Monday, August 31, 2009

Week 13 CSA Journal Post

What’s happening on the farm this week?
Week 13: The nice cool dry weather is welcome this week as we tiptoe into September. We are saying goodbye to some crops this week (which many have had their fill): eggplant (due to late blight), zucchini and summer squash (powdery mildew), corn, green beans, and sungold cherry tomatoes. The next crops of potatoes are ripening and we have are second crop of red potatoes for you today ( these are what we saved when we sprayed copper on the plants.) The potato plants have some blight on them but it is not as rampid as the tomatoes – the spraying of cooper has totally slowed it down. The potatoes that look iffy are the fingerlings – Adam is going to mow them down and harvest them next week. The celery likes this cooler weather and we hope to harvest this in the next few weeks. Adam has planted fall greens and they are doing well in the back field. With the help of Fiona we are weeding the fall carrots and basil. We will have sunflowers next week for all of you. Christine is hoping to plant some seeds in the greenhouse for a November harvest or have winter greens – an experiment – this week. Also this week, we are going to try to wash our sheeps’ fleeces ourselves and see how that goes. One of our sheep, Iris, is so sweet with Sadie – she bows down and lets Sadie pet and rub her. Iris also looks out for Sadie if one of the boy lambs is too playful – Iris head butts him to keep him in his place.

Yesterday, we were able to deliver 50lbs of our bodacious, reddish pink Rose Heirloom Tomatoes to the last pick up of Food For Thought. We have not been able to donate as much this year but we were able to donate some and have them pay through a local food grant for these tomatoes. It was really important to us that these families – these 91 children and their parents – got some good organic heirloom juicy tomatoes – especially with the prices of tomatoes so high to due the late blight throughout New England – they probably would not have bought these on their own due to the high price. Our goal is to make sure that our organic food is reaching anyone who wants to eat it. We also had in the back of our head that their might not be enough red ones today for all of you, and that some that you may receive in your share may be a little underripe – but then we thought that you will not mind – in sharing these large gifts of the hoophouse. It was with all of you in mind – that we delivered these tomatoes and placed them gingerly in each one of those boxes – all 34 of them – bound to homes in Grand Isle County. That is was our farm – yours and mine – that were bringing some sunshine to our neighbors. Our goal is complete – we have gotten out our heirloom tomatoes from the hoophouse to our CSA (48 families), our Senior Farm Shares at the Round Barn (20), and to the 34 families and their 91 children of Food for Thought – That sure is a lot of people. My sister says trust in the universe – it will provide. I also remember a bible story from when I was a child when there were all these people to feed after a talk that Jesus did, he only had a few loaves of bread and fish – and they multiplied and there was enough for all. I guess its just called faith – that there will be enough…

Christine has called around to see if we could buy in some watermelon and melons for all of you (because ours rotted due to weather) and there are none to be found – in such bulk – because many farms have had similar problems to us. We are also on the look out for winter squash – ours is not doing well at all…Also we will not be offering a winter share this year – but we will have things for sale at the winter farmers markets, in our farm stand and if we have anything in bulk for purchase (like potatoes) we will let you all know.
Thanks for being part of our farm, see you next week – Adam, Christine and Sadie J
What’s in the share this week: Green Beans, Clemson Spineless Okra, Red Potatoes, Red Heirloom tomatoes! Tomatillos, Peppers (sweet/hot), Red and Yellow Onions, Your choice of :Summer Squash/ Zucchini or Eggplant, Your choice of Chard or Beets, Pick-Your-Own Heirloom Mexican Midget Cherry Tomatoes (they are still holding on) and maybe some other treatsJ
Please note: this is what we intend to have in your share as of Monday morning, very early – sometimes there will be changes that day our difference between Monday and Thursdays pickups . I print all the newsletters at one time. Thanks for understanding.) CHECK US OUT ON THE WEB and LEAVE COMMENTS TOO

Wool Roving for Sale:
From our sheep – we have Border Leicster Romney Crosses, Icelandic and Shetland Sheep. It is $15 for 6 ounces (special price for CSA members).

To help plant, trellis, and weed – please call us 372-3420 or email Thanks

Ode To Tomatoes
by Pablo NerudaThe streetfilled with tomatoes,midday,summer,light ishalvedlikeatomato,its juicerunsthrough the streets.In December,unabated,the tomatoinvadesthe kitchen,it enters at lunchtime,takesits easeon countertops,among glasses,butter dishes,blue saltcellars.It shedsits own light,benign majesty.Unfortunately, we mustmurder it:the knifesinksinto living flesh,redvisceraa coolsun,profound,inexhaustible,populates the saladsof Chile,happily, it is wedto the clear onion,and to celebrate the unionwepouroil,essentialchild of the olive,onto its halved hemispheres,pepperaddsits fragrance,salt, its magnetism;it is the weddingof the day, parsleyhoistsits flag,potatoesbubble vigorously,the aromaof the roastknocksat the door,it's time!come on!and, onthe table, at the midpointof summer,the tomato,star of earth, recurrentand fertilestar,displaysits convolutions,its canals,its remarkable amplitudeand abundance,no pit,no husk,no leaves or thorns,the tomato offersits giftof fiery colorand cool completene

