Saturday, June 30, 2012

Week 5 CSA basket

In your baskets this week:

Sugar snap peas, basil, cilantro, lettuce, chard, carrots, oregano, green onions, beets, radish, hakurei turnip, green beans, parsley, arugula.

What to do with those root vegetables (carrots, beets, radish, turnip, etc.): If you don't plan on using them soon, cut off the greens so that the roots don't get drained of their moisture. You can eat the greens of beets and turnips.

Coming soon! ~ new potatoes, cucumbers, lots of green beans...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Old habits die hard

We found a few of our laying hens roosting on the roof of their coop the other night and realized there wasn't enough roosting space inside the coop for them. They had somehow managed to escape because their desire to roost on something for the night was so strong.

Now that we've added more roosts, we still find a few hens on the roof of the coop. Old habits do die hard.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Remember that horrible day when we found our lettuce bed infested with cabbage loopers? Well. Jason had the smart idea to transplant the healthy lettuce heads out of that bed and into other ones. It took him and his dad almost a whole day to complete the task and I was so worried we'd find the newly planted beds annihilated any day. But his plan worked! We have over 100 heads of healthy lettuce now. So satisfying.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Week 4 CSA basket

Happy summer!

You'll get the following in this week's basket:

Sugar snap peas, kale, chard, lettuce, arugula, basil, cilantro, golden chard, d'avignon radish, garlic chives, shelling peas and mint.

Who wants to cook on a sultry summer day? Try a "Longhaul salad" - chiffonade some kale, arugula and lettuce; chop as many herbs as you can (we love basil, cilantro, parsley, chives or scallion) and toss together with your favorite dressing. Our dressing last night: 1 cup white balsamic vinegar, a splash of water, heaping teaspoon of sugar (or jam or honey), teaspoon of salt, one garlic clove minced, about 1 cup olive oil (adjust to your taste).

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fully planted!

Jason transplanting cabbage behind potato plants
My goal was to get everything into the ground by the summer solstice (not counting all of those good fall greens and root crops coming our way). And we've done it! Yesterday we put out cabbage, Brussels sprouts, rutabaga, and intercropped some daikon radish and lettuce with the cucumbers at our expansion plot across the road. For the next 2-3 weeks we can turn our attention to weeding, pruning, staking, watering, harvesting and -- dare I say -- relaxing.

An artichoke!

Last year we attempted to grow artichokes using a special variety that is hardy even in Maine. Of our 20 plants, only one survived the winter. And behold... it is artichoking! We'll try again next year to establish this tasty vegetable.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The hens' new home

 This weekend we rallied some neighbors and their family and friends to build the over-wintering chicken coop for our laying hens. One of our neighbors created the plan, and together with his son-in-law, his good friend and another neighbor and his sons, we managed to raise the coop in just 11 hours (48 person-hours!). It is such a beautiful building, I almost hate to give it to the birds. There are removable slatted floor boards for easy cleaning, a heavy-duty roof to handle the winter snow, solid walls and craftsmanship to keep out predators, and a door big enough for us to get into comfortably.

What's left to do?... just nesting boxes for the layers, a door, a paint job, and somehow getting wheels on the structure so it can be the mobile coop we need.

The crew who helped us was not only amazing for their skill, but for their sense of community. Again, I am amazed and heart-warmed by new friends lending their time and effort to accomplish a task that would have taken me and Jason days to complete. Thanks so much to you all who helped.

Eggs and chickens-for-cooking will be available in about 3 months... looking forward to sharing.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Week 3 CSA basket

Expect the following in this week's share:

Bok choy, tatsoi cabbage, salad mix (baby lettuce, baby beet greens, arugula), shelling peas, chard, kale, oregano and chives.

Savor those peas! They are sweet and crunchy and a perfect snack or addition to risotto.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Week 2 CSA basket

Harvesting kale
In your week 2 baskets: spinach (washed + dried), tatsoi cabbage, bok choy, radishes, a small head of red romaine (we found out slugs don't like the red stuff), kale and sage.

Our favorite thing to do with sage is to brown some butter, throw the sage in to crisp up a bit and then use it as the "sauce" for ravioli, or mix it in with some pearl couscous.

More wild life

As we were planting out sweet potato slips, we found this little guy.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Recipe with kale

Massaged kale salad

Ingredients: Kale, salt, olive oil, any other salad ingredient you like

Preparing: I can't take credit for this one. It is a hit on both coasts, and I believe the "original" recipe is from the book Feeding the Whole Family. The basic gist is to de-stem the kale if the stems are tough (we leave the stems on), roll the kale leaves and chiffonade them. Add some salt and massage the kale for a few minutes (it will reduce in volume by about half and turn to a darker green color). Then add your favorite salad ingredients and dressing.

Eating: This salad can be a whole meal if you add avocado, some seasonal fruit, a nut of sorts (we like toasted pepitas) and cheese.

Dish history: I had heard about this technique before but didn't try it until my brother and sister-in-law from San Francisco insisted we make it. It is worth getting your hands into.

Soil blocking

We are moving up in the farming world. Finally, we've gotten ourselves some soil blockers.

These are nifty hand tools that create small blocks of soil for sowing seeds. In the past, we have used cell flats or milk crates to sow our seeds, and there are shortcomings to these methods: with flats seedlings become root-bound because once they hit the plastic they start to coil around themselves; and with milk crates the roots co-mingle and make it more difficult to separate the seedlings when transplanting out.

So. The soil blocks prevent both of these root tragedies because when roots hit the air they actually stop growing, waiting until they hit soil again. Transplanting will also become a breeze.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The first basket

We gave out our first CSA baskets to our Friday members yesterday. Phew... it's official! Mother Nature would not let us delay this first harvest, as our broccoli raab had already been harvested for 2 weeks, our spinach was not enjoying the warm weather and the garlic scapes popped up 2 weeks earlier than I anticipated.

Vegetables we included in our full share basket: scapes, kale, tatsoi cabbage, chives, raab, radishes, beet green/spinach mix and a handful o' peas. Recipe ideas are always available on the Recipes page on this website.

Thanks again for all who are supporting us. We were rejuvenated by our harvest and a good day of sowing and transplanting and are heading into June happily and on schedule.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Recipe with scapes

Grilled scapes

Ingredients: Scapes, olive oil, salt and pepper

Preparing: Toss the entire scape (no need to cut off the flower end or the stalk end) in olive oil, salt and pepper. Throw on the grill until mildly charred.

Eating: With your fingers!

Dish history: Had this the other night with some special friends. We harvested what looked like way too many for 4 people, but they were so delicious we devoured the whole bowl.