Circle S Farm delivery Monday, August 4 and MSFM pick up Wednesday, August 6

“In winter I get up at night

And dress by yellow candle-light

In summer quite the other way,

I have to go to bed by day.

~Robert Louis Stevenson

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I’m always glad to see the days get shorter.  Some nights Curtis and I sit and wait for it to get dark so the chickens will go into their houses and we can close them up and go to bed.

We spent the weekend with my Mom and Dad in Blowing Rock.  The weather was a bit rainy but we had fun in spite of it!  Of course, we had to leave today and it was beautiful!

Farm News:  Hoping no news is good news.  We are headed home, so we’ll see.

What’s in the bucket?  Spaghetti squash, tomatoes, baking potatoes, okra, peppers, basil and apples.

Following – a recipe for spaghetti squash.  It calls for cherry tomatoes – but I think any tomato will do!!

Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes, Basil, and Parmesan

Makes 2 servings or 4 side servings. Recipe from Epicurious.

Ingredients:

1 small (1.5 lb) spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise, and the seeds discarded
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup shredded fresh basil leaves plus additional for garnish
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup thinly sliced cherry tomatoes

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a glass baking dish, arrange the squash cut side down in about 1/2 inch of water. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 20-30 minutes (depending on the size of the squash) or until it is tender and easily pierced with a fork. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

In a large bowl whisk together the oil, 1/4 cup of the basil, the oregano, and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan, stir in the tomatoes, and season the mixture with salt and pepper.

When the squash is cool enough to handle, scrape it with a fork to form strands, add the strands to the tomato mixture, and toss the mixture until it is combined. Divide the mixture between 2 bowls, sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon Parmesan over it, and garnish it with the additional basil.

Thanks for buying local food from our farm!!

 

Circle S Farm Delivery Monday, July 28 and MSFM pick-up Wednesday, July 30

“Answer July—
Where is the Bee—
Where is the Blush—
Where is the Hay?

Ah, said July—
Where is the Seed—
Where is the Bud—
Where is the May—
Answer Thee—Me—”
–  Emily Dickinson, Answer July 

Farm News:  Logan is finally here!! Yipee, we’ve been waiting all summer and he will be here until the second week in August.

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Rooster crowing!!  One of our little chicks has started crowing.  It’s hard to tell whether a chick is a rooster or a hen until they get about 6 months old.  I usually can’t tell until they start crowing – which is what happened.  I listened out the window a few mornings ago and thought ‘what in the world is that?’.   It takes a while for a rooster to learn to crow, and their first attempts are downright pitiful.  He’s feeling pretty proud of himself, though, and I saw him sitting on the gate the other day crowing and looking at our other, much bigger rooster.  He’ll learn about that other rooster soon enough.

What’s in the bucket?  Lots of maters and peppers, okra, white potatoes, field peas OR sweet corn OR eggplant (all of which are fading fast), berries

If you get totally overrun with peppers, they freeze great for cooked dishes.  Chop some up and freeze them, then when you are making sauces or soups this winter, you can just grab them out of the freezer.  I also make a batch of pepper jelly every year, which is fairly simple.

Stuffed Peppers

ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 (4-ounce) can green chiles
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup fresh diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or more to taste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 bell peppers, tops cut, stemmed and seeded

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, combine quinoa, green chiles, corn, beans, tomatoes, cheeses, cilantro, cumin, garlic, onion and chili powder, salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Spoon the filling each each bell pepper cavity. Place on prepared baking dish, cavity side up, and bake until the peppers are tender and the filling is heated through, about 25-30 minutes.
  • Serve immediately.

 

Circle S Farm delivery Monday, July 21 and MSFM pick-up Wednesday, July 23

The diligent farmer plants trees,
of which he himself will
never see the fruit.
-Cicero

photoI think this quote has truth that goes beyond farming.

Curtis and I moved to this farm over 12 years ago, and we inherited all the previous farmer’s hard work.  There were over a dozen mature fruit trees and blueberry bushes.  They planted those apple trees probably 30 years before we ever arrived, and we are now reaping the fruit from those trees.  Whoever comes after us will also have apples and blueberries, but also grapes.  And it goes on.

The truth is, most things in life are this way.  Sometimes it takes years to see the benefit (or treachery) of our actions.  I hope that as a culture and a nation, we are planting trees….

