VOLUME VI, JOURNAL II JUNE 27, 2011
BLUE HERON FARM JOURNAL
Greetings from the farm! So here is Week 2 of 18 weeks. When I saw the green onions the interns and Adam picked today - I had a grin from ear to ear - they are B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L! It made my heart sing - these onions were planted during the flooding and now look at them - please eat every bit of it - including the long luscious green tails.
Thanks for hanging in there with us this spring and now into summer. It feels like it should be the beginning of June not the beginning of July. With the rain we had last week and all that we got planted and transplanted things are looking up. I am no longer going to make excuses for this year. It is what it is and we all have been affected. You know and I know that we are all working hard to get the most of this summer's harvest. So I am done with making excuses...and we are going to run now with what we have. We are thankful that we have not had to go through a tornado, sever flooding that could wipe out our home, tsunami or other weather related tragic events - we are thankful that it was just flooding and cold wet soil - my family and friends are safe - and we have a roof over our heads and we have to wait for a few extra weeks to get the goods of the land - I'm okay with that - we can roll with mother nature and be thankful that we can still produce food and are healthy and safe.
Many things are going on the farm right now - fields are well planted - feel free to ask for a tour - we'll take you on one. The hoophouse are starting to get fruits like tomatoes, peppers and eggplants on them - still immature for us to pick but they are growing. We have over 20 varieties of mouth-watering heirloom tomatoes planted in the field and plenty of saucing heirlooms too. The Cucurbit family loved all the warm moist air and sun - they are growing under the remay. The potatoes are up and growing with the first hilling just days away. The Sugar Snap Peas are getting ready to flower. The chard, kale, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbages are getting big -
We bought some new equipment this spring - one is a tine weeder - I call it "finger" weeder - you drag this behind the tractor and it massages the soil to break up the crust and to kill weeds at their fine hair stage. We can use this over some of our hardier crops like potatoes and brassicas - and it helps us with the weeding. The other piece of equipment was a Jang seeder - its a precision push seeder that has 3 hoppers for seeds. No more thinning beets, turnips, carrots. Thsi seeder spaces individual seeds out - it is amazing - it saves time and money becasue we are not needing to thin and do not use as much seed. We still use the earthway seeder for something while we get the hang of this new seeder.
We have 3 interns on the farm this year. Tracy who is from Troy, NY and graduated from Marlboro College who joined us in the middle of all the flooding (May 1) and has stuck with us through it all and is now finally seeing green and growing vegetables and no puddles. Ashlynn who joined us two weeks ago - who drove all the way here from Texas. And Adora who hails from the Upper Valley who arrived 3 weeks ago. All three are eager to learn about organic diversified family farming and are looking forward to meeting all of you. If you have any cool things going on - all three are new to this are and to Burlington - please let us know - so we can spread the word to them. Since we are a mama and a daddy and two kids - we don't always hear what the latest and coolest things to do are in B-town or here in the islands. A big public thank you to all three of them for sticking with us and having patience with these two farmers - while we are trying to play catch up.
Everything is growing...including Ms Delia Mae - who at her 6 month appointment weighed in at 20lbs 4 ounces - they say you are supposed to double your birth weight by this time and being 10lbs and 1 ounce at birth - she is right on target. If you get to see her - wave to her - she loves it and she will wave back and if you are lucky she might even burst into a little ditty "Dadadadadadadadadada" :) Sadie is also growing being all of 3.5 years old - she is a wonderful big sister to Delia and always watches out for her.
Sadie and Delia love the new additions to our farm this year. We had 11 lambs from 7 ewes - 4 boys and 7 girls. We are keeping 3 of the girls, raising the 4 boys for lamb meat or rams for other people, and 4 of the girls are going to new homes once they are weened. We sell the roving and yarn from these mamas in the farmstand. We will be dyeing some of it soon with natural dyes from our trip to Maine last fall. We have over 250 layers now - selling eggs at the farmstand, farmers market and at City Market - we have them in 6 and 12 packs. Still at 5.00 dozen or 2.50 half dozen with pullet size eggs for sale soon for at a reduced cost. We have about 200 meat birds on pasture - we are going to be starting to process them this week - so if you haven't placed your order now is the time. They will be $6.00lb with them ranging in weight from 4-6lb. All of our chickens - layers and meat - are certified organic and on our pastures. This year will be the first year we will be certfying our Sheep and lambs too.
Another large addition this year is the new hoophouse that was finally completed over the winter months - I believe the beginning part of January - and that is where our early tomatoes, sweet peppers, and basil will be coming from. This hoophouse will allow us to grow into the winter greens and start earlier in the summer. This hoophouse was made possible from a generous grant from the USDA - NRCS EQIP program. All of our peppers and eggplants are undercover this year in the hoophouses - so we can have better yields and healthier plants - nightshades - like these love the heat and boy oh boy do those hoophouses get warm.
