Friday, July 29, 2011

tree frog photo

Garlic Festival with Photos

by Andy

We have a sense of tradition around the planting, care and harvest of garlic. The strains of garlic that we grow are like old friends. We grow the same varieties every year and we save our own garlic for seed. Over the 15 years that we have been growing these same three garlic varieties we have developed a way of doing things that works well. We plant, fertilize and mulch six garden beds in the fall with Class H. In the Spring we weed and re-mulch with Class H and other groups. Then in summer we water weekly when the rain isn't enough and we pick off the scapes three weeks before the harvest. Then we harvest the third weekend in July. We hang the garlic to cure and then select for the seed garlic for next year's crop. We always select big garlic for seed so in theory the crop improves in average size every year.

Even though we follow the same routine every year, it is always a little bit of a mystery how the garlic will turn out. Some years the garlic is past due by the time of harvest and some heads have lost the wrapper leaves to rot. Some years the weeds keep the garlic from sizing up or we pick the scapes too late. The early Spring temperatures seem to influence the size of the bulbs too. If the plants are big by the time the long days of June hit, then that seems to help the size.

I have learned not to assume anything regarding a harvest. Things can look good and then something unexpected undermines the yield. That is probably why we try to do everything the same every year. We know that this sequence has worked before. Why mess with it?

The plants looked good this year, so hopes were high last Saturday morning when we started pulling garlic. As the bulbs came out, they were truly fat and beautiful. I was pleased. It rained after the first half hour of picking, but that just meant that we had to braid the garlic in the long barn. Then, when the rain passed, we went to work and pulled all of the rest of the garlic. Close to 4000 heads in total. Wow. Thanks to everyone who helped harvest, wash, braid, and hang the garlic. Thanks especially to the E2 Farm Campers and Families!

Braided Soft-Neck Garlic 

Kumar with Chesnook Hard-Neck Garlic


Susie's homecoming

Anne in the enchanted garlic forest.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Food Photos from a CSA member

Thanks to Joselyn for these photos.

Patrick's Salad Creation

Joselyn's everything from the Land School pasta. 

Recipe - Bread and Butter Pickles

bread and butter pickles.2 002
photo:  Michael Beyer 
For a adapted recipe with 5 pounds of pickles, see  Michael Beyer's blog, Oishii. <>

Thank You to CSA Member Nicki M.!

Classic Bread & Butter Pickles 
Recipe from “Quick Pickles Easy Recipes with Big Flavor,” by Chris Schlesinger, John Willoughby, and Dan George
Yield: About 8 cups

• 3 pounds pickling cucumbers (less than 5 inches long)
• 1 large or 2 medium onions (about 1 pound)
• 3 tablespoons kosher salt or other coarse salt
• 1 teaspoon celery seed
• 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
• 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice (optional)
• 3 cups cider vinegar
• 2 1/2 cups brown sugar

Trim and discard the blossom ends of the cucumbers, then peel the onions and cut both into rounds about 1/4″ thick. In a nonreactive bowl, toss them with the salt, then cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. Drain well, rinse, drain again, and then set the cucumbers and onions aside.
In a nonreactive pot, combine all the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring once or twice to dissolve the brown sugar. Reduce the heat to low, simmer for 3 minutes, and then pour the liquid over the cucumbers and onions. The cucumbers should be amply covered or slightly afloat.
Allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate. These pickles have good flavor as soon as they are cool, but the flavor will deepen if you let them sit for 24 hours. They will keep, covered and refrigerated, for a month or more. 



main ingredients: 
cucumbers, onions, vinegar, spices

dietary considerations: 
vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Recipe - Tuscan White Beans with Roasted Tomatoes

Submitted by CSA Member Nicki M.:

I adapted this recipe from Epicurious: I use canned cannellini beans, SMOKE flavored salt (which makes a huge difference!), and add garlic. I have also successfully substituted different kinds of tomatoes and onions, depending on what's available. As a vegetarian, I serve it as an entree. It's also great to bring to dinner parties and potlucks.

To use dried beans, follow the directions in the original recipe. <>
You'll also find other great ideas and adaptations of the recipe in the "reviews" <> on the Epicurious website. 

(photo by George Whiteside via Epicurious)

Tuscan White Beans with Roasted Tomatoes
Yield: Makes 8 servings
This combination of white beans, tomatoes, and cipolline onions is exceptionally delicious. Letting your tomatoes cook to the point where they become caramelized and start to fall apart adds sweetness and a layer of deep flavor to the dish.