Farm News:  Skunk in the feed room.  Makes me nervous to go in there!~!

What’s in the bucket?  Tomatoes, tomatoes tomatoes.  Cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, roma tomatoes!!!  Onions, sweet corn, field peas, white potatoes, peppers, basil and berries.  (Hoorah – no cabbage or kale!!)

Tomatoes freeze great.  If you are overwhelmed – freeze them.  You can even freeze them whole, and the peels will magically come off when they thaw!!

Classic Tomato Sauce

2 # tomatoes, peeled and chopped

5 T unsalted butter

1 medium onion, minced

1 carrot chopped

1 stalk celery chopped

2 cloves garlic minced

1/4 cup dry red wine

3/4 t salt

1/2 t dried thyme

black pepper

2 T thinly sliced basil

Cook tomatoes partially covered for 45 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally and and breaking up with the back of a spoon.  Transfer tomatoes and juices to a bowl.

Melt butter over medium heat.  Add onions, cook until soft.  Add celery and carrot, cook for 3 minutes.  Stir in garlic and cook a minute more.

Add wine and bring to a simmer.  Cook 2 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes, salt, thyme, and pepper to taste.  Cook at a very light simmer, stirring occasionally, until it becomes a thick sauce, about 45 minuets.  Remove from heat and stir in basil.

-from The Real Dirt cookbook

Thanks for buying local food from Circle S Farm!!

 

 

Circle S Farm delivery Monday, July 14 and MSFM pick-up Wednesday, July 16

“A cooked tomato is like a cooked oyster: ruined.”
Andre Simon (1877-1970)
‘The Concise Encyclopedia of Gastronomy’

photoI love tomatoes, cooked or raw, but at the beginning of every tomato season I can’t get enough of a sliced tomato.  Tomato sandwich, gazpacho….  and the sungold tomato (yellow cherry tomato) a little ball of sunshine.

More firsts and lasts this week.  First week of heirloom tomatoes!!  Hopefully everyone will get a big fat juicy tomato.  Also, lots of roma tomatoes getting ripe.  First week of blackberries or blueberries, both are starting to come in.  Last week of carrots, cabbage (oh yeah – I said last week of cabbage last week.  It keeps hanging in there!!)  Last week of cucumbers and summer squash.

You will be getting blue potatoes this week.  While potatoes usually get a bad nutritional rap, blue potatoes have been proven to lower blood pressure.  They also have higher levels of polyphenol antioxidants that protect body cells against free radical damage that can increase disease risk.  So eat them with no remorse!!

Farm News:  It’s been pretty quiet on the farm this week.  We did have a group of girls from Camp DeSoto come for a flower cutting class Friday.  It was really a hoot.  20 girls 10-12 years old cutting and making flower bouquets.   Otis received more attention than any of the flowers!!

 

What’s in the bucket? Blue potatoes, heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, roma tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers, carrots, okra or eggplant, savoy or purple cabbage, black or blue berries, cucumbers or squash.

Beat the heat with some GAZPACHO:

1 cup each, chopped: tomato, bell pepper, cucumber, celery.

1/4 cup minced spring onion

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 t dried chives

1 clove garlic minced

1 T fresh basil, chopped

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1 t worcestershire

2 cups tomato juice

1 t sugar

1/8 t tabasco

1 t fresh lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together!  I like to chop everything and have a chunky gazpacho that I can dip with chips or eat as a soup.  However, it would be easier to put everything in a food processor and puree the soup.

Thanks for buying local food from our farm.  Enjoy!!

Circle S Farm delivery Monday, July 7 and MSFM pick-up Wednesday, July 9

Statistics show that we lose more fools on this day than in all the other days of the year put together. This proves, by the number left in stock, that one Fourth of July per year is now inadequate, the country has grown so.
– Mark Twain

DSC_0005Happy 4th of July-

We have some firsts and lasts to look forward to in the bucket this week.  There are a lot of either/ors in your bucket list, as will happen when we change seasons.

We’ll start with the lasts….last week of KALE- enjoy your last delicious bunch of kale and toast to your health.  Also, last week of CABBAGE…make some kraut and it will last you the rest of the year, and keep your guts in good working order!!  And lastly…last week of carrots.  Carrots keep well, so you should be able to make them last a month or so if you wish.

Firsts:  first week of tomatoes…yeah, yipee, what everyone looks forward to.  First week of eggplant and okra.  First week of peppers.

Farm news:  Curtis and I have been fencing this week, working on our new piece of property.  We had hoped to have it fenced by April and it is now July.  We are about halfway there….but perfect weather today for fencing!!

We are over halfway through our summer session… on the downhill side.

What’s in the bucket:  kale, savoy and/or red cabbage, summer squash and/or cucumbers, eggplant or okra, cherry or big tomatoes, peppers.  Still waiting on berries…should be coming next week.

Lacto-fermented Sauerkraut

If you want to experiment with your kraut go for it.  I’ve added everything from fennel to fresh turmeric to mine, and love the different flavors.  Just make sure when you are fermenting it that all the vegetables are covered in the brine.

Here is a basic recipe to work from…makes 2 quarts…adapted from Nourishing Traditions

1 pound cabbage shredded

2 T sea salt

1 T caraway seeds

Put all ingredients in a bowl.  Use a meat hammer or can from the pantry and pound the cabbage in the bowl for a full 10 minutes until it releases its juices.

Transfer cabbage to 2 clean quart jars leaving an inch of head space.  Make sure the liquid covers the cabbage, if not, add some salt water to cover.  Screw on lids.  Let stand on the counter for 3 days.  by the second day you should notice bubbles in the jar and the jars will hiss…this is good.

Store jars in a cool, dark cellar or in your refrigerator.  Should keep for at least 6 months.

Circle S Farm CSA delivery Monday, June 30 and MSFM pickup Wednesday, July 2

“Mosquito is out,
it’s the end of the day;
she’s humming and hunting
her evening away.
Who knows why such hunger
arrives on such wings
at sundown? I guess
it’s the nature of things.”
–  N. M. Boedecker, Midsummer Night Itch 

It’s definitely summer and bugs are out.

Farm News:  The meat chickens were processed Tuesday.  I hope those of you who pre-ordered them have been pleased.

IMG_0009The film crew came out Thursday to do the infomercial on truck floor mats.  They got here at 5 AM and had a beautiful sunrise shoot.  Of course, Otis (our dog) ended up being the real star!!

Tomatoes are almost ready – hopefully soon!!

What’s in the bucket: green and/or yellow wax beans, potatoes, broccoli, red or savoy cabbage, cucumbers, carrots, summer squash, berries OR cherry tomatoes

When I was working in Wyoming this was one of our favorite dishes.  It’s a real treat and will make you love carrots in a whole new way!  It calls for a nut crust – any crust will do, preferably a whole wheat crust.

Thanks for buying local food from our farm.

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Circle S Farm delivery Monday, June 23 and MSFM pick up Wednesday, June 25

“What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”

-John Steinbeck

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Farm News:  Chickens will be processed this Tuesday.  Garden is growing great guns.   We have a film crew headed out on Thursday to film a commercial, should be an exciting week!!

What’s in the Bucket?  Savoy cabbage, potatoes, green and yellow wax beans, broccoli, squash, carrots and/or beets, fennel

I always crave cooler salad dishes when it’s steamy outside.  Here’s a easy three bean salad recipe.

1 spring onion chopped

1 T lemon zest

1 can butter beans or pintos

1 can black eyed peas

1/2 # green beans and/or wax beans trimmed and cut into half inch pieces

1/2 cup chopped fennel bulb and fronds

1/3 cup olive oil

Kosher salt and ground pepper

Combine ingredients and refrigerate an hour or longer for flavors to combine.

 

 

 

 

Circle S Farm delivery Monday, June 16 and Main Street Farmers Market pick-up Wednesday, June 18

The pursuit of truth is like picking raspberries. You miss a lot if you approach it from only one angle.

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My mother-in-law, Lovella, has helped me many years with my gardening and CSA adventure.  She is a wealth of compassion and knowledge.  She swears that the berries turn red as she passes and then she has to go back and make another pass.  She can pick a row cleaner than anyone I know (I think that has to do with patience and persistence).

Farm News:  The snake has been happily relocated…. well happily for us.  He, on the other hand, had it made in the shade sitting in the laying box and eating eggs.  The hens would even get in there with him – and lay another egg for him to eat.  All you can eat buffet for the snake!!

