Field Notes. Ken is always planting greens. In late January he will start full season crops like onions and celery root. The seeds are arriving and the field plan is shaping up. Ken not only rotates crops, he looks at each of our three ecosystems and decides which best suits each crop. And then where in the field is best - parts are lower, wetter, higher and drier, shaded from asparagus after July, etc.
I have ordered seeds, and wrapped up the books for 2014. After careful analysis we have made one big change for 2015. All produce will be available to pick up at the farm only - no deliveries after March 2015. We encourage people to organize group pick up in the months before this changes.
With the time not on the road Ken plans to focus on some building projects like a garden shed to replace the one from the 80's that he built from scrap lumber. It now has ever growing holes in the floor. Also on the list is a gazebo for display of produce and pottery. It is quite confusing to first time visitors to see pots here, vegetables there, and no signage or people. We are excited about growing and look forward to people meeting us at the farm and seeing where their vegetables are grown.
From the Kitchen. Ah winter and the wood cook stove. Now is the time of year I take all those larger or cheaper cuts of meat like shanks and shoulders and simmer and braise with vegetables for soups and stews. I brown the meat in our large cast iron Dutch oven, then add onions or leeks and cook to transparent or caramelized. Next I add soup stock and spices and herbs and simmer. When the meat is 1/2 - 3/4 cooked Depends on size, cut , etc) I add chunks of rutabagas, turnips, carrots, garlic and spices like smoky paprika or ancho pepper, Ken would add our dried cayenne or chipotle, too with herbs like savory, thyme, celery leaves. I also add pearled barley I have soaked over night for variety.
As I sort squash and pumpkins, I pull the culls and cut out soft spots, scoop out the seeds cut into chunks and simmer in a bit of water. Once tender I pull off the heat and once it is cool enough to handle I scoop the flesh off the skin. I save the cooking water and add to soups and stews. We have squash in any of several ways - heated in a skillet with some butter, salt pepper and a pinch of nutmeg, warmed over a bed of toasted pecans in butter, pureed and combined with a bit of egg and milk so it rises when cooked. and Ken makes pies. I also made a cookie recipe from Jane Brody for tea treats at the first of Ken's clay classes:
Oven 350 - 375
Cooking time 10 - 12 min
Cream 1/2 c fat - butter, lard, or schmaltz with 1/2 - 2/3 c sugar (I use less and brown sugar)
Add 2 eggs, then 1 c squash or pumpkin puree
Sift together and add 1 1/2 c flour, 2 t. baking powder, 1/2 t. baking soda, 1/4 t, salt 1 t. cinnamon, 1/2 t. nutmeg, 1/8 t, ground cloves
Once mixed add 1 1/2 c rolled oats, 1/2 c chopped dates, 1/2 c raisins, 1/2 c chopped walnuts or pecans
Drop rounded teaspoons onto greased baking sheet. Bake 10 min or 'til center is thoroughly cooked but not so long the bottom chars. Orig from Jane Brody with my changes
'Til January 28th, Judith