Monday, October 31, 2011

CSA Newsletter

Greetings from the Garden!  This box has lettuce, salad and braising greens, cabbage, beets, winter squash, shallots, garlic, onions, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, and apples.

Field Notes. Fall is here - longer, cooler nights.  Ken is harvesting greens, and will pull more vegetables for the root cellar.  We are moving squash and onion family members to cool, dry areas.

Ken continues to plant green manures like clover, rye, and winter wheat.  He is also clearing garden space so he can continue setting up hoopettes in the garden.

And next Monday the pigs go down the road.  Another indication that winter is coming!

From the Kitchen.  Lots of peppers this week.  Consider stuffing them!  We seemed a bit slim and then during that last warm spell - bang!  There were so many they were breaking stems.  And if stuffed peppers aren't one of your favorites, many people chop and freeze or dry peppers for winter.  We add peppers to so many dishes - they are really high in vitamin c and conventional peppers are one of the crops sprayed with large amounts of pesticides.  Ken can't eat conventional peppers without becoming ill.

It is also onion family week!  Garlic will be great in the stuffed peppers.  Shallots are wonderful - like a cross between onion and garlic.  I like them minced in salad dressings.  Some of the best stuffing for Thanksgiving we ever had was made with our shallots.  If you experiment and find a new idea, let me know so I can pass it on!

Next Harvest is 11/15 - see you then!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Moving the Turkeys

One of the tasks we tackled today was moving the turkeys from the perimeter around the orchard - a cool spot to the south sloping hill - a warmer spot for winter.

First we moved Ken's portable Quonset type coop for the tweens.  He set it on hay bales and we moved the tweens and their mom.

Then he moved the "Hog Hilton" which doubles as a windproof winter turkey shelter.  Then we got fencing set and caught and moved the adults.  

Once they were all near each other everyone settled down.  Ken checked on them one last time and headed off to other chores.

Hoopettes in the Garden

Ken has been clearing space, planting fall and next season's crops, and setting up his low hoops or "hoopettes" so the crops are protected from the  freezing temperatures and / or grow more quickly.  Many greens will take frost and do quite well - especially Asian greens.  


Ken will continue planting and setting up the hoopettes.  Most years he has about eighteen in the garden for late fall and early spring crops As you can see there are more in process

CSA Newsletter

October 10, 2011 - Sorry when the blog changed, I thought this published, but it did not. 

Greetings from the Garden! This week's box has tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, eggplant, lettuce and salad greens, an Asian green, mizuna and braising greens, celery, broccoli, apples, and melons.

Field Notes. Friday was an exciting day! A crew arrived and we raised the arches for the mobile high tunnel. It went smoothly as some people had put up as many as five of these greenhouses. There were three of us first timers. After the arches went up, people worked on purlins and other cross pieces. We had a nice picnic with some food off the grill after that. Saturday a friend came over and helped with anchoring and the three of us got the end wall window vents in place. One more large group task remains: we need to pull the plastic. But we are excited at the progress so far.

Ken spent Sunday doing some catch up work on fencing new areas for geese and pigs. We are also going to be digging roots this weekend and starting to get roots dug and buried in sand in the root cellar. And as always planting continues in the garden - greens for this fall and next spring. Ken has some of his hoopettes set up already, and will continue to plant and get ready for winter. He will also be clearing crops from the greenhouse in the field so that will be ready to plant. The heat loving crops like tomatoes are staring to wane.

From the Kitchen. We are in transition. Tomatoes are slowing down and greens are shooting up. This week we have all the ingredients for ratatouille, a french vegetable dish with garlic onions, tomato, pepper, and eggplant. I usually serve it with rice. It also may be the last week for eggplant, so it would be a good week for eggplant and pepper kinpira, an Asian dish. The recipe is posted on the blog on
August 31, 2010

With cool nights, the radishes are growing. This week we have daikon radish. This large mild radish is versatile. Grated like angel hair it is served with sushi. I often grate and toss with tamari for an instant pickle. Pickled with turmeric, daikon is a frequent side dish to rice and vegetables in Japan. In fall daikon is a great addition to soup, stew or stir fry.

