RSS Feed

Category Archives: Farms

Tidbit Tuesday Again

Lots of random small talk today.

How about housekeeping? As in cleaning out the garden, getting ready for fall, and cleaning up my web pages.

garden, tower and nottingham 004

The Malabar spinach is going to seed. The big question is whether I will save seeds and replant in the spring. I didn’t use much of it. It did act as a very strong pollinator attracter though. Well, so did the basil.

garden, tower and nottingham 005

I imagine that the Conservancy bees got lots of pollen from the basil in the garden. Some days it was covered in honey bees.

Sometime this weekend I will be harvesting all the basil and there will be a pesto making marathon in my kitchen. I hit Whole Foods Sunday morning to get almonds and Parmigiano Reggiano for my pesto. Go early before the breakfast crowd shows up.

beets and basil 029

It is almost time to plant the garlic. I have about two dozen cloves ready to go into my back yard garden. Once the trees start dropping leaves, they will get enough sun all winter and spring to grow and be harvested in early summer.

We are completely reconfiguring the Conservancy community garden plot. There will be four large squares instead of four rows. One for herbs. One for tomatoes. One for peppers, leeks, shallots and onions. And, one for everything else. I did plant some arugula and lettuce for fall. We learned quite a bit this year.

Keep the onions away from the corner where the hoses are. The excess water rotted a few of my onions.

Put paths around the outside. It keeps down on weed infiltration.

More on gardening in the near future. Let’s now turn to the other trivial things I have done. I updated a few items on my pages. Adding a couple of blogs I read. Making sure the farm page is up to date. Checking that I didn’t forget anything on my food preservation page. I still need to update my local resources, and to add my new page, still in draft, on HOCOBIZ. This will be my page that highlights small businesses in the area where I find really good service. These businesses are mostly family owned, but aren’t my food sources. Places like Kendalls, Clarks Hardware, British American. Oh, and restaurants. I will be putting a restaurant category on that page.

Yep, it’s time to do that fall cleaning. Like leaf raking. And weed removal. And, putting those wintery things in the cars. Where are those stupid ice scrapers anyway? Just hoping not to find too many days like this.

winter 2010 190

In The Box

Posted on

The view from above.

aug 14 csa and blackberry cubes 018

This is what you see when you open a half share Lancaster Farm Fresh CSA box in the middle of August.

The new one in the box is the bunch of Malabar spinach. I do grow this in my garden, but mine is nowhere near as large as these are. There are nine ears of corn in there. Because I swapped three zucchini for the corn. There is a bag of green beans. A bag of rainbow carrots. An eggplant. And, hidden below those two heirloom tomatoes.

aug 14 csa and blackberry cubes 019

A bag of roma tomatoes, suitable for making sauce. As for the fruit share.

aug 14 csa and blackberry cubes 015

It must be a banner year for peaches, as we have another six in the fruit box. Last and certainly the largest. The watermelon, a red seedless variety.

No pictures of the frozen chicken in my chicken share. There were two large boneless skinless chicken breasts. And, two whole legs of chicken.

Moving over to the Friends and Farms bags. Just a small amount, except for that cantaloupe.

aug 14 csa and blackberry cubes 011

An individual share. Two tomatoes. Two peaches (I have no idea where they are, they aren’t in the picture). One zucchini, I am happy to report. Two ears of corn. Three humongous leeks. Hydroponic lettuce. And that okra. I need to go look for something new to do with okra.

Protein.

aug 14 csa and blackberry cubes 009

Fresh kielbasa. Bacon. Eggs. A new supplier of chicken. Breasts this week. They were already the main item at dinner tonight. Baked in olive oil with a coating of mixed herbs.

Plans for tomorrow. Make tomato sauce. Find a recipe for a curry using the Malabar spinach. Make peach jam. It’s summer craziness when everything starts ripening at once.

Food Processing Friday …

Posted on

… and Saturday and Sunday.

food processing friday 007

As shown we are drowning in tomatoes. And, other things. Which are “pickle-able”.

food processing friday 021

I pickled shallots, cucumbers and peppers today. Did Peter Pecker pick those peppers? No, and neither did I. They were in the CSA share this week.

I made a simple pickling spice mix. Added it to a mix of four to one, vinegar to water. Got it boiling. Blanched the veggies first. Sterilized the lids and seals. Came up with a few jars of “refrigerator’ pickles. These are easy to do. No canning techniques necessary. Just consume them in a week or two.

As for tomatoes. I did two pints of sauce today.

food processing friday 031

This is a chunky tomato sauce. A number of blanched tomatoes stood by while I sweated onions, carrots, minced garlic, basil, thyme and oregano. Oh yeah. Salt and pepper.

I ended up with two pints ready to go into the freezer, to make those cold winter nights remind me of summer.

More tomorrow, when I blanch and fill green peppers with a sausage mixture. A feast that makes Stouffer’s look pathetic.

The freezer is filling up. That’s for sure.

My Out of Control Kitchen

Posted on

It happens every August. The tomatoes get way ahead of me. I can’t keep up with the processing. I have to dedicate an entire weekend to plowing through the produce and filling the freezer.

Add to it the CSA glut.

aug 7 csa and ff 001

For $19 a week you too can be overrun with fresh beautiful vegetables. OK, so there are also some fruit shares here. They are a slight additional cost.

Lancaster Farm Fresh delivered some pretty heavy boxes this week. We got:

FIVE zucchini (seriously? in a half share?)
A bag full of baby sweet peppers
A bag full of hot Hungarian wax peppers (not pictured, more below)
A bag full of baby eggplants
Two heirloom tomatoes
Three slicing tomatoes
Four golden beets with greens
Two heads of garlic

The sugar baby watermelon was part of our fruit share. Along with more of these.

aug 7 csa and ff 003

Eight more incredibly juicy luscious sweet peaches.

