Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Winter Time

Time for a quick update from the farm as so many things have been happening even as we move deeper into this strange wet and mostly mild winter. Our lovely flock of ewes have been joined by a handsome Border Leceister ram named Franklin and four dainty and quite pregnant Shetland ewes so we can look forward to more lustrous fleece of different colours and curls in the spring. We can also look forward to some lambs, some of whom are set to arrive as early as March and others will more wisely wait until April or even May to make their appearance. A few of our CSA members have already told us about their interest in our lambs and we will likely take orders for meat in the late Spring though we won't be delivering before the end of October.

Franklin is always curious and wants to get up close and personal

The dainty Shetlands have a sweet way of greeting by lifting their front hoof and waving.

These sheep all came from a farm in PEI owned by Lorna McMaster and her husband Brian. At Pembroke Farm the two of them raise their lovely sheep and train and teach dog herding with their  border collies. Sadie the border collie is considering a move to Watershed Farm. 

Sadie has very expressive eyes and lovely temperament.

Last week Watershed Farm was honoured at a Turkey Dinner by The Ark/Lunenburg County Association for the Specially Challenged. The Community Partner Appreciation Award was given to us in recognition of our contributions of food to their wonderful Cooking Program. Two of the participants wrote this speech and presented the award to me.... it was a great honour. 

"For the past three years Watershed Farm has donated a fabulous variety of organic vegetables, fruit and herbs to The Ark and the Cooking Program.

These donations have been delivered with a smiling face each week, sometimes even twice a week, during the growing season.

And we sure have enjoyed them. The Cooking Program has created all kinds of interesting meals, and clients have tasted veggies like edmame beans, multi-coloured carrots and kale for the first time in their lives.

Many clients have also taken veggies home to prepare themselves, making meals like stir-fry and curry. Even the pets got to enjoy the food with the carrot greens going home to my hamster.

We are very pleased and grateful to be able to present this Community Partner Appreciation Award to you, Camelia Frieberg and your wonderful Watershed Farm.

Thank you from all of us and we wish you a good growing season for the new year coming."

Here's Caroline who helped write the speech and presented the award.

We are looking forward to welcoming our new farm managers in the New Year. Rob and Claire and their baby Holly will be bringing a great deal of experience and enthusiasm to their work here at the farm and we are certainly keen to work together so as to expand on all of the various ways that Watershed Farm can continue to grow and become ever more bountiful. Speaking of which... our soil analysis tests are in and we will soon start working with Viliam Zvalo and Av Singh on our Nutrient Management Plan. This is a detailed and specific approach to addressing the fertility needs of our soil in order to help us grow the most nutrient dense, healthy food possible. As always, we will be addressing all of our farm needs using organic and biodynamic practices. 

Stay warm and dry and enjoy the Holiday Season. 

Camelia



Saturday, November 17, 2012

Goodbye Watershed!

Hello all you Watershed fans!

In my last blog post, I wanted to share some photos of what's been going on at the farm lately.  Our dear kittens, who started out as little walnut-sized bumps we felt in Mel's belly in late March, are now 7 months old and the friendliest, sweetest kitties I've ever seen.  Here they are demonstrating a winter use for row cover, one of our greatest pest control tools in the field:
Motley, Ginja, and Buddy

Life is tough when you're a spoiled brat!

The sweetest carrots of the season!
The sheep have been reduced to a flock of just gals, after Yoda met his maker halaal-style a week ago.  We are in the process of putting up a winter paddock for them, but they are still enjoying the pasture in the meantime!
Flicker, Toots, Petunia, Sonya, Lola, and Rita (and Robin behind).  A flock of good-lookin' gals!

Somebody's been sleeping in MY bed... and he's still here!
We're attending the Lunenburg (Lunenburg Community Centre, Thurs. 8:30-12:30) and Waldorf (Waldorf School, Blockhouse Sat. 10-1) markets each week.  The new greenhouse has a bumper crop of greens and we're still harvesting rutabaga, carrots, beets, salad, broccoli, herbs, chard, sunchokes, radishes, and microgreens.
Market table full of delicious treats!

GOODBYE!!
Jon and I enjoy a vacation to Cape Breton following the last CSA delivery, October 2012.

And finally, I'd like to say some Thank You's: to Camelia, for offering us this opportunity on Watershed this year; to Lisa for her steadfast hard work and good humour; to all of our CSA members, who will always be fondly remembered; to our work shares Anna, Kyle, Tammy, and especially Susan, who helped us find joy around us again when we needed it; to Joe who shared lots of laughs, tips, and steaks; to all of our excellent WWOOFers: John, Alex, Zoe, Alex II, Samia, Loic, Manon, and Marguerite; to our friend James who lifted our spirits and did more than his share of work, as well as helping us take some time off to enjoy the scenery; to Judy and Gord who gave Lisa a holiday and all of us a hearty pat on the back; to my Mom and Dad, who put up with it; to all of our customers at the markets, who made it all worth it; to Thomas who helped us get started; to Melissa who can always be counted on; to our mentors Bruce (grapes), Jack (sheep), Alyson, Cindy, and David (farming and life in general); to many, many, many people for all the encouragement; and to you, for reading this blog and caring about Watershed Farm!

Jon and I will miss the South Shore, but our farming journey continues in the Valley.  Thank you, each and every great person we have met this year!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Watershed Farm CSA - 09 October 2012 - Delivery #17

Hello to everyone in our CSA,
As we arrive at the end of the seventeen weeks of the 2012 CSA, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for being members of the ever-evolving and growing community of "eaters and growers" who make up Watershed Farm. I have lived and farmed here on this hill top for over a dozen years and I continue to feel blessed waking here every morning even if it means hearing the young roosters announce their ever increasing testosterone levels a few hours earlier than any civilized creature should find their voice.
I also want to take this moment to thank this season's farm managers, Jon and Teri who will be leaving us in a few months. In answer to my ads for a farm manager last year, they impressed me with their mixture of enthusiasm and experience. They moved across the country to farm on a piece of land that they didn't know, in a climate and community that was entirely new to them. They have done a most admirable job and they brought to it a great deal of professionalism and dedication, not to mention humour. 

