Wednesday, July 10, 2013

This and That

We took a quick look at the blog and said...

Ok.  Let me be honest here.  I took a quick look at the blog and said nothing.  Which, sadly, is what has been said on the blog for nearly a week.  Terrible!  Someone get a farmer in here who can write something, will you?

Ah, how about you.  Yes, you!  Get over here.


Hi.  Ummmmm.


Ok, that person didn't work out.  I guess Rob will have to write this one.


A Trip to the Park
 The broiler chickens took their trip to the park.  It was a bit more of an adventure this year than some and we hope to regale you with it later this week.  However, the pressing business is that we have about 80 birds that still have not sold.  If you want one or two or ...ten..., go here and place an order.

Yet Another Reason Tammy is Wonderful
She makes peach and lemonade slushies.  1.5 trays of iced cubes, 1/2 cup lemon juice, a short 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup other liquid water or juice from our canned peaches.  Blend it up.

After a really hot day where we've been working outside, this does wonders for the attitude and to cool us down a bit.

You Can't Escape the Scapes
If you are in the CSA program, you will receive scapes.  Happily, scapes are gaining more acceptance and people need less convincing than they used to.  But, it is hard to believe that convincing is needed. 

Scapes are the flower stem of the garlic plant.  You can use every inch of these in any dish you might use garlic.  About 1 inch of a scape is about equivalent to one clove in potency.  You may want to cut them up a bit finer and/or cook them longer since they are not quite as soft.

Other excellent options include cutting these the long direction and infusing garlic oil.  Or, grill them or put them in stir fries.  We think you'll be pleasantly surprised.  For details on the garlic oil, scroll to the bottom of this post.

Drats, We've Gnats
 The gnats on the farm have been irritating lately.  But, the nice breeze today helped immensely.  But, if you wonder about all the little bumps all over the farmers' arms as you pick up shares, those are gnat bites.... ugh.

The real problem is that they appear to be taking a toll on our young ducks.  We've lost several over the last few weeks.  As always, there is more to the situation than this, but that's all one needs to know for now.

So Far So Good

The picture above shows our major tool investment for the season.  The Williams Tool Bar came highly recommended.  As is true for every tool we purchase, we have to climb a learning curve.  Part of that learning is figuring out what the tool can and cannot do.  We have learned it CAN cultivate fairly close to a row of transplanted broccoli, allowing two people to very quickly weed the rest with hand tools.  Viola!  Clean broccoli!  Nice.

Quick Crop Report
Everything is still a couple of weeks behind (or more depending on the crop).  The latest rains gave us very little which is good and bad.  At this point, we just roll with whatever we get because either direction has its plusses and minuses.

Peas look great and are really getting going.  Carrots have been weeded in their entirety, which is a big deal since carrots aren't the easiest thing to weed.  They are still a month away.  The cucumbers are starting to vine.  Pole beans were replanted and are sprouting nicely.
Tomatoes are just now showing some real life.  Basil is in, but small.  Summer squash and zucchini are looking good and may start producing next week.  Garlic is due to be harvested about July 30 - they cure for two weeks after before we distribute any of these.
Potatoes look pretty good and we should have a decent crop by the end of August or beginning of September.  Green beans are in varying states of readiness.  Turnips are approaching readiness - possibly next week.  Similar comments for pok choi and chinese cabbage.

Garlic Oil
What Do I Need?

• several teaspoons of herbs and spices

• oil to fill one bottle

What Do I Do?

1. Bruise the herbs and spices a bit to release their flavors. (slice garlic scapes length wise)

2. Place them in the bottle.

3. Add warm oil.

4. Cover and let stand for 1 week.

5. Taste the oil. If the flavor isn't strong enough, add more flavorings. Once the oil is infused, keep it in the refrigerator. It may get cloudy from the cold, but should clear up when it reaches room temperature. The oil should last, refrigerated, for up to 2 months.

Be sure to remove the garlic scapes from the oil to reduce the risk of contamination.

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