Thursday, October 2, 2014

Fall time is Fair Time: Lampeter and Solanco Fair

Hello from the farm,


This week we welcome the official arrival of autumn.  We are finishing up the ornamental corn harvest, getting the now retired melon patch ready for cover crops, and enjoying some of the most splendid days of the year. Fall is the season of change, and we are so happy for a big change from the dry spell we have been having. Today's much needed rain is a gift to all of our fall crops, including the kale which should be returning to the harvest soon.  It had been a long time since we needed our rain gear, and we happily suited up for this soggy day.

Fall time is Fair Time:
When the air turns cool, the corn stalks turn brown, and the pumpkins are showing patches of orange as you drive around the county, it is fair time.  Going to the agricultural fairs has been a yearly happening in my family since I could fit in a stroller.  The closest fairs to the farm are probably the Solanco and Lampeter fairs.  They harken back to the times when people grew a lot of their own food, raised livestock, and had close connections to farms and farmers even if they didn't live on a farm of their own.  
Each year we would gather pecans, hicans, chestnuts, hickories, English walnuts and Black Walnuts that grew on our farm to take to the fair, and sometimes we would also take grain, hay and silage, while my Mom would bake her locally famous Black Walnut cake and also shoo-fly pie that people would go crazy for at the baked goods auction after the judging was completed.  You can also walk the fairgrounds and see cows, sheep, goats, pigs, and find all sorts of delicious fair food--amazing fries, funnel cakes, sausage sandwiches and the like.  The antique tractors bring back memories and the tractor pull events are neat to watch as well. The Lampeter Fair is this week Sept 24, 25 and 26 if you want to check it out.  --Farmer Scott 

That's no partridge in our pear tree

 Farmer Law Reh shows us how to pick Asian pears.  This hard working farmer is instrumental in the harvest each week. His smile can be seen all over the farm and he never misses a chance to get his fellow farmers to laugh out loud. Thank you Law Reh!

 Hot Pepper Time
Don't miss the Hot Paper Lantern Habaneros and other hot peppers that are coming to fruition in the Pick Your Own field.  

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 Nut Stuffed Acorn Squash, from Simply in Season
2 or 3 acorn squash
1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tart apples, chopped
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs or cooked brown rice
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
6-8 dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup raisins, dried cranberries, or currants
1/4 cup nuts, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon each dried thyme, sage, oregano
dash of pepper
To prepare the squash:  Cut squash in half and remove seeds and strings. Place cut side down on a lightly greased baking sheet with sides.  Bake at 350 degrees until almost soft but not mushy, 40-50 minutes.
To prepare the stuffing:  In a large frying pan saute onion, celery and garlic in 1 Tbsp oil until onion is translucent.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Stuff into cooked squash, cover and bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes

Serving Suggestions for the harvest this week:

Potatoes: Look for the latest arrival in our potato ensemble, the Fingerling Red French Potato.  This petite heirloom has a delicate rose colored skin, with a creamy yellow flesh inside.  Cooking brings out it's nutty and buttery flavor.  There are so many ways to enjoy potatoes!  One suggestion: boil until just soft, and then toss them in a pan with sauteed onion, peppers and garlic and season with rosemary. 
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). 
Red River Onions: a good storage onion and 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.  

Thank you for your support of this farm!  You are our chefs and we love hearing all of the creations you whip up in your kitchen with the veggies grown right here on our farm.  

Your farmers,
Scott, Law Reh, Kim and Elizabeth

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