I have this interesting Friday harvest day ritual that I have to describe. When I write the newsletter, I start by heading to the previous year’s archive of the corresponding week, reading it briefly to compare the year past and the year present, and quickly move to writing, editing,cutting and pasting. Last year at this time, as my newsletter reports, we were in the midst of an intense heat wave and drought, already! This year could really not be any more different, we had a long, wet, cold spring that has led to a pretty mild early summer. It seems a near miracle the condition of these greens and brassicas this time of year. Early season summer plantings did not fare well however, heat loving vegetable seeds planted into the still cold earth. Our first green bean planting was a dud, the late planting, however, looks perfect, it is simply a later, cooler, wetter year. These are all blessings for us and we are counting them, know that! Since I am counting blessings, I suppose the big one this past week has been our first ever, true crop of fruits, perennial fruits that is, blueberries. We planted nearly 200 blueberry bushes within days of taking ownership of the A-Frame property. It was a late spring day in 2006 and the owners of the property along with the 5 barking rottweilers were still here and watching. While far from pleasant, it was a right of ownership and a commitment to the future of these acres. Now, 7 years later, we are tasting the fruits of our labor. There have been ups and downs with the berry patch. It sits smack dab in the middle of two of our pastures. This makes it, despite so many different fencing attempts, ripe for the eating by a lamb or calf just bold enough and perfectly sized to get its mouth between strands of electric wire. We also planted the bushes too young. Experience has taught me to let small shrubs and bushes grow in their pot some, get a stronger root system (while not allowing it to get root bound in a pot too small) and transplant to their permanent home later. We lost some plants, maybe half, over all of these years. Now, we are working hard up there to continue productivity. Motivated by blueberry pies and cobblers and jam, we are replanting the vacant spots and keeping control of weeds. I say “we” but it is most definitely a Sasha initiative and it is only fair to publicly acknowledge this. With 2 mowers and a weed wacker to call his own, he has the berry patch, along with many other areas around the farm, totally maintained. So it is with great delight that we share the first crop of blueberries with all of you, I can think of no better way to celebrate sweet success. Have a safe and lovely holiday week my friends, and bring a cole slaw to a summer barbecue!
week nine in your basket:
Cole Slaw Ideas
it does not have to be all about the mayo!
All of these ideas come from Recipes from America’s Small Farms and start as the base with 3 cups thinly sliced cabbage.
Sesame Cole Slaw
Add 1 ½ cups shredded carrots and 1 cup thinly sliced spinach.
Whisk together ¼ cup rice wine vinegar, 2 TBS sugar, 1 TBS finely chopped peeled fresh ginger, 2 tsp toasted sesame oil, and 1 tsp soy sauce. Toss with cabbage mixture and season with salt, pepper, and chill.
Carolina Cole Slaw
Add 1 small onion and 1 small green bell pepper, both thinly sliced. Heat ¼ cup white wine vinegar, 3 TBS sugar, 3 TBS vegetable oil, 1 tsp dry mustard and ¼ tsp celery seeds in non reactive saucepan until the dressing comes to a boil. Let cool completely and toss with cabbage mixture. Season with salt and black pepper and chill.
Spicy Slaw with Cumin-Lime dressing
Add 2 large carrots coarsely shredded, 1 small red bell pepper cut into matchstick sized strips, 1 small red onion thinly sliced and ¼ cup fresh cilantro. Whisk together ¼ cup lime juice, 2 TBS olive oil, ¼ tsp ground cumin, 1 garlic clove, minced and ¼ tsp hot red pepper sauce. Toss with the cabbage mixture, season with salt and pepper and chill.