Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Farm Update

Hello from the farm,

The aroma of coffee and chocolate fills the air here in the barn on the day before Thanksgiving as we are putting gift boxes together. We will be making about 1600 of these boxes this year. If you are interested in ordering some for Christmas, send me an email or call us a call. They are pictured at under Programs/Additional/Goodwill at Homefields.

Self Harvest update: self-harvest opportunities are still present--we haven't had any hard freezes yet, although mid to low 20s are predicted for next week.

Looking for some delicious broccoli, cauliflower, or cabbage for your Thanksgiving? We have a guide and tools here to aid you if you are interested. Also afield are: arugula, radishes, cilantro, yellow turnips, and lots of greens like collards, kale, and Asian greens. Mon-Sat 9am-dusk until either the gleaners or the vegetables think it is too frozen to continue.

The Farm Program on WITF
Goodwill at Homefields Farm will be a featured segment on the Good Life Café, an hour long Thanksgiving radio show special on Public Radio, WITF-FM (89.5 Harrisburg/Lancaster; 93.3 Chambersburg). The show is scheduled to air this coming Saturday, November 28th at 8:00 PM. For all locations and beyond, the show is simulcast on the internet from the website link: The show will be re-broadcast on Sunday and Monday

Please tune in to a great locally produced show and earn more about our farm program and many other reasons be thankful during this holiday season. If you enjoy the Goodwill segment please share your thoughts with WITF by emailing them at

Happy Thanksgiving,

Scott and all of the farm crew

Thursday, November 12, 2009

2nd Week of November

The Final Week of Regular Harvest

Hello from the farm
Time is a slippery substance, it's hard to believe that twenty four weeks of harvest have gone by already. It seems like we were just planting pepper seeds in the greenhouse last week. On the other hand, the cold and dark days let us know that winter is approaching and we are glad for a dormant period to give us new energy for another growing season. October and November have been fairly mild so far, so we have plenty of variety to bring to you this week, including hard-fought sweet potatoes and sunchokes, aka. Jerusalem Artichokes.

These bear the most inaccurate moniker ever, as they have nothing to do with Jerusalem and are not artichokes. Girasola means "turns to the sun" in Italian and was corrupted by someone into "Jerusalem"--perhaps the same someone thought that they tasted like artichokes. And so they carry this name even though they are a perennial edible in the sunflower family. Sunchokes are tubers and can be used similarly to potatoes, but they cook a lot faster. My personal preference is for them cooked as opposed to raw, unless they are used water chestnut-like in a salad. Once you plant one of these in a corner of your yard, they multiply like crazy and you will never be without them. Like rhubarb, they are an "old faithful."
On a health note, their starch contains inulin and does not convert to sugar, making them popular with diabetics and those who are avoiding gluten.

Daikon Kimchee
If you are uncertain about the large daikon that may be lurking in your fridge, here is an easy to follow recipe for making kimchee.

"Kimchee is a Korean staple and I really love the crunch of the vegetables and the sweet spice of the Korean red chili. Quite some time ago I posted a kimchee tutorial for making the classic fermented napa cabbage. There are many kinds of kimchee in Korea and daikon is another favorite vegetable for pickling in this way. I really enjoy the Korean daikon, which is more round and shorter than the typical daikon you find in most grocery stores. But you can use either for this dish. I actually used one large regular long daikon to make a batch. Two Korean bulbs would be about the same amount.

The process I used to make this is similar to the cabbage variant. I diced the radish, salted it and let it sit for about an hour. After a good rinsing the daikon was tossed with one bunch of green onions, sliced; 5 cloves of garlic, chopped, 1 inch of fresh ginger, minced; about half a cup of Korean red chili flakes, and about a tablespoon of nuöc mam fish sauce. I prefer the Three Crabs brand. You don't want to know how this is made! But it isn't kimchee without some fermented fish. Traditionally, kimchee is prepared with chopped fish or fermented shrimp. This sauce makes it much easier to add that hint of fish. I also added a pinch of sugar. Mix everything well and let it sit out for at least a day then store it in the fridge. Unlike the napa cabbage kimchee, which I like well fermented and sour, I prefer my daikon kimchee fresh and sweet."

