Archives for the month of: August, 2018

Update from the Garden
Ah, another grand week of early fall-type work. We’ve been pulling out old/dead plants, and “ploughing down” the rows where the sugar snap peas once grew (or attempted to, during the drought weeks). We did some cultivating in the older carrot beds, etc. where the bed is not empty and have planted some oats/peas in it’s place to cover the soil until frost comes. I just noticed how our Kuri squash stems have started to dry and the colour is getting richer… it’s about time to harvest those guys! Seems early.

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Radish cover crop going in on a former snap pea bed.

This week I ploughed a whole new plot (in addition to the new plot for garlic). This new 100ft x 100ft plot will contain beds for squash next season. That includes zucchini, pattypans, cucumber, melons and all our winter squash. I have been finding that the garden is getting crowded and we have little space for rotation, so I had occasionally been planting in a less than ideal bed for certain crops – for example, carrots in a bed that was relatively weedy in the previous season. It just creates more work and kills efficiency, and so adding new plots will give me more space to select the right spaces for the right crops. The unused beds will be seeded with several rounds of buckwheat next season.

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This is how we store irrigation lines and garden tarps – off the ground so they don’t get lost in the grass.

This weeks tip: Freeze your herbs
This little gem of a tip comes both from my 91 year old Omi and a CSA member who’s been with us since Day 1. You can freeze herbs like parsley and dill very easily. Wash them, let them dry and then put them in a mason jar and straight into the freezer My Omi recommends a pinch of salt to take up any remaining moisture. Herbs come out fresh-fresh all winter long.

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This week’s share:
1 box Potatoes (Fingerlings/Yukon Gold)
1 box Tomatoes
1 box Summer Squash
1 Kohlrabi
1 bag Herbs – mainly Parsley
1 box Beans
2 Peppers
Large ONLY: Take extra Tomatoes & Potatoes

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Tabouleh – use that parsley!
For Tabouleh, I recommend adjusting quantities to what you prefer but make it mainly parsley. Here is what I do…

1 bag Parsley – chopped fairly fine
Handful of cherry tomatoes – chopped small
1 clove garlic – minced fine
1/2 cup – 3/4 cup of cooked bulger
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Olive Oil
Salt & pepper – to taste

Combine all ingredients and adjust the oil/lemon/salt & pepper to taste. Stores well for several days too. Great served with naan bread & hummus. Also lovely as a little side salad, in a wrap or on toasted bread.

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Update from the garden
Super fun week in the garden. It was a total hustle getting all our cover crops and fall plantings in before the rain but it has paid off. In the photos you can see the tiny seeds of radish, etc. coming up. I also finished ploughing the new garlic plot and thanks to Keanan and Reuben Stone at Valley Bio in Cobden, I was able to get some last minute oats and peas to finish cover cropping the area just hours before the rain arrived…. and happily it is all coming up! I love it. Again, I am planting peas and oats before planting garlic, etc. to help add organic matter and nutrients. Peas are nitrogen fixing (they can take nitrogen from the air) and so when we plough it down in a few weeks and turn it into the soil, it will release nitrogen for our crops to consume. Free fertilizer all around us!

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Just 6 days later.

We got in the last of our onions today too so they are drying both in the greenhouse and the hay mow. Not very big this season, that’s for sure, but delicious nonetheless.

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Babies on their way.

This week I also fully realized how weird the eggplants are this season. It seems that the huge beautiful plants dropped their flowers at some point, likely during the drought months, and so there are pretty much no eggplants. Perhaps that’s great news to some CSA members, but I for one am totally disappointed! It looks like more flowers did develop at some point and there are a few small plants coming along but it’s a little sad for sure.

Finally, would you like some hot peppers? I can offer them in your CSA share but I would prefer a direct request before I harvest them. I have some red chillies,  “Santa Fe” peppers and also some Habaneros (peppers are mentioned in order from mildest to hottest). If you are interested, shoot me a message please.

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Former garlic beds…

This week’s tip: try something different
If you are getting tired of the same old dish you make with a veg don’t be shy to try something new. For example, one CSA member was talking about how you can prepare a fake apple sauce using stewed zucchini. Another mentioned… deep fried kale! Roasting is a great prep method for most things if you are bored with steaming and pan frying. Ask around – someone may have some interesting ideas!

This week’s share
1 Zucchini
2 Pattypan Squashes
1 box Tomatoes
4 Cucumbers
1 Melon
Carrots OR Beets
1 Choice Item (Cabbage, Peppers, Kale)
1 box Beans
Large ONLY: 1 head Romaine, 1 extra box Beans, 2 extra Cucumbers

Fish Cakes  (the kids approved)
While fish cakes may not really use many CSA ingredients, I made these last night with a side of green beans and had the leftovers tonight with pan fried pattypan squashes and it was just sooo good. I also know many of you have your own herb gardens and fish cakes are pals with dill, parsley and tarragon. This recipe of course came from one of our fabulous Scandinavian cookbooks. Try and enjoy!

