Journal Post Week of July 29, 2013

July 29, 2013

Blue Heron Farm Journal
So what’s happening on the farm this week?
Week 8- So here we are – As we walk the fields every day – figuring out what is going to be ready when and for who.  It is quite a balancing act.  Today, most of you, there will be the first taste of tomatoes – our hoophouse is finally starting to ripen and the cherry tomatoes in there look like grapes – hands upon hands of green fat cherry tomatoes slowly ripening.  We have to take you in there to check these plants out – they are about 8 feet tall and growing – they dwarf us in their grandeur.  The first heirloom tomatoes from the field we picked this morning – Juan Flamme – this little tomato is a bit bigger than a ping pong ball but slightly smaller than a baseball- are sweet and tart and orangy yellow – yummy.  And they are quite prolific – so prolific that in the middle of field tomato season Adam always asks why do we plant to so many – it’s because they are the earliest and they just keep on producing.
 
Big shout out to our volunteers this week who have harvested potatoes, tomatoes, basil, eggplants, peppers, and more:) We had a small sheep parade up Quaker Rd at the end of the week – we moved all the ewes and the lambs successfully up the road to the veggie farm.  The farm is about 1/10 to 2/10 of mile apart and the impromptu run up with a grain bucket was quite the site to see:)
 
The potatoes are delicious – we are trying to eat them as many ways as we can. We are hoping to get our fall potatoes in (we usually get them in July 4th) today or tomorrow. The fields are all workable now and we are busy planting.  I feel like we were so busy planting spring and summer crops now planning for fall/winter?! Craziness.  We have been experimenting with a nutrient dense foliar feeding for our fruiting plants and we have notices a marked difference – the cucurbit family crops were going down hill because of the funky weather but Adam hooked up irrigation and our foliar feeder and things have been perking up.  We got the call and I think our hay will be done this week – we also are buying hay off the wagon hopefully from another farm.  If there are any able body folks out there who would like to throw hay in the next few days please call us and we could gladly use the help. On friday we are processing about 100 of our pastured organic heritage meat birds – if you would like to learn how to process your own chicken or help out give us a call.  We do have a few chickens that are not spoken for, so if you are interested give us a call – they will be $6.00 lb and average in weight 4 to 5lbs.  And to continue on the meat subject, we have organic ground lamb and sweet italian lamb sausage now available for $14.50lb.    Oh and if anyone wants to help with our big farm dinner coming up on August 18th, let us know – we are looking for a chef currently and volunteers:)
   
We picked 3 pints of ground cherries today:) They are coming too:) We can not wait - Summer is flying by - On Friday will be August 2nd - it will be our 10 year wedding anniversary.  10 years ago we were busy picking and picking and picking from our "far-garden" for our wedding caterer, getting ready for the feast of the year - we raised all our own food for the wedding which is incredible feat and most of the flowers and then we got to go picking in some of our friends perennial beds.  Wow 10 years! We are so blessed for this crazy, love filled, bountiful life with all of its adventures. It is now 10 years later and that wedding feast helped create the seed that blossomed into this farm, this way of life - feeding our little family and so many more people beyond that wedding feast. Some of you have been with us since before that feast and others have just met us this year - we are so happy to have you on this journey with us.
  
Peace, your farmers, Christine, Adam, Sadie and Delia, Alicia and Yard
PS Green Beans, tomatillos, more tomatoes and ground cherries;)
 
Special events over the next few weeks:
Savor the Islands” Summer Farm BBQ @ Pomykala Farm, Grand Isle 3-5pm, 8/11/13
Join the Lake Champlain Islands Agriculture Network and local farmers for a series of casual summer afternoon barbeques! Local ingredients sourced from and prepared by partner members of the network. By Donation. All proceeds to benefit Food for Thought, Suggested donation: $12 per adult, $7 per child. 
 
