Hopefully all of you are settling in to your post-summer routines, enjoying the crisp sleeping weather and good meals. September is my favorite eating month. It’s the crossover time between the heat loving crops of summer and the hearty satisfying roots of fall. Meals that include potatoes and tomatoes, hot peppers and cabbage -the options are endless.

Most of our days are filled with harvest as we try to keep up with what’s coming in. Potatoes, squash and Sweet potatoes are the big crops yet to be finished amongst are the smaller ones you see each week. All of our days begin at 6am and on Tuesdays and Fridays we have a bigger crew as some of our able hourly help jumps in to cut greens, wash roots and help with the sorting and cleaning of onions, melons, etc. Here a shot our our crew this am…IMG_4545

San Marzano Roma Toms

This is the first picking of these roma tomatoes, a new addition to the share this year. Famous for their concentrated flavor and low moisture a few of these sliced into a pan with onion and olive oil is a pasta sauce in itself.

Potato Thanks

Thanks to all of you who came out to lend a hand with the potato harvest last Saturday am. We picked up about 4000 row feet of Rosegolds and Adirondack Reds which you will start seeing in your share next week after we grade and wash them.

Fennel

Another round of this under appreciated mediterranean mainstay. If you missed enjoying this one last time try some of the recipes on the website. Especially the Tunisian stew with Greens and Chickpeas…

IMG_4551Monster Carrots

Carrots this week are mega big. Last week they weren’t consistent enough in size to harvest but the rain caused a growth explosion! We had a hard time getting these monsters out of the ground!

Last Round of Watermelon This Week…IMG_4552

This peace watermelon is a great variety and yes, it is supposed to be yellow in the inside.

Breeding Time Again for Sheep

If you are on the farm you may notice our various flocks here and there, some of them sporting bright swashes of red and green. Two of our ewe groups have rams in with them and the color comes from a pigment paste we apply to the rams chest. He then marks the ewe when they come together and we now know that our ram is doing his job, and by the number of marked ewes, how well…IMG_4549

What’s In Upic?

Cherry Toms

Green Beans

Flowers

Herbs

What’s In  The Share This Week?

Roma Tomatoes

Watermelon

Tomatoes

Fennel

Lettuce

Asian Greens

Chard

Carrots
Broccoli
Ancho Peppers
Gold Potatoes
 

Adapted fron  the New York Times

1/2 pound (1 1/8 cups) chickpeas, soaked in 1 quart water for four to six hours or overnight (or 1 can chickpeas rinsed and drained)

1 bunch Swiss chard or Kale , stemmed, leaves washed and coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 leek, white part only, cleaned and sliced

2 medium or 1 large fennel bulb, cored and chopped

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon coriander seeds, ground

1 teaspoon caraway seeds, ground

2 teaspoons cumin seeds, ground

1 tablespoon harissa (more to taste; substitute 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper if harissa is unavailable), plus additional for serving. Try using a flavorful mildly spice pepper, minced, like and ancho or even jalapeño here as well.

1 tablespoon tomato paste dissolved in 1/2 cup water

Salt to taste

1 1/3 cups couscous (optional)

1. Drain the chickpeas and transfer to a large pot. Add 1 1/2 quarts water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer one hour while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

2. Tear the chard leaves off the stems. Wash the stems and dice. Wash the leaves thoroughly and chop coarsely. Set aside. Chop the fennel fronds, and set aside.

3. Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy casserole, Dutch oven or in any heavy pan with a lid. Add the onion, leek, fennel and a generous pinch of salt, and cook, stirring, until tender, five to eight minutes. Add the chard stems, and stir together for a couple of minutes until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and ground spices, and stir together for 30 seconds to a minute until the garlic is fragrant. Add the harissa or cayenne and the dissolved tomato paste, and stir together for another minute or two. Add the chickpeas with their cooking liquid, plus another cup of water if you think there should be more liquid in the pot. Stir together, and bring back to a simmer. Add salt, cover and simmer 30 minutes to an hour until the chickpeas are thoroughly tender and the broth fragrant. If using canned chickpeas simmer at the lowest heat just to bring the flavors together.

