Monday, April 23, 2012

More Spring

Greetings all:
We've had a few requests for a recipe for Spring Baby Carrot Top Pesto since we have decided our baby carrots are ready for our Member's Choice Members. We made some tonight and mixed it with a bit of hummus to dip the baby carrots into and mix into some barely, potato soup. Scroll to the bottom for my basic recipe or read on for a bit more information.

Our recipe is simply a regular basil pesto recipe and we substitute a like amount of carrot greens. We love pesto so much and have it so regularly (we froze over 45 servings last fall and still have a couple bags in the freezer) that I no longer need, look at, nor remember the exact quantities of the recipe. However, you could perform a google search for pesto and substitute the greens of the carrot tops.
We also substitute garlic greens fresh from the garden for the garlic cloves. We love garlic too and go through it too quickly to have any left by this time in the spring. Luckily, the garlic greens are up and at-em and when those are gone we will probably have scapes.

In that photo above you can see the tools that are required for an easy pesto recipe. If you would like you can certainly leave the peels on and you could of course make the pesto in a mortar and pestle. Below is my basic recipe for carrot top pesto. Delicious!

Items you will need:
One bunch baby spring carrots. One bunch garlic greens or 2-3 cloves garlic to taste. Some sort of nut. If pine nuts aren't available we use walnuts. If neither is available we skip them but you can use anything. Pecans however, are particularly high in oil. A good, quality, great tasting olive oil (or another oil of which you like the taste).

To prepare:
Remove the tops from the carrots by using a pair of scissors and snipping them near the base into a food processor. Save the carrots to use as you like. Place the bunch of garlic greens or 2-3 cloves of garlic (once the papery skin is removed) on top of the greens in the food processor. Add some oil 'to taste' (this is in quotes because I don't know how much we use. I usually put in slightly less than I think it will require depending upon the amount of greens, blend it up and then pour more oil into the top port on the food processor while it's blending until it looks right. It should take on a creamy texture and lighten in color slightly.) Add a little salt and pepper if you like. Blend until smooth. Unplug the processor, remove the top and scrape the sides with a wooden spoon to get any greens that are stuck up high and not getting mixed. Plug it back in and blend some more. Unplug and remove the pesto from the processor and then either mix in some freshly grated, local cheese or skip that step if you like. Then your pesto is ready to put onto any dish you like. We like it on pasta and tonight we individually mixed it into some barley soup and it gave the soup a creamy, springtime texture and taste. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Another Spring Update

Happy Spring morning!
I thought I would take a minute or two to update you all again with another blog post. Why not start off where everything starts for us - compost. We feed the soil, not the plants. Soil is our most valuable asset on the farm. It provides the basis for everything. In order for soil to grow and flourish, it needs the same things we need to grow and flourish. Air, water, food and love. This time of year, our compost shovel stays quite busy as we prep beds en masse and feed our soil.
A sure sign of Spring (there are many on the farm) is the garlic shooting up through the winter mulch. This is also a sign that it's time to put on another layer of mulch and hopefully really set back the weeds. The garlic was planted in the fall (as you can see from the sign) and establishes roots and a small shoot. Then, after being dormant all winter it begins to extend the shoot up through layers of mulch in the spring when the sun is higher and the temperature rises.

Indy and Scarlet are relaxing here while I take a photo. Scarlet is due to have her piglets at any moment now. This was a couple of weeks ago. The grass has greened up nicely now and the piglets will be born in early May on pasture. A fine way to come into the world!

And here is the beginning of a pile of culmination of winter's work. The sawyer has arrived at the farm and set-up his mill. He's begun milling out the logs I yarded out into the lumber I've requested. We hire in a local sawyer with a portable mill whenever we have building projects and require lumber. As much as possible comes from here on the farm to increase the possibility of our closed-loop farming concept.

Here is Nevin now hard at work. Luckily, it's warmer now when he comes by to work at the pile a little bit each weekend.

Before we know it, fall will be here and I hope to be working on our new passive solar seedling/winter greenhouse with straw bale insulation and thermal mass with solar powered radiant heating. Till then, we'll be busy on the farm producing local, beyond organic, real food for our friends, members and community.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Busy, busy

Greetings all:

Just taking a moment to try and catch up on our blog (which I apologize has been somewhat neglected as of late with this amazing weather - great time to be in the garden!). I hope to catch up some more because we've got lots of photos and videos as well and with our great team of apprentices this season we're making some great strides.

Here is Martin pointing out one such successfully completed project.

Tim, Julie and Ish have been working diligently to clean up our raspberry patch and transplant out several rows and suckers to our new pick-your-own project (hopefully first crop will be in a couple of years). Here is the already existing patch newly renovated. It's amazing. This photo doesn't do it justice, especially if you don't know what it was like before! Great, great, great work by our three apprentices, including the new trellises by Ish. They look amazing and I cannot wait to host our annual picnic so our members can get a first-hand look!

And here is one pile of what didn't make the cut (pun intended) to get into our new patch. Where did I put that chipper/shredder?

These fine spring days have triggered another yearly tradition - the moving of the hoop houses. Her I am inside the Quonset Hut just prior to the move. Please disregard the pastiness of my legs. I still have my 'winter tan'. I'm working on it!

Here is the first one just as it slid into the new home for the summer. Martin approves.

And here is some of what it took to get it there. Our newest tractor, Tim on the left and Ish on the right. (I took a turn too - I promise).

But in the meantime I was making the fall's work easier by putting a little grease on the rails (they will come apart more easily when the hoop house is moved in the fall.

In all it's glory. The Cathedral is still awaiting a move in this photo but by the end of the day we had moved both to their summer digs. Very cool! It is always a great event and when you are finished it looks like a whole new garden because everything is in a different place when you come around the corner of the barn.

Here is our cheering section! Em, Liz and Martin along with Julie (one of our other apprentices) and Evelyn who had the day off but didn't want to miss this event.

And here is what I was doing the day before. Getting some of the garden beds tilled to begin the process of bed prep.

And here is Lizzie participating. She is barefoot here. It is one of my greatest pleasures in life to garden with bare feet. Glad to see my girl sees it that way as well!

Mars at the play-set looks on.

Here I am explaining the 3020 to Tim and Julie. They both took it for a spin as we got it ready for one of its biggest jobs of the year, the annual plowing. They both did a fantastic job dealing with a large machine that can be quite intimidating the first few times you use it.

That's all for now but again, hope to have more up here soon.