Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Crops today.......







Just went out today after supper and snapped our one east field. This one labeled '102' according to my Pro-Cert recordings!! It's been a while since I've shown progress. Here she be!! More rain today, not like north east of here, so I am not complaining. I am all about 'heirlooms' right now. It's hard for me to concentrate on anything but! We've planted my heirlooms in long, long rows away from each other. I've got beets, carrots, dill, beans and even our strawberry patch inbetween all 80 different varieties of heirlooms! New beets are a week away from sale (for big ones), our carrots are small, so for later, dill is moving now, beans probably next week....I have to blog about our 'leeks' shortly. BEAUTIFUL crop for fall! Anyhow, some tomato pics. The green creepy ones are called 'Tlacolula'. They remind me of tarantula spider! Blood red too when ripe!! We are officially harvesting slicing tomatoes tomorrow.....here we go! And yes, this is not 'perfectville' around here, we've got early blight in some tomatoes because of the rain along with some kick ass powdery mildew in the cucumbers and a touch in the melons. What can ya do, nothing, so no bitching, move on......

My stepdaughter's pictures......






Here are some shots of the farm on a typical Sunday taken by my stepdaughter. This time of year, Sunday's are just like any other day. We get to relax a bit more, but by relaxing usually means 'animal care', (like barn cleaning, and this past Sunday, hay storage) which if your like me and love your animals - feels really great to do! I relax great after knowing the barns are clean and the animals are happy. We are soooo busy with vegetables during the entire week, animals get fed, but everything else waits until Sunday!! We are very fortunate that our neighbour lets us rent their "load-all" for unloading hay and barn cleaning! Very handy! We've put enough hay away this past Sunday for our horse all winter. My stepdaughter is just a great kid! Imagine you're a typical young teen coming to dads for your weekend visit. You arrive on Friday, have to be in bed by 8pm, your stepmother drags your butt out of bed by 4am and you head to Toronto to start selling vegetables by 8am! You help set up for another market during the day and finish selling around 5pm, sleep in the market truck back home to the farm from Toronto around 7pm, laze around, watch your parents fall asleep by 8pm (Ben and I are dead by this time!! lololol!!) .....but stepmother is nice and lets you sleep in on Sunday! When you awake, everyone is at work when you get up again and being the great kid you are, you make yourself available to help if need be. Most times, your parents just let you enjoy the farm and animals! So you take some pictures! She rarely complains and makes me smile and laugh all the time. I'm lucky. I think I have the world's best stepkid!! Enjoy her Sunday pictures......

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Country Kitchen....


I took this picture on Sunday after I picked it all fresh and brought it in for a big feast! We had company for supper (Erwin & Ana, long time friends of ours..) and it was soo nice to make a big meal from our field and share with some great folks! YES, some heirloom tomatoes are ready! Not many, so I won't be picking for markets until next week. They look like candy in a bowl! One new exciting one is called "thai pink egg" and they look like large pink pearls! Cucumbers are in full force, same with sweet onions and lots of new potatoes! I made a huge batch of cucumber salad, that Ben and I are still eating and will finish tomorrow! The pickling cucs make the best salad. Those slicing cucs have huge seeds and no flavour compared to the dills. It is simple folks: wash, peel and slice as many pickling cucs you desire. Create a salt brine. (water and salt, mix. Make it very salty to taste...) add your cucs and refrigerate. Should be overnight, but a few hours or half a day is ok. Drain and squeeze your cucs. You can rinse them if they taste to salty. All depends on your brine. Now, add chopped sweet spanish onions, chopped green onion, pepper, dolop of mayo and sour cream, mix and YUM! Throw in garlic and yoghurt and create another great summer taste with your quickly brined cucs! To make easy 'brushetta' or basic tomato salad, slice tomatoes, mix in minced garlic (our fresh garlic is potent, just a tad or you will burn your face!!!) olive oil, chopped green onion, mayo, shredded cheese of your choice and voila! A good topper for crackers or toast too! For our feast we also enjoyed boiled new potatoes tossed with butter, dill, salt and pepper and some sausages....(convincing myself to eat my pigs come fall!!!!!)

Animal Farm.......





