Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Journal Post Week of June 25, 2012

Volume VII, JOURNAL IV                                                                              June 25, 2012
       Blue Heron Farm Journal
So what’s happening on the farm this week?
So this past week has been quite eventful here at the farm.  We are in full swing of picking Peas - snow and sugar snap peas. Wow, I don't think we have ever had this many.  Luckily a lot are getting in the crates and lots are going in our bellies.  With the heat from last week - these peas are pushing them out and with the rain (finally) today - oh my - these peas you eat the whole thing (well you could skip the stem).  I believe that Sugar Snap Peas should be eaten raw - fresh from the field or cooled down from the fridge - yum!  They make great snack and kids (and adults) love them. One of our interns, Mandy, stuffed a bunch in her bag and shared them with friends while strolling the farmers market in Burlington.  They are quick and easy snack - great with hummus - great by themselves - great for babes who are teething.  The Snow Peas can also be eaten raw but are also wonderful in stirfries, used as a dip delivery device and chopped and put in rice, couscous or on top of pizza.  I think I have put every vegetable we grow on our pizza...grilling pizza is so good.  WE have pizza night every friday night and you never know what is going to be on them until that day:) Grilling pizza is easy - just make dough (or pick some up at Wallys), make the size that will fit on your grill, lightly oil both sides and when bothe sides are pretty much cooked (doesn't take long about 2 or 3 minutes per side) add your toppings - yum.

I think in the shares next week you will receive kohlrabi, napa cabbage and a few other new veggies..we finally were able to get more arugula in the ground over the weekend so in about 2 -3 weeks we'll see that and some hakeri turnips (remember those little white turnips that tasted like a cross of turnips and radishes).  Speaking of radishes, they have gone to flower and we will harvest their seed pods which are yummy snacks or great for stirfries.  We think our soils like growing the pods and not the radishes.  The beets are starting to size up - we thinned them a bit more and that is why you are getting beet greens today.  Beet greens are chock full of beta-carotene, iron, and many other minerals.  You can eat the raw, stirfry them, I like putting them in lasagna, in eggs, in sandwiches. Oh my.. Adam hilled the potatoes - we are thinking we will have new potatoes, zucchini and summer squash in about 2 or so weeks.  He also ate his first ripe cherry tomato out of the hoophouse :)

As some of you know, the nana van (our delivery vehicle) bit the dust over the spring.  It has now moved on to particpate in the Franklin County Field Day Demolition Derby on July 26th in the mini-van division.  How sweet is that to go off into scrap metal as your last hurrah being the demo derby. So we got a new van, well new to us, 2002 grand caravan - drove it to Burlington last week to get it registered on thursday - remember thursday - 100 degrees in the islands - umm...100plus in Burlington.  When I came out of the DMV excited with new plates - ready to use the AC to get us home...there was a huge puddle of water on the underside of the van and when I turned it on even more came out.  Oh no...so I pulled the carseats out lugged them, two diaper bags and 2 little kids (thankful for the ergo) to Barnes and Noble (we were quite the site, in my farmer jeans) and waited for sweet Aimee (from Cochran family farm) come to pick us up and have AAA tow the van to Dick's Repair shop in Grand Isle.  Just got off the phone with Roger - and the van is fine!  Thank goodness! Because of all the heat and humidity on Thursday - that is what left the enormous puddle and water flowing from the engine compartment.  You know when you buy a used car...you just never know...but he checked everything and all the fluids are just as he left them a week and half ago.  So now we have a delivery van and a field trip van with kiddos and interns..oh sweetness..thank you universe.

Also over the week we had folks from Women's Agricultural Network (WaGn) and Across the Fence show come and interview us about being a start up farm ready to go onto its next phase - purchasing our land and really establishing our markets through our diversification on the farm.  It was a hot day.  Beth and Mark, the producer were quite patient with Sadie and Delia crawling over this mama while the interview occurred. Mark will be back to see a CSA pickup in action and maybe even talk with some of you.  We were also able to donate over 40lbs of Veggies to Food for Thought  for the summer lunch program for the Islands.  Families in this program are totally psyched to be getting fresh local produce.

