Barnyard Bull - News & Blog

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.

Posted 7/31/2012 3:53pm by Desiree & Jesse Robertson-DuBois.
  • Our first CSA Potluck was really fun- thank you to everyone who joined us for and for the delicious food and company. We had a perfect evening for it and we can’t wait to do it again. Look for a September Harvest Potluck date.
  •  

The drought related crop failures are really coming to the light- while we got the irrigation going in most of the fields we can’t get to all of them. The drought lasted for almost eight weeks straight with soaring temperatures- great for long lazy days at the lake but not so great for the vegetables. It also took quite a lot of money and labor to get water to thirsty vegetables. Thank you so much to Jesse for many long hours figuring out our new irrigation system both for the planning, purchasing and implementation.

Hence we have a gap in lettuce and the cucumbers are less than to be desired. We should be able to have some lettuce for you again in another week or so- we have replanted the cucumbers- hopefully they will take off and we will get a late crop before frost. We will have some beets in the near future, but there will be a gap until the fall beets come in. We will have lots of other delicious things though that weathered the drought or we were able to get water to in time. The winter squash harvest looks to be going strong. Anyone have any ideas about elimination of groundhogs and the exploding rabbit population? We have been over-run!

 

 

What’s in your share (maybe)

Kale

Kohlrabi

Summer squash & Zucchini-limited

Broccoli

Red & Green Cabbage

Potatoes- Red Gold or August Yellow

Cucumbers- limited

Onions: Rosa Lunga de Tropea

Swiss Chard

Carrots

 

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 for light pinching. Please just take a few tips (not just leaves!) so that the plants branch out and get big.

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. We have- marjoram, anise hyssop, lemon balm, sage.

Green and wax beans are also open for light picking. Don’t go crazy hoping for dilly beans yet- they are just getting started so stick to a handful or so to add to your salad or stirfry for this week.

 Cherry tomatoes are really close, but are not ready for full on picking- you might get a tasty snack if you dare the weedy pathways- we will get them mown this week and hopefully next week we can fully open them.

Featured vegetable—Fresh onions

While we have always grown or tried to grow scallions for spring (with varying success) we have usually grown storage onions for the fall. Last year these types of onions were an unmitigated disaster- we just could not keep the weeds down enough to get them to grow to any appreciable size and I ended up tilling them under when it became clear that it was a hopeless situation. Conferring with farmer friends about this it became very clear that most of our CSA farmers had completely stopped growing storage onions- “why grow an onion that takes so long in the field and comes out of the ground at the same time as leeks? We have garlic scapes in the spring and we need onions in the summer!” We concur! This year we are not growing storage onions but instead are growing the three onions most recommended by our peers as favorites among their customers. We started with Red Cippolini or Pearl onions, Ailsa Craig- a sweet white onion from Scotland, and Rossa Lunga de Tropea (Red Long of Tropea) an Italian red onion that is long and skinny. All are sweet and delicious and we are harvesting them “fresh” so their tops are green and sweet. Use them just like scallions. We love these delicious beauties- we chop the whole onion into our morning eggy breakfast, our lunch stir-fry or our dinner salads. Once the tomatoes arrive these lovelies will make excellent additions to tomato dishes such as gazpacho and fresh salsa.

We added a couple of recipes to the website- we just have to tell you though, when we went to the database of recipes there were over 1000 recipes that had onions! They are in everything! Pick your favorite and add these delicious sweet onions..

Blueberry Salsa

Tomato season hasn’t really started for us quite yet but blueberry season is upon us! Go out and get some fresh, delicious local blueberries from Summit Farm, Berkshire Organics or one of the many other blueberry pick-your-own operations around and make this different but delicious salsa!

2 cups coarsely chopped blueberries

1 cup fresh whole blueberries

1/4 cup lemon or lime juice (more or less)

1/3 cup fresh chopped cilantro

2 jalapenos or green chilis (minced, and seeded if you want a milder salsa)

1/3 cup finely diced bell pepper

1/4 cup chopped green onion

1/2 tsp sea salt

Mix together and serve or chill to let flavors blend fully

Serve with your choice of tortilla chips or as a side for grilled chicken/other meats.

 

Posted 7/24/2012 2:35pm by Desiree & Jesse Robertson-DuBois.
The first CSA Potluck is on Wednesday July 25th at 530pm.  Please join us for good food and conversation and maybe a toss of the Frisbee. We will fire up the grill and provide the makings for burgers and green salad- you bring other salads and dessert! Let us know that you are coming so that we have a count for how many burgers we need. RSVP to 413-358-1194.

The little bit of rain we had last night and the day before has brought a little welcome relief to a painfully arid summer, but it barely dampened the soil in the fields. We could use three days straight of that type of rain preferably without the thunderstorms which sent our young beef stock into a panic early this morning and right through the fence. They ran around through the backyards of various neighbors and into the highway, but none were hurt and all are back into their pasture. Whew.

