Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Notes from Your Farm

Hello from the farm,

November draws near, as does the end of our regular harvest season. My wife refers to our CSA season here as the "seven month sprint," and it is bittersweet as the crops slow down and the fields are tucked in for the winter under a thick blanket of cover crops. Over the next few weeks we will be cleaning up the remainder of the fields, putting on late cover crops, and getting into making gift boxes for Christmas. Gift box ordering information will be in next week's newsletter.

Final Harvest Week is Nov 11, 12 & 13 (self harvest will follow)

The last straw--Brad tucking in the strawberries for the winter
The last straw--Brad tucking in the strawberries for the winter.

Electric Tractor?

We are looking for a working electric forklift to be used for making a "green tractor"--in this case "green" does not mean John Deere :-) If you could help in getting one donated to us or at low cost it would be much appreciated. The electric tractor would be dedicated to staying ahead of the weeds and add our crops immensely.

Survey Says:

Look for the end of season survey on the table and a box to put it in. We value your thoughts and perspective on the season. As best you can, try to think back over the whole season as you fill it out. The feedback we receive sometimes has large of people saying "more garlic please" and an equal amount of people saying "less garlic please" for example, so we gather all input and do everything we can to please everyone and honor the requests. Thank you for your feedback!

What is Self-Harvest?

After our final harvest season, there is still fun to be had, and tasty veggies to be gleaned from the fields if you would like. Freezing weather will be the limiting factor, but in the past there has been something to glean almost all the way until Christmas. Many of these vegetables laugh at the cold: turnips, beets, cabbage, arugula, cilantro and others.

Squash Dip Recipe

Shareholder Catherine Candiello shared a few wonderful is one of them:

Squash Dip

2 cups cooked butternut squash
3Tbsp. olive oil
1 head roasted garlic
8oz goat cheese
Lemon juice from one lemon, or to taste

Put all of these in a food processor and blend until nice and creamy.

Notes from your Farm Oct 22

Hello from the Farm!

This week finds us without the accompiment of banjo music at lunchtime, no spader running in the fields, and an empty seat at Scott Breneman's desk. Our farm manager is finally taking some time off after the peak of the busy growing season. We miss him this week, but we are so thankful for all the color that Scott brings to the farm everyday, both in spunk and spirit as well as his farming talents that bring us red beets, yellow squash, orange carrots, green beans, blueberries, purple peppers, plus a whole lot more. As his farm crew, we all feel lucky to work for such an inspired farmer. This year he has dreamt up and designed tools for better harvesting, better vegetable processing and better irrigating, not to mention all his efforts that made the acquistion of the new land possible.

In mid-October, we are dividing our time between harvesting and fall clean up. On Monday, Patrick put away all the PYO signs, Brian bundled up irrigation and stowed it away on our new shelves, and the whole team pitched in to spruce up some of the landscape beds. On Tuesday, Matt took down the last of the tomato stakes and Eric worked on drip tape removal. Wednesday found Shawn and Eric in rubber rain suits braving the fog, harvesting root crops, and putting our new bunching tool to good use. Today, Brad and Scott C have been busy harvesting greens.

We still have a few more weeks of harvesting to come, but the last harvest is approaching!

***Our Final Harvest will be November 11, 12 and 13***

Spaghetti Squash Mexicana, from shareholder Robin Beazley
This was a big hit at the potluck!
2 1/2 lb spaghetti squash
1 can refried beans
4 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup salsa
dried oregano
hot sauce
1 red pepper, chopped

Pierce squash with fork several times. Mirowave on hight 15 minutes (6 minutes per pound). Let stand 5 minutes. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and microwave for 4 minutes, stirring once. Halve and discard seeds from squash. Scrape squash from skin with a fork and mix with other ingredients.

Happy Cooking!

Elizabeth Swope, Assistant Farm Manager

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Great News!

Hello from the farm,

Well...outstanding news this week! The adjoining farm on the Millersville side of us, has been slated for development several times over the past ten years. On Saturday, that property was sold at auction, and despite a few tense moments when it looked like a developer would prevail, Homefields was the successful bidder!! There are at least two large reasons to celebrate: one, that the farm as you now know it, will not be surrounded by houses, and two, that we will be able to farm those additional acres as part of a sustainable and healthy farm operation.

The Outcome: The first picture shows our fields surrounded by a development, the second shows us farming the land. Needless to say, we are rejoicing that development threat is gone.

Which future looks better?

The Potluck!

The potluck was a lot of fun, thanks to all of you who made it so. There were somewhere between 140 and 170 people in attendance and everyone had a great time. The day could not have been more beautiful . A huge thank you to Kim and Elizabeth for putting it all together. The band Grandma Shake, was an excellent addition. Thank you Kim for inviting them here.

Serving Suggestions for the Harvest:

Some of the fall crops may be somewhat new to you--here are some suggestions for using

Pumpkins: their flesh and seeds are edible when you are done decorating with them.
Squash: these are great keepers--an easy way to prepare is roast them whole in the oven to soften them so you don't have to hack at them wildly with a sharp instrument, then prepare as desired.
Arugula: this piquant green adds zing to salads or sandwiches.
Cilantro: this is excellent in a sandwich, Asian or Spanish cuisine, with black beans, etc.
Radish: slice thinly, eat on buttered bread, or with a salad, make refrigerator pickles. The big white radish is called "daikon" and hails from Japan where is pickled, grated and used as a side for fried fish, or chunked and cooked in soups and stews.
Beets: great roasted with olive oil and sea salt.
Mizuna: this Japanese mustard green adds complexity to your salad or sandwich.
Turnip: the "Hakurei" variety is a salad turnip--eat it raw--mild and sweet compared to purple type.

Pumpkin Bread--as made and sampled here by Kim Stoltzfus

3 c. sugar
1 c. oil
4 eggs, beaten
16 oz. pumpkin (2 c.)
Kim used Long Island Cheese squash
3 1/2 c. flour
2 t. soda
1 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. allspice
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. cloves
2/3 c. water

Cream together sugar and oil. Add eggs and pumpkin. Sift together dry ingredients and add alternately with water. Grease and flour 2 regular or 2 miniature loaf pans. Pour batter into pans. Bake at 350 for 1.5 hours for larger pans, and 1 hour for small ones. Let stand 10 minutes and remove from pans.

The New Bander

As we go along with each successive season, little tweaks are needed to improve how we do things. Here is a picture of the bander we just made. To bunch radishes, carrots etc, place them on the center of the table and use the foot pedal to open a rubber band around the veggies, then release.
Thank you very much Bob M. for designing it and putting it together!

Matt demonstrates the ease of the bander

Well, before this turns into an epic, thank you for coming to the potluck, supporting what we do, and for celebrating this good news with us.


Scott Breneman
Farm Manager

Goodwill at Homefields Farm