Week 16

Week 16: Thinking about fall

It's beginning to look a bit like autumn around here with the ragweed turning brown.

The new format for the preferred veggie form seems to be working well (for us, anyways; let us know if you feel differently!), so we'll probably stick with that for the rest of the season. As always, we’ll still try to make it as equitable as possible, even if you don’t fill out the form.

Bedtime for chickie-poos! (Sorry, we don't always talk like that to them, just when the inspiration strikes...)

As the weather starts to get a touch more brisk, and we have to start worrying about our tomatoes dying in the night, we can’t help but turn our thoughts to fall. On our minds especially are two warring priorities: getting a bunch of necessary things done before winter, and work-life-balance.

Our autumn garden: overrun by weeds, but still surprisingly productive!

It’s undeniable: we have a lot to do here on the farm, and some of those things are non-negotiable. But on our minds more lately are the things that aren’t going to make it on a to-do list but are still important, like going on a hike every once in a while (especially since we picked our location in part due to its proximity to all the beautiful natural areas nearby). So, while we’re still going strong with certain projects, we’re also looking forward to the time of year where we can slow down a bit and maybe even clean our house and hang some pictures (which hasn’t happened since we moved in nearly a year ago…).

On the farm front, though, one thing we are getting ready for is the arrival of sheep soon! We’re going to be given a few ewes by a farm we WWOOFed at last summer, and we have high hopes that they’ll be the solution to our ragweed problem, once we get them out in the field rotationally grazing. However, we do need to feed and shelter these sheep. We think they can live in the chicken coop (shown above) for a little while, but we want to construct a mobile sheep shelter that can move through the field with them. If you have any interest in helping us out with this building project, please get in touch!

Also, just a reminder to fill out this doodle form if you want to take part in our "THANK YOU!" CSA farm dinner.


In The Box

Hey, where's the Salad mix?! What is that Sorrel thing doing on there?! Well those who have been getting the salad mix recently have probably noticed that it's quality has changed (more bitter) as it "bolts" (transfers its energy to creating seeds rather than leaf). Well Sorrel is the last green out of that mix that hasn't fully bolted and it's looking good. Sorrel has a lemmony sour flavor. Try it in a soup or let it give your sandwich a nice kick.

Preferred veggie form found here.

- Jalapeno Peppers

- Sweet Peppers

- Carrots

- Ground Cherries

- String Beans (limited)

- Kohlrabi (only two)

- Broccoli (only one)

- Sorrel

- Cabbage (only two)

- Eggplant

- Summer Squash

- Apples

- Cherry Tomatoes

- Tomatoes

- Kale

- Basil

- Eggs

- Parsnips

- Potatoes

Recipe

Gnocchi

Gnocchi is one of those recipes that is actually kind of simple, but seems really gourmet when you make it. This recipe has only three ingredients, two of which you may be receiving from us (potato and eggs).

2 potatoes

2 c. flour

1 egg

1. Boil the potatoes until soft, perhaps 30 minutes. Most people here will tell you to peel the potatoes, but we’re big believers in leaving the skin on most vegetables that other people would peel, so I’m not going to tell you to get rid of it. You do you, though.

2. Mash the potatoes and mix them with the egg and flour. The key to getting a nice gnocchi is to keep the dough on the wet side, or else it will get too tough when you cook it. To that end, maybe don’t add all the flour until you know that your dough can support it all.

3. Roll out the dough into long snakes. Cut them into 1 inch pieces, and (optional) roll them against a fork to get a ridged texture and a little fold on each chunk.

4. Toss the little gnocchi dumplings into boiling water. You’ll know they’re cooked when they float to the surface.

And that’s it! When we make gnocchi, we often make a cream sauce to accompany it, and put it all together with some cooked/steamed green thing like kale or Brussels sprouts, and maybe some chopped walnuts and Parmesan cheese on top. Lots of variations on this one!


Brad's Food Philosophy Corner

Brad shares his reasons for farming, one per week!

Learning (and Holistic Thinking)!

Diversified small scale organic farming encourages one to be knowledgeable on a wide range of topics. Besides knowing the basics of growing specific plants, it helps to know botany generally, entomology (insects), mycology (fungi), meteorology, climatology, mechanical maintenance, veterinary services, animal behavior (domestic, predators), composting and soil science, marketing, business, finance, taxes, and others, I’m sure. Not only is breadth important, but depth too. While it may not seem important to know the scientific classification of a vegetable/weed, that knowledge could help you understand related plants and thus potential characteristics/vulnerabilities.

Beyond the joy of learning and self-improvement, this knowledge can open the door to other opportunities. For instance, someone learning about deer behavior because of predation problems could find themselves fascinated by the topic and end up eventually getting involved with statewide deer population politics.

Additionally, this wide variety of subject matter leads one to learn the importance of systems thinking and setting a holistic goal. Our Stateline Farm Beginnings course pointed out the importance of setting an overarching holistic goal because of the wide range of topics and competing priorities. In theory, this overarching holistic goal will allow us to intentionally direct our action and learning as well as “justify” that hike we want to take despite all the trees we should be planting. This “learning” I feel is something that can apply to anyone and I’m glad it is one of the lessons farming is teaching us!

And our chicken tractor is now...purple! (No surprises here, am I right?) Thanks, Alyssa and Brent, for coming up to help out on Sunday!