Journal Post for week of July 30, 2012

                                                                                                          



















Volume VIII, JOURNAL VII
                                                                                                                          July 30, 2012
       Blue Heron Farm Journal
So what’s happening on the farm this week?
Hi Everyone – Week 8 – The rain was so welcome last week and a bit into the later part of the week.  One comment I would like to make is that I wish the rain would come without such a grand entrance. These storms have been quite narly and down right scary at times.  The rain we received is very good since not all of our fields are irrigated and the field s that are we use drip tape for.  The rain was a good soaking rain – now it would be good to get  a bit more this week.  I could go for a day a rain once a week:)  The high tensile fence is up and working –  a few sheep got out of their paddock this morning but are still contained on the land..it’s usually our alpha sheep Iris who causes the trouble – she finds (makes)  the weak link in the fence and she is out of there.  Our baby meat birds are heading out to pasture tonight or tomorrow morning – we have been tweaking their pasture houses all summer – this incarnation looks like a covered wagon.  Annie is looking as pregnant as ever – she is due 1 month from today.  🙂  We can’t wait to have fresh milk and fresh cheese again.  We are still working on how we are going to use all this fenced in land now and develop a better rotational grazing plan – sometimes there is just not even time in a day/week/month – to get everything done.  Our neighbor Jim has a new puzzle book coming out, the title “How do you eat an elephant?” – the answer: One bite at a time – and thats how I feel abouit all the projects on this little farm – one bite at a time.
Speaking about eating – in this week’s share there are some lovely Italian Heirloom Chiogga beets – they are Beetiful!  if you cut them from the top you can see the candy cane striping inside.  They are sweet and crisp with a little bite.  You can eat the greens and the beets – raw or lightly cooked or you could pickle the beets.  Roasting beets or grilling them – caramelizes the  sugars in the beet – and yum!  You can also grate them and put them or over dishes. Did I mention pickling them?
Another hot item this week is our first harvest of potatoes.  These are Nicola potatoes – rich, buttery, light skinned yellow potatoes that are delightful roasted, mashed, grilled, oh my…these are by far my most favorite potato.  They put Yukon Golds to shame. We discovered these potatoes from the Maine Potato Lady a few years ago and we are hooked.  I wish our yield was a bit better – this field is one that is not irrigated so it depends on the rain for water. When we own this land soon (hopefully closing within the next couple of months) we will be able to invest in irrigation.  One bite at a time – one bite at a time…
For lunch today, Mandy, Annie, Harley and Sophie made this incredible vegetable hash (ahem there was a tad bit of bacon in there) of heirloom tomatoes, nicolas, summer squash, zucchini, garlic, cheddar cheese and then poached eggs over the top…oh my my…what a power lunch – really you can not go wrong with a cast iron skillet, summer vegetables, a hint of bacon and cheese – makes great breakfast, lunch or dinner.  I like simple meals that take one pot/pan.  That are hearty, healthy, easy and homegrown. Oh and pizza nights on Friday nights have been pizza dough, sliced tomatoes, a mix of cheeses and then veggie toppings – so instead of tomato sauce, use sliced tomatoes – put them all over the dough not touching about an inch a part – so it does not get too soggy..oh my deliciousesness!! (yes a homemade word).  There should be no tomato sauce in the summer – just layer those tomatoes:) Tomatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Next week we will have a key to all the heirloom tomato varieties we have:) 
This week Adam and I celebrate 9 Years of marriage – Happy Anniversary Adam!  It was 9 years ago we were growing all the food, flowers, chicken for our wedding celebration up at the Fiske Farm in Isle Lamotte. Crazy – but wonderful, yummy, fun and full of love Adam and Christine style.  What an amazing fete that we continue today.  Now we grow food for our little family and community.  It still amazes me that this girl from Hyde Park (Boston) and this man from Texas – got together, fell in love and started growing food in a hayfield. It has not been easy – but that is what life is all about.  And we continue to learn every day how to be better farmers, stewards, parents, partners, siblings, friends…because there is always room for learning.  From that small feast 9 years ago – came all of this – what an amazing journey it has been and continues to be… 
Hope rain comes again soon (without the bang). Peace, your farmers, Christine, Adam, Sadie & Delia, Mandy, Annie, Harley & Sophie 
PS We are putting electric fence up tonight for corn - oh yes - the sweet corn is coming!!  Hopefully, Next monday - keep your fingers crossed - and make sure you invite all the skunks and raccoons over to your places and to leave your sweet corn alone in our fields - thanks 🙂 We have asked Oscar our cat, to invite them over to our compost pile here at the house... 🙂
 What’s in the share this week:   heirloom Tomatoes, Italian heirloom Chiogga Beet Bunches, potatoes, cukes,  green peppers, Basil, Hungarian Hot Wax Peppers,  Zucchini and Summer Squash
Eggs for sale We have the pretty girls’ eggs for sale – these are free-range, certified organic chicken eggs that are brown, green and blue – with the brightest yellow/orange yolks you ever seen.  The eggs are $5.00 a dozen. 
Yarn for Sale
Yarn is available in our natural color "Island Oatmeal", "Earth", and "Snow."  Worsted Weight, double twist, soft, 240 yds, 4 ounces, Greenspun (no petroleum products used in cleaning the wool) by Green Mountain Spinnery here in Vermont.  Yarn is in the farmstand. 17.00 skein. 
PICK YOUR OWN BLUBERRIES - right here on the corner of Quaker and Adam Schools Road - Kathy and Steve now have their blueberry patch open - usually Thursday through Saturday  - its best to call them for times.  Their number is 372-5656.  If you get their answering machine just listen to the message it will tell you if they are open or not for the day.
Our blog is at: www.blueheronfarmvt.com or on Facebook- check us out and/or leave a comment.
You can also get a hold if us via phone 372-3420 or email harmonyvt@yahoo.com
Recipes
Zucchini Latkes – smittenkitchen.com (I Love this website for recipes!!)



