welcome, and thank you for joining me on my farm and studio in southern lancaster county, pennsylvania

Thursday, December 9, 2010

why, hello there

Once again it's been awhile since my last post, but here we go...

New spinach beds, protected by row cover and plastic. At the far end will be the hoophouse.

Winter is officially here and I am. not. ready. Shocking, right? The used hoophouse purchased in September is still not up. Good grief. I don't think I know anyone who can procrastinate like me. However, on Saturday my brother-in-law and my sweetie will be here to help and we intend to get that puppy up. I'm hoping my fall-planted spinach survives until then. It's been cold.

Happy silkies in the greenhouse.
broody hen
The greenhouse still needs to have the last of the summer plants cleaned out. Hard to imagine, but I was still harvesting tomatoes last week - in an unheated greenhouse! This recent onset of cold weather however, has done them in. A couple of weeks ago I moved the silky chickens out there until I got around to planting for early spring production. As a side bonus to procrastination, they have had a blast pecking around, finding weed seeds and bugs to eat while scratching up the dirt. They will be able to have free run of the place while I get the beds ready for planting, but once seeds start going in they'll have their own pen - still in the greenhouse, but contained so they don't kill the new seedlings. They love the sun and the warmth, and I love hearing their contented clucking while I work. One of the hens has decided she'd like to sit on eggs and so I gave her a dozen to take care of. They should hatch right before New Years and be ready to start laying by June. The chicken's pen in the barn has been converted to accommodate the geese. Their food and water bucket are in there and a corner has been set aside, ready for next year's brood of goslings.

The great wall of leaves.
In other news, sweetie has been collecting bags of leaves for me. I'll use them next year as mulch around garden transplants. The battle against weeds starts now.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

DIY mixer repair

That's my KitchenAid mixer. Scary looking, isn't it? Don't be frightened though, it's not as bad as it might seem. Although I will admit that at first I thought this puppy was a goner. You see, my sweetie tried to use my mixer with the food grinder attachment to grind ginger root. (For future reference and to save all of your mixers from a similar fate, this was not a plan. Ginger root should be grated by hand.) In the midst of grinding, the part that holds attachments and spins around suddenly stopped spinning. The motor ran just fine, but no more mixing, grinding, or anything else was going to happen any time soon. So I googled it and found out that it was probably a relatively simple and cheap fix. There is a sacrificial plastic gear inside the mixer so that if the going gets too tough, it fails in order to save the motor. Pretty cool, right? You can find directions here for doing this repair yourself.

Now that it's all apart and the new gear and food-grade replacement grease is ordered, it will be a matter of seeing if I can remember how to get it all back together again. Could be interesting.

By the way - the head of the mixer is packed with grease. What I found was that the grease had degraded pretty significantly, so it might be a good idea to take it all apart every several years and remove and repack the grease. One of those "can't hurt, might help" kinds of things.

But I'll tell you, it feels kind of good to have a quality piece of equipment that can actually be repaired (by me, no less) rather than having to throw it away like so many things today. I like that. Hopefully with good maintenance and no more ginger grinding, this mixer will last me for the rest of my life.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

and the day came

"And the day came when the risk to remain in a tight bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
Anais Nin

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

a wonderful little book

I just finished reading The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. And while it has absolutely nothing at all to do with farming, I feel the need to share it with you. A gem of a book, it has many little pearls of wisdom in it that are quite thought provoking. At least for me. Have you read it? What did you think?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

and now applesauce

This week my friend wanted to make and can applesauce. This time I seriously put my foot down and said I'm not helping and you need to use your own kitchen to do it.

Two minutes later I gave permission to use my kitchen as long as he cleaned up afterwards. But I held firm on not helping.

An hour after he started with the apples on day one, I insisted on not helping, but would keep him company.

By the end of the day, I was helping. I made him do all the cleanup though.

On day two, I helped from the beginning and at the end of the day also helped clean up.

There are now nearly a hundred quarts of applesauce residing on my kitchen table.

Today, he overheard me telling someone I like pickled red beets...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

auction items

Today I went to an auction at a greenhouse/farm market that went out of business. Sad to see them go as I've enjoyed shopping there for many years. But at the same time, they had a lot of good stuff for anyone involved in greenhouses, market gardening, farm stores, and the like. I spent what is to me, quite a lot of money, but it was all for things I'd planned on buying anyway. This way I spent about half of what I would have if purchased new.

