Thursday, August 14, 2014

Dining in the Fields September 7 for Homefields, soaking rain

Hello from the farm!

The steady soaking rain this week was a blessing in many ways. We spend great quantities of time and effort concentrating on planting, weeding and harvesting, all of them high priority outdoor endeavors.   When the soaking rain arrives, it gives us license to work indoors on greenhouse organizing, prepping storage crops like onions and garlic and generally putting things in order that have taken a back seat. It's a welcome change of pace. 

The rain was also a boon to the newly planted seeds for fall including green beans, beets, cilantro, arugula and radishes. With a long soaking rain, germination of these seeds is almost guaranteed
The sweet peppers are picking up a lot of momentum as are the tomatoes. You'll see them abundantly this harvest :-)  

 Amaranth is an interesting crop to observe and has ornamental value too.  

September 7th  is Approaching:   Dining in the Fields, 2014

 Homefields, the organization that founded and owns the farm and land, is putting together the 2nd annual Dining in the Fields event for September.  The meal will showcase the food grown here at the farm as presented by chefs Steve and Barb. 

 Stay connected as they fine-tune the menu, seeing what seasonal organic crops rise to the occasion as we approach the date. Facebookemail , and check out past sponsors, menu, and more here.  Proceeds go to Homefields for the adjoining farm land that they secured for future vegetable growing.

 Did we mention that the onions went gangbusters this year?  These are Red River Onions, great tasting and a superb storage onion to boot.

Goodwill at Homefields Farm is on Facebook: 
Check out our antics, glamour veggie photos, quips, goofy fun and more at:

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) 


Serving Suggestions for the harvest this week:

Red River Onions: cooking up some burgers or making a mean sandwich or salad? This red variety is both beautiful and delicious.  It stores very well, for months and months, something that the Walla Wallas are not capable of doing. 

Sweet Peppers:  whether green, yellow, orange, red, or purple. bell shaped or horn shaped, we'll have a sweet pepper for you. Our perennial favorite is Carmen, a lipstick red bull's horn type sweet pepper. 

Watermelon: our favorite watermelon is orange.  Orange?  Yep, that's right. The Orangeglo variety is great flavored and very sweet.  The rind is edible too, see my tasty watermelon rind pickle recipe below

Cantaloupe:  our best suggestion for cantaloupe is to eat it. It seems like the best-tasting cantaloupe we've ever grown.

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?  

Potato: 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.  We also have Eva, a tasty white potato with a great texture. 

Garlic: it is so nice to have fresh garlic. We're not sure why, but our garlic did extremely well for us this year. Our neighbor planted the same type garlic and it didn't fair so well. We're not sure why it did exceptionally well, so we'll just be glad.
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. 

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.  

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: Probably the final harvest for these. 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. May return for fall. 


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.  May return in autumn. 
Beets:  these are good roasted or grated raw in a salad. For more work :-) look up a borscht recipe online.  Hope to see again in fall. 
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. 
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.  

Watermelon Rind Pickle Recipe--adapted from

  • Rinds from 1/2 of a large watermelon, prepared as described below
  • 4 cups vinegar (white, apple cider, or white wine would all be good — I used regular white distilled vinegar this time)  (farmer used cider vinegar)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1/3 cup of kosher salt
  • shake of ground mustard (farm addition)
  • shake of ground dill farm (farm addition)
  • 1 star anise (farm addition)
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1. Prepare the rind. If you slice your watermelon into 1-inch slices, that will make prep easy. You want to end up with roughly one-inch chunks for your pickles. Try to leave at least 1/4 inch of the pink watermelon flesh on the rind — this adds nice flavor and really pretty color to your brine. You need to take off the outer green layer of rind. It was really easy to do this by using a regular vegetable peeler to remove the green parts. Do this, and you’re left with slices that look like this:
Peel Watermelon Rind
After you’ve got the slices peeled, then just cut them into roughly 1 to 1.5 inch cubes. TIP: The areas of the rind that have turned yellow are much tougher than the green areas. Avoid using this part, or, if you choose to use the yellow part of the rind, forego the vegetable peeler and use a paring knife instead; you’ll have to remove more of the rind to get down to the softer white part.
Set your cubes aside while you make your brine.
Bowl of Peeled Watermelon Rinds

To make the brine, just add your vinegar, water, sugar and salt to a pan that will be large enough to accommodate the brine plus all of your watermelon rinds. Bring this to a boil, stirring regularly to help dissolve the sugar and salt.
Once the brine has reached a boil, add your watermelon rind and bring the mixture up to a boil again. Let it boil for about a minute, then remove it from the heat. Add your cinnamon and red pepper flakes, and let the mixture sit and cool for an hour or so.
Once the mixture is cool enough to handle safely, add the pickles to jars or other containers, adding enough of your brine to cover the pickles completely. Store them in the refrigerator. You can eat them as soon as they’re cool, if you want (and I did….) but they’re even better if the flavors are allowed to meld a bit overnight.
These pickles will keep for about a month. Please note that these are not pantry storage pickles — they need to be kept in the refrigerator and eaten within a fairly short amount of time.
These were SO good. And you can really mess with the recipe quite a bit. I wanted something fast, and many of the traditional recipes recommend making the brine, soaking the rind in it overnight, and then doing a hot water bath process so you can store them in the pantry. I may try that later on. You can also play quite a bit with the spices:

These are quite good, and a great to use something that would otherwise go to waste. 

Enjoy the summer bounty, 

Your farmers 

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