Martha gave me, Lisa the apprentice, the honor of writing the CSA newsletter and blog this month.  Yesterday afternoon I discovered a wasp nest in the woodpile when I was stung by an unhappily disturbed wasp; the swelling of my hand and wrist makes hard outdoor work a little difficult, so I am instead exercising my brain by reflecting back on the joys of late summer while the rest of the Orchard Hill Farm staff continue on the work to prepare for the new greenhouse building.

Green Thumbs and Fingers Too - After Suckering Tomatoes!

The cool nights and the end of melons and sweetcorn–produce which particularly earmarks the height of summer–has reminded me that the advent of autumn is nearly upon us.  In many ways this is my favorite time of year, when the mornings are cold enough to keep a hoodie on, and the heat of the day feels pleasant rather than overwhelming.  The bounty of crops continues.  Our melon season ends, and we are grateful for all of those stifling hot summer days which allowed for the abundance of ripe and sweet melons.  After our last sweet corn harvest on Tuesday morning, we took down the raccoon fence which had so carefully protected our crop, and Ken bushhogged the tall and empty stalks.  We now have fall bearing raspberries to enjoy, which are producing enough to be open for pick-your-own on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 11-7, during CSA pick-up hours only, please.  The bright red and green zebra tomatoes in the hoophouse continue to grow and ripen, and the paste, heirloom, and sun-gold cherry tomatoes of the field each have a unique sweetness and flavor–as long as we can harvest them before the multifarious pests who also want their share.  We hope you are enjoying making up your own boxes of tomatoes so that you can sample the many varieties our fields have to offer.  Other delicacies of fall–winter squash, leeks, and potatoes–will soon be coming.

Last week we harvested all of the onions which were then transported to the hoop houses where they will dry out and cure in the hot, dry air, to allow them to be stored into the fall and winter.  We also plowed up the land where we will plant garlic in a few weeks.  Each year Ken and Martha save their own garlic seed, which is then planted in the fall, overwinters in the ground, and harvested the following summer.

Washing Rocks for Greenhouse Heat Sink

A few days of warm and dry weather allowed for us to bring in the last of the second-cut hay early this week.  The barn is full almost to the ceiling, and we feel confident that the horses will have enough feed to last through the winter.  Getting in the last of the hay and catching up on work in the garden now allows us enough extra time to begin construction on the new greenhouse.  Today is the third day in a row where the OHF crew has been faithfully and mostly-joyfully sifting through the pile of dirty rocks to wash off pebbles and mud.  We need enough rocks to fill in the space below the floor of the greenhouse 3-feet high.  The rocks will provide mass to store heat, however we need them to be clean to allow for air to circulate between and around rocks.  Dance music and stimulating conversation has helped us to keep our energy high during this somewhat arduous task.  Plus, we are all thrilled to be able to be a part of this building project–both to learn about greenhouse design and to help Ken and Martha complete construction before the cold of winter hits.

Please mark your calendars for the 2011 CSA Potluck which will be here at Orchard Hill on Sunday, September 25th from 2-4 p.m.  Please bring a dish to share, lawn chairs, and plates, cups, and cutlery for you and your family.  We will have horse-drawn wagon rides.  We look forward to socializing and sharing a meal with you in celebration of all of this wonderful produce and the OHF community.

Working Shares Making Up Tomato Boxes for CSA

Please note that the last CSA pick-up days for the season are Tuesday October 4th, and Saturday, October 8th.  If you are a working share and have not yet participated in your 5-hours of work for the season, please sign-up on the calendar in the pick-up room.  We have many slots open and always look forward to your help harvesting and washing vegetables.

Thanks again for your continued support,
Lisa and the Orchard Hill Farmers

All season I have asked for recipes and they are now rolling in.  Here are two more recipes contributed by CSA members.

Hi Martha,

Today’s pick-up had all the ingredients for one of my favourite salads ever, so I thought I would share the recipe.   Bread salad may sound strange but it is so good!