On the animal front, Annie is dried off completely and enjoying her vacation, grazing, taking naps, chewing her cud..enjoying her time before her baby is born in August.  The sheep and their lambs are clearing their pastures in about 2 days so we are moving fence every two and half days because the lambs are now grazing too.  During the heat wave, we lost 140 of our heritage meat birds over night - due to over heating.  Chickens like to snuggle, even when its hot out, and they basically over heated themselves - they had plenty of water, shade, food - it was awful site to wake up to.  The interns took in stride and helped compost the birds.  My first thoughts were that of sadness - what could I have done as the farmer to have prevented this? I guess you live and learn - they were a week away from being processed.  Because of this we set up our market tent for more shade and had a sprinkler going for a couple of days to keep the rest cool and not stressed.  It is hard to raise chicken naturally out on a pasture - owls, hawks, weasels, and now heat. We have 80 birds left and we will be raising more now that we lost all of these.  They were beautiful birds - they will be missed.

With all the interns, Jen and her nephew - we got all the hay in from first cut on Friday morning.  510 bales. There was a lot of water drunk and gatorade.  Our arms are all scratched up and we think we are few pounds lighter from all the sweat.  Luckily, Earl comes with a kicker wagon so almost all the baled get kicked into the wagon.  AT the end, we took one of the large metal hay wagons out with our whole crew and Mandy and Annie ran around the field (umm this was Friday in the heat) and threw bales on while we kept the wagon going through the field.  Harley got some great action photos of it and we will post them on the blog soon.  I think it was part delirium when that running occurred - it was great fun:) Then we jumped in the lake, after getting the sheep back in their fence..

Have a great week-
Peace, your farmers, Christine, Adam, Sadie and Delia, Jen, Mandy, Annie, Harley and Sophie 

 What’s in the share this week: Sugar Snap Peas, Snow Peas, Luscious Lettuce Mix, Lettuce Heads,  Garlic Scapes, cilantro,  Beet Greens and some toher treats,

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. 

Sesame Snap Peas
1/2 pound snap or snow peas, trimmed and strings discarded
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1 scallion, sliced thinly on diagonal
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted lightly
Salt as needed/wanted
Slice snap peas into 2 or 3 sections with a sharp knife. Saute in a pan with the oil on med high heat until bright green. (it’s ok if some of the peas come out). When serving, sprinkle with the scallions and sesame seeds. Add Salt if desired.

Roasted Sugar Snap Peas

1/2 lb sugar snap peas
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs shallots, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
S & P to taste

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut off rough edge of peas and a bit of the string along the side (your preference how much). Spread peas onto baking sheet so that they are in a single layer. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with shallots, thyme and salt.  Bake in oven for 10 minutes. Servings: 4

May, 1997 Original article and recipes by Diana Shaw
Have a bowl of ice water ready to “shock” the drained peas and prevent further softening and shriveling.
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups loosely packed sugar snap peas (about 1 pound), stems snipped off and strings removed if needed
Bring 6 cups water to brisk boil in 3 or 4 quart saucepan. Add salt and peas and cook until crisp tender, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes depending on size of peas. Drain peas, shock in ice water, drain again, and pat dry. (Peas can be set aside for up to1 hour. See recipes below for seasoning ideas.)

Serves 6 Because you must judge the color of the butter as it cooks, avoid dark colored pans like unlined anodized aluminum or nonstick for this recipe.

2 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 recipe Blanched Sugar Snap Peas
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper

1. Toast hazelnuts over medium heat in small skillet, shaking pan often to promote even cooking, until just fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Heat butter over medium heat in medium sauté pan until it browns to color of brown sugar and smells nutty, about 5 minutes. Take care not to burn. Add peas, sage, and nuts; toss to combine. Cook until just heated through, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste; serve immediately.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Journal Post for Week of June 18, 2012

