Thursday, July 14, 2011

Notes from Your Farm

Thurs: 3-7
Fri 11-7
Sat 9-1

Cool morning air and sunshine wash over the fields this morning as we get into another harvest. July is an excitingly abundant month as the summer crops kick and the spring crops fade away. We're excited about carrots, as carrots fresh from the farm have a great flavor and crispness, and the cantaloupes are also starting to ripen--you may see some of them today, if not, definitely next week.

Farming Fun and the Art of Failure: 

I'm sure there are other endeavors in which you can do everything right and the results are far below what you expected, but farming is great way to have fabulous failures.  Many of these are critter related.  A few years ago some very active mice ate almost all of our pricey pepper transplants in the greenhouse--they love the seed.  The deer really get a kick out of eating off  the edamame (green soybeans) when they are about five inches tall.  The deer also relish mowing off sweet potato vines--you'll notice we are not growing them this year because feeding deer is not our priority.  In spite of using deer tape, hot pepper solution, and garlic juice repellents, the animals love to come out of woods for our organic produce. Other crops are finicky in requirements for sprouting: too hot or too cold soil,  or inadequate moisture keeps crops like spinach, carrots, parsnips and beets from germinating. In spite of this we still blessed with lots of good harvests, so we persevere with joy.

Serving Suggestions for the Harvest: 
carrots:  eat fresh, roast in oven, boil and add maple syrup and butter
beans: great boiled, pan fried, oven roasted, raw in salad--purple ones turn green when heated.
garlic: great in everything
cucumbers: great plain, salads, sandwiches, cucumber salad, see recipe below.
zucchini: grate and freeze for zucchini bread and cookies, stir fry, raw in salads.
cabbage: raw in wedges with a touch of salt, cabbage soup, salad--see recipe below for spicy cabbage salad--it is very simple and delicious
scallions: use in salad, or anywhere onions are appreciated.

Scott’s Simple but Super Cuke Salad

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 a healthy shot of olive oil, stir and let sit for a while before eating, or refrigerate for later
--add black pepper and salt if desired

Lorena’s Spicy Cabbage Salad(adapted from the Extending the Table cookbook)
Half of a cabbage, sliced fine
Half of a medium onion, sliced
½ cup cider vinegar
1 T. oil
1 1/2t. salt
1 t. black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 ½ t. sugar
1/8 t. cayenne pepper or more as desired—(I used 1 ½ t. last time and it was hot!—Scott)
½ c. of chopped peanuts
Combine everything except peanuts and marinate at room temp for 30 minutes or more. Top with peanuts, chill and serve.  --from Lorena Breneman, farmer's wife

Thank You:
Thank you this week to Homefields, for being the founder of the farm, and hosting both the residential and farm programs here.  Thank you Kim Stoltzfus, for being the smile that many shareholders meet when they come to the farm, and for the neatly-done distribution area and herb beds.  Thank you to the Goodwill Foundation for funding the bulk of the new tractor that will be used for tilling the additional land with a chisel plow, running the transplanter without difficulty, cultivating maturing crops all the way throught their season to stay ahead of the weeds, and for ergonomic harvesting of crops in a farm crew-friendly way. Thank you very much for supporting our mission now and for helping to equip us for the years ahead.

Scott Breneman
Farm Manager  

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