Thursday, July 28, 2016

Guest Post-Monique and Vegan Greens Dip

I have pretty great people in my CSA this year, as always. And a few who have come out to help me weed the garden, and chat of course. It's nice and the time just flies by.
I can't tell you how much I have enjoyed Monique's company. She picks up her basket on Wednesdays from the farm and comes a bit early to get some weeding done. She's great company and I have been sending her home with her veggies, but also a whole lot of lambs quarters. 
I'm not short on veggies right now, nor greens, but I really love lambs quarters. They are delicious and very nutritious-read about them here.
If you'd like to try them, let me know. I have lots and lots. Monique made the following recipe with lambs quarters instead of spinach and she tells me it was delish. I bet!
Thanks Monique for everything.

My husband and I found out about Linda at Tree and Twig last year through his father.  We bought some wonderful tomato plants and beans last year. This winter we were looking at her website because I wanted to attend her seed sowing class and saw the food share program and decided we wanted to be part of it.  I mentioned to Linda at the seed sowing workshop that I wanted to come by this summer to help on the farm and she said I sure hope you like picking weeds because there is always weeding to do.  I started picking up my food share in June every Wednesday and noticed every time I went that Linda was in the garden picking weeds.  So a couple of weeks ago I decided to go early to pick up my food share and start help weeding.  I was there for about an hour and it flew by.  They say time flies when you’re having fun.  I had so much fun that I’ve gone back every Wednesday for the past 2 weeks.  And every week I stay a little longer.  I even get the keep what I pull out…haha.  Most of the weeds we pick out are edible and delicious.  I got so much lamb’s quarters last week that I put it in pretty much everything we eat. I still have some from last week and grabbed some again this week so I can start adding it to my green smoothies and try juicing it.  I put it on our eggs in the morning, in all my sautéed greens, and in most recipes that call for spinach I switch for lamb’s quarters.  Below is a recipe that I made yesterday and it turned out to be delicious.  Instead of chopped spinach I substituted chopped lamb’s quarters.  You can also use apple cider vinegar instead of rice vinegar and olive oil instead of coconut oil.  Also, when it comes to the onion, garlic and greens you can use less or more it really doesn’t make a difference to the recipe.  I always use firm tofu because that’s all I usually have but you can use soft tofu.  I guess you can say this recipe is pretty easy and can be changed to whatever you like.  If you’re like me you follow the recipe exactly the first time and then experiment after with the next batch and never make it the same after that.  I hope you enjoy and remember even weeds are edible! 

Vegan Greens Dip
  • 1 package of tofu
  • ¾ cup raw cashews (soaked for 6-8 hours)
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1-2 Tbsp Rice vinegar
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic or 4-5 garlic scapes
  • 2 cups of chopped spinach
  • 2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • Salt & pepper

Blend tofu, cashews, yeast, vinegar, 1 tbsp of melted coconut oil, salt & pepper until very smooth

Add 1 tbsp of coconut oil, onion, garlic to frying pan and cook until onions are soft.  Add greens and cook until wilted.  Add blended puree and cook until heated through.  Put in a serving bowl sprinkle with paprika.  Serve with nacho chips or pitas.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Week 7 CSA (or 8) and Life on the Farm

I cried yesterday when it rained. Not tears of anger, frustration or sorrow, but tears of joy.
Sometimes when you are stressed in your life, you don't realize how much until the tide turns.
And yes, the dry weather, drought-like conditions were stressing me out.

In the 21 years of growing on this property, I don't think I have ever experienced such dry conditions, and my watering system has always been more than adequate.  I worried my super deep well would run dry. And then what?

This year I watered initially to help things thrive, but as the drought continued it was just to keep everything alive. 7 days a week, watering constantly and knowing that it would never and could never do what a good rainfall could do.

I am so grateful we received that beautiful rainfall yesterday. It has done so much good, but won't be early enough for some things that were really struggling and stunted.
I am not complaining at all. It is a wonderful reprieve and I am thankful for your rain dances and prayers. It all worked.