I bought what I hope to be all the 4.5" pots I'll need for next year, some shade fabric, a hoophouse, some produce tubs, and two seedling carts. All told I spent nearly $900, and the biggest ticket item was, surprisingly, the carts at $300 each. The hoophouse I got for very nearly nothing since the only truly useable part of it is the rafters. Even so, I paid a small fraction of what I otherwise would have.

I am now exhausted, but it was a very, very good day.

morning song

I awoke this morning to the sound of a fox calling, a screech owl trilling, and a bullfrog croaking. A most beautiful chorus that I never tire of.

Friday, September 3, 2010

canning continues


We put up 100 quarts.

Three bushels, when I specifically asked to do just (?) two.

At least there were four of us this time. My sister and her husband helped and we did it at their house.

Still took all day.

Now there's talk of applesauce.

God help us all.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

a battalion of soup

Do you know how much soup three bushels of tomatoes makes? Ninety two quarts. Yup, 92. Nearly a hundred. I know this from recent, first-hand experience. And it will take me a long time to recover mentally, emotionally, and physically. If I ever do, that is. 

How did this happen, you ask? I'm still wondering the same thing. Just the week before, a friend and I bought, prepared, and froze twenty dozen ears of sweet corn. You'd think I'd learn from that, but apparently that's not the case. So when he calls and says he knows where we can get all the roma tomatoes we want, free for the picking, and do I want to help make tomato soup, my good sense deserted me and I said yes. The field of tomatoes at the bottom of my road was being mechanically harvested and so mister gregarious that he is, he stops and asks if they'd mind us picking up what the harvester left behind. They happily agreed, and so in less than an hour, we collected our three bushels. That, my friends was the easy part. We then spent the better part of two days making and canning his mother's tomato soup recipe. By the end of the second day, I was alternating between whining, being snippy, and begging to please just throw the rest away. So then when he went out at eight o'clock at night to get "just a few more" canning lids, I officially quit. Cracked open a beer and a bag of tortilla chips and sat down with a book to read. That's how he found me when he got back and that's where I stayed until he was done. It was either that, or hurt him. Bad.

Oh yes, the soup is good. Outstanding, in fact. And everyone we know is getting tomato soup for Christmas. Just saying.

Now somehow, against my strenuous protests, I find myself going along with plans to can peaches tomorrow. I seem to have lost my capacity to say no and mean it. 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

so, it's been awhile...

I cannot even believe how long it's been since my last post! Chalk it up to being busy as well as not having much to show or say.

Recently, I was asked to decorate the letter "a". It's for the cover of "Fig" a local publication that promotes the downtown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

To celebrate the new issue, Fig held a launch party and since I did the "a", I was invited. I got to dress up, eat hors d'oeuvres, sample local beers and wines, listen to a couple songs from Opera Lancaster's upcoming show, and meet a lot of interesting and very nice people. What a wonderful opportunity to be a part of something so fun!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

an overturned (cast) sheep

Yesterday Mayapple's two lambs kept calling and calling. After about five minutes of that, I went out to see why they couldn't find their mother. Seeing her in the pasture, I thought she was laying down, but then realized that she was on her back, legs sticking up in the air, looking quite dead. A sheep can die fairly quickly if they roll onto their back and are unable to right themselves. Their rumen (stomach) compresses their lungs and unable to breathe, they suffocate. As I got closer, I realized she was still breathing, just very shallowly, and so quickly helped her onto her stomach. After trying to get up and failing, she laid there panting heavily for about 15 minutes. Finally, she tried again to get up, this time succeeding. A bit wobbly, she walked away from me to her now-relieved lambs. She can thank them for saving her life.

Mayapple is the same ewe that nearly died this spring from a bad case of pregnancy toxemia. Poor sweet girl, she's having such a bad year, I just wanted to give her a hug. But while friendly enough, she's not a hugger.

Friday, August 20, 2010

farm update

Wow, it's been awhile since I posted anything! I blame it on spending time with friends, both new and old; weeds and their desperate and evil desire to get the best of me; and lack of anything that seemed important enough to warrant a post on its own.

