As we turn the calendar to October, our workload is finally slowing down to a more manageable pace. Referring to all the hard work over these past months, several members have asked me if it's all been worth it. The growing season is not yet over but there are several factors that lead us to believe the hours in the field have been time well spent. For example, members have told us they are cooking more and eating healthier because of their farm share. The knowledge that the vegetables from our little farm are in over 80 kitchens in the community every week is truly amazing. It's no secret that nutritious food contributes to good health and an overall sense of well being. If even a fraction of our members are eating better, than we will absolutely put that down in the PRO column. One member told us that his colesterol level has dropped 20 points over the summer!
Now Harvesting: Swiss Chard, Collards, Kale, Fennel, Eggplant, Peppers and Tomatoes.
We hope everyone has had a chance to enjoy the potatoes in their shares. These "Kennebecs" are a particularly good potatoes with thin skins and good flavor. Appelget Farm was once a large potato farm and our soil is particularly well suited to tubers. We also have the added fortune of having Kevin's father teach us what he's learned about growing potatoes over the years. Who would have guessed that the 50 year old burlap potato sacks in the barn would once again be put to good use?
Pick Your Own: GREEN BEANS and FRESH HERBS (Rosemary, cilantro, thyme, chives and parsley.)
While you are out in the field, you may encounter grasshoppers, caterpillars and bees busy pollinating. I recently came across parsley caterpillars and was surprised to learn that they grow into the beautiful black swallowtail butterflies! Parsley caterpillars may be familiar to gardeners but I don't recall seeing them before. They may be here this year thanks to our first crop of fennel. They also like parsley, dill, and Queen Anne's lace but I have seen them sampling other things too. I never imaged the array of garden pests I would find at our farm. Earlier in the season, members of our team were equally fascinated and repulsed by the tomato hornworm. We do our best to keep at pests away but really, we are forced to share some of the bounty with the bugs.
Members are encouraged to get out in the field and pick their own green beans this week. We realize that schedules are often tight but this is one of the benefits of a farm share program. If you are unable to pick on your designated pick-up day, you are welcome to come on the alternate day. (Share distributions are on Tuesdays and Fridays). It's amazing how just 15 minutes in the field can miraculously erase a day of burdens.
As you plan your meals for the week ahead, check out a couple of our Potluck Recipes.
Italian Bake with Bell Peppers
3 pounds chicken breasts (cooked & cut into bite size pieces)
6 Italian sausage links (cooked & cut into bite size pieces) - Mild is more popular with kids but this recipe works well with the hotter sausages too.
2 jars of your favorite seasoned tomato sauce (or fresh!)
1 pound of pasta (I used the twists called Gemelli)
1 large package of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 onion chopped
2 large bell peppers - red & green, cut into chunks
Cooked the chopped onions until brown. Combine the cut up chicken, onion, peppers and sausage.
Boil pasta and drain.
Mix pasta, sausage, onion, peppers, chicken and sauce.
Put in a large deep dish. If it won't all fit, make a little side dish to freeze for lunch later.
Top with cheese and bake at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
Collards and Sweet Potatoes
From the kitchen of Peggy Redman
Our collards and sweet potatoes dish was pretty simple, but unmeasured. I julienned 2 sweet potatoes and sautéed them in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil until they began to soften. I set them aside. Then I deveined and chopped the collards into pieces about 1” x 2”. I finely chopped 4 cloves of garlic, sautéed them in 4 tablespoons of olive oil until the garlic just started to turn tan, then tossed the collards in the heated oil and garlic over medium heat just until the collards turned bright green and softened. Normally I would have then added in the sweet potatoes and served the dish right away. Instead we ate it at room temperature. We usually use ½ a sweet potato, 2 cloves of garlic, and 3 TB of olive oil, and plenty collards for 2 people.
If a family isn’t as fond of garlic as we are, you might want to use finely chopped ginger.
This recipe incorporates the 7-minute rule about green vegetables: chop your vegetables small enough to let them cook in less than 7 minutes, because after 7 minutes of heating they start to turn gray instead of green and get the taste familiar in overcooked brussel sprouts.
May your week be bountiful in all ways!