600g white fish filets
2 spring onions, chopped
2 eggs
100ml 18% cream
2 Tbsp finely chopped tarragon
3 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
juice from 1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp. potato flour (I used wheat flour)

Use 30g butter and veg oil for frying.

Chop the fish filets finely with a sharp knife. Put in a mixing bowl with spring onions, eggs, cream, herbs and lemon juice. Fold together gently. Add the flour, 2 tsp. salt (*I found the result a little salty) and 1 tsp. pepper and fold again. You may need to add more flour to get the right consistency.

To fry, heat the butter and oil in a fry pan and shape the mixture into 12 small balls using a spoon and your hands (mine was too runny so I just plopped them in the pan). Gently cook the fishcakes for 4 minutes on each side.

 

Update from the Garden
The seasons are slowly switching over in the garden. As August marches on, this past week we were busy flipping beds. This means we were pulling out the pea trellis, pulling old cabbage plants, pulling lettuces that have went to seed etc. and doing some cultivating and cover cropping to restore nutrients and build organic matter. We have been planting hundreds of transplants including lettuces, bok choy and kohlrabi. We also direct seeded some arugula, radishes, and some fancy spicy red mustards for the fall. All of these crops love the cooler weather and will hold us over until the end of October. We are also finally turning in a new plot to incorporate into our rotations. We will cover crop it and then aim to plant garlic in the fall. We would have liked to have had this cover cropped since June but it was just too dry. The field is currently in hay production and free of weeds, so we’re hoping it will work out nicely… if we get the cover crop seeds in before this week’s rain!

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Ploughing a new plot… cover cropping with an oat/pea mixture.

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Many of our squash plants have relaxed slightly and are revealing loads of gorgeous squash beneath. We did a bit of research for our pie pumpkins and have sought out a market gardener’s favourite (and best tasting) variety: Winter Luxury. Check out the pretty lace skin on these squashes, which are coming along nicely.

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Finally, the Garlic Fest was a huge success for us. We sold all our garlic (about 3,000 bulbs), which was totally crazy. Many many people were returning customers, which was great to see. Our fancy garlic braids and single garlics earned several ribbons. Of course we are planting even more this coming fall!

This week’s share
1 Zucchini
2 Cucumbers
1 Head Lettuce
1 box Tomatoes
1 bunch Garlic
1 bunch Onions
1 bunch Carrots or 1 bunch Beets
1 item from the Choice Shelf
Large ONLY: 1 extra Zucchini, 1 bunch Basil, 1 extra bunch Carrot/Beet

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Our cucumbers being harvested. We never trellis our cucumbers due to intense cucumber beetle pressure, but boy do they do well!

Claudia’s Beet Salad
This recipe was created by our German WWOOFer from a few years ago.

1 bunch beets – half steamed & roughly chopped, half raw and grated
1 medium onion – sliced thin
1 avocado – chopped
Dressing: 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard, 3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar, 1/2 cup olive oil, salt & pepper

Update from the Garden
Wow, like that the CSA is already at the half-way mark! We are in the heart of the summer – where we get all the summer crops like cucumbers, tomatoes, and squash. I love it.

The garlic season is almost complete, which means that we are moving on to fall prep. This includes flipping beds into fall plantings like spinach, lettuces, turnips, arugula, radishes, kohlrabi, etc. I like this time of year because weed and bug pressure somewhat subside. We do have a lot of garden catch up to do since all this rain came.

This is also the time for me to plant our cover crops on beds and areas that are done for the year. The cover crop will be a combination of peas and oats. We basically plant peas and oats and allow them to grow until the frost kills them. These crops will mop up nutrients and grow… then when they die, they will return nutrients and lots of organic matter to the soil. Helps build soil health and suppresses weeds. I absolutely love cover cropping!

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Upstairs in our awesome hay mow, where I dry and process garlic. Lots of lumber drying here too.

This week’s tip: Eat it raw
Figure out what you can eat raw and go for it.
 If you are unsure about which foods to eat raw, start with dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale or try carrots, turnips, and cucumbers. Technically you can eat almost any vegetable raw, in its naked, natural state (careful around rhubarb!). It’s just a matter of taste and how well your body digests it. Just make sure to chew your food well to aid your body in digestion.

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Pepper plants are getting very heavy with fruits.

This week’s share:
1 bunch Carrots
1 bunch Garlic
1 Zucchini
1 box Pattypan Squash
1 Cucumber
1 pint Tomatoes
2 Peppers
1 Choice Item: Bok Choy/Kale/Beans/Cabbage
Large ONLY: 1 extra Cucumber, 1 head Romaine, 1 bag Basil

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Little Pete out for a tractor ride with Opa…. 

