Tuesday, August 13, 2013

week 11

In one bag: Tomatoes 
In another bag:  Sweet Red & Yellow Peppers  
Sweet Corn                 Garlic              New Potatoes

and finally: Lettuce     Summer Squash         Okra    
Sorrel       Basil           Parsley

Then: Watermelon and Hot Peppers

What a great big harvest this week.  Wow!

So, the corn is starting.  We have a hot electric fence around it to protect it from night time marauding raccoons and squirrels.  This is ‘young’ corn by our standards, so we’re just sending a little bit.  It sure is nice and sweet.  Next week, barring unforeseen corn tragedy, we’ll send more and it will be more ‘mature’.  In our experience, corn is best enjoyed as fresh as possible.  If you are not going to eat your corn right away, we think your best bet is to cook it anyway, which holds the corn sugars in their freshest state (they start to turn to starch REALLY FAST, and lose that amazing fresh corn taste). 

Do not be amazed when you crack open your watermelon.  It’s supposed to be yellow.  We love these sweet things!  There are two varieties in the garden this year – Early Yellow Moonbeam, and Petite Yellow.  They are both delicious, ice box size, melons.  We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.  There are more standard-colored melons ripening, and a world of cantaloupes as well.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the sweet pepper situation, you’re not alone.  We are too.  The best advice I have is to freeze some.  It’s so easy (no blanching – just freeze them raw).  I highly recommend roasting them, too.  The sweetness is intensified, and they freeze well that way too. 

Don’t know about your, but we’re ready for a break from the rain.  The Fall seedlings are begging to be transplanting, and we need the soil just a hair drier to feel good about getting things done.  Hopefully, we’ll be busy at that task this week.

New plantings of summer squash and cucumbers look promising.  Beans are struggling with the moisture, but okra is going full blast.   The season is turning around – the green of the trees is a little less intense, and now and some trees even look a little orange here and there.  Could be Fall approaching. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

week 10

August 6, 2013 week 10

In one bag: Tomatoes             
In another bag:  Sweet Red & Yellow Peppers   Onions       Garlic              Summer Squash        Tomatillos
and finally: Lettuce     New Zealand Spinach    
Sorrel       Basil           Parsley
Maybe: Jalapeño or Serrano Peppers                        Okra

I sure do love a cloudy Tuesday morning with no rain!

The cool weather is just great and the greens are responding to it wonderfully.  Some of our summer regulars are on vacation for a little while.  The green beans gave out early, probably in response to the stress of that 9 inches of rain awhile back.  Eggplant are taking a break, gathering their strength to bloom and fruit again.  But Okra is starting to produce.  Right now I only have enough to give to a few of you at a time, so I’ll alternate weeks.  The green okra is Star of David – it holds tenderness for a long time, is less slimy, but has a slightly prickly exterior, until cooked.  The red is a new variety for us – gorgeous, tho a little more slimy. 

Next week we’ll have sweet corn, and probably some melons.  Carrots and beets are coming soon, too.

Tomatillos are new this week.  They are an excellent addition to a homemade salsa.  We’ve also enjoyed them sautéed with summer squash and sweet peppers.   They are authentic to Central American cuisine.  Have fun with them.

If we don’t get to see you when we drop your basket off, please advise whether you like hot peppers or not.  We have them in GREAT abundance, and the hotter ones will be coming along a little later in the season.

As for all this beautiful basil – if you haven’t already, I recommend you make some pesto.  Pesto is a flavorful paste of basil, garlic, nuts, cheese, and olive oil.  Traditionally, in Italy, they put it on pasta, but it’s great on potatoes, on toast, on grilled or roasted veggies.  It’s good.  It freezes well, too.  Here’s a nice basic recipe for Pesto:

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed              1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil                     1/3 cup pine nuts, walnuts, or Brazil nuts
3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced      Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a food processor, chop the cheese, nuts, and garlic, not too fine, but nicely chopped.  Take them out of the processor, and put in the basil.  Process the basil to a very fine chop, then combine the cheese mixture with the basil and olive oil in another bowl.  Add salt and pepper to taste, then toss on pasta and enjoy.  Alternately, pack it into a freezer bag and freeze it for later. 

We hope you enjoy your basket – and have a great week!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

great Indian greens recipe here

This is adapted from one of my favorite Indian cookbooks - Curries Without Worries, by Sudha Koul. 

Because we grow so much of our food, I often get into recipes without the EXACT right ingredients, and I have to wing it to make it work.

This one works.

Sag Goshth -
the ingredients read: (parenthesis are all my comments)
10 oz package of fresh spinach (I never measure my spinach, and it's rarely my green of choice - chard, NZ spinach, and kale all work)
6 cups of water (or less)
1 large onion, coarsely chopped (or more if they're small - I've even used green onions in a pinch and it was wonderful)
4 cloves garlic
1 Tblsp chopped fresh ginger
2 Tbsp water
1/2 cup oil (I've used much less than this and had it work fine)
8 whole cloves
2 lbs lean lamb, such as lean sliced shoulder, cut into approximately 2" x 3" x 2" pieces (I don't grow lamb, but we do eat a lot of venison, which i've used in its place - however, i sliced mine quite thin to cut down the cooking time.  results were excellent - i suspect that you could use chicken, or probably even do this without meat at all if you wanted!)
2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped (in the winter, i use canned tomatoes - more than two)
1 tsp ground cayenne (use more or less as you like)
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 cinnamon stick, coarsely crushed (ground cinnamon is ok too - 1 tsp or more)
1/2 cup sour cream (homemade yoghurt is excellent here as well)
1/2 tsp cardamon seeds, crushed
salt to taste

Wash and drain spinach.  Place in a large pot with water.  Boil for three minutes.  Cool. 
Reserve greens and one cup liquid.  Puree in a blender or food processor and set aside.  (This really does need to be the first step to keep you from running into timing issues later.)

Puree onion, garlic, and ginger with 2 Tbsp water.   
In a 4 qt saucepan, heat oil on high.  Add cloves and onion puree.  Stir fry briskly for 2 minutes, until puree starts turning brown.  Add the meat and continue to fry 2 more minutes.  lower heat to medium high and continue frying until the meat starts to brown.  This takes a couple minutes.

Add tomatoes, cayenne, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, sour cream, cardamon and salt.  Stir fry well for a few seconds and bring to a boil.

Add the spinach puree.  Stir.  Reduce heat to lowest point.  Cover.  Cook until the meat is tender.  This should take about 45 minutes (unless you slice it thinner, then it takes almost no time and your dinner is earlier - yippee!).

Even our kids love this dish.  It's worth the effort.  I hope you think so too.

week 8

July 23, 2013 week 8

In one bag: Tomatoes Green and Red Peppers
Eggplant Garlic
In the other bag: Lettuce Green Beans Cucumber Summer Squash Chard Green Onions
Parsley Basil Celery
The tomatoes are really starting to roll around here! So many colors, shapes and flavors to enjoy. We grow some real oddballs – we hope you like them as much as we do. The purplish orangey ones are among our favorites, and they often maintain the green color on their shoulders (around the stem). Cut into them and they’re perfectly ripe underneath. Eat up!
When we fixed a mess of beans last week we found the final picking of the Yellow Wax to be a little tough. If that was your experience, we apologize. These green beans are certainly tender.
This week you have white eggplant. They’re called Casper and they’re wonderful. They need to be peeled, and they have excellent texture and flavor – very firm and meaty.
The other white item in your bags this time is another UFO-looking fruit – a patty pan squash. This particular variety is called Benning’s Green Tint and we think the flavor is better than just about any other summer squash. Patty Pans can be used just like you would use any other summer squash – we’ve used them interchangeably with yellow crookneck and zucchini (even in bread and muffins) with wonderful results.
It’s great to be sending some colorful peppers again. A green bell pepper is really just an unripe bell pepper – all peppers mature into some sort of exciting color. Once they mature they don’t keep or ship as well, which may be why they’re so expensive in the grocery. The flavor is beyond the pale and well worth the wait. There are many more to come!
Oh, and basil – the purple basil was getting a little leggy, so I picked just the top sprig off to send. This Purple Ruffles variety is fun to look at, great to smell, and even better to throw into a batch of pesto.
I’m out of time and space to post it right now, but I’ll put up an excellent Indian style greens recipe for that chard – check the blog.
Next week: The beans may slow down a bit – eggplant, too. But the tomatoes will likely increase. We hope to have new potatoes. Our corn is awful late, but it will come along eventually. This is a great season – with a little patience.

Thank you all for eating up our garden – feel free to contact us with questions if needed.
Be well. Paul, Coree, Lulah, and Levon

weeks 6 & 7

OK - finally...