Monday, August 24, 2009

Week 12 - CSA Journal Post

What’s happening on the farm this week?
Week 12: You all know we have a small flock of sheep we use for wool, manure, and as field conditioners. We had our first two sales of roving (washed and carded wool) this week- which means the sheep are finally going to start paying their room and board! Well, we need hay to feed them in the winter, and last Monday, a friend of ours in North Hero came and cut the hay in our back field- about 6 acres or so. After a couple of light rains and some heavy dew, the hay is baled and only partially brown, so its still good for the sheep- thank goodness they are not too picky! We feel thankful that we can get our hay in with the help of others who have the equipment we do not have. We are trying to get all the bells and whistles to cut, dry, and bale hay ourselves and eventually sell. For now, we are happy we’ll have a barn full. Thanks Rob and Earl for cutting and baling, Gary and Jo for letting us borrow their hayrake, to Naomi and Hobart for helping us stand up the bales to dry, and to Kelly and Steve for the hay wagon. Also, thanks to Kaight’s (CSA member) dad for showing me how to change the knives on our hay mower.

We are also thankful this week to bring you BODACIOUS Rose heirloom tomatoes, as well as an old variety of sweet corn called “Golden Bantam”, introduced W. Atlee Burpee in 1902. The Golden Bantam is kind of chewy, buttery, hearty sort of corn,distinctly different from the first variety we gave you this year. That one, called “Luscious,” is similar to a lot of the popular “sugar-enhanced” hybrids bigger farms grow. Golden Bantam is more robust, but still sweet and tasty. We purchased the seed from Seed Savers Exchange in Iowa. They are a great resource for home and commercial growers for heirloom and heritage seeds. We have several varieties of veggies from them. Check out:

This week’s share there is also Okra. We have never grown this before and we our excited about this. We are growing Okra for a few people including Adam’s family who are from Oklahoma and Texas – Christine has mastered the fine art of frying Okra to make Adam’s Dad grin and hum when he eats it – not bad for a YankeeJ We are growing it in the hoop house along with the red peppers, Rose and Moskovich tomatoes. It is an interesting plant. We almost pulled itup because it took forever to get going but now….it is producing and we are excited to share it with all of you. If you have never had or had a bad experience with it – give it a try – farm fresh, just picked – is a whole lot different than what you may buy in the store. Our favorite way to cook it is to slice it, batter it with some egg and cornmeal and lightly fry it in some olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Yum. You can also make a good gumbo out of it too. We have enclosed some recipes for you to try – let us know what you thinkJ “Okra comes from a large vegetable plant thought to be of African origin, and it was brought to the United States three centuries ago by African slaves. The word, derived from the West African nkruma, was in use by the late 1700s. Grown in tropical and warm temperate climates, it is in the same plant family as hibiscus and cotton. Okra is usually available fresh year-round in the South, and from May to October in many other areas. You can also find okra frozen, pickled, and canned, and in some regions you might find frozen breaded okra for deep frying. When buying fresh okra, look for young pods free of bruises, tender but not soft, and no more than 4 inches long. Okra may be stored in the refrigerator in a paper bag or wrapped in a paper towel in a perforated plastic bag for 2 to 3 days, or it may be frozen for up to 12 months after blanching whole for 2 minutes. Cooked okra can be stored (tightly covered) in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days”. (from

The following is a poem that Roy heard on Morning edition on North Country Radio. The Rose tomatoes are quite voluptuous and we are pleased and grateful for them this year. We hope you enjoy it.

Vegetable Love by Barbara CrookerFeel a tomato, heft its weight in your palm,think of buttocks, breasts, this plump pulp.And carrots, mud clinging to the root,gold mined from the earth's tight purse.And asparagus, that push their heads up,rise to meet the returning sun,and zucchini, green torpedoeslurking in the Sargasso depthsof their raspy stalks and scratchy leaves.And peppers, thick walls of cool jade, a green hush.Secret caves. Sanctuary.And beets, the dark blood of the earth.And all the lettuces: bibb, flame, oak leaf, butter-crunch, black-seeded Simpson, chicory, cos.Elizabethan ruffs, crisp verbiage.And spinach, the dark greenof northern forests, savoyed, ruffled,hidden folds and clefts.And basil, sweet basil, nuzzledby fumbling bees drunk on the sun.And cucumbers, crisp, cool white icein the heart of August, month of fire.And peas in their delicate slippers,little green boats, a string of beads,repeating, repeating.And sunflowers, nodding at night,then rising to shout hallelujah! at noon.All over the garden, the whisper of leavespassing secrets and gossip, making assignations.All of the vegetables bask in the sun,languorous as lizards.Quick, before the frost puts outits green light, praise these vegetables,earth's voluptuaries,praise what comes from the dirt."Vegetable Love" by Barbara Crooker, from Radiance. (c) Word Press, 2005.
Thanks for being part of our farm, see you next week – Adam, Christine and Sadie J
What’s in the share this week: Green Beans, Clemson SpinelessOkra, OPEN POLINATED Heritage SWEET CORN!, Maybe some Red Potatoes, Red or Yellow Heirloom tomatoes! Tomatillos, Peppers (sweet/hot), Red and Yellow Onions, Summer Squash, Zucchini, Eggplant, Garlic, Pick-Your-Own Sungold Cherry Tomatoes (they are still holding on) and maybe some other treatsJ
Please note: this is what we intend to have in your share as of Monday morning, very early – sometimes there will be changes that day our difference between Monday and Thursdays pickups . I print all the newsletters at one time. Thanks for understanding.) CHECK US OUT ON THE WEB and LEAVE COMMENTS TOO

Wool Roving for Sale:
From our sheep – we have Border Leicster Romney Crosses, Icelandic and Shetland Sheep. It is $15 for 6 ounces (special price for CSA members).

