Monday, November 24, 2014

A Thanksgiving pardon

Call us softies, but when we got requests from three people to spare one of our turkeys... and when Seneca asserted, "but not the old one," when we told her the turkeys were going away... and when she outmaneuvered us endlessly the morning of the harvest... we decided to pardon one of our Black Spanish birds, "the old one," the lady who was always smarter than the rest of 'em and the one, frankly, who we just couldn't bear to do in. There is no wonder such a pardon exists. Enjoy the holiday.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

All's quiet on the farm

All's quiet on the farm. (Except for those baby chicks who think it's funny when we chase them each evening in the dark to get them back in their coop, safe and sound.)

Seriously, there is a void on the farm. Our pigs are gone, and the sounds of them frolicking in the woods, eating their feed, moving around in their hut, running up to Jason each morning... all gone. I felt this void last year, too, after we shipped our pigs off to a slaughterhouse to come back as delicious, packaged protein that we thoroughly enjoyed and shared all year long.

But this year's feeling is different, because this year's slaughter was different. There was no shipping off. There were intense, intimate moments with our three pigs up until their slaughter and even just after. With the help of a skilled friend, we took the lives of "the brown one," "Brigitte" and "the other one," as I so affectionately called them. Images from that morning are, thankfully, now ingrained in me. I will never be the same. Which sounds dramatic. But I only wish people could still have such real experiences with life and nature and death in order to grow and situate themselves appropriately in the world and in existence.

When the three of them were dead - when there was silence - I felt so conflicted. I felt respect, joy, sadness, relief, guilt... but mostly I felt love (again, dramatic - but true). I wanted so badly to hug my kid right after the deeds were done (only after I hugged those pigs, of course).

I can't express how thankful I am to have had this experience.

Now 5 days later, after we butchered the pigs under the tutelage of a master butcher right in our very own garage, after we vacuum sealed all of our precise cuts until midnight that evening, and after I cooked up a delicious country-style pork chop for dinner the next day, I'm expecting the cold weather to set in for a winter of rest and reflection.

Monday, October 20, 2014

2015 season begins

Seneca and I started our 2015 planting season last week, planting garlic into some newly prepared beds. Garlic has a long growing season, so the cloves are put in the ground in October in these parts, where they start to grow enough to have a head start in the spring, but not so much that they are damaged by the cold winter to come.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Recipe w/ winter squash

Miso-butternut squash soup w/ black beans and cilantro salsa

Ingredients: onion, olive oil, ginger, cumin, cayenne, butternut squash, miso broth*, cream, cooked black beans, yellow tomatoes, cilantro, shallot, sherry vinegar, salt and pepper

Preparing: Dice your onion and cook gently in olive oil. Add grated fresh ginger, 1-2 tsp cumin, a splash of cayenne pepper and stir for 1 minute. Next add cubed butternut squash, salt and pepper, and miso stock (about 4 cups of stock to one medium squash). Cook until squash is tender. Puree soup until very smooth. Put back on heat and stir in heavy cream (about 1/2-1 cup, to taste), cooked black beans, and chopped yellow tomatoes. Heat through.

Eating: Serve hot soup with this garnish/salsa: cilantro leaves, sliced shallot, 1-2 Tbsp sherry vinegar and salt.

Dish history: Leftover miso-squash soup (original adaptation from here) with some freshy-harvested black beans and end-of-season yellow brandywines... delicious. If you don't like cilantro (shame on you), at least stir in some sherry vinegar to the soup before eating.

* To make miso broth: I suppose everyone has their own method... I heat 1 cup of water for each Tbsp of miso paste. But the key is stirring the miso paste in a small amount of that water until it forms a paste, and then stirring it into the rest of the hot water. Never let miso stock boil.

Recipe w/ parsnips

Parsnips w/ ginger

Ingredients: parsnips, butter, ginger, sour cream, salt + pepper

Preparing: Cut your parsnips into matchstick-thin strips. Blanch them in boiling water for 2 minutes. Cook grated fresh ginger in some melted butter for 2-3 minutes. Then add the parsnips, s+p. Next, add sour cream and toss to coat. At this point you can either continue to cook until hot on the stovetop, or pop it in the oven at 375F for about 15 minutes (the latter will result in a drier dish).

