Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Short But Sweet

Not too much in way of news from the farm today.  Andy wants to let the people who joined the summer shares that he hates to see them go because this will be their last box.  But if you have an All Season Share for the CSA you have 10 more weeks.

There was a good rain last night so that should really help the fall crops take off.  As far as Andy can tell there should be a good crop for the fall season.

Lots of good vegetables this week...again the box is jammed.  And for those of you that are new like I was, the big yellow thing is spaghetti squash.  It can be cooked just like any other winter squash.  I had to look it up.

I got a letter from Lizzie in my box today.  She has been really busy canning.  Tomatoes are coming out her ears.  And she is thankful that there will be no more to can because the rest will go to the pigs.  Today she was in the process of canning 2 bushels of concord grapes and two bushels of apples.

They got some bad news yesterday.  Andy's dad was injured in a car-buggy accident.  He has a broken back and some broken ribs.

Fluffy is doing well but continues to escape from her pen.  We are trying to figure out how to make it safe for her.  She gets out and runs loose in the yard.  The kids are worried that the dog or cat might catch her...and that would be a really bad thing.  Pray for Fluffy.

Recipe Of The Week: Spaghetti Squash Salad

Spaghetti Squash Salad
3 cups of cooked spaghetti squash
2 cups of cauliflower, cut into bite size pieces, parboiled
1 cup of celery, sliced thin
1 medium onion diced
1 green or red pepper, diced
1 teaspoon of dill weed (optional)
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
1 cup of vinegar
1 teaspoon of paprika
Combine squash, cauliflower, celery, onion, peppers, and dill weed.  Shake rest of the ingredients well in a jar with the lid on tight.  Pour over vegetables.  Chill before serving.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Almost Overflowing

The weather on the far is nice but a little more of the light showers that they have been getting would be nice.  Produce is still looking nice.  It looks like the sweet potatoes should be ready to harvest in a week or two.  So dig out that sweet potato pie recipe.

There are still plenty of tomatoes on the vine.  So many that Andy is offer tomatoes by the pound.  Canning tomatoes are those tomatoes that just don't make the grade for our CSA boxes.  They might be smaller with a few nicks and bumps on them.  But the are great for canning.  If you would like to order some they are 50 cents a pound.  Hurry and place your order by emailing cedarmorefarm@gmail.com ASAP because frost is just around the corner and once it comes that will be the end of the tomatoes.  You will be billed at the end of the month.

Just a friendly reminder...please return your empty CSA box each week.  And any containers (green baskets and jars with rings) from previous weeks.  This helps keeps the cost of the CSA down and recycling/reusing is a good thing.

The boxes are so full this week that they are hard to close!

More on the Growing Methods...Andy though it was important that he list the products that are used on the pants to defer insects and disease...Neem oil, Garlic spray (this is made from his own garlics grown in the field) Mycotrol O, Montery Insect spray, Pyganic, Dipel, Surround and Champ (a copper spray).  These products are all approved by the NOP (National Organic Program).  Andy likes to think of them as band aids.  They use them to help the infested plants get back on their feet.  The primary focus at Cedarmore is to rebuild the soil.  Mycotrol O, Montery Insect spray and Dipel are beneficial bacterias that will infest insects and their eggs.  They have been found to be very affective in controlling certain species of insects.  Surround and garlic spray work more by deterring insects away from the crops.  Surround forms a white coating on the pants that insects don't like.  Garlic has a bad smell that insects don't even like.  Champ or copper sprays help prevent disease.  Pyganic is used primarily to control those tough cucumber beetles.  No other spray seems to work on those pesky beetles.  The down side to Pyganic is that it will also kill the beneficial insects.  For that reason Andy only uses it when he has to.  It is supposed to be non-toxic to humans and animals.

Recipe Of The Week: Green Tomato Chocolate Cake

Green Tomato Chocolate Cake
3/4 cup of butter softened
2 cups of sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon of mint extract
2 cups of coarsely grated green tomato
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 cup of milk
2 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of cocoa
2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Cream sugar and butter.  Beat in the eggs.  And mint extract, tomatoes, vanilla, and milk.  Combine dry ingredients and stir into the batter.  Pour into a buttered and floured 10 inch tube pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Little Twist To Things

I can tell you that the weather is dry last week has dried out everything on the farm.  When I drove up last week a huge cloud of dust enveloped me as I got out of the van.  Andy has started using the irrigation system...now running the pump around the clock...which he really doesn't like to do.  The good thing is that this summer it has been wet or damp enough that they haven't had to run it much.  The report is that the fall crops like sweet potatoes and winter squash are looking good.  While the summer crops are about to wind down.

Do I see strawberries?

When I talked to Andy lst weekend he was telling me that he thought the eggs might run low this week.  I could tell by the amount of chicken in the egg mobile that we would be running a little short this week.  But Andy and Lizzie saved the day for me.  My grandson called me a few weeks ago and told me that he had an emergency...they were out of strawberry jam.  I was supposed to get some when I went to the farm last weekend...but I forgot.  So I was so glad to find a jar waiting for me instead of eggs this week.   Thank you Andy and Lizzie!
More About The Growing Methods
Andy has mentioned before that this year they are trying some newer techniques on the farm.  He would rather not but sometimes an old dog needs to learn a few new tricks.  He would prefer to use the tried and true growing methods that generations of Hersberger's have used.  He has finally come to the conclusion that by combining these new ways...we get the best of both worlds in our organic produce that is grown at Cedarmore.  They will continue to use cover crops, lime, compost like they have been doing since starting the farm.  Then they will be fine tuning things by checking the Brix and the plant sap PH and then adding the missing elements.