July 16, 2013 week 7

Tomatoes Peppers Yellow Wax Beans Lettuce
Garlic Cucumbers Eggplant Summer Squash
Fennel Green Onions Parsley Basil Sorrel
We're still shaking down the results of the nine inches of rain. The cutting herbs have recuperated fairly well. Some of the next patch of green beans took a hit, but we seem to be over-planting sufficiently to off set the loss. Your beans will be green next week!
The sun and heat is ripening the tomatoes. We'll be bringing increasingly more over the next few weeks. I try to vary the type, size, color, and ripeness in each bag so that you have some to eat now, some to last a little while, and a nice sampling of different varieties. We enjoy growing some really unusual looking but delicious tasting fruits. Please don't refrigerate your tomatoes. They are tropical fruits and lose flavor and texture in the cold. Hope you enjoy.
Eggplant came in thick this week. I only put what I thought you could eat in the bag. There will be more. Experiment with these beautiful fruits. They have the potential to be just as tasty as they are beautiful. Eggplant are also tropical by nature. You can leave them in a shady place on your kitchen counter and they should be fine. Sun will degrade almost anything. Recommended recipes to look up: ratatouille and baba ghanoush. I'm pretty sure there are a few renditions on our blog if you go poking through the archives.
We found our favorite treatment of fennel bulbs last week. Here it is. Maybe some of you still have a head of cabbage kicking around?
Simple Fennel and Cabbage Skillet. Thinly slice an onion (or leek if you've got one), a small head of cabbage, and a couple of fennel bulbs. Wash the fennel and cabbage, but don't dry it. Warm 1 Tbsp butter in a large skillet. Throw in the onion, cabbage and fennel. Stir and cover. Check it in a few minutes to make sure it's steaming, not burning. Let it cook 10-15 minutes total. In the meantime, mince a couple tablespoons of parsley and melt 2-3 more Tbsp butter. Mix parsley and butter with a few Tbsp lemon juice (fresh is best). Drain any excess water from cabbage mixture and add the butter. Toss, taste for seasoning and enjoy.
And, a versatile recipe for putting SO much food to good use: Roasted Summer Vegetables
8 to 10 cups fresh vegetables. Cut into bite sized pieces for even cooking time. Toss with one of the seasoning options below. Then spread seasoned veggies in a thin layer on a baking sheet and bake at 425 for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Serve over cooked pasta or rice with parmesan grated on top. For a salad, cool the veggies and add some ripe tomatoes, feta cheese, and vinaigrette dressing.
Seasoning options: 1) Several Tbsp chopped fresh herbs, 1 Tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper, 1-4 cloves fresh garlic. 2)1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp chili powder, salt, pepper, and dried thyme. 3) ¾ cup italian dressing. 4) 4 cloves minced garlic, 1/3 cup olive oil, 2 Tbsp fresh herbs, 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 Tbsp dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Have fun with vegetables!

July 9, 2013 week 6

Tomatoes Peppers Yellow Wax Beans
Lettuce Garlic Cucumbers
Sugar Snap Peas Cabbage Summer Squash
Fennel Green Onions
We're getting into some serious veggies now, folks. Eat up.
Featured veggies this week: FENNEL. Those feathery wands of leaves poking from your bag? That’s fennel. At the bottom is a bulb. It has a strong anise smell and flavor. This is an old world vegetable. Let us know what you think. This is the only time of year we grow it, so if you don’t love it, just rest assured that it won’t last long. Some culinary suggestions for your fennel:
Cut the fine leaves into salads. Use the stems like celery. Chop stems and leaves fine and use them in cream cheese dips and flavored mayo. Store the bulb separately. Trim off the top and root ends and cut it in half or quarters lengthwise. Parboil it for a few minutes (7 to 10), drain it well, and thread it onto kebabs with the summer squash on the grill. Or you can roast it in the oven with potatoes and cabbage. It works as a gratin, too, and pairs well with potatoes.
This is the season of – how many cucumbers can you eat? They just keep coming. Our two year old Levon can polish off one a day. I hope you can keep up.
If the beans are too much for you – blanch them for four minutes in boiling water. Dip them immediately into cold water. Then drain them. Pack into a freezer bag and freeze for enjoyment when there are no fresh Yellow Wax Beans to be had. You can also blanch and cool them and use them in a salad – just like that.
One of my favorite fun things to do with a green pepper is slice it in thick rings, butter a frying pan, lay the rings out and crack eggs into them. It's egg-in-a-nest sans toast. Very fun food.
Wrap your cabbage up tight in a grocery bag. It will keep for a long time in the crisper drawer. You can also make a small batch of sauerkraut. Just shred the cabbage and salt it. Crunch it with your hands until it releases moisture and looks wilted. Pack it in a wide mouth jar. If it doesn't create enough liquid to cover the cabbage, add some salted water. Keep it on a room temp. counter for three days then store it in the fridge and enjoy your kraut. When the summer kraut happens, I start singing “Reuben Reuben, I been thinking....”. For more on kraut, look at our blog or look up wildfermentation.com.
We finally ripped the broccoli out to make room for the late season tomatoes. The chickens are picking over those dark green leaves. I would have sent you more chard, but there's simply no more room in the bags. It will be back.
In the upper garden, the Sugar Snap Peas are just about finished. This should be the final picking. We look forward to clearing them out and digging the potatoes. Melons didn’t enjoy the rain that much, but everything else in the upper garden is holding up and looking good. Next week, there will be eggplants. Take care and enjoy your food!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