“Savor the Islands” Summer Farm BBQ @ Blue Heron Farm, Grand Isle 3-5pm, 8/18/13
Join the Lake Champlain Islands Agriculture Network and local farmers for a series of casual summer afternoon barbeques! Local ingredients sourced from and prepared by partner members of the network. Our third BBQ will be Sunday, August 18th at Blue Heron Farm in Grand Isle. By Donation. All proceeds to benefit Food for Thought. Suggested donation: $12 per adult, $7 per child. 
 
 What’s in the share this week: Lettuce heads, Taste of tomatoes, Young Onions, Pickling Cukes, Slicing Cukes, Zucchini, Summer Squash,Thai and italian basil, "Nicola"-a buttery yellow potato, Heirloom Eggplants, Hot Peppers
 
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: We raise Border Leicester Romney sheep with certified organic practices in the Champlain Islands of Vermont on our small diversified, family farm.  Our sheep are rotationally grazed on lush pasture throughout the spring, summer, and fall.  In the winter, they hang out in the barnyard eating hay and playing on snow piles with our children. We think this is why they have such beautiful, soft, cuddly fleeces.  Our Yarn is spun right here in Vermont at the Green Mountain Spinnery.  At the spinnery they use  Certified Organic GREENSPUN process where the yarns are washed and spun with vegetable-based soaps and oils rather than the petroleum-based products standard in the textile industry. No chemicals are used to bleach, shrinkproof or mothproof. We are proud to have an ecological safe, organically raised yarn to share with you. Skein size is approx. 4 oz, & approx. 240 yards – Colors: Brown Earth, Snow and Oatmeal. $16 a skein  AND …2 oz skeins that are dyed in wonderful colors on our oatmeal yarn 🙂$12/Dyed Skein
 
Sheepskins for sale: These woolly sheepskins are from lambs and sheep we processed in the fall - we have white, brown and black beautiful fleeces available.  They are $150, formaldehyde-free.  Payment plans available and we take credit cards now.
 
Recipes
Fragrant Broiled and Pureed Eggplant adapted from Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini by Elizabeth Schneider
This recipe suits any large eggplants – ones with a large proportion of flesh to skin. Season, broil until smoky and squishy, drain, and puree. Do not trim off the stems, which act as handles during preparation. Serve as a salad course, accompanied by olives, sliced tomatoes, and breadsticks or toasted pita triangles. Or thin puree slightly to offer as a dip with raw fennel and other vegetable strips. Allow to mellow overnight before serving. Mince feathery fennel tops to sprinkle over the dip.
3 large garlic cloves
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground anise, fennel or allspice
about 2 Tablespoons flavorful olive oil
2 or 3 eggplants of equal size (to total about 2.5 pounds)
1 teaspoon sugar
½ Tablespoon kosher salt
about 1/3 cup whole-milk yogurt or a smaller quantity of thick drained (‘Greek’) yogurt to taste
Black pepper or ground hot pepper to taste
 Preheat broiler. Cut garlic into long slivers or slices. Combine in cup with coriander, cumin, anise, and 1/4 teaspoon oil; mix well. With knife tip, cut deep slits in eggplants. Holding slits open with knife, insert garlic. When garlic is used up, rub eggplants with any remaining spice mixture. Place eggplants in a baking pan as far from broiling element as possible. Broil, turning once, until skin wrinkles and blackens and eggplants collapse – about 20-30 minutes, depending upon size of eggplants and type of broiler. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand about 10 minutes. Holding stem of one still hot eggplant, gently remove skin with a small knife. Discard skin along with stems. Place flesh in a strainer to drain as you peel remaining eggplant (s). Combine eggplant flesh, sugar, and salt in food processor and pulse to barely mix. Pulsing, gradually add yogurt to taste, then add remaining oil. Do not puree until smooth – some texture is nice. Scrape into a bowl. Add pepper and adjust seasoning. Refrigerate overnight. Season before serving, preferably at room temperature.
 
