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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!!