Tuesday, May 29, 2012

White Bean Pistou

This week I am excited to give out something 10 months in the making! Last year, on July 4th, Jenny and I planted beans. We planted fresh beans, meant to be eaten green (and purple and yellow) AND we planted drying beans.
After months of growing, drying, shelling, it's time to eat!

Here's a recipe that uses the dried beans in this week's share, along with the fresh thyme.

**And for dessert?! Try mixing up that rhubarb with blueberries (not your grandmother's strawberry combo!) for pie or compote on yogurt!

White Bean Pistou with Garlic and Herbs
    Adapted from: Patricia Wells at Home in Provence: Recipes Inspired By Her Farmhouse In France

3/4 pound white, red, and black beans
2 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 clove garlic
1 bundle fresh thyme
1 Qt. cold water
1 tsp sea salt

Boil enough water to cover the beans (1-2 Qts.)

Rinse dried beans, pick over for any bad beans. Place in large bowl, cover with boiling water, set aside for 1 hour. Drain beans, discarding water.

In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, combine olive oil, bay leaves, garlic and thyme. Stir together to coat with olive oil.

Cook over moderate heat until garlic is fragrant and soft, about 2 minutes. *Do not let brown.

Add the soaked beans, stir to coat with olive oil, cook 1 more minute.

Add the cold water, stir.

Cover, bring to a simmer with moderate heat, simmer for 30 minutes.

Stir from time to time to prevent the beans from sticking to the bottom.

Remove form heat, and discard the bay leaves and the thyme.

Drizzle olive oil over beans at serving time.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Plating Pretties

Ashley led a FANTASTIC crew of hands today, planting the flower garden. It must be spring!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

sharing early treasures

This week's share is GREEN, no doubt. But look closely and you'll see more than just leaves in those bags. 
Peas are starting to come on in the high tunnel, delicate white flowers are yielding plump little pea pods, perfect to snack on during harvest! Asparagus sprouts are popping up every day, we're harvesting as fast as we can. Other flavorful garden treats like garlic chives, beet greens, leek cuttings (from last week's transplant), and kale offer up a FANTASTIC saute... or go raw!
The other bag of greens offers a little spice - with some arugula - to round off the fresh, succulent taste of spring lettuce. 
Spring is the season for cleaning and what better way to ensure a clean dinner plate than fresh, divine, greens?!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

green and black

If you were by the farm/school at all today, you probably saw us. 
Jared + I spent the better part of the day in the "marsh" garden getting ready to plant potatoes. 
Last season, this space was in fallow, to give it a rest for the season. It was cover-cropped in two different crops as part of a research initiative by a farmer, Dorn Cox, from the Seacoast.
On the right, I seeded a winter-kill cover crop called tillage radish. It was FANTASTIC! Not only did is come up well and do the job of "tilling" or aerating the soil, but it also acted as an herbicide. This particular crop gives off a chemical that inhibits weed seed from germinating. Of course, there were still some weeds. But not too many. Plus, since it winter-kills, that means not tilling it in is part of the whole plan!
On the left is vetch... a VERY thick crop that provides nitrogen fixing and a ton of organic matter. Part of the deal with the cover crop trial is that I have to let this go to flower. Then, I will cut some sample masses and weight them. I still haven't entirely decided how I am going to get rid of this (without tilling it, of course)... but I have some ideas!

in the trenches

We have been planting up a storm (in-between CSA harvest and selling seedlings)! Yesterday, Jared + I planted bok choy, nappa cabbage, and red mustard. The day before that, we finished up the alliums. We are trying something new this time with the leeks (winter reading is inspiring!)... trenches:
The garden plot where the onions are being planted was in bush beans last year. Composted manure was added to the plot before the beans were planted and once the beans were done, we cut the stalk, left the roots and didn't till them in... over the winter, bugs and worms ate the roots and this spring, the bed is noticeably improved from last year. There is much more organic matter in the soil, it's a darker, richer color, and it is actually holding onto some of this rain (the other, sandier plots are "well drained"). Woo-hoo no till!
Next up: kale, brussles sprouts, and potatoes.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

CSA starts TODAY!