It's a great feeling to have a group of animals just hang around you all day as you work! Two pigs are 'free' (they can squeeze through the pen, so they are loose when they want to be!) and they have become quite a sight around here! Named 'Wilber' and 'Mr. Spots', they have made good friends with Lady Bug the horse and constantly make me laugh! They are very interested in the grading barn, where we are, in rooting around in mud or completely shredding and lifting up grass and man, can they run!! It's nice for Bug to have a grazing buddy or two. Everyone is free-range around here! The horse gets into the oat field on a daily basis and quickly bolts when she sees me coming... I seriously think that these two free pigs may not make it to the fry pan. I'm starting to like them way, way too much. I will even admit that I put sunscreen on Wilber. This made my mother in law laugh pretty hard! ....Baby ducks running about. I love this picture..the mother duck is just yelling at them to 'run from the human'!!! These ducks are uneccessarily scared of people. I thought the pigs would bother them or perhaps eat them. Nope, no interest really. The pigs go crazy for potatoes, pea shells and even like broccoli! Chickens enjoying the weather too. Dogs and cats just lazing around......

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Available at markets this week - July 7th - July 12th......




NEW POTATOES are here! Well, for those that shop Dufferin and Brickworks, they got a first taste last week if they were early shoppers! White potatoes, variety name 'Superior'. (and they are!) Next week we'll start with some Red Norlands and later lots of Yukon Golds! There is something about the new potatoes. That melt in your mouth flavour. Don't bother with any fancy recipe for these newbie spuds. Simply boil until soft (doesn't take long with the fresh small ones!) and simply toss with butter, dill and a dash of salt and pepper and savour each bite!

Also this week, white Spanish Onions with tops. These gems are still small, but we planted lots, so we've decided to start harvest early! Tops can be used no problem as 'green onions', still tender enough I find. Use the sweetish bulb for salads, sandwiches or in any recipe calling for a raw onion! Not alot of flavour when cooked, cooking onions will be available from us later in the seaon....Broccoli is here in full force! Boil or steam till soft, then in a separate small pot, melt 1 tbs. of butter, mix in 1 tbs of flour, then add 1.5 cups milk and stir while heating med. heat till thick, then add salt, pepper and CHEESE of your choice, cheddar is great, but Angelo's ricotta and hard shredded into this is awesome! Pour ontop your fresh broccoli! Yum! Basil Plants are ready and brought fresh to each market now. Make pesto or add the amazing scent and flavour to all your special meals now! The plant I sell can be re-planted OR put entire plant in a glass of water and pluck the leaves off the plant for an entire week or more! Spring Garlic Bulbs are also at market! Nice and tangy, this is the first taste of our certified garlic for all! We hope to create a staple crop with Garlic around here for years to come! Hmmm, what else? Oh yes, Zucchini is coming mid week! Dufferin on the 10th will probably get the first fresh haul. Still available at all markets: Lettuces - red leaf, batavian, and butterhead (boston), Field Beets, PEAS, lots and lots of peas! (*Sweet shelling type, sugar snap edible pod and snow pea flat edible pods...) bunches of fresh Parsley, Red Swiss Chard & baby Kale! See all at market! Enjoy the pics of Ben digging potatoes, plus two pics from Brickworks, sat. july 5th of our spanish onions & quarts of our new potatoes plus one of our broccoli and beets!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Fried Green (Heirloom) Tomatoes
















From anyone that knows me, or has been following this blog, they will understand my anticipation for my heirloom tomatoes! My mother in law is joining in the heirloom parade and is now 'hoeing' my vast patch of 80 different tomato varieties! We do have substaintial bug damage, but that is the way with organics and THAT is WHY we planted lots!! There are a couple varieties that are gone, totally eaten by potato beetles, but there are 80, so I guess we can figure 78 now? LOLOLOL - *choke* Ben says it best: "Let nature run it's course, we've got lots of good strong plants". I'm kicking the plants with my boots and seriously thinking about paying a labour force for pick them off with me. Thinking about a 'vacuum' sucker or a fan, something to do the trick.....

Anyhow, sometimes I have to take Ben's advice, so today I am. I've taken off my steel toe boots, am not kicking plants and am going to relax! With that in mind, a recipe that I plan to put to good use: FRIED GREEN TOMATOES. I love this movie as well. I love Idgie's character and like to think we have a bit in common! LOLOLOLOL!! Anyhow, the recipe: (sorry, no amounts, use judgement for your own personal amounts. No one has to hold your hand.....)

Heat bacon fat in a heavy bottom fry pan. Dip tomatoes in eggs, then bread crumbs. Slowly fry in bacon fat till golden brown on both sides. Put on a plate. For each tbs. of fat left in pan, stir in 1 tbs. of flour and blend. Then stir in 1 cup of warm milk and cook until it thickens. Add salt and pepper. Pour over your 'fried green tomatoes'. They do say this is the best there is..... and I don't doubt it......do it old fashioned! When I have more time, I'll post perhaps a 'healthier' version using olive oil! lolololol.....