Monday, June 29, 2009

WEEK 2: Weathering the weather.

Rain is certainly the name of the game around here. The cows and pigs do not seem to be phased at all. The chickens are growing and grazing just fine. But the farmers. . . soggy and dripping with one eye always to the sky. . . . would welcome some high and dry weather. A silver lining to this weather business. . . little did we know when we agreed to work with Andy for the summer that he would be our own personal meteorologist. As a youngster, Andy had his own website where he compiled radar images and his knowledge and pumped out his own forecasts. We have learned that this last slug of rain and wet is called a "cut-off low" and that there is no real end in sight.
We are trying to not stress about the waterlogged soils and our succession plantings getting pushed back. We schedule all of our seedings in the winter months and follow a strict calendar to make sure we always have greens, baby lettuce, cilantro and young carrots coming along. When we can't prepare soil to seed these crops, our schedule gets messed up. This means, for us and for you, that there will be some gaps in the supply of salad mix and beans and perhaps other direct seeded crops.
"You can't change the weather" is what I keep reminding myself. Prentice related an anecdote from a Canadian grain farmer this morning and it is something like this: "10% of stress is from the event/situation itself and 90% is from our reaction to it." This rings true to us, so we are trying to think creatively, work on other projects, hope for a brilliant high pressure system to blast through, and/or divine intervention. (And we are trying to not stress out.)

This little farmer doesn't mind the rain a bit. He has been sighted recently in the baby carrier visiting the pigs, chickens, and even helping with some barnyard projects. He is catching some ZZZZs in the laundry basket; his second favorite spot -- the best place being in someone's arms.


Belfast members picked up beet greens bunches, lettuce heads, spinach, cilantro and scallions this week. Farm members will enjoy the same array Tuesday. We devoured a huge "mess" of beet greens for lunch the other day. Amanda scored the biggest beet roots with a knife (helping them cook faster) then steamed the greens and roots whole for 10 minutes. We like lemon juice on top or butter and salt and pepper. Laura recommends honey mustard, which will be our next taste test.


Snap peas are ready to harvest.
as are a rainbow of radishes.
Baby carrots are already being picked by the two big Grassi boys
Chinese Cabbage for fresh slaw or for stir frying
More herbs and scallions
Salad greens/lettuce/spinach

As always, be in touch with questions or comments.


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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

First Greens: Week 1

Week One of the 2009 Season. First of all, a sincere thank you to one and all for allowing us to be your farmers for the growing season ahead. It is truly our pleasure and we look forward to sharing the bounty with you in the weeks ahead.

A bit of news to begin with. Abel Grassi joined the farm team here on June 8th. He is a strapping lad weighing over 10# at birth and gaining by the day. His big brothers are nothing but love and kisses (so far) and his days seem to pass quite blissfully. Joseph and Ben are out and about much these days, catching toads and frogs, picking flowers and helping on carpentry and garden projects.

Prentice, Andy, Amanda and Laura have been transplanting like crazy. Getting corn transplants in, cukes, winter squash, the fourth batch of brassicas (broccoli and relatives) which we succession plant to provide you with broccoli, kale and cabbage all summer long. 1000 lettuce get transplanted every other week and new ones get sown in trays every other week. Truly a revolving door of baby plants these days.

The new "egg mobile" is almost finished and will be quite an abode for the new flock of pullets getting ready to produce eggs come August. It is getting a paint job and a "porch" and will be ready for animals in a week or so. Just in time!! A fox got 5 broiler chickens a few nights ago. More secure housing for the layers will be good for everyone. (Except Foxy).

At last, some green goodness from the Village Farm!

This week you received:

Kale (a sub for the chinese cabbage which really needed another week to size up)


and Salad greens

  • The spinach is so tender and flavorful, we sometimes don't even dress it. To try the Shyka family classic spinach salad: red onion chopped fine, shredded cheddar, bacon (if you are inclined) and vinaigrette.
  • Kale, a cousin of cabbage and broccoli, is most often enjoyed sauteed in a stir fry or sauteed solo with some garlic and oil. You may steam or blanch it first then sautee or toss with oil after that. It can also be chopped and added to soups.
  • Cilantro is a traditional, beloved herb in many cultures. We use it liberally around here, but most often it finds its way atop beans and rice, into fresh salsa or black bean and corn salad. Here is a recipe for Cilantro Pesto, delicious alongside a curry or as a sandwich spread. I learned this from an Indian woman I apprenticed with, so thanks to Sheila. . .

Cilantro Pesto

In blender or Cuisinart: 1-2 garlic cloves, 1" of fresh ginger root, peeled if you care to, and as much fresh jalepeno pepper as you dare (or none at all) . Blend well. Add 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped coarsely on a cut board first, 1/4 cup sunflower or other vegetable oil (olive oil is too strong tasting), juice and zest of one lemon or a lime, and salt to taste. Adjust texture with more oil. Enjoy!

Also, from the Resources tab on our website:

Vegetable Identification and Storage Guide is a very entertaining link to Angelic Organics' CSA site.

Recipes galore, developed by a CSA farm, for using all of your vegetables.

COMING: Radishes, more greens, kale and herbs then we will add peas, broccoli, scallions, carrots and tender white spring turnips.

As always, be in touch with questions or comments and check this blog weekly for news and recipes from your farm.

Fondly, Polly