Eating: A good side dish to some stewed or braised red meat.

Dish history: Another adaptation from Classic Home Cooking.

October 2014 Workation

Thank you to all who joined our fall workation on Saturday. We had about 60 people join us here for some work in the garden - clearing beds and preparing them for the long winter and even weeding our fruit trees. It really means a lot to us and our farm to see so many friends, family and neighbors come together for a community day.

Enjoy some photos and the recipe for the corn chowder...

Recipe w/ corn

Corn chowder

Ingredients: onions, carrots, celery, olive oil, tarragon, potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, chicken stock, corn, heavy cream, salt and pepper (serves 6-8)

Preparing: Dice your onions, carrots and celery and sweat in a pot with some olive oil. Meanwhile, chop potatoes (we don't peel ours), sweet potatoes and winter squash (we use butternut squash and delicata) to desired size, about 1/2 inch chunks. Once onions are translucent, add tarragon and salt and pepper and stir for 1 minute. Next add potatoes, squash and 4 cups of chicken broth and 4 cups of water. Simmer, partially covered, until potatoes and squash are tender. Then add corn kernels from about 4 ears of corn (if frozen, be sure to thaw them beforehand) and 2 cups heavy cream. Heat to hot and taste for salt.

Eating: Add grated cheddar cheese to each soup bowl and ladle the hot chowder on top.

Dish history: Made this for our 2014 October workation - a nice, hot soup on a cold, rainy day.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Final CSA basket

Baby chicks have arrived!
We have reached the end of our CSA season - thanks to you all for being a part of it!

Expect the following in this final basket:
Potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, peppers, eggplant, beets, radishes, kale, braising mix, arugula, lettuce, parsley, leeks

Monday, September 29, 2014

Week 19 CSA basket

Expect the following in this next-to-last basket:

Butternut squash, pie pumpkins, potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, leeks, greens (a variety of them), parsley, scallions, peppers, eggplant.

These baby pam pumpkins we're giving you (courtesy of PJD's growing) are meant to be eaten! Their flesh is sweet and smooth. Nothing beats a pumpkin pie or some pumpkin tacos.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Week 18 CSA basket

This is the last of the corn - and likely last of the tomatoes, too. But we still have a lot of squash for you and plenty of greens.

Speaking of greens, our turkeys seemed to take a liking to them. When I went out this morning to harvest our perfect-looking bok choy, I found them in there helping themselves to some for breakfast. Sadly, that means that those flawless leaves now have a few nibbles in them. Still delicious, though.

Still on greens... we've lopped off the tops of our Brussels sprouts plants. This encourages the sprouts to grow rather than the plant to grow taller. So we're giving out B. sprouts tops this week (Friday members got them last week). We eat them like cabbage or make them in the style of kale chips.

Expect the following this week:
Tomatoes, corn, peppers, leeks, potatoes, arugula, bok choy, chard or kale, scallions, parsley, cilantro, spaghetti squash, delicata squash, butternut squash.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Week 17 CSA basket

All that squash and corn you've been receiving has come from the fields of Boscobel, farmed by one of your fellow neighbors and CSA members. Many thanks! And this week we've harvested the remaining winter squash there: spaghetti squash, butternut squash and pie pumpkins. There's a break in sweet corn this week, but more to come next week. And all those fall greens we planted in August should start being ready then, too.

Expect the following this week:
Tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, peppers, spaghetti squash, lettuce, arugula, braising mix, parsley, cilantro, basil.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Recipe w/ spaghetti squash

Roasted spaghetti squash

Ingredients: Spaghetti squash, butter, garlic, cumin, coriander, cayenne, parsley or cilantro or chives

Preparing: Slice the spaghetti squash in half along the meridian. Scoop out seeds. Place a 1/4 inch of water in a roasting pan, add squash cut side down and roast squash at 375 for about 40 minutes. Once squash is out of the oven, melt butter in a pan and add 203 cloves minced garlic. Then add cumin, coriander and cayenne (in a 2:1:pinch ratio) and salt to taste. Turn off heat once garlic is lightly browned. When squash is cool enough to handle, hold over a the garlic-spice pan and use a fork to scrape out the spaghetti-like strands. Stir and saute more if you'd like a little brown to your squash. Stir in chopped parsley or cilantro or chives at end.

