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!