Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 produce list!

There's been lots of snow at the farm, and though the farm work hasn't stopped for the winter we're already looking to spring! As part of our prep work in the fall we plowed and hand-dug beds for new growing areas. By the time we start planting we will have more than tripled our growing space from the 2009 season. We now have a large garden space dedicated to annual and perennial herbs, we've added some garlic beds, and have more than doubled the size of the produce gardens. Below is the updated produce list.

We do not grow any GMO seed, nor do we purchase seeds from companies that sell genetically modified seed. The majority of our seed is of the heirloom variety. Where you see an asterisk* next to the variety, that signifies that it is NOT heirloom.

bean (pole)/rattlesnake
bean (bush)/beuerre de rocq.
bean (bush)/dragon's tongue
bean (bush)/provider
bean (bush)/jade
beet/burpee's golden
beet/early wonder
brussels sprouts/diablo*
cabbage/melissa savoy*
cabbage/super red 80*
carrot/cosmic purple
carrot/berlicum 2
carrot/paris market
chard/perpetual spinach
chard/bionda de lion
chard/bright lights
cucumber/national pickling
eggplant/long purple
eggplant/florida high bush
garlic/german extra hardy
garlic/russian red
tat soi
pac choi/mei qing choi
lettuce (red bib)/red cross
lettuce (bib)/tom thumb
lettuce/flashy green butter oak
lettuce/blushed butter
lettuce/summer mix
lettuce/sweet valentine
ground cherry/aunt molly's
melon/emerald gem
melon/noir des carmes
onion, bulb/red marble*
onion, blub/dakota tears
onion, blub/white wing*
onion, bunching/deep purple*
onion, bunching/evergreen hardy white
leeks/bleu de solaize
parsnip/harris model
pepper, sweet/king of the north (red)
pepper, sweet/yellow monster (yellow)
pepper, sweet/sweet chocolate (choc brown)
pepper, sweet/orange bell (orange)
pepper, sweet/aji dulce(small, multi-colored)
pepper, hot/purple jalapeno
pepper, hot/maule's red hot
pepper, hot/aji crystal
pepper, hot/bulgarian carrot chile
pepper, mild-hot/hungarian hot wax
pepper, mild-hot/anaheim
pepper, mild-hot/krimson spice*
pepper, mild-hot/ancho gigantea
potato, early/satina
potato,early/red gold
potato, mid-season/yellow finn
potato, mid-season/purple viking
potato, storage/german butterball
potato, fingerling/french fingerling
french breakfast
cherry belle
snap pea/sugarsnap
snap pea/cascadia
squash, summer/white bush lebanese
squash, summer/lemon squash
squash, summer/gentry*
squash, winter/sweet dumpling
squash, winter/thelma saunders sweet potato
squash, winter/uncle david's dakota dessert
squash, winter/jack-be-little pumpkin
squash, winter/waltham butternut
squash, winter/hubbard baby blue
strawberries/ozark beauty
TOMATOES (all tomatoes are heirloom varieties)
tomato, cherry/peacevine cherry
tomato, cherry/black cherry
tomato, cherry/sungold (select II)
tomato, cherry/violet jasper
tomato, cherry/green grape
tomato, cherry/thai pink egg
tomato, cherry/chadwick cherry
tomato, cherry/red fig
tomato, cherry/gajo de melon
tomato, cherry/beam's yellow pear
tomato, cherry/currant sweet pea
tomato/garden peach
tomato/green zebra
tomato/yellow brandywine
tomato/cherokee purple
tomato/plum lemon
tomato/golden monarch
tomato/pineapple (mr stripey)
tomato/emerald evergreen
tomato/caspian pink
tomato/pink accordian
tomato/tlacalula pink
tomato/royal hillbilly
tomato/pink honey
tomato/mushroom basket
tomato/pink oxheart
tomato/mortgage lifter
tomato/purple russian
tomato/paul robeson
tomato/striped roman
tomato/gold medal
tomato/mary robinsons german bicolor
tomato/big rainbow
tomato/ananas noire
tomato/german red strawberry
tomato/goldmans italian-american
tomato/roman candle
tomato/golden sunray
tomato/striped cavern
tomato/hungarian heart
tomato/dr.wyche's yellow
tomato,paste/orange banana
tomato, paste/federle
tomato, paste/olpaka
tomato, paste/san marzano redorta
tomato, paste/amish paste
turnip/purple top white globe
parsley/dark green italian
summer savory
sweet/lettuce leaf (aka lg leaf italian)
purple/red rubin
lemon/sweet dani
thai/siam queen
garlic chives
winter savory

Monday, October 26, 2009

week twenty, the end! (kind of)

It's the official end of our first CSA season, which is pretty hard to believe. Last year at this time we were still only considering CSA as an option for the farm and here we are with our first growing season almost over, two more honeybee hives, 30-odd chickens, and plans for significant expansion next year. We had a few stumbles, battled a lot of pests and diseases and learned a LOT... overall I consider the season a success. I hope you feel the same and that you'll be back with us in the spring of 2010.
Without the constant and generous help of some seriously amazing family and friends we never could have done this - and that includes the wonderful, patient first-year members... you all rock, thanks so much!

Even though this is the 20th week and the last of the significant harvests are in, there will be some "straggler" crops including a new batch of chard, mache, more radish, carrots, spinach, herbs, kale, bib lettuce, golden beets, and (if the greedy pig of a ground hog left any for the rest of us) snow peas. There won't be any more shares or delivery but as long as we have any harvests coming in you're all welcome to come to the farm and pick your own bag of whatever we have. I'll email weekly, starting the first week of November, to let you know what's available and you can contact me if you'd like to stop over. Hopefully we'll also have some eggs to sell.

This week everyone received leeks, potatoes, shallots, parsley, kohlrabi, French breakfast and cherry bell radish, parmex carrots (full) or a bag of arugula (partial) and a giant, lovely stalk of brussels sprouts.
The kohlrabi you have might look different than what you're used to seeing in the store. This variety is best harvested at about 5 cm, probably a little smaller than you might be used to but the flavor is pretty amazing - let me know how it compares. It's great just sliced on a salad with a citrus dressing or roasted with other veggies (including winter squash).
I've had some questions as to storing the brussels sprouts - just snap each sprout off the main stalk and store in a net (onion) bag in the fridge. I think these might be the veggie I've looked forward to most all season, and last night I made one of my all-time favorite recipes - roasted brussels sprouts with honey. Trim and wash the sprouts, pat dry, and put in a shallow baking dish (in one layer). Drizzle with olive oil and kosher salt, mix, and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Check them after 15 mins - you do NOT want soggy, overdone brussels sprouts. Take them out of the oven, drizzle with as much honey as you'd like, serve. The outside leaves get crisp and brown, the olive oil and salt brings out the amazing flavor, and the honey gives it a touch of sweetness. Yum.

Earlier this week Todd and I made another one of fall favorites, leek and potato soup. This is a simple soup with fantastic flavor... there are a lot of simple recipes for it out there but my favorite is still Alton Brown's:

Keep checking the blog for updates, plans for next year, and thrilling farm news. Hope to see you all at the farm this fall!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Farm Photos

your farmers! Todd and I with one of the feathery new residents

CSA member Zeev (with dad Dror) munches on a nasturtium flower

The construction begins! Friends and family help Todd and I transform an old hunting trailer into a new home for the chickens

jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjmjjJulia (visiting from San Fran) suits up
Liz and Emily had the misfortune to be visiting us that weekend... I immediately put Liz to work
my friend Ellen (with my dad) spent the whole weekend slaving at the farm
hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhmy mom, building the roosts
h gggggggggggggggggggggEllen & Todd install a window (pulled from the trash)
my dad and Todd put up some fencing

The chickens arrive!


Heather and Dror, with Todd

Zeev meets the chickens
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CSA member Emma Kottler is very enthused hhh my mom passes out a treat of cracked corn

Emma explores the coopbbbbbbbbbbbbbmember Chris Whispell overcomes her fear of chickens

just two days after their arrival - our first eggs!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Week Nineteen

one of our praying mantis, hard at work on some brussels sprout greens

I'm pretty excited about the change in seasons... Instead of slathering on sunscreen before early morning CSA harvest, we're pulling on layers and scarves and boots and I'm loving it - as well as the change in what we're growing and harvesting. We covered the beans and peppers with frost-protective row covers this past week but pretty much everything else is fine in cold weather. Things like brussels sprouts, arugula, mache and the deep greens actually have improved flavor after frosts. You'll notice a change in quantity and variety of what you receive and it's all part of the season winding down. I plan to keep going as long as there's a significant harvest. Things to look for in the next couple weeks are more radish and dark greens, kohlrabi, carrots, chard, arugula, mache, bib lettuce, brussels sprouts, leeks and potatoes.

CSA members Charlie, Amy and Emma Kottler with their aunt, Kathy Ellis

In shares this week you have butternut squash, a variety of peppers, carrots, tatsoi, parsley, daikon radish (full), French breakfast radish (partial), and a container of habaneros if you indicated to me that you wanted them. Some of you might be unfamiliar with daikon radish - here's a link to some basic info including preparation and nutrition facts They can be treated like any other radish (see spring posts for radish sandwiches), used in salads, soups, or juiced and added to tomato sauce for a great kick (thanks Julie!).

Butternut squash is one of those foods that is versatile and pretty delightful any way you prepare it, but my good friend Liz made an amazing dish that's my new favorite - baked butternut squash fluff. Cut squash in half longways and scoop out seeds (you can roast these w/ salt, pepper and cayenne). Roast in the oven until soft, let cool slightly and scoop out the meat into a bowl. Add one or two eggs (depending on how much egg you like), some milk (not too much), a touch of ground/grated ginger, cinnamon and honey (2 T). Mix with a hand mixer to "fluff", spread in a small (no bigger than 9x13) baking dish and top with walnuts and a touch of brown sugar (for a nice crunch). Bake until nuts begin to brown. You can also add grated coconut to the topping - yum. Thanks Liz!
CSA member Kathryn just sent me a recipe for fall squash soup from the Frick Cafe - it sounds amazing and uses your squash, parsley and shallots
thanks Kathryn!

The big news for this week, of course, is that we now have chickens! 31 laying hens arrived on Saturday afternoon, kindly brought to us by Lynne of Dream Thyme Farm The ladies (and one patient rooster) seem very happy in their new home, and quite a few of you came to the farm for CSA pick up yesterday and had the chance to see them. They sleep in the coop at night and during the day when no one is around they'll stay in a large fenced area to keep them safe from local predators like fox, coyote, raccoon, and hawks. After they get used to their new surroundings and when we're at home to monitor them the chickens will be free to roam the farm and forage for tasty bugs, slugs, seeds and etc. Their diet also includes organic grain feed from a local mill, which is free of any and all hormones, antibiotics and GMO seed. This high-quality feed and their ability to roam about and forage for an ultra-healthy balanced diet means some very happy chickens, and some pretty fantastic tasting eggs. Hopefully you'll be able to see for yourselves soon - eggs will be available for purchase all winter (though they will lay at a much slower rate during the cold months) and of course next season, but I'm hoping to be able to include half a dozen in each of your shares before the end of the season.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Week Eighteen

Apologies for the late post this week. We've switched gears from concentrating on fall prep to focusing our energies on finishing the chicken coop. Lynne, the wonderful farmeress from Dream Thyme Farms has offered us 30 laying hens and chicks... they arrive in two weeks. Free range pastured eggs, coming soon! You'll have the opportunity to purchase eggs from us as soon as they arrive, which may be at or after the end of CSA shares this season.

I've had a lot of questions from members regarding how long this season will continue. The answer is, when the harvest stops rolling in. There will probably be a gap of a week or two because I have some beans, peas, kohlrabi, spinach and etc that will need a bit more time, plus the brussels sprouts and leeks won't be harvested until after we've had some decent frosts so you'll probably pick up a final bag in early November. Things have been winding down and will continue to do so until there are no more significant harvests. I think that in addition to the November bag there will be two or three more pick up weeks in October.

This week you received kale (I am tearing out the kale plants this week! Everyone can breathe a sigh of relief), potatoes, herbs and nasturtium, a variety of peppers, purple haze carrots, and pumpkins. Again, those who asked for habanero peppers also received those packaged separately. The small red or orange peppers that were loose in your bags are the aji dulce sweet peppers - they look like a habanero but have no heat, so don't fear them!

Don't forget to check previous blog posts for tasty recipes if you haven't tried them all. I highly recommend this curried roasted pumpkin soup - my mom made it last week and it was excellent (they specify a kind of curry powder but any will do)

Have a great week!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Week Seventeen

It was a wet, wet morning today! Here's my dedicated and hardworking employee (also known as mom) harvesting and artfully bundling all your herbs in the pouring rain.

This week everyone has more bunches of wonderful tatsoi, carrots, a head of Chinese cabbage (called Blue), parsley, basil, dill, nasturtium, and a winter squash called Blue Ballet, which is a smaller variety of the traditional (and enormous) hubbard squash. There were also habaneros for those who asked for them.

Try this recipe for green jade soup - it involves some additional items but also uses your cabbage, tatsoi, and carrots: boil 3 cups vegetable stock and add about a cup thickly sliced carrots, 3/4 T grated ginger, a cup sliced leeks or onions, a cup sliced mushrooms, and 2 cups chopped Chinese cabbage. Lower the heat and simmer for about ten minutes until veggies are tender. Add all of your chopped tatsoi and, if you care to, 1 cake of cubed tofu. Cook for 5 minutes, add salt to taste (recipe from Moosewood Cookbook)

Hubbards can be used like any hard-skinned squash - roasted, pureed in soup, or made into a pie, which is what my mom did with these squash last year for Thanksgiving. CSA member Amy Kottler just picked up her share and gave me her idea for roasted hubbard squash that honestly made my mouth water. She slices the squash in half and roasts it in the oven with butter, brown sugar and salt (2 T brown sugar to 1 T kosher salt) so it has a caramelized, salty-sweet, kettle-corn kind of thing going on... everything about that sounds delightful to me. Thanks Amy!

Member Heather Mallak also shared a photo of what she called a "roasting pan of wonderfulness" made with her CV Farm peppers, potatoes, beets and tomatoes - it looks pretty fantastic.

When members came to the farm to pick up their shares today they all commented on a potted pepper plant that I have sitting out on the porch, a smaller version of this guy:

My dad's uncle, Gene Rockacy, who actually help my grandfather build this farm, starts tons of these lovely pepper plants from seed and sells them at local markets. They live inside all winter and not only to they look amazing, covered with peppers in shades of red, purple, yellow and orange, but the little suckers taste great - and they're spicy! If you'd like to have homegrown hot peppers all winter long (my mom has had her plant for years) let me know and you can purchase one from him. I have to find out an exact price but I'm pretty sure the small ones are about $4, and I can just pop it in your weekly share.

Uncle Gene and his daughter, Carol Jean, picking raspberries on the farm

Monday, September 21, 2009

week sixteen

It's like spring all over again! We have lots of greens, lettuces, arugula and spinach growing, along with snap peas, carrots, scallions, Brussels sprouts and etc. We're approaching the last month of our first year of CSA here at CV Farm, but there's still lots to look forward to.

This week everyone has tatsoi (full shares have two bunches), an assortment of peppers, habaneros (for those who wanted them), a bag of Blushed Butter lettuce, a winter squash called Green Buttercup, a small bunch of broccoli raab, and an edible bouquet of parsley, a variety of basils, and nasturtium.

For those of you unfamiliar with tatsoi it is (according to recipe czar, because I'm too lazy to explain it) "a dark green Asian salad green that has a spoon like shape, a pleasant and sweet aroma, and flavor like a mild mustard green, similar to bok choi. Tatsoi is generally eaten raw, but may be added to soups at the end of the cooking period. When tatsoi is mixed with other greens it enhances the flavor and nutritional value. Tatsoi may not be available in your regular grocery store. Specialty markets may carry it, or it can be grown from seeds, in warmer climates." I basically treat it like spinach - but don't expect a spinach flavor because it's a bit different.
Broccoli raab (rapini) is a new adventure for all of us! This is the first time I've grown it and the first time I've cooked with it. Let me know what you think.

The Green Buttercup squash can be treated like any winter squash.... roasted in the oven with herbs, butter and brown sugar, or chopped and sauteed with butter, sage and shallots. Friend, CSA member and once-weekly CV Farm slave Julie even made hers into a yummy pumpkin-esque pie.

some other recipes to try this week:
This is a simple recipe I use for stracciatella soup - fast and easy to prepare, and just pair it with a salad for a great fall meal. You can use your parsley, and substitute the tatsoi for spinach.

Broccoli raab is fairly versatile, but here's a simple recipe I tried for broccoli raab saute: heat 2 tspns olive oil over med heat, add 2 medium cloves of garlic sliced very thin and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (or some of your hot peppers), stir for about two minutes (don't let the garlic burn). Add broccoli raab (you can chop into large pieces or cook it as-is... the closer to the top of the stem you are the less bitter the flavor) and cook for about 4 minutes, until tender. Season with salt and pepper (recipe from The Washington Post). And here's a tip I found online - Much of the bitterness can be removed by blanching it (cooking it briefly in boiling water) first. Try bringing a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add broccoli rabe and cook 5 to 6 minutes, or until bright green and crisp-tender.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

week fifteen

Brussels sprouts, just doing their thing

spring redux - blushed butter lettuce & carrots

This week everyone received potatoes, shallots, acorn squash, kale (sigh - I know), a bundle of herbs (parsley, dill, variety of basils), a bouquet of flowers (sunflowers, zinnia, amaranth), and raspberries. Full shares also received a pint of cherry tomatoes, and if you indicated to me that you wanted them, some habaneros (if you'd like to get habaneros in your share just let me know).

Last night I stumbled upon two great recipes for the kale and potatoes and made a surprisingly fast and amazing dinner. These might involve some ingredients not everyone has laying around, but I think they're worth it. For the rosemary-chile mashed potatoes combine 1 cup of olive oil, 3 rosemary springs, and and finely chopped and seeded habanero (wear gloves!!) in a small saucepan over high heat. When the sprigs begin to spit and bubble, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove oil from heat, strain into a glass jar, let sit for 30 minutes. Cook and mash the potatoes (about 2 lbs for this recipe). Add 1/4 cup of the oil to 3/4 cup milk, a tablespoon of chopped rosemary and salt to taste. Mix, add to mashed potatoes. You can save the leftover chile oil for future use - I used some of it in the kale dish. (Recipe from Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen)
You could also roast or mash the potatoes and finish them with shallots (finely chopped and sauteed in butter) and a handful of chopped parsley and dill with a bit of coarse salt.

Gingered greens and tofu was also wildly tasty. Slice 2 blocks of tofu into 1-inch pieces and spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Make a marinade of 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup dry sherry, 1/4 cup rice vinegar and 3 tblspns brown sugar. Pour the marinade over the tofu and broil for 7-8 minutes or until the tofu browns, then turn with a spatula and brown the other side. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large skillet or wok on high heat (I used the chile oil) and add 2 tblspns grated ginger and 6 (ish) cups coarsely shredded kale. Stir until greens wilt. Add 3 tblspns lime juice, 2 tblspns chopped cilantro, and a few more splashes of the chile oil. Drizzle with honey and toss with the broiled tofu and marinade. (Recipe from The Moosewood Cookbook)

Look at all these lovely pumpkins! We started harvesting them and are storing them in the root cellar for a few weeks - expect them early to mid October.