I swapped those peppers. For a reason to be revealed later.

I did get this.

aug 7 csa and ff 002

Three ears of sweet corn from the swap box. You can never have too much sweet corn.

My chicken share this week was a 3.5 pound heritage bird.

As for Friends and Farms, I am glad we moved to an individual share for the summer. That way we aren’t completely overwhelmed with produce.

aug 7 csa and ff 008

This was bread and cheese week for the individual share. I picked pumpkin pecan bread from the Breadery. Ewe cream cheese from Shepherds Manor.

Spring Mix. Donut peaches. Nectarines. Sweet potatoes. Heirloom cherry tomatoes. A yellow onion. Green beans. An eggplant.

As for the protein, not pictured, we got catfish, and sirloin steak.

Definitely enough to keep us from the grocery stores for a while.

I just need to get out there and start freezing food.

Blue Ribbon Herbs

Posted on

My second blue ribbon ever.

fair ribbons 044

Again for my herbs.

I have lots more from the fair, but this year again my herbs were the star of my entries. Again, my heirlooms fell short, but I did get three more fourth place ribbons and a fifth place ribbon.

My favorite:

fair ribbons 034

Fifth place for my ornamental vegetable display. This is the first time I did an ornamental display. I am learning from the other participants how to arrange what I submit. I was pleased to get the ribbon though.

As for the fourth places, they included:

fair ribbons 040

My yellow plum tomatoes.

fair ribbons 037

My yellow onions.

fair ribbons 035

And for most unusual vegetable. My cardoons.

I’m happy. I did twelve entries and won five ribbons. Not a bad return on investment, so to speak.

I love participating in the county fair. It’s small enough to not be intimidating, but large enough to have some serious competition. The people are really nice and help us newer entrants.

If I could only get my heirloom tomatoes to ripen in time, I would be ecstatic.

We will be at the fair at least four days, maybe five. We love to watch the 4-H’ers show their animals.

We visited our friends in the barn, and checked out some of their daughter’s animals. Like her lambs.

fair ribbons 014

All decked out to keep nice and clean before they are shown.

fair ribbons 017

And, some of their goats.

Tomorrow we will go and visit, seeing how their pigs are doing. They weren’t there yet, yesterday. I am so impressed with the dedication of the 4-H’ers to their animals.

To us. the fair isn’t about the midway and the rides, it’s about the community.

Home Grown Goodness

Posted on

Tonight’s dinner traveled less than 100 miles, for the most part, to our table.

fair entries 14 035

I realized as I was cooking that most of the ingredients, except for oil and spices, were from our CSA, our Friends and Farms basket, my garden, or England Acres.

We got a few medallion steaks from England Acres. These were the last ones. I pan seared, then oven finished the steaks. Each was petite. Just the right size. About 4/10 of a pound each.

The vegetable mix was easily made, as well.

fair entries 14 037

It is so simple to pan fry a mix of fresh vegetables. Start with a good light olive oil. Get it really hot, but not smoking. Add the onions first. Then I added the specialty squash. Then the baby eggplant. Then the tomatoes. I sprinkled these with fresh thyme from the garden. A little salt and pepper. The best part. A small slab of unsalted butter.

The other component of this dinner was a microwaved potato. Covered in pan juices after taking the steak out of the pan.

You can eat locally all the time. Not just during the Buy Local Challenge. Oh, I forgot. The wine was local, too. But I didn’t remember to take pictures. It was a Glen Manor Petit Verdot. From Virginia.

Tabouleh Time

Posted on

Sometimes one item in a CSA box or a Friends and Farms basket will inspire me. This week, in our Friends and Farms individual share, there was a huge bunch of parsley. All I need to make tabouleh, that I don’t have, is red onion.

july 31 csa 035

Tabouleh only requires parsley, bulgur, tomatoes, onion, lemon, mint, olive oil and cucumber. Salt and pepper. I actually have bulgur in the pantry. This weekend I will be making my version. We will see how it turns out.

As for the rest of the basket, a peak into the insulated bag.

july 31 csa 021

This week is my eggs and yogurt week. I chose vanilla yogurt, to use up some of the fruit around here to make popsicles. More on that later, too. We got one large pork chop (in an individual basket, there isn’t that much meat, which is a good thing). We also got a small package of “party wings”. Grilled wings next Monday or Tuesday, I think. The pork chop was seared, then finished in the oven, for dinner tonight. A little lemon pepper and olive oil. That’s all.

Two ears of corn.

july 31 csa 028

They were also served at dinner. Can’t get much fresher than this.

The rest of the basket.

july 31 csa 022

One Savoy cabbage. One container of Baby Bellas (which will become mushroom sauce for a special dinner with filets of beef). Two green peppers. Three potatoes. Three Lodi apples. Four yellow and four purple plums from Catoctin Mountain Orchards. One cucumber (for that tabouleh).

I like the size of this basket. I like the fact that we only get bread every other week. Three weeks of eggs for us, as we get eggs instead of milk. Cheese once a month. Breakfast meat once a month. Yogurt once a month. A good rotation, so you can use it up and not waste it.

And, the plums are delicious. Can’t decide my favorite. But I love Catoctin Mountain Orchards. We like to drive up there and find little treasures in their market. They are just north of Thurmont, off of US 15.

A good basket this week. A way to use up some of my tomatoes, that’s for sure.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 433 other followers