Week 12 – CSA Journal Post

What’s happening on the farm this week?
Week 12: You all know we have a small flock of sheep we use for wool, manure, and as field conditioners. We had our first two sales of roving (washed and carded wool) this week- which means the sheep are finally going to start paying their room and board! Well, we need hay to feed them in the winter, and last Monday, a friend of ours in North Hero came and cut the hay in our back field- about 6 acres or so. After a couple of light rains and some heavy dew, the hay is baled and only partially brown, so its still good for the sheep- thank goodness they are not too picky! We feel thankful that we can get our hay in with the help of others who have the equipment we do not have. We are trying to get all the bells and whistles to cut, dry, and bale hay ourselves and eventually sell. For now, we are happy we’ll have a barn full. Thanks Rob and Earl for cutting and baling, Gary and Jo for letting us borrow their hayrake, to Naomi and Hobart for helping us stand up the bales to dry, and to Kelly and Steve for the hay wagon. Also, thanks to Kaight’s (CSA member) dad for showing me how to change the knives on our hay mower.

We are also thankful this week to bring you BODACIOUS Rose heirloom tomatoes, as well as an old variety of sweet corn called “Golden Bantam”, introduced W. Atlee Burpee in 1902. The Golden Bantam is kind of chewy, buttery, hearty sort of corn,distinctly different from the first variety we gave you this year. That one, called “Luscious,” is similar to a lot of the popular “sugar-enhanced” hybrids bigger farms grow. Golden Bantam is more robust, but still sweet and tasty. We purchased the seed from Seed Savers Exchange in Iowa. They are a great resource for home and commercial growers for heirloom and heritage seeds. We have several varieties of veggies from them. Check out: http://www.seedsavers.org.

This week’s share there is also Okra. We have never grown this before and we our excited about this. We are growing Okra for a few people including Adam’s family who are from Oklahoma and Texas – Christine has mastered the fine art of frying Okra to make Adam’s Dad grin and hum when he eats it – not bad for a YankeeJ We are growing it in the hoop house along with the red peppers, Rose and Moskovich tomatoes. It is an interesting plant. We almost pulled itup because it took forever to get going but now….it is producing and we are excited to share it with all of you. If you have never had or had a bad experience with it – give it a try – farm fresh, just picked – is a whole lot different than what you may buy in the store. Our favorite way to cook it is to slice it, batter it with some egg and cornmeal and lightly fry it in some olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Yum. You can also make a good gumbo out of it too. We have enclosed some recipes for you to try – let us know what you thinkJ “Okra comes from a large vegetable plant thought to be of African origin, and it was brought to the United States three centuries ago by African slaves. The word, derived from the West African nkruma, was in use by the late 1700s. Grown in tropical and warm temperate climates, it is in the same plant family as hibiscus and cotton. Okra is usually available fresh year-round in the South, and from May to October in many other areas. You can also find okra frozen, pickled, and canned, and in some regions you might find frozen breaded okra for deep frying. When buying fresh okra, look for young pods free of bruises, tender but not soft, and no more than 4 inches long. Okra may be stored in the refrigerator in a paper bag or wrapped in a paper towel in a perforated plastic bag for 2 to 3 days, or it may be frozen for up to 12 months after blanching whole for 2 minutes. Cooked okra can be stored (tightly covered) in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days”. (from southernfood.about.com)

The following is a poem that Roy heard on Morning edition on North Country Radio. The Rose tomatoes are quite voluptuous and we are pleased and grateful for them this year. We hope you enjoy it.

Vegetable Love by Barbara CrookerFeel a tomato, heft its weight in your palm,think of buttocks, breasts, this plump pulp.And carrots, mud clinging to the root,gold mined from the earth’s tight purse.And asparagus, that push their heads up,rise to meet the returning sun,and zucchini, green torpedoeslurking in the Sargasso depthsof their raspy stalks and scratchy leaves.And peppers, thick walls of cool jade, a green hush.Secret caves. Sanctuary.And beets, the dark blood of the earth.And all the lettuces: bibb, flame, oak leaf, butter-crunch, black-seeded Simpson, chicory, cos.Elizabethan ruffs, crisp verbiage.And spinach, the dark greenof northern forests, savoyed, ruffled,hidden folds and clefts.And basil, sweet basil, nuzzledby fumbling bees drunk on the sun.And cucumbers, crisp, cool white icein the heart of August, month of fire.And peas in their delicate slippers,little green boats, a string of beads,repeating, repeating.And sunflowers, nodding at night,then rising to shout hallelujah! at noon.All over the garden, the whisper of leavespassing secrets and gossip, making assignations.All of the vegetables bask in the sun,languorous as lizards.Quick, before the frost puts outits green light, praise these vegetables,earth’s voluptuaries,praise what comes from the dirt.”Vegetable Love” by Barbara Crooker, from Radiance. (c) Word Press, 2005.
Thanks for being part of our farm, see you next week – Adam, Christine and Sadie J
What’s in the share this week: Green Beans, Clemson SpinelessOkra, OPEN POLINATED Heritage SWEET CORN!, Maybe some Red Potatoes, Red or Yellow Heirloom tomatoes! Tomatillos, Peppers (sweet/hot), Red and Yellow Onions, Summer Squash, Zucchini, Eggplant, Garlic, Pick-Your-Own Sungold Cherry Tomatoes (they are still holding on) and maybe some other treatsJ
Please note: this is what we intend to have in your share as of Monday morning, very early – sometimes there will be changes that day our difference between Monday and Thursdays pickups . I print all the newsletters at one time. Thanks for understanding.)
www.blueheronfarm-vt.blogspot.com CHECK US OUT ON THE WEB and LEAVE COMMENTS TOO

Wool Roving for Sale:
From our sheep – we have Border Leicster Romney Crosses, Icelandic and Shetland Sheep. It is $15 for 6 ounces (special price for CSA members).

To help plant, trellis, and weed – please call us 372-3420 or email harmonyvt@yahoo.com. Thanks

Southern Style Okra
1 1/2 cups sliced okra
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 can (14.5 ounces) tomatoes with juice, or 1 1/2 cups tomato puree
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon flour blended with 1 tablespoon cold water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Cook okra in boiling salted water 10 minutes. Drain. Brown onion and green pepper in salad oil. Add tomato juice, cook slowly 5 minutes. Add okra and remaining ingredients. Cook over low heat 5 minutes longer.Serves 4.

Okra with Corn and Tomatoes
3 cups very cold water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh sliced okra
2 to 3 tablespoons bacon drippings
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups sliced okra
2 cups fresh corn kernels or frozen thawed corn kernels
2 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Combine water and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add sliced okra and let soak for about 30 minutes. In a large heavy skillet, heat bacon drippings over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until tender. Add okra and continue cooking for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add remaining ingredients and cook for 10 to 15 minutes longer. I
f necessary, add water to keep vegetables from sticking. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes longer. 4 to 6 servings.

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