I would like to believe that over the course of these last eight months, they truly came to love this place, which was one of the things that I asked them to try to do at the very beginning of the season. As I see it, farming is an act of love. Nourishing the soil, having faith in a seed, feeding people with the fruits of your labour.. it is easy to talk about farming in metaphoric terms but it actually entails an awful lot of very hard and often tedious physical work. Neither Jon nor Teri shied away from embracing that work and the bounty of the garden that you have enjoyed all season speaks to their efforts. While they take their time to figure out their next move, I know that the experience of acting as farm managers here this year was an opportunity that they deeply appreciate and I trust that they will continue to have a positive relationship with Watershed Farm as they forge their own path. 

It is also time to acknowledge the contribution of Lisa Burgschmidt who has lived on the farm since January as an apprentice. While her talents are too numerous to mention here, it should be said that LIsa has become a sheep whisperer, a chicken wrangler, an herbalist, a market vendor and sumac-ade maker, a forager, a harvester and bag packer extraordinaire. Lisa moves on very soon and we will miss her terribly but know that she will remain a great friend to this place and hope that it won't be long before she returns for her first "visit" as a non-working guest. 

As we enter our fourth season at Watershed CSA, we look forward to introducing improvements and changes that will offer you even more reasons to stay on board as members of a community that cares about the environment, the food you eat,  the way it is grown and the people who dedicate themselves to farming as a vocation. Your membership has helped us in so many ways. It is your support and commitment that allows us to be able to offer opportunities to new farmers such as Jon and Teri, and apprentices like Lisa, work-share memberships, subsidized shares, weekly donations to the Cooking Program at The Ark, school field trips and more. 

Our CSA members can look forward to an extended season with our new greenhouse now up and planted out. This allows us to offer you more vegetables both later into the Winter season and earlier in the Spring. The newly minted Monthly Winter CSA is a very exciting development and we will soon have the web site set up so that we can take your orders  and payments for our first Monthly Winter CSA delivery in early November. More on the specifics of the first Winter CSA delivery coming soon...

We are also eager to start planning for next season which brings me around me to reminding you that we are offering an extra early bird special for those who sign on for next season by November 9th. Your $200 deposit will be applied to your 2014 membership at the extra discounted rate. Again, the website will accept paypal payments for this extra early bird discount in just a few days. 

This past weekend was a very special one for my family. My daughter Addie celebrated her Bat Mitzvah here at the farm with over 50 of  our closest family and friends. We dined like kings and queens all weekend, a moveable feast from Friday night to Sunday brunch. Much of what we ate was grown here at Watershed Farm and some came from the fields of friends farms.. but more importantly all of it was grown and cooked with love, which is why it tasted so wonderful. Enjoy your vegetables!

Camelia Frieberg
Watershed Farm
And now Teri's note to all of you:

Hi everyone!

17 weeks ago seems like a long time ago, but it's here: your final CSA basket of the year!  

We are still planning on doing a later add-on shipment on Tuesday, November 6th of some storage crops and (hopefully!) greens from the new greenhouse.  Items that may be available at that time include: eggs, carrots, beets, sunchokes, kale, pumpkins, salad mix, and stir-fry mix.  We also may have some organic stewing hens as we cull our flock for the winter months, provided we can get our girls in to an inspected facility by that time.  I will send out a list about a week before with available items and a price list, and if we have enough interest we can come all the way to Halifax.  Let me know if this is something you would be interested in!

Two administrative notes about tomorrow:
Chester: pick-up location has changed to Chez Glass Lass, 63 Duke Street, 12:00 - 5:00
Mahone Bay: Mateus Bistro is closed, but the bags will be in front of the door under the bench.

The cooler bags that you have been getting your deliveries in belong to you, and we hope you can use them.  If you would like to return any, we can definitely make use of them by re-using them next year or donating them to subsidized share members, and will swing by the locations to pick them up if you do choose to return them.

Thank you for being part of Watershed Farm's CSA. It's an amazing thing to grow produce for 62 members of our local community. The “C” in CSA is community and now you and all of us on the farm are a community. Some might think of a CSA as a community coming together to support a local farm, but you can spin it around and think of it as creating a community out of like-minded people, who all care about where their food comes from and put that into action. My hope is that, even though the weekly produce deliveries are over for the year, the community will continue to thrive for years to come.

We decided to each write a little note on the occasion of the last CSA to say our goodbyes and thank yous:

 
Lisa Burgschmidt
I have always been passionate about good food, and especially cooking it and feeding it to people. But this was the first year where I helped grow food for strangers, and I loved it. It's a lot of work to get vegetables from a tiny seed, to your CSA bag. In the busy months of the summer, there were times when I felt more like a headless chicken than a farm apprentice (only there was a lot less blood). This season I learned a lot about starting, growing, harvesting and packing vegetables. The more I learned about those things, the warier (and let me tell you, I was pretty damn wary to begin with) I grew of conventional, pesticide-intensive agriculture. We worked hard to get your food to you as fresh as possible, and it made me wonder what those big companies (even a lot of the organic produce you buy in the store is all the way from California) do to their vegetables to make them still appear fresh when they reach the grocery store. .. I think that in this point of the brewing food revolution, it is an experiment both on the part of the farmer, and you, the customer, to find a method that works for both of us. I am excited to see CSA's growing in popularity, and to acknowledge that there is a lot of young farmers in this area. Nova Scotia actually has the highest population in Canada of young farmers right now, and to me that speaks volumes about this place. I've been in Nova Scotia for a little over a year now, and I have more than fallen in love with this tiny little province, and the people that call it home. My time here on Watershed Farm is drawing to a close as well, though I too plan to stay in the area, after going back to visit friends and family back west in November. Have a lovely autumn folks.


