April 26, 2013

Well, farmer's market season is finally here!! We finished our regular market season in early December of last year.  For the last 4 months, Natalie has enjoyed some much deserved rest (for a few weeks) and then starting in late January she began preparing, seeding and planting for this year.  Additionally, Ann Piotrowski, our intern from last year, decided to return to Sugar Creek for a second year as an apprentice farmer and we are very excited to have her back. 

Now that the weather has warmed, our crops are beginning to mature and it is time to begin to enjoy this year's harvest!  This is the busiest time of the year around the farm by far.  All the spring crops (lettuces, root veggies, broccoli, etc.) are planted and our summer veggies are just starting to hit the ground since the last frost hopefully is behind us.  Combine all this activity with harvesting and weeding and you can quickly see why our to-do list never seems to get any shorter!

Weeding is currently a very popular task as the crabgrass is just starting to emerge.  This week we weeded the potatoes and finally learned how to time it perfectly.  If you cultivate just after a weed seed germinates then those tiny small plants are much easier to eliminate compared to when they are allowed to get bigger and develop stronger roots.  This year we used the tractor to lightly "hill" the potatoes which dislodged some young weeds and smothered others.  The tractor work took less than an hour, which was much appreciated when compared with the alternative (spending all day weeding by hand).  However, we were conservative with the tractor hilling as we didn't want to disturb the emerging potato plants so there were still a few hours of old fashion hand weeding needed to tidy things up.  In a week or so we'll probably hill again with the tractor just to stay on top of the task.  But we're sure the potatoes will reward our weeding efforts through increased yield and size when we harvest them in late June!

We have two recipes that we would like to share with you this week:

Wilted Russian Kale Salad with Balsamic Vinegar and Orange Zest

1 bunch of red Russian kale
2 cloves of garlic, minced or thinly sliced
1 bunch spring onions, thinly sliced
2 Tbsps olive oil
1/4 cup organic currants (can also use craisins)
1 tsp orange zest
2 tsps balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

Remove tough stems from kale
Wash the kale leaves well and then chop into large pieces.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add garlic and scallions and saute until translucent.
Add the kale and cook until completely wilted.
Remove from heat and let cool.
Add the vinegar, currants, zest, and salt and pepper to taste.
Toss well to combine and serve!

Omelette and Arugula Salad

6 farm fresh eggs
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1/2 lb of your favorite sausage
1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
3/4 cup milk
1 cup gruyere cheese, grated
arugula (enough for a salad)
red wine vinegar
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste.

Saute sausage in pan.
Add red pepper flakes and scallions while sausage is cooking.
When everything is completely cooked, place on paper towel and drain.
Beat eggs and milk together. Season with some salt and pepper.
In a greased pie dish (or whatever shallow baking pan you have) place sausage mixture in the bottom, then pour egg mixture over the sausage.
Sprinkle the top with cheese.
Place in 350F oven for about twenty minutes.

While the omelette is cooking, simply tossed the arugula in a little red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Serve arugula salad along with the omelette.

April 19th, 2013

We would like to thank everyone who came out to our “Farm Visit Day” last Saturday - we couldn’t have asked for a better day to check out an organic farm!   It looks like real spring weather is finally here. The past two weeks have given us normal temperatures and in my eyes the plants have officially “popped.” All of our plants are growing really well and it looks like we will begin selling at Farmers Markets starting on Saturday, April 27th!  I admit, it is really tempting to harvest some of the veggies this week and go to market, but we are having to exercise patience because if we harvest the plants too hard when they are young we risk stunting future growth and having lower yields for the rest of the season.  

I walked around the farm this morning and took a few pictures to share with you.  You’ll see that we are almost finished with the renovation of our hoophouse, as four of the beds are seeded and not much work is left for the other two.  In our fields, the potatoes have finally emerged after four weeks underground and so far so good with them!  The weeds are beginning to show up, though, so I plan to do some hilling before the rain comes later today as we want the potatoes to continue to thrive.   We also are prepping all of the fields that will host our summer veggies.  We start most of our summer favorites in the greenhouse and they are ready to hit the field now, which would be perfect as we have prepped the fields in anticipation of the rain later today.  However, they are calling for a low of 39 degrees on Saturday night and experience has taught us that the farm is typically 3-4 degrees cooler than the forecast, so we are going to be patient and start transplanting on Monday in hopes of avoiding a late frost. 
All of the other veggies are looking great.  In the pictures you will see that kale, chard, and radishes are almost up to size.   

We are excited about the growing season and can’t wait to share our harvest!