Monday, September 3, 2007

Farm Life Cycles

Farm News . . .
Each winter as we evaluate our business plans, peruse the seed catalogues, enjoy a nice fireside chat, and try to visualize what the upcoming season will be, there is an unspoken excitement and optimism. We know there will be drenching rains, scorching sun, howling winds, and rumbling thunderstorms. The ever present chess match with Mother Nature, using the various technologies and sixth sense bestowed us keeps us watchful and pressing forward to ensure we are on our game. The vast array of crops we grow, each with its own approach to health and seasonality, expects that we provide that optimum environment to thrive.
The “drought of ‘07” will have lasting effects on the farm. The first rains that soak into the soil will awaken the tens of thousands of species of bacteria, fungi, microbes, and insects that have entered the protective mechanism of dormancy. As they begin to grow and reproduce, the root systems, with their own nutritional triggers, will begin to absorb the moisture and nutrients to bear fruit or prepare for winter.
Wildlife which have been more exposed to their predators due to lack of plant cover and limited water availability, may have fewer young and less body condition in preparation for winter. There are no walnuts, acorns are small, weed seeds did not mature to be good seeds for the birds. Rabbits and quail cannot hide from their prey nor build protective homes to hide.
The consistently high temperatures have accelerated the life cycles of the insect world, while depriving them of the moisture vital to their existence. Don’t worry about them. They always return, sometimes a little late, sometimes a little weak, sometimes a little stronger.
All of the creatures on the farm, from the mighty oaks to the tiniest bug, from the majestic deer to the lowly earthworm, will return next year.
So will we! - Mac

We did not receive any rainfall last week and are still managing irrigation equipment daily. We’ll update you more next week.

In Your Basket . . .

New Potatoes –organic
This week find some red, gold and blue new potatoes. The skin can remain on, as it is so tender right now. The blue and red potatoes are blue and red on the inside also. Do not overcook them or the blue and red will turn to gray. All three are good all-purpose potatoes that you can enjoy steamed, boiled, oven roasted, or sliced and fried into chips.
As we are digging our summer potatoes, we are finding very low yields this season. Also, the size of much of our potato crop is much smaller than desired. We do have fall potatoes out and are watering them as much as we can.
Sweet Basil – organic
Enjoy with sliced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and a nice vinaigrette for a taste of old Italy!
Onions – organic
Use these mild onions in any recipe. They should be stored in your pantry rather than your fridge. The small size of many of our onions is a large disappointment to us this season. Even with consistent watering, the heat and drought have taken their toll. It seems that the root crops and in-ground crops are really affected by the heat and dry soil conditions. The onions, potatoes, and garlic all are having difficulties this season in sizing up.
Garlic - organic
This variety of Music garlic has a mild flavor. Remember that garlic is one of your 5 top foods for optimum health and disease prevention. Try to eat it weekly and eat it raw if possible. Well-known benefits include infection fighting, cancer prevention, stimulating the immune system, use as a decongestant, and reducing blood pressure. Also raw garlic applied to a bee or wasp sting helps to alleviate the stinging!
Spaghetti Squash
This hard squash can be stored in your pantry, no need to refrigerate. Enjoy it with butter, olive oil, or any favorite pasta sauce.


Squash and Zucchini

Green Tomatoes

Tomatoes – organic
This weeks tomatoes could include red slicers, Green Zebra, Old Ivory Egg, Garden Peach, Pink Lady, Pink Brandywine, and Paul Robeson.

Your Choice Basket:
Hot Peppers

Larger Baskets Only:

We do have more melons planted and are tending to the plants with great care. Early watermelons were a total crop loss. Many of our early muskmelons cracked with the one week of rain. These are small but tasty.

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Squash Fritters
recipe shared by Wash House Herb Farm in Stamping Ground, Kentucky

3 T vegetable oil, divided
1 egg, beaten
2/3 C milk
½ C self-rising cornmeal
1 C packed grated yellow squash or zucchini
2 T grated onion
2 T sour cream
2 T finely shredded Parmesan cheese
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt
¼ tsp black pepper
prepared salsa

Combine 2 T oil, egg, milk, cornmeal, squash, onion, sour cream, cheese, cayenne, salt and pepper; mix well. Add additional milk for a thinner consistency or another tablespoon of cornmeal if batter is too runny. Heat remaining oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Spoon ¼ C batter per fritter on first side and 2 minutes on second side. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with salsa. Serves 4 as an entrĂ©e or 8 as a side dish. Makes a great appetizer.

Fried Green Tomatoes
from Greene on Greens, using bread crumbs rather than corn meal, and a spicy wet coating

3 medium firm green tomatoes
1 egg
2 tsp heavy or whipping cream
¼ C V-8 or Bloody Mary Mix
dash of hot pepper sauce
½ C fresh breadcrumbs
1/8 tsp ground allspice
4 T butter
1 tsp chopped fresh chives

Cut the tomatoes crosswise into ½ inch slices. Beat the egg with the cream, V-8, and hot pepper sauce in a shallow bowl. Combine the crumbs and the allspice in another shallow bowl.
Melt 2 T of butter in heavy skillet over medium heat. Dip the slices in the egg mixture, shaking off any excess. Then lightly coat with the breadcrumbs. Fry, a few slices at a time, until golden on both sides, about 4 minutes. Keep warm in a low oven. Continue to fry slices, adding more butter as needed. Sprinkle with chives before serving. Serves 4.

Mac’s Backyard Bruschetta with Roasted Garlic

1-2 heads garlic
olive oil
thinly sliced bread good for toasting
mixture of dried herbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove outer papery skin from garlic heads. Cut the top off each head to expose the cloves. Place heads on aluminum foil; drizzle with olive oil. Tightly wrap up the garlic in the foil. Roast until the cloves are soft and creamy, 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on size. After roasting, let cool until able to handle. Remove all skin from garlic.

Cut bread into desired size pieces. Spread bread with a little butter. Spread roasted garlic onto bread also. Sprinkle with favorite dried herbs. Sprinkle with just a little of salt. Put on cookie sheet and turn oven to broil. Broil for 3-5 minutes until slightly browned.