Saturday, December 20, 2008

shhh...the farmer's are sleeping...

Thanks to all who have been checking back occasionally to see what is going on here at muddy fingers farm. According to this site - not much. But that is not the case! We have still been going to market once a week, with today scheduled to be the last market of 2008, unfortunately the roads around us were quite slick and the snow kept falling all day, so we missed the market and the annual rutabega curl, bummer! We did get to do some nice cross country skiing, so that is good, but we were sorry to be snowed in from a day out.
Pictured is an event from a few weeks back, when we rented a gi-normous chipper and made our own mulch for around the trees in our orchard and our blue berry plants. It is super fun to make our own mulch, first it kills two proverbial birds with one stone (cleaning out unsightly brush while clearing some new land and also keeping weeds from growing around our young trees- i guess that's three birds) and secondly, it is a huge rush to put a six inch diameter piece of wood into the machine, and have chips come out the other end! If you ever find a huge brush pile around your place, we highly recommend a chipper!

With all that chipping done, we had managed to clear a new area that will be put into production either in 09 or cover cropped next year and used to grow in 2010. Matthew moved the fence around our field out enough to accomodate the new growing area and its great to have some more room to use. We will not be expanding production, instead, we will use the new space to allow ourselves to have two areas of our current field "fallow" each year, thus allowing them to rest while we grow crops to feed the soil in them. The idea of a fallow is an important one for sustainable farming and its an old one, too. We have been worried that we didn't have enough land to really rest any of it (and instead we would have to buy compost to truck in that fertility), and are excited to have made room to grow soil improving crops every four years or so in each spot.

In addition to farm stuff, we have been enjoying sleeping, reading a lot, cross country skiing, taking walks in the snow (or not depending on the day), and are looking forward to ice skating when the ice is really hard.

We couldn't resist saying welcome to winter, since tomorrow is the darkest day of the year! Check back again sometime,
liz and matthew

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

last week of october (and CSA)

celeriac on parade

putting our friends sarah and eric to work!

Last week of the CSA. Its been our pleasure to provide your family with food this year, thank you for your support of our family and farm.

There are a few things left to do to wrap up the season, still have a little garlic to plant, and then a bunch to be mulched with old hay to keep it warm(er) over the winter and moist in the spring and summer until we harvest it next july/august. We will still have a market on saturday to attend until we run out of things to bring and we plan to sell to the three restaurants that we have been selling to all season for another few weeks.

The forecast is sounding like we may see our first snow of the fall soon, and we all are winding our activities down accordingly -- the humans in our house are working less, and cooking, reading, and relaxing more, the pets in our house are sleeping in front of the fire and showing us the appropriate pace for cool, wet days. Before too long, liz will be back to substitute teaching and matthew will be in charge of "holding down the farm", so to speak.

This week's share:
broccoli/cabbage/or cauliflower
pumpkins or winter squash

next week, you're on your own!

baked acorn squash stuffed with nuts and apples
1 medium Acorn squash
1 large Apple peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon (to 2 tsp) honey
1 teaspoon Lemon juice
1 tablespoon (to 2 tbs) walnuts, chopped (opt)
¼ teaspoon Ground cinnamon (opt)

Preheat the oven to 350.
Cut the acorn squash in half and remove the seeds. Bake upside down for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the apple, honey, lemon juice, nuts and cinnamon. Fill the squash halves with this mixture and bake for another 30 minutes, or until the squash is soft. Serve hot. From The Occasional Vegetarian by Karen Lee

Andrea’s Aromatic Pumpkin and Chick pea hot pot: (this is more like a curry that you would serve over rice than it is like a soup, last fall we ate this a lot, then we forgot about it, we'll eat it again, it is delicious!)

3 T vegetable oil
1 ½ cups finely chopped onion
¼ tsp salt to taste
2 or more tsp bottled thai curry paste (I used just curry powder, and it was fine)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground corriander
2 T grated fresh ginger
2 pounds peeled, seeded pumpkin or other winter squash, cut into 1 ¼ inch cubes. (alternately, you can bake the squash and scoop the softened insides out into the “soup”)
2 cans (15 oz each) light coconut milk
1 cup stock or water
3 T soy sauce
2 cans (15 oz each) chick peas, drained
1 cup cubed tofu, plain or herbed
Black pepper to taste
1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, finely chopped
Cook basmati rice and plain yogurt, optional

Saute onions and salt in oil until softened, but not browned. Stir in curry paste, cumin, corriander, and ginger. Raise heat to medium high and add pumpkin, stir to coat with seasonings. Add coconut milk, stock, and soy sauce. Simmer on low until pumpkin is almost tender, 10-20 minutes. Stir in chick peas and tofu, partially cover pan and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Stir gently, adjust salt and pepper to taste, add additional curry paste to make it hotter. Serve over rice, sprinkle with cilantro. Yogurt can cool taste buds if too hot.

From Asparagus to Zucchini cookbook, 3rd edition

Potato salad with Arugula
2 lbs. Small potatoes
½ cup very thinly sliced red onions
2 large tomatoes, cut into ½ inch wedges
1 cup chopped Arugula leaves

3 t white wine vinegar
6 T extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp dry mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil potatoes until tender when pierced. Cool and chunk into 1 inch pieces. Toss other ingredients, mix up dressing and pour over.
From greens, glorious greens!

Home made pumpkin pie:
Cut pumpkin in half along the longitude, then into 6 or 8 wedges, Bake uncovered in 325°F oven until tender throughout (1-2 hours), you can combine this with baking other winter squashes, potatoes, or other items so that you can double up on meals with one oven use. When cooked, allow to cool slightly and then puree in a food mill or in the food processor. Then use, in the following recipe or in soups, breads, or mashed as a side dish with butter. I often make two pies at once or freeze enough for a second (or 3rd or 4th) pie for later.

1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup evaporated milk, undiluted
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 unbaked pastry shell (9-inch)

Combine pumpkin, sugar, salt, spices, and flour in a medium mixing bowl. Add eggs; mix well. Add evaporated milk, water, and vanilla; mix well. Pour into pastry-lined pie pan. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350° and bake about 35 minutes longer, or until center is set.

have a great week and winter! liz and matthew

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fourth week of October

Running out of room for our share lists, the season must be almost over!

A carrot loving dog!

Luscious paw paws! YUM!

frosty parsley on tuesday morning.

Just two more pickups for the 2008 CSA season! Hard to believe that we have already eaten our way through so much of the year! Thanks for belonging to our farm this year and taking an interest in a little slice of the world and what happens to an agriculutral family that lives on that land. It makes a huge difference to us to know that if our farm was wiped off the map somehow, that there would be people who would know and it would matter to.

Yesterday was the day that comes only once a year, and that is the one where it is permissible to throw rotten or frost damaged tomatoes at each other. Soon after our first killing frost of the year, we will give into the urge to toss a few really gross ones at each other as we duck behind what is left of the once lucisous plants. We try not to really hit each other too much, but its acceptable to let a really sloppy, wet one land near by with a little warning splatter to land on the other. Its fun to get that kind of thing out of the sytem once in a while, but its also nice to take a shower afterwards and to leave those stinky clothes outside until the next laundry day.

The house has been full of Paw paw seeds this week, we got a bushel of paw paws from Cornell's orchard and we are eating them like crazy and have been freezing some for winter use, too. We would like to grow paw paw trees of our own someday, so we are saving all the seeds in order to plant them later. Today i realized it was out of hand as i saw four piles of the large, shiny seeds scattered on various tables, and counters. It is time to consolidate them all in one place! But, what, you say, is a paw paw? It is the largest native fruit in north america, they have a great tropical taste similar to a banana, or some say a mango or pineapple. Simply scrumptious! Can be cut open and eaten with a spoon tastes like a soft banana custard.

