Thursday, November 13, 2014

peanut harvest, looking back at the season

Hello from the frosty farm on this final harvest week.  This week we are planting garlic for next season. Garlic is the only vegetable that we plant in the fall.  We break each bulb into the six or so cloves and plant each clove base-down in the soil. Over the winter the little guy puts down roots and then begins to grow flat leaves in the spring and bulks up in time for a July garlic bulb harvest.  
A neighbor planted much of the farm with our cover crops for us in preparation for the winter, and we are harvesting some of the surprises that we mentioned would be found in this final week.

Due to the cold, the farm crew is not spending as much time in the water rinsing vegetables, so you may want to give some of your produce a little more rinsing than usual.  

We got out our shovels and headed for the doubtful looking experimental peanut plot and this is what we found....peanuts!

 Surprise!  Elliott holds up a peanut plant

Looking Back at the Season:
"No two seasons the same" we like to say here on the farm. This year started off with the polar blast and the coolness never seemed to really leave, giving us very comfortable weather to farm in.  This is the first year that Tabasco peppers didn't ripen for us because they didn't get enough heat.  The landmark willow tree was removed because of its decline, our tractor suffered a broken frame but was deftly put back together thanks to "Doc Flanagan" of Flanagan Welding, strawberries did really well even though they ripened much later than usual thanks to the coolth :-).

Gumby was an awesome blueberry patch protector until some college students swiped him much to our chagrin--they apparently didn't realize what we had him for, a generous friend donated every little boy's storybook tractor, the 1939 Ford 9N, harvests of our standard crops went really well including those awesome red Carmen sweet peppers, watermelons, cantaloupes, tomatoes, Sungolds, Dragon carrots, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, squashes, pumpkins and more.  It was really neat to see the pawpaw and jujube trees come into bearing age, and the Asian pears turned in an excellent year as well.  
For farm staff it a finely-honed team of veterans including Elizabeth, Law Reh and Kim each experts "out standing in their field). Elizabeth fielded the group of trainees, field and harvest operations and shareholder accounting, Law Reh was lead worker and specialized in tomato tying, harvesting and equipment operations, Kim shined with harvest details in the distribution area. Thanks to each of you for making it all function!  
The trainees, about fourteen different ones this season, did greenhouse seeding, transplanting, landscaping and mulching, hoeing and hand weeding in the vegetables, harvesting veggies and washing them, boxing them, and displaying them for you on the harvest shelves. Thank you Brad, Scott C, Elliot, Cameron, John, Brian B, Brian M, Del, Christina, Matt, Patrick and others who came out to pitch in here and there.

Thank you to helping hands coming out the woodwork, Butch for countless plumbing, electrical and mechanical repairs, Tom for farm infrastructure and counsel, Bob for repairs and improvements including the powered weeder and the boot rack, Flanagan Welding for donated time and materials and you as a farm member for making the farm program possible. 

Gleaning the Fields begins the Week of November 24th. You'll receive an email with more details about how to proceed.

Here come the daikon.  Daikon, which is Japanese for "the best one" or the "biggest one," is hugely popular is Japan and is used to make pickles, salads and kimchi to name a few things.  In the West, in addition to its food uses, we also use it as a cover crop.  Its rapid growth chokes out little weeds and its taproot goes down as far as 7 feet, loosening the soil in "bio-bulldozer" fashion and bringing up minerals from the deep subsoil. It's a winner all around.  Enjoy. We like it best for kimchi here at the farm. 

A Farm-style gift for staff, employees, clients, and anyone who enjoys Lancaster County goodies;

We are getting ready to make and sell gift boxes for Christmas. Local yummy contents include apple butter, Peanut Butter pretzels, College Coffee Roasters coffee and Wilbur Buds.

Small Box 18.95

Large Box 24.95 (adds a half-pound coffee bag and pear butter)

To order:  email us with your order by December 5th or give us a call.  Check or cash at pickup is preferred, but we can process credit cards if you prefer. Pickup is Dec 16 and 17 8:30-4:00 unless other arrangements have been made. 

 Going Great Greens 
Surveys and the end of the harvest season
Please take a few minutes to fill out a farm survey.  We will have them available on the sign in table during these final weeks.  Your feedback will help us to grow and improve the farm for next year.
Greater Gifts for Homefields: want to see your dollars do double duty?  By giving to Homefields on the ExtraGive day Friday November 21st, your gift will be amplified by matching funds and prizes from the Lancaster County Community Foundation.  Thanks for thinking of Homefields.  See|
Proceeds benefit Homefields Inc. for the new land.

