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: