Monday, March 16, 2015

Compost!

You Can Compost! 

Why make compost? For one thing, its cheap. You can make your own compost from your garden and kitchen, recycling the nutrients back into the soil. Second, it's great for your soil. Adding compost increases soil aeration, water holding capacity, soil structure and texture. Amending your soil with compost rather than synthetic fertilizers can save you a bundle as well. 

As soon as we moved out to the farm last November we started our own compost piles. While we had to wait impatiently until the spring to start growing our own food and getting most our livestock, we were at least able to start composting. We have 3 compost piles that we framed with pallets. Now we're letting them sit and mature and starting 3 more piles! 

You can compost all your kitchen scraps (save dairy and meat), cardboard, non-glossy paper, hair, dryer lint, grass clippings, pine needles, weeds and fallen leaves from the garden. Doing so cuts your garbage output by easily 1/3! Check out what all you can compost at this helpful site, and what to avoid as well. Make sure to shred or tear up the paper and cardboard and compost into smaller pieces  so it composts more quickly. 

You don't need a fancy bin to compost, there are plenty of cheap and easy ideas out there, from recycling pallets, to using chicken wire or a 55 gallon plastic barrel. 

Now for the how-to. Making compost is all about gathering the materials in the right ratio (called the C:N ratio, or Carbon: Nitrogen ratio), then providing the aeration and moisture needed to let these decompose. The preferred ratio for composting is 25 or 30 to 1. This means you need farm more Carbon-rich materials in your compost pile than nitrogen. Here's a handy dandy C:N chart that breaks down common ingredients. 

Carbon-rich ingredients are often called the "browns," and include items like leaves, wood chips, pine needles, and cardboard. This will make up the bulk of your pile. The Nitrogen-rich ingredients are often called the "greens," these are your kitchen waste, garden waste and grass clippings. 

Now to aerate and moisten you pile, we recommend flipping every 1-2 weeks with a large garden fork, spraying down the pile as you do so if it needs to be moistened. Your pile should be as wet as a wrung out sponge. The more often you flip your pile, the faster it will mature, but you can leave it unflipped and do passive composting, but you won't get a finished product for 1-2 years. By flipping, moistening, and managing you pile, you can get compost in 4-8 months! 

Still Don't Think You Can Compost?

Having lived in the city, in apartments and houses with landlords who shudder away from the phrase "compost pile," we understand that not everyone has the space to start their own compost pile. We weren't able to for years because of where we lived. Every meal I'd find myself looking sadly at scraps of vegetables and wishing for some way to make some thing useful and productive out these inedible bits, a compost pile or a pig or something! 

Which is why we are opening up our compost piles to your trash! Want to compost but don't have the space/ability? Buy two 5 gallon buckets and collect your scraps and compostables every week, you can drop off your 5 gallon bucket with us at the Farmer's Market, at your share pick up, or drop it off with us at The Shire Farm. Use your second 5 gallon bucket the next week and we'll swap you! 

Yes, you can vicariously compost through The Shire Farm, and feel assured that your waste and scraps are being put to good use, fertilizing and improving the soil for your vegetables!


Links:

Our Pallet Compost Bins

What You Can And Can't Compost

Carbon: Nitrogen Ratio Chart 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

New Crops and Varieties for 2015 CSA Season


Hello Hobbits! 


It's finally March and we're getting excited to get growing again! We'll be starting the first seeds of the season today in the greenhouse and we wanted to share what crops and varieties we'll be growing on the farm this year. We're getting our seeds again from Seed Saver's Exchange and Johnny Seeds. 

If you are interested in any of these crops for your home garden, please let Farmer Figgins know by emailing ShireFarmMI@gmail.com and we can grow some plant starts for your home garden! Plants are sold in 1 gallon pots for $3.50 each , or 3"x3" pots for $2.00.

If you're interested in our CSA and meats, get in contact with us. We need to order chicks and reserve piglets soon! Please get in contact with us before April 1st!



Produce from The Shire Farm for 2015:



Brussel Sprouts




We'll be growing much of the same crops as we did last year, for cold season crops we'll have turnips, radishes, lettuce heads, lettuce mix, arugula, spinach, swiss chard, beets, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. New varieties this year are golden beets, mustard, and tatsoi and we'll be trying for those fractal broccoli romanesco again! In the fall we'll be having celery, parsnips, and a new crop this year, brussel sprouts.









Golden Midget Watermelon
Next to mature in the garden, we'll have green (and yellow and purple) beans, summer squash and cucumbers. Last year, the cucumber beetle took a particular fancy to our variety of pickling cucumber, so we'll be trying a different variety of those this year. We'll be having regular slicing and lemon cucumbers, an old favorite, again this year. We'll also be having onions and trying for better results with shallots and potatoes and carrots again this year. Our soil has not favored those crops so far, our garden sits on what was a hay field for decades so is very compacted. We're going to do some deep soil plowing for compaction and adding our own aged home-grown cow manure for the first time this year. We're very excited to see how productive the soil will be this year.  




Ground Cherries

For warm season crops we'll be trying orange and purple bell peppers this year. We'll also be seeing cayenne, jalapenos, anchos, and some new Italian sweet frying peppers. We'll be growing ground cherries again, and trying a cousin of garden huckleberries instead this year, called Sunberry or Wonderberry. It is a specially bred crop related to garden huckleberries but edible to eat raw! We'll be growing eggplant (less than last year!), green tomatillos, more cantaloupe and charentais melon, and moon and stars watermelon of course. 






Hill Country Red Okra


We'll have jack-o-lantern and pumpkin pie pumpkins, luffa again, and those colorful acorn squash, spaghetti squash, butternut and the delicious delicata squash from last year. Other new varieties this year are Golden Midget Watermelon, Hill Country Red Okra, zephyr summer squash, and a sweet variety of snacking peppers called Lunchbox Pepper Mix.








Black Cherry Tomatoes



Last year we lost our tomato crop to late blight just as they were starting to mature, so we really missed out on our favorite crop. This year we'll be growing a lot of the varieties from last year--Black Cherry, Black Krim, Kellogg's Breakfast, Amish Paste, Brandywine Suddith's Strain, Wapsipinicon Peach, and Riesentraube cherry. This year we'll also be adding Wisconsin Tomato and Beam's Yellow Pear Tomato to the mix!






As for herbs, we'll be seeing much of the same as last year--chives, dill, catnip, sage, oregano, thyme, parsley, cilantro, basil, lemon basil, and tarragon. We'll also be trying stevia and chamomile again, let us know if you're interested in dried chamomile or stevia.




Jostaberry


New this year, we'll be adding some perennials to the farm! We will be turning some of the garden into a permaculture area for the CSA herbs. We'll be transplanting wild black raspberry and red raspberry bushes and currant bushes that grow around the farm. We'll divide and transplant more rhubarb from our old plants, and take cuttings from our own gooseberry bush. We  also purchased some everbearing strawberries, a jostaberry bush, and asparagus for this area. 






Mulberry



We also will be putting in some trees this year. Trees are wonderful for providing shade and shelter for livestock, as well as a possible source of feed. For these reasons we're going to be planting a walnut tree, pecan tree, and two mulberry trees! It will be a few years before they're producing a crop, but we'll be adding much of this to the Produce CSA Shares. 




We're especially excited for the Mulberry trees, these are fast growing large trees that bear huge crops of mulberries, dark large berries much like blackberries, great for jams, preserves, wine. We're looking forward to mulberry ice cream and pie. They also are great feed for chickens and pigs, and I know ours will be glad to have it added to their seasonal menu. 


Thursday, January 15, 2015

2014 Photo Review of CSA Shares

2014 CSA Picture Review


Want to see just what our Produce CSA is like? Here is a week by week look at everything our Large Produce Shares received. Our Small Produce shares almost always receive the exact same items, but in half the quantity. Don't think you can handle this much produce? Many of our CSA members can, freeze, or dehydrate throughout the season, that way they can enjoy all this bounty for the entire year, even in the depths of winter. 

Share 1

2 Heads of lettuce, 2 bags of mixed greens, 2 bags of Arugula, 
1 large bunch of Kale, large bunch of Catmint, and 3 stalks of Rhubarb

 Share 2

4 heads of lettuce, 2 bags of lettuce mix, 2 bags of arugula,
large bunch radish and turnips, 2 cucumbers, large bunch lemon basil, 2 bunches of kale, 4 kohlrabi

Share 3 

2 heads of broccoli, 2 heads of lettuce, 4 cucumbers, 4 kohlrabi, 2 bunches of kale, 2 bunches of Swiss chard, 2 bags of lettuce and spinach mix, 2 bags of arugula, italian basil and cilantro. 

 Share 4

2 Kohlrabi, 3 summer squash, 4 cucumbers, 2 broccoli heads, 2 lettuce heads, 2 bags of arugula, 2 bunches kale, large bunch of herbs including parsley, thyme and oregano

 Share 5

2 Large Broccoli heads, 4 small broccoli heads, 6 cucumbers, 8 summer squash, 1 large summer squash, 3.5 lbs of green beans, 1 large bunch turnips, 2 bunches green onions, 2 heads of spinach, 2 heads of lettuce, 2 lbs of green's mix, 2 bunches swiss chard, 2 bunches kale, 2 bunches herbs (catmint, lemon basil, italian basil)
Share 6

1 bunch turnips (full share only), 4 lbs green beans, 4 lemon cucumbers, 2 large zucchini, 8 summer squash, broccoli, snap peas, 2 heads spinach, 2 bunches kale, 2 bunches herbs (Italian basil, lemon basil)
 Share 7


Potatoes, Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Cauliflower,  Lemon Cucumbers, Snap Peas, Green Beans, Summer Squash, Cucumbers, Broccoli, Kale, Herbs
 Share 8

Onions, Jalapenos, Beets, Eggplant, Swiss Chard, Lettuce Mix, Kohlrabi, Radishes, Arugula, Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Lemon Cucumbers, Green Beans, Summer Squash, Cucumbers, Kale, Lemon Basil, Parsley, Dill.  

Share 9

Okra, Onion, Broccoli, Cabbage, kale, Green Tomatoes, red tomatoes, Peppers (jalalpeno, ancho, bell), Eggplant, Swiss Chard, Tomatillos, lemon Cucumbers, Green Beans, Summer Squash, parsley, dill, oregano, lemon basil, and Italian basil.

Share 10

Large bundle carrots, ground cherries, large bundle green onions, 2 bags of lettuce mix, 6 spears of okra, broccoli florets, onions, jalapeno, ancho and bell peppers, 4 eggplant, tomatillos, lemon cucumbers, 2 bags of green beans, summer squash, slicing cucumbers, 2 bunches kales, garlic chives, fill, Italian basil, and lemon basil

Share 11

Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Summer Squash, Eggplant, Okra, Peppers (Jalapeno, Ancho, Bell), Ground Cherries, Garden Huckleberries, Kale, Onions, Lemon Basil, Dill, Tarragon, Italian Basil, Parsley
Share 12

Arugula, eggplant, garden huckleberries, okra, kale, melon, onions, peppers, summer squash, tomatillos, tomatoes, catnip, sage, Italian basil, lemon basil.

Share 13

2 acorn squash, 2 delicata squash, 2 bunches of japanese turnips, 2 bunches of kale, 2 bags of ground cherries, 2 bags of garden huckleberries, 6 eggplant, 4 large sunflower heads for sunflower seeds, okra, peppers (ancho, jalapeno, anaheim), tomatillos, Swiss Chard, Tarragon, dill, Italian basil, and lemon basil. 

Share 14


2 watermelon, 2 spaghetti squash, 2 delicata squash, 2 pumpkin pie pumpkins, 2 melons, 2 bunches kale, 2 bags of lettuce mix, 2 bags of arugula, 4 eggplant, 2 kohlrabi, large bundle kale, jalapeno and bell peppers, rosemary, thyme, italian basil, and lemon basil. 
Share 15

2 butternut squash, 2 spaghetti squash, bell peppers, jalapenos, 2 watermelon, 4 eggplant, 2 cayenne, 1 bag of garden huckleberries, 1 bag of ground cherries, 2 bunches kale, 2 bags of greens mix, large bunch green onions, parsley and lemon basil. 
Share 16

2 heads of celery, 2 spaghetti squash, 3 delicata squash, 3 eggplant, 2 cayenne, 2 bunches of kale, beets, carrots, 2 bags of green's mix, 2 bags of arugula, ancho, jalapeno, anaheim, and bell peppers, parsley, Italian basil, and catnip.

Share 17
2 head of celery, 2 bunches of leeks, 2 spaghetti squash, 2 acorn squash, 4 eggplant, 2 bags of ground cherries, 2 bunches of kale, peppers (cayenne, jalapeno, anaheim, bell), 2 kohlrabi, lemon basil, italian basil, and tarragon. 

Share 18
2 Jac-O-Lantern pumpkins, 4 pumpkin pie pumpkins, large bunch of green onions, 2 bunches of kale, 2 bags of green's mix, a large Luffa, large bunch of parsnips, 2 heads of celery, jalapeno and cayenne peppers, eggplant, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.









2014 CSA Share 14

2014 CSA Share 14


More fall favorites and a late summer one this week. We have more squash coming this week; and lots of greens including lettuce, arugula, kale, and kohlrabi.  We also have the long awaited watermelons.  We made a miscalculation and tried just starting these outside this year, but due to the late start to the season in general, they have been behind. They are here now and we brought back the Moon and Stars Watermelon which was our favorite last year.



Acorn Squash, Spaghetti Squash, Delicatta Squash, Pumpkin Pie Pumpkin, Watermelon, Eggplant, Green Onions, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce Mix, Arugula, Cantaloupe Melons, Peppers, Kale, and Herbs



Watermelon


NEW THIS WEEK!  Our Watermelon are finally here! We brought back the Moon and Stars watermelon, which has a dark green rind with bright yellow moon and shaped spots on it.  We also have a small standard looking watermelon that is very tasty and perfect for our small shares who don't want to eat watermelon night and day.  




Pie Pumpkin


NEW THIS WEEK! These small pumpkins are ideal for pumpkin pie.  If you'd like to save this for a thanksgiving special, we'd recommend making the pie filling, and then freezing until the big day.  Of course you could always just have a pumpkin pie just because they are delicious!  


 

Spaghetti Squash


NEW THIS WEEK! The Spaghetti Squash is a very unique vegetable, a cross between string cheese and pasta, with a mild flavor.  When you roast the squash in the oven, cut it in half and roast flesh side down for 30-40 minutes at 450 degrees, you can then scrape the squash and it separates into spaghetti like strands of squash.  These can be then eaten with pasta sauce as a delicious meal!



Acorn Squash


These beautiful squashes are as good to eat as they are to use as a fall decoration.  The acorn is a rich squash that is ideal as a side dish along a nice roast chicken as part of a fantastic family dinner.  It can also be used to make a delicious soup.  Or by roasting with maple syrup can be a dessert like dish, which in Farmer Don's book means you get 2 desserts because a vegetable can't count as a dessert.

Acorn Squash Soup




Delicata Squash


The Delicata Squash is a variety of butternut squash.  It is an easily prepared vegetable, no need to peel this squash, with a rich taste that is ideal for Roasting or being caramelized.  The roasted squash recipe below is absolutely delicious and super simple!


