Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Harvest Newsletter

Greetings from the Garden!  This CSA box has greens - salad, braising, spinach, arugula and more, cabbage, carrots, parsnips, pie pumpkins, leeks, potatoes, and the first of the winter tomatoes.

Field Notes.  Harvest continues - Ken has been bringing things into the yard, 

and I am sorting and moving them into the various storage areas - the root cellar or the cool dry storage for squash and onion families.  

Ken has also been tackling outbuilding roofs - also part of farming.  The shed that holds the produce boxes is fixed, the pottery show room is fixed, the smaller coop is done, and the large north chicken coop is mostly finished as of this weekend.

And Ken is planting.  Garlic has been planted for next season.  Green manures like winter wheat and perennial rye are going in when crops come out.  

Ken is preparing beds to fall plant or get ready for early spring 2015 planting.  We are assessing and planning for next season.  please return your vegetable preference list so we can better plan and plant for you.  Soon I will be ordering seeds!

From the Kitchen.  With "company" here to help with the roof, I tried to make good meals great.  We had chicken with  with potatoes, carrots and parsnips with a spinach salad one midday.  
That evening we had Ken's chorizo style venison sausage, baked squash and creamed braised greens. One of the things I learned years ago was to think of how the plate will look and go for color. The chorizo with orange squash and bright greens with cream on a dark brown plate was beautiful!

The next day we had chopped chicken with beans and chili pepper the last of the sweet potatoes with butter and creamed cabbage with leeks and some of the last red bell peppers. 
Happy Halloween! 'Til Next Week, Judith

Monday, October 27, 2014

Bringing in the Fall Produce

Ken harvests vegetables and brings them in to the yard.  then we set them in storage.  Squash and onions have two step - we cure them in the cheese racks and then once there is a threat of truly cold weather we move them inside to a cool dry storage area.

Sunday I started sorting squash and moving it inside.  I had already sorted onions and placed them in crates (on right) so the squash could go on the racks.

This year both the onions and squash are smaller harvest.  There are fewer onions as one variety did not germinate well, and they are smaller due to weather.  The squash set fewer fruit and these are some of the smallest squash we have ever grown - We believe the cool nights in July and wet August are responsible.  The one on the left is typical of most years - and the one on the right is more this year's average size; many are smaller!

Now they are all inside and in crates - most years I have more produce than crates - another indicator of fewer and smaller.....

And the racks are open.  We will store all the various racks we use during the summer season for harvesting produce.

Roof Wrap Up

During this beautiful fall weather Ken has been working on the necessary repairs to out building roofs.  Over the years one after another needed new shingles or began to leak.  A friend has come up twice to help.  first they did the biggest job - the shed we call the box shed.

Then Ken did a rolled roof on the pottery showroom by himself.

Then he prepped this large chicken coop roof and got the old, broken windows out.  And this past weekend he and our friend got this one mostly done.  There is still some small finish work to do that Ken figured he should do alone.

Then Saturday they moved on to the final roof - Ken's original chicken coop. 

Right now this building has some chicks - teens really - that will move soon: pullets will go in with current hens and cockerels to the large coop. This small coop will be the brooder coop.
They moved the shingles up to roof level on the front end loader, set up some scaffolding and got the bulk of the job done.  Today Ken tackles the finish work

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Harvest Newsletter

Greetings from the Garden!  This CSA box has spinach, salad and braising greens, leeks, potatoes, pie pumpkins, salad turnips, carrots, tomatoes, beets, and garlic

Field Notes. Ken has been dividing his time between farm maintenance like roof repair and digging fall root crops.  

And I have been sorting and filling the root cellar.

More crops on right!
Ken has postponed some of his harvest as some fall crops like cabbage are continuing to grow - and that is good because they are smaller this season due to weather.  

From the Kitchen.  We have been eating venison and vegetables.  I scrubbed, sliced and steamed some parsnips and then drained.  I like to saute in butter just to the point when they start to caramelize - like candy!

And I took some squash that had some blemishes and scrubbed, scooped out seeds and placed in a covered casserole and baked.  We ate some that day and I have heated a potion in a skillet with the cooking water and a dab of butter as another side dish.  I cleaned up some salad turnips and braised the greens and steamed the sliced roots.  Colorful and delicious

I have been culling apples and making either stewed apples in the morning with cinnamon and cardamon or apple crisp for dessert.
'Til Next Week, Judith

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Big Dig

Each fall Ken starts what I call "the big dig"  When other farms are wrapping up their seasons, we are gearing up to fill up the root cellar for winter.  We eat all year from the garden and hope to provide for others to do so as well.