Reminder: October 25th will be our last csa event of the year. We will be planting some garlic, though its is going in the ground fast! we planted three more beds today. Then we will enjoy a potluck that should be very nice, please put it on your calendar and come on up!

This week's share:
parsley or cilantro

Next week's share:
greens, onions, cabbage or cauliflower

Baked apples:
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup honey
12 large sweet apples
boiling water

mix nuts and honey (can add raisons) core apples to within half inch of the bottom, do not pierce bottom of apple

fill cavity with walnut-honey mix. dot top of each apple with butter and cinnamon

put apples in oven proof dish just big enough to hold them. Pour boiling water to one inch level, cover with foil.

bake 30 minutes at 375 or until tender but holds shape. serve warm or cold

from farm fresh recipes

Summer in winter celeriac carrot slaw:
1 large or 2 small celeriac bulbs
2 large carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T sherry vinegar (red wine or lemon juice work)
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
1 T sour cream
freshly ground pepper

peel celeriac with a sharp knife (or wash well and trim hairy roots off). Grate celeriac and carrots into large shreds. you should have about four cups. Mix together other ingredients. pour over veggies and toss gently, marinate for 30minutes before serving. from asparagus to zucchini cookbok, third edition

have a lovely week, and stay warm!
liz and matthew

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Third week of October

putting the parent's to work!

Special thanks to the Glenn parents this week, with their help, we were able to replace a fabric wall on the greenhouse that had developed some tears and a torn zipper door. With their help, we were able to frame up a real endwall. It's still waiting for plastic to be put on it, but it looks a lot better than it did last week and will last for years. Thanks guys!

Things on the farm this week have been good. We look forward to the end of october and things slowing down a bunch, three of our weekly markets will end and with them our CSA pickups. November will mean just one market per week and a much slower pace for us. (We are currently harvesting for four markets per week, four csa dropoffs, as well as three restaurants.)

Please join us for our last CSA event of the year! We will be planting garlic on the saturday, the 25th of october. The event will begin at 4:30 PM (after market for us) and we will do what we can before dark, please stay for a potluck supper and a last chance to say hello and goodbye to other CSA members for the year. An email reminder will follow.

Tonight we had a Cornell Cooperative Extension Event at our farm to plant garlic and talk about fall gardening. We were excited to have an enthusiastic group of 13 show up at our place to take a tour, talk about CSA, and learn about growing garlic. It was neat to be able to open up our farm to some community members and to meet some more local folks! Plus, we got 40 some pounds of garlic planted, not a bad deal at all!

This week's share:
Winter Squash
Lettuce mix
Spicy greens mix

Next week's expected veggies:
potatoes, garlic, brussels sprouts?

Apple Pudding
Butter a pie plate, cake pan, or casserole dish. Peel and slice 4 to 6 apples (Granny Smilth or Pippins work the best).
1 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 egg, beaten

Pack this crumbly mixture over the apples and sprinkle with the following topping:

1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

Doth with butter. Pour 1/2 cup of water over the top.
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until the apples are tender.

(this recipe is yummy, thanks, marcia! Next time i make it, i will omit the egg and perhaps just dot with a little more butter, i didn't like the eggyness)

two ideas for parsnips, also nice sliced or grated on salad!
Oven fried Parsnips:
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Julien parsnips toss in olive oil and salt. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes, toss well with additional salt. Continue to bake, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, about 30 minutes total.

Cream of Parsnip-leek Soup:
1 lb. Parsnips, diced
2 leeks, sliced
5 cups of stock, seasoned with salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup skim milk powder
Tamari or soy sauce
Chopped parsley

Cover parsnips and leeks with stock and cook until tender. Puree in blender. Add remaining stock and heat in a double boiler. Whisk skim milk powder into 1cup water, ad to soup about 10 minutes before serving. Add tamari/soy sauce, correct the seasoning to taste, and garnish with parsley. Makes 4-6 servings.

have a great week!
liz and matthew

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Celeriac (Celery Root)

Here, sorry for the delay...

What the heck is this hairy looking thing again? Celeriac is closely related to celery, and the leaves are edible, and taste like celery, though stronger. The leaves and stalks can be used in salads or are most excellent in soups. The root is what the plant is actually grown for, and it is an old vegetable that was grown widely both in Europe and in the US back in the 1800s. When people where concerned about having a steady supply of food throughout the winter, celeriac was a true standout. It can be stored for 6-8 months in a root cellar. As long term storage became less important than looks, celeriac fell out of favor. (I wonder why?) The root has the texture of a potato when cooked and a mild celery flavor. It is delicious in soups and stews of all kinds, making a creamy and flavorful soup base. Or use it to replace potatoes in a favorite recipe and see what you think. It is excellent raw in salads, or as sticks dipped in your favorite dip. It is high in carbohydrates, Vitamin C, phosphorus, and potassium, and has only 20 calories per cup.
To store it, remove the tops, and put them and the root in a bag in the hydrator drawer of the fridge. The root will keep at least a month. The Leaves will keep 10 days or so. See the couple of recipes below.

Cream of Celeriac and Leek Soup:
3 Leeks
1 ½ pounds celeriac
1 large potato
3 T butter
4-5 cups broth, divided
Light cream, optional
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Wash leeks and slice white and light green parts, to make 2 cups. chop celeriac (peel if tough) into ½ inch cubes, you want 3-4 cups. Chop potato coarsely. Melt butter into soup pot, cook leeks until soft. Stir in potatoes and celeriac. Add four cups broth, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, 20-25 minutes. Pass through a sieve, or puree in a blender/food processor. If very thick, thin with cream and more broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 8 cups.

Garlicy mashed potatoes with celeriac.

1 celeriac, equal amount of potatoes
2-3 large garlic cloves.
Cube both celeriac and potatoes. Boil seperately, or add celeriac and cook for 12 minutes, then add potatoes and garlic and continue to boil until quite soft. Drain and mash with butter, salt, pepper, and a little milk to make it smooth. an excellent addition to your thanksgiving feast, or a nice winter meal.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

First week of October, (and last day of september)

Well how could i have forgotten to say it last week? Happy first day of autumn! It is looking like and beginning to feel like fall, too. We have been noticing how early it is getting dark, and the amount of clothing we leave the house wearing in the morning and how much we come in wearing at night. The maples and locusts lately have been putting on a lovely show and i've noticed the burning bushes beginning to burn. We have begun to talk about when our first fire of the year will be, but i don't think it will be very soon. In the last week, we've started to see the veese of geese heading south following the lake.

Lately lots of people have been asking when the last week of the CSA is, what are people getting tired of us already? But really, it is a good question. The CSA runs until the end of October, so there will be four more pickups after this week's, with the last saturday pickup (and the last pickup of the year) actually on november first.

We hosted a dinner this week to say thank you to our three working share groups, and we wanted to publicly thank them as well, if it were not for their hard work and generous help we would not have been able to manage everything this season. It was uplifting to see smiles on their faces even when picking beans and tomatoes for what seemed like hours at a time. The cheerful and very helpful mood each friday morning made it one of our very best days of the week. Our deepest gratitude to Harold, Mark and Pat, Terri, Lydia, and Reeder--thanks guys!