To help plant, trellis, and weed – please call us 372-3420 or email Thanks

Southern Style Okra
1 1/2 cups sliced okra
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 can (14.5 ounces) tomatoes with juice, or 1 1/2 cups tomato puree
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon flour blended with 1 tablespoon cold water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Cook okra in boiling salted water 10 minutes. Drain. Brown onion and green pepper in salad oil. Add tomato juice, cook slowly 5 minutes. Add okra and remaining ingredients. Cook over low heat 5 minutes longer.Serves 4.

Okra with Corn and Tomatoes
3 cups very cold water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh sliced okra
2 to 3 tablespoons bacon drippings
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups sliced okra
2 cups fresh corn kernels or frozen thawed corn kernels
2 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Combine water and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add sliced okra and let soak for about 30 minutes. In a large heavy skillet, heat bacon drippings over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until tender. Add okra and continue cooking for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add remaining ingredients and cook for 10 to 15 minutes longer. If necessary, add water to keep vegetables from sticking. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes longer. 4 to 6 servings.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pictures and our blog

So, our little laptop that we run this blog off is ancient - well 7 years old, not much memory and our dig camera is just as old- so the only way I can post pictures are through the cell phone pic texting...funny - We are hoping to get a new computer sometime this year...Just bare with us with the pics I will post as many as I can...Thanks

Hay and the barn

So our back field was mowed day before yesterday, many thanks to Rob - about 6 acres - finally our first cut - which isn't too bad - until the rain came - really. I got that sick feeling in my belly when Adam came off from the tractor after raking - Adam said it would be good for bedding or mulch....we have 9 sheep to feed this winter - Luckily we have about 10 acres that we could possibly mow and bale - that the sheep have been rotationally grazing - we are in the process of putting together our own haying equipment which is on the expensive side of things - a few thousand dollars.

It is a bit challenging to be a small diversified farm - to make things a bit easier or to make food for animals you need some serious equipment and since Adam and I started this farm with a rototiller and hayfield and a few shovels 5 years ago - it will take a bit more to get the rest of the equipment we need. I just went on Craigslist to look up used balers and hay rakes - so then we could cut when we could and when the weather was right. This past spring we bought a used sickle bar mower and we need to replace the teeth but it works well - it will do until we can get a better mower..

As I type this, Adam is playing silly songs to Sadie on his guitar and Sadie is dancing around with a t-shirt on her head, tomato sauce is boiling on the stove hopefully to be canned tonight:)

We are thinking about making our barn, which is more like a cement bunker with wood on the top - into a house for us - hmmm...It might be cheaper than building a house from scratch, we could build it over a period of time- it has a roof and a foundation already....hmmmm....anyone swing a hammer?

Okay time to nurse the monkey, try to get the sharpie marker off of her legs, and close up the chickens- wish me luck

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

CSA Journal Post Week 11

What’s happening on the farm this week?
Week 11: It has been a pretty busy week here. Thanks to all who came out in the very, sticky hot weather yesterday for the Blue Heron Farm Hoe-Down. It was a lot of fun and we had instruments from all over the world. Irish fiddles, guitars, banjos, Bavarian bag pipes and accordion and harmonica. The hay wagon was completed for the rides and the kids had so much fun jumping all around the hay bales on the wagon and dancing while their parents played music. The food was delicious and he drinks were refreshing. It was hot – we could have cancelled it because it was too hot but instead, we embraced it, knew we could not change the weather (we have tried all summer) and just had fun! Thanks all for coming out! Our next hoe down will be a Sunday in September – and it will be on the pasture behind our home where the sheep are. Maybe the earthen oven will be done by then….hmmmm…

The Green Beans are here FINALLY! As I type this, Adam and Gail are out picking beans. They are a French thin kind – we hope you like them and hope they were worth the wait. We are hoping you all enjoyed the corn last week and hope to have more of it for you in share this week. Our hay is getting mowed this week thanks to Rob Rousseau from North Hero – he is the farmer who sells grass fed beef – we will be having more info on beef shares in the next couple of weeks. There will be lots of moving hay in the next week or so – if you would like to throw some bales, let us know – we would love to have you. The tomatoes are turning red in the barn and the hoophouse – you should have some more this week. Thanks to all who have offered to give up their tomatoes and have made donations- it means a lot to us. It also important to us that you, our CSA members, get the best crops and products from our farm. Our family and your family come first. You were the ones who took a chance with us when you wrote those checks in February and March and yes, you do take some of the risk with us – which helps us immensely – this could have been a total bummer year if it wasn’t for all of you. So we will keep providing tomatoes, as much as is ready to all of you, along with our other crops, because our family and your family being fed comes before bringing food to market.