First Ken digs and harvests crops - sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots and beets.  Those are just the start.

Then I start to bury the root crops in sand in barrels in the root cellar.  It means some bending and lifting.  The sand gets heavy!

Next he will return and plant green manures like winter rye so the soil will be covered and there won't be any erosion if we do not get snow cover

More Repairs

Ken has nearly completed repairing the second of four out building roofs - sheds and chicken coops.  

He and a friend finished the most difficult one earlier, and now he is taking on the "easiest" by himself.  He has the third one ready to do as well.  This beautiful Fall weather has made outdoor work a delight.

So yesterday while I was sorting vegetables for the root cellar I could hear Ken pounding nails.  He had to scrape off some old roofing that had lifted, patch and tar.  

Of course he had on the headphone earphones so he could listen to the folk show on Wisconsin public radio. He needed just a bit more tar and today he plans to wrap this one up!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Repairing the Skylight

Last winter during the heavy snowfall we came home one evening to a pile of glass where one of the double panes in the skylight had shattered under the snow load.

Glass shards all over the inside of the house under the skylight!

Today the glass has arrived and Ken has replaced the skylight.  He had the front end loader, several ladders and was set up to go.  I stood around ready to help.  He did most of the work.  I ran a couple things up the ladder to him, and had an idea on how to hold the window in place.

Once he had everything installed, the final step was some caulking and I remembered the camera.  Here he is from inside the house with the caulk

It is great to go into winter with this repair done!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Harvest Newsletter

Mobile high tunnel in its winter location
Greetings from the Garden!  This week's CSA box has greens - lettuce, spinach, salad and braising greens, cabbage, carrots,  parsnips, a rutabaga, leeks, the first potatoes, parsley,  pie pumpkins, and salad turnips

Field Notes.  Let the digging begin.  Each fall Ken starts what I call the big dig.  He is usually out in the field and I am in the root cellar storing the roots for the winter.  We are committed to eating from our farm year around and offering vegetables year around.  

This fall we are seeing dramatically lower yield in several crops due to weather - fewer and smaller squash, smaller onions, fewer potatoes, and the list goes on.  The weather did not only affect this farm - while in co-ops in the area and in the Twin Cities, we see smaller and more expensive produce from most of the local farms that have been growing for many decades.

During these beautiful fall days we are grateful for the weather, and the food we have to harvest and to you, our loyal members.  Thank you

From the Kitchen.  Pie pumpkins are part of my New England tradition.  Most years we only have enough to send out around Thanksgiving, but this year the pumpkins did MUCH better than the squash!  So consider using a sweet pumpkin in lieu of squash in your recipes.  They tend to be sweet and a bit juicier than squash.. I bake them, serve them like squash as a side dish, and then scoop any remaining flesh for a second meal -  I also like to toast nuts in a skillet, add some butter and add the cooked pumpkin to warm and absorb the butter.  The nuts give it a rich flavor.  Of course the cooked flesh is also great in quick bread, cookies or pie.

Salad turnips are so lovely in the cool weather of the fall.  I like them in salads, but they are also delicious cooked.  I add the highly nutritious greens to braising mixes.  Years ago I read the greens have even more nutrition than the roots!

Leeks and potatoes - the perfect soup.  Clean leeks by slicing lengthwise and rinsing.  Saute,  Add soup stock and peeled potatoes.  Simmer.  Run through a food mill, food processor, or blender.  Add  some cream or yogurt and a spring of parley before serving.  Great hot or cold.
'Til Next Week, Judith

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Moving the mobile high tunnel

It was moving day here.  No, we aren't going anywhere - the greenhouse is.  The mobile high tunnel is a greenhouse on a track that can be moved to one of three locations on the track.  It is a wonderful tool.  The different locations enable Ken to have three full seasons of greenhouse as it can be shifted once the heat and protection are no longer needed.

First all the sides need to be rolled up, anchors lifted, doors shut, and then we push it down the track.  Once in the new location it needs to be anchored and voila! 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Fall Vegetables

Once we have frost there are many additions to the list of vegetables we offer: daikon radish, celeriac or celery root, and parsnips.  Daikon is a large, mild white radish eaten raw or cooked throughout Asia. Grate and add to salad, add to stir fry or soups

Celeriac is a European bulb that is a cousin to the celery we know - its bulb like root is the flavor of celery with the texture of a carrot.  I like to add a chunk minced into soups and stews.  People often add them grated raw in salads or slaw.

Parsnips, a cousin to carrots are sweet white roots that are delicious sliced, steamed and then sauteed just to caramelized in butter.  

They are great in roasted root medleys.  And I like them in a curried cream soup.