If you are interested in becoming an extremely appreciated person next year, please think about it over the fall and winter and let us know next spring. We will certainly want at least three working shares for harvesting on friday's next year, we will also be looking for someone to help us set up our thursday market in Corning, and may be looking for someone to help us setup at one other market of the week as well. The ideal candidates seem to be self employed, retired, parenting children, or teachers. If you have free time during the week or know someone else who does and may be interested in a working share, spread the word for the 2009 season.

The pierogi making day was a great success and quite fun, too! Pierogies were made and filled and eaten. Folks took walks out to the gorge and sat and appreciated the pond. It is always so meaningful to us to see other people appreciate our land and take time to sit and absorb what is going on here, from the swimming of fish, to the calls of the turkeys in the woods, it makes us glad to see other people have a chance to watch the large and small of our little ecosystem go by. And it made me especially glad to see the ecosytem of our kitchen return to equilibrium before the last guest left, as it is daunting to have 20 some guests in the kitchen, and my heartfelt thanks go out to those who did the dishes and scraped the dough off of our counters. What a nice event! For those who missed it, and for those who didn't- below is the "Classic pierogi" recipe that i have always used. Several other people brought other doughs, as for filling variations, the possibilities are almost endless, we had lots of types of fillings ranging from mushroom, to potatoes, to sweet potato, to grape. I'd be glad to post the dough and filling recipes too, just send the recipes along in an email and they'll go up here for all to see.

This week's share:
Winter squash

next week's share:
broccoli, potatoes, garlic, leeks, celeriac?

Classic pierogi
Dough: combine
3 cups all purpose flour
2 eggs slightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp salt
dash of pepper

let stand 20 minutes, roll out thinly (1/8-1/4 inch thick) on a floured board. Cut with a biscuit cutter or the top of a large mug. Place a rounded teaspoon of filling in center, fold edges over and pinch to seal them completely (a little water may help). Boil 3-5 minutes, may be browned in a little butter and then served.

Potato Filling:
combine 3 cups mashed potatoes with 1/2 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese.

cabbage filling:
finely chop cabbage, cook in boiling salted water about 10 minutes, saute one onion in butter and then add cabbage, toss with salt and pepper.

Let your imagination run wild with ideas for fillings. Samosa or ravioli fillings work just fine.

rolling the dough and boiling the pierogies

filling the pierogies Butternut squash soup (works with other squash, too.):
1 large squash
6 cloves
2 Cinnamon sticks
6 allspice berries
1/4 cup maple syrup
ground Cinnamon
ground nutmeg

Peel, seed, and cube squash, cover with water and boil, tie non ground spices in a cheese cloth and add to pot, boil and simmer over low for 40 minutes. Remove spices, drain squash and keep liquid, return to pot and mash (puree for smoother soup), add maple syrup, and ground up spices if desired, thin with liquid if needed.

OR cut squash in half and scoop out seeds (save them and bake them at 200 degrees for 10-15 minutes, salt and enjoy a delicious snack), put face down in a tray with a little water, bake at 350 until very tender (about 40 minutes), allow to cool and scoop the flesh out of the skin, mash and add cooking water as needed to make desired consistency, add spices as desired.

have a tremendous week, and eat lots of soup! Liz and Matthew

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fourth week of September

Snake season again!
This weekend there is a lot going on....Of Course there is a chance to come on up to the farm for our peirogi making day and tomato tasting time. That will take place on sunday, there is also a fund raising dance for a local low income CSA program taking place on saturday night, details on both below.

Pierogis are basically dough rounds made of sour cream and flour that are then filled with potatoes and/or cheese, cabbage, or other fillings. They are tasty treats of polish origin. All attendees will go home with pierogis to freeze (or eat fresh). All attendees are asked to bring one or more pierogi fillings, and a sense of adventure. (Don’t have a recipe, check your older cook books, or a quick Internet search will net you plenty.)

Once all together here, we form the pierogis, fill them with the various fillings, mix them up so every one gets some of every kind, cook them, and put them into freezer bags. In the past we have had fillings made with blue, yellow, red, and sweet potatoes, as well as cheese fillings, cabbage and mushroom fillings, and samosa fillings. It is quite fun to cut into the little pockets and see what is inside as you eat them at a later date! An RSVP is essential to attend this event so we know how many to shop for and how much dough to make. The event will take place Sunday September 28th at 2 PM. People have asked for a tomato tasting event and alas, we can not fit an official taste test in this year, but we will make sure to have our remaining types of tomatoes (some have begun to peeter out) cut up for sampling at the pierogi event. Email or call to rsvp by Friday evening please.
Also going on....
The 4th Annual Farmers Ball will kick off at 6 p.m. Saturday. Sept. 27 at the Ithaca Farmers Market Pavilion. The dish-to-pass dinner starts at 6 p.m., followed by old time dance tunes with Steve Selin, Ritchie Stearns and friends. Special guest Nancy Spero will call dances. Come show off your local food dishes, enjoy what other people have to share, socialize and dance. Please bring a place setting. This event is free and open to the public and will take place rain or shine.

Donations will be accepted to benefit Healthy Food For All which served local low-income families with 60 subsidized CSA shares this year. The Farmers Ball is put on by the Tompkins Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition. For more information contact: Katie Church, coordiantor Full Plate Farm Collective342-7632 and (suggested donation is $5.)

This week's share:

PYO green beans and cherry tomatoes

Seasonal recipes:
Potato Soup with Apple:
1 Tb butter
1Cup sliced leeks
1 cup celery, celery root or fennel chopped
½ cup tart apple, chopped
3 cups broth
1 cup potatoes, chopped
¼ tsp dried tarragon (opt)
¼ tsp pepper
Salt to taste

Sauté the first four ingredients for 3-5 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes, reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are soft. Add herbs and puree. Soup should be rich and creamy.

Potato Leek Soup:
½ tsp Salt
1 pound Potatoes, cubed (about 3 cups)
1 pound Leeks, thinly sliced
¼ cup fresh parsley, optional
1 Tablespoon Butter, optional

Bring 8 cups water to a boil in a pot. Add salt potatoes and leeks; cover and reduce heat
Cook until potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly. Transfer to a food processor or blender and puree. Do not over-blend or potatoes will become sticky. Return to pot, stir in parsley and butter and reheat. Six servings. Recipe from the Vegetarian Gourmet

Eat well, see you sunday! liz and matthew

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Third week of september

Picking all those tomatoes has finally made us flip!
But, this is one of the coolest tomatoes we picked this year!

There is a chance of frost on Thursday night. If that were to happen, it would be the shortest frost-free growing season that we have had since we started farming. This spring we had our latest frost ever --and if it were to freeze tomorrow night, then in addition it would be our earliest frost ever! Neither event is outside of our traditional first and last freeze dates, its just unusual have an late freeze and an early one in the same season. We'll see what happens.

Even if it doesn't freeze, the summer crops are fading away gradually. The cool nights and short days are not what the warm season crops like, and we've noticed them, too. We are inside a little earlier each day, (and are eating dinner a little earlier each night, too!) but as we come in, I've been noticing more clothing on the back of the chair where i tend to dispose of my farming clothes at the end of the day. There also tends to be a trail of warm layers laying around the edge of the fields where we shed them as the day warms and don't always remember them at the end of the day. Soon enough we'll need them in the evenings, too and all our laundry will be where it is meant to be.

Peirogi making day is coming up fast, don’t miss the fun! Join us on the 28th to make and take some peirogies home with you. You bring a filling and we’ll make them and fill them here.

