Tuesday, August 30, 2011

9th CSA Week

After those crazy winds on Sunday night and Monday morning today turned out to be a wonderful day. Not a breath of wind with sunny skies and very few black flies making for a great harvest day. The shares today were very full with all kinds of farm fresh goodies. The large share had potatoes, carrots, beans, swiss chard, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, cucumbers, onions and beets. The grab box had baby fennel, dill, cilantro, sage, leaf celery, basil, parsley, cabbage and more of the above mentioned veggies.

This weeks beans were a mixture of yellow wax, french green and magic purple!! Yes, magic beans. As they are cooked they will turn to green, a great experiment for kids to watch. If you snap the purple beans in half you'll notice they are all green on the inside. A beautiful addition to a fresh bean salad!!

Potatoes, beans and carrots all lined up ready to be weighed out. I'm not sure how I ever managed to do all the weighing out last year. This is a much better system. It really gives a better meaning to "community" as members get a chance to interact and its great to watch the kids helping out

A few great recipes that folks have been sharing!

Pasta with Sausage, Swiss Chard & Pine Nuts
Everyday Food | March / April 2003
1/3 C pine nuts
1 tbsp olive oil
3/4 pound mild Italian sausage, casings removed
1 pound Swiss chard, tough stems removed, leaves cut into thin strips
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
1 pound short pasta such as gemelli or fusilli
3/4 C raisins, plumped in boiling water and drained
1/4 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

In a large skillet, toast pine nuts over medium-high heat, shaking the pan to toast evenly, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from skillet. In the same skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add sausage, and cook, breaking it up with a fork, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add chard, garlic and pepper: cook, tossing, until chard wilts, 2 to 3 minutes. Cover to keep warm.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions, about 12 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup cooking water. Return pasta to pot. Add sausage mixture to pasta with 1/2 cup reserved cooking water, raisins, toasted pine nuts, and Parmesan; toss to combine. Add more cooking water if pasta seems dry. Serve with more Parmesan.

Potato & Broccoli Fritata
Natalie Woodburn-Heron | August 2011
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
3 medium potatoes, grated
6 eggs
3/4 C goat cheese, crumbled
1 garlic clove, grated
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 cup broccoli, broken into florets
2 zucchini, sliced 1/2” thick
1 C gouda cheese, grated
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350, with the rack in the centre of the oven. In a large oven proof skillet, heat up the butter over medium heat. Saute the onion until translucent, add the potato and continue cooking for about 5 minutes. Salt and pepper the onions and the potatoes to taste. While the onions and potatoes are cooking, in a large bowl, beat the eggs together with the cheese, garlic,parsley, rosemary & basil. Set aside. Add the broccoli & zucchini to the onion & potato mixture and saute for 2 more minutes. Add the egg mixture to the skillet, stirring to distribute the egg evenly throughout. Cook on the stovetop for 5 minutes allowing the bottom of the frittata to set. Transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes. The frittata is ready when the eggs are set in the centre (they don’t move anymore when you jiggle the pan) and the edges are starting to turn a golden colour.

Check out this website for a great looking beet recipe forwarded by a member

Enjoy this weeks veggies and keep sharing those recipes.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

8th CSA Week

The CSA season is in full swing with tonnes of farm fresh veggies filling the bins to over flowing. Today's weather was bight and clear with not a rain drop in sight. It was a beautiful weather weekend so hopefully the summer weather that seemed to evade us might stick around for awhile and continue late into the fall. We had a great night of rain which was welcome news to my newly transplanted fall crops as well as the tiny seeds I planted on the weekend. It's a hard call to make deciding when to plant seeds for fall harvests but I try and plan it to provide greens into the late fall for the baskets.

This weeks large share had carrots, potatoes, broccoli, lettuce mix, garlic, yellow and red onions, beans, green cabbage, swiss chard, beets and zucchini. The grab box had cilantro, dill, basil, parsley, leaf celery, kale, baby turnips and more of the above. Everyone seemed to enjoy weighing out their own veggies and its great to see the kids wanting to be so much "help"!! I will have to get another scale to try and speed things up a bit.

It was a very busy weekend around the farm. I finally was able to get the last of the garlic harvested and its now hanging out in the barn curing for fall/winter eating. The garlic we are saving for seed is curing in the greenhouse shed and I'm very pleased with the size of the bulbs this year, very nice indeed!! I got a wack of weeds eliminated from the onion patch which was long overdue and my back got a good workout during bean harvest. The weather was amazing so I finally felt like progress was made. Yippie.

A sure sign of summer, ripe tomatoes. Our tomato crop is very behind this year but hopefully it will catch up soon. Don't be alarmed, there is nothing wrong with my fingers, its just what they look like at this time of the year. Good farm girl hands!!

