Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Week 6 Newsletter

Welcome to Week 6!

Last week was relatively quiet on the farm with lots of planting and project week.  The week wrapped up with a Forks Farm Market on Saturday.  A real fun market with the opportunity to visit with many members and friends of the farm.  So nice to see and talk to so many folks who support the farm and care about the community around us.  Thanks to all who came out!  This coming Saturday we will be in Dallas at the Back Mountain Memorial Library Farm Market.  Come out and say "hi" and meet your farmer!  We will be featuring our nutrient dense organically grown vegetables as well as eggs from our free range chickens.  New this year, we will be selling broiler chickens at the Back Mountain Market.  These are chickens raised on our pasture and fed locally sourced organic grains. 

This week on the farm is shaping up to be a slow one, as two of our helpers have been given the week off due to the extreme heat.  The farmer and Neil will take care of chores and projects, but just too hot to have a crew working in the fields.  They say relief is on the way Saturday, so we look ahead and endure until then.  Lots of water going out this week, as we will keep the roots of the crops cool and moist to help with the heat stress they will be facing.  Animals will be our largest concern, keeping them watered and nourished our main priority.

Crop wise, I am always looking ahead.  Thoughts are on for fall production, our needs for that, as well as maintaining the crops we already have in production geared for fall harvest.  These include all the winter squashes, brussel sprouts and other late maturing crops.  The time is now to prepare and plant all the fall broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower.  Root crops for the fall also need to be in the equation, while the last seeding of some crops will occur in the next few weeks.  A farmer always has to look ahead and prepare for the next planting.  As the seasons come and go it is key to be ready when the time is right.

So, time has come to do those chores.   Enjoy those veggies, have a great week and stay cool.
Farmer Don


Foolproof Vinaigrette
(This is from one of Farmer Don's favorite magazines "Cooks Illustrated".  I have not tried this yet, but --- The magazine states that  "a problem with making vinaigrettes is preventing the oil and vinegar from separating.  Adding a bit of mayonnaise (which doesn't affect the flavor) provides an emulsifier that creates a lasting bond" and therefore keeps the separation from happening.)
This vinaigrette makes about 1/4 cup and the magazine states that as being enough to dress 8 to 10 cups of loose packed greens.
1 TBS Wine Vinegar (red, white or champagne)
1 1/2 tsp minced shallot
1/2 tsp regular or light mayonnaise
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and Pepper
3 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Combine vinegar, shallot, mayonnaise, mustard, 1/8 tsp salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl.  Whisk until mixture is milky in appearance and no lumps of mayonnaise remain.
Place oil in a small measuring cup so that it is easy to pour.  Whisking constantly, very slowly drizzle oil into vinegar mixture.  If pools of oil gather on the surface as you whisk, stop addition of oil and whist mixture well to combine, then resume whisking oil in a slow stream.  Vinaigrette should be glossy and lightly thickened, with no pools of oil on its surface.  (Vinaigrette can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.)

Sauteed Fennel & Zucchini 
Serves 4 to 6

1 tbsp. olive oil 
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced 
1 to 2 zucchini (or yellow squash), sliced 
1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano 
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar 
1/4 cup pine nuts 
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

First, toast your pine nuts in a dry skillet (stir, or shake pan often) until lightly browned and fragrant. Transfer to a small dish and set aside. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the fennel and zucchini and cook, stirring constantly, until they are cooked through but still crisp-tender, about 7 - 8 min. Stir in the vinegar and oregano, and season to taste w/salt and pepper. Add pine nuts and heat a minute or two more. Serve hot.

Fennel and Orange Salad
from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home
Makes 4 to 6 servings.

1 fennel bulb
2 oranges
juice of 1 small lemon
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Remove leafy tops and root ends of fennel bulbs. Slice trimmed bulbs crosswise into thin, bite-size slices; place in bowl. Section oranges into bowl, squeezing in extra juice as well. Stir in lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate at least 20 minutes.

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