And this is why we've started harvesting them a little early...

a rat bastard ground hog is living somewhere in the garden (we think) and has done this to about half a dozen of our pumpkins. Vengeance will be mine.

Have a great week!

CSA member Rachel Kottler and her niece Aisha after picking raspberries this Sunday

Sunday, September 6, 2009

week fourteen

This week everyone received Salsa In A Bag! In your CSA tote is everything you need to make an amazing batch of farm fresh salsa: tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers, onions, and a heap of herbs - cilantro, parsley and basil.
My mom is generously sharing her recipe... this is the salsa I've been eating all my life and everyone who has tried it thinks it's the best. Obviously, adjust the mounts to what you have or how much you want to make.

Marjean's Salsa:
4 C tomatoes - peeled, seeded and chopped* (she uses 2 1/2 cups red tomatoes and 1 1/2 cups green tomatoes)
3 C peppers - seeded & chopped (she uses 2 cups sweet and 1 cup hot, adjust according to your heat preference)
1 C chopped onions
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 Tblsp sugar/honey
1/3 C cilantro
1/4 C parsley
1/4 C basil
1/2 C tomato paste
1 C cider vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Jar or can and process (for instructions and suggestion on canning, email me)

*note for tomato prep: drop tomatoes in boiling water for about 15 seconds or until skins split, run under cold water, then peel. Cut out stem, slice in half crosswise and squeeze gently to remove seeds and juice.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Week Thirteen

CSA member Emma Kottler at farm pick up this week. Emma has an astonishingly diverse palate for someone who doesn't have much in the way of teeth.

This week everyone received a mix of heirloom tomatoes and a bag of cherry heirlooms, a selection of peppers, beets, chard, variety of basil, parsely, cilantro, and a container of raspberries (full shares received a large container).

Sick of raspberries yet? They'll be coming in like this for a few weeks at least. If you're interested in some recipes for preserves or pies, let me know. And something else I'm doing with the berries now for holiday gifts? Finding cute bottles, filling then with vodka and a bunch of raspberries and putting it in the freezer for a few months to make raspberry-infused vodka. I'm also going to try this with the lime basil.

I found a great recipe online for a fairly simple pasta with beets and beet greens - I cut up the chard as well and treated it the same way as the beet greens in this recipe.
And here is a fantastic recipe for summer squash (use your pattypans!) and heirloom tomato gratin

aaaaWe thought we wouldn't have onions this year due to an incident early on in the season - the entire bed was crushed when the tractor accidentally pulled the grapevines down on top of them (whoops). But on Sunday afternoon Todd and I harvested a surprising amount of wonderful red and white onions that are curing right now and will be in shares soon.

This is one of the beds of fall veggies we planted a few weeks ago. The tatsoi, Chinese blue cabbage, and snow peas are off to a great start.
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Lately we've found a few toads in and around the garden... this one peed on Todd's hand

Friday, August 28, 2009

In the news!

The Post-Gazette wrote a lovely profile of our farm, and I think it's also great publicity for local CSA programs in general. Yay!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Week Twelve

This week everyone received quite a few tomatoes! I posted some great recipes below for the fastest, tastiest farm dinner ever - starting with another great recipe from Jen for mock crab cakes (using patty pan squash instead of crab) with herb-caper mayo, beans with herb butter, and heirloom caprese salad. You might be suspicious of these squash-cakes but I assure you they are beyond delightful - much more than they should be for being so simple. Todd loved them, and he is not usually fond of "mock" anything.
Full shares received a container of cherry tomatoes, 6-8 large heirloom tomatoes (depending on size), pattypan squash, variety of peppers (the orange ones are called Yummy!), a mix of basils, a container of raspberries, peaches, and cut flowers, including some of our lovely sunflowers. Partial shares received cherry and heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, variety of basils (sweet, cinnamon, lime and Thai), a container of raspberries, and flowers.

