Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hello from the farm,

It's a dry and warm October week at the farm. We are still irrigating as the September rains and hurricane remnants never materialized. This has been a growing season where the calendar and the weather have not been synchronized--like the wet July and dry September, cold May and very warm October. This is farming, so we work with what we have and no two seasons are the same.

This week we have been harvesting and curing sweet potatoes, spreading compost for next year's crops, harvesting more potatoes, bringing up the winter squash, bringing the weeder tool to the farm from the welding shop and just this morning doing some emergency plumbing when the water line at the veggie washing sink broke. The popcorn, cilantro, acorn squash and dill are new this week. We popped some in the microwave here and it did well.

the weeder that we are building for next season is close to completion

Popcorn: our popcorn is very tasty--put oil in heavy bottomed pan and heat up the oil. Put a test kernel in when you think the oil is hot. When that one pops--pour in popcorn enough to cover the pan bottom and shake. Put a lid over the pan--but not tightly, so that steam can escape. Shake the pan as corn pops until popping slows.
(it must be said that everyone seems to have a different method that works for them--and only them, perhaps ;-)

Winter Squash: these hard squash will keep in cool and dry storage for months.

Cilantro: great in a sandwich, soups, salads, recipes from around the world

Dill: great for pickling or with potatoes.

Fall Cabbage family crops: the broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are starting to mature.

"Dessert Turnips": Our pet name for the sweet and mild white Hakurei salad turnips is dessert turnips. These are not your ordinary firm and strong purple top turnips. They are best eaten raw like carrot sticks with or without some kind of dip. Growing up, we had carrot, celery and turnip sticks at holiday meals.

Hakurei turnips (the white ones) Scarlet Queen are red and not as mild as Hakurei

Arugula: Yes, the arugula is back—cheers from all corners. This spicy green's nutty flavor jazzes up a salad or sandwich really well! Use sparingly.
Ornamental/Flour Corn: feel free to shell your corn from the cob sometime and bring the kernels in to grind in the mill that we have here. Run it through once to grind coarsely and then tighten it up and run through again for finer grind for cornmeal for cornbread, cornmeal pancakes, muffins etc.
Sweet Peppers: Notice we didn't say bell peppers. There are other shapes that are sweet, too. Diced sweet pepper is great on a salad, or pepper strips on a relish are sweet and tasty, too. They also freeze well in strips or dices after core and seeds are removed.
Potatoes: Yukon Gold potatoes are the farm favorite for French-fry making, hands down. Potatoes are a wonderful source of nutrients, versatile to cook with, and very satisfying to the eater--they even help you sleep well at night. (Potatoes not Prozac book)
Eggplants: Asian eggplants are mild and sweet; dark Italian types are probably what you grew up with. Slice and put on the grill rubbed with oil, soy sauce, and miso paste. Tasty and easy to use. Chard: Remove the lower portion of the stalk as it is usually tough. Sautee leaves in butter, olive or coconut oil, add salt, and red pepper, top with Parmesian cheese.
Mustard Greens: Known for their pungent flavor, these greens can be added to a salad for a mustardy hot punch, or can be added to soups or stir frys. Flavor mellows when cooked.
Tatsoi: A mild green that is great raw in salad or cooked. We think of it as fall spinach.
Purple Mizuna: a unique mustard green from Japan that has mild flavor and is great in salad for color and flavor. Senposai: has a sweet and tender cabbage like flavor. Makes a great outer wrap for veggie wraps. Use raw or cooked.


Onions: If you have onions remaining at home, they will keep for several months in cool, dark, and dry storage.
Beets: I have fond childhood memories of eating these still warm from being blanched, prior to them being turned into pickled red beets. Great roasted with olive oil, grilled with oil and balsamic vinegar, or grated in salads.
Watermelon: These did better than expected, but not as well as hoped for. A friend from Lancaster South Rotary told me that watermelon growers in Delaware lost 3/4 of their melons. June was cool and cloudy and the honeybees slept in and did not pollinate the watermelon's morning access-only flowers.
Cantaloupes: We hope to have enough for everyone to get some across two or three week's time. A super great taste of summer. Try eating with a just a bit of freshly ground black pepper.
Cucumbers: The crop was really good this year--now finished Cabbage: We'll keep finding a few of these over the next couple of weeks. Cut into wedges and serve with a sprinkle of salt, make sauerkraut.
Summer squash/Zucchini: These are finished as well (some people cheer) stir fry, grate and use for zucchini bread or freeze for later.
Beans: The beans did well, and there is a chance we will have fall beans as well! Scallions: Goodbye until next year.
Broccoli: An awesome broccoli crop this year--will be back in the Fall.
Bok choi and Napa: These have run their course and we will see them again in October and November--a great time to make kimchee with the cool weather.

We hope you are enjoying the bounty of fall,

Your farmers

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