Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Work Days December 4 through 10, 2011

We'll have another long work day this week on Friday,  December 9 from 11 AM until 3 PM.

Maurice York, who came to help build flow forms with us last spring, will be here to help install one of them.  He'll be laying pipe and we'll be offering assistance as needed.

When Maurice doesn't need us we'll weed the root bed, add a layer of manure to the compost pile, finish prepping D1 and prep D6 for spring planting.

Picture of the Week

Here you can see one of the scarecrows that last year's third grade built.  He is keeping watch over our jauche barrel.  

The jauche is a fermented weed tea made from the sort of creeping weeds that are difficult to keep out of garden beds.  The weeds fill the barrel about 2/3 full, then water is added to fill it entirely.  The whole thing is covered with screen to keep mosquitos from laying their eggs.  I stir it as often as I think of it with a pitchfork.  Once it's all rotted down, the solid stuff will be added to the compost pile.  The liquid will be sprayed over the garden.  The liquid both nourishes our veggies and attenuates the growth of the weeds that it is made from.

Eventually I hope to have 4 of these jauche barrels for all our creeping weeds to go into so they have less opportunity to infest our compost pile.  All 4 barrels will have a spot outside the garden once this one is finished and spread.  They STINK! when the rotting process first starts - so much so that they'll make even the most stoic adult long for a clothespin on the nose.  

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pumpkin Pie recipe

If you are a winter squash lover, I highly recommend the lacto-vegetarian version of this pie introduced to me by Jay Dunbar, one of the teachers at Magic Tortoise Taijiquan School.  It is delicious!  The original version is probably good as well, but may not be as pumpkiny.

Margaret Dunbar's Pumpkin Pie

4-5 cups of dense well-drained pumpkin pulp (NOT from can... must be fresh or frozen pulp!!)
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
a little salt (<1/2 tsp)

I substitute a 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk for the milk and sugar, and for a lacto-vegetarian pie, I substitute 7 tsp of Ener-G Egg Replacer for the eggs.
If using eggs, beat first, then add pumpkin and the rest of the ingredients. I use a food processor, as it de-strings the pulp, and makes the filling smooth and "fluffier." Pour in pre-baked* pie crust (see below), grate fresh nutmeg over the top, and bake at 325° for 35 minutes or so (my mother says, "till a silver knife comes out clean).

Simple Pie Crust

2 cups White Pastry Flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup safflower oil
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp ice water

Sift or whisk salt into flour. Add water to the oil and beat with a fork till smooth and creamy. Dump liquid into flour and mix with fork. Form into a ball. Roll between 4 sheets of wax paper (two above, two below). (My mother used to make two crusts out of this... must have been for a small pie dish. For my larger pie dish I use the whole recipe for one bottom crust.)

Turn pastry into pie dish, form edge by folding excess into a rim and pinching between fingers. Puncture across bottom and around sides with a fork and *bake in 325° oven for 10 minutes.

And there you have it!

Jay

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Green Pancakes

Ever wonder what to do with all those greens in spring and fall?  Here is a most excellent use for them that I was treated to over the Thanksgiving weekend.  It originally called for Swiss Chard, but Therisa, the cook, substituted the greens she had on hand for the chard, chives and parsley and they came out beautifully.  They are beautiful to look at too, the brightest, prettiest shade of green you can imagine!

Green Pancakes:

Ingredients
2 cups whole milk
2½ cups all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 shallot, coarsely chopped, rinsed, and patted dry
2 garlic cloves, split, germ removed, and coarsely chopped
Leaves from 10 parsley sprigs
10 fresh chives, snipped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
5 large or 10 small leaves of any green (chard, spinach, mustard, kale, etc.), center ribs removed, washed, and
dried
About ½ cup grapeseed, peanut, or vegetable oil

1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil, and
line a plate with paper towels.
2. Put everything except the greens and oil in a blender or food
processor, making sure you season the mix generously with salt and pepper,
and whir until the batter is smooth. (If your machine won't handle this
quantity, work in batches.) Little by little, add the greens to the mix and
whir to incorporate it. There's no need to pulverize the greens — having some
strands is nice.
3. Pour ¼ to ½ inch of oil into a large skillet and place the skillet over
medium-high heat. When the oil is hot (a drop of batter should seize
immediately), spoon in a scant ¼ cup batter for each pancake — don't crowd
the pan: depending on the size of the pan, 4 pancakes is probably max per
batch. Cook the pancakes for about 3 minutes, until the underside is nicely
browned and the edges are browned and curled. Flip the pancakes over and
cook for another 2 minutes or so. Transfer the pancakes to the
paper-towel-lined plate, cover with more towels, and pat off the excess oil.
Place them on the foil-lined baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while
you continue to make pancakes, adding more oil to the pan as needed.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tuesday Market - November 29, 2011


Visit us in the gazebo, 8:00 to 9:00 in the morning and 3:00 to 4:00 in the afternoon on Tuesdays. We'll be there rain or shine.  

