2013:14

It has been a truly wonderful week on the farm. With the first wave of fall plantings in and looking great and the summer crops all mulched, thriving and requiring just bi weekly picking, we could turn our attentions away from the gardens, if only for a moment. I think everyone enjoyed the woodworking, tool wielding, hammering, sawing kind of fun that we had fencing this week, I really do. We put up a lot of fence around here. With cows, horses and sheep to graze our pastures, we are always trying to improve our farm’s fencing. We manage a mixture of permanent woven wire fence, semi permanent electric fence, and portable electric netting throughout our grazing areas and we are forever attempting to improve the regular dance of moving the graziers. We did a short practice run here on the main farm to introduce the crew to the post hole digger and the digging bar. We guided them through the digging, the tamping, the bracing, the stretching and the nailing of a corner of the lower paddock at grandmom’s place. Using our farm’s cedar for the posts and woven wire fencing, the team did a wonderful job. Once it was clear everyone enjoyed the work, we moved the operation up the hill to the new farm and did a 26 post run in a single day! It was a herculean effort to ready those acres for some sheep grazing! In the meantime we had some piglets to sell. I spent the better part of my early week’s office time juggling dozens of phone calls in response to my advertisement offering these nearly 3 month old piglets for sale. Apparently there is huge demand for young piglets and my phone was literally ringing non stop. I have to admit being thrilled and relieved when the last of the young porcines were taken off the farm thursday afternoon and I removed the ad from the internet. Sheesh. And now, a rainy harvest day with a full crew. Yep, heather returned from a 2 week journey and we have many hands, lots of smiles, and a solid rain showering down on our hard work. I can’t predict what the future holds, but for right now, everything seems to be rolling quite perfectly. It is a pleasure to share yet another bounty with you all. A true pleasure. What a year.

Penne with Eggplant, Tomato & Basil
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; more for drizzling
1 medium eggplant (1 lb.), cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 6 cups)
Kosher salt
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes; more to taste
1-1/4 lb. tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch chunks (about 2-1/3 cups)
3 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
3/4 lb. dried penne rigate
1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmigiano Reggiano or ricotta salata
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat until shimmering hot. Add the eggplant and a generous pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to medium high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is tender and light golden brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium, return the pan to the stove, and add the remaining 2 Tbs. oil, the onion, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt. Cook until the onion is tender and golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add the tomatoes and another pinch of salt, and cook until the tomatoes start to break down and form a sauce, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Return the eggplant to the pan, add the basil, and cook for 1 minute more to let the flavors meld. Taste the sauce and add salt if needed. Cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente. Reserve a small amount of the cooking water and drain the pasta. Put the pasta in a large bowl and toss with the eggplant mixture. If the pasta needs a little more moisture, add a splash of the pasta water. Taste and add salt if needed. Put the pasta on a platter or divide among shallow bowls and finish with a drizzle of oil. Sprinkle the Parmigiano or ricotta salata on top and serve immediately
week fourteen in your basket:
swiss chard
patty pan squash
dragon lingerie beans
eggplant
tomatoes
sweet & hot peppers
basil
garlic
onion

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