Journal Post for week of September 18, 2012

Volume XIV and XV , JOURNAL VII
                                                                                                                          September 18, 2012
       Blue Heron Farm Journal
So what’s happening on the farm this week?



Delia picking her “tomaters” before tuesday’s storm
Hi Everyone – week 15 – These journals seem to be slipping by me these past few weeks.  It is hard sometimes to get that quiet time to think clearly and to type coherently to share what is happening on the farm.  With the fall, schedules change and folks have other things to do, so it takes a bit more of me to get farm chores and harvesting done – and one thing I have let go is this journal (and some laundry folding, picking up toys, etc).  I’m sorry about that, and I am going to try to be a bit better about it. We are getting closer to closing on the land here – the 14 acres we veggie farm on and the 16 acres we live and graze the sheep on.  It looks like we might be (fingers and toes crossed) closing on October 9 or October 10th.  Yeah!

 

 So with that being said – the last CSA pickup will be October 10th (Wednesday) with a potluck dinner, music and possible bouncy house (Sadie’s request). We will provide drinks, plates, cups, silverware.  Bring friends and family:)   It will be our annual hoedown with dinner starting at 5 and music and bouncy house starting at 4.  To celebrate the end of the season and hopefully – the closing of this wonderful land with all of you 😉 So there will be no pickup on Monday the 8th, pickup will be on the 10th – with bags/boxes packed for you to take home after dinner.  Those who are delivery shares – let us know if you are coming up and we will have your share ready for you.  those who can not make it up – we will deliver as usual on thursday the 11th your final share of the season.

 

Sadie& Delia get a ride while “May” spins the greens dry.
As you can see the ram lambs have made it up to the veggie farm and they love all the attention they have been getting from all of you.  We do have 6 lamb shares left – whole or half, available mid December, They will be $10lb hanging weight.  Last year’s lambs were about 40-45lbs hanging weight.  We processed chicken last week and we have a few of those left, they are frozen and are $6 lb average weight 3.5lb.  Annie and her calf Annabelle are doing quite well together and Maggie, the big sister, loves Miss Annabelle and keeps an eye on her when Annie is not around.  We have milk for sale $5 1/2 gal or $8 gal.  Let us know if you are interested we can have it available at pickup.

 

We will be having a working share get together this Sunday, September 23, at 1:00pm.  We will meet at the farmstand and work on putting the tomato field to bed for the season.  Please wear sturdy footwear, gloves if you like, water bottle and if you have a jack knife that would be handy.  Great way to get your hours in or volunteer.  There will be gleaning of plenty of tomatoes that you can take home with you.  Please try to RSVP so we know how many people to prepare for.  Call us 372-3420 or email harmonyvt@yahoo.com

 

The nights are getting colder and the plants are growing slower – with that growing slower – also comes that fall sweetness.  Greens and beans are so yummy this time of year. The plants don’t look as stressed as they would have a month ago, things are moving a bit slower – with more cadence instead of this fenetic energy that gets folks running in all sorts of directions in the summer.  If I could choose – I would grow spring crops and fall crops – I like this energy and rhythm better – but ohh, there are those tomatoes I would miss.

 

Speaking of tomatoes…this has been a banner year for heirloom tomatoes and we wanted to share that with you.  So an average share year  would have received 4#/2 #/1# (Full, Individual, Salad) each week – and that is what we calculated your share each week to be – and anything over that amount each week – was the “extra” and that “extra” didn’t take away from the rest of the seasons bounty.  There were a couple people who questioned that and I wanted to explain it out. So there were weeks when the tomato spread looked like this 8-10# for full, 6-8# for individual and 2-4# for Salad – anything above the 4/2/1# was the extra that we hope you enjoyed, shared, canned or frozen.  Hopefully this explanation makes sense. And to those that are delivery sites – we are sorry for any squishy tomatoes you may have received – we are always trying to tweak the ways deliveries go – so we have switched to boxes to help prevent squishy tomatoes.

 

PYO cherry tomatoes can be anytime – as long as the plants are not wet – feel free if you are a CSA member to come and pick.  Tomato season is just about done, but you will still receive a few tomatoes in your share until the end of the season.  there will be green tomatoes available for anyone interested.

