Sunday, January 30, 2011

CSA Frozen Winter Goodies

Take peppers that you froze in November out of the fridge. CSA members could take as many peppers as they could handle.
Combine with onions and olive oil. (ideally I would have grown the onions but those didn't last the winter)
Take sweet italian whole hog sausage out of the freezer and thaw and grill. Best sausage in the world in my opinion-- whole hog sausage is the only way to eat sausage.
Cut up sausage and add to pot.
In large saucepan add 4 quarts of homemade tomato sauce, add in carmelized onions/peppers, and sausage. Serve over pasta or on italian bread. (this was so good we ate in all in 2 days)

Take shredded zucchini out of freezer (you will have cut it up and bagged it in July).
Follow Martha Stewart recipe for zucchini bread- makes 3-4 loaves and uses 5 cups of zucchini.
Each one loaf and freeze the rest for quick breakfasts later in the month.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011

CSA Signup Time-- Going Twice

In this snowy paradise, I'm dreaming of summer and veggies.
We're just about at our self imposed limit for CSA shares! Wow. If you have not signed up- do so now!

This was one of my favorite pictures from last year. We had 8-9 members come out and help pick potatoes and we were done in 5 hrs. It was fabulous! And we ate potatoes starting about week 8 thru to the end of the season. Yum!

Monday, January 24, 2011

January Ramblings

My year of food education is depressing me. In my last blog I had squash from the basement and bananas from the grocery store. So I decided to read about Bananas.
One of my favorite news sources these days is Grist and they had this to say about bananas.

I should have realized I was eating 1 kind of banana my whole life- it's no different than tomatoes, beets, green peppers, etc. But it makes sense from a distribution standpoint to have only one type that can travel well.

That's the tough part of eating local- if you want to truly eat local. I guess I wouldn't get to eat bananas.

The things that make me happy while I ponder bananas are random things I find in my house. The kids do what they want in our house-- it's like a big playhouse and they are always setting up something. This week: Margaret's clay shop. The best location for the forms turned out to be in front of the toilet.

If you can't read it:
I make it, you take it!!! It is for FREE!!! All you need to do is fill our a form. The clay thing you want will be a little version of the real thing.

First 3 lambs of the year born last week. I stood around for 90 minutes hoping to see a lamb be born. No such luck. Mike comes home after being gone 3 days and goes outside and sees the 2nd of the twins being born. Not fair at all. I just want to see one birth this year, that's it.

He tried out this warmer to heat up the lamb--it worked.

Friday, January 21, 2011

How to Eat a Boatload of Squash

I keep bringing up squash and pumpkins from the basement and putting them on the table in the middle of the kitchen as a reminder that I need to eat squash everyday --till May.

I've gotten great recipes from everyone and my favorite is from my BFF ( friends since we were 3 or 4 years old). You cut the squash into french fry pieces, sprinkle salt on them, let them sit so the moisture comes out, then resalt and put them on a tray sprayed with Pam and bake them 20 min on one side, flip for 20 min on other side. 425 degrees. Full recipe here and cool website.

Our first lamb of the year was born this morning. I went out at 7am and there he was in the straw surrounded by all these momma sheep. I put momma and baby in their own little area and they seem happy. We have this one Ewe who thinks that every lamb born is hers or she just wants to help. It's pretty funny actually. I need a name for her as she really cracks me up. My husband will read this post and know exactly which Ewe I'm talking about- and with 55 or so Ewes- that's saying something about her. Name ideas anyone?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Farm Community

MLK weekend is a time of reflection for me. I love what is unique and different and people are all unique. Sometimes, you need something to bond all those differences together and what better thing than food. We all have to eat. We don't eat, we die.

When we started this farm, we had this vision of CSA members coming together once a month for a potluck dinner. Last year we had our annual bonfire (which had to be a camp fire due to lack of rain). This year we are going to have more opportunities for the CSA members to come to the farm and meet their fellow CSA members. I can tell you that you are all unique and you've touched our family's life in different yet wonderful ways. We love the chance to chat with you as you pick up your shares and we're going to make sure you get the chance to talk to each other as well.

In this world of technology, how do we take the time to smell the roses and talk to each other? Maybe farm communities can offer a way to form friendships and bonds through great food.

