Thanks to Glen and Anna today for harvesting with us, and we were all very grateful that the morning’s downpour ended almost exactly at 7 AM when we were getting started! We got everything done in good time and spent the second half of the morning digging up our sweet potato crop in the back of the greenhouse. Alas, it was a lot of work for not a heck of a lot of taters, but we still hope to have enough to pass along some in a future CSA share. For now, we will let the potatoes dry off then load them into burlap sacks and store them in the greenhouse for a few weeks while they cure. This is the time when the starch turns to sugar and those sweet potatoes sweeten up! We offer a special thanks to our pal, Sigrid, for hanging out with both Lydia and Ezra today and for her presence here on the farm on both Tuesdays and Fridays the past couple of months, watching Ezra and helping us harvest during his naps. Alas, she has to go back to school!
CSA share #12 for the 2012 season includes the following veggies:
1 quart of Adirondack Blue potatoes
1 lb of wax or Dragon’s Lingerie beans
1 head of lettuce
3 ears of sweet corn!
2 sweet peppers
1 hot pepper
1 sweet onion
1 head of garlic
1 bunch of mint
Up to 6 lbs of tomatoes (beefsteak, heirloom, and/or Juliettes)
So, I have to give Sonya some props for her tomato preserving prowess. With the heirlooms peaking, she decided to do some canning this weekend. In fact, with the usual farmwork and parenting duties in mind, plus the fact that she starts school in a bit over a week (!!), she decided to devote all of last Saturday to canning. After hours of work, 34 quarts of lovely tomats were cooling atop the woodstove…essentially, a whole season’s worth of canning in one long day! She’s also been throwing excess cherry tomats in our dehydrator to make quick “sundried” tomatoes, many of which have wound up in small jars to be given as gifts. Canning requires some time and skill, but another way we often preserve tomatoes is pretty darn quick and easy: Just cut up a batch of tomatoes (into quarters or eighths is fine), spread them on a cookie sheet, drizzle them with olive oil, add some salt and pepper, and roast them. Once they’re cool, slide them into freezer bags and freeze them. Then, deep in January, you can grab a bag of roasted tomats to use as a base for soup, pasta sauce, chili, etc.
And, yes, corn! We grew some sweet corn our very first season and watched the local raccoons knock it down and eat most of it up as soon as it was ready. We tried a small patch again last year and had great results, and the stuff has grown well this season, too. We know it’s not much, but it’s delicious! Enjoy! Also, you might be asking, what the heck is a Dragon’s Lingerie bean (or, as we like to call it, The Dragon’s Underpants)? It’s a delicious and beautiful dual purpose bean. When young and new, the whole thing can be steamed or sauteed and generally treated as you would a green bean. Over time, the skins toughen and the bean becomes more of the traditional shelling variety. Those in the share this week are the young-n-fresh version, so enjoy in salads, stir-fries, as a side, etc. We hope to offer the shelling version later in the fall.
And in animal news…well, it’s actually been pretty quiet this week. The sheep are all together again, as of Monday afternoon. Jeffe and Fiona were on their own in the winter area for several days as I tried to get them more comfortable with me and the sound of delicious grain. Progress was made, but I realized they were still way too wary to follow me any distance (our other sheep, particularly Sienna, would probably follow me to Gray if I tempted them with grain). So, I used numerous electric fences to make a corridor from the winter pen out to the pasture. For now, all five sheep are wandering back and forth between the pasture and the pen, and tomorrow I plan to close off the pasture fence and keep everyone together out there. The grain training will have to continue, but at least the whole flock will be in one spot.
And, I think we’ve finally come to the conclusion that we’re down to just two guinea hens. We’d heard that they tend to pair off at some point, and we’ve only been seeing two at a time for a couple of weeks now. We never see two pairs, though, just one. Though it’s possible all four are rotating around, we suspect we’re seeing the same two. They seem to be doing well and have established some favorite haunts, including in and around the tomatoes and raspberries, over by the firepit, and in with the sheep. Also, Sonya and Lydia informed me that they now have names: the lighter hen is Popcorn, the darker one, Winnie.
As mentioned, Sonya starts school very soon. This fact, plus some cooler nights recently, has us thinking about the end of the season and beyond. Next season is a big question mark for us…the CSA will be done but what else can we do here? One idea I’ve had is to sponser community garden plots. I intend to do some research on this at some point soon to get a better grasp of specifics such as general plot sizes, plot rental rates, what most farms or host sites provide or don’t provide, etc. However, I wanted to float the idea on the blog just to get a sense of how much interest there might be out there for such an endeavor here at Summit Springs Farm. I realize that many of our members garden…would the option of extra space here be attractive to you? For folks in the Lewiston/Auburn area (or even Portland)…would the drive out here once or twice a week to tend to a veggie plot be doable? In general, what would folks be looking for in a community garden set-up? If you have any answers, ideas, or comments, please let us know, either right here on the blog, or on our Facebook page, or by e-mail. And, please, spread the word about this idea to your friends and neighbors…I would love to know who would be interested in such an endeavor. Thanks!
Finally, we welcome Kevin and Theresa Murray to the pick-up today. They brought along an impressive selection of Theresa’s pottery for everyone to check out and buy. We love her work and hope you will, too! Check it out: