Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Harvest Newsletter

Greetings from the Garden! This CSA box has greens, the last of the cabbage and squash, potatoes, carrots, kohlrabi, rutabaga, radish, onions, shallots, garlic, and the last of the cabbage and squash.

Field Notes.  Ken  monitors greenhouse temperatures in February.  Soon he will be seeding and transplanting - it all depends on the weather.  This year seems less sunny than usual and so there has been less solar gain. 

Ken has started planting full season crops that he will later transplant in field or green house depending on crop.  Although he has been planting greens right along for our winter harvest, these full season crops make it clear that winter's power is waning and soon it will be spring.  There are many different markers for this from Groundhog Day to Candlemas to St Brigid's Day to the Celtic Imbolc.  Now, during the midway point between solstice and equinox is a very dramatic time.  Days are lengthening at a rapid , noticeable rate.  

From the Kitchen.  Chicken.  Last Friday we reduced the late hatch cockerel population.  We like late summer hatched chickens as they start laying now.  Spring hatched chickens start laying eggs in fall just as the days are getting shorter and then they slow down until now.  Eggs have a season and it is starting now.  think Easter, think Easter bunny.  When we look at feed costs and egg production that late hatch seems to make more sense.  The down side is the males reach an age where they need thinning in late winter.

So we have been making chicken broth.  This is nothing new, but right now studies are being published on the health benefits of bone broth.  And it makes great soup.  last night invited friends for dinner and I served a humble chicken soup.  I sauteed potato onions and minced celery root with some turmeric in the Dutch oven, added broth, carrots, rutabaga, daikon, potatoes, minced garlic,  and simmered with some smoked paprika, thyme, and savory. Just before serving I added meat picked from the bones and frozen peas.  I served with corn bread and salad and Ken's kim chi.  I got compliments at each course.

For dessert I cored apples and baked with tahini (sesame butter) and maple syrup and herb tea from the  garden - a blend of lemon balm, nettles, mint, and red clover.

Tonight I am pressure canning the remaining broth for future use.
'Til February 25th, Judith

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