2016.17

It has been a whirlwind of a week and honestly, I am not even sure where the days went since last I faced this screen for my weekly tale. I began the week by hosting a community dye event. I encouraged some fellow farmers and friends to give indigo growing a try. I had hopes of a gathering of fine folks sharing my dye studio, growing and picking their own indigo leaves and somehow sharing the exciting plant dyeing experience All of these things are more happened on Monday. Two young awesome women farmers from Nashville joined our farm team and two wonderful fiber loving neighbors for a day of indigo dyeing. We shared tales of fiber and farming and life, enjoyed a fine pot luck meal and the day ended with an amazing collection of fabric and fiber all dyed with a community dye vat. Indigo blue love all around. I was so happy to share the space and the experience. With each event hosted at the Hill and Hollow Farm Stay, we feel closer to reaching our goal of a diverse collection of opportunities to learn and grow together. Great.
The heat returned which I have to admit was kind of a bummer. We had a taste of the autumn that feels so close in the early days of the week but by today, harvest day, we were drenched by early morning and wondering when the humidity will bid us farewell for good! Speaking of farewells, we said good bye to Elyse on Thursday and honestly it was quite emotional. Her presence here was so perfectly timed and joyous, it was hard to see her go. Luckily a pair of delightful Floridians appeared in her wake and we have been really enjoying their company. We are one of their earliest stops on a cross country journey that will take them through parks and farms and canyons in the coming months. Again, feeling so grateful for the lovely people that are showing up here to work and smile with us as we bring this difficult summer to a close and look ahead to our favorite time: fall!

LINGUINE WITH SPICY LEEK AND TOMATO SAUCE from Epicurious
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), split lengthwise, sliced crosswise
1 1/4 pounds plum tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
12 ounces linguine
1 3/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add next 3 ingredients; sauté 1 minute. Add leeks; sauté until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add diced tomatoes; stir 1 minute. Add wine and vinegar; bring to boil. Cover and cook until tomatoes break down, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain, reserving 1 1/4 cups pasta cooking liquid.
Add pasta, 1/2 cup reserved pasta liquid, and 3/4 cup cheese to sauce in skillet. Toss over medium-high heat until sauce coats pasta, adding more liquid by 1/4 cupfuls if dry. Season with salt and pepper. Serve, passing 1 cup cheese separately

week seventeen in your basket:
cucumbers
summer squash
tomatoes
green tomatoes
peppers
eggplant
leeks
basil
garlic

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2016.16

This past week has many highlights, you all know focusing is hard for me, but I will limit myself to the highest of highlights from the past days. Last Sunday we welcomed Elyse to the farm. A Virginia native, she inquired about a long term apprenticeship quite a few years back, it didn’t quite work out. When she contacted me to come for a short stay this summer, I was thrilled. At the time we arranged her visit, I had mo idea we would be dealing with managing the farm solo, so her arrival was so amazingly timely!!. She has been a perfect joy to be around, unbelievably helpful and a sure sign to us that we still love people, people still love us, and life cam move forward even during dark times. Elyse will certainty be remembered as the short term guest who reminded us how solid folks cam be, how much fum cam be had with with lively meal times, how joyful work cam be even during a hot and humid August day, and really and truly how very lucky we are.
If that wasn’t enough of a feel good week, we got the phone call from our fellow farmer and friend Hank Delvin that our fall transplants were ready for a pick up. In the barn fire we lost countless items integral to our farming operation in addition to the barn itself. Recovery is slow and systematic, but there was one thing that couldn’t wait. Our soil making facility and all inputs to make our potting soil burned with the barn and it was the moment when we needed to start plants for our Fall season Ore phone call was all it took for Hank to offer all we needed for a Fall season and we spent a wonderful Thursday at Delvin Farm’s greenhouse graciously accepting his offer of kale and chard and broccoli and cabbage seedlings . So, I think it is fair to say we are ready for the Fall. We are feeling grateful and optimistic and have so many people to thank So, heart felt appreciation to Elyse (lovingly called Magnese and Camise by William !), to Hank and the whole Delvin family and crew, and to each of you. We are lucky. Truly. Details of the Fall Extension will come in the next weeks as we sort things out, but it is reassuring for us to move forward.
I hope you all continue to enjoy these summer tastes, I know we are.

week sixteen in your basket:
cucumbers
summer squash
sweet peppers
tomatoes
eggplant
basil
garlic
red onion

EASY TOMATO, CUCUMBER AND RED ONION SALAD

You hardly me4ed a recipe but use this as a suggestion for using these wonderful summer vegetables in a great salad!!

