Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Thankful for Unity on the Farm

Two weeks ago we had the pleasure of hosting an orientation trip for 10 incoming Unity College students. We owe them, and their two wonderful leaders a great deal of thanks for all the help and good company they brought to Village Farm. They all arrived in the rain, set up camp down by the pond with smiles on and then pitched in on the farm each afternoon for four days. The picture above shows the packing shed pole barn abuzz with activity. Hanging garlic, I believe.

Hauling garlic from the greenhouse (where it was laid out for a preliminary dry-down) to the packing shed where it will be hung from the rafters until we get around to cleaning it. Doesn't this smile make you smile?

Packing scallions for the cooler--which means that the scallions were harvested because they were ready or we needed to incorporate the bed they were in, so we harvested and washed them for sale at a later date.

A watchful and laughing group of barn swallow nestlings watched from on high as all the garlic was put up in the rafters. They since have flown to other parts.
When my parents bought their farm in Orrington 45 years ago, a rafter in their timber framed barn was covered with dates. Somehow, my parents figured out that the spring and late summer dates marked the arrival and departures, for dozens of years (beginning in the 19th century, I believe, but will check on that fact), of the seasonal residents: barn swallows. My father has kept up the rafter-writ almanac with his own scritchety scratch of dates. These little nestlings make me realize that Village Farm is due for such a thing.
It has been a few weeks of vegetables for CSA members with no blog posting. . .such is farming around here with one too few interns for the year. All hands are on deck, I tell you.
The harvest is rolling in, literally, in the case of the melons. Everyone will receive at least a watermelon next week and possibly a musk melon/canteloupe. We have given out (organic and not wormy!) sweet corn ears and jumbo broccoli for the last two weeks and at last the tomatoes seem to be coming in bigger quanitities. New potatoes were also a new offering in the last few weeks. And everyone has received luscious baby lettuce heads, cabbage, celery, onions, peppers, and basil. Check out this beautiful, artful salad using a quartered baby lettuce head. We have yet to eat there, but our friend, Erin has been wowing diners at The Lost Kitchen in Belfast. She will be opening a larger venue soon in the old Gothic building across from the Post Office. Congrats, and Good Luck, Erin!

Flower share members received red and fuschia bouquets this week and it looks like everyone (not just flower share members!) will get a sunny sunflower bouquet in the next week or two.

Things look great for the fall. Cabbages are heading up and the potato crop is booming despite late blight all around us in Waldo County. They will get a misting of (organically allowed) Copper spray tomorrow to keep the devastating fungus from wiping them out. 2009 gave us a lesson in late blight and Copper as a fungicide. . .see this post from that summer for more details.

We are looking forward to our first evening potluck of 2011 this Tuesday evening, August 30th, with a walking tour beginning at 5 and eating around 530-6.
We will have a tomato and pesto tasting for you all to sample as well as other treats from the kitchen here. We would love to see as many of you as can make it. No RSVPs necessary! Come along and bring a hungry friend.

All the best from here, Polly

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Parsley Pesto from the Village Farmhouse

For those of you who have come for lunch here, chances are you have tasted our parsley pesto. It is wonderful, like most pestos on pasta but also on toast with some cooked greens, on crackers with cheese, mixed into a soup or dolloped onto any meat or tofu dish. Versitile and bright, this parsley pesto is great frozen and enjoyed mid-winter. Everyone gets a huge bunch of flat leaf parsley this week, with the hopes that you might try this recipe out.

Parsley Almond Pesto. (Warning: This is not a truly developed recipe but rather a ballpark figure that will get you something yummy. You can adjust consistency with more or less oil--I like lots--and a bit more or less lemon juice and of course, choose your salt level.)

  • Using a food processor or blender, chop 1/2 cup slivered or whole almonds and 1-2 cloves of garlic until lightly chopped but not pastey. (Do not over chop).

  • If you wash your parsley, make sure it is dry dry dry before starting (Once I used wet and it emulsified with the oil--not very yummy) Separate leaves from large stems from one large bunch of flat leaf parsley. Pack the processor with 4 cups of parsley leaves (and small stems are fine, but not big thick stems)

  • Add the juice and zest of one lemon (or 2 TBS lemon juice if you have that instead)

  • Add 1/2 cup safflower, sunflower or canola oil--not olive oil

  • Add 1/2 tsp salt

  • Mix in processor until combined and parsley is chopped. Add more oil until you get a slightly runny consistency. Less if you want a thicker experience. More salt to taste.

  • Enjoy!

More farm news and share news coming. . .


