Thursday, August 4, 2011

Notes from Your Farm

Hello from the farm,

It's the height of summer bounty--tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and melons. The inch of rain that we had about a week ago was great, but it didn't make amends for all the 100 degree temperatures, wind and sun that pulled the moisture out of the ground and the plants. It's fascinating how well certain weeds can manage to flourish under these conditions--redroot and lambsquarter seem to go from 6 inches to 16 inches in just a few days.

The days are shortening and we are thinking about fall crops even while marveling at, and trying to stay ahead of, the current harvest abundance, applying compost to the fields and checking out the winter squash, pumpkins and fall broccoli and cabbage transplants.

Orangeglo Watermelon

Childrens Events at the Farm August 13 and August 20 10:00am
by friend of the farm Aaron Joseph and Kim Stoltzfus, farm distribution diva

Check us out on Facebook: see what we are up to, the joys and trials of farming:

Pick Your Own Update:
Sunflowers are Gangbusters--Limit is 5 and 10 per half/full share
Sungold Cherry Tomatoes:Picking up Steam--1 Quart and 1/2 Quart Season Limit
Basil--no limit.
Zinnias--5 and 10 stems this week again
Hot Peppers: 1 quart total per season
Celosia--use as an accent--not a whole lot there
Stevia--try a few leaves as a sweetener--no glycemic load and few/no calories
Herbs at the barn: in general, cut the top third of the plant--not sure ask us.

Serving Suggestions for the Harvest:

sweet onions: mild, yummy--salads, burgers, cuke and tomato salad, carmelize
watermelon: Orangeglo--orange fleshed, super sweet and tasteey, our farm favorite for sure. In red, we are picking some other kinds--Crimson Sweet, Ali Baba, and Sangria.
cantaloupes: wow, these are good. Try serving with a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper.
tomatoes: super tomatoes--are we in Washington Boro? :-) tomato cucumber salad, anything and everything
carrots: eat fresh, roast in oven, boil and add maple syrup and butter.
garlic: great in everything
cucumbers: these are slowing down and fading away--enjoy while they are still here. great plain, salads, sandwiches, cucumber salad
zucchini: grate and freeze for zucchini bread and cookies, stir fry, raw in salads.
cabbage: raw in wedges with a touch of salt, cabbage soup, salad. Zucchini are also almost finished.
scallions: use in salad, or anywhere onions are appreciated.

Our watermelons make us smile :-)

Thank You

Thank you this week for a great harvest effort from the trainees and farm staff, to Bob McClure for a pretty nifty chicken feeder, and to the many friends and neighbors who help us out in so many ways.

Scott Breneman
Farm Manager

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Notes from Your Farm--Potluck Edition

Hello from the farm,

What a difference a week makes! Close to nine inches of rain watered the farm since Thursday. This means that we are set for moisture for the rest of the season. The few months of rain that we didn't receive was all wrapped into one event totaling three million four hundred twenty thousand gallons of water spread across this farm, if you like numbers. The fall crops are coming on strong thanks to the rain.

Farm Potluck this Saturday, Oct 9, 5 pm to 9 pm : Music, Food, Fun

We are so pleased to have "Grandma Shake," Lancaster's own bluegrass band, playing at the farm Saturday night. Join us starting at 5 pm for family fun with face painting and pumpkin decorating. Bring your favorite hot or cold dish to share and we will dig in somewhere around 5:30 pm. Grandma Shake will be jamming from 6 pm to 8 pm, and we will close out the evening around the campfire with a marshmallow nightcap. Dress for the weather, (which looks very agreeable,) bring chairs, flashlights and come enjoy a very special fall evening here with all your friends at the farm!

Serving Suggestions for the Harvest:

Some of the fall crops may be somewhat new to you--here are some suggestions for using

Pumpkins: their flesh and seeds are edible when you are done decorating with them.
Squash: these are great keepers--an easy way to prepare is roast them whole in the oven to soften them so you don't have to hack at them wildly with a sharp instrument, then prepare as desired.
Arugula: this piquant green adds zing to salads or sandwiches.
Cilantro: this is excellent in a sandwich, Asian or Spanish cuisine, with black beans, etc.
Radish: slice thinly, eat on buttered bread, or with a salad, make refrigerator pickles
Beets: great roasted with olive oil and sea salt.
Mizuna: this Japanese mustard green adds complexity to your salad or sandwich.
Turnip: the "Hakurei" variety is a salad turnip--eat it raw--mild and sweet compared to purple type.

