Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Journal Post for the week of August 29, 2011

AUGUST 29, 2011
Week 11-As the rain picked up, things seemed to go in fast forward, our bodies moved quicker, our language moved quicker, our daughters knew they needed to listen and follow without question. On Sunday, after church the rain came down harder and harder and we still needed to get food out to the chickens and water the sheep in the barn and get the last two sheep in from the field - 21 in all. Sheep in the back of the minivan - rain pouring down - raincoat not working - why wear it - we are near our home, we will be dry soon. Sheep out of the minivan - now to get them all water - make sure the cows have plenty of hay and water inside the barn - more rain the wind is picking up - the girls go inside the house with their auntie - Adam is putting the last boards on the hoophouses to tie down the sides - did you know that insurance companies do not insure hoophouses because they are seen as not permanent buildings - even their worth is over 25K combined. Adam is in the rubber rain gear on the tractor - he looks like those fruit slice candies orange and bright yellow - he is putting the tractor's bucket up against the wall of one of our hoophouses. The wind is picking up - need to get food out to the chickens - the chickens roof has sprung a leak - the worse smell in the world is wet chicken - they were outside getting soaked and getting a little airborne. Adam t-boned their trailers together so they could support themselves in the tropical storm. Put buckets in the chicken trailers so the water can collect - jack the chicken trailer up more so the flat roof can stop collecting as much water. Gather the eggs - because chickens don't care if there is a storm outside - just like babies being born - they just come when they come - usually during or after a storm. Soaked down to our underwear - is it water, is it sweat? Go back to the barn to make sure everyone is okay - enough hay, enough water. Head inside and strip down in the doorway - heavy wet cotton right into the bathtub to drain a little before getting into the washer. And now we sit and wait - wait for this horrid storm to pass - watching the winds whip the trees and the corn around. Our livelihood on the line.
Just yesterday, the sky was blue, it was eerily calm, the air smelled different, the air felt different, the air moved around the farm differently - maybe looking for where it was all going to go when all the winds start to howl and blow. The day before the storm, friends and CSA members came and helped pick and pack all the veggies and fruit we could - we had no idea what was going to happen, tighten things down, put things in the barn, take down the intern housing - all in fast forward - praying as we did it - working into the night.
Monday morning we awoke - to sunny skies - air slightly chilly but smelled right - we walked the farm. Crossing our fingers and praying, Delia on my back and Sadie's hand in mine in her mismatched pick rubber boots - hoping as we walked up the road our farm would be okay. As we got closer to the farmstand, I saw them - I saw the hoophouses - all 4 of them standing tall - two small rips - one Adam had to make - during the storm - because nearly 15 gallons of water had already collected in some sagging plastic that would have kept on collecting - he acted like a surgeon, realizing the pressure - the water would have collapsed our little pepper house - we walked the fields - looks like the zucchini and summer squash are done, corn was tousled a bit - lettuce mix looks a little shredded - melons don't look good - we have some hail damage or wind damage on leaves of beans and tomatoes - the tomatoes are still standing and we should know in a few days if disease came in on the storm. Overall, we fared rather well - the ground took up most of the water - it was so very wet - but are soil was so very dry - not sure if it will make some hard crustiness around the farm where we just turned up soil.
Not sure, Not sure about alot of things accept that our family is healthy and okay, our little farm made it through, a little battered but no flooding - no structural damages (that we know of yet) - this mama farmer and papa farmer are exhausted from all the worrying, the stress, getting ready and getting everything undone and put back together from the storm. Who would have thought Vermont would get a hurricane (ahem tropical storm) When I see the posts of facebook or on the radio (thankful we do not own a tv since I would probably be glued to it and causing myself more stress) about the farmers in lower lying areas, the river bottom areas, I just want to be sick - this year has been such a hard year to grow anything - I just want to cry with the overwhelmingness of this business of growing food. Why does it have to be so hard? Here we are working on trying to secure our farm land - to secure our farm for the future - it has to get better there is nothing else to it - it has to get better. I am grateful that the fields are not underwater and I pray for rest of Vermont and Vermont farmers who were not as lucky as us.
In our last journal posting, I wrote about a farm being a living organism - we as the farmers help take care of the farm - the storms that rage over the farm - kind of like getting a really bad cold or flu or maybe pandemic (with this years weather) - but you have a part in this too - you are equally as important in all of this because during these storms this year - we knew you would be there for the farm - because this food that the farm produces feeds you and your family. With our CSA alone, we figure we are feeding nearly 200 people a week. Thanks for sticking with us - through sickness and in health - through storm and through sun shine, and reading through this journal post this week. I am feeling pretty overwhelmed, tired and emotional right now with all that is going on - the storm, the land purchasing, the weather and appreciate your support and love. There is a light at the end of the tunnel - and I think it might be shining right now through my window and onto this keyboard.

Have a great week! Thanks for listening and your support. Peace, your farmers, Christine, Adam, Sadie and Delia and our Interns Ashlynn and Adora
PS We will keep you updated on how to help farms who have flooded, folks who have been affected by Irene through our facebook, blog and this Journal. Please give of your time, resources and financially if you can. Maybe we can organize some lovin' from BHF..if anyone is interested in helping out to organize this with us, give us a call or email. 372-3420 or email harmonyvt@yahoo.com
WHAT’S IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: HURRICAN BATTERED BASIL, GARLIC, Cucumbers, Pears, Melons, Eggplant, sweet peppers, hot peppers, Sungold Cherry Tomatoes , Heirloom TOMATOES, PYO Cherry tomatoes, PYO Ground Cherries, Cilantro, Hurricane battered Lettuce Mix and maybe a few other things from the mystery box(like melons, ground cherries, tomatillos)

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.