It's another rainy day here in New England... but that doesn't stop us from harvest or fun! We are starting the CSA early this year and we are excited to be able to provide fresh, local food mid May... in New Hampshire!
Green and purple are the colors of the day... lilacs, spinach, chives (with purple flowers), mint, oregano, even the bok choy from White Gates Farm came in green and purple! **Thanks, LeTartes, for helping supplement what the cabbage worms devoured! **
And thank you to all of my helpers this morning, Stephanie did artful things with flowers + thyme, Ben helped pick mint + herbs, and - of course - Jared!
As I sit on the front porch of Tin Mountain Conservation Center, listening to the rain falling once again from the sky, I am gathering a recipe perfect for spring! 
But first, a look at who's eating our food: 9 month old Ollie with this week's fresh take!
Now, for what to do with it all?!? It is spring, and egg season, so this week's recipe is a spinach + thyme frittata. You could also use the choy instead, if you want to savour your spinach fresh!

Spinach and thyme frittata, adapted from:

2 bunches spinach, washed, trimmed, and chopped
1/4 cup water
1/2 yellow onion, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup half and half
2 egg yolks
4 large eggs
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese, divided
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the chopped spinach in a saucepan with 1/4 cup water and cover with a lid. Heat over medium high heat until the leaves are barely wilted, just a few minutes.
Remove from heat and set aside. While the spinach is cooking, whisk together the egg yolks, eggs, half and half, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and half a cup of the Gruyere cheese. Melt the butter in an oven proof skillet and add the onions. Saute until translucent and fragrant.
When the onions are ready, top with the cooked spinach, sprinkle thyme over, and pour the egg mixture. 
As the egg heats and begins to set, use a spatula to lift up the edges and allow the egg to move to the bottom of the skillet. Repeat until the egg is no longer runny Top with the remaining cheese and place in the oven.
Bake for 13-15 minutes until the egg has puffed up and the cheese has browned.Cut into quarters and serve.

Little Red Romper Room

Nine baby turkeys arrived from Stanton Brook Farm yesterday. There is another batch in the incubator due on the 24th. 

Right now, they are hanging out in the science lab (thanks Kathy!), cozy and warm under their red heat light. Last night, they huddled up, a bit cold and shaken from the drive, but this morning, they are running around, pecking the hay, eating and drinking.  **Better photos to come, promise!

Friday, May 4, 2012

one year later

The high tunnel turns one year old this month. This morning we celebrated with a ton of activity. Candice brought out the middle school English class to weed. 
 Here is the contrast... one year later!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

sweet and spicy

A couple of weeks ago, Jared and I seeded peas outdoors! They have pushed their way up through the soil and are loving the rain and cool weather we are having. 
This evening, I seeded a few beds of greens and also sneaked in some radish seeds right up next to the peas. Since the they only take up the middle swath of bed, the spicy radishes should be pretty happy flanking those sweet little peas...

colors and materials

While I was in DC, Jared and Mark laid a BUNCH of bricks in the high tunnel... it looks FANTASTIC. 
The high tunnel is nearly full now with peas, carrots, greens and a few early tomatoes. We've even tucked in some trays of onions seedlings to harden off for their pending transplant... 
On her visit today, Lori pointed out that the combination of weathered red brick, knotty tan wood, and vibrant green onions is quite the combo. I agree!

growin' in da city

A lot has been happening over the past few weeks. We are gearing up BIG for the spring fair, the CSA, and the start of another growing season. 
Despite all of that, I was just able to "get away" for a week and travel with some of the students down to Washington DC. Jared stayed here and held down the fort (and did a GREAT job!) with help from Ashley, Chris, and Mark. THANK YOU ALL!!!

DC was a blast. We walked all over our grand Capital, seeing the monuments, touring museums, taking in history and urbanity all at once. We only spent three complete days in DC - two additional days were spent on trains down and back - and we packed them full. There were many highlights to the trip: the monuments at night, the Native American History Museum, and the gardens. 

YEP, gardens! We met with Sam Ullery, the man in charge of DC's school gardens from both behind a desk and behind a wheel barrow! He showed us around the biggest of the DC school gardens at Walker Jones Education Campus. They have bees, fig trees, strawberries, a GREAT compost pile, rain barrels, cover crop AND delicious veggies all in the school parking lot! 

Our  next stop was Marion Street Garden which is run by Rebecca and Lola of City Blossoms, an incredible organization that is teaching, feeding, and activating DC neighborhoods. We conveniently visited on a Thursday, which is a meal-sharing day. We helped harvest and prepare a "shoots and noodles" dinner for 15+ people. Peas, chives, oregano, and thyme were sauteed over a camp stove and added to pasta with a little lemon and butter. Everyone waited for all to be served, then a ritual "blessing" was said in Spanish roughly translated as "to the top, to the bottom, to the middle, to the mouth!" It was an amazing visit, to say the least.