Thursday, August 26, 2010

Notes from Your Farm Aug 26

Hello from the farm!

Cool nights and shorter days--the fall season approaches. This week: we spotted a pumpkin with some orange on it! mowed down the melon and early crop fields that were finished, had a flat tire on the mower that we run behind the tractor, had the inverter fail on the seeder, found a huge black snake, the second of the season, but only the second snake we've seen here in ten years, did hoeing in the cabbage family field, planted the last of the season's seeds to go in the ground for fall harvest and we will dig the last of the carrots tomorrow. That's some of what goes on here in the space of a few days, but not nearly all of it. Tomatoes are doing great! Here is a recipe for tomato salad:

Marinated Tomato Salad Recipe


  • 5 medium tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/4 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. In a large shallow dish, layer the tomatoes and mushrooms. In a bowl, whisk the oil, vinegar, garlic, parsley and salt. Pour over vegetables. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, turning occasionally. Serve with a slotted spoon.

Colorful Peppers

Lots of Peppers!

The Midway Point:
Although it is almost September, we are only at the half way point for the harvest season. Our season typically ends the second week of November, so a lot of good eating to do yet between now and Thanksgiving. The Farm Fall Potluck will be Saturday October 9th in the evening, with more details as the date draws closer. Have a good week and enjoy!


Scott Breneman
Farm Manager
Goodwilll at Homefields Farm
PO Box 38
150 Letort Rd
Millersville, PA 17551
P: 717-871-3110

Check out our Farm Blog:
Our mission is to support persons with disabilities and other barriers to independence in achieving their fullest potential as workers and as members of the broader community

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Notes from Your Farm August 19

Hello from the farm,

This week we dug the last of the potatoes, and said good-bye to the summer squash. Cucumbers are also fading away, but the peppers, eggplants and tomatoes are building up steam. We will have a lot of tomatoes for this harvest--probably over 1,000lbs of them.

These last few weeks of August are a bit of a lull as the fall crops anticipate maturing in September and October, so your bag or basket will probably bit a bit lighter until the fall crops start kicking in.

The Crop Lifter

We were really pleased yesterday with a trial run of a crop lifter or undercutter. Digging root crops and potatoes has been more and more of a challenge each year. We planted 4,800 feet of carrots this year, which along with rows and rows of potatoes and garlic, translates to quite a lot of digging!
Thanks to help from Butch Bixler and Jim Determan, we were able to make our own fairly easily using mostly what was already around. The "four man shovel" glides underneath the crop and loosens it, and then we still have the satisfaction of pulling the crop from the ground. (minus the shoveling)
Expect a lot more carrots next year :-) Thank you Butch and Jim!

The root crop lifter

The Pick Your Own Field

The pick your own field continues to have some great things in it: don't miss the "sunshine in a fruit" Sungold cherry tomatoes, the zinnias, celosia, and tasty little ground cherries, a fruity-tasting cherry tomato-like fruit in a paper husk and also the hot peppers that are just starting to ripen.

Roasted Eggplant Dip Recipe--Baba Ghanoush
If you tasted the eggplant dip that Kim made last week, you know this is good--serve with veggies and crackers.

Enough small eggplants to equal one pound
2 cloves peeled garlic
salt and olive oil to coat
roast at 350 degrees for 25 minutes
cool, transfer to food processor

1/2c. toasted pine nuts
1/4c. lemon juice
1/3c. sesame tahini
salt and pepper to taste
Process until well mixed

from: How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

Food as Art

Sometimes we stop to marvel at the beauty of the harvest. Kim put this together, and you can see the result:

Beautiful Harvest

Hope you are enjoying the harvest and the final weeks of August. Fall crops ahead. Our final harvest of the season isn't until the second week of November, so enjoy the tomatoes in their glory as autumn and cool season crops approach.


Scott Breneman
Farm Manager
Goodwilll at Homefields Farm
PO Box 38
150 Letort Rd
Millersville, PA 17551
P: 717-871-3110
Check out our Farm Blog:
Our mission is to support persons with disabilities and other barriers to independence in achieving their fullest potential as workers and as members of the broader community

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Notes from Your Farm August 12

Hello from the farm,

The much-needed rain falling today is wonderful--this will help the fall crops along immensely. Although we are able to irrigate some, we don't have enough water or a system big enough to water the whole farm. This week, or maybe next week, will be the largest tomato harvest of the season, after which the plants will gradually slow down as fall draws near. We had a great potato harvest and farm crew effort yesterday resulting in over four hundred pounds of beautiful potatoes.

