Barnyard Bull - News & Blog

Posted 10/13/2012 6:59am by Desiree & Jesse Robertson-DuBois.

 

The kids are doing their canned Food Drive this week- don’t forget to bring a non-perishable food item for their collection box. We will donate all food collected to the Hinsdale Food Pantry!

We are planting the hoophouse, the greenhouse (or coolhouse, as we call it this time of year) and you may be curious about the hoops going up down in the field next to the driveway- those are quick hoops- which we will be using to cover fall and winter crops for our season extension shares and to provide some fresh veggies to our wholesale clients. Those hoops will be covered with tough greenhouse plastic so that the crops inside are kept nice and toasty through the cold season. Most of what is going in the ground won’t be harvested until March- but it is something that you can do yourself in your own backyard if you have a little garden space. We are happy to point you to some resources if you are interested.

 


What’s in your share (maybe)

Peppers

Leeks

Lettuce

Mixed Mustard Greens- Braising Mix

Arugula

Baby Bok Choi

Salad Mix

Garlic

Kale

Winter Squash- Buttercup

Radishes

Salad Turnips

Brussel Sprouts

 

Pick Your Own- Until frost!

The flowers are open but once there is a frost, the flowers will be done.

Parsleys and other herbs are open for picking. Some of these will survive frost and just keep right on trucking along until snow covers them.

 

Featured vegetables—Brussel Sprouts

 

Oh beautiful mini-cabbages, how we love thee!

Every year we grow these fabulous stalks – truly one of the most incredible of vegetables- as interesting as artichokes and pineapples but easier to do in our climate.

Every year I put them out for the first time and the questions start because while 90% of you are repeat clients to our CSA, there are always some new folks coming in and most of the populace has NEVER seen a brussel sprout growing in its natural state, which is on a stalk. I’ve even had apprentices (granted they were very new to the farming scene) who have never seen or grown them. In addition to that, I will also get from those new folks, the “I HATE brussel sprouts!” line- usually with vehemence. I can picture it, though it never happened in my house growing up, but I’ve heard it plenty of times. Fresh Brussels served up- boiled to cabbagey mush- gross. No wonder folks hate them. In my house, my father made the Brussels, one of the only things he insisted on cooking other than omelets- he cut an X into the bottom of each one, rinsed them in a colander and put them aside, then he sautéed bacon in a cast iron pan  until it was crispy. Remove the bacon, add Brussels and a little water and cover them while they half steamed, half simmered. When they were tender, but still firm, they were done. Toss with the crumbled bacon, a little black pepper and sometimes, a little parmesan cheese. This is delicious! Now you can take this simple treasure of a recipe- quarter the Brussels and toss with pasta. With or without the pasta, you can add toasted pecans, dried cranberries, and cream for an unbelievable thanksgiving side dish. We always have folks going back for more once they’ve had the Brussels cooked right. If you are watching the waistline or not into bacon- we also suggest cutting the Brussels in half, tossing with a little olive oil and roasting them on a cookie sheet in the oven. Cook them at about 325- it should be a little slow so that the mini cabbages have a chance to carmelize some of their sugars. Delicious!

 

Posted 10/2/2012 2:44pm by Desiree & Jesse Robertson-DuBois.

We are helping Morgan and Elspeth do a canned food drive as part of their 4-H Youth Outreach for their club, The Milking Maniacs. Next week they will be collecting canned and other non-perishable food items for our local food bank and they would love for you to help them and 4-H beat last years record of 43,615 lbs of food! Look for the decorated 4-H bins next week at CSA distribution.  

Delights of the Earth is a small, local soap and body products company based in Westhampton, MA. Jennifer Therrien is mostly a one woman show with her business and we love her earthy, gorgeous soaps. These bars are real soap, not fancy- the bars are hard (so they won’t immediately disintegrate on the counter) and the smells are delicious without being overpowering. Jennifer has graciously offered a free sample to everyone in our CSA! Please look for the basket of sample sized soaps and take one home with you to try. We will have full sized bars available in the store- a very reasonable price of $3.25 for a good sized bar.

Meat CSA share sign-ups are now open. Sign up online or here in the store! We are still working out the details for both our new veggie CSA season extension Autumania share and for the following Winter Warmer share- we will nail these down in the next week and get the sign-ups live on the website for you. Meat CSA will run almost exactly as it has been with the addition of delicious pasture raised chicken from Mansfield Farm- these are delicious, flavorful, yet tender birds. We will add 2 to your shares during the season. Please let us know if you do not want chicken (or any other cut we offer). The Veggie shares will be a combination of delicious field and hoop or greenhouse grown greens and root crops along with storage crops such as squash. We will also include our own tomatoes specially canned for us by the crew at Appalachian Naturals, maple syrup and other sundry goodies.