Thanks to help from 3rd grade and farm volunteers we now have cloches (like a mini greenhouse) covering our leaf and root beds so we will be able to offer fresh veggies until Christmas Break.  We'll start up again in early spring when the asparagus and shiitake are ready.  

Meanwhile, come get your fresh veggies and herbs and support the farm program at the same time.  100% of the money you spend at the Emerson Farm market table goes into supporting the cost of tools, seeds and plants at the farm.

This week we will have ....

Lettuce, $2/bag

Collards, $2/bag

Dill, $1/bunch

Rosemary, $1/bunch

Arugula, $2/bag


Mustard, $1/bag

Mushrooms:  Shiitake and/or Oyster, $8/pound
Weather permitting



Fingerling Sweet Potatoes $1.50/pound
Excellent for soups and stews.
We have four varieties: Violetta, All Purple, Bradshaw and Ginseng each with its own unique flavor and coloring

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Work Days Nov. 27 to Dec. 3, 2011

Tuesday, November 29 from 2 to 3 we'll have a short work day to work on the nettle, finish turning the early spring leaf bed and do a little weeding in our late fall leaf beds.

Friday, December 2 from 1 to 3 we'll finish weeding the larger of our two permanent flower beds, transplant some calendula and larkspur and start prepping one of our annual beds for phacelia, a cover crop that produces lots of flowers loved by bees.


Come on by for any amount of time during the work days.  These are probably some of the last few warmish days we'll have before winter starts in earnest.  Hanging out in the garden is a great way to soak up that last little bit of sunshine before we get to our shortest day of the year (Dec. 22) and the coldest month of the year (January).  

Picture of the Week

Here is a part of a path cleared by Anthony and Nicholas, two of our sophomores, a few weeks ago.  Now third grade can get to the farm easily without being hampered by trees and bushes as they go!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanksgiving Week

Both the Tuesday Market and all Work Days are cancelled for next week.  Our third graders, who do most of the harvesting, are going on a field trip on Monday so there will be no veggies for the market.  Everyone will also want to be enjoying the holiday so there will be no work days.

Both the market and work days will resume the week of Nov. 27 to Dec. 3.

Have a wonderful break and enjoy your families and lots of good food next week!

Pictures of the Week

Above is the root bed and below is the leaf bed in which most of our market vegetables were grown this fall.  


Friday, November 11, 2011

Tuesday Market - November 15, 2011

Visit us in the gazebo, 8:00 to 9:00 in the morning and 3:00 to 4:00 in the afternoon on Tuesdays. We'll be there rain or shine.  

Come get your fresh veggies and herbs.  Support the farm program at the same time.  100% of the money you spend at the Emerson Farm market table goes into supporting the cost of tools, seeds and plants at the farm.

As the weather and light move closer to winter, what we will have available becomes less predictable.  We will have some, but not all of the following....


Sweet Potatoes $2/pound
We have four varieties: Violetta, All Purple, Bradshaw and Ginseng

Lettuce, $2/bag

Collards, $2/pound

Dill, $1/bunch

Rosemary, $1/bunch

Radishes, $1.50/bunch


Arugula, $1/bag


Mustard, $1/bag

Sorrel, $2/bag

Tomatoes, 25 cents each
There are just a few of these left.  Kitchen counter ripened, but still tasty.


Mushrooms:  Shiitake and/or Oyster, $8/pound
Weather permitting


We are also offering parents at the school the opportunity to sell produce from their own gardens for a $5 per day table fee.  If you are a parent at the school and are interested in renting table space, please contact Mary Beth Mueller via the number in the school directory, or you can send an email via this blog. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Work Days November 13 to 19, 2011


This week I'll be trying something a little different. 

Friday, November 18 from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm.  I will be at the farm for the entire school day.  This will be the only farm work day for the week.  If it is cold, there will be a fire that we can warm ourselves by as needed.  We'll work on prepping beds for spring, finishing the fence, building cloches for the crops that will be wintering over and pruning the raspberries if their leaves have dropped.  Stop on by any time during the day and join in for 15 minutes or all 6 1/2 hours - or just bring a thermos of hot tea with milk and some cookies.  ;-)  Every little bit of help makes a big difference!

Picture of the Week

I found this critter under the tomatoes.  The tomato patch seems to be a favorite place for reptiles and amphibians, which is a good thing because they love to eat the bugs that love to eat tomatoes!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Tuesday Market, November 8, 2012


Visit us in the gazebo, 8:00 to 9:00 in the morning and 3:00 to 4:00 in the afternoon on Tuesdays. We'll be there rain or shine.  