This week’s share:
Chard or Kale
Pick your own Cherry tomatoes and Green Beans!

Mixed Greens Frittata
from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics cookbook
2 cups chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped basil
1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup grated feta, parm, or cheddar cheese

In a 10 inch ovenproof skillet, stir fry the greens, parsley, and basil in 1 teaspoon of the oil until wilted and tender. Transfer the greens to a bowl. Rinse the skillet and set aside. In separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, water and salt and stir in 1/4 cup of the cheese. Lightly oil the skillet with the remaining oil and place it on medium-high heat. Stir the egg/cheese mix into the greens and pour into the hot skillet. Sprinkle the top with the rest of the cheese. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook, without stirring, until the edges are firm and pulling away from the sides of the pan, about 5 minutes. The frittata should be mostly cooked, but with the top still slightly undercooked. Place the skillet under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, until the top is firm and beginning to turn golden brown. Cut into wedges and serve.

Make your own applesauce with those ugly apples!:
1 quart Apples cut into chunks, peeled or not
1 cup Water
1/2 cup Sugar
1 tsp. Lemon Juice
Cinnamon (optional)

Put all the ingredients in a sauce pan and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Mash the mixture using a potato masher or an electric mixer until it is smooth. Top with cinnamon, enjoy!

have a nice week, folks!
liz and matthew

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

second week of september

starting to be this time of year....
This week the weather has started to seem even more fall-like. The air has become drier, the few trees are still turning red and the golden rod has come into full flower. And for us, the smell of honey as we walk out into the field is intense. It seems like if we walked out with a piece of buttered toast, it would be sweetened by the time we got out to the tomatoes, that is sure sign of fall's coming into swing. And of course, the winter squash are starting to make demands on us that they haven't up to this point, they are getting ready to be picked!

No news yet on Matthew's ticker. Thanks to all for the expressions of concern.

Don't forget this month's CSA event! September 28th we will be making perogies! Please RSVP by Friday the 26th so that we can buy what we need in advance. I'd like a volunteer or two to help mix up the dough an hour or so before the event. An email will go out closer to the event with full details. It will be an afternoon event.

This week's share:


Pick your own Green Beans and Cherry Tomatoes

Grilled Tomatillo Salsa:
fresh tomatillos
garlic clove, unpeeled
1/2 cup fresh cilantro (can be skipped)
onion, coarsely chopped
lemon or lime juice
Hot Pepper
2 teaspoons coarse salt

Preheat broiler. Broil chile, garlic, and tomatillos on rack of a broiler pan 1 to 2 inches from heat, turning once, until tomatillos are softened and slightly charred, about 7 minutes (or can be rolled around covered in a dry cast iron skillet on the stove top). Peel garlic and tomatillos pull off tops of chiles. Purée all ingredients in a blender. • Salsa can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Makes about 3 cups. Freezes well.
Have a great week, sorry this is a late posting again, its been a busy week! liz and matthew

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

First week of September

This week has not been the best week in the life of muddy fingers farm. Not only has it been a busy week of harvesting, planting, and weeding, but Matthew has also have been having trouble with his heart, so there have been some doctor's appointments, some times when it has been beating a little crazy and some worry on both of our parts about what it could mean for us and for our farm business. On Tuesday he is scheduled for a visit with the Cardiologist and so far all we know is that he has a murmur, which apparently is very common.

It will be good to get in to the specialist as soon as possible, but it makes for a crazy day for me, since I'll be doing market again as well as the delivery on Tuesday. So, sorry folks, i may be a few minutes late again, if at all possible, plan to pick up after 4:15, since it is quite difficult to get packed up from the market and off to Elmira in good time.

A change to announce, the CSA event scheduled for the 27th will be held on the 28th instead. We just learned of a concert by one of our very favorite local musicians will be held on the 27th at Valley Folk and its an event that we don't want to miss! I hope that this doesn't mess people up too much who have put the date on the schedule, if nothing else, you are now free to go to the concert yourself!
This week's share:
Lettuce mix
Edamame soy beans
Pick your own, green beans and cherry tomatoes!
Have a good week!
liz and matthew

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

last week of August

The seasons are starting to change, we can feel it in the nippiness creeping into the mornings and the evenings, the way that the days have become shorter, the occasional glimpse of a maple that has turned prematurely red. We've moved our meals into the house from the bistro table on the front porch, partly to accomodate our busy olympic viewing schedule in the last two weeks, but also in an attempt to keep the toes of little margot warm as we eat. We can also tell that the summer season is moving towards autumn because this is the time of year when we are starting to get tired and worn out. Its easy in June when the mornings are still so light to hop out of bed and harvest for an hour or two before market, but once late august hits, and the mornings are getting light later and they are cooler, it takes more effort to get the feet on the floor and get going.

What better way to refresh than to take a vacation, but what, you say, farmer's can't take a vacation in the summer!? True enough, it is almost impossible, but thanks to Mark and Pat, Harold, and Sarah, we were able to get away! Thanks so much for the help in allowing us to have our first 2 consecutive days off of work since March! With the help of the above mentioned crew and a birthday gift to matthew, we were able to enjoy a day on the beach in Ocean City, NJ as well as a chance to see matthew's parents and grandfather. It was amazing to have a whole day with nothing to do but sit on the beach, bodysurf in the waves, walk the boardwalk, and read in the shade of the pier. WOW!

Of course the down fall of taking time off is playing catchup, so we returned and jumped right in again, harvesting beans and cherry tomatoes until dark on monday, harvesting all day on Tuesday until the share delivery, and setting aside all day wednedsday for harvesting as well. Matthew had a friend named Matt who was visiting as well on monday night and tuesday, so he was sucked right into the harvesting fray as well. If you read this matt, thanks to you, too!
your farmers as you haven't seen them before!

Its a bittersweet week for us as well, as i write this we have just returned from putting Sarah and Margot on a bus back to Asheville, NC. The great news is that they are moving here and will be returning with the other third of their family in a few days. The sad news is that we have become so used to having the two of them around that we will miss seeing their lovely faces each and every day. Sarah was a huge help to us and we can't thank her enough for all the beans she picked, dishes she washed, and meals she cooked for us. Margot put lots of smiles on our faces and when she stood in front of our booth munching on a cucumber, we knew they'd sell like crazy. I know we'll miss having them right here, but their new spot in Mecklenberg will be way closer than the old one in North Carolina, so that took the ache off of our hearts as we watched them pull away on the bus.

For anyone who still has edamame from last week, sorry we never got the cooking directions posted, just in case, take pods off of stalks, boil whole pods for 7 minutes. Salt and squeeze beans into mouth, discard the pods. ENJOY all the health benefits of soy beans and a delicious taste, too!

Don't forget to add the 27th of september to your calendars for a CSA cooking event!

This week's share:

PYO beans, and cherry tomatoes

next week's expected:
potatoes, garlic, edamame

Ginger Kale:
I bunch kale, cut into strips
2 T oil
1 T butter
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 T minced fresh ginger root or 1 tsp dried ginger
Lime juice from one fresh lime/bottled equivalent
Freshly ground pepper
Steam kale until slightly wilted, heat oil and butter in skillet, add garlic, onions and ginger, sauté until onion is soft. Toss in kale, cover and cook on low until kale is tender. Toss in lime juice and pepper to taste.
From from asparagus to zucchini

Parmesan Zucchini Sticks with Smoky Roasted Romesco Sauce from cooking light

Crunchy breaded zucchini spears are delicious dipped in a summery sauce of roasted red peppers. The sauce is a zesty embellishment for grilled meats, too.

Sauce:3 medium red bell peppers
2 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup (1/2-inch) cubed French bread baguette, crusts removed
1 1/2 tablespoons smoked almonds
1 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 large garlic clove

3 large zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup egg substitute
Cooking spray
1. Preheat broiler.
2. To prepare sauce, cut bell peppers in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place bell pepper halves and tomatoes, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten bell peppers with hand. Broil 10 minutes or until blackened. Place in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel and coarsely chop, reserving any liquid.
3. Combine bell peppers, reserved liquid, tomatoes, and next 8 ingredients (through garlic) in a blender or food processor; process until smooth.
4. Preheat oven to 400°.
5. To prepare zucchini, cut 1 zucchini in half crosswise; cut each half lengthwise into 8 wedges. Repeat procedure with remaining zucchini. Combine breadcrumbs, panko, cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper in a shallow dish. Dip zucchini in egg substitute; dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Place zucchini on a wire rack coated with cooking spray. Lightly coat zucchini with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately with sauce.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 6 zucchini sticks and 1/4 cup sauce)CALORIES 170 (30% from fat); FAT 5.6g (sat 1.3g,mono 2.5g,poly 1.3g); IRON 1.9mg; CHOLESTEROL 3mg; CALCIUM 107mg; CARBOHYDRATE 23.4g; SODIUM 434mg; PROTEIN 8.4g; FIBER 3.9g Cooking Light, JULY 2008

have a great week! Liz and Matthew

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fourth week of August

The morning crew of stargazers Those are some long beans!

What a great week its been! Not only is it nice to come in at the end of the day and be able to enjoy the spirit and excitement of the Olympics. But right here in our own backyard this weekend we experienced exitement and the spirit of people coming together during our annual stargazing event! What a great turnout we had for the pot luck with four tables full of people eating good food and talking good talk! It was nice to sit back and listen to the din of people getting to know each other and catching up with old friends. We had a great clear night to lay out and have a campfire. Many people mentioned that it was their first time ever sleeping out under the stars with no tent above them. The bane of the tentless camper is dew, which can soak blankets and people in them, but between pieces of plastic, tarps, shower curtains, table cloths, a few tents, and a bivy sack, we all managed to have a nice night out. The moon was quite bright, but regardless, a few shooting stars were glimpsed. The campfire was small and cheery and s'mores were enjoyed around it as well as some late night "notdogs" and quite a few songs -- ranging from Kumbaya to Brittany Spears. Our youngest attendees went on a bug hunt and proved that little eyes are sharp by spotting lots of insects even in the darkness. I feel safe in saying that a great time was had by all! Thanks to all who made it out to the event, we really enjoyed having you all up to the farm!

Septembers event is looking like it will be held on the 27th, so put that into your calendar's now. We will have a cooking event since we haven't yet had one this year. Maybe a peirogi making day which has been a hit in the past, or perhaps depending on the basil supply at that time, we could make pesto to send home and freeze. The details are not finalized, but we wanted to get it into those busy schedules now. If there is a cooking idea you'd like to explore, please let us know, we'll through it into the consideration pot.

The tomatoes have finally started picking up a little, but boy has it been an especially long wait this year! The plants had been looking so great and disease free for a long time, but this week, after all the moist days we'd been having, they are beginning to look less hale and healthy. They still should last longer than in the past, but to see them is not as inspiring a sight as it was two weeks ago when it was five and a half feet of pure green leaves with fruits in between. Now, the bottoms of most plants has yellowed leaves with brown spots. Next year we will have to manage the plants a little differently in order to try to avoid the two dreaded diseases that we always seem to come up with-septoria and early blight.
This week's veggies:
PYO beans
PYO cherry tomatoes

Seasonal Recipes: Thanks to Laurie for this great new squash recipes this week, another one will be up next week!

Zucchini Patties (like potato pancakes, with zucchini instead)
2 cups grated zucchini
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup all purpose flour (whole wheat works)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
salt to taste
2 T canola or vegetable oil

in a medium bowl, combine all but the oil together. Stir to distribute evenly

heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drop zucchini mixture by heaping Tablespoonfuls and cook a few minutes on each side, until golden.

Quick Savoy Cabbage and Celery
2 t extra virgin olive oil
3 small cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced and cut on the diagonal
6 cups shredded cabbage
pinch of salt
umeboshi vinegar
heat oil in wok or skillet, cook garlic for 5 seconds, and celery and stir-fry vigorously for 30 seconds ( i dont' know either how you stir fry vigorously, What is it like to stir fry without vigor?)
add cabbage, mix with celery and cook for about 1 minute, sprinkle on salt, cover and cook for 2 minutes, check to see if burning after 1 minute and adjust heat as needed
test cabbage, it should be light, bright green and slightly crunchy, serve hot with a splash of umeboshi vinegar.
from greens glorious greens serves 3-4
i guess that's it for this week, happy eating!
liz and matthew

Monday, August 11, 2008

3rd week of August

garlic drying in the green barn tall tomatoes in our new cages
sarah and margot in one of the "tomato tunnels"

good bye cucumbers...
Today was one of those days where we were outside harvesting until 9:00. That was even with Sarah offering her help. It was nice to have a dry afternoon to pick beans and tomatoes, since it was too wet to pick them on friday and too busy throughout much of the weekend (we try avoid picking those plants when the leaves are wet since diseases spread much more quickly on wet leaf surfaces). Since we had missed a harvest on our beans, there were LOTS to pick and it made it tough to get it all of the harvesting done. We got some tomatoes for the shares but with this cool, rainy weather most of the tomatoes really just seem like they would rather stay green. This weather has been so strange, what a cool, wet august! I seem to remember having warmer day back in March than we have had this month.

Any way not totally related to the weather, but the cucumbers are dying and dying fast. I have included a photo and the damage is somewhat evident, but they are going to be all dead much sooner than i would have imagined.

That's not to say that there are no crops that love all the rain we have been getting. One thing that we grow that really enjoyed all the rain is our garlic. All of it has now been harvested and is hanging now. They grew much bigger than we've gotten them to before - especially the German Red.

One product of all this rain is plenty of mushrooms. We have been enjoying taking a couple walks through the woods with Margot and inspecting (though not touching!) all the wild mushrooms that are popping up. They come in pretty much every color: purple, yellow, orange, red, white, black, brown. We took a walk through the Finger Lakes National Forest and saw mushrooms practically every step of the way. If you get to take a walk through some nice hardwoods, make sure you look down occasionally to avoid walking past or on top of these beautiful specimens.

Speaking of the Finger Lakes National Forest, if you are coming up to the farm for the next CSA event, an overnight on Saturday the 16th, stop by the national forest for an all day acoustic music celebration of New York State's only national forest's 25th anniversary.

This weeks Vegetables:
Sweet Onions- great raw fine or cooked, too
Summer Squash

PYO Beans
PYO Cherry Tomatoes

Next Week's (Expected) Vegetables:
Summer Squash

PYO Beans
PYO Cherry Tomatoes

Green Goddess Dressing:
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup cottage cheese
1/4 cup buttermilk (you can sour milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice per cup of milk)
1/2 cup canola oil
2 T. fresh lemon juice
3 T chopped scallions (sweet onions would work)
2 T water
1/2 t salt
1 t chopped garlic
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley
pinch of ground cardamom

Blend all ingredients together, shake and enjoy on salads, cucumbers, or sandwiches.

Oh NO, Not more Beets!:
1 T butter
2 beets, grated
1 carrot, grated
3 cloves of garlic
175ml orange juice (2 T?)
seasoning of your choice

Sauté the garlic in the melted butter for a few minutes.Add the rest of the ingredients and cook stirring over a medium heat for 5-8 minutes. Serve Immediately
From Riverford organic vegetables website
We wanted to welcome our newest CSA member who arrived just this week, Phoebe was born on 8-8-08, congrats Sarah, Harris, and Theo!
Have a great week! Liz and matthew

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

2nd week of August

garlic harvest! matthew and Harold loaded up! pulled and waiting to go in

One of many loads
It has been a busy and full week as it so often is around here. So busy in fact, that i am almost two days late in writing the newsletter. This past week has been full of the lovely smell of lots and lots of garlic! We have pulled about 3/4 of our garlic and have it all drying in the green barn on tables. It is quite a lovely site to look over all of the bulbs hanging upside down with their stems hanging through the table, i'll have to take a photo of it and post it next time.

In between the garlic pulling, we've been doing lots of other harvesting as well, we currently have an almost unprecidented three beds of beans being picked all at one time and it seems that we are either picking beans, squash, or (just starting to be) cherry tomatoes every time we turn around. I am so glad that Sarah and Margot are here right now and are helping us out so much. Margot enjoys feeding the green bean duds to gemnini and the dog sure enjoys getting the hand outs so it works out for all involved.

One thing that we will not be picking a lot of soon is cucumbers. We had our first experience this week with a mysterious disease, that turned out to be downy mildew and its an experience that i wouldn't have minded skipping. Last week Matthew commented that some of the cucumber plants were looking bad and then before we knew it, 5 were looking bad, then ten, then half the row, and it was spreading fast! Apparantly downy mildew comes in on storms from as far away as the midwest and then spreads through out the field. We were afraid that it would spread to our two other beds of cucumbers and so we pulled out the diseased row. But, it turns out that it has already spread to the other cucumber plants and so now we are just waiting for death to take them, it may take a week or weeks, but they are surely toast at some point. We'll have them as long as we can provide enough for the CSA, but it seems this year may (again) be a wash for cukes for us. We do have some more plants in the greenhouse waiting for a spot in the field, and we will try to keep them isolated in our other field, but even if those plants do survive, it will be several weeks before they are producing. We learned that currently the strain that is traveling around doesn't affect other plants in the cucumber family (we were especially worried about our winter squash, melon, and summer squash plants) so at this point we are willing to just watch the cucumber plants die.

We picked some delicious peaches this week at Silver Queen farm in trumansburg. I spent some time today canning them up for the winter not to mention we devoured 2 delicious peach cobblers this week. a few more weren't ripe and we look forward to some fresh peach pie in a few days once they soften up. Still in season are blueberries and raspberries. So if you want to you pick, then get on out to enjoy some local fresh fruit.

here is the scoop on the next csa event that we will be holding. It will be a community rather than an agriculture related event. It will be August 16th into the 17th. we'll have a campfire, make smores, maybe play some music, lay out and look at the stars and hopefully see some shooting ones.
Each year the Comet Swift-Tuttle's tail intersectsEarth's orbit in mid august and tiny bits of cometdust hit Earth's atmosphere traveling 132,000 mph.Going that fast, even a smidgen of dust makes a vividstreak of light--a meteor--when it disintegrates.Because Swift-Tuttle's meteors fly out of theconstellation Perseus, they are called "Perseids."
More details in an email soon, but here are the basics, arrive any time after 7. We will be eating dinner around 7:30, if you'll be here at that time, bring some food to share, or come fed later.
We have a telescope, and while it will not help see meteors,there are several planets that we could gaze at. If you live in a city at all, and have not spent anytime outside after dark, where it is really dark, in awhile, you are invited to be reaquanited with the night sky. There are lots of stars up there!! And they are gorgeous! Even if you didn't see a single meteor, the plain old stars are a breath-taking view. It will be a great time for kids, too, so please bring them on up! Hope you can make it. A breakfast of homemade granola, with fresh seasonal fruit will be available. RSVP to the email to let us know how many to plan for.

This week's share:

Pick Your Own cherry tomatoes, and beans!

Cabbage and Kale Saute:
1 T Butter
2 onions diced
2 ½ cups water
6 cups coarsely chopped kale
4 cups cabbage, shredded
Salt to taste
Umeboshi vinegar or lemon juice to taste

Heat butter over medium heat, add onions, and sauté for 10-15 minutes until soft. DON’T BURN
While onions are cooking, boil 2 cups water, add kale, cover and cook 4-5 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.
When onions are tender, stir in cabbage and remaining water. Cover and cook 6-8 minutes. Stirring occasionally until cabbage is tender but still bright in color.
Stir in kale and heat through. Season to taste with salt and vinegar/lemon juice.

Here is the raw blueberry pie recipe from last month's CSA event.
Crust: 2 cups almonds
1/2 cup dates, pitted and soaked

Filling: 5 cups blueberries
2 bananas
1 1/2 Tablespoons honey or honey flavored rice syrup

For Crust:
1. In a food processor, grind the almonds until fine.
2. Add the dates and blend until smooth.
3. Remove from processor and pat down into a pie plate.

For Filling: 1. In a food processor, combine 4 cups of blueberries, 2 bananas, and 1 1/2 Table spoons of honey or rice syrup. Blend until smooth.
2. Remove from food processor and add in 1 cup of whole blueberries.
3. Pour into crust.
4. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Enjoy!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Fourth week of July

cleaning scallions
picking raspberries
sarah and margot at the blueberry farm
matthew filling his bucket.

Its been a busy and full week here in Hector. By far the most formative event of the week has been the arrival of Matthew’s sister, Sarah, and her daughter- our niece, Margot, who is three. We are extremely thrilled to have them visiting us for several weeks from North Carolina! It has been refreshing (and tiring) to see the world of a vegetable farm through the eyes of a child. We’ve been able to find lots of fun things to do including going to the Hector fair, harvesting raspberries, beans, potatoes, and tomatoes, going sailing, and picking blueberries at Glen Haven farm winery in Trumansburg and from our neighbors bushes right across the street. Which reminds me to say that you-pick blueberry season is upon us, be sure not to miss it! There is a u-pick place in Big Flats on Route 352, the one in Trumansburg where we went, and a place in Pennyan as well.

The other big event this week was to get our refrigerated truck back from the shop, it is repaired, inspected, and ready to roll to market when we need the room. It is so nice to have it back since in its absence, we were keeping produce cool to the best of our ability in a cool room in our house, which meant a lot of carrying bins of produce into the house and out depending on if it was cooler inside or outside or if we were going to market that day. We managed that way, but it is surely nice to be back in our routine of not schlepping produce into our house. (It is nice to have a little bit of separation between work and home life, even if its only a 20 foot difference.)

Share holders are often asking us, "so how's it going?" and to be honest, its going pretty darn well right now. We have been having plenty of rain (though right on the edge of too much), and a decent amount of sun. Our tomato plants are the tallest we've ever grown and so far are showing no major signs of tomato diseases(which some years they have been by now). Our squashes are pumping them out right now, and the cucumbers have just started up in earnest. We've been digging the nicest potatoes we've ever grown and except for a few flops, things are looking nice, a little weedy, but nice.

Every year, we have had a few duds, and it turns out that for some reason, our kale and collard greens beds were a total bust this year and it was a satisfying job to mow them down to nothing this week and be done with looking at plants that weren’t doing anything, beyond being devoured by flea beetles. Besides mowing down unsuccessful plants, at this time of year we spend a certain amount of time mowing the grassy paths between our growing beds, pulling weeds, lots and lots of time harvesting, and just a little time planting succession plantings of different things. We will begin harvest of one of our favorite crops this week on Wednesday. So if you have the garlic itch, give a shout and come yank some out with us!

ITS TOMATO TIME! We have been eating our first few tomatoes this week and we believe we’ll get enough this week to send at least one home to you! There will be more when we have more, don’t worry. We enjoyed a delicious meal the other night of a locally baked seedy batard, a bread with a delicious mix of seeds on the outside, topped with fresh mozzarella cheese, tomato slices, and basil, yum! Doesn’t get much easier than that to make a meal!

Pick your own items at the farm. There are green, yellow, and speckled beans for picking as well as cherry tomatoes (just starting, come later in the week for better picking). There are also flowers in the flower garden as well as lots of dill. Come on up and pick a few quarts. Please let us know before the first time so we can show where to pick, then come anytime during the day/week, with one caveat- please don't pick beans when their leaves are wet as it can spread disease.

We're always trying to think of how the CSA is going and how we can improve it and we think we may have come upon a way to do so. We'd love your feedback on the idea for next year. Rather than giving a set share, we see that some other CSAs give a choice out of several things. For example, for shares that pick up at the market, rather than we dictating the share, we could have a sign that says, pick eight items and then a list of what we have, some items we would still save off the table for the CSA and people would have more input into what they get in their bag. I'm not sure quite how this would manifest in Elmira, since for that pickup, we just harvest what we need and bring it. If you have a feeling either way about this idea, we'd love to hear from you. Comment through the comment button, email, or mention it us in person when we see you at the pickup.

This week's share
Lettuce mix

PYO green beans
PYO cherry tomatoes

next week's expected share....

potatoes, tomatoes, chard, cabbage, tomatillos, eggplant(?)

Seasonal Recipes:

Fettuccine With Squash Ribbons: from follow the link for more recipes

Use a sharp vegetable peeler to make thin squash ribbons, about a half-inch wide. Peel, then rotate the squash so strips are about the same width. Stop when you hit the rough seeds. The hot fettuccine and sauteed grape tomatoes will heat and slightly soften the squash.

Makes 4 servings
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
12 ounces whole-wheat or regular fettuccine
Cooking spray
3 fully cooked chicken sausages, preferably spinach and feta or sun-dried tomato flavor
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 to 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved crosswise
3 medium zucchini, trimmed, skin removed and peeled into thin ribbons
3 medium yellow crookneck squash, trimmed, skin removed and peeled into thin ribbons
1/4 cup packed chopped fresh basil
Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously and add fettuccine. Cook according to package directions. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta-cooking water and drain.
Meanwhile, coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat to medium. Add chicken sausage and cook, turning often, until golden brown on each side. Transfer to a cutting board. Allow sausage to rest for a few minutes, then thinly slice on the diagonal.
Add olive oil to skillet and turn heat to medium-low. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes and cook 3 minutes, or until skin is no longer taut. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Deglaze skillet with about 1/4 cup of reserved pasta-cooking water, loosening any bits from the bottom of the skillet. Remove from heat.
Off the stove, add the zucchini ribbons to the empty pasta pot, followed by the tomato mixture, the drained pasta, the sliced sausage and about three-quarters of the basil. Toss well to combine. If pasta appears dry, add enough of the reserved cooking water to coat the pasta so it looks moist, but not wet.
Divide among 4 bowls and use a vegetable peeler to shave thin pieces of Parmigiano-Reggiano over pasta. Sprinkle with remaining basil and serve immediately.

Monday, July 21, 2008

zucchini recipe from Saturday

Tuscan Zucchini Pie from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian

2 medium zucchini (12 oz)
2 eggs
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup milk mixed with 1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp finely chopped garlic
3 scallions, thinly sliced (green and white both)
Freshly ground black pepper
Dash of freshly ground nutmeg
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

Trim the zucchini ends and then cut crosswise into 1/8 inch rounds. Put in a bowl, sprinkle about 1/3 tsp salt over the top, and set aside for 30minutes. Drain and pat dry.

Preheat the oven to 425 F.Put the eggs in a bowl and beat them well. Add the flour and beat it in. Add the milk and water mixture and beat it in as well. Now add the garlic,scallions, about 1/3 tsp salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Mix well. Arrange the zucchini slices without overlapping in the bottom of two 8-inchnon-stick cake or pie tins (or spray them with Pam if not non-stick). Youwill probably be able to make 2 layers in each tin. Stir the egg mixtureand pour it evenly over the 2 pans. Drizzle 1 Tbs oil over each pie, put pies in the oven, and bake for 30 minutes. Serve hot, with another 1/2 Tbs of oil drizzled over each pie. Serves 4 as a main course, 6 as an appetizer.

Fourth week of July

harold picking scallions

(right) mike and graham picking rocks
(above)Laurelyn, julie, garrett, and evelyn twining tomatoes

We are pleased to say that the CSA event on Saturday went on despite the heat and humidity being quite high. We twined tomato plants, we picked up rocks (not glamorous, but helps keep our equiptment from being beaten up and would have taken us most of a day to do), we feasted on zucchini dishes!, and we even played a little bit of bocce ball amid the rain drops that were falling. We had grilled zucchini spears topped with rosemary, dill, and parmesan cheese, a crustless quiche with enough zucchini in it to almost be like a crust (tasty!), pasta with swiss chard and carmelized onions, and pasta with pesto/zucchini sauce. We were all glad to see that one attendee was brave enough to bring dessert, but that he choose to make a raw blueberry pie that blew us all away, rather than a zucchini pie! I hope to post that recipe and others that we enjoyed at the pot luck some time soon.

We've been making due this week without our refridgerated truck this week but think that we will have it back before too long-- both for its normal job of keeping our produce cool here at home and soon for its new job of going to market with that produce in it.

Our friend, Steve, farms in Pine City and he had a pretty major hail storm this week. We've been sending him good vibes as he waits to see what will recover from the damage and what will prove too pummeled to come back.

Garlic harvest time is just around the corner and we want to invite anyone who is interested in helping with the harvest and curing process to do so. We will soon have a posting to let you know what date we plan to start the harvest.

This week’s vegetables:
Lettuce Mix
Summer Squash/Zucchini
Fresh Garlic
PYO Beans

Next week’s (expected) vegetables
Swiss Chard
Summer Squash/Zucchini
PYO Cherry Tomatoes
PYO Beans

Collard Greens and Carmelized Onions:
1 Bunch Collards, sliced into bite sized strips
1 T olive oil
1-2 onions, sliced into thin crescents
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt to taste
In a skillets heat oil and add onions, cook on medium for 15 or 20 minutes until golden and sweet. Add garlic and cook 2-3 minutes.
Meanwhile, boil 2-3 cups of water in a pot with a lid, add collards, cover and cook on high for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Greens are done when they turn bright green and are tender, don’t over cook!
Add greens to onions and garlic, season with salt to taste, drizzle with more olive oil if you wish, and serve.
From greens glorious greens

Quick and Easy Grilled Kale:
This recipe is good on a stovetop or outdoor grill
olive oil to brush grill
1 bunch kale
2 T white wine vinegar (herb flavored is nice)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Heat grill to medium high. Wash and chop kale
Brush grill or foil covering grill with olive oil and add kale. Using metal tongs, mix greens to allow them to cook, about 1 min. Add vinegar, salt and pepper and cook 2-3 more minutes until wilted and tender.
Serve immediately.
From greens glorious greens

have a superb week! Liz and Matthew

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

3rd week of July

mark and reeder terri and lydia
onions on biomulch
car's getting full! Time for the truck to run!