There are lots of baby piglets in the barn! As of today we still have one momma left to farrow but there are already a lot of babes on the ground- they are getting feisty- we’ve seen them wrestling and squealing and playing “chase me”.  We also have two new additions to the farm scene- Forrest- a full grown LaMancha buck goat arrived in all his stinky glory last week. He’s very friendly and he’s quite an impressive sight, but just watch out for his stink, it rubs off, literally. We are also up to 15 calves bouncing around in the pasture down the street (the cow/calf herd is currently off of Cleveland Rd, across the river where you can’t really see them on the Musante Farm), Benita finally calved last week- a smaller male version of herself with a nice wide belt- a real beauty! That brings our total up to 11 heifers (girls) and 4 bull calves. The herd grows but we need to find some steers to bring to the farm since we won’t have enough beef at that rate.

 
 


What’s in your share (maybe)

Peppers

Red/Green Cabbage

Potatoes

Leeks

Swiss chard

Lettuce

Mixed Mustard Greens- Braising Mix

Baby Bok Choi

Salad Mix

Garlic

Kale

Winter Squash- Butternut

Radishes

Pick Your Own- Until frost!

The flowers are open but once there is a frost, the flowers will be done.

Parsleys and other herbs are open for picking. Some of these will survive frost and just keep right on trucking along until snow covers them.

Green beans are still going!

Featured vegetables—Braising Greens & Salad Mix

So remember last week when you ate our delicious mustard greens and they were two-bite size? Well this week they are huge, but they are still delicious and so we encourage you to continue to enjoy them. If their size is too intimidating for salad- try them braised instead- they lose a lot of their bite, but still retain their flavor and tender texture. We like them in quiches, soups, pesto sauces and in many other creative culinary delights.

Our mix contains approximately 11 different types of greens, all in the brassica family consisting of arugula, mizuna, pink lettucy mustard, red Russian kale, golden frills, green wave, purple pac choi, red giant, ruby streaks, tat-soi, marubah santoh and whatever else we can think of to throw in the mix. We direct seed this straight into the fields, cover it with remay (white floating row cover) to keep the bugs off it and then weedweedweedweed it. It is one of the most beautiful things we grow in the field with all of its different colors and textures.

Our salad mix has as many as a dozen different lettuces- in truth, we’ve lost count. Currently the mix consists of Red & Green Salad bowl, tango, red romaine, parris island romaine, forellenschluss, lolla rossa, Tropicana, Red sails, new red fire and whatever other lettuces that I had to throw into the bag.

We haven’t had it this season since we’ve been focusing on trying to keep weeds under control in our fields and cut salad takes both a ton of time and requires fields that have very few weeds. We prepped the field they are in for the entire summer! We used a variety of techniques including cover cropping and summer bare fallow- where we turn under the cover and leave the soil exposed for a period of time allowing the weed seeds to germinate before shallowly turning them under (killing them)-and by August we really felt like we could plant safely without it being immediately overrun by weeds. And we were right- our field prep worked and the salad looks beautiful. We’ve definitely spent some time hand weeding, but it hasn’t been as bad as in the past.

We hope that you like the sweet tender baby lettuces as much as we do!

Recipe of the Week: Salade Nicoise

If you’ve never had this famous french salad, I would urge you to give it a go. For each person have enough fresh greens for a full sized meal, add a boiled egg, a ½ can of tunafish, ½ cup of potatoes (boiled or roasted), ¼ cup of croutons (Home-made!) and sundry other fresh or roasted veggies such as roasted peppers, tomatoes, olives. Add your favorite cubed cheese (feta, cheddar, mozzarella) and a mustard dressing. This is one of our absolutely favorite lunches or dinner for the entire family! So good…..

Posted 9/27/2012 1:03pm by Desiree & Jesse Robertson-DuBois.

 

The tomatoes in the fields are done- disease and these cold nights have pretty much ended their growth, but green ones are still ripening and so we are opening the fields for one last week of gleaning. If you are interested in gleaning tomatoes for canning, please call Desiree- price is $1/lb for self picked gleanings.

We are putting the fields to bed for the winter- as the next few weeks move us into October we will be mowing off old crops, plowing and tilling empty fields and seeding winter cover crops. We also need to plant next season’s garlic and finish cleaning the garlic that is now fully cured.

New yarns are in from the Green Mountain Spinnery- they transformed our dirty, greasy wool clip into luxurious and soft yarns ready for your next project. Look for 2 new yarns in the store- a lustrous light silver and a beautiful silver & white variegated yarn (a reverse of the version we have had). Both are worsted weight, single strand and about 240 yards, 4oz skeins.  

 


What’s in your share (maybe)

Tomatoes (the last of them!)

Sauce Tomatoes

Peppers

Red Cabbage

Potatoes

Leeks

Swiss chard

Lettuce

Mixed Mustard Greens

Baby Tat-soi (use like Bok Choi)

Arugula

Garlic

Kale

Winter Squash- Acorn

 

Pick Your Own- Until frost!

The flowers are open but once there is a frost, the flowers will be done.

