Starting the season off with a green thumb! Nicholas is healing a tendon injury while sowing onions- the first seeds that will carry us into spring! The long winter is beginning to show signs of retreat (is it??) and we’re gearing up for an amazing CSA season! Sign up while there’s still space! Can’t wait to see you on the other side of winter…
Solstice happenings… We have finally put all the beds in the field to sleep. After a good stretch of digging kale plants out of the snow and chipping leeks out of the frozen ground, we allow them their movement into the next phase of decompositon, working towards their eventual fate of fertilizing future years’ crops. We succumb to the dark winter months of eating root vegetables while we wait for our hoophouse greens to burst in the spring. I’m not complaining- those carrots that await us in the cooler are sweeeet! (and complete with many interesting shapes to entertain us through the cold days).
We have been running as farmers-turned-carpenters since October, working to get our house built before the real winter sets in (or has that already happened?!?). We’re in the homestretch, and our thoughts turn heavily towards next season. The monumental arrival of 2014 seed catalogs has gotten me flipping through dreamy pictures of our fields in their lush green state and plump tomatoes ripe on the vine… All of this inspiring so much excitement about crop planning and gearing up for an amazing next season. I can’t wait to share this bounty with you all!
Exciting news on the farm this week: a couple of the tomatoes started to blush red! That means we’re only about 2 weeks out from ripe tomatoes, one week if we ever get some consistent sun.
For those of you that haven’t been out to the farm, we have a lot of big projects going on, in addition to the normal bigness of our regular farm tasks. One of those is a pole barn that we’ve been slowly chipping away at when we can make the time. It will be where we wash and pack produce, and where our walk in cooler will be. We’re excited to report that we started putting the roof on it this week, and most of the siding is up as well. That meant that this morning when we were washing your produce, we didn’t have to put up our market tent and hang tablecloths everywhere to provide shade. We’re glad those days are gone!
And believe it or not, we now have a facebook page, which my sister made for us. I don’t know how to find it, but for those of you more computer savvy than me, it’s under our farm name. There are pictures of our barn raising party and other scenes from around the farm over the last few months.
We also ate our first strawberry from the farm this week. Utterly delicious! It was sort of a fluke that we had a ripe berry, because we pick all of the flowers off the strawberry plants in their first year so that they yield more heavily in their second year. Luckily we missed one and got to sample some of the fruit! For those of you that stick around until next year, you’ll be in for an amazing treat cause those are some darn good berries.
This week you’re getting:
Summer Squash Scallions
Radishes or Beets Carrots
Head Lettuce Rainbow Chard
Broccoli-thanks to Blue Star Farm!
Another fine week of eating… And working! We’ve been busy this week getting fall crops in the ground – beets, carrots, cabbage, kale, collards, and brussels sprouts, to name a few. It’s always a strange time of year for us to be planting these cold weather crops – Preparing for winter just as we roll across the solstice and it really begins to feel like summer! But they need a long time to mature, so summer is the season for planting winter food!
Our days have been a bit chaotic lately- we start with a to-do list that gets shifted by weather pretty much every afternoon… It feels like we’re in this endless game with the looming dark clouds and distant thunder- the constant questioning: Is it safe to stay in the field? Should I abandon these transplants right here in their exposed-root vulnerability? Despite this dance with the weather, we have managed to get plants in the ground, weeds out of the ground, and continue to make progress on our deer fence (another tool for keeping plants in the ground) and pole barn.
Speaking of pulling plants out of the ground… we have our first carrots this week! Along with other delights.
The full lineup is:
Kale “Peppermint” Swiss Chard
Carrots (from Letterbox Farm Collective)
Garlic scapes Basil
This may be the last week for garlic scapes! Don’t be afraid of this wild-looking garlic stalk! Garlic scapes pesto… seriously, you should try it. Just replace scapes for the basil and garlic in your favorite pesto recipe. Or throw in your bunch of basil \for a pesto fusion… So simpe! So delicious! And you can freeze some and save for the days of scapes gone by.
And lastly, try these honey-dill carrots, invented by Eileen’s mom:
Blanche one bunch of carrots in boiling water with 3-4 whole sprigs of dill for 1 minute. Drain and remove dill. Simmer 5 minutes with 1 tbsp each of honey and butter, and chopped fresh dill leaves. Salt to taste.
The time has come- the unveiling of the new Whistle Down Farm CSA, and we are so happy to be sharing it with all of you… We are excited to bring you this fine variety of food for the first week – recent weather has not been helpful in getting crops to size up for harvest, but they seemed to know that it would help us a lot if they kicked into gear by today. This is just the beginning of a summer of fine eating!!
What’s for dinner? And lunch and breakfast…
Blue Corn Meal
What the heck is a garlic scape?
Botanically, a garlic scape is the immature flowering stalk of a garlic plant. Culinarily, it is a seasonal treat with a mild garlic flavor. You can use it raw on salads, or sautéed just like garlic, or as a pizza topping, or in pasta, or try steaming it, which mellows out the garlic flavor and leaves you with a sweet and tender delicacy similar to asparagus. Trim the very tip off before using, because it’s somewhat fibrous. Enjoy them while we have them the next couple weeks, cause after that, you won’t see em again till next spring.
Special thanks to Farm at Miller’s Crossing for providing the Snap Peas.
We hope you enjoy this blue corn from last year’s fall harvest, milled this spring by our friends at the Camphill Bakery in Copake. More of this fabulous grain is on the horizon this fall, for now about shin-high in the field. Blue Corn contains 20% more protein and has a lower glycemic index than white or yellow corn, and has a sweeter, nuttier flavor. And makes beautiful blue pancakes!
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 ¼ cup cornmeal
1 egg, beaten
1 ¼ cup buttermilk or yogurt, or milk plus 1 tsp. lemon juice
Combine dry ingredients, add wet and stir until just mixed
Pour ¼ cup into hot pan, flip when bubbles appear
Top with maple syrup, butter, fruit, etc. – you know how to do this!
Glad you’re back, or starting anew, or simply just looking for something to do…
-Eileen and Nicholas