Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hello from the steamy fields!

This week we've been enjoying the warm weather and finding that 100 degrees is tolerable but not desirable. The frequent rains of seemingly yesterday are long gone, so we have the trickle irrigation going and some sprinklers to get water to the sun-baked fields. The garlic harvest continues and the curing racks upstairs showcase a great abundance of garlic. We are also beginning to harvest potatoes and will kick off with the tasty Red Norland variety. Fall planting of squash, pumpkins and broccoli family plants is underway also.

Organic Thoughts:

Organic farming and food is often viewed or labeled by what is not--no chemicals, no synthetic fertilizers, no genetically modified seed...and so on. What about looking at it from it does do? Without waxing philosophical or getting too heady, organic growing strives to look the whole realm of what is happening above and below ground, to understand the natural processes and work with them to encourage healthy soils and in turn, healthy crops. We do a good bit of composting here on the farm, as well as purchase compost to enrich the soil, take soil samples each year to ensure that the major and minor elements necessary for healthy growth are present, grow nitrogen-fixing crops such as sunn hemp, hairy vetch, and clover, which pull nitrogen from the atmosphere and translocate it to root nodules for the benefit of subsequent plants, grow smother crops such as buckwheat and sorghum sudangrass to outpace the weeds and add organic matter to the soil, practice crop rotation to keep disease or insects from building up, and apply trace minerals to the soil such as boron and sulfur that are vital, but only need to be present at about one part per million in the ground, and using drip irrigation that uses much less water only waters the crop and not the weeds

Wanted: Rain please apply to the farm

Serving Suggestions for the Harvest:

  • Cabbage: the simplest ways to use this are cut into wedges and serve with a bit of salt, or shred and add to salad.
  • Potatoes: bakes, boiled, mashed, roasted, see the roasted rosemary potato recipe below.
  • Beets: grate and add to salad, roast, pickle,
  • Summer Squash: add raw to salads, steam lightly, or stir-fry. Don't overcook.
  • Cucumbers: add to your lettuce and greens for salad. Dice and add to yogurt with onions and garlic scapes.
  • Napa Cabbage: use in salad or stir fries. Mild and crisp.
  • Chard or Swiss Chard: sautee, oil, garlic, parmesan etc...use like spinach
  • Kale: this nutritional powerhouse is great stir-fried with olive oil and garlic (scapes)
  • Garlic Scapes: the soft neck of the garlic--wonderful garlic flavor, cooked or raw. Discard any firm portion unless you enjoy the crunchiness.
  • Collards: similar to kale--highly nutritious

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes


1/2 Cup Feta cheese (optional)1 Red onion (medium)
3 lbs Potatoes
1 Bell pepper (medium)
1/4 tsp Salt
4 tbsp Olive oil
2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp Rosemary
1/4 tsp Black pepper
2 Garlic cloves


Dice Potatoes

Combine Potatoes, chopped onion, 2 tbsp olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt & pepper.

Toss to coat.

Bake at 450F uncovered for 25-35 minutes until potatoes are cooked through. Stir twice.

In a small bowl, combine balsamic vinegar and 2 tbsp olive oil. Whisk to combine.

Transfer potato mixture into a large bowl and stir in vinegar/oil mixture. Be sure to coat all potatoes well. Add bell pepper (cut into strips) and toss.

Topping: 1/2 C feta cheese OR 3 tbsp roasted pine nuts

--adapted from wpgriffin.com

Simple Summer Cabbage Salad

Not sure what to do with cabbage? Here is a simple recipe that I like to make frequently:

--Slice a head of cabbage or half of one
sprinkle with salt to taste
sprinkle with a bit of sugar
add one small chopped onion
add two cloves of minced garlic
drizzle about a Tbsp of olive oil over
pour 1/4c of cider vinegar over
add hot pepper flakes or powder to taste
allow to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes then refrigerate
top with chopped peanuts when serving

Hope you are enjoying the fresh food from the farm!


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