Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Back On Track

We are all back on track now...we are back from vacation and Andy has slowed down just a bit so he can write the newsletter.  Hopefully we will be able to be back weekly with pics of the CSA boxes and with the newsletter.  Please forgive us.
Last week Andy and his workers were busy harvesting onions.  There must have been an abundance because he has enough hanging in the shed to dry to last us all for the rest of the season.  And with all the harvesting that is going on , it is sometimes easy to neglect planting, but in order for us to have produce for the rest of the season Andy has to stay on top of things and do whatever needs to be done however he can get it done.  I imagine he might be burning the candle at both ends about now.  I would be running in circles like a dog chasing it's tail!

I know what we are having for dinner...almost everything in the box!
At the end of the newsletter Andy talks about the growing methods used on the farm.  he is so funny!  He says that it is just about the same things that he has said over the years but he does not want to not include it for the new CSA members.  So he wants you to skip over the next part of you have read about it before.  And for you new members, please keep reading.
Our Growing Methods
"We believe that good growing methods all begin by carefully observing and addressing the needs of our soil.  If we can keep these microbes (who live in our soil, and do a lot of work for us) happy we are definitely ahead of the game.  To me it seems like it all goes in circles.  We depend on animals and plants to provide us with healthy nutritious food.  The animals depend on the plants for their food.  The microbes and earthworms depend on us to provide them with organic matter, (I can write more on this later) which they will break down into a form that the plants can use.  If we can start by emphasizing soil health, it will have a positive effect on the whole food chain and make life better for all of us here on God's planet Earth.  So what do we do about building good soil?  We can probably divide our soil building process into three categories...cover crops...our farm animals...off the farm soil amendments.  I will try to cover these three categories over the next several weeks."
To be continued....

Recipe Of The Week: Fried Onion Rings

Fried Onion Rings
2 large sweet onions
2/3 cups of water
1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil
oil for deep frying in an iron skillet
1 egg
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 cup of all purpose flour

Cut onions into one inch slices and then separate the rings.  Place in a bowl, cover with ice water.  In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper.  Beat egg and water together.  Stir dry ingredients into the egg mixture until smooth.  Drain the onions and dry with paper towel.  Coat onion rings in mixture and fry a few at a time for about 1 and 1/2 minutes on each side or until they are golden brown.  Drain on a paper towel.

(Also good to put chopped apples in the dough instead of onions...like apple fritters)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

First Week Of The Summer Share

Andy and Lizzie send greeting to all CSA members new and old.  They are enjoying a nice gentle rain falling on the metal roof.  Good for humans and plants alike.

This is the first week of the summer share. We are always excited to see new members join.  Not only to grow the CSA and help the Amish community in Hillsboro but also because they will be enjoying some really good organically grown vegetables.

If you don't know what the green leafy vegetable with the red and yellow stems is...it is my FAVORITE...Swiss chard.  I could eat it until it comes out my ears!  Andy and Lizzie taught me how to stir fry it and that is how I choose to fix it most of the time.  I will try the Recipe of The Week sometime soon.
I am looking forward to the next few week because Andy figures that cantaloupe, sweet corn and blackberries will be in our boxes.
Just a reminder...please remember to bring back your empty boxes, egg cartons, fruit baskets, and empty canning jars with lids and rings back each week.  Break down the boxes and store then nicely where you pick your box up each week. The boxes are perfectly fine to reuse and by doing so we are leaving less of a carbon footprint in the atmosphere.  Plus it helps the farmers keep the costs down.  Every little bit helps!  Thanks for you help!


Recipe Of The Week: Swiss Chard Lasagna Florentine

Swiss Chard Lasagna Florentine
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1/2 box of lasagna, prepared according to the box
3/4 cup f chopped onions
5 cups of spaghetti sauce
1 pound of Swiss chard, chopped(separate stems and leaves)
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
2 finely chopped cloves of garlic
15 ounces of ricotta cheese
1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound of shredded mozzarella cheese
In a large skillet, heat the oil and add chopped Swiss chard stems.  Saute for two minutes then stir in the leaves a handful at a time cooking for about 3-5 minutes.  Add onion and garlic near the end of sauteing.  Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes more.  Uncover and continue cooking to reduce liquid.  Warm the spaghetti sauce.  In a  large bowl, beat the eggs and stir in the ricotta, and the Parmesan, plus 1/2 cup if the mozzarella cheese and the Swiss chard.  In a 15X9 inch baking dish, layer in 2 cups of sauce, half of the lasagna, 2 cups of sauce, all of the egg mixture, 1/2 the mozzarella, then the remaining lasagna, sauce, and mozzarella.  Cover with foil.  Bake for 30 minutes, uncover, bake and additional 10 minutes.  Let stand for 10 minutes.  Cut, serve, and enjoy

A Request From CSA Member

I received an email a week or so ago from one of the CSA members.

'My name is Judy and I am a member of the Cedarmore CSA now for two years  I just love the program and I find your blog entries for them are very helpful and fun.  I would love to know 'storage' information for some of these wonderful veggies that we get.  I rec'd two boxes this week due to vacation last week, and now I find myself with too many beets and probably too many onions.  I would love to know the correct way to store some of these veggies so they don't spoil before I use them.  I read that if I cut the greens off of the beets and store them whole in a plastic bag they will last longer in the fridge.  Not sure if the onions can be stored in dry storage or they have to be kept in the fridge as well.