VOLUME VII, JOURNAL III JUNE 18, 2012 BLUE HERON FARM JOURNAL SO WHAT’S HAPPENING ON THE FARM THIS WEEK? So we dried off Annie this past weekend. Annie is our beautiful brown swiss jersey cow that has been providing us with her rich milk for the last year (one year, 2 weeks to be exact). Annie is due to have her calf at the end of August. You usually dry off a cow about two months or so before she gives birth so she can but all that energy into making that baby calf nice and strong. Their gestation is similar to humans. We are hoping for a girl (an eventual milking cow) but we will take what we get. For those who don't know - cows need to be bred and then give birth in order to get milk from them. We eventually would like to have a micro dairy of 3 or so milking cows. Right now, only Annie is bred and little miss Maggie is only 6 months old and then there is Texi (short for Texas) who is a steer(castrated male) who Annie had last June. Texi will eventually become food for us and a few other families. You can see Texi up at the farm eating grass and playing with folks who stop by. Texi can't be with Annie because he tries to nurse her. Now Texi, he's 1 which is really like the equivalent of being a tween in human years...imagine the site of texi trying to nurse annie...not good for either of them. So Annie and Maggie get to graze out together alongside the sheep and Texi gets to graze next to all of us working in the field. Anyways so Miss Annie, Adam calls her the Annie the Magic Cow, has provided milk, yogurt, cheese, manure which turns into compost, beef (her male offspring) and amazing company. When we first got Annie from Jonathan and Meg, I remember milking her and thinking of how rich I was now. Here is this amazing being that will provide so much food for my young family and friends by grazing our land. Very simple - the sun and the rain make the grass/hay and she does all of this food making for us. Amazing. So if you see Annie in the fields or in the barn yard chewing her cud - tell her hi and give her chin a rub - she is on a little vacation until her baby is born. When scouting in the fields this week, we have noticed that the fields are getting a little dry - working on getting water out to fields, the deer have found the head lettuce in the back field (time to cover it with remay at night), and we may have Leek Moths - which do a lot of damage to onions and garlic. Their pupae tunnel in and pupate and then work their way down to the bulbs...not sure what we are going to do about that yet. We are doing research and making phone calls. We'll keep you updated. Some good news while scouting was that the peas are coming in! Snow Peas first. Perfect for eating raw in salads or stir frying. Sugar Snap Peas probably at the end of the week. Snow peas are funny - they weigh nothing - and take a while to pick. Sugar snap peas are at least have some heft to them and you can fill a bin quicker and feel a bit more satisfied after your picking. :) Enjoy them all! ALso the basil is big enough to pick for you all - so here comes the basil too:) Oh and my ode to garlic scapes - these swirly twirly garlic smelling greens swirls are the false flowers to hardneck garlic. This green garlic is great chopped and stirfried, roasted with some olive oil or on the grill, and my favorite - a bunch of scapes (chopped coarsley) thrown into a blender or food processor with parmesean cheese and olive oil - Oh my - if you love garlic you will LOVE this. You can also freeze it. Aimee from Cochran Family Farm came last week to pickup and it was wonderful for her to meet all of you. She will be back again this week and she will have an order form for you all that I will email out so you can pre-order cuts if you like. She has bacon and ham now..yum. Our pastured, certified organic heritage chickens are almost ready. On June 28 and 29th we will be processing them. They will be $6.00lb finished weight and you can buy them fresh from the farm on 29th or 30th and probably frozen after that weekend. We like to sell the chickens fresh to folks so then they can cut them up and freeze them how you want them. The average weight is 4-6lbs. The meat is tender and many people have commented "wow! this actually tastes like chicken!" For those folks who have working shares, please get in touch with us to figure out a time that will work for you. Well - I should go - hope you are all having a great week! See you soon Peace, your farmers, Christine, Adam, Sadie and Delia, Jen, Mandy, Annie, Harley and Sophie WHAT’S IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: SNOW PEAS, LUSCIOUS LETTUCE MIX, HEIRLOOM CHARD, GARLIC SCAPES, BASIL,CILANTRO, AND DILL, 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. Recipes White Bean and Garlic Scapes Dip (nytimes.com) 1/3 cup sliced garlic scapes (3 to 4) 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, more to taste 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, more to taste Ground black pepper to taste 1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, more for drizzling. In a food processor, process garlic scapes with lemon juice, salt and pepper until finely chopped. Add cannellini beans and process to a rough purée. With motor running, slowly drizzle olive oil through feed tube and process until fairly smooth. Pulse in 2 or 3 tablespoons water, or more, until mixture is the consistency of a dip. Add more salt, pepper and/or lemon juice, if desired. Spread out dip on a plate, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with more salt. Yield: 1 1/2 cups. Orzo Pasta Risotto with Forest Mushrooms and Garlic Scapes Adapted by StarChefs.com 1 onion, small diced 3 Tablespoons olive oil, plus another 3 Tablespoons Salt and pepper 8 ounces chicken stock 1 pound orzo 1 portabello mushroom 3 shiitake mushrooms 3 garlic scapes 2 Tablespoons butter 3 Tablespoons heavy cream 3 Tablespoons truffle butter ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus shavings 3 ounces baby arugula (or chard) In a large pot over low heat, slowly cook the onion in 3 Tablespoons olive oil until it is translucent and tender. Season the onion with salt and pepper. In a separate saucepot bring the stock to a boil and keep hot. Add the orzo pasta to the onions and mix thoroughly. Gradually add the stock to the pasta and cover completely. Cook the pasta at a low simmer and stir carefully to avoid sticking. In a large sauté pan heat 3 Tablespoons olive oil and sear the mushrooms and garlic scapes until golden brown. Add the butter. Let the butter become golden brown, then strain the mushrooms and scapes and reserve. In a cold bowl, whisk the heavy cream until slightly thick. Cook the pasta until it is firm to the bite. Finish the pasta with truffle butter, Parmesan cheese, and the baby arugula. Add the heavy cream at the very end before serving. In a large bowl spoon the pasta into the center and place the mushrooms and scapes over the top. Shave a block of Parmesan cheese with a potato peeler to get thin shavings, and use them to garnish the dish. Roasted Chickpeas with Chard http://www.patentandthepantry.com/2009/09/27/roasted-chickpeas-with-chard/ For the chickpeas 1 19 oz. can chick peas, rinsed and drained ( I like using dried ones - equivalent of 1 cup of dried chickpeas overnight in water) 3 cloves garlic, peeled (or garlic scapes) 2 shallots, roughly chopped (or onions) 2 bay leaves 1/3 cup olive oil For the chard: 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 large bunch Swiss chard, center stems removed and chopped finely, and leaves coarsely torn 2 garlic cloves, crushed 1/2 cup vegetable, chicken or beef broth Preheat oven to 400. In a baking dish, combine chickpeas, garlic, shallots, bay leaves and oil. Roast for about 45 minutes, shaking the pan at least once (twice is probably even better) until everything is golden. Remove from oven and set aside.In a frying pan on the stove, add olive oil and heat until hot. Saute garlic for about 30 seconds until it is fragrant, add chard stems and saute for a minute or two until tender. Add chard and continue cooking until it has wilted — about five minutes. Pour over stock, cover and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove lid and drain excess liquid. Add chickpea mixture, season with salt and pepper and mix until heated through. Add a little more olive oil if desired. Simple Salad Dressing I mix up a jar of this a refill as needed - 1/2 c of maple syrup (or so), 1/2c of balsamic vinegar (or so) and 1/3c of olive oil (or so) and pepper (couple grinds from the pepper mill) - cover and shake great salad dressing or marinade.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Journal POst Week opf June 11, 2012