On the bee front:  
As you may know, with a hive of bumbles in the greenhouse for pollination and a hive of honeybees for honey and field pollination, I am a recovering bee-phobe. Not quite there yet, but making headway. Or, at least I was, until a few weeks ago. Deciding to clean up some old wood, I disturbed a nest of yellow jackets. After much swearing, running, arm flailing, and finally jumping into the shower to get them off me, I was stung five times. Not that bad you say? I beg to differ. I am still jumping at the sound of buzzing. That little incident probably set me back a year in my relationship with bees. At least. As a result, last week a friend volunteered to inspect my hive for me. He borrowed my jacket and hood, but the tyvek suit was too small. "Not a problem", said he, "I'm not afraid of bees". Long story short, the bees were in a foul mood and he was stung at least ten times. Never having been allergic, he didn't worry until he started having trouble breathing. I gave him three Benedryl and after about an hour, he started getting better. Come to find out later, after hearing his symptoms, his doctor said he nearly died. We can just consider this another year of set-back with bees, okay? However, my friend's not a quitter and so asked me to order him a tyvek suit. Now, armed with an epi pen he is ready to tackle hive inspection once again. Maybe this afternoon. God help me.

The flock is doing great. Everyone is healthy and thriving. Due to a reduced pasture size, heat and drought, I've found it necessary to feed hay. No lambs have been sold yet, so it looks like they may be going to the butcher at the end of October. If you like lamb and are interested in some for your freezer, let me know.

There are now seven remaining silky chickens here. Out of 25. Twice, I forgot to close their door at night. The first night, twelve chickens disappeared. The second time, another six were taken. I blame foxes. And of course, myself. I've been way too distracted lately.
The geese are doing well. Several goslings were sold and just one remains. Unless sold by the end of October, he'll be butchered.
To round out the year's supply of meat, my plan is to get some broiler chicks in the next week or so and have them ready for processing at about the same time as the gosling and lambs.

Market garden:
I've officially lost the battle with weeds in most of my new plot. Probably the best course of action at this time is to mow it and start prepping for next year while vowing to do better. The greenhouse is chugging along and producing well. Fall and winter seeds were ordered and have arrived. Planting will start up for those crops next week. A little late, but still okay.

So that's what has been going on here on the hill. I've been distracted in the best possible way, but as a result, things have run a bit amuck. Time to buckle down and get back to business.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

eggplant caviar

This is a wonderfully quick and easy recipe. Serve on a hearty, crusty bread.

1 large or two small eggplants
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (or 1 tablespoon dried)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to broiler setting.

Wash eggplant and pierce the skin several times with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and broil on center rack of oven for 10 minutes. Turn and broil an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly.

Split eggplant in half and with a spoon, scoop pulp into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse briefly, just until smooth. Add onion, olive oil, dill, salt and pepper. Pulse only until mixed. You don't want to puree or further chop the ingredients, just blend them.

That's it! You can serve this warm or chilled. Another variation would be to roast some garlic on the bottom rack of the oven while the eggplant is broiling and add it to the mixture.

Monday, July 19, 2010

busy day last week

First, I took myself off to the Kirkwood hay auction and bought a load of grass/alfalfa mix hay. I would have preferred straight grass, but the sheep have eaten the pasture down to a nub and so I took what I could get. Very nice stuff, but the problem with the added alfalfa is that it's more expensive and it has stems. My sheep don't eat stems, you see, so there's a lot of waste. Once they have selected all the soft and tender bits, all that's left in the manger are stems. Then they scream at me to bring them more of the good stuff and of course I comply. Have you ever been in a barn full of angry screaming sheep glaring balefully at you? (Try it sometime and get back to me.) Heading home from the auction I was followed by the very nice gentleman whose load of hay I bought. He then backed his truck up to the barn and threw the bales in to me while I stacked them six high. Over 3,000 pounds of hay, 82 bales, 90 degree heat and high humidity, with hungry sheep screaming for lunch and three cages of roosters and a hen voicing their displeasure. I never thought I'd make it.

happy, hungry sheep

I came in the house covered with sweat and hay chaff and immediately got in the shower. Then loaded up the three cages of roosters in my Bug and headed off to Roots small animal auction, feeling like a traitor the whole way. You see, I've had two of those roosters for several years and we've always gotten along quite well. They didn't have a mean bone in their bodies and always took good care of their hens. But, they wouldn't stay out of the greenhouse and market garden. They've eaten tomatoes and scratched up seedlings. Instead of roosting in their own pen, they chose the rafters of the barn, defecating on anything below. And they refused to stay out of the dog's yard. So although it hurt my heart to do it, I took them to be sold. Tough decision and I'd like to say the right one, but I'm still not clear on that. Things are certainly more peaceful here without the constant (and I do mean constant) crowing of four roosters, each trying to assert their aural dominance. What's left are only the silkies that came as peeps this spring. They can't fly over fences and barn stall barriers, or up into the rafters, making it much easier to keep them contained. There are 25 of them, several are roosters, a few of which will make that same car ride to the auction. What I hope to end up with by autumn is a nice-sized flock of silky hens with two roosters. A flock that stays in the pasture and their designated pen in the barn.

young silky chickens (please ignore the fact that my barn needs to be painted)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

'tis the season

For my all-time favorite sandwich in the whole world...

