Monday, December 6, 2010

Winter Harvest

Ice lickers
Sprout mound
Hairy leeks
Isn't this fun?!
Visual oxymoron


Life here at Muddy Fingers Farm has slowed since our last newsletter post, but our to-do list is still full!

Here's a few of the things we've been working on.

Finishing the outdoor harvest. Most of the crops we are harvesting this time of year are inside the hoophouses, but there are a few that that have been outside braving the cold. These include salad turnips (at least we put some plastic down on top of them to afford them some protection), kale (can be harvested frozen stiff!) and leeks and Brussels sprouts (both of which we finished harvesting today and put in our cooler). Though calling it a "cooler" this time of year is not accurate. We've been running the air conditioner fan and turning on a small heater inside when necessary to keep the produce from freezing!

There are some crops we planted late in the season (onions, leek, carrots, mache) that we have covered by low-tunnels that we hope will survive the winter in order that we can get an extra-early harvest from them next spring!

And we are still at the market in Ithaca! If anyone would like to brave the cold, come on to Ithaca's outdoor market the next two Saturdays from 10:00-3:00. On the 18th of Dec. the market will hold the annual Rutabega Curl.

What, you may ask, do we have available at our stand? Brussels sprouts, kale, salad turnips, leeks, onions, garlic, celeriac, carrots, beets, parsnips, lettuce mix and heads and spicy greens mix.

We have also already started planning our next CSA season. We've been analyzing our crops from the records we kept this year. We will determine which are most profitable and which are least profitable so we can know which ones we need to improve upon our efficiencies in growing or even stop growing.

We learned last year that the CSA is an efficient way for us to market our vegetables - more efficient than at the farmers' market. Also this year our sales were down at our markets (except in Watkins Glen!). For these reasons (and for our sanity) we have decided to drop yet another market for next year. We are fairly certain this will be the Ithaca market on Tuesday. We plan to make up for this loss of income by increasing the shares in the CSA again next year up to around 90 shares.

We also realized the shares at the end of the CSA season (September and October) could have and should have been larger this year. There was lots of vegetables available, but we had priced our share for the fall to be smaller. Therefore we have decided to increase the cost of a share to reflect an increase in the size of a share for the months of September and October. We plan for the cost of a basic share to be $400 next year. And the cost of the larger share will be $520. We will still be providing the same 10-15% discount, only with more produce.

Offering low-income shares is something we have wanted to do for several years now, but we have never felt that it was something we were able to take on. But next year we are planning to raise funds for at least a few families to be able to join the CSA at no or reduced cost. More details about this later as we work them out.

We've also had compost to spread, eight months of messy farm to clean up and reorganize and/or repair.

And we've been loving this early blast of arctic air. We both love winter weather (though one of us enjoys working outside in it a little more). Soon we'll be able to go ice skating and hopefully cross country skiing, too.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

week 21

thanks to all who came and helped us to plant garlic, we have never gotten so much planted on the same day before! julie, garrett, evie and dorothy deserve a medal for most garlic plantings under their belt!, thanks and different color medals to jane, david, mary and our mini crop mob of two, too! Today we spent some time spreading mulch to keep it from being heaved out of the ground by frost over the winter. Anytime it is above freezing this winter, the garlic will grow roots, anytime it is above 40, the leaves will grow, generally they don't poke through the mulch until next spring, about the same time as the daffodils come up~! nice to see food growing at that time of year!

the leaves have been just lovely at the farm lately and all around, too. we have a huge list of chores for the fall and are eagerly awaiting getting them started, october is when going to four markets a week gets in the way, there are just not as many hours in the day as there were a few weeks ago and lots of what we have on the docket takes two.

the next two weeks will involve some harvesting, going to markets and seeing all of your lovely faces another one or two times (depending which day you pick up and when you are reading this), mulching the rest of the garlic, hopefully planting two more beds (too wet to till before), moving our caterpillar tunnel (should have been done a week or so ago, but we are tired by this time of year, what can we say?), reviewing the season and starting to run our numbers on what crops are profitable and which are not.

we have done some talking already about next year and are thinking it would be nice to start a low income share fund of some kind. we have long been bothered that healthy food is considered "too elite" for low income people and wonder if we all chipped in $10-20 dollars, how many people could we feed? do you think you could spare a bill or two next year when you buy your share? more about that over the winter, i'm sure.

lots of warm filling recipes this week!

Garlicky Samosas from Jane:
Samosa dough:
2 cups flour
2 T butter
2 T yogurt/butter milk
pinch of salt
1/2 cup water

1 carnival squash baked until very soft
3 cloves garlic (or less, this is really garlicky! baked with the squash)
1 can giany white beans

bake squash and garlic if you haven't done it already. combine it with the beans and puree.

divide dough into 6 balls and roll out into circles. spoon squash mixture into dough and fold over to form a pocket (like perogies). bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

red lentil soup: this soup and the following bread are our always good meal that we make in the winter for guests, if you get a dinner invite, this is almost surely what will be on the menu, its always good!)

2 cups of red lentils
4 cups of cold water
1 T salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup butter
2 tomatoes
1 large onion
1 T dill
2 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves

you can saute the onions and garlic first, or not, i usually just throw it all in the pot and let it simmer, i often replace the water and tomatoes with a quart of home-canned tomatoes.

Cheese-herb bread

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/4 tsp. dried marjoram (i usually omit, since i don't "stock" this)
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
2 eggs
2 T honey
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese (or more!)

mix dry ingredients, mix moist ingredients then mix them together until blended add cheese and mix thouroughly. bake in greased 9"x5" pan at 350 for 50 minutes.

this recipe will be good only if you still have ginger left:
we've been enjoying healthy smoothies made with this customer recipe:
concord grapes (seeds included)
fresh ginger
maple syrup

blend together, sit on the porch and enjoy as you spit all those seeds, very tasty!

apple ginger cobbler:
chunk up one or two apples per person
cut ginger finely to taste

top with a simple crumb topping:
local flour
walnut oil or butter
maple syrup (or sugar)
cinnamon (opt)
bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until done, great dessert!

i can't believe i haven't put this recipe up here yet!

Baked Kale Chips!
from smitten

1 bunch (about 6 ounces) kale (I used Lacinato or “Dinosaur” Kale but I understand that the curlier stuff works, too, possibly even better)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 300°F. Rinse and dry the kale, then remove the stems and tough center ribs. Cut into large pieces, toss with olive oil in a bowl then sprinkle with salt. Arrange leaves in a single layer on a large baking sheet (I needed two because mine are tiny; I also lined mine with parchment for easy clean-up but there’s no reason that you must). Bake for 20 minutes, or until crisp. Place baking sheet on a rack to cool.

these are fantastic! Really, try them!

have a stupendous and delicious week!
liz and matthew

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Garlic Planting Is Still On

We have been getting worried we would not be able to till the soil to prepare the beds for garlic planting this weekend (or anytime before there's a foot of snow on the ground for that matter). With all the rain we've been receiving and more in the forecast for Thursday and Friday we knew if we were going to get ready for the garlic it had to be today before the rain moves in. So we rushed through our harvesting today and threw compost on the beds and tilled them. They were a little too wet in some spots, but I figured it was probably now or never (well, maybe next spring).
So, anyway, the beds are prepared and garlic planting is still on for Saturday 2pm with dinner to follow. Please RSVP if you can. Its gonna be muddy and chilly but we hope you'll still be up for it!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

week 20

hello all, hope the week is great for you! we had a great turnout and a great time at our perogie making day! Thanks to all who made the trip for the event, the fillings were varied but all were delecious! I hope to post at least one of them in the upcoming days.

don't forget there is one last CSA event coming up! we are planning to plant garlic on saturday oct 16th at 2 pm, (though we may have to reschedule as our soil is quite wet right now and we may not be able to work it with out damaging it before saturday, we will keep you posted via email if the event is to be rescheduled.)

also upcoming the local foods fest, it is targeted at schuyler, chemung, and steuben county residents, this is where you can learn where to get local meat, eggs, cheese and more! friday oct 22 5-8 at the corning museum of glass, see last weeks post for more details. or call 607-664-2300 for more info.

and the last announcement, on thursday october 21st, we will be packing up from market 15 minutes early or so, an email reminder will be sent, but please be aware, we will be leaving market a tad early on thursday the 21st to attend a meeting.

the leaves are just lovely this fall! We're glad that many people got to take a tour of the farm in all of its fall glory, and were really impressed at how eagle eyed you all are! People had great questions and obervations when they got back to the kitchen, several people noticed what a pretty color the hazelnut bushes we planted this spring are turning, the blueberries are also very nice right now!

try this great chard recipe from trisha via mary martin, simple and easy!
wash chard and slice the stems,
cook five minutes in lightly salted water
add leaves and cook until wilted,
pour off water, pour swiss chard into oven proof casserol
and sliced onion, garlic, and soy sauce, top with parmesan cheese.
bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

have a super week!
liz and matthew

Monday, October 4, 2010

First week of October

Sorry, we have no pictures this week.
Today is another rainy day - the first time the temperature has not topped the 50 degree mark this fall. This time, I am the lucky one to stay inside and get indoor work done while Liz stands at market in the rain. We appreciate this rain (though it would have been nice to have more during the summer) as it will help our irrigation pond slowly recharge. But we are getting a little worried the soil will not dry out for us to till our beds for garlic planting. In the summer, the soil dries quickly as the moisture evaporates in the heat, but with cooler days the soil dries much more slowly, so we will need several sunny, breezy days. We also hope to get a good layer of compost spread on the beds before tilling.
Well things with Knox (our new dog) had been going very well (probably too well!) until this past weekend. When our attention was drawn away from him momentarily, he dashed over to our neighbor's property and fatally wounded one of their chickens. Arghh! Well for now we are keeping him restrained when we are up by the house - this means either in the house, in the farm truck or on a leash. But we may need to figure out a better way of keeping him out of the road and away from the chickens in the future!


Locally-Grown Harvest Festival

Friday, October 22, 2010

5:00-8:00 PM

Corning Museum of Glass

1 Museum Way, Corning, NY

If you missed this exciting event in February, here is your chance to attend a unique tasting experience. Sample a wide variety of meats, vegetables, fruits, cheeses, artisan breads, baked goods, wines, microbrews and other farm products! Meet dozens of Finger Lakes farmers! Learn how and where to buy fresh, healthy, local foods. This event will feature even more local vendors, with plenty of autumn vegetables and fruits for sale!

Meet farmers Purchase local products

Taste samples Recipes and Demonstrations

The event features:

Tastings of meats, vegetables, cheese, fruits,

breads, preserves, wines, and microbrews!

Everything you need to create healthy, delicious holiday meals!

$5.00 per person or $10.00 per family



for more information

No registration required

Cornell University

Cooperative Extension

Muddy Fingers Farm CSA annual pierogie making day will be Saturday October 9 at 10:00 am - bring your favorite pierogie filling and we'll all work together making the dough and filling, folding and boiling! Dough provided. RSVP required (for knowing how much dough to make).

Our garlic planting CSA day is scheduled for Saturday October 16 at 2 pm with dinner to follow. Please bring your garlic cracking hands and be prepared to get muddy planting the cloves. A "crop mob" from Ithaca may also be in attendance. This will be our final CSA event of the season, so come on up to the farm and enjoy the crisp temps and beautiful foliage and get your fingers muddy one last time for the year. RSVP preferred.

New vegetables this week:
Brussels sprouts

Cabbage recipe:

Heat 1 tsp olive oil in saucepan. Add 4 cups thinly sliced red cabbage (try with green). 3/4 tsp. caraway seed, and 1 tsp salt. Cook, covered, until tender (8-10 min) Remove from heat; add 1 crisp, sweet apple, cut into matchsticks, 1 minced shallot, 1 Tbs, red wine vinegar, 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard and 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper.
Thanks Rusti for the recipe!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Addition

The only photos this week are of Gemini and our new addition to the farm life - Knox. We have been thinking for quite a while that we would like to have another dog (especially one a little smaller than Gemini). And now that the season is winding down we feel that we can put some time into training another dog. And he does need some training. He knows how to sit and that's about it. We will have to teach him how to not run through the vegetables beds - especially the tender greens! And apparently wherever he lived previously he was allowed to get up on the furniture. But we'll have to put an end to that since now he's a farm dog and will often be quite dirty we're sure. We got him from the Tompkins County SPCA on our very first trip out looking for a dog to adopt! We brought Gemini along and they played very well with each other at the shelter and they're getting along great here at home. And it seems already that Knox may be able show Gemini a thing or two about how to decrease the rodent pest population out in the vegetable fields.

October 9 Pierogi making day 10 am
Bring a filling traditional or funky! No Polish heritage necessary!

October 16 Annual Garlic Planting CSA event 2 pm
Dress for the weather and come help break bulbs, plant cloves and lay hay mulch. It will be a real community event!

New vegetables available this week:
Winter squash
Potatoes again
Lettuce again

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.
This recipe from Muddy Fingers Farm

Sunday, September 19, 2010

weeks 16 and 17

welcome to fall like weather! summer crops are winding down and fall food is starting up it is a transitional time at the farm. we are grateful for the night falling earlier and the cool evenings that make it perfect to pull up a good book and do some reading after a long summer.

husk cherries! if you haven't yet tried them, don't miss the experience- sweet and nutty!

what are those colorful hermit crab shells doing in the farm newsletter? the farmers were on vacation and enjoyed some time on the board walk by the shore where there are hermit crabs galore!

this is the time of year that people start asking, "when does this thing end, anyway?" The answer is the last week of october, there are 22 weeks total to the csa, (elmira will have only 21 weeks of pickup this year, but will recieve extra items in october to make up for the last week which falls on november first- as the market ends the week before on october 25th)

lovely, local ginger! see recipe below

also, coming on up, put it on the calendar, saturday october 9th the ever popular perogie making day will be coming up again! bring a filling of your choice, creativity is encouraged! in the past we have had both sweet and savory fillings with many different colored potato, sweet potatoes, ricotta with fruit, grape pie type, cabbage or saurkraut.
make and bring a filling to share. then we will make perogies and bag them all mixed for fun surprises when you cut into them and enjoy at home! this event will begin at 10 am.

what's up on the farm, we have been seeding the last few items that may or may not make it in time, even for our january/february markets, we have one more planting of lettuce to put in (tiny heads that will size up some before winter hits) and then there will be the garlic in the middle of october. you will have a chance to help plant garlic on saturday october 16th starting at 2pm, that will be the last CSA event of the season.

Carrot-Ginger-Cashew Soup
This is a tangy cool-season comfort food that‘s loaded with distinctive flavors and antioxidant-rich ingredients. The blended cashews add a creamy dimension to this soup, along with muscle-fueling protein and heart-healthy oils. (Adapted from Morris Press Cookbooks;

1 1/2 pounds carrots, raw (peeled and washed)
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup gingerroot, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
7 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine (optional)
1 1/2 cups cashew nuts, unsalted and either raw or dry-roasted
2 tablespoons lemon juice
(orange juice may be substituted)
Curry and/or coriander powder,
one pinch or to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh chives or parsley for garnish

Peel and cut carrots into half-inch pieces. Place oil or butter in large stock pot over medium heat. Add onion, ginger, and garlic; sauté for about 15 minutes. Add broth, carrots, and (if using) wine. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered over medium heat until carrots are tender (about 45 minutes). Purée in blender with cashews. Season with juice, curry, coriander, salt, and pepper, as desired. Serve hot or cold with garnish. Serves 6.

have a super week! roast some veggies make some soup and eat well!
liz and matthew

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Still planting

Summer's bounty

We have not done much planting here for the past few months - just a few beds here and there. This includes salad greens - as I'm sure many of you have noticed their absence the past few weeks. However it has generally been too hot and dry for greens to grow well this summer and the ones we have planted have mostly just bolted.

But we are trusting that soon it will not be so hot and, yes, it will even eventually get cold. So now is that very short window in time where we can get greens, turnips, radishes, etc. planted so that they may reach maturity before we lose the sun too much and they stop growing (toward the end of October). If we time it right we will have many greens for the last weeks of the CSA and also through the winter! How is this possible? Well many crops, while they don't grow through the winter's short, cloudy days, will certainly stay fresh and vital right in the ground as long as they are provided with a little protection. These include crops like spinach, lettuce, kale, turnips, carrots. The protection comes from our hoophouses (with two layers of plastic) and the white, floating row covers directly over the plants.
And I don't know about you, but here at Muddy Fingers we are definitely looking forward to some cooler temps!
Additions to the selection to look forward to next week:
maybe apples
hopefully some lettuce mix
Probably next week will be the last week for melons - hope you've loved 'em as much as we have the last few weeks.

Monday, August 16, 2010

weeks 11+12

the garlic is all pulled from here and a cover crop of appin turnips has been planted, they will grow this fall and open lovely channels in the soil, leaving lots of room for microorganisms and earthworms in the soil. They will die over the winter and act as a "biofumigant" naturally killing disease organisms in the soil.
this is the kind of photo we like to use as a background on our computer in the winter to remind us of how lovely the summer is!

its seems we have slipped to a bi-weekly update, sorry don't know where the time has been going lately. we've spent the week picking for you all to eat, pruning raspberries for next summers yummy berries, harvesting onions, cutting tops off of garlic, doing some planting of greens for later in the CSA season, and even some things that will overwinter until next june and hopefully be in the CSA during that lean month next year.

Hearing no replies, we skipped the meteor sleepout this year, and were a little sad to do it, we'll have to get a date set for a september event soon so that it can go out and onto your calendars before too long.

The cultivating event last week was informative and helpful, and we are looking forward to going to see the setup at a local farm this week as well, so we should be well on our way to buying some new weed control tools for our selves.

food you may see this week:
melons! tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, garlic, onions, lettuce, spicy greens mix, chard, a few beets, zucchini/summer squash, potatoes, beans, parsley, basil, cilantro

things you won't see: (or at least not many of you will) cucumbers, our newest planting has gotten downy mildew and is dying even before it comes into full production- darn!

a few updates:
we are a sponsor for a symposium entitled "awakening the dreamer, Changing the Dream" which will take place on saturday august 21st from 9:30-4:00 PM at wisdom's goldenrod in hector. register on line at

also, NOFA-NY (Northeast Organic Farming Association of new york) is hosting a locavore challenge as a way to promote local farms and raise funds to help keep small, organic type farms like ours strong. Want to pledge to eat local for a day, a week, or the whole month of september? Pay a small fee to get resources to help you learn where to get food from organic and sustainable farms as well food ideas to get through the month eating the local/100 mile/250 mile/seasonal diet (if you have read any of the spurt of recent books about this topic, you may be interested in trying it yourself!) You have a good headstart on it by being in a CSA!

this recipe sounds so tasty that i have to post it despite the fact that i just said our cukes are doomed, i'm sure it would work stuffed into peppers instead!

feta-walnut stuffed cucumbers: from prevention magazine
1/2 cup walnut halves
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup fat free milk
1 small clove of minced garlic
1/2 t paprika
1/8 t ground red pepper
4 medium cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise and seeded.

combine walnuts and parsley in food proccesor, and pulse until powdery, add rest of ingredients (except cukes), and puree until smooth. fill cucumbers wiht mix and pat in place, slice into wedges and sprinkle with paprika before serving.

this is a good way to try tomatillos if you are a pork eater, thanks wendy for sending this recipe!
3/4 lb cubed pork--or, works well with cheaper bone-in cuts like pork steaks or western style ribs
1 lb coarsely chopped tomatillos
1-2 cans Great Northern beans, rinsed
1 can chicken broth
1 large (or more) onion halved and sliced thin
1 4 oz. can mild green chilies
6 cloves garlic, sliced or chopped
1 t. cumin
S&P to taste
1/2 c lightly packed fresh cilantro, chopped
sour cream (optional)

Brown meat on all sides. Place in slow cooker and add remaining ingredients to cumin. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-7. Add S&P and taste. Stir in cilantro and cook ten minutes more on low. With wooden spoon, shred meat against side of cooker. Serve with optional sour cream.

hope your week is lovely and if you are about to send a beloved child (or the unlikable ones, too) off to school, may you all enjoy good food together before its cafeteria fare for them and lonelier dinners for you! take time to cook together this week!
liz and matthew

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

week ten

this week the tomatoes and cherry tomatoes seem to really be starting, finally! i was chatting with another farmer at the market this week and he commented that his tomatoes were taking a long time to ripen, too!
lets see, this week has been another dry one and pretty hot, too. We have been irrigating, but the pond is getting low enough we are starting to worry a little.

this year our focus has been on how to make our business more efficient and profitable. to this point, we have made a modest living at the farm, but not necessarily the kind that will sustain us long term. We have been keeping lots of records, which we will use this winter to determine which things we grow are profitable and which are not. With a CSA we may not be able to drop all of the crops that are unprofitable, but armed with the knowledge we will be able to look into how to grow things more efficiently and which items would be acceptable to stop growing. we'll keep you posted once we do all the math.

one area that we know needs to be improved upon is weed control and we have spent some time since we bought a cultivating tractor last fall (you may remember the photo- it looks like a little orange dunebuggy!) reading about weed control with it. There are lots of options for tools to hang below it to use to kill weeds and we are still not positive which one(s) are right for us. We visited a nearby farm a few weeks ago and they were kind enough to give us the basics and show us their tools and even let us weed some of their vegetables! (wait, they let us do their work for them, we've been swindled!) all joking aside, they were very generous with their time and we learned a lot, but still don't feel confident in this new technology on our farm. We are looking forward to sending an representative to a workshop tomorrow about tractor cultivation and there is one more local farm we'd love to visit as they have a system like ours- with permanent beds and paths, which is a little different than how lots of other people do things and needs to have tools set up differently. We'd like to get one or two cultivating setups set up by the fall so we are all set up for next year. The weeds really slow down by the fall, but it doesn't hurt to get some practice in first on a less weedy patch, where the crops maybe will be easier to see between the little weeds.

love these large mild onions

its funny, we farm on small scale, and a slightly awkward one. We can certainly use well made tools that are geared towards home gardeners, and we do. But we can also benefit from technologies that larger scale farmers use. Sometimes it is hard to find the balance between when a technology will be cost effective for us and when it will just be nice to have but not make a difference in whether the crop profits or not.

For example, with our cultivating tractor, we do have one basic set of "Beet knives" for it. These are shaped like half of an elongated "V" and weed next to beets and other crops. we have used them several times, but they are not quite the right tool for what we were using them for. To cultivate a bed with them takes about 3-5 minutes to actually do the cultivating, but it also takes several minutes to check the gas, oil, coolant, and what not on the tractor, start it up and drive it to the field. To use a hand held "scuffle hoe" (a capital D shaped blade that scrapes tiny weeds with two sharpened edges on the curved side of the D, works on the pull and the push stroke) it can take as little as 12 or 15 minutes per bed (or much longer if the weeds are large!) So when there are lots of beds to be done, the cultivating tractor makes sense, but if there are only one or two to be done, (or there are lots of different kinds of beds that require the tool to be adjusted to different positions) the scuffle hoe can be just as fast.

these are the kinds of questions that our record keeping will help us to better understand, we are really looking forward to sitting down and looking through each crop at the end of the season.

new this week: shallots. nice large mild onions. lovely mild salad turnips

also chard, kale, beets, potatoes, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, summer squash, zucchini, tomatillos, lettuce mix

coming soon, melons!

we saw this cool humming bird moth at the farm, we had only seen them in the insect books before! (sorry these photos seem less clear than they used to, though this wasn't that clear to start with)

still looking for feedback on the august and october events. any ideas, let us know. we are thinking of doing the meteor shower sleep out on friday the 13th, let us know if there is any interest, if not, we will plan something else later in the month. We are interested in having co-operative extension do a nutrition event, give us feedback if you have it.

ok, happy eating, see you around!
liz and matthew

Thursday, July 22, 2010

week eight is great!

winter squash leaves.

shallots are a new crop for us this year, they grow in a clump, they are nice looking!

HELLO ALL! lets see, first off the picnic was great fun, thanks to all who came! a few items were left here, if you are missing a water bottle, a serving spatula, or scented bubbles, let us know! (i do know who the bubble belong to, its just fun to write the words scented bubbles, we'll try to get them back to you all.)

this time of year the story is harvest, harvest, harvest, and hope for some rain. things here have been dry, but fine. we were transplanting cabbage plants for the fall this week and will be doing some seeding for the fall and even into the winter months pretty soon. and of course there is always weeding

the last several days we have spent some time working on preparing a new field, which was pictured a few weeks ago on this page. It will be planted fairly soon, we have just spent some time between those photos and now letting weeds germinate and then killing them to make sure there are less weed seeds in the soil's "weed bank".

we are looking for feedback on our next CSA event. For the past several years in august we have had a sleep-out event corresponding with the annual Perseid meteor shower, the first year it was kind enough to fall on a weekend, the next time and, alas this year, the shower peaks midweek (aug 11+12)and we are trying to decide- should we hold the event midweek, or should we just have it on the closest weekend and enjoy the sensation of sleeping under the stars whether there is a promise of meteors or not? send us feedback by hitting comment, by email or in person. If enough people were interested in sleeping out midweek, we would hold the event then, otherwise, we will plan on the weekend.

start thinking ahead to october as well. 10-10-10 is the international day of climate action, we'd like to host an event of some kind, have ideas? let us know!

things you'll see in the share:
cucumbers, pickling and slicing
cherry tomatoes
kale and chard
new potatoes, this week purple, and really bright purple, at that!
green and speckled beans!
fresh onions
fresh garlic
zucchini and summer squash/patty pans
beet greens
rainbow carrots

we had beans cooked like this the other night and ate a whole quart in about two minutes, they were so good!
Saute a quart of beans (the speckled ones are nice like this, and keep their color better) in butter or olive oil. When just about tender, mince a clove of garlic and a tsp of soy sauce and toss on top of the beans, cook another few minutes, serve and enjoy. Simple and so tasty!

have a treemendous week,
liz and matthew

Friday, July 16, 2010

week 7 of CSA

these radicchios were at the end of a bed that finished, they couldn't take the heat with out irrigation and boy are they a mess now! "hello, i'm kale, get used to me, i'm versatile and you'll see me or my curly leaved sibling a lot this season. I am high in calcium, iron, and vitamin K, your doctor will be proud if you learn to like me. I am a little bitter, but great cooked with a bouillon cube until bright green and tender (but not so long that i get overcooked and soggy) or cooked with a dash of water and caramelized onions, toss a handful of raisins in and the contrast of sweet and bitter is lovely!"
love these onions!

how did this happen?! sorry regular checkers, we flubbed this week!

i guess by the fact that we didn't post this week you can infer that we have been busy. our working shares start up in july and it has been a hot first two times out for them, with temperatures into the 90s and humidity high as well. thanks cindy, brendan, devin, danielle, pat, mark, terri, lydia, and reeder for being so tough in such hot weather! not a single wimp or whiner in the group! and an extra huge thanks to pat and mark who loaned us their truck this week when ours had to go into the shop at 5:15 the night before market and we didn't know how we were going to get things to market in corning the next morning! (a minor problem fixed in a few hours, but not in time for us to get to market in our truck.)

we are looking forward to the picnic tomorrow and are tidying the fields up so things look their best for the crowd. If you are coming and play an instrument, bring it, we will be having a campfire at dark!

things you have seen in the share:
baby leeks
cucumbers, pickling and slicing
first tomatoes! (a few)
some cherry tomatoes (not too many saw these yet)
kale and chard
new potatoes
green beans, new this week!
fresh onions
fresh garlic
zucchini and summer squash/patty pans
a little lettuce, but the hot dry weather has been hard on it, it makes it bitter and then it bolts (goes to flower)

things you'll see soon:
tomatillos! (some times called mexican green tomatoes, and make a great salsa)
beet greens
rainbow carrots

this weather has been great for coleslaw, hope you have a favorite recipe, here's a suggestion if not:
shred cabbage and toss with shredded carrots, mayonnaise, dill seed or weed, a splash of vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.

have a great rest of the week!
liz and matthew

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

week six of csa

well lets not beat around the bush, last week we began by talking about the change of the weather and how cool it was going to be, slowing the growth of our warm season plants. this week, that has not been an issue! All along the east coast its been hot and dry and we aren't done yet, at least tomorrow will continue to cause us to swelter! it wouldn't be so bad to be so hot if it weren't so dry. Things would be growing like crazy if we had had a big rain before things heated up. But instead, we have been watering by irrigation mostly, but a few newly planted things by hand and hoping to get a good soaking rain sometimes soon.

we've decided that we should just have a fun event on july 17th, we'll be hosting an evening of fun on the farm! We'll have a picnic dinner (bring a dish to pass) and we'll have games like badminton, bocce ball, Frisbee, a bean bag tossing game (good for little kids) and a collection of games and challenges that take a minute to play. this will be a great event for those who want to see the farm and meet other members, but don't feel that they can do a farm work type event. Know someone who would like to see the farm? Invite them along! We'll have dinner at six, arrive as early as five on saturday, july 17th.