 
 
Jon JenkinsWhen thinking over this past growing season, I think about all of the hours of work, all of the crops planted, all of the successes and all of the things I would do different next time. I loved it all. But, the most amazing aspect of farming at Watershed was a bit surprising, something I had not expected or even thought about. Just as we have formed a community through our CSA, the most amazing thing to me, was being part of a community of local farmers. We've been fortunate enough to develop friendships with many small-scale farmers in the area. What do farmers love to do when they're not farming? Talk about farming. Teri and I have spent more then one day off visiting other people's farms seeing how they grow vegetables and raise animals. All of the farmers were nothing but supportive, always willing to share their knowledge and always encouraging us to keep farming. Its amazing to be in an industry where knowledge and practices are freely shared without hesitation. A benefit of being outside of the corporate farming world, is that corporate secrets don't exist out here.


Teri Dillon
There are many things I could talk about in the past growing season, but I would have to say my favourite part of this year was the teamwork it took to grow food for everyone.  We worked so that the work was shared and if one of us was behind or needed a hand with something, the others would help out.  I'm glad that Jon and I are as good of a team as we thought coming out here, and this will hopefully carry us well in future farming endeavours, as well as life in general.  Lisa was a trooper, and we couldn't have done a moment of it without her.  We also had a lot of help from work shares and WWOOFers, which always seemed to come at the right time and were always more fun than I expected.  No farm is an island: it takes a team of people working together to make things happen (especially when you're doing things the right way, which is often synonymous with the hard way!).  I also found a love for Nova Scotia and am so happy and thankful that we found Camelia and this opportunity on Watershed Farm.  I have learned more in the past year than I have in the past 10 years, which is why this was such a rewarding experience.  Thank you for being a part of our first CSA, we will never forget it, and I hope that you will continue to be a part of the change you want to see in the world. 
In your basket this week:

Carrots
A mix of yellow, orange, purple and red ones.  We think these are the most gosh-darn delicious carrots we've had all year.

Beets
If you haven't made borscht this season; you must!  A fellow vendor at the Bridgewater market used my recipe and made some a couple of weeks ago and was impressed.  I've given the recipe before, but I'm giving it to you again just because it's so good:

RECIPE: Stephanie’s Ukrainian Borscht
1 lb. Beef or pork bones with some meat on
3-4 quarts water
2 t salt or to taste
½ t ground black pepper
2 medium onions, chopped
½ C diced or shredded carrots
1 C diced or shredded potatoes
1 t dill weed (finely crushed FRESH stems and leaves)
2 T white vinegar
1 C shredded cabbage
½ C green or yellow wax beans
¼ C peas
4-6 medium beets shredded or chopped (when fresh leave some stems on)
1 can pre-cooked white beans
1 can crushed tomatoes
½ pint half and half cream or any sweet cream

(Meat is optional, but good for flavor) 
Boil bones in the water (skimming) until meat falls off, cut up and return to pot.  (If the bones are very fatty you may want to remove the fat or wait until the next day when the soup has cooled and remove it then).  Add salt and pepper, and other ingredients (except cream) in order given.  Be sure to add vinegar before beets or the soup may turn orange (does not affect taste).  Boil until vegetables are tender.  Turn heat off and add sweet cream (do not boil).  Serve.
Note: If you want to freeze some soup, don’t add the cream.  Just put in a plastic container and add the cream after you bring it to a boil.
- I don’t measure anything exactly—that’s what makes it unique.  If you don’t have soup bones, boil some round steak chopped in little pieces or ground beef.    

 
Stir-Fry Mix
The stir-fry mix this week is a mixture of kale, chard, asian greens (tatsoi, yukina savoy, ruby streaks, mizuna, red mizuna, red choi, pac choi), nasturtiums and broccoli florets, which makes it literally a meal in a bag!  We tempered our over-eating this weekend by enjoying a bag of stir-fry mix sauteed in a little bit of oil and some salt and pepper, and I was happy to find that it was as delicious as it looked.  It's nice when healthy things are delicious, too!

Parsley
The parsley was too beautiful to pass up this week.  I hope you make some really delicious tabouli salad or a big pot of soup!

Autumn Herb Medley by Lisa, Hobo Crow Teas
This is a mixture of herbs that were grown from seed (or existing perennial herbs) here on the farm. They were harvested and hung to dry, then processed by hand and mixed into a   scrumptious herb medley of Marjoram, Oregano, Thyme & Summer Savory. It's my favorite mix of cooking herbs, mostly because its so versatile. You can sprinkle it on your eggs, omelet, cheese or garlic toast, as well as use it in pasta sauces, on pizza, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, in a salad dressing, as poultry seasoning. .. really, go wild with this herb mix, go to town with it, throw it on anything you like, enjoy.

Sunchokes
This crop truly surprised us this year: not only are they prolific, the plants also make a great windbreak and people go nuts over them at the farmer's market!  I've printed off the recipes I gave you the first time and have been handing them out at the market, and since we haven't found a recipe to beat the ones I gave last time, here they are again:

RECIPE: Cream of Sunchoke Soup
1 lb jerusalem artichoke, peeled and cubed
1 lb yukon gold potato, washed and cubed
2 leeks, halved, rinsed and sliced
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 cup cream
1.5 (50 ounce) containers chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 ounces baby spinach leaves

Directions:
1 In a large soup pot heat olive oil over medium high heat until the scent starts to bloom.
2 Add onions, leeks, and garlic to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. About 5 minutes.
3 Add Jerusalem artichokes and potatoes and cook for 5 minutes.
4 Add chicken broth and bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to keep at a low boil.
5 Cook 15-20 minutes, or until Jerusalem artichokes and potatoes are tender.
6 Reduce heat to low. Using a stick blender, or by transferring to a blender, puree soup until smooth.
7 Stir in cream.
8 In warmed soup bowls place 1/3 cup baby spinach leaves and ladle soup over until it covers spinach.