Basils are ready- take a bunch for pesto.

Parsleys and other herbs are open for picking. Some of these will survive frost and just keep right on trucking along until snow covers them.

Green beans are still going!

Cherry & Sauce tomatoes are entering their last week- it is a race whether it will be frost or disease that takes them first.

Chili peppers- lots of different varieties and varying heat….check out the guide!

Featured vegetables—Leeks & Tat-soi

The last of the summer onions are gone and it is time for fall leeks- ours are still a little smaller than is ideal, but they are still delicious. Everyone has had potato leek soup- but leeks add a little extra something to many dishes when substituted for onions in a recipe. They are also delicious braised in butter and served tossed with your favorite pasta, parmesan cheese and toasted breadcrumbs. Add some chopped fresh tomato and you have a feast fit for royalty.

Tat-soi is just another kind of bok-choi- it has darker, smaller, rounder leaves that are tender enough to pass for spinach. It is also hardy enough to withstand wintry temperatures down to 20 degrees and still be fine so we are growing it in our hoophouses along with salad mix and spinach for winter greens. Try this lovely asian green sautéed in sunflower oil with garlic, good stock, a chili pepper and a little coconut milk.

 

Recipe of the week: Braised Greens and Chorizo

 

This recipe comes from Kajsa Alger, Executive Chef at Susan Feniger's Street in Hollywood

 (Serves 6)

Ingredients:

1 gallon each of chopped red chard and chopped purple kale (approx 3-4 bunches total), washed well
3 leeks, thinly sliced and washed well
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup minced garlic
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 link of Holiday Brook Farm*** Spanish chorizo, thinly sliced (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, place the oil and leeks and cook over low heat until the leeks are soft.
  1. Add the garlic and chorizo (if using) and cook for another 1-2 minutes until the flavors are released.
  1. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the greens and salt (you can add this to taste depending on the saltiness of your chorizo), stirring continually, until they are well wilted.

 

  1. Reduce the heat once more to low and simmer the greens for another 10 minutes until soft and cooked through.
  1. Remove from heat and pour off any excess liquid.  Serve immediately.

***blatant product promotion inserted because our chorizo sausage is incredible…..

Posted 9/18/2012 4:05pm by Desiree & Jesse Robertson-DuBois.

The winter squash is all in! Thank you to the Sears-Locke Family (and friend) who helped haul the squash off the wagon and into the bins in the root cellar on Saturday- it was a great help (and we already had aching backs from hauling winter squash for the last three days straight. It was quite a harvest- I can't really even begin to guesstimate on the pounds of squash, but it was huge, despite the summer drought. Winter squash always makes for great pictures, so check out the website for beautiful displays of squash.

We are bringing in a lot of new fall vegetables in the next five weeks. Leeks, brussels sprouts, salad turnips, broccoli and more to come- we will also be getting out the sign-ups for Fall & Winter CSA extensions for both Meat and Veg in the next week, so look for those soon. Once you get the sign-up announcement, please do so as soon as you can, we have a waiting list already, but want to give our current members a chance to continue with great local food before opening it up. Thanks!

Fall is in the air! We will probably see the end of tomatoes very soon, along with eggplant and peppers. If you are interested in gleaning tomatoes for canning, please call Desiree- price is $1/lb for self picked gleanings. You may also buy pre-picked sauce tomatoes by the 10/lb case for $15, but we need to know ahead of time.

 


What’s in your share (maybe)

Tomatoes

Sauce Tomatoes

Peppers &/or Eggplant

Red Cabbage

Potatoes- Yukon

Onions: Mixed

Swiss chard

Lettuce

Mixed Mustard Greens

Garlic

Kale

Winter Squash- Spagetti

 

Pick Your Own

The flowers are open- please pick a nice bouquet- feel free to weed while out there!

Basils are ready- take a bunch for a pesto meal.

Parsleys and other herbs are open for picking. Let us know if you don’t recognize something or want to find a particular herb.

Green beans are open for picking still, but we are entering the last week or so for them.

Cherry & Sauce tomatoes are open for picking- they are rocking so the limit is quart- thanks

Chili peppers- lots of different varieties and varying heat….check out the guide!

Featured vegetables—Spagetti Squash

This squash is wonderful, despite the fact that it takes longer to cook than the pasta it usually replaces in recipes. Give it a try, it makes a nice change from pasta, leaves you pleasantly full and yet, has more nutritive value than the pasta along with plenty of fiber. Simply cut in half, lay cut side down on a cookie tray (with sides), add a little water and cook until the squash is soft. Scoop out the seeds,  and carve out the soft squashy pasta-like strings. Top with your favorite pasta sauce- anything from pesto to meat sauce, plenty of cheese and enjoy. It makes for a delicious side dish as well topped with butter and some flakes of parmesan. Just a side note, this squash does not store well so plan on using it in the next few weeks as it won't hang out the way that many other winter squashes will. 

