Well, I am off to Italy for a few days to attend Terra Madre, a sustainable food conference in Torino. It is very exciting, although I am unsure what to expect! There will be farmers and food producers from all over the globe, which is kind of a mind-blowing concept to me right now. So, I am going with an open mind with the intent of sharing and learning as much as possible. I am almost sad to be leaving as we are in the midst of harvest time bringing in beets, potatoes, and carrots, but I am happy to know that there are many hands keeping the farm chugging along - I am sure they won't skip a beet without me:) Ciao for now!
a happy beet harvest: Becky, Eric, Bridget, Jean & Josh
I found my camera the other day! On it I found some lovely pictures from the field this summer...perfect warm sunny shots for a blustery October day. Here is the winter squash field, a shot from within "Thunder", one of the tomato tunnels, and the bean field. The winter squash is sweetening up in the basement, the tunnels are just about ready to be rolled onto greens from the winter. And we should have some great dried beans as well for the winter market.
OK, so it isn't red either. But the verdict is: definitely not green. Lets hope they keep it up. Plus here is a little 'test dig' on our dark red norlands. Pretty and pink, but not big enough yet. We are hoping for the weekend, but time will tell.
With farmers’ markets and farm stands open throughout northern New England, it is fun to see what new varieties of vegetables appear and to find ways of preparing them. This week’s recipe, though, brings us familiar flavors from unusual sources.
Pea tendrils, the tender tips of pea plants often including blossoms, taste similar to peas, both raw and cooked. Commonly used in Asian cooking, they have found their way into some restaurants but still cause comments when presented. They make great additions to salads and can be quickly sautéed for a fresh taste of spring to add to any meal where peas are appropriate. When buying them, look for bright green color, avoiding those with browned leaves or tips. Stems should be soft to the touch.
Garlic scapes are the seed pods of garlic plants. In New England, most garlic grown is hard neck garlic from the cold climates of northern Europe. The bulbs are harvested in August, but in July stems rise from the center of the leaves, each bearing a pod of seeds, with the stem continuing beyond the pod and tapering to a point. Some make a graceful loop and bob in the wind like a graceful bird, while others make double coils, resulting in rows of interesting geometric designs. When they first emerge, they are tender and the entire stem can be eaten. As they mature, the lower ends become woody, and only the tender ends are used. They taste of garlic, but are milder than the cloves. Garlic scapes can be chopped and added to salads, added to soups and used wherever garlic cloves are used. I like to sauté them to use as a side dish or to mix with potatoes or other vegetables. As is often the case with vegetables which appear at the same time, the mild garlic flavor of these scapes blends perfectly with the sweet “green” taste of fresh pea tendrils.
The most difficult part of this recipe may very well be finding both of these together, but either will be a fresh new taste alone. We’ve been enjoying the pea tendrils alone for over a month, well before the scapes emerged.
8 cups of pea tendrils, washed and roughly chopped
1 ½ - 2 cups tender ends of garlic scapes, excluding the seed pod, cut into 1/8 inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil
Kosher or sea salt to taste and freshly ground pepper
Heat a heavy sauté pan over medium – high heat. Add oil or butter (or a mixture of the two), add scapes and sprinkle lightly with salt. Cook, stirring, until scapes are bright green and slightly softened. Add chopped tendrils and cook until they are just wilted. Add further salt and ground pepper to taste.
This quick sauté will add to any meal, so check out your local farmers’ market or farm stand and give these great crops a try.
Welcome Spring! We are seeing bits of color from the crocuses and a few precocious daffodils on our street, but for the most part, we are waiting for the pop! It's truly mud season, and busy season at that! Here's a photo of a friend helping us put up the door to "West Side" one of our new greenhouses. (Note the trademark "W.") And one of Jean putting in the top purlins on a cool but sunny day last month. We are excited and a bit anxious for the season to begin. Putting in this kind of infrastructure is definitely one of our biggest leaps so far in terms of farming, and we are grateful for our Community Supported Agriculture members who have signed on (and hope to get a few more...see our website for details!) Having that support really makes a difference in how we move forward as a farm. This time next year, we hope to be bringing greens in addition to what we already have in root vegetables. Which, by the way, MARKET TOMORROW in Rollinsford!!!! We will be there...and the next one. This will be our second year strong of having food in all twelve months. So bring your tote bags, the 'taters onions and shallots will make it well worth the trip! Oh, and yes, it is egg season. Everyone here on the farm loves eggs. Everyone.
I was downstairs cleaning up red onions yesterday. As each of these little gems passed through my hands, I couldn't stop marveling at how gorgeously they caught the light. Then I started to think about how some of them were almost heart shaped, and what a sweet thing for someone's sweetheart! Just as is or perhaps sliced thinly with local greens, and maybe some orange wedges.
We'll have those red onions in abundance this Saturday at the Farmers' Market in Exeter! We'll also have the yellow onions, red potatoes, yellow skinned potatoes, and turnips. This could be the winter carrots' swan song, so snatch them up while you can.
So this year we are switching things up in the CSA department. We have been mulling this over since we began our CSA three years ago. How do we give members choice? If we were to join a community supported agriculture program what would we want? So we came up with a new model that would give our members free choice as to when and where they wanted to pick up as well as which vegetables they wanted in their weeks' share. Having pickups happen at farmers' markets not only gives members choice as to what they want from our offerings, it enables them easy access to other producers who supply products we don't have, be it pork or corn (which we don't raise) or something that we might not have in abundance that particular week. Although abundance is the buzzword for this year. We are currently building multiple hoophouses (see above) which should translate into MORE awesome and consistent tomatoes and greens and earlier than ever before. It is exciting. Here's a picture of last week's full moon over a future field of potatoes.