RECIPE: Sauteed Sunchokes
Ingredients:
1 lb sunchokes/jerusalem artichoke
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions:
1 Scrub or peel artichokes.
2 Slice each artichoke to 1/4 inch thick slices.
3 In a Wok or frying pan, heat olive oil and butter on medium-high heat.
4 Add sliced artichokes, garlic, salt, pepper and parsley; stir well to coat artichokes.
5 Stir-fry for about 4 minutes, stirring often.
6 Do not overcook artichokes, they should be slightly crunchy.
7 Serve immediately.

Lettuce
These are very small, tender lettuce heads, and Lisa is sharing her secret family recipe for dressing:

RECIPE: Seizure Salad Dressing
Ingredients:
1/3 cup mayonnaise
juice of half/whole lemon
good few dashes of Worcestershire
3-6 cloves of finely minced garlic
fresh ground pepper.

Combine all ingredients, mix into salad, top with home-made croutons, and enjoy.

I think this is one of the first recipes I ever learned as a kid, I loved this dressing so much I could eat it with a spoon. . And sometimes I did. . .This recipe is a little vague, as I've been making it for so many years that I don't really measure anything, I usually make it to taste. (I'm sort of a garlic enthusiast)

Full share members also get:

BeansJust in case you didn't get enough last week, some more beans.  As Lisa and I were freezing our butts (and hands) off picking them this morning, we decided that we haven't had enough beans yet this season, nor could we ever get sick of them: So I hope you haven't either!

Brassica MixJon loves these little cabbages that you are getting along with cauliflower, broccoli, or romanesco broccoflower.  


Thanks again for being a part of Watershed Farm's 2012 CSA; it's people like you who make all the difference.

You can find us at the Lunenburg Farmer's Market every Thursday from 8-12. 


--
Teri DillonWatershed Farm
768 Allen Frausel Road
Baker Settlement, Nova Scotia
B4V 7H8
c. 902.212.2301 | p. 902.685.3901

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Monday, October 1, 2012

Watershed Farm CSA - 02 October 2012 - Delivery #16

Hi everyone!

 The Lovely Rita!

As I write this, I'm in the barn in a makeshift office keeping one of our sheep company.  She hurt her lip somehow and it's infected, so she has a posh pad in the barn and all her meals are hand-picked while she recovers.  Her talking while I write this is really not the ideal office setting, but I can tell she appreciates the company, so I don't mind.

This week we said goodbye to a most excellent WWOOFer Manon from The Netherlands, and welcomed (equally excellent) Marguerite from Maine.  We have enjoyed the most Willing of Workers on Organic Farms this year, and are glad for all the great help!  With the hands of these very helpful gals the past couple of weeks we have: put plastic on our new greenhouse, started taking down the tomato trellising, removed plastic mulch from the field, cut down our massively tall sunchokes that were falling over, sorted and bagged onions for storage, prepped garlic for storage and planting, weeded, harvested all of our winter squash, et cetera.  It's great to have help at the end of the season when we are all getting tired, and we have enjoyed keeping some different company and having someone to share our dinner table and wonderful harvest with!

 

(T) Manon at the Thursday Lunenburg Market; (B) Marguerite, who may have to take this cat with her, he loves her so much!

Just a reminder that the last week of delivery is next week, October 9th.  After you cease to get a goodie bag every week, you can find us at the Lunenburg Farmer's Market every Thursday from 8-12.

We are considering doing a later add-on shipment on Tuesday, November 6th of some storage crops and (hopefully!) greens from the new greenhouse.  Items that may be available at that time include: eggs, carrots, beets, sunchokes, kale, pumpkins, salad mix, and stir-fry mix.  We also may have some organic stewing hens as we cull our flock for the winter months, provided we can get our girls in to an inspected facility by that time.  I will send out a list about a week before with available items and a price list, and if we have enough interest we can come all the way to Halifax.  Let me know if this is something you would be interested in!

The theme of your bag this week is "Thanksgiving", because that is the occasion that has so quickly come upon us.  Thanksgiving (always the second Monday in October for us Canadians), is a time to celebrate the harvest and the blessings that the past year has bestowed upon us.  And oh, what a bountiful harvest we have to be thankful for!  You are one of 62 families that we have supplied every week for the past 16 weeks, and growing food for others is something truly special.  The "C" in CSA stands for Community, and after seeing one in action this year I know that CSAs can be a huge part of building community.  For us, who come to know your name (and even face) while we feed you from week to week, and for you, being connected to a farm and getting to meet others who are as well.  So, this Thanksgiving, know that you are such an important part of Watershed Farm, and all of us on the farm are thankful for YOU!

Jon and I will not be staying next season on Watershed Farm, but it has been a true delight filling your tables with farm-fresh goodies this season.  This year has shown us that we work very well together and are a great farming team, and one of our favourite parts of the farm was planning, managing, harvesting, and executing the CSA.  Watershed Farm is a great place for new farmers to learn and get some hands-on experience, and so we know that the next farm managers will have a great opportunity in front of them.  Whoever they are, I hope they have as much fun as we did, and that they have enough time every day to take a moment and realize how beautiful and bountiful this hilltop is.  We're thankful that you were a part of the CSA as we went through this process, and hope that Watershed Farm can continue to fill your tables next season.