VOLUME VII, JOURNAL II JUNE 11, 2012 BLUE HERON FARM JOURNAL SO WHAT’S HAPPENING ON THE FARM THIS WEEK? Okay, it's 3:15pm...pickup in 45 minutes. Ready set, write.. All through the week I think about moments I want to share with you from the farm. I think about all the other mama farmers working with their children and that crazy balancing act we do. Some folks have said "how do you do it? I could never.." But you know you could and you do. We all rise up in situations when we need to. I kid around with our interns and friends that I need a "farm wife". Some days are more hectic then others - while I cut up cheese and apples and a granola bar to feed to our children before market and other days the days are full but not too full and we can play in the mud and the swing in the tree or bring the cows and sheep treats. I think, I hope, the girls are as flexible and easy going with this start of a new veggie season. Their bed times are all over the place - but we have a rhythm and a pattern to our days. Bedtime has its routine - so does meal times. Sadie knows that Monday is CSA day, Tuesday is on the farm day and daddy works late off the farm, Wednesday is market day, Thursdays are delivery and market day (also a fun day since the interns and volunteers make the deliveries and fm and we can stay home and nap and play and do around the farm things), Fridays are on farm days and play group day, Saturdays are farmers market and Sunday is catch up and family day - and then the week starts again. Our days are marked by sunrises and sunsets, and sharing our days with family, our interns, workers and volunteers on the farm. The farm is such a dynamic being - living and breathing - and it wraps around us nourishes us and exhausts us (this time of the year). The farm can be a roller coaster of living. We have chosen to have diversified farm - animals and vegetables - each enterprise feeds the other. The manure from the animals is spread on the fields when they graze the land and then it is turned into compost for our veggies to flourish the following year. The chickens peck and scratch and clean up after grazing animals or after a veggie field is done for the season. It is pretty cool when every being is working together. Now this sounds like a rosy and harmonious picture - most of the time its not - fences to move, manure to shovel, animals get out of fencing, children covered in "mud" dropping eggys..but you know farming is messy just like life. if you can look above the messy parts, it is pretty cool and amazing and that is what keeps me going day in and day out - that big picture of helping to create food to nourish our bodies, my children's bodies, your bodies, your children's bodies. After a long day, we sit down to dinner and we look around at the feast - we are so very blessed to have all this bounty - we eat better than kings and queens. Another thought I had this week. Each farm is different that you will come across. We all grow different things and have different ways to grow veggies, animals and birds. Some choose to pay a lot for propane for the earliest crops and use lots of fertilizers, pesticides (organic or nonorganic), use heavy machinery on the land, import alot of ammendments for their land, go into major debt, use of alot of petroleum products, the list goes on. We are trying to buck that trend. We are a small family farm - we want to be mindful to the environment, this heavy clay soil we are farming, respect the ground that we farm, and be small scale so we can farm with our little ones and be sustainable. We may not have the first tomato at market - but that is okay with us. What we are striving for is long term sustainability for our family, land, environment and the lake. We are lucky to be the stewards to these 30 acres - and we take that very seriously. This land has to be fruitful for many generations to come. So we are busy on the farm these days. We think we will have garlic scapes next week, the peas are starting to flower, heirloom chard next week maybe head lettuce. Oh and today we picked well over 250lbs of spinach - if you would like some extra this week let us know - you can blanche and freeze it. We picked all the bodacious spinach because it was going to bolt (produce seeds) because of the heat. So we spent literally all morning and into the afternoon to get it all in, wash it , spin and bag. Hope you like it. We have never had so much spinach before. I think the girls have a bit of a green tinge to them. :) We are hoping to pickup again next week but there maybe a chance we won't so we will let you know by Thursday. We look forward to farming with you this season. Peace, your farmers, Christine, Adam, Sadie and Delia, Jen, Mandy, Annie, Harley and Sophie WHAT’S IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: BODACIOUS SPINACH, LUSCIOUS LETTUCE, CILANTRO, DILL, AND GREEN ONIONS 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. Recipes Parmesan Spinach Cakes http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/parmesan_spinach_cakes.html If you like spinach-cheese pie, try these simple but elegant-looking little spinach cakes. 