Thursday, November 17, 2011

My heart beets for beans!

I (with a lot of help from friends) have been shelling beans like MAD! 
I grew a nice variety this year: black, red, and speckled. Shelling is a bit tedious, but man, are they beautiful!

Also, Kim Grace (the school chef) found this funny little beet in the shape of a heart! 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

food + science = art? yes!

Now that things are slowing down for the season, I have more time to not only write blog posts, but read them too... which also means passing on cool stuff to all of you! 

I have to share these beautiful photos of various foods - under a microscope. I had some fun trying to guess what some of them are. (Some are obvious... and some are simply stunning!)


Sunday, November 6, 2011

farm tour (with photos!)

A few weeks ago we had a CSA member potluck to gather together, enjoy food, talk about the season, etc. After the meal we headed out into the fields for a tour of the gardens and to look at what's to come next season. 
Here are some photos Jenny, TCS director + CSA member, took:

One of our really productive crops this year was beans, both fresh and drying. While all that's left of the fresh beans is whatever is in the freezer, the drying beans are in the greenhouse - drying! 

 Also in the greenhouse (and the new high tunnel) are greens! Little lettuces, big radishes, arugula, spinach, and chard - oh my!

Speaking of radishes, how about a sample?!

Out in the fields, there are some things to be seen: new no-till beds, Brussels sprouts, and kale. There is also lettuce, being protected by some row cover, of course.  

Although the CSA season has ended for 2011, I am still growing over here. Weekly harvests on Thursdays of kale, lettuce, chard, arugula, and whatever else is toughing out cold nights and soaking up daily sunshine!

I am really excited to see how the winter goes and I look forward to next year's summer growing season, too.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

building MORE beds

We have revolutionized the process a bit (thanks in a HUGE way to the Conway Daily Sun having end rolls*):
NOW, we load the Napa truck with manure, hook one of the end rolls under the tailgate, and drive, shovel, drive, shovel, drive! 

*End rolls are a product of the newspaper printing process. Once X number of papers have been run, and before another batch can be, the rolls get down to an amount that cannot be used in the machines. The rolls are taken off of the machine and set aside for alternate uses. There are literally HUNDREDS of feet of newsprint left on the roll - PERFECT for building beds!

Sunday, October 9, 2011


There is a new "food" movie out, and I plan to see it this week at our local independent movie house, The Majestic in Conway. 
I don't like getting political. 
I don't like telling people what they should/should not consume (unless they are family, of course!)
I don't like shedding light on the negative part of our society. 
But... sometimes, ya just gotta!

Farmageddon - Movie Trailer from Kristin Canty on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

"Fast Food"

Last weekend Pat + I traveled to Long Island for a wedding. We left at about 6am, and I was out late the night before at a farmer lecture, so I didn't get to pack us travel snacks...
About 1/2 way through our 6+ hour trip, I got HUNGRY!
Rest stop food just won't do for us now (me being gluten free and pat being glutton free), so we stopped at a grocery store instead...

Friday, September 30, 2011

building beds

A couple of weeks ago, we began the process of building no-till beds here at the farm. 
We started with the beds along the side of the new high tunnel.

The process goes like this:
Mow the area of land as close to the earth as possible (already done before this photo)
 Lay down newspaper where the beds will be sited 
      ** if it is windy, using a hose to spray water and weigh down the paper helps!
      ** try not to get too distracted by the funnies!
Go the compost pile and grab a heaping bucket of lush, brown, organic matter. Then, driving carefully backwards over the bed, have two helpers with shovels scoop the compost from the bucket to the newspaper. 
Not bad for a (long) day's work!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Growing in the Greenhouse

We seeded one of the beds in the greenhouse (not the high tunnel... the heated one) at the start of the month. 
Add water. 
Add sunshine. 

More to do with winter squash, and tomatoes, too!

As I mentioned last week, we had a marathon pre-frost winter squash harvest. We were able to save a TON of winter squash from freezing. Here are harvest pictures, as promised

But, now that the frosts have passed, we are back to warm, mostly sunny days, tomatoes still kickin, and even the beans are holding on!
Since we are now finding ourselves in-between seasons with a cross section of foods, I think the following recipe should be fun!

Butternut Squash, Lamb and Cheese
Adapted from

5-6 cups peeled cubed butternut squash (5 to 6 cups)
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces ground lamb **
2 1/2 cups chopped onions
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup crushed tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
8 ounces multi-grain penne pasta

1/2 cup grated caerphilly cheese, divided **

**we've got Locke Farm lamb and Sandwich Creamery Cheese at the farmstand!

Preheat oven to 450. 
Toss squash with 11/2 tablespoons oil in large bowl. 
Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. 
Transfer squash to large rimmed baking sheet. 
Roast until tender and brown around edges (30 - 35 min). 
Remove from oven and set aside. 

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. 
Add lamb and onions.
Sauté until lamb browns and onions soften( 7 - 8 min). 
Add garlic, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne
Stir 1 minute. 
Stir in tomatoes and broth and bring to boil
Reduce heat; simmer until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. 
Stir in squash. 
Season with salt and pepper. 

Cook pasta. 
Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. 
Return pasta to pot. 
Add lamb mixture. 
Grate cheese over mixture; toss. 
Add reserved cooking liquid by 1/3 cupfuls to moisten. 
Season with salt and pepper. 
Transfer pasta to bowl. 
Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

First frost = winter squash!

We got our first frost this past weekend (in September!)... two frosts, actually. And, yes, they were killing frosts, not just 'kissing' frosts. 

So, we lost some things in the garden: cucumbers - gone; basil - gone; summer squash - gone. The jury is still out as to whether we lost the beans or not...We did save the tomatoes + peppers, though. And, of course, our marathon winter squash harvest last Friday (pictures to follow) was worth it!

I know it is not truly Autumn yet, but I can't help but be a little excited to eat yummy, hearty, autumny things like carrots, apples, potatoes, and winter squash!

There are tons of GREAT recipes for those yummy squashes. 

Heidi Swanson over at 101 cookbooks has a good way to bid farewell to that fresh corn and hel-lo to those hearty garden goodies with a Roasted Corn Pudding in Winter Squash  

And I found another that uses greens, apples, and wheat berries from Sweet Local Farm. 

Whichever way you choose to dive into Autumn, enjoy it! And don't fret, if you aren't quite ready, we've still got cherry tomatoes and big boys, tomatillos and green peppers to pick for next week... salsa is still an option!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Horn worms

I try to find beauty in everything... so here's my attempt at beauty within a VERY destructive creature. 

The Tomato Horn Worm (Manduca quinquemaculata) has been eating and eating and eating our plants, flowers, fruits... ANYTHING it can get it's little mouth around in the tomatoes. 
It is hard to believe that something this relatively small can be so hugely destructive. 

I have to admit, it is an absolutely beautiful creature... and I say that to myself that every time I squish one under my boot!
I think this is the caterpillar that inspired the same form in Alice in Wonderland
picture from: