Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Refridgerator panels are up!

They've been stacked in our yard for over two years, waiting. But now, at least the panels are in place.

A reminder: you can still find us at the Ithaca Farmers' Market at the outdoor location on the lake for the next 2 Saturdays. Then the Ithaca Farmers' Market will move indoors for January and February to the Women's Community Building Saturdays 11-2 pm. We'll be away for the holidays the first Saturday in January (Jan. 2.), but we will be attending after that.

We still have potatoes, chard, lettuce, arugula, garlic, onions, celeriac, cabbage, carrots, and hakurei turnips.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

a learning day

caterpillar ariel view
celeriac by the cartful

This has been a season of learning. During the last week of the CSA we learned that we did not have a secure enough email password and you all got a wonky email from our email address directing you to the website of some chinese company. Turns out password security is super important. If yours is still your pets name and a few numbers, time to secure it up (that's not what ours was, but i hear it is very common.)

Today we learned that fire extinguishers work really well. and also how strange it is to hear the words, "your tractor is on fire". our friends dropped off some mulch hay to us today to mulch our garlic, and while they were here the tractor caught on fire. Turns out its important to have a secure email password and a couple of working fire extinguishers, just in case. tomorrow i'm going to buy a fire extinguisher to put on our tractor, just in case. It aslo seems like a good idea to keep one in the car.

we also are learning how advance planning can pay off. we've just filled up our last little spot with inside the fence. We had hoped for a while to plant some native fruits. during the last year we grew persimmon and paw paw trees from seed. The pink flags are marking the little trees stretching out to almost the fence (visible in the background). Hopefully some day we will be bringing some native fruits to market.

the last thing we learned is that some of you are still looking for us and you can still find us at the ithaca market on saturday's from 10-3, it goes all the way to the 19th of Dec. we will be missing the week after thanksgiving, but otherwise, we'll see you there!
liz and matthew

Friday, November 6, 2009


Here's a new concept (for us anyway) that we are trialing on our farm this winter and next spring: a temporary, moveable hoophouse. The kind folks at Cooperative Extension provided funds and materials for this cool "caterpillar tunnel" at our farm. The tunnel is covering fall-planted turnips, radishes and spinach. We'll monitor their progress, hopefully harvest them early spring (?) and see how the moving of the hoophouse goes next spring! And we'll also keep track on how it holdss up to the winter weather!

We got together Thursday to construct the hoophouse. Things went quite smoothly despite a little rain and cold and the structure was completed in the afternoon. In the first picture you can see we bent the pipes for the ribs of the hoophouse.

Thanks so much to Molly, Eric and Matt. We had a lot of fun putting it up.

Please stop by sometime to check it out!

Monday, October 26, 2009

last week of the CSA season

4th Week of October - LAST WEEK!!

Thank you all for putting your trust in us to deliver vegetables to you each week. We appreciate all of the support you give us. We get so much positive feedback from you each week and it really lifts our spirits knowing that what we do is valuable to you. Though, honestly, we would also appreciate any constructive criticisms you may have.

So, we will be asking you to complete our 2009 CSA survey this week. You can fill it out when you pick up your vegetables. We'll have an envelope to place them in so you can return them anonomously. Or take it with you and send it in to us. We'll also send a copy through e-mail. Your input is useful to us in planning for next year.

Last week we poured the concrete slab on which we will put our walk-in cooler. We think it turned out okay. The concrete is almost done curing so we can start to think about the installation.

The season-long cycle of farmers' markets is finally coming to an end. And none too soon. Our list of things that need to be repaired, cleaned, organized, built, cut or prepared for winter has been growing all season with many items being put off for the "slow seasons". And we will both be ready to break into that list with full force next week as we will be harvesting only one day per week (Friday).

Check into this blog periodically throughout the winter as we will update it infrequently. Or you could just become a "follower" of the blog and you'll be notified if and when we update it.

Thanks for your interest in the CSA and thanks for taking time to read the newsletter this season!
roasted fall veggies to warm the home and your belly!
cut and cube potatoes, parsnips, carrots, leeks, onions, garlic, celeriac, sweet potatoes, beets, winter squash, and what ever else you have lying around. Cut according to how fast it will cook, winter squash should be cut a little smaller than other things.
toss with olive oil and crushed garlic (1-2 cloves worth), rosemary, thyme, or your favorite herb can be tossed in, too.
bake spread out from each other a little on a tray at 350 degrees, for 40-60 minutes stirring every twenty- until tender. toss with fresh parsley, frozen (or fresh) pesto, or serve with ketchup and enjoy!
thanks for eating through this season with us and investing in local agriculture!
matthew and liz

Monday, October 19, 2009

3rd Week October

Scenes from a midwinter snowfall? No this was just last Friday morning. That's Liz harvesting some frosty leeks for the Friday and Saturday farmers' markets. But it didn't last long - the snow was gone by afternoon and the week is looking to be toasty in comparison.

Steven, our friend from Chicago, spent this past week with us. He loves to work - why else come to visit a farm, right? - and he helped us out a great deal in harvesting and preping for the cold weather. And at market as you can see here.