There will be many other storage-type winter squashes coming!

 

Recipe of the week:

On a wet and windy day, we made this yummy soup for lunch on the fly. It was hearty and warm and we loved it!

 

Sweet Italian Sausage & Kale Stew

Ingredients:

4 Sweet Italian sausage links

1 qt (or 1.5lbs) of potatoes (yukons work well), chopped into 1"pieces

3 onions, any kind, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

olive oil

2 good bouillion cubes (vegetable or chicken)

1 small bunch kale, shredded

In a large cast iron dutch oven or heavy bottom saucepan, add olive oil and sausages. Remove sausages when well cooked, add onions and garlic. When onions are soft, add potatoes, the bouillion cubes and cover with water. Let simmer, stirring often until potatoes are tender. Chop and add sausages and kale. Stir and simmer until kale is wilted. Serve immediately with biscuits. Enjoy!

 

Posted 9/11/2012 9:34am by Desiree & Jesse Robertson-DuBois.

We will be harvesting winter squash on Wednesday, Sept 12th at 1pm and again on Friday Sept 14th at 1pm. Come and join us as we comb the fields for delicious beauties. We will even start giving some out this week so look to fit it into your basket!

Winter squash needs to cure, like the garlic, and under similar conditions- it needs to stay dry and out of the weather in order to ensure that it will store well throughout the coming winter. As it cures, it concentrates its sugars so that it becomes sweeter as time goes on. Many of the most common varieties actually taste best around December and January and only taste sort of sweet and watery right now. We will tell you when you should hold onto specific squashes before enjoying them at full flavor, for now, we will be giving out the ones that you should eat right away since they both don’t need to cure and don’t store well even if you do.

We will give out squashes from now until the end of the season- but if you would like extras, we will have some available for purchase so please let us know- we grew extras on purpose because of the store, Berkshire Organics, The Old Creamery, and many of you asked us to.

A little micro-climate frosting along the stream-bank and in low lying areas in the hills on early Tuesday morning (not predicted by the weatherman!) heralds an early frost and sent us into a slight panic, but all of our crops seem fine for now. The first frost will mean the end of the tomatoes, eggplant and peppers along with most of the pick your own- but hopefully it won’t happen until October at least. Mid September is mighty early to even have a whiff of frost so keep your fingers crossed.

What’s in your share (maybe)

Tomatoes

Sauce Tomatoes

Bell & Fryer Peppers

Red or Green Cabbage

Potatoes- Elba &/or Mountain Rose

Onions: Rosa Longa

Swiss chard

Lettuce

Arugula

Garlic

Beets

Kale

Winter Squash- Sweet dumpling

Pick Your Own

The flowers are open- please pick a nice bouquet- feel free to weed while out there!

Basils are ready- take a bunch for a pesto meal.

Parsleys and other herbs are open for picking. Let us know if you don’t recognize something or want to find a particular herb.

Green beans are open for picking still, but we are entering the last week or so for them.

Cherry & Sauce tomatoes are open for picking- they are rocking so the limit is quart- thanks

Chili peppers- lots of different varieties and varying heat….check out the guide!

Featured vegetables—Arugula

This is usually where I say “welcome back” to this delicious mustard green that we haven’t seen since the spring, but the spring plantings totally failed this year so we haven’t had it yet this season. For those of you who don’t have a lot of experience with arugula, it is a mild peppery green that is equally delicious in a salad, on a sandwich or made into a pesto-type sauce.  The last is our favorite way to eat it- even though it is not the most frequent- our most frequent is simply as a salad with all the typical fixings (anything else fresh from the gardens and fields from tomatoes to green beans along with dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds and whatever cheeses we have in the fridge). But as pesto is truly everyone’s fave- make it just like basil pesto only substitute arugula for the basil (or in addition to). Add to pasta, potatoes, sandwiches and be sure to freeze any extra for a treat mid-winter!  Substitute the arugula for any mustard green in recipes…..

Recipe of the week: We don’t grow the beets that get as big as your fist (and with the drought this summer, that would have been hard anyway) but you can still make this recipe with smaller beets- just don’t roast them as long.

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Ingredients:

4 beets about the size of your fist

5 oz. dairy-fresh chèvre (plain or flavored)

½ cup walnuts

Mixed garden greens

Maple vinaigrette

 

Maple Vinaigrette:

½ cup Extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup maple-flavored vinegar

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper, to taste

1-2 tsp. chopped fresh chives, basil, oregano and/or thyme (optional)

 Directions:

Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a tightly sealed container and shake to combine.

Wrap beets in foil and bake at 350º for 45 to 60 minutes or until they can be easily pierced with a fork.  Remove the beets from the oven and cool.  Gently slide skins off beets.  (Beets can be prepared 2 or 3 days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.)

