Tuesday, August 27, 2013

10th CSA Week

Well, its another dry old week here on the farm.  Veggies are still growing, ripening and maturing but plants are also getting rather yellow and new plantings are growing so very slowly.  It's amazing actually how well everything is actually doing despite the complete lack of rain.  Fingers crossed for some nice soft warm rain in the next few days.

Today was a rocking good harvest and the shares were just beautiful.  Lots of bright lovely colours and so many choices in the grab boxes; really makes me want to be a CSA member :)

This weeks large share has carrots, beans, cauliflower or broccoli, yellow storage onions, zucchini, cucumbers, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce heads, cabbage and dill or cilantro.  The grab boxes have leeks, lettuce mix, spinach, fennel, hot peppers, parsley, beets, green onions, celery, kale, swiss chard, collard greens and more of the above mentioned veggies. 

Some beautiful red peppers came out of the greenhouse and from the field today.  Lots of different varieties and some awesome shades of red.  The hot peppers are hot hot hot so use caution when cutting them up, using a pair of disposable gloves really helps alot in avoiding burning eye issues!!
Field bell peppers

Yummy carmen peppers from the greenhouse

So, I have new tool which I am VERY EXCITED about!!!!  We harvest on average between 400-500lbs of carrots each week for the CSA and restaurant needs and all of those carrots get dug with a big fork called a broad fork.  This year the ground has been so dry that digging has been a very slow and rather painful event.  So, after looking online to see what other farmers use to dig their carrots I decided I needed a bed lifter.  I talked to my brother about it who is very good at designing, modifying and fabricating equipment and with some odds and ends we had around here he was able to make it up Sunday night.  He dropped it off for me in the dark and we couldn't resist trying it out.  From what we could tell it worked great so Monday morning it had its first real test drive in the light of day.  All I can say is........amazing!!!!!!  All I do is drive over the bed of carrots with my lifter in the soil and voila, the carrots just pull out.  We figure the new lifter will need some adjusting and bracing but for now its saving me so much time and so much easier on the old body!! 

The new barrel washer is working pretty good, some slight issues to work on to make it work better but overall its really doing a great job.  I was able to wash 300lbs of carrots in about 19 minutes on Monday, beats the old method!! 


 Below are lots of pictures just giving you a tiny glimpse into life here on the farm. 

All of the onions are now in the barn to cure.  We totally ran out of room on the drying racks so the shallots, red and white onions as well as the remainder of the yellow onions will have to stay in the black crates until spaces opens up.  Its a bumper onion crop!!!
I love working in my new building, no real lights yet but what a lucky girl I am to have so much available space for all things veggies!!

Super CSA member Marti brought me so super yummy black berries tonight.  So sweet. 

Lots of choices in the grab boxes tonight.

So many grabs

More grabs

And more grabs

Beautiful red peppers

Fennel in the grab boxes

A tower of fennel

Fennel growing so pretty in the field

The tomatoes in the greenhouse have gotten a bit out of hand, its like a jungle in there these days

It's a wild spot!!!

Golden Cherry tomatoes, my favourite

My poor sad little rain gauge is feeling under worked this summer!!  Very under worked

What better way to start my Tuesday morning but with a freshly baked brownie sitting on my cupboard when I got back from dropping the boys off at daycare.  Black bean brownies.  Delicious. I really do have the best employees
The boys were so excited that Daddy is having a birthday.  They really think we should buy him a transformer shirt or a spiderman tooth brush :)

I'm already dreading the first frost which will wipe out my treasured basil crop.  I've been so happy with the quality and quantity of basil that I've been able to produce and offer to my CSA members and i've been making up lots of yummy creations with the extras.  My favourite has to be an easy fresh pesto that my friend Tammy passed along.  1 cup basil, 1/4cup parmesan cheese, 2.5tbs olive oil, salt and peppers to taste and 1 garlic clove.  Process away and yummy pesto awaits.  No need for those pine nuts, you really don't miss them.  I've been loving it as a pizza sauce (it can be a rather chunky spread but its so good) or mixed into pasta or casseroles needing a bit of a kick. 

So yummy.  Pesto on the crust, topped with fresh tomatoes and lots of fresh basil.  Sprinkle a bit of Parmesan and shredded cheese and under the broiler until things start to sizzle.  Amazing!! 