The BLT.

The combination of flavors and textures adds up to something that I look forward to from the time that vine-ripened tomatoes are over in the fall until they return again the next summer. Now, let me just say for the record - I do not and will not eat BLTs made from grocery store tomatoes. Period. Amen. They may look similar, but they have none of the complex flavor or juicy goodness of a tomato with the good fortune to fully ripen on a vine whose roots have sunk themselves deep into the earth. And that's all I have to say about that.

Back to the most delicious of all sandwiches ever...

Start with your favorite bread, preferably toasted, and spread a liberal amount of mayonnaise all over it. Please don't be stingy. And don't worry whether this will be messy - it will be. Go with it.

At this point you'd normally add the lettuce part of the BLT. I'm using sunflower shoots instead. Because I can. But more importantly, because they're tasty. They have the green crunchiness of lettuce, but with an added nuttiness to the flavor. You should seriously try them.

Okay, so now add slices of those luscious orbs,

And top it with bacon.

My goodness I love this sandwich.

Heaven on a plate.

With a side of home-brewed mint iced tea.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

vermicomposting, continued

I've been adding shredded paper and kitchen scraps to the worm bin and although materials kept being added, volume did not seem to be increasing. Taking this as a potentially good sign, I decided to take a look at things this morning. Much to my dismay, there seemed to be fly larvae in the bin along with some gnats. Ugh! The last thing on my agenda is to contribute to the population increase of flies in the world. Googling this issue, it appears that what is co-existing in the bin alongside the worms are actually "black soldier fly" larvae. A very good thing, if that is indeed what they are. From what I've gathered, black soldier flies are increasingly being used to compost kitchen waste and - bonus! - their mature larvae can be used very effectively as fish or chicken food. Check out Black Soldier Fly Blog if you're curious or want to learn more. Another bonus to having these guys in the worm bin is that they seem to repel house and other pest species of flies. As adults, the black soldier flies live only long enough to breed and reproduce (a few days) do not eat, buzz, or try to get in the house. They don't even really look much like flies. From what I can tell, there is no downside.

But back to my original question this morning - how are the worms doing? In a word, great! They are making their way through the bin, munching as they go, and the bin gives off a mild, moist, slightly earthy smell. Perfect. Now, next on my agenda will be to build a larger, moveable wooden bin that can be kept in the greenhouse in the winter. Looking through YouTube videos, I came upon a pretty good one here. Not sure when I'll get it done, but now I have a plan of action.

Friday, July 9, 2010

summer harvest bolognese

Some of the best fresh vegetables of summer are brought together in this one dish. If you like pasta, you'll love this.

8 tablespoons olive oil
1 large eggplant (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into half inch pieces
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 sweet pepper (ribs and seeds removed), finely chopped
1 zucchini (about 8 ounces), quartered lengthwise, then sliced 1 inch thick
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1 pound lean ground beef
1 quart fresh tomatoes (about 2 pounds), peeled and torn or cut into bite sized pieces
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 pound penne pasta (or your favorite shape, after all, they all taste the same)
parmesan cheese, shaved or grated

In a five quart saucepan with a lid, heat six tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat, add eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pan and reduce heat to medium. Add onion, sweet pepper, zucchini, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally until vegetables have softened, about 7-10 minutes.

Add ground beef. Stirring to break up the meat, cook until no longer pink.

Add tomatoes, oregano, and reserved eggplant and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 25 minutes until sauce is thick and eggplant is tender.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add pasta, and cook until al dente according to package directions. Drain and serve topped with sauce and parmesan cheese. Some crusty bread would be perfect alongside this dish.


