Archives for the month of: September, 2018

Update from the Garden

The garden managed to escape all damage from the high winds last week. Considering the incredible devastation so close to us, I’m feeling pretty lucky right now. Lots of rain had the slugs out in force over the week, but that’s just how it is sometimes. We had the greens soaking in water to do our best to ensure none went home today but be sure to check your greens when you wash them.

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Greens drying, after a good soak.

On Monday, I successfully mowed down the entire future garlic plot, where I had peas/oats growing. I did attempt to rototill combine the cover crop but I think it needs a few days to break down. In the mean time, I got my awesome order of new seed garlic varieties from legendary garlic man Al Picketts, of Eureka Garlic in PEI. I opened that box faster than I opened gifts as a child. I’m really excited to get the new plot in shape for planting. Weather permitting, we’ll have a garlic planting party in October!

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Garlic plot mowed. Hoping this all works out in time to plant.

I had a lot of fun doing some bed making in the new squash plot. I’ve been pulling away all the dead squash vines from the old plot, getting ready to relocate the growing mats I transplant through. I was delighted to discover that my Ranger side-by-side has a dumping feature on it so cleaning up plant debris this season will be a total breeze!

I’m so looking forward to continuing this field work on Monday again.

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Woohoo, cut off surprise t-post jammed in the flail mower…

This week’s tip: explore uses for pumpkin
Pumpkin is not just used in pie, although that would be a lovely way to use this smooth and velvety pumpkin. If pie isn’t your thing, you can make a crust-less pudding. I often use pumpkin in a smoothie (with banana/almond milk/pecans/vanilla/cinnamon). You can look up a recipe for Pumpkin Enchiladas, which are excellent – use the pumpkin in the filling.

This Week’s Share
1 box Potatoes
1 Celery
1 head Romaine
1 Bok Choy
1 bunch Carrots
1 pie Pumpkin – Winter Luxury!
1 item from Choice Shelf: tomatoes, peppers, onions, kale

Yummy fried rice
You can substitute ingredients for what you have on hand including adding greens.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • 2 medium carrots, small dice
  • 1 small onion, small dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup, chopped celery
  • 4 cups cooked and chilled rice, (I either use white or brown rice)
  • 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • sliced green onions for garnish, if desired
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter into a large skillet.
  2. Add the eggs and scramble until fully cooked. Remove them from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter into the pan.
  4. Add carrots, onion and celery to the pan and cook until tender, 3-4 minutes.
  5. Stir in garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  6. Add in the cold rice and sauté for 3-4 minutes. The rice should brown up a bit.
  7. Add the eggs back to the pan and stir in soy sauce, oyster sauce and sesame oil. Cook for 1-2 minutes to heat through.
  8. Serve immediately with green onions for garnish, if desired.

 

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Update from the Garden

This past week has been a lot of the same – cleanup and fall prep. I did seed some extra arugula and mustard greens because they are too yummy! I am now moving on to tilling and forming the new beds on the new plot, where I intend to plant squash next year. So far it’s going well but it’s going to take time, for sure.

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Red Kuri squash coming soon!

I have also been doing one of my favourite tasks – ripping out spent squash plants and vines. Ah I love this so much. Those things are such a mess and all over the place. It feel so good to get them tidy in the compost.

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I can see a frost is on the horizon for the weekend and so I’ll be busy the next couple days bringing more things in and blanketing what is left out there. This weekend there is the Carp Fair and so there is no Farmers’ Market. First Saturday off since before Mother’s Day! I’m looking forward to a slow breakfast with the kids and spending the day in the glorious village of Beachburg!

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…another obsessive cover crop photo – but that coverage! (oats & peas)

This week’s tip: Freeze that celery
You can use the entire celery that you received this week. The bulb part can be treated like a root veg and be roasted. I highly recommend chopping the stems up and freezing them. Chop the leaves and freeze them separately. The next time you are making stew, stock or soup, grab a handful for max flavour. I didn’t buy a single celery stalk last winter because I had this potent stuff in the freezer.

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Getting the arugula washed.