Come get your fresh veggies and herbs.  Support the farm program at the same time.  100% of the money you spend at the Emerson Farm market table goes into supporting the cost of tools, seeds and plants at the farm.

We'll have...

Mushrooms:  Shiitake and/or Oyster, $8/pound
Weather permitting





Sweet Potatoes $2/pound
We have four varieties: Violetta, All Purple, Bradshaw and Ginseng

Lettuce, $2/bag

Collards, $2/pound

Dill, $1/bunch

Rosemary, $1/bunch

Radishes, $1.50/bunch


Arugula, $1/bag


Mustard, $1/bag

Sorrel, $2/bag

Tomatoes, 25 cents each
There are just a few of these left.  Kitchen counter ripened, but still tasty.

We are also offering parents at the school the opportunity to sell produce from their own gardens for a $5 per day table fee.  If you are a parent at the school and are interested in renting table space, please contact Mary Beth Mueller via the number in the school directory, or you can send an email via this blog.   

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fall 2011 Update

Just in case you haven't had a chance to spend any time at the garden this fall, here's a quick look at everything that has happened since we came back to school.

Compost
Grades 3, 9 and 10 and several parent volunteers built and finished one compost pile and started a new one over the course of the fall.  The ninth and tenth grade Biodynamic Gardening class had the honor of adding the compost preparations to the finished pile to "put it to bed" for the winter.


Third grade has patiently lugged pounds of kitchen and lunch scraps over from the lower and middle schools each week to dump into the kitchen scrap compost bin which was built by Oliver and Nicholas, our 10th grade service project workers, out of stuff lying around the farm - just in time for the first dumping.


Scraps are collected in the bin and periodically added as a layer to the newest compost pile.  Which should be ready to receive the BD preps in spring - right around the time the older pile has become rich, dark, crumbly soil ready for spreading on the spring beds.


Planting and Harvesting
Over the course of the fall we planted carrots, beets, radishes, mustard, collards, chard, lettuce, dill, arugula, spinach, parsley, cilantro, oats, wheat, rye, calendula, larkspur, garlic, oyster mushrooms, pansies and vetch and buckwheat as cover crops.  

In addition to harvesting what we planted above, we also harvested leeks, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, basil, shiitake mushrooms and all sorts of flowers for bouquets.


Tuesday Markets
Every Monday, one of the major tasks that the third graders take on with great vigor is harvesting.  Their work is serious and meaningful as all the food they harvest is cleaned by volunteers and sold at our own farmer's market the next day.  This year our weekly market is being offered both in the morning and in the afternoon at the gazebo in the center of the school.  So far we have had good success, averaging about $100 a month which will go towards seeds and tools as the year progresses.  As people get used to the new location we are sure that more and more people will visit us.  Come check us out!

New Wheelbarrows
One of the bigger ticket items we bought with market money we earned last year was two wheelbarrows.  These are not just any wheelbarrows, but state of the are low riding wheelbarrows with smaller bins and two wheels instead of the usual single wheel.  They are just the right height, hold just the right amount and are just the right level of difficulty to navigate for third graders.  They were assembled by Jake and Oliver with a lot more ease than I ever could have mustered and have been a major asset to our weekly work with the third grade.
In addition to our new wheelbarrows we were also able to purchase several new spade forks, harvest buckets and seeds and bulbs for this fall.  

Flow Form Installation
Last Spring many of our students had the opportunity to help make flow forms from scratch, starting with molds, concrete, and will power they poured, released and finished the basins for three different types of flow form. You can check out the August 5, 2011 posting on Flow Forms to see the kids in action as they made them.  Below are all the bits and pieces of the flow form that will be installed at Emerson Farm.


This fall three of our 10th graders (Jake and Oliver pictured here, Nicholas is helping too, but not pictured) have taken on installing that flow form.  Here you can see them as they begin excavations for the two holding tanks for the bottom of the forms.  


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Work Days Nov. 6 to 12, 2011

As fall turns colder and plants begin to drop their leaves, our tasks at the garden will become more about prepping beds for next spring (when it is warm enough and not too wet), pruning bushes, building compost, clean up and maintenance.

This week we'll have two work days:

Wednesday, November 9 from 1 to 3 we will take care of the raspberries and prep a bed for spring planting.

Friday, November 11 from 1 to 3 we will plant the last of the garlic, weed the root bed, add manure to the compost pile, build a cloche (a sort of mini greenhouse over the garden bed), and start prepping a root bed for spring planting.

Come on by for any amount of time during the work days.  Every little bit of help makes a big difference!

Picture of the Week
Here are some flats of leafy greens planted by our 10th graders during their 6 week farming block back when the weather was warmer.  Most of these have been transplanted into the leaf bed by now and/or sold at the weekly market.  It's hard to believe that these little guys could have grown up and moved on in such a short amount of time!