week 5

July 2, 2013 week 5

This season is the kind we gardeners dream about. The rain keeps us working hard at weed control, but otherwise, everything looks wonderful. The is the first time in the nine years we've gardened here that we've had peas and beans at the same time! I've also never seen the broccoli continue to produce so well. Really and truly I believe this is its last week. We need to clean out these spring crops and get ready for Fall. Believe it or not, Paul just started the Brussel Sprouts.

As we come into the mid-season veggies, please don't be shy. If you're throwing a dinner party, or would just like more of something, just ask. If it's available, we'll be glad to share or sell you more at a reasonable price. I can't promise we'll have it, but please don't hesitate to ask.

Happy Independence Day! With this harvest, we celebrate a vision of greater independence from the corporate food system. However you celebrate – we hope you have a very safe and fun holiday time.

In one bag: Yellow Wax Beans – oh yum!, Sugar Snap Peas – not as aesthetically perfect as they were a couple weeks ago, but still perfectly delicious, Suhyo Long Cucumber – I've been waiting for these, some of our favorite crispy, nearly seedless, so tasty cucumbers, Fresh Garlic – there's nothing like it and this is the time of year it happens, eat it up! Summer Squash, Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage – for your 4th of July cole slaw.

In the other bag: Two heads of summer lettuce – this is the variety of lettuce we've found that holds up best in the long hot days of summer. A final handful of broccoli. Parsley, sorrel, basil.

I have reason to believe that there may be enough tomatoes to share next week.

We'll likely be sending more chard, garlic, green onions, and green peppers.

Spread the word, share your food, and Enjoy!

weeks 3 and 4

June 18, 2013 week 3

Coming right along here. It dried up enough to tractor cultivate the open spots in the garden, and get a good start on hand cultivation, too.

If you're wondering how some of your veggies, feel free drop us a line. You might also skate around on our blog and find the information you need. I'm slowly making the blog a more beautiful and user friendly online 'place'.

New, this week... Kohlrabi – this is another brassica – a cousin of broccoli, kale, and cabbage, developed for it's tender round stem. The leaves are ok to eat, too. Just peel the outer flesh off and enjoy the tender crisp heart of kohlrabi raw or cooked. We slice it thin and throw it in stir-fried or steamed veggies (lemon and butter work well). We also grate it or slice it into salad. It makes a nice addition, or base, for cole slaw type salads, grated with carrots and the like. Take off the leaves and store them separately. The bulb keeps well.

Nasturtiums – again – eat your flowers! Nasturtiums aren't so much cutting flowers, but their spicy sweet flavor is a real treat. I once stuffed nasturtium flowers with some kind of spiced veggie cream cheese as an appetizer. It was as tasty as it was beautiful. Store them, without crushing, in a loose bag in the fridge, or you can try to keep them in a small vase – jury's still out around here as to what works best.

Sorrel – these bright green arrow shaped leaves have a strong lemony flavor. In our experience, kids like them. Great way to sneak some greens into a wrap or pasta salad, with a nice zing. We throw a few of these leaves in every salad.

