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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving

In the words of my beloved 7 year old nephew, "I'm S-T-U-F-F-T!!" That about sums up my Thanksgiving experience, I'm full to the brim of delicious food. We spent a few days with my parents eating, visiting and doing some odd jobs...but mostly eating! Wednesday night we had oven potatoes with a cream sauce, ham and baked beans. Thursday was the traditional turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, relish tray, bread, pumpkin and cherry pies. My mom makes stuffing, not dressing, STUFFING! Be gone with you food safety experts! The stuffing, containing raw eggs, gets stuffed into that turkey and roasted to a "fair thee well". And it's loaded with onions, too. It's tradition around here. One year I dared to make "dressing" in a pan next to the turkey ...SCANDAL!!! Nope, it's not a real turkey unless that baby is stuffed.

Friday we had Fleishkuchle day. If you are not of German-Russian ancestry, this might throw you for a loop. It literally means "meat dough". You take browned hamburger and onions and wrap it in a soft dough and then deep fry it until golden crispy brown. OH MY GOODNESS! I haven't had them in two years, because it just isn't a meal you can make for two people. It was just as good, or even better, than I remembered it! One thing you can say about us German-Russians...we sure love our doughs, boiled, fried, baked, smothered in cream...it's all good!

Happy Eating to Everyone! May you enjoy wonderful food and even better company!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

How do you solve a problem like tomatoes?

My tomatoes didn't begin to ripen until September 15th, almost a month behind schedule. We were into October and I still was waiting for the majority of my tomato crop to approach ripe. Then frost warnings were issued and I knew I had to take action! So the dear husband joined me in a tomato picking frenzy. We picked only the paste tomatos. Good-bye Brandywines!! (sniff, sniff) We had 18, count 'em 18, flats of green tomatoes packed at least 2 deep. I set up shop in the garage, right in there with all the engine parts, and let nature take its course.




Then once a week, I go through each flat gathering the ripened tomatoes.



What does one do with all these tomatoes? Well, for starters there is a wonderful bruschetta...



Annie's Best Bruschetta
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cups diced fresh tomatoes
1 bunch (or 4 packed TBSP) chopped fresh basil
10 cloves minced garlic - yes, it's a lot of garlic so you can cut back if you need to
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Toss gently and refrigerate at least 1 hour for flavors to blend. Serve on piping hot, fresh from the broiler, sliced French bread. Taste, and then weep as the flavor explodes in your mouth.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My Local Foods Support Group

A couple of weeks ago I attended a Local Foods Initiative meeting. On the drive, I wasn't sure who (if anyone) I would know or what exactly we would be doing. WOW! It was a great day! I came away inspired to grow more food. I couldn't wait to get back home and get some more ground ready to go for next spring. Which is just how a gardener should feel at the end of the season, rather than "Thank goodness that's over!" The seed catalogs start arriving in December, the perfect time to pour over them with a hot cider or chocolate, some Christmas goodies and a pen! I can honestly say that it is more exciting than when the Sears Toy Book came in the mail to old RR1 Box 42.

It was wonderful to be sitting next to people who have the same passion for food that I do. To hear what they are doing, how they are doing it, and how it is working for them. These weren't 10,000 acre farmers. They were simple people like my husband and I, with a small acreage, trying to make it profitable, sustainable, and an asset to the community. There is already another meeting scheduled for January...I can't wait!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bugs Bunny would be proud...



Check out these beautiful carrots! There was a time in June that I didn't think there would be ANY carrots, much less carrots this nice. My first crop of carrots did not come up, nothing, not a one! So I went to many farm/garden/nursery stores and NO ONE had carrot seed. It seems carrots not coming up was a systemic problem, one not isolated to just our farm. My husband was telling my tale-of-carrot-woe at work and one of his colleagues offered him some of his last year's seed. We took it and gave thanks! I planted those tiny seeds in July and joked with John that we would have carrots for Thanksgiving. It turns out Halloween would have been more accurate, but here they are! I waited until we had a hard freeze (it was 20 degrees two nights ago) so they would keep for a long time. The frost hardens the skin and increases their storage-ability. What will we do with all these carrots? I cook some up in the slow cooker for babyfood, Jana loves carrots. And I'll can some to add to soups, stews and hotdishes. And we'll eat the rest fresh and stored for most of the winter.

This past weekend my parents were here to visit. We had one of my favorite meals: hamburger and sauerkraut over mashed potatoes and green beans. John and I looked at the table filled with food and realized that all the food on that table we had grown or processed ourselves! It was really amazing to have such a feeling of comfort in knowing exactly where all of the food came from, what was not sprayed on it, how long it had sat on a shelf, etc. I encourage all of you to strive to eat locally next summer. Spend this winter talking to people about food and investigate places where you can get (or even raise) your own food.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My (latest) Favorite Invention

Pretty much in every area of my life I have a mentor. Not the same person, mind you. My parenting mentor is not the same person as my piano playing mentor, etc. My gardening mentor, Cindy, has taught me 95% of what I know about growing things, especially flowers. And the 5% she didn't teach me, she told me where to read about it or the book to read it in. So when Cindy tells me about a gadget, tool, or plant...I pretty much listen to her!