Roasted Squash Recipe


 

  Melon


 These are a mix of Cantaloupe, and the small melon with big flavor, the Charentais Melon!  We will have watermelons in the next few weeks so keep looking forward to that! 


 

Kohlrabi


Kohlrabi may be a new vegetable for some of you, but we promise it's one you'll be glad to try! The word Kohlrabi is German for cabbage turnip, and it can be eaten raw or cooked. We usually eat them raw, just peel off the skin and slice them like an apple and sprinkle with a little salt or dip in your favorite dressing and enjoy! They're also great raw on a salad, or roasted, or baked. Popular in Indian food, in dishes like Kohlrabi Curry.


Kohlrabi Curry

Roasted Kohlrabi

Butter-Braised Kohlrabi 


 

Lettuce Mix


This week we have a return of the lettuce mixes!  A combination of  green oakleaf, red oakleaf, green romaine, and red romaine. Enjoy some late fall salads this week, and pray for more sunny days to prolong these fall greens.  




Arugula


Arugula is a pungent, peppery flavored green originating from the Mediterranean. Spice up any salad, sandwich, or pizza with some Arugula! For a pizza topping you can add it just before baking or immediately after. Also eaten raw, coarsely chopped in pasta in Italy. With salad--try it with some mozzarella cheese, pine nuts and sun dried tomatoes!


 


Peppers- Jalapeno & Bell


We have Jalapenos and Bell Peppers for everyone this week, as the season gets later we should see some of these peppers start changing colors.  We've heard that it also corresponds to an increase in the heat of the pepper, but not sure if there is any truth to that.  Let us know what you think! 



 

Eggplant


 We have a dark purple variety and a white variety, perfect for ratatouille or eggplant Parmesan. Raw eggplant can have a somewhat bitter taste, but becomes tender when cooked and develops a rich, complex flavor. The flesh is smooth and meaty, capable of absorbing large amounts of cooking fats and sauces, making for very rich dishes and making it a great meat substitute for vegan and vegetarian dishes!



Kale


This green became a favorite for us at the farm Farmer Don certainly came to love it.  There are many great ways to enjoy this super food, which is loaded with vitamins.  You can of course eat it raw, or throw it in a juicer.  We really enjoy throwing it in the cast iron with  butter, salt, pepper, and some red pepper flakes and sauteing for a few minutes for a great side to any meal.  It is also a great healthy snack when you bake them into Kale Chips.  

Kale Chips



Fresh Herb Bundle


We've got  bunches of rosemary, thyme, Italian Basil and Lemon Basil this week, enjoy!  

Can't use it all? Here's a simple How-To on drying your own herbs

Monday, January 5, 2015

Winter Farm Update 2014-2015

Winter Farm Update



It's been another unusually mild winter in Michigan, much like the winter we had two years ago. We had a snow storm around Thanksgiving, then it melted and we didn't see snow until New Years! But now we're locked in and in the single digits on the thermometer. 











We were very glad for the mild winter, because it made keeping the pigs longer much easier. The pigs took longer to finish this year, we had 3 males and 1 runty female. Our female, Penny, didn't reach her target weight (250 lbs) until right before Christmas! So we were very glad for the mild winter because it made loading them in the trailer much, much easier on dry ground rather than snow. 






To the left is a picture of our runt Penny, eating breakfast with some of our laying hens. You can see how we fence our hogs, we use plastic step in posts with fi-shock polywire rope and a portable solar energizer. Next year we're planning on having the pigs in the woods more, and we're hoping to find a breed with a shorter snout that doesn't root up the pasture as much. Otherwise it means we have to reseed our pasture every year. 





New this year, we build a run-in shelter! Most of the wood for the siding we got very cheap from an Amish sawmill north of us. We built this with Pippin in mind because even though he's almost a year old, he still can't get enough of his mother's milk! We still have to keep them separated if we want milk from Rosie, so Pippin has his own shelter and about 1/3 of an acre to himself. We milked Rosie this year in the Once-A-Day Milking Style, where you milk once a day and the calf takes care of the other milking. 