New Zealand Spinach – This unusual succulent green hails from the South Pacific, where it is fabled that Captain Cook's crew survived by eating it when they ran out of sauerkraut. We love that it thrives in heat – a rare quality in cooking greens. NZ Spinach is best cooked – but it doesn't take much cooking to make it wonderful. It works in quiche, lasagna, or substituted for cooked spinach in just about any recipe.

Otherwise, there are the familiar veggies: Lettuce (Romaine this week – go Ceasar!), more Broccoli, Sugar Snap Peas, Green Onions, Cilantro, Parsley, and Green Hot Peppers.

The radishes may be getting too hot to produce now, and the arugula is trying to bolt, so there may not be a lot more of that, either. Summer squashes aren't quite ready yet, but it won't be long now. There are beautiful green tomatoes on the vines, and the cucumbers are beginning to flower. Come out for a wade in the creek and visit the garden anytime.


June 25, 2013 week 4

In one bag: summer squash, broccoli, kohlrabi,
green pepper, sugar snap peas

In the other bag: lettuce, parsley, sorrel, cilantro, nasturtiums, green coriander

Did you know.... that we have more taste buds in the last trimester of out time in the womb than we have ever after? So, our taste preferences are being established even before we're born. Isn't that cool?

The friendly UFO's of the garden are back this week, and this time, they're purple. These kohlrabis are an heirloom variety, and their leaves have held up better than the green hybrids we sent last week.

A nice surprise this week: green pepper. We've uncovered the peppers and eggplants and they look GREAT. This is just a little thinning I did to give them room to grow. Other harbingers of Summer on on the way. Green beans and cucumbers are getting close, and we found the first ripe tomato this week – just one – but it's a nice early start.

We've sent a little more sorrel this week with the hopes that you take our advice and try it in a quiche. I sauteed it with the onions, it wilts fast, then layered it in a crust with feta cheese. The bite of the lemony flavor is subdued and something wonderful remains.

The zucchinis in your basket are called 8-ball. They're our favorite. We hope you enjoy them, along with these sweet buttery little crooknecks. Summer is grand.

Another unusual and season-specific treat this week – green coriander. These little green seed clusters in your salad bag are the unripe seeds of coriander – the fruit of cilantro. Taste one and you'll see why we like them. Crush them and add them to a light salad dressing or marinade. You won't be sad.

And, BASIL. You'll find that we hand out basil and parsley as if they were green vegetables, or superfoods, because they are. It's impossible to maintain a grumpy disposition while picking basil. Just the smell is enlivening goodness. What great stuff.

If you have a collection of clean plastic grocery bags you'd like to pass along, we would be happy to put them to use in weekly deliveries.

Thank you all for your good eating habits. If you have friends who would be interested in our services, we still have room for a few more – please spread the word! We hope you enjoy this week's smorgasbord.

Monday, June 17, 2013

the new season newsletters

Finally, I'm catching up on posting these....

I'll also try to create some listings for photos of unusual veggies, so you can find them, and hopefully something to do with them here on this site.  I'm still getting the hang of this blog thing.  I enjoy veggies a lot more than computers!

from week 1, june 4

First Basket! Yay!

Thank you all for joining us. We hope you enjoy the veggies. It's great to have beautiful heads of lettuce to share again. There's still room for a couple more folks, so please spread the word to anyone else you know who might enjoy the service.

Here's the line-up this week. In one bag:

Lettuce – two heads. Wash, dry, store in the crisper. Eat in abundance – there will be plenty more.

Radishes and Salad Turnips – The red radishes do not thrive down here. By the time the soil gets warm enough for them to take off and grow, it's so hot that they get really spicy. Oh well – enjoy them while they last. The white bulbs are salad turnips – very tender and mild, designed for salads. We like these a lot. Cut the tops off both these bulbs and store them separately. You can saute radish and turnip greens for a side dish.

Oregano – the longish spikes with small round leaves are oregano. We like to chop some into our salads. You can also freeze or dry it for later use.

Mint – Boil a pot of water. Add the mint, turn off the heat and let it set 5 minutes or more. Sweeten to taste and add a squeeze of lemon. Drink that instead of soda on a hot afternoon. Some good habits come easy. We also add mint to salad. Gourmet food is for ordinary folks too!

Celery blooms – Mom always said to eat your veggies. She probably didn't often tell you to eat your flowers, but I will. These are leftovers from last Fall's celery row. The taste is intensified. Great in soups or salads. Seasonal treats.