I stopped by her place when I was back to the homeplace for a visit. She was gracious enough to give me some canning jars and A LOT of beautiful apples from her trees. We're talking gallons of them! She asked if I had an apple peeler, I did not. She recommended I get one for all these apples. But in my usual stubborn, first-born, "I can do anything" attitude, I didn't get one. And I proceeded to peel 3 gallons of apples (out of 13) with my little paring knife. That was enough of that stupidity to drive me to get the "Apple Master" at my local farm store.

And in just 5 seconds and a little twist of the wrist, I can have a peeled, cored and sliced apple!!! Why have I been so slow to get on this train?? So to quote Woody in Toy Story 2, "If you don't have, get one!"

A Giant THANK YOU!

To each and every one of you who bought produce, stopped by to talk about gardening, or just asked "How's it growing?"...I need to say "THANK YOU!!" Last spring when I was poring over seed catalogs deciding what, how much, and where to order, John was a little worried. I was heavily pregnant with our first child and he didn't see how I was going to get all of that seed into the ground, much less weeded or even harvested. But God has truly blessed us this past summer. First, with a beautiful baby daughter. Second, with a wonderful growing season, rains and sunshine just when we needed them. Third, with a great market in Gackle for our produce and great customers in Jamestown. We had a FANTASTIC year! It was even better than I had hoped for. So, thank you, it was our honor and priviledge to grow your food!

Monday, October 6, 2008

This is the end!

ahhh, the crisp, fresh air of fall. I love it! The garden is wrapping up and the moisture we got last night will go a long way to helping start the new plants next spring...I can't believe I'm thinking about next spring already! We have had a wonderful year this year and I want to thank each and every one of you for participating in our little farm. This was our first year and we truly didn't know what to expect. God has richly blessed us with a bountiful harvest and friends who want to eat it!

This week there is nothing new to offer, but the flavors are still great! The pumpkins, potatoes and squash will keep for many months so you can enjoy them through the winter. The watermelon and cantaloupe were very popular at the farmers market on Saturday. I sold out of watermelon and only had 3 cantaloupe left (out of 14 that I brought)!

CROP - QUANTITY - PRICE
Watermelon & Cantaloupe - 50 cents per pound
Lima Beans - $2.00 per bag
Corn Stalks - $5.00
Winter Squash - $3.00
Pumpkins
Large - $7.00
Small - $4.00
Tomatoes - $2.00 per pound
Cherry Tomatoes - $2.00 per sandwich bag
Peppers - 2 for $1.00 (please specify type)
Potatoes - $1.00 per pound
Garlic - 2 plants - $1.00
Onion - 2 plants - $1.00

Monday, September 29, 2008

Relive the Taste of Summer!

I told you it would be a race against the frost for the watermelon and cantaloupe and they made it!!! Boy, are they delicious and so juicy! I'm selling them by the pound. The watermelon are running between 5 and 14 pounds and the cantaloupe are between 3 and 7 pounds. I can't pick a specific weight for you, so please indicate whether you would like a "small" or "large" and I'll pick it fresh off the vine for you and weigh it before delivery.



October 9th will be the last day for delivery, so stock up now on storage items like potatoes, squash, and onions and on the fall decoration items like pumpkins and cornstalks.

CROP - QUANTITY - PRICE
Watermelon & Cantaloupe - 50 cents per pound
Lima Beans - $2.00 per bag
Corn Stalks - $5.00
Winter Squash - $3.00
Pumpkins
Large - $7.00
Small - $4.00
Tomatoes - $2.00 per pound
Cherry Tomatoes - $2.00 per sandwich bag
Peppers - 2 for $1.00 (please specify type)
Mesclun Salad Mix - $3.00 per bag
Swiss Chard - $3.00 per bag
Potatoes - $1.00 per pound
Baby Romaine Lettuce - 1 gal bag - $3.00
Garlic - 2 plants - $1.00
Onion - 2 plants - $1.00
Shallot - 1 plant - $1.00

Monday, September 22, 2008

Limas...They are tasty!

We had a great week at farmers market this week, pumpkins were the hot seller! Get yours now! Both sizes were popular with adults and children alike.

This week we have lima beans! You may be cringing, remembering the slimy beans that slithered unto your plate in the school cafeteria. But these are much different. There are lots of ways to cook lima beans. I like to can them and then add them to baked beans, casseroles and soups. But you can eat them just boiled with butter, salt and pepper. The beans will come in the shell in a gallon size bag. Have your kids help you shell them, they might be more excited about eating something they helped with!

I'm also offering cornstalks for decoration. They are a large bundle of stalks tied with twine and can be used in many, many ways to decorate your yard for fall. Just think, some cornstalks and a couple pumpkins..."HELLO FALL!"

In addition, we have a special on potatoes...just a dollar a pound! The red Pontiacs are great for boiling, scalloped, mashed, etc. The white Kennebecs are a great baking potato, but also make very fluffy mashed potatoes. Please specify color when ordering.

Please email your order by 6pm on Wednesday for delivery on Thursday, September 25th.

Thank you, everyone, I really appreciate your business!

CROP - QUANTITY - PRICE
Lima Beans - $2.00 per bag
Corn Stalks - $5.00
Winter Squash - $3.00
Pumpkins
Large - $7.00
Small - $4.00
Tomatoes - $2.00 per pound
Basil - $1.00 per bunch
Cherry Tomatoes - $2.00 per sandwich bag
Peppers - 2 for $1.00 (please specify type)
Mesclun Salad Mix - $3.00 per bag
Swiss Chard - $3.00 per bag
Potatoes - $1.00 per pound
Baby Romaine Lettuce - 1 gal bag - $3.00
Garlic - 2 plants - $1.00
Onion - 2 plants - $1.00
Shallot - 1 plant - $1.00

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tomatoes! Finally, Tomatoes!!

Even though fall is coming upon us, we still have lots of delicious produce to share with you! The new items this week are:

Winter Squash
This is the popular variety, Buttercup. It is sweet and smooth when cooked. You can cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and then bake them face up in a pan. Or cut the squash into sections, peel the rind off and cut the flesh into pieces and either bake or boil. These squash will store wonderfully in a cool, but not cold, place...like a garage or your back steps.


Pumpkins
I have two varieties of pumpkin. The first one is variety specifically bred for cooking and baking. "Small Sugar" is a sweet, flavorful pumpkin that cooks up wonderfully for pies, cookies, bars...even baby food! Of course, you can use them for decoration or carving, but they are delicious to eat!


The second pumpkin is a larger one. "Connecticut Field" is a large combination pumpkin. It is wonderful to carve (large face), good eating and has a larger cavity for more seeds. Either variety will give you delicious pumpkin taste you just can't get from a can. Cooking a pumpkin is the same as a winter squash and these pumpkins will also keep for quite a while in a cool place.


Sweet Potatoes
I had never grown sweet potatoes before, so I wasn't sure what to expect from my plants. I must admit, I've never been much of a sweet potato fan. I would eat them out of courtesy to the cook who prepared them, but let's just say they weren't the first thing I reached for at Thanksgiving! I don't have a picture of my sweet potatoes because I ate all the ones I dug to check on them!! They were fantastic! I simply peeled them, cut into pieces, boiled until soft, added some butter and brown sugar and mashed them with a fork. I almost cried, they were that good.

Tomatoes
What a relief to finally have tomatoes! I have three varieties:
Celebrity - a popular, all-purpose, medium-sized tomato that is great in sandwiches, as sauce or paste.
Brandywine - the standard in heirloom tomatoes, you haven't had a BLT until your "T" has been a Brandywine. These are large, very juicy tomatoes.
Amish Paste - a wonderful, meaty paste tomato. Amish are very similar to the Roma tomato, but I think they have better flavor. If you want a "knock-your-socks-off" spaghetti sauce, these are the tomatoes for you!
Please indicate which variety you would like in your order. I also have fresh basil to season your tomatoes!


CROP - QUANTITY - PRICE
Winter Squash - $3.00
Pumpkins
Large - $7.00
Small - $4.00
Sweet Potatoes - $3.00 per pound
Tomatoes - $2.00 per pound
Basil - $1.00 per bunch
Sweet Corn - 3 ears for $1.00
Cherry Tomatoes - $2.00 per sandwich bag
Peppers - 2 for $1.00 (please specify type)
Mesclun Salad Mix - $3.00 per bag
Swiss Chard - $3.00 per bag
Summer Squash - 4 for $1.00
New Potatoes - $2.00 per pound
Baby Romaine Lettuce - 1 gal bag - $3.00
Garlic - 2 plants - $1.00
Onion - 2 plants - $1.00
Shallot - 1 plant - $1.00

Please email your orders by 6pm on Wednesday for delivery on Thursday.
Thank you!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

More Sweet Corn!

It's a beautiful day on the farm today! A bit brisk, shall we say, but still beautiful. This week we have lots of great vegetables! Nothing new to add to the mix, but in the future we will have tomatoes (probably next week), buttercup squash, pumpkins, maybe even watermelon and cantaloupe (they will be a race against the frost)! This will be the last week for beets, I will be pickling them soon! In my opinion, beets are best when pickled. I've included my grandma's pickled beet recipe this week. If you would like to can/freeze a larger quantity, I will sell them for $1 per pound. Delivery will be Thursday, September 11th.

PICKLED BEETS - Lydia White
Cut off stems, leaving about 2 inches. Leave roots intact. Wash and put in large kettle, fill with water until beets are covered. Cook until soft. Save juice and strain. Measure the following:
8 cups of beet juice
4 cups of sugar
4 cups of vinegar
Then add:
2 TBSP canning salt
3/4 tsp pepper
Peel and cut beets. But into beet juice. Get to a roiling boil but be careful not to burn (it's easy to burn it with the sugar). Ladle into hot pint jars. Add ring and lid. Tighten. Boil in hot water bath for 20 minutes.

I like to serve them as a relish with pickles. Yummy!!! If you need any help canning, just let me know...I'd love to help!

CROP - QUANTITY - PRICE
Sweet Corn 3 ears for $1.00
Cherry Tomatoes - $2.00 per sandwich bag
Peppers - 2 for $1.00 (please specify type)
Cabbage - $2.00 per head
Mesclun Salad Mix - $3.00 per bag
Swiss Chard - $3.00 per bag
Beets - $2.00 per bunch (6 beets in a bunch)
Zucchini - 4 for $1.00
Summer Squash - 4 for $1.00
New Potatoes - $2.00 per pound
Baby Romaine Lettuce - 1 gal bag - $3.00
Garlic - 2 plants - $1.00
Onion - 2 plants - $1.00
Shallot - 1 plant - $1.00

Please email your orders by 6pm on Wednesday for delivery on Thursday.
Thank you!!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Hello, Sweet Corn!

We had a wonderful week of sharing produce! I practically sold out at the farmers market on Saturday. If you want a great farmers market atmosphere and lots of other things, like crafts and baked goods, come down to Gackle from 3-5pm on Satursdays. The market is held in the park and there are signs posted to get you there. It's a great time and a lot of people come early and stay late. This week delivery will be on Thursday, September 4th.



There was a happy dance in the Lake Garden when I knew the sweet corn was ready!!! My early variety is ready now and the late variety will be ready by the weekend. I have a lot of corn and it is delicious!!! Some friends of ours stopped to buy what they were told was sweet corn from a guy with a pickup full of it. They got it home, cooked it and sat down to enjoy it and discovered it was just field corn. What's the difference? Sweet corn is just that, SWEET and tender. You cannot tell the difference by looking at the cobs. I guarantee you are getting sweet corn!!!

Here are some tips when cooking sweet corn:
Do not add salt because it will toughen the corn. (Adding sugar, however, will enhance the sweetness.)
Cook the corn just long enough to tenderize it — a matter of minutes.
One method is to add husked ears to a pot of boiling water, cover it, and let the water return to a boil. Turn off the heat and let stand for five minutes. (You can leave it in the water for up to ten minutes.)

CROP - QUANTITY - PRICE
Sweet Corn 3 ears for $1.00
Cherry Tomatoes - $2.00 per sandwich bag
Peppers - 2 for $1.00 (please specify type)
Broccoli - $2.00 per head
Cabbage - $2.00 per head
Mesclun Salad Mix - $3.00 per bag
Swiss Chard - $3.00 per bag
Beets - $2.00 per bunch (6 beets in a bunch)
Zucchini - 4 for $1.00
Summer Squash - 4 for $1.00
New Potatoes - $2.00 per pound
Baby Romaine Lettuce - 1 gal bag - $3.00
Garlic - 2 plants - $1.00
Onion - 2 plants - $1.00
Shallot - 1 plant - $1.00

Please email your orders by 6pm on Wednesday for delivery on Thursday.
Thank you!!

Frequently Asked Questions

Throughout the summer, I've been asked a number of questions about our farm. So I thought I would add them (and the answers) to the blog, so you could all learn more about us!

Question #1 - What is the first thing you grew?
Answer: That would be our daughter, Jana! She has the claim to fame of being the very first thing we ever grew on Morning Joy Farm.




Question #2 - Do you raise traditional crops or just vegetables?
Answer: Yes, we raise some traditional crops as well as those delicious vegetables. This year we have seeded our cropland to food-grade yellow flax. The plan is to sell it to be used for foods like breads. This is a picture of our flax at the end of the bloom season. Our dog Duke, always our faithful companion, loves to run through the flax and scare up a pheasant or two!




Question #3 - What was your best garden idea this year?
Answer: I salvaged an enamel basin from a junkpile and planted it with impatients and set it in the shaded walkway to the south garden. I've never had good luck with impatients before, but these took off and are the best container plants I have. I swore off hanging baskets three years ago because I can't keep them watered. And now I'm almost swearing off containers of flowers, I'd much rather have them in the ground and flourish, than in a pot and struggle. We'll see, usually when I'm walking through the greenhouse, I can talk myself into planting a few pots.




Question #4 - How many gardens do you have? What is planted in each one?
Answer: This year I have three gardens. John stepped them off and I have about 2 acres in production. There will be more next year. This is what we call the "Strawberry Garden". In this plot are the peas, herbs (cilantro, basil, parsley, dill), garlic, onions, flowers (zinnias, cosmos, sunflowers) and of course, strawberries.




This is the western half of what we call the "Big Garden". In this garden we have lettuce, beets, carrots, spinach, beans, swiss chard, broccoli, brussels sprouts, peppers, tomatoes, and cabbage.