This worked wonderfully for us, less work, don't have to be on the farm all the time, and we can get away for a short vacation if we want and Rosie won't stop producing milk. Only one problem. We did it a tad too long. We should have separated them completely and weened him off before he was 9 months old, to help him kick the habit. Instead we kept on with the Once a Day milking and then tried weening him after he was 10 months old. He mooed and bucked and moaned for him mother for a solid week, then quieted down. Farmer Figgins left for a short vacation over the holidays, and we let the cows spend that time together, to see how he'd do, and if he'd drink her milk and keeping her producing while the farmer was away. Turns out, he wasn't done with milk yet. 











In a way it worked out for us, Farmer Figgins was able to take a vacation and Rosie kept producing milk when she got back, but, it means we also have to keep them separated all winter if we want milk for ourselves. Another negative we found to Once-A-Day Milking is that the cow often holds back quite a lot of her cream from us and saves it for the calf, which makes making butter and ice cream much harder. 











In the greenhouse we planted some cool season crops and have been enjoying fresh salads all winter, here it is January 5th and we can still get fresh greens from the greenhouse! We planted arugula, kale, lettuce heads, carrots, spinach, green onions, radishes, kohlrabi, and turnips. The carrots, green onions and kohlrabi are still not harvestable yet, but we've been enjoying the rest for some time now! To give them added protection from cold winter nights we put a row cover of agribon over the crops. 









Meanwhile in the barn, Rosie has a new set up for her stall. Using pallets again, we've built it so that she has a run-in stall from her outside pasture, which is about 1/3 of an acre. 











 We built Rosie a milking stanchion this fall too, Farmer Donnie based it off of a stanchion found online here and we adapted it to work for us. It's been working wonderfully, milking has never been easier! Then again, during the summer Farmer Figgins would milk Rosie in the pasture, not tied up to anything, so most anything is easier than that! 







As you can see, simply lead the cow in, close the boards next to her neck so she can't back up, lock them in place, then start milking! We had her A.I.ed with Swedish Red semen from Northstar Collective last week. We'll see in a few weeks if it took! We were hoping to inseminate her with Dexter semen, but had trouble finding a local source. Luckily, the Swedish Red is a similar dual purpose breed, though not a miniature cow. If it took, she'll be due in September, around when Pippin will be leaving us! We will only be keeping a 1/2 for ourselves, so if your interested in a 1/4 or a 1/2 of grass and milk fed, pasture raised beef, let us know! 





Now some of the older laying hens have been hanging around the barn at milking time to eat any grain Rosie drops. 















Or to steal any milk that the barn cats leave. 















 Last, but not least, we started a new layer flock in October. They are fully feathered out now and taking the cold well. We're trying out some new breeds this go around--Australorp, Buff Orpington, Speckled Sussex, Rhode Island Reds and more Ameraucanas this year! 







We'll be releasing our 2015 CSA information soon, check with us on the blog and facebook! 









Friday, October 17, 2014

2014 CSA Share 18

2014 CSA Share 18


This is our last CSA share for the year for produce and egg shares, we had three frosts the past week that killed off most of the garden. We've had a bountiful year and enjoyed many new crops. Looking back through the shares, we've almost had a new crop in the shares every week! This week we have 3 new crops for everyone, Jack O' Lantern pumpkins, parsnips, and luffa! 


Large Share Pictured: Jac-O-Lantern Pumpkins, Pumpkins pie pumpkins, green onions, kale, green's mix, luffa, eggplant, parsnip, celery, jalapenos, cayenne, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.

