Tuesday, July 29, 2014

CSA Newsletter ~ Week 7

In the early hours of Sunday morning we were woken by one huge almighty thunder, lightning and rain storm.  We had two fork lighting strikes hit the ground one near the barn and the other at the end of the road but the biggest thing was the rain! The weather man forecast 5mm, we got over 2" in the early hours of Sunday morning followed by another dump on Monday morning.  We are rather fussy as farmers as we do like a nice steady rain rather than the torrents that fell from the sky over the last few days! We are hoping that the 1000ft of carrot seed that we had seeded about 10 days earlier has not been washed out of the ground!
Good news! All our garlic is now out!  Tibetan, Red Russian and Music but it was slightly longer process than normal as we have a bumble bee nest in the middle of the patch and they have been getting a little mad when we get a little close which meant, on a few occasions, downing tools and exciting the patch rather quickly!

This weeks basket:

Cabbage - Found this amazing cabbage recipe today by Melissa Joulwan the author of Well Fed 1 & 2

Ethiopian Cabbage
4 teaspoons olive oil
4 carrots, shredded or very thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 head cabbage, shredded
1. In a medium skillet heat the olive oil over a medium heat; add the carrots and onion and cook in the hot oil about 5 minutes.
2. Lower the heat. Add the salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric, ginger, and cabbage; mix well. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is tender.
Beans - This will be the last week of beans but don't worry we have more to come.  We do lots of succession planting of beans so we have a few different varieties that are flowering well and starting to set little beans
Salad Onions
Tomatoes - We have a mixture of field and hoop house tomatoes this week.  The field ones do have a few cracks in them so eat these first.
Celery - We are thinning out the patch so we will be bunching two heads together.  If you are not a celery fan you can chop it up and freeze without blanching to use for soups and stews during winter.
Carrots - With all the rain we have had these babies are so sweet.  Please remember at this size they do not need peeling.
Eggplant - All shapes, sizes and colours are coming along really well. Why not try a baked eggplant f'armesan this week!
Sweet Peppers - Sweet peppers are slow to ripen but we have managed to find a few purple beauty which are looking stunning.
Beets - These babies just seem to keep on coming this year! Michael has finally caught one of the voles in the beet patch, but we can imagine we still have many more!
Garlic - This weeks garlic is Music.
Cucumbers - Our cucumbers have been so slow this year! We have loads of flowers and our honey bees are all over them! We are only now getting fruit.  You will have either green or a yellow cucumbers to choose from.  The yellow ones are meant to be yellow they are not old cucumbers! We just like to grow something different!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

CSA Newsletter ~ Week 6

Apart from all the normal farm goings on I suppose the most important news is GARLIC HARVEST HAS STARTED! Just a little excited about this!  
Over the next couple of weeks you will have what we call green garlic in your boxes. We have to cure the garlic and sort out our seed for this years planting so enjoy the green and don't worry more garlic will be in your boxes through the season.

If you have not used green garlic before there are a few things to remember. Garlic that has not been cured  can be either stored short term on the counter top or in your fridge.  If you think you will not use your garlic for a while then we recommend you place the cloves in a ziploc bag and place in the freezer.  When peeling you will notice the skins are really thick. Don't cook over a too high heat as the water content is very high and it will burn.

Last year in our CSA Survey we asked if anyone would be interested in purchasing bulk crops for canning or freezing and we had over 80% say YES! So here we go with our first bulk crop.  We seeded  additional beds of beans so we have lots of them.  If anyone would like to purchase bulk beans for preserving please contact us.  We are going to offer a u-pick price.  The price will increase if you want us to pick your beans for you.

Please keep the photos and recipes coming in.  I am adding them to our Facebook page but if you are e-mailing several different photos then please send them over several e-mails.  This is help to download as for some reason only one picture is downloading at a time! 

This weeks basket:
Salad onions 
Cabbage - Our early cabbages have grown really well this year. You can do anything from stuffed cabbage rolls, coleslaw to sauerkraut.  See our CSA Cooking page on pinterest for more recipes.
Zucchini - Yes they are still on the larger side! But they still make great pancakes, bread, noodles, roasted on the BBQ, Ratatouille, one of our members found a great recipe for zucchini butter, zucchini boats, and thanks to another one of our members who also happens to be a chef we have;
Baked Parmesan Zucchini
Prep Time 10 minutes/Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes/Yield 4 servings
Crisp, tender zucchini sticks oven-roasted to absolute perfection. It's healthy, nutritious and completely addictive!
• 4 zucchini, quartered lengthwise
• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
• 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
• 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
• 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
• Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a cooling rack with nonstick spray and place on a baking sheet; set aside.
• In a small bowl, combine Parmesan, thyme, oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper, to taste.
• Place zucchini onto prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan mixture. Place into oven and bake until tender, about 15 minutes. Then broil for 2-3 minutes, or until the crisp and golden brown.
• Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.
Hakurei turnips - I had a ton of old seed and I wanted to have a go at direct seeding these rather than transplanting and we have a lovely crop that has grown.  So you will find some mouth watering baby turnips in this weeks box, no need to cook just eat them raw!