4. Stir in the chard greens and chopped fennel fronds. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes, until the greens are very tender and fragrant. Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt, garlic or harissa/pepper as desired.

5. Reconstitute and steam the couscous. Serve in wide bowls, top with the stew and serve.

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One of the driest Augusts we have had gets to keep it’s record and September now has a leg up in rainfall totals with this massive storm we had this weekend. Over three inches in rain have fallen as of Tuesday am and our fields, know for their sandy (i.e. beach like)  ability to drain have had standing water in most areas at some point. Big rains like this tend to bring big changes to the fields as the high humidity and warm temps work together and kickstart growth bursts as as well as outbreaks of disease this time of year. This system is warm and wet but the weather pushing the clouds out looks dry and cool, which will help slow down the disease pressure a bit.

Potato Harvest Party 2.0

After out first Labor Day rainout in 10 years we are rescheduling the dig for this weekend from 9-11. Please come join us for any or all of the fun during these two hours. Look for the crew in the fields along Pleasant Hill Road towards Brunswick.

Potatoes….

While we had to postpone the Labor Day potato party until this next Saturday we were able , thanks to a great group of Bowdoin entering freshmen, get one variety dug last week. These Kueka Gold potatoes are great and can be used for just about anything. We made our first batch of mashed this weekend as the storm lashed outside -nothing better. Try the Recipe for scalloped Kuekas with leeks and cipollini onions here.

Cipollini Onions

These specialty onions have become one of our favorites and they7 are the first to come out of the greenhouse after curing this year. Italian for “little onion” these are sweet and tender and are especially good when roasted, sautéed or even better carmelized.

 More Melons….

Those cantaloupes are still coming. Fewer this week! hopefully you found fruit salad or smoothie to absorb the ones from last week. If you arew melonned out try cubing them and freezing them in a ziplock for a cool smoothie on a hot day…

What’s In Upic?

Cherry Toms

Green Beans

Flowers

Herbs

What’s In  The Share This Week?

Leeks

Tomatoes

Lettuce

Baby Bok Choi

Chard

Cantaloupe
Cucumbers
Cipolinni Onions
Cabbage
Broccoli
Peppers
Gold Potatoes
 

TOTAL TIME  1 hour 35 minutes

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons butter, more for greasing pie plate

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, minced

4 small cipollini onions, minced

1 tablespoons minced Rosemary

3 cups heavy cream

2 pounds (about 6 medium) Keuka Gold potatoes (unpeeled), sliced 1/8-inch thick

Salt

ground white pepper

PREPARATION

 

1.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch deep-dish glass pie plate.

2.

In a wide saucepan, combine 3 tablespoons butter, garlic, leek and onions. Place over medium-low heat and sauté until mixture is light golden, about 15 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons tarragon, the cream and potatoes, and mix well. Simmer gently until potatoes are barely tender, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.

3.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer potatoes to pie plate, spreading them evenly and pressing lightly to compact them. Drizzle with 2 to 3 tablespoons of cream from pan. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until top is light golden brown, about 10 more minutes. Remove from heat and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Garnish with a sprinkling of chopped tarragon, and serve.

 

As this newsletter goes out the crew is still harvesting, trying to get ready for the tuesday pick-up. We have reached the point in the season where we have very little time to anything else but harvest! The timing is right as we have our last seedlings/transplantings of the year this week which consist of mostly greens. The weather is great to work in but we could surely use a little rain…

Watermelon and cantaloupe in abundance this week. Try as we do to stager these crops so that they won’t come in at the same time…Just in time for the holiday weekend!?