Yarn for Sale
Yarn is available in our natural color "Island Oatmeal." Worsted Weight, double twist, soft, 220 yds, 4 ounces, Greenspun (no petroleum products used in cleaning the wool) by Green Mountain Spinnery here in Vermont. Yarn is in the farmstand. 17.00 skein. Also available wool roving, white, brown, oatmeal - $9 for 4 ounces.

Ways to help fellow Vermonters affected by Hurricane Irene (there our live links on the highlighted words online)
Thanks to Seven Days for putting this together


• Text FOODNOW to 52000 to donate $10 to Vermont Foodbank. The Foodbank will turn each donation into $60 for families in need.
• You can donate to the United Way's Vermont Disaster Relief Fund online, or buy sending a donation to your local United Way. Just make sure your donation is marked for the "Vermont Disaster Relief Fund".
• You can also donate to the American Red Cross of Vermont and the New Hampshire Valley. The Red Cross set up shelters immediately after Irene hit for flooded-out families to stay in.
• The VT Irene Flood Relief Fund is raising money to help people and communities affected by flooding. 100% of all donations will be distributed to businesses and families. The fund was set up by Todd K. Bailey and is being administed through the Vermont State Employees Credit Union.
• Vermont Baseball Tours has set up the 8/28 Fund to raise money. Donations of $20 or more get you a cool t-shirt.
• The MRV Community Fund has been reestablished to help Mad River Valley farmers who saw devastating crop losses due to the flooding.
• Independent Vermont Clothing is selling a special "I'm With VT" t-shirt. All profits from sales of the shirt will go to relief efforts.
• Across the lake, upstate New York got hit hard by Irene, too. Donations are being coordinated on the Irene Flood Drive Facebook page.

• VTResponse.com is working to connect volunteers ready to help with those that need assistance. If you want to help clean up and rebuild, let the folks behind this site know.
• Montpelier Alive is coordinating volunteer efforts in that city through their Facebook page.
• Volunteer and cleanup efforts are also being coordinated on Twitter via the #VTresponse hashtag.
• The Vermont Flooding 2011 page on Facebook is functioning as a community bulletin board of sorts.
• Vermont Helping Hands is also coordinating relief efforts via Facebook.
• The Red Cross is in desperate need of blood donations. Stop by their donation center at 32 North Prospect Street in Burlington, or the Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital Blood Donation Center at 125 Mascoma Street in Lebanon, NH.

• If you need assistance or information from the state, dial 211 or visit vt211.org.
• The Help Vermont Facebook group is another place to share recovery information.
• Sublet.com will provide free access for people who are displaced from their homes. Call their customer service line at 1-877-367-7368 1-877-367-7368 for more information.

Monday, August 29, 2011

We are okay..

We are okay - the farm and animals - no csa pickup today - letting the plants stand back up before we pick and really assess. CSA Pickup will be TUesday from 4-6pm. Thanks for understanding. More details later - fence to move, animals to move, hoophouses to open up..

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Journal Post for the week of August 22,2011

AUGUST 22, 2011
Week 10- Happy Monday! When we got up this morning, it felt like fall. I grabbed a hoodie and went outside - it smelled like fall. Then it warmed up - September is next week. What a rollercoaster growing season..

There is nothing like crunching down on a crisp cucumber just picked in the field - not bitter - nice and full, crunchy, with the slippery seeds and water filled flesh - nothing beats that taste. I eat probably 3 or 4 whole slicers in a morning while doing chores, picking veggies, weeding - feel a bit of a tang for a little snack - CRUNCH! into one of those cucumbers and the hunger goes by and feel refreshed - even a little bit flush in the cheeks with all that greeness. I think cucumbers are the one vegetable I look forward to eating straight from the field and mourn their passing when their time is done with us. Don't get me wrong - I love tomatoes and eat my fill of cherry tomatoes, sun ripened and hot field heirloom tomatoes - but I can can that freshness - I can't do that to the cucumber - now you may say - what about those crunchy delicious bread and butter pickles or their sour dilly cousins? Nope doesn't do it for me - it is that freshness from that Marketmore Slicing cucumber that can only be had when you take that big bite and CRUNCH into it. The nice crunch from the skin, the little bit of resistance your teeth have and then swoosh into the soft flesh. You cannot can, freeze or preserve that. I love snapping one in half - and sharing it with Sadie and Delia. Sadie is now taking one every time we are in this field and she snaps one open for her and her sister. Delia loves the coolness on her swollen gums, working hard on that cucumber to help get her teeth to break through. Sadie likes using all those teeth in her mouth and the feeling of accomplishment when she finishes hers. Last Monday, I did not believe Sophie when she told me that a red sweet pepper was actually hot and I took a big fat bite - why wouldn't I believe her - she's never lied to me - but nevertheless my face was burning, tears and snot running down my face - guess who came to my rescue - my crunch friend the cucumber - snapped it in half and placed both ends to my lips and tongue to cool the heat. Needless to say I think I ate 6 or 7 cucumbers that day.

The other night on Netflix, I watched "The Real Dirt on Farmer John" - a documentary about a farmer who brought his multigenerational farm from the brink of doom to a flourishing nearly 1800 member CSA north of Chicago. This doc was quite poignant and real. The words that were coming out of his mouth are similar to what Adam and I say about farming - the farm is a living organism - when he said this - I smiled - this is how we explain what our farm is to our interns, to people come visit, to folks who come and volunteer. With farming, there is no punch clock, no 9-5, the farm is ever growing and changing and twisting and we as farmers need to dance with the farm as it does this - to go with it - we have found that whenever we try to lead the dance without listening to the farm - the farm puts us in our place. We have to grow and dance with the farm not against it. Right now the farm is a lot of work, it needs lots of attention while it produces all this food to feed all of us. If we keep picking, tending and weeding this farm will feed us all. We will be hosting a foodie documentary soon in conjunction with Food For thought - an heirloom tomato tasting and cheese and movie (yum)in the middle of September. I enjoy documentaries - especially foodie/farming ones - I am a bit of nerd with these kinds of films, conversations and books. I was joking with my sisters and Adam the other night that I would be a awesome customer (if I was not a farmer) at a farmers market:) I appreciate all this great food - I may not have paper wealth - but we are wealthy in food and love.

