Thursday, July 10, 2014

Notes from Your Farm: Henry Ford and Harry Ferguson, amaranth

Hello from the farm, 

Not to sound like a farmer, but boy it is dry! We sure could use some rain.  We spent a lot of time drip irrigating in the last week, which "caused" it to rain a tenth the other night, but hot windy days around 90 degrees steal a lot of moisture.   

The farm crew is going great beans.  If you've ever picked beans you know it takes considerable effort and time to amass a sizeable quantity of them.  Now imagine picking about 240 pounds of beans. That is exactly what the farm crew did. Whew! and Wow! 

Henry Ford and Harry Ferguson visit the farm

We received a message from Dave in Holtwood this week who wanted to donate a tractor to the farm program.  This iconic 1939 Ford carries the manufacturing wisdom of Henry Ford who wished to make the tractor available and affordable for everyday folk,  and Harry Ferguson the Irish inventor who developed the modern 3 point hitch system.  His hitch system patent provided for attaching farm equipment safely and effectively to the back of a tractor.  
Prior to Ferguson's design, tractors would often flip over backwards if the disk or plow struck an immovable object.  Seventy-five years later, all tractors still employ Ferguson's design.  We are very grateful to you Dave, thank you.  Thank you very much to good friend Ed Kelly for hauling it here last night. 

 Pick Your Own field Update:
Every year we grow a host of standard items in the pick your own field that have done well and that we know people appreciate a lot.  We also put in some trial and experimental things to see how they do.  This year some of the more eclectic things include: amaranth, quinoa, and peanuts among others.  

Please wait to pick things in the herb beds and Pick Your Own field until you see it listed on the Pick Your Own/Herb boards, so things reach the correct height, stage or maturity.

If we've overlooked something, please let us know!! :-) 
 We've been debating this week whether to call the Pick Your Own field "Swope Field or Coble Field," both Elizabeth and Cameron have done a mighty lot to make it what it is.  
 Grain Amaranth, food of the Aztecs is high in lysine and free of gluten.

Basil: cut only the top third of stems to allow for regrowth.


Serving Suggestions for the harvest this week:

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.  
Kohlrabi: 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.  
 Green, Yellow and Purple Beans: Frozen beans taste pretty good until you eat some of our beans and your perspective changes.  The purple ones are equally delicious--if you want to preserve the purple color, don't cook them--they turn green when heated.  The purple ones look awesome in a salad. 

For cooking fresh beans--bring to a boil in a bit of water, then turn to low and cook until just tender. 

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.  See cool cucumber recipe below

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: 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. 
Kale: same situation as the broccoli, it is not faring well with the heat. 
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.  

Farmer Kim’s Cucumber Raita

2 cups plain Greek yogurt
2 cups cubed, unpeeled cucumbers
1 clove garlic, diced
4 sprigs fresh mint, chopped
1 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp golden raisins
Freshly ground black pepper

See you soon, 

Your farmers

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