Dark Chocolate Zucchini (or Pattypan) Brownies
These are seriously delicious brownies – a recipe that a CSA member gave me in my first season, about 7 years ago!

2 cups zucchini, grated
1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup whole spelt flour (or an additional 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (I used a combo of chips and chopped up 100% cocoa chocolate)

Preheat oven to 350F and grease an 8 inch square baking pan. Grate zucchini. Dump into a mesh colander and squeeze it with a towel to get rid of excess moisture. Fluff it back up
with a fork.
In a large bowl, beat together the wet ingredients (oil, eggs, honey and vanilla). Stir in the zucchini.
In a separate, smaller bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (whole wheat pastry and spelt flour, cocoa, salt, baking
powder and cinnamon). Pour the dry mixture into the wet/zucchini mixture. Stir just until combined, and then stir in the chocolate chips. Pour the batter into your prepared pan.
Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (mine was done baking at 30 minutes).
Let cool completely before serving.

 

Few notes:
We have been having experiencing wi-fi issues at the farm and so it’s been impossible for me to send out newsletters during the day – hence them coming now in the evening from my home in Beachburg.

Please, if you could, return any wooden containers as we love to re-use them!

Please ensure your name is checked off the list when you pick up veggies so we can track who is still to come and make sure everyone gets their goodies.

Thank you, you are all such fantastic CSA members!!

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Next generation market gardener with her “shop”.

Update from the garden

Oh glorious rain, where have you been? It’s funny because I spent last Sunday morning (before last week’s CSA), writing a poem for the Beachburg Fair, expressing my thoughts and feelings about farming in drought conditions. As soon as I finished writing it, down came the rain! Forget rain dances in the future, let’s all pick up pens.

As you know, I had done numerous extra seedings of carrots and beets to try to make up for the poor growth of our early plantings. I’m relieved that this rain has allowed many of these seeds to germinate well. I seeded some more cilantro last week too as the earlier plantings all went to seed/got such scorched.

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Variety of Santa Fe hot peppers “Havasu”.

Normally I would have harvested my garlic but I left anything that looked green (alive) in the beds, in hopes that some rain would come and size them up. The bulbs I had been pulling looked very healthy but also very small compared to past years. You can imagine that slow growing dry bulbs would get a shock from a big rain, but very few of the garlic have cracked. Surprisingly, I still have quite a few in the ground – still waiting for them to mature.

This week’s tip: Seal it up
A lot of things in the CSA do not come in bags but pretty much all of it would benefit from being sealed in a container – especially carrots, cucumbers and all things leafy. If you get a wilty item, dunk or rinse it in cold water, shake it off, and put it in a bag or container in the fridge. This helps immensely! Remember to keep your tomatoes and basil out of the fridge though. Winter squashes too, when they begin to appear come September.

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This week’s cabbage, still under fine exclusion netting.

This week’s #8 Share
1 head Lettuce OR 1 Romaine
1 bunch Rainbow Carrots
1 bunch Beets OR 1 Savoyed Cabbage
1 bunch Herbs – choice of basil, mint or parsley
1 Zucchini
1 Pattypan Squashes
2 Green Peppers
1 cluster of Garlic (Russian Red)
1 Choice: beans, pea shoots, kale, onions, cippolini onions, cucumbers
Large ONLY: Take an extra bunch of carrots & extra bunch of beets
Free to take if you can use: extra zucchinis and pattypan squash.

Last Week #7’s share just FYI
1 bag Spring Mix
1 bunch Carrots
1 pint Tomatoes OR 1 Combo of Large Tomato + 2 Onions
1 Cucumber
2 Zucchinis
1 pint Beans
1 bunch Rainbow Chard
Large ONLY: 1 extra bunch Carrots, 1 extra Bean
Free to take if you can use: extra zucchinis and large pattypans – great for baking!

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Beauty herbs this week. So proud of the basil & parsley!

Zucchini Fritters
This is a big go-to for us when we have lots of summer squash around. It uses a good amount of squash, it cooks easy, and you can dress them up as much as you want i.e. bacon & sour cream.

Prepare these using any combination of zucchini, large pattypan squashes, carrots, beets, kale, cabbage, onion, garlic… anything that can be greated or chopped fine. Here is a starter recipe:

1 large zucchini or pattypan, grated
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 egg
3 Tbsp. flour

Grate squash and salt it. Let it sit for about 30 minutes and then drain and squeeze out the moisture. Toss the squash with the remaining ingredients. At this point, you may wish to add other grated veggies. Add more or less flour and egg to get the right consistency. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil over medium heat and fry the fritters/latkes until golden brown. These cook much quicker than potato pancakes. Serve with sour cream.