Just a thought, if you know any of this type of useful information, you should include it now and then in your blog.' 
So far this is what I have come up with.  But I will be sure that Andy gives us some storage answers.
Beets:  To store beets, trim the leaves 2 inches from the root (kind of give them a buzz cut) as soon as you get them.  The leaves will zip the moisture from the beet root.  Do not trim the tail,  Store the leaves in a separate plastic bag and use within two days.  The root bulb (the beet) should also be baggies and can be stored in the refrigerator drawer for 7 to 10 days.
Onions: Store in a mesh bag in a cool place.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Time Flies!

It is hard to believe that we are into the last week of the spring share.  Many of us have the all season's shares so we will be able to keep right on picking up our boxes as usual.  Andy and Lizzie will be sorry to see the spring share people finishing up their time with the CSA at Cedarmore.  They are hoping to see you again next year.
Andy is predicting that the sweet corn will be ready in a week or two.  Cantaloupes should be ripening around the same time.  And we could be seeing potatoes in next weeks box.  He also thinks that the sweet corn, garlic, leeks, cantaloupes, cucumbers, beets, beans, blackberries, and zucchini will be more off and on.
The first patch of beets is producing heavily right now.  Results from the survey show that beets are not as high a demand as some of the other produce.  This week Andy and Lizzie sent us two Recipes Of The Week for beets.  But for the beet lovers, you will have no problems trying to decide how to use them.

Recipe Of The Week: Pickled Beets

Pickled Beets
1 quart of beets
1 pint of vinegar
1/2 cup of water
1 1/2 cup of sugar
3/4 teaspoon of cloves
1 small cinnamon stick
1/1/2 teaspoon of salt
Choose smaller beets if they are to be left whole.  Wash beets, leaving a 1 inch stem and the roots intact.  Cook unpeeled, until skins easily slip off.  Mix other ingredients and bring to a boil; simmer for 15minutes.  Pack hot peeled beets into jars.  Pout hot pickling solution over beets and cover with lids.  Process in boiling water canner for 30 minutes.  Yield:  7-8 quarts of beets.

Recipe Of The Week: Chocolate Beet Cake

Chocolate Beet Cake
1 cup pf margarine or butter, softened and divided
1 1/2 cups of packed brown sugar
3 eggs at room temperature
2-3 ounces of dark chocolate or 3-4 ounces of cocoa powder
5 medium beets (2 cups of beet puree)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
confectioners' sugar for dusting
To make beet puree, trim stems and roots off beets and quarter them.  Place in heavy sauce pan filled with water.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 50minutes or until the beets are tender.  Drain off remaining liquid and rinse beets in cold water as the will be too hot to handle otherwise.  Slide skins off and place beets in the blender.  Process until a smooth puree forms.  Let cool slightly before using in the cake.  I like to make the puree ahead of time and store it in the fridge, sometimes up to several days in advance.
In a mixing bowl, cream 3/4 cup of margarine and brown sugar.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing well with each addition.  Melt chocolate with remaining butter in the microwave on high for 20 second intervals, stirring each time until smooth.  Cool slightly.  Blend chocolate mixture, beets and vanilla into the creamed mixture.  The batter will appear separate so don't fret, addition. 
Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg:  add to the creamed mixture and mix well.  Pour into a greased and floured 10 inch spring form pan.  Bake at 375 degrees F for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack.  Cool completely before dusting with confectioner's sugar.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Farm Day 2013

Andy and Lizzie had things pretty well underway by the time I was able to get to the farm.  All sorts of baked goods, vegetables and baskets ready to sell.  Fresh squeezed lemonade and ice cold water too.

The new chicks were a hit with everyone.

We toured all the new greenhouses.

I wonder if she is seeing tomatoes on the vine for the first time?  That is what Andy and Lizzie hopes to show us "citified Englishers"... good food is grown in the fields and come from the hard work of the farmers...all organically grown.

The weather was a little threatening all day long.  But it did not stop us from having fun!

There are productive bees on the farm now.  They belong to another farmer.  Andy is letting someone in the community use his property and Cedarmore will benefit from having the bees around.  A win-win.

Rainbow Swiss Chard

Do you see the small watermelon?  I can hardly wait until they come in our boxes.

field tomatoes

the egg mobile

I was so excited to see the Plymouth Rock that I forgot to take pics of all the kids gathering eggs.

We (the adults) all had our eyes on this big white rooster.  Let's just say that he doesn't play well with others.

From the chickens we headed back to the front yard for a little snack and some lemonade. 

The chocolate chip cookies were a huge success!

A short wagon ride about a half mile to Highland Haven Farm.

Oops, I almost for got the new pigs...

and one of the barn cats.

Everyone that wanted to could try their had at milking.

Then the rains came.  What do you do on the farm when it rains...you get out the wagon and play around with it in the rain and in the barn.

We all gave  it a try.  Ellis did well.  I thought I was doing a decent job then I looked over and a 6 year old had me beat. 

After playing and milking it was time to share a meal.  Lots of good food and fellowship!
Another successful Farm Day at Cedarmore!