Hello Friends and Members,
Splish-Splash! Holy Cow what a whole lot of rain we've had in the last two days! We gave up on rain gauges years ago, so we can't tell you exactly how much we've gotten. However, what we can say is that it is at least several inches and the rain continues to come steadily as we write. The downpours Saturday night were some of the loudest and most intense rain storms we've ever heard. It is almost implausible that it can rain that hard.
Curious to see what the fields looked like on Sunday morning, Farmer Dave put on his rain suit and mud boots and put Eli in his matching rain outfit (too cute), and set out to play in some puddles. And puddles there were-- more like lakes, really! As we've said before, this is the first year we're growing crops in the big field on our new land, so we don't have anything with which to compare this level of moisture from previous years. Regardless, it was impressive. There are spots in the middle of the field where the water was almost a foot deep. One known wet spot at the end of the field blossomed into a 100' x 100' splash pool. Good fun for little Eli, and actually for Farmer Dave, too, who'd forgotten how fun puddles can be.
In terms of how this will effect crops-- too soon to tell. Experience says most things will be fine. There will be some casualties here an there in the low spots, but mostly we expect we'll be alright. We'll keep you posted!
This week's share: Lettuce, greens, scallions, squash & zucchini, cucumbers, radishes, some combination of cabbage/chinese cabbage/broccoli, Fresh garlic, Bok Choy (last of season), Eggplant (hopefully)
U-Pick: Beans (see Recipe below)-- including Haricot Vert, Flowers, herbs, maybe Cherry tomatoes
D, E, & e
RECIPE: Dilly Beans
Pack washed beans into quart jars that contain in each:
1-2 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp crushed red pepper
2 cloves garlic
2 heads dill
Heat: 2 cups water, 2 cups vinegar (cider pref.), 1/8 cup salt
Pour into jars and process 5 minutes in boiling water bath.
Take this off the shelf in January and enjoy a taste of summer on a cold winter day!
Hello Friends and Members,
It has been a busy week on the farm. (Do we sound like a broken record?) This is probably pretty close to the most hectic time of year on a vegetable farm. We're still busy planting things like the second round of squash and cucumbers, our weekly lettuce, and round four of broccoli. We're also still trying to get control of our struggle with the weeds, which seem to return after every pass with the hoe or cultivating tractor. The weeds that have gotten past our defenses are going to seed, so they have to be pulled from the ground manually, removed from the field, and deposited in the nearest hedge-row. We're also spending a lot of time trellising our tomatoes. This is essentially a process of using string to keep the plants supported and to keep them from coming in contact with the soil. The support is for their ever-increasing fruit load. And, the reason to have the plants avoid the soil is in order to prevent the spread of diseases which splash out of the dirt onto the leaves. In case you are wondering, we grow a lot of tomatoes...and we mean A LOT: three and a half greenhouses full, four long rows in the field, and your U-pick cherry tomatoes. It shouldn't be too long now until we're enjoying their much anticipated arrival. The last thing that is keeping us hopping is getting our fall crops seeded and planted. While it is hard to believe it is that time already, we know from experience that it is: last chance for carrots, broccoli and lots of other tasty treats. And despite our talk of Fall, don't worry-- there is lots more summer in this summer! We're just preparing. If our season was a baseball game, this would only be the third inning.
A few members sent us the following link to a great New York Times article on CSA's. If you are interested here it is:
This week's share:
Lettuce, greens, squash & zucchini, cucumbers, scallions, radish, new potatoes (we hope!), eggplant (we think!), scapes, beets
Peas, flowers, herbs, and maybe beans
Happy Summer, D, E, & e
This recipe was sent to us from a creative member. It is based on a Rachel Ray creation, but has had an extensive Stony Loam make-over. Beautiful (see photo we attached). Seems like a good way to get some kids to eat their beets, too. Enjoy!
One bunch beets
6 TBS olive oil
1 lb rigatoni with ridges or gemelli pasta (or what you have at home)
One bunch green onions, chopped
Handful of garlic scapes, chopped
One pint peas (out of the pod) and/or 1-2 squashes cut into rounds (or whatever other Loam veggies you want to add)
salt and pepper
1.5 cups ricotta cheese
zest and juice of one lemon
Handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
.5 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Heat the oven to 375F. Peel and quarter beets. Coat the beets in a drizzle of olive oil and place in a roasting pan. Cover the pan with foil and place in oven. Roast the beets for about 30 minutes (test with a fork for softness), then remove and let cool for 15 minutes.
Just before the beets come out, bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt the water, add the pasta, and cook al dente. Heads up: you will need to reserve 1 cup of the starchy cooking water before you drain the pasta.
While the beets cool, heat 3 tbs of the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the green onions and scapes for a few minutes until they start to soften, then add remaining vegetables. Gently cook until everything softens (3-5 minutes). Season with salt and pepper.
Add beets to food processor/blender with the ricotta cheese. Process until it becomes a smooth mixture. Transfer to large pasta bowl and season it with 2 tsp zest, lemon juice, salt, pepper, the parsley, and Parmigiano. Add the starchy water, the hot pasta, and sauteed vegetables. Serve immediately.
Greetings Friends and Members,
Hope you all had a great Fourth of July weekend. We certainly couldn't have asked for nicer weather. While I don't really enjoy hanging out in the hot sun all day, that sun does keep things growing like crazy-- especially when you add a little water. I had to open my big mouth in last week's newsletter and talk about how it had been over a month since I'd had to run the irrigation in the field. Sure enough, on Saturday morning I found myself down at Spear's filling up that gas can again for the water pump. On Thursday we planted our weekly lettuce batch just before we got a nice heavy shower (just in time to thwart Thursday's U-pickers from getting at those coveted strawberries). It was enough rain that I didn't have to fuss with watering on the 4th, which was nice. But by Saturday, the little seedlings were wilting, and with no rain in sight, I had to fire up the pump.
Out in the field things are looking good. The potatoes are flowering, which is something I always enjoy seeing. Nice long rows of pretty purple and white blossoms atop healthy 3' tall plants. The potatoes' arch enemy, the dreaded Colorado potato beetle, capable of defoliating entire plants in sort order, is just beginning to show up. We keep them confused every spring by moving the potato patch to a different field. This way, the adults who've spent the winter burrowed into the soil have to walk a long way to find their food. By the time they do find them, the plants are big and strong enough to tolerate some munching.
This week's share:
Lettuce, Greens, Squash & Zucchini, Beets, Bok Choy, Baby Fennel (see Recipe), Kohlrabi, Scapes (see Recipe)
The 'maybe' list: broccoli, radishes, cucumbers
U-Pick list: Flowers (PLEASE SEE ATTACHED Flower Picker's Guide to review how to cut the flowers in order to keep them thriving well into the season!!!), Peas, Herbs, Strawberries (whatever remains)
Enjoy! D, E, & e
Braised Fennel with Parmesan
2 Tablespoons butter or olive oil
2 to 3 fennel bulbs, trimmed and halved or quartered lengthwise
Salt and freshly milled pepper
½ cup dry white wine or water
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Chopped fennel greens or parsley
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Rub a baking dish large enough to hold the fennel in a single layer with butter. Steam the fennel for 10 minutes, then arrange in the dish. Dot with butter or drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and add the wine. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the cover, baste the fennel with its juice, then add the cheese and continue baking until the fennel is completely tender, about 10 minutes more. Serve with chopped fennel greens or parsley.
Garlic Scape Pesto
1 cup garlic scapes (about 8 or 9 scapes), top flowery part removed, cut into ¼-inch slices
1/3 cup walnuts
¾ cup olive oil
¼-1/2 cup grated parmigiano
½ teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
Place scapes and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and whiz until well combined and somewhat smooth. Slowly drizzle in oil and process until integrated. With a rubber spatula, scoop pesto out of bowl and into a mixing bowl. Add parmigiano to taste; add salt and pepper. Makes about 6 ounces of pesto. Keeps for up to one week in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
Greeting Friends and Members,
Here we are at week 4 already. We've been meaning to applaud all of you for your commitment to using your own BAGS! What a turn-around from last year-- well done!! Also, several of you have been carpooling and riding your bikes to the farm. Thanks for all your efforts.
Suddenly it's really looking and feeling like summer out there: sticky, warm, rain on and off, and sun. Good growing weather. And, I'll be honest: this has been one of the best weather patterns I can remember. While hail has fallen in Shelburne (enough to leave dents in cars and tear apart crops), and a farmer friend in East Middlebury swims in 9 - 10 inches of rain and watches water flow through his fields, we've been lucky thus far. Knock on wood. We haven't had to water in over a month, and we've been able to get thousands of transplants in the ground with well timed and moderate rain. Frankly, this is unheard of in my years of farming here. Yet, even as I write this we have a flood warning for overnight tonight-- so it's not that I'm making any prognostication about our future. I'm just appreciating a stretch that has helped us get a ton done with a minimum of issues. With all that said, we had a little bad luck with some early spinach that caught a collective case of the blahs (the more technical name: downey mildew). However, we've had some great carrot and corn seedings and the tomatoes to come are looking amazing! Everything out in the field looks great.