Arugula – Spicy hot goodness in a little green leaf. These are the muddiest thing in your bag – but it's good clean dirt, so just rinse them well and use the water in your houseplants.

Sugar Snap Peas – We never know how well peas are going to grow in a Spring. Sometimes it gets too hot too fast. This year, we thought we were planting too late, but it worked! These Sugar Snaps are just getting going and we should have more to share next week.

In the other bag:

Rainbow Chard – large leaves with multi-colored stems. These want to be cooked, but not for long. This is a relative to spinach – you can treat it similarly.

Broccoli – Weather this Spring was not favorable for large broccoli heads. We cut the main heads and now there are lots of these great little side shoots. These should be eaten ASAP for best flavor. Both the Chard and Broccoli would be great in a quiche.

Garlic Scapes – Beautiful green flower buds of the young garlic plants. The taste is not as intense as the cloves. Use it just the same as you would ordinary garlic. Keeps well in a vase of water, or wrapped up in the fridge.

Sweet Potatoes – Again, these are left over from last Fall. They're lighter and drier than they were last year, but still very sweet. They cook quickly, too.

Here's a Basic Quiche Recipe to play with...

1  9-inch piecrust 2  tablespoons  olive oil
2  medium onions, chopped Kosher salt and black pepper
4  large eggs 3/4  cup  half-and-half (I use milk or even yogurt)
1/8  teaspoon  ground nutmeg or fresh thyme
8  ounces  Gruyere, grated (I use any kind of cheese I have or like – Feta is great)
4  cups  mixed greens (your Chard or Broccoli would work here)
1. Heat oven to 375° F. Fit the crust into a 9-inch pie plate. Place on a baking sheet.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the greens and let the wilt just a bit.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, nutmeg, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir in the onion/greens mixture and the cheese.
4. Pour the egg mixture into the crust. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Next week's basket will look very similar to this week's. The weather is shaping up well and everything is growing fast. We're thinking it's going to be a wonderful mid-season and we look forward to sharing it with you.


AND - week 2 - June 11  --

We're sure glad that rain stopped. Time to go do some more hoeing. There are more than the usual amount of slugs this year – we’ve found that soaking the veggies brings them to the top where you can find them before they reach your plate! I’ll try to post some pictures of unusual veggies along with the newsletter at: redspringsfamilyfarm.blogspot.com.

Here's the veggie line up – in one bag:
Lettuce – Speckled – one of our favorites for its sweet buttery flavor and texture. It doesn't hold up to heat or keep well in a freeze, so we can only grow it in a narrow window of time – like now.

Arugula – Deeply lobed, slightly hair leaves with a really pungent taste. If its too much for you, try throwing it into a pasta sauce or onto a pizza (traditional in Italy) – the heat softens the flavor some.

Mizuna – light green leaves with lots of edges and white stems. The flavor is mildly peppery. It's a nice salad addition.

Cilantro – Yum. Use this wherever you like it best. Personally, I like it with Avocados, garlic, and lime juice.

Sugar Snap Peas – We're glad to report that the Sugar Snap Peas are still growing strong and we'll give more of them again next week. Chop them up in a salad with feta cheese and garlic scapes. Oh so good.

Garlic Scapes – Beautiful green flower buds of the young garlic plants. This is the last week of scapes. Sad as that may be, it means that garlic harvest time is soon.

Green Onions – These are the thinnings from the storage onion bed. We'll have another week of these and then some scallions.

In the other bag:

Radishes and Salad Turnips
Rainbow Chard

Broccoli – We may get one more week of shoots from these plants before we need to use the space they're taking for something else.

Next week – we'll have kohlrabi, and hopefully some early 8-Ball Zucchini.
Enjoy! Paul, Coree, Lulah, and Levon

Saturday, May 4, 2013

seedling list

Well, the inventory is finally complete.  I'm posting here a list of all the seedlings we have left to pass along.  They are $3 each, and will mostly come in 9 oz. plastic cups.
Paul and Lulah will come to town Saturday morning, May 4, to the Farmer's Market.  There are plenty of some, and few of others.  Place your orders early and we'll set them aside for you. First come first serve.

We may have a few dozen eggs available as well.  Let us know if you want some.

We hope you're all enjoying this long slow Spring.

the list:
Peace Vine - classic little red fruit.

Black Cherry -  Beautiful dusky purple-brown. They have that rich flavor that makes black tomatoes famous. Large vines yield very well.