Also a picture of just-planted garlic cloves - thanks to those who came out for the garlic planting event! (just little rat tails sticking out of the soil)

We are finally acting on our longstanding plans to install a walk-in cooler in our "greenbarn". We hope to get the cement foundation poured for it this week while the weather will be warm. Its a will be a big space for us - 9'x12'! Practically big enough to live in. It was bought for practically nothing from a business that was closing. And its been waiting the past few years for us to install it. We'll keep you posted on the progress.
thanks for these recipes, laurie!
(from http://www.vegparadise.com/highestperch26.html)
Raw sunchokes, sometimes called Jerusalem artichokes, are spotlighted as the featured ingredient in this unique sandwich. Crunchy pecans and a smooth creamy avocado sauce pair up in supporting roles. Serve the sandwich with a salad and fruit for a tasty light meal.
Sunchoke Pecan Sandwich is one of the delicious recipes in Zel Allen's cookbook The Nut Gourmet: Nourishing Nuts for Every Occasion published by Book Publishing Company in 2006.
Yield: 3 to 4 sandwiches
1 ripe avocado
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash cayenne
1/4 to 1/2 cup (60 to 120 ml) organic canola oil
2 cups (480 ml) coarsely shredded sunchokes
1/2 cup (120 ml) raw or toasted pecans, coarsely chopped or coarsely ground
1/4 red bell pepper, finely diced
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

6 to 8 slices whole grain bread
12 to 16 large basil leaves
3 ripe tomatoes, sliced
3 to 4 butter lettuce leaves

To make the avocado sauce, wash the avocado, cut it in half, scoop out the flesh, and place it in the blender. Add the lemon juice, salt, and cayenne and blend briefly. With the machine running, slowly add the canola oil, using just enough to create a thick, creamy sauce. Stop the machine occasionally to scrape down the sides of the blender jar and stir the mixture.
To make the sunchoke filling, combine the sunchokes, pecans, and red bell pepper in a medium bowl. Add enough of the avocado sauce to moisten and hold the mixture together. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
Spread a thin coating of the avocado sauce over one side of each of the bread slices. Spread the sunchoke mixture over half the bread slices and top with the basil leaves, tomato slices, and lettuce. Place the remaining bread slices over the filling and cut the sandwiches in half..

Parsnip And Carrot Slaw with Apricot Dressing
2 c Coarsely shredded parsnip
2 c Coarsely shredded carrot
1 c Coarsely shredded celery root
1/2 c Plain nonfat yogurt
2 tb Apricot preserves
1/8 ts Salt
1/8 ts Ground ginger
1/8 ts Pepper
Combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl; toss well. Combine yogurt and next 4 ingredients; stir well. Add to vegetable mixture; toss gently to coat. Yield; 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup).
Just Vegetable Recipes is located at www.justvegetablerecipes.com
thanks linda for this recipe!
Ginger Drink from Sundays at Moosewood

6 cups boiling water cup fresh lime or lemon juice
1 cup peeled fresh ginger root 1 cup orange juice
1 cup sugar 8 cups cool water
2 teaspoons whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
Pour the boiling water over the grated ginger root, sugar, cloves, and cinnamon in a large nonreactive bowl. Cover and set aside in a warm place for at least an hour.
Strain the liquid through a fine sieve or cloth. Add the juices and water. Set aside in a warm place for another hour or so. Gently strain the liquid again, taking care not to disturb the sediment at the bottom. Store in the refrigerator in a large nonreactive container.
Serve warm, chilled, or on ice, either as is or diluted with water or sparkling water. Add some honey or freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice.

We like it best hot with honey. We have made many different variations. We don’t use white sugar, but substitute with maple sugar. We often increase the cloves and/or cinnamon, and substitute more orange juice for some of the cool water. We usually increase the steeping times and aren’t too concerned about the sediment. Hope you like it!
make your own Hummus!:
1 can chick peas, or about two cups if you cook your own.
clove of garlic
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
2-3 T lemon or lime juice
1-2 T soy sauce
1/4-1/2 t. corriander
1/4-1/2 t. cumin
1/4 t. pepper
blend in food processor until smooth. also great with roasted red peppers blended in.
two weeks to go, thanks for eating with us!
liz and matthew

Monday, October 12, 2009

second week of october

(rainbow over the farm)

Three weeks left folks, we're coming into the real fall crops now! We had our first killing frost last night officially making this the shortest frost free season that we have had since we started farming! Worry not, tomatoes, peppers, and beans were winding down on their own several weeks ago with the onset of cooler nights and shorter days. Now they are brown and dead and we get to really enjoy fall's true bounty!

leeks, onions, garlic, celeriac, potatoes, winter squash- warm foods that lead us to roasting and souping and stewing. Foods that warm the kitchen and then warm our bellies, too! we stuffed a pumpkin with wheat berries, carrots, black beans, and other good things and got to share it with our working shares and their familes at our thankyou dinner this weekend, thanks again guys for sharing a nice meal with us and for your essential help this season! remember we will be looking for a few more next year, so if you are interested, please do let us know!

we've been reviewing the season a lot recently and will be solicting your feedback as well in survey in a week or so (feel free to give imput before then as well). for returning members, how did you like the new pick up method with more choices? for elmira pickups, would you like more options? Are there crops you'd like to see us grow that we don't?

