Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Farmer Erin Presents...

Sign-ups have started for 2011 CSA memberships! We are actively looking for new folks to join in the bounty.
One thing I have done a lot of in the last few years is give powerpoint presentations about the farm, the CSA model, and the importance of buying local & organic. I've talked to church groups, rotary clubs, business group luncheons, college classrooms, country clubs, and more.

I'm looking to set up a few presentations for this February, March, or April. Do you know of a group that would be interested in hearing more about the farm and our mission to bring healthy organic food to the community? Give me an email to set something up!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Recipes for Feasting

Here are some farmer-approved recipe ideas for your winter veggie cooking adventures- enjoy:

Roasted Vegetables (from

Instead of plain-old white mashed potatoes, get your holiday starch from beta-carotene-rich vegetables such as butternut squash and carrots.

*Farmer Erin's Note: You can use almost any vegetable in this roast. Any winter squash, celeriac, turnips, radishes (they're delicious cooked!), fennel, potatoes, cabbage, onions, garlic, etc. We like throwing in some apple chunks too. Also you can use other herbs like sage, parsley, thyme, etc.


Serves 8

  • 1 small butternut squash (1 1/2 pounds), pared, halved, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 1 pound carrots, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 pound parsnips, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 small rutabaga (1 pound), pared, halved, and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 1 pound shallots, peeled, halved if large
  • 3 rosemary sprigs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper


1. Combine the vegetables and rosemary on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper; toss to combine. Cover with foil.

2. Place the vegetables on the second rack in the oven. Roast 1 1/2 hours, uncover, and roast 30 minutes longer, tossing occasionally until vegetables are tender and golden brown.

Carrots & Rutabaga Mash


  • 1 pound peeled and chopped carrots
  • 1 pound peeled and chopped rutabaga
  • 1/2 stick, 4 tablespoons, butter
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley, for garnish


Boil carrots and rutabaga together until just soft. Drain and add butter. Smash together using either a potato masher or food processor until it looks like a puree. Season with lots of pepper and a little salt. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with fresh parsley

Garlicky Kale Crostini (


Serves 4

  • 1 small baguette, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 1 large head kale, stems removed, leaves torn or coarsely chopped
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Splash of red-wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground pepper


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place bread on a large baking sheet. Transfer to oven until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and rub cut sides of bread with 1 clove garlic; set aside.

3. Chop remaining 3 cloves garlic; set aside. Wash and drain kale; do not dry. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add kale and cook, stirring to coat with oil; season with salt. Cover and reduce heat to medium, cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. If leaves begin to scorch, add a splash of water to skillet.

4. Transfer kale to one side of skillet and add 1 tablespoon olive oil to bare side of skillet; add reserved chopped garlic and the red pepper flakes. When garlic is fragrant, stir to combine with kale.

5. Remove skillet from heat and add vinegar; stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper; serve on toasted bread slices warm or at room temperature.

Kale Chips

Serves 12 to 15

  • 1 pound kale (1 to 2 bunches), thick stems removed and leaves sliced crosswise into 2-inch ribbons
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Flaked sea salt or coarse salt, for sprinkling


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss kale with oil, and spread in a single layer on each of 2 rimmed baking sheets. Bake, tossing kale and rotating sheets halfway through, until crisp, about 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets. Sprinkle with lemon zest and salt, and toss to coat.

Kale Slaw with Peanut Dressing (from


Serves 8

  • 2 large bunches curly kale, center ribs discarded, very thinly sliced crosswise (about 10 cups)
  • 1 yellow, orange, or red bell pepper
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup salted peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup salted peanuts


1. Toss 2 large bunches curly kale, center ribs discarded, very thinly sliced crosswise (about 10 cups); 1 yellow, orange, or red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, halved crosswise and thinly sliced lengthwise; and 2 carrots, thinly sliced crosswise, in a large bowl.

2. Puree 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1/4 cup cider vinegar, 1/4 cup salted peanuts, 2 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt in a blender until smooth.

3. Pour dressing over vegetables just before serving. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped.


heaping cups coarsely diced kuri squash seeds and skin removed (buy a 2 -3 pound kuri squash)


quart vegetable stock


tablespoons olive oil


medium yellow onion, sliced


sweet apple, cored and sliced


teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of cayenne pepper


teaspoons salt


teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Creamy Red Kuri Squash Soup with Cinnamon

Louisa Shafia’s new cookbook Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco -Conscious Life

(can substitute any kind of winter squash)




Place the squash in a soup pot with the stock and a dash of salt and bring to a boil on medium high heat. Simmer, covered, until tender, about 15 minutes.

Drain the squash, reserving all the stock.

Using the same pot, over high heat add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add onion and saute until it begins to brown, about 10-15 minutes.

Add the apple, cinnamon, cayenne, and a dash of salt and saute until the apples are soft and lightly browned, about 5-8 minutes.

In batches, if necessary, combine the squash, onion, apple, and stock in a blender. Puree until smooth, adding the remaining tablespoon of olive oil as it blends. Add a little extra stock or water if the soup is too thick.

Taste and season with salt. Serve hot with a few grinds of black pepper.

Parsnip-Apple Mash


Earthy parsnips are sweetened with apples and blended into a delightfully silky puree.


Serves 10 to 12

  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds parsnips, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 pound tart apples (about 3), such as Granny Smith, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • Coarse salt


1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook parsnips in a single layer until just golden on bottoms, about 10 minutes. Flip, and add apples, water, and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt. Raise heat to medium-high, and simmer, covered, until parsnips and apples are very soft, about 20 minutes.

2. Remove from heat, and let stand, covered to retain moisture, until slightly cooled, about 5 minutes. Puree mixture in a blender until smooth. With machine running, add remaining tablespoon butter.

Celery Root & Potato Puree

This easy side dish is an impressively tasteful (and uncomplicated) addition to any holiday meal.


Serves 8

  • 4 pounds celery root (about 2 large), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 pound new potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Coarse salt


1. Set a steamer basket in a large pot. Fill with enough water to come just below basket; bring to a boil. Add celery root and potatoes; reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Working in batches, transfer celery root, potatoes, half-and-half, and butter to a food processor; puree until smooth. Season with salt. (To store, refrigerate, up to 1 day. Reheat in a heatproof bowl set over, not in, a pan of simmering water.)

Celery Root and Apple Slaw

Celery root, also called celeriac, has a crunchy texture and a mild celery taste that pair well with tart green apple and a savory-sweet dressing. Allow enough time to let the slaw stand so that the flavors have a chance to mingle.


Serves 4

  • 1 small celery root (about 12 ounces), trimmed, peeled, and cut into matchsticks (2 cups)
  • 1 apple, cut into matchsticks (2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh cider
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and toss. Let stand for 30 minutes before serving.

Creamy Celeriac Soup

I've been meaning to pick up some celeriac for awhile now, just because it may be the ugliest vegetable in the grocery store. People are always passing it by, poor thing. On the outside it's a tangled mess of dirty, fuzzy roots and knobs, but once peeled it has the faint aroma of celery, a pale color, and a smooth texture. While I always thought it was simply the root of a celery plant it's actually a related, but separate, species. Above ground it grows a few stalks and leaves, but the majority of the growth happens underground in the root. This preparation, which I found on the River Cottage website, is a very classic French approach to the vegetable, pureed in a soup.

- makes 4 servings –


4 tablespoons butter
1-2 celeriac (about 2 pounds), peeled and roughly chopped
1 large leek, sliced (about 3/4 pound)
1 smallish potato, diced (about 1/4 pound)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
7 tablespoons (3.5 ounces) heavy cream
Salt and pepper
3 slices good thick bacon, cut into 1/2 inch strips


1. In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the celeriac, potato, garlic, and onion, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook the vegetables gentle until they soften, about 10 minutes.

2. Add the stock, bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes until the celeriac is completely tender.

3. Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a skillet until just crispy, then drain on paper towels.

4. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth (or use an immersion blender). Return to medium heat, and season to taste. Whisk in the cream and serve immediately, topped with the bacon.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Final distribution week!

We've been super busy lately just getting in the rest of the harvest from these very muddy fields. Beautiful, sunny autumn weather has alternated with cold & rainy miserable days. This week is our final CSA distribution! I am pretty darn tired. After the pressure of harvest is over, there's still lots to do wrapping up the farm, but I get to sleep in a bit hopefully. It is kind of sad, of course. But plans for next year!!! Enjoy these squash recipes, and pics from the farm:

101 Ways to Cook a Pumpkin

Kuri Squash Pudding

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sugar Babies

We've really been enjoying the watermelons this year. 'Sugar Baby' is the little dark-green-skinned one, but a sweeter surprise was 'New Orchid', a yellow-fleshed variety. We'll grow more of those next year, and maybe try a few different ones too.

