Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The little carrots and beet seeds are happily planted in their earthen beds as of 8 o'clock this evening.
Week 13,   August 7, 2012

What a cute farm dog in that farm truck! Okra, the farm dog is always ready for the next adventure.

Little Gems of Sunshine

This week’s box:
Bush Beans:  Stringless.  We pick young, tender, and juicy green and yellow beans for you. 
Bonus crop:Green beans are one of those vegetables that we grow mainly for the CSA members.  If we harvested too many, we sell them to restaurants, but we don’t grow a lot of extra beans to sell.  Why? Picking them takes too long!  It takes us 4 hours to pick enough for our CSA members- we think of the green beans as a special crop that is a treat for you all.
Cooking tips:  We usually don’t even cook them, we chop them up and serve them with a vinaigrette.  Sometimes we toss in green onions, garbanzo beans, and lemon juice with the vinaigrette for a quick bean salad.
Tomatoes-The tomato harvest continues!  We have lots of heirloom pink tomatoes that are similar to the Cherokee Purple.  The varieties are Ozark Pink, Eva Purple Ball, and Arkansas Traveler.  The tomato season is short but sweet.  Try all the different colors and sizes, each one is a different variety.
Cherry Tomatoes-Some of the most flavorful tomatoes are the little ones.  Try them sliced in half with basil and chopped cucumbers.
Green Peppers- The peppers really want to ripen right now, but they need a tiny bit more sun! It will be another week or so until we get some good red ripe ones.
 Cucumbers-We have a young succession of plants that have started producing cucumbers.  We are lucky to have them.  Usually this time of year it is too hot and humid for the plants and they die of disease. Enjoy the bounty this year!
Squash/zucchini-See the note on cucumbers. 
Basil-Oh the wonderful scent of basil.  I love harvesting it for you all.
  Here are the3 new beds of squash, zucchini, and cucumbers. (L to R.) That is the tomato hoophouse and some healthy weeds growing on the left hand side.  The plants in the front are young "Autumn Beauty" sunflowers.  We'll have pretty sunflowers in the garden in a few weeks!  The black lines in the front are the main irrigation lines with small irrigation lines running into the beds of plants.

Farm News-
The wild pumpkins are attacking!  We have volunteer pumpkin plants that are smothering 2 beds of eggplant and 2 beds of edamame (buttery and tender baby soybeans).  I love the pumpkin plant’s vigor and I cherish the large beautiful pumpkins, but me oh my they just can’t destroy that much food.  That is your food, for your CSA box!  I will be pruning and trimming the plants back.
In other news, William is out preparing the beds for planting carrots and beets seeds.  I must go out and help him right now if we are to get them planted and ready to grow.  The carrots and beets should be harvested around mid to late October.  They will be ready at the last weeks of the Morganton Farmers’ Market.  The fall crops like that just don’t grow in time for the last two weeks of September (your CSA boxes 19 and 20.)
Beautiful Tithonia flower with green tomatoes in the background.

Our animals on the farm:
     For those of you who eat meat; we are growing your pastured, organically fed animals right now!  All of our animals are raised out on pasture without antibiotics or hormones.  We use 100% certified organic grains, so no Genetically Modified Corn or Soy in the feed.  We raise the animals with care and attention to give our farm animals a “real” life on our diverse sustainable farm.   It is no miracle that our animals are healthy and can walk! (you’ve seen the videos of industrial animals, haven’t you?)  We take care of our animals in their natural environment, and they are healthy and happy. 
     Mid-September is time to fill your freezers with pastured beef, and mid October is time to fill your freezers with pastured pork.  We will send out ordering info in the last week of August.

Pastured Pork:  We have several herds of pigs that we are raising in the edges of the woods.  The pigs are busy clearing out the underbrush in areas where we will thin out scraggly trees and allow more sunlight through.  (We cut trees and clear land in the winter.)  These different herds of pigs will be ready for sausage and chops in mid October, around Thanksgiving, and in January.  We will be selling our Pork Family Packs and custom ½ hogs during those times.  We will send out ordering info in the last week of August.