Sunday’s Great Garlic Harvest was fantastic and all of the garlic is now harvested and hanging to cure in the barn! Thank you to everyone- friends, family and CSA members alike who came out to help- it would have been a long, hot and trying chore without all the extra hands.

Garlic Harvest wagon with the whole crew

The farm store now has delicious pasture-raised, local Chicken! Mansfield Farm has gone through all the bells, whistles, hoops and fire to get their small, mobile slaughterhouse fully certified and inspected by the state of MA and the USDA. We ate one of these incredible birds for dinner the other night, rubbed with chili pepper and salt and grilled and then finished with drizzling of maple syrup. It was amazing- never have I had a chicken so tender in texture and rich in flavor.

 

 

What’s in your share (maybe)

Kale- Green Curly

Kohlrabi

Summer squash & Zucchini-limited

Broccoli

Red Cabbage

Potatoes- Red Gold or August Yellow

Cucumbers- limited

Onions: Ailsa Craig

Swiss Chard

 

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 for light pinching. Please just take a few tips (not just leaves!) so that the plants branch out and get big. There are two beds- the first is close to the tomatoes on the left side and is the flavored basils- lemon (great in cream sauce), thai (add to your favorite stir fry and purple (fabulous with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella). The Sweet basil is closer to the top of the garden in a whole bed by itself- it is marked.

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. We have- marjoram, anise hyssop, lemon balm, sage. We will soon be planting the later season herbs: dill, fennel and cilantro (these all grow better later on in the summer).

Green and wax beans are also open for light picking. Don’t go crazy hoping for dilly beans yet- they are just getting started so stick to a handful or so to add to your salad or stirfry for this week.

 Cherry tomatoes are really close, but are not ready for full on picking- you might get a tasty snack if you dare the weedy pathways- we will get them mown this week and hopefully next week we can fully open them.

Featured vegetable—Swiss Chard or Silver Beet

Swiss Chard is a beautiful green that is the perfect summer stand-in for spinach in almost any recipe. A relative of beets, it doesn’t usually develop a root of any appreciable size and instead produces large, soft and wonderful leaves with those beautifully colored stems that brightened up any meal.

Thanks to Oona and Ben of Town Farm down in Northampton for the following deliciousness! Make it with some of the most amazing eggs around- truly organic and pasture-raised from Crabapple Farm (Jesse’s family’s farm!) in Chesterfield. You will never want to eat regular grocery store eggs again.

Chard and Onion Frittata

Here's what I made for dinner last night. It's a standby in our house. This time of year I substitute scallions for onions and use chevre for the cheese and only have parsley to herb it up. There are so many ways to make frittatas.

 CHARD AND ONION FRITATTA from 'Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone'

 

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large red or white onion, quartered and thinly sliced crosswise

1 bunch chard, leaves only, chopped (can also be kale)

salt and freshly milled pepper

1 garlic clove

6 to 8 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 tablespoons chopped basil

2 teaspoons chopped thyme

1 cup grated Gruyere (or any kind of cheese)

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

 Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 10-inch skillet, add the onion, and cook over low heat, stirring occassional, until completely soft but not colored, about 15 minutes.  Add the chard and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until all the moisture has cooked off and the shard is tender, about 15 minutes.  Season well with salt and pepper. 

Mash the garlic with a few pinches of salt, then stir it into the eggs along with the herbs.  Combine the chard mixure with the eggs and stir in the Gruyere and half the parmesan. 

Preheat the broiler.  Heat the remainiing oil in the skillet and, when it's hot, add the eggs.  Give a stir and keep the heat at medium-high for about a minute, then turn it to low.  Cook until the eggs are set but still a little moist on top, 10 to 15 minutes.  Add the remaining Parmesan and broil 4 to 6 inches from the heat, until browned.  Serve in the pan or slide it onto aa serving dish and cut it into wedges.  Serves 4 to 6.

Posted 7/17/2012 1:54pm by Desiree & Jesse Robertson-DuBois.

Where is the rain?  Yes, we are in a drought and it is affecting us.  The carrots and beets have been growing very slow because of the lack of water, so we’ll have to wait a bit longer for them.  We are doing what we can to make the situation better- we have borrowed large cisterns from a neighbor to store water and Jesse has been hard at work rigging up irrigation systems.  You can do your part too- avoid watering your lawn.  For your garden, instead of using a sprinkler use a handheld hose or drip system to avoid watering areas that don’t need it.  And doing a little rain dance can’t hurt either…

 

Big things are happening next week at the farm and you’re invited!!!

  • The Great Garlic Harvest is on Sunday July 22nd at 1030am.  Please come and help us to dig, pull & bunch!
  • The first CSA Potluck is on Wednesday July 25th at 530pm.  Please join us for good food and conversation and maybe a toss of the Frisbee. We will fire up the grill and provide the makings for burgers and green salad- you bring other salads and dessert! Let us know that you are coming so that we have a count for how many burgers we need. RSVP to 413-358-1194.