Pork and Lamb for Your Freezer

We are taking orders starting this week for custom pork and lamb . This is a great way to put quality local meat in your freezer.  These are our own animals, raised here at the farm and processed how you like by our butcher. This is a great deal to put high quality, non- factory raised meat in your freezer this winter. Bacon, ham, sausage, chops, roasts and ribs all processed and packed as you like. Neighbors and families can whole of halves. Ask for an order form and talk to us at pick-up for more details.

Labor on Labor Day

Each year at this time we celebrate the transition to fall with our annual Labor on Labor Day Potato Harvest Party.  This coming Monday, September 2nd, from 9am to 12pm in the fields along Pleasant Hill Road we will harvest our potato crop. Come join us at any point that morning.This has come to be a favorite event for CSA members of all ages.  We’ll be picking up spuds that our harvesting machine has already dug from the soil. Last year was a bumper crop and we were able to bring in over 14,000 pounds in a little over 2 hours with the help of about fifty folks! If you’re looking for something fun to do before the barbecues and picnics get rolling in the afternoon come out and jump in with us. Look for us (and the tractors and trucks) along the north side of Pleasant Hill Road and  park where you can.   Or better yet ride your bike!

What’s In Upic?

Cherry Toms

Green Beans

Flowers

Herbs

What’s In  The Share This Week?

Carrots

Beets

Leeks

Tomatoes

Arugula

Lettuce

Baby Bok Choi

Kale/Chard

Watermelon
Cantaloupe
 

Summer is coming to an end. Rapidly. The farm is in the hands of the very capable apprentice crew as the farm family takes a few days away from the farm…

What’s In Upic?

Green Beans

Flowers

Herbs

What’s In  The Share This Week?

Cucumbers

Carrots

Chinese Cabbage Hearts

Tomato

Arugula

Lettuce Mix

Arugula

Baby Bok Choi

Kale

 

 

 

Its the first tomato this week. Its been a late year for this crop but there is quite a bit of fruit on the plants so it looks like we should have a good season now that we are underway. One factor that has slowed us down a bit has been the crows. We have an active colony of ebony pranksters that frequent this part of Brunswick, making trouble and living high on the hog between the farms and wednesday trash pick-up.

With the exception of our upic cherry tomatoes, all of our tom plants are raised inside our field greenhouse tunnels. This protects the plants from disease and temperature fluctuations but when we open them every day for ventilation, they aren’t protected from the crows. They walk up and down the outsides of the houses looking for the perfect tomato, just ripe and they peck it a few times and move on. The few peck on many fruits are the insult added to the injury as one bird will destroy many tomatoes  instead of eating just one completely. We have this same problem with our melons as well and in years past have had big losses in our strawberries too. What can we do about this? Well short of spending a lot of time hunting them, which we don’t do, our only tools are to try and scare them off. In our experience the most effective protection for crops is flash tape. This is a mylar tape with bright red and silver foil on either side. Its light and strong and by stringing it from posts above the crop the wind and sun make a glittering flash factory like a daytime disco. The crows generally find this light show too stimulating to bother the crop below but sometimes they just dance under it as they enjoy lunch.

Chinese Cabbage Hearts

Think of romaine but with a little more flavor. These can be shredded into a salad, quick slaw or stir fry…

What’s Coming…

Eggplant, cantaloupe and peppers will be here soon!

What’s In Upic?

Green Beans

Flowers

Herbs

What’s In  The Share This Week?

Summer Squash/Cucumbers

Sweet Onions

Carrots

Chinese Cabbage Hearts

Tomato

Arugula

Tatsoi/mustard

 

 

Makes 6 servings

active time
35 minutes

total time
1 hour 10 minutes

The sweetness of the tomatoes and the fennel is balanced by the savory, starchy beans.

Ingredients

  • 2 large fennel bulbs with fronds attached
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt, divided
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
  • 4 large fresh oregano sprigs
  • 3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 15-ounce cans cannellini (white kidney beans), drained

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425°F. Chop enough fennel fronds to measure 1/2 cup. Trim fennel bulbs and cut in half vertically. Cut each bulb half ito 1/2-inch-wide wedges, leaving some ore attached to each wedge.