We are at the end of the celery crop - Enjoy!

The biggest daikon

Wow! Ken dug this and Jenny held it up so I could get a shot - one big daikon!

Root Cellaring

Part of fall harvest is root cellaring.  I have tried many ways to keep roots in good shape through the winter, and have found that burying them in sand in a cool, damp root cellar keeps them about as fresh as just dug from the ground.  I think this is because the sand is like the soil they where they grew.  

The down side of root cellaring is that it is labor intensive.  But there are also advantages - once the work is done, there is little maintenance - checking temperature and keeping towels damp, and no added costs of buying a cooler that dries out the vegetables, and paying for the electricity to run the cooler. 

Here are a couple shots of this year's beets as they go into sand

Monday, October 24, 2011

CSA Newsletter

Greetings from the Garden! This week's box has tomatoes, peppers, sweet potatoes or squash, beets, onions, black radishes, chard, Chinese cabbage, lettuce, salad greens, braising greens, and apples .

Field Notes.
Ken got the garlic and shallots planted yesterday. He had been digging roots, and I have been filling the root cellar. I bury the roots in layers in sand in large barrels. I have tried several methods, and think they keep best this way. Labor intensive, but effective.

Ken has also been planting green manures like clover and rye. He is trying to get the open areas the roots came from planted so they will start growing before winter sets in. In addition to all the nutrients these bring to the soil, this will help us avoid erosion if it is a windy winter without snow cover.

From the Kitchen. Many of the greens are wonderful this fall. I love these pungent winter greens - arugula with cooked beets walnuts, and some goat, sheep, or blue cheese. Or braise by adding to a sauteed onion. Wilt and dress. So many colors, flavors and textures - heaven! If there are too many greens, consider a breakfast soup. I add greens to soups just before serving. Or make a borscht with the beets and cabbage. Nice to start a cool day with something warm in one's stomach!

And with cool mornings and evenings I find myself happy to light the oven and bake a squash or sweet potato. Roast some beets. Bake a roast... Enjoy taking time to cook on these increasingly cool and dark evenings.

Monday, October 17, 2011

CSA Newsletter

Greetings from the Garden! This week's box has lettuce and salad greens, braising greens, tomatoes, peppers, leeks, potatoes, sweet potatoes, radishes, apples, melons, and parsley.

Field Notes. Ken has been working to catch up on field work before he resumes work on the high tunnel. He has been harvesting roots for me to put in the root cellar for winter boxes. He also spent part of a day hauling manure and bedding material. He has been working on fencing for geese and hogs.

Meanwhile I have been cleaning and sorting onions and garlic and starting the task of filling the root cellar. Friends came out Sunday for the big dig. They helped Ken pick up the potatoes, then one helped me sort and pack while the other helped Ken dig more roots. The potato production is down this year - was it the cool dry spring, the deluge of water in late July, the weeds that grew while it was so wet Ken could not weed, or the dry late summer? We aren't sure. But there are enough potatoes and plenty of onions and squash and radishes, and we shall see what else.

From the Kitchen. Many fall items this week. Sweet potatoes are great baked or boiled. Ken often makes scalloped sweet and white potatoes. And we have had sweet potato and potato hash browns - also good.

Leeks and potatoes make a great cream soup - and these are the last of the leeks. Saute leeks, add soup stock, add peeled potatoes. Simmer and puree. Add some milk, cream or sour cream - delicious.

Fall radishes are larger, but don't be intimidated!. We often grate them and add to slaws and salads. Some people grate and add vinegar or vinegar and cream.

These apples are Haralsons - said to be a perfect pie apple. Ken often poaches apples in apple juice with spices like cinnamon or cardamon or star anise. Nice to have warm food on these cool mornings.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pigs are Getting Bigger

The pigs are getting so big! They are changing to HOGS.