 

 

What’s in your share (maybe)

Kale- Green Curly

Kohlrabi

Summer squash & Zucchini

Broccoli

Green Cabbage

Potatoes

Cucumbers- limited

 

Pick Your Own

Peas are done for the season.

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

Tender herbs, green beans and cherry tomatoes are getting closer, but are not ready yet. We’re hoping with the irrigation, some will be ready for next week.

Featured vegetable—Zucchini

Zucchini is a versatile summer vegetable, which is good because it grows so fast it’s hard to keep up with. You can slice them up for a sauté or stir-fry, shred them for pancakes, muffins, breads and cakes or, with the larger ones, stuffing them, as shown in the recipe of the week.

 

Stuffed Zucchini

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups prepared tomato sauce
  • 2 med or 1 large zucchini
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped onions
  • 1/2 tsp. finely chopped garlic
  • 1/4 lb. ground beef, turkey, or mushrooms
  • 1/4 lb. favorite sausage
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 c. bread crumbs
  • 6 tbsp. Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp fresh chopped oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Cut zucchini in half, lengthwise.  Spoon out most of pulp leaving hollow boatlike shells.  Set shell aside.
  3. Chop pulp coarsely,  Heat 3 tbsp. olive oil in skillet, add the onions, cook for 5-10 minutes or until soft.  Add zucchini pulp and garlic and cook another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Drain contents of skillet.  Saute ground beef and sausage and drain.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine vegetables and meat.  Beat in lightly beaten eggs, bread crumbs, 2 teaspoons grated cheese, oregano, salt and pepper.  Spoon stuffing into hollowed shells, mounding top slightly.
  5. To bake zucchini, pour the 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce into a shallow  baking pan.  Arrange the zucchini on the sauce.  Sprinkle tops with 1/4 cup of cheese, dribble a few drops of olive oil over them, cover dish tightly with foil.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, removing foil after 20 minutes so the tops can brown. 

 

Posted 7/10/2012 2:17pm by Desiree & Jesse Robertson-DuBois.

Two more weekends until the Great Garlic Harvest on July 22nd starting at 1030a. We need diggers, pullers & bunchers.

First CSA potluck is in two weeks! We will fire up the grill on Wednesday evening July 25th at 530pm. Please join us for good food and conversation and maybe a toss of the Frisbee. We will have the makings for burgers and green salad- you bring other salads and dessert! Let us know that you are coming so that we have a count for how many burgers we need- RSVP to 413-358-1194.

Fabulous Food Blogs- as foodie farmers we love food blogs and would like to share our favorites with you. Let us know if there are ones that you particularly enjoy.

CSA shareholder Julie Golin shares her delicious recipes at localnewengland.blogspot.com . She sources most of her ingredients from various local farms around Berkshire County so you will find that her recipes fit the seasonal availability of our region. We occasionally get to sample some of her fabulous fare and feel very lucky when little packages of deliciousness arrive from her capable hands. You can also follow her on Facebook by “liking” How Does Your Garden Grow.

We also enjoy Eron Truran ne Sandler’s blog, In the Hopeful Kitchen at hopefulkitchen.blogspot.com- a lot of her recipes are gluten free and/or vegetarian, but not all and all are delicious. She’s originally from Northampton and went to college with Jesse and I, which is how I know her- she’s been living in the CA for the last few years and recently got married, but we love her recipes even if she gets to use some fruits and veggies that don’t grow locally…..I like to supplement my own veggies with USA grown fruits through Berkshire Organics and when those precious mangos and avocados come in my door they deserve special consideration. Mango parfaits anyone?

We also wanted to give you a CSA recipe blog that would help you plug in your weekly share and generate some recipes, but in the last few years there has been a veritable explosion of great CSA food blogs that do just this. Let us know if you have any favorites! As it is, we have access to the fabulous recipe database from Small Farm Central who hosts our website- all of their clients contribute delicious recipes and we pick our favorites to post on our recipe page. You can search any of the ones we decide to post by plugging in your veggies. Cheers!

 

What’s in your share (maybe)

Lettuce

Kale- Red Curly

Chinese (also called Napa) Cabbage

Kohlrabi

Swiss Chard

Summer squash & Zucchini- Limited

Broccoli

Green Cabbage

Green garlic- limited

 

Pick Your Own

Peas are still going in the second planting.

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

Tender herbs are getting closer to being open for picking, but not quite yet.

Green beans are needing rain to wake up but hopefully we will have some in the near future.

Featured vegetable--: Cabbage

Cabbage is a versatile and delicious vegetable that often gets overlooked for being plain or boring. We source varieties that are sweet in flavor and crunchy in texture. They are “minis” so they grow quickly into nice tight heads usually not much bigger than a softball.

Their high sugar content caramelizes beautifully in butter making them an excellent side dish when braised or you can add in bacon and potatoes for a full meal. Grated into salads or turned into coleslaw- you will find your salads taking on a depth of flavor and sweetness that you didn’t expect but will delight in finding. We make an incredible early sauerkraut out of these sweet young cabbages. The recipe section has some delicious new recipes special for this week.