Monday, December 10, 2012

Stuffed squash for supper

Tonight I made stuffed Long Island Cheese pumpkin... so yummy!
I adapted this recipe for stuffed sweet potatoes, used rice instead of quinoa (only because we usually play that game the other way and use quinoa instead of rice!) and squash instead of sweet spuds. 
I also added carrots and parsnip for some extra nutrition and flavor. 
 It was a huge hit... Pat went back for seconds. I think I'll be making this one again, maybe next time with sweet potatoes!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

pigs on NHPR

I just heard this GREAT piece on NHPR about happy pigs and some philosophy on killing animals... This time of year is tough for farmers and conscious eaters, alike. I really like the sentiment shared in the piece.

Click on the picture below of one of OUR happy pigs to hear the radio interview:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A solemn (yet sweet) day of sun, songs, and slaughter

I had a FANTASTIC crew of helpers out today to soak up the sunshine and help slaughter the turkeys. There was singing, praying, lots of gratitude, and a little Michael Jackson-inspired fashion on the farm (see Chris, bottom left). 
A big THANK YOU goes to Chris, Kathy, Courtney and Jennifer for all of your help. Also, thanks to the students for their calm participation and yearning for learning!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Zen in the high tunnel

After clearing out the old, we re-composted the tomato beds to feed the soil. Tomatoes are notoriously 'heavy feeders', so adding in a good layer of compost will help replace organic matter which will hold more water + nutrients for the next round of hungry plants.
Much like when we compost the beds in the fields, composting the high tunnel requires the tractor, some shovels, some buckets, and some zen!
Here's Courtney + Mark practicing the zen part while I run back to the compost pile for a tractor load:

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

high tunnel work

It's that time of year, to clear out the old and start again. The high tunnel is essential for winter greens growth, so those summer crops of tomatoes, okra, beans and more have got to go!

On Tuesday, Courtney and I cleared out the old plants to make room for new seeds:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

big job, little truck

Our farm truck is likely the most used (and possibly the most useful) piece of equipment on the farm. From building beds to harvesting garlic, we put this little beasty to work! We also fill it to the gills with weeds and garden culls for the compost pile.

Today, Courtney + I dismantled the pig pen, collected all of the panels, rebar, electric, food + water bins, and cleaned up for the winter.16' steel panels are no match for our truck!

Thank you little S10 for starting each day and running with all you've got!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Surf + Turf at TCS

The pigs went to market last week and I picked up the fresh pork (chops, ribs, sausage, loin roast, etc) this past Friday. Smoked meat (bacon, ham, etc) is currently in the smoker and will be available soon.

The freezer is now FULL of organic, loved, healthy, delicious pork. I truly believe that happy, healthy animals produce better meat and our pigs were darn-right happy. They enjoyed belly rubs, back scratches, ear massages, and more. Not to mention certified organic feed (no GMO or growth hormones), Big Love Burrito slop, Summer Dinner slop, acorns, and more. 

Sharing that freezer space is New England coast, wild, sustainably harvested fish. Flounder, Cusk, Monk, and more are portioned out into 1lb bags and ready for the taking. 

You can source surf AND turf from the freezer: 2lb country style ribs (think thick chops) plus 1lb of choice fish will serve 2-3 for dinner for only $25.

If you are interested in a surf + turf package, or if you want to purchase a quantity of pork, let me know: farm@communityschoolnh.org

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Prop 37

Michael Pollan recently wrote a fantastic piece in the New York Times about California's Prop 37.
While I have often stated that I don't wish to get 'political' here... it is starting to become more and more clear just how entangled our nation's politics and food really is. 

Here are a couple excerpts from Mr. Pollan's article.  
"[we will soon learn] whether or not there is a “food movement” in America worthy of the name... But a market and a sentiment are not quite the same thing as a political movement — something capable of frightening politicians and propelling its concerns onto the national agenda."

"... Money-for-food is not the only transaction going on at the farmers’ markets; indeed, it may be the least of it. Neighbors are talking to neighbors. Consumers meet producers... City meets country. Kids discover what food is... The farmers’ market has become the country’s liveliest new public square..."

Please take some time to read up about Prop 37, GMOs, and what you can do to support good food!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Final CSA of 2012

This is the last week of the 2012 CSA season. 
In an attempt to clear the fields, throw a bit of a party with all of the members, and basically give it all out, I moved pick-up to Wednesday... 
Here's a peak at what's going home this week:

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Garlic with Thai-Inspired Dressing
(Adapted from Momofuku's recipe); Serves 2-4 as a side dish; from A Cup of Jo

You'll need:
For Brussels Sprouts & Garlic:
About 1 lb of brussels sprouts
Olive oil
8-10 cloves of garlic
For Dressing:
1/4 cup of fish sauce
1/4 cup of water
1/3 cup of sugar
3 tbsp. of finely chopped mint
2 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro stems
1 garlic clove, minced
1 fresh red Thai chile, thinly sliced crosswise, including seeds

What to do:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees with rack on the upper third.