Our friend, Jim Pftitzer, came and got him, carried him in a feed sack to the farm he is care taking (a few miles down the road) and released him.  I’m going to feel real funny if he finds his way back to Circle S!!

What’s in the bucket:  fennel, savoy or red cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, broccoli, summer squash, beets, carrots, fresh garlic and a handful of raspberries.

I discovered this recipe last year and love it.  It has a little bit of everything – I like to add shredded carrots – you can change the ingredients according to what you have, but don’t skip the wild rice.

Emerald City Salad

Recipe reprinted with permission from Feeding the Whole Family (third edition) by Cynthia Lair (Sasquatch Books, 2008)

This colorful salad is inspired by the beautiful deli salad at Puget Consumer’s Co-op, Seattle’s beloved chain of natural foods grocery stores. It is so popular that I have filled many classes with the mere mention that I would be demonstrating how to make this salad.

2 ¼ cups water or stock
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup wild rice (black; ½” long)

¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup chopped fennel bulb, core removed
½ of a red or yellow pepper, diced
½ cup chopped red cabbage
½ cup chopped Italian parsley
2 cups very finely chopped dark leafy greens (6-7 leaves of chard
, kale, or collards)
Salt and pepper to taste
Pecorino or gorgonzola cheese (optional)

Bring water or stock to a boil.  Add butter, ½ teaspoon of the salt and rice.  Bring to boil again, cover, lower heat and simmer 60-65 minutes.  Check to see that until all water is absorbed by tipping the pan to one side.  How to cook wild rice is described in a separate video.

Combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt in a large serving bowl.  Add fennel, red pepper, cabbage, parsley and then the greens .

Once rice is fully cooked, cool until it quits steaming but is still warm, and then spread like a banket on top of the greens.  When the rice cools to room temperature, toss rice, vegetables and dressing together. Taste the salad and adjust seasonings, some extra salt and/or lemon may be required.  Garnish with cheese if desired.

Preparation time: 1 hour for wild rice, 20 minutes for salad
Serves 6-8

CSA delivery Monday, June 9 and MSFM pick-up Wednesday, June 11

” I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck”.  Johnny Carson

Has anyone ever told you that?  I think I have been asked if “I just fell off the turnip truck”.  I think it means you are a country bumpkin.  I figured that quote had been around for ages, but when I researched it (googled it!!) it says it became popular by Johnny Carson.  Who would have thought.

So, that being said, you guessed it – turnips in the bucket this week.  I have to say, I love turnips.  We roast them alone or with any other vegetable in sight.  Quarter them, toss in olive oil, ground coriander, salt and pepper.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Farm News:  This may creep the egg share holders out – to know that a snake has been wrapped around their eggs.  This guy has a pass as long as he doesn’t get into trouble.  He has been keeping the rodents away in our hen houses this summer.IMG_1731

However – if he decides he would rather have chicks than eggs, he’s outta here!!  These three hatched yesterday.  Their Mom has been vigilant in setting, and finally she has three youngsters.IMG_1747

 

What’s in the Bucket:  turnips, cabbage or broccoli, carrots or beets, greens (kale, collard and/or mustard), lettuce and a handful of raspberries.

Following a recipe for Turnip Gratin:

Butter or olive oil for the baking dish

1 garlic clove, cut in half

2 pounds turnips, preferably small ones, peeled and sliced in thin rounds

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (about 1 cup tightly packed)

2 1/2 cups low-fat milk (1 percent or 2 percent)

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter or oil a 2-quart baking dish or gratin dish. Rub the sides and bottom with the cut clove of garlic.

2. Place the sliced turnips in a bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Add half the cheese and the thyme and toss together, then transfer to the gratin dish and pour on the milk. It should just cover the turnips.

3. Place in the oven and bake 30 minutes. Push the turnips down into the milk with the back of a large spoon. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and return to the oven. Bake another 40 to 50 minutes, until all of the milk is absorbed, the turnips are soft and the dish is nicely browned on top and around the edges.

Yield: 4 servings.

Advance preparation: You can assemble this several hours before baking, but don’t add the milk until you’re ready to bake. You can bake it several hours ahead and reheat in a medium oven.