Eating: Delicious side dish.

Dish history: I remember seeing this recipe on, a great cooking blog.

Recipe w/ delicata squash

Delicata squash rings

Ingredients: delicata squash, salt, oil, spices of choosing (I'd go either sweet, e.g., cinnamon, nutmeg and a touch of brown sugar, or savory, e.g., cumin, coriander, cayenne)

Preparing: The skin on delicata squash is edible! So just slice your squash into 1/2 inch rounds, scoop out the seeds and admire those pretty fluted circles. Then salt the rounds and let sit for ~30 minutes. Rinse squash. Then re-sprinkle with salt. Heat oil in a heavy cast iron pan or otherwise and add squash rings. If you keep enough space around them, they'll brown and crisp nicely. If you crowd them you'll get more of a steaming effect. Both good, depends on your intention. Takes about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from heat to a platter and sprinkle with your spices of choosing.

Eating: You could even top these rings with a relish or slaw. Or make use of the seeds that you removed: sprinkle them with salt and cumin, bake them for ~20 minutes and then put them on top of the rings.

Dish history: I think I've seen this in a Thanksgiving menu or two. Very versatile and easy since there's no peeling of the squash.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Week 16 CSA basket

Delicata squash
Fall crops are beginning to make their appearance - we harvested the delicata squash and the spaghetti squash this week - while the tomatoes are holding on strong.

Expect the following this week:
Tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, corn, potatoes, shallots, onions, peppers, eggplant, chard, parsley, arugula, lettuce, delicata squash and spaghetti squash

~ ~ ~
Here are two easy recipes for delicata squash and spaghetti squash. Enjoy!

Spaghetti squash

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Week 15 CSA basket

Another happy pepper
Our ancho (poblano) peppers are our most successful pepper this year. They are very mildly spicy and stuffing them with a delicious rice mixture (maqluba, but any rice mixture would work, vegetarian or meat-based) and then baking them for about 30 minutes @ 400F. Then we serve them with a tatziki or labneh-style yogurt dish as a topping. Recipe here...

We'll be checking the field this morning to see if the next batch of corn is ready. Otherwise, expect the following in this week's basket:

Tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, sweet peppers, hot peppers, edamame, leeks, kale, radicchio (tender green/red leaves, not the usual round red head), lettuce, parsley, basil, cilantro, dill

Recipe w/ peppers

Stuffed poblano peppers

Ingredients: poblano peppers (i.e., ancho pepper; could also use a sweet pepper), rice mixture (we used , but you could use any of your favorite rice dishes, leftovers are best)

Preparing: Make your favorite rice dish (we adapted the maqluba recipe from the Jerusalem cookbook, using basmati rice, eggplant, delicata squash, veal/pork meatballs, tomatoes, onion, garlic, turneric, cinnamon, allspice, cardamom). Slice the tops of your poblano peppers off and remove seeds and membrances and then stuff them with the rice mixture. Poblanos are very mildly spicy and have a lot of depth once roasted. Place the stuffed peppers in an oiled baking dish and roast for 40 minutes @ 400F. A broil at the end will nicely blacken the peppers if they haven't already.

Eating: We served these with a yogurt/cucumber topping dish (grate a cucumber into some greek-style or strained yogurt; smash a garlic clove in salt until you get a fine paste; combine all with olive oil and garnish with a sprinkle of sumac or paprika).