Cut Brussels sprouts in half, length-wise, and toss in a bowl with garlic and enough olive oil to lightly coat all pieces.

Place Brussels sprouts with flat-side down (garlic can be tossed in any direction) on a shallow baking pan.

Bake until outer leaves are dark brown and appear crispy. Depending on the size of your Brussels sprouts, this could be anywhere from 25-45 minutes, so start watching after 25 minutes and add time as necessary. Then, make a note of the timing for the next batch.

Make dressing while the sprouts are in the oven. Simply combine all ingredients and stir until sugar has dissolved. I like to put it into a small jelly jar and shake it up. Then, you already have the extra dressing in a container to save for next time. Once the Brussels sprouts are done, pour into a bowl and lightly toss with dressing. You won't need all of the dressing, so it's great to save for later for your next batch. We've even added the dressing to some roasted potatoes!

Monday, October 8, 2012

colors of fall

Although peppers in the field have long passed, there are still a good number of beauties in the high tunnel. Black Czech (on the left) are about the same heat level as Jalapenos. But Jimmy Nardellos (on the right) are as sweet as candy once they have ripened to this vibrant red - despite the 'chili' look of them!
Meanwhile the beets, able to withstand the crisp, wet, and cold fall days we have been getting, are outside in the fields. Last week's beet harvest gave us brilliant burgundy, rich gold, and even some green to enjoy. 
Ahhhhh, the colors of fall!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

from the trenches

Way back in May, we tried a new way (for me, at least) of planting leeks
Now, four and a half months later, we're diggin' 'em up! 
 By the looks of it, the trench method works - I think I'll do it again next year.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

kids + veggies


Lianne recently wrote a great post about her kiddos and market:  
(used without permissions, but I'm sure it's fine!)

So Henry and I go to the farmers' market in Tamworth today, and he asks me for $10 so he can "get some food for breakfast." An hour later he comes back with a bunch of carrots, a pound of green beans, a pint of husk tomatoes, and a fresh-squeezed lemonade. No pie. No cinnamon buns. No cupcakes. No scones. On top of that, he helped convince a bunch of folks in line at the Booty Farm's tent that their amazingly huge carrots were sweet and delicious, not tough, with about three new takers after his spiel. That's my boy!

Madeline, meanwhile, is at The Community School stand while our farmer is away for the weekend, hustling fish and veggies to the masses and making change like a pro. That's my girl!

Gotta love Tamworth Farmers' Market.

The kids in this town LOVE veggies (almost as much as the farmers!)
Maddie Quinn + Henry Moneypenny modeling their purchases 
Madeline Moneypenny on the way to market

pace-off those piggies

About 2 of weeks ago, the science class came out to measure the porkers. 
The top two (Mason and Bartholomew) measured at about 200lbs, the niddle two (Robin and Pursey) at about 175 and little Tar weighed in at 140. 
They are planning come back out next week to get another measurement... then they can compare the two and track growth, plus get a closer estimate of market weight.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

jamón de bellota

Pork farmers (and beef farmers for that matter) talk a lot about what their animals are 'finished' on. What an animals eats certainly affects the taste of the meat. My five little piggies spent the first few months turning a 'jungle' of a patch into a rock pile: eating grass, roots, small trees and shrubs, and anything else they could root up! They are also fed certified organic grain to provide the protein and nutrients they need in order to get up to market weight. And, of course, all manner of scraps from the kitchen and the garden.
I recently learned about acorn-finished pork. (Here is another more farmer-like source) I also recently learned about 'mast years' in native trees (this year seems to be one in our area.

This past Tuesday I spotted a road-side collection of acorns and had to pull over! Luckily, I had a roasting pan in the car (?!). I have been portioning out the acorns to make them last a bit longer (the pigs can be such, well PIGS!). One of our students, Galen, snapped this photo of a post-snack nap. Five perfectly packaged sausages!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Post-frost fun!

