Oh the summer keeps rolling along, hot and muggy down in these parts. However, the first signs of the seasonal changes ahead are making their appearance this weekend as we have 47 deg lows forecast for a couple of days.. for August, that's a touch chilly. We do hope for summer to keep itself moving along a bit longer as we would really like our winter squash to continue to develop. They are coming along marvelously, but will most certainly depend upon a beautiful Fall to produce to the levels we are hoping for..
Well, the summer mugginess has paid-off in one respect, for the sweet corn has come rolling in! We will supply you with corn to eat, or corn to freeze!... It's a quick process, and a great way to keep some delicious corn for those Winter months.. (which, in case you haven't heard, the Farmer's Almanac is calling for a particularly brutal Winter round these parts... but what do those farmers know anyway..) Or you can just gorge yourself upon the feast of corn for the next few days!
A report from the fields
Well, slowly but surely we make headway against the sea of weeds that engulfed the land this season. Being adaptive is likely the most important trait a farmer can carry, in my humble opinion. Because Nature will throw curve balls like its nobody's business. From insect infestations, to relentless weed pressures, to rather insane weather patterns... Nature has thrown the book at us this year, and we have taken some losses, but also hit some wins.
However, we are in the process of adapting our strategies, learning our lessons and preparing for Future success.. One such strategy is mulching our new plantings heavily with straw, which does help to smother out the weeds, and gives us poor farmers a distinct edge. This year, our tomato crop took a huge hit from the big 8" rainfall we had late June, followed by 2 weeks of extreme humidity. Sadly, that is the perfect recipe for disease to run rampant through the fields, most especially the beautiful heirloom tomatoes. Our solution here will be to start growing a good percentage of our tomato crop under cover in a high tunnel to better guarantee a disease-free crop. We have applied for a grant through the local NRCS and Soil,Water Conservation District for a high tunnel next year, keeping the fingers crossed.
As well, we have been working and prepping next years soils through a mix of cover-cropping, running livestock, and tillage. We have to remind ourselves when we get overwhelmed, that Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will a living dynamic farm be brought to life in a single years time. But each day, each project, each new piece of inspiration will take us one step further along that road.
It's cooking time...
This weeks basket will be filled with lots of familiar veggies, from corn to tomatoes, cucumbers to zucchini and carrots. Items people are familiar with and know what to do with them. However, we are giving you all a new twist this week, to help you explore your Southern roots more thoroughly.. (I know you have them!) This unique element is Turnip Greens.
wait... say what? People eat turnip greens?
Why, yes they do. They are considered a delicacy in the South, but then again, they cook everything with Bacon, so yeh, anything is a delicacy. However, I have hunted down a recipe that doesn't require bacon, or ham hocks, to make this little treat. It does call for chicken stock, but go ahead and switch that out with vegetable or mushroom stock per your preference.. be brave, give'em a try...
Gina's Turnip Greens: from the Food Network, full link here...
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 pounds turnip greens, washed, stemmed, and chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Heat olive oil in Dutch oven over medium heat.
Add shallot, garlic and red pepper flakes and saute until tender and fragrant. Add the washed and cleaned turnip greens. Mix together. Cook until they have wilted down, about 3 minutes. Add pepper to taste.
In a small bowl, whisk the Dijon mustard with the chicken stock. Add to the wilted greens and cook until the liquid has all but evaporated. Add the toasted pecans and serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy of The Neelys