Note: This recipe makes enough for eight people. When I made it, I cut it in half and saved the extra veggies for another day.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

rumtopf, part 2

Just added sweet cherries to the rumtopf brandy pot!

cucumber mint sorbet

I have quite a lot of cucumbers, and my mint patch is no slouch either. Pondering how best to use some of the excess, I wondered if there were any recipes online for cucumber sorbet. Lo and behold, there were many! Of course, I fiddled around with them and what follows is the result...

You'll need an ice cream maker, cucumbers, mint leaves, sugar, and water. That's it.

Make a mint-infused simple syrup by combining one cup water, 2 cups sugar, and a large fistful of fresh mint leaves in a saucepan. Bring it to a slow boil on medium to medium-high heat and boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not walk away from your pan as it can boil over pretty quickly if you're not paying attention. (Don't ask me how I know, just trust me on this one.) Using a slotted spoon, remove the leaves from the syrup and allow it to come to room temperature. Peel and roughly cut up three cucumbers, removing the ends, because sometimes they're bitter. Put them in a blender along with one cup* of the cooled syrup and blend until smooth. Strain into a bowl and refrigerate until cold. Pour this green goodness into your ice cream freezer and process according to the manufacturer's directions. That's it! Serve in a pretty dish and garnish with a mint sprig if you're feeling fancy.

It's an icy-cold, refreshing essence of summer on a spoon.

* You'll have some mint syrup left over. Feel free to use it any way you like, but it's a nice way to sweeten ice tea. Keep it refrigerated and use within a week.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

the bucolic plague

Don't you just love that title?

So do I, which is why I bought this book...

This week, I read said book. And enjoyed it very much. 

It's not really about farming so much as it is about two guys that fall in love with a mansion/farm, buy it, and get in over their heads. It's light entertainment and a quick and easy read. 

Monday, July 5, 2010


I recently learned about rumtopf and thought it sounded like a fun project. Rumtopf literally means rum pot and is a method of preserving fresh, ripe seasonal fruits and berries. I don't like rum and so am using brandy instead. So I guess what we've got here is actually a brandy pot. This is a long-term project, with fruit, brandy and sugar being added all summer, then allowing the whole thing to steep until the holidays. I started with strawberries and then added blueberries, red raspberries, and black raspberries. Somehow I missed out on sour cherries, which is too bad, since they'd probably make a very nice addition, plus, I really like them. And see all that sugar at the bottom of the jar? I don't think it's supposed to settle like that without melting. Hopefully I didn't mess it up.
If you are curious to learn more, check out this page which goes into detail about how to make your own rumtopf. Or brandy pot. Whatever.

Friday, July 2, 2010

roasted squash

Roasting is quite possibly the very best way to bring out the nutty flavor of young squash. And then served over a bed of linguine tossed with garlic pesto is just good eating.

First, cut some squash into half inch slices. Any nice young squash will work. I used Costata Romanesco zucchini, Yellow Zephyr squash, and patty pan squash. If the patty pans are small enough, you can roast them whole. Keep in mind that everything will shrink down while roasting, so don't make your pieces too thin.

Next, toss the squash in a bowl with some olive oil and coarse salt. Don't be afraid to be generous with the olive oil, after all it's good for you, right?
Now, arrange the squash on a roasting pan and bake in a pre-heated 350° oven for about 15 minutes or so. Check on them frequently to make sure they aren't getting too brown. To make things easier for yourself, use either parchment paper, quick release foil, or a silpat sheet to line your roasting pan so these guys don't stick.

Remove from the oven and enjoy! They are a nice side dish to a good steak or, as I had them here, with linguine and garlic pesto. Yum!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

the latest arrivals to the farm

Why, now, what could possibly be in this box?
Too small for lambs, not enough ventilation for chicks, I already have every kind of bee I need or want.

How about...


A pound of red wigglers, to be exact.

These guys are used in something called vermicomposting, where you have worms, bedding such as shredded newspaper or dead leaves, and kitchen waste. Add a little water and some time, and you get beautiful compost for your garden. Some folks keep them in a ventilated plastic rubbermaid tote bin under their kitchen sink. Mine are temporarily in a bin, but in the garage. Long-term, I'd like to build them a wooden box that could be kept outside in the summer and either in the garage or the greenhouse in the winter, but more research is needed before box construction can begin. I'd like to design it in such a way that it's easy to remove the finished compost without disturbing the whole works.

How did I happen upon vermicomposting? In a slightly convoluted way as things often are. I was surfing around he net, looking at what some other market gardeners are doing and growing and became intrigued by the possibility of growing fraises des bois, gourmet alpine strawberries. Searching further brought me to The Strawberry Store. And there I learned about the worms.