Having members stay on from year to year is a real opportunity to continue growing the relationship between farmer and customer, as well as reducing costs and efforts in advertising and recruiting new members.  If you are interested in staying on for next year, Camelia is happy to offer you a discount, though the pricing and structure of next year's CSA is still being decided (and may not be fully decided until the new farm manager is in place).  Different structure may mean different share sizes, longer delivery season, an option for late-season bulk deliveries, et cetera, but of course will take into consideration the needs and wants of the members, first.  So, if you want to reserve your space for 2013 at an early-early-early-bird discounted rate, you can put down a $200 deposit by November 9th (via cheque for now and paypal once we have it set up), and you can really be a part of the whole process, from start to finish!

What's in your bag this week:


Green Tomatoes
This is the very end of our tomato harvest, and green tomatoes are something that you just can't get anywhere but a farm, or your own garden.  My Mom says she slices them and frys them with onions and butter, and that they go great with bacon and eggs.  We tried the recipe below the other day and the cornmeal was delicious against the tartness of the tomatoes.  I substituted most things out of this recipe and it was still good! (wheat flour for sorghum flour, buttermilk for coconut milk with an egg mixed in, and different spices). 

RECIPE: Fried Green Tomatoes

Ingredients:

1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 pinch cayenne
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
4 large unripe tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices,ends removed
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
hot pepper sauce, for serving
lemon wedge, for serving

Directions:

1 In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, garlic powder, and cayenne together.
2 Pour the buttermilk into a separate bowl and season with salt and pepper.
3 Dip the tomatoes in the buttermilk and then dredge them in the cornmeal mixture, coating both sides well.
4 Place a large cast iron skillet over medium heat and coat with the oil.
5 When the oil is hot, pan-fry the tomatoes (in batches if necessary) until golden brown and crispy on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
6 Carefully remove the tomatoes and drain on paper towels.
7 Serve with hot pepper sauce and lemon.

Pumpkins
We wanted to make sure you had no excuse not to have a home-made pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving!  You may have your own recipe, and what I've found is that the most important part is making sure you puree the pumpkin (with a food processor, blender, or immersion blender) after you cook it to make sure it's not stringy.  It works best to slice it in half, remove the seeds (make sure you eat them!**) and roast in the oven face down in about an inch of water until soft.  Here's my recipe:
RECIPE: Pumpkin Pie
Ingredients:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (See note)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (See note)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (See note)
2 large eggs
1-3/4 cups pumpkin puree
1 (12 ounce) can Carnation Evaporated Milk
1 unbaked 9-inch deep dish pie pastry (I usually make my own with graham crakers instead of buying one)
whipped cream (optional)

Directions:
1 Note: Substitute 1-3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice instead of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; the taste will be slightly different.
2 Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
3 Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves in small bowl.
4 Beat eggs in large bowl.
5 Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture.
6 Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
7 Pour mixture into pie shell.
8 Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.
9 Reduce temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
10 Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.
11 Cool on wire rack for 2 hours.
12 Serve immediately or refrigerate.
13 Top with whipped cream before serving for best results!
14 Do not overcook; overcooking leads to pie cracking in the middle.
15 Try to bake the day you will serve the pie. Cooking in advance can make the crust soggy. If you have to bake a day before serving, pop the pie in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes and it should bring the crust back to life!

**The seeds inside your pumpkin should be mature and can be eaten as well.  Remove them from inside, wash the strings and pulp off in cold water, toss in 1-2 tablespoons of melted butter (or oil) and spread out on a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with sea salt or whatever flavour you prefer, and roast about 40 minutes at 300 degrees, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.  You can also skip the butter and they are just as good!

I also caught wind of a chocolate pumpkin cake that one of our CSA members made for her son's birthday last week, here's a link to the recipe:
Pumpkin Chocolate Cake

Please note that you can substitute fresh, pureed pumpkin in any recipe that calls for a can of pumpkin (a can is usually about 1-3/4 cups).  After all, pumpkin grows in the squash patch, not in a can!

Carrots

It definitely feels like time to make soup; in fact, we had an entire soup-themed week!  We made: Cream of Sunchoke, Chicken Vegetable, Coconut Butternut, Haddock Chowder, Spicy Lentil, Split Pea, Borscht, and Mulligatawny... and we didn't even get sick of soup or exhaust our creativity!  If we hold Soup Week II, this one is at the top of the list:
RECIPE: Carrot Ginger Soup with Lemon
Ingredients:
 1/16-1/8 cup cup butter
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 tablespoon finely chopped, peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/4 lbs medium carrots, peeled,chopped (about 3 cups)
2 tomatoes, seeded,chopped (about 1 1/3 cups)
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemons, rind of
3 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons sour cream
1 small carrot, peeled, grated

Directions:
1 Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat.
2 Add onion; sauté 4 minutes.
3 Add ginger and garlic; sauté 2 minutes.
4 Add chopped carrots, tomatoes and lemon peel; saute 1 minute.
5 Add 3 cups stock and bring to boil.
6 Reduce heat, cover partially and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes.
7 Cool slightly.
8 Puree soup in batches in blender.
9 Return soup to pot.
10 Mix in lemon juice.
11 Season with salt and pepper.
12 Bring soup to simmer, thinning with more stock, if desired.
13 Ladle into bowls.
14 Top each with sour cream and grated carrot.

Parsnips
Parsnips are one of Jon's favourite vegetables.  He served them tonight at supper mixed with carrots and sauteed in butter with fresh dill.  They have a great mild spice flavour-- not spicy, but spice like warm pumpkin pie or cocoa on a cold day.  They are a fabulous winter vegetable, and if this is your first meeting with them, I'm glad to have introduced you, and hope you have a fruitful relationship!