Dish history: Poblanos have been our most successful pepper this season, so with the abundance - and with the delicious leftover maqluba - we decided to try the classic stuffed pepper.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Recipe w/ corn + edamame

Corn + edamame salad

Ingredients: corn, edamame, cilantro, onion, hot red pepper (fresh), white balsamic dressing

Preparing: Cut corn kernels off of the cob. Boil edamame pods for 7 minutes in salted water and once cool take beans out of the pods. Dice your favorite onion (we use red onion, shallot or scallion, whatever's on hand). Roughly chop cilantro (or parsley or basil, whatever you've got). Combine corn, edamame, onion and herbs. If you like a bit of heat, finely slice a fresh hot red pepper (we use hot portugal or a red jalapeno) - this adds great color, too. Toss with your favorite vinaigrette. A mayonnaise-based dressing also works really well with the corn.

Eating: A summer salad for lunch or dinner.

Dish history: With lots of corn and edamame on board at the same time, this is a delicious combo of the two.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Week 14 CSA basket

The last basket before Labor Day, before back-to-school, before we start thinking fall... There will be a lot of corn again and you'll find celery in the basket (freshly cut celery is delicious! save the celery greens for soup stocks - just freeze them in a ziploc until you make your next chicken soup). We'll be digging up some potatoes, too, and might even throw a few leeks into the basket.

Also new this week: edamame! You'll get a bag of pods (we already took them off of the plant for you) - just boil in salted water for 6-8 minutesre-salt them once drained, and pop the beans right out of the pod for a tasty snack.

Expect the following this week:
Corn, edamame, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, eggplant (still slow and small due to the cool summer we've been having), peppers (hot and sweet), chard, kale, potatoes, leeks?, onions, parsley, cilantro, dill, scallions.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Week 13 CSA basket

Lots of corn! What you can't eat fresh, please freeze for your winter corn chowders. Just cut the kernels off of the cob and freeze in bags. (Some sources say to blanch the kernels first, but I never do.)

Expect the following in this week's basket:
Corn, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, peppers (hot and sweet), beets, Chinese cabbage, collard greens, parsley, cilantro, dill, basil, onions, scallions.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Being a small-scale farmer...

... Please take a few minutes to read this article just in The New York Times. This is not news to us, as micro-farmers who hold down a farm, a half-time job, 5 teaching gigs and a few other things on the side, but I think it sets us all up for an interesting discussion of (1) what we want the future of our food to look like and (2) how we're going to afford it as both producers and consumers.

Week 12 CSA basket

We're in the middle of summer bounty. Please bring extra bags this week for your produce!

We're giving you onions this week. We'll have just harvested them so they'll still have their green tops on. If you plan on using your onions in the next few weeks, feel free to also use those green tops just like you would scallions or chives. If you plan on storing your onions for 2 or more weeks, then we recommend you don't cut the greens off and instead put them in a dry place near a windowsill for ~10 days so they have time to "cure" (i.e., the tops will dry and the onions will resemble the ones you are used to buying in the store). Then you can store them as usual.

Expect the following this week:
Tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, onions, garlic, lettuce, parsley, cilantro, dill, scallions, beets, corn, summer squash, cucumbers, watermelon, chard.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Week 11 CSA basket

It's tomato time! We've grown a variety of heirlooms - cherokee purple, black krim, brandywine, yellow brandywine, cherokee purple, martha washington, german johnson, amarillo grande, valencia - some saucing tomatoes - juliets, amish paste, san marzanos - and, of course, cherry tomatoes.

Expect the following in this week's basket:
tomatoes, peppers (sweet and hot), fennel, cucumbers, summer squash, garlic, arugula, lettuce (last of it  for a few weeks!), kale, cilantro, basil, parsley

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Week 10 CSA basket

Officially at the half-way point of the season...

And this week is Longhaul Farm's Summer Camp! We've got a group of kids joining us on the farm to learn about animals, plants, soil, nature and health.

Expect the following in this week's basket:
Cucumbers, squash, lettuce, parsley, eggplant, green beans, new potatoes, carrots, collard greens.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Week 9 CSA basket

We are nearing the middle of the season, so we'd like to invite everyone out to the farm on Friday from 5-7 for our annual mid - season weeding party... We'll provide some snacks and beverages while we all do a group weeding session. This is completely voluntary.

