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June 14, 2019

This Week's Share

The broccoli has just started to come in and it is delicious. We love spring broccoli because it is so tasty but it is a challenging one to produce. This year's crop is variable and we  expect it to come in at a more staggered rate so we may not see a huge bumper all at once like we usually do.

This is a week of weird crops, but they are tasty so listen up and be not afraid. Kohlrabi, in both green and shining purple, look a little bit like aliens. They have a round bulbish stem with leaves coming off the top. Peel the bulb and you have something like a broccoli apple, they are crunchy and juicy. Slice em up into a salad. The tops can be cooked up like cooking greens.

Next up is fennel. This is a crop I have really learned to love. It has a mild anise like flavor and is often used in Italian cooking. I LOVE it carmelized, just cook it low and slow in oil or butter and then put it on anything, or just eat it out of the pan. Check out this fennel risotto recipe. Also, I have been obsessing about the recipe of the week salad since I had something similar over the winter. I can't wait to eat it three times a day until I am sick of it.

Last up is the Fioretto sprouting cauliflower. This is a newly developed crop in the United States that came to us from Japan and we are so happy to have it here. It is intended to be grown for its stalks more so then the curd so we let it elongate prior to harvest like a sprouting broccoli. It is kind of reminiscent of asparagus to us, cook up those stalks like you would asparagus. It is so good! We are not quite sure on its timing, but we expect to see it next week and there is a good amount.

Still got potatoes? Don't be afraid to store them wrapped in your fridge, that is basically how we do it. They will keep for a while if they are in the dark. You may have noticed when you slice into them a little brown or even a small cavity. This is totally fine to eat and is the result of uneven watering when the tuber was developing. The gold potatoes are most prone to it, this week we are switching to white.

Recipe of the Week: 

Kale, fennel and pistachio salad

Ingredients: 
    •  
    • 3 cups chopped kale
    • 1/2 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
    • 1/2 cup shelled pistachio nuts (about 60 pistachios)
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
    • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 1/4 cup hot wate
    • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes

 

Directions: 

Put chopped kale and sliced fennel in a large bowl.
Place pistachios on a foil-covered baking sheet and lightly toast. You can either do this in a toaster oven or by roasting at 350 degrees for about 6 minutes. Keep a close eye on them to make sure they don't burn.
Put pistachios in a blender (reserve a few for topping your salad), along with the garlic, lemon juice, hot water, about 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Blend well, until the mixture is smooth. If you want a thinner dressing, continue to slowly pour in olive oil and blend. Taste. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
Toss kale and fennel with dressing until very well coated.
Serve salad on plates and top with extra pistachios, red pepper flakes, and lemon zest.

Credit: 
werenotmartha.com

Blending the old and new

Max taking his new finger weeder out for a spin.
Max taking his new finger weeder out for a spin.

Dear Friends,

 

A bit of rain, some sunshine followed by a bit more rain. Nice weather to plant a ton of watermelon, a perfect opportunity to kill some weeds and then ideal conditions to harvest and seed in the greenhouse. It’s nice when things are nice and it’s nice when the weather lines up with the tasks at hand. The farm is really taking shape right now. Everywhere we look there are new crops ready to go off. Broccoli starting to head, kohlrabi taking shape, zucchini and summer squash flowering, even the early onions are starting to bulb. It is a pivotal time on the farm, if we can keep the weeds down now it will make our life oh so much easier going forward but if things start to slip away they will be so much harder to get under control.

 

We have many tools in our tool box for weed control. If you have been with us for awhile you are no doubt familiar with our love of our Allis-Chalmers G tractors. A machine built all the way back in the 1940’s these nifty tractors have the engine behind you so you can see everything you’re doing. This makes them ideal for mechanical weed control. While this tractor was built long before I came into this world, so many of the tools we use mounted on it are quite modern. The seeders we use to seed all our crops date back to same era as the tractor but a lot of the different weed killing tools are new. We have two, one we had mostly used to seed and one we mostly used to weed.

 

Killing weeds with tractors, known as mechanical cultivation, or just cultivation, is a big part of what we do. It allows us to grow as much food as we do without using herbicide or employing 40 people to hoe everything all the time. Finding new and better ways to cultivate is one of my favorite parts of farming. This year in a quest to cut down on our hand weeding we have introduced a new cultivator called a “Finger Weeder”. This remarkable machine uses discs of rubber fingers mounted on an angle to actually kill the weeds in the row between the crops.

 

Hard to picture? Check out our instagram post about it! https://www.instagram.com/p/ByF-CGAnqZn/   Or another video here https://www.instagram.com/p/ByVD6FRnViw/

 

Based on a popular European design, and becoming quite popular on organic farms here in the U.S. have been skeptical as to how this tool would perform in our rocky conditions. Fortunately for us, a new company in Ohio has been taking the finger weeder design and adding some features to make them work better in rocky soils so we decided to give it a shot. It has taken quite a bit of learning and a lot of adjustment but so far we are very happy with what it is doing. It is definitely an advanced tool and I still feel like I’m just getting the hang of it.

 

After 70 years the engines on these remarkable machines can become a bit unreliable so 4 years ago we converted one of our tractors to an electric motor. The plans for the electric conversion are available on line but it is still a complex and involved project. Larry, Kerry’s father, and our farm problem solver did all the work over the course of a month or maybe more in the fall of 2014. Well this spring, after a mishap with our gasoline powered G, Larry went about converting our second G to electric. With an overseas trip to Europe already planned, Larry went to work with a deadline. After many long hours and late nights, Larry finished what has got to be the fastest electric G conversion in the history of electric G conversions. And now we have two! So we can kill twice as many weeds!

 

We are so grateful to have Larry on the farm. His hard work and ingenious problem solving keeps our farm running smooth. All of the nifty little farm gadgets our Larry creations, You can find Larry at the center of pretty much every innovation on the farm. For this project and so many others we are so thankful for all his hard work.

 

Just as an aside, for those of you with small children who are familiar with the Tractor Mac books, Shep calls the G’s tractor Mac and was so excited that Larry gave Tractor Mac a Tune Up and loved watching him work on it.

 

Your farmers,

 

Bill, Erica, Hannah, Kerry, Larry, Marycia, Max, and Tori

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