Chard
Our chard is still gorgeous and packed with nutrition and lots of vitamins.  Do I need to say "Eat your greens"?!

Turkey Seasoning
Your turkey seasoning contains a few herbs that we think will make your turkey taste scrumptious!  There's some thyme, sage, marjoram, and oregano, which are all very traditional flavours for turkey.  Our turkeys will not yet be meeting their end for Thanksgiving, but you can bet we'll save some of these herbs for when they do!

Full-size shares also get:

Beans

Green, yellow, and purple bean casserole, anyone?

Basil
This herb loves the heat and is about to be done for the season as the nights get colder, so we harvested whole plants and are giving you big bunches to make pesto or something else delicious with.  It is unwashed, as it keeps much better when dry, so plan to wash it before you use it. 

Cabbage
When you lift your cabbage out of your bag, you must make sure to use both hands!  I was at the front of the line packing this week loading them into the bags, and they are seriously huge.  They are a beautiful savoy type, which are the best tasting in my opinion.  When my Mom has cabbage in season, she blanches leaves that are appropriately sized for cabbage rolls and freezes them, so she doesn't have to buy cabbage from the store to make cabbage rolls for Christmas or Easter.


And finally, a card from the Turkeys (and the rest of us):


--
Teri Dillon

Watershed Farm
768 Allen Frausel Road
Baker Settlement, Nova Scotia
B4V 7H8
c. 902.212.2301 | p. 902.685.3901

WatershedFarm.org
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Monday, September 24, 2012

Watershed Farm CSA - 25 September 2012 - Delivery #15

Hi everyone!

It would appear that the rainy season has arrived in Nova Scotia.  It would have been nice to have some of this in the sweltering drought this summer, but we are glad nonetheless!  Along with the rain, we've also noticed the days getting shorter and the nights getting cooler.  Now that the night temperature is getting down, we've had to start closing the greenhouse and caterpillar tunnels to keep the rest of our tomatoes growing as long into the fall as we can.  The shorter days also mean we are "reluctantly" forced to have shorter work days as well.  It won't be long before we're lighting fires in our stoves and dreaming about starting vegetables for next season's CSA.  But, we still have a few weeks left and now we'll keep dreaming about what will be in next week's CSA basket that will feed and excite you.

As promised, the second chance for you to come and see where your food is grown will be next Sunday, the 30th of September.  This will be our second Open Farm CSA Day, and we'd love it if you could make it sometime between 12-4.  There will be snacks and refreshments as well as guided tours for those interested, and of course the animals will be meeting and greeting all day.  If you know of someone who is interested in joining our CSA next season, feel free to bring them along, too.

 
Joe puts the finishing touches on the new growing space
We've been working on a new greenhouse here on the farm for a little while now, it is just about ready to have the plastic put on, and you can see it yourself on Sunday!

What's in your basket this week:


Beets
I've had a couple of customers at the farmer's markets telling me about making a stacked beet salad with goat cheese out of our beautiful tri-coloured beets.  I had to scour the internet, but I found this very descriptive step-by-step recipe (Click on the photo or the title to visit the website):

Stacked Beet Salad
Ingredients
6 large beets
1/2 cup goat cheese at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
pepper, to taste

Directions
1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2.  Cut beet greens off beets.  Peel beets and cut ends off.  Slice beets into 1/2 inch layers (don't slice the beets too thinly).
3.  Brush olive oil on beet slices and lay onto baking sheets.  Roast beet slices for approximately 45 minutes-1 hour until edges are caramelized and beets are cooked through (my oven cooks hot and it takes my oven 45 minutes).  Let beet slices cool.
4.  Mix goat cheese with balsamic vinegar.  Season with pepper (I do not season with salt because the goat cheese usually has a salty flavor).
5.  Spread 1/2 teaspoon goat cheese mixture onto one side of a large beet slice.  Layer with a slightly smaller beet slice and spread 1/2 teaspoon goat cheese mixture on top of second beet slices.  Continue layering.  I build my stacks to 8 layers because, after that, they become unwieldy to eat but you could certainly stack higher.  Do not spread goat cheese on last layer.  Continue building stacks.
6.  Carefully cut stacks into quarters, making sure not to press too hard onto the beet stacks.  I find that the easiest way to cut them is to very gently hold one stack and slice through it halfway and then lay the half-stack on its side to cut into quarters.
7.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  If you leave the beet stacks in the refrigerator longer, the red beet color will seep into the goat cheese.  I prefer the flavor when the beet stacks have been refrigerated for 4 hours or more but they certainly look prettier when they have been refrigerated for only 30 minutes.
8.  To serve, layer beet stacks on spinach leaves and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar.
(*Note: this would also be great with additions such as: walnuts, citrus, avocado, fresh dill!)


Sunchokes/Jerusalem Artichokes
This photo is of our remaining Jerusalem Artichokes still in the field, which turned out to be a very nice hedge at the side of our salad mix patch.  If you've never used them before, you're in for a treat and something really truly different.  They are, as they look, in the sunflower family, and they have a fantastic crunch and a nutty sunflower flavour.  Since these ones are so fresh, you need not peel them, just scrub them to get the dirt off (which should come as a relief as most of them are pretty gnarly!).
In my previous job, I often recommended Sunchokes as an alternative to potatoes for those watching their blood sugar levels or on restrictive diets or clenses.  Sunchokes contain the carbohydrate inulin instead of starch, which is a type of dietary fibre known as fructan that the human body has a limited ability to process.  Unlike potatoes-- which are considered high on the glycemic index-- the inulin in sunchokes does not cause an insulin response in the body or raise triglycerides (Of course, please do your own research to see if it is right for you if you are on a restricted diet). 
Regardless of all this, they are delicious little nuggets and I hope you find a way to enjoy them!  The first time I had them I over-roasted them, which was a big mistake: They get bitter and have a soggy textured when overcooked.  Once I was ready to attempt cooking them again I used a recipe and had much better luck.  I have heard that they can be hard on the stomach for some, who recommend fully cooking them (like in the soup recipe below).  I am including a recipe that is basically how I most often prepare them, as well as links to a few others that I think look interesting:

