Thursday, August 27, 2015

fall seeding

Hello from the farm, 
The cool crisp mornings are glorious as your farmers are working at cleaning out the first greenhouse, starting to remove the plastic mulch weed barrier that some of our spent crops benefitted from, finishing up the onion prep and readying potatoes for this harvest.  We are definitely changing gears in anticipation of the fall crops.  We have a new crop of beets maturing for this harvest, and it looks like a fall carrot crop may be in the works in a few weeks. Carrots are our most difficult crop to produce, so it's a farm thrill to them doing well so far.
We celebrated Farmer Elizabeth's birthday today at lunchtime, so if you see her wish her a Happy Birthday.  We also had a surprise visit from one of our farm crew members who is mending well, so that was great to see.

You don't really think of farming as a sport, but I was contemplating the "hail Mary pass" from football this morning while planting seeds in the field with the seeder.  In late summer we always gamble and hope to win with some crops that are a bit of a long shot: they may not mature before killing frost.  Here's to one more round of tasty beans in October and some chilly sunflowers. 
This is the air seeder that we use to plant everything from single carrots seeds at .75 inch spacing, single bean seeds at 2 inch spacing, all the way up to pumpkin seeds at 5 foot spacing if desired.  Even with this capability, we are dependent on the whims of weather. 
if you look closely you can see the little seeds down in the furrow before the closing wheels cover and press the soil 

Stephanie at Abendessen bread is baking French Bread $5 per loaf
Homefields, Goodwill, Goodwill at Homefields....what? 
Has this cluster of names ever confused you?  If so, here is nugget of explanation: 

Homefields: the founder and owner of the farmland and buildings
Goodwill:  the organization that operates Goodwill stores and the farm program here
Goodwill at Homefields Farm CSA: the name of our farm program operated by Goodwill here, but hosted by our gracious landlord, Homefields.  
When you buy a farm share you are supporting Goodwill and the farm program. When you donate to Homefields you are supporting the land and facility at the farm. 
Here is an opportunity to support Homefields and the land:

Picnic in the Fields  
Sunday, September 27 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
Join us in a celebration of food to preserve 14 acres of farmland.
Music, child-friendly activities, and a spirit of community!
 ADULTS: $25 in advance, $30 at the door YOUTH 13–17: $10 UNDER 12: FREE Drop-in whenever — Gates open at 10:30 


Buy tickets at

A limited number of tickets may be available at the door. Questions? Email 
 A decent row of dug potatoes from a couple of seasons ago. 
Suggestions for the Harvest: 
Potatoes: whew, these silly potatoes were a hard fought small victory.  We are glad for what we were able to eke out, so we hope you enjoy them this week. 
Beets:  Beets are back in town. We grow red, orange and striped beets, beautiful.  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.
Sweet Peppers: wow, it's been a great season for these lovely peppers. They are slowing down now with the shorter days. Sweet peppers come in all shapes, colors and sizes.  Carmen, a long horn-shaped pepper is a perpetual favorite among your farmers.  We like to snack on them as if they were candy.
Tomatoes: these have also peaked and are descending:  tomatoes seem to stand for themselves without words of introduction, but here are some words anyway: delicious, great in sandwiches, BLTs, tomato & cucumber salad, cooked down for sauce, chopped in salad, fresh or canned salsa and more.
Green/Purple/Yellow Beans: they are a bit mature this week, but should still be pretty tasty.  Older beans can be saved for vegetable soup, which is what we did growing with vegetables that were a little on the mature side. These beans are so amazingly good it almost puts frozen beans to shame.  The purple variety is beautiful--if heated they turn green, if used in salad their purple looks great.  To cook, bring to a boil in an inch of water or so, then turn down to three lines or so until tender. Yum yum!
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. 
Storage Onions:  the red and white storage onions should keep for a month or two in cool dark storage.  
Eggplant: The Italian and Asian types differ only in shape and color, they are used in the same manner.  I like them sliced and grilled or pan fried with soy sauce, oil, miso etc until browned and crispy.  
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. 
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.  

 Watermelons: the watermelon plants have done their duty and given us some great melons.  Shareholders have told us that the Yellow Moon and Stars was not very flavorful, so we will not grow much of it next year.  Sorry it did not live up to its billing.  We may do a small test planting next year to see if it does any better second time around. 
Cantaloupes:  the cantaloupes had a fantastic run, but their time in the sun is done. Law Reh mowed down the spent and weedy patch with quiet glee.   
Cucumbers:  these are all done and and vines shredded to compost them back into the field 
Kale/Collards/Senposai:  these are surrendering to the hot summer weather as usual.  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.
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:
There are amazingly nice flowers in the Pick Your Own Field. Feel free to pick abundantly.  There are also green and ripe chili peppers, okra, tomatillos and Sungolds and other gourmet type tomatoes

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. 
Enjoy the late summer veggies, 

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