Archive | August 2013

CSA week 11

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A good mix this week! Corn, green beans, carrots, beets and tomatoes. Tomatoes are a favorite at this house, we usually have at least 5 varieties planted in various colors. Pictured are a ‘Black Trifle’ which looks more purple to me a red and yellow that I couldn’t find tags for, probably ‘Beaverlodge’ and ‘Lemon Boy’ and the ‘Green Zebra.’ The green is my personal favorite. When they are ripe they take on a more yellow hue than the unripe ones.

Not pictured is the mint, but I am going to send it this week, promise. See CSA week 10 for recipes for the mint.

Here is an interactive Farmer’s Market Recipe Generator to help you out with using this weeks produce. It has some very tasty looking recipes!

Almost all of this week’s share was picked after the rain, either last night or this morning. I only washed the root crops. Veggies store best when they are unwashed. With everyone’s varied cooking and eating habits, I want your produce to last as long as possible if it isn’t eaten immediately!

Have a great Labor Day weekend!

CSA week 10

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Well, here we are, at what we hope will be the halfway point of our CSA season. Exactly how long we run will depend on the weather. Since we had a later spring than we had hoped, maybe we’ll have a late fall as well!

The summer squash plants are still going strong, but I feel that the last 2 boxes have been heavy enough in squash that everyone will appreciate a rest. Corn, though, seems to be a popular item at the Farmer’s Market, and I certainly can’t get my fill of fresh sweet corn. So, corn is again included. Carrots also have a repeat performance. If you are looking for a new way to enjoy them you might try Chipotle-Lime Roasted Carrots or steamed, buttered and sprinkled with dill (still my favorite!)

The hot weather got me thinking about the many ways to spice up drinking water to make sure it’s easy to stay hydrated. That’s why I’ve included fresh mint in this week’s share. Gently crush a few sprigs and toss into a pitcher of water to store in the fridge for an extra refreshing glass when you need it. If you want to get a bit fancy, fix yourself a Mint Mojito or the non-boozy version here. It’s also very refreshing to just chew a leaf or two of mint throughout the day…better and better for you than store bought chewing gum!

The rest of the box will be perfect for some fresh salsa: tomatoes, green pepper, onion and jalapenoes. This is what I always most about fresh garden tomatoes since I pretty much refuse to buy those round cardboard things from the supermarket in the winter…unless I am really, really desperate. I don’t have a real recipe and that’s probably OK because everyone has their own taste when it comes to salsa.You will probably want to use all the tomatoes if you make salsa, as for the peppers and onions, it’s totally up to your taste. You will probably have some left over for another dish!

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I just do a rough chop of the ingredients and let them sit together for a few hours for the flavors to meld. If you like, you could put everything in the blender, once it’s chopped, for a smoother texture. I like it chunky. Chop your tomatoes and add to your bowl. I do a fine chop for my onion and jalapeno to make sure the spice and flavor are distributed. I do the same for the green pepper (you can use any sweet pepper) just so the salsa isn’t too crunchy. Use more or less jalapeno and onion to your taste and a tip: adding some of the seeds of the jalapeno will add more heat to your salsa. If you have cilantro, fresh or dried, it’s a great addition. You can also add cumin to taste. I always use a few splashes of lemon or lime juice but some folks use cider vinegar.

A note about the tomatoes: we grow a wide variety of them! Red is only the beginning, some of my favorites are yellow and green when ripe. In the boxes this week there are a fair amount of reds with a yellow here and there and even a few purple-y looking ones. I couldn’t find the tag for those, so I’m not positive, but I think they are technically called a ‘black’ tomato. Enjoy the colors!

CSA week 9

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More sweet corn! Dave and I have tested quite a few ears now and we just aren’t impressed with the taste…I think we’ll try another variety next year. This was the earliest variety that Dave could find when buying seed. It just goes to show you, when you start breeding for certain characteristics, taste sometimes suffers.

This is the debut of carrots! Our favorite way to enjoy them is cut lengthwise, steamed till tender and served with butter and dill. This is also the first week that cabbage has made an appearance. The way I like it best is with corned beef. One of our CSA customers boils it in beer and the pickling spice you get with the corned beef, it’s great. Boiled and served with salt and pepper is good too!

This photo shows a green pepper, but some members did receive a purple one. The purple is sweet pepper just a bit more fun to look at. You’ll  notice yellow squash in the photo and something else. The little white disk shape is also a summer squash and can be used the same way as a yellow squash or zucchini. The variety is called Bennings Tint. I think it’s fun to cut it in half, into two bowls, scoop out the seeds and stuff it like a stuffed green pepper and bake in the oven.

Tucked in behind the carrots and corn is fresh basil. I love it in a caprese salad, so slice up the tomatoes in the share and some fresh mozzarella and your basil put it all on a plate and sprinkle with olive oil and, if you like, a bit of balsamic vinegar. Yum!

CSA week 8

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Now this is how I envision a CSA share! It’s been a slow summer till now, but things are finally starting to come in. This weeks share includes: beets, summer squash (here’s are recipe for Parmesan Garlic Roasted Summer Squash), kale, a few tomatoes, green beans, corn and a green pepper.