There are less beans this time around because the second planting was a little smaller. And some sad news - I think this will be it for the cucumbers. The bacterial wilt virus has definitely killed off most of the plants at this point and I am planning to tear them out this week. I can use that space to plant some arugula and other tasty fall greens, and we'll move the support fence to where we've planted the snow peas, which are up and will soon need something to climb. We are going to combat this awful virus next year by moving all cucurbit crops (cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, squash) outside of the produce garden area and grow them in newly dug beds on a different part of the property. We will also spray regularly next season with an organic insecticide (made from chrysanthemum) called pryethrum which will help eliminate the cucumber beetle, the pest responsible for spreading the wilt virus.
The peaches were also a bit of a disappointment... we have a raccoon (or family of) that, apparently, enjoys climbing the peach tree and taking a bite from every other fruit. Hopefully next year we can combat this with some barrier fencing. Or firearms. Just kidding.
This Sunday was lively at the farm for CSA pick up... we had a few member families stick around to pick some extra berries for themselves. My friend Sarah, her husband Jason and sons Elliot and Jasper stopped by for an afternoon of berry picking, followed by a spirited round of throw-black-walnuts-at-the-barn-until-they-shatter-into-a-million-pieces which was seriously more fun than it should have been.
Sarah and Elliot
The raspberries are coming in strong and we are picking a few buckets every other day. If you would like to arrange to come to the farm on Sunday to pick some more of your own for pies, preserves, ice cream, etc, just let me know. There's plenty to go around.


pattypan "crab" cakes - 2c coarsely grated summer squash, 1c Italian bread crumbs, 1 onion (finely chopped), 1 Tbs mayonnaise, 1 Tbs Old Bay seasoning, 1 egg (beaten). Combine, adjust texture, form into patties. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 20-25 minutes covered loosely with foil, then broil until tops are golden. Makes 4 big or 6 medium cakes. I also made a mayo sauce to go on top - just a handful of whatever herbs you have, chopped finely and added to a cup of mayo and a bit of cour cream. Mix in a few capers and blop a spoonful on top of each cake.

Chop some more herbs and toss them in melted butter with the beans (blanched for barely a few minutes), and serve with a caprese salad (alternating slices of tomato and buffalo mozzarella, drizzle olive oil and sea or kosher salt on top with some torn basil leaves) and voila! Fast and amazingly delicious dinner right from your CSA bag. You might finish it off with some berries over ice cream drizzled with honey for dessert. And those of you who have peaches could dice them and serve in a bowl with raspberries, shredded cinnamon basil and honey on top.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

week eleven

Items for this week are heirloom tomatoes (full shares also received a container of cherry tomatoes), a variety of peppers, potatoes, a variety of beans, cucumbers (some of you also received a lemon cucumber), a mix of fresh herbs - basil for your tomatoes and parsley and dill for your potatoes, and fresh raspberries. Full shares also received eggplant.
Please remember to return your containers when you're finished with them! And we'd love to have any plastic clamshell containers that you don't use - these are perfect for the berries and cherry tomatoes.


Nothing is more lovely to me right now than a wagon full of heirloom tomatoes. You all have these in your shares this week. Keep an eye out for my current favorite - an heirloom I'm growing for the first time this year called Garden Peach. They are about the size of, well, a peach, with a yellowish color and skin that is slightly furry, like that of a peach. They taste amazing!

We've been lucky so far in controlling the tomato late blight that has been crippling farmers and gardeners all over the northeast, especially those who grow organically. Many have been completely wiped out, and unfortunately some of the CSA farms in our area had to tell their members not to expect many tomatoes at all this year. We are keeping it under control with an organic copper-based spray and by being vigilant about regularly checking for and removing infected leaves, but we are still definitely seeing the affects. While we feel extremely lucky to have tomatoes at all, there are a lot less than we normally would have.