Wash and dry the garden greens.  Assemble onto 1 large plate or 4 smaller plates.  Slice or dice the beets on top of the garden greens.  Dot the beets and greens with pieces of fresh chèvre.  Sprinkle the walnuts on top of the salad.  Drizzle with maple vinaigrette, to taste.   

 

Posted 9/8/2012 3:45pm by Desiree & Jesse Robertson-DuBois.

Hello Everyone! We have a lot of canning tomatoes available right now! These are not the prettiest, but they will make delicious sauce, salsa, bruschetta, tomato jam, ketchup or any other tomato recipe you might wish. Buy them by the pound for $1/lb- call or email Desiree at farmerdes@gmail.com or 413-358-1194.

Posted 9/4/2012 12:14pm by Desiree & Jesse Robertson-DuBois.

So the autumnal winds are a blowing in- the kids are all back to school this week, and while we might have a few more hot stretches here and there, the leaves will soon be changing and the nights are already getting longer. The afternoon light is thick and golden and I’m starting to get phone calls for winter squashes, garlic and other fall vegetables. The summer fruits are starting to wind down a little- tomatoes are succumbing to the various blights, but they are still coming in thick. The summer squashes are done (there is another planting out there but it is moving really slow) but we are watching the broccoli plants get huge out in the fields. We took the tops off the Brussels sprouts last week so that they can  start to make the bitty cabbages we all love.

Recipes will start to reflect the upcoming change in season- thick and hearty stews, casseroles and other delicious roasts- now that it doesn’t feel like a travesty to turn the oven on in the evening.

We will be harvesting winter squash on Wednesday, Sept 12th at 1pm and again on Friday Sept 14th at 1pm. Come and join us as we comb the fields for delicious beauties.

 

 

What’s in your share (maybe)

Tomatoes

Sauce Tomatoes

Bell & Fryer Peppers

Red or Green Cabbage

Potatoes- Elba &/or Mountain Rose

Onions: Rossa Longa

Swiss Chard

Eggplant

Lettuce

Garlic

Carrots

Kale

 

Pick Your Own

The flowers are open- please pick a nice bouquet- feel free to weed while out there!

Basils are ready- take a bunch for a pesto meal.

Parsleys and other herbs are open for picking. Let us know if you don’t recognize something or want to find a particular herb.

Green and wax beans are also open for picking.

Cherry tomatoes are open for picking- they are rocking so the limit is a quart- thanks! If you happen to see any large green caterpillars on the plants- squash them!

Chili peppers- lots of different varieties and varying heat….check out the guide!

Featured vegetables—Sauce Tomatoes

Also known as paste or roma tomatoes- these tomatoes vary in size, shape, texture, taste and color. We have about 12 different kinds of sauce tomatoes in the field including San Marzano, Myona, Super Marzano, Opalka, Northampton Italian, Italian Heirloom, Hogheart, Amish Paste, Orange Banana, Cassidy’s Folly, Purple Russian & Black Prince. Now you can use any tomato for a fresh tomato sauce, but you will find that a slicer or salad tomato has a lot of flavor but is also mostly water and seeds. A “sauce” tomato still has some juice, just not as much, and tends to be firmer in texture and somewhat grainy with fewer seeds (a nightmare for us seed-savers). Most of the time they also should practically burst with flavor, but sadly, this is not always the first trait that these little tomatoes are bred for- a thick sauce is very important to many folks- so sometimes the flavor has gotten waylaid in exchange for meatiness. We try to pick our sauce tomatoes for flavor- most of the time we win, but occasionally we miss out. Cassidy’s Folly, it has been pointed out a few times this season is very pretty with its gold, iridescent striping, but is totally bland. It does, however, have a nice texture to thicken up your sauce, so go ahead and mix them up with some of the Marzanos for a delicious mix. The Northampton Italian tomato is the size and shape of a large pepper- it is one of our all time favorite tomatoes across the board for flavor and texture. It has won many a taste test with its creamy richness, and jars of its rich sauce go in the pantry for winter eating. Orange Banana is also one that is often overlooked- another favorite for all around eating- our kids snack on them in the field- they are prolific and rich in sweetness. They make a delicious sauce- made especially delicious with the addition of lemon basil and cream. This is the first year where we have offered sauce tomatoes as their own item in addition to the slicers. Enjoy!

Recipe of the Week: I made this sauce and canned four jars of it this weekend. It is delicious! Below is the recipe for a quart (simply quadruple to make a canning batch and don’t forget to add 2 Tbsp of lemon juice to each quart jar to make up for any lack in acidity).

Roasted Roma Sauce with Garlic

Ingredients:

3-4lbs (or about one full quart) sauce tomatoes

1 full head of garlic

2 Tbsp olive oil

½ cup chopped onion

1 tsp fresh oregano

1 tsp fresh basil

Salt & pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Layer the tomatoes on a cookie tray and broil until the tomatoes get soft and their skins start to wrinkle and turn blackish- or use the grill. Remove from the broiler or grill and let sit, covered or in a brown paper bag for 15 minutes. While they are sitting, drizzle the olive oil over the garlic and wrap in aluminum foil and roast in a hot oven or on the grill until soft- about 15-20 minutes- reserve any oil and squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their peels.