Have a great week! Thanks for listening and your support. Peace, your farmers, Christine, Adam, Sadie and Delia and our Interns Ashlynn, Adora and past Intern Sophie

WHAT’S IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: BASIL, GARLIC, Cucumbers, New Red Potatoes, Eggplant, sweet peppers, hot peppers, zucchini, summer squash, Heirloom TOMATOES, PYO Cherry tomatoes and maybe a few other things from the mystery box(like melons, ground cherries, tomatillos) Lettuce mix next week!

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.

Yarn for Sale
Yarn is available in our natural color "Island Oatmeal." Worsted Weight, double twist, soft, 220 yds, 4 ounces, Greenspun (no petroleum products used in cleaning the wool) by Green Mountain Spinnery here in Vermont. Yarn is in the farmstand. 17.00 skein. ALso available wool roving, white, brown, oatmeal - $9 for 4 ounces.

My sister Sue made this dish the other night - Tortilla Espanola - OH. MY. Goodness. My sister Sue spent a semester in Salamanca, Pain and they made this dish all the time - it was their go to dishe for lunch, dinner, breakfast or whenever. I love this recipe - I highly recommend making the fried tomato sauce to go with it. Great as leftovers, it is also yummy with added local organic pork, bacon, or sausage from Cochran Family Farm from right up the road on Hyde Rd, Grand Isle (734-8334)

Spanish Omelet Recipe - Tortilla Espanola http://spanishfood.about.com/od/tapas/r/tortilla.htm

No doubt about it, the Tortilla Espanola or Spanish Omelet is the most commonly served dish in Spain. It is also called Tortilla de Patata or Potato Omelet. Bars and cafés serve it as a tapa or appetizer, but it is often served as a light dinner in Spanish homes. Because it is easy to transport, the Spanish make bocadillos or sandwiches by placing a piece between two pieces of a baguette. There are lots of variations of tortillas or omelets and a few are listed at the bottom of this recipe.
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 35 minutes Yield: 6 Servings Main Dish
6-7 medium potatoes, peeled (please don't peel the new potatoes though)
1 whole yellow onion
5-6 large eggs
2-3 cups of olive oil for pan frying
Salt to taste
Preparation: This tortilla espanola or tortilla de patata makes 8-10 servings as an appetizer, or 6 servings as a main course.
Cut the peeled potatoes in half lengthwise. Then, with the flat side on the cutting surface, slice the potato in pieces approximately 1/8" thick. If you slice them a bit thick, don’t worry – it will simply take a bit longer for them to cook. Peel and chop the onion into 1/4" pieces. Put potatoes and onions into a bowl and mix them together. Salt the mixture. In a large, heavy, non-stick frying pan, heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Carefully place the potato and onion mixture into the frying pan, spreading them evenly over the surface. The oil should almost cover the potatoes. You may need to turn down the heat slightly, so the potatoes do not burn.

Leave in pan until the potatoes are cooked. If you can poke a piece of potato with a spatula and it easily breaks in two, your potatoes are done. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon or spatula and allow oil to drain.
Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat by hand with a whisk or fork. Pour in the potato onion mixture. Mix together with a large spoon.Pour 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil into a small, non-stick frying pan (aprox. 9-10”) and heat on medium heat. Be careful not to get the pan too hot because the oil will burn - or the tortilla will! When hot, stir the potato onion mixture once more and “pour” into the pan and spread out evenly. Allow the egg to cook around the edges. Then you can carefully lift up one side of the omelet to check if the egg has slightly “browned.” The inside of the mixture should not be completely cooked and the egg will still be runny.

When the mixture has browned on the bottom, you are ready to turn it over to cook the other side. Take the frying pan to a sink. Place a large dinner plate (12”) upside down over the frying pan. With one hand on the frying pan handle and the other on top of the plate to hold it steady, quickly turn the frying pan over and the omelet will “fall” onto the plate. Place the frying pan back on the range and put just enough oil to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. Let the pan warm for 30 seconds or so. Now slide the omelet into the frying pan. Use the spatula to shape the sides of the omelet. Let the omelet cook for 3-4 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the tortilla sit in the pan for 2 minutes.Slide the omelet onto a plate to serve. If eating as a main course, cut the omelet into 6-8 pieces like a pie. Serve sliced French bread on the side.
If you are serving as an appetizer, slice a baguette into pieces about 1/2 inch think. Cut the tortilla into 1.5” squares and place a piece on top of each slice of bread.
It is simply delicious served with sofrito2, fried tomato sauce that is made all over Spain. Tomatoes, onions, garlic, green peppers and olive oil sautéed in a frying pan.

Cooking Tips
It is not necessary to slice the potatoes paper thin, and it is best not to use a food processor because most will slice the potatoes too thin, and they stick together.
How do you know when oil is hot enough to fry the potatoes and onions? Drop a single piece of potato or a bit of bread into the oil. It should sizzle. Remember to watch the heat while frying. If the oil is too hot, the potatoes will brown rapidly on the outside, but will be raw on the inside. After frying potatoes, place the potato and onion mixture in a colander for a few minutes to allow more oil to drain. If you do this, place a plate underneath to catch the olive oil and you can use it again. If you aren't sure how to flip the omelet, watch How to Flip a Spanish Tortilla3.