You've been getting cucumbers pretty regularly, and especially if you held on to some from last week a great way to use them is to make chilled cucumber and dill soup: peel and seed three cucumbers. Chop and put in a blender with two cups buttermilk, half cup sour cream, tablespoon of olive oil, a few tablespoons of chopped dill, a pinch of sugar (or teaspoon of honey), and a splash of white wine vinegar. Puree and garnish with fresh dill.
The potatoes would be excellent simply roasted in the oven with herbs. Cut them into half or thirds, coat them with olive oil and and add your chopped parsley and dill with a sprinkle of salt, and roast.
I found a new tasty recipe for microwaved honey eggplant. Combine half a cup each of chopped parsley and breadcrumbs with three tablespoons of olive oil, two tablespoons honey, one minced garlic clove, and a pinch of salt. Cut a medium eggplant crosswise into one-inch slices and score the top of each slice. Put the slices in a dish and spread the breadcrumb mixture over the tops, pressing into the slits. Partially cover with wax paper and microwave for about five minutes. Remove the paper and cook for another two or three minutes until very soft. Sprinkle with lemon juice.
Also check out Rachel's comment from the week nine post, she shared a great recipe for a vinaigrette to dress potatoes and green beans.

Some turkeys in front of the berry patch (they are regular welcome visitors to the farm).

week ten

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Items for week ten: heirloom tomatoes, a container of cherry tomatoes, a variety of peppers, pattypan squash, cucumbers, herbs including sweet and lime basil, and a bouquet of fresh cut flowers grown on the farm.

This week the Post Gazette photographer visited for CSA pick up, taking photos for the piece they are writing on our farm! Rebecca got some great shots that will be included in the print and online editions of the article, which they tell me will probably be in the Thursday August 27th edition of the paper in the food section. A great group of shareholders came to the farm with their families, and everyone left with some delicious raspberries that they picked themselves. Well... some berries may not have made it home ;)

Thanks again to everyone who came! It was a fun afternoon.

Elliot in the berry patch, and Ziad with his haul. They are two talented and enthusiastic berry pickersaaaa

Dror, Heather, and their baby Zeev. Dror's mother Zahava, and her friend Izak were visiting from Israel

Folks who came to the farm also had a chance to see Todd do a brief hive inspection

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Week Nine

This week everyone has potatoes, cucumbers, kale, a big bunch of sweet basil, lime basil and parsley. Full shares also received pattypan squash, beans, and a container of a mix of heirloom cherry tomatoes. Because there weren't many melons and eggplant, these went to partial shares - fulls will get these the next time we harvest. Partial shares also received three full size heirloom tomatoes instead of the mix of cherries.

I know shares have been heavy on the greens this year, and I hope you aren't all sick to death of kale! I planted too much, but there are a lot of great ways to use it. Here is a link to a simple recipe for kale and potato hash -
if you don't have shallots just substitute onions.

The lemon basil is excellent in a vinaigrette, but it also makes an amazing pesto when mixed with regular basil, and parsley. In a food processor combine 2 cups (packed) basil leaves (lime and sweet), 1 cup parsley leaves, 1/2 cup pine nuts or walnuts (toasting the nuts for a few minutes in a dry pan on the stove top gives them a great flavor), 3-4 garlic cloves, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese. Process into a paste, and slowly add 1/2 olive oil while the mixer is running. Pesto is wonderful on fish, chicken, in pastas, on bread, with your tomatoes... I love pesto in pretty much anything. My friend Jen makes a fried egg and pesto sandwich for breakfast, which is just an egg between two slices of toast smeared with pesto. I haven't tried yet but sounds like the tastiest breakfast sandwich ever.

For those of you who have eggplant this week, you might try slicing it, salting the slices lightly and letting them sit for a few minutes, brushing them with olive oil and tossing them on the grill with some pesto on top.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Farm Photos

bulb onions bbbbbbbbbbbbshallots

coming soon... flowers!
bbzinnias bbbbbbbbbbbbbbsunflowers, amaranth and cosmos

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peppers bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbtomatoes!

peaches bbbbbbbbbbbbbbthe very first raspberries

know your squash....
green buttercup bbbbbbbbb butternut bbbbbbbbbbbbbbhubbard blue ballet

amazing summer, fall and spring honey... now with Ellen's fabulous labels!

I hope those of you who haven't had the chance yet will be able to visit soon and see firsthand how your fruit and produce is coming along.