2015:17

The weather could not have been better. With sharp, shiny days and cool nights we are all overriding end of season exhaustion with sheer exhilaration. Weather can do that to a farmer. The week was spent almost entirely in the garden. With no new sheep to shear, no immediate fences to erect and no workshops to host, we just had at it. Almost all of our fall plantings are cultivated, mulched and covered with protective row cover. There is nothing quite like shiny sheets of white fabric in the field that heralds in the fall season ahead. Love this image. We use this row cover for more than one reason. It offers some degree of frost protection and acts as a barrier against those insect pests that can easily damage young plants in the field. The process of deploying row cover is somewhat tedious. Imagine a 12 foot wide 200 foot long sheet. Now picture trying to secure said sheet delicately placed over 3 inch high plants. Now picture wind. Having done this more times than we care to remember it is always a welcome relief to see the project done.
We also began the process of butchering our fall meats. While not an easy job, it is incredibly satisfying to raise and eat our own farm proteins. We began with the largest of the season’s lambs and one pig. Now, our freezers are full and many of yours will be too by the time you read this. If anyone else is interested in our farm’s grass finished lamb or gmo-free pork, please talk to me, there are still some cuts left and we would be happy to know you are enjoying these items from our farm.
FALL EXTENSION we are in the final weeks of the main season. we remain thrilled about our fall extension! Hoorah! With so many weeks between the main season and Thanksgiving, we know everyone wants to keep on eating! The cost for the half share for the Fall Extension is $225, the not quite full share is $330, the full share is $450 and the family share is $540. It is with my deepest autumnal excitement that I wish you all a great week and a wonderful late summer salad. Fave.

Hey yeah, hey yeah, my salad’s back. Those who know me understand my adoration of lettuce. Those who don’t, well, now you know. Lettuce. Arugula. Say no more.

Basil Vinaigrette from WGC
1 shallot, roughly chopped
2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves, stems removed (about 4 ounces)
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
Combine all the ingredients for the basil vinaigrette in a high powered blender and blend for 60 seconds until very smooth.
Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately. Or you can refrigerate the vinaigrette for up to 3 days.

Garlic Vinaigrette from martha stewqrt
1 small clove garlic
Coarse salt
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

Place garlic clove in a mortar, along with two large pinches of salt. Using a pestle, grind into a smooth puree. Add vinegar and season with pepper; let stand for 3 minutes. Whisk in olive oil until an emulsion is formed; season with salt and pepper as needed. To dress a salad, add about 3/4 of vinaigrette to salad and toss until lightly coated; add more dressing, if necessary.

week seventeen in your basket:
tomatoes/green tomatoes
peppers
eggplant
tomatillos
basil
lettuce
arugula
garlic

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2015:16

This past week has been unbelievable. We had a massive to do list, and I mean massive. With the highest hopes and strongest intentions, we did it.
The sun shines now, the air is cool on this late summer harvest day and we feel so great. Our work was spread all over the place as we planned to ready ourselves for our first ever indigo dyeing workshop. We have had such success over the years with natural dyeing, we felt ready to offer our expertise and excitement to others. Tomorrow, when you read this, I will be guiding 8 guests through the process from start to finish: harvest, strip, steep, manage and create a dye vat with our farm’s indigo and dye our farm’s wool. We will host them with a farm fresh foods. I suppose I should mention the venue is the still incomplete Hill and Hollow Farm Stay. The ground, still rutted and rough from a newly installed septic system was perfectly graded by my teenage son. Inside, the jobs abounded: cleaning up renovation mess, hanging canvas over the walls to cover exposed insulation, you can only imagine. Of course, we MUST have the sheep grazing the pastures adjacent to the dye studio, so stretching hundreds of feet of woven wire fencing made it to this to do list. We simultaneously started hundreds more fall transplants: lettuce, kale, chinese cabbage, parsley. We set all of fall broccoli and brussel sprouts in the field. A late planting of green beans and summer squash was completed. Are you starting to understand why we feel so darn proud of ourselves and our team? It was a busier than ever, super energized, heavily caffeinated week that ended in success. I suppose it is on the heels of this great week, a week that has us feeling so optimistic about the future, that I happily announce the fall extension. We have had super success with our fall plantings, the lettuce and arugula and tat soi and pac choi and kale all look awesome. We have had a pretty tough summer, mid season deluge after deluge culminating in an actual flood mid July took the wind out of a good number of summer plantings. We worked hard to save many, bid some an early farewell and rallied for the fall. Our efforts are paying off in the fields and we want to share the fall season with you. It looks like we will roll right into Fall. The main season will end on Saturday September 19th and the Fall season will begin on September 26th (my birthday, woohooo). The 9 week Fall season will end on Saturday November 21st, just in time for you to grace your Thanksgiving tables with the final treats from our farm. The cost for the half share for the Fall Extension is $225, the not quite full share is $330, the full share is $450 and the family share is $540. It is with heartfelt thanks, huge enthusiasm and much love that I wish you all a great week!

week sixteen in your basket:
potatoes
peppers
tomatoes
eggplant
tomatillos
basil
garlic

Salsa Verde adapted FROM RICKBAYLESS.COM
8 ounces (3 to 4 medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (1 or 2 serranos or 1 jalapeno), stemmed
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
6 sprigs of fresh cilantro (thick bottom stems cut off), roughly chopped
1 small white onion, finely chopped
Salt
Roast the tomatillos, chile(s), onion and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler, until blotchy black and softening (they’ll be turning from lime green to olive), about 5 minutes. Flip them over and roast the other side. Cool, then transfer everything to a blender, including all the delicious juice the tomatillos have exuded during roasting. Add the cilantro and blend to a coarse puree. Scoop into a serving dish. season with salt, usually 1/2 teaspoon.