This is the eastern half of the Big Garden. In the background (on the left) you can see the tops of the corn located in the "Lake Garden". Down by the lake we have all the stuff that takes a lot of room such as pumpkins, cucumbers, squash, watermelons, cantaloupe, sweet corn and potatoes. Next year, there will be a cutting flower garden in production and I will start landscaping our yard with perennial flowers.



Question #5 - What do you do with all the produce?
Answer: I sell a lot of it through the deliveries and the Gackle Farmers Market. John and I eat whatever we can fresh but whatever is left over I preserve for us to eat all winter. I pressure can a lot of the vegetables. I also make baby food for Jana in the future months and freeze them. This is a picture of shredded cabbage fermenting on its way to becoming sauerkraut. YUMMY!!


This is a pint of strawberry/rhubarb jam that I made from strawberries and rhubarb that I had frozen from last year. Notice the dark red color, that's from using berries raised for taste, not for shelf-life in the grocery store. Delicious strawberry flavor just explodes in your mouth!



Question #6 - What is your favorite place on the farm?
Answer: As much as I love the view of the lake, I'd have to say that relaxing in my hammock is the best place on the farm. The hammock was my wedding present from my husband. At first, I must admit, I wasn't all that thrilled with a hammock as a wedding gift. But now, it's our favorite place to relax. We love it so much we even got one for his best friend as their wedding present!



Question #7 - Do you have any fruit for sale?
Answer: Over a year ago, our plan was to raise primarily strawberries, the good kind that are small and sweet, with vegetables as the secondary crop. But we had a severe winterkill this past winter and lost about 90% of the plants. So we switched gears and increased our vegetable production and are taking very tender care of the remaining strawberries. The good news is that the plants are running (making daughter plants) and should fill the row next year. With the setback, we are hoping to have strawberries for sale on a regular basis in two years.




Question #8 - What are your plans for next year?
Answer: We have a lot of plans for 2009, including a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program which works as a vegetable subscription service. Each member pays a flat fee and receives a box of delicious produce each week delivered to their door. There will be more information on that to come later in the fall. We also plan to add more flowers as I mentioned above. And we want to add a row of rhubarb plants and two rows of blueberry bushes to the area you see here. We will prepare the beds this fall and next spring add the plants. They should be in production in 2010. I can taste the fresh blueberry pie already!

If you have any other questions, you can post them as a comment or email them to me and I'll answer them right away!
Thanks everyone!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Tomatoes Have Arrived!

We had a very productive week with both farmers market and deliveries, thank you everyone! Delivery for this week will be on Thursday, the 28th. Here's what we have fresh!


Beautiful SunSugar cherry tomatoes! They are very sweet and "POP" in your mouth. They make a wonderful addition to salads or a great snack on their own.


After a brief one week absence, I have more peas! The fall planting came on quicker than I anticipated and they are looking good (and testing great as well)!


We have peppers! Lots of peppers! I have the traditional green bell, yellow bell, sweet banana, and a green banana. The banana peppers are excellent on the grill! If you want a little heat, the green banana peppers have just a little kick to them...nothing you will need the fire department for!

CROP - QUANTITY - PRICE
Cherry Tomatoes - $2.00 per sandwich bag
Peas - $2.00 per bag
Peppers - 2 for $1.00 (please specify type)
Broccoli - $2.00 per head
Cabbage - $2.00 per head
Mesclun Salad Mix - $3.00 per bag
Beans - $2.00 per bag (please specify yellow or green)
Swiss Chard - $3.00 per bag
Slicer Cucumbers - 2 for $1.00
Pickling Cucumbers - $2.00 per pound
Beets - $2.00 per bunch (6 beets in a bunch)
Zucchini - 4 for $1.00
Summer Squash - 4 for $1.00
New Potatoes - $2.00 per pound
Baby Romaine Lettuce - 1 gal bag - $3.00
Garlic - 2 plants - $1.00
Onion - 2 plants - $1.00
Shallot - 1 plant - $1.00

This is the last week for beans and cucumbers! What can I bring you this week? Please email your orders by 6pm on Wednesday for delivery on Thursday, August 28th. Thanks!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

It's a Beautiful Day on the Farm

The sun is shining and carbon dioxide is being consumed at a rapid pace! There is a lot of stuff ripening in the garden...
Here are my recommendations for this week:

BEANS - They are so easy to freeze and enjoy the garden-fresh taste all year long. Simply blanch in boiling water for 1 minute, plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain and place in freezer bags. In an hour or two, you couly have enough to last for months!

CUCUMBERS - I love pickles and my mom has an easy recipe for jarred pickles that doesn't require canning or fridge space. For a special this week, I'll throw in the garlic and dill for free with your order of pickling cucumbers! See the recipe at the end...

