Farm Minute

Farm Minute 

Countdown to the 2016 CSA Season!

We are a few days from our planned first CSA distribution of 2016!

Farm Minute

We have been battling inconvenient weather at the farm this spring Y’all – lots of rain has been really holding us back from making monumental progress. However, these past few days of sun shining and wind blowing has helped the saturated ground to dry up and we work hard to get as many plants in the ground as possible before the next wave of weather arrives. 

We are resilient and will keep working to get a bountiful harvest to your table!

Weather & Planting

At the beginning of the season we discuss in the membership agreement that our members share in the risk of unpredictable weather conditions affecting the growing season. This has created a challenge for the farm to get rolling with planting seeds and transplanting hardened off plants. We start growing our transplants in the beginning of February and successively throughout the season to keep an even flow of vegetables for our members. However, when we are faced with adverse weather conditions, planting comes to a stand-still. We check the soil, if it’s too wet we can’t plant and same with transplanting - we take care of the plants in the greenhouse until the ground is ready. In extreme cases we have pushed back the start date for share deliveries but we’re hopeful this cold snap and rain will allow for more productivity and no delay will be needed.

Why is wet ground bad for seeds and transplants?

When we directly sow or plant a single seed in the field for example, we create a small break about an inch or two deep depending on the seed, place the seed and cover it for germination. When soil is over-saturated, opened and closed or ‘worked’ it can badly compact it. Compacted soil leaves little room for water and air to penetrate, water cannot effectively drain and makes it extremely difficult for plant roots to move through the soil. Once compacted, it will take many years to rebuild a healthy soil structure so the best course of action is to completely avoid it all together. Although it is hard at times like this, it’s a necessity to know the ground conditions and cooperate with the weather or it can turn an entire season on its head quickly. 

Fun Facts about Our Farm

Farming is good in all regards, don’t believe all the crazy articles online, talk to your farmer! We are all trying to reach a common goal - feeding our community! - and how we take care of our ground and plants is going to be different from other farmers too. That being said, we have been receiving a lot of questions about our farm, what we do and how we do it all - and we love getting these questions! We feel a responsibility to educate our members and those interested about farming and particularly about our farm. We feel like this section would be good to address some of these questions, so here goes...

One question we've had asked is about being organic. To begin with, our farm is not organic and we do not have the USDA organic certification. This does not mean that we don’t share similar practices and certainly does not mean we are reckless with chemicals or fertilizers either. Our farm has GAP Training Certification and 6 generations of farming experience that has gotten us to this point today. GAP or Good Agricultural Practices is a 3 level program done with The Kentucky Department of Agriculture, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, and the Kentucky Department for Public Health. They have joined together to ensure that Kentucky producers are focused on utilizing safe techniques and inputs on all levels of the farm to fork food chain. When a farmer utilizes GAP principles in their production it means they are proactively taking steps to reduce the possibility of producing unsafe produce and meat products.

In addition to the GAP Certification - On our farm, we believe that a healthy living soil is the key to growing nutritious vegetables. We focus on composting, mulching, no-till, and cover cropping to sustain the micro-organisms and organic matter in our fields. Broken down compost is our beginning fertilizer for the season, so this helps feed the organic matter, helps to break it down into our already rich soil and feeds the root systems. No-till is a type of soil conservation farming method and we do not plow the ground & we pile our mulch about a foot deep to warm the soil and keep the weeds at bay instead of using plastic. This provides excellent erosion control, conserves moisture and it builds up that organic matter below the surface – promotes biodiversity in and around the soil – fungi, earthworms & more! 

We're excited for this season and working hard to make it a good one! Thank you!

 

Week Nine Shares

Week Nine Shares, July 20th

The heat of the summer is here! A sure sign of summer in the Bluegrass, aside from the heat ... sweet corn and tomatoes are on! We hope you can get your hands on some sweet corn, if you're not eating ours! If it doesn't need butter or salt, it's gotta be good! If you'd tried ours, enjoy it, it's some of the sweetest we've ever had growing!

Week Nine Contents Include:
Green Beans
Heirloom Savoy Cabbage
Sunsugar & Sweet Baby Girl Cherry Tomatoes
Early Girl Tomatoes
Sweet Corn
Green Cabbage or Cauliflower
Spaghetti & Yellow Squash
Zucchini


James Kitchen Snapshots

With the crazy storms last week, there were a handful of storm thrashed tomatoes we didn't want to go to waste. Put them to good use in a quick pasta sauce and a great Wisenberger Mill pizza!  Banana peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil ... Mmmm!