My new favorite veggie, lemon cucumbers. Hopefully there will be enough for next weeks baskets. So far Ben & Jake have been eating the ones I have been picking. Perfect size for a mid-day garden snack

We have a tonne of broccoli this week. I was explaining to members today at the pick-up about the side shoots that produce after the main stock is harvested. This picture shows it perfectly

The zucchini patch has officially exploded as of today. I harvested over 300 of the little beauties of varies sizes from nice grill size to super size bakers. I may have over planted by just a wee bit!!! So, if your looking to make any loafs or any other zucchini inspired dishes this would be the week. And no fear, there will be more next week!!!

Happy eating : )

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

7th CSA Week

Another rainy day here on the farm but the long range forecast promises sun!!!!! And not just one day but three whole days. The garden sure could use some nice consistent sun and heat. I have to say that for the most part the garden looks pretty good right now. There are some weedy areas I still have not gotten to but for the most part when you drive by the farm things like they are growing well and you can actually see the vegetables instead of the weeds which I could not say was the case last week. Thanks to some early morning weekend hand weeding and Saturday my Dad and Derek spent some time getting the G all widened out to fit our current bed spacing which resulted in us actually being able to use it on some beds, and it worked great.

This weeks large share has 3lb potatoes, carrots, beans, beets, fresh onions, garlic, zucchini, dill, cilantro, swiss chard, kale, small turnips and broccoli. The grab box had leaf celery, cabbage, romaine lettuce and more of the above. The zucchini are really coming along and I would imagine after a few days of promised sunshine we will have a zucchini explosion. I had a lovely treat brought to me tonight at the pick-up, fresh zucchini loaf still warm from the oven. Yum Yum Yum!!!

Red Norland Potatoes

The beans have finally made an appearance, the first planting which I am picking now is pretty spotty but I was able to harvest enough for everyone to get 3/4 of a pound, hopefully the plants have a chance to ripen more beans before Thursday. The next planting is coming along and the plants are loaded with blossoms so i would except lots of beans in the coming weeks. CSA members are more than welcome to do a you-pick for freezing for winter eating if they would like.

A few pictures of the G's big day on Saturday. I would love to get it running better and take it in a parade!!

Widening out the front end

Turning the tires around to widen the back end

Lots of helpers

Dad taking a spin on the G through the beans

If you check out this link there will be a video of myself (Jen) trying out the G with my Dad watching that I don't rip out the beans, which I did a bit, oops. If you click on JenDereksFarm in the top left corner it will take you to two other videos from that day.

Lots of veggies

On a final note our friends Mark & Sally Bernard at Barnyard Organics will have organic lamb and chicken available very soon. They have a great blog and are wonderful hard working young farmers so check it out and send them an e-mail if your interested in ordering anything.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

6th CSA Week

This sure is the summer for strange weather. It started off very cold and damp, got a bit warmer with a few really hot days thrown in but we are now in the first of August and its down right chilly. The nights are very cold and the day temperatures are nothing like they should be. I had to put a sweater on during the CSA pick-up tonight. It sure has been a damp few days with a few more upcoming. Luckily the worst of the rain happened yesterday so today's harvest was just a bit damp without needing the full rain gear outfit which I had to wear yesterday. This cool damp weather is really perfect conditions for fungus and disease so we are watching the crops carefully and crossing our fingers that we get some good dry sunny weather soon. Saturday and Sunday look good as of right now so hopefully the weather will turn around and the sun will return.

We had a small but mighty turn out this past Saturday for the garlic harvest. Thanks to Edwena, Julie, Sara & Angus for all their help. We successfully got 1/2 of the garlic harvested & bunched in the morning and the garlic looks amazing. One variety in particular, Music, looked really impressive. I am hoping to get a bit more dug tomorrow but with the impending rain for Thursday I might just try and get a few things harvested for the CSA in case it does pour all day.

This weeks large share had beets, carrots, zucchini, garlic, green onions, onions, swiss chard, kale, summer turnip and cilantro. The grab box had leaf celery, parsley, broccoli, chinese cabbage, romaine, snow peas, potatoes and pea greens. Sometimes during the year we have a good variety of veggies but not enough to be able to offer everyone the same so its a great way for the grab boxes to come into play. The ground was just too wet to dig potatoes with my newly created digger so I just dug a few plants for the grab box. Many of the folks picking up today said they still had potatoes left from last week so it was just as well. The peas are definitely coming to an end but there was still lots left on the vine for Thursdays picking.

Our organic inspection last week went really well. We do not get the results right away but the inspector seemed quite pleased with all of my paper work and the fact it was all organized and easy to sort through.

I found two new swiss chard recipe from a farm I follow on facebook so check it out when you get a chance.
Swiss Chard 1
Swiss Chard 2

Swiss chard

Another interesting recipe for kale chips which was sent to me from a friend is below.