Grilled Eggplant Panini
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
8 1/2-inch slices eggplant (about 1 small)
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
8 slices whole-grain bread
8 thin slices fresh mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup sliced jarred roasted red peppers
4 thin slices red onion
Preheat grill to medium-high. Combine mayonnaise and basil in a small bowl. Using 1 tablespoon oil, lightly brush both sides of eggplant and sprinkle each slice with garlic salt. With the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, brush one side of each slice of bread. Grill the eggplant for 6 minutes, turn with a spatula, top with cheese, and continue grilling until the cheese is melted and the eggplant is tender, about 4 minutes more. Toast the bread on the grill, 1 to 2 minutes per side.  To assemble sandwiches: Spread basil mayonnaise on four slices of bread. Top with the cheesy eggplant, red peppers, onion and the remaining slices of bread. Cut in half and serve warm. Submitted by April Stearns
 
Layered Eggplant Casserole from Recipes from America’s Small Farms

2-3 TBS vegetable oil
1 large egg
2 TBS milk
¼ cup all purpose flour, more if needed
1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into ¼ inch thick slices
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 large tomatoes, cut into ¼ inch thick slices
4 ounces Monterey Jack or other cheese, grated
1 TBS unsalted butter


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 2-quart casserole. Beat the egg and milk in a bowl and spread the flour on a plate. Heat 1 TBS of the oil in large skillet. Dip each slice of eggplant into the egg mixture, and then flour on both sides. Place the slices in the skillet in a single layer and fry until golden on both sides. Continue frying the eggplant in batches, adding oil as necessary, until done. Layer the fried eggplant, the onion, the tomato, and the cheese until they are all used up; the final layer should be the eggplant. Sprinkle any remaining flour (or use another 2 TBS of flour) over the top. Dot with the butter. Place in the oven, uncovered, for about 45 minutes, until bubbling and the eggplant is tender. Note: instead of frying the eggplant slices, you can drizzle them with oil and bake them on a cookie sheet for about 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
 
Eggplant Pulp Facts from Recipes from America’s Small Farms No one ever said eggplant pulp was pretty, but it’s a beautiful base for spreads and salads. To make it, just puncture a large eggplant in a few places and wrap it loosely in aluminum foil. Place it in a 400 degree oven until it’s soft and mushy – it’s usually ready in about an hour, but longer baking won’t hurt it. Let it cool completely, then scrape all the flesh off the skin. You’ll get about 1 ½ cups of pulp from a medium eggplant. Add whatever other vegetables and herbs you like – the eggplant’s mild taste and pleasant texture blends and binds other ingredients.
 
Eggplant Rounds with Cheese and Tomato Sauce adapted from D. Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
6-8 eggplant rounds per person, grilled, broiled or fried (from the skinny asian eggplants, reduce number of slices if using the large purple ones.)
3/4 cup grated or sliced mozzarella
1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola or goat cheese
about 4 cups favorite tomato sauce
chopped parsley or basil
Place the eggplant rounds on a sheet pan and cover with the cheeses. Bake at 375 degrees until the cheese melts. Serve with 2 or 3 spoonfuls of the sauce on each serving and garnish with the parsley or basil.

Baked Summer Squash with Pesto Crumbs
from More Recipes from a Kitchen Garden by Renee Shepherd
This can be served as a whole meal, over wild rice and garnished with toasted pecans.
3 lbs. Mixed summer squash
3 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 cup half-and-half
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. mace
1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 shallots, minced
4 scallions, finely chopped
½ cup Pesto Bread Crumbs Recipe(see below)

Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly oil a 2 ½ to 3 quart casserole dish with cover. Trim squash and cut into large chunks (about 1 ½ inches). Arrange squash pieces in casserole and set aside. Melt butter and olive oil together in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients, blending thoroughly. Pour sauce mixture over squash, tossing until squash is coated. Cover casserole and bake 40 minutes. Toss squash gently and spoon juices and seasonings from the bottom of dish over squash. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and bake uncovered for 10 minutes longer, until squashes are tender when pierced with a knife.
 
Pesto Bread Crumbs

1 cup dry bread crumbs
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese
3 Tbs. roasted pine nuts
1 ½ cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor until thoroughly blended. After using, refrigerate any leftovers. Makes 2 cups.
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