Baba Ganoush from David Lebovitz
3 medium-sized eggplants
1/2 cup (130g) tahini (sesame paste)
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/8 teaspoon chile powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
a half bunch flat-leaf parsley or cilantro leaves

preheat the oven to 375F. Prick each eggplant a few times, then char the outside of the eggplants by placing them directly on the flame of a gas burner turn them until the eggplants are uniformly-charred on the outside. (If you don’t have a gas stove, you can char them under the broiler. If not, skip to the next step.) Place the eggplants on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until they’re completely soft; .Remove from oven and let cool. Split the eggplant and scrape out the pulp. Puree the pulp in a blender or food processor with the other ingredients until smooth. Taste, and season with additional salt and lemon juice, if necessary.

 

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2015:15

Blue. Blue. Blue. This color brings me such joy this time of year, you know it friends, dyeing season has come to the hollow. I will not write in depth about my obsession with the plant Japanese Indigo (polygonum tinctorium) because I daresay I have done that in this space more than once already. Let’s suffice to say we are having an awesome year of natural dyeing. By nature, the process of harvesting color from plants and using it to dye wool is complex and unpredictable. As a farmer and mother however I am quite comfortable with working while never knowing quite sure of the outcome, and therefore love the nature of natural dye work. Raising a plant, harvesting it, and using the leaves to dye wool yarn from the sheep raised here on our pastures, well, it is just thrilling. We have spent every spare moment processing yarn this past week. In August, lest we forget, there aren’t really a lot of spare moments: life is full to the brim with maintaining summer plantings and establishing the fall gardens. It was well into the wee hours that I found myself tying skeins of yarn to ready them for dyeing, scouring the skeins, and managing the dyeing process that takes many hours. Paul himself was in the wood shop developing some items to aid our process and together, along with the awesome crew on the farm, we had a great week. 66 skeins of blue yarn hang drying and more importantly we have our system perfected. We are ready for our first ever natural dye workshop next saturday.
Fall plantings are number one on our list right now, despite our obsession with blue, we have worked diligently to cultivate the young arugula, turnips, cilantro, lettuce that will fill your baskets in the weeks ahead. The first wave of kale has been transplanted in the high tunnel and we work to transition the garden beds. Potato digging is slow going but near completion and our tables are full of young seedlings: more lettuce, swiss chard, broccoli, cabbage. If you are exhausted thinking of all this I have to say the weather took a turn for the better and with cool nights and sparkling days, we are all super energized and excited about all of our goings on. It has been a heck of a year friends, but now, just now, all is good. I wish the same for each of you!

week fifteen in your basket:
potatoes
peppers
eggplant
tomatoes
basil
garlic
Pasta with Eggplant, Tomato & Peppers
4 T. olive oil
1 large eggplant (about 1 lb.), cut into 3/4-inch pieces
3 large or 4 medium red bell peppers, cored, seeded & cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 lbs. tomatoes, peeled, seeded & chopped—juices reserved
Salt
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1 lb. Fusilli, Penne or Rigatoni
Heat 2 T. of oil in a large, deep-sided skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the eggplant, and cook for several minutes, stirring and turning occasionally, until browned on all sides. If the eggplant is sticking, or seems a bit dry, add a bit of the remaining 2 T. of olive oil.
When the eggplant is golden all over, remove to a plate and add the remaining oil to the pan. Add the tomatoes along with their juices. Because the pan is still quite hot from sautéing the eggplant, the tomatoes will bubble furiously when they hit the pan. This is as it should be, you are trying to concentrate the tomatoes a bit. Cook the tomatoes—regulating the heat to maintain a rapid simmer—stirring from time to time, until thickened—about 10 minutes. Return the eggplant to the pan along with the bell peppers. Stir and season to taste with the hot pepper flake, salt & pepper. Cover and simmer gently until the peppers are tender, the flavors have blended and the sauce is no longer brilliant red in color—about 1 hour.
Just before the sauce is ready, bring 6 quarts of water to the boil in a large stock/pasta pot. Add 2-3 Tablespoons of salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss well. Add some pasta water if the sauce seems dry. If you like, stir in some extra virgin olive oil to enrich the sauce and add a nice sheen. Taste and correct the seasoning. Serves 4 to 6.

(Recipe adapted from Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells)

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