This week’s share:
1 box Beets OR Peppers
1 head Romaine
1 box Tomatoes
1 bag Arugula
1 Celery
1 box Pattypans
1 bunch Radishes
1 item from the Choice Shelf
Large ONLY: 1 tray Microgreens & 1 box Cucumbers

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This week’s share!¬†

What to make this week
A customer at the farmers’ market last week verbally gave me this recipe and I have to pass it on, it’s sooo good! I don’t know anything about quantities, so you’ll have to make it to taste. For the dressing, I did use a lemon/garlic oil “bread dipper” from Kricklewood Farm, possibly available for sale at Wilkie’s, downtown Pembroke.

Roasted Pattypan & Arugula Salad

Ingredients:
Pattypan, sliced for the grill
Arugula – a handful or so
Pear(s) – sliced in pieces
Goat Cheese
Nuts (pecans, walnuts, cashews etc.) – possibly toasted and candied with honey
Dressing: lemon, olive oil, salt & pepper

Grill your pattypan slices on the BBQ or in a pan. Meanwhile, toast the nuts on a frypan. I drizzled the nuts with some honey to make them extra yummy. Once your squash are grilled but still firm, toss them with the arugula, thereby wilting the arugula. Place the pattypans and arugula in a shallow serving dish. Top with pieces of pear, lumps of goat cheese and drizzle with the lemony dressing. I also did a drizzle of honey. SO GOOD!

Update from the garden
Last week I was honoured to be a bridesmaid in my dear friends’ wedding on Saturday, which of course cued mother nature to bring on the season’s first frost! Woohoo. I am usually prepared for this sort of thing and have the row cover on hand, etc. to easily cover the sensitive crops, but last week was a little different as at the time I would normally be covering the garden (around 6pm), I was to be standing in a wedding! As such, covering the garden became an early Saturday morning job with Dad and his pal Rick and my questionably helpful 4 year old – who reeeeally loved the floaty row covers. The wind joined – as it always does when I have 100ft x 20ft sheets of thin fleece to handle. I would have rather been off getting hair and makeup done but alas, that’s farming. And I love it. And I did make it in time for mimosas and hair and all the great things! In the end, I only lost my basil and much of the beans, which I had no row cover for. That is all OK and it just means that I can now mow down the beans and incorporate the entire plant into the garden bed for fertilizer.

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This is row cover in action on my peppers and eggplant.

The threat of frost however also hastened my harvesting of winter squashes. Friday was supposed to be a light harvesting day – getting the last things I needed to send to market – but suddenly turned into a huge final harvest of all our squashes and pumpkins. Good thing that’s my favourite thing ever to harvest!! All those items are now sun-curing in the greenhouse.

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Evidence of frost! This is basil that probably should have been harvested.

This week, for the first time since April, I took some time to clean up around the farm. I had plenty of mess up in the hay mow, where I had dried garlic back in August. I had all kinds of things that needed to find homes. I even spent some time cleaning straw out of the hay mow from 15 years ago. We don’t need it up there and all it does is provide accommodation for mice. No thanks. Mathias and I took a look up there today and are making some plans for next season’s garlic drying racks. Already looking ahead, so fun!

This week’s tip: pizza and quiche
The tip is simply this: when in doubt, put it on pizza or in a quiche. My family eats an insane amount of pizza but it’s such a perfect seasonal dish that is fun to prepare and very satisfying. Dough is easy to make – especially using a kitchen aid – and you can make enough for a couple days. We do a lot of canned tomato sauces and that helps make it convenient and extra delicious too. But generally, pizza and quiche can handle all the veggies – even if you may need to pre-roast some things.

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“Giant Red Mustard” – in your CSA share this week.

This week’s share:
1 box New Potatoes (yellow or red fingerlings)
1 box Cherry Tomatoes
1 box Beans
3 or so Peppers
1 bag of Romaine Lettuce (a pair)
1 bunch Radishes
1 bag Spicy Mix (arugula and mustard greens)
1 item from the choice shelf (kohlrabi, kale, cabbage, bok choy, onions, shishito peppers)
Large ONLY: take 1 extra box Tomatoes, 1 bag Parsley, 1 Cucumber, 2 Onions

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Experimental hops of mine ready for drying.

