August 30th, 2013

It has been a planting extravaganza this week at Sugar Creek. From transplants to direct seeding something has hit the ground almost every day. Crops such as beets, carrots, kohlrabi, turnips and collards will be ready for harvest within 60 days. The greens such as mustard, arugula, yukina savoy and chard can be ready in 30 days. We rely on these faster growing crops to ensure good harvest before the first frost date, which falls on October 7th. Don’t worry this is not the end all date.

Some crops are generally hardier for the winter like collards, kale, brussel sprouts and parsnips. These are usually overwintered and don’t need much protection. Other crops will be harvested even before that cold day hits such as radishes and turnips. If they fall in the in-between there are season extension techniques that we use. The most trusted is the row cover, this is a fabric that we tunnel over the crop and will keep the plant 3-4 degrees warmer at night. Our hoop house, now refurbished with raised beds, will be the best protection against the winter. This structure will absorb the heat during the daytime and can be around 8-9 degrees warmer than the outside temperature at night.

As of today we are keeping our newly planted crops well watered and cool. The end of summer heat can affect germination and growth. Soon we should see baby turnips, carrots and beets poking up where the tomatoes once stood only a few days ago.

Have a great weekend,

Ann and the Sugar Creek Crew

Okra Cornmeal Cakes via:


· 2 cups fine yellow cornmeal
· 2 tsp. baking powder
· 1 tsp. fine sea salt
· 1 large egg, lightly beaten
· 1-1/2 cups water, more if needed
· 8 oz. okra, stems trimmed and sliced 1/4-inch thick
· 1 jalapeño, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
· 1 clove garlic, mashed into a paste
· 1/4 cup corn oil, for frying 


Line a plate with paper towels. Set aside.To prepare the batter, in a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, baking powder, and fine salt. In a second bowl or large liquid measuring cup, combine the egg and water. Add to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Add the okra, jalapeño, and garlic. Stir to combine. (The batter is thick, but should be wet, not dry. Add water as needed; the amount will depend on the size grind of the cornmeal.)
To fry the griddle cakes, heat the oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Scoop 1/4 cup of batter onto the heated skillet and press into an even layer. Repeat with additional batter, without crowding. Cook the cakes until the bottoms are brown and bubbles form on the tops and edges, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and brown the other side, an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to the paper towel–lined plate. While hot, season with salt and pepper. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve immediately.

Squash and Sweet potato greens over polenta via:
· 2 cans (or 3.5 c) low sodium chicken broth, divided
· 1 c water
· 3/4 c cornmeal
· 1/2 c or so parmesan cheese
· 2 T olive oil
· 2 cloves garlic, minced
· About a pound of some sort of summer squash or zucchini
· 1 large bunch sweet potato greens, most of the stems removed and cut into about 1″ strips
· 2 T flour
· 1/4 c chopped basil
· More parmesan for sprinkling

For the polenta:
In a large pot, bring 2 1/2 c chicken broth plus 1 c water to a boil. Slowly add the cornmeal, whisking as you add. Salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low and let the polenta cook, whisking occasionally, until it is thick like pudding. Whisk in the parmesan cheese and set aside.
For the vegetables:
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the garlic in the olive oil until fragrant. Add the squash and saute until softened. Add the sweet potato greens and saute until the greens have wilted down (2 minutes). Sprinkle the vegetables with 2 T flour and stir to coat evenly. Add the remaining 1 c chicken stock and simmer until it forms a thick sauce (3-5 minutes).
Serve the vegetables over a mound of polenta, top with the 1/4 c chopped basil and additional parmesan cheese, if desired.

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