Honey Drop - orangey-yellow, juicy with a fruity flavor - a lot of genetic diversity in this variety - can bear any variety of shapes and colors.

Frosted Green Doctor - these cherries are green when fully ripe - looks like frosted grapes.  sweet fruit.


Polish Lingusia - huge, sausage shaped paste tomato with excellent flavor. 

San Marzano La Padino - classic paste tomato - low water content and open seed cavities - high yielding. 


Cosmonaut Volkov - great flavor on a standard red heirloom from the Ukraine.

Big Beef - hybrid - combining traditionally delicious flavor with today's disease resistance. 

Goliath - hybrid - long season with wide adaptability and disease resistance.

Mortgage Lifter - large smooth fruit with rich sweet taste. 

Rose de Berne - Swiss heirloom with sweet and sturdy 4-8 oz fruits.


Paul Robeson - If you know us, you know this one is a favorite - medium sized fruits with interesting navels and intense flavor.  We've saved this seed for several years and feel that it's well adapted now.

Sara Black - purplish brown that we're trialing this year.

Morado - large black tomato (up to 1 lb), purplish pink with green shoulders.


Jubilee - old standard with sweet mild flavor - good size and yield.

Woodle Orange - good main season producer of round tangerine colored fruits.  One of our favorites.

Dad's Sunset - trialing this one - claims to be a good keeper.

Djena Lee - another trial variety - this one won first prize at the Chicago Fair 10 years in a row.


Lillian's Yellow - meaty creamy flesh in a light yellow fruit.  bi-lobed and lopsided, but great flavor on an unusual beefsteak type.



New Ace - hybrid,  thin-walled, not blocky, turn red early, good for the home garden.

Carolina Wonder - heirloom (our first year saving, so could be variable in its type) - nice green bells that turn bright red when mature. 
Golden Treasure - one of our favorite keepers - Italian heirloom - long golden yellow fruits, so sweet!


Jalapeno - classic - brown nettign appears as fruit ripens from dark green to dark red.

Lemon Drop - Seasoning pepper from Peru ripens to a clear lemon yellow, sometimes with a dark purple blush. The flavor is a very clean, uncomplicated, slightly citrus-y heat. 2-foot plants are covered with the thin-walled, conical fruits which reach 2-3 inches in length, with very few seeds.

Dorset Naga - The Dorset Naga, a chili from Bangladesh, has a Scoville rating of more 1.6 million units, making it the world's hottest chili.

Bhut Jalokia - Also known as Ghost Pepper, Naga Morich. Legendary variety, one of the world's hottest peppers, if not the hottest, with readings in excess of 1,000,000 Scoville units! Bhut Jolokia starts out slow but eventually makes tall plants, exceeding 4 ft in favored locations. The thin-walled, wrinkled, pointed fruits reach 2-3" in length, ripening mostly to red.

African Cayenne - Large vigorous Cayenne pepper.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

new season old habits

Amazing.  The coldest night of the winter was the first night of Spring.

It was 17 degrees down here.  We covered the plants in the greenhouse and brought the most tender young plants indoors.  Everything made it.  Honeybees, snails, mosquitoes, butterflies have been knocked back, but there will still be blooms for them when they come back.

The greenhouse is nearly full already and we're feeling behind planting.  Very soon, plants will have to leave the greenhouse and go into the ground.

Old habits die hard, I guess.  We went ahead and got a permit for the Cookeville Farmer's Market.  So, even tho we're not selling shares, you may see us this summer.  Lulah has a nice flat of snapdragons started and we may have to bring her in with flowers, and tomatoes.

It's good and well time for this season to crack open.  Let's hope it's a good one.

Anise Hyssop making a start to the season.
For more season's greetings, check out www.radicalfarmwives.com tomorrow for my post there.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

the 2013 season

It usually takes us until about mid January before we are settled down enough to begin to think about the year ahead. This year it has taken a little longer. We have been contemplating some dramatic changes in our personal and professional lives. It is with great trepidation that we have decided to not make veggie deliveries to Cookeville this year.

For a number of years we have been trying to find a balance of what really works in our farming adventure. As many of you know, our land base is quite small. The total space of our gardens is a little less than one acre, and there's not really any room left to expand. Because of this, there are efficiencies of scale in farming that we cannot take advantage of. So, we have tended to work our little space quite intensively. The soil continues to improve and the food is good, but the process ends up working us hard too (maybe we should say 'too hard'). The year we tried having an intern was helpful, but that too was difficult in our small space.