And if you haven't noticed, Beth is really pregnant!

December 3rd she will reap the ultimate harvest for what she's been growing all these months. It takes a whole lot of work to be a full-time farmer, but to do it while pregnant on top of it all...! She has been a wonderful apprentice, always going the extra mile to make sure things are done right, and keeping a positive attitude about everything while we're in the field in all weather- heat, rain, cold. Congratulate her next time you see her around pick-up for being the hardest-working pregnant lady around!

Fuzzy Photos from my Cellphone

Beth driving cabbages in from the field this spring...
Sunflower, amaranth, and broom corn bouquets adorn a table at Mark & Courtney's wedding (CSA members)!
A great summer distribution scene with tomatoes, flowers, and Luke scooping out watermelon with a spoon.
An epic melon harvest with Colleen & Christin!
Plowing across the street on Jack's huge tractor...
Glowing beautiful tomatoes. Jewels of summer. Late blight has finally arrived... on time this season! What a real scorcher we had, from April to September. Almost makes up for last year.
Hot pepper harvest... this photo is from Suzy's phone!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cover crops

If you look closely at the open fields of brown mud this week, you'll see tiny little grass stems poking up everywhere-- our winter cover crops. Cover crops do more than just "cover" the bare soil-- they add organic matter, prevent erosion, out-compete weeds, even contribute nitrogen (reducing the amount of fertilizer we need to use). Basically, we grow them & then till them right back into the soil, trying to give back what we have taken. We have, in fact, taken thousands of pounds of produce from the ground this summer & put it on all our tables to be eaten up!

For winter cover crops we use regular grains that you might usually find in bread (but we don't let them make their seedheads): rye and oats. Then we mix in some legumes (bean family) like clover & vetch because this family fixes nitrogen. We have to inoculate the legumes with a bacteria that lives on the roots of the plants & takes some sugars that the plant produces in return for helping the plant pull nitrogen from the air and put it right into the soil so it can be available to the plant roots. It's a wonderful mutually-beneficial relationship. And of course we benefit when we plant our vegetable crops right after this miracle...

I am really excited about learning more about all the possibilities cover crops offer. In the summer we used a lot of buckwheat (like the pancakes) to fight weeds & bring "good bugs" onto the farm. We also tried sorghum-sudangrass (looks like corn) to break up compaction and add lots of mulch to the soil. There are some organic farms that don't have to use any fertilizer at all because they've got their rotation down so well. The farm stays lush and green while it's replenishing the soil, fighting bugs, disease, & weeds.

Sometimes folks ask me "what do I do about pests?" ... the answer, I believe, is prevention. Healthy plants can fight pests themselves. I don't spray a thing, not even "organically certified" pesticides (of which there are a lot), it's just another chore I don't have time for! Last year I tried a few things on the late blight, but the organic sprays are very expensive, and I didn't do nearly enough applications to be effective. So this year the backpack sprayer is getting really dusty, and I plan on letting it stay that way.

Well, back to the farm to seed some more greens before the rain tomorrow. Lots more to talk about though... winter squash harvest coming up soon, garlic planting party in a few weeks, happy Fall Equinox!

Remember when you come to pick up your veggies to bring plastic bags! Big zip-lock bags are great for re-using, as they are sturdy & you can wash them out & dry them & bring them back to the farm next week.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Now it's fall, definitely.

I've been relishing the moments... early evening sunlight peaking underneath clouds to spreads its golden rays through the falling yellow cottonwood leaves... the crisp mornings and putting on the warm hat, the flannel, the fleece... the pumpkins turning oranger every day ... gold finches fluttering away from the sunflowers as I walk close by... V's of geese squawking overhead.

Fall is my favorite season.

For some really great photos of the farm right now, check out this series done by City Newspaper (

Crop reports:

Melons have had a really great season-- the sunshine & heat contributed to their sweetness!

I miss cucumbers too! We got attacked by "downy mildew" early again this year... it pretty much wipes out the plants before they get the strength to make cukes. I don't spray anything, so I'm not sure how to protect them. I'll try a resistant variety next year, or otherwise we'll just plant lots of early cucumbers & make pickles!

Peppers are all turning red! We still harvest some green peppers, and of course hot peppers now too.

Onions are cured, dry, and ready for storing on your counters for quite a while. I have experienced a small amount of rot inside some, I'll have to research some more about what causes that.

Potatoes are popping out of the ground! Actually, we use this really old potato digger. It's fun to watch. If you live close by & have a flexible schedule (we never really know when it will fit into the schedule), you should come by sometime and see us harvest potatoes, it's great.

Eggplants and squash are still going strong. If you're sick of eating them, just stick them on the grill with some olive oil brushed on, and freeze them for later. Peppers are great on the grill too.

Sweet corn is about done. I have one more late planting that might mature next week... we'll see how it goes.

Beets are almost ready! And fennel bulbs!!! These are really great roasted (together or separate) in the oven with lots of olive oil & a bit of salt. Add some carrots & potatoes & onions. Yum.

The mixed greens are back! We will soon be swimming in arugula, mizuna, tat soi, golden frill, & red mustard. An easy delicious salad dressing I've been making is: miso paste, peanut butter, honey, water.

There are STILL pick-your-own green beans if you haven't gotten a chance to put some in the freezer. A new row. Hardly anyone has scratched the surface of it yet, I think folks may be sick of beans. But all you have to do is throw them in boiling water for a few minutes, then into ice water, then into baggies & into the freezer. Nutritious food from the farm in February!

Cherry tomatoes are peaking. 4 quarts a week limit! You could probably freeze these too...

Other things to look forward to soon:
Hakurei Turnips
Red Onions

Friday, September 3, 2010

And summer again!

Now after that really great cool-weather tease, we've had a week straight of 90's heat, with unwavering sunshine & humidity! At the end of the day, I can trace the lines of salt where my sweat has migrated all over my shirt. Tomatoes & eggplants are loving it, all the peppers are turning red at once, and the watermelons & canteloupes are ready to harvest! Summer's finale maybe?

I'm doing my best to keep the fall greens irrigated-- this is not spinach's favorite weather. We may have a delay in some of those crops, as I will have to plant all over again when these greens decide to "bolt"... but cold weather will come!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Autumn at our doorstep...

Sometimes I want everything to go according to my plans, and sometimes mother nature shows me that is impossible. But it's okay, sometimes it's even better.

I was all set on harvesting the first melons this week, but the sun refused to come out at all for our two harvesting days. Sunday was a drencher- we got an inch and a half of rain. The fields were mucky & we could hardly enter them. Monday was just overcast. We try not to harvest certain crops when the foliage is wet-- tomatoes, squash, peppers, eggplants, melons. What happens is you spread disease-- fungal & bacterial diseases of those plant families, which travel easily in the moist environment. On a sunny afternoon (the dew burns off around 11am), the UV light kills a lot of plant pathogens. That's when we harvest those crops. So we waited for the sun. And waited, and waited.

Until it was 2 hours before distribution, and the plants still had droplets of rain on them! So I made a quick change of plans, and thankfully we had a lot of hands to help us in this last-minute harvesting. We dug up an entire 200' row of potatoes, and pulled & cleaned up 200 leeks. Enjoy some potato-leek soup tonight! Perfect for the cooler weather.

Summer crops not done yet, but fall definitely seems right around the corner.
Another tip on good recipes:
Enter a vegetable into the recipe search & get a bunch of really great ideas. A quick look & I found recipes for Swiss Chard Pie, Zucchini Lasagna, & Green Bean Salad. Happy eating!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Vegetable orchestra

Nice rain we got this morning! Fall is definitely in the air... my favorite time of year. We will see what's ripe in the melon patch tomorrow, so hopefully we'll have some more summery weather to enjoy watermelons and cantelopes for another week or two! Then on to the potatoes. Yum. What good food we get to eat. My favorite thing to do recently: make your own mayonnaise (see link below)! Then smear it on some fresh-baked local organic bread (Small World Bakery of course-- available at Brighton & South Wedge farmer's markets), put a few leaves of basil on there & a big slice of a super-ripe heirloom tomato. Easy snack, delicious & nutritious.

Then sit back to watch the amazing video of this Austrian band who uses instruments made entirely out of vegetables.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The farm has just gotten a lot bigger. We've signed a 2-year lease for the 14 acres across the street (also owned by Bob-- our total leased land is now 28 acres!) ... and spent the last few days plowing up the soil. Take a look, it's beautiful. Next year we will be growing all our onion-family crops there, to avoid the nematode infestation we got on our garlic this year (which stays in the soil for a while)... and we'll also probably put our potatoes there, and maybe tomatoes and a few other things too. One challenge we'll have is trying to irrigate, as there is no well, city hookup, or creek to tap from. Victor town laws don't allow us to use either of the two hydrants which are right next to the field. Another challenge we'll have is deer. Luke said that 3 deer watched him plow for an hour, standing not 100 feet from the edge of the field, just grazing calmly. I asked if they were holding up signs that said "Soybeans"... hopefully we won't plant anything they're interested in. Otherwise we'll need some fencing (better than our existing kind)!

Shares are at their hugest summer bounty. Tomatoes are ripening fast and the heirloom varieties are bursting. Watermelons are sweet on the horizon (next week?), and the corn is delicious. The onions are curing in the greenhouse-- the garlic is cured & we're starting to give it out. Carrots! And next up, potatoes (just as the weather starts to get a bit cooler).
Don't miss the pick-your own cherry tomatoes-- orange, red, & purple varieties. 2 quarts per share each week! Green beans overflowing (no limit!) -- easy to blanch & freeze for winter's use. Make pesto, or dry herbs by hanging bunches out of the sun until they're crisp.

Here's a few pictures from Luke's brother's wedding. This is the three-tiered carrot cake (Mud Creek carrots) that Luke made, with cream cheese frosting & edible flowers from the pick-your-own garden (pansies & borage). It was delicious.Each table at the reception had mason jars filled with Mud Creek flowers, sprigs of dill and purple basil, and even small swiss chard leaves! The favors were tiny bags of granola... Maple Cashew of course.

Celebration all around. In two weeks we harvest 100 sunflowers for another wedding, Mark & Courtney's (2nd year CSA members!) It's kind of fun. Let me know if you have a special event you need flowers for, and we can grow them for you next year. People don't think of flowers as being organic, but they are actually one of the more pesticide-intensive crops, because florists want them "perfect". But it's amazing what good soil & a diverse ecosystem will do for most blossoms. I don't grow roses, lilies, or orchids, however, so don't ask!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

August offerings...

Many things are in full bloom at the farm these days-- sunflowers are the most spectacular right now! Unlimited pick-your-own items include green beans, all types of flowers, basil, dill, cilantro, thyme, parsley, oregano, sage, savory, marjorum, bronze fennel, garlic chives, & more! Cherry tomatoes are about to roll in by the hundreds-- next week unlimited picking probably. Also pick-your-own scallions now!
New items in the share this week include fresh onions, the first of the red peppers, and sweet corn! The onions will all come out of the ground this week, and we will "cure" them in the greenhouse to get those papery skins that help the onions store well on the counter for a long time. Take a peek in the greenhouse next time you're at the farm!

Did you know that all peppers start green and then turn other colors (like red, yellow, and purple)?

We also gave out amaranth greens this week-- a very nutritious but little-known green that cooks up similar to spinach (but loves this hot weather, unlike spinach!) Check out this blog entry for some ideas: ...or google it to find out how important of a food amaranth was to the ancient Aztecs. Let me know how you like it, and I can grow more next year as a summer spinach-replacement (although chard is pretty good too).

Our garlic is just about cured in our neighbor's barn & we'll start handing it out soon. Yum! Please be careful with your garlic scraps though, as we don't want to spread the nematode (garlic disease) around to your gardens or to other parts of the farm. We are trying to quarantine it in the new compost pile. Strange how something so beautiful as a big bulb of glowing white garlic could harbor a tiny little invader that could destroy fields of crops. Nature is miraculous in her craftiness.

Next week, look out for purple and yellow carrots!
Here's a picture from the potluck picnic we had a few weeks ago:
Pictures from Luke's brother's wedding coming soon! The flowers looked magnificent and the carrot cake was delicious.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Squash for dessert!

A winner dessert recipe from last night's farm potluck:

Yellow Squash and Apple Compote
(serves 4)
4 small summer squash (about 1/4 lb each), peeled and diced fine
3 cups of sugar
1 1/2 cups water
Juice and grated rind of 2 lemons
2 whole cloves
1 tart apple, peeled and diced fine
Boil sugar and water together until syrup forms. Add lemon rind and
cloves. Add diced squash and apple and cook until squash becomes
clear. Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Let chill and serve
cold. (I also pureed it.)

Lauren Moscoe

Sunday, July 25, 2010

This week's share...

... will probably include:

Summer Squash
Green Peppers


Sunflowers too!

A good thing to do with eggplants...

Baba Ganouj (“Ga-noosh”)

Ingredients for single eggplant or for a crowd

• 1 medium eggplant (7-inch) or 9 1/2 lb Eggplants for a crowd

• ¼ c Fresh lemon juice or 2 c for a crowd

• ¼ c Sesame Tahini or 2c for a crowd

• 2-3 md Garlic cloves; minced, or 12 cloves for a crowd

• ¼ c Fresh parsley; finely chopped or 1 c for a crowd (optional)

• 1 tb Salt optional)

To Serve:

• Leaf lettuce, 12 Pita bread rounds; lightly, or 3 lb Feta cheese; crumbled for a crowd

1. Pierce the skins of the eggplants several times and place them on a baking sheet. Bake at 400F for 40 minutes to 1 hour, or until the outsides crinkle and the insides become very soft. If the BBQ grill happens to be part of a meal, it's a great opportunity to grill the eggplant...cut in half & brushed with a little olive oil then skin side down for about 30-45 minutes. No piercing needed. I scrape off the charred surface before scooping out the inside.

2. When the eggplants are cool enough to handle, scoop out the insides.

3. Using a food processor (or just a fork if you like it chunky) puree the pulp with the lemon juice, tahini, garlic, parsley, and salt until smooth. Cool to room temperature.

4. Line a warmed pita pocket with leaf lettuce, spoon in the baby and serve as is, or, if desired, top with a sprinkling of feta cheese.

Meal Planning: *preparation Time: 15 minutes; Baking Time: 40 minutes. Serve with soup or salad. *Smoky eggplant flavor and creamy texture of tahini with lemon also makes a good dip with crudites. Prepare as a side dish for a Middle Eastern Combo Plate with Hummus (79) or White Bean Dip (87) and Carrot Salad (p321) *For a nondairy alternative, top with chopped fresh tomatoes, chopped black olives, and alfalfa sprouts. Per 6-oz serving with pita: 247 cals, 11.3 g fat, 496 mg sodium.

Recipe From: Moosewood Restaurant Cooks for a Crowd: Recipes with a Vegetarian Emphasis for 24 or More, by The Moosewood Collective

Friday, July 23, 2010

Water and things that grow from it

Well, we finally got some decent rain. The fields were getting really thirsty & we were ready to start pumping from the creek again, after a few weeks of having city water on 24-7, switching valves to make sure everything got a drink... and feeling like we could hardly keep up with the sun's evaporating rays. More on this later.

We had probably the best share yet this week! The tomatoes have started ripening, much to my amazement (I'm still in emotional shock from last year's blight experience)-- the eggplants are huge, the cucumbers and squash are prolific, and we have carrots, beets, scallions, and beans out our ears now. And speaking of ears, the corn is growing them-- and melons are secretly rounding out under the dense tangle of vines. We are pulling weeds like madmen.

I turned 30 years old yesterday, and what a better gift than to have the heavens open up and drench us with solid bucketfuls of "natural irrigation." This means I get to have a nice day off, sleep in, and not worry about watering.

But we've had a crazy summer so far in that realm, reminding me of farming in California, where the very existence of vegetables in summer means hooking them up to life-support. So far we had gotten by on just irrigating with the landowner's household spigot-- we can do this because in upstate New York it usually rains regularly all summer! But this spring we had to hook up a really old antique pump to 1,000 feet of tubing to get everything watered.

Why 1,000 feet you say, when Mud Creek is right behind your fields? Well, because we are just downstream from a wastewater treatment plant. And although they just got an $18 million upgrade, I trust my nose more than government-accepted levels of "safe". And it's not poop that I'm worried about. It's everything else that people flush down toilets, use in the shower, and spread on their bodies. The smell I get when I go down to the creek to dip my feet is one of a chemical shampoo cocktail.

The guys at the wastewater treatment plant were really nice, letting us use their access road to move the pump to a new location, upstream of their effluent release in Mud Creek. The site we had irrigated in the spring from was Fish Creek, a tributary across a stretch of floodplain, but the neighbors had a really hard time listening to it. Gas-powered pumps just make a lot of noise. And they wouldn't have it. So we hauled everything over, all 1,000 feet of line. We're hoping the new location won't bother anyone. Farming in the suburbs.

We were told at the plant that the water they release is cleaner than the water in the creek. They add chlorine to sterilize it, but all the chlorine is off-gassed before it is released. The new thing that they've had to start adding was alum, which removes phosphates. I don't know much about this, but I do know that phosphates have something to do with why the pond at the corner of McMahon Road and Plaster Mill is completely covered with a sheet of algae-- I'm guessing the fertilizer used on the golf course has something to do with it. Poor blue heron stands there looking for fish all day, but the fish are probably dying due to lack of oxygen from that algae growth. So we can golf on green.

Anyway, I wasn't taking any chances with irrigating from our treated wastewater. Even with no phosphates or chlorine, who knows what other kinds of elixers are created when you mix Drano with Purell, or Herbal Essence with Off!. In my daily life I try to use only biodegradable products. Everything gets recycled in the great compost dance of growth and decay. And we could have healthy streams & rivers that we could still play in and water our food with.

We went to the nearby neighbor's house to let them know we'd be running a loud pump occasionally. Wes was his name, and he'd lived there 60 years. Gave us the historical tour-- right behind his house is the old stone mill, that used to grind grain using the power of Mud Creek. Then it was an ice-house -- a field was flooded in the winter, and then cut & stacked inside the super-thick stone walls, to keep food fresh all summer until it melted! He spoke of mill races, and how all the neighborhood kids would skate down the creek all the way to Macedon. Back then, he said, if you were thirsty, you'd just stick your skate blade through the ice, and take a drink. Not now, though. The creek doesn't even freeze now, with the warm water release from the plants.

My other neighbor spoke of catching tons of huge, delicious fish, and a swimming hole that the locals used to call "Bare-Ass Beach" ... I still found the giant tree that created a dam across the creek to make that nice, deep, cool water. But no one swims there now. You can see the shampoo-esque bubbles floating slowly through the place.

What happened to us, that we turned our back on our creeks like this? I know we didn't do it on purpose. Everyone wants a clear running natural water source, that our kids can skate on or wade in. Maybe we wanted other things more. Like chemically-created products to serve our every need or whim. And an easy *flush* to carry them away when we are done with them.

But, gosh it is hot working long days in the fields, and I sure could use a swimming hole. And ultimately all of our nourishment relies on the pureness of the water we use to keep our vegetables alive.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Spring cabbage haul


1-2 cups dried sour cherries, soaked in hot water for about 15 minutes

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

3 cups sliced sweet onion (Vidalia, Maui, or the like)

1 1/4 tsp. salt

3 large bunches fresh greens (e.g., kale, collards, red mustard, arugula, alone or in combination), stemmed, if necessary, and coarsely chopped (about 12 cups)

Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven. Add the onion and 1/2 tsp. salt and saute over high heat for about 5 minutes. Turn heat to medium, cover pan, and let the onion cook until very tender (about 10 more minutes).

Begin adding the greens in batches (as much as will fit), sprinkling each addition with about 1/4 tsp. salt. Stir and cover between additions, letting the greens cook down for about 5 minutes each time, to make room for the next batch.

When all greens are added and have wilted, stir in the cherries and cook for just about 5 minutes longer. Include some of the cooking juices with each serving.

Yield: 4-6 servings

(Adapted from recipe in Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Heaven)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Recipes and stuff

It's been hot! Plus no substantial rain in weeks--- this usually means I spend my day off laying out irrigation lines and turning valves on & off. And it is really really hot. In California the farmers would joke about how it feels like you're farming in hell. But they didn't have the humidity.
The spring cabbages are rolling in--- they are 3 to 4 pounds each! Peppers have started. Zucchinis are going crazy. The heat is putting all the spring crops out of commission-- say goodbye to broccoli until the fall.
But one thing that the heat is good for is tomatoes. There are lots of green fruits on the vines, and just a hint of color starting on our greenhouse tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes may be kicking in over the next few weeks. We are spending extra time pruning the tomato vines to encourage faster ripening & air circulation.
Late blight has been discovered in Suffolk Co. NY, as well as Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Ontario. It is only a matter of time before it gets here too. We hope to get a few weeks of fruit before it hits here, and we'll probably have to till in our plants again. Get your friend green tomato recipes out!
The garlic harvest went kind of grimly-- a fungus called Fusarium that attacks garlic bulbs & rots them from below spread quickly in the heat, and we lost about 50% of the crop. Some we were able to save & eat fresh, but they will not store well. Roast up that garlic on the grill in tin foil! Or freeze it. The better bulbs we have hung up in our neighbors barn to "cure" for a few weeks-- this we are hoping to store for you & give you a few more bulbs of garlic throughout the season.
Eggplants are just flowering now, as well as cucumbers & melons.
Visit the flower garden for colorful zinnias & snapdragons, which are just starting!
Also, Buster the rooster needs a hen companion. If you know of anyone who is selling a hen, let us know.


Erin's favorite way to eat cabbage:

Fry up a lot of garlic & crumble a dried chile pepper in olive oil in a big skillet. Optional: Minced ginger! Throw in a bunch of shredded cabbage, with optional carrot slices. Key moment: add a dash of toasted sesame oil. Stir & cover, & cook until just slightly wilted. Cabbage should be tender. Stir in some soy sauce or tamari while still hot. Enjoy!


A great sauerkraut recipe here


Enchilada Filling
(Could also be fajitas, tacos, etc...)

2 Tbs. olive oil
2 medium-sized cloves of garlic
1 cup minced onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup minced green bell peppers
2 1/2 cups diced zucchini
1/2 tsp each: cumin, oregano,basil
cayenne and black pepper to taste

In a large heavy skillet, saute the garlic and onion in olive oil with salt. When onions are soft (about 5 min), add the peppers, zucchini and herbs. Stir and continue to cook over medium heat another 5-8 minutes or until the zucchini is just barely cooked. Serve wam or room temperature.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Summer Farm Potluck Coming Up!

Celebrate summer's bountiful harvest & our 2010 CSA community!

Tuesday, July 27th 5-7pm at the farm.

Potluck-- bring a favorite dish to share

Kids welcome, dogs on leashes, friends always invited!

Bring folding chairs if you got 'em.

See ya there!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Kale chips & more

Summer crops are on the verge of harvest...
in the meantime, enjoy these recipes below for the hearty remainders of spring:
Shares this week will probably include:
Chinese Cabbage (Napa Cabbage)
Last of the broccoli
First of the summer squash
Pick-your-own Peas (sugar snap & snow)

Farmer Erin's tips:
Try sprinkling soy sauce or tamari instead of salt, or try with garlic powder, curry, hot sauce, etc.
Check the oven often- they cook quickly & can burn easily!

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 head Bok Choy or Napa cabbage, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 pkg ramen noodles
4 oz slivered or sliced almonds
1 tablespoon butter
Mix dressing ingredients. (Speed mixer will thicken dressing.) Set aside.

Chop cabbage and green onions.

Crush ramen noodles. Discard flavor packet. Mix with almonds and butter and brown in skillet. Use as garnish on top of salad.

Mix as needed then serve.

*This salad should be made and served immediately as it will get soggy if stored after mixing.

This Korean scallion pancake recipe is easy to make and is always a big crowd-pleaser. It works as a hearty snack, an appetizer, or a side dish to a Korean or Asian meal. As with most Korean recipes and dishes, you can tweak it to your own tastes. If I have time, I like to add sliced red chili peppers and white onions. Carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, and kimchi are also popular


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 bunch of scallions, halved and cut into 2-3 inch lengths
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Oil for cooking


  1. Mix all ingredients together and let sit for about 10 minutes. Check consistency before cooking – batter should be a little bit runnier than American pancake batter, so that the Pa Jun cooks quickly and evenly.

  2. Heat a saute pan over medium heat and coat with a thin layer of oil.

  3. Pour batter to fill pan in a thin layer (about 1/3 of your batter should fill a regular saute pan).

  4. Cook for 3-4 minutes until set and golden brown on bottom.

  5. Turn over with help of spatula or plate (or flip it in the air if you are good at that) and finish by cooking 1-2 more minutes, adding more oil if necessary.

  6. Serve with soy or spicy dipping sauce:
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp chili pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp finely chopped garlic