We are so grateful for the rain this week. We have a unique water situation at the farm that requires us to be very careful about the amount of water we use for the fields. While we have a lot of learning to do about strategic water usage, we tend to err on the side of caution and leave the soil a little dryer than is optimal. Next year, we are hoping for some decisions to be made about accessing a bigger water supply, which will alleviate a lot of the issues we face - but until then we utilize drip tape, strategic overhead watering, and rain dancing ;)
This past week, we made some headway in the deer-repellent saga by spreading human hair around the perimeter of the farm (thanks to Portland's new hair studio Pageboy), setting out Have-a-heart scent pods around the field, creating wind chimes, and rubbing soap on fishing wire strung between fence posts around the fields. All of these tactics aim to deter deer by instilling a fight-or-flight response through the senses. We are undecided about an electric fence due to costs this late in the season, but will most likely invest in one for next spring.
All in all, we are feeling pretty good about the farm at this point in the season. However, we do need to get our butts in gear with seeding for fall crops. That is on the docket for this week - as is sending Brian to the Maine Grain Alliance Kneading Conference in Skowhegan, ME. At the conference, Brian will be a work-study student assisting the main instructor for wood fired baking. Brian is very excited and we'll have him tell you all about it next week! Stay tuned!
Week #7 Veggies, Herbs, and Suggestions
Cucumber - General Lee Slicing Cucumbers are perfect for eating raw or pickled. For an easy pickling recipe, scroll back a few posts and look for instructions on pickling radishes. You can use the same recipe for cukes! Cucumbers are also a great addition to any salad or veggie platter served with hummus and tzatziki sauce - don't forget to add the dill!
Shishito Pepper - These peppers are the perfect ration of sweet and spicy and bloom with the most robust flavor profile when blistered ever-so-slightly in a frying pan with a healthy pinch of salt. They make a great appetizer on their own, or they can be chopped and added to any stir-fry or sauce. For a delicious warm salad, try frying some chopped broccoli and shishitos with an onion, then adding chopped kale to the mix until it's wilted. Dress with lemon juice, parmesan, salt, pepper, and sunflower seeds.
Summer Squash/Zucchini - Scroll back through the last couple weeks' blog posts for ideas on how to use zucchini and Bennings Green Tint summer squash.
Hakurei Salad Turnips - These turnips are so surprisingly delicious! Unlike regular turnips, these are best eaten raw on their own or in a salad. The texture is buttery and crunchy and can be used much in the same way as radishes.
Broccoli - These heads are small and irregular, but they're tasty! The variety we planted is known for it's side shoots, so hopefully we will see much more broccoli in the future! Try chopping this broccoli and adding to a stir-fry with zucchini, shishito peppers, and garnishing with scallions, sesame oil and soy sauce. Keep broccoli stored in a bag in the fridge and use within 5 days before the buds start to turn yellow.
Kale - Y'all know what to do with kale! We hope you are finding a routine way to fit it into your diet because it is so nutritious and prolific! If you're interested in freezing kale, boil a pot of water, chop the kale and blanch it for 30-60 seconds, strain or remove kale from water, pat dry, and stuff into freezer bags. It should keep in the freezer for many months.
Scallions - Chopping scallions and bathing them in ice water is a great way to keep them fresh and slime-free in the fridge for long time. This method allows for a quick handful to be grabbed to garnish any dish from noodles to salads to soups.
Dill (flowering) - The flowering dill has an intense flavor and adds a beautiful dash of color to sauces, pickles, and cooked meat/fish. Scroll back a few weeks for more ideas on how to use dill.
Cilantro (flowering) - This dainty cilantro makes a great addition to pesto, tacos, fish, ceviche, taco salads, and hummus. Store in a cup of water in the fridge or on the counter.
Lemon Balm - Scroll back to the first CSA blog post for some ideas on how to use this delightfully refreshing herb.
Edible Flowers - Everyone's new favorite item! We saw some creative uses for edible flowers on Instagram this week including pizza, chicken salad, and pickled beets! The mix includes calendula, nasturtium, borage, and bachelor buttons.
Cleome (Spider Flower) - Violet Queen: After putting these seedlings in the ground last month, it took no time at all for them to grow to a height over 4 feet. And then they bloomed - and wow! What a show-stopper! The intrigue and beauty makes me want to plant an entire field of these flowers just to walk through and admire the delicate petals and and dainty stems protruding from the tops of the dark green stocks. Multiple people who have visited the farm in the last couple weeks have been taken aback by this flower and expressed their amazement to me. Cleome is new to us and I'm not sure how practical it is in a bouquet, but it adds such a lovely pop of color and texture to the flower garden and clearly brightens peoples' day - which is one of the most important reasons we love growing flowers. I look forward to incorporating more varieties into the mix next season!