Pastured Beef: We are working with our family friend and farming mentor, Jace, to raise some grass based and organically fed beef.  Jace is a longtime family friend, helpful farmer, and the landowner where our main vegetable fields and sheep pastures are. We have helped to create a beef raising protocol with him to create healthy, lean, and tasty beef.  The beef steers and heifers that we have out on the pasture right now are grazing and enjoying a small ration on 100% certified organic grain for optimal growth and healthy beef quality.  We have worked with our certified organic feed supplier to create a ration that is low in corn and 100% certified organic, so no GMOs or chemicals in the feed.  These animals are still always grazing on fresh grass, moving frequently, to ensure that the grain is a minimal part of their diet. 
We will have different retail cuts of beef available on August 22nd at the farm.  Beef packages, ¼ beef, and custom ½ beef will be ready in mid September. We will send out ordering info in the last week of August.
            Right now, we have ground beef for $5.75 lb.  CSA members can purchase beef at the farm on Wednesdays from 4-6 pm and by advance special order at the Morganton markets.  Bluebird Farm Online Store… https://sites.google.com/site/bluebirdfarmnc/home/bluebird-farm-online-store

Marie Harvesting Tomatoes

Marie in the Cherry Tomatoes


Sweet Basil, Tomato, and Summer Peach Salsa
1.      Mix equal parts chopped slicing tomatoes and chopped fresh peaches in non-reactive bowl. (no metal bowls, they can make it taste funny) 
2.      Finely chop approximately 4 big leaves of basil or 8 small leaves of basil for every peach that you use.
3.      Measure out approximately ½ teaspoon lime juice for every peach that you use. 
4.     Sprinkle basil and lime juice over tomatoes and peaches. Add salt to taste.  Let salsa rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Keeps about 2 days in the fridge.

Ripe for the pickin'

Try the eggplant recipe! At the very least, let it inspire you to find another recipe with eggplant.
Baked Eggplant with Sweet Peppers and Rice
Hearty and comforting, baked eggplants in a casserole are a pleasing late summer dish.

1 eggplant (about 1 or 1.25 pounds)
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped fine
1 large sweet red pepper or 4 small ones, diced
1 cup cooked rice
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
Oregano,  1 tablespoon dried or 2 tablespoons fresh,  crumbled or chopped
1 bunch parsley, chopped fine
12 basil leaves, chopped
Freshly ground pepper
1 egg, well beaten
Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Cube the eggplant and steam for 12-15 minutes.  Meanwhile saute the onion and red peppers in the butter until soft.  Gently mix the eggplant, onion, red pepper, rice, and tomatoes, herbs, and egg together. Add salt and pepper to preference.  Spoon into a buttered baking dish and bake for 35-40 minutes.  Add grated Parmesan if you’d like. 
 We like to serve spiced lentils with this dish to provide protein for a balanced meal without meat.

Roasted Pepper Spread
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
6 medium bell or sweet peppers, roasted and chopped roughly (see below)
8 ounces Neufchatel reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1 can chickpeas, 15 oz, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon miso (you can find it at Nature’s Bounty. Maybe Ingles? If you want to substitute it try tahini and salt instead)
2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
Minced parsley
Mince garlic in food processor. With the motor running, add each ingredient until smooth. Garnish with minced parsley.

Adapted from Passionate Vegetarian, 2002.

Roasted peppers
Make your own roasted peppers: Roasting peppers is simple. I like to do it 2 different ways for 2 different results.

Roast and peel version:  You may roast chopped peppers or char and blacken the entire chile or pepper with intense heat or direct flame. That means you can roast a sweet bell, poblano, chile, pepper, jalepeno or anything else with a gas grill, charcoal grill, gas stove range, electric or gas broiler. Here’s a quick way to knock out a batch of whole roasted peppers. Place the peppers or chiles with stems on a very hot grill or put the peppers or chiles on a baking sheet under a preheated broiler until the skin blisters slightly and is black in spots, about 5 minutes on each of two sides. Place in a large bowl with a towel over it until cool enough to handle; this steams the skin off. Peel most of the skin off. Don’t rinse the flavor away! Use a paper towel if needed to help pull the skin off! The freshly roasted peppers keep well and can then be used for days in many dishes. Or freeze for the winter.

Caramelized version:  Chop into half inch stips, place on a baking sheet, and roast at 275 F for about 30-45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. The longer they cook, the more the peppers will caramelize. I like to make sure that I throw something else in the oven if I am heating the oven up…more food coming out of oven makes the heat in my kitchen tolerable during the heat of the summer.

Freezer tip: Make sure to use a “freezer” bag, not a “storage” bag if freezing the peppers.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.