We welcome the heat because it is getting our fall crops to grow. We replanted lettuce, chard, kale, beans, peas, cabbage and brussel sprouts and they are loving this heat. The Basil is growing and we are hoping to plant spinach,arugula and bok choy this week. We are still contemplating growing in our greenhouse over the winter. The storage carrots are growing and the potatoes (the blues, red, white, and Kennebecs) are surviving the blight thanks to the copper Adam has sprayed and will need to spray again this week. Celery should be here in another week or so.

Over the last week, our little farmstand has been robbed along with all the other ones in Grand Isle. The Grand Isle Sheriff Department (A BIG thank you! To all the deputies for all their hard work and diligence!) caught the people who robbed us Thursday night after another farmer was able to positively identify them. Being robbed is an awful feeling. They hit our farmstand everyday from Saturday through Wednesday. I thought Adam was clearing out the money every night, we have been so busy that I had been meaning to ask him if he was doing that because I thought it was odd that he was taking the coins out of the basket too. And then we were packing for market on Wednesday, I finally asked Adam and when he replied no he hadn’t emptied it since Friday – my heart sank. I went to market in a pretty sour mood – I really didn’t want to go – I felt very violated and sad. Why/How could someone do this to another ? None of us farms can afford to have someone sitting at our farmstand all day – why must they wreck this? Our farm and the others in our community give so much to help out our community. The people who were stealing from us our members of our community, how could they do this to their neighbors? I started to do a lot of questioning and really trying to find peace amongst it all. It was and still is a bit eating me up inside. Someone at church on Sunday offered up prayers for all the farmers dealing with the late blight and all stealing. I offered prayers to the people who stole from us – would I find solice in this – praying for those who offended me and my family? After services, people came up to us and gave their condolescneces and others said they were glad they caught those _____(you can fill in the blank). I am glad that they were caught – but being a victim, and not being able to tell that person how it made me and my family feel being offended – that is the piece that is left to be filled. I hope with this type of crime there is some reparative work that can be done. I do not wish harm on those who offended us, there is a reason they did it, and they need help (I can say this now, a few days out) – I just want them to meet us and hear what they did to us affected us and maybe they can help me weed my carrots…

Sadie is still interested in the potty and she goes a couple of times a day – well, that’s the times she actually gets it into the potty. Thank goodness for laminate floors and tile….
Thanks for being part of our farm, see you next week – Adam, Christine and Sadie J
What’s in the share this week: Green Beans, OPEN POLINATED Heritage SWEET CORN!, Red Potatoes, Maybe some Red or Yellow Heirloom tomatoes! Tomatillos, Peppers (sweet/hot), Red and Yellow Onions, Summer Squash, Zucchini, Eggplant, Cucumbers, Garlic, Pick-Your-Own Sungold Cherry Tomatoes (they are still holding on). Please note: this is what we intend to have in your share as of Monday morning, very early – sometimes there will be changes that day our difference between Monday and Thursdays pickups . I print all the newsletters at one time. Thanks for understanding.) CHECK US OUT ON THE WEB and LEAVE COMMENTS TOO

Wool Roving for Sale:
From our sheep – we have Border Leicster Romney Crosses, Icelandic and Shetland Sheep. It is $15 for 6 ounces (special price for CSA members).

To help plant, trellis, and weed – please call us 372-3420 or email Thanks

Chicken soup with tomatillos adapted from from Splendid Soups.
1 chicken cut into 8 pieces 1 lb tomatillos coarsely chopped 1 onion finely chopped 3 cloves garlic finely chopped 2 jalapenos seeded and chopped 3 c chicken broth 2 T chopped cilantro salt and pepper
Brown the chicken in a pan 8-10 minutes a side. Adjust the fat and lightly saute the onions and garlic. Add broth, tomatillos, jalapenos and chicken to pan. When chicken is done (~15 minutes) remove to cool. Skim any fat (I use a stick blender) and puree what is in the pan. The recipe calls for straining it, but I prefer it more 'peasant' and don't. Shred the chicken meat and return to the pan with the cilantro. Adjust salt/pepper (add cayenne if you need it) to taste and you have a great soup (I'll sometimes add a little lime juice to taste as well). Serve with sour cream and/or shredded cheese.

Tomatillo Curry Idea gleaned from a Chowhound posting I think:
One other thing I tried last night was throwing a few halved tomatillos in a thai curry - they turned out very tasty I sauteed them with the galanga, lemongrass and curry paste (along with the long beans) for a few seconds first to let them soften and absorb flavors and they matched well with the slightly bitter eggplants and the rich spicyness of the coconut milk curry.