RECIPE: Sauteed Sunchokes
Ingredients:
1 lb sunchokes/jerusalem artichoke
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions:
1 Scrub or peel artichokes.
2 Slice each artichoke to 1/4 inch thick slices.
3 In a Wok or frying pan, heat olive oil and butter on medium-high heat.
4 Add sliced artichokes, garlic, salt, pepper and parsley; stir well to coat artichokes.
5 Stir-fry for about 4 minutes, stirring often.
6 Do not overcook artichokes, they should be slightly crunchy.
7 Serve immediately.

Check out a couple of other recipes that might inspire you:
Cream of Sunchoke Soup (We tried this one the other night with much success; I highly recommend it!)
Sunny Sunchoke Salad

Kohlrabi
or Turnips
In my scouring of the internet this week, I found a great blog with a detailed post about kohlrabi:  Just in case you need some more instruction to be able to deal with yours.  Also, because of this website (and because they're beautiful!), we are including the leaves on your kohlrabi this week, which you can choose to eat or not (but mind the advice that they are to be treated as a hearty green like kale or collards).  If you're not in the mood for experimental cooking, you can simply peel and slice your kohlrabi to enjoy it raw, roasted, sauteed or steamed.  It's mild cabbage/turnip flavour goes well with your stir-fry greens, cauliflower or broccoli, et cetera.  If you have any great successes, please email me your recipe!
If it's a turnip you happen to find in your bag (there were not quite enough kohlrabi for everyone), they are delicious enjoyed most of the same ways you would enjoy your kohlrabi- raw, roasted, sauteed, steamed, or even cooked and mashed with potatoes to give them an extra kick. 

Dill
Dill and beets are a great combination.  At this time of year it can be hard to find baby dill, and I always take advantage of it when I'm able to get it and freeze some for winter.  Just chop it up and put it in an airtight container- it does turn black but it retains it's flavour far better than drying.

Brassica Mix


Again, "brassica" is farm code for a few things that you will find in your bag: broccoli (heads and florets), cauliflower (green and white), cabbage, and romanesco broccoflower (pointy green alien that looks kind of like cauliflower...  only pointy!). 

Kale
I get the same amount of "too much kale!" pleas as I get "more kale!" requests.  This will please you if you are the latter!  For those of you who haven't found a love for this phenomenally healthy and tasty green, I beg of you: don't leave it rotting in your fridge or send it next door, make this:

RECIPE: Massaged Kale Salad

Ingredients

1 bunch kale, stalks removed and discarded, leaves thinly sliced
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Kosher salt
2 teaspoons honey
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

Directions
In large serving bowl, add the kale, half of lemon juice, a drizzle of oil and a little kosher salt. Massage until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside while you make the dressing.
In a small bowl, whisk remaining lemon juice with the honey and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Stream in the 1/4 cup of oil while whisking until a dressing forms, and you like how it tastes.
Pour the dressing over the kale, and add the seeds. Toss and serve.

If you love kale but just can't fit it into your schedule this week, then chop it up and throw it straight in the freezer.  It goes great in soups, stews, and smoothies and prevents winter scurvy!

Leeks
To add a little onion flavour to your life. 

Full-size shares also get:
Potatoes
Potatoes do not contain inulin and are chock-full of starchy goodness!  I made some mashed potatoes this week to go with some venison steaks a friend shared with us, and they were top-notch.  I used to love russets the best, and if you love the traditional very dry mashed potatoes, these are your ticket.  With some butter and sour cream they taste just like the inside of a baked potato (or save yourself the peeling and just make a baked potato!).

Stir-fry Mix

In the stir-fry mix this week we have: Bull's Blood beet tops, red mustard, red mizuna, mizuna, tatsoi, ruby streaks, chard, and nasturtium flowers (which are also edible). 


Our helpers after a long, tiring day getting the CSA bags ready!
(I believe I'll do the same myself as soon as possible!)

Have a great week!

--
Teri Dillon

Watershed Farm
768 Allen Frausel Road
Baker Settlement, Nova Scotia
B4V 7H8
c. 902.212.2301 | p. 902.685.3901

WatershedFarm.org
Follow us on Facebook
Check out the new Watershed Farm blog!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Watershed Farm CSA - 18 September 2012 - Delivery #14

Hi everyone!

Yesterday we hosted about 150 people from far and wide for NSFA Open Farm Day.  It was a great day that just flew by, as we sold snacks and refreshments and gave guided tours of the farm.  Our turkeys were good sports and even showed off for the company- puffing up and "being turkeys", which they rarely do for us.  The sheep and chickens were somewhat less gregarious, but I suppose "being a sheep" and "being a chicken" is a little less entertaining than "being a turkey".  The ducks were shy as ever and the bunnies were happy for the few children that found them and fed them some grass.  Even a few CSA members managed to make it out, and we were glad to see you!

Jon giving a tour to one of many groups yesterday at Open Farm Day.

There's a bit of a bottleneck happening with our bags, so if you have any extra CSA bags lying around that you keep forgetting to return, I would love it if you did!  It's my job every week to sort out the bags, which is always a daunting task that never quite gets fully completed until Monday.  And for those of you who faithfully return your bags every single week without hiccup- THANK YOU!  Believe me, I do notice!

In your basket this week:

Getting ready to pack bags a few weeks ago.  We have a very fool-proof system for making sure no one gets missed and there is no mis-counting!

