Thursday, October 29, 2009

5th Week of October

Hello from the farm,

The farm is saturated, soggy, and squishy with over-abundant rainfall these days, it makes harvesting pretty interesting. Yesterday I was at the Steve Groff farm in Holtwood learning about cover crops that have potential for our area. There are so many biological tools that a farmer can use, it's fascinating--crops that attract beneficial insects, crops that smother weeds, crops that keep weed seeds from germinating, and crops that add large amounts of organic matter to the soil. Our cauliflower is growing well, and we are harvesting some of it today. We continue with cleaning up the fields and growing areas, and harvesting the late fall crops. Barring hard freezes down in the mid to low 20s, there will likely be quite a few crops to self-harvest up until Thanksgiving and possibly even Christmas. Some, like parsnips and Brussels Sprouts are at their best in early winter, and yes, that includes the lowly Jerusalem artichoke as well, which we will be digging for the final harvest week for you to try.

We are also preparing to make our Holiday gift boxes that have Wilbur Buds, locally roasted coffee, apple and pear butters, cinnamon honey graham pretzels. You can read more about them here. If you'd like to order some for Christmas, just send me an email. Thanks!

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

About Some of the Characters
  • Shunkgiku: these sweet and mild greens are tasty in a salad or added to soups and stir-fries at the last minute to prevent overcooking.
  • Watermelon Radish: beautiful, crisp and fairly sweet for a radish Black Radish: see below
  • Parsnip: roast with other root vegetables, simple to add to stews and soups, beef stew etc.
  • 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
  • Greens: discard the stems or ribs, and use the leaves sautéed with olive oil, garlic, onion, soy sauce etc.
  • Cauliflower: see the recipe below for roasted cauliflower

Lots of Leaves

We welcome your leaves and compost on the compost pile behind the greenhouse. Additions go on near end of the pile. Thanks for contributing to the fertility of our fields and your food. We also appreciate wood chips on our wood chip pile if you know of any arborists looking for a place to put them.

A Piece about Parsnips: [peace with parsnips]

If you are perplexed by parsnip, or have a vague feeling of uncertainty about them, I wanted to share this with you from my parsnippity culinary experience the other evening--wash them, cut into 1/4 inch dices, and put into an oiled baking tray and coat them with a little oil also. Preheat and bake in oven at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Take out and put butter and maple syrup on them and a dash of salt, and serve. Simple and delicious.
Or..if you prefer, just add them diced to anything you are roasting or to soups or stews you are making.

Thank You

Thank you to all of the farm crew for bringing in the harvest in all sorts of weather and field conditions and getting the job done!

Roasted Cauliflower
If you've never fully appreciated cauliflower, this recipe is especially for you.

1 head of cauliflower
2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely minced
Lemon juice (from 1/2 or a whole lemon)
Olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut cauliflower into florets and put in a single layer in an oven-proof baking dish. Toss in the garlic. Squeeze lemon juice over cauliflower and drizzle each piece with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. If the oven hasn't reached 400°F yet, set aside until it has.
2. Place casserole in the hot oven, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is lightly brown. Test with a fork for desired doneness. Fork tines should be able to easily pierce the cauliflower. Remove from oven and sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately. --from

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

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