Thursday, August 16, 2012

Hello from the farm,

Your farmers have been both dodging and working in the rain this week, often using the rainy times to work on preparing onions, garlic and tomatoes, and readying seed garlic for October planting.  This week is different as we are working without the cheerful capability of Elizabeth, who is taking a week off the farm after the long spring and summer farming marathon.  One of the trainees said this morning "this the last day that I have to work without Elizabeth being here," so her return is anticipated.

Sweet potato roots attached to their long morning glory-like vine.  They are in the same Ipomea family 

We've also been working on weeds, our perpetual antagonist, and taking up the layer of mulch film that allowed us to grow such nice onions once again.  We managed to get some arugula seeded before the rain made the soil too gooey once again. For all of you sweet potato lovers, a preliminary check indicates that we might be looking at a good harvest this fall--we are due for one.

Fox 43 featured one of farmers, Brian, in a Day in the Life spotlight on Sunday evening.  You can see this online at:    Thank you to shareholder Bill Speakman of Fox 43 for contacting us and doing such a nice job of capturing what goes on here.

Homefields Wants Your Help with the New Land

Homefields, which hosts both the CSG and residential programs on its land, is looking for funds and pledges for its fundraiser for the new land.  They need  to raise $250,000 to be able to hold onto this land which represents the future of the farm program.  Can you pledge 250,000?  Most likely not, but as many hands make light work, would you consider pledging 40 dollars a month for three years?  If each shareholder family would pledge 40 dollars per month for three years, that would raise the entire amount needed.  For more information go to  or email

There are some neat varieties of hot peppers down in the pick your own field.  They can be used green or at their ripe color. The heat index in ascending order:

Hot Paper Lantern (Habanero)
Tabasco (not pictured, not ripe yet)

Use gloves when processing hot peppers--I learned the hard way a few years ago with spicy hot contact lens in my eyes and pepper-burned hands.

Q:  When I purchase a farm share does that go to Homefields? 
A:  No, the farm program is operated by Goodwill and the farm share money goes for seeds, supplies, trainee and staff wages and operating costs.  Homefields is a benevolent non-profit land owner that invites both Goodwill and CSG (residential program) to operate here. 

Suggestions for the Harvest:

Watermelon: watermelon time. Both the orange flesh Orangeglo and Red fleshed Sangria are sweet, flavorful and refreshing.
Cantaloupe/Muskmelon:  we may have some more of these this week, we spotted a pocket with some more ripe ones.
Storage Onions:  the red and white onions are storage onions for the pantry.  Great for burgers or whatever.
Sweet Onions: carmelize in a fry pan with lots of butter...tasty! Not a storage onion-use within a week or two.
Sweet Peppers: great for salads or fried with onions and garlic.
Potatoes: Slice for chips and fry in peanut oil or cut for fries. Super tasty. My favorite summer treatment is a Lebanese style potato salad with just olive oil and herbs.
Carrots: soon coming to an end.
Eggplant: coat with oil and soysauce and grill, or bread them and fry.
Chard: use in lieu of spinach in babaganoush, salads,
Scallions: these mild onions are great anywhere onion is needed.  Scallion season is soon finished.
Cucumber and Zucchini: we may have a few this week as they fade away.

husk tomatoes:  peel the paper off and pop in your mouth for a pineappley treat.
hot peppers:  pick green or wait for the ripe red color with more fruitiness.  Slice in half and fill with cream cheese and bacon bits, add grated cheese.
Stevia: try this non-glycemic sweet leaf in lieu of sugar.  one small leaf sweetens a cup of coffee.
Lemon grass: cut a few leaves for your Thai style cooking
Sungold cherry tomatoes: these fruity acetylene orange bites are ripe when deep orange

Habanero Pepper Jelly


  • 8 half pint canning jars with lids and rings
  • 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 6 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup minced red bell pepper
  • 15 habanero peppers, seeded and minced
  • 2 (3 ounce) pouches liquid pectin


  1. Stir the vinegar and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat until the sugar has dissolved, then stir in the carrot and red bell pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer 5 minutes. Add the habanero peppers and simmer 5 minutes longer. Pour in the pectin, and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Skim and discard any foam from the jelly.
  2. Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Pour the jelly into the hot, sterilized jars, filling the jars to within 1/4 inch of the top. Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food residue. Top with lids, and screw on rings.
  3. Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then carefully lower the jars into the pot using a holder. Leave a 2 inch space between the jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot, and process for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the jars from the stockpot and place onto a cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool. Once cool, press the top of each lid with a finger, ensuring that the seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all).

Hope you are enjoying the harvest, thanks for being a part of this farm, 

Your farm crew 

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