In pick-up news, we've decided to try giving one pound of dry beans or small bags of flour as items that you can choose in the shares, at first it felt odd to give something that we had not grown, but we thought we'd give it a try. (sorry ithaca pickups, we do not bring these items to the market there as the rules do not allow it.) We have been bringing whole wheat bread flour and all purpose flour both locally grown and ground and certified organic from Farmer Ground Flour in trumansburg as well as black beans all from cayuga pure organics in brooktondale (which is one of the two farms that grows the wheat for farmer ground flour). We have begun bringing these items to the markets because we really feel that to have a strong, vibrant local food system, we need farmers to grow staple food items like these, and we need them to be successful doing it, and bringing these items to markets that they otherwise wouldn't get to is one way that we can help make the local food system stronger. don't know how to use dry beans? see recipe below, it includes both the flour and beans!

things you may see this week:
chard and kale
lettuce and lettuce mix
new potatoes
patty pans and zucchini
cucumbers are new!
fresh onions
fresh garlic, last few scapes
cherry tomatoes first few

coming soon:
green beans!

recipes for the week:
hummus with garlic scapes
one can of chick peas
olive oil start with 1/4 cup
1-3 garlic scapes
splash of lemon juice
T of soy sauce

mix all in food processor until smooth, adjust seasoning to taste.

here's a favorite of ours, Burritos with homemade tortillas:
1 lb flour, about 3 cups, can use some whole wheat (i often use one cup)
2 pinches of salt
1/4 cup oil
1 T baking powder
about a cup of water, add a little at a time

mix flour, salt, and oil then add water in increment. knead dough and add flour if needed to get a doughy consistency. cook on a hot, dry skillet until brown bubbles form, flip and cook other side.

we make burritos with any number of fillings- but especially greens, rice, beans, cheese, and salsa (tomato, tomatillo, or peach).

to cook beans, soak several hours or overnight, drain and simmer until tender. flavor as desired, we use onions, garlic, and hot peppers. wrap in tortilla and enjoy!

have a good week, hope to see you at the picnic!
liz and matthew

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

week 5 of csa

hello all,
what a change in weather is being anticipated for the next few days!

the rapid growth of the tomatoes, cucumbers, and bean plants as well as the other summer crops will slow greatly with temperatures in the 70s rather than mid 80s.

we've had several questions lately about keeping greens, and want to take a moment to remind you what a terribly dry and destitute place your fridge is for a poor bunch of greens that is bare naked- cloth those poor little greens in a bag of some kind to keep the frigid fierce refridgerator winds off of them! If you are trying to get away from plastic, you can use a muslin or fabric bag, anything to help hold a little moisture and keep the air from flowing directly over the leaves.

another storage note, remove tops from carrots when they go in the fridge, or you will find rubbery carrots when you go to eat them later, the tops are still transpiring and pulling water up through the roots. same for beets if you are going to store them for more than a day, just detach the tops and store them in a bag, (can even be the same bag, the roots and tops are friends, and once they are separated, the tops can't cause the roots to dry out).

i've recently been wondering when we will move towards a community supported model for more of the things that we do. I know some musicians are asking their fans to help them pay to make albums and then sending them a copy once the album has been cut, why don't we put money down up front for more of the things that we care about? after all, each dollar we spend is a vote for the kind of world we want to live in, why not help out the people and organizations
that we want to buy from anyway?

we have tons (not literally, baby birds are quite light) of birds just about to take to the air! there are at least 5 nest boxes stuffed to the gills with baby birds, almost falling out and quite soon, we will have 5 empty nest boxes, and about 25 new babies filling the muddy fingers air space!

what may you see this week?
garlic scapes, (maybe 10 days left in the season)
rainbow carrots
zucchini/summer squash
fresh onions red long heirloom or short, squat cippolini onions
swiss chard
new potatoes!

pictured this week, baby house sparrows spilling out of the box, beautiful beneficial insect habitat with garlic and caterpillar tunnels in the back ground. we were prepping a new field this week, matthew spreading soil amendments and starting to plow.

on july 17th we will be having our next CSA event. details to be announced, but we hope to have a nice potluck, perhaps with a zucchini theme?! and do a little farm job. hope you can make it.

here's a recipe for the week:
if you have never had patty pans, try them sliced and sauteed with onions and beet greens, serve as is or over pasta!

happy eating this week,
liz and matthew

Sunday, June 20, 2010

CSA week 4

Welcome to the csa week! Lets see, we are beginning to shift from all the greens to produce that new members may be more used to eating. You will start to see the first raspberries, zucchinis, potatoes, and possibly cherry tomatoes this week (more likely next week for the cherry tomatoes and even two weeks before there is any quantity).

Its been nice meeting our new CSA members, its doesn't seem that long ago that we new every single member from our social lives. Now there are plenty of new faces, as we have grown a little bit each year to where we are now at 75 and pretty close to where we think our cap will be. While we have lots of new faces, we are so glad to say that we have lots of familiar faces in the CSA, too. We have always been lucky to have a great retention rate. Of our original 14 members, seven are still with us seven years later, some of the rest moved away or started gardens, a few still shop with us regularly and some decided CSA is not for them. Which is fine, of course. We some times have people apologize to us when they don't rejoin the CSA, but don't worry we not offended, we know that every family is different and busy, don't feel bad when you do what works for your family. (Of course if you were not rejoining because you had had a bad experience, we hope that you would please let us know so that we could learn from you.)

Speaking of what works for your family, a few weeks ago, we had little bit of a tongue in cheek emergency weeding day. Lots of people gave apolgies for not being able to make it, don't feel bad, everyone is busy, and weeding is definately not for everyone. We decided to invite people to come out and help since it makes a job more fun, but also because we realized that we really enjoy working outside on the farm, hearing and watching the birds, or listening to the solar radio, or just thinking our thoughts. Its nice to converse, too of course! In general, its so lovely to work outside and be in the natural world and we should give people a chance to enjoy that with us if they are interested in doing that. That said, we wanted to publicly thank those who joined us- thanks- Garnet, Dan and Dorothy, Pat and Mark for coming out to help us on that rainy Sunday. If you ever feel the need to connect with the "real world" come out to the farm and stroll through the orchard, walk in the woods, sit by the pond or even pull some weeds.

Thanks to all of our Elmira pickupers for helping to make the new market a big success the first week! (Last week was a little slow, also a little rainy, so we will see how the third week goes.) We will have more posters in hand, and if you have a spot you can hang one or more, we would be much obliged if you would tack it up for us, workplace, place of worship, coffee shop, library, any place you frequent could benefit from a poster. Also, please don't be afraid to tell your people about the friendly new little market in town on Monday nights!

Another note to Elmira pickupers, you may see that this post is titled 4th week of CSA and that this is the third week of Elmira pickup, the way the months fell, the new market is one day shorter than our other pickups, we will make it even with you- don't worry. We will either extend a week and get permission to have a pickup there, or at another spot, or we will give extra items to you over several weeks so that you are even with everyone else. But at any rate, we are aware that you are not in sync with the other pickup days.

Thanks John, for the suggestion, we finally are able to put photos on our blog again! Hooray! He suggested that we try a different browser, and it did the trick! Sadly, our camera has been idle recently and we only have old pictures to add. Like these blurry baby robins, maybe it is the heat up there by the roof that blurred the photo!

thanks for sending this recipe in, Laurie this is simple and sounds delicious! its almost too late for the asparagus, but there may still be a little around.

Fruit and Vegetable Salad Supreme

Prep: 10 minutes; Cook: 3 minutes

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 2 3/4 cups)

1/2 pound asparagus spears, cut into bite-size pieces
2 cups thinly sliced carrot
8 cups mixed salad greens
2 cups sliced strawberries
1/2 cup light balsamic vinaigrette
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled goat or feta cheese
1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted

1. Bring a large saucepan filled with water to a boil. Prepare a bowl of ice water. Add asparagus and carrot to boiling water. Remove after 2 minutes, or when color has brightened; drain and plunge into ice water. Drain, and pat dry.

2. Combine salad greens, strawberries, and vegetables. Add dressing; toss well before serving. Top with cheese and pecans.

CALORIES 227 ; FAT 15g (sat 4g,mono 4g,poly 2g); CHOLESTEROL 15mg; CALCIUM 132mg; CARBOHYDRATE 19g; SODIUM 478mg; PROTEIN 7g; FIBER 6g; IRON 2mg

Health, MAY 2005

my eyes are starting to droop, but first, please mark your calendars for July 17th, we will be having our next CSA event on that day, not sure what we will be doing yet, but wanted to get it on your calendars. details to be announced.
happy eating this week!
liz and matthew

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

CSA week 3

Only one thing to write about this week: rain. Our rain gauge total for the month thus far is 3.49 inches - going no more than 2 days without recorded rainfall. And rain is in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow. Obviously other sections of the country have had much worse experiences with excess rainfall recently and all we have is soggy soil, but there's been no tilling, no cultivating and no direct seeding here. That leaves a lot of hand weeding! Admittedly these are good conditions for that, but it takes up a lot time. And we've been able to get a few already prepared beds transplanted. I am sure we are not the only farmers in the area worried about the diseases that struck so hard last year under similar conditions - late blight and downy mildew. We'll be scouting for signs of their arrival!
As you can see below we are beginning to harvest a few more crops. Including garlic scapes. Please note our always popular garlic scape pesto recipe and enjoy some on your pasta while they last!

Raw Scape Pesto

Garlic scapes make a pesto that is a pretty green color and a knock-your-socks-off rich garlic flavor. If this pesto is too strong for your taste, add mayonnaise or sour cream to dilute by 1/1 or even 2/1.

½ lb. scapes (chopped into 1" sections)
1½ c. olive oil
2 c. grated parmesan cheese

In a blender, combine the scapes and olive oil. Pour mixture into bowl and blend the cheese in by hand. Can be used as a cracker or pizza spread. Can be frozen in plastic ice cube trays and used later - this applies to the other pestos, dips, and dressings as well. Put them in a freezer bag, use all year for making bruschetta, with pasta or pizza.

ALSO, garlic bread: 2 or 3 cubes thawed works great as a substitution for the oil component of bread.

This week's vegetables:
New Potatoes
Garlic Scapes
Lettuce Mix

Next week's (expected) vegetables:
New Potatoes
Garlic Scapes
Lettuce Mix
Zucchini/Summer Squash

Thursday, June 10, 2010

2nd week of CSA

First of all I apologize for the late post. Blogger has been giving us troubles in posting and uploading photos. So, sorry but still no pictures.

As I'm sure you've noticed the harvest season has gotten off to a slow start - as usual. You've gotten mostly greens and the quantity has been rather low.