From what I understand, a "tea" can be made from the vermicompost which is then sprayed on plants. Multiple benefits are touted from this concoction. It should be an interesting process, from worms and waste to improved plant health and vigor.

I'll keep you posted.

(and yes, I also ordered fraises des bois seeds)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

garlic pesto

There is an overabundance of garlic scapes hereabouts. I've roasted them with potatoes, sauteed them with vegetables and taken them to market, but still I'm inundated. Then, I came across this recipe. Or more accurately, a recipe very similar to this one but with a couple of changes.

Anyway, if you like garlic, give this recipe a whirl. This stuff is good on crackers as well as linguine.

And by the way, the season for scapes is almost over. If you'd like to try this before next year, you gotta hurry!

Garlic Pesto
This pesto keeps very well, covered and chilled up to 3 days or frozen up to 2 months.
1/2 pound garlic scapes (about 
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly shredded pecorino cheese or other hard sheep's milk cheese
Trim and discard garlic bud. Finely chop garlic scapes, rinse thoroughly and pat or spin dry.
In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, cook vegetable oil, garlic scapes, and 1/2 tsp. salt until soft, about 3 minutes. Let cool to warm room temperature.
In a blender or food processor, pulse pine nuts to chop. Set aside. Add garlic scapes and process, scraping down sides as necessary, until bright green and smooth. With motor running, drizzle in olive oil. Pulse in reserved pine nuts and cheese. Taste and add more salt if you like.
Makes enough Garlic Pesto to coat 1 pound linguine.

Monday, June 21, 2010

making a tough choice

After giving it serious thought, I've decided to bail on the Willow Street Growers Market. I feel bad about it, I really do, but there simply aren't enough customers. I would harvest in the morning, and then spend the better part of the day at market, only to see so few customers and correspondingly few sales, then bring most of the produce home to throw on the compost pile. Sadly, it's been a waste of time and resources. However, an upside to quitting Willow Street is that it frees up almost an entire day. A day that can be spent getting the garden into better shape - weeding, planting, mulching and trellising. A day that can be spent making art. So it's all good. And of course, I'll still be at Lancaster's Eastern Market on Saturdays from 9-2. If you're in the neighborhood, stop in and say hello!

Friday, June 11, 2010

this week's market offerings


salad greens



white, red, and golden beets

braising mix

cut flowers

diva cucumbers

rose gold potatoes

garlic scapes

romaine, leaf, and buttercrunch lettuces

summer squash

pac choi

potted herbs

sungold tomatoes



Tuesday, June 8, 2010

fresh roasted vegetables

golden beets, rose gold potatoes, garlic scapes, patty pan squash, rosemary, sungold tomatoes, and zephyr squash.

What started as a desire to try some of the fresh garlic scapes from the garden turned into a full-blown meal of fresh roasted vegetables. Scapes are seriously seasonal and available only for a short time in late spring/early summer - now, so if you want to try some, you gotta find them soon. Wanting to allow the flavor of each vegetable to come through while still working together as a whole, I decided to roast them. Or, at least finish by roasting them. Here's how...

Take a small handful of scapes and some young beets, cut them all into bite-sized pieces and toss in a bowl with some sea salt, a pinch of pepper, and enough olive oil to coat. Spread out on a shallow pan and put them in a 350° oven to roast for about a half hour (I like golden or albino beets for this since they won't turn everything red). As they're roasting, cut up some new potatoes into one inch chunks and boil them until barely done. (Or better yet, use baby potatoes and boil them whole.) As that's happening, heat olive oil in a skillet, slice up some young summer squash about a quarter inch thick, and saute them with a little salt for about 4 minutes until golden brown but also barely done. You don't want to overcook either the potatoes or the squash since they are both now going to be added to the roasting pan along with a handful of cherry tomatoes and a couple teaspoons of minced rosemary. Toss everyone together in the pan, making sure to get everybody coated with olive oil. Roast for just a few minutes more to meld the flavors and finish cooking. Whatever you do, don't overcook the veggies because that's just disgusting.

Yes, several of these things are early, but with the greenhouse, I'm able to get a jump on the season. Of course, other fresh vegetables would also work. Use what's available to you. For instance, I think scapes and asparagus would be great roasted together, maybe served warm on a bed of spinach with a little vinaigrette.