Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Beyond Cultivation

OK, that may be an exaggeration of a title, but, in thinking of my plans for next year (something I inevitably do around this time of year), I have devised two plans to radically reduce the weed pop on our farm, something those of you who have been down there know we could use.  It took me this long to get in the mental space of cleaning up the fields (of weeds), the first few years were just about muddling through the creation of this thing that is now open heart farm.

So what are these things: the first is landscape fabric.  A few of the farmers in the Intervale use it.  I plan next year just to try it on my melons, so one 24'X300' piece will be plenty.  I liked the way one of the agro-ecology students described its effect on the weed population.  It's not as tho the fabric just kills all the weed seed, maybe some germs and dies, but the main reason it will help in future years is the "cascade effect," i.e. all those weeds that never went to seed that year.  I just get so excited as I think of that cascade effect moving around the field.  And if it works potentially expanding it to one or two other heat loving crops.

The second is Sudan grass, which as you can see is very broad leafed.  Rachel thought, and almost everyone who passes it does, that is was corn for a second.  That broadness will count for a lot of organic matter and also it what helps it be a smother cover.  So the plan is to so winter wheat now in my next years fallow area, and then instead of letting the weeds grow between that wheat all year next year, disk it in a few times, try to stale bed some, and then hit it late to mid summer with the Sudan grass.  I hope that sounds as exciting to everyone else as it does to me.

Anyway, in veggie news, we will be spending alot of our time harvesting roots for the CSA and for our winter market.  More time than ever before. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

A yummy soup

I love winter squash, just like Josh, and am so excited about it.  Below are two recipes that I've used for the past few years.  One simple, one less so. 

simple maple glazed acorn squash (my own recipe):
Cut them in 1/2, scoop out seeds.  Place flesh side down in shallow pan. Prick tops a couple places with a fork.  Combine a couple tbs butter with 1/4 cup maple syrup.  drizzle over the squash, cover them with tin foil and roast at 425 for 1/2 an hour or longer, til nice and soft.  May want to rotate them.
I then serve them straight up with a little added maple syrup poured into the bowl part.  Yum.  Can always add cinnamon or nuts, too.

Winter squash soup with gruyere croutons.

  • 1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 14 1/2-ounce cans low-salt chicken broth
  • 4 cups 1-inch pieces peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 4 cups 1-inch pieces peeled acorn squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh sage

  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 24 1/4-inch-thick baguette bread slices
  • 1 cup grated Gruyère cheese
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage

*addendum:  I roast the squash first.  425, Cut in half, covered with tin foil, drizzled with olive oil.  Use a fork to prick to see how soft it is... Also, the croutons are sooo good!  Don't not make them... and use gruyere.  I'm all about using whatever is around... except in the case of gruyere.
For soup:
Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth, all squash and herbs; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until squash is very tender, about 20 minutes.
Working in batches, puree soup in blender. Return soup to same pot. Stir in cream and sugar; bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill. Rewarm over medium heat before serving.)
For croutons:
Preheat broiler. Butter 1 side of each bread slice. Arrange bread, buttered side up, on baking sheet. Broil until golden, about 1 minute. Turn over. Sprinkle cheese, then thyme and sage over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil until cheese melts, about 1 minute. Ladle soup into bowls. Top each with croutons and serve.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Roasted Corn and Edamame Salad.

A simple recipe that I plan on trying tomorrow night, throwing in some chicken and a bit more cilantro...

Roasted Corn and Edamame Salad

from Shawn Edelman of Ruby Foo's

Yield: Makes 4 servings

2 ears fresh corn, unhusked, or 1 1/4 cups cooked corn kernels
1/2 cup shelled edamame
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup small-diced red bell pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped or grated ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Soak fresh corn in cold water about 30 minutes. Heat grill on high. Grill corn in husk, 10 to 15 minutes, turning once. Let cool. Remove husks. Cut corn from cob into a bowl; combine with remaining ingredients. Cover and chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Enjoy!  (What a gorgeous weekend.  I hope everyone has been out supporting local artists at the ArtHop... if not, theres still time :)  Some of the artist's are fellow CSA members and are amazing, and, yes, I'm one of them, so I'm biased, although I'm not referring to me when saying "amazing"...)