Self Harvest starts Next Week
Many shareholders report that a highlight of the farm program is coming out in November to glean the fields for crops that remain. Starting Monday Nov 16th, Mon through Saturday, 9am-dusk, you can come out to self harvest. We will have a map that shows you where the crops are located as well as bags and pruners. The remaining crops include: greens, turnips, daikon, cabbage, a few kohlrabi, some Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower. The self-harvest season runs until either the vegetables or the gleaners give way to the frozen ground.

End Notes
On behalf of the whole farm crew, I'd like to say thank you for being a part of the farm this season and enjoying and appreciating the farm and the food. Thank you Elizabeth for supervising and training all sixteen of the trainees that worked on the farm this season. Thank you Bradley, for bringing great skills and creativity to the farm, most noticeably the herb beds and distribution area. Thank you to a great group of trainees: you showed up on time, were enthusiastic and hard-working, pruned hundreds of berry canes and bushes, transplanted tens of thousands of transplants, harvested many tons of produce, mowed around the buildings each week, and took great care of many things small and large. Thank you for a great team effort!

In appreciation,


PS: Wanting to reserve a share for next season? You'll receive a letter in the new year telling you about the coming season.

See you soon.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

1st Week of November

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

Notes from your Farm
It's frosty white this week here at the farm both yesterday and today. We are winding down the regular harvest season but still have plenty of good reasons to come to the farm! The broccoli and cauliflower are incredible this year, probably the best they've been in all of our seasons. Have you noticed how much better organic broccoli tastes and feels? It's succulent and has a great fresh flavor. In addition to all of the greens and root crops that we've been having we also have an assortment of potatoes from our neighbor, farmer Amy at Promised Land Farm.

WITF will be here tomorrow at 11:30 to do some interviews for a program called "The Good Life Cafe," and gift box making is on the horizon. The gift box making is a great fund-raising opportunity for the farm program as well as a welcome retreat from the frozen fields and crops that inevitably occur in mid-November. The aroma of Wilbur Buds and freshly-roasted coffee filling the barn is not unpleasant either! There are two gift boxes near the vegetables if you would like to see what they look like. To order some, give us a call or send an email.

A Little About Soil
"All life, as we know it, is dependent, either directly or indirectly, on the soil. Animal life and mankind are both tied closely to the soil and the vegetation that it produces. This relatively thin layer of material, which makes up only a small percentage of the earth's crust, is the key to existence on our planet.” Robert W. Terrell. Soil Neath My Feet.

The soil is the foundation of all nutrition. Healthy soil produces healthy plants which produces healthy consumers of those plants. The nutrition of the soil will determine the health of the person or animal who partakes. The French food agency AFSSA finds organic food to be more nutritious: Author Dennis Lairon of University of Aix-Marseille concludes that organic plant products contain more dry matter and minerals – such as iron and magnesium – and more antioxidant polyphenols like phenols and salicylic acid.

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
  • Parsnip: see recipe below, or 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: try it roasted!

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.

Thank You

Thank you for enjoying and appreciating the farm, the people and the work that we do to provide a harvest each week.

Curried Parsnip Pie

Savory vegetable pie combines parsnips with onions, carrots, mild curry, Cheddar cheese, and herbs. It is topped with an crust flavored with oregano.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into cubes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Cold water

8 baby onions or shallots, peeled
2 large parsnips, thinly sliced
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon mild curry powder
1-1/4 cups milk
4 ounces grated sharp Cheddar cheese
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (or substitute parsley)
Salt and ground black pepper
1 egg yolk, beaten with 2 teaspoons water

Place flour and butter in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse to a mealy consistency. Do not over mix. Remove to a bowl and stir in oregano, plus salt and pepper to taste. Stir in cold water until a dough forms. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate while you make the filling.

Place onions or shallots, parsnips, and carrots in a saucepan and add just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 1-1/4 cups of the liquid.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Stir in flour and curry powder. Stirring constantly, cook for 2 minutes. While continuing to stir, slowly add reserved vegetable stock and milk. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Cheddar cheese until melted. Gently stir in vegetables and cilantro. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed. Let cool to room temperature, then spoon into a deep-dish pie plate.

Roll out pie crust dough between two sheets of plastic wrap. Place crust over the top of the pie, trim the edges, and seal to the rim of the pie plate. Cut 4 slits in the top to vent and brush with the egg yolk wash. Re-roll any crust scraps and cut out decorations, if desired, using the egg wash to adhere them to the crust. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Place pie on a rimmed baking pan to catch any potential drips. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until crust is golden.

Yield: 4 servings as a main course, or 8 servings as a side dish -- from