Tuesday, September 27, 2011

13th CSA Week

We sure have been getting some great September weather. Yesterday was a corker of a day and today was beautiful and sunny although a tad bit chilly towards the end of the afternoon and down right cold by the end of the CSA pick-up. They are calling for a chance of frost tonight but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it'll miss us once again.

This weeks large share has leeks, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, dill, garlic, sweet yellow onions, red onion, arugula, mixed greens (tatsoi, kale, purple mustard, mizuna), winter squash, radishes and some cauliflower. We harvested the last of the cauliflower today so there won't be any for the Thursday crowd. We have more growing in the field so hopefully the nice fall weather will continue and we'll be able to all munch on the yummy white goodness again. The grab box had broccoli florets, parsley, cilantro, leaf celery, hot peppers, a few sweet peppers, beets, spinach, cabbage and more of the above veggies.

I'm having a bit of trouble with my onions. I have them curing up in the barn and yesterday when I went to grab a few bins I noticed that some of them looked to be rotting. So I started to sort through them and I ended up chucking out about 1/3 of them. So, make sure to check your onions and best to store them in the fridge until you get to use them. The red ones seem fine, so far its just the sweet ones (variety name Walla Walla) that seem to be affected. Fingers crossed that the storage onions will be ok.

We are harvesting the last two rows of potatoes. I was so pleased I was able to grow such a great crop and be able to provide spuds mostly through the season. I was really impressed with the reds but wished the whites could have been a bit bigger. We topped the plants back in the middle of August as the threat of blight was just too great. We did follow a strict 7-10 day blight spray schedule with our organic allowable product called Parasol but this seasons weather was just so crazy that we decided better safe than sorry and so the tops had to go. I'm hoping to have potatoes for at least 2 more weeks.

The zucchini have really slowed down. We no longer have bins filled with extras but everyone was able to get at least one in their share. The cucumbers are still going strong so hopefully the frost stays away for a bit yet so they will continue to produce.

A great way to enjoy your radish this week is my new favourite sandwich. "Radish Sandwich" For lunch today we had left over leek and potato soup, fresh sliced tomatoes and an open faced radish sandwich. For those of you who have not had a chance yet to try it its super easy and yummy. Just toast a piece or two of toast, butter, layer with thinly sliced radishes and top with a bit of salt and pepper, then enjoy.

Loving the leeks yet? If you haven't had a chance to make the potato leek soup I posted last week its worth taking the time. Many members commented today how much they enjoyed it and how easy it was. I made a double batch Saturday and we have been enjoying it so much. The boys actually request soup every day when I ask them what they would like for lunch. The leeks are also great sliced into rounds and sautéed with garlic and butter until soft and added to pasta or mixed into mashed potatoes. If you want to wait for a bit to enjoy they freeze really well. Simply slice into 1/4" rounds and put on a cookie sheet or casserole dish and put in the freezer. After a few hours put them into a plastic freezer bag and they are all ready to use when you need them.

I had a variety pack of winter squash at the pick-up today. Members got to pick from spaghetti, acorn, buttercup, butternut, delicata/dumpling, and hubbard (red kuri). I cooked a spaghetti squash on the weekend and I really enjoyed it but unfortunately Ben & Jake did not feel the same way. They are usually pretty good eaters but they were not big fans. I found this website on the weekend which explains pretty well the art of the spaghetti squash http://www.sprinklemassacre.com/2011/09/06/italian-sausage-spaghetti-squash/

I found these websites which help describe the different kinds of winter squashes and a great looking recipe.

Butternut Pudding Cups
Squash Reference

Spaghetti squash





Baby hubbard (Red Kuri)

Winter squash assortment

A few recipies sent by members for everyone to enjoy. Thanks Lori & Marti for passing those along
Carrot Salad

"I roasted Zucc chunks for about 15 minutes in oven after marinating in Greek Dressing. Actually I threaded them on Skewers with red pepper and red onion and meatballs - it's a recipe from the Sobey's magazine, that free seasonal one? The zucchini was AMAZING, so sweet."

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

12th CSA Week

What a beautiful day today!! The temperature was just nice at 18 degrees, no wind and full sun. Awesome.

This weeks large share has regular cucumbers, lemon cucumber, zucchini, carrots, red and yellow sweet onions, garlic, leeks, potatoes, cauliflower, radish and a bag of gourmet mixed greens. There are eight different types of baby greens mixed together to make a delightful and ultra healthy salad including tatsoi, kale, swiss chard, arugula, mizuna, bulls blood beet greens, regular beet greens and purple mustard. Beautiful and delicious!!