 

Thanks again to all of our amazing volunteers each week! We couldn’t do this without you!

 

Have a great week. -Your farmers, Adam, Christine, Sadie, Delia, Mandy, Harley and Sophie.

 

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

 

What’s in the share this week:   heirloom Tomatoes, Red Potatoes, Green and yellow Beans, Cherry Tomatoes, PYO Ground Cherries, Arugula, Asian and listada de Gandia Eggplant, Sweet peppers, Hot Peppers Cilantro, dill, Garlic (please note: this is a tentaive list, what folks get on Monday maybe slightly different than what folks get on Thursday)

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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/Certified Organic (no petroleum products used in cleaning the wool) by Green Mountain Spinnery here in Vermont.  Yarn is in the farmstand. 17.00 skein. 

Recipes

Ground-Cherry Pie

By Laura Boyle

When I serve ground-cherry pie to my guests, the very few people who have ever tasted the treat before usually react with remarks like, “Oh, I remember when my grandmother used to make this,” or “My great-aunt baked these for special occasions!” However, most folks have never heard of—much less tasted—this delicious fruit. That always astounds me, because ground cherries have been included in our family gardens for at least four generations!

 

Growing Wild

 

As a matter of fact, it isn’t even necessary to cultivateground cherries, since they’re commonly found in fields, along roadsides, and in open woods and wastelands in every part of the United States except Alaska. (Not long ago I discovered a patch of the wild fruit on a grassy embankment just two blocks from my Minnesota home.)

 

These fast-growing species of the genus Physalisare also known as husk tomatoes, tomatilloes, strawberry tomatoes, bladder cherries, and poppers (the Chinese Lantern is a popular, non-edable ornamental variety). They belong to the Solanaceae family, which includes tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, tobacco, and nightshade.

 

The plants, while widespread, are usually not very abundant in the wild, so to assure a bigharvest it’s best to cultivate them from seed, which can be ordered from www.eedsavers.org

 

Expect this garden crop—which prefers medium-dry soil—to sprout early and grow rapidly. It quickly puts out yellow flowers with brown or purple centers, and will continue to bloom and bear until the first frost. Around July, the fruit (which develops in a husk) will begin to drop to the ground and—even though it’s not fully ripe when it does so—you should gather the cherries as they fall, since they’re favorites of many animals and birds.

 

Inside the husk you’ll find a small berry about half an inch in diameter with a tomato-like skin that, when ripe, has a sweet flavor similar to that of a strawberry. The color of the mature cherry will vary from species to species: It may be yellow, red, purple, or brown. And (again, according to the species in question) it can be poisonous when green, so be sure to let the fruit ripen in the husk until it’s soft and sweet. (I have often stored the unhusked cherries for months. In fact, I was once able to prepare a fresh ground-cherry pie for Christmas dinner!)

 

Enjoyable Eating

I think husk tomatoes are as tasty as any fruit when simply served with cream and sugar, or with a good dry cereal. They’re also a delicious addition to vanilla ice cream, and can be preserved if covered with a syrup made of 1 cup of sugar, 2 cups of water, and a little lemon juice, simmered until tender, and frozen.

 

To prepare a ground-cherry jam, crush 4 cups of fully ripe fruit so that each berry is broken, add lemon juice and a package of pectin, bring the mixture to a boil, stir in 4 cups of sugar, and reboilthe jam for 1 minute. (The spread is a fine topping for buckwheat pancakes!)

 

But my favorite way, by far, to eat ground-cherries is in a pie. To make this festive dish, combine 2 cups of sugar with 2 tablespoons of flour and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Then, add 4 cups of husked, ripe cherries, 2 tablespoons of melted butter or margarine, and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Pour the filling into a 9″ unbaked pie crust, cover it with another sheet of dough, cut a few slits in the top for venting, and bake it at 350°F for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the crust is golden.

 

As Grandma knew, this pie will turn even an ordinary meal into a very special occasion!

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Folks who’d like to avoid using white sugar in the foregoing recipes can substitute honey to taste and thicken with cornstarch or—for jam—”Magic Pectin.”

Remember, never forage any wild plants without the aid of a local expert and/or a good field guide.
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