Expect the following in this week's basket:
Carrots, green beans, fennel, lettuce, chard, basil, parsley, summer squash, scallions

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Recipe w/ bitter greens

Bitter green salad w/ warm basil vinagrette

Ingredients: frisee, radicchio, dandelion, sorrel - or any other bitter green, basil, vinegar, shallot, olive oil, honey, salt, blue cheese (optional), bacon (optional)

Preparing: Chop the bitter greens into rather small pieces. Slice a shallot thinly and chiffonade some basil leaves. Warm some vinegar (white balsamic, balsamic, cider) on the stovetop in a small saucepan and add the shallot. Cook until softened. Whisk in some honey and salt and throw in the basil leaves. Once the vinegar is barely simmering, whisk in olive oil (use more olive oil than vinegar, by volume) and heat until just warm. Pour the warm vinaigrette over your prepared greens and mix gently.

Eating: Top these greens with blue cheese, or maybe feta or goat cheese, some crispy bacon pieces and some more torn basil leaves.

Dish history: Bitter greens are really bitter! But they are the healthiest for you. So softening them up with a warm dressing helps cut the bite and you still get the benefits of eating raw greens.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Week 8 CSA basket

Last week we processed our first cohort of meat chickens. Started with 30 in mid-May and ended up with 29 Freedom Rangers (lost one to a hawk). They clocked in at 4.3-6.9 lbs after they were dressed and ready for eating. I have to give a special thanks to HL, a fellow CSA member and neighbor, who volunteered with us to process the birds at a local farm (that has exceptional facilities). He was supurb, taking part in both the killing and the eviscerating. And I'm quite sure he'll never look at a chicken on his plate the same way again.

Which is precisely what happened to me when I started eating meat that I had a hand in raising and harvesting. I still eat it - enjoy it! love it! - but I have a different relationship with the chicken or turkey or pork on my plate. And while this is not for everyone, I truly enjoy this new relationship and would never go back.