I was surprised to find corn ready, since I was just telling folks at the farmers’ market that it would be 2 weeks at least. We had just enough to send 4 ears to each of our members and try a couple ourselves. Our favorite way to cook is on the grill INSIDE the husk! Here‘s a like to the directions.

You’ll notice peas are missing from this box. There are absolutely peas in the garden, but we’ve heard from a few members that peas are getting tiresome. We’ll get our fill in the freezer this week and go from there. On that note, feedback is ALWAYS appreciated. We may have much different tastes and ideas than you. Let us know what you love and what you don’t so we can try to accommodate! This may also be a good reminder that when you find you have too much produce left over from the share, you may want to freeze it to save for some cold winter’s night when you are 3 months from your next share. I will try to find some recipes to use peas before I send more your way.

There is something different going on with the green beans. We use a lot of disposable plastic. By we, I mean Dave and I and the culture as a whole. So, I am trying something a little different to get away from all the little one-use plastic bags. I loaded up on food baskets, the kind that you get your burger and fries in at some joints. It seems to me that things like peas and green beans need to be contained in some way so that I don’t just had you a box or bag with them all mixed together at the bottom. This is also an easy way to designate the portion that will be given. I’m going to give this a try at the farmers’ market as well. I’ll have several baskets of beans or peas ready and when purchased the lot will go into the customers bag and the tray will get refilled. We’ll see how that works, we’re straying quite a ways from the box. I am going to sweeten this new deal with a giveaway at market, in keeping with the plastic reduction theme, customers can enter our drawing each time that they use a re-usable shopping bag at our table. Stay tuned for what the prize will be, I suppose I’ll have it figured out by Tuesday!

P.S. I will reuse these new baskets and any boxes that I send your produce in, save ’em and bring ’em next Thursday. Thanks!

And on that farm we had some pigs…

Nothing like a rainy day! SInce there isn’t much that can be done outside today, it seems like a good time to catch everyone up on what’s going on this summer on the farm. This is our first attempt at raising pastured hogs. We picked up 4 freshly weaned piglets in late April and have been learning much and having a great time watching them grow!

For all the farm types that are reading, I’ll be using the term ‘pig’ even though what we have are 3 gilts and a barrow. You’d be surprised how many terms there are for swine: gilt, hog, weaner, piglet, sow, boar, baconer, porker, barrow, shoat. Each term tells you something specific about the hog in question: age, ability to be bred, gender, or size.

This batch is already spoken for, we took names and deposits for whole or half hogs before we picked them up. This fall the animals will be driven to Langdon to be butchered. Each family will be able to choose what kinds of cuts they are getting from their pig, like how much bacon, chops, ham, etc. If this works well, we’ll do it again next summer.

First night on pasture!

Pig shelter in electric fence.

When the weather got warm enough we moved the pigs from the winter coop for the chickens, into their own portable shelter and started the process of moving them towards the wooded area on our property. Pigs are really good at clearing land. So, Dave is moving them through the woods in their pen made of 3 strands of electric fence. He has some areas of the property where the brush is too thick to get into with our portable chicken shelter, so that is where the pigs will go to clear brush to make it easier for Dave to clear deadfall and nearly falling trees.

This is a fully tilled area of our woods, ready for clover and alfalfa seed.

This pig is drinking from a nipple water fed by gravity from a 5 gallon bucket just outside the shot. The water barrel in the background was filled from our rain gutters and supplies water for the pigs’ wallow.

Pigs get a bad wrap for being dirty animals. Not that these photos do much good for that reputation, but truly they are the cleanest animals we have on the farm right now! They love rolling in the mud for sure, but there is a good reason for that: pigs don’t sweat! They roll around in the mud to help cool themselves, and I think it probably helps with mosquitoes and biting flies. It’s actually a joy to watch them in a wallow filled with water! “Happy as a pig in mud” is as true as it gets!

When I say pigs are clean, I mean they are clean when they are given the chance to be. Unlike the chickens and turkeys who poo just anywhere they happen to be, the pigs choose an area to use as a toilet and stick to it. This area doesn’t get tilled up with those amazing noses like the rest of the pen. Most animals will drop their droppings just anywhere, pigs…they do a little advanced planning. Of course that isn’t the case in a confinement operation just because the poor animals don’t have any choice, there just isn’t enough space.

Speaking of those noses, we’ve had several people come out to the farm comment on how we rototilled areas of our woods. We did some tilling, but the porcine kind. These animals do a better job than any tiller I’ve seen, and they appreciate in value rather than depreciate like a tractor!

CSA week 7

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This week’s share included: peas, snow peas and green beans which have all been staples for a while. Summer squash made an appearance again, a few members received zucchini and the rest yellow squash. There are lots of squash on the plants, but for some reason they just aren’t growing as fast as they should be.

Beets have made their debut this season! One member’s favorite is the beet greens so I made sure that these were included. They can be sauted like any green with a little butter and onion or garlic.

Tomatoes are also a first. We have had a few small handfuls of these little yellow cherry tomatoes in the past week. There were finally enough to divvy up between our CSA members today. There was a mix of regular red tomatoes (I couldn’t find the marker, so I can’t tell you what variety specifically), red grape, yellow cherry and a few red cherry tomatoes.

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