Thursday, July 31, 2014

Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death, Monthly farm tour, are stinkbugs edible and more.

The surprisingly cool temperatures have been a joy to work in this week-- it made me think of the story of the year 1816: "Eighteen-hundred and froze to death" or the Year without a Summer," a story in which truth is stranger than fiction.  
Due to low solar activity and a succession of volcanic eruptions including Mount Tambora in current day Indonesia, there was ice on lakes and rivers as far south as Pennsylvania during the summer, crops froze and failed all around the world causing massive famines and migrations of people.  Killing frosts took out people's crops even in August.

We're grateful that there is no volcanic dust winter occurring this summer, and most likely it will be hot and muggy again before Fall.  :-)  

It's bean a good harvest, we're glad to have a second planting of beans! 

Monthly Farm Tour: 
Want to get a behind the scenes look at the workings of the farm? There is a monthly farm tour on the 1st Tuesday of the month at 9am.  If you are planning to attend, please email  Tour lasts approximately 30 minutes. 
No tours during Dec/Jan/Feb due to Volcanic winter, ok, just joking about the Volcanic part) 

Homefields Presents Pressure Canning with Lisa Sanchez! 


Pressure canning

Saturday, August 2, 10:00 a.m.
Goodwill at Homefields’ Farm
150 Letort Road, Millersville, PA
Lisa Sanchez, Park Naturalist with Lancaster County Parks, will demonstrate pressure canning. Because there is a fee associated with County Park speakers, we will be asking for assistance from participants in the form of a $5 attendance fee collected at the door.
Email or call 717.872.2012 for more information. Please provide your name and phone number.
*Be sure to ask Lisa if stink bugs are edible* :-) 

 Your farmers can always find something to smile about. Here it's the onion deluge or maybe some friendly banter...

 Uh oh, look what happens when you plant ten thousand innocent little onion starts back in April!  They are in the greenhouse to cure for a week or two out of the rain.  

Serving Suggestions for the harvest this week:

Tomatoes: the tomato harvest is beginning in earnest.  Look for it to build to a peak in a few weeks and then slowly descend as fall approaches.  Mmm, tomato and cheese sandwich anyone?  
Sweet Peppers:  whether green, yellow, orange, red, or purple. bell shaped or horn shaped, we'll have a sweet pepper for you, probably quite a few, in the weeks to come.  This week they are purple or green.

this week we are harvesting Red Gold potatoes in addition to Evas.  They have a smooth texture that potato experts refer to as "waxy"  Red Golds are red-skinned with yellow flesh.  
Garlic: it is so nice to have fresh garlic. For maximum health benefit, cut and let stand for about 10 minutes to oxidize and thereby form the beneficial compounds. Not just super tasty, garlic also is known for reducing blood pressure, heart disease and cholesterol.

carrots are really good roasted in the oven with some coconut, olive or peanut oil. Of course they are also good as carrot sticks or in salads. 
Beets:  these are good roasted or grated raw in a salad. For more work :-) look up a borscht recipe online. 
Walla Walla Sweet Onions: Mmm, what could be better than carmelized Walla Walla sweet onions?  Take a heavy frying pan, put in a big pat of butter (the pendulum now has swung in butter's favor)  and a whole mess of sliced onions and fry medium low stirring every five minutes or so until golden brown. Wow.  Then, put on top of fried egg and cover with your favorite cheese and broil.  Perfection! 
Eggplants:  We really like the long slender Asian type eggplants! They are user friendly, mild and great for grilling with soy sauce, miso etc on the grill or use in any recipe that calls for eggplant--in short, treat them the same as the Italian "bell-type" eggplants.  

: sort of a mini-broccoli little crunchy dude, these are tasty raw and taste kind of like mild sweet broccoli. Usually eaten raw.  Some people peel away the outer layer.  I ate one this morning unpeeled and enjoyed it.  
 Cucumbers!:  while most people don't usually drool over cucumbers, maybe they should over these. We don't like to boast, but these cucumbers are fabulous. Check out the Poona Kheera cucumber from India--they are golden brown when ripe, very crisp and juicy and never bitter. A real winner. 

Summer Squash:  add raw to salads, steam lightly, or stir-fry. Don't overcook unless you like soft consistency.

Scallions: These mild-mannered onion family folks give an easy onion flavor to salads, sandwiches, stir fries and more.  Or you could do the old classic buttered bread and sliced scallion treat: my grandparents talked a lot about enjoying them in spring.  "A good spring tonic" says my 101 year old grandma. 


Greens: these succumbed to the heat, with the exception of chard which continue to grow through the summer heat. We like to fry these in a skillet with butter or coconut oil until crisp, add some onions and saute them as well--a superb topping for rice, fried eggs or stand alone too.
Broccoli: Broccoli is dicey as a spring crop and the heat has made it flower and diminished its quality--look for a new crop in fall. 
Garlic scapes: we hope you enjoyed the delightful flavor of these. In a couple of weeks the garlic bulbs will be ready! 
Lettuce heads: these have run their course and are stretching skyward--a precursor to bolting--flowering to make seed. 
Lettuce mix--the leaves have given it their all and are now finished.  
Green garlic: this is garlic harvested before the base swells and becomes a bulb. It has a milder flavor than bulb garlic and can be used anywhere garlic is called for. Keep refrigerated as you would green onions/scallions. 
Cilantro: this herb has run its life cycle and is "bolting" or going to seed.  

Thank You: Thank you to farm staff and trainees for a job well-done. You have planted seeds, placed transplants, watered and weeded, and brought the harvest to fruition.  Your good labors are evidenced by the heaps of onions, racks of garlic, baskets of potatoes and much more.   Thank you Bob for making beautiful and useful wooden shelves and rack for keep our boots and tools at hand. Thank you Butch for countless repair runs and fixes when things aren't functioning quite as they should.  

Thank you for being a part of the farm, we hope you are enjoying the harvest.   

Your farmers 

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