasco.

What? You say you want meat? Well, take the above recipe, swap 1/2 pound of smoked ham or bacon or turkey for the tomatoes, carrot, chipotles and peanut butter. Add them to the pot after you cook the onion and garlic. Add six cups of water, bring to a boil and cook for half an hour. Add the greens and vinegar, and cook for another hour and a half. You might want to add a teaspoon of cayenne as well. If you have any leftover ham or smoked turkey after Thanksgiving, collard greens are an excellent vehicle for their smoked goodness. Of course, collard greens are also appropriate the day of the big meal, too.
--adapted from

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