This is typically the time of year when all of our large expenses are behind us and the majority of the money we will live on for the rest of the year is rolling in through the farmers' markets. Well, it looks like that idea will take a hit this week. We took our refridgerated truck in to get inspected for the first time in a couple years as we are planning to get it back on the road. We expect in a couple weeks we'll need it to replace our Volvo as a market vehicle (see photo above). Well, it wasn't as easy as we hoped. The garage came back with a list of things that need to be repaired in order for it pass inspection. The first garage we took it to gave us a quote of $1700. Needless to say, that is a bit more than we were hoping to pay - we were thinking maybe $25 for the inspection. But it wasn't a complete surprise since it hasn't been driven in a couple years and even then very little. So we took the truck to another mechanic whom we like who quoted us a much more reasonable price on the same repairs and we should be able to pick it up it in several days. But in the interm, we are without our refridgeration unit, so we will be making due best we can.

Friday, July 11th, was the first time we had our working shares out in full force to help us with the harvesting. We are happy to say that we are very satisfied with the help we got! We are looking forward to the harvest help for the next ten weeks, too! Not only were the additional hands for harvesting was a great help and it was also nice to have such wonderful company. Hopefully they all had as nice a time as we did. It was great to see smiles even when the rain started, we'll have to get Harold's picture next week, he had to go before we thought to get the camera out.


Our next CSA Work Day will be this saturday the 19th. We will start at 4:00. We have two jobs we would like to work on. Both of them are probably likely to make CSA members around the world groan, but they do need to get done and many hands do make the work easier. First there are many vegetable beds that need to be weeded. And if weeding is not your thing we have many rocks that need removing from the field. As we have been tilling this year, we have been picking the big rocks from the beds and placing them in the paths for later removal. Now's the time! We'll keep the work time limited and then want to have a potluck dinner. Bring a zucchini or squash dish, the challenge will be to see how many different ways we can eat it! An email reminder will be sent later in the week. We also have bocce ball and badminton to really make it a fun picnic atmosphere, and the raspberries are ready for people to graze on, the flower bed is just starting, so there could be some bouquet picking, too- come on up!

We also would like to let you know that soon we will be harvesting garlic. We probably won't start until next week with the first variety. And then our other variety is usually ready 1-2 weeks later. When it is ready to harvest, we will put out an invitation to anyone who might like to help with the harvest. Its really, really fun to pull those beauties out of the ground!

This week's vegetables:

Zucchini/summer squash

Next week's (expected) vegetables
Salad Greens
Fresh garlic
PYO Beans
Recipe ideas:

Pan Fried 8 balls
round 8 ball shaped squash
Cornmeal mixed with your favorite Herb blend
Egg, beat with a little milk and Salt and pepper

Slice the squashes in ½’ thick slices. Dip into egg mixture. Dip into cornmeal mixed with herbs such as Italian seasonings or Mexican herbs. Place in a shallow layer of oil and cook a few minutes per side OR just spray pan with fine layer and cook a few minutes per side. Also can be grilled or broiled briefly.

Creamy Pesto salad Dressing:
1/4 cup raw walnuts
1 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 small clove garlic
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4-3/8 cups water
grind nuts in blender until fine, add other ingredients, blend until smooth.
Grilled Radicchio
Radicchio is a colorful salad green with a mildly bitter flavor. It can be cut raw into salad or used in any way that red cabbage is used. It is also tasty grilled and brushed with a with a light dressing. It will lose some of its brilliant color on the grill, but the flavor will be great!
Quarter the raddichio heads, down to the base, keeping the base intact.
mix up vinagrette (see below), set aside for later
Heat grill, brush raddichio with oil and grill for 3-4 minutes per side, until base is tender when pierced with a fork.
while on the grill, brush with dressing serve immediately or at room temp.
1 T balsamic vinegar
2 T. Extra virgin olive oil
1 T chopped fresh basil
1/2 t dijon mustard
salt to taste
3-4 drops melinda's hot sauce to taste
have a great week, hope to see you on saturday! matthew and liz

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Hi CSAers,

We've had a very busy and fun week with both Liz's and Matthew's parents visiting. We are fortunate that they enjoy coming here and they give us lots of help with farmwork. So we have gotten a lot done- including weeding, setting up for garlic drying in the new greenbarn, cutting more firewood and working to clear out another section for vegetable growing so in the coming years we can have some fallow sections in our crop rotation. Plus our house even got a good cleaning. And we got the refridgeration unit on our truck is operational again. All that and plenty of badminton and bocce playing!

We also had someone visit us last week whom we had been expecting for quite a while - a representative from the gas drilling company. He handed us a lease to sign and answered all of our questions. We are still unsure about what to do and we need to do more research and talk more with our neighbors, but we are leaning towards not signing. It sounds like the company works with many different types of farms with these leases and they can put in a lot of different requirements in the lease so as not to destroy our farm. But we still don't think it would work for us. For if they decided to put a well on our property that would mean a lot of digging, cutting and trucks rolling through our fields and woods, perhaps right over our vegetable beds! Not what we had in mind for our farm and homestead. Is $5000 plus possible royalties worth all of that destruction and uncertainty for us? It certainly doesn't seem like it. Its a decision that we haven't had time to work through in the past few days, but we will start considering more seriously. If any of you have experience with this type of thing or know anyone who does, please let us know. We would love to hear others' experiences - good or bad.

The birds with their nest in the orchard have fledged as have the barn swallow in our carport. So our cat will no longer have the parents yelling at her and divebombing her every time she goes outside. Its nice to see the babies swooping and diving about the yard as they quickly learn all the trick of flying.

And we got a nice downpour last evening as we were picking beans with Matthew's parents in the hoophouse. Overall a great week! Hope yours was, too! Here's the share...

This weeks vegetables:

Swiss Chard

Last night we had boiled beets just sliced on top of our salad, and everyone agreed that it was quite a tasty addition. Just boil until the beets are easily pierced with a fork , (cover with cool water) then slip the skins and slice. Toss on top of salad. The greens were nice cut into small pieces raw and put in the salad, too.

Squash Casserole: from AARP magazine
1-2 Summer squash chopped coarsely or shredded
2 T butter
1 T or more grated onion
1 egg
1 bouillon cube
1 Cup Shredded cheddar (or more)
1 C. plain yogurt or sour cream
Dash of paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Top with bread crumbs or crushed chips
Mix all ingredients, top with paprika and chips. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. YUM!

Creamy cole slaw from food network. com
1 head green cabbage, finely shredded
2 large carrots, finely shredded
3/4 cup best-quality mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons grated onion, sweet is nice
2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons celery salt
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine the shredded cabbage and carrots in a large bowl. Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, onion, sugar, vinegar, mustard, celery salt, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl, and then add to the cabbage mixture. Mix well to combine and taste for seasoning; add more salt, pepper, or sugar if desired.

The details for the 19th aren't quite nailed down yet, since it is still a few weeks away, its hard to know what will be the most pressing this far out, but please put it on your calendar and plan on coming, i'm sure there will be good food, no matter what else happens. Strawberry season is winding down and cherry picking is on, don't miss out on fresh local fruit! Freeze it, juice it, jam it, and stuff yourself with it right now, too!

Have a great week! Matthew and Liz