4 servings, 2 spinach cakes each | Active Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 40 minutes Ingredients 12 ounces fresh spinach, (see Note) 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese, or low-fat cottage cheese 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish 2 large eggs, beaten 1 clove garlic, minced 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper Preheat oven to 400°F.Pulse spinach in three batches in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add ricotta (or cottage cheese), Parmesan, eggs, garlic, salt and pepper; stir to combine.Coat 8 cups of the muffin pan with cooking spray. Divide the spinach mixture among the 8 cups (they will be very full).Bake the spinach cakes until set, about 20 minutes. Let stand in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen the edges with a knife and turn out onto a clean cutting board or large plate. Serve warm, sprinkled with more Parmesan, if desired. Tips & Notes Make Ahead Tip: Equipment: Muffin pan with 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups Note: Baby spinach is immature or young spinach—it's harvested earlier than large-leaved mature spinach. We like the sturdy texture of mature spinach in cooked dishes and serve tender, mild-flavored baby spinach raw or lightly wilted. Baby and mature spinach can be used interchangeably in these recipes (yields may vary slightly); be sure to remove the tough stems from mature spinach before using. Weights & Measures 10 ounces trimmed mature spinach=about 10 cups raw 10 ounces baby spinach=about 8 cups raw Spinach & Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed Pizza http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/spinach_tomato_stuffed_pizza.html This stuffed pizza is filled with crumbled tofu, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, cheese and fresh basil. It’s easy to make stuffed pizza at home. Just roll the crust thin, spread filling over half and fold closed. To use fresh spinach, cook 10 ounces until just wilted; finely chop and squeeze dry. Serve with: Marinara sauce for dipping and mixed green salad. Cooking spray, preferably canola or olive oil 1 14-ounce package firm water-packed tofu, drained 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry 1/2 cup chopped soft or reconstituted sun-dried tomatoes (see Tip) 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil 1/2 teaspoon onion powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 1 pound prepared pizza dough, preferably whole-wheat Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 475°F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.Finely crumble tofu; pat dry. Place in a large bowl and use your hands to combine with spinach, tomatoes, Parmesan, mozzarella, basil, onion powder, salt and pepper. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to about the length of the prepared baking sheet and twice as wide (approximately 16 by 18 inches). Transfer the dough to the baking sheet, allowing the extra width to hang over on one side onto a clean surface. Spread the filling on the dough in the pan, leaving a 1-inch border. Fold the overhanging dough over the filling. Fold the edges closed and crimp with a fork to seal. Make several small slits in the top to vent steam; lightly coat the top with cooking spray. Bake the stuffed pizza until well browned on top, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool slightly before cutting.Tip: For this recipe, look for soft sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil). If you can only find tomatoes that are very dry (and hard), soak in boiling water for about 20 minutes, drain, chop and then add to the pizza filling. Cheese-&-Spinach-Stuffed Portobellos http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/cheese_spinach_stuffed_portobellos.html Here we take the elements of a vegetarian lasagna filling—ricotta, spinach and Parmesan cheese—and nestle them into roasted portobello mushroom caps. The recipe works best with very large portobello caps; if you can only find smaller ones, buy one or two extra and divide the filling among all the caps. Serve with a tossed salad and a whole-wheat dinner roll or spaghetti tossed with marinara sauce. 4 large portobello mushroom caps 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese 1 cup finely chopped fresh spinach 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese, divided 2 tablespoons finely chopped kalamata olives 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning 3/4 cup prepared marinara sauce Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.Place mushroom caps, gill-side up, on the prepared pan. Sprinkle with salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Roast until tender, 20 to 25 minutes.Meanwhile, mash ricotta, spinach, 1/4 cup Parmesan, olives, Italian seasoning and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Place marinara sauce in a small bowl, cover and microwave on High until hot, 30 seconds to 1 1/2 minutes. When the mushrooms are tender, carefully pour out any liquid accumulated in the caps. Return the caps to the pan gill-side up. Spread 1 tablespoon marinara into each cap; cover the remaining sauce to keep warm. Mound a generous 1/3 cup ricotta filling into each cap and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan. Bake until hot, about 10 minutes. Serve with the remaining marinara sauce.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Journal post for week of June 4th