Heat oil in large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until very hot, about 3 minutes. Add fennel wedges in single layer; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon coarse salt. Cook until fennel begins to brown and soften, turning occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes. Add tomatoes, oregano, garlic, and crushed red pepper; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon coarse salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Fold together gently.

Transfer skillet to oven. Bake fennel and tomatoes until soft, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Mix in beans and 6 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds. Bake 5 minutes longer to heat through. Transfer mixture to large shallow bowl. Sprinkle with remaining chopped fronds. Serve warm or at room temperature.


 

Fennel and Radicchio are sneaking into the share this week and both of them are great compliments to almost whatever you want to pair them with -as long as we’re not talking about a breakfast menu. Fennel gets a bad wrap as it is commonly lumped in with anise and bring back childhood memories of black jelly beans or bad holiday cookies. Unlike anise, fennel really mellows and sweetens with just a little cooking -especially if you are cooking in butter. As with all good things our kids didn’t like fennel but over the years we have slowly snuck it into many things, sautéing it in butter until soft and slightly browned. Try tossing  sautéed fennel with roasted beets and carrots. Follow our oven roasted beets recipe, adding coarsely chopped carrots before the beets go to the oven and tossing in the browned fennel when it comes out. Radicchio is that deep red leaf you may have seen shredded into a salad here and that but it also is a great cooked over high heat. We grill radicchio, bathing the cut side with olive oil and putting it cut side down alongside whatever else is for dinner. Cook until just starting to blacken around the edges and then drizzle balsamic vinegar whisked with a little maple syrup or sugar. This is great hot or room temp. If you are not grilling the broiler will also do a nice job here just put it cut side towards the heat.

Organic Maine Wild Blueberries…Preorder This Week for Delivery Next Week… 

Next week will be our last week to order these great berries…The Harvey family will be raking beautiful, high quality berries for us again this year in Oxford Co. They will rake the day before, if its not raining in western Maine,so the quality will be amazing.  Berries will be offered by the quart (quarts are 1.7 pounds each (3 qts.=5lbs.) for $9each. Pre-order at pick-up this Tuesday or Friday for delivery next Tuesday or Friday.  You can also order by email  (by Saturday at noon for pickup Tuesday or Tuesday at noon for pickup Friday). We usually freeze 10-15 pounds for winter muffins, crepes and pancakes…

Weeding Wednesdays in Effect…

The wet weather has really been helpful to the plants in the fields. Unfortunately the weeds are starting to out number the crops as the prevalent greenery this year. As in years past we would like to invite to out to join the crew as we beat back the competition in the fields. Look for us along Pleasant Hill Road east of the Farmstead from 9-11 each Wednesday in August (starting this Wednesday…July 31st). We will be in the fields near the blue or white farm trucks. Park where you can and jump in. We have a big crew this year and the work is fast and satisfying!

Pre-Labor Day Potato Harvest Save the Date

We are planning a mini potato harvest party on Saturday August 10th at 9am (more on this event as it get’s closer…) to pull early spuds. -Don’t worry we will also have our annual labor on Labor Day  potato harvest as well. But this one will give those of you with Labor Day travel plans another option to jump in. If you can’t get enough potato harvest come to both days!

What’s In Upic?

Green Beans

Flowers

Herbs

What’s In  The Share This Week?

Kale

Baby Bok Choi

Summer Squash/Cucumbers

Sweet Onions

Carrots/Beets

Fennel

Radicchio

 

It’s late July and things are moving a bit slowly here at the farm. The crew is working hard and putting in long days and our weekly punch list always has several items that rollover to the next, but the crops aren’t doing their part this year. Our greens supply is short right now, cucumbers are waning, peppers and eggplant are flowering but not making fruit of size yet, tomatoes look great but are still green, watermelon are bulging but not sweet enough, etc., etc. We’re doing everything we can while we wait for the pieces of the puzzle to come together. To understand why the produce supply is a bit skinny right now we have to look at the big picture of how we plan a farm season and the variables that make it all come together.