Speaking of what might be on your plate... expect the following in this week's basket:
Green beans, summer squash, beets, radicchio, endive, dandelion greens, lettuce, kale or collards, basil, parsley, cilantro/dill.

~~~ We grow a version of radicchio that has green and red leaves (rather than the standard white and red) - Palla di Fuoco Rossa from Italy - and it is bitter and delicious and holds up to braising or sauteeing (if I cook it I always finish it with balsamic dressing in the pan). Our endive is also known as "frisee" - Tres Fine Maraishere Olesh from France) - and holds up well with either a regular salad dressing or warm vinaigrette. And our dandelion greens, well, they are just the healthiest greens you could eat (and next comes collards...).

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Recipe w/ summer squash II

Squash ribbon salad

Ingredients: summer squash, parmesan cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper

Preparing: Use a vegetable peeler to make long ribbons with your squash: toss the peel if it's too tough for your liking and when you get to the seedy part in the middle compost that or save for another use. Toss your ribbons with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Eating: If you use the freshest squash you've ever had, i.e., just picked that afternoon, you really can't beat the texture or flavor.

Dish history: We actually had a version of this dish at D.O.C. Wine Bar in Williamsburg, BK many, many, many years ago and have made it ever since.

Recipe w/ summer squash

Simple sauteed squash

Ingredients: summer squash, butter, basil, salt

Preparing: Cut any type of summer squash (e.g., zephyr yellow, costata romanesca, patty pan, standard zucchini) to about 1/8-1/4" slices (thicker=more sauteeing time). Melt butter in pan, saute for a few minutes to desired tenderness (the longer you saute, the more butter the squash absorbs, the more tender the squash; so also: don't skimp on the butter). Toss in ripped or chopped basil when heat is off and season with salt and pepper.

Eating: Hot off the pan. We had it with bbq chicken, but it is really so versatile.

Dish history: We have a lot of summer squash right now, and since we had squash fritters last night and squash ribbon salad the night before, we had to have this version tonight. So simple and summery.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Week 7 CSA basket

Baskets will begin to get hotter and heavier now. Roots are here. Fennel's beautiful. And those beans, they are prolific. But this is the point in the season where I am torn over whether to continue to give greens in the baskets or not... some people are sick of kale and others can't live without it.

Expect the following this week:
Green beans, beets, fennel, carrots, arugula, lettuce, basil, parsley, summer squash, kale or chard.

--> Use your fennel fronds and roast that fennel bulb if you're not already chopping it up for a crunchy slaw! And make those beets go a long way: shred them into a fresh salad (no need for peeling even).

Monday, June 30, 2014

Week 6 CSA basket

July is here, which means hundreds of new seed starts and turning over of beds. We still have abundant greens, but roots and fruits are coming along. You will get more sugar snap peas this week and possibly green beans. Carrots and beets are soon to follow. And we've eaten our first few ripe tomatoes!

Expect the following this week:
Arugula, lettuce, cilantro, dill, parsley, basil, sugar snap peas, kale or collards, cabbage, radishes, maaaaybe beans.

--> --> --> Think you're tired of greens? Try eating them this way. Yum.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Week 5 CSA basket

Busy times on the farm... for whatever reason the weeds are booming a week earlier than last year so we are catching up on that daunting task. The tomato plants have grown what seems like a foot in just a few days! So we are on to tomato pruning and trellising, too. And our potato plants are flowering, which means new potatoes will be in your baskets soon.

But the newest star this week is the sugar snap pea. Unlike last week's shelling peas, the sugar snap has a sweet, crispy, edible pod. Eat them as snacks or slice them thinly on the diagonal and dress with orange, orange juice, mint and some greens for a delicious salad.

Expect the following in your baskets this week:
Sugar snaps, hakurei turnips, radishes, chard, lettuce, lettuce mix, kohlrabi, collards, arugula, basil.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Recipe for salad dressing

Here's my becoming-famous salad dressing recipe:

1 spoonful dijon mustard
1 spoonful honey from a local farm
1 bruised garlic clove from a local farm
big pinch of kosher salt
2/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 1/3 cup good extra virgin olive oil

Put all ingredients in a pint-sized mason jar and shake well before pouring onto your greens.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Week 4 CSA basket

When you farm and you go away for a weekend you are always amazed at how fast everything grows. Especially the grass. And especially the weeds.

But these hot days have also given us shelling peas. And the greens are still going strong.

Expect the following in this week's basket:
Lettuce, lettuce mix, braising mix, kale, cilantro, dill, basil, arugula, hakurei turnips or radishes, cabbage, shelling peas.

