half way through the main season, sheesh, time is flying…
The highlight of this week was most definitely wednesday. It was our second CRAFT gathering for the 2014 season and we loaded up and headed to salamander springs farm. just miles outside of berea, ky nestled on a wooded hillside lie this “subsistence farm” we had heard so much about but had never seen with our own eyes. Before I go any further, I should mention that the other member farms of our CRAFT group (our region’s finest sustainable farmers mentoring apprentices) are more familiar territory for us. First, we have been visiting each others farms since the program’s inception in 2004. second, we all operate commercial vegetable operations. Finally, we are “family farms” complete with spouses and babes of all ages. Salamander springs farm was none of that. Susana, the woman who carved our her existence on that acreage, is well into middle age, single and strong. She has a group of long and short term interns helping her each year, but the vision and execution is hers and hers alone. with no debt, she barters and salvages and holds true to some very strong and totally admirable values centered solidly on permaculture. From the rammed earth floors of her off the grid home to the deeply mulched garden beds of heirloom corn and beans, the tour was inspiring for us all and reminded us how stunningly similar and deeply different we all can be in our farming lives. A wonderful mid week afternoon of learning and camaraderie was had by all attendees. The rest of our days were spent with a small crew (now it is Andy and Danielle’s time off the farm) working hard. The July days are getting hotter and drier, so the time is now to mulch heavily to retain moisture and suppress weeds in the garden beds. Luckily, the hot dry conditions have made for some timely hay making in the neighborhood. With an abundance of bales on the farm, we are spreading the dried grasses over all exposed earth. It is such a satisfying task. Between that and picking these summer fruits that keep producing, you have a full week on the farm drawing now to a close. I hope you all enjoy the diversity in this week’s basket, there are so many great combinations of flavors to experiment with in the days ahead.
Tomato, Cucumber, and Fennel Salad
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 cups sliced cucumber
1/2 cup cherry tomato wedges
1/4 cup sliced fennel bulb
Combine lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Combine cucumber, cherry tomato wedges, and sliced fennel bulb in a bowl. Pour dressing over vegetables; toss.
Roasted Beet and Fennel Salad
4 beets, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch wedges (1 1/2 pounds)
2 thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large fennel bulb with fronds—bulb cut into 1/2-inch wedges, 1 tablespoon chopped fronds
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
Preheat the oven to 400°. In a medium baking dish, toss the beets with the thyme, the water and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and cook for about 40 minutes, or until tender. Let cool slightly. Discard the thyme.
In a small baking dish, drizzle the fennel wedges with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes longer, or until tender and lightly browned.
Pour the beet juices into a bowl and whisk in the vinegar. Add the beets, fennel wedges and fronds and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.
week ten in your basket:
summer squash or zucchini