We got a hard frost Sunday night - tomatoes, basil, peppers, eggplant: zapped!
Pat + I picked pretty hard on Saturday and Sunday to grab up winter squash, heirloom tomatoes, and other precious veggies that don't like it cold. 
week 8 at TMCC: basil, parsley, brussels, okra, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, radishes, arugula, mixed greens, leeks, and kale
But some things LOVE a frost. Carrots sweeten, Brussels sprouts and radishes settle into flavor, and leeks revel in a cold snap. With the cold rain falling down now (and scheduled to keep it up for a while) I think a nice, nutty, warm veggie roast is just what the tummy wants. 

Quinoa With Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Leeks  from gluten free goddess

ingredients

1 leek, washed, trimmed, sliced
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed, halved (or quartered, if large)
1/4 cup slivered blanched almonds
1/4 cup plump golden raisins, packed
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons golden balsamic vinegar
Sea salt, to taste
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried dill

directions
In a roasting pan, toss the prepared leek, Brussels sprouts, almonds, and golden raisins in the olive oil. Sprinkle with golden balsamic vinegar. Season with sea salt, minced garlic and dill; and toss to coat. Roast for roughly 20 to 25 minutes, stirring at least once, until the Brussels sprouts are tender, and browned a bit.

Remove the pan from the oven. Add in the fluffed cooked quinoa and chopped parsley. Drizzle with fruity extra virgin olive oil, to taste. Add sea salt and ground pepper, to taste. Gently toss to combine the roasted Brussels sprouts and hot cooked quinoa.

(quinoa instructions)
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
Sea salt, to taste

Add the quinoa and water to a potand season with sea salt, to taste. Cover, bring to a boil, and cook the quinoa until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa can be fluffed with a fork.


 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September planting

Despite the cold nights (another light frost last night!), the days are simply gorgeous - warm, sunny, a light breeze... perfect!

And the forecast for the coming week looks great, too... so, I took the chance to plant some fall kohlrabi. Hopefully I'll get the first round of harvest from this bed for the last CSA pickup. Otherwise, Thanksgiving market it is!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

yellow moon and stars

I LOVE the name of this melon (yellow moon and stars, notice the big 'moon' circles and the constellation of 'stars' all over?!) ... and it's delicious to boot.
This week's recipe is melon sherbet... I think it's a good transition from summer into fall: the summer taste of melon and the frozen feeling of fall (we got a light frost last night!). With warm days and cool nights, it's the perfect treat!

Tip Top Melon Sherbet from 101cookbooks

Ingredients
1 pound of juicy, extra-ripe, orange-fleshed melon
1/4 cup mild flavored honey (needs to be fluid, and you might use a bit less depending on the sweetness of the melon)
1/2 cup organic whole milk
generous pinch of salt

Directions
Cut the melon flesh from its rind into a medium bowl and puree with a hand blender. You will need 2 cups of puree.
Add the milk, and salt. Now you want to sweeten to taste. If your honey is in a solid or crystallized state you need to dunk the jar in a bowl of warm water until it is liquid again. This way it will mix easily with the rest of the ingredients. Start by blending in 2T. of the honey and taste. If you think the mixture needs to be sweeter, add more honey. Keep in mind you want the honey to bring out and complement the flavor of the melon, not overpower it.
Pour into an ice-cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Friday, September 7, 2012

sunshine in a bucket

Mark set out to harvest some sunflowers for market this evening just as the sun was setting:
I love that he chose to carry them in watering cans!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

blue beech beauty

It's totally tomato time! 
We have been harvesting often and pulling in a pretty good load. The rain from the past two days left us with TONS of cracked cherries, but what can you do?!
Despite the rain, I did grab this PERFECT blue beech paste tomato this afternoon. I just had to share!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

a big move, a new farmer

This post is bitter-sweet, but both necessary and exciting!
 
Earlier this spring, I announced to the school that this will be my last season at TCS as farm manager. It is with a very heavy heart that I made this decision. This community has been incredible and I truly feel that I have grown, learned, and gained some very strong friendships within the short time that I have been in Tamworth.
As many of you know, Pat was unable to find work here, despite an 8 month stint of unemployed searching. He did, however, find a fantastic job in Rutland, VT. He moved to Rutland last November and I will be relocating there late this fall. (It is with a very full and delighted heart that I made this decision!). 

Wanting for the smoothest transition possible, we started interviewing in August for the new farmer. I had the pleasure of being a part of this process. I'll spare you the details of the process itself and announce that we have hired someone!
John Welton hails from Madison, WI and is currently farming in Freedom Maine at the Village Farm with his girlfriend, Emma. They will be moving to the TCS farm this winter and are excited to jump right in. I have been talking with John a lot about the ins and outs of the farm, trying to get him up to speed and make his first season (and beyond) a great one! I am hoping to organize a 'meet the farmer' gathering in the coming months so that the CSA members, and members of the TCS community will get a chance to meet John + Emma and welcome them into this great place. As the season draws to a close, I will keep everyone up to date on a gathering.
Thank you all for your wonderful support. Tamworth will always be our (Pat + my) first home together and we are already planning future trips back!

