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: Marthastewart.com
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: http://kitchen-parade-veggieventure.blogspot.com/2006/07/amaranth-greens.html ...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.