The following are a few of the most popular variations to the classic Tortilla Espanola.
Green Pepper - Add 1 green or red bell pepper (chopped) to the potatoes and onions and fry.
Chorizo - Slice a Spanish chorizo sausage and add to the potato and onion mixture after frying. Or, simply slice Spanish chorizo and combine with beaten eggs in the frying pan.
Ham - Using a couple thick slices (1/4") ham, finely chop them. Then add the pieces to the potato and onion mixture after frying. Canadian bacon or smoked ham that you buy in a deli work well for this variation. Be careful to adjust the salt accordingly, since ham may be salty!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Journal Post for the week of August 15, 2011

AUGUST 15, 2011
Week 9- Happy Monday! So here I am at 1:15pm on Monday and trying to figure out what to share with you all about the past week and whats coming in the week to come. We have been quite busy - it is hard to have quiet time to write - I often things of wonderful importance or significance while I am picking tomatoes or gathering eggs. But then when I sit down - these thoughts of significance and a ha moments - are lost..maybe I will just keep typing and they will come. So here are a couple of thoughts from this week...

We planted more seeds this week for fall harvest. Adam is opening up more fields by plowing and discing them so they will be ready to go int he spring. We are also going to try making pre-made beds ao they are already made, with winterkill oats on them and around them so we can plant directly into them come April. It feels slightly weird to be talking about next year already but you have to - in farming you are always looking at the present but always need to think about the future - how will this one thing I do, affect xyz later this season, next season, etc. The corn and melons are looking great - looks like we may have them labor day or so. Even though the corn and melons are late- I'm, we're, okay with that because we are still getting the food just a month later. At least we have food - so there is no complaints here. We now need some significant rain - a good drenching rain - to help with all the seeds that were planted and the plants to keep growing - when we picked potatoes today, the earth was so dry - so dry - our hay fields are dry - the grass is short and sparse in them so we need to two wait a few more weeks to get our second cut in. It looks like the storms keep going around our little island here - please rain, come stay for a little while. On rainy days we are able to catch up on things like canning, freezing, cleaning garlic, etc and maybe even squeeze a nap in alongside the little ones. It looks like the CSA will go to the middle of October this year since we had a late start due to the flooding. That just means there will be plenty to fall harvest yumminess for all of you.

As a family yesterday we went out to Shelburne orchards and picked 83lbs of peaches! In about 20 minutes - the picking was glorious and the fruit - Oh. My. Goodness. the juice runs down your chin and get that little bit of flush in upper part of your cheek. I can not wait to can them, bake and eat all of them. It was nice to go to another farm for a while and pick some yumminess. It was great to see Nick the farmer, sitting amongst his peach trees with a scale, bags, and a small cash box - smiling from ear to ear - seeing the throngs of people who came out to pick his ripe perfect peaches. It was great to pay him for our peaches with money we earned from selling our veggies the day before at market. Keeping money local - from one farmer to another. That smile that glee - I know that feeling. Its the feeling when 4:00 comes on a Monday and all of you are starting to pull in to pick up your veggies, or on a saturday morning when there is a line at our booth to get the freshest veggies of the day - or to smell and taste all the heirloom tomatoes - there is something so profoundly wonderful in it all - where all your senses are engaged - I guess that is why we are farmers - it engages all our senses, are whole body and soul. And to see a farmer in their glory, it makes you want to smile from ear to ear too.

We are currently working with the landowners of the land that we farm to go under contract to buy the land so Blue Heron Farm has a secure land base for years to come. What has triggered this is that one of the landowners wanted to sell their land. So we have started the work to secure where we live and graze our animals and buy some of Roy's land where we vegetable farm. That will be 30 acres on Quaker Road. And we will be taking this to the next level by permanently conserving this land with the help of the Vermont Land Trust and the South Hero Land Trust and through conservation we will be able to afford this land - this land that we raise our family, our food, your food on. If we are not able to conserve this land, to sell our development rights - we would not be able to afford to buy this prime farm land here in the Champlain Islands. The Vermont Land Trust will be sending out info on how folks can help out with conserving Blue Heron Farm - so it can be farmed today, tomorrow and the future - to continue to have open land that can be farmed and not developed into house lots. At pickup today, they will be here to talk to folks who are interested in helping out.

Thanks for listening and your support. Peace, your farmers, Christine, Adam, Sadie and Delia and our Interns Ashlynn, Adora and past Intern Sophie

WHAT’S IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: BASIL, Cucumbers, Buttery New Potatoes - Nicola, green beans, Eggplant, sweet peppers, hot peppers, zucchini, summer squash, TOMATOES, and maybe a few other things from the mystery box !


You have new potatoes in your share this week - enjoy them! With limited amounts of rainfall here in the islands this summer - and we do not have irrigation out to the potatoes - these are on the small side but oh so yummy and buttery. Nicola is the potato this week - a little waxy, buttery nutty - very yummy - you could quickly steam them and then add some fresh butter to them or put them on the grill in some tinfoil with herbs and some olive oil and butter - YUM! We hope you like them - they are our favorite.

Tzatziki Cucumbers from the Madison Area CSA Coalition

1 medium cucumber, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. lemon juice
8 oz. yogurt
1 Tbs. chopped fresh mint

Combine all ingredients, chill and serve. Makes 2-3 servings. Great for pitas, dips, yum!

In-a-Pinch Cucumber Salad adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

1 long or two short cucumbers , 1 ripe tomato
salt and freshly milled white pepper
2 to 3 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. fresh dill or parsley or basil or cilantro, chopped

Thinly slice cucumbers. Dice tomato up. Toss the cucumbers and tomato with a few pinches salt, pepper to taste, and enough oil to coat lightly. Add a few drops vinegar and the herb of your choice. Serves 4.