Too easy and too tasty!!
Enjoy this weeks veggies and enjoy playing around and creating new recipes. 

Jen & the gang. 

Don't forget to check out Sally's blog and Sarah's blog for new recipe ideas.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

9th CSA Week

This week marks the half way point of the CSA season for the 2013 season.  It's hard to believe we are at the half way point already!! 

That chill in the air in the mornings and evenings sure is a reminder that fall is just around the corner.  Even though it was a late start to the growing season some crops are at least two weeks ahead of normal.  We have tonnes of winter squash close to ripe, leeks which are bursting from the soil and storage onions are needing to get pulled. 

This weeks large share has carrots, beans (yellow and green), broccoli and cauliflower, red and white onions, zucchinis, cucumbers, celery, kale or collards or swiss chard, garlic, tomatoes, leeks and a lettuce head.  The grab boxes had lettuce mix, cabbage, dill, cilantro, basil, summer savoury, sage, hot peppers, green tomatoes, parsley and green onions and of course more of the above mentioned veggies.  

We got the first of the storage onions out of the field yesterday and they are all spread out inside the new building to cure.  A little over 1000 bulbs for this first variety.  Still 3-4 more varieties left to be pulled.  Their tops are still standing up so we will wait till they begin to fall over before we pull them.  The shallots are all falling over now so they will be pulled next. 

Onions pulled to dry in the sun for 2-3 days and then into the shade so they don't sunburn
Norstar onions just in from the field.  Derek built a nice little drying rack for the onions to cure on

Carrot sales are rocking right now for restaurants!!

Week #9 rockstars!!

Celery, I like to call it cooking celery as it can be a bit stronger flavour and more tough than regular grocery store varieties.  Awesome in stews, soups or casseroles.  I love adding it to my salsa
Leeks.  Yummy!!  Every year I say I'm going to hill the leeks to get that nice white shank but yet again as you can see, it didn't happen!!

And there you have it, the new barn is totally finished on the outside.  Awesome

Derek's on the roof checking out the finished product.
I got another round of planting done yesterday including spinach, lettuce mix, beet greens, hakurei turnips, radish, tatsoi, arugula, purple mizuna, bokchoi and spicy mustards.  It would be really great to get some rain in the near future to help those seeds to germinate.  Enjoy your veggies :)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

8th CSA Week

Tired.....That is the word of the day, or maybe the word of the week.  I always find this time of year is hard mentally and physically;trying to keep everything organized, keeping on top of planting, transplanting, harvesting, weeding, e-mails, paperwork, and then trying to keep on top of everyday life as well.  If I could only find the dish washing and laundry fairy I'd be all set.

This weeks large share has lettuce mix or a lettuce head, spinach, tomatoes, garlic, cucumbers, zucchini, green onions, red and white sweet onions, cauliflower, broccoli, beans, beets and 2lbs of carrots.  The grab box has cabbage, dill, parsley, basil, cilantro, sage, baby coloured carrots, summer savory, kale, collards, swiss chard, green tomatoes and more of the above veggies.

It was a very busy harvest day today and for some reason I was very slack with picture taking and didn't even get a shot of this weeks large share!!  I'll have to take a picture of Thursday's share instead.  Here are some pictures that I did get taken on the weekend and first of the week.  Enjoy :)

Carrot Poppers.  Yes, they are supposed to look like that.  I thought kids would enjoy eating carrots that were shaped different

Tomatoes, so tasty

The boys went with my Dad on a potato picking adventure.  The had so much fun

Found a big one!!!

Filling up the bag with freshly dug spuds

They sure love their Grampy!!
Maritime Electric was finally out last Friday to hook up power to the new building so Derek was able to get the barrel washer all set up.  We had used it once last fall but we hadn't really used it for a big batch so this week was the first real big wash.
I wasn't sure how many I could put in at once but it handled lots of carrots with no problem at all

The carrots come out so clean!!!  I was able to wash about 160lbs of carrots in 15-20 minutes.  Awesome!!!!!
We finally got some rain last Friday.  It poured so hard for 10-15 minutes and then a nice soft rain followed for the rest of the day.

Transplants in the greenhouse that are ready to get outside

My daily harvest sheet plus my garden "bible" above.  These two things are always with me when I'm in the field