Wednesday, November 23, 2011



   WATCH OUT! Do you know if your farmer is raising the products you buy from them? Some farmers are telling their customers that they are raising products...and they aren’t. They buy them from other farmers who do the hard work and who aren’t given the credit for their work.
   WATCH OUT! Some of those products may not be grown safely or humanely. Are you being told those products are “natural”? Is concrete and waste products “natural” for an animal to be raised on? Does your farmer know what is sprayed on a crop if he isn’t growing it?    KNOW YOUR FARMER!

   OUR PLEDGE TO YOU. We grow our own grains and crops on our farm, doing the work ourselves. We raise our own animals on our farm. We will not buy products from another farm and sell it under our good name.
   If we deliver products for another farm we will not only tell you the farm it came from, but be able to give you their contact information. We deliver products for over 20 farms who are members of Stewards of the Land, but their products are labelled with their farm names and the invoice has their farm name on it.
   Farmers work hard and deserve to be respected for the work they do...each of them.

If you haven't seen the "tips of how to know your farmers better" on our website, check it out. I won't list it all here and take up space with it. But, this is becoming a serious issue in some areas. We are concerned of how it affects the good name of the REAL growers. And, also concerned that it can be dangerous for traceability of products and for taking advantage of people and their trust in farmers. Your health and your trust is important to us, take action and make it important to yourselves also!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Winding down? Maybe not quite.

   Hello again! Another few weeks of work before I could get back to y'all. When I started to do this blog last year, I thought I would have piles of time on hand to write. Now that the growing season is almost done...I have more time.
   I guess I didn't realize how much time it really takes to be a food farmer. Oh, I knew we spent a lot of time at it. But, at the same time I was volunteering (part to full time) for the Spence Farm Foundation (see their website at So, when they hired a new director to take over (thanks Carolynne! You are terrific!) I figured I'd have piles of free time. Oops.
   But, now that the season is winding down, I'll see what I can do to catch up some.

   I'll start with what is left in the fields. Everyone is always surprised that we are still harvesting into the first of November. There are lots of plants that like the chilly weather. We have beets, five kinds of radishes, turnips of various kinds, onions, and some late pumpkins. There are still thousands of pounds of butternut squash...literally. I bet we have about five hayracks full still.

   Thanks to Tom Leavitt of White Oak Gourmet and the Crop Mob crew for helping to harvest them all. They stretch as far as the eye can see! Well, not really, but some days it feels like it.
   Butternut Squash recipe- We've been using a lot of the squash for ourselves. Marty, who loves to cook, has made oven fries with the squash...delicious.
   They are fairly easy to make....Peel the squash with a veggie peeler, then cut it in half and scoop out the seeds. Then cut the squash into fry size pieces, toss in olive oil, put on a cooking sheet and put in the oven at 325. You need to flip them and check them often so as to not burn them. Very tasty!
   Another idea is the traditional one of scooping out the seeds, cutting the squash in half and roasting it on a cooking sheet. Then when it is mushy, add some nice spices (I like nutmeg, Marty likes cinnamon), and brown sugar or maple syrup. We also add pecans and dried cranberries.
   Pickled Beets recipe- Today I'm canning another 30 plus pints of pickled beets. I love canning. And I love pickled beets. But, I have one favorite beet that I love best...Bull's Blood Beets. They have purple leaves, a very nice beet flavor, and are dark in color. Very pretty.
      My beet recipe is like this...Wash the beets (some people don't do this but I do). Then I put them in a pot and cover with water and boil until I can stick a fork into them and they are soft but not mushy. Dump them into some cold water and with a kitchen knife, slice off the top and then with your hand slide the skin off. (We feed the skins to the piggies but they are good around the plants outside or in a compost pile also.) Then I chop them up into bite size pieces.
   Follow canning recipes for how to prepare the jars, etc. This is how I do it tho...I like wide mouth jars so I can get my beets out easier. I wash my jars and lids and then put the jars in the oven to warm and then boil the lids. Then, mix 1 cup water/1 cup apple cider vinegar/1 cup sugar and boil in a pot on the stove until the sugar is dissolved. Put the beets in the warm jars, put in the juice until about 1/4 inch from the top. I add a few whole allspice, wipe the lid dry, wipe the rim of the jar dry, and put the lid on and seal with the rim. Then I put them in a hot water bath, water covering the jars, wait until it is boiling (rolling), and then time for 15 minutes. I take the jars out and let them cool and wait for the little POP of the that sound!

   The trees have all changed color nicely this year and it took quite a while. There are still leaves on quite a few even tho we have had rain and wind the last couple of weeks. It was still 60 degrees yesterday altho it was a chilly southerly wind. So, the weather has been really nice fall weather.
    Last of the news...8 little piglets from Swee on October 9th. All are doing terrific, round and rolly-polly.
They are sucking on beet skins and squash leavings. Cuties!