Friday, August 31, 2012

CORN!

I have been anxiously awaiting to be able to announce corn in the farmstand!
 Non-GMO, no-spray, delicious, ripe, CORN. Behr farm grown, come 'n' get it at the TCS farmstand.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

twilight bean picking

The moon is almost full... and the beans are ready! 

Thanks to Atticus, Sam, Abram, and Maya. Your enthusiastic purple pod picking after the back-to-school potluck was a BLAST and very helpful.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Clover lovers

Shouldn't those two words rhyme?!
Regardless, the turkeys are LOVING their new patch of clover. A small crew of helpers came out in a big way this evening and we shuffled the turkey house around, rearranged fencing, and poof! The turkeys have some yummy clover to munch on.

Spudnik

Members got potatoes a couple of weeks ago... and that was just the beginning. Despite a pretty hardy multi-generational army of CPBs this year, there still seems to be some spuds to be dug. 

Kathy Flaccus, our science teacher and a generally awesome person, came out today to help for a an hour or so and we dug 'taters for tomorrow's CSA pickup! Check out this beauty:
When I was a baby, my mom called me her little potato... look, ma, now I've got my own!


tropical New Hampshire

We are growing some southern crops this year: okra, collard greens, sweet potato, melon... and every time I harvest amongst them, I get a little weepy for my Florida roots. 
Okra, which is related to hibiscus and cacao, has the most beautiful flowers and growth:

Friday, August 24, 2012

Down with Buckwheat!

In an attempt to smother weeds, feed the soil, use cover croping in a no-till system, and attract pollinators, I seeded buckwheat between the beds of winter squash, in the paths between tomatoes and peppers, and amongst the bean tipis. 
Well, the buckwheat is now about to go to seed, and rather than allow it to do so, setting up the farm for buckwheat weeds next year, we are cutting it down!
inage from http://www.sodahead.com
Mark in the winter squash
Since buckwheat will not survive the frost (it is a 'winterkill' crop), we aren't going crazy removing it, simply whacking it down and leaving the stalks to break down where they fall. The stalks will eventually decompose and give back to the soil, further building our organic matter and fertility. Farming is typically a take relationship with the earth - harvest harvest harvest! It feels good to give now and then.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Peter Piper, Peter Rabbit

Peppers are coming on! 
And tomatoes, and beans, and carrots... YUM!

I skipped a recipe last week (can I blame it on Summer Dinner?!), so here are two:

Yellow Bean Salad from 101cookbooks.com
1 pound / 16 oz yellow runner beans
1 serrano chile, stemmed and seeded
5 green onions, green parts trimmed & reserved
a big handful of cilantro
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 cup coconut milk, well mixed
1- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or to taste
2 big handfuls / 1/2 cup toasted pepitas
1 1/2 cups tiny pan-fried tofu cubes, optional
basil flower garnish, optional

Cut the beans into 1-inch segments on a deep bias. Cook in a pot of well-salted water for just 30 seconds, drain, and run under cold water to stop cooking. Drain, and aggressively shake off as much water as possible. Set aside.
To make the dressing, pulse the chile, onions, cilantro, garlic, salt, and sunflower oil into a paste with a food processor. Pulse in the coconut milk in two additions, before adding the lemon juice to taste, a half tablespoon at a time.
Place the beans in a large bowl with most of the pepitas and tofu cubes (if you're using them). Toss well with a generous amount of the dressing (you'll have plenty of leftover), even so, as I mention up above, this is one of those salads that benefits from over-dressing versus under. Serve in a bowl or platter topped with the remaining pepitas and tofu, and basil flowers if you happen to have them. 


Vegetarian Gumbo also from 101
**I have to admit that I got excited about this one for two reason... the friend from which this recipe came to Heidi is named Kim... and she talked about Halloween - my favorite of all holidays! 
Also, please check her note about the roux. The oil used to make roux is very hot!

1 cup clarified butter (or ghee)
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
5 cups yellow onion, chopped into 1/3-inch dice
3/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped into 1/3-inch dice
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/4 cup garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 dried bay leaves
3-4 quarts of a great tasting vegetable broth (see head notes!)
Gumbo file'
1 bunch green onions, chopped green ends only
6-8 eggs
5- 6 cups cooked long grain white or brown basmati rice
To make the roux:
In a large cast-iron or enameled cast iron pot, heat the clarified butter. When it is melted stir in the flour. Continue stirring until smooth and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir EVERY 10-15 seconds with a bone dry wooden spoon, scraping the bottom of the pot clean each time for about an hour and a half, or until the roux is a deep, deep brown - roughly the shade of a Hershey's Chocolate Bar. The amount of time this takes can vary wildly. The roux will likely bubble quite a bit more at the beginning than it does at the end. Throughout the cooking process my roux temperature bounces around in the 300F - 330F range, but use your nose and eyes (particularly if you don't have a thermometer). The key is to keep the roux hot, but not so hot that it puts off smoke or other acrid smells. The consistency as it is cooking should be that of a thick, creamy hair conditioner. If after thirty minutes of cooking, your roux is too thin (or has visible pools of butter on top), add one or two more handfuls of flour, stirring until incorporated. When the roux is finished cooking, let it cool a bit before carefully transferring to a glass Mason jar or Pyrex container. This will make enough roux for two big pots of gumbo. Leftover roux can be kept in your refrigerator for a couple weeks.

To make the gumbo:
Scoop 1/2 cup of roux into a cold thick-bottomed pot. Alternately, you can just leave about 1/2 cup of the roux in the base of the pot you made your roux in originally, if it is large enough. Stir in the onion, green bell pepper, and salt. You want just enough roux to coat the onions/peppers (see photo) - too much roux and you end up with a muddy gumbo. Cook over medium high heat until onions aren't translucent, roughly 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook for another minute or so. Now stir in 6 cups of stock, and the bay leaves. Bring to bubbling boil. Boil, boil, boil (see photo) and when it thickens add more stock a cup at a time. Keep adding stock and boiling for two hours - the gumbo should be thicker than a heavy cream, but thinner than a heavy gravy. Imagine it ladled over rice. I taste along the way, but here is where I make final adjustments - does your gumbo need more salt? Don't under salt or the gumbo will taste flat. Maybe it needs a bit more acidity? You can stir in white vinegar (1/4 teaspoon at a time) to get the right balance on this front. A couple pinches of smoked paprika adds depth, but maybe you need a touch of sweetness, a pinch or two of sugar will do. If you aren't excited about how it tastes, keep at it, one tiny adjustment at a time - remembering that you can always add, but never take away. Cover towards the end, dial down the heat and simmer. Remove bay leaves.
Ten minutes before you are ready to serve the gumbo, poach the eggs. Gently crack one egg into a ramekin, lower the ramekin down into the barely simmering gumbo and let the egg slip out. Let it simmer there for a few minutes, past the point when the whites have become thoroughly opaque. If you like a loose yolk, cook for less time. Repeat with three more eggs (I poach the eggs in batches of 3 or 4).
To serve, place a scoop of rice in each bowl, top with one egg, and a ladle of gravy, the rice shouldn't be totally submerged in the gravy, it should peak up above it in places. Finish with a small pinch of file' and about a tablespoon of the chopped green onions. Repeat with the remaining 3-4 eggs.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

August Summer Dinner

After the record turn out for our July dinner, we have rethought many logistical elements around the timely serving of food to an enormous crowd, and know that we are more than prepared to not only provide a sumptuous feast for all who join us, but also to ensure that the second half of the line doesn't end up eating dessert before dinner!

The crazy bounty of local farms is never more apparent than in the month of August, even though drought has been the watchword of the summer.  We're putting all this food to good use in a themed meal where we cook all manner of goodness in ways suited to wrapping in corn or flour tortillas, drizzling with any number of salsas and sauces, and sprinkling with fresh herbs or cheeses.  These are not your elementary school hard corn tacos that break in half with the first bite and drizzle out strange orange, vaguely meat-flavored oil.  Get past the notion of "Mexican only" and broaden your scope to include Greek, Italian, Ukrainian, Uruguayan, and French influences.

Picture this, instead:

Start off with some local cheese from the Big Farm Creamery and the Sandwich Creamery and a cup of watermelon gazpacho, your new favorite summer soup.  Have a cool drink, visit with a friend, and then get down to the business of trying a little bit of lots of dishes guaranteed to leave you sated.

Imagine smoked lamb tossed with cucumbers, mint, and fresh yogurt folded in strips of whole wheat wraps; grilled fish with cilantro, garlic, cider vinegar and pickled cherry tomatoes spooned onto bite-sized flat breads; eggplant and zucchini basted in herbed olive oil and smoked until velvety smooth, smeared on a hunk of corn tortilla and sprinkled with fresh goat cheese; roasted fresh corn with hunks of chicken tossed with chopped red onion and jalapenos rolled up into finger-sized bites; good ol' ground local, grass-fed beef, browned with cumin and garlic and tossed with black beans; fresh beans simmered with sage, garlic, olive oil, and plum tomatoes, served as a side salad with fresh greens; green beans lightly tossed with cider vinegar and slivers of fresh sheep's milk cheese.

