Journal Post for the week of July 5, 2010

Thanks to all the well wishes of the saga of potty training. Sadie is going on a week and a half of potty training and we now have a travel potty – which she loves. We are even doing potty at night – she said the diapers can be for mama’s little baby and that she does not need them anymore. So very cute and big sisterly of her.

The farm has been quite busy this week. Watermelon transplanting – crimson sweet, sugar baby and moon and stars – they are loving the heat. The squash and zucchini plants are starting to produce- there are a couple on your share today – perfect grilling size. The English shelling peas are quickly fattening up and we should have them for you next week (maybe in the share for Thursday drop off). Lots (“butt ton” – a few hundred pounds- I think that is a metric type of measuring in the veggie world, well at least on our farm 🙂 ) of potatoes on Saturday – oh, and our first crop of potatoes should be ready in a week or so… In the share this week are broccoli and some squashes – which I believe are the earliest we have ever harvested – July 5th. Most things seem to be 2-3 weeks earlier this year…including our garlic harvest – we usual harvest it around our anniversary – August 2nd – but I think we will be bumping that up by two weeks. The tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants are loving this weather and we may have eggplants next week.

Last week, we had Vern Grubinger from UVM extension walk through our fields and hoophouses. We were able to “pick his brain” about ways we grow things on our farm and how to grow them better. It was great to have him out here and have the opportunity to ask questions and get technical assistance face to face. The soils course that Christine took over the winter really helped our growing and crop rotation this year and for years to come. It is nice to put things in practice that we learned about in the course and actually see them work – for example, as simple as using soil tests to figure out where we will put certain crops – like where we put our brassica family crops this year – we did not have to add anything to the soil – it was all there ready to use – where as if we put roots crops there they would have been all hairy – we would have never had known this if we did not have good records and soil tests to look at and analyze. Because of this soil course we now have a soil mentor – Dave Marchant from Riverberry Farm to ask questions with and see where we can continue to improve our soils. Tomorrow (Tuesday) our Vermont Organic Farmer Inspector will be here to audit us and make sure we are compliant with our organic re-certification – lots of paperwork and time – it happens yearly – I am thankful that Adam is in charge of that. We will let you all know how it goes – all of paperwork is in order. Well, need to go out an help pick basil. Have a great week and look at the announcement below about raspberries…Thank you for being part of our farm! Peace, Adam Farris Christine Bourque, and Sadie Farris

WHAT’S IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: Red Leaf, Green Leaf, Butterhead, Romaine Lettuce Heads or Lettuce Mix, Broccoli, Sugar Snap Peas, Pac Choi, the first baby squash and zucchini, napa cabbage (Chinese cabbage) and Basil!

We have gorgeous organically-grown red raspberries at Stepping-Stone Farm at 36 Quaker Road in Grand Isle. Come pick as long as it is not raining or if the berries have had time to dry off in case it has rained. Please call if you want to pick (343-5497 or 372-3019) or come by to see if we are open. They are incredibly sweet and beautiful berries! We sold 50 pints at Saturday’s Farmer’s Market in Grand Isle. $3.50 a pint for pick-your-own.

We have the pretty girls’ eggs for sale – these are free-range, certified organic chicken eggs that are brown, green and blue – with the brightest yellow/orange yolks you ever seen. The eggs are $5.00 a dozen.

PLEASE NOTE: I have given credit to where these recipes come from. When they are from our kitchen – they are labeled BHF kitchen. The internet is a wonderful thing:) Many thanks to the authors of these recipes for all the yummy recipes:)

Broccoli Slaw –
Makes about six cups of slaw

2 heads of broccoli
1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

Buttermilk Dressing
1/2 cup buttermilk, well-shaken
1/3 cup mayonnaise (this is more than is in the original, to thicken the dressing further)
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (or, you could just use a little extra red onion to simplify it)