Eggplant - We have eggplant thanks to our hoop house! It's great roasted, added to curries used as a base for  pizza or why not try Jamie Oliver's recipe for baba ghanoush.

Parsley - If you are not going to use this fresh then just place in a ziploc bag in the freezer and use when needed.

Garlic - This week it is Tibetan.  We started saving our own seed last year and the bulbs are getting bigger and better each year. Tibetan is lovely eaten raw.

Tomatoes - It will be a small amount but they have started to ripen so you may find it is only a pint of tomatoes this week but we are hoping this warm weather will bring them along leaps and bounds.

Beet greens - This year we experimented with different ways in growing our beets.  These greens are coming form our direct seeding which means they need lots of thinning! We used our greens last night in a hot and sour pork soup but you can also make beet leaf chips or are great tossed into a salad.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

CSA Newsletter - Week 5

This past week has been filled with lots of rain, rather cold overnight temperatures, birth and stardom! 
The farm has received rather a large amount of rain this past week which is always good apart from Tuesday when it was raining so hard we could not see the other side of the road.  Sadly this rain storm washed out a whole bed of carrots that we had recently seeded.  Don't fear carrots are on the way, the bed we seeded at the start of the season is doing great and the carrots are getting nice and fat and very sweet.  We are just waiting for the field to dry enough to get in our last  few seedings of carrots in.  The field is loving this rain but we do need some warmer overnight temperatures for all the heat loving crops to start ripening.

Our new problem at the farm are rodents in various guises! The chipmunks have taken to digging out our seedings in the greenhouse and replacing them with their own seeds, but our biggest problem as ever are voles! They have been having a rather good munch on our beets again this year.  To protect our sweet potatoes this year I think we are going to run some traps to try and stop them from munching on the tubers.

Last Tuesday our lovely sow Nigella gave birth to a very healthy litter of piglets outside.  We did have a few hours of worrying as when the rain started she was still nursing the little ones, but being the awesome mum she is she rounded up her babies and moved them into the dry and warmth of the barn.

We also have a star at the farm.  In winter we do take on additional work away from the farm.  Last year Michael actually spent a couple of days as an extra on the set of Camp X which was aired last night of the History channel.  He went from being an extra to having a small role in one of the scenes.  I have attached the trailer and Michael is at the end! 
We do ask that you keep autograph requests to   a minimum as before he continues his acting career he does have a farm to run! 

This weeks basket:
Chard - Why not try chard in a meat crust quiche.
Mix 1lb of ground pork with salt, pepper, chopped garlic and for a little bit of a kick 1/2tsp of cayenne. Take a quiche pan and push the ground pork into the bottom of the pan and up the sides.  Bake the crust for 20 minutes on 375F.  While crust is baking chop the chard and stalks and sautee with olive oil and garlic.  Let the chard mixture rest for 5 minutes and mix in 4 eggs.  Pour chard mixture into the crust and bake for another 25 minutes until the topping is firm.  Serve either hot or cold.
Fennel - We have been asked again for our fennel pizza recipe so here we go!
Pizza base - 2 cups of almond meal, 2 eggs, 3 tbsp of olive oil, 1/2tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp of sea salt.  Mix the base together.  Wet your hands and then press the base out on a pizza plate.  Bake the base in a 350F oven for 20 minutes or until golden.  Thinly slice the fennel and cook in a little olive oil until soft. You can also add onion and garlic if you wish.  For the sauce we use scape pesto but you can also use tomato or basil pesto.  Spread sauce over base, then fennel season with salt and pepper add your cheese and bake in the oven for another 20 minutes or until cheese has melted.
Zucchini - Yes they are gigantic! All the rain we have had lately seems to have tripled their size.
Thai Basil - 
Peas - You may end up with a mixture of shelling and snap peas.  We are coming to the end of the snap and have just started picking the podding.  The podding peas tend to rattle in their shells.  We are hoping fingers crossed to get one more week out of the pea patch if the shelling peas continue to swell within their pods!
Beans - The first of the beans have been picked and are stunning.  Please make sure if the beans are wet let them dry out on the side before putting them in the fridge, other wise they will end up will little rust spots on them as they don't like to be left in water.
We love beans sauteed with garlic and then add some nice crispy bacon, salt and pepper!
Salad onions - can be eaten raw or used as a replacement for your cooking onions

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

CSA Newsletter Week 4

Not sure where the last month has gone! Our time is now spent between seeding, transplanting, weeding, harvesting, picking bugs and all our other animal chores.  With the hot weather we have had over the last week or so the sprinklers have been running like crazy but we did finally get some much needed rain on Friday evening which by Saturday evening looked liked we had had none after the hot high winds dried everything out again! So we went back to sprinklers running over this weekend! Yesterday mornings rain was not much but yesterday early evening we got a huge thunder and rain storm.  
Last week we also finished making the last of our raised beds we have a total 120 at 100 foot long and we still have this years pumpkin and potato patches which at the end of the season will also be put into raised beds.  Potatoes have been hilled and this year it only took two hours (usually two days), thanks to our new tiller it made the job of hilling potatoes enjoyable! 
What are you getting this week?