We have been looking for a larger farm for about five years now, but haven't found one that feels just right. We seek land that will allow us to expand our farming operation without sacrificing the natural beauty and the amenities that we appreciate at our current home. The plan is to spend more time looking for a new farm this year, regroup, and hopefully be back in a year or two.

That said, our hearts are heavy. It has been wonderful to be CSA growers. We have so much appreciated the relationships we've made with each of you over the years. We love tending to the land, growing food, and sharing quality food with the Cookeville community. We will continue to work our land, less intensively, and your invitation to visit the farm – even to get food from our gardens – is still standing. It's just time for us to make some changes, and some changes really take time.

Thank you for the time we've spent. We hope you continue to eat well, and hope to see you again, one of these fine days.

Warm regards,

Paul, Coree, Lulah, and Levon Entwistle

PS - We will persist to keep some updates posted on the blog and Facebook sites, and you can also check out the blog that Coree is working on with some friends: radicalfarmwives.com.  Thank you!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

silver linings

There's nothing like a family illness to make one grateful for the return to health.  The days slowed down, and they're still not up to their usual clip.  Intense variable weather helps keep us moving slower too.

And in the meantime...

I dreamt, in the first night of good sleep I'd had for awhile, that I was not just knitting but purling.  I'm not an accomplished knitter (yet), and so far, purling has evaded me.  My sister in law tried to show me, and my friend Cher tried to show me, but it just didn't click.  So when I saw my hands purling in the dream world, I woke with a new urge to TRY.

With books laid out, kids absorbed in books and naptime, a new skein of beautiful red merino wool from Traditions Fabric and Yard in Lafayette (love them), I tried, and it worked.  I'm not consistent yet, but I'm fascinated.  No one could have told me how absorbing the repetitive action and creation of knitting would feel.  I love the challenge, and the satisfying success, of it.

Lulah working on her
Levon and Dougie sporting new pants.
So, since I was on a roll, Lulah and I started up the sewing machine and worked up some projects long overdue.  Dougie Doll, made a year ago for Levon, still has no hair (poor little guy), but at least he has pants now.  And Levon has pants to match.  It does a mother's heart good to see her two year old son working hard to put on the pants she just made for him (out of a salvaged flannel shirt, yippee!).

Most of what we share on here is about the farm, the outdoors, and food.  But here's our inner craftiness coming through.  It's a silver lining in these quiet, grey, winter days.  It's a way for our spirits to recover, along with our bodies.

Monday, January 21, 2013

the coldest night of the year

Maybe it will be maybe it won't, but there's no denying that it's colder than it has been.  The wind was positively frigid, and as the sun sinks, I can feel the intensity of the freeze increasing.

We scurried around this afternoon, packing on a little extra remay here and there, bringing in some food, giving the chickens some treats, and enjoying the sun.  My big monkey ran over the hillsides with a light windbreaker and mudboots with NO SOCKS!  No complaining, either, so I guess I'll just take it as a small victory that she's wearing shoes at all.  Amazingly, the rain barrel spigot was not frozen so the little puppy boy got to do one of his favorite things - make mud.  There will be beautiful mud crystals in the morning ice.

Now, time for fire wood and dinner, a long night of bright stars.  It's good, so good.

I hope you're all gratefully warm out there!

Friday, January 18, 2013

sun sun sun

It's been a beautiful crisp clear day and we're all so grateful.  From the time the light shone around the curtains, I could feel the difference between grey and blue in the sky.

Our batteries are charging, inside and out.  The chickens and turkeys have been preening in the light, though the ground is still to wet to find a proper place for a dust bath.  Farm Cat Wowee has perched himself in the warmest places he could find and basked.  We all have that feeling about us.

I know the long grey spell is nothing new for winter.  In fact, it's normal, and we're glad to have normal weather whenever possible.  I have loved the sound of the creek.  With such dry spells as we've had this year, the creek makes too small a song to be heard from the porch, but after the rains, it has been audible again, reminding us about the realities of where we live. We made the most of the low light in our solar home by finding our old Aladdin lamp and using it in the evenings.  It's light was warm and sweet and perfect for a family meal, a game of Uno, a storytime.

The dark makes us all the more grateful for the light.