Unfried French Fries adapted from In the Kitchen with Rosie by Rosie Daley
2 pounds potatoes oil cooking spray
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon cajun spice or chile powder or curry powder....
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Slice each potato into 1/4 inch ovals lengthwise then each oval into matchsticks. Coat a baking sheet with 3 sprays of the oil spray. Combine egg whites and spice in a bowl. Add the potato sticks and mix to coat. Pour the coated potatoes onto the sprayed baking sheet (I use a jelly roll pan) and spread them out into a single layer, leaving a little space in between. Place baking sheet on the bottom shelf of the oven. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the fries are crispy, turning them every 6 to 8 minutes with a spatula so that they brown evenly. Serve immediately.

Patchwork Roasted Potatoes The Grains Cookbook by Bert Greene

3 T toasted wheat germ
3 T fine fresh bread crumbs
3 T fresh grated Parmesan cheese
generous pinch of grated nutmeg
4 T unsalted butter
1 pound potatoes
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly butter a baking dish. Combine the wheat germ, bread crumbs, cheese and nutmeg in a shallow bowl. Melt the butter in a medium-size saucepan. Remove from the heat. Peel the potatoes and cut each in half lengthwise. Then cut each half lengthwise into 4 crescents (a total of 8 slices per potato). Pat the potatoes dry with paper towels, And toss them in the melted butter until well coated. Then roll the potatoes in the wheat germ mixture, and place on the prepared baking dish. Bake until crisp and tender, 45-50 minutes. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and serve. Serves 4

Tortilla de Patatas Adapted from The Mediterrasian Way by Ric Watson and Trudy Thelander
1 large potato or 3-4 smaller potatoes, cut into small cubes
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 scallions, chopped, or ½ red onion chopped
2 gypsy peppers, seeds removed and finely diced (or ½ large red bell pepper)
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon finely chopped parlsey, or green onion tops!
½ teaspoon sea or kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
Preheat the broiler. Steam the potato pieces until just soft enough to eat. (test with a fork. Start testing after about 4 minutes, depends on the size of the cubes) Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat and cook onion and peppers, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the potato and cook, stirring to combine, for another 2 minutes. Whisk the eggs together in a bowl with the parsley, salt and pepper. Pour the eggs over the vegetables in the skillet, cover, and cook gently over low heat for 8 minutes. Remove the lid and place under the preheated broiler to cook for 1 minute or until the top is set. Cut into wedges and serve. This can easily be served at room temperature or cold.

Simple fresh salsa recipe - mariguita.com
red tomatoes diced fine (I use skins, seeds and all, but others like to remove at least the seeds.)
roasted jalapeños, skins removed, diced fine. (I put them under the broiler until blistering, then into a pyrex dish that has a tight fitting lid, then they steam for a few minutes, then remove the skins and they're ready to dice.)
Onion, diced very fine
garlic, also diced very fine (this is optional, just a little)
cilantro, washed and chopped up
salt to taste Mix and eat.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Big Announcement for Blue Heron Farm

Hi Everybody,

We have very important news concerning the future of our farm. The land we currently farm and live on is going for sale - and we are trying to buy it. Buying this land would ensure that it is forever farmland and never developed. This purchase would secure a home for our family and Blue Heron Farm for future generations.

Recently, some of the land where we farm went on the market. This creates an urgent need to protect and purchase the farm within the next few months.

Right now Blue Heron Farm has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to permanently protect and purchase the 30 acres of productive farmland where we currently farm in Grand Isle. We are working with the Vermont Land Trust and South Hero Land Trust to secure the land on Quaker Road through conservation.

The total cost of conserving the 30 acres is $215,000. Approximately $129,650 is expected to come from a grant from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board with federal matching money from the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service. This leaves approximately $80,000 to be raised within the community.

We, Adam and Christine, work endlessly each day to provide food for our family and neigbors. Fostering the relationship between our farm and the community is something we believe very strongly in. We would like to continue that relationship for the years to come. Protecting this farm will make this farmland affordable for us to own.

For more information about this conservation effort, please contact Elise Annes at (802) 262-1206 or elise@vlt.org

Monday, August 8, 2011

Journal Post for the week of August 8, 2011

AUGUST 8, 2011
Week 8- Happy Monday! We are excited to be picking green beans today with loads of help from our interns, old interns, volunteers and CSA members. Green Beans are quite yummy but it takes quite a number of them to fill a pound and to pick enough for CSA members. People at market sometimes put their noses up to five dollars a lb for beans - but really - they are time consuming to pick and there is loads of bending over - and quite honestly not sure if beans ever make us money due to the time it takes to pick, weed and fight off the deer. The deer like to eat the tops of the plants - after we have weeded. This year we are trying out Irish Spring Soap around the whole bean row (approximately 450 ft with two rows in the bed) - It could be a wise tale but we have heard from other farmers to put this soap out and it deters deer. We will see if it does it. We can't be row cover on it like we do lettuce because the wetness and heaviness would pass diseases around the bean plants. So please enjoy these beans this week. They are yummy and many hands and backs brought them to your table - and we are grateful for that.

We are taking a break from lettuce this week - we are in between crops and the heat has been tough on the head lettuce. And I have a feeling that folks could use a bit of break from lettuce :) So this week we have the beans that are new and slicing cucumbers are just starting to come in. Adam has been diligently planting fall (?!) crops this week. All the melons and corn are growing strong - we are thinking labor dayish for both of these crops. The pastures are taking a while to grow back because of the lack of rain. We have moved up the lambs to the vegetable part of the farm and they are grazing right by Roy's house. Feel free to visit them when you come by. Pick your own Sungold cherry tomatoes should start next week.