Now you can peel the tomatoes, seed and dice them or you can put them through a food mill. Saute the onion in a little olive oil until soft, add the tomato (diced or puree), oregano, basil and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer on low heat for a minimum of ½ hour or until it is as thick as you like before serving on your favorite pasta al dente.

For canning- you can use boiling water bath for 1 ½ hours- follow all appropriate directions for your canner, jars, lids, etc.

 

 

Posted 8/21/2012 1:37pm by Desiree & Jesse Robertson-DuBois.

We need some weeding assistance for some of the fall crops in our fields- we would like to attack them with a larger group of folks in an attempt at “many hands make light work” situation. The fall cabbages and brussel sprouts need to be cleared out so that we can then undersow them with cover crops to get a head start on winter.

Make sure that you get out to the Cummington Fair this week- it starts on Thursday with a wristband night-the only way to go if you want endless rides for the kids. We have flyers in the store so pick one up- the shows are always a lot of fun and don’t forget to check out the Exhibit Hall- we love to see which of our neighbors grows the biggest tomato or the prettiest flowers. This really is an Agricultural Fair- there are young folks showing their animals, teamsters with their oxen or horses, and so much more.

Congrats to Elspeth & Morgan who both won ribbons and trophies this past weekend at the Berkshire 4-H Youth Fair with their lovely dairy goats and artwork. They worked really hard all summer and we are super proud of their achievements. Elspeth even had her photo taken for the paper on Sunday!

 

What’s in your share (maybe)

Tomatoes

Summer squash & Zucchini

Bell & Fryer Peppers

Red Cabbage

Potatoes- August & Elba

Onions: Rossa Longa

Swiss Chard

Eggplant

Lettuce

Kohlrabi

 

Pick Your Own

The flowers are open- please pick a nice bouquet- feel free to weed while out there!

Basils are ready- take a bunch for a pesto meal.

Parsleys and other herbs are open for picking. Let us know if you don’t recognize something or want to find a particular herb.

Green and wax beans are also open for picking.

Cherry tomatoes are open for picking- they are rocking so the limit is a quart- thanks! If you happen to see any large green caterpillars on the plants- squash them!

Featured vegetables—Tomatoes

Do we have your tomatoes or what? This year we are growing around forty varieties including heirlooms and hybrids. We may have mentioned our tomato trial to find a replacement for Big Beef- the fabulous and perfect red slicer that we’ve grown for years but is now a product of Seminis Seeds- owned by the Monsanto Corporation. We disagree with Monsanto’s business practices and so we are trying to find another perfect red slicer. So far the winner is a tomato called Bobcat- it makes big, gorgeous tomatoes and the plants look amazing in the field. We will let you know about flavor later on, but so far, we love it.

The heirlooms are having a little more trouble with the inconsistent water this summer is providing- they are cracking a lot from the thunderstorms combined with drought while they were developing. While the cracks are mostly cosmetic and don’t really hurt the flavor of the tomato- they sure do make them ugly and they do impact the storability. Take a combination of tomatoes home with you- eat the cracky ones first and leave the perfect ones on the windowsill for later in the week! I added some new recipes using tomatoes on the website- look for more as I upload some of my favorites in the coming weeks. Still no sign of late blight!

Recipe of the Week: This is great and the very best way to eat eggplant…you can also use your grill- instead of chunks, simply slice lengthwise or in rounds, toss with the olive oil and salt and place on a grill until tender.

Basic Roasted Eggplant:

Preheat oven to 475. Cut 3 medium eggplants (about 3 lbs total) into 1-inch pieces.

Divide between 2 rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil over eggplant and season w/ coarse salt and ground pepper; Toss to coat and arrange in a single layer.

Roast until golden and tender, 25 to 30 minutes, stirring once. let cool on sheets.

3 Roasted Eggplant Salad Ideas:

Eggplant Salad w/ Tomatoes and Basil

In a large bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons white-wine vinegar and 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil; season w/ coarse salt and ground pepper. Add 1 recipe of Basic Roasted Eggplant, 1 pint of halved grape tomatoes (or whatever you have) and 1 cup torn fresh basil leaves. Toss to Combine.

Eggplant Salad w/ Chickpeas and Feta

In a large bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons) add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, season w/ coarse salt and ground pepper. Add 1 recipe of Basic Roasted Eggplant, 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained, 4 ounces of feta, crumbled (about 1 cup) and 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves. Toss to combine.

Curried Eggplant Salad w/ Peas and Cashews

Cook 1 package of frozen peas according to package instructions, rinse under cool water and drain. In a large bowl whisk together 3 tablespoons of fresh lime juice (from 2 limes), 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (christy says organic canola), and 1 teaspoon curry powder, season w/ coarse salt and ground pepper. Add 1 recipe of Basic Roasted Eggplant, peas, 1/2 cup of chopped roasted cashews, and 1/2 cup of chopped fresh cilantro. Toss to Combine.

