Thursday, September 18, 2014

Chill in the air, Edamame, Fruit and Focus

Hello from the farm,

We're enjoying the chill in the air on these fine farm mornings, continuing to unearth potatoes, harvest and cure winter squash, prepare seed garlic for planting for 2015, and put fields to rest with cover crops for the winter.

We had a nice visit yesterday in the form of Goodwill Keystone's CEO Ron, and some guests from Goodwill International, who took delight in our "outdoor office" that is the farm and the work we do.

The edamame wall is growing taller and taller. (wait is that someone buried in the edamame moutain?) 

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 during the cold and bleak period.

Fruit and Focus
Over the past fifteen seasons we've experimented with growing all kinds of things ranging from kiwis to Asian pears, jujubes, goumis, pawpaws, pomegranates, mushrooms, rice, colored cotton, peanuts and papayas.  While putting experimental annual crops in the Pick Your Own field is a yearly success that keeps us all intrigued and taste buds delighted at times, we've found that growing tree fruit is not usually our best and highest calling.  The methodology, timing, harvest and equipment are much different than for vegetable growing.  
We were glad when North Star Orchard asked to make their fruit share available here, because they obviously are well-equipped for tree fruit production and it shows in their fruit quality.  We do strawberries, blueberries, watermelons and cantaloupes well, and that's where our efforts will bear the most fruit, pun intended.  Do look for Asian pears and pawpaws and the occasional persimmons from us, they are better suited for our farm than other tree fruit.

 Our Farm Monarch, Mona, hatched out this week from her chrysalis

Mona sings the praises of hyacinth beans. 

Serving Suggestions for the harvest this week:

Edamame:  also known as green soybeans, these tasty little beans are an appetizer, snack or post-meal treat in Japan that have become highly appreciated here as well. 
How to prepare: pull beans from the stalk, which you can do here if you like, put pods into boiling salted water.  Boil for about seven minutes, drain and then sprinkle salt over the pods to serve.  It's great fun for adults and children alike to pop the beans from the pod into your mouth by squeezing.

Winter squash:  firm winter squash are great for baking, "pumpkin" pie, faux spaghetti noodles in the case of spaghetti squash or halved and baked in the oven with butter and maple syrup and/or brown sugar.  The acorn and delicata squash we are harvesting now are not types intended for long storage. Use within a week or two for best results.  (The Long Island Cheese squash and butternuts that will be harvested later on are the best keepers, which is why they are at the tail end of things). 

Potatoes: We really like the Yukon Gold for making farm fries.  How difficult is it?  Not difficult at all.  Cut taters into fries, put in pot of heated oil--we like peanut oil, and fry until golden brown. The Red Pontiac is a great all around variety as is the stunning Purple Viking.  The diminutive dynamo French Fingerlings are a delight also and chefs clamor for them because of their flavor and texture.  
Red River and Sterling White Onions: both of these are good storage onions and are desirable for just about any purpose. 
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. 
Tomatoes: the tomato plants are starting to contemplate fall.   Look for the harvest to slowly decrease as fall approaches.  Mmm, tomato and cheese sandwich anyone?  
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.  They are slowing down as the days grow shorter. 


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.  We found a few more. 
Watermelons and cantaloupe: it was nice melon run, but sooner or later, we knew they'd be done.  We hope you enjoyed them as much as we did.  
Cucumbers:  these are finished for this season, we're sad to see them go. 
Carrots: 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. We will miss the fresh taste of farm carrots, it's just not the same getting them from the store. 
Summer Squash:  add raw to salads, steam lightly, or stir-fry. Don't overcook unless you like soft consistency. 
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. 
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.  

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