Thursday, July 29, 2010

Notes from Your Farm

Hello from the farm,

We came through a pretty substantial storm on Sunday with little damage, and the fields are well-saturated with the 2 1/2 inches of rain. The "hot crops" are getting into full swing and you'll see the trio of them in increasing numbers over the next few weeks: peppers, eggplants and tomatoes. Last year, when late blight was making the rounds all over the Northeast, our plants were damaged. So far, things look pretty good in the tomato field. We have 1200 tomato plants out there, which could result in a theoretical yield of about 36,000 lbs--hopefully they don't do do that well, or we'll be up to our ears in tomato sauce. Melons are doing well this year and there are all kinds--cantaloupes, Galia melons, red, orange, yellow, and pink-fleshed watermelons. Nothings says summer like melon juice dribbling down your chin. We're happy to have some beautiful beets from our neighbor, Promised Land farm--we gave her some of our prolific cucumber harvest a few weeks ago and she is sharing some of her abundant beets with us.

Trainees at the Farm
The trainees are doing an outstanding job this season. Each day between 4-6 trainees arrive at the farm from all over the county. They might be coming from an apartment, group home, parent's house, or boarding house and using all manner of transport to get here: walking, bicycle, bus, staff or driving.
One trainee in particular spends almost two hours morning and evening using the bus to come here from the western end of the county. Of the six people who live in the two group homes here at Homefields, one elects to work on the farm.

Helping Homefields
On Saturday August 14th our benevolent landlord and host, Homefields will be having a grounds clean up work session from 8-11am. Anyone who is willing to come and help do basic yard work.

Representatives from the Homefields Board of Directors will also be selling $5.00 raffle tickets for a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Proceeds from the raffle go to upkeep of the entire property.

Attention Golfers: Please consider supporting Homefields by participating in our annual Golf Outing to be held on Friday September 2010 at Crossgates. Information cards will be by the weekly share pick up sign in sheet or you can go to the

Suggestions for the Harvest

Melons: best chilled. Pepper on cantaloupes can be tasty.
Eggplant: Slice and throw on the grill. Brush on a little oil and soy sauce. Or see eggplant parmesan recipe below
Sweet Onions: super for carmelizing, for any onion task, very sweet--keep refrigerated.
Carrots: carrots sticks, pennies or grated for salad, roasted, boiled with butter and brown sugar or maple syrup, curried, carrot soup...the colors will fade when cooked.
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...
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.
Chard or Swiss Chard: sautee, oil, garlic, parmesan etc...use like spinach

--The trick to Eggplant Parmesan is to drain the eggplant slices of excess moisture first, before cooking. We found this recipe recently in the New York Times and adapted it to our taste (olive oil only - no canola oil, and no hard boiled egg slices as the original recipe called for).

Eggplant Parmesan Recipe


  • 2 lbs (about 2 large) eggplants
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • Olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 lbs of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 cup grated high quality Parmesan cheese
  • 1 packed cup fresh basil leaves


1 Cut eggplants lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices. Arrange one layer in the bottom of a large colander and sprinkle evenly with salt. Repeat with remaining eggplant, salting, until all eggplant is in the colander. Weigh down the slices with a couple of plates and let drain for 2 hours. The purpose of this step is to have the eggplant release some of its moisture before cooking.

2 While the eggplant is draining, prepare tomato sauce. Combine tomatoes, garlic and 1/3 cup olive oil in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper to tasted and set aside.

3 When eggplant has drained, press down on it to remove excess water, wipe off the excess salt, and lay the slices out on paper towels to remove all the moisture. In a wide, shallow bowl, combine flour and breadcrumbs. Mix well. Pour beaten eggs into another wide shallow bowl. Place a large, deep skillet over medium heat, and pour in a a half inch of olive oil. When oil is shimmering, dredge the eggplant slices first in the flour mixture, then in the beaten egg. Working in batches, slide coated eggplant into hot oil and fry until golden brown on both sides, turning once. Drain on paper towels.

4 Preheat the oven to 350°F. In the bottom of a 10x15 inch glass baking dish, spread 1 cup of tomato sauce. Top with one third of the eggplant slices. Top eggplant with half of the mozzarella slices. Sprinkle with one third of the Parmesan and half of the basil leaves.

5 Make a second layer of eggplant slices, topped by 1 cup of sauce, remaining mozzarella, half the remaining Parmesan, and all of the remaining basil. Add remaining eggplant, and top with the remaining tomato sauce and Parmesan.

6 Bake until cheese has melted and the top is slightly brown, about 30 minutes. Allow to rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 8.

Enjoy and thank you!


Scott Breneman
Farm Manager

Goodwilll at Homefields Farm

PO Box 38
150 Letort Rd
Millersville, PA 17551

P: 717-871-3110

No comments: