Monday, September 26, 2011

The Great Divide

Rain and wind, cool nights and shorter days, fall is officially here.  However, this weeks share has a lingering summer flavor.  You will notice a sampling of cucumbers, summer squash, tomatoes and basil.  Unfortunately all of these crops hate cool, wet weather.  The squash and cukes tend to get powdery mildew this time of year, while the tomatoes inevitably get blight and the basil turns a decrepit black from some other deathly disease.
In short, this may be the last you see of these veggies, which is why with regards to the basil, you get the whole plant.  Hopefully this means a batch of pesto is in your future.

I found this very basic pesto recipe at  I have substituted pine-nuts with walnuts and left out the Parmesan for my lactose intolerant friends and it always turns out great.  However, I also like to add in a little fresh squeezed lemon juice to give a little extra kick and prevent rapid oxidation of the basil.  I might even add in those beet greens if I didn't have enough basil.
  • 4 cups packed fresh basil leaves, washed well
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted until golden, cooled, and chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (about 1 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until desired consistency.  
You will also see the first pepper of the season.  It may look hot, but don't be fooled, this pepper is sweet and goes by the name Jimmy Nardello (Josh may want to correct my spelling).  Most folks think of peppers as being a summer crop, but way up here in the great Northwest  we need all the time we can get for peppers to fully ripen, especially when we have a cool and drawn out spring like we had this year.  You will notice that your pepper may only have a hint of red, but if you leave it on your kitchen counter for a few days you may just end up with a perfectly red and ripe fruit to enjoy.  Just don't wait too long or it will become a bit leathery and lose its crisp texture.  Hopefully you will see a few more of these before it gets too cold.

A fall share wouldn't be complete without the addition of root crops so we included a Red Ace beet (or two) and some Yellowstone carrots, both of which I prefer cooked.
Lettuce will be in the share until we have our first frost, which could be within a couple of weeks...Yikes!  Lettuce loves the cool, moist weather of season caught on the great divide.  Enjoy it while you can.  Jack Frost is right on our heels. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Last Day of Summer

Same share as Monday, once again. And today is in fact the last day of summer and the last summer share delivery. It was a beautiful day, starting with an incredible sunrise and ending up with some good heat. We need all the heat we can get to ripen the peppers and eggplant, as well as the remaining tomatoes, cucumbers and summer squash.

The 10 day forecast has us going into a bit of a wet patch. Lets hope we come out the other side with a bit more of this warm dry weather once the full moon passes next week.

I'm off to Canada next week to teach a little workshop up there. Kji will be doing the harvest and I'll be missing the first fall share of the year. Kji's access to internet isn't quite the same as mine so the blog may be a bit delayed next week, just a little warning.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Flower Shares at Near East Yoga

We don't grow cut flowers (at least not for now) at Slow Hand Farm, but one of the folks who I've been practicing next to for a few years now at Near East Yoga has decided to start offering flower shares on Thursday nights, same as our CSA shares. If you're interested in finding out more check out her blog and website and get in touch with her. The shares start next week, same as our fall shares!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Last Week of Summer

This is the last week of summer and the last week of summer shares. Fall shares will start next week and we still have a few spots open. The cool wet weather is certainly making it feel like fall, and today's low hot sun in the afternoon did as well.

In the share today are a couple of new items and a few old ones as well. The most exciting item, I think, is a small bag of camomile for tea. It's dried so it will keep indefinitely. Making its way back in to the shares is chard. I'm cleaning up the chard bed, getting ready for fall. The tomatoes, cucs and summer squash have all really slowed down. Many tomatoes also split from the rain so there are fewer of them in the shares today and the cherries should probably be eaten right away. Split tomatoes are still good to eat, they just don't keep at all. There's a small bit of dill and lettuce and we harvested the last of the potatoes today, Rose Finn Apples. These are similar to the Russian Bananas we gave out earlier, a fingerling, but they have a red tint which is very pretty. They're also a bit larger on average, although still very small.

The first of the cover crop which was seeded last week actually germinated in the rain. We got a bit more in today to cover the potato bed which is finished now.