Roasted Tomatillo Sauce with Greensadapted from a recipe in the newest Joy of Cookingthis sauce would be great on grains, meats, as an enchilada sauce, or thinned with stock into a soup...
Roast in an oven that's preheated to 400 degrees in a single layer on an oiled baking pan for 15-30 minutes, until nicely browned:
husked and rinsed tomatilloshalved tomatoes1-3 spicy peppers such as anaheims, hungarians, or other, seeded1-2 leeks, white parts only, or an onion or two, quartered6-12 cloves of garlic
place the vegetables, including the juices, in a blender or food processor along with: Several leaves of chard or spinach (optional)1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro3/4 cup stock (vegetable or chicken) or more as neededS & P to taste
Pulse until smooth, adding more stock of necessary to make a medium bodied sauce. Reheat gently in a small saucepan and serve immediately or store, covered, in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Christine’s Quick and Easy Bake (that was at the Blue Heron Farm Hoe-Down)

Spray a 9 x 13 pan with oil spray. Chop up zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and garlic (and whatever else you have that you haven’t gotten to- like green beans, potatoes, etc). Put it all in a bowl and mix in grated cheddar cheese. Toss in Salt and pepper. Pour into pan. Cover with tin foil. Put in oven at 250 for about an hour, until veggies are soft – and its done. (Note: I put it at this tem so I can go out and hang clothes on the line or pick veggies etc – I am sure you can do a higher temp with a shorter time.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Robbers and Garlic and Corn- Oh My!

So this growing season has been pretty tough on us. We have had crops rot in the field, 800 heirloom tomatoes had to be destroyed because they caught the late blight, and we our little farmstand has been robbed since Saturday night. Ugh. Luckily, with some great vigilance with other fellow farmers and their families and the swift action of the Grand Isle Sheriff's department (thank you thank you thank you!) - the people stealing from farmers' stands were caught last night at our local grocery/gas station. IT has been a summer of roller coaster emotions. So we have harvested all of our garlic over the weekend and we started picking out sweet corn. We our growing this open polliated heirloom sweet corn - and boy oh boy - sadie eats 4 ears at a time - RAW! I love it. Even with all the crap this summer - simple things like sweet corn and garlic hanging bring joy to me and of course playing with miss sadie:)

CSA Journal Post Week 10

This Sunday, August 16th 3:00pm until dark
Tour of Farm at 3:30 on hay wagons and the great blue truck
4:30 music starts(bring your instruments)
5:00 the biggest Potluck in Grand Isle J,
bonfire and more – no work, just play, music and foodJ
Bring your family and friends all welcome***

What’s happening on the farm this week?
Week 10: Thanks all for your kind words and actions last week. This is why we have a CSA – to have supportive, food loving people that will stick by you through feast and famine. Thank you! You all are biggest supporters. We feel like we are on a roller coaster of emotions these days because over the weekend we picked our first ever sweet corn! It is a heritage open pollinated corn from seed savers exchange and boy is it tasty – Sadie ate three ears in the field. Not sure how long we will have it – it is just for you our members not for market. Sweet corn takes up a lot of room with not much return. There are only one or two ears per plant and they don’t keep growing. Once you pick them they are done. No regrowth – nothing. If anyone would like some dried stalks or the leaves to make tamales or anything else, let us know. We maybe bias but we think it is the best sweet corn we have ever eaten. Try an ear raw – it is amazing – we are waiting to the absolute last minute to pick it today aka 3:15pm to make sure you have the freshest. We are excited – we hope you love it because it is the first successful corn crop we have ever had. The four strands of electric wire help too…

Over the weekend we also harvested and hung our garlic to dry in the barn. To see the garlic hanging or on the drying racks it is a pretty cool site – there is quite a bit of it. We are excited to see how much there really is – we still have around 1000 bulbs or so(even after all that we have given all of you). We will keep about 30 lbs to plant in the fall for next years harvest. We are still going through the tomatoes and fishing out the late blight rotten ones and picking out the red ones – these are laid out over 18 large bread trays. The hoophouse ones are starting to redden. The new planting of Parsley and Basil are up and growing and we think we will have celery in the next week or two. The big orange storage carrots are up and Fiona and I did some weeding of them. I think these are my favorite carrots because they are the sweetest I have ever eaten. Thanks to Gale and Fiona – we harvested our first crop of red potatoes (minus the late blight, thank you universe) – we hope you enjoy them.

Over the last week we got some great emails and a poem. Also, part of the Food for Thought newsletter talked about our farm. We would like to include this for you all to read. And thank you for choosing us to be one of your farmers at your kitchen table – Adam, Christine and Sadie

PS – Just in case anyway is keeping track – it has been a week for Miss Sadie and the potty – she goes 2-3 times a day and prefers to be diaperless while we are at the house or front yard…..

Roy sent us this wonderful poem that he heard on VPR last week. We continue to be humbled by this earth we farm. As we unearth those little red jewels from the earth or disc in blighted red jewels, we are committed to this earth for our sustenance. We thought you all would like it:
Patriotism by Ellie SchoenfeldMy country is this dirtthat gathers under my fingernailswhen I am in the garden.The quiet bacteria and fungi,all the little insects and bugsare my compatriots. They areidealistic, always working togetherfor the common good.I kneel on the earthand pledge my allegianceto all the dirt of the world,to all of that soil which growsflowers and foodfor the just and unjust alike.The soil does not carewhat we think about or who we love.It knows our true substance,of what we are really made.I stand my ground on this ground,this ground which willultimatelyrecruit us allto its side."Patriotism" by Ellie Schoenfeld, from The Dark Honey. (c) Clover Valley Press, 2009.