Greens getting all mixed together in the wash station

Picture perfect


Regular beet green

Bulls Blood beet green



Purple mustard

Swiss Chard

We pulled about half of the onions on the weekend and they are all up in the barn curing for fall/winter storage. There are lots of onions!! We had some great help on Saturday afternoon, thanks to Martin, Nicola, Sofie & Lucie who did a great job putting the onions in the crates, weeding the peppers and entertaining Ben & Jake. We still have a few onions in the ground that I'm hoping will grow a bit bigger but its hard to tell at this point if that will happen.

The winter squash are the next item on the list. They do not like cold temperatures and anything less than 4 degrees and they could get chilling injuries which would shorten their storage life. I have quite a few varieties but they are not as big or as mature as I would like so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the cold and especially the frost will stay away for awhile yet. We have some lovely looking spagetti, butternut, buttercup, acorn, delicata and hubbard coming along just nicely.

I've officially declard it "soup season" around here and in my opinion a good soup is not complete without lots of onions and some leeks!! Here is one of our favorites.

Potato & Leek Soup
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup beef stock
2-3 leeks (white and light green parts, I don't use the leaves but some people do add till the soup is done and remove before eating for more flavour)
3 medium potatoes, cut in small cubes (I peeled them but you would not have to)
2 carrots, cut in small pieces
1/2 onion
salt & pepper, to taste
summer savory, couple of shakes
thyme, couple of shakes
Fry the chopped onions and leeks in a bit of butter for a few minutes along with the salt, pepper, thyme and summer savory. Add chopped potatoes, carrots, chicken & beef stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1/2 to 3/4 hour or until veggies are soft. It can be eaten just like this or pureed as well. I often will puree about 3/4 of the soup and leave a bit for a chunkier feel.

Thanks to Jennifer for the following blueberry zucchini muffin recipe. If you have a few zucchini kicking around or if loving neighbors have decided you need their extras its a great way to use them up!!

Blueberry Zucchini Muffins
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/2 c applesauce ( I used motts blueberry applesauce since it was the only applesauce I had in the cupboard)
3 tsp vanilla extract
2 c white sugar
2 c shredded zucchini
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1 pint fresh blueberries ( I used frozen )
(Optional topping: Oats sprinkled with cinnamon sugar)
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, applesauce vanilla, and sugar. Fold in the zucchini. Beat in the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Gently fold in the blueberries. Transfer batter to greased or lined muffin pans. If you are using the topping, sprinkle on top of batter.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.

For all our farm facebook followers you've probley already seen these pictures but here are some of the latest farm fun photos!! Enjoy and have a great rest of the week.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

11th CSA Week

What a beautiful day!! Much nicer than the chilly rainy day this time last week. It was an interesting day for sure. Kim and I had harvested a few things yesterday as the weather was calling for thunder showers today so thought it was a good idea to try and get ahead. I was able to get the beans, potaotes, carrots done yesterday and Kim was able to get the beets and cucumbers done. It was a good thing we did so much as the truck went on the blink after I dropped the boys off so it was back to harvesting with the tractor. Kim was kind enough to lend me her van to do the Charlottetown delivery. I thought there would be all kinds of room but trying to fit all the bins in the van turned out to be a lesson in patience and trial and error. I was able to get all the bins in but some of the grab items did not make it. I had celery on top of the bins and at one point I had to make a quick stop and the celery came flying from the back. I'm glad the police did not see me as I'm sure I had broken some visibility laws or something along those lines.

The large share had cauliflower, red and white onions, cucumbers, zucchini, fennel, swiss chard, baby carrots, yellow beans and potatoes. The grab bins had celery, sweet green peppers, hot peppers, summer turnip, garlic, cilantro, dill, parsley, basil, leaf celery and more of the above veggies. This is the first year I have grown celery successfully. It looks like celery, other years it looked like very stunted small sad versions of the real thing. I actually haven't had a chance to try it yet as I did not think it was ready yet. I walked by it today and thought I should harvest a few for the grab boxes. I don't have many plants as it hasn't been exactly a success other years but I'll be trying more next year!!

Some of the cauliflower were gigantic today. I weighted a few and several were over two pounds. That's a lot of cauliflower!! Below is a repeat recipe from last year. Laura said she made it again this week and it was just as good as she remembered from last year!!

Cream of Cauliflower Soup II (from allrecipes.com)
2 Tbsp butter
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, chopped
2 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth (I started with 4 cups)
1 head cauliflower, chopped
1 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp dry sherry
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

In a large pot, over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent, about 5 mins. Stir in potatoes and carrots and cook 5 minutes more. Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Stir in cauliflower, cover, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, 10 - 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Puree in batches in blender, food processor or with an immersion blender. Return to low heat and stir in milk, salt, pepper, nutmeg and sherry. Heat through.