The field heirloom tomatoes are starting to ripen. We picked a few Juan Flamme, Rose de Berne, and Rosso Sicilians (3 out of the 25 varieties we have planted out there) this past weekend and made amazing salsa with our hot peppers and cilantro. Yum! I can not wait for the bread trays full of sun ripened warm colorful tomatoes - I would take the soft skin, fragile heirloom over our hoophouse tomatoes any day. The hoophouse tomatoes are good- they are even great, especially since you have waited a long winter and spring, they are firm and don't mind being caressed with their smoothness but there is something to be said about a tomato that has witnessed the rain, the hail, the sun, the mist, the stresses of summer that makes it tastes so delectable. Now that we have Annie, and the fresh cheeses I am making with her milk - wowee...bring those tomatoes on.

Speaking of heirlooms are treasured crop - there is a confirmed case of late blight in Jericho - at a home garden. It is interesting that there is one - because we have been so dry. The only thing I can think of is that they watered at night. It is very important that everyone - when you are overhead watering - water early in the morning not at night - so the plants have the opportunity to dry off quickly and not stay wet - which promotes disease. The best way to water tomatoes is not to wet their leaves at all and water them with drip line or soaker hose. If you suspect late blight or not sure what disease is on your plants - UVM plant diagnostic lab can diagnosis the problem. Send your samples of any suspected plants ASAP for a positive ID to: Ann Hazelrigg, UVM Plant Diagnostic Clinic, 201 Jeffords Building, 63 Carrigan Drive, UVM, Burlington, VT 05405. If we all take good care and be vigilant - that we can save our tomatoes and potatoes. Home gardens are what brought it to VT the last time and dsestroyed many small farms (including ours) tomato crop. Late Blight is air-borne and travels on the wind and spreads in moist wet weather. Please pass this info on to other home gardeners. What Late Blight looks like: http://www.longislandhort.cornell.edu/vegpath/photos/lateblight_tomato.htm#images and http://www.longislandhort.cornell.edu/vegpath/photos/lateblight_potato.htm.

Here are some other tomato diseases that are showing up on Tomatoes now but are not nearly as devastating as late blight. IDENTIFYING DIFFERENT TOMATO DISEASES (adapted from UMass Extension vegetable notes from Vt vegetable and berry assoc)
Late blight. Classic symptoms are large, at least nickel-sized olive-green to brown spots on leaves with slightly fuzzy white fungal growth on the underside when conditions have been humid. Sometimes the lesion border is slightly yellow or has a water-soaked appearance. Leaf lesions begin as tiny, irregularly shaped brown spots and quickly grow larger: spots that are consistently small are not typical. Brown to blackish lesions develop on upper stems and leaf petioles. These stem lesions are a fairly distinctive sign of late blight and should definitely raise a red flag. Firm, brown spots develop on tomato fruit.
Septoria leaf spot. This destructive disease of tomato foliage occurs wherever tomatoes are grown. It can destroy most of a plant’s foliage resulting in sunscald, failure of fruit to mature properly, and low yields. Once infections begin, they can spread rapidly from lower to upper tomato canopy. Symptoms consist of circular tan to grey lesions with a dark brown margin that appear on lower leaves first, after the first fruit set. If conditions are favorable, lesions can enlarge rapidly, forming fruiting bodies that look like black specks, and turn infected leaves yellow then brown. With a hand lens, the specks can be seen in the center of the lesions. Fruit infection is rare, but lesions occur on foliage, stems, petioles, and the calyx. The pathogen overwinters on infected tomato debris or infected solanaceous weed hosts, and can also survive on stakes and other equipment; it is spread by splashing water, insects, workers, and equipment.
Early blight. This common disease occurs on the foliage, stem, and fruit of tomato everywhere the tomatoes are grown. It first appears as small brown to black lesions on older foliage. The tissue surrounding the initial lesion may become yellow, and when lesions are numerous entire leaves may become chlorotic. As the lesions enlarge, they often develop concentric rings giving them a ‘bull’s eye’ or ‘target-spot’ appearance. As the disease progresses, plants can become defoliated, reducing both fruit quantity and quality. Fruit can become infected either in the green or ripe stage through the stem attachment. Fruit lesions can become quite large, involve the whole fruit, and have characteristic concentric rings. Infected fruit often drop and losses of 30-50% of immature fruit may occur. On potato, foliar symptoms are quite similar though complete defoliation rarely results. The concentric rings in the lesions are fairly diagnostic for this disease, and help to distinguish it from either late blight or Septoria.
Management of Septoria leaf spot and early blight. Adequate nitrogen fertility throughout the season can help delay disease development; lower leaves become more susceptible as the nitrogen demand increases with fruit load and older leaves decline in nitrogen. Protectant fungicide sprays at regular intervals (depending on weather conditions and disease pressure) will delay onset of the disease. Many of the fungicides that are labeled for the control of late blight will also provide control of early blight and Septoria leaf spot. See the New England Vegetable Management Guide for recommendations. Both pathogens survive between crops on infected plant debris, soil, and other solanaceous host weeds and can be carried on tomato seed. Early blight can be transmitted in infected potato tubers. Rotate out of tomato crops for at least two years, control susceptible weeds, and incorporate debris after harvest. Reduce the length of time that tomato foliage is wet by using trickle irrigation, wider plant spacing, and staking. Keep workers and equipment out of wet fields where possible.
Leaf Mold. This disease can occur in the field but is most common in poorly ventilated greenhouses. Symptoms look somewhat like late blight. The high temperatures in the greenhouse make late blight less likely, but growers on hyper-alert for late blight have been concerned. Infections begin on older leaves with yellow areas visible on the upper leaf surface. Corresponding to these, on the underside, are areas of olive-green to grayish-purple fuzzy growth where the fungus is making spores. Leaves turn yellow, then brown. The disease can spread rapidly as spores disperse throughout a greenhouse on air currents, water, insects, and workers. Management: Start with certified disease free seed. Improve air circulation by adequate row/plant spacing and removal of lower leaves. Avoid the formation of water droplets on leaves by watering in the morning. Reduce relative humidity by a combination of heating and venting, especially at night. Avoid excessive nitrogen fertilization. Remove diseased leaves, place in plastic bag, and destroy. At the end of the crop cycle, remove all plant residue and destroy and disinfest the entire greenhouse.

