Monday, July 20, 2009

Mid-Summer Reflections

Well.  Here we are at the tail end of July already!  We've been super busy.  So busy, in fact, that we have decided to make some changes on the farm so that we can free up some brain space and have a little more fun.  The forward momentum of the season definitely has us in its grasp - we get up in the morning, while eating a little breakfast we make the list for the day, we motor to the field to do animal chores, and then get ready for the tasks we have laid out for ourselves.  Rinse and repeat every single day!  So.  We have decided to delay getting the pigs until next spring and to harvest the ducks and geese a little earlier than we originally intended.  The ducks and geese require 2x a day care - letting them out of their house, putting them into their house; not to mention the moving of their fence 2x per week.  They were originally going to be used as weeder geese and insect controlling ducks - but it turns out the geese just like to nibble the tips of new grass, and the ducks don't like the taste of Colorado Potato Beetles too much.  As with so many things, we have decided that they just don't fit our temperament.  So - they're freezer bound, and perhaps this means we can sleep in some Sundays in an effort to recharge at least a little bit!

Meanwhile, we've been moving forward with the rare breed chickens - looking good and doing
well at scratching up the ground where their tractor sits each day!  We also have a round of
 cornish game hens in process - those are all slated for our Outstanding in the Field dinner, though!  The quail made the big move outside to their flight pen.  It seemed pretty predator-proof, but last night something paid them a visit... only one casualty as far as we can tell.  We decided to wrap the entire structure in chicken wire in addition to all the wire they already have - so hopefully they have a peaceful evening tonight.

The Haygrove continues to dazzle and amaze, as our pepper plants grow amazingly tall and 
handsome (as plants go), not to mention gorgeous pepper fruits!  The eggplant are producing lovely fruits as well, the cukes are non-stop and uber-delicious, and the squash plants are putting out some incredibly huge blossoms as well as stunningly beautiful (not to mention cute) baby squashes.  And.  Just today... brace yourselves... I saw ripe large tomatoes and tons of ripe cherry tomatoes!!!  And so it has begun!  It's now officially summer!

We had a wonderful Vermont Fresh Network brunch on Sunday - we partnered with Sugarsnap
 Farm & Restaurant to showcase our produce as well as share our farms with some savvy eaters and curious customers.  It is always fun to share our farm with folks, and in this setting it was perfect - slightly breezy, mid-70s, no bugs, sunshine for the most part.  What a nice day!!  Thanks to all who came out - we loved having you!!!

Also... super-fun and interesting happenings are going on every Thursday at the Intervale with our Summer of Taste series!  In partnership with the Intervale Center and Slow Food Vermont, I have put together an 8-week series of tastings for the public.  We have already had carrots and cheese - this week is maple with the folks from Dragonfly Sugarworks; I can hardly wait!  It is a neat 
opportunity to sample food you already know, but interact with it in a new way with a new vocabulary and with intention.  Come on down to experience the Summer of Taste!  

Spencer's mom Nancy and stepdad Garth have
 come for their annual summertime visit.  It is
 always a pleasure to share our farm with family - especially in the heat of the season; they get to see how our farm truly operates and help out, too!  They are fantastic garlic, carrot and onion harvesters!  We know how lucky we are to have 
family willing to get right in the dirt with us everyday of their visit and help out!  Thanks, guys!  You are such good sports and we love having you visit us in the summer - even though it's always super-busy!

Today we harvested all of the garlic crop - and it was magnificent!  We certainly have more this year than in years past - a great illustration of why it is important to save a portion of your garlic crop to plant out for the next year.  We've been diligently withholding garlic from folks for years to finally be able to have enough for everyone that wants some, but also to have enough to plant.  Feels good - plus, this garlic is AMAZING!

Next things coming up for us - tomatoes, peppers, shallots, cipolline onions, artichokes!  Want to try our amazing Japanese cukes in a new recipe?  See below!  Have a great week and keep that sunshine coming!

Asian Cucumber Salad
Serves 2
  • 1 japanese cuke
  • 1 cipollini onion
  • 1/4 c. rice wine vinegar
  • 2 T. shaoxing cooking wine
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  1. Make dressing.  Combine last 5 ingredients and whisk until sugar dissolves.  Taste for seasoning.
  2. On a mandoline or with a very sharp knife (and rock-steady hands), slice cuke into long flat ribbons - the length of the cuke.  Place ribbons in a bowl.
  3. Slice cipollini into rings.  Cut rings in half (optional), and sprinkle onto the cucumber.  Give the dressing one more whisk, and pour over cukes.  
  4. Refrigerate as long as you'd like.   Makes a fantastic and refreshing salad.  Enjoy!

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