Deconstructed Baked Potato (Food & Drink Magazine)
Super great recipe for those baby potatoes…

12 long skewers
12 baby potatoes – Yukon Gold
3 slices of thick cut bacon
6 green onions (or the thick stalk parts of the young onions)
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3/4 cup finely grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
freshly ground black pepper

Soak the skewers in warm water for 20 minutes and in the meantime, preheat the oven to 350F.
Slice each potato in half. Cut bacon into 4 sections. Cut the green onions into 2 inch pieces.
To make the skewer, simply thread on the potato, bacon, and onion. Place the skewers on a baking sheet and lightly brush them with oil.
Bake the skewers for about 18 minutes until the potatoes are almost fork tender and the bacon is almost crisp. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the cheddar cheese on the potatoes. Bake another 5 minutes until the potatoes are soft, bacon crisp, and cheese is melted. Sprinkle with gresh ground pepper and serve.
Makes 12 appetizer servings.

Update from the Garden

First off, this is week 13 of 18 to help you follow along. That means 5 more weeks of CSA, with our final pick up on October 10th.

You have to agree that the tomatoes are fully in season! Our cherry tomato plants are weighted in loads and loads of gorgeous gems and because of this, everyone gets 2 containers of them this week. I think I harvested 130 containers this week so far! The larger tomatoes just didn’t perform for us this year. I think they got majorly set back during the drought times and they didn’t seem to benefit enough from our drip irrigation. The cherry tomatoes made an impressive come back though.

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Hot pepper mix – we will have more next week too!

This past week, I finally finished turning in my 2nd new plot of the year – which will be used for planting squash next season. For now I will leave the grasses turned over and allow them to decompose slightly before I do a harrow or rototill… followed by bed shaping. My plan is to prepare all the squash beds this fall for planting next May 24th. Yes, you read that correctly. I’m in constant pursuit of ways to spread my work over the year and to “get ahead” for the coming season.

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Lettuces coming along nicely for the final weeks of CSA.

I also spent some time this week starting to harvest squashes. All the kuri, delicata and spaghetti are looking great. Our pie pumpkins too. Acorn are good and the mini-blue hubbards turned out well. We have very few butternut this year but I will be able to confirm that once I get to harvesting them – though they tend to mature a little later than the others.

This week’s tip: blanche and freeze
Some things can be easily blanched (boiled briefly and flash cooled) and then put away in bags or yogourt containers and into the freezer for the winter. Beets and carrots can be done this way. Kale can too. If you feel like you want to squirrel away a few things – you can google the procedure. If you have too many cherry tomatoes – give them a rinse, dry and throw them in a zip lock for a pasta over winter.

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Pretty cabbages – one of the choice items this week.

This week’s share
1 box New Potatoes (3 varieties)
1 bunch Carrots
1 bunch Beets
1 bunch Kale
2 boxes Cherry Tomatoes
1 box Grapes
4 Peppers
Hot Peppers – taken as needed
1 Choice Item (Eggplant, Beans, Shishito Peppers, Cucumbers, Kohlrabi, Cabbage)
Large ONLY: Take 2 extra items from the choice shelf

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Lush kale bunches as night temperatures cool.

Grapes
We do grow a few grapes for the family on the farm but these grapes this week came from Francie Hawkins – she has the farm on Highway 41, with the thousands of gladiolas growing out front. The grapes were actually grown by her husband, Harry Hawkins, whom many of you may know passed away about a month ago. If you knew Harry, you would know how great of a person he was and how many amazing hobbies and pastimes he enjoyed, including growing all kinds of things (often in large quantities!). Growing grapes was one of his many things and I hope you all enjoy them this week, in memory of this incredible person and mentor of mine.

This kind of grape is more tart than the typical grocery store grapes and they also have seeds. Fine for snacking if that’s your thing – cave people were fine with seeds – but here is an awesome grape syrup my mom made this week to put on top of ice cream or yogourt, etc.

Grape Syrup
Remove your grapes from the stem and place them in a pot with enough water so it doesn’t burn (possibly 1/4 cup). Bring to a boil and cover and simmer about 15 minutes until all grapes have released their juice. Strain the grapes using a sieve and a wooden spoon or perhaps some cheese cloth. Put your hot grape juice back in the pot and sweeten ideally with sugar but you can try other sweeteners. The recipe we have says 3/4 cup sugar for 1 cup juice but we used less. Boil for another 10 minutes or so until it’s syrupy. Be careful not to boil too long or it will turn to jelly. Will store in the fridge for 2 weeks.