Thanks for listening and your support. Peace, your farmers, Christine, Adam, Sadie and Delia

WHAT’S IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: BASIL, Cucumbers, Arugula or Chard, Okra GREEN BEANS, Eggplant, sweet peppers, hot peppers, zucchini, summer squash, TOMATOES, and maybe a few other things !

Calabrian Bruschetta from Verdura by Viana La Place

4 small Asian eggplants
Extra-virgin olive oil
3 ounces provolone or caciocavallo cheese
6 thick slices country bread
2 garlic cloves
3 red tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced
Extra-virgin olive oil

Trim the eggplants and slice them 1/4 inch thick. Arrange the eggplant slkices on a lightly oiled baking sheet and brush them with olive oil. Bake the eggplant slices in a preheated 376 degree oven for 10 minutes. Turn the slices over, brush with oil, and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. Using the large side of a four sided grater (or a potato peeler...), grate the cheese into long, thin strips. Grill or lightly toast the bread. Rub with the cut side of the garlic cloves and drizzle with olive oil. Place a few slices of eggplant on each bruschetta, top with some sliced tomato, and sprinkle a little shredded cheese over the top. Place the bruschetta under a preheated broiler and broil until the cheese melts. Serve immediately.

Layered Eggplant Casserole from Recipes from America's Small Farms

2-3 TBS vegetable oil
1 large egg
2 TBS milk
¼ cup all purpose flour, more if needed
1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into ¼ inch thick slices
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 large tomatoes, cut into ¼ inch thick slices
4 ounces Monterey Jack or other cheese, grated
1 TBS unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 2-quart casserole. Beat the egg and milk in a bowl and spread the flour on a plate. Heat 1 TBS of the oil in large skillet. Dip each slice of eggplant into the egg mixture, and then flour on both sides. Place the slices in the skillet in a single layer and fry until golden on both sides. Continue frying the eggplant in batches, adding oil as necessary, until done. Layer the fried eggplant, the onion, the tomato, and the cheese until they are all used up; the final layer should be the eggplant. Sprinkle any remaining flour (or use another 2 TBS of flour) over the top. Dot with the butter. Place in the oven, uncovered, for about 45 minutes, until bubbling and the eggplant is tender. Note: instead of frying the eggplant slices, you can drizzle them with oil and bake them on a cookie sheet for about 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Eggplant Pulp Facts from Recipes from America's Small Farms No one ever said eggplant pulp was pretty, but it's a beautiful base for spreads and salads. To make it, just puncture a large eggplant in a few places and wrap it loosely in aluminum foil. Place it in a 400 degree oven until it's soft and mushy – it's usually ready in about an hour, but longer baking won't hurt it. Let it cool completely, then scrape all the flesh off the skin. You'll get about 1 ½ cups of pulp from a medium eggplant. Add whatever other vegetables and herbs you like – the eggplant's mild taste and pleasant texture blends and binds other ingredients.

Eggplant Rounds with Cheese and Tomato Sauce adapted from D. Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
6-8 eggplant rounds per person, grilled, broiled or fried (from the skinny asian eggplants, reduce number of slices if using the large purple ones.)

3/4 cup grated or sliced mozzarella
1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola or goat cheese
about 4 cups favorite tomato sauce
chopped parsley or basil

Place the eggplant rounds on a sheet pan and cover with the cheeses. Bake at 375 degrees until the cheese melts. Serve with 2 or 3 spoonfuls of the sauce on each serving and garnish with the parsley or basil

Monday, August 1, 2011

Journal Post for the week of August 1, 2011

AUGUST 1, 2011
Good day Sunshine! Good Day August 1st! Happy 2 month Birthday to our boy calf Texi and Happy three month birthday to our 11 lambs (well give and take a few days for each of them). As the manure trucks are racing up and down our quiet road, my mind is full of stories and thoughts from the past week I would like to share with all of you. I wish I had more time in the week that was carved out for writing and thinking about what to write about. Luckily we have this newsletter that is supposed to go out each week - so that carves a bit of time - albeit last minute time where I am rushed and mostly scattered and trying to figure out what to write. Both girls are napping now, and the smells of raw manure are wafting through my window - deep breath and here goes. t-minus 1/2 hour to pickup time...please excuse typos, grammatical errors and run-on sentences - this is writing in the raw - blog like, free thought like, a harried mama like, the way it is right now..enough excuses...here goes..

Adam went out to Oklahoma for the funeral of his dear grandmother Nelda Morris from Shawnee, Oklahoma. Sadie and Delia's great-grandmother. Nelda is/was (I have a hard time talking about people in the past tense, they are still who they are, they have just passed on, anyways) amazing woman. She loved life and all her family in it and she welcomed me with open arms. Her memorial that was in the paper just exudes who she is. A woman who cared for her family, helped her neighbor and was genuine. Nelda was a very important part of Adam's life. She is an inspiration for all on how to love all people.