*I found this VERY thick, so I added another cup of broth when heating it for the final time. It could even use 2 cups more than recommended. Some of the reviews online suggested serving parmesan cheese on it. That would probably be good, too. I found it quite tasty.

I made a very yummy soup on the weekend, it was a recipe given to me by my friend Natalie. It was so easy and so yummy. I found it was rather "thin" but a great base to add other cooked veggies to.

Zucchini and Rosemary Soup
Bon Appétit| June 1995
From the Inn at Perry Cabin, St. Michaels, Maryland
Yield: Serves 8

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary (i only had dried and use 1/2teaspoon)
6 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt broth
1 russet potato, peeled, sliced (i used 3-4 small-medium sized red potatoes and did not peel them)
3 medium zucchini, thinly sliced (i used 1 large green zucchini)
1 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I did not use the extra zucchini)
Croutons (i did not have any)
Chopped green onions (i did not have any)

Melt butter with oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Mix in garlic and rosemary. Add stock and potato; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Add sliced zucchini; simmer until tender about 15 minutes. Working in batches, puree in blender (I used an immersion blender and that worked really great and so much easier to clean). Season with salt and pepper.
**Cook cubed zucchini in a saucepan of boiling salted water for 30 seconds. Drain. Rewarm soup over medium heat. Ladle into bowls. top with zucchini and croutons. Sprinkle with green onions. **(I did not do this last bit as I got lazy)

The carrots in this weeks share are of the "baby" variety. This would be the size I would normally harvest for the restaurants. I had to cancel those deliveries for a few weeks as I had to make sure there was enough carrots left for the season for the CSA. This has given me the extra time I need to harvest a few things a day ahead for the shares. If the weather continues to be nice like today the carrots should keep growing which will mean larger carrots for next week. I do have one row left of larger carrots that I'm planning on leaving as emergency carrots and hopefully for winter storage. I have lots of carrots planted but I'm wondering if I planted them a bit too late in the season, they might not have time to mature before the real fall weather hits us.

Carrots peaking out from the other veggies

I have greens coming along very nicely and there may be some in next weeks shares. Arugula, mizuna, red mustard, red kale, bok choy, tatsoi, beet greens and spinach are all growing nicely. Derek got a new bearing and some new seals today to fix the tiller so hopefully this wekeend I'll be able to plant more greens for late fall harvests. I'll have to cover them with row covers to try and encourage some faster growth!! I also totally forgot to harvest the radishes today, but next week for sure.

If you've got some fennel left over from last week or if you got some new today and haven't had a chance yet to roast it up make sure you give it a try. I made another big batch of roasted veggies on the weekend. I used beets, carrots, onions, fennel, cauliflower, beans, cabbage (although I would leave it out next time), zucchini (don't add it till the last 15 minutes, i over cooked it slightly!!) and potatoes. Some olive oil, salt and pepper, 375 for 1hour. Amazing!!! Too easy, 1 dish to clean and so yummy.

The winter squash are coming along very nicely in the garden. The pumpkins and gourds are doing really well too. I think we'll plan our next CSA farm day around pumpkin and gourd picking. I'm not really sure when that will be but I would imagine the end of the month or first of October. The black flies are pretty much all gone now so if anyone wants to roam the gardens with their kids its practically a bug free zone now.

I hope your all enjoying the veggies. Thanks to everyone who filled out last weeks survey. Great comments!!

Take care of each other


What to eat first?


The herb grab box

Oh so yummy

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

10th CSA Week

One word to describe tonight's CSA pick-up, brrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!! I forgot to take a sweater and since I had been literally running around all day in rain gear I guess I never really noticed how cold it had gotten. So, I arrive at the pick-up wearing a fairly damp rain coat which was also wet on the inside of the sleeves to find out it had gotten down right cold. I believe I'll be breaking out the toque again and stashing in the truck for future pick-ups. As I type at 9:30pm my fingers are still feeling a tad bit chilled. But all in all another great Tuesday pick-up has been completed.

This week marks the half way point of the CSA, hard to believe seeing as its already into September. This season I added on two extra weeks from the 18 of last year as we had such a great growing season last year and could have easily gone another few weeks, hopefully the fall weather will be kind so that the veggies continue to grow and mature!!!

This weeks large share has cauliflower, 1 leek, potatoes, beans, carrots, red & white onions, broccoli, lettuce mix, garlic, zucchini, cucumbers, green or purple cabbage & baby fennel. I adapted a recipe I got this week (see below) from Kelly Hughes from Hughes Hill Farms which was very yummy!! I definitely recommend it. The grab box had dill, cilantro, parsley, leaf celery, basil, swiss chard, kale, lettuce heads, beets & more of the above goodies.