Still need more?  Think salsas with tomatoes, fresh peaches, tomatillos, cilantro, basil, tarragon, walnut oil, olive oil, onion, scallion, shallot, sea salt, black pepper, chili peppers, jalapenos, hungarian wax peppers.

Even more?  Fresh yogurt, lebna (a zesty fresh yogurt cheese).

Save room for dessert....

As always, these meals are served by donation, so pay what you can or what you think the meal is worth.  Imagine getting food this good in a restaurant?  Make this date night.  Family night.  Get to know your neighbor night.

Hope to see you on the 15th at 6pm.  Let us know if you'll be joining us so we can plan enough food for all.

Friday, August 10, 2012

finally, RAIN!

After an entire MONTH without rain, we're finally getting it. I swear you can hear the plants breathing sighs of relief. 
Okay, maybe the plants aren't actually sighing... but you can see watch the grass turning from brown to green!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Spring (roll) into Summer!


This week's feature veggie is Napa Cabbage. An Asian cabbage that is perfect for kimchi, stir fry, spring rolls and more! 
Actually, this website explains 8 different ways to prepare and eat it up. 
While # 6 is spring rolls, I'd like to give you another option... one that doesn't require the rice spring roll wrapper (although if you had those at the Summer Dinner, you know they're good!)

Here is a recipe for Napa Cabbage spring rolls where the cabbage leaf is the roll!

Napa Cabbage Spring Rolls from: http://www.midwestliving.com/recipe/napa-cabbage-spring-rolls/

Ingredients
    •    1/2 cup arborio rice or long grain rice
    •    1 tablespoon sea salt or kosher salt
    •    4 cups ice cubes
    •    1 head napa cabbage or savoy cabbage
    •    1 cup shredded or grated carrots
    •    1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
    •    2 tablespoons snipped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
    •    1 tablespoon sesame oil (not toasted)
    •    1/4 teaspoon finely shredded lime peel
    •    2 teaspoons lime juice
    •    1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
    •    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    •    Soy sauce or teriyaki sauce

Directions
    •    In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup water to boiling. Slowly add rice and return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, until most of the water is absorbed and rice is tender. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover; let rice cool. Set rice aside.
    •    In a 5-quart Dutch oven, combine 12 cups (3 quarts) water and the 1 tablespoon sea salt. Bring to boiling.
    •    Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine 8 cups cold water and ice cubes.
    •    Remove 8 outer leaves from cabbage. Make a cut through each individual leaf at the base where it attaches to the core. Trim out some of the woody stem area from the leaf. Set the remaining head aside.
    •    To blanch, carefully add trimmed cabbage leaves to boiling water; cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until just wilted. Cool quickly by plunging cabbage leaves into ice water for 1 minute. Remove individual leaves from water and lay each flat on a cloth towel to dry. Set leaves aside.
    •    For vegetable filling: From the remaining cabbage, finely chop enough to measure 1 3/4 cups. In a large bowl, combine the finely chopped cabbage, carrots, onions, parsley, sesame oil, lime peel, lime juice, the 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper.
    •    About one hour before serving, assemble rolls. (These rolls benefit from allowing the surface to dry a little, so making them an hour or so in advance of serving is a good idea.) First, squeeze out any excess water from the vegetable filling. Then, on the counter or cutting board, take a blanched cabbage leaf and lay it flat, with the base end toward you. In the center of the leaf, place 1/4 cup of the vegetable filling on center of leaf, then place 2 tablespoons of the rice on top of the vegetable mixture.
    •    Roll the base end over the rice and filling. Fold both left and right sides over so that it just covers the opening on the edges. Continue rolling toward the end, wrapping tightly with care not to tear the leaf. Place finished roll on a serving dish with the end tucked under the roll, seam side down. Repeat with remaining leaves, rice and vegetable filling.
    •    To serve, if you like, cut each roll in half crosswise on a diagonal to make 16 pieces. Serve with soy sauce or teriyaki sauce.
 

 
 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Zen and the art...

... of farm equipment maintenance!

There is a quote that hangs on my fridge that reads "Some people tell me that I’m wasting my college education, but to be a good farmer, you have to be a scientist, a mechanic, a businessman." I think there is a lot more that can be added to that list, but this week, Jared + I played mechanic.