4 medium Roma tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 medium cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons good-quality olive oil
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
Coarse salt and black pepper
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley or basil or mint
1/4 cup crumbled feta, for serving

In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumber, onion, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper and parsley. Let stand at room temperature to allow flavors to marinate, at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours. Toss with a large spoon, sprinkle with feta and serve.

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2016.15

I feared the let down as the family pulled out of the driveway this past Tuesday. Our Boston relatives had been on the farm for just over two weeks: they held down the fort while I was in California, supported us through the realization that we will face the rest of this season sans apprentices, and delightedly worked with us as we created a wonderful 75th birthday celebration for Gram. The Sunday party was amazing. It took each member of the family along with his or her special skills, to make the event as perfect as it was. From the 4 layer lemon cake perfectly baked by Madeline and her dear Aunt Phoebe, to the poetry recitations coordinated by Uncle John, from the seasonal tea sandwiches to the bouquets dotting the small tables, it seemed like each detail was tended to and the day honored Louise in a the way she truly deserved. The guests were from all over these hills and hollows of south central Kentucky and shared a love for Louise and a desire to celebrate with all of us at the Hill and Hollow Farm Stay. With each event in that space, we get one step closer to realizing our vision for that space, indeed, a good time was had by all.
I knew in the wake of their departure there was only one thing that could raise my spirits on those hot, humid august days and that was get into my indigo dyeing. I know, I know, you all have heard all about it, but I am afraid I am obsessed and you will have to hear another snippet. There truly is nothing quite like the magic that comes together in the art of plant dyeing. From the farmers work of raising the dye plant (in this case the Japanese Indigo, polygonum tinctorium) to the shepherd’s work of raising and shearing the sheep, to the dyer’s work of putting it all together, we just love it. Our indigo plants are currently perfect and I was more than happy to ease my post family visit doldrums by turning over 40 skeins of our farm’s yarn deep, varying shades of blue on two consecutive days this past week.
This was our first solo harvest in a long time and honestly it went flawlessly. The tomatoes are offering us a few luscious fruits, a new planting of patty pan produced my favorite UFO style summer squash, and the other tastes and scents of late summer proved to be wonderful company on this harvest day. I am already looking forward to seeing you all again tomorrow and of course, wishing you all a great week ahead.

week fifteen in your basket:
lebanese or Patty pan squash
cucumbers
sweet peppers
eggplant
tomatoes
red onion
basil
garlic
hot peppers

Ratatouille this is adapted from martha stewarts recipe, many, many good ones out there,
absolutely pefect use for all the summer vegetables in this week’s basket!
1can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 medium eggplant cut into 1-inch pieces
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 large onions, diced large
1 head garlic, cloves smashed and peeled
2 sweet peppers (any color), seeded and diced large
2 large zucchini or squash (1 pound total), diced large
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram or oregano leaves
2 to 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place tomatoes and juices on a rimmed baking sheet and use your hands to break tomatoes into 3/4-inch pieces. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and bake until thickened, 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a colander, toss eggplant with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Let sit 20 minutes, then squeeze out excess liquid. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat 4 tablespoons oil over medium. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until onions and garlic are soft, 5 minutes. Add peppers and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender, 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, bay leaf, and marjoram to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and cook at a gentle simmer until vegetables are tender but not mushy, 15 minutes. Season to taste with vinegar, salt, and pepper. Remove bay leaf before serving

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