Friday, July 30, 2010

Picket Fence Farm Newsletter #9

Picket Fence Farm Happenings
Season 2 Issue #9

What’s Happening on the Farm

Today’s harvest is the largest yet, and we were able to get it all done before the rain storm hit. The rain was much needed for the garden and the timing was perfect. The chickens are getting along better since we expanded their fence...they have more room to run outside. We are starting to get more eggs now too, and will probably have some for sale soon. We are thinking of purchasing some meat birds yet this summer, so if any of you are interested in whole free range chickens for your freezer let us know. Also, if you get your produce in a box this week, please return the box next week so we can reuse them.

What’s in the Box?

Potatoes--White or Red
Sweet Corn--Incredible
Zucchini--assorted varieties
Cucumbers--Tendergreen or Diva
Tomatoes-assorted varieties (Red Cherry, Yellow Pear, Red Grape, Sungold, Big Beef, Roma)
Jalapeno Pepper
Okra **(Friday pick-up only, Saturday deliveries will get it next week)

Recipe Ideas

Fresh Tomato Salsa

3 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1-2 jalapenos, finely chopped (depending on how spicy you like it)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, opt.
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lime juice

In a medium bowl, stir together tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, salt, and lime juice. Chill for one hour in the refrigerator before serving. I also like to add about a tsp. of sugar to my seems to balance the acidity of the tomatoes.Serve with tortilla chips!

Easy Cucumbers
(This is my Grandma’s recipe...she has been making it for years.)

Cucumbers, sliced (peel if you would like, or leave the peel on)
Onions, sliced
1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup sugar

Sweat cucumbers 15-20 minutes with salt and drain off excess water. Combine water, vinegar, sugar, and pepper and stir until sugar is dissolved. Pour over cucumbers and onions. Keeps up to 3 weeks in refrigerator. The longer they set, the better they taste.

Fried Okra
This is a recipe idea I saw on another blog.

Cut okra into pieces, soak in buttermilk, dredge in cornmeal and deep fat fry...salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sheep and Chickens

So, we are thinking of purchasing some Katahdin lambs and broiler chickens soon. Is there any interest from our local customers in buying meat? We would be raising them on pasture, naturally with no chemicals. I have been in contact with some breeders and they say the lamb chops from their Katahdins taste like ribeye steak and the lamb burger is better than hamburger. The chickens are bought as baby chicks and then butchered at around 7-8 weeks of age for whole fryers. If you are interested, please email us and let us know (especially for the chicken) so we know about how many we should order.

This is a pic from of a Katahdin lamb:

Here is a pic of a broiler chicken from Murray Mc Murray Hatchery. Not quite as cute or cuddly as the lamb:)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Picket Fence Farm Newsletter #8

Picket Fence Farm Happenings
Season 2 Issue #8

What’s Happening on the Farm
Well, believe it or not, we haven’t had rain for a while and the garden could use a little drink, especially the newer plantings. Our old tiller broke, so we had to buy a new one. It seems to be working well. We try to only shallow till when needed so we don’t disturb the soil life and structure too much. We just planted a new crop of green beans and cucumbers a few days ago and they are already up and growing. They seem to like this warm weather. And in chicken news, some of our new pullets are starting to lay already...hopefully more of the ladies will follow soon. The bees are doing pretty well also, one hive is better than the other and needs new supers added for honey storage...Yay!

What’s in the Box?
Potatoes--White Cobbler
Garlic Chives or Onion Chives
White Onion
Assorted Peppers-Bell, Jalapeno, or Italian Roaster
Assorted Tomatoes-1st of the season, some cherry types, some Big Beef
Zucchini--assorted varieties OR
Cucumbers-Tendergreen or Diva

Recipe Ideas

Fried Green Zucchini
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 eggs
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup prepared spaghetti sauce, heated

