Visit our website-in-progress:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Farm Report

News From The Farmer
The night I wrote last week's newsletter, we ended up with 5 inches of rain. We had five rows of plants in standing water (two inches deep), which made for a fun morning of trench-digging to drain the fields. Fortunately, most of the fall plantings pulled through, although several couldn't keep their leaves above the water and mud. The rain has been both a blessing and a curse throughout this unusual year.
I write this with dark clouds covering the sky, so we will try to get the rest of the lettuce transplants (over 400 plants) into the field before it rains.
On another note, this week I will be sending a lot of kale and collard greens to whoever wants them. They were planted a little early and did extremely well until the bugs realized this too. What we have now is a lot of great greens with a lot of holes in them. I actually read a study this spring claiming that greens with bug-damage are actually higher in nutrients...mmm. For those who don't mind the buggers, take all you can. I will cut back the entire row to encourage new, undamaged leaf growth
Other than that, tomatoes are on their way out, a new row of crookneck squash is coming in, and we are letting more and more of those super-sweet red Carmen peppers mature. I hope everyone is still enjoying the season, even during the harvest plateau, and is ready for lots of greens!
Eric Wooldridge -Farm Manager

Fairdoo Donor: The self-feeding goat


Great excitement on the home front amongst the compost-obsessed! Through our neighbor Glenn's connections, Sulphur Creek Farm is the proud recipient of this years fair-doo--the bedding and associated excreta from the State Fair.

Carla sent pictures of the proud donors--including a hot chick and a self-feeding goat. Now they should produce quality stuff.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Watermelon Pickles

The two Rachels ("little", our daughter, currently near six feet, and "big", her godmother, a terrific cook and overall foodie), Elaine, Liz, and Tom put in a couple of sessions this weekend on watermelon rind pickles. Tom apparently peeled a whole watermelon (is there a prize for largest naked melon?), and, when I got home from the hospital the kitchen was pungent with gingery smells, the countertop lined with jars being filled with crunchy relish and pale gold syrup.

Watermelon pickles are a bit weird--crunchy, sweet-sour, more on the sweet side. My personal best pairing was at Cochon in New Orleans, where their pickles (not as good as ours, either!) were a perfect complement to small servings of thin-sliced country ham.

The pickles are made from the white rind, so the green skin and red insides have to go. Somewhere. Tom took the cut-up "meat" to the ice-cream booth at our local Scottsboro barbecue (the 53rd annual!) to give away. The skin, I would guess, went to the "boys", Tom's worms on the compost heap.

Leftover syrup, with sugar and vinegar, cinnamon, and nearly-candied sliced lemons went, a little bit at a time, into the weekend's iced tea--much appreciated by those of us slapping mosquitoes as we sorted butternut squash under the shed yesterday!

The lemon slices wound up scattered across the lemon bars that I made for dinner last night.

Good to the last drop. Though I thinkwe might not see the last drop of this round of pickle-making for a long time.

Farm Report: Torrential Rain, Mushrooms, Pesto

EricTheFarmer's current report:

As I type this, the rain on my ceiling is much louder than the click of the keyboard. At around 5pm today I started transplanting cabbage into the field, only to get about 20 plants in a row before the sky fell through. Two hours later and it's still raining just as hard. As you know, we've had a lot of rain this summer, but this one is flooding the entire yard. There are a lot of things to worry about on a farm, and having your fall plantings wash out from 5 inches of rain (and counting) is a bit unnerving.
Usually it's best to just focus on better things like...our shiitake mushrooms are fruiting! The white oak logs typically take a full summer for the spawn run (mycelium inoculation) to move throughout. After that you can force-fruit the logs by soaking them for 48 hours in cool water (like the creek). Well we tested two of the 50 logs and they are both now sprouting several large, beautiful mushrooms. I will make the shiitakes available to the CSA for a reduced price over the next several weeks.
Lastly, we all hope you will join us on Saturday, September 26th for a CSA potluck, farm tour, and pesto-making party. We are still working out the details, but please set that date to see the farm!
Eric Wooldridge -Farm Manager

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

People and Mutant Zinnia

Pretty basic here: Tom, Rachel, neighbor Kathleen outside the fence. And Mutant Zinnia. You probably can't quite make it out from here, but this flower has four heads melded into one. A floral Siamese quadruplet.

Folks, life's really exciting out here...