Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Foccaccia Bread

This week Daniel used fresh basil from the garden to make this amazing foccaccia.  Everyone had thirds and wished there was more.

Mix together and let sit for 30 minutes while the yeast activates:
2 1/4 t yeast
1 T sugar
1 C warm water

In a separate bowl mix:
a slosh of olive oil
1 t salt
chopped up fresh basil
4 C flour

Add the yeast mixture and enough water to make dough.  Knead for about 10 minutes.

Cover and let rise for 4 hours.

Punch down, then cover and let it rise again for 30 minutes.  While you are letting the dough rise for the second time, mix:
 more chopped fresh basil
chopped fresh rosemary
minced garlic

(amounts can be variable)

Divide the dough between 2 greased 9X13 pans and sprinkle with the herb/salt/cheese mix you made during the second rise.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

Optional: mix together olive oil, basil and rosemary for a lovely dipping sauce.

Blue Skies and Work

Due to technical difficulties of a mysterious nature Alex, our cameraman for the week, only took two pictures.  He'll be back for a second attempt sometime soon.

Dennis has blue skies on his mind.

Calendar, gloves and weed whacker string, what more could we need?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Interested in Starting a Pollinator Garden?

These Pollinator Conservation Workshop and Garden Tours were offered on the Growing Small Farms listserve.  Check it out:

Registration deadline is Monday Sept. 24!

Note: I have had several requests for an early afternoon garden tour for folks coming in from far outside the county, so here it is!

If you want to attract more pollinators to your farm or garden, or if you just want to expand your perennial garden and provide resources for pollinators and other wildlife, then Chatham County Cooperative Extension has a workshop just for you, and just in time for the fall planting season! Learn how to create a pollinator paradise like the one found at Extension’s pollinator garden at Chatham Marketplace in Pittsboro: http://bit.ly/95ZS1C

September 26 (Wednesday): Pollinator Conservation Workshop and Garden Tour from 5:30-7:30 pm

September 29 (Saturday): Pollinator Conservation Workshop and Garden Tour from 2:00-4:00 pm

(Same workshop offered twice to keep class size low and accommodate different schedules so please choose one)
The Chatham County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension will offer a pollinator conservation workshop and garden tour as part of its Enhancing Sustainability Series on Wednesday, September 26, 2012 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and Saturday, September 29 from 2:00-4:00 pm. in the auditorium of the Agriculture Building in Pittsboro. Chatham County Agricultural Extension Agent Debbie Roos will give an overview of North Carolina pollinators and discuss the role of native bees and managed bees in crop pollination. Participants will learn about the principles of planting a pollinator garden and - just in time for fall planting - how to select trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, herbs, vines, and grasses to attract a diversity of pollinators. Debbie will emphasize native plants but also include a few other plants that provide good resources. The workshop will include a tour of Cooperative Extension's demonstration pollinator garden at Chatham Marketplace, about half a mile from the Agriculture Building (see http://bit.ly/95ZS1C). The garden is comprised of ~140 different species and cultivars, 85% of which are native to the piedmont of North Carolina.
The deadline for registration is September 24. Registration forms must be RECEIVED by the deadline. Space is limited so please register early to reserve your spot. The cost of the workshop is $15 and includes a CD of resources. Call 919-542-8202 or email debbie_roos@ncsu.edu for more information. Visit the Growing Small Farms website at http://bit.ly/qb7UB to download a registration form.

I hope to see you there!


Debbie Roos
Agricultural Extension Agent
Chatham County Center
North Carolina Cooperative Extension

All electronic mail messages in connection with State business which are sent to or received by this account are subject to the NC Public Records Law and may be disclosed to third parties.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Where Does Good Soil Come From?

This week high school senior, Shay, took a turn with the camera...

 Jonah's working on fixing a hose


 Jon likes persimmons.  Or maybe he doesn't.  It's hard to tell.

 And now the story of how good soil is made...

 This is Finnigan.

 This is Finnigan's pasture.  Yum, yum.

 Finnigan eats the grass in the pasture and turns it into horse apples.

 Here comes third grade.  They will mix Finnigan's horse apples with lots of weeds, kitchen scraps and specially prepared herbal treatments in a big compost pile.  The pile will "digest" for about 6 months, then 3rd grade will sift the rich, fresh soil they made, put it on a bed, plant something in the bed and voila...

 Something yummy for people to eat. 

 And now a few words from our sponsor...




Sorrel Pesto

This recipe was made by Denis for our 7th grade class.  It was truly delicious.

2 C coarsely chopped fresh sorrel, ribs removed
2/3 C packed fresh parsley leaves
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/3 C freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 C pine nuts
1/2 t salt
1/4 C olive oil

Put everything into a food processor or blender and puree.  Refrigerate in a jar with a tight fitting lid for up to two weeks.  Denis served his pesto over gluten free pasta with cherry tomatoes and olives.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Weeding, Stirring Equisetum, Dining and Pictures of the Farm

This week 7th grade started with pulling some enormous weeds leftover from summer.  

Pull these weeds please!

Are these big enough?

 Don't worry.  I've got these.

 Who's been working harder?

Wait a minute!  Are we pulling weeds or singing opera here?

Off to the compost pile with all the weeds...  Well, most of them anyways.

Leland to the rescue.  "I'll help you with those weeds Noah!"

 Finally!  I think we've gotten them all.

We finished up by stirring fermented equisetum.  Equisetum is a tea made from horsetail which is allowed to sit until it ferments.  It is stirred with rain water and sprinkled over the garden to keep fungi in the ground where they belong, not on the plants where it causes rotting and blight.  Third grade arrived next and did the sprinkling.

This is Natty, our photographer of the day, thinking hard about what he'd like to photograph.  I know!  Pictures of our break area would be great. 

Looking up.

Looking down.

A view from inside the garden.

 The chickens worked hard too in their mobile chicken tractor.

 Our only surviving chick died.  Rest in peace Penguin.

Somebody needs to clean up this kitchen.

Carter found gourds hiding in the weeds.

MacKenzie made us Panzanella salad over bruschetta with basil from the garden.

Thank you MacKenzie.  It was delicious!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Local Organic Cotton

Cotton is one of the most sprayed crops because we don't eat it so there is less concern about pesticide residue.  Unfortunately those pesticides end up in our watersheds and we get exposed to them anyway.  It is so nice to know that someone in NC is working locally to bring change to how this crop is grown.

Check out this link to an article about TS Designs and Cotton of the Carolinas,  two affiliated companies who have been working for the last 10 years to bring organic cotton farming and sales to NC.