Panzanella

1 baguette, a dense artisan style loaf works best

1/2 cup olive oil

3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tsp sugar

salt and pepper to taste

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 cucumber, peeled, halved (seeded if necessary) and cut into bite sized pieces.

3 cups tomato, chopped

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped.

Whisk oil, vinegar, sugar salt and pepper together in a large salad bowl.

Add onion to dressing and let sit while you prepare the rest of the salad. … it softens the bite of onion and adds a nice taste to the dressing.

Slice baguette lengthwise into quarters (you should have 4 long pieces), brush with oil an grill until toasted on all sides.  Remove, cool, cut into bite-sized chunks.

Add tomato, cucumber, basil and bread.  Toss and serve.

* We usually serve with grilled boneless skinless chicken breast that have marinated for about 2 hours  in …. 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 white wine, 2 Tbsp each fresh rosemary and thyme, 1 minced clove of garlic, 2 tsp mustard, 2 tsp sugar.

Cheers,

Sheena

Hi Ken and Martha;

Martha today I was telling you about my recipe for kale chips. My friend Susan Varro modified a recipe she had into this, so I pass on credit to her. It’s absolutely fabulous – my children go nuts for these, so if they pass the kid test, they are a-ok! It’s called Cashew “Cheese” because the nutritional yeast and cashews, along with the salt, create a great flavour that sort of mimics a cheese taste – which is great for ‘chips’!
Cashew “Cheese” for Kale Chips:
1 red bell pepper, roasted and skin removed.

1 cup unsalted cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour

1 lemon, juiced

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 cloves garlic

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp sea salt or to taste.

Blend until consistency of yogourt. Massage onto kale leaves.  It should be covered like a light salad dressing.  Bake at 175 degrees for approx 3 hours, until crispy.

When cool, keep in an airtight container for up to a few days.

 

The paste recipe is easily doubled, and can keep in the fridge for a few days. It also freezes well. It is a great idea to double the batch and freeze the leftovers so that the next time you have kale, you have the paste easily available – just defrost and spread. 🙂

Give it a try! I will attempt to bring some for you next time I come down to the farm (in a few weeks).

Cheers,

Brianne Curry

 

 

 

 

We have received two recipes from CSA members to be shared.  The first is from Vicci Coughlin:

Hi Martha:

This is a recipe I made today after picking up at the farm.  It was actually the fresh thyme that inspired me and the tomatoes of course.
Fresh Tomato Tart:
(The same filling can be used to top a pizza crust.)
I use pie pastry for this, but the original recipe calls for a short crust with butter.
Pastry:
1 cup plain all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup chilled butter cut into 1/2 inch chunks.
3 tablespoons ice water.
Filling:
6 oz. goat cheese plus 2 tablespoons cream or milk.
2 CSA tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. minced fresh thyme
1 tsp good olive oil.
Method:
To make the pastry, stir together the flour and salt and cut the butter into the flour until butter is the size of a pea.  Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time turning after each addition. Gather crumbly dough into a ball wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
On floured board, roll dough into a round and transfer to 9 inch pie plate.
In a small bowl, using a fork, mash the cheese together with the milk or cream and spread mixture evenly over bottom of pastry.
Cover with tomato slices in a tightly packed single layer. Sprinkle with pepper, thyme and olive oil.Bake until creust is lightly golden and the tomatoes have collapsed, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let stand for 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
The second recipe is from Jason and Bonnie Wietzel:

BBQ Corn with Herb Butter

Serves 4-6

1/3 cup Orchard Hill Farm fresh basil, rosemary, chives & oregano, chop finely

1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon himalayan salt or table salt

8 ears of Orchard Hill Farm fresh corn on the cob

– Mix the herbs, butter & salt by hand or in a food processor

– Take the ears of corn, remove a couple outside layers of husks on each cob, fold back the remaining husks and remove the corn silk

– Spread the butter mixture over the corn kernels and rewrap the husks around the cob

– To BBQ – put on med heat, grill till husks are a bit charred and the kernels are tender, turn often for about 15-20 min