Tuesday, July 17, 2012

July 17

As I look at the last blog in June (so much for a weekly blog!) I was hoping for rain.  Still hoping for rain, but we did get and inch last Saturday.  It was a wonderful slow all day kind of rain.  It is about all dried up now, but I am hoping it has a positive impact to the crops. 

Unfortunately, the sweet corn was disked under this week.  So much time and effort (and $$$) was put into the corn crop, it was sad to see it wither and die in the field.  It is so far out in the field it is near impossible to irrigate, and I don't know that it would have made much of a difference.  It was trying to silk just as we were sustaining over 100 degree temp's.  Not good for pollination.  That is why the ears you had were lacking kernels.

Much of the crop up behind my folks house were saved by my father who was trucking in tanks of water.  I went up one day after getting up early to pick beans here, and he and my mother had been out since 6 weeding and digging trenches for the water to flow down (think it got 107 that day). 
So many thanks to them for pitching in, those weeks were hard!

Everything was affected by the extreme heat, and some things are just now bouncing back after some nurturing.

There is a new crop of summer squash in the ground, the okra is starting to flower and will pod soon.  The tomato crop is by far the best I have ever had, so cut and freeze your extras, you will be glad you did.  Many of the peppers were sun scorched during the extreme weather, I had to pick them off and I am waiting on a new crop to come on.  We will have lots of peppers, they will just be late.

Most of the potatoes are coming out of the ground, and although they are not nearly the size I had hoped they would be, they do seem abundant.  I am glad I did not pull early ones.  They all seem to be around golf ball size, they should be baking size.  This is due to the dry conditions, no water to swell up.
Eggplant is coming on nice and those who did not get one last week should this week. 
The onion crop and garlic crop is decent.

Going in the ground now is the fall crop- I am sure you are all missing greens!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The weather has been hot and dry and it is starting to take a toll on many crops. 
We are moving into the summer crops which are much more tolerant of these conditions. 
I think we may even have some tomatoes in a few weeks. 
Cucumbers are getting a good start in the high tunnel, you should have had a couple small ones by now, and we will start getting larger ones soon.  I picked the first summer squash this week, it looks great!  We will have green zucchini, Costa zucchini (green with pale ribs), and zephyr (yellow with green end).  We will have more variety as the summer goes on. 
Summer squash is fantastic raw in a pasta salad or mixed marinated veggies, great sauteed with garlic, and our favorite, grilled.  It is also really good in marinara and Alfredo sauce.
Everything seems to be slow due to the lack of rain, so hopefully we will get a couple inches soon!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

To Share

Thanks Lillian for sharing this,  it sounds like summer to me!

Fruit ‘n’ Nut Tossed Salad

¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
¼ teaspoon salt
dash hot pepper sauce

1/3 cup sugar
1 cup pecan halves
2 tablespoons butter
4 cups torn fresh spinach
4 cups torn romaine
1 can (15 ounces) mandarin oranges, drained
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
4 green onions, chopped

For dressing, in a small bowl, whisk the oil, sugar, vinegar, parsley, salt and hot pepper sauce until well blended.  Cover and refrigerate.

In a heavy skillet, melt sugar over medium-low heat without stirring until golden brown, about 30 minutes.  Add pecans and butter; stir constantly until butter is melted and pecans are coated.  Remove from the heat.  Pour onto a foil-lined baking sheet; cool completely.  Break pecans apart if necessary.

In a salad bowl, combine spinach, romaine, oranges, celery, strawberries, and onions.  Just before serving, drizzle with dressing; toss to coat.  Top with sugared pecans.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Week 3

Spring Greetings 2012!

I will see you all on your day
Tuesday 5-6
Thursday 4-5
Mattoon Monday 5:00

We have been hard at work since very early this spring.  Planting in March was great, but certain things are ready and expiring very early - and we have a while yet for the hot weather goods.
The rain really helped, everything was needing a good drink.
This weeks box includes:

Red Romaine lettuce - get it before it's gone!  I have been enjoying this, its holding up nice with the heat.  I'm thinking about cooking/wilting a head and making a blended cold soup (that would be a crazy color!)
Red Sails and Black Seeded Simpson - red is always a winner, and I thought I'd try BSS lettuce again but I am not impressed.  Back to Tom Thumb next season.   I miss the little butterhead lettuce from years past.
Bok Choy - If you haven't made a stir-fry or fried rice yet, I bet this is piling up on you.  It freezes a little like celery or onions - don't cook it first.
Kale -  Try making chips if you are overloaded.  Spritz with  a little oil and salt. 
Snow / Sugar peas -just a little bag this week, but there is more to come!
Radishes - french breakfast,  last week for this variety.
Garlic Scapes - just a few, these are wonderful - simmered in a little water with your cooking vegetable, they will cook up soft with a great garlic and onion flavor. 