Jared has a bit more recent experience in this, he is re-building a '70s model motorcycle. So, I asked him along to assist me in replacing the cable that engages the mower deck (blades) on the riding lawn mower. Between the two of us, we replaced the cable in about 15 minutes... (I couldn't have loaded it into the back of my truck to drive it to the mechanic in that little time!)

Some of the work required muscle and some of it required small fingers. Turns out, we each brought a piece of each to the table.

Money was saved, skills were acquired, and the mower is fixed!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

start 'er up, again!

I am so excited, it's almost August and today marks the first day of the Late Summer CSA season. 

This week brings us summer squash, zucchini, cucumbers, onions, greens, and a hint of spice with some peppers. 

The green of the week (yes, we are still way into greens, despite the yellow and deep purples also included!) is amaranth. There has been quite a bit of buzz over this little plant lately... Jenny Rowe, our former director, recently sent me an email from her CSA farmer in Portland talking about amaranth:

"Amaranth is cultivated and consumed all over the world! Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, India (used in curries; greens steamed and mashed with light seasoning of salt, red chilis, and cumin; stir-fried with spices, onions and red chilies), China and Vietnam (stir-fried or in soups), East Africa, Uganda, Congo, Nigeria, Kenya, Somalia, Trinidad and Jamaica (stewed with onions, garlic and tomatoes), Greece (boiled then served with olive oil and lemon like a salad, alongside fried fish), Fiji, Sri Lanka (cooked and eaten with rice), Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, among many others!... it provides roots, leaves, and seeds that are all edible. The flowers have also been used by the Native American Hopi to create a deep red dye."

Also, one of our graduates, Mary Kgopa, who is also working a bit on the farm this summer, told me that she eats it in South Africa. They boil it then mush it into cubes, then set it in the sun to dry and be stored and eaten all winter. 

Treat this green just like you would spinach (I call it wild spinach... it takes the heat of summer much better than spinach does!)

Here is a recipe for stir-fried amaranth with coconut from Asia Society:

Ingredients
4 cups green amaranth leaves
2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
6 tablespoons grated fresh coconut or 3 tablespoons desiccated coconut 

Directions
Wash the leaves and roll in a towel or dry in a salad spinner. 
Roll them in a bundle and shred finely, or chop in food processor. 
Heat the oil and fry the onion, garlic and ginger over low heat until fragrant, stirring frequently. 
Add the ground spices, then the leaves. 
Stir-fry for a minute, then sprinkle with salt and a few tablespoons of water. 
Mix in coconut. 
Cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until liquid evaporates. 
Serve with rice.

big, green, but not a hornworm!

I found this big green wiggler in with the pigs yesterday afternoon. I thought it was an escaped hornworm... but when I picked it up, I noticed it's amazing, colorful spikes. 

Thanks to the power of google, we found that it is a cecropia moth caterpillar:
(photo of the moth from google images, I found the caterpillar!)

Monday, July 30, 2012

July in Review

We are trying a new schedule this year with the CSA:
We started mid-May with high tunnel goodies from kale to peas, carrots to swiss chard. When June rounded the corner into July, we paused our CSA harvest to focus on the garden.
While it may seem counter-intuitive to 'pause' CSA harvest in July, we found it allowed us to accomplish a lot, still feed quite a few families, survive heat waves, educate many young minds, celebrate mid-summer, and even take a little time out for ourselves!

Weeding was a major focus, as was bug killing. But with hot temps keeping us 'high' and a drought keeping us 'dry', we also had to focus quite a bit of energy keeping things watered... keeping EVERYTHING watered, and cool and alive. From the pigs + turkeys to the tomatoes + the late-season seedlings, water was key. We ran drip irrigation as quickly as we could and used a sprinkler in emergencies and in the AM and PM, when the sun was low and evaporation was, too. This past weekend has brought us a little rain, but boy - could we use some more!

A new Wednesday market in Sandwich started at the end of June, giving us an opportunity to reach more mouths and have a mid-week market. Last year we went to the Wolfeboro Area Farmer’s Market, which was a lot of fun... but it took a HUGE amount of time from morning harvest to driving, set up, market, tear down, driving home and cleaning up, I was gone from the farm the entire day. With the Sandwich market being so close, and in the evening, I can spend more time on the farm and still have a mid-week market! Come check us out at the market: 4p-7p Wednesday nights. Big Love is there, too!

We also started harvesting for the Sandwich and Tamworth food pantry in July. What a fantastic idea, indeed: fresh, local, organic produce available to lower-income members of our community. We’ve been givin’ them cukes, zukes, carrots, scallions, basil, even kale! There is definitely a lot to learn (and teach) in this process, but what an exciting process it is.

