Friday, December 30, 2011

New layout, new information

If you're looking at this post directly, and not on something like reader, or Facebook, or some other feed, you'll notice I've moved into one of the new templates, a new look for the blog!  Not only did I move into a new template, I moved pretty much all of the information on the CSA over here as well, and I updated it.  That means the blog is now more current than the website (, which I'm currently unable to edit easily.  Soon, this blog will probably become, but I'll save that for later. In the meantime, if you're wanting to sign up for the 2012 CSA, or even just find out more about the farm there are now lots of updated pages here at the blog.  Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Now that I have a little time off from the fields I'm catching up on some accounting and trying to get around to finishing the crop plan for next season.  I'm also keeping track of the day length, and today is in fact the shortest day of the year, which means they all get longer after this, at least for a while.  That's pretty exciting.  Today we have about 8 hours and 46 minutes from sunrise to sunset.  Happy winter solstice everyone!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Using the share

Thai curry, using canned coconut milk, curry past and fish sauce for the base, has become a standard meal for nights I don't want to spent too much time cooking. This weeks vegetables, the brussels, carrots and scorzonera, along with a few leftover potatoes from earlier in the season and a block of tofu, made a very nice curry this evening. I pretty much follow the recipe off the back of a can of Thai Kitchen coconut milk. It's not the cheapest meal, but it's cheaper than eating out and really takes very minimal effort.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Final Fall Share

We managed to pull a few new items out of the field today.  I've been waiting for the sugarloaf to make heads, and it's finally there, just in time for the last shares.  The brussels and scorzonera are still a bit small, but perfectly useable.  The carrots are also starting to get a little size, and the final item in the share is garlic, which we didn't plan on at all, but we had quite a bit leftover from planting, so I thought it would make a nice addition to the final week of the year.

If you haven't had sugarloaf chicory (pan di zucchero in Italian) it's a bit like butter head lettuce, or maybe cabbage, with a tight wrapped head of pale leaves.  I like to slice it in half lengthwise, drizzle a little oil and salt over the cut side and roast it in a hot oven.  It can also be eaten raw just like the frissee, only with a little more crunch.

Brussels are another new one for the season.  These might need just a little cleaning, generally trimming the butt ends and removing any yellowing leaves.  The fast way to prepare them is to cut them in half, toss them in a hot pan with a bit of oil, stir them until they turn a bit darker green and then add a splash of water and balsamic to the pan, put a lid on it and let them steam for five to ten minutes until they are still crisp tender.  Cooking them too long is the easiest way to make yourself think you don't like brussels sprouts.

Scorzonera is also called black oyster root, and it does have a faint oyster flavor when boiled.  I peel it cut it into chunks, boil it until tender and then add it to a cream sauce with pasta.  A word of warning, when peeling it will bleed white sap which is sticky and will turn brown.  That's normal, and if you want to keep it from browning, put it in a bit of water with some lemon juice (acidulated water).

Carrots and garlic I assume you know what to do with.  There is this fancy garlic peeling video that's been going around the web, so maybe you'd like to check that out.  Roasting the heads whole is another great way to enjoy them.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

From SHF 2011

This is actually a photo from last week, I just got around to pulling it off of the camera.  Fall has been really beautiful on the farm this year.  Today's share is basically the same as Monday's was.  Next week is the last week of fall, then we'll move into winter.  I'm not sure why but it's always strange to me that winter coincides with days getting longer, perhaps it is connected with my feeling that it's already winter and the days are still getting shorter even though it's not.  I just read a great post from a winter CSA down in Southern Oregon about the difference between main season harvest and winter harvests so I'll give you all the link here.  I have to add to it that besides the days being significantly shorter in the cold season and all of the snafus around frozen objects, somehow everything seems to take much longer, and probably does due to the extreme number of clothes required, constantly numb hands, and prodigious quantities of mud.  We also experience our most major pest problems in the winter, specifically voles and occasional deer.  I harvested the last of the parsnips today, from a planting that should have lasted for three harvests.  The voles had done a good job of leaving the tops completely in tact, and eating all but a very nubbin of a root.  The parsnips that were remaining were beautiful though, so enjoy and we'll hope we get ahead of them on the chicories and carrots.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Roots and Greens

Continuing to deviate from the plan laid this time last fall, today's share has a bit of kale, a parsnip and a head of frisee.  Greens and roots are the order of business in the late fall through the spring and the hearty ones are coming out now that the frosts are more regular.  This morning we had to wait until almost noon for the field to thaw, and it was a bit after that when the fog finally burned off.  We kept warm by sifting and spreading compost, a task I managed to avoid all summer.  

The kale is rainbow lacinato and the cold is really bringing out beautiful dark colors, as well as sweetness.  More frisee in the share this week.  It's been a good one for us so far, and it's holding up to the cold quite nicely.  Remember that it needs good cleaning and soaking it in water for 15+ minutes helps sweeten it up.  Parsnip is making its first, and probably only appearance of the year.  Germination was ok this year, but the weeds got a bit out of hand.  We were able to remedy that, more or less, but now our friends the voles have started going after them and there are quite a few that have nothing left but a top.  If you haven't cooked with them before they are sweet when roasted or boiled.  They go well in soup or a root roast, or even shredded into latkes.  

Frosty Morning

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Seeding Experiments

The share today is basically the same as Monday's was. One difference was that everything was quite frozen when I got to the farm this morning. Kji and I spent the morning working up beds in the greenhouse and seeding greens, roots and cover crops under the cover of plastic. If these crops have enough warmth to germinate they should grow and be ready in the late winter or early spring. They're just an experiment though and if we do get anything it will be a nice bonus.