Transplants Waiting to be Planted

We are into our second week of our CSA pick-ups.  It is always a big push to get set up for the season.  Now we are changing the rhythm of our work week to include harvest and pick-ups twice a week.  Working Shares are signing up to come out and help with the harvest and we are getting to know new members and renewing our ties with others.  It has been a challenging spring with the cold and wet weather.  We continue to plant and transplant between rains and are now waiting for the ground to dry out yet again, before we can plant the peppers, melons, eggplant and tomatoes transplants in the main garden.

Last week the resident stallion, Chester, died due to some sort of internal problem that the vet couldn’t cure or clearly identify.  We are sad  and reminded again how fragile life can be.  We shared ownership of Chester with another Suffolk breeder and who just had a filly foal sired by Chester.  Two of our mares are due to foal in June and July so Chester will live on through his offspring.

Rhubarb Patch

Rhubarb is a main stay of our early CSA pick-ups. Go to pommeroyale.com (Ellen’s blog) from “Links We Like” in the side bar for a recipe for Rhubarb Compote with Wee Almond Cakes to accompany it. I guess almonds go with rhubarb because CSA member Bonnie Wietzel has also sent her husband’s gluten free Rhubarb/ Almond recipe:

Jason’s Delicious Dessert – Organic Rhubarb Honey Almond Crunch

Dessert base ingredients:

5 cups              Chopped organic rhubarb

1/3 cup            Liquid honey

1 tbsp               Bob’s Red Mill (Gluten Free) Almond Meal

1 tsp                  Organic cinnamon

1/2 tsp             Ground ginger

Topping ingredients:

1 1/2 cup        Sliced raw almond, crumbled by hand

1/4 cup           Coco Natura Organic coconut sweetener

1/4 cup           Liquid honey

1/4 cup           Unsalted butter, melted

1 tsp                 Cinnamon

1/4 cup          Nature’s Cargo fine Himalayan salt

In a mixing bowl, stir together rhubarb, honey, almond meal, cinnamon and ginger until well mixed.  Spoon into greased 8 cup baking dish.

Add topping:

In same mixing bowl that you just emptied out, stir together all topping ingredients.  Then sprinkle topping ingredients over the rhubarb mixture.

Bake in 375 degree fahrenheit oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender and your topping is brown.

Should serve 4 to 6 people.

Enjoy!

We are looking forward to our first CSA pick-up tomorrow. Just when we thought the weather was warming up we have gotten another cold wet series of days that has brought the asparagus growing to a halt!  We are taking a leap of faith and starting regardless of the weather. Speaking of asparagus, our daughter, Ellen, has posted an Asparagus/ Bean Salad recipe on her pommeroyale.com blog (see “Links We Like”).

Soils Puppet Show at CRAFT DAY

Last Wednesday we hosted a CRAFT DAY at our farm for the network of apprentice farms that we are part of. (See CRAFT ontario on the “Links We Like” for more info.) About 70 people participated for the day. Ken led a workshop on Soils and our apprentices were the “stage crew” holding up different puppet soil components to demonstrate their interactions in the soil. We enjoyed a great pot luck lunch, farm tour and a work bee where we mulched our half acer squash and pumpkin field in 20 minutes! Many hands really do make light work!

Molly, Queen and Caesar Supervising the Potato Planting

Potato Planting

We have been very busy planting between the rains. Our 2012 strawberry plants are in and the potatoes for this year as well. We also have a 20 year old team of Belgian mares leased for the summer. We are really missing Jasmin, our Suffolk mare we lost to colic in December. Our apprentices need to have well trained horses to drive. We also purchased a Belgian mare, Princess. Suffolks are a rare breed of horse and it is not always easy to find replacements. It goes to show what a great horse Jasmin was that we need three horses to replace her!

Transplanting

Lots of transplanting has also been going on onions, leeks, shallots, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, pac choi, kohlrabi, fennel, celery, celeriac, head lettuce and radicchio have all been transplanted outside. The west side of the garden, that was previously too wet to even plow, has been plowed and our greenhouse of tomato transplants have also gone in. So….we have been very busy. Today we worked in the greenhouse and are getting the pick-up room ready for our big start tomorrow.

We have been challenged this season to choose our start date. I can’t remember a spring when it has been so cool that we haven’t enjoyed our first asparagus by this time in the season. We did manage to squeak in a second seeding of early vegetables yesterday and uncovered our first planting. Lisa introduced us to a method of gathering up the row cover like a big crocheted braid. It will hopefully make the relaying easier. I was delighted to see a good germination of peas, spinach, carrots, beets, radish and mesclun. The row cover really makes a difference. Ken was even able to cultivate with the draft horses and his riding single row cultivator. It rained again last night so it is good to have the second batch of early seeding done! We are later than usual with our strawberry and potato planting, but hopefully we will be able plant strawberries tomorrow and potatoes the beginning of next week.

OUR CSA START DATES:

TUESDAY – MAY 17
SATURDAY – MAY 21