Thursday, October 8, 2009

2nd Week of October

Notes From your Farm:
The leaves are turning and we are switching to fall harvest mode. Thank you to those who came to the potluck--we had nice time talking together around the fire, playing drums--thank you to shareholder Kyki, recognizing trainee farmers and staff for their excellent work. It was also neat to see the members of the homes here at the farm having a good time with the farm crew.
Another exciting thing this week was the arrival of a sprayer that we will be using next season for foliar feeding our crops. While a sprayer may conjure up hazmat images, we will instead be using it for organic purposes like putting liquid kelp on our crops to supply trace minerals to the leaves--think of it as probiotics and enzymes for plants. Hmm, wonder if plants like yogurt...

We have more winter squash this week. Our pumpkins and other vine crops did not do as well this year as last, so we are grateful that we got what we did. For whatever reason, the plants looked very healthy and flowered abundantly but did not set many fruits.

We expect the final harvest to be on Nov 12, 13 & 14--self harvest opportunities will follow for those of you who wish to glean the fields for remaining crops.

Vegetable Questions:
  • Why are colored peppers more expensive than green one? Green peppers are unripe and when the pepper ripens and turns red, orange or yellow, it is prone to rotting.
  • What do I do with ears of popcorn? Popcorn is a lot of fun--first, break away two rows from the ear with your thumb or finger, the remaining rows should shell pretty easily.
    Place shelled popcorn one layer deep in a heavy bottomed pan, and add oil to coat all kernels well. Turn heat on high and wait until the first kernel or two pops, then cover your pan. Shake pan occasionally while is popping to keep from burning, remove from heat when popping slows. Enjoy!

Frost is likely this week or next: If you like Hot Peppers, Stevia, Okra and Basil, now is the time to get them because the frost will ruin them.

Pick Your Own Field Highlights:

  • 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 - 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.
  • 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 or garnish.
  • Arugula: a nutty, sort of spicy green--great addition to any salad or for making pesto.
  • 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.
  • Greens: discard the stems or ribs, and use the leaves sautéed with olive oil, garlic, onion, soy sauce etc.

Refrigerator Pickles--Asian style radishes

1 1/2 cups radishes, sliced
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoons black pepper

Adjust recipe if you have more or fewer radishes: In a small bowl, toss radishes with salt. Cover and refrigerate until 1 to 2 tablespoons of water is released, about 30 minutes. Transfer radishes to a strainer, rinse and drain, removing as much salt as possible. Pat dry with a paper towel and return to bowl. Stir in vinegar, black pepper and, if desired, sesame oil. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours.

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