Thursday, July 16, 2015

Garlic harvest, the deluge continues

Hello from the farm, 

Well, soggy acres continue here the farm, with two torrential downpours landing squarely on 150 Letort Rd in the last week. The first was Thursday evening and the next one was Tuesday evening with reports of 2 1/2 inches falling quickly in Millersville. 

The hot crops, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants are picking up speed, albeit slowly.  The many cloudy and relatively cool days have a way of hindering photosynthesis and growth, so our tomatoes and peppers are progressing much more slowly than in a typical season.  We're not worried, once they are up to speed, they'll produce their usual bounty.  

This week we were pleased to get the rest of the butternut squash planted on Monday before the rains came again and we also dove into the garlic harvest and starting harvesting sweet onions as well.  We had a close call with Gumby having too much to drink one night (when it stormed) but fortunately his electric motor was not ruined and he is back up and running. 

The garlic is curing nicely in the barn and the first batch is ready for this week! 

Abendessen Bread: This week Stephanie is baking French Bread for $5 a loaf

Serving Suggestions for the harvest this week:

Garlic: woohoo for our farm's garlic, so fresh and tasty. It goes really well in the tomato cucumber salad I talked about last week. 
Sweet Onions: these are mild and sweet and so good in salads or caramelized in the frying pan with butter. 

 The Italian and Asian types differ only in shape and color, they are used in the same manner.  I like them sliced and grillled or pan fried with soy sauce, oil, miso etc until browned and crispy.  

New Potatoes: postponed another week due to muddy fields. wow, new potatoes are delicious boiled or steamed until tender and then topped with a little bit of salt and butter

Cucumbers: We are probably biased, but our cucumbers are delicious!
Some Russian friends served me this type of cucumber salad years back, and it's been my favorite salad since:

Chop cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and mince garlic cloves or scapes, mix and douse with olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste.  The flavors blend and it tastes even better if it sits for half and hour or so before eating it, but you can eat it immediately too.

Zucchini: use for zucchini bread, puree for soup stock, or slice and fry with oil and seasonings, or dice for salads.
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. 
Beets: mmm, I used to love to eat these after my mother had blanched them and slipped the skins off and they were cooling on the counter.  Super nutritious, they can be roasted, grated for salad, boiled or steamed, then eaten hot or cold, and of course, made into pickled beets or used for pickled beet eggs.  Makes me hungry writing about them.  
Kale/Collards/Senposai: 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.

Chard: this cousin to the beet is appreciated for its leaves instead of its roots.  Use for salads, or as a spinach or kale substitute in cooking.  

Cabbage: great for a cabbage and chopped peanut with vinegar salad. Simple and surprisingly good in spite of its simplicity. 

Garlic scapes:  these are the would-be flowering stems of garlic--soft, tender, easy to use for stir fries, diced for salad, really anywhere a mild garlic flavor is desired. We like to use it for pesto here at the farm. 
Napa cabbage: this Asian cabbage is main ingredient in Kimchee, a spicy kraut or relish of sort. The quality is great diminished so we are not harvesting it any more until the new fall crop. 
Bok Choi: the joy of choi, this is great for stir fries and goes well with peanuts, cashews, ginger, soy sauce, garlic, peanut butter, chicken.   This will return in fall. 
Lettuce heads: the lettuce did really well, we hope you enjoyed it.
 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. 
Rhubarb: rhubarb is harvested only in Spring and is then given a year's rest 
Parsnip: may have a late fall crop of these. 

 The Pick Your Own Field is Coming Alive: 

Each year we plant the pick your own field with lots of favorites like sunflowers, zinnias, Sungold cherry tomatoes, and basil, while also adding in some experimental and novelty things like rice, amaranth, quinoa, insanely hot peppers (and milder ones). 
General rules of thumb:

If plentiful, take a little more, if scarce, go easy on the crop
For herbs--pinch only the tops of stems so that they can regrow

This Saturday--Join cookbook author and food blogger Marisa McClellan for a canning class at Homefields. Saturday, July 18, 10:30-12:30. We'll make a batch of Nectarine Lime Jam, dig into the mechanics of boiling water bath canning, & talk about how to make the safest & most delicious home preserves possible. Marisa will demystify canning for the beginners & will offer useful tips & short cuts for seasoned preserves. All participants will go home with a small jar of the jam made in class, as well as the knowledge to go home & make more! Class size is limited, so register with a friend for a great morning; to register, please send your name & phone number to; the fee is $22 per person, check payable to Homefields or with a credit card here:

next week at the Farm, 7/25: Loosen up with a yoga sampler before you gather this week's harvest ! Certified instructor Karen Simpson will lead three sessions, 20 minutes each, starting at 9:15 am, with a break between sessions. BYO mat or beach towel & water. Sessions will include Restorative & Family yoga, as suits our audience. No registration needed; suggested donation $5.

Enjoy the harvest, 

Your farmers

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