RECIPE IDEAS FOR YOUR SHARE

Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Meatballs

Ingredients
1-2 spaghetti squashes (about 2 pounds each), halved lengthwise and seeds removed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

FOR THE SAUCE
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cans (28 ounces each) crushed tomatoes with basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

FOR THE MEATBALLS
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup milk
1 pound ground turkey
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. To prepare the spaghetti, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle cut sides of squashes with oil; season with salt and pepper. Place cut sides up on a baking sheet. Bake until soft to the touch, 35 minutes to 1 1/4 hours.
  2. To prepare the sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for an additional minute. Stir in the tomatoes and oregano; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes. Keep warm over low heat.
  3. Prepare the meatballs. In a medium bowl, stir together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley, and garlic with a wooden spoon until combined. Add the milk, and stir until incorporated. Add the turkey, egg, salt, and pepper, and mix with your hands until well combined. Form mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, cook the meatballs until evenly browned, turning often, about 6 minutes.
  5. Repeat with remaining meatballs. Transfer meatballs to the sauce, and simmer until cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  6. When the squashes are cool enough to handle, scrape the flesh of each squash with a fork into strands, and place into a large bowl. Serve topped with meatballs and sauce, and sprinkled with cheese, if desired.


via Martha Stewart

Seared Savoy Cabbage With Mixed Sausages

Ingredients
Salt
1 1 1/2-pound head savoy cabbage, cut into 8 wedges with some core attached
1 cup 1-inch crustless bread cubes
1 teaspoon mustard powder (such as Colman's)
8 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds mixed sausages (such as sweet Italian, kielbasa, and smoked garlic)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Season heavily with salt. Cook cabbage wedges until crisp-tender but not falling apart, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Pulse bread cubes in a food processor until coarse crumbs form; transfer to a medium bowl. Add mustard powder and stir to coat.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs; stir frequently until golden, 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to cool.
  3. Whisk 3 tablespoons oil, Dijon mustard, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Season mustard vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over high heat until smoking.
  5. Working in 2 batches and adding remaining 1 tablespoon oil between batches, sear cabbage wedges until dark and crispy edges form on both cut sides, 3-4 minutes per side.
  6. Cook sausages in a large skillet over medium heat until browned and cooked through (time will vary depending on variety and whether fresh or fully cooked).
  7. Transfer cabbage to a platter; arrange sausages around. Scatter breadcrumbs and tarragon over. Serve mustard vinaigrette on the side.


via Bon Appetit

Week Eight Shares

Week Eight Shares, July 13th

The weather has been wild and unpredictable lately! We had INCHES of rain come down in a matter of minutes on Sunday. Not great for the crops in the field when it's a surge of water - plenty of flooding and erosion in the fields. Here's our driveway, impassable until the waters recede... Hey, at least the corn is still standing! That's a plus!  

Week Eight Contents Include:
Sweet Basil
Okra
Sweet Onions
Green Beans
Green Cabbage
Cucumbers
Mild & Hot Peppers
Cherry Tomatoes
Beefsteak Tomatoes
Squash
Zucchini


RECIPE IDEAS FOR YOUR SHARE

Garlic Lemon and Parmesan Oven Roasted Zucchini

Ingredients
1 1/2 lbs zucchini (about 4 - 5 small/medium zucchini)
2 Tbsp olive oil
Zest of 1 small lemon (1 tsp)
2 cloves garlic, crushed through a garlic crusher or finely minced
3/4 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
  3. Cut zucchini into thick wedges or halves (cut each zucchini in half then that half in half, so you have 4 wedges from each zucchini.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together olive oil, lemon zest and garlic.
  5. Align zucchini on prepared baking sheet spacing them evenly apart. Brush olive oil mixture over tops of zucchini (working to get some of the garlic/lemon zest on each piece and not just in one spot. It clumps together a little so just spread it out).
  6. Sprinkle tops with parmesan cheese (try to get as much of it on the tops as possible, you can pick up what was sprinkled off to the sides of the zucchini and add it to the tops) and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  7. Bake in preheated oven 11 - 13 minutes then, adjust oven rack near top of oven and broil for several minutes until parmesan is golden brown. Serve warm.