Halve the zucchini crosswise. Cut the zucchini flesh off the seedy center and coarsely grate it in a food processor. Or grate it on a box grater until you reach the seedy center. Discard the center. In a food processor or on a box grater, coarsely grate the potato and onion. Transfer the grated zucchini, potato and onion to a colander and squeeze dry. Let stand for 2 minutes, then squeeze again. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a large bowl. Add the matzo meal, egg, lemon juice, salt and pepper and stir to combine.  In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil until shimmering. Drop packed teaspoons of the zucchini mixture into the skillet and flatten them with the back of a spoon. Cook the latkes over moderately high heat until the edges are golden, about 1 1/2 minutes; flip and cook until golden on the bottom, about 1 minute. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining zucchini mixture, adding more oil to the skillet as needed.Do ahead: The fried latkes can be kept at room temperature for up to 4 hours. Reheat them on a dark baking sheet in a 375°F oven for about 5 minutes, or until warmed through and crisp.
Heirloom Tomato Tart in a Parmesan Crust – www.101cookbooks.com
This recipe will make one 9 or 10-inch tart OR five 4 1/2-inch tarts.
Preheat the oven to 350˚F.


6 heirloom tomatoes – washed and sliced 1/6-inch thick
1 t. fine-grain sea salt
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unsalted organic butter, well chilled + cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 cups loosely packed parm. grated cheese. 2 T. ice cold water
2T extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup slivered basil


Prep the tomatoes: To avoid a soggy crust later on, you need to rid the tomatoes of some of their liquid. Clear a space on your counter and put down a double layer of absorbent paper towels. Place the tomatoes in a single layer on the paper towels and sprinkle them with about 1 teaspoon fine-grained sea salt. Top the tomatoes with another layer of paper towels and press gently. Let the tomatoes sit here until you are ready to use them. Make the tart crust(s): Place both flours, butter, and Parmesan in a food processor and pulse quickly about 25 times. You are looking for a sandy textured blend, punctuated with pea-sized pieces of butter. With a few more pulses, blend in the 2T of ice water. The dough should stick together when your pinch it between two fingers. Pour the dough into the tart pan. Working quickly, press the dough uniformly into the pan by pressing across the bottom and working towards the sides and up to form a rim. Place in the refrigerator and chill for 15 minutes. Bake the tart crust: Pull the tarts out of the refrigerator and poke each a few times with the tongs of a fork. Cover the tart with a square of aluminum foil and fill generously with pie weights. Place on a baking sheet and slide the tart onto the middle rack in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, pull the shell out of the oven and very gently peel back and remove the tinfoil containing the pie weights. Place the uncovered tart back in the oven, weight free, and allow to cook for another 10 minutes, or until it is a deep golden brown in color. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with a little shredded Parmesan (this will act as another barrier to the tomato liquid). Let cool to room temperature before filling. Assembling the tart: Just before serving, arrange tomato slices in a concentric pattern inside the tart shell. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with the slivered basil. Serve at room temperature.

Homemade Refrigerator Pickles – www.allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups white sugar
6 cups sliced cucumbers
1 cup sliced onions
1 cup sliced green bell peppers

Directions:

1.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring vinegar, salt and sugar to a boil. Boil until the sugar has dissolved, about 10 minutes.
2.
Place the cucumbers, onions and green bell peppers in a large bowl. Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables. Transfer to sterile containers and store in the refrigerator

Cristine's note on this recipe: You can also sub in Hungarian Hot Wax Peppers in there and minus the sugar and you have pickled refrigerator banana peppers. 🙂
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