Another thoughtful piece I was given today was from Kaight Althoff (she and her family our CSA members and she also coordinates Food for Thought). Each week Kaight and Melissa put together a newsletter for the baskets for each of the families. I think the total count now is 36 families and 93 children. There is all sorts of info and recipes in these little letters. Very friendly letters to families – and very thoughtful. When you donate your share, we bring it and donate to Food for thought. This last week, with all that has happened on our farm, was quite poignant to me. Kaight gave me permission to re-print it here –

“Welcome to Week 9 of Food For Thought.
This week you will find a bounty of fresh, local produce. We hope your children will enjoy eating the fruit and vegetables as much as we enjoyed locating them for you.

Why local?
You may have noticed in the past few newsletters, that we’ve been telling you where some of your food is coming from. Why does it matter? Well, it matters because it’s local. We’re purchasing vegetables, fruits, and eggs from farmers and families right here in the Islands. At times we’re able to secure a fantastic price and other times we feel the price we pay is more than worth what we buy. As a matter of fact, it’s not always about what we buy, but from whom we buy it.

I had a talk with Ron Hackett at Hackett’s Orchard this morning about agriculture and produce. Some of his apple trees are over 100 years old. He takes care of those trees (and apples) because they matter to him, and because YOU matter to him. He wants local families to eat local apples. Knowing who produced your food and how can make you feel very connected to your food source.

Christine and Adam at Blue Heron Farm give us a fair price on produce so that local families can enjoy delicious organic produce farmed right here in the Islands. They have donated and sold to us, some of the best looking produce around.

The majority of our eggs are purchased from a family in Grand Isle, and the money used to purchase the eggs was donated by a large group of mother’s in South Hero. It’s great to see local families, supporting other local families, to help local families. That’s just perfect, in my book.

How can you keep this going? Visit the farmers markets, stop by a local farm stand, trade or barter with your neighbor for goods and services. Make a decision to buy 1 item local, such as apples or zucchini and stick to it. Tell your local grocer how much you like the local produce. Make friends with a farmer. Have a fantastic week and remember…think local!”
What’s in the share this week: OPEN POLINATED Heritage SWEET CORN! (the FIRST EVER ON OUR FARM (WAHOOO!!) , Red Potatoes, Maybe some Red or Yellow Heirloom tomatoes! Tomatillos, Peppers (sweet/hot), Red and Yellow Onions, Summer Squash, Zucchini, Eggplant,Cucumbers, Garlic, Pick-Your-Own Sungold Cherry Tomatoes (they are still holding on). CHECK US OUT ON THE WEB and LEAVE COMMENTS TOO

Wool Roving for Sale:
From our sheep – we have Border Leicster Romney Crosses, Icelandic and Shetland Sheep. It is $15 for 6 ounces (special price for CSA members).

To help plant, trellis, and weed – please call us 372-3420 or email Thanks

HOPE TO SEE YOU THIS WEEKEND!!!! Bring your family, friends, dish and an instrumentJ I hear the Island String Band will be playing and I hear rumors of a six string banjo coming and a fiddle – oh goodness…

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sadie resting

The other day we were at our friends' house and boy, does Sadie have fun there. So much fun she runs herself out of steam. Here is a cute little pic of her resting with babies:)

Sorry for the lag in posts

Hi all - sorry we haven't posted in a while - I will post the journals tonight - just look back - we did not have internet for almost two weeks. Read the journals....the last 2 or 3...especially Mondays one...its a doozy. :)cb

Monday, August 3, 2009

August 3 - CSA Journal

Sunday, August 16th 3:00pm until dark
Tour of Farm at 3:30 on hay wagons and the great blue truck
4:30 music starts(bring your instruments)
5:00 the biggest Potluck in Grand Isle J,
bonfire and more – no work, just play, music and foodJ
Bring your family and friends all welcome***

What’s happening on the farm this week?
We regret to tell our CSA share families and friends of Blue Heron Farm that the “Late Blight” sweeping through and destroying the tomatoes and potatoes crops of farms in the region has struck Blue Heron Farm. We had pulled a few plants that looked ill a few weeks ago, but nothing like what we discovered over the last week. We walked our fields and discovered that the latest humid, stormy weather had helped the fungus rapidly spread through the entire field tomato crop. Throughout Vermont, organic fields have been hardest hit because organic growers do not use synthetic chemicals to prevent the disease from taking hold. We are still in a state of stunned disbelief after we ripped out all of our tomatoes from the field and put them in piles covered with tarps- they became burial mounds of what was looking like a beautiful crop of heirloom tomatoes. We have never had this kind of crop devastation before. We are saddened that we won’t have all of those yummy tomatoes for your CSA baskets as we had hoped and planned. We are also taking a very big hit to our farm income- the tomatoes are the bread and butter of our farm’s direct-market and wholesale income.

ALL IS NOT LOST, HOWEVER!! We are hopeful about our potato crop which we are actively trying to keep healthy, but we know that they too are quite vulnerable to early blight and that we are certainly not out of the woods. Also, we do have about 60 heirloom tomato plants in our hoophouse that are thriving. These plants are protected from the rain and only receive water through their roots, so the fungus has not taken hold of them. We have already decided that we will not sell a single hoophouse tomato if it means holding them back from our CSA families. As a farm, you are our first priority. The SWEET CORN is coming on strong for NEXT WEEK, and we WILL have red potatoes AND beautiful green snap beans next week.