ZUCCHINI/SUMMER SQUASH - I know I've said it before, but these guys are my favorite and I have a new reason! Yesterday I (and Jana) attended a family picnic and I needed to bring a dessert. So I tried a recipe for a Zucchini Dessert. I had everyone thinking it was an apple streusel bar! They didn't believe me that it was the lowly zucchini. They are fabulous and so easy to make.

POTATOES - The potatoes are getting large now, some bigger than my fist! Rough chop them with the skins on, boil, and mash...light, fluffy mashed potatoes! Or slice them about 1/4 inch thick place on foil, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle a little seasoning salt. Fold up foil and grill with your favorite meat...delicious!

CROP - QUANTITY - PRICE
Broccoli - $2.00 per head
Cabbage - $2.00 per head
Mesclun Salad Mix - $3.00 per bag
Beans - $2.00 per bag (please specify yellow or green)
Swiss Chard - $3.00 per bag
Slicer Cucumbers - 2 for $1.00
Pickling Cucumbers - $2.00 per pound
Beets - $2.00 per bunch (6 beets in a bunch)
Zucchini - 4 for $1.00
Summer Squash - 4 for $1.00
New Potatoes - $2.00 per pound
Baby Romaine Lettuce - 1 gal bag - $3.00
Garlic - 2 plants - $1.00
Onion - 2 plants - $1.00
Shallot - 1 plant - $1.00

What can I bring you this week? Please email your orders by 6pm on Wednesday for delivery on Thursday, August 21st. Thanks!!

Mom's Famous Pickles
Wash cucumbers and remove spines. Use clean canning jars, rings and new lids. Put some dill in the bottom of the jar. Pack cucumbers into jar. Add the following:
1 tsp pickling spice
1 bay leaf
1 pinch red pepper
1 1/2 tsp canning salt
1 clove garlic
Put some dill on top. Fill with cold tap water. Dry rim of jar. Put on the new lid and ring, make it tight! Shake the jar to distribute the spices. Let jars sit until the pickles start to turn color (from bright to dull green). Shake jars again and place in your fruit room/pantry/shelf etc. This recipe is for pints, for quarts simply double the spices and use more dill.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Attack of the Brassicas

A wonderful rain blessed the farm early this morning, so I pulled on my pink rubber boots and got out there to take some pictures! We had a fantastic week last week (a record-setter, to be honest), so a giant THANK YOU to all who participated either via delivery or farmers market! This week the line-up of fresh produce gets even bigger with the addition of the some brassicas (the genus of broccoli, cabbage, etc.) and mesclun mix lettuce. Delivery will be Thursday, August 14th. Take a look!


What a great head of broccoli! There was a time when I didn't know if my little broccoli plants were going to make it. But they have not only survived, but thrived! My husband is a huge fan of raw broccoli, me...not so much! But you can't beat a good broccoli casserole or broccoli cheese soup! A word of warning: I made a decision this year not to use any toxic chemicals on my produce thereby giving you the most natural food I could. With that, the cabbage loopers have been out and there may be some looper worms in your broccoli. Not to fear!! Simply soak your broccoli in salted water for 30 minutes then the worms will be dead and float out, then simply rinse them away. It was a tough decision, but I feel better about providing you the safest, healthiest food rather than the "prettiest" food that you would get in the grocery store.



I love Mesclun Salad mix!! I always plant it for a fall crop because just when you've had your fill of lettuce, here comes this wonderful leafy green. This is the same salad mix that the "high-end" restaurants serve, but you can eat it in your pajamas...I won't tell!


I've had a lot of requests for tomatoes. Trust me, as soon as they are ripe you will know it! The rain will be a huge help to them, but what they need is some heat and warm nights. Tomatoes don't ripen too fast when it's 55 degrees at night. Just look at all those tomatoes in that one small area...and I have 34 plants! So we just have to be patient, but I wanted to show you that they are out there!


Ahhh, the trusty cabbage. I've found that people either love or hate cabbage. I love it, in any form, but particularly as sauerkraut! I'm a good German girl and love my fermented cabbage. These cabbages make excellent coleslaw, pigs in the blanket and a wonderful addition to soups or stir-fries. But, as with the broccoli, I have to give a word of warning: I made a decision this year not to use any toxic chemicals on my produce thereby giving you the most natural food I could. With that, the cabbage loopers have been out and there may be some looper worms in your cabbage. Not to fear!! Simply soak your cabbage (cut or shred it first) in salted water for 30 minutes then the worms will be dead and float out, then simply rinse them away. It was a tough decision, but I feel better about providing you the safest, healthiest food rather than the "prettiest" food that you would get in the grocery store.

CROP - QUANTITY - PRICE
Broccoli - $2.00 per head
Cabbage - $2.00 per head
Mesclun Salad Mix - $3.00 per bag
Beans - $2.00 per bag (please specify yellow or green)
Swiss Chard - $3.00 per bag
Slicer Cucumbers - 2 for $1.00
Pickling Cucumbers - $2.00 per pound
Beets - $2.00 per bunch (6 beets in a bunch)
Zucchini - 4 for $1.00
Summer Squash - 4 for $1.00
New Potatoes - $2.00 per pound
Peas (unshelled) - $2.00 per bag
Romaine Lettuce - 1 gal bag - $3.00
Garlic - 2 plants - $1.00
Onion - 2 plants - $1.00
Shallot - 1 plant - $1.00

This will be the last week for peas...for now. I have planted a fall crop and they should be ready within the next 2-3 weeks.