It's been a rainy and cool but very successful season for us here at The Shire, but all things must come to an end.  Compared to last year, we went 2 extra weeks longer and have had all around larger and more diverse shares this year. We have been very happy with our results and hope you all have been as well.  We certainly had some disappointments, deer repeatedly eating the Swiss Chard, late blight hitting the tomato crop, our fruit trees not setting fruit due to the cold winter and strong storms during blossoming. The cool weather didn't favor melons this year, but was great weather for our greens. Our root crops didn't do that well this year, but as we work to improve the soil--adding compost and organic matter and removing all the rocks--this will improve over the years.  We had great greens for most the year, lots of new fruits and veggies, and better results with our winter squash.  We really enjoyed feeding and sharing recipes with all our CSA members. We'll be sending out an email soon with a questionnaire about your experience this season. 


To our Full Diet Shares, the pigs still need another month or so before they head to the processor. They've been enjoying being raised on pasture and in the woods this year, eating raspberry leaves, red currants, mushrooms, and acorns, but they're not there yet!  


Parsnips


NEW THIS WEEK! This root vegetable is similar to a carrot but they have a sweeter taste, especially when cooked. Parsnips can be eaten raw, but more often are cooked. They can be baked, boiled, pureed, roasted, fried, steamed, mashed, used in stews, soups or casseroles. It's long tuberous root is cream-colored skin, and it used to be used as a sweetener before the arrival of cane sugar in Europe.



Luffa


NEW THIS WEEK!  A special request this year, we grew these from donated seed from one of our CSA Members, and had fairly good success in the greenhouse. These are the same luffa that you use in the bath as a body scrub, I bet you didn't realize it's a vegetable though! Loofahs or luffas are made from the dried fruit from the plant, it is also eaten around the world when its green and mature, often fried or in curry. They may require a little more drying time so leave in a well ventilated sunny area that will allow them to dry all the way out before taking it in for bath time. 



Pumpkins-Jack O'Lantern


NEW THIS WEEK! Jack-o-Lantern pumpkins just in time for Halloween carving! 


Pumpkins-Pumpkin Pie Pumpkins


It's that time of year, time for pumpkin pie! Make your pies from scratch this year by following this recipe.

Pumpkin Pie from scratch



Green's Mix


Lettuces, mizuna, baby kale, tatsoi, arugula, and spinach, what a mix of greens for a delicious salad!


Celery


Celery is used around the world for the crisp leaf stalks, though in Europe it is more common to grow it for its bulb. The leaves are strongly flavored and can be used as a flavoring in soups and stews or as a dried herb. Celery can be stored for up to seven weeks in the fridge. Celery, onions, and bell peppers are considered the holy trinity of Cajun cuisine, or, try celery, onions, and carrots for the base of a great soup! 




Green Onions


More green onions this week, goes well in everything from a salad, an Italian dish, Mexican, or a stir-fry. 




Peppers- Jalapeno, Cayenne


Lots of peppers this week! This week we havlots of jalapenos for more jalapeno poppers, and lots of cayenne.  Tie these up in bunches and hang in a dry area of the house, we use the pantry, and let them dry.  Once they've dried out go ahead and throw in a food processor or use a mortar and pestle to create cayenne powder. or red pepper flakes.

 Jalapeno Poppers

Eggplant


We have a dark purple variety and a white variety, perfect for ratatouille or eggplant Parmesan. Raw eggplant can have a somewhat bitter taste, but becomes tender when cooked and develops a rich, complex flavor. The flesh is smooth and meaty, capable of absorbing large amounts of cooking fats and sauces, making for very rich dishes and making it a great meat substitute for vegan and vegetarian dishes!



Kale


This green became a favorite for us at the farm Farmer Don certainly came to love it.  There are many great ways to enjoy this super food, which is loaded with vitamins.  You can of course eat it raw, or throw it in a juicer.  We really enjoy throwing it in the cast iron with  butter, salt, pepper, and some red pepper flakes and sauteing for a few minutes for a great side to any meal.  It is also a great healthy snack when you bake them into Kale Chips.  

Kale Chips

Fresh Herb Bundle

We've got  bunches of Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme this week, enjoy!  We finally got to have an herb bundle that matches the Simon and Garfunkel song! 

Can't use it all? Here's a simple How-To on drying your own herbs