Trim broccoli and cut it into large chunks. From here, you can either feed it through your food processor’s slicing blade, use a mandoline to cut it into thin slices, or simply had chop it into smaller pieces. I used the stem and the flowerets, but if you have a broccoli stem aversion you can just use the tops. Toss the sliced broccoli with the almonds, cranberries and red onion in a large bowl. Meanwhile, whisk the dressing ingredients in a smaller one, with a good pinch of salt and black pepper. Pour the dressing over the broccoli (if you’ve skipped the stems, you might not want it all; I otherwise found this to be the perfect amount) and toss it well. Season well with salt and pepper to taste. Should keep up to a week in the fridge, if you don’t have any pregnant women nearby. Variation: I bet this slaw would be equally good with cauliflower. I might use dried currants instead of cranberries, walnuts instead of almonds and maybe even some celery slices thrown in. Have fun with it.
Sugar Snap Pea Tempura –
yield: Makes about 120 hors d’oeuvres
These hors d’oeuvres should be served warm, so fry a couple of batches at a time as platters need replenishing.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup beer (8 ounces; not dark)
1 to 1 1/2 quarts vegetable oil
1 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed

Accompaniment:soy dipping sauce

Whisk together flour and beer in a bowl until smooth. Heat 2 inches oil in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderate heat until it registers 365°F on thermometer. Working in batches of about 15, toss sugar snaps in batter until coated. Lift sugar snaps out of batter 1 at a time, letting excess batter drip off, and transfer to oil. Fry sugar snaps, turning with a slotted spoon, until golden, about 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer with slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. (Return oil to 365°F between batches.) Serve sugar snaps warm.

Broccoli Salad Recipe –

1 teaspoon salt
5-6 cups fresh broccoli florets (about 1 pound of florets)
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
1/2 cup cooked, crumbled bacon
1/4 cup of red onion, chopped
1 cup of frozen peas, thawed (or fresh peas)
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey

Bring a large pot of water, salted with a teaspoon of salt, to a boil. Add the broccoli florets. Cook 1-2 minutes, depending on how crunchy you want the broccoli. 1 minute will turn the broccoli bright green, and leave it still pretty crunchy. 2 minutes will cook the broccoli through, but still firm. Set your timer and do not cook for more than 2 minutes, or the broccoli will get mushy. Drain the broccoli and immediately put into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Let cool and drain.Combine broccoli florets, almonds, crumbled bacon, chopped onion, and peas in a large serving bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, cider vinegar and honey. Add dressing to the salad and toss to mix well. Chill thoroughly before serving. Serves 4 to 6.

The Best Broccoli of Your Life –
You preheat the oven to 425. Take 4 to 5 p
ounds of broccoli (I just got two large bunches), cut into florets (but relatively big ones.) Here’s the key that she doesn’t mention in the recipe: dry them THOROUGHLY. That is, if you wash them. I saw an episode of Julia Child cooking with Jacques Pepin once when Pepin revealed he doesn’t wash a chicken before putting it in a hot oven: “The heat kills all the germs,” he said in his French accent. “If bacteria could survive that oven, it deserves to kill me.” By that logic, then, I didn’t wash my broccoli; I wanted it to get crispy and brown. If you’re nervous, though, just wash and dry it obsessively.

Now, it’s easy. Put the broccoli on a cookie sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. (She says 5 Tbs olive oil, 1 1/2 tsps kosher salt, 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper, but I just eyeballed it.) Now add 4 garlic cloves that are peeled and sliced and toss them in too. Roast in the oven 20 to 25 minutes, until “crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.” I shook the pan around a bit as it went, but not sure that’s necessary. When it’s done, take it out of the oven–and here’s where it gets really good–zest a lemon over the broccoli, squeeze the lemon juice over the broccoli, add 1.5 Tbs more olive oil, 3 Tbs toasted pine nuts (I left those out), and 1/3 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. She also has you add 2 Tbs julienned fresh basil, but I left that out too.

You won’t miss it: the magic combo of the crispy broccoli, the garlic, the lemon and the cheese will make this the best broccoli of your life. I guarantee it; you will go ga-ga over it. I’m so ga-ga over it that I would seriously consider a trip right now to the store just so I could make this for lunch. Broccoli for lunch? After trying this, you’ll never want to eat anything else for breakfast, lunch or dinner ever again.

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