There are so many angles to consider about next year. We took part in a cornell cooperative extension project this summer tracking our marketing channels and comparing each one to see which are efficient and lucrative and which are less so. armed with this data, we are able to look at our week and make some decisions. selling at four farmer's markets each week with two people is a lot, we may make some changes for next year, so the survey will help us in our decision making processes.
don't forget about the garlic planting on saturday the 17th! starts at 2:30. bring work gloves and warm clothes.
things you'll see this week:
potatoes, leeks, onions, celeriac, garlic, winter squash
peppers (early in the week)
brussels sprouts!
this great recipe sent in by john and donna, thanks!
Celeric remoulade-from Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters
1 med. Celery root
salt and pepper
juice of 1 lemon
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
½ cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp heavy cream
Peel the celery root and julienne it to about 1/8 inch. In a bowl, dissolve a pinch of salt in the lemon juice, grind in some pepper, and stir in the mustard, mayo, and cream. Toss in the celery root. Let stand at least 15 min before serving. Mound on plate and sprinkle with parsley leaves.
We used it as a dip on crackers and plum tomato slices.

zucchini season has ended on our farm, but we just got these two great recipes from lisa, so we'll put them on for posterity's sake and in case anyone is buying zucchini:

I make this pasta dish fresh from my garden when there is an abundant yield of tomatoes and zucchini. It is a fast, simple and satisfying dish – an easy end to a long summer day! I vary the amounts of onions, zucchini and tomatoes based on how many will be sharing the meal. I serve this as a main course, but often accompany it with a green salad and a nice loaf of bread. I vary the dish sometimes by adding a few leaves of fresh basil, or fresh spinach, or other vegetables, but my favorite version is with just zucchini and tomatoes.

Summer Harvest Pasta
2 ripe tomatoes
2 zucchini
2 onions
Olive Oil
Fresh Ground pepper
Toasted pine nuts
Grated Parmesian cheese (optional)
Pasta (bow-tie or Rombi
Toast the pine nuts by tossing them in a bit of olive oil and cooking until golden brown. Shake the pan a few times to make sure that they are browned on both sides. Set aside.
Cook the pasta while the vegetables are being prepared.
Prepare the vegetables. Chop the onions medium fine. Slice the zucchini into ¼ inch rounds and then quarter them.
Sauté the onions with olive oil in a pan until golden brown. A small amount of carmelized onions in the mix is perfect. Add ground pepper and salt. Add the zucchini and sauté until just tender. Note that they should not be overdone. They will not have released any liquid. Chop the tomatoes directly into the pan and cook until just sauced. The beauty of this dish is in the fact that the tomatoes are just cooked until they release their juices. Overcooking destroys the flavor.
Spoon over the pasta. Toss pine nuts on top. Sprinkle with fresly grated cheese – if desired. Bon Apetit!

Adapted from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum,
1.5 cups sifted cake flour (I just use regular, unsifted)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp cinamon
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
the recipe calls for 1/4 tsp ground cloves...I use approx. the same of cardamom instead
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup toasted and coarsely ground (or broken up by hand) walnuts
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (firmly packed) light brown sugar - I use dark
1/2 cup safflower oil (I use canola)
2 cups firmly packed grated zucchini (squeeze extra liquid out)
optional, 1/2 cup raisens
Preheat the oven to 350
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, baking soda, spices)
Beat the eggs, sugar and oil for 2-3 minutes or utnil lighter in color
Add the dry ingredients and beat/mix until blended.
Add the zucchini, then the walnuts (and raisens)
Scrape batter into muffin tins 3/4 full
Bake for 20-25 minutes until toothpick in center comes out clean.
Cool on rack for 5 minutes. Then take out of muffin tins and enjoy!
that's it for now, have a splendid week!
liz and matthew

Monday, October 5, 2009

1st week October

Thank you Ryan, Kara and Chris for your help harvesting on Wednesday - what a big help! And it is always educational and fun to have fellow farmers visit and ask each other many questions. Kara and Ryan have a CSA and market farm operation in NE Pennsylvania at Journey’s End Farm Camp. You guys are awesome - keep up the good work!
And another thank you to all the performers at our little concert on Saturday - Dan Maloney, Tim Newton and Joe Chiccone and friends. The tiny crowd was treated to some excellent folk and roots music.

Isn't the light of a bright autumn afternoon the most spectacular of all the long year?

Items to pick from for this week’s share:
Winter squash
Jerusalem Artichokes
Sweet Potatoes

Here’s another delicious idea for celeriac: cook and mash them with potatoes - with a little garlic mixed in if you like - mmmm, hearty.

We think Jerusalem artichokes are best enjoyed raw. We slice them into salads. If you figure out how to cook them successfully let us know how you did it!
Our annual garlic-planting CSA workday will be Saturday October 17th at 3 pm. This is our final CSA event of the season so come out and enjoy the lovely autumn weather.
Bring strong fingers and perhaps a pair of garden gloves. We'll supply the garlic!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

last week of september

pumpkin season


tools of the trade

Hey all, the big news this week is getting ready for our concert on sunday (the 4th), hope you can make it! It will be 2-7 here at the farm. (here's the blurb from the poster...)

Muddy Fingers Fall Concert & Jam will
¬Folk Singer-Songwriter Danny Maloney
¬Joe Cicconi & Friends
¬Tim Newton’s Claw-hammer Banjo
¬Open-mic for your talent, craft or art!
¬A Jam/ Sing along finale!

Bring a lawn chair, blanket, picnic dinner, and beverages to this free event, and enjoy original and traditional roots-folk music. Bring your own voice, instruments and songs - or whatever talent you wish to share for our open-mic!

Remember garlic planting will be october 17th and these two will be the last events of the season.

This week you will see:
pumpkins, we have one per share, i think.
winter squash
sweet potatoes (not a great harvest, turns out mice really like sweet potatoes and got far more that we did)

have a great week! hope to see you on sunday!
liz and matthew

Monday, September 21, 2009

fourth week of september

sweet peppers

Hey all welcome to fall! This week we have turned the corner into the autumn. Worry not, the CSA goes well into the fall with the last week of pickup being the last week of october. I find as the days start to become noticeable shorter a lot of people start to ask when the CSA ends, getting tired of us already?

the one thing that is ending quite soon is our working share program. We have had five awesome working shares this season and they have been an immense help to us. On monday Danielle has heroically harvested what next year will be a two person job. On thursdays Ryan and Jane have helped us set up for the day and kept our boxes filled and produce piled for the first several hours. On Fridays Terri, Lydia, Reeder, Mark, Pat, Harold, and even a few times Linda. Have helped us pick our way through the field. Without their help the summer season would not have been half as fun and would have been at least twice as hard. Thanks guys.

speaking of working shares, we will be looking for at least three more next year so if you are interested please be in touch with us. Generally the trade is for 11 weeks of work (july-sept) four hours each week. We are looking for people who enjoy being outside, can handle the ups and downs of vegetable harvesting (that's literally getting up and back down), is reliable about showing up when they say, and enjoys spending time both harvesting with other people and yet will not wither way when left briefly (yet trained first) to harvest alone.

Last call on basil at market this week. We preserved a big batch of pesto this week and thought, too bad this will be the last of the year as the leaves are starting to get to be small. We wanted to give everyone the heads up, last chance to get basil as we will be mowing the bed in soon.

or a frost could take it. the last few years we have not had a frost until the middle or end of october, but we are nearing the time of year, where statistically 5 years in 10 there will be a freeze. (at least according to our soil survey book from 1974, 5 out of 10 years would have a freeze by sept 28). the other night a farmer friend was very close as some of her flowers were nipped by frost. Our location on the slope to the lake offers good air drainage and we are unlikely to actually freeze for several weeks, but again, its not impossible.

the perogie day was fun! thanks to julie, garet, evelyn, dorothy, sarah, margot, chris, david, mary, (and later joan, alan, and betty- hope you read the blog now~!) for coming out to make perogies with us.

kids reading books, instead of making perogies, i guess its the child labor laws...

farmer siblings making perogies with a blurry niece face

hey what is that hairy thing on the table this week? Well its celeriac, a super vegetable. It holds for months in the root cellar, when cooked, it has the texture of a potato, but a lovely celery taste. Can be used raw in salads or used lots of times in soups. there is a great article on the NPR website about it, included below is one of the 3 recipes from that article. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6551175

Boiled Celeriac with Butter and Herbs from NPR.org

3 large celery roots, peeled
Juice of 1/2 lemon, plus extra for acidulating water
4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
1/2 cup chopped parsley, chives, tarragon, mint, lemon balm or basil (you can pick one or use two in a savory combination)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Fill large bowl with water and add lemon juice. Add celery roots as they are peeled.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Cut peeled celery roots into three or four thick slices, then cut each slice into three or four fat sticks, returning them to their bowl of acidulated water after each step.

Shape the sticks into "batons" by shaving off the square "corners" and pointing the ends (like sharpening a fat pencil) with a paring knife.

Place the batons in the boiling water. Add juice of half a lemon. Bring water back to a boil, then reduce heat and cook until batons are soft but not mushy, about 30 minutes. Drain thoroughly and return to the pot.

Add butter, herbs of choice, and salt and pepper to taste. Heat through before serving.

have a great week!
liz (and matthew)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Delicata squash

What can one do with a delicata squash?

Basic Baked (Winter) Squash
1 winter Squash, halved
2 pats of butter
2 teaspoons of honey or maple syrup
Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Scoop the seeds out of each half with a spoon
Add 1 pat of butter, 1 teaspoon of honey or maple syrup, and salt and pepper to the hollow scoop of each half. Place upright on a greased cookie sheet and roast for 20 to 30 minutes or until tender when flesh is poked with a fork.
Enjoy just like this as a delicious, quick and easy side dish that is great anytime of the year. Or, leave out the butter and honey/syrup and use the baked squash as a great base for soups, put chunks of cooked squash into baked goods to add great nutrients and a little natural sweetness and nice texture to a quick bread, yeast bread, or pancakes.

Hope this helps!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Third week of Sept.

happy sunflower from our friend's kara and ryan's garden

We will be hosting a pierogie-making event on Saturday September 19. If you plan to attend, bring a filling that is suitable to go inside of a perogie. We will make the tasty little pockets and you will take a bag or two home to freeze (or eat fresh). Details on the event were sent to your e-mail. Please make sure to let us know if you are coming as we need to shop for ingredients.

We are planning to host a concert here on our farm on Sunday October 4th. Singer/songriter/folk musician Dan Maloney (fellow CSA member) and banjoist Tim Newton will perform at 2:00.
Donations for performers will be accepted. Bring a chair and an instrument if you are so inclined to participate in a jam/folksing afterwards.

things you may see this week in your share:
cherry tomatoes
delicata squash
patty pans/zucchini

a few yummy recipes!
Ginger greens tea:
cut ginger leaf stalk into about 1 inch pieces. add to a quart of water, simmer about 10 minutes. Serve with honey or brown sugar to taste.

red lentil dahl from journey's end farm camp cookbook:
1 cup dried red lentils
4 cups of water
pinch of salt
1 c diced carrots
1 celery stalk
3 T vegetable broth powder

1 t olive oil or ghee
1 T mustard seeds

1 t corriander
1 t tumeric
1 inch piece of fresh ginger root, grated
1 tsp cumin

2 T soy sauce

rinse lentils and add first group of ingredients to a stock pot.

in a skillet, heat the ghee and mustard seeds unil the seeds sputter and pop.

add third group of ingredients

add soy sauce and simmer over low for 15 minutes.
enjoy over rice or with chapatis!

thanks for checking in with us! have a splendid week!
liz and matthew

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

We've been falling down on our newsletter-writing responsibilities (as we are apt to do this time of year). But our niece Margot is visiting with us this eveing and she's asleep in the bedroom so its a good excuse to sit down and write.

The first piece of exciting news is that our experimental ginger crop is being harvested now and the yield is pretty decent - about what we expected. We planted it in the hoophouse, two beds, in late May after sprouting the "mother roots" for about a month and half. We will be evaluating the final yield and income earned from this crop and see if it something we want to add to our list of crops that we grow in the future. There certainly were many exclamaitions of excitement at the farmers' market on Tuesday and it sold very well. And we think it tastes pretty good too!

You may be happy to know that, based on demand from the CSA, we have also agreed to set aside our inherent greed and include raspberries and ginger in the CSA share. But be warned that these items are in short supply and you might need to get to market early as they usually sell out quickly. And we probably will not have raspberries at the Saturday market as they usually sell out the night before in Watkins Glen. And the ginger harvest will be a short one. We will have it this week and the next week and that will probably be it. This is fresh, immature ginger and should be eaten within a couple of weeks and should be stored in the refrigerator.

Right now we are trying to work some time into our schedule for post-CSA harvesting. Many beds are empty of vegetables but have weeds taking over or have vegetables that have already been picked over. These beds need to be mowed, the vegetation turned under and allowed to rot for 1-2 weeks. Then we will hope to plant either rye and vetch (a favorite winter cover crop), oats (another favorite fall cover crop that dies back over the winter) or some valuable crops for winter harvest such as carrots, leeks, greens, turnips or spinach. This is a part of farming into which we are still just getting our feet wet. We will be writing more about our efforts in preparing for a winter harvest in the coming weeks.

Cold Peanut Sauce
2/3 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup tahini (we often omit)
1/4 cup soy sauce or less
1/2 cup hot black tea (or hot water)
3 Tbs brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp chili powder or less
2 Tbs vinegar
4 cloves garlic
1 3/4" ginger root or less

Combine peanut butter, tahini, soy sauce, 1/2 of the hot tea, sugar and chili, vinegar, garlic and ginger. Blend until smooth. Add remaining tea to thin as needed.

Sound like a bizarre combination of ingredients? Maybe it is, but we love it as a topping on spaghetti. Had some for lunch and didn't want to stop eating it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


We are not usually “impulse buyers.” But sometimes you have to be impulsive in order to get what you want. We try to keep an eye on the local papers for auction announcements just in case there might be something there that we could put to use on the farm. We are not seasoned auction-buyers, though. The only things we’ve bought in the past at auction are our refrigerated truck, our large hoophouse and some raingear. But when I looked through the auction section of the paper last week I spotted a listing for an Allis Chalmers G at an auction this past weekend. This is not a tractor we were planning to buy. But, then again, I’m not sure you can really plan to buy one of these. They are pretty rare and you’ve just got act on it when one comes up for sale.
Being a small organic vegetable farm, we don’t mind hand weeding. It’s somewhat inevitable. But by this time of year, things are always getting completely out of control. So many different beds are in desperate need of weeding, its tempting to just give up on all of them. So, we know that this is one part of our operation that needs some rethinking and improvement.
The Allis Chalmers G is pretty funky-looking. It is strictly a cultivating tractor and only has a 10-12 horsepower engine. They were manufactured in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s, just before herbicides began to make them “obsolete.” But they have still been useful to many over the years because about half of the 30,000 made are still in use.
We ended up “winning” the G at the auction for the price of $1700 (only $200 above our the $1500 we said was our limit!). It needs some work (it came with no cultivators, nor the levers to operate them), but we hope it will help us keep out the weeds on most of our unmulched crops.
We are always leery about taking on new equipment since neither of us are mechanically inclined. But we think the pros will greatly outweigh the cons of owning this machine.

Vegetables available this week:
Pretty much the same as the last few weeks except that we have a few cantaloupes (if you're early you might get one).
Leeks next week and probably more cantaloupes.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

you must take squash!

these patty pans just won't stop!

Harold and Linda hard at work!

Rainbow cherry tomatoes

A busy week at muddy fingers farm. We are still managing to keep the late blight away from our tomatoes and our late season potatoes, so that is good news! We are using several management strategies currently to keep the late blight contained to where we first spotted it. we are also having some help from several things that are just dumb luck. First the weather has been less conducive to blight. We have been having warm days and warmer nights and it has been drier. Secondly, the early and midseason potatoes are planted separately from the other vulnerable things, and they are physically separated by a windbreak.

We are also actively taking steps to contain the late blight that we do have. First of all, when we discovered the disease very early in the outbreak in our early and mid season potatoes, we pulled the infected plants and any near them, that was about four 100 foot beds. Those pulled plants are under a piece of plastic, cooking in the sun to kill any spores that were on them. Then we noticed that the rows below the first 4 had also become infected, so we took the brush hog through and mowed those plants to the ground to stop more spores from forming and spreading to other plants both here and on our neighbors land (another 8 beds, I think).

Thirdly, we are spraying copper hydroxide which is what is recommended for organic growers to prevent the late blight. This treatment if preventative only, so the leaves must be sprayed with a coat of it before the spores land on them, meaning after rain and every week or so they must be sprayed again. According to the Umass extension website, oral toxicity of copper is low (lower than aspirin or caffeine), but washing tomatoes is still recommended before consuming. We are washing our tomatoes and potatoes before we give them out. But this is a general reminder that it is always a good idea to wash all produce before you eat it. We are extremely careful about hand washing and hygiene, but unfortunately, not every person who picks up produce before you is as conscientious.

When mowing the potatoes last week, it was sad to know that we were cutting their growing season short, but we know that they were mostly sized up already and we may be able to save our tomato crop as well as the storage potatoes that have not yet sized up. So, it was a hard decision that we felt was the only way we really could go. As I was mowing the plants, two things came to me. The first was the smell of the late blight. I had read that the extremely fast decomposition of the plant material caused by late blight infection can cause an intense smell. I accidently hit the corner of the plastic covering the pulled up plants from the first few beds, and the only two words that can describe the smell are GAG REFLEX! Wow! The poor irish! As the boats left the island after the famine, the smell of rotting potatoes must have followed them miles out to see, the last memory of their homeland must certainly have been the awful odor of rotting potato plants.

I haven’t mowed anything taller than a lawn in a while and I had forgotten the way the barn swallows swoop excitedly around the tractor as it scares insects up for them to eat. The little nestlings in our barn and carport were well fed the night, and it made me smile to see the birds swoop and dive snatching up insects. I felt like part of the flock as they soared at eye level dipping down and grabbing their prey. Even if we were mowing growing plants, life does go on!

On the bad news front, this will most likely be the last week for cucumbers as the downy mildew has finished them up. Get them while you can (see the recipe below for cucumber soup!) In reference to the title, the squash are doing great, please, please take them and eat them and LOTS! in case you need inspiration, see several recipes below.

In the news that could have been worse department. We have been pulling onions this week and they managed to size up pretty well before they got downy mildew. We even pulled one that weighed in at 2 and a quarter pounds before it was peeled and cleaned!

We had a nice time at the star gazing sleep out, but who knew so many people go on vacation in august! There were lots of people who expressed interest in coming, but in the end it was a small group of us who slept out and a bigger group who enjoyed the dessert potluck. We haven’t scheduled or planned September’s event yet, but keep your eyes out, we are talking about having a perogie making day!

Things you may see this week:
last of the cukes
cherry tomatoes
lettuce mix

try this delicious heirloom tomato salad recipe from the Edible Finger Lakes magazine!
3 lbs heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 garlic clove grated (or minced and mashed with salt)
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T red wine vinegar
1/2 cup basil leaves, torn
2 stems of oregano leaves
1/2 tsp coarse salt, more to taste
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper

put tomato wedges in a bowl and whisk together the other ingredients, then toss it over the tomatoes. this recipe is great tossed with feta or goat cheese!

"Quick Zucchini julienne" from "more house specialties"
heat 2 T olive oil in a large skillet
saute one medium onion, thinly sliced
add 1 lb (4 cups) of matchstick sized zucchini until lightly browned and crisply done
stir in 1 T sesame seds and 1 T soy sauce, add salt and pepper if desired.

Zucchini-potato pancakes:
2 medium zucchini, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 large potato peeled and shredded (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 small onion, grated
2 T. cornmeal
2 T flour
3/4 t salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
oil for frying

sourcream if desired for serving.

Drain zucchini, pressing out as much liquid as possible, mix with potato and onion. stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt and egg until well mixed.

lightly grease griddle or skillet. cook using 2 T for each pancake, pressing down to flatten, 3-4 minutes per side, until lightly browned. Serve with sour cream.

this recipe from our friends, kara and ryan, sounds so good, can't wait to try it!

MMMMmmm... even non-beet-lovers enjoy this snack.

4 beets, scrubbed -- do not peel
1 Tbsp. olive oil
sea salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Using the slicing blade of your food processor, a mandoline or a sharp knife, slice beets as thinly as possible. Toss with olive oil and salt. Spread evenly on a cookie sheet. Roast 30 minutes to 1 hour, turning halfway through, until crisp. Check often to make sure they don't burn. Let cool and enjoy!

on the same note, try roasted green beans! large beans are especially good for this recipe!
toss beans with olive oil. bake at 450 for 20-22 minutes, turning after 10. salt the beans and serve, they are like green bean french fries, really great!

last chance for this recipe, i guess:
cucummber soup:
place 2 peeled cucumbers, one shallot(or small onion), 1 tsp dill, and 1 tsp. parsley in the food processor and puree. Add 1/4 cup yogurt and 1-3 tsp. cider vinegar. season with salt and pepper to taste.

hope the week is super! liz and matthew

Monday, August 10, 2009

2nd week of August

What a day!
Powerful thunderstorms succeeded a sweltering, thick-aired morning. (So this is what summer feels like?)
A couple hours of heavy rain and thunder and lightning surrounding us sent us inside for a couple of damp breaks from harvesting. At least no hail!

Liz mowed the rest of our late blight infected potatoes today. Unfortunately that was this morning right before the thunderstorms struck. We hope the infection doesn't wash down into the soil to infect the tubers.
The infection is evident by the brown splotches on the potato leaves in the pictures. As you can see its not too bad, yet. Maybe we have a less virulent strain.

this is the big picture of that spot.

a little friend got washed out in the storms, seen here taking a break with liz.

You are all invited to join us this Saturday night for a campout to watch the Perseid meteors. We'll have a campfire and some treats to eat and breakfast in the morning (homemade granola and blue berries). Feel free to sleep out overnight or just join us for a few hours Saturday night. We'll be starting at 8 Pm with a dessert potluck, bring your favorite and try some one else's favorite while you are at it! Bring a tent or don't last year just about everyone slept out without the tent as the stars are so spectacular that way. The moon will be quite dark, so it should be a great night! Come on out!

