Thursday, October 1, 2015

Notes from your Farm

Hello from the farm, 
Hoping everyone had a great time at Picnic in the Fields!  Sounded like there was delicious food and entertaining music.  The trainees that could attend loved the food and social atmosphere.  At the picnic there was perfect weather but now we are happy the temperatures are dropping and that there is some rain.    
The fall crops are coming in beautifully and are grateful that the humidity has subsided.  Fall vegetables like broccoli and cabbage need these colder temperatures at night and during the day.  This creates a nicer growing period for the crops and does not put them through stress.  They need that crispy fall air that we all love! 
What's happening on the farm this week?
There is never a dull moment on the farm!  We are starting to harvest sweet potatoes, still pulling plastic out of the fields, and got the squash and pumpkins out of the fields before it rained on Wednesday.  On the shelves this week, Indian corn is still hanging around, pumpkins, squash, beets, radishes, pawpaws, Asian pears, carrots, and Fall greens!!  It is a nice introduction for what is to come during the Fall season.
During the week, a board member from Homefields told us about her Pawpaw ice cream she made.  This sounded like a delicious combination and a great way to drag the summer feeling out a little bit longer.  There is a recipe I found that is posted at the end of this newsletter / blog for you to enjoy.   
Weeds...Weeds...Weeds!!!  There is never going to be an end to weeds but we try our hardest to keep our fields clean of them.  It was my first time working the weeder (Farmer Taryn) and Farmer Elizabeth driving the tractor.  The weeder uses hydraulics to spin the white head you see near the bottom of the photo.  This spinning white head then rips the weeds out of the ground with it being slightly in the soil.  It is a quick and easier way of weeding rather than hoeing or using your hands to pull the weeds.  On the Facebook page there is a video of the weeder in action.
 Look at those roots!  This is from scouting the fields before our big harvest day.  Scouting is a regular thing that we do so we know what vegetables we will be harvesting for you.

Your Farmers ready to cut some Asian greens in the rain!!!  (From left to right: Farmer Elizabeth, Brian, Christina, Law Reh, and Brad.)

Pick up hours at the farm:
Thursday: 3pm - 7pm
Friday: 11am - 7pm
Saturday: 9am - 1pm
Abendessen Fresh Bread: This week Stephanie is baking Sun-dried Tomato Bagels for $4/half dozen.  
Suggestions for the Harvest: 
Beets: 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. 

Kale: Kale chips are delicious and easily done.  Just put some olive oil and salt on the raw kale.  Next they will stay in the oven on a cookie sheet until the edges are brown.

Arugula: It is sometimes called "Salad Rocket".  Arugula adds a kick to your salad with its strong flavor.

Asian Greens: Can be used in a stir fry by adding chiles, garlic, peanut oil, and possibly adding some salt. Also, the greens could simply make a yummy salad.

Easter Egg Radishes: This would be a perfect additive to your Asian green stir fry!  Radishes could be added to a sandwich for more flavor or eat it without anything.      

Carrots: these carrots are better than candy--simply refrigerate and then eat washed and unpeeled for a snack.  
Butternut Squash: butternuts have great flavor and can be used for making pumpkin pie. 
Pawpaws: best to keep them in the fridge until they are soft so the fruit flies don't find them. Cut in half the short way and spoon out like eating a kiwi fruit.  Don't eat the seeds or skin. The pulp is good fresh or added to a smoothie.  Pawpaws can also be made into ice cream! (recipe below)
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.
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.  

Storage Onions:  the red and white storage onions should keep for a month or two in cool dark storage.  
Potatoes: well, that's the hardest we ever worked for potatoes and for not a lot of them unfortunately. We did get some, and for that we are glad. 
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.  
Green/Purple/Yellow Beans: 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!
Cabbage: great for a cabbage and chopped peanut with vinegar salad. Simple and surprisingly good in spite of its simplicity. 

PawPaw Ice Cream Recipe 
A Straight from the Farm Original

1 C. sugar
1 C. whole milk (raw if possible)
1/4 t. salt
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
3 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2 C. pawpaw pulp*
1 T. lemon juice
2 C. heavy cream

*This recipe is really two distinct steps – the custard and then the rest of it –  so don’t mash your pawpaws until you have your chilled custard ready to churn or else they’ll get a bit icky the way mooshed bananas do if left to sit for very long.

Combine sugar, milk, salt, and scraped vanilla bean and pods in a saucepan over low heat.  Stir until the mixture just begins to steam and simmer.   Place the egg yolks into a small bowl. Gradually stir in about 1/2 cup of the hot liquid to temper the eggs and return everything to the saucepan. Heat until thickened, about 5 minutes, but be careful not to boil. Remove from the heat, and pour into a chilled bowl and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight. 

Using a slotted spoon, fish out the vanilla pods from the chilled custard.  Stir in the pawpaw pulp and lemon juice.  Whip the heavy cream until it forms soft peaks and gently fold into the custard mixture. Pour into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.
When ice cream is done churning, scoop out into a container with a lid and place in freezer to firm up, about 3-4 hours.

Hoping the Fall greens will be a great addition to your dinner table, 
Your Farmers

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