We are going to do our part to create community within our farm. So here's to food and creating a farm community.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

CSA Signup Time

Ah... a picture from Week 12 of the CSA last year.
I see watermelon, cantalope, spaghetti squash, cucumbers, squash, 2 kinds of potatoes, garlic, and I see on the board there are tomatoes around the corner from the picture and greens in the fridge.

And evidently I had just brought the cat back from the vet as the cat carrier is right there in the picture as well. If you have a farm, you need outdoor cats, that's just the way it goes.

We break our CSA rules every year, we say we only want 8-10 members and then we end up with 12-14. Oh well, it's hard to say no and it's not as if we can't feed more members- we always have a lot of produce.

This year we said we'd wait till Jan 15th to open up the CSA to new members other than our returning members and we already broke that rule. We have 4 new members already signed up and paid (plus 1 returning member). So we are at 5 CSA shares so far.

So how do you make sure you secure a spot? Send us a check. Quickly. We really do stop at 12-14 and then we start the waiting list and see if we can find someone to work on the farm.

The CSA has 2 options:
Full Share: $800 for at least 20 weeks of produce
$600 for the same 20 weeks but you come volunteer to work on the farm for 2 full days (16 hrs)
Half shares are half the above and you will pick up your share every other week. So 10 or 11 weeks of produce in total.

We love CSA's and if you read the heading of this blog you'll find out that being in a CSA is why we ended up with this farm. If you don't know what all those veggies are in the store and you avoid buying them, this is the way to try them because you are just gonna get them in your box and you'll have to figure out how to use them.

Our pickup days will be Tuesdays and Fridays. You come anytime after 12 noon. If you can't come on Tuesday then your share will still be there on Wednesday. If you miss a whole week, you are out of luck. Most folks give their share to a friend when they go on vacation so you'll make a friend happy that week. The whole process is kind of grocery store "like". I have the list of what you take that week: 1 bag of lettuce, 10 tomatoes, 1 bag of potatoes, 5 squash of your choosing, etc.

We also have pick your own herbs, pick your own raspberries, blueberries and flowers.
This year I'm adding a bunch more raised beds for more pick your own items. Sometimes CSA members spend a few hours walking around the farm eating raspberries or playing with our Border Collies and they then realize "oh yeah, I guess I better get my produce". The good news is that when you are at the farm you can also get an egg share and get fresh pastured eggs and grass fed meat. We are switching to organic feed for our hens, so the egg share is $100 for 20 weeks. Or you can always buy a dozen eggs for $6 or an extra dozen for $5 if you have the egg share.

We don't do a farmers market so all the produce we pick that week is for the CSA and we just divide it up. The shares are pretty big so a full share will supply a family of 4 but those with only 2 in the family and the desire to freeze items will love our CSA as well. Our goal is "all on farm sales" as we want to spend time on the farm with our kids and not at a farmers market. So that means the CSA members get our extras all summer long. Last year we had some bonus weeks where CSA members could try cajeta and some goat cheese. We can't sell it to you- but when we get a good week of milk and we don't know what to do with all that cheese, we share. Plus we want some feedback as we're learning how to make cheese and we need lots of practice and feedback.

So..... sign up now. Questions? email us...

Friday, January 7, 2011

Winter Squash

Wow. Winter Squash is soooooo under rated. Actually, I don't think it even makes it in our culture to be rated at all. Or are there folks out there that are eating lots of squash and I've been the only one missing out? Here is my squash advice. GROW and/or BUY and EAT SQUASH! Organic or naturally raised if possible of course.

And....drumroll.... squash is good for you.

The tally is still 90+ squash in our basement. I'll post picts of it later after I put in all in the same area.

Above is a Pink Banana Squash. It's not very pink as it just didn't turn pink but I have to say that this squash is not only HUGE (Mike cooked half of it for dinner) but it was so sweet and delicious. Mike cut it into chunks and then steamed it and then added some brown sugar and cinnamon. Although it did not need the brown sugar as it was sweet enough on its own.

I still have 2 more Pink Banana in the basement. This one is definitely on the list for the CSA next year in large quantities. I think each CSA member needs 4-6 of these during the last 4 weeks of CSA so that they can have squash till February.