Hmm..oh yes, we now have a family cow - yes a real live cow - she is a brown swiss/ jersey cross, her name is Annie and she is about 7 years old. She is from our dear friends Jonathan and Meg who live in Washington, VT and we are honored to have Annie and all of her cowness with us. Annie gave birth to a bull calf on June 1st - Sadie named him Texi - short for Texas. He is a cutie - more jersey than brown swiss. We will keep him and raise him up to about 16-17 month and then have beef. We have been milking Annie since then - or I should say Adam has been milking her everyday twice a day since the 1st. We started out handmilking her but have bought a bucket milker and pump- with the help from some community members/friends - Annie likes the milker better and Adam's arms are not going to fall off. :) In a few years we would like to have a couple of cows and have a micro raw milk dairy. We share the milk with a few families who have invested their time/money and energy to make us having a cow a reality. We do have a bit of extra milk - if anyone is interested please let us know. I have been making the most unbelieveable cream top yogurt.
A big shout out goes to Diantha, Gail and Fiona for helping to weeding the carrots, planting, and other various farm tasks. To Cordelia for all the seeding of transplants and words of encouragement. To Sophie and her Burlington gang for mobbing us when we needed it for help. Also a big thank you to Julia and her girls Riley, Grady, Paige and Mavis and Donna Sue for all the treats, child care, and sprucing up while this mama was out working in the fields. To Missy and Rudd and all their help planting and weeding all the brassicas, potatoes and getting ready for Annie to come. A big thank you to Michael and Cooper, Will and Peter for all their work in /on the barn. And to our dear neighbors Meg and Jim for letting us do laundry and helping with the girls and lending an ear, to Gloria for holding babies when needed and taking care of Penny the chicken and Pippin. For David, Roy and Sharon for all your support and rhubarb:) And to the numerous other folks who have helped us this spring by your thoughts, prayers, food and support. Thank you!
We will be updating our blog more with pictures and we are alive and well on Facebook - so please "like" us so you can know the daily goings on of the farm. Okay, well, in true Christine fashion I have rambled long enough - more to come in the next addition. Thanks so much for being part of our farm - we really appreciate it. Peace, your farmers, Christine, Adam, Sadie and Delia
WHAT’S IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: Red Leaf, Green Leaf, Butterhead, or Romaine Lettuce Heads, dill or cilantro, Basil, Green Onions, and Garlic Scapes!
EGGS FOR SALE
We have the pretty girls’ eggs for sale – these are free-range, certified organic chicken eggs that are brown, green and blue – with the brightest yellow/orange yolks you ever seen. The eggs are $5.00 a dozen.
What is a Garlic Scape?
Garlic Scapes are the false flower head that forms on quality, stiff-neck garlic. It whirls into swirls and are quite tender to eat in their curly-que stage. These scapes form about a month before the garlic is ready to harvest. We pick them off so the garlic bulb, which is under ground, can be nice and plump. We think of these scapes as our hold over until the bulbs are ready. They are a once a year treat usually available starting mid June. You can eat the whole scape - have fun with them. Enjoy!
Garlic Scape Ideas:
You can add sliced scapes to any stir fry recipe.
Slice and sprinkle over any pasta, or slice and cook them in almost any sauce recipe.
Great in guacamole and fresh salsa, too.
Chop & add to softened cream cheese.
Add chopped fresh scapes when serving a light garlic soup; can also add them to buttered, french bread floated on the soup. Use them as you would green onions, they're just better.
An excellent addition to stocks....and much Asian cuisine. Put in Thai chicken/basil/coconut soup. Good in salads, on bruschetta, pizza.
Garlic Scape Pesto
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp. fresh lime or lemon juice (optional)
1/4 lb. scapes
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt to taste
Puree scapes and olive oil in a food processor until smooth. Stir in Parmesan and lime or lemon juice and season to taste. Serve on bread, crackers or pasta.
Fried Scapes (from dakotagarlic.com)
Cut scapes to green bean size and saute them in butter and salt for six to eight minutes. During the last minute of cooking add about 1 tsp. of balsamic vinegar.
Spinach and Scape Frittata (adapted from dakotagarlic.com)
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup (1/2 lb.) chopped raw spinach
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley or basil
1/2 c. finely chopped garlic scapes
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl mix all ingredients except oil and scapes. Heat oil in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet on the stove. Add the scapes and saute until tender on medium heat for about five minutes. Pour egg mixture in skillet with garlic and cook over low for three minutes. Place in oven and bake uncovered for 10 minutes or until top is set. Cut into wedges and serve.