Peas - This week will be snap peas again. We do have another 400 foot of peas that we are hoping will be ready for next week, these are shelling peas so we are waiting for the little peas to swell within their pods.
Lettuce - This weeks lettuce is called freckles and it is meant to have the little flecks all over it! 
Chard - I love chard! I think we should make this the new kale, it is rich in nutrients but sadly it gets shoved to the bottom of the list. Instead of making kale chips why not try chard chips
Beets - Next week it will be beet greens as we have a huge bed to thin out so enjoy these nice chunky beets this week. If you are not a lover of them boiled you could try them as chips.
Arugula - This peppery leafy green is back for a second week, if it has too much bite for you make it into pesto or add a dressing to it.
Radish - Last week for radish they will return in the fall.
Thai BasilPerfect for Southeast Asian dishes, the purple-stemmed Thai basil has a bright mint and citrus flavour to it.  You can make everything from curries, tea, pesto to sorbet
Scapes - Again last week for these.  We did have to harvest them at the weekend so this weeks scapes may be better used for scape pesto or what we like to do is just blitz them with olive oil and freeze in ice cube trays and then you have this garlic treat to add to soups, sauces or pizza bases during winter.
Fennel - Is crunchy, sweet with a mild anise flavour.  We have included the fronds with it these can be used in seasoning fish or making tea.  The bulb is lovely eaten raw in salads, roasted, cooked for pizza toppings or made into coleslaw.
Asian Greens - It will either be Pac Choy or Mustard Greens
Zucchini/courgettes - This is the start of the season, zucchini is great made into pasta, grilled on the BBQ, roasted, baked , made into bread, jam the list just goes on!
Napa Cabbage - Last week for these till later in the season

Exchange bucket at the farm this week we will have an exchange bucket.  This is not available every week but we have the exchange bucket today as we have broccoli, seriously excited that in our soil this has grown as many know how we have struggled with this but sadly we do not enough for each delivery this week so we thought we would put some in an exchange tub and if you don't particularly like one of this week items you may exchange it out for another please remember it is only one item of your regular basket you can swap out not your entire basket!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

CSA Newsletter Week 3

Happy Canada Day!

This last week has been hot, hot, hot and it looks like the heat is here for a while! We got rain last Tuesday and then missed out on the rain that Belleville and Trenton got on Thursday.  Since then we have had sprinklers on our meat chickens everyday who are out on pasture, that goats are hiding in their houses so to are the horses.  Our Nigella and Bertie are able to hide in the cold shade of our barn on days like this.  Delia and seven of our other pigs are up in the top paddock and on a daily basis are going through 210 litres of water, both for drinking and for wallows.  We have also had to put the sprinklers back on the market garden as well.  We like heat but feeling like 40 degrees is officially not fun.  We are working through till about 1.30-2pm then we are taking a longer lunch so that we can start chores and do a little more work before we have a later dinner. Apart from the heat we have also started patrolling the vegetables for bugs! Colorado Potato beetles have turned up on the eggplant as they love these just as much as they love potatoes. The squash vine borers (which Michael is doing a great job of squishing in the early morning) seem to like to overnight in the spinach.  In the daytime they like to stick their Oviposter into the base of zucchini and squash plants to lay their eggs, the larvae then eat the plants from the inside out! Stink bugs and cucumber beetles are also back with a vengeance.  So for next year we are going to invest into insect netting to cover the plants that these pests seem to love! But in the meantime we will continue to squish away!

What's in this weeks box??

Turnips - Last week for these but don't worry they will be making another appearance later on in the season.
Radish - Radish is growing great and some have a nice bite to them.  We love these raw but you can roast them or even add them to a stir-fry
Spinach - Last week for spinach but don't worry it will return!
Radicchio - We tried a new variety this year as I liked the pretty colour of it, but neither Michael or I are very happy with how it grew.  We planned to offer this for two weeks but I think we will only get one week out of it.  The fall will see us returning back to our green, coned radicchio.
This is a bitter tasting vegetable which is great in salads or on the BBQ or even roasted
Kohlrabi - Great grated into a salad, dipped into homemade mayo or made into fries
Napa/Chinese cabbage
Beets - A small bunch this week as we are in the middle of thinning the crop.  Beets can be boiled, roasted, grated into brownies or even turned into burgers!
Scapes - Everyone seems to be enjoying these on the BBQ, remember the season is a short one so enjoy them while you can.
Arugula - This is great in salads as it adds a really nice peppery zing to the mix.  You can also try it on pizza or make pesto with it.
Peas - This was a great treat to see that the peas have come on in leaps and bounds.  You have sugar snap peas so eat the whole thing! They are very juicy and sweet!