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!


  1. I am so glad that you've found time to do your blog. I love reading about all the things going on at the farm. You really are one strong woman to put up all those beets...and whatever you're going to do with the butternut squash. Great fun, huh? Yummy winter eating! js

  2. Just one look at the long line of those vegetables makes me very happy to live in an chance of me having to have to toil that or any additional row of crops to harvest some veggies! But what you all do always impresses me!