via Cooking Classy

 

Caprese Salad

Ingredients
2 cups Balsamic Vinegar
3 whole Ripe Tomatoes, Sliced Thick
12 ounces, weight Mozzarella Cheese, Sliced Thick
 Fresh Basil Leaves
 Olive Oil, For Drizzling
 Kosher Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, bring balsamic vinegar to a boil over medium-low heat. Cook for 10 to 20 minutes, or until balsamic has reduced to a thicker glaze. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl or cruet. Allow to cool.
  2. When you're ready to serve, arrange tomato and mozzarella slices on a platter. Arrange basil leaves between the slices. Drizzle olive oil over the top of the salad, getting a little bit on each slice. Do the same with the balsamic reduction, making designs if you want.
  3. Store extra balsamic reduction in fridge for a later use.
  4. End with a sprinkling of kosher salt and black pepper. Serve as a lunch, with crusty bread. Or serve alongside a beef main course for dinner.


via The Pioneer Woman

Sriracha Beef Cabbage Bowl

Cabbage Bowl Ingredients
1 cabbage head thinly sliced 
1 1/2 cup thinly sliced sugar snap peas
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into short thin strips

Dressing Ingredients
5 T mayo (can also use light mayo, but I used regular)
3 T fresh-squeezed lime juice (I used my fresh-frozen lime juice)
1 tsp. Green Tabasco Sauce
small amount of salt & pepper

Sriracha Beef Ingredients
1 lb. ground beef (use lean beef with less than 10% fat for South Beach Diet)
2 tsp. grapeseed oil (or use any neutral-flavored, high-heat oil)
1 T fish sauce (I always use Three Crabs Fish Sauce)
2 T Sriracha Sauce (replace some of this with more water if you want to cut down the spiciness)
1 T water
grated zest (grated lime skin) from 1 lime
1 1/2 T fresh squeezed lime juice (Zest the lime first, then squeeze the juice.)
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
1 cup chopped cilantro (or less if you're not a big cilantro fan)

Directions

  1. Use a mandoline or sharp knife to make 14 ounces thinly sliced green and red cabbage. (I would skip the carrots if you don't use coleslaw mix.) Thinly slice sugar snap peas on the diagonal. Cut the red bell pepper in half, remove seeds from the half you're using, cut that half lengthwise into two pieces, and then thinly slice crosswise to make short, thin strips. (You can use all the red pepper if you prefer.) Whisk together the mayo, lime juice, Green Tabasco Sauce, and Vege-Sal to make the dressing. Put the cabbage mixture into a bowl so it's ready to toss with the dressing as soon as the beef is ready, saving a little bit of the sugar snap peas and peppers for garnish.

  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the beef, and cook over medium-high heat until all the meat is nicely browned, breaking apart with a turner as it cooks. While the beef is cooking, zest the lime skin and then squeeze the lime juice. (You might need to squeeze another lime or use some fresh-frozen lime juice to get enough juice if your lime is small.) Mix together the fish sauce, Sriracha Sauce, and water, replacing some of the Sriracha with an equal amount of water if you're making it less spicy.) 

  3. When the beef is nicely browned, add the Sriracha mixture and cook while stirring until the liquid has mostly evaporated. Turn off the stove and stir in the lime zest, lime juice, sliced green onion, and chopped cilantro. Toss the cabbage mixture with the dressing.
    To assemble the cabbage bowls, put 1/4 of the cabbage mixture into each bowl, top with 1/4 of the beef mixture, and garnish with some sliced sugar snap peas and red pepper strips. Enjoy!

  4. The beef mixture will keep in the fridge for a day or so, although it's best freshly made. If you are going to be having leftovers, I would only add dressing to the amount of cabbage you'll use at that meal and refrigerate the leftover meat, leftover cabbage, and dressing separately. Then re-heat the meat and combine the cabbage and dressing when you eat the leftovers.


via Kalyns Kitchen

Week Seven Shares

Week Seven Shares, July 6th

How was everyone's 4th of July?! We hope the bounty from last week's share was enough to go around for our member's family and friends! There's plenty more headed out to our members in these coming weeks!

Looks like our greens are done for the spring & early summer season. I tried to give at least a couple recipes to help with the strong, green spring season we had, hopefully y'all didn't get too burned out on the greens. We should have more coming along late summer and into the fall.