VOLUME VII, JOURNAL I JUNE 4, 2012 BLUE HERON FARM JOURNAL SO WHAT’S HAPPENING ON THE FARM THIS WEEK? Here we are! The first week of CSA for the 2012 season is upon us. The spring season has been gracious to us - we have been constantly working on seeding, transplanting, weeding - each and everyday since the middle of April. Things are growing very quickly - it is amazing what suns does for plants, animals, people and your soul. Looking back to last year - all I have to say I am thankful for this amazing weather nature is giving us. With farming - you need to take what you get from mother nature- and I am glad she is being generous to us this spring. Compared to last year - we have many more crops in now - for example, last year we planted all of the brassica family transplants June 9th - this year they were in May 7th, and our growing amazing - deep green and lush. One thing that is keeping us on our toes this spring is weeds and the flea beetle pressure. It is amazing what a small little flea of a bug can do to plants but the transplants were young and vigorous when we put them in so they are fighting back :) Many of the insects over wintered in the soil rather nicely since it was not too cold and the ground did not get covered with snow - so we will have to keep our eyes peeled for earlier bug threats..I will take some bugs over flooding any day:) We are starting the CSA shares this week because we do not want you to miss out on spinach. Adam and I get excited about food - especially food that grows on our farm. Spinach is one of those early greens in a warm to hot spring that can go by quickly. We plant it in early, cold spring - April - and pray that all those seeds germinate. Spinach can be tricky. There are many variables that can impede the growth of spinach - the weather, soil warmth, the plate on the push seeder, the kind of seed, water, sun, heat. This year the spinach is bodacious! I really mean it. It is so green and lush and you can tell that taproot is going down into the soil and pulling every bit of nutrition up into its leaves. Baby spinach is nice - but this spinach got curves - it is truly bodacious. I love the crinkle of it as it goes in my mouth. I love the buttery crunch that the leaves have. I love that while I am eating it, my body can feel all that greenness and photosynthesis and all that spring runaway train growth - my body yearns for it in the spring. Baby spinach is nice and delicate but its full grown version - I would take any day because it has flavor, it has body, it has all that spring time energy right there ready for me to devour and quench that green need after a long winter. Spinach is an energy food. "Health benefits of spinach are due to presence of minerals, vitamins, pigments and phytonutrient and minerals like minerals like potassium, manganese, zinc, magnesium, iron and calciumIt is a source of vitamins like folate, niacin, vitamin A, B6, C and traces of rest of the vitamins. Other important elements, including thiamine and riboflavin, that are used in various reactions in our body are also found in spinach. Spinach is rich in pigments like beta carotene, lutein and xanthene and chlorophyllin etc" (www.organicfacts.net). Spinach can be eaten raw or cooked. Feel a bit overwhelmed with the spinach in your bag this week - you can always blanch it and freeze it for later. I think tonight we might be making Aloo Saag with ours. So with spinach being ready and almost other things being ready - it is hard for us to let you miss spinach vs coming and getting it now and only a few other veggies that are ready. You are part of our farm and we want to make sure that you get every single veggie that we produce at its peak ripeness. So we appreciate you coming out for this share this week. We are hoping to have a another pickup next week or we may have to skip a week in June and make it up at the other end. Things grow like crazy this time of year but not neccesarily on our timeframe. We missed this planting of arugula and bok choy. We had been cutting from it and then Bam! it bolted on us last week mid week which made us think we should have you all come and get this spinach:) before its gone. Don't worry Arugula and bok choy will be back - they like the heat. Spinach on the other hand won't be back until fall and even then it will be the baby spinach kind not this dark green bodacious kind:) We will let you know by the end of the week about pickups next week. Okay so the other things in your bag are getting jealous - so we are also having luscious lettuce mix, young garlic (you can use the whole thing including the greens, an herb plant and oh....cilantro - which after smelling it made my heart flutter and my knees weak. Poor cilantro has lovers and haters - no in between - and there has been research on this and it is a chromosomal thing in our bodies. I am glad I am one who loves it. That smell of greenness - oh my. Okay, I will stop there because I could go on about that like I did the