Carrots
The carrots are arriving in a bag this week, as they are getting larger and harder to bunch.  That being said, the longer they go the sweeter they get, and I think they just keep getting better and better each week.  The white ones were truly stars this year, with the purple and red being fun to look at, and the orange being a solid staple.

Tomatoes
The cooler weather has really slowed down the tomatoes, but there are still lots on the vine to ripen slowly this fall.  Eventually we'll take the frost warning seriously and have to go pick them all, which means you may look forward to green tomatoes for something that I have just recently heard of: chow chow.  Not sure if this is a Maritime thing, or if I am just sheltered, but we've had a few people buying green tomatoes from us for just this purpose the last few weeks.  Anyhow, you're getting vine-ripened ones, picked this morning, and there may not be too many in the future, so enjoy every last flavourful bite!

Butternut Squash:
We are thrilled to have enough butternuts that everyone is getting one!  This is my favourite squash, even though I know there are so many different and interesting ones that could be my favourite.  I just find butternut super easy to deal with (it just has the one pocket of seeds in the rump) and a really sweet flavour.  These were just picked today, and you can eat them now if you want, but if you want to store them, make sure you do so in a warm place.  In order to cure properly, squash prefers a room-temperature or warmer climate: so don't leave him rattling around in your root cellar!
You can make a truly stellar soup by roasting your butternut and pureeing it with 1 can of coconut milk and 2-4 cups chicken broth (depending on the size of your squash and how thick you like your soup).  Season to taste, and serve!  This soup is really simple and free of dairy and gluten, and it comes out a really beautiful colour.

Celeriac:
This is the one thing in your bag that you may not have seen before.  Celeriac, also known as celery root, is actually not the root of a celery plant, though they are in the same family.  If you're lucky to get one whose tops are still on, make sure you use that to flavour your next soup pot.  The veggie you're after is the round-ish, light brown root at the bottom.  This can be peeled and chopped and added to beets and carrots for a great roasted vegetable medley, or put in soup or stew, stir-fry, or even eaten raw.  It has a mild celery flavour with earthy undertones.  My favourite way to enjoy it is to boil it along with my potatoes for a bit of a different flavour in my mashed potatoes.

Cilantro
For those of you who are not fans of cilantro, we hope your friends or neighbours will enjoy it for you.  For the rest of you: why not try making some salsa fresca?  That's fancy-speak for fresh salsa, which you can add all sorts of things to, especially your tomatoes and garlic.  I first found a place in my life for cilantro by making fresh salsa out of heirloom tomatoes, and you can too!

Chard
Lisa's mother sent her this recipe for Swiss Chard Rolls, which we are going to try this week.  Judy is inarguably our biggest fan and reads our blog and facebook page regularly.  Anyway, she's awesome and here's her equally awesome recipe:
"rolled /stuffed these blanched Swiss chard leaves with cooked brown rice, mushrooms, garlic, thyme, olive oil, and a lot of garlic. Sliced tomatoes on the bottom.
Poured tomato juice over too, baked 35 min
Served with ricotta on top"


Garlic
This is really just a ploy to get you to come to our Stinking Rose Garlic Festival on October 27th:

This is a great day where you can learn all about garlic, and I really hope you can make it.
If you've never made roasted garlic, you haven't lived.  What I do is wrap the entire head in tinfoil with a little oil inside and bake at 350 for about half an hour.  The cloves turn to mush and you can squeeze the contents out once it cools.  It's a very different flavour than raw garlic, and it would go great in the butternut soup recipe from above, or in a tomato sauce, or anything that would benefit from some roasted garlic goodness.

Full-size shares also get:
Beans
Though I wasn't this morning picking them, I'm so glad for the late planting of beans that has just come on.  They are stunning and remind me of when the very first beans were ready in early summer.  At the markets, beans have ceased being a hot item, but I'm not tired of them and you shouldn't be, either!

Brassica Mix
I was about to change this to "broccoli-cauliflower mix", but then decided that you should know the family name of some vegetables you see all the time.  The "brassica" family includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, asian greens, arugula, kohlrabi, turnips, radishes, kale, and many others- and in your bag this week you'll find a very nice head of broccoli, cauliflower, or romanesco broccoflower. 
Here's something that came up from Open Farm Day that I thought you might be interested in:  The brassica family is the favourite snack of the flea beetle and the cabbage looper, which is why they spend the entirety of their lives under a very light white fabric known as floating row cover.  The fabric is held down with sand bags and the edges kept taut to keep unwanted visitors out.  It does block some of the light, but in the peak of summer plants receive over three times the amount of sunlight they need, so it doesn't do them any harm.  The heavier version of this actually offers frost protection to the plants by being a physical barrier to frost settling on the leaves.  Row cover is a very common tool used by organic growers and growers looking to cut down their use of pesticides.  It's not always necessary in the home garden, but if you have problems with any of these pests it may be a good solution for you!

Peppers
Jon made tacos a few weeks ago, so I can speak from authority that some of these peppers are wickedly hot!  Some of you may also get some bell peppers, or a mixture of a few peppers.  Very unofficially, I smell them to tell how hot they are.  I'm sure there's a better way to tell, but if they're burn your nostrils, chances are they'll burn your mouth too!



And finally, here's a photo of a young gentleman I had to escort off the farm this morning.  He and a friend have been getting into our chicken yard at night and making unwanted deposits on the roof of their shelter, as well as eating a poor chicken on Saturday night.  If you see him or any of his friends, let them know that I have a live trap and I'm not afraid to use it!


Have a great week,


--
Teri Dillon

Watershed Farm
768 Allen Frausel Road
Baker Settlement, Nova Scotia
B4V 7H8
c. 902.212.2301 | p. 902.685.3901

WatershedFarm.org
Follow us on Facebook
Check out the new Watershed Farm blog!