Suggestions for the harvest:
Peanuts: this is a new one for us and we have a few dozen plants, so it will be a choice among other items. If you choose to get a peanut plant, you should allow it to dry in warm open air somewhere indoors.  When the shells feel dry and brittle, test one peanut to see if the skins are dry.  If so, try a peanut. You'll probably want to roast them in the oven for best flavor.

Celeriac:  This is a cousin of celery, you can see that the leaves look like celery leaves.  Use the leaves in lieu of celery and use the root too--IF it is big enough to use.  They didn't seem to develop much of a root.

Daikon: mentioned above with the picture.  Use as you would a regular radish, or for kimchi, stew and soup, salad, or try a pickling recipe.  

Napa Cabbage: use like lettuce, or make kimchi, my favorite use for it.  (It turns a fridge-full of napa into a quart container of kimchi :-)  See recipe below

arsnip: what did you think of the parsnips?  Great roasted with beef or in a root crop bake, as in roasted sweet potato, potato, parsnip and onion in the oven with olive or coconut oil until carmelized.
Funky Black Radishes: these iconic winter-loving radishes make a great salad.  See the recipe at the top of the page if you missed it. 
Napa Cabbage:  great for making Kimchee and Asian coleslaw.
Long Island Cheese squash: along with butternut squash this is one of the best tasting and best keeping winter squash and has been our favorite here at the farm for many seasons. 
Bok Choi: this Asian cabbage shines in a Japanese or Chinese stir fry, great with soy sauce, sesame oil, peanuts, garlic, garlic, ginger.  Well-suited to peanut butter sauce and/or chicken dishes.
Popcorn: homemade popcorn from our fields is just the thing for cool fall evenings.  Everyone seems to have a slightly different technique for popping popcorn but here is what works for me:
-shell the popcorn by rubbing two ears together. 
-winnow the chaff out by pouring from one pan to another in the breeze outside. (optional, the chaff doesn't seem to hurt anything)
--store in sealed container in the freezer until ready to use. 
-heat oil in a pan to cover the bottom generously
-throw in a test kernel or two
-when they pop, pour enough popcorn in to cover the bottom of the pan plus a little more, stir well to coat with oil, put lid over top of pan, allowing steam to escape, and keep shaking on high heat until popping slows considerably. Remove from heat, salt and eat! 
Pumpkin: Do you have a pumpkin lurking?   Yes, they edible, especially the tasty seeds when roasted in the oven with some oil or butter.  The pumpkin is not nearly as tasty as butternut squash, which is what is really contained in a can of so-called "pumpkin" from the store. They can also make great soup--either sweet spiced soup or curried. 
Butternut Squash: one of the very best winter squash for flavor and long keeping! Roast in the oven in halves, you can also roast the seeds as per pumpkin seeds.

Hakurei turnips: aka salad turnips.  The tasty turnips from Japan are sweet, mild, and best eaten raw.  Yum. You'll soon be a surprised turnip enthusiast!
Scarlet Queen Turnip: stunning color, can be eaten fresh or cooked, as in potato and turnips mashed. 

Indian corn/ornamental corn: this makes incredibly good and fresh cornmeal for use in cornbread, cornmeal pancakes, waffles and more!  Allow to dry a few weeks, then shell it, bring kernels to the farm and grind in our grinder. Store cornmeal in freezer if not using immediately.  
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). 

Kimchi Recipe

This Korean spicy "sauerkraut of a sort" is outstanding. It is enjoyed in Korea and Japan. When buying it, I like to get it from the Viet My Asian grocery across from McCaskey High School--the brand they carry is Kimchee Pride from NYC and the favorite of the kimchee I've purchased.  This recipe resembles Kimchee Pride type kimchee

1 large head Chinese (celery or Nappa) cabbage
Salt--non iodized, esp. sea salt preferred.
4 green onions (including tops)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup paprika to taste --or Korean chili powder if you want to go to the Asian store for the real deal. ( Paprika does pretty well I think)
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated

1. Cut cabbage into pieces, 1-inch long and 1-inch wide.
2. Sprinkle 2 Tbs salt on cabbage, mix well, let sit 15 minutes.
3. Cut green onions in 1-1/2 inch lengths, then cut lengthwise in thin slices. Wash salted cabbage three times with cold water. Add the onions,garlic, chili, ginger, 1 Tbs salt and enough water to cover. Mix well. Cover with a cloth and let stand for a few days.
4. Taste mixture every day. When it is acidic enough, cover and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.



Allison said...

The end of the season brings so many gifts....nut, also is the end of the season and great visits to the farm.

Thank you one and all for sharing your time and talent.

Goodwill at Homefields Farm said...

Thanks for your appreciation of the farm!