spinach and I will spare you:) This journal we put out once a week and is available in paper form on Mondays and electronic form email and website the rest of the week. It is a place to get recipes, know what was going on with the farm, and Christine's love affair/ramblings with the food we grow, the animals we caretake, the land we farm, and our kids:) If you have a recipe you would like to share or something for the journal - feel free to pass it along to us. We look forward to farming with you this season. Peace, your farmers, Christine, Adam, Sadie and Delia, Jen, Mandy, Annie, Harley and Sophie WHAT’S IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: BODACIOUS SPINACH, LUSCIOUS LETTUCE, CILANTRO, GARLIC, HERB PLANT 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. Recipes SPINACH PHYLLO PIZZA 1 1/2 pounds spinach (about 2 bunches), coarse stems discarded and the leaves washed well and drained 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and kept warm 7 sheets of phyllo (each about 17 by 12 inches), stacked between 2 sheets of wax paper and covered with a dampened kitchen towel 6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan 1 teaspoon dried mint 1/2 cup very thinly sliced red onion 2/3 cup finely crumbled Feta 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil In a kettle cook the spinach in the water clinging to the leaves, covered, over moderate heat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it is just wilted, refresh it under cold water, and let it drain well in a colander while making the phyllo crust. Preheat the oven to 400F. Brush a baking sheet lightly with some of the butter, put 1 sheet of the phyllo on the butter, the brush it lightly withy some of the remaining butter. Sprinkle the phyllo with 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan, put another sheet of the phyllo on top, and press it firmly so that it adheres to the bottom layer. Butter, sprinkle, and layer the remaining phyllo in the same manner, ending with a sheet of phyllo. Brush the top sheet lightly with the remaining butter and bake the crust in the middle of the oven for 5 minutes. Arrange the spinach evenly on the crust, leaving a 1-inch border all around, crumble the mint over it, and season the spinach with salt and pepper. Scatter the onion over the spinach, sprinkle the pizza with the Feta, and drizzle it with the oil. Bake the pizza in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, and with a pizza wheel or sharp knife cut it into squares. Serves 6 to 8 as an hors d'oeuvre. Gourmet May 1993 SESAME SPINACH WITH GINGER AND GARLIC 1 garlic clove 2 teaspoons sesame seeds 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh gingerroot 1 bunch trimmed fresh spinach Mince garlic and in a small dry skillet toast sesame seeds over moderate heat, stirring, until golden. In a heavy 6-quart kettle heat oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and cook garlic and gingerroot, stirring, 30 seconds, or until fragrant and golden. Add spinach by handfuls, stirring, and cook until just wilted. Serve spinach sprinkled with sesame seeds. Gourmet September 1997 BLACK BEAN, SPINACH, AND MUSHROOM BURRITOS Gourmet January 1995 1 onion, chopped fine 1/2 pound mushrooms, chopped fine 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 bunch spinach (about 1 pound), coarse stems discarded, washed well and spun dry 2 garlic cloves 1/4 cup water 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed well and drained 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 2 scallions, chopped fine 3/4 cup coarsely grated pepper Jack cheese (about 5 ounces) 1/2 cup canned mild enchilada sauce two 10-inch or four 8-inch flour tortillas Accompaniment: Sour cream In a heavy skillet cook onion and mushrooms in oil over moderate heat, stirring, until golden. Add spinach and garlic and cook, stirring, until spinach is wilted, about 30 seconds. Stir in water, beans, lemon juice, scallions, pepper Jack, and salt to taste and cook, stirring, until cheese is melted. In a small saucepan heat enchilada sauce. Heat a dry skillet (large enough to hold 1 tortilla) over moderately high heat until hot. In skillet heat tortillas, 1 at a time, turning frequently, 30 seconds, or until softened, and transfer to a work surface. Divide filling between tortillas and roll up burritos. Spoon sauce over burritos and serve with sour cream. Creamed Spinach, adapted from Too Many Tomatoes by Lois Landau et al 1 1/2 cups cooked spinach and or other greens 1/4 cup sour cream 2 Tablespoons horseradish, grated (I'd use the jarred stuff if that's what you have!) 2 tablespoons butter 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg OR 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, depending on what your pantry, tastes and garden have S & P to taste Combine and heat. Easy! Fresh Spinach - just eat raw - or toss with scrambled eggs, on top of pizza under the cheese, add to anything - lasagna, pasta...you name it. Enjoy!

