Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Week Five of 2011 CSA

Cherokee lettuce by Shannon Thompson

As we harvested this week's vegetables for you CSA members, the exclamations around the washtub were many. On Sunday, I picked, washed and packed 45# of salad mix (yeah, we usually don't work on Sundays. . .more on that in a bit) with the fantastic company of Shannon and John who came by "motorbicle" as Abel calls them. It was a gloriously blue skied day with a breeze and I wanted to be no where else on earth. . .and then Shannon rolled in, introduced me to John, chatting commenced and I got one notch happier. Love those visitors. They complimented the salad mix, too, so they get even bonus bonus points.

Shannon and John told me the storyline of a new documentary which you all might be interested in: Forks Over Knives. I will let you click on that link rather than giving a second hand report which I will botch. . .safe to say it is about health and good food. I look forward to seeing it.

We also had our first kohlrabi harvest and Zac snapped a few pics for his sister, who is, we hear, a kohlrabi fan.
We have hit 1200 row feet of carrots hard in the past weeks shipping many bunches to the Coop and giving them out at this week's and last week's distributions. You can see me sporting some high farm fashion here. I really wanted to wear the colors of the carrots.
Last week, we welcomed to the farm and family a young woman from France, named Zelie. Through a friend, Zelie has come to live with us for a few weeks, help with the children and farm work and work on her English. She is a delight to all, including her new friends, more farm visitors, The Goats. Despite my "no new species" rule, we agreed to goat-sit for a friends three white Saanans. Vegetables for week five. . .getting some crunch and color. First cucumbers and summer squashes, kohlrabi (best eaten raw, in my opinion--grated in a slaw, dipped in your favorite hummous or dip. It is like a sweet, tender broccoli stem and hails from the same family), your second take at viatmin greens, scallions, some got broccoli, some got beets, lettuce and salad mix and herbs for all. . .
This week coming up, we will have fresh (uncured) garlic heads for you, more cukes and zukes, escarole, an Italian cooking green which I will offer a recipe for, possibly peas again (can be hard to predict), possibly broccoli and more salad fixings and carrots and herbs, as usual.

Watering, watering to keep the plants growing these hot days. Everything is looking good. I walked the melons two days in a row and I think the vines grew 2 feet. There is so much more good food to come!!

Thank yous for the week include Thank you to a beautiful group of teenagers from Hidden Valley camp who worked for an afternoon planting our fall potatoes with Prentice. What a good time Prentice had. We were sorry not to be able to attend their end of the session party where they fired up an earthen oven they built. Hope it worked well, guys! Also on the farm were Levi, Lauren and Rowan for a day of picking, weeding and irrigation pipe hauling. We really enjoyed their company and help and look forward to more days in the future! My mother an brother came for a day of play with the boys and my mother and I actually got out and weeded a few beds of zinnias. Thank you Mom and Michael! Of course, Zelie and Zac and Willie--critical members of the team around here. We are having a lot of fun and getting a lot done, everyday.Truly a pleasure. My mother and father took Benny for a few solo days of fun and Josey has been in NH all week with Prentice's folks. Lucky boys to have such good times whilst the farm hums along and both parents try to keep up with it!
Let us know how it is going for you! We love emails, questions and posts to our Village Farm facebook page. Phone calls and visits are great, too!

Hope you are all staying cool and well fed.
Best wishes from all,

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

We say we don't work on Sundays

But then there is Monday to prepare for. . . .so we actually do work on Sundays, a bit. This picture of Prentice proves it. Dressed for a party but armed with the necessary papers to lay out Monday morning's picking and CSA distribution.

All is well here on the Village Farm. We have had a few nice showers lately and the irrigation pump and system have been employed, as well. The crops are loving this heat.