Coming up in the next weeks:
carrots are getting nice
sugar and snow peas
Easter egg & icicle radish
Swiss chard
onions - if I do some thinning!
beets- hopefully
cucumbers - yes I said it! I have baby ones now in the high tunnel, if all goes well!!

On a sad farm note:
We lost 11 of our chickens last week.  We now have just 2 hens and lots of chicks.
Among the fallen, was our beautiful Americana rooster.
Either a stray dog (because it killed them all and left them) or a crazy band of raccoons (not likely, but it did open the door to the henhouse.
Or possibly a mink or coyotes.
Pretty sure it was not an owl this time.
We're really clueless! :)

See you next week!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

The 2012 season is fast approaching!  All the seed orders are in and boxes will be arriving soon. 
Onions will be started in flats on the sun room at then end of the month. The spinach and winter crops grown in our new high tunnel have been amazing (still going), and I can't wait to see how the tomatoes will do in there.
If all goes well, we will have tomatoes 3-4 weeks earlier than normal.  The high tunnel will keep them warm and protect them from damaging spring winds. 
As you may have seen the 2012 membership forms are up on the website.  If you were a member in 2011, and will be returning, let me know so I can reserve your space. 
See you in a few months!!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

All those peppers!

We have had an abundant amount of hot peppers this season, and we are starting to pick some really nice big & blocky sweet bell peppers of all colors.  We eat the bell peppers fresh in salads and sticks, throw them in anything with pasta, grill them, put them in eggs, quesidilla's, barbecue and fajitas.

I love to make stuffed peppers.  There are so many recipes out there for stuffed peppers, I guess because they are hard to mess up.   I mix cooked rice, ground meat, tomato sauce, a little chopped onion, tomato and peppers and then melt in a little cream cheese and mix in cheddar cheese (or whatever I have) and maybe even some fresh minced sage.  Top them with more cheese and bake them in the oven.  The peppers are wonderful roasted.  I think it is important to have a nice thick filling, if you use too many fresh tomatoes in the stuffing, they will be loose and watery.  Sometimes, you have to drain off the liquid as the peppers bake, otherwise they are more like boiled not roasted.

Any leftover peppers I have, I slice and throw in the freezer.  I just keep adding to the container, they are so great to have in the winter!

I had a couple members making green pepper jelly.  I will add this recipe, I have not tried it yet.  A couple years ago I made a roasted red pepper jelly, it was wonderful.  When we lived in the south, hot pepper jelly was popular, dyed bright red and slathered over cream cheese and a club cracker.  It was pretty good.

On to the farm news and happenings:
The summer heat has caught up to my poor tomatoes and herbs. Many of the tomatoes cooked on the vine in the dry sunshine.  I have some of them covered with cloth and I think it is helping.           
Many of the fall crops are started in the ground.  Yesterday I put our 4 flats of mini napa cabbage called "orangette."  Napa cabbage is one of my favorites, I am looking forward to napa salad. 
The greenhouse is full of starts of kale, cabbage, collards, green onions, lettuce and more herbs.
In the ground is more radishes, lettuce, bok choi, spinach, mustard greens and swiss chard. 
I am starting to pick and cure the winter squash.  So far I have picked a few pumpkins, spaghetti squash, delicata and sweet dumpling (dry sweet flesh).  My poor acorn squash vines died all at once, virus or borer, still not sure. 
We are in the process of putting up one of 2 hoop houses.  It is 20 x 48 and is quite a job to erect.  We should have it up in another week.  Inside we will grow spinach, greens and green onions this fall.  The idea is to extend the season, and we should be able to harvest greens and spinach throughout the winter months.  In the spring, I will start early tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplant.  Planted in mid-March, they will be several weeks earlier than if the ground outside.  We are very excited!
The shares are on the smaller size right not, but soon we will have bulky greens again!
Thanks to all of you for your support, we could not do this without you!!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Week 10!

We are half way through the season this week.  The hot dry weather ended the green beans, that turned tough and hollow, which was a shame because I got one not so good picking on the late beans.  The heat brought on the peppers and tomatoes.  The next crop of summer squash is just now blossoming.  Started in the greenhouse is the fall crop of lettuce, napa cabbage, Gonzales cabbage, and Beria cabbage, a loose leaf cabbage kind of like collards only thicker.  I will seed more lettuce, Swiss chard and various greens and radishes in the ground soon and hope the crab grass slows. We are ready to put up our 20 x 50 hoop house and our new 20 x 50 greenhouse.  The hoop house we will sow spinach and lettuce and plant green onions in this fall.  It will be our trial year for winter production (I am pretty excited!)

This weeks share includes:
Variety of Tomatoes, Cherokee purple, brandywine, yellow brandywine, Valencia, red zebra and Illini star.
peppers, variety of sweet, green, Italian sweet long, banana, paprika (frying pepper)
hot peppers, jalapenos, cayenne, Hungarian hot wax
let me know what herbs you would like!