This week your share will include:
Lettuce, Scallions, Bok Choy, Greens, Kohlrabi, Summer Squash & Zucchini (see recipe below), Garlic Scapes
other "maybes": beets & broccoli
U-Pick: peas are looking good, strawberries are fading, basil is looking strong, flowers are coming on
Happy Fourth of July! Enjoy, D, E, & e
Summer Squash with Thyme & Toasted Pine Nuts
2 lb. small summer squash
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
2 to 3 tablespoons mild-buttery extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
Cut the squash from stem end to blossom end into slices about 1/4 inch thick rounds. Fit a steamer basket in a pan, add water up to the basket level, and bring the water to a boil over high. Add the squash, season generously with salt and pepper, and cover the pan. Reduce the heat to low and steam until tender, 5 to 6 min. Transfer to a serving bowl or platter and sprinkle with the thyme. Cover to keep warm. Just before serving, drizzle with the olive oil and gently lift the slices of squash so the oil gets distributed. Sprinkle with the pine nuts and serve immediately. Serves eight.
Grilled Summer Squash- A great idea for your next backyard barbecue.
2 medium summer squash
olive oil, salt
Dill or lemon pepper
Slice squash lengthwise (into long strips). Brush each side of squash strips with olive oil and then salt.
Place slices directly onto warmed grill. Remove from grill when squash is tender but still firm. Place squash in serving dish and sprinkle with dill and/or lemon pepper. Grilled summer squash are also good sprinkled with lemon juice, fresh basil, and red pepper flakes.
Happy Summer Friends and Members,
It's been another busy week here on the farm. On Wednesday, we met with the NOFA inspector to become a certified Organic farm. As expected, everything went smoothly and we can now use the word "organic" to describe ourselves. It's not that we're doing anything differently than we have for years. We've been growing things the same way for many years: using compost, natural soil amendments, cover cropping and not using any pesticides or herbicides. But one cannot use the word "organic" unless one goes through the certification process and makes it official/legal. The word "organic" is protected to give consumers (you!) confidence that the produce you buy is grown using particular methods. For the past several years we were comfortable just doing things the way we do them and not needing to pay someone to use a word. However, as we've grown and have welcomed many new faces into our farm community, we find ourselves wanting to make it a little easier to just tell you, "Yes, we're certified organic." So, now we are.
This weeks's share may include:
Lettuce: an all-season staple for us (and you!)
Greens: Chard, Kale, Mustard, Collards (all staples)
Boc Choy: just starting to harvest the second planting
Scallions: fresh scallions (those other ones had to endure a winter). These are the most tender and fresh you can find
Garlic scapes: a delicious flavor
Kohlrabi: one of the more interesting things we'll send your way. See Recipe below for ideas
And all the wild cards: you also might find beets, broccoli, squash & zucchini, radishes
U-PICK notes: organic Strawberries! It's strawberry season and here they come. Strawberry season here is fast and furious, so get them while they last. You may come to the farm Monday-Friday 9am-5pm and pick your berries. Amount to pick is posted in the pick-up stand. They need to be picked regularly. Please pick all the ripe berries you find and remove any rotten/over-ripe berries as well. This will help us keep things healthy.
Other U-Pick notes: Basil, keep picking those tops. Daisies, still going strong. Peas: coming on strong. Looks like they'll be ready this week.
See you soon, D, E, & e
RECIPES for Kohlrabi
Last week we received the following from one of our members:
"I’ve just sliced my kohlrabi, rather on the thin side, and placed a mix of butter and olive oil in the bottom of my Le Crueset [pot], top on, on low. However many minutes later, it is the most tender, nutty, sweet and delicious flavor known to humankind. Advice: Get to know your veggies in the most simple manner possible before you mess with sauces or spices. It is one of the joys of fresh produce that we get to taste the essence of the earth in the clean preparation. Later, kohlrabi is delicious braised in chicken broth, but for now… sweet and simple!"
Here is another idea...
Scalloped Kohlrabi 175 g (6 oz) onion, skinned and thinly sliced
3 Tbsp (40 g) butter
2 lb (900 g) kohlrabi
7 fl oz (200 ml) milk
salt and freshly ground pepper
chopped fresh parsley to garnish
Method 1. Soften the onion in 25 g (1 oz) butter in a covered pan.
2. Thickly peel the kohlrabi to remove all the woody outer layer. Slice thinly and layer with the onions and seasoning in a 1.7 litre (3 pint) lightly buttered shallow ovenproof dish, topping with a neat layer of kohlrabi.
3. Pour over the milk and dot with remaining butter. Place on a baking tray and cook in the oven at 200°C (400f) mark 6 for about 1 1/2 hours, until tender.
4. Garnish with chopped parsley for serving. serves 6