  • 2 (15-16oz.) cans cannellini beans 
  • 2 lb large tomatoes, cored and halved crosswise
  • 1 lb cherry tomatoes (preferably mixed colors; 4 cups)
  • 1 lb cipolline or small boiling onions, peeled 
  • 8-10 cloves garlic, whole and peeled 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (preferably SMOKED sea salt), or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (or a little less)
  • 1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves

Roast tomatoes, onions and garlic: Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 500°F. Toss tomato halves, cherry tomatoes, onions, and garlic with salt, sugar, and oil in a single layer in a shallow baking dish, then arrange tomato halves cut sides up. Roast uncovered, until large tomatoes are very tender with brown patches and cherry tomatoes are falling apart, 35 to 50 minutes.
Assemble dish: Warm the beans in a large saucepan with the roasted vegetables. Sprinkle with basil leaves.

Cook's notes: Tomatoes can be roasted 2 hours ahead and kept, uncovered, at room temperature. Reheat, covered with foil, in 350°F oven until heated  through, 15 to 20 minutes.



main ingredients: 
bean, tomato, onion, basil

Italian, Tuscan
dietary considerations: 
vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free


Harvest for July 28th and Thank Yous

We had a great Garlic Festival. The long barn is currently overpowering with a wall of garlic scent coming from the curing garlic. Pictures and stories to come.

Other news: The fox is on the town-o. A red fox got a chicken on Monday. Since Anne saw the fox, we have noticed that numbers seem down in general. How long has he/she been poaching chickens? We will count the flock at night daily to keep tabs. We also moved the llamas' electric fence so it goes between the fox's habitat and the coop.

Update (7/27 evening) We are down at least one chicken today.

Update (7/28) The chickens may have to stay inside for a few days while the fox simmers down and goes somewhere else. Also THANKS to Mollie and Alice for their help today with the harvest.

 Harvest This Week (updated post harvest):

Salad Mix
  Basil (Pesto Bags as well as bunches)
Sweet Yellow Onions and Cipollini
Green Beans (Lots and lots)
Zucchini and Patty Pan Squash (so many...)
New Red Potatoes (Donna made an incredible potato dish today with these plus leftover roasted carmelized garlic)
Cut Flowers (Including Sunflowers)
As Many Red Tomatoes as we can find (Limit of 2)

Late additions: Cabbage, Cauliflower and Celery

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Gabriel's Photos of the Harvest and Thank Yous

What a great day to work outside! Yesterday the heat and humidity went away like a miracle. We had a great crew of farm campers to help harvest and then we had 4 garden steward families show up to help pick stuff. Thanks to Nic, Forrest and Sabine; Linda, Ruby and Mona; Erin; and Mollie. A high point for me was digging our first harvest of new potatoes. The whole crew of farm campers were there digging and grubbing for potatoes. We got an assembly line going. Another sweet moment was when Sabine and Forrest wanted to eat some carrots and I said that they were not ready. Then, just to be sure, we checked and sure enough, they were right and I was wrong. So we harvested our first carrots of the year! Once we finished the harvest, there was still time for them to motor through weeding a bed of kale in the garden. A huge help!!!

picking herbs

Looking for nice lettuce

The lettuce harvest


picking cucumbers


cucumber's friend

green beans

New Potatoes!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Farm Camp in the heat

Last night after the storm blew through it cooled off considerably. We all opened our windows and welcomed the exchange of air as the night air came rushing in. By morning we were comfortable, but we knew it wouldn't last. The morning heat came on like a furnace. We all did farm chores and then did some pre-harvest (lettuce, zucchini and green beans). The rest of the morning was for facilities work and Donna led the students in planting the remaining graduation pine trees. My crew cooked lunch and when Donna and the rest of the farm campers came in to eat, you could tell they had been out in the heat. Red faces and sweat dripping. We all sure appreciated the air conditioning in the Homestead!

After lunch the campers did tie-dye with Donna, while I got to some tractor work. After tie-dye we set up a farm version of a slip-n-slide, a length of greenhouse plastic pegged to a hill and a garden hose. They occupied themselves for over an hour. The perfect answer to the heat. As I write the students are preparing some Pad Thai with Donna. Tonight is games night. Thanks to Amal for the Photos.

On the night hike. Checking the orchard.

The bees are hanging out outside. Trying to fan the hive to cool it?

Even though the radar said that it wouldn't rain, the sky still looked ominous. 

farm chores in the morning.

getting ready to plant the graduation trees.

Clearing a spot for planting a pine tree.

Clearing ground.


Amal's hole. 

Amal's tree.