The peppers are doing well, the tasty Carmen variety, a long bull's horn type, is back this season, while a new type is called Round of Hungary and is shaped like a lobed, flat tomato. Watermelons, cantaloupes, and Galia melons all did very well this year with all of the heat and sunshine, making up for a lackluster performance in last year's wet cloudy weather.

Blue Potatoes

Blue Potatoes--higher in antioxidants than other colors of potatoes, but use just the same in the kitchen
They have a rich nutty flavor.
Rosemary Roasted Blue Potatoes (seasoning adapted from Kalyn’s recipe, noted above; blue potatoes inspired by Lucy of Nourish Me)


1 pound small blue potatoes, unpeeled but washed whole, any sprouts or bruises removed
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons dried rosemary leaves, slightly crushed
1 tablespoon sea salt, slightly crushed


Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Cover bottom of natural finish skillet with heat-resistant handle (cast iron works best) with the oil. Cut potatoes into quarters, add to skillet and toss to coat with oil. Position skillet on middle rack of oven. Roast potatoes for 20 minutes. Turn off oven heat. Stir potatoes and keep them in oven another 10 minutes. Stir potatoes one last time, then transfer to a serving bowl, tossing the rosemary and salt mixture over them. Serves 4 --

To the Farm, from Burma

We're glad to have Law Reh on staff this season at the farm. He grew up and farmed in Burma, and is a calm, skilled, and hard-working presence on the farm. He teaches us Kareni and Burmese words for things and we teach English words and share a lot of chuckles over the intricacies of language. The signs on the vegetables today are in appreciation of Law Reh.

Law Reh, farmer from Burma

Thank You
Special thanks to Law Reh this week for working with ease, skill and intuition.
Thank you Elizabeth, for great work supervising and instructing the
crew of trainees, Kim Stoltzfus for a great job here at the barn with the harvest
and shareholders, and each one of the trainees for hard work and a great attitude
during the heat and humidity of the past weeks.



Scott Breneman

Farm Manager

Goodwilll at Homefields Farm

PO Box 38

150 Letort Rd

Millersville, PA 17551

P: 717-871-3110

Check out our Farm Blog:

Our mission is to support persons with disabilities and other barriers to independence in achieving their fullest potential as workers and as members of the broader community.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Notes from Your Farm August 5

Hello from the farm,

This week we are thinking more about fall--not because of the the cool weather, but because of the shift in the harvest and focusing on planting and caring for things that will ripen in September, October and November. At the end of last week, I planted beans, carrots, cilantro and cucumbers for a fall harvest. The cucumbers and beans are something of a calculated risk, to see if they are able to bear before the frosts hit in early October, but the cilantro and carrots should come through.

Weeds are an ever-present challenge to us, especially with crops that germinate slowly or do not provide a canopy. So what's an organic farmer to do? Well, with 214 weeds seeds per pound of soil typical, and an acre of soil has 4 million pounds of soil, so 856 million weed seeds are handled by a number of methods. Yesterday's method was flaming--using a propane torch backpack, you pass the flame quickly over the soil heating the weed seedlings beforeyour intended crop (carrots) sprouts. Flaming is clean-burning, environmentally friendly and eliminates the tedium of differentiating tiny carrot sprouts from all the weed seedlings that outpace them.

The butternuts, acorn squash and pumpkins look outstanding, and we may see some of them this month yet, or maybe it will be September. Other fall crops to anticipate are: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, radish, salad turnips and many more.

The Taste of Summer Captured in a Simple Salad:

Made last evening, this is my version of a salad that I was served by Mikhail and Anna Zotov, Russian friends who were learning English in Virginia.
Dice and combine in a bowl:
An onion
A few tomatoes
One or two cucumbers
Two cloves of garlic
add black pepper and salt if desired
Add a healthy shot of olive oil, stir and let sit for a while before eating, or refrigerate for later

tomato cucumber salad

Would You Eat This?

We've been having a fungi fascination here at the farm of late, and if you've ever grown corn, you probably responded to the presence of the stuff below with disgust and revulsion, and chucked it out away from the corn. Well "corn smut" it turns out is an edible mushroom. Called Huitlacoche in Mexico, it is considered a valuable delicacy. So knowing that, we just had to try it when we found some on the Indian corn in the pick your own field. How was it? Cooked in a skillet with hot oil and butter, it tasted pretty decent, but not as good as other mushrooms I've cooked in the same manner, but everyone's taste buds vary.

The fungus that ate the farm

For the Calendar:
Homefields Golf Tournament Friday September 17th at Crossgates see
Fall Farm Potluck October 9th