Mix together the seasoned bread crumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, and garlic salt in a shallow bowl. Beat the eggs in a second shallow bowl. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until the oil is rippling, but not smoking. Dip the zucchini slices into the beaten egg, then into the crumbs, and place in the skillet in a single layer. Fry the zucchini slices until golden brown, about 3 minutes, then flip them over and fry until the slices are cooked through and golden brown on the other side. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the slices, and cook the slices 1 to 2 more minutes to allow the cheese to melt. To serve, spoon hot spaghetti sauce onto plates, and top with fried zucchini slices and melted cheese.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Picket Fence Farm Newsletter #7

Picket Fence Farm Happenings
Season 2 Issue #7

What’s Happening on the Farm
More rain, more weeds, more mud. I feel like a broken record. Some things are stunted, or behind in ripening. It has been too muddy to plant some more of our succession plantings and things that will be ready for Fall harvest. This season has been very challenging to say the least. It sounds like other farmers and gardeners in the area are having similar issues. We are already looking forward to next season! We thought by now the boxes/bags would be quite a bit heavier, but the weather is preventing that. We hope things will shape up soon. On another note, we have part of our new greenhouses at the farm! We still need to go get the other half, which we will do soon. It will be exciting to see them up and ready for planting. We also brought our other 15 chickens to the farm this week. Half are a gold production type that will lay brown eggs and the other half are Silver Laced Wyandotte's (also brown egg layers). They are getting adjusted to their new home and roommates. We have 4 Red Star hens that “rule the roost”. They are quite bossy and pushy with the new birds. I hope things will settle down in the hen house soon. The new hens are pullets that are about to start laying, so when they do and we have a consistent supply of eggs we will have them for sale to members that want to purchase them.

What’s in the Box?
Mixture of green beans, wax beans, and Dragon Tongue Bean (yellow with purple stripes)
Radish--French Breakfast
Bags will contain at least two of the following:
Zucchini--May have green, yellow, or round
Baby Cabbage

Friday, July 2, 2010

Picket Fence Farm Newsletter #6

Picket Fence Farm Happenings
Season 2 Issue #6

What’s Happening on the Farm?

We have been trying to take advantage of this nice, DRY weather to work in the garden. Lots of weeding, harvesting, and fertilizing with fish emulsion fertilizer. Things are shaping up in the garden, but we still have a lot of work to do. All this rain has really stunted things, so bear with us as we try to get more planted and wait for what is already planted to ripen. The boxes are a little lighter than we would like, but all of this rain has really effected how things are growing...just one of the reasons why we are so excited for the new high tunnels for the farm. We hope this dry weather continues next week (sounds like maybe some rain over the weekend though). The work continues on Saturday with more planting (more tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, basil, cucumbers, and green beans).

What’s in the Box?
Green Beans (may have some yellow wax beans mixed in)
Onions--small yellow
Carrots--mixed varieties (Mokum, Red Cored Chantenay, Parisian)
Baby Beets--**Friday pick-ups only**
Zucchini--May have green, yellow, or round**only for the Saturday deliveries this week**
Herb Bundles--Garlic Chives, German Thyme, Rosemary

Recipe Ideas
This recipe is from Gooseberry Patch Farmers’ Market Favorites:

Summer Herb Butter
1/2c. butter softened (1 stick)
1/4 c. fresh herbs, chopped (such as basil, thyme, sage, parsley, dill, chives, tarragon, oregano, marjoram, or rosemary)
1 tsp. sea salt
1 t. pepper

Blend all ingredients together. Spoon onto a sheet of wax paper and shape into a log. Twist ends of wax paper to seal. Refrigerate one hour to allow flavors to blend. Use within 2 weeks. Makes 1/2 cup.

More Herb Ideas: Add chives to dips, dressings, and salads. Rosemary is great in bread (like Focaccia--look on for some good recipes ) in Italian dishes, and potato dishes. I am going to make Herb Roasted Potatoes by cutting potatoes into pieces, tossing with olive oil and the rosemary and thyme, along with some garlic, salt and pepper and baking in the oven. You could probably grill these in foil packets as well if cooking out for the holiday weekend).

A note on the herbs: --Put these in a glass of water (like you would cut flowers) to keep fresh longer. Also, to use the rosemary and thyme in recipes, strip the leaves off the stems and use the leaves only.