Nutritional information per serving: 258 calories; 7 grams saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 4 grams monounsaturated fat; 43 milligrams cholesterol; 22 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams dietary fiber; 319 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 16 grams protein

Circle S Farm delivery Monday, June 2 and MSFM pick-up Wednesday, June 4

“Self-pity is the hens’ besetting sin,” remarked Mr. Payton. “Foolish fowl. How they came to achieve anything as perfect as the egg I do not know! I cannot fathom.”
― Elizabeth EnrightGone-Away Lake

merle mothers day baby 2010 092

Any of you who have been in our CSA before know….we love our chickens.  I never imagined I would be so fond of fowl.  Honestly, I never cared about feeding the birds, never had an affinity for ducks, geese, wild birds, anything.  But, about the second year of our CSA I decided it would be nice for customers to have the option of fresh eggs.  So, we dove in.  Curtis built our first chicken house and we got about 20 hens.  The rest is history.  We are up to 120 hens and 4 houses.  AND, it has given me more of an appreciation for other birds.  I never knew a bird could have so much personality until we kept chickens (I thought about this as I was battling with a barn swallow who wanted to build a nest in my vegetable wash area…stubborn little birds).

All of this to precede my FARM NEWS for this week.  There was a snake in the chicken house (seems we can’t get away from the snakes this year).  Curtis went to close up the hens one night, he came back immediately and said – there’s a snake in the chicken house and I can’t tell what kind it is – will you come look at it.  So, by the light of the flashlight, I peer into the chicken house.  For those of you who don’t know, chickens roost at night. They don’t see very well in the dark, so they perch on roosts we build for them in the rafters of their house.  They are able to fly up to them – and they are about eye level for us.  SO, this snake has crawled down from the TOP of the chicken house.  He is hanging off one of the ceiling boards and is draped over one of our chickens backs.  It was creepy.

HOWEVER, I had noticed recently that we have not had many mice (a nice way of saying rats) in our chicken houses.  Rodents love to build in and around anything that eats grain.  In our feed room and chicken houses we have a constant problem.  So, lately, no torn feed sacks.  No scurrying around at night when we close chickens up.  And so I develop a new appreciation for this snake draped over our hens back immediately.  “Looks like a King snake to me”, I say (which it does).  The hen reaches back and pecks at him, absentmindedly.  “Let’s leave him alone” I say.

So I ask my neighbor, who is my chicken (and everything else) go to person, “will this snake eat our eggs?”  He says, “yes, but if you can spare them, it would be worth keeping him around”.   We are not short on eggs yet – so we’ll see what happens.

What’s in the bucket?  I KNOW YOU ARE TIRED OF GREENS… but, they are still in season.  Curly kale, fresh garlic, turnips (roots and greens), baby carrots, kohlrabi, radishes, new potatoes, bibb lettuce, raddichio.

I love to roast root veggies.  Just cut those turnips, new potatoes and kohlrabi (I would peel it) into similar sized chunks.  Pop the green tops off the baby carrots and throw them in whole.  Toss in olive oil and cracked pepper and roast until tender.    You can add fresh herbs or onions, but do it towards the end lest they burn.  Temp doesn’t really matter – 375 to 450 – just takes longer at a lower temp.

I found a new kale salad recipe the other night.  The curly kale is perfect for a raw salad or slaw (also great cooked).  The dressing was labor intensive, but made enough to save for another night.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons fresh juice and 1 tablespoon zest from 2 to 3 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1 anchovy filet, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 2 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano, grated on a microplane grater (about 2 cups)
  • 3/4 cup neutral oil (such as safflower or canola)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups finely cubed sourdough bread
  • 12 ounces kale leaves, large stems removed, sliced into thin ribbons
  • 1 serrano chili, thinly sliced

Procedures

  1. Combine lemon juice and zest, vinegar, garlic, anchovy, mustard, egg yolk, chili flakes, and cheese in the bowl of a food processor. Process until homogenous, about 10 seconds. With processor running, slowly drizzle neutral oil through feed tube, stopping the processor to scrape down sides as necessary until a smooth emulsion is formed, about 20 seconds. 
  2.  Transfer to a medium bowl. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup olive oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use. 
  3.  Heat remaining two tablespoons olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add bread cubes and cook, tossing and stirring constantly until golden brown and crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt and pepper. 
  4.  To serve, combine kale  in a large bowl with about 1/2 cup dressing (more or less as desired). Toss to coat well and let sit around 3 minutes. Transfer to a large serving bowl and top with croutons and sliced chilies. Serve immediately.