But with all this rain the crops are growing well. And thanks to those CSA members who came out for our weeding session last weekend we were able to eliminate the weeds in our broccolis and cabbages and most of our tomatoes and peas were trellised, too.

If we could download photos you'd see some of the newly hatched chicks in the birdhouses Liz has placed around the farm. And you'd see Liz planting our ginger in the caterpillar tunnel. And the lush, new green growth of the tomatoes planted at our May CSA event.

And you'd see pictures of our poor truck after it had been rolled. Yes, that right! Liz was driving home from farmers' market last Thursday when it happened. We had been up late the previous night and had been up early harvesting. Then after a busy day at market, Liz says she must have been more tired than she realized and when she opended them again she was driving on the side of the road. It was when she tried to get back on the road that the truck rolled. Amazingly she crawled out of the truck with only a few cuts and the x-rays and catscan at the emergency room all were negative.
Let this be a lesson to everyone - don't drive tired. Take a nap!!!
And if we could show you photos, you could see our new pickup truck! This is not the time of year for us to be without a truck for any length of time. So, as if we needed something else to do, Saturday we went out truck shopping and came home with our previous truck's green twin.

This week's vegetables (I know its kind of late):
greens mix
green onions

Next week's (expected) vegetables:
garlic scapes
baby carrots
new potatoes
maybe kale and chard
a few zucchini

Thought you might appreciate a salad dressing recipe!:

Staple Maple Dressing
1 c Canola Oil
5 oz. Olive OIl
1/2 C balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp fresh ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of pepper
1 1/4 tsp crushed garlic
2 T maple syrup
3/4 soy sauce

Mix together.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

CSA week 1

Welcome to Muddy Fingers Farm CSA's 8th year.

Our May 22 CSA workday was a pleasant event with nice weather and several families coming out to experience the farm. After lunch we headed to the field and planted 2 beds of tomatoes and 2 beds of potatoes. While the potatoes are not up yet, the tomatoes are doing great in all of this heat we had last week. Thanks to all who showed up to lend a hand.

Farm Update:

Its been hot, hot, hot. We've irrigated the last couple days for the first time

And we've been getting in all of our summer crops as fast as we can - beans, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, summer squash. While hoping that our mature spring crops - radishes, lettuce, spinach can hold on for our first week CSA harvest before they start to bolt.

Good thing we finally got our new (used) cooler put together and the air conditioner and Coolbot installed (The Coolbot is a nifty little device that connects to the air conditioner and tricks it into continue cooling the room down to as low as 32 degrees)

We also got our new root washer. It is not installed yet and we probably won't need to use it until August.

Hopefully Blogger will cooperate with our computer again soon and we can get some more pictures posted

This week's (expected) vegetables:









Monday, May 10, 2010

CSA right around the corner now...

Hello friends of the farm, I hope the spring is treating you well. It has been a weather rollercoaster around here. We’ve had heat, we’ve had cold, we’ve had rain, and we’ve had none, it seemed that we would have to be watering back in late April until the rain started coming reliably and so much so that we have had trouble getting in to till the soil. In all weather fun, we even had our first hail storm! NO damage, so don’t worry, it would have been funny to see us from the outside of the house, noses pressed against the window as we watched those little pellets fly. It was the longest minute of the day, but we made it!

Speaking of dramatic weather, we were away for the night on Friday to go to the memorial service for Matthew’s beloved grandfather. Our neighbors were kind enough to water our greenhouse and care for the farm. We had no idea that there would be a windstorm with 40+ mile per hour gusts. One or more of which took the top right off of our greenbarn! (Our greenhouse that is used like a barn) Our neighbor was kind enough to pick up everything in the building that would get ruined by being rained on, it was so nice to come home and find every single tool and cardboard box safely stored in our walk in cooler, where it would stay dry.

And speaking of normal weather, worry not about the frosts and even snow flurries of the last few nights. We certainly have lots of plants in the ground and the only ones that could be harmed by a frost are the few rows of the earliest potatoes that are up six inches tall. We covered them last night, but even if they do freeze, they will regrow, but we would like them as early as possible, so we don’t want to lose them.

This is a busy week, we are glad to be hosting two high school groups and to be speaking at a middle school career day all through the career development council. It is really gratifying to have farming be considered a career that we may want to introduce our youngsters to. With the average age of farmer’s today being well in the 50s, we will be glad to have young people entering farming in the future.

For those members who pick up in Elmira, we hope you will be excited to see the farmer’s market that will be happening in Grove park on Monday evenings. While we have not technically received permission for the market yet, at this moment we are just waiting for the paperwork from a few of the farms to get turned into the city. We will let you know when it is official, but for now, we have ourselves, a flower vendor (corning and WG members will recognize Christina from high meadow flower farm from those markets), an egg and meat vendor, a fruit and veggie vendor, and just today we talked to a food vendor who expressed interest, we’ll see how it pans out. We had asked an ice cream vendor but it doesn’t seem that they will be attending.

We’re thinking tomatoes right now, we spent a little while tonight potting up our plants into larger cells. Last year we tried grafting our favorite tasty heirloom varieties onto disease resistant root stock, but did a poor job of it. This year we tried again and achieved much more success, not a 100% success rate, but far better than last time. When we first attached the tasty variety on the top of the disease resistant bottom, they were very wilted and looked like there was no chance that they could live (see photo) many or most of them took and now they are growing on top of totally new roots- amazing!

Speaking of tomatoes, we will plan to do some transplanting of them at the May 22nd CSA get together, hope you can make it, we will be starting with a potluck at noon followed by a tour and a little transplanting.

praying mantis case on a tree in the orchard, (they are beneficial insects and we are glad when we see their egg cases.)

that about does it for now, hope to see some of you on saturday the 22nd. and the rest of you in the first week of june when the CSA pickup begins.

liz and matthew