According to the weather man it was supposed to rain all day today. I was very thankful that nothing started until I was almost done my harvest and only had zucchini, some cabbage and the cucumbers to get during the rain. Around 2ish I saw a van drive up the lane-way and even though I was behind schedule I figured I best go and see who it was in-case it was a potential farm buyer or someone looking for more information. It ended up being this super cute older couple (they had to have been at least 80) looking to buy a cabbage. Not too strange of a request but they had just driven from Panmure Island for the cabbage to make cabbage rolls. Normally on a CSA day I would have told them all of the produce was spoken for but seeing as they drove all the way I could not deny their request. They had the best Danish accent and were very interested in what I was growing as they had always had an organic garden of their own but could no longer keep up with the work due to health problems. They ended up taking three cabbages and a pound of carrots and were very happy with their purchase. After they left I scrambled back down to the field to pick three more cabbages and finish off the zucs and cuks, talk about rush mode after that!!!!! My friend Kim who helps on Tuesday had other responsibilities today so it was also a bit hectic trying to get everything done, even though I did harvest some things last night it still seemed to be a day where I could not get ahead. So, seeing as I thought it was going to rain I decided that I should weigh out the carrots, potatoes and beans as I did not think anyone would appreciate doing that in the rain. I was totally behind schedule so I just weighed everything in the scale and put all items loose into the baskets. Sorry for the lack of order in the baskets today but better that than everyone getting soaked and cold.

So for the yummy recipe I mentioned above

Golden Roasted Vegetables (originally from Hughes Hill Farms)
1 bulb fennel (or a few baby ones)
1lb small red potatoes, halves (bigger ones quartered, white potatoes are fine too)
4 carrots, diagonally cut into 1/2" slices
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme (i did not have any)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 onion, chopped into large pieces
chopped red onion, if you have any
1 leek, sliced into 1/4" rounds(remove the green leaves, just use the white & greenish stalk)

Preheat over to 375F. Line baking pan with foil. Trip stalks and feathery fronds off fennel bulb; reserve fronds. Trim bottom of bulb and cut into 1/4: thick slices. In medium bowl, toss potatoes, onions, leek and carrots with oil, thyme, salt and peppers. Add fennel slices: stir until just combined. Spread mixture in single layer in pan. Roast, stirring 2-3 times, until vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes (took me about an hour but I have an old stove). Serve garnished with some of the reserved fennel fronds. I really enjoyed this dish, super easy, and very tasty. I hope you enjoy it as well.

Another fennel recipe sent by a member, thanks Craig.
Fennel and Grapefruit Summer Salad

1 grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 bulb fennel, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups torn romaine lettuce
1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1 avocado - peeled, pitted and sliced


Place grapefruit slices and any leftover juices in a bowl. Stir in onion, fennel, and artichoke, coating with the grapefruit juice. Pour mixture into another bowl, leaving a small amount of juice in the first bowl. Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper in the original bowl. Toss lettuce with the vinaigrette.
Divide lettuce onto 4 plates. Evenly distribute the grapefruit mixture on top of the lettuce and top with the Gorgonzola cheese. Place avocado slices on each salad and serve.

And yet another Fennel recipe sent by a member, I believe this is from Michael Smith's cookbook. Thanks Carolyn!
Lemon Fennel Slaw

1 fennel blulb
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp of honey
a few splashes of olive oil
a sprinkle or two of sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Remove the stalks from the top of the fennel bulb. cut the head in half through the core. Carefully trim out the woody core and then slice the remaining bulb as thinly as possible or shred through large holes of grater. Whisk the lemon zest and juice, honey, olive oil and salt and pepper together in a salad bowl. Toss with the fennel.
The recipe also adds that for variations you can toss a handful of mint leaves, chives or basil leave into the salad.

My Mom sent the following recipe along last night. I have not tried it but Mom said Dad liked it so that must mean its good, he's known for his "meat and potato" taste buds!!

Roasted Yellow Beans with Peanuts and Cilantro

Preheat oven to 400 F. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss 1 pond yellow beans with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and season with coarse salt and ground pepper. Roast until browned in spots and tender, about 15 minutes, tossing halfway through. In a medium bowl, combine 2 teaspoons soy sauce, ½ teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger, ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice, and ½ teaspoon light brown sugar. Add roasted beans and ¼ cup each unsalted peanuts and fresh cilantro leaves to combine.

A recent trip back to the woods for an afternoon of adventures. The boys found a black and yellow caterpillar in the weeds and were not too sure how to get by it. Don't worry I rescued them from the big scary woods monster!!!

Mr. Serious

The boys enjoying a few of the tomatoes that were spared from the blight disaster!!!

Ben really loves fresh tomatoes!!

I hope the back to school transition went ok for everyone, I know I used to be very nervous about the first day!!! Have a great week and lets hope tonight's chilly weather was just a one off and warmer weather returns soon!!!