Week Seven Contents Include:
Eggplant
Sweet Onions
Green Beans
Red or Green Cabbage
Cucumbers
Sweet & Hot Peppers
Cherry Tomatoes
Beefsteak Tomatoes
Squash
Zucchini


RECIPE IDEAS FOR YOUR SHARE

Zucchini Ribbon Salad

Ingredients
2 Zucchini
1 pint Cherry Gold Tomatoes
1 ball Fresh mozzarella
1/4 cup Basil, chopped
1 Tbs Lemon
1 Tbs Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Slice or spiralize Zucchini
  2. Toss zucchini with tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Top with basil and mozzarella cheese.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve and enjoy.


via ZenBelly

 

Summer Cabbage Slaw Salad

Ingredients
4 cups cabbage slaw = 1 head green cabbage finely chopped
1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
1 avocado, cubed
1 ear corn, kernels sliced off the cob
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 organic chicken breast OR 6 thin cut chicken tenders OR 1 medium piece wild fish

Honey Cilantro Hot Sauce Dressing
4 TB olive oil
2 TB whole milk greek yogurt
3 tsp honey
2 tsp hot sauce (or more if you like spicy things)
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
Juice from 1 ripe lime (1 large or 2 small)
1/4 tsp sea salt + 1/2 tsp pepper

Directions

  1. Make dressing first by combining all ingredients in a blender. Set aside.
  2. Grill chicken, fish or shrimp of your choice on the stovetop or BBQ over high heat, flipping only when you get a good sear on the first side. Slice or keep whole to serve.
  3. Add cabbage, pinto beans, corn,  peppers and avocado to a large bowl. Toss salad with dressing. Add grilled chicken, fish or shrimp over the top and sprinkle with extra cilantro to garnish.


via Simply Real Health

Week Six Shares

Week Six Shares, June 29th

Our shares are bursting at the seams this week, definitely rewarding to share the harvest with you all! We've been working hard to make this season a good one, plenty of wonderful surprises left! Our sweet corn is tasseling, our purple heirloom islander peppers are turning color and the tomatoes are still coming along slowly but surely! 

Our mini/baby carrots have been very interesting to grow - we had a rainbow variety with the normal orange color but added a purple, white and yellow variety. Some didn't turn out as well as we'd hope but the next sowing should yield better results. We're hopeful for it! Hopefully the ones this week will still be just as enjoyable in a salad or added to any dish!

Week Six Contents Include:
Sweet Onions
Beets
Mini/Baby Carrots
Broccoli
Green Beans
Red Cabbage
Green Cabbage
Cucumbers
Sweet & Hot Peppers
Cherry Tomatoes
Beefsteak Tomatoes
Squash
Zucchini


RECIPE IDEAS FOR YOUR SHARE

Roasted Cabbage Wedges with Onion Dijon Sauce

Ingredients
½ medium green cabbage (about 1½-lbs)
1 TB. garlic-infused olive oil (or regular olive oil)
salt & pepper

Sauce
3 TB. butter
2 TB. minced fresh onion
1 TB. Dijon mustard
½ tsp. minced garlic
pinch (1/8 tsp.) each salt and pepper
optional: chopped chives or parsley for serving

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or silicone.
  2. Cut cabbage half into four equal wedges and set on prepared baking sheet. Use a pastry brush to coat the cut side of each wedge with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn wedges and repeat.
  3. Place the baking sheet in the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes. Flip the wedges and roast until nicely browned, 8-10 minutes more.
  4. Meanwhile, make the sauce by adding all the sauce ingredients to a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the butter is completely melted. Keep warm (alternately, place ingredients in a microwavable container and cook on high for about 1 minute - warm again before using).
  5. To serve, place the wedges on a plate and drizzle with the sauce. Sprinkle with chives or parsley, if desired.


via An Oregon Cottage

 

Creamy Yogurt Cucumber Salad Recipe

Ingredients
1 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
3-4 seedless cucumbers, sliced thinly
¼ red onion, thinly sliced and roughly chopped (Or use the onion in your share!!)
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced finely
juice from ½ lemon
¼ cup chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish
¼ cup chopped fresh mint, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Toss the cucumbers and red onion in a medium to large bowl. Mix the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, dill, mint, salt and pepper together in a small bowl then add to the cucumbers and toss to coat. Add more salt and pepper as desired and garnish with more mint and dill. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.


via Foodie Crush