It works!  Irrigation improvement
It works! Irrigation Improvement (for next year)

Spicy Radish Relish

(Here's a recipe for radish refrigerator pickles.
Adjust based on the size and amount of radishes that you have.)

So here's the recipe I created based on my radish relish research--mine is unlike most that I found in that it has no sugar, lots of ginger and garlic, and all good-for-you ingredients:

Makes about 1 1/2 quarts

  • 20 medium-sized radishes
  • 1-3 inches fresh ginger root
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp whole mustard seeds
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • A few grinds of fresh pepper
  • 4 Tbs honey

Radishes shredded and on their way to becoming relish.
  1. Wash and shred radishes – either with a hand grater or in the food processor – and put them in a bowl. Grind some pepper onto the radishes.
  2. Grate ginger finely and press garlic with a garlic press.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, ginger, garlic, mustard seeds, and honey; bring to a boil.
  4. Pour the hot liquid over the radishes. Cover and refrigerate. Let the flavors mingle and mellow at least overnight before using.
The final product is pretty and potent. You can use it as a topping for stir fries and salads, or mixed in with cooked greens as a side dish, or as a palate-cleansing garnish on a sushi platter.

You could vary this recipe by adding onions and some finely chopped celery if you had some on hand and were so inclined.

After smelling and tasting this stuff, I can't imagine a better condiment for cold season. The pungent, spicy smell and taste seem like they would be the perfect little something on your plate when you have a cold or are coming down with one. The spicy radishes and mustard are great for clearing the sinuses, and the ginger and garlic are classic tonic herbs for winter. Add to that some immune-boosting local honey, and the healing power of apple cider vinegar, and you have another great tonic food - a kitchen concoction that is both delicious and good for what ails you.

The finished relish ready to marinate in the fridge


Enjoy the fall harvest and cooler weather!


Scott Breneman
Farm Manager

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Notes from Your Farm

Hello from the farm,

Suffice it to say, we are not focused on irrigation this week. Last week were were fully engaged for several days on putting in irrigation valves and lines and also on the scant .7 inch of rain since July 25th that had crops failing to germinate, wilting, and begging for water. Today we are having fun in the rain! Rain is easily taken for granted, so it is a blessing to have this abundant moisture falling freely.

The River Homefields Runs Again

More cool weather crops are in season, with beets, turnips and radishes jumping into the fray. The Hakurei turnips are white and sweet and should be eaten raw. We jokingly call them "dessert turnips" because they are so mild and tasty. If you've eaten "old purple two tone turnips" you'll agree.

Elizabeth, the assistant farm manager who usually works directly with the trainees, is enjoying a well-deserved week off this week, and we wish her a restful time and also look forward to her return next week.

Of Pumpkin and Squash:

These fall guys are all pretty much interchangeable in recipes, with the exception of spaghetti squash, due to texture. The Long Island Cheese and butternuts are especially tasty and long-keeping! Each year I set one of each type that we grow on the kitchen floor in the corner to see how long they persist--we've had some last 18 months and still be usable.

Pumpkin Waffles Recipe
Adapted from several sources

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 large eggs, separated
2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil for brushing waffle iron or cooking spray

Preheat oven to 250°F and preheat waffle iron. Sift together flour, brown sugar, baking powder and soda, salt, and spices. Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl with buttermilk, pumpkin, and butter until smooth. Whisk in dry ingredients just until combined.

In a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites until they hold soft peaks (as in, far softer than the over-beaten whites you’ll see in my picture above). Folk them gently into the waffle batter, until just combined.

Brush waffle iron lightly with oil and spoon batter (about 2 cups for four 4-inch Belgian waffles) into waffle iron, spreading quickly. Cook according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Transfer waffles to rack in oven to keep warm and crisp. Make more waffles in same manner.

pictures and blog at:

Enjoy, and have a great week!


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Great looking Potatoes

Two rows of potatoes, no weeds, and lots of anticipation!

Looks like a great year for poatoes! (don't count your potatoes before they're dug :-)

Bloomin Potato

Nothing to do with dining out at Australian themed eateries...the potato plants are flowering and looking great.

Going for a Spin

The heavy rains splashed a lot of soil up onto the lettuce. It is rinsed and then spun dry in the orange salad spinnner. Here's Lonnie hard at work.