Red Kale

Lime Kale Chips

Quick and easy kale chips. A healthy alternative to potato chips.
* 1 bunch kale (washed)
* 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
* 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (alternatively, you may use sherry or
balsamic vinegar)
* 1/2 tsp. sea salt
Directions: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut or tear kale into 1 inch pieces. Place kale in a medium-large
bowl. Toss kale in oil, lime juice (or vinegar), and salt.
Place kale on baking sheet lined with wax paper. Bake at 350 degrees F
for 5-7 minutes until kale is crispy.

Servings: 5
Time: 10 Minutes Preparation Time
5-7 Minutes Cooking Time

A member shared a great recipe this week for a crustless quiche

Crustless Quiche
-1 cup of grated cheese
-1 cup of cottage cheese
-6 eggs
-small bunch of fresh herbs
-salt and pepper to taste (you may not need salt because the cottage cheese is quite salty, but be generous with the pepper if you like it - it goes great with the herbs)
Mix all the ingredients well and bake in a pie plate at 350F for 45 minutes or until set in the middle. Some ovens may take up to an hour.
This recipe is great with any herbs, but chives are my favourite. You can use thinly sliced or shredded veggies as well, such as grated zucchini, mushrooms or scallions. I would recommend sautéing them before adding to maximize the flavour. This is the perfect picnic food because it is great at room temperature and easy to eat.

Last but not least a really great recipe idea for the summer turnip
Caramelized apples with turnips

Good and bad news: I saw tiny beans starting on my less than impressive bean plants today so the good news is that you should have beans in the next few weeks, the bad news is the plants are so small that my poor back will be very upset at me for all the low picking. Luckily everyone loves beans so it makes it all worth while.

The cucumber plants are starting to flower so hopefully we will have cucumbers in the next few weeks. The zucchini have been less than impressive this year but the direct seeded plants are just starting to produce so hopefully they will begin pumping out the goods so all you bakers can get your fill of zucchini muffins, breads, etc.

Ben & Jake have been busy these days exploring every nook and cranny around the farm. They love taking off and finding where the cat has decided to hide on them during that particular time. Jake loves to carry around "Boss" but sometimes she is not too keen on being carted around so hiding is the only answer. They seem to have great senses as they can always seem to find her no matter where she hides. They can also be found happily in the raspberry patch picking the ripe berries and cashing each other up and down the rows, it must seem like a maze to them at their height. Funny boys!!

Farm fresh veggies

Let's hope that summer weather finally finds us and sticks around for awhile.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

5th CSA Pick-up

It is pouring like crazy out right now with lighting & thunder, I'm glad it waited until I was home safe and sound from my Charlottetown CSA pick-up. It was another great harvest day weather wise, over cast and a decent breeze although the black flies were still their usual pesky selves. I unfortunately forgot my camera at home and did not get a picture of the share but superstar CSA member Shawn used his phone to snap a few quick shots for me, thanks Shawn!!!

The large share had potatoes, multi-colored carrots, dill, cilantro, peas, romaine, daikon radish, fresh garlic, candy cane beets, broccoli and summer onions. The grab box had yellow and green zucchini, garlic scapes, chinese cabbage, regular cabbage, turnips and regular red radish. The first broccoli planting is pretty much done but there are a few heads left for the Thursday large shares. We have more broccoli plantings coming along very nicely as well as purple cabbage and cauliflower.

The first planting of carrots is now done and now I'm waiting for the next regular ones to size up a bit more. This weeks carrots are a mix of three varieties, white satin, yellowstone and yaya. We have another coloured variety called purple haze but they need another week or so but they are so beautiful!! We grow the coloured ones mainly for restaurant sales which require a specific baby size so we plant every two weeks to try and keep them in supply throughout the season. Let me tell you it takes a lot of digging to get enough baby carrots to fill those orders!!!

The variety of beets this week is called chioggia, aka candy cane beets and they are wonderful. They are red and white just like a candy cane and they are super tasty. We have just been steaming them with other veggies but they are also quite tasty raw. The picture below is from last year as I forgot to take one today.

A mixture of super sugar snap and snow peas for both small and large shares. Members got a chance to weigh out their own!!

Red norland and Superior potatoes, again members got to weigh their own

I'm finding that there just are not enough hours in the CSA harvest day so today I took one of my packing tables down to the pick-up and set up peas and potatoes market style so people could weigh out their own for their share. It sure saved me some serious bagging/weighing time!!

The G finally made its official weeding adventure last night. We have been having some issues with the starter or battery (not really sure what yet) and we want to widen it out to fit our current bed spacing but we were really anxious to try it out so Derek got the tool bar all fitted up and away he went. It took some adjusting but overall we were quite pleased.

Before weeding, look at those weeds, yikes!!

First official weeding

Weeding machine

I have my yearly organic inspection tomorrow morning at 10am and I have a few things left to find so I had best get at it. Let's hope the predicted "severe thunder storms" are not too severe!!!