When you receive your shelling peas you will appreciate every bag of frozen peas you ever buy from now on. They are a lot of work (to harvest! and) to shell, and even though the volume of green that you get might be but a cup, the flavor and crispness of the peas are so worth it! Eat them as soon as you can while all the sugars are still strong. If you must cook with them rather than eat them on the car ride home, showcase them in a dish, either as the star of a spring soup or salad, served on burrata, ricotta or other fresh cheese, or in a risotto, paired perfectly with mint or orange zest.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

"You're the only farmer I know who..."

"... has their toenails painted."

I ask, "but do you know why I have my toenails painted?"


"To hide how dirty my feet really are."

Monday, June 9, 2014

Week 3 CSA basket

The spinach is bolting, the garlics are scaping and some more sunny days will bring us the shelling peas.
Garlic scapes

Spinach is a "long day" plant, which means it wants to flower once the days are long (12+ of daylight) - that's why you only get spinach in the spring and fall: by mid-June, all the plants want to "go to seed." And this late winter gave spinach a slower-than-usual start, so we are operating on the shortest window yet to grow spinach out in the fields. Lettuce is also a long day plant, but ours is still looking full and beautiful and you'll get plenty of it this week.

courtesy of C. Kaye Photography
Meanwhile, garlic has been in the ground since October of last year (because it requires the longest growing season of all of our crops). Around this time it sends up a "scape," which would eventually turn into a flower. If a garlic plant (or onion, or shallot plant) flowers, then the energy of the plant is spent making a healthy flower full of seeds, as opposed to being spent forming a nice, big bulb that we know and love. So we break the garlic scapes off and enjoy eating them for their mild garlic flavor and leave the garlic head to grow in the ground.

Finally, our peas are puffing out. I tasted some sweet shelling peas today, and if we get some sun, we'll have them next week for you. The sugar snap peas are also climbing high at nearly 5 feet now, starting to flower and grow their sweet, crisp pods.

Expect the following in your baskets this week:

Lettuce, kale, collards, bok choy, tatsoi cabbage, radishes, garlic scapes, arugula, spinach.

Chop up your garlic scapes into your salad! Chop it all up into your salad! This is the time to eat fresh, fresh, fresh after a looooong winter and spring gap of vegetables.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Week 2 CSA

The cold, slow spring is almost past. Even though some standard crops are not yet ready due to cooler-than-usual soil and air temperatures (e.g., radishes, turnips), we will have an abundance of greens for you! Expect the following in this week's basket:

Lots of lettuce, kale, chard, braising mix, bok choy or tatsoi cabbage, scallions, arugula, maaayybe radishes.

And here's my becoming-famous salad dressing recipe:

1 spoonful dijon mustard
1 spoonful honey from a local farm
1 bruised garlic clove from a local farm
big pinch of kosher salt
2/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 1/3 cup good extra virgin olive oil
Put all ingredients in a pint-sized mason jar and shake well before pouring onto your greens.

Putnam County is farming

Our tiny New York county is farming. Traditionally home to many horse boarding farms, the number of vegetable, fruit and grain growers is, well, growing. Thanks to efforts by local Glynwood Farm and the County agriculture office, we will soon know all about what's going on here. Take a look at this article posted last week in The Journal News by our friendly local reporter, Ned Rauch. And we'll be in touch with results from the "Keep Putnam Farming" farmer survey that is now being conducted.

Saturday, May 31, 2014


Our pigs have arrived!

Two Old spots and one Old spotxTamworth cross. Colin from Hog Wild Farm delivered them in the back of his pick-up truck while he and his family were on their way to a wedding at nearby Glynwood Farm. They are tinier than we expected!... only having been weaned from their mama for 2 days. Right now they're a bit scared of us, but offering them whey and food scraps is allowing us to get close enough to give them a scratch behind the ears.

The dominant Old spotxTamworth cross gave us a scare last night in the middle of our 6-course fundraiser dinner for Hudson Valley Seed. As Jason was closing up the animals for the night, just as it was dark, he heard some small grunting near the chicken coop. Strange. The pig pen is not next to the chicken coop. So he moved the flashlight to just under the brush and found our little piglet strolling around, not in its hut, but outside of the electric fence and about 300 feet from home. Jason came down to our dinner and recruited 3 friends. The other guests heard the sounds of people running through the woods, breaking branches, falling, sometimes a pig squeal and saw flashlights bopping around in the woods. As I came out with the dessert course of hot rhubarb crumble topped with communaly-whipped cream we heard a final squeal and then some cheers. Hurrah! They got him... he was spooked and ran right into the arms of our friend, Dutch. Now that's a farm experience.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Eating leek greens

Most recipes and the French have always called for the "white and pale green parts" of the leeks only. But then what do you do with those leek greens? Please cook with them! You can chop them up and cook them as you would onions. They add green to your dishes. They are great with eggs, in risottos, on pizzas, in soups and many other meals that start off with the classic carrot, celery and onion sweat (in place of the onions). If you have a juicer, you can also juice the greens and use them as a base to a delicious salad dressing or marinade. Just another step to reducing food waste...

Enjoying flowers for more than their beauty

Yellow kale flowers
We can all agree that flowers are beautiful, but many of us don't know that they can also be delicious.

When a vegetable plant flowers, wanting to "go to seed," the tiny flowers are a delicious garnish to salads, soups, potatoes, eggs or anything else. Scallion and leek flowers taste oniony and add a teeny-tiny crunch. Arugula flowers are peppery. Kale an other brassica flowers are spicy and mistardy.

So don't throw them away or pass them by! Enjoy them on your next meal.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Making minds meet

On May 3rd we convened a group of friends on a Saturday to discuss daunting issues related to the sustainability of our ecology, our economy and our health.

We started from the premise that we all accepted the idea that the way the great majority of us currently live is unsustainable, and that continuing on the same course without deep change will leave a world behind for the next generation that is increasingly unhealthy, unhappy, unequal, and unable to sustain a growing human population. 

We have become impatient waiting for scientific or political consensus on the exact degree to which we are in trouble, and believe together we must begin the work of envisioning a more sustainable and joyful way of life at both the individual and societal levels.  
And so we turned to our friends to join in this work. 

With just one day planned for talks, we invited a small group of people across different disciplines to talk about where they and their worlds fit into these issues. With representatives from the fields of research, environment, public health, law, social justice, media and journalism, food and agriculture, landscape architecture, planning, design, art and culture, and politics, we sat together with family and engaged in serious dialogue for eight hours. Each talk was inspiring, imformative and eye-opening, some even revolutionary. (see the speakers and topics below.)

Now that we've met, exchanged ideas, gotten the ball rolling, we have to keep the momentum up. We can't let these ideas fizzle in the summer heat. So we'll start acting and reporting back on some of our progress.

~ ~ ~

Inaugural convening of "Meeting of Minds"
Saturday, May 3, 2014
Abrupt climate change or abrupt societal transformation? Which comes first?
Radley Horton, Research Scientist, Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University

Reversing the reversing trend in life expectancy: Corporate and cultural responsibilities in promoting the public’s health
Jocelyn Apicello, Farmer, Longhaul Farm | Educator, William Paterson University and Bard College Prison Initiative

The opportunities and limitations of ethical consumption
Dahni-El Giles, Attorney | Social entrepreneur

The reality of making a living in the sustainable food system
Pablo Elliott, Farmer, Marble House Project

Walking the mundane - towards a productive urban landscape
David Seiter, Principal, Future Green Studio

News organizations today and the shift towards sustainable communications
Ned Rauch, Environment Reporter, The Journal News

Art & social activism: From the farm to Sao Paolo
Cannon Hersey, Artist | Organizer

Undamming the mass movement: Exploring barriers to sustainability progress at the government, community, and individual levels
Jason Angell, Farmer, Longhaul Farm | Advocate

Monday, May 12, 2014

The chickens and the crows: A love story

I can't begin to explain the wonder I feel when I think about the relationship that is going on between our chickens and the crows.

Let me back up a bit... we live in hawk country. I mean HAWK country. Herds of them, flying overhead, sitting in our red pines, swooping right down into our backyard to pick-up a field mouse (you should see Seneca's impression of this). And worst of all: attacking our chickens. They just do it for sport... spot them, swoop down on them, pin them, and peck them enough to kill, but not enough to enjoy a meal. It's cruel, but nature.

And the strangest part about these hawks praying on our laying hens is the wild crows' reactions. When a hawk perches itself on a low branch, just above our chicken coop, ready to take any bird oblivious enough to be taken (i.e., any of them), a pack of crows starts cawing. Loudly. And they begin to dart at the hawk, not scaring it, just annoying it enough because the chickens scramble to the underbrush and the hawk has now to deal with 3 to 4 screaming crows in its face. We even see the crows chasing the hawk in thy sky, mid-flight, darting at it as it glides away. And now whenever I hear screaming crows, I throw Seneca on my back, slip on some boots and run outside to make sure our layers are ok.

I am not quite sure why those crows protect our chickens. But here's my theory: the crows love our compost piles, we love our chickens, so the crows protect our birds. And now we love the crows, too.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Brooding baby chicks

We've got week-old Freedom Rangers out on pasture, foraging in the grass and soaking up sunshine. These future broilers are already showing happy signs of life, fighting over food, playing and sometimes ruffling their feathers at one another. Jason has built a proper home for them where we can control the temperature with heat lamps, secure them from predators, and be sure they have enough space to grow. Seneca is enjoying bossing them all around, although she'll be surprised in just a few weeks when this flock of 30 becomes adult-sized.