One CSA member told me to try using these Carnival squash (orange ones) and the Sweet Dumpling squash (the little green and white ones) by stuffing them with sausage. The Carnival squash were good--but the sweet dumpling was OUTSTANDING!!!

This is a terribly focused picture of the stuffed squash but lets just say it again--- outstanding!
So note to self, go lighter on the carnival squash but triple up the sweet dumpling squash plants for next year. The sweet dumpling squash soaked up the fat from the Whole Hog Sausage and we had to fight each other for it--- seriously.

I'm gonna make Mike post his funny story about our Livestock Guardian Dog tomorrow. I might need a short video clip to complete the story..... so more to come.

Lastly, I'd like to ask a favor of you if you are reading this blog.
I've used Google Analytics to track the number of views of the blog, but then it started counting spammers after we linked to Facebook and the numbers got goofy.
I can see my followers on this blog but I don't believe they all follow the blog.

And I say all this because I still wonder how YOU found my blog and why YOU read my blog.

It's kind of funny when we get a call- like today- and someone knows about you and actually reads your blog that you don't know. For the woman who talked to Mike for 2 hours today-- he forgot to ask you your name again at the end of the conversation so send us an email. I think I have about 40 regular followers (mostly friends, family and CSA members and meat buyers) but maybe I've got more.

So do me a favor and just add a comment after reading this and say how you found out about the blog and why you read it.
That's it-- or if that's too much, just say hi.
Or if you don't like posting publicly, send me an email at

I'm just curious.....

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 -The Year of Food Education

I'm not really one for New Years Resolutions, however last night while at a party, I was struck so hard with the reality that we all still need lots of food education.

When folks don't know us and meet us at a party, and then find out we have a farm, what either happens is they say "wow" and then go talk to someone else or they start asking questions about farms or animals. Goes like this, "I always wondered...."

Last night a mother was explaining that the family was out at dinner and the conversation came around to "Hey, have you ever milked a cow?" and then how do they get the milk out of cows? and then "why do you milk them 2 times a day", etc,etc

The wife says to me, "My husband said that there are special kinds of cows that are dairy cows". I said, why yes, certain breeds of cows are usually used as Dairy cows because of the amount of milk they can produce in a day.

Then we get to the part of the conversation that threw me for a loop. She said something to the extent, "My husband also said that these cows are born as dairy cows and so they don't have to have baby cows to make milk". Now that's not exactly how she said it- but I really can't remember because the teacher in me said "Oh, no. Dairy cows are just cows that have had their babies taken from them and then usually someone else raises the baby. The cows need to have a baby cow every year or their milk production will go down." Generally there is a certain amount of time you let them rest after milking them and before you have a new baby cow but I don't know that yet, but will be learning soon". I think the mother felt like she knew this was the answer but wanted her husband to hear it- I have no idea if that was the case because after my 3 minute answer the conversation soon turned back to Dick Clark and football playoffs.

So I left the party wondering and perplexed that this seemly smart father didn't know about dairy cows. Well I thought, I didn't know anything about dairy cows or goats or chickens or anything about the food I eat until I got this farm and was forced to learn.

Why is it that we spend hours of research deciding what car we want to drive, or what computer to buy or what types of pots and pans are the best but we don't give our food much thought? A car payment and insurance can run $300-$600 per month which is about the same amount of money a family would spend on food.

I say this and then I also question myself. Do I pay attention to the kind of butter or sour cream or snack crackers I'm buying when I'm at the store? Do I know what kind of corn goes into my favorite chips? Yikes- when I think about it, it can be overwhelming. Maybe that's why I haven't done the research myself. It's time consuming.

So part of this blog this year will be to take 1 item a week and research it. The first few topics will be dairy related as we have 2 milking goats and soon we will have a family cow (my Christmas present!). She doesn't have a name but she's coming from a gorgeous dairy farm on the eastern shore. She is a Jersey cow and this type of cow is known for its creamy milk and high butterfat content. I see lots of homemade butter and buttermilk in our future as well as homemade ice cream. I guess I'm also going to learn a lot about veal and the harsh reality of milking an animal and the tactical choices for what to do with the baby cow when it is born.

Below is the link to the farm where our cow currently lives until she has her baby.

Here's to a year full of food education.