Friday, June 1, 2012

First CSA pickup this Monday June 4th

Good Morning CSA members! The long awaited email is finally here! Adam and I are excited to start the season this Monday, June 4th and dropoffs on Thursday June 7th. Pickup at the farm will from 4 to 630pm. Drop off locations will be on thursday (Rehab Gym, Fort Ethan Allen, Pinewood, and School St) will be by 2:00pm. We may have to skip a week in between but we will know better next week - June is a tricky month to make sure there is plenty of food while it is all growing to harvest and eat. The weather has been glorious - lots of veggies in the ground - everything growing - trying to keep up with all of it. Some of the early things are ready - we wanted to have this early pickup so that you didn't miss spinach or some other young greens that don't like the hot weather and may bolt ( we already had arugula bolt but don't worry there is more in a week or two). The first few weeks of our CSA (and most others) is light - light being more leafy green veggies and as the season gets closer to the end of June - more bulky - heavier things start coming out of the fields. We will defineately make up for lightness closer to the end of the month:) Nature has been good to us by drying our our fields and helping us get soils ready. With this warmer spring, we have had more bug pressure- our first planting of bok choy is full of holes even though we covered it - I think they came from the ground up. But we will have more planted....This year we have over 36 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, collards, more potatoes, more sugar snap peas, kohlrabi, cauliflower and brocolli (last year we had to plant these out June 9 - this year we got them in May 7th so we are anticpating a much better crop). Oh so much going on here in the fields. We have 3 new hardworking, eager interns - from around the country. Can't wait for you all to meet them. Also have a friend of the farm Jen who is working here part time and Sophie (past intern from 2 years ago). For those who have working shares - we will have information out to you next week about times to sign up. One day that is great for working shares is Monday - many folks with children come that morning come and help pick, plant and weed. So if this Monday morning is an option and you can come this monday - drop us an email and let us know you are coming. Okay, more info to follow. See you all soon. Some things that will be in the share this week: spinach, lettuce mix, cilantro, basil plant, and some other yumminess from the field. See you soon, Your farmers, Christine, Adam, Sadie, Delia Jen, Mandy, Annie, and Sophie