Speaking of teaching, educational tours have been bumpin’ here on the farm. Camp Robindel, a girls’ camp out on Moultonboro Neck, came a few times with a range of ages and focuses. The young girls learned about the pigs + turkeys, the middle girls got a feel for carrots and kohlrabi - snacking from the garden, and the older girls rounded out their exploration of local food by picking lots of fresh veggies and making a HUGE salad for lunch:
Robindel’s brother camp, Winaukee, also stopped by... boys are SO different from girls! The pigs were popular, but storming the compost pile might have been the highlight:



Last week, Kennett middle schoolers came out, too. They have weekly camps focusing on various career paths like carpentry and agriculture. Though many of the kids have home gardens or have spent time on local farms like Sherman’s, seeing the scale at which we produce organic food (and getting to snack on it right out of the ground) was fun for them and me!

The past two weeks have included some awesome TCS events - Farmer's Table Dinner and the Bluegrass Concert. The Farmer’s Table Summer Dinner was July 18th, and in case you haven’t heard, it was AMAZING! Over 300 people came out to eat local foods from spring rolls to fish cakes, kale salad to sesame noodles. SO YUMMY! I was able to spend the afternoon and evening in the kitchen, getting food prepped, plated, and out to the people. Our interim Director (and chef extraordinaire) Lianne did an incredible job planning, prepping, gathering, cooking, inviting, and welcoming all for this event!
And that just about wraps up July! Pat + I did steal away for a weekend to Chicago to celebrate a friend's wedding. It was a BLAST and such a treat to get away in July.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

what color are you?

I simply had to share this, it is such an awesome idea!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

garlic harvest

We pulled the garlic last week... it was a blast!
The ~ 2000 cloves we planted in October yielded a fine harvest this summer. 
Considering the little snow cover we had this winter (less moisture in the ground in the spring for growth) and the very wet June (causing garlic rot for some farms) and the very hot and dry July (causing early maturity and the possibility for small head formation) our garlic looks GREAT!
garlic harvest 2012
And, compared to last year’s take, we’re in it! *And safe from vampires, too!
garlic harvest 2011


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

They grow up so fast

Hornworms have been the focus of recent days (we are working in the tomatoes a lot lately to prep them for to ripen!). 
I have a love-hate relationship with these squirmy, green garden critters. They are very beautiful but oh-so-destructive. 

Thought I do find them a bit charming, at least I'm not raising them... I fear revealing that one of my incredible volunteers is actually keeping a couple alive at home, feeding them tomato leaves and everything! Yikes, I can't imagine helping the critters grow into adulthood... We've been feeding them to the pigs!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

get 'em while they're small!

It's hornworm time, again. We've actually been catching the moths in the greenhouse for a few weeks, now. But today was the first true hornworm hunt. And we're getting to them early and small this year (not to say we won't see any bigg'ins!)
Here is today's find:
And here is last September's:

Monday, July 16, 2012

201st post!

I just happened to notice that this is my 201st post! Since starting this funny little blog (and amazing new career) 3 years ago, I have posted two hundred times!

In celebration of that time, I would like to give you this advice: wear sunscreen. Kurt Vonnegut didn't tell MIT grads to do so... The American Cancer Society highly recommends it... and as someone with fair skin who spends a LOT of time outside, I also feel it is important!

But this image sends the point home: 
This 69 year-old man drove a truck for 28 years, exposing the left side of his face to the sun (through the truck window). The right side of his face was not exposed to the sun... WOW! According to the New England Journal of Medicine, he suffers from unilateral dermatoheliosis. Sunscreen is recommended to lessen further damage... and probably should have been recommended 28 years ago!

Turkish housing

The Turkeys are getting BIG. So they need to graduate from dog crates and greenhouse life to real, outdoor life. 
A few weeks ago, work on a real house for them started with a friend bringing over his backhoe and moving an old shed across the farm. 
I then clad the shed in some inch-board planks to class the place up a bit (carpentry, one of my favorite parts of farming). 
I am borrowing some poultry panels from the same friend mentioned above (Boy, do I have some fantastic friends - to say the least!) and we built an outdoor "turkey run" for them. 
Because these birds are a heritage breed, Bourbon Reds, they can fly. There are two options in dealing with this: 1. clip their wings or 2. roof them in so they don't fly away. I choose option 1 so that in the event that they need to 'fly' up and away from a predator, they can. Also, you have to clips their wings multiple times throughout the season (like fingernails) and I just don't have time to maintain feather-do's.
So, here they are in the new space, loving life:  eating bugs, bathing in dirt, perching in the sun...