We always hope that the reality of sharing the risk with the farmer is something you never have to experience directly. As CSA members, you sign up for the “good”, but this year, it has come with the “bad” and the “ugly.” We certainly understand any frustration or unhappiness about this anyone has.

We have never had such a great loss like this in farming. We have had the big joke that deer come and eat our lettuce or beets - but we can recover from that in a season. But this loss, is honestly more than we can comprehend or do anything about - this is the biggest loss our little farm has had - something we had no control over - in the 5 years we have been in existence. It meant a lot that friends, neighbors, and csa members came over and helped us on that dreadful day (last Wednesday) and still help us with your kind words.

We decided to dedicate this newsletter to the voices of those who came to help us this past week, and to fried green tomatoes! We have also included a few web-links for more news about the whole blight thing.

* * *

“On Wednesday I arrived at the farm at about 4pm to a devastating sight. All of the tomato plants that had stood so tall and lush and healthy in the back field were piled in one long deep row of tangled stalks. Adam and I unloaded crates of green tomatoes into the barn and raced against the impending storm to get the row into piles and covered with plastic, to try and keep the blight from spreading. The huge plastic covered mounds were a striking symbol of the loss of this crop for you! We are so incredibly sorry your farm has suffered such adversity this year and we were glad that we could help in some small way." - Andy, Melanie, Ella, Ollie, and Asa

“Wednesday 29th July.
Christine phones to say that the reported tomato blight has hit their heirloom field crop and they will have to act swiftly to try and avoid the spread of the spores to other healthy plants. They want to enlist as many hands as possible to clear the large patch that has been affected, so that Adam can plough the soil before the next inevitable round of rain. I arrive at the field to see that Christine is already trying to salvage a few healthy looking green tomatoes and is in the process of pulling out the first batch of plants - roots and all. It's a hot,humid and sticky day and the process soon becomes a sad but necessary chore. It doesn't take long to realise that there aren't many fruits that can be saved. Most of the plants and the big developed tomatoes get dumped unceremoniously in what Christine refers to as the 'burial mounds'. The heat and the exhaustion take their toll, and I see Christine quietly weeping as Adam tries to console her. I think of people facing disasters. This is no tsunami, this is no Hurricane Katrina - but in its own way, to these hard-working farmers it's a devastating experience to see a large proportion of the fruits of their labours being prematurely uprooted and dumped in piles like so much trash. People won't get the joy of enjoying the lush red fruit that was the promise of the crop just a short time ago.

Please give a thought to the Blue Heron farmers, and all the other hard working farmers who are facing the same sort of problems as the rain continues to fall and more crops continue to fail during this difficult growing season.” -Roy

“I was so glad that I was there to help you on Wednesday to pull all those plants! What a lot of work and what a terrible waste. I reminds us that we are not in charge as people, and that mother nature will always win out - in order to survive you have to be adaptable and go with what comes or be lost forever. I like working on the farm, not being a country girl or a gardener, it makes me feel a connection to the land and to the food that is produced. I can hardly eat veggies from the store anymore - they don't have the same flavor, and I really like knowing that the food raised on the farm is produced by people who love what they do and work VERY HARD at it too! I just want to thank you for letting Joe and I be a part of your farm.” –Gale
Further Reading on Late Blight Epidemic:
Thanks for being part of our farm – Adam, Christine and Sadie
PS – Sadie went on the potty for the first time today and went peeJWahhoooo!
What’s in the share this week: Beautiful, Hierloom Green Tomatoes! Tomatillos, Peppers (sweet/hot), Red and Yellow Onions, Summer Squash, Zucchini, Eggplant, and Cucumbers. Pick-Your-Own Sungold Cherry Tomatoes (they are still holding on). CHECK US OUT ON THE WEB and LEAVE COMMENTS TOO

Wool Roving for Sale:
From our sheep – we have Border Leicster Romney Crosses, Icelandic and Shetland Sheep. It is $15 for 6 ounces (special price for CSA members).