During the heat, Ken made a wallow for them to cool off

Beautiful weather

It has been a beautiful fall - and there is a reason they call it fall. The path to the field is littered with leaves.

And the dogs crunch their way through them!

The Window Vents in the End Walls

On Saturday once the arches were raised, we had more help. Our friend Bentley came and helped with anchoring and getting the windows in the end walls.

He and Ken lifted the panels, and I slid in the bolts so they would stay in place. Thank you for all the help!

The Arch Raising

On Friday several people arrived for the arch raising. We had two hay wagons and ladders and tools.

First people picked up and walked the arches down

Then the ends are slid into the upright side walls.

And sometimes a bit more persuasion is needed.

As the arches are put into place, the spaces need to be double checked for consistency. And then the purlins are put into place.

What a beautiful sight! Thank you to all those who helped.

Building the Arches

Ken set up a frame for the arches. I came down and helped put them together.

After the arches were together, Ken put the end wall arches together.

Now once we get the sidewalls up we are ready for the arch raising

Setting the Track

One of the most difficult challenges in building the mobile high tunnel is setting the track.The two tracks need to be parallel and on a level plane - one end can be higher or one side, but it needs to be consistent.

And the foundation for any building project is crucial for its success. Ken had set up the track, a string and the transit. Loyal came by and helped. They measured various points along the track.

It is first one side, and then the other -

The covered cart is for the many tools on site.

Job done for the day

New Chicks on the Farm

After the turkey babies hatched, I collected chicken eggs and set them in the incubator. We prefer to have hens go broody and hatch them, but this summer's weather was not very co-operative.

Well night before last Ken left me a midnight note on the bathroom mirror - chicks hatching. So I waited 24 hours and more kept hatching. Once I thought we were done, I moved them into a big box with a light, water and food.

But one more has hatched! Here is what they look like just out of the egg. I will wait a couple more days to see if more hatch.

Monday, October 3, 2011

CSA Newsletter

Greetings from the Garden! This week's box has salad and braising greens like mizuna, Tokyo bekana, pea shoots , chard, mustard, and tomatoes, pepper, leeks, winter squash, carrots, celery, grapes, and apples.

Field Notes. It has been a GREAT fruit year. From strawberries to raspberries, to melons to grapes to apples - all did well. And in spite of several weather extremes - so much heat in June and July, record rain in the second half of July, and a very dry September, many crops have done well, and we are glad to have filled boxes each week.

Work continues on the mobile high tunnel. We have a crew coming Friday for the arch raising, and more people helping with the bracing on Saturday. After that the last task is to pull the plastic over the structure.

And soon we will be digging and storing roots. We have tried coolers, but find that harvesting and quickly burying the roots in sand keeps them best. When I dig them out of sand through the winter they appear to be freshly dug and keep their flavor.

From the Kitchen. We have been eating the tomatoes with blemishes. Ken pops them in boiling water, removes skins chops and places in a pan, brings to a boil, places them in a colander over a bowl. We use the tomatoes in sauces for pasta or in Spanish rice. Ken places the juice in the bowl under the colander in a two quart jar and we drink the clear juice and use the bottom in soups.

Mizuna and arugula and endive make great zippy salads. Try making a dressing with a bit of cream and minced garlic with a blend of herbs, a bit of honey, lemon juice, olive oil. If I have cheese I add it, Chopped walnuts are nice, too.

Leeks are the smoothest, creamiest members of the onion family. To clean a leek, cut lengthwise and rinse out any soil that has washed up in between the leaves. Leeks are great in cream soups and stews. I also have been sauteing leeks and adding peppers and various Asian greens bok choy, mizuna, or chard. Once wilted I add balsamic vinegar or some interesting dressing.

A recent cooking show featured endive sauteed with onions in butter and added to a pasta dish. Looked beautiful with the green and colorful red sauce. I think it would be great with any robust green.