Recipe Of The Week: Scalloped Potatoes With Cheese and Peppers

Scalloped Potatoes With Cheese and Peppers
5 cups of sliced potatoes
2 Tablespoons of flour
1 teaspoon of salt
dash of pepper
1/2 pound of cheese cubed
3/4 cup of milk
1/2 cup of chopped green peppers
1/2 cup of chopped green onions
2 Tablespoons of pimento strips (optional)
Coat potatoes with combined flour and seasonings.  Place in 12x8 inch baking dish.  Heat cheese and milk over low heat.  Add green pepper, onion, and pimientos.  Pour over potatoes.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until potatoes are done.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Little Time At My Happy Place

Once again I got a chance to go visit my favorite Amish family at Cedarmore...my Happy Place.  I took some of my Amish books from my library to share.  And I had something SPECIAL to leave behind.
When I drove down the driveway the three older children (as Lizzie calls to them) were standing in the yard waiting for me.  I wonder how long they had been standing there?  I know why they were there waiting but I will give you the whole run down in just a bit.

This is Anna's garden.  She has dill, corn, and green beans.

Andy and I went to see the tomatoes in the greenhouse and look what we say...actually several of them.  This is a Tomato Hornworm.  He is a bad thing. The little white things on its back are the pupae of the Barconid wasp. These wasps are parasitic insects that prey on hornworms. These wasps hunt down our garden pests, inject their eggs into their prey where the eggs hatch into larvae and begin eating the internal organs of the hornworm. After these "maggots" have matured they bore through the skin of the hornworm and proceed to spin a cocoon and attach themselves to the worm. From the cocoons emerge adult Braconid Wasp which will begin hunting for other Tomato Hornworms and Tobacco Hornworms to feast upon.  It is the cycle of life right there in the tomato patch.
These are about all the turkeys that have survived the cat and chicken attacks.

golden comets...mean old chickens

The only rooster on the farm.  Isn't he a beauty?  He's a Barred Rock.

So this is the reason for my visit today to the farm.  I promised Anna that I would get her a bunny for her birthday...well, she got it a little early.  Meet Fluffy.  She is about 13 weeks old and is a mini Rex.  Fluffy will be getting a male companion on my next visit.  Anna is going to be raising rabbits to sell to her cousins and all of her friends in the community.   A little bunny business on the side. And the bunny poo can go on Anna's garden. But before I handed her over I made Andy and Lizzie promise that Fluffy wouldn't end up on the dinner table. They promised.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Fall Shares Still Available

Just wanted to let everyone know that we still have fall shares available. So if you don’t have any and still want one please try to get signed up while we have them available. Fall crops are doing very well as far as I can see. We should have a good supply of, potatoes, onions, winter squash, sweet potatoes, garlic, lettuce, broccoli, turnips and cabbages for the fall share. We should also have a fair amount of carrots, radishes, red beets, kale and chard. The fall share runs from the first week of October through the first week in December and are $170 for 10 weeks.

Another Pretty Heavy One

The weather is giving Andy a little bit of trouble.  All the rain that we have been having in the Cincinnati area has not reached Hillsboro.  So the farm is experiencing a little bit of drought.  Not severe by any means.  The good news is that the irrigation system is doing a good job keeping things watered. Andy doesn't seem think the crops and produce will be affected.  The irrigation system is taking care of everything very well.
The last batch of cantaloupes is all but over.  They were really good and sweet this year.  Now it is time to get ready for all those earthy fall crops like sweet potatoes and winter squash.  Andy thinks they will be in our boxes in a few weeks.

The okra in the boxes is something new that Andy is trying this year. In case you don't get any this week rest assured that you will get some next week...share and share alike.
And More About Our Growing Methods
Last week Andy mentioned that they have start using a P.H. meter and refractometer to check on the growth of the plants and to get a better view of what minerals are still needed. The refractometer tells us how high the brix (sugar content) is in the plants.  Basically  the higher the brix is, the healthier the plant is.  High a high brix there is less chance of plant disease and insect pressure.  Also the produce keeps  better flavor. Although the refractometer tells how high the brix level is, it really does not tell much about the minerals that are lacking.  The P.H. meter tells more about what minerals are still needed.  Andy will be telling us more about this next week.

Recipe Of The Week: Sliced Fried Okra

Sliced Fried Okra
1 pound of okra sliced into 1/2 inch slices
1/2 cup of cornmeal
1 teaspoon of salt, divided
`/8teaspoon of pepper
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
1 cup of water
Cook okra in the cup of water for about 10 minutes.  Mix the cornmeal, the other 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the pepper.  Toss the okra in the cornmeal mixture until the okra is completely coated.  Heat the oil.  Cook and stir okra in oil until brown.