To help plant, trellis, and weed – please call us 372-3420 or email

Rose's Café Fried Green Tomato & Egg Sandwichrecipe by Marc Gordon of Rose's Cafe in San Francisco
4 Tbls Extra Virgin Olive Oil 8 @ Slices of Green Tomato ¼ " Thick 1 cup Organic Corn Meal Coarsely Ground 4 lg Organic Eggs 4 @ Ciabatta Rolls 4 Tbls Garlic Mayonnaise 2 Large Handfuls of Arugula Salt & Pepper to Taste
Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a non-stick pan. Salt & pepper the tomato slices. Dredge them in the corn meal. Slowly sauté the tomatoes in the olive oil until just soft & golden brown. Remove the slices from the pan & keep warm. Clean the pan. Add a little olive oil to the pan & heat to medium. Add the eggs, season with salt & pepper & cook until the whites are set & the yolks are runny. Cut the Ciabatta rolls in half. Spread the garlic mayonnaise on the top side, place the tomato slices on the bottom side. Top the tomatoes with the egg and arugula.
Fried Green Tomatoes Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison
4 medium sized green tomatoes 3/4 cup fine cornmeal 3-4 Tablespoons vegetable oil salt & pepper Green Chile Mayonnaise
Slice the tomatoes crosswise 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick. Press each piece into a plate of cornmeal and coat on both sides. Heat oil in a wide skillet over high heat until hot enough to sizzle a drop of water. Add tomatoes, reduce heat to medium and fry on both sides until golden. Remove to plate, season with salt and pepper. Green Chile Mayonnaise Add several minced and seeded jalapeños or 1-2 unseeded poblano or serrano chiles to 1 cup homemade or purchased mayonnaise.
Green Tomato Fritters
2 cups peeled chopped tomatoes
2 cups fresh scraped corn kernels with juices
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
Combine tomatoes and corn. Season with sugar, salt, and pepper. Add the beaten eggs, milk, and enough flour to hold the mixture together. Drop cakes into deep hot fat, at about 360° to 370°.
Green Tomato Cake
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil or melted shortening
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup pecans or walnuts
1 cup raisins
2 1/2 cups diced green tomatoes
coconut (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°. In mixing bowl, beat sugar, vegetable oil or shortening, eggs and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg; slowly beat into egg mixture. Blend well. Stir in pecans, raisins and tomatoes.Pour into greased 9x13-inch pan. Top with coconut if desired. Bake for one hour, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Serves 12.
Baked Green Tomatoes
4 large firm green tomatoes
salt and pepper
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup coarse buttery cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons butter

Cut green tomatoes in 1/2 inch slices; arrange green tomato slices in a greased baking dish. Season sliced green tomatoes with salt and pepper and spread each with about 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar. Cover sliced green tomatoes with crumbs and dot with butter. Bake at 350° until green tomatoes are tender but still firm, or about 25 to 35 minutes. Recipe for baked green tomatoes serves 6.
Green Tomato Rice
4 slices bacon, diced
1 bunch green onions, sliced, with most of green (6 to 8)
4 medium green tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup long-grain rice
dash dried leaf thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
dash Tabasco sauce, optional
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, optional

In a medium saucepan, saute the bacon over medium heat until crisp; remove to paper towels to drain. In 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings, saute green onions for 1 minute. Add green tomatoes and saute for 1 minute longer. Add garlic and jalapeno pepper; saute for another 30 seconds. Add the chicken broth, rice, thyme, pepper, and Tabasco sauce. Bring to a boil. Stir, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Stir in Parmesan cheese just before serving, if desired. Sprinkle with the cooked bacon. Serves 4.

Preparing Tomatillos
Before using, peel off the husks and rinse to remove the sticky residue. Other than peeling off the husk, do not peel the green skin.Tomatillos are traditionally used in three ways — raw, boiled/blanched, or roasted/grilled:Raw - Uncooked tomatillos add a fresh, tangy citrus-like flavor and are often used raw in Mexican table sauces. Finely dice or puree them.Blanching - Mellows the flavor. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the whole tomatillos (husks removed and rinsed) and boil for about 5 minutes, until soft. Drain and crush or puree as directed in a sauce recipe.Fire roasting - Leaving slightly blackened skins on enriches a sauce with a smoky, woodsy flavor. Can roast under the broiler, with a propane torch, or over an open flame such as a grill or a gas burner. Make sure the heat is quite hot, otherwise the tomatillos will turn mushy before being charred.Dry roasting - Produces an earthy, nutty flavor. Place the tomatillos in a heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron). Turn heat to low. Roast for about 20 to 30 minutes, turning occasionally, letting each side take on a rich, burnished golden color before turning.Finally, tomatillos can be quite inconsistent in flavor, with some being intensely sour and others tasting mild and sweet. Some cooks use a pinch of sugar to balance the taste of very tart tomatillos. The recipes below are typical Mexican tomatillo recipes, but the lively flavors of this perky little fruit lend themselves well to rounds of experimentation, from stir-fries to soups to salad dressings. (from Kate's Global Kitchen)

All about Tomatillos
from Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini by Elizabeth Schneider
Basic use of tomatillos:
Tomatillo is traditionally cooked, but the raw fruit, chopped or diced and used in moderation, adds freshness to vegetable salad, guacamole, and sandwich fillings.
Storage: They should keep at least a week or three in the fridge.
Tomatillo Salsa
2 pounds Fresh tomatillos 1 cup Onion -- chopped 1 Or 2 hot peppers, cored Seeded and chopped. (you can also use dried chiles, leave seeds in either dried or fresh for more heat)1 cup Fresh cilantro -- minced 1/4 cup Fresh lime juice 1-2 cloves garlic salt to taste
Remove husks from tomatillos, wash throughly, dry and halve or quarter. Combine tomatillos, onions, chiles, and garlic in a non-reactive pan. Over med-high heat bring to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 20 mins. Cool a little or a lot then put into blender with cilantro and lime juice, blend away, salt to taste, and you have some GREAT salsa verde Mexicano.

I roast them, along with onion, garlic, tomatoes and poblanos to make a roasted chile salsa, with toasted then soaked dried chiles (guajillos, anchos, negros, chipotles--mix 'n match). Puree it all with some cider vinegar, lime juice, salt and cilantro, then slow cook the puree for a couple of hours. Awesome