Please email your orders by Wednesday at 6pm. With the growing number of customers, I will fill orders on a first emailed, first served basis. I will let you know if I can't fill part of your order and we will work something out. Thanks again everyone! I'm having so much fun sharing this great food with you!
---Annie

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Even more wonderful food!

What a great week both for deliveries and at the farmers market! Thanks to everyone who participated and especially to our new customers...WELCOME! This week has been busy on the farm, a number of crops are peaking and others are starting up. The peas are in high gear, there are lots out there and the plants are still blooming. The beets are coming along, the onions and garlic are starting to dry down (just the tops), and the beans have exploded. Here's what we have for this week (the list keeps getting longer!):


We have both green and yellow beans and they are delicious! I love beans, just boil them and add a little butter, salt and pepper. A meal in itself!!! There are lots of beans out there and more blooms coming. This is a great crop to freeze for some great garden taste in the dead of winter. It's easy to blanch them and toss them in a bag and into the freezer.


The leaf lettuce is done for now. I have a fall planting of mesclun mix that will be ready in a couple of weeks. However, I planned for this very situation and we have a wonderful crop of romaine lettuce that is just coming ripe. This lettuce is far better tasting than the romaine in the grocery store...notice the dark green color? That means more taste and nutrients!


This may be a new crop to some of you. May I introduce SWISS CHARD! It is a leafy green that can be eaten similar to spinach. It tastes great in a salad or can be cooked with a little olive oil and garlic (my favorite way to eat it!).


These yellow beauties are Summer Squash. Some people refer to them as "crook necks" but these are a straight neck variety. I love these little guys. I saute them with zucchini and some onions for a quick side dish, throw them in a salad, add them to lasagna or spaghetti...you name it, they will add color and flavor!


Ahhhh, what you've all been waiting for...the CUCUMBERS! I have both slicers and picklers. Dig out grandma's recipe for pickles and go to it! If you need a recipe, I've got quite a few that I'm more than happy to share. My mom's is spicy and I've been told "puts hair on your chest"! I think they're delicious and I'm sure you will too.

CROP - QUANTITY - PRICE
Beans - $2.00 per bag
Swiss Chard - $3.00 per bag
Slicer Cucumbers - 2 for $1.00
Pickling Cucumbers - $2.00 per pound
Beets - $2.00 per bunch (6 beets in a bunch)
Zucchini - 4 for $1.00
Summer Squash - 4 for $1.00
New Potatoes - $2.00 per pound
Peas (unshelled) - $2.00 per bag
Romaine Lettuce - 1 gal bag - $3.00
Garlic - 2 plants - $1.00
Onion - 2 plants - $1.00
Shallot - 1 plant - $1.00

Delivery will be Thursday, August 7th. Please email your orders by 6pm on Wednesday, with all this wonderful produce, I need time to pick it all! Thanks again, to all of you, I really love being able to share this great food and I'm having so much fun!!
---Annie


And just to get you excited for the weeks to come...the corn is tasseling, the tomatoes are green, the peppers are as big as my thumb, the cabbages are rounding out...oohhhh, this is so exciting!

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Rise of the Zucchini!

Hi Everyone! A big "THANK YOU" to all who participated last week. I hope you enjoyed all of the fresh food! This week we have even more to choose from for delivery on WEDNESDAY (my father is having surgery on Thursday):

The zucchini have arrived!! I think zucchini is my favorite garden vegetable. Don't get me wrong, I love them all, but if I have to pick just one...it's the zucchini! Saute it, roast it, grill it, mix it in bread, cookies, I've even heard of someone making zucchini jelly! My nephew is waiting for a "Goliath" one so he can make many loaves of zucchini bread. As soon as I get one of that size, I'm sending it to Iowa. I wonder how many zucchini have gone through the postal service?



The beets are coming on now, small to medium sized and oh, so tender! I have both red and yellow beets. A yellow beet? Yup, they are a little sweeter and milder tasting than the red beets. We had buttered beets last night and they were delicious. My favorite are pickled beets, yummy!

CROP - QUANTITY - PRICE
Beets - $2.00 per bunch (6 beets in a bunch)
Zucchini - 2 for $1.00
New Potatoes - $2.00 per pound
Peas (unshelled) - $2.00 per bag
Lettuce - 1 gal bag - $3.00
Garlic - 2 plants - $1.00
Onion - 2 plants - $1.00
Shallot - 1 plant - $1.00

This week delivery is on Wednesday due to me being out of town on Thursday. Please email your orders by Tuesday at 6pm. Thank you for interest in eating home-grown produce!