Posted 8/14/2012 10:59am by Desiree & Jesse Robertson-DuBois.

It is hard to believe that the CSA season is already half way over! We have a lot of beautiful veggies coming in and are starting to seed some of fall favorites in the next week or so. September will bring us back to mustard greens, turnips, radishes and hopefully rain and cool weather, but until then it is the dog days of summer for the next few weeks at least. A little more rain has brought some relief to the parched fields that we just can’t reach with the irrigation, but yields are down on some of our bulkier crops.

We have received a warning about late blight once again for this year for the tomatoes! It has hit the Pioneer Valley farmers and is whirling around with all the thunderstorms we’ve been having. Hopefully it will pass us by. In case you don’t know what I’m talking about- tomatoes (and its relatives such as potatoes, peppers and eggplant) are susceptible to a systemic fungal infection that can invade and kill the plant in 24 hours. It is gray and can be fuzzy and attack any part of the plant. It is the fungus that was responsible for the Potato Famine and continues to be “blight” in the bottom for all farmers conventional and organic. If you have a garden of your own you will want to take a good look at some pictures online so that you can identify and properly destroy any infected plants- check out http://nysipm.cornell.edu/publications/blight/ or google “late blight” for good images. It does not cause yellow leaves or pin holes (that’s early blight and leaf spot or one nutritional deficiency or another among others). In any case keep an eye out for it.

Note: When out picking the cherry tomatoes- please keep an eye out for tomato hornworms- these are big (as long as your finger sometimes) green caterpillars and they are responsible for defoliating the tops of the tomato plants. Pluck those suckers off and squash them! You may ignore them if they appear to have any small white bumps attached to their backs- these are the eggs of a small parasitoid wasp which will happily hatch into the caterpillar and eat it from the inside out before pupating into another little practically microscopic wasp.

What’s in your share (maybe)

Kale

Tomatoes

Summer squash & Zucchini

Bell & Fryer Peppers

Red Cabbage

Potatoes- Purple Viking

Onions: Cippolini

Swiss Chard

Beets

Eggplant

Lettuce

Kohlrabi

 

Pick Your Own

The flowers are open- please pick a nice bouquet- feel free to weed while out there!

Basils are ready- take a small bunch for a pesto meal.

Parsleys and other herbs are open for picking. Let us know if you don’t recognize something or want to find a particular herb.

Green and wax beans are also open for picking.

Cherry tomatoes are open for picking- they are rocking so the limit is a pint- thanks! If you happen to see any large green caterpillars on the plants- see the note above.

Featured vegetables—Peppers & Cherry tomatoes

Peppers- we have many varieties of sweet and crunchy peppers for you this year. They can be all colors from green to purple to orange and red, but they are best when ripe. We tend to pick them at half color/ripeness and they will continue to ripen to perfection if you leave them on the counter or next to the bananas in your kitchen.  We’ve noticed that everyone is avoiding a lovely sweet frying pepper called Jimmy Nardello- this is an heirloom pepper and is long and skinny like a chili, but it has no heat and is simply delicious fried up, eaten raw or grilled. We halved these and threw them on the grill for a few minutes- then we rolled them with fresh goat cheese and ate them like vultures.

The cherry tomatoes we have for you also include a new variety this year- it is called Honeydrop and was developed over eight years by Tevis Robertson-Goldberg (Jesse’s brother!) over at Crabapple Farm. It is light orange in color and vaguely ovalish in shape- it is simply sweet and delicious with a thinner skin than the Sungolds that are the brighter orange cherry out there. Please also don’t pass up the larger Black Cherry tomatoes- these are deep purple when ripe with slight green shoulders and they are so rich in tomato flavor that they pack a whole big beefsteak into two bites. We have some reds out there as well- let us know if you like this variety as it is new for us this year- we just want to find a red cherry that comes anywhere close in sweetness and flavor to our orange and purple variants.

Recipe of the Week:

Mediterranean Eggplant and Barley Salad

1 1/2 lb eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

3/4 lb zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

10 TBS olive oil

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 cup chopped scallion (from 1 bunch)

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp cayenne

1 1/4 cups pearl barley (8 oz)

1 3/4 cups (14oz) chicken or vegetable broth

3/4 cup water

2 TBS fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 tsp sugar

1/2 lb cherry tomatoe, quartered

1/3 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and halved

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion, rinsed and drained if desired

1 cup chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley

1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

1 1/2 lb piece ricotta salata cheese, cut into thin slices

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Toss eggplant and zucchini with 5 TBS oil, 3/4 tsp salt, and 3/4 tsp pepper in a bowl, then spread in 2 oiled large shallow (1-inch deep) baking pans.  Roast vegeatbles in oven, stirring occasionally and switching position of pans halfway through baking, until vegetables are golden brown and tender, 20 to 25 minutes total.  Combine vegetables in 1 pan and cool, reserving other pan for cooking barley.