Thanks to everyone who made it out to the party on Saturday. I had a great time making pizza and hanging out with everyone. I hope no one caught a cold from the drizzle. It sure was nice to have a fire going.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Golden Tickets

Today's share is the same as Mondays, so take a look at the photo and comments there. A few lucky folks are getting a bonus item today, either a green pepper from a few plants that needed to be thinned, or a couple of Little Finger Eggplants. The Peppers are a red variety called Reliably Red bred by a friend, Robelee Evans. He's down in a bit warmer drier area so I'm trialling them to see if they'll ripen for us up here. If they'll do it this year I'll be pretty happy, seeing as how cold and late it's been. The eggplant are a very small variety, which I thought would be appropriate for our small shares. We tried it last year and got nothing, but I wanted to give it one more chance and it's starting to set some fruit now. Both this year and last have been very late for summer fruit. A lot of growers have gone to using plastic tunnels and ground covers to speed things up, but we're just growing outside with no supplemental plastic. I'm tempted to start using a bit more next year, as it would make a difference, but I really don't like working with the stuff so we'll see. By the way, we'd love to see you at the farm on Saturday. We'll have pizza, be giving tours, etc. Have I mentioned that before?

Pizza Party and Farm Open House Saturday

From SHF 2011

Just a reminder - we'd love to see you all at our pizza party and farm open house this weekend. We'll be firing the wood oven and making pizzas with farm veggies from 1-3pm this Saturday. We'll be out there before that to get the fire going and to clean up the fields, give tours, hang out, etc., so come by early if you like. Bring something you'd like to put on top of pizza, or a side dish to share, and make sure to bring your own plates and utensils. If you need directions let me know.

PS it's always cool a drizzly for these events but there's plenty of space in the barn to stay dry.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Summer Continues

Aggh, blogger just deleted my draft, and wouldn't you know it, I'm in a rush. Here's the very quick version, lots of summer vegetables today, kind of the standards. Tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash and basil all need to be picked regularly to keep producing, which is why they're in the shares pretty much every week that they're in season. We had a few leftover potatoes from the earlier pick so those are in the share, along with some Yellowstone carrots I pulled today. Lettuce is a staple, although the head and slugs have been rough on it lately so we may hit a lull soon.

Cover crop got seeded for the fall today - rye and vetch mix. Much more of that, and on that soon.

Remember the Pizza Party this weekend (look at old posts to see the info).

Keep your fingers crossed for more warm weather, or at least that it stays dry.

Have a great week...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Again, no photo

Yep, Kji was all on his own today as I worked for the day down in Sherwood with a great group of folks who are trying to start a really amazing cooperative farm. Unfortunately that means I have no idea what actually went into the shares today, although I hope it was something good, maybe even a bit like Monday's share. I'll try to get the update soon.

Monday, September 5, 2011


It's been a bit odd the way things have been ripening this year. Today I pulled in a good harvest of tomatoes so the shares are leaning pretty heavily that way. I'm not sure how many there'll actually be for Thursday, we'll see what happens in the next few days. This hot weather is good for us right now, for the most part. The share also has cucumbers, which are appreciating the heat, but it's light on summer squash and a few folks won't get any this week. Our summer squash was really set back by the cold early on and it may never recover. Lettuce continues, mostly Blushed Butter Cos today, but a little Pirat as well. Fennel is back in the share, as well as a bit of parsley. The fennel is very young and will go great in a cold salad, very thinly sliced. The tops can be mixed with other salad greens as well. The parsley would be great chopped and sauteed with those potatoes from last week, or the Shallots from this week. Did I mention that I pulled all of the shallots today? These will keep for months if you don't use them right away, but they're good eating now as well. They're a bit like a mild onion and are often used similarly to garlic to add flavor.

The best news today is that we caught up on planting, and we're actually getting very close to being finished with plantings all together for the year. That means we can start to concentrate on cleaning up some weeds and getting cool season cover crops seeded in the beds that are finished.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Bit Like Monday

From SHF 2011

Very productive day on the farm today and the shares look quite a bit like Monday's so no photo or notes. I guess I will say that the cool week slowed down the summer squash and cucumbers, which was to be expected, so those quantities are a little lower. Last Thursday they were higher than they had been on Monday so these things kind of work themselves out.

The photo is of a bed of spinach we just transplanted. That, three beds of sprouting broccoli, and nearly a bed of radicchio got in the ground today. We're a bit late planting all of that so hope for a long warm fall. At this point we're really close to catching up on all of the plantings. Maybe it'll happen next week and then we can start concentrating on getting cover crops in.