Thursday, August 7, 2014

Gumby returns, monthly tour and more

Summer keeps rolling on and with it the harvests keep changing. The second crop of beans did really well and this may be the last week for them, so savor them while they are around.   The tomatoes and peppers are racheting up a little each week and will go gangbusters in a week or two.

It's different here this week without Elizabeth, the Asst Farm Manager, as she takes some time off. Elizabeth is responsible for training and directing the trainee farmers, bringing in the weekly harvest and making it presentation ready, drip irrigation work, shareholder accounting and much more. Her cheer and steady perserverence are appreciated by everyone on the farm crew.  Thank you Elizabeth, we're glad for all that you do and that you have a chance to step out of the growing season for a bit.  

 A standing ovation of sunflowers greet an otherwise gray morning earlier this week

Dining in the Fields, 2014

Save the date! September 7

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.  

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

Cameron keeps the mower humming along, weeds fear him. Thanks "Dexter" 

Stephanie's Bread of the Week: 
Pretzel Rolls this week at $4/half dozen and $8/dozen. 

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) 

Gumby Makes a Comeback!

Thanks to some astute staff observations and the help of Manor Township Police, the college student party with Gumby is over and he is hanging out with us again. He says he's much happier with us.  He was kind of deflated about having been away.  Next year's blueberry out look is very bright.

Serving Suggestions for the harvest this week:

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?  
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.  

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 waster. 

Your farmers 

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