We slaughtered the first batch of 119 broilers this past Thursday over in Monmouth at a state certified and cooperative processing facility. Four of us went over for a long and hot day but we returned knowing each other a bit better and with a truck full of the most delicious and healthy birds around. We will have them available from the freezer all summer with another batch available fresh in about 7 weeks. Contact us if you are interested! Sunday night, After about 30 pizzas, we put two birds in Dutch ovens into a friend's outdoor cob oven (I want one and will build one. . .) and this is the view after the bake. Chicken salad for lunch on Monday. Last week was Week 1 of the Flower share. I tell you, I should be paying YOU for the privilege of crafting bouquets each week! This week's bouquets, like last week's, contained zinnias , larkspur, bachelor buttons, some celosias and statice. This week I also added some Bells of Ireland and a few had cosmos and some Irish Eyes rudebekia, a green-eyed black-eyed susan. Go figure.

The vegetable shares this week include:

Spinach, shell peas (Belfast), sugar snap peas(edible pods! Farm members) napa cabbage (Farm), rainbow carrot bunches, garlic scapes, hakurei turnips OR broccoli (Belfast), lettuce, and our new experiment: herb buffet or make your own herb bunches: parsley, cilantro and dill.

Hakurei turnips are the darlings of the farm crew. We eat them raw on sandwiches or grated in salads, mostly but have pickled them and steamed them, too. The greens are delicious as well, so saute or steam them and add them to eggs or a stir fry.
Napa cabbage is a big savoyed (crinkled) head of tenderness. We eat it raw, sliced thinly with a dressing or sauteed in a stir fry. They go well with toasted sesame seeds or toasted sesame oil, I think. Traditionally, it is the main ingredient in kim chi, A Korean saurcraut. We love the recipe from Sally Fallon's cookbook, Nourishing Traditions.

1 head Napa cabbage, cored and shredded

1 bunch scallions, chopped

1 cup grated carrots

1/2 cup grated daikon radish

1-2 tbs grated fresh ginger

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp chile flakes

2 tsp sea salt

2 tbs whey, if not available, use 2 extra tsp salt

1/2 cup water

Place veg and ginger and chile flakes in a bowl and mash down with a wooden pounder to release juices. Stuff into 2 quart sized wide-mouth mason jars and press down with pounder. The top of the vegetables should be 1 " below the top of the jar. Mix water with whey and salt and pour over cabbage mixture.Add additional water if needed to bring liquid to top of cabbage. Cover tightly. Keep in a warm place for 2-3 days before transferring to the refrigerator.

We are still enjoying many batches of garlic pesto per week and adding garlic scapes to just about everything that comes out of the kitchen, except the oatmeal. I have been told, however, that my Russian grandfather enjoyed garlic in his oatmeal, so it might be worth a try. (He also soaked his feet in a garlic tea when he was sick.)

If you are in need of recipes, we are going to order a few copies of Farmer John's Cookbook to have for sale at distributions. This is our summer "got to" cookbook as it was written by a CSA farmer and his kitchen staff and is wonderfully funny, simple and has ALL the vegetables that we grow listed seasonally and with good information about each.

Next week we will have scallions, kohlrabi and zucchini and summer squash as well as cooking greens (kale or chard), salad fixins and more. .. .

We wish we could get it together enough to post weekly recipes but it just doesn't happen. If any of you wanted to post recipes or links to recipes to this blog, I would welcome that contribution and could share appropriate coaching and passwords. Blogger does not enable "cut and paste" action, so it is a commitment to typing in the recipes, I am afraid.

Thank Yous. We cannot forget the Thank Yous!!! The Farm was saved by Kathy Weathers this Monday, or at least it felt that way, when she showed up to be with the boys so both Prentice and I could pick and pack for the day. What a busy day! She even baked cookies!! Zoli and Becky have been doing childcare a few times per week, allowing both farmers to be farmers and that is always a treat and a good time. A friend of Zac's, Beatriz, put in a few days of good farm work last week, including the infamous and aforementioned chicken slaughter marathon. We are grateful to grandparents and aunties and uncles who often love up our farm boys with trips and stories and special times. Thank you to all those and the ones I have certainly forgotten. . .

Well, it is time to set up for this afternoon's CSA distribution on the farm, so I shall sign off with many best wishes to all of you for many a happy, healthy meal with people you love.

Polly, for all at Village Farm