Heat 2 TBS oil in a 3- to 4-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook scallion, cumin, coriander, and cayenne, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add barley and cook, stiring until well coated with oil, 2 minutes more.  Add broth and water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until all of liquid is absorbed and barley is tender, 30 to 40 minutes.  Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes.  Transfer to reserved shallow baking pan and spread to quickly cool, uncovered, to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

Whisk together lemon juice, garlic, sugar and remaining 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and 3 TBS oil in a large bowl.  Add barley, roasted vegetables, and remaining ingredients to bowl with dressing and toss until combined well.  Serve with cheese slices.

Posted 8/7/2012 12:58pm by Desiree & Jesse Robertson-DuBois.

The summer fruits are really starting to come in and we’ll have the first of the tomatoes and peppers for you this week. We have forty varieties of tomatoes including sauce, saladette, heirloom and hybrids and we have ten or so varieties of bell and frying peppers in all colors and shapes.

We got our brand new Grindstone Farm Root Washer up and running this week! It is an incredible example of farmer ingenuity and invention- a piece of specialized equipment designed and built by a farmer to meet a specific need to increase efficiency. And it works like a dream. I’ll bet you didn’t know that most of us farmer types are born and bred science and engineering geeks at heart- we love to work hard outside with veggies and livestock but we also love to tinker and experiment and tweak just about everything around us. There’s always room for improvement when every minute of the day counts so closely towards the bottom line. In any case, the washer is gorgeous- come check it out in our wash station- it is the beautiful barrel lying on its side (at a slight incline) with a motor to turn it (variable speed) and water jets along the length to wash the produce clean as it gently turns and slides down from one end to the other. Dirty taters in one end- clean taters at the other. Yay!

 Tim pulling carrots out of the root washer

 

What’s in your share (maybe)

Kale

Tomatoes

Summer squash & Zucchini

Bell & Fryer Peppers

Red Cabbage

Potatoes- Blue Gold or Red Norland

Onions: Ailsa Craig

Swiss Chard

Carrots

Eggplant

 

Pick Your Own

The flowers are open- please pick a nice bouquet and please harvest them according to the directions on the board in order to keep our beautiful flowers blooming all summer long.

Basils are ready- take a small bunch for a pesto meal.

Parsleys and other herbs are also open for light picking. Let us know if you don’t recognize something or want to find a particular herb.

Green and wax beans are also open for picking. Try the dragon beans- they are similar to Roma beans or shelling beans except for you can eat the whole thing and they are delicious! Rich, beany flavor they are great for snacking or roasting.

Cherry tomatoes are open for picking- they are still getting started so the limit is a ½ pint- thanks!

 

Featured vegetable—New Potatoes

New potatoes are one of our favorite vegetables- while one would think that one potato variety is just like any other they actually have a variety of colors, textures and tastes. The world boasts over 5000 varieties of potato (!); 3000 of which come from South America. You can read all about the potato in all its fascinating rainbow of selection at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potato. We only grow a select few here at the farm, but we grow many of them for specific purposes in cooking. Blue Gold- first given out Saturday last week and Tuesday this week is the perfect- in our opinion- tater for potato salad and pan sauté. It keeps a smooth firm texture for boiling without losing its skin and is moist enough for the pan without having to wait forever. The red-gold and august potatoes from a couple of weeks back were sweet and nutty in flavor but disintegrated in boiling water for us no matter how close we watched them. But they roasted to perfection! So incredibly delicious- they completed every meal. Don’t mash these little lovelies- they will be too starchy and turn to a sticky, glue-like mess. If you have to have them mashed- do so with a fork on your plate and you will have better results.

The storage potatoes such as Yukons, Elba, Russet- are better for baking and mashing- having a drier and flakier texture- and less likely to turn into glue under duress.

 

Elspeth’s Potato Salad

We aren’t kidding- six years old and she loves it and she likes to make it for us! This is the perfect side dish with anything from the grill!

 

1-2 qts of new potatoes, preferably Blue Gold or Red Norland

1 fresh sweet onion (red or white) with green tops

3 carrots, grated

Good mayonnaise

1 Tbsp of grain mustard

Generous Tbsp of sweet Paprika

Optional meaty extras: Crumbled, cooked Pastured-raised bacon, Free-range eggs, hard-boiled

 

Quarter the potatoes with their skins on. Put in a saucepan and cover with water. Cook until fork tender but not falling apart. Drain and run under cold water to cool.

While the potatoes are cooking, grate the carrots and finely chop the entire onion-green tops and all. When potatoes are cool, add the carrots, onion, mustard and sprinkle with the paprika. Add just enough mayo to coat but not drown the vegetables (you can mix in the optional ingredients before the mayo). Toss well and serve.