Thursday, July 2, 2009

Newsletter Week #6

Red Springs Family Farm

July 2, 2009, Week #6

Vegetable medley:

Cabbage Lettuce Garlic Patty Pan

Zucchini Carrots/little Beets Kohlrabi

Herb bag: Basil Oregano Tulsi, for tea

What a beautiful break in that hot weather. We’ve been able to enjoy our work so much more this week in the drier air and cooler nights. Beautiful sparkling days!

Big news around here is that we’ve eaten the first two standard sized tomatoes from the big patch. Sorry not to share them, but there will have to be at least thirty before we bring them into town. Tomatoes will be coming soon. The little yellow watermelons are fattening and beginning to feel more like water balloons. Eggplants sport their flirtatious purple flowers. Butternut and Acorn squash plants are robust, sending tendrils out to explore the neighboring rows. All’s well in early summer.

We got home last week to find that we had left a basket of summer squash under the house. Oops. It was an exciting week. Besides the tomatoes, we enjoyed some company. Emily and her husband Bill braved our rough gravel road and creek crossings for a garden tour. We passed some pleasant time over iced mint tea and surveyed the ever changing landscape of our small homestead. A couple days later, one of my old college friends passed through town with her seven year old son (whom I had never met!) and we felt the strangely satisfying sensation of catching up with time’s passage, and seeing our children play together around the garden. All the while, we were in the process of tearing out the spring’s detritus to make room for summer glory. Your company here is encouraged. Give us a few days notice of your visit and we’ll welcome you to our humble hollow.

In your basket this week, you’ll find the best remnants of our intended brassica crops: a head of cabbage and some kohlrabi. Now that we’re pulling out the last of the spring’s struggles, we’re almost ready to plant more kohlrabi, broccoli, cabbage, and kale for the fall harvest.

In a more perfect spring, we would like to have sent you the fixings for cole slaw as well as potato salad. Finding dry time to plant potatoes proved more difficult than usual, so they’re running late. We’ll make do with some cabbage and kohlrabi, which can both be grated into slaw. (Peel the outer skin off the kohlrabi and julienne or grate the white interior.) The carrots add color and sweetness. We wish you all a very safe and happy Fourth of July.

I’m not one to advocate much sugar-eating, but that heat spell did a number on our lettuces, so I am growing more curious about this variation that we read about in the Little House books:

From The Pioneer Cookbook, via The Little House Cookbook

Lettuce at Its Best

Lettuce, 1 full head fresh garden variety

Vinegar in a cruet

Sugar in a bowl

Large serving bowl; kitchen towels, 2

Wash lettuce by dipping leaves quickly in a basin of cold water (a running spigot wastes water; soaking leaves wastes vitamins). Drain on kitchen towels; pat dry. Arrange in bowl and take to the table with cruet and sugar bowl. At the table, take a leaf in your fingers, sprinkle it with some vinegar and sugar, roll it tight, and eat it as you would a celery stalk.

And how about these blueberries? It’s exciting to us to be able to offer more of a “one stop shopping” experience. We’re grateful for the cooperation of Brinna at Hidden Springs, and hope you will relish the fresh sweetness of these blueberries. Wow. Consider taking on a standing order (How many blueberries can you eat in a week? How many do you want to stash in your freezer for blueberry-less times?). As the season progresses, we will have offerings of blackberries, raspberries, and those amazing little kiwis. We’ll keep you posted.

As a tribute to the blueberries, we’ll include this recipe, also from The Little House Cookbook:

Blueberry Pudding

1 dry pint (10 oz.) blueberries 4 Tbsp. soft butter

1 egg ¾ cup homogenized milk

½ tsp baking soda 1 ½ cups unbleached white flour

1 cup sugar 1 tsp. cream of tartar

Sauce (recipe to follow) Pudding mold with lid, 1 ½ qt, or the like

Wash, drain, stem, and sort the blueberries. Generously grease the inside of the mold or can and its lid with some soft butter. In a smaller bowl, beat the egg; stir in milk and baking soda. In a larger bowl mix flour, sugar, and cream of tartar; work in remaining butter with fingers until mixture is uniformly coarse. Stir liquid into dry mixture until all is moist. Stir in blueberries last with a few strokes, taking care not to crush the berries.

Pour blueberry batter into mold or can and cover tightly. Set the container in the kettle and fill kettle two-thirds full with boiling water. Cover and simmer for 1 ½ hours or longer. As long as there is plenty of water in the kettle there is little danger that the pudding will overcook. Unmold the finished pudding on a platter and serve with the sauce.


1 cup sugar 2 Tbsp. butter

Pinch of salt pinch of nutmeg

2 Tbsp rose water (substitute lemon juice if needed)

1 qt saucepan

Simmer the sugar with 2 cups of water until it begins to thicken into syrup, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients. Serve warm in a pitcher.

Other notes on your basket: the sweetly fragrant little purple blooming twigs in your herb bag are tulsi. Tulsi is also called “holy basil” and many households in India keep a plant indoors to maintain a pleasant quality to the air. We’ve found it to be a wonderful tasting tea, but you could also dry it for a sachet or potpourri. The longer twigs with occasional white flowers and smaller leaves are oregano.

We hope the blog veggie directory has been helpful to you. I know some of the headings are off abit – I’ve not mastered the spacing of these things. However, I’ve now posted a photo album of vegetables and garden pics on Facebook – if you’re on there, look me up and you’ll be able to browse those (along with some embarrassing old pictures posted by a high school friend of mine).

Next week – maybe we’ll have tomatoes? We’re hopeful. A good rain (again, wishing, hoping, praying) will bring on the next flush of green beans, and freshen up the chard and sorrel.

Enjoy your veggies. Thank you for your support.

The Entwistles

“Whatever may be one’s condition in life, the great art is to learn to be content and happy, indulging in no feverish longings for what we have not, but satisfied and thankful for what we have.”

~Edmund Morris, Ten Acres Enough, 1864

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