Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Garlic Scapes, Green Garlic, Peas, Beets, Kale & Lettuce....our good stuff begins!

 It's been Garlic Scape time and I should have blogged a couple weeks ago about them! Better late than never. (Garlic Scapes are the seed pods of the garlic plant that need to be removed in order for the bulb to grow large shown in the picture above.) I'm sharing a great recipe for RAW garlic scape pesto. My mother (Thank you mother Teresa!) found this gem and had her kitchen just rockin' with the sweet spice of garlic last week spinning up a ton of this stuff for our winter pleasure.
6 Medium garlic scapes (w/ seed pod left on)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Juice and zest of 1/2 fresh lemon
3/4 tsp salt
10 or more grinds of black pepper
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano Cheese
In a good processor with large blade grind the scapes and pine nuts until very fine, scraping down the bowl when necessary. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until it's the consistency you like, adding more olive oil or cheese as you like. This makes about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups.
I've also had the pleasure of bumping into Joel from 'Well Preserved' at market and he has done our Green Garlic justice (not the scapes!) with an awesome blog I encourage all to read.  His posts are incredible and what he does with food leaves most truly inspired. You will spend hours on his blog at: WELL PRESERVED using Sosnicki's Garlic Greens!!!
Today was the first harvest of field BEETS!  We ate our first beet greens for lunch in a stir fry with some Japanese noodles Toshimi brings to market for me.  Our peas are busting at the seams as we harvest both Sugar Snap (edible pod) and the first of the Peas-In-A-Pod (shelling). Our curly kale is throwing large leaves for quick harvesting and bunching and our lettuces are flavourful, crisp and in abundance now.  Check out the head of garlic Ben pulled today!  Massive!  Very happy crop! Enjoy the markets now folks!  Finally the produce is beginning to roll! (on a sidenote: TWITTER ROCKS For business it is an essential tool and I am enjoying it WAY more than Facebook!! Follow us at @SosnickiOrganic)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day Ted!

'Happy Father's Day' to my farming father Ted who is has probably been awake for 2 hours by now contemplating what needs to be done in the fields! We're dragging you off the tractor by 5pm for a feast dad!! I love and respect you dad for making me work hard, never just giving me money or spoiling me, 'leaving me the hell alone' when I was a teen, letting me live and learn, never involving me in your adult problems while I was growing up, letting me love and be loved by all the others in my life, and for letting me know you were always there for me when I needed my DAD! Always a cell phone call or farm visit away, it's always felt warm and fuzzy to know I've got a tough farmer at my back. You're irreplaceable. How's THAT for sap!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Suckering and Stringing Heirloom Tomatoes

Beautiful Sunday in the greenhouse!  I have promised one of my Evergreen Brickworks customers that I would blog and teach her how to sucker her tomatoes! She has been sharing pictures off her iPhone with me of her tomatoes at market and asking how to 'sucker them' Don't you just love iPhones?  This blog is for you! Once tomatoes root down and take hold, they grow like weeds! Suckering (pruning) is an important job that has to be done early and often to have 'controlled' plants and healthy, large fruit.   It's one of those jobs that you finally finish and then have to turn around and do it all over again.  If you have a large garden, leave one tomato plant alone and watch it all season!  The beast will lop over, suckers will make a huge pile of a vine mass, blossoms and eventually oodles of fruit, the stem will throw roots and it will keep going and going!  That is what we often do in the fields.  This works fine IF the weather is hot and dry as tomatoes do not like wet feet and are more susceptible to disease and problems if they can't 'dry'.  It saves a lot of space if you cage, string or stake your luscious gems. So lets start with a young heirloom:
This above pic is the before of an untouched young heirloom tomato.  I can see three suckers off the bat. Young suckers are baby tomato plants. (Be gentle and careful not to knock off the yellow flowers!  These blossoms are where your fruit comes from!) In most cases the suckers grow from the area in between the stem and leaves.  (I'll share other annoying 'sucker' scenarios in a minute)
This is a good example of a sucker.  You want to remove it. There is another at the top of the picture too..
Gently bend and snap them out....I KNOW it's scary to start ripping apart the tomato plant you are patiently growing, especially if you only have a few tomato plants but trust me, you'll learn and reap the benefits with gorgeous plants and beautiful fruit! So do it, bust the little buggers out of there! You'll be left with a handful of suckers you can just compost......
Suckers removed from the plant....
And the after picture!  A sucker-free heirloom tomato plant! At least once a week, check and remove the suckers.  Even where you've 'suckered' before they often times will 'grow back'.  It's a never ending job BUT once you have a trained eye will take mere seconds to tidy up your tomato plants!  Good luck and bring more pictures to market for me to see!  ;)
Now, not all tomatoes are created equal!  Not all 'suckers' are created equal.  Take the above photo.  There is a sucker growing from the tip of a set of blossoms!  Remove these as well.  I also find that if you grow 'striped german' or 'striped marvel', typically any of the yellow, marbled flesh ones they like to throw a set of blossoms in a V stem and throw two suckers at the same time! You must choose a 'leader' and remove the other stem/sucker. Have fun!  Tomatoes are forgiving.  Often time while stringing, my 'gentle' hand that is never trying to go too fast snaps the top right out of the tomato!!  It eventually throws another sucker and keeps going! 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A trip to Grand Bend....

A booming thunderstorm followed by the rainbows last week seemed to be the last of the wet, wet weather. Probably just for a short while....  While the fields remained wet, we took two trips to Grand Bend to meet organic potato farmer Marcus Koenig and check out his seed potato stock.  His seed quality was excellent!  He is a kind man who took the time to share his knowledge about the different varieties and all about their tastes and how to cook with the different types.  We discussed our land and soil and he gave us advice on how to keep our soil at optimum health for continued success with organic potato growing. 
We finally chose six new varieties to try this year along with our tried and true Yukons and Whites.  Marcus has informed us that once we try this different yellow flesh, we may never go back to a Yukon again!  Hmm, we'll see!  This is a Red/Gold variety we are very excited about.  We needed a good red potato and this one has brilliant red skin and bright yellow flesh.
Russian Blue....suppose to stay purple when cooked....I will be making a wicked potato salad with these puppies this year!!!
Russian Banana Fingerling.  I've wanted to grow fingerlings, so I am excited about these guys. Not only do we have this type, but also a red/gold fingerling too!!  Also another
 While in Grand Bend at Marcus's farm I once again had this amazing feeling that Ben and I are in the right business.  Both our faces totally lit up at the site of all the massive totes holding all these awesome seed potatoes ripe for the picking and planting!  We are lucky to connect with other farmer's such as Marcus Koenig and his wife. Despite the fact that we were 5 minutes from the lake and beauty of Grand Bend, we didn't holiday.....back on the highway to head home and put these suckers in the ground!