The baskets were quite full today. Several heads of garlic, onions, basils, lettuce mix, brassica microgreens, tomatoes, beets, beans, sweet peppers, New Zealand or malabar spinach and zucchini or cukes. Maybe more?

The beans, tomatoes and peppers will keep on coming. The shares will contains lots of beautiful tomatoes this year, and if you get too many, consider freezing them as is. Wash and dry them, pop them in freezer bags and pull them out in the middle of winter to use in sauces, soups or stews. Especially amazing in the winter are frozen cherry tomatoes, which I just pop in a pan with the garlic, onions, some peppers which I freeze the same way-and presto- the most incredible pasta sauce ever.

The following recipe for roasted beans in one I have posted for years when the beans start coming on strong. I hope you like it.

Roasted  Beans

Beans, topped and tailed.
Olive oil
Sea or kosher salt

Heat oven to 450 F.
Lightly grease a baking sheet with oil and lay beans in a single layer on it.
Drizzle them with oil until they are evenly coated.
Cook for about 15 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to ensure even cooking.
When roasted, remove from oven and sprinkle with salt.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

CSA Week 6 and on the Farm

I haven't been particularly good about writing on my blog this season. My trusted Macbook was in for repairs, expensive ones at that, and well, of course I have been watering. And watering. Too occupied to write I guess.

It sure is dry. It nearly seems like a bad dream sort of dry. Many things are doing well, but only because I am watering as much as possible. Some things are struggling. The corn is starting to tassel and it is only 2 feet high. That's not a good sign.

When I plan how I am going to plant in the spring, I consider a typical year. As my land is somewhat rolling, there are low spots that I anticipate will be too wet for certain crops. Not this year though. Those low spots are the best spots this year. I am also grateful for my clay, which with its' fine particles, is holding onto that moisture unlike a sandy soil.

You can see the effects of he drought as you drive through the country. The big farmers with their soybeans and corn are struggling. I read in the paper that 80% of the soy crop this year is a write-off. I am sure the corn is much the same. What a shame.

At least I can water, and I am much happier to have a dry year than a wet one.

It has been a bit of a difficult month beyond the drought here as we had to say good-bye to my dear piggy Joey, who had a heart attack one very hot day about 2 weeks ago. I know people will miss seeing him when they come to visit the farm, and I am missing him every single day. He was loved.

In the baskets this week was an interesting assortment of veggies. Not all baskets were the same, but there were some common ingredients in them all. Lettuce, fresh garlic heads, radishes, chard,  tomatoes, peppers, beans, eggplants, broccoli, artichokes, beets, cucumbers, zucchini, New Zealand spinach, papalo and parsley. I think that covers what you may find.

The beets may have been your more standard fare, or perhaps the beets above.  If you didn't get them this week, you will. The white beets are sugar beets, and when you eat them, you'll know. They are super sweet and good. The yellows are Golden Grex, and are much longer and less bulbous than I figured  they would be. Very pretty though.

Papalo is an interesting herb, similar in flavour to cilantro, but clearly a different look and a stronger taste. This herb is native to Mexico, and is best not cooked. Add it to your salsa in the place of cilantro.

It surprises me when people tell me they don't care for chard. I can admit there is a lot of it in the summer, and my attempt is not to dole it out weekly. But it was so beautiful and big this week, that I added it in anyways.

Here is one way to use up some of that chard, recipe from Laurel's Kitchen. If you are vegan, sub accordingly!

Chard Cheese Pie
6 cups lightly steamed chard, well drained
2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
2 eggs beaten
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup whole grain bread crumbs

Beat together cottage cheese, lemon juice,eggs and salt.stir a cup of this mixture into the chard and press it down in a well greased 8x8 pan. Spread the remaining cottage cheese mixture evenly over the top and sprinkle on bread crmbs and paprika. Bake for 1/2 an hour or until set. Allow to stand for several minutes before slicing into squares.