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Weeks 6 and 7 of 2011 CSA

Prentice next to the beeswarm that landed in our Linden tree.
Dear CSA Members and blog followers,

It is August! It has been so hot the bees decided to swarm. . .right into the barnyard as we were packing vegetables one afternoon! Their queen landed on a low hanging (thank you, queen bee!) Linden tree branch about 25 feet from all the action. Prentice clipped the branch and walked them straight home to their hive and they all seem to be staying put now that the temps are lower.

We have been tempted to swarm, too, in all this heat! I have found myself, more often than I care to admit, in the waters of Belfast Bay. Something about that deep cooling water sets me "back to rights." We have had sun and heat, thunder and lightning, blue skies and glorious breezes. The vegetables have appreciated the bits and pieces of rain that have fallen from above and despite a few weeks of malfunction, the irrigation pump is once again pumping out more water where needed. Everything is growing well, including the weeds.
Yes, we are seeing the effects of being down an apprentice all season. . .we are missing a third of our work force--that is serious! There are way more weeds than we are used to and they grow by the day so some of them are starting to be intimidating! We try to get to large weeding projects when time allows but between picking picking picking for the 70 CSA households and our wholesale accounts, and tending the animals, the weeding is often last to get our attention. We had an awesome crew of weeders tackle two huge beds of carrots last Saturday and a big THANK YOU! goes out to all of those who lent a hand.
Goat feta, tomato, cucumber, basil and olive oil salad.

We have bid farewell to The Three (not Billy, not Gruff) Goats. A few of us may have had tears in our eyes and lumps in our throats (but I won't say who!) We continue to offer them thanks as we enjoy the delectable cheeses that Zac and Willie and Zelie have produced. This morning's breakfast table held chive chevre, braised escarole, VF eggs and kimchi. Last week we made a salad of the first tomatoes from the hoophouse that featured goat feta, cukes and basil and olive oil and a bit of black pepper. So simple and sublime. Thank you goats. Thank you gardens.

Zac mixing up a gigantic batch of kimchi on the porch.

Yes, I did write that word: TOMATOES. They are indeed on their way. . . Long awaited, we will have tomatoes for many weeks to come. Everyone has had eggplant by now and Farm members got their first green peppers this Tuesday. We distributed the first cabbages, delivered as a half in a bag because they were so large and we didn't want to take up your whole crisper drawer with one of those beauties.

CSA members are commenting on the onions. Ailsa Craig is the mild white variety you have all received a few times now. Carrots keep all of us crunching and the summer squash and cucumbers keep a coming and so you keep receiving them. They form the base of many, many a meal around here. Today's lunch was curried coconut rice with a side of carmelized onions and strips of zucchini. Cilantro pesto (see the recipe I posted week one of 2009's CSA here) as a condiment, and also some cucumber, onion, tomato salsa.

How are the "bunch your own herbs" going for everyone? We will continue in this fashion, encouraging you to make mixed bunches of the herbs you use and enjoy, rather than us bunching too large or small bunches for your tastes.

Flower share members have received four or five bouquets so far and almost all vegetable share members have also received a bouquet. We will have bouquets this coming Monday for the 20 Belfast members who did not get them on 8-1-11. Perhaps it goes without saying, but I hope all of you are taking the rubber bands off the bunches each time. They will "relax" so much more beautifully into a vase with out that constricting thing. Also, please do change the water once or twice and if really ambitious, you could trim off 1/2 inch of stem at the bottom at that point. They will last much longer with both fresh water every 3 days and a bit of a trim. And one more thing, while I am on a roll here, the bouquets are yours to tinker with! Divide them into two or three smaller bouquets for bedside tables! Take out the stems you aren't crazy about or don't like the smell of (Bells of Ireland can kind of get to me. . .). Remove the blooms that go by, keeping the zinnias which seem to last for weeks at my house! Hope you are enjoying them!

It seems that there have been many people in our fields and around our tables this week, but it seems a blur at the moment. . . An attempt at recollecting includes. . .Amma Sal and Aunt Laurie who brought a huge and scrumptious dinner Tuesday night. There were the carrot weeders on Saturday, Beatriz on Friday, Shana on Monday and the grandparents who took the boys for several days of off-farm entertainment. . .Many thanks to each and all. And to those I forgot, thank you as well and forgive my memory, friends.

Sunday will bring a group of Unity College matriculants to the farm for an orientation trip. We will work with them each afternoon and harvest foods for their meals. It is always a good time, having service-learning groups here with us and we are looking forward to it very much.

That may be it for now!

Hope you all are enjoying the gifts of summer!

Polly, for all of us at Village Farm