Here is a bit of her memorial that was in the Shawnee News:
"She was born Oct. 31, 1926, in Belmont to John Hilry Gwin and Effie Mae Terrell Gwin of Econtuchka. She grew up a farm girl and graduated from Centerview High School. She married Albert James “Jim” Morris on Sept. 7, 1944, in Garden Grove. From that marriage, three daughters were born. Nelda was a faithful Christian and member of Liberty Baptist Church, Shawnee. She was a homemaker who devoted her time and energy to the successful love and nurturing of her husband, their three daughters, four grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. When she worked outside the home, Nelda was a retail department manager. She also volunteered for many years at the Colonial Estates Nursing Home in Shawnee, always reminding us of the importance of volunteer work and the value of something as simple as a kind word and a gentle touch in lighting up the day of someone with needs greater than our own. She made a difference. After living in Shawnee and Garden Grove her entire life, Nelda retired to Lake Eufaula in 2007 to be closer to family. She was a gifted piano player who not only read music, but could listen to a piece of music once or twice and sit down and play it flawlessly. She enjoyed many pastimes in addition to piano, including flower gardening, needlepoint, sewing, crossword puzzles, collecting dolls, traditional gospel music, her dogs, and family and friend gatherings. She made lifelong friends and never knew an enemy. Nelda was a giver. She gave love and she gave of her time and from her heart. And she and husband Jim never turned away a hungry stranger. Her heart and soul were pure, compassionate and generous, and visitors were always welcomed. She was kind and gentle and had a keen sense of humor."

The memorial goes on to list all of her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren. When I read this memorial I could have sworn she was right there with us. Nelda grew up during the depression, raised a family, and was active in her community. She did simple, non-extraordinary things - to help her neighbor. And there was always enough and always just made do with what she had. What an extraordinary woman.

My grandma was the kind of grandma that taught you things (where my love of knitting/handwork, cooking, growing tomatoes, etc) and did fun things with me and my brothers and sisters even though she couldn't move around too well because of her arthritis and asthma. When Nelda came into my life, she reminded me of my Grandma Kroll and how she just loved life and loved her grandchildren and would do anything for them. Two extraordinary women - now they get to meet - and gloat over their beautiful great grandchildren and see their grandchildren work the land to feed their family and community as they once did.

Peace, your farmers, Christine, Adam, Sadie and Delia

WHAT’S IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: Lettuce, Basil, Bok Choy, Cucumbers, Arugula, Eggplant, sweet peppers, zucchini, summer squash, TOMATOES, and maybe a few other things !

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.

We still have frozen, Certified Organic Pasture raised Heritage Chicken for sale. $6.00lb and they range between 3.5 - 5.25 lbs. Let us know if you are interested. We will have another batch - ready in the first week of August.

PICK YOUR OWN RASPBERRIES - right here on Quaker Rd - Our neighbors Meg and Jim now have their pick your own raspberry field open - please call them for hours. The raspberries are so yummy - Sadie needs to pick a few each night - to make sure they are still yummy. You can reach Meg at 343-5497. THE PICKING IS WONDERFUL! They are 3.50 pint for PYO. At the farmers market they sell for 4.00 1/2 pint. Also Meg has some of her delicious Raspberry Jam - made with just a touch of sugar and raspberries.

PICK YOUR OWN BLUBERRIES - right here on the corner of Quaker and Adam Schools Road - Kathy and Steve now have their blueberry patch open - usually Thursday through Saturday - its best to call them for times. Their number is 372-5656. If you get their answering machine just listen to the message it will tell you if they are open or not for the day.


Sauteed Greens with Cannellini Beans and Garlic - from Kristen and Matt Bartle - BHF CSA members
*as an option, this is delicious served over rice*

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 large bunch greens (such as spinach, mustard greens, kale, or broccoli rabe; about 1 pound), thick stems removed, spinach left whole, other greens cut into 1-inch strips (about 10 cups packed) *i used mostly Kale, some Swiss Chard, and a little Boq Choy*
1 cup (or more) vegetable broth or low-salt chicken broth
1 15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed, drained
1 teaspoon (or more) Sherry wine vinegar

Heat 4 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and dried crushed pepper; stir until garlic is pale golden, about 1 minute. Add greens by large handfuls; stir just until beginning to wilt before adding more, tossing with tongs to coat with oil. Add 1 cup broth, cover, and simmer until greens are just tender, adding more broth by tablespoonfuls if dry, 1 to 10 minutes, depending on type of greens. Add beans; simmer uncovered until beans are heated through and liquid is almost absorbed, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, and more vinegar if desired; drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and serve. Bon Appétit. April 2008. Molly Stevens

Sara's Great Frittata Recipe (www.twosmallfarms.com)
2 lbs summer squash
Green onions(healthy fistful chopped)
Basil leaves(fistful again)
2 garlic cloves
4 eggs
1/4 Cup oil
1 Cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 Cup parnesan/pecorino cheese

The summer squash, green onions, and basil make a wonderful frittata.
In the main bowl of a food processor, grate about two pounds of summer squash. Put the squash in a colander and lightly salt. Leave to drain, and put the chopping blade in the food processor. Add a healthy fistful of onions and the leaves from a bunch of basil. Toss in a couple garlic cloves if you have them, and pulse until well chopped. In a big bowl, mix around a cup of flour with a couple teaspoons of baking powder and about a half cup of grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese. Lightly beat four eggs and a quarter cup of oil (if you're feeling decadent and there are no vegetarians in the crowd, add a couple spoonfuls of bacon grease). Put the grated squash in a thin clean dishtowel or heavy duty paper towel and squeeze out excess liquid. Combine all the ingredients in the big bowl. You should have a thick, fragrant batter. Pour the batter into a greased 13x9 baking pan and sprinkle a little more cheese on top. Bake at 375 degrees until golden, about 30-45 minutes (it depends on the moistureleft in the squash). When cool, cut into squares and serve.
These make great appetizers or savory treats at a tea or coffee!