Each year we count on 22 weeks of harvests starting at the beginning of June and running until the end of October. Some years fall a week shorter due to the calendar or a particularly cold/wet spring but the majority of the years we have grown here have all hit the mark for all 22 weeks. (This year we will actually have 23 weeks due to a particularly mild and dry spring, pushing crops ahead and allowing us to start the CSA the last week of May…) When we put our planting schedule together in the fall preceding each summer we don’t plan specific crops for specific weeks. Those of you who have ever had a garden and looked at a seed packet guaranteeing big beets in exactly 68 days or tender arugula 28 days after sowing know that the science of vegetables isn’t exact -no matter what the seed companies put on the packet. Because of this we do our best to hit the starting date with as many spring crops as possible (radishes, lettuce mix, kale, chard, baby bok choi, etc.) and then build in the rest of the season using succession plantings that are designed to give us good variation in the kinds of crops each week of the summer until Halloween. For example we try and plant broccoli and arugula every three weeks, carrots every two weeks, cabbage once a month, fennel every eight weeks, etc. As these crops are ready we harvest and generally the difference in time between the maturity of each crop and the demand for diversity and quantity in the CSA share dovetails one crop with the next, giving all of you some variety as well as enough produce to make real meals each week. We hone this system each fall, adding and subtracting plantings or moving their dates one week forward or back on the calendar. When the system works well, which is most of the time, we have lots of interesting food and we feel like we have found harmony and symbiosis with natural world. When the odds stack up the other direction and the share is a bit thinner we’re left  feeling clumsy and harried. Luckily this doesn’t happen that often! Our hope is that you understand this crazy process and can ride through the fog of this week, hoping for sun on the other side.

Organic Maine Wild Blueberries…Preorder This Week for Delivery Next Week…

The Harvey family will be raking beautiful, high quality berries for us again this year in Oxford Co. They will rake the day before, if its not raining in western Maine,so the quality will be amazing.  Berries will be offered by the quart (quarts are 1.7 pounds each (3 qts.=5lbs.) for $9each. Pre-order at pick-up this Tuesday or Friday for delivery next Tuesday or Friday.  You can also order by email  (by Saturday at noon for pickup Tuesday or Tuesday at noon for pickup Friday). We usually freeze 10-15 pounds for winter muffins, crepes and pancakes…

Weeds Like Rain…Let’s Stop Them Together

The wet weather has really been helpful to the plants in the fields. Unfortunately the weeds are starting to out number the crops as the prevalent greenery this year. As in years past we would like to invite to out to join the crew as we beat back the competition in the fields. Look for us along Pleasant Hill Road east of the Farmstead from 9-11 each Wednesday in August (starting this Wednesday…July 31st). We will be in the fields near the blue or white farm trucks. Park where you can and jump in. We have a big crew this year and the work is fast and satisfying!

Pre-Labor Day Potato Harvest Save the Date

We are planning a mini potato harvest party on Saturday August 10th at 9am (more on this event as it get’s closer…) to pull early spuds. -Don’t worry we will also have our annual labor on Labor Day  potato harvest as well. But this one will give those of you with Labor Day travel plans another option to jump in. If you can’t get enough potato harvest come to both days!

Farm Camp In Action

This is fifth and final week of farm camp and we have had a great summer with our local kids, feeding animals, pulling weeds, harvesting and just getting dirty. These kids know local food from the ground up! Thanks to all of you who have shared your kids with us this season and we hope maybe a few of them will add farmer to their list of possible occupations…

What’s In Upic?

Green Beans

Flowers

Herbs

What’s In  The Share This Week?

Lettuce

Chard

Summer squash

Cucumbers

Sweet Onions

Basil

 

 

 
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