Vegetables you're likely to see this week:
*edamame soybeans

Edamame Soybeans are served in Japan and China both as a vegetable in meals and as a snack food. Edamame soybeans are easy to prepare. Just remove them from the stems and place in salted, boiling water for about ten minutes. They are delicious and nutty as well as being extremely nutritious, with all of the much celebrated health benefits of soy beans. Edamame is traditionally drained and salted with coarse salt then removed from the pods as they are enjoyed at the table or bar, just slip them out of their shells and pop them in your mouth. (When boiled, the beans easily slip out their shells.) To skip adding the salt, you can boil them in salted water instead or just forgo the salt all together.

grilled tomatillo salsa
you need: fresh tomatillos
garlic cloves, unpeeled 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
onion, coarsely chopped lemon or lime juice
Hot Pepper 2 teaspoons coarse salt

Preheat broiler.
Broil chiles, 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. 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.

hope to see you this weekend, have a great week!
matthew (and liz)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

first week of august

an exquisite white faced hornets nest

a birds nest on our truck's undercarriage

a truck full of garlic

This week has been intense. There is not really much of another way to describe it. Its been a double whammy with the arrival of both of the dreaded, unstoppable diseases that we wrote about last week. First of all, we were the first in the state! Unfortunately, it is at having downy mildew. We reported our suspected case to the extension agent and as she was already scheduled to be here for some other thing, so she looked at it and concurred that it did indeed look like downy mildew, the first reported case in the state if the look at the spores through the microscope validates it.

the phone has been ringing with new cases of late blight on tomatoes and potatoes. In the last week alone, we have heard of 8 farms that have it, not just locally but all over the place. When I sat down to write this hours ago, i was ready to say that our scouting has not turned up any yet, but as i sat down to write this, matthew came in and asked me to look at something in the field with him- and there it was, late blight. We have spotted it early and have some possible hope for control- depending on the weather.

we had already decided earlier in the week to begin a biological herbicide spraying regime and the copper and a new larger sprayer is en route at this writing. Matthew will spend some time tomorrow pulling the infected potato plants which he will then destroy (either by burning or smothering with plastic for later disposal) and we will begin spraying with copper hydroxide. This is a preventative measure to keep the infection from spreading. Again it may or may not succeed depending on the weather and other factors, we may lose all our tomatoes and all of our potatoes in a worst case scenario. We hope to avoid that worst case.

If you have tomato or potato plants, check them often, at least twice a week for brownish spots with a water soaked appearance around the outside. If you do get late blight as a kindness to your neighbors and to farmers, pull diseased plants and dispose of them in a sealed bag in the trash or by burying, smothering under plastic, or burning. The spores thrive in cool, wet weather and are air born.

In addition to these two awful diseases, we pulled our german white garlic and found that our harvest is about half of last years since some rotted in low spots over the winter. and we have downy mildew on our onions which will kill the leaves and will make the lose a little of their potential size. Like i said, its been a rough week.

here's hoping next week is a better one.
liz and matthew

things you may see this week:
cherry tomatoes
lettuce (mix)
beet greens
husk cherries

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

last week of july share

pat at the washing tub

mark and harold washing the first garlic harvest of the year!

There are plant diseases that try a farmer's commitment to organic agriculture. I can think of two, and hope that those are the only two that i ever know. We had one last season when we got downy mildew on our cucumbers and could do nothing but watch as they died one by one down the row. It was sad, and a loss of income, but we grow a wide array of vegetables and in any one year can afford to lose one without being too adversely affected.

this year the disease de jour on the whole east coast is late blight it affects tomatoes and potatoes. Its a bad one, this is the pathogen that caused the irish potato famine changing the course of irish (and i would say american, too) history!

Late blight has been in the newspapers, its been on the radio, the farmers at market have been abuzz about it for weeks- apparently it was brought in on tomato plants at one of the big box stores and worsened when diseased plants were offered at a discounted rate rather than destroyed. (this, my friends, is why it is recommended to buy plants from a horticulturist, rather than a cashier. a grower would not have allowed a diseased plant to leave their farm, and certainly would not have marked them down to move them, spreading the disease further in the process. This means that if you eat a non-organic tomato this year grown anywhere in the northeast where it has been generally cool and wet- the requisite conditions for the disease- it will probably have been thoroughly sprayed to prevent late blight. It also means that there may not be any organic tomatoes at all as there are currently no organic controls.) As of now, no local farmers that we have talked to have found it in their fields, but last week, a home gardener in Ithaca told me he had it.

This week, our friends Kara and Ryan called, they are in the poconos in their first year of having a CSA, and they have it, as apparently does everyone else in that area.

It is at the moment that you find such a disease in your field that you must decide, how much do i believe in not spraying, because there are chemical sprays that will stop or at least slow, depending on the weather, the spread of downy mildew and late blight, but there are no organic solutions. And to lose tomatoes and potatoes, would be a huge loss. That said, we have been scouting our fields regularly and have no sign of late blight, hooray!

unfortunately it looks like we have downy mildew again this year, so it may be "bye, bye cucumbers". tomorrow we will be ripping out the infected plants, and hoping that we could have caught it in time.

Don't forget the sleep out event on saturday august 15th! The last two years have been tons of fun, hope you can make it to our 3rd annual sleep out event!

Things you may see this week
new potatoes
zucchini, patty pans
lettuce or lettuce mix
fresh onions
beans green, yellow, or speckled
cherry tomatoes (first few)
peppers (first few)

Grated Zucchini:
2 T butter, unsalted
1 small clove of garlic, minced
3 medium zucchini, unpeeled grated
Freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper

Melt butter in skillet, add garlic, cook3 minutes.
Toss zucchini in hot garlic butter until tender 2-3 minutes. Season with nutmeg salt and pepper to taste serve immediately.

From Martha Stewart’s quick cook

colorful market stand

hope the week is good.
liz and matthew

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

3rd week of july

loading up the market truck

In market farming there is a threshold that we watch out for when it comes to weeds (and insect pests) as well. If the weeds are below a level that will damage the crop plant that we are growing, then we leave them until we have time to deal with them, or until the crop is finished and they can just be mowed and tilled in. As long as the weeds do not set seed, there is no harm done. But, when the weed (or insect) level passes that threshold and the invador will damage the crop, then something must be done. This is a different mindset perhaps, than a home gardener has. The measure that is used in a home garden tends to be an aesthetic one. When weeds pass the asthetic threshold (whatever it is in that particular garden), then the garden needs to be "tidied up a bit". This being said, many of our beds are looking the best they ever have this year with less weeds than in the past. Now if we could only get some real rain from the sky, they would really be thriving!

the harvest list of the week

Every harvest day starts with a list. We are grateful to have five working shares this year helping us with on farm harvesting, before their arrival, we make up a list of what needs to be harvested for the day, it generally stays the same all week, though we do add or remove items as they come into and leave productivity. Our big harvests are monday, wednesday, and friday, but we harvest tuesday morning, thursday morning, and saturday morning before market as well to supply really fresh greens for the day. this leaves monday and wednesday mornings only where we are both home to do farm work that necessitates two people. We take Sunday's off starting in July. It is a busy time of year for us still, but things are slowing down compared to June when we are harvesting (though not as much) plus still doing lots of planting and weeding tasks as well.

Things you may see this week
new potatoes
zucchini, patty pans
fresh onions
snow peas

for those who haven't used raddichio before, it is slightly bitter green. It can be used in salads, eaten lightly salted and drizzled with olive oil (cooked lightly or raw) or in this great recipe:
Yield: 6 servings.

1⁄2 cup olive oil
4 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
* * *
12 radicchio leaves, blanched slightly in simmering water to soften
3 4-oz. logs goat cheese, cut into rounds
6 small tomatoes (yellow and orange, if available), sliced
to taste, salt and pepper

Whisk first four ingredients together for vinaigrette. Arrange leaves on work surface. Brush center of each leaf with marinade. Place cheese rounds in center of each leaf. Fold up leaf around cheese, creating bundles; cover and chill. Heat seasoned grill to medium-high. Brush each wrap with dressing and grill until cheese softens and leaves char slightly. Arrange tomato slices on plate, place bundles on top. Drizzle with remaining dressing, salt and pepper.

Here's a zucchini idea!
1/3 cup biscuit mix
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded zucchini, unpeeled
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 slightly beaten eggs

2 T butter for frying

mix all ingredients, except butter. melt butter in pan, drop 2 T of batter for each round, drop onto hot skillet, cook 2-3 minutes per side, flip when bubbles form on surface. Serve with applesauce.

we never got our act together for a july CSA event, sorry! In august we will be hosting a sleep out event! For the past two summers we have had a sleep out event to watch the perseid meteor showers, this year the shower's peak is august 12th, which is a wednesday, due to the fact that most people have "real" jobs and are unable to sleep out midweek, we will host a sleep out event on the night of Saturday august 15th, put it on your calendars now! There may not be a major meteor shower coming that night, but the sky will relatively dark, and if you have never slept out with out a tent over you, be ready to be amazed, its dark and lovely at night on the farm! (of course you are welcome to bring a tent, but the stars aren't nearly so nice through the nylon and we are lucky to have very few mosquitos.) a potluck supper for dinner and campfire are planned, we'll make homemade granola with fresh fruit for breakfast on sunday morning. More info to follow later.
hope the week is great!
liz and matthew

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

this is what the farm is looking like right now!

small field

greenhouse, hoophouse and view into big field

Wow, so this summer, huh? I almost wore a winter hat out to the field to harvest this morning, but found a hooded sweatshirt would work instead. It was 52 degrees when we headed out! The predicted low tonight is for 46, not exactly tomato growing weather!

In fact, if i was making a bet i'd say that this will not be a good tomato growing season. First of all, tomatoes love warm weather and we have had nary a day in the 90s and not even that many in the 80s. Not to complain, its been ideal weather for spending the day outside~!

Lots of stuff coming on right now!
this week you may see:
new potatoes
fresh onions
lettuce mix
snow peas
zucchini, patty pans
maybe fresh garlic!
beet greens

sesame noodle sauce-- great with wheat berries or pasta!:
2 T soy sauce
1 T hot sauce
1 T sesame oil
1 t rice vinegar
1 t sugar
1 clove garlic
1 T Tahini (almond or peanut butter can be used instead)
1 T lime juice

toss with
1/3 cup sesame seeds (toasted is best)
1/2-3/4 cup peanuts
1 can of chick peas

Marcia sent in this yummy recipe for...
1 c. mayonnaise
4 T. half-and -half
1 t. cider vinegar
2 t. prepared mustard
4 t. honey
1/2 t. salt
1 t. celery seed
1 medium cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, grated

Mix all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Pour over the shredded cabbage and carrots. Gently toss util the vegetbles are well coated. Makes 8 servings.
----from Cooking with Honey by Joanne Barrett (c) 1981

The other morning it occured to me just how delicious a time of year it is, when i picked black caps right into my cereal bowl and then topped it off with mulberries and sweet cherries. if you hurry, there are still some cherries to be picked in hector. Also soon there will be blueberries, (we picked our first small harvest off of our young bushes), and raspberries are now available at markets and local u-pick farms! Its a delicious time of year, get out to pick fruit!

This time of year we are spending lots of time harvesting. There is till a little bit of weeding to be done and a smidgen of planting, but the main item these days is harvest, harvest, harvest.

We also are spending quite a bit of time putting food away for the winter. Peas, kale, chard, and pounds and pounds of cherries are going into the freezer on top of last months strawberries.

hope you have a great week!
liz and matthew