We've had a great response at the Gackle Farmer's Market which is held on Saturdays from 3-5pm. Here's my booth:

Monday, July 21, 2008

Introducing Potatoes and Peas!

Thank you for the wonderful response to our first week of delivery! It was a great feeling to provide families with fresh-from-the-garden produce!! I will be including a recipe sheet sharing some of my favorite ways to prepare the vegetables. This week (delivery on Thursday, July 24th) we have even more to choose from:


The new potatoes are the Red Pontiac variety and they are delicious! We ate some last night and licked the bowl clean. I have a couple of favorite ways to prepare them: boiled or roasted (I'll share the recipes, too.) Just a note that the potatoes will not be washed as the skins are so delicate. But it's that delicate flavor that just explodes in your mouth! Please wash off that clean garden dirt before you prepare them.




The peas are two varieties: Spring and Lincoln and they are "oh-so-good"! My chief pea-picker (aka my husband) wants to eat them all while in the garden. But I've managed to keep a lot of them for you. The peas will be packaged in 2 quart quantities and will be unshelled. Shelling peas is easy and a great way to get kids involved in food preparation. Simply snap the "hat" end of the pea pod, pull apart, and run your thumb along the inside and drop the peas in a bowl (if they don't jump into your mouth, first!). If I were to ever commit a capital offense that required the death penalty, for my last meal I would request creamed peas (along with BBQ lamb ribs, wild rice and chocolate cake). The creamed peas recipe will be in this weeks delivery.

CROP - QUANTITY - PRICE
New Potatoes - $2.00 per pound
Peas (unshelled) - $2.00 per bag
Spinach - 1 gal bag - $3.00
Lettuce - 1 gal bag - $3.00
Garlic - 2 plants - $1.00
Onion - 2 plants - $1.00
Shallot - 1 plant - $1.00

Please place your order via email for delivery on Thursday, July 24th. If you have any questions or comments please let me know. I look forward to hearing from all of you!! Thanks---Annie

Monday, July 14, 2008

Doesn't it look delicious?


Beet Greens will be included in the lettuce and spinach bags this week. They are young, tender beet plants and you can eat the entire plant just like spinach or lettuce. If you want to cook your spinach, the beet greens can also be cooked. Give them a try, they are delicious!


There are two varieties of green lettuce this week: Salad Bowl and Black Seeded Simpson. Each bag will contain both varieties. To me, they both taste wonderful. They have that delicate flavor that just says "SUMMER"!!


The radishes have a bit of a bite to them, (not like grocery store or salad bar radishes)...but that's why we eat radishes!!!


Ahhhh, spinach! I think it is my favorite early garden vegetable. So versatile and packed full of vitamins and minerals. I had my nieces, nephews and sister here for spinach salads last week and the KIDS commented on how good the spinach tasted!!

***Just a note, the leafy greens (beet greens, lettuce and spinach) are NOT pre-washed! Please wash those items just before eating or preparing. Why aren't they washed? Because as soon as the leaves get wet (and don't have roots in the ground) they begin to break down. Before washing, your greens will stay fresh in the fridge for about a week. After washing, about two days. Why does the grocery store sell pre-washed produce? The varieties that the grocery stores sell are bred to have a long shelf life, not to taste fresh and delicious. What we give up in convienence, we more than make up for in TASTE!!!! So, please, wash your produce just before you eat or prepare it.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Harvest Begins!

It's the most wonderful time of the year! No, it's not Christmas, it's the start of the garden harvest. And even though it's been a long time coming, the garden has certainly caught up with the warm weather and periodic rains. This week (delivery on Thursday, July 17th) we have some wonderful early garden offerings:

CROP - QUANTITY - PRICE
Spinach - 1 gal bag - $3.00
Lettuce - 1 gal bag - $3.00
Salad Bowl or Black Seeded Simpson
Radish - sandwich bag - $1.50
Garlic - 2 plants - $1.00
Onion - 4 plants - $1.00
Walla Walla, Alisha Craig, Red Burgermaster or Yellow Sweet Spanish
Shallots - 1 plant - $1.00

Here are some of my favorite ways to eat these great vegetables:
SPINACH - I love to add it to pastas, just wilt it over some heat such as when the meat or sauce is almost done. Incidentally, this is a great way to get kids to eat cooked spinach. Of course, I also love a fresh spinach salad!
LETTUCE - There isn't anything better than a salad or sandwich made with fresh garden lettuce...what taste!!
RADISH - My family traditionally eats radishes raw and dipped in some salt. But I recently had a sandwich with thin sliced radishes in it. What a spicy addition! It was delicious.
GARLIC, ONIONS, SHALLOTS - I personally think every dish tastes better with these vegetables included. With all three you can use all of the plant. The green tops make delicate additions to omelets, salads, etc.

Doesn't it just make your mouth water? Please email your order by 6:00pm on Wednesday and I will deliver your order on Thursday. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask! Thank you!
---Annie