Week 3 CSA Shares

Lamb’s Quarter Pesto Pizza!

This week is so exciting for me!   We have a wonderful list of products and recipes on tap for this week.   You will start to see more of the products coming to you, and we have only just begun!   I have been trying to respect those with special dietary needs, so if you see something that you may have wrote on your dislike list and you want to try it, just message me so I can get it to you.

Here’s what we are getting:

1.   Wild Spinach

2.   Salad blend of-  3 varieties of lettuce, beet tops, kale, pea tendrils and Mustard Greens

3.   Garlic

4.   Turnips

5.   Cilantro

6.   Paneer

7.   Yogurt

8.   Basil

9.    Fresh cut Iris to make you smile until next week 🙂

Now for the fun part, what am I to do with this stuff?

The wild spinach should be used first because it has the shortest storing time.   You can still eat it after it wilts, but who wants that?   Wild spinach can be used in any recipe that calls for spinach.   You can use it in your favorite Quiche recipe, on pizza, with pasta, as a wild spinach dip, and for my favorites, Palak Paneer and Lamb’s Quarter Pesto.

Lambs Quarter Pesto:

remove leaves from stem and wash (there is a slight “dusty” feel to the leaves which is normal and will wash off for the most part)

Blend in blender or food processor
1 1/2 cups of wild spinach leaves

3-4 crushed garlic cloves

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil

blend using a wooden spoon carefully to push the mixture into the blades without hitting the spoon
add olive oil as needed to get a paste like mixture while blending

Uses for the pesto:
On Pizza instead of tomato sauce
stuff mushrooms with it and bake
Couscous salad: add pesto to cooked couscous, lemon juice to taste and diced onions, salt and pepper, stir till all is coated and green

 

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Palak Paneer

    • 6 tablespoons olive oil

    • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

    • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

    • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion

    • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

    • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

    • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

    • 3/4 cup yogurt

    • 5-6 cups fresh wild spinach, torn

    • 4 sprigs fresh cilantro leaves

    • 8 ounces paneer

    • coarse sea salt to taste

    1. In a large saucepan heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil and saute garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of ginger, red chilies (optional ingredient) and onion until brown. Mix in the cumin, coriander, turmeric and yogurt (add more or less to achieve desired creaminess). Add the wild spinach, handfuls at a time until it is cooked down, about 15 minutes total. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

    2. Pour wild spinach mixture into a blender or food processor and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of ginger, and cilantro (add more or less according to taste). Blend for 15 to 30 seconds, or until the spinach is finely chopped. Pour back into the saucepan and keep warm over low heat.

    3. In a medium frying pan heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, and fry paneer until browned; drain and add to spinach. Cook for 10 minutes on low heat. Season with salt to taste.

      Turnips

      Turnips can be used as a substitute for potato in some recipes or along with potatoes.   I have also had sweet and sour turnips that were prepared with vinegar and sugar, julienned (cut in thin strips) with carrots.   The whole plant is edible bulb and greens, although the greens are better at a young age.

      Garlic Turnip and Potato Mash

      2 pounds of potatoes peeled and cubed
      1/2 pound of turnips sliced
      8 cloves of garlic sliced
      1/4 cup of milk- any kind of milk will work
      3/4 teaspoon of salt
      1/8 teaspoon of pepper
      2 tablespoons of butter (optional)

      Turnip Green Casserole

      1 pound of chopped turnip greens
      1 tsp. sugar
      Salt, pepper to taste
      1/2 of (10 1/2 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
      1/2 c. mayonnaise
      2 tbsp. wine vinegar
      1 tsp. horseradish
      2 eggs, slightly beaten
      Bread crumbs
      Grated cheddar cheese

      Blend all ingredients together except crumbs and cheese. Spoon into casserole. Cover top with bread crumbs and cheese and bake one hour at 350 degrees. Serves 6 to 8.

      Fennel With Turnip Greens

      Ingredients

      • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil

      • 1/2 bulb of fennel diced

      • 3 turnips (with greens)

      • 1/2 cup chickpeas

      • 1 teaspoon each: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and stone-ground mustard

      Instructions

      1. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Dice fennel and add to the pan. Remove the greens (set aside) from turnips and dice turnips, stir into fennel. Continue to cook for 4-5 more minutes or until fennel and turnips soften.

      2. Stir in chickpeas and turnip greens. Continue to cook until greens begin to wilt (I don’t like them 100% cooked so I always let them cook down 1/2 way.)

      3. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and mustard. Pour into pan and stir to coat. Remove from oven and serve while still warm.

       

Organic Certification Application

ARRRGH!!!   How am I to be a farmer and write down everything that’s in my head about it too?   I have been spending my late nights filling out the PA Certified Oraganic application, which is very thorough, indeed.

Save my seed packets for three years…really?   Well, I hope receipts will do, for now, and I need to clear a space for the packets in years to come….Later in question105 I am  asked how long I keep my records, followed by their own answer “minimum five years.”   So should I still answer it?

How do I measure the carbon to nitrogen ratio in my compost?   And is that before it decomposes or after?

Does it really make a difference how I dispose of my garden hoses?  (I usually just keep patching them until they become tree ties!)

My goodness!

I am serious about the certification, serious enough to purchase the application for $75.00 and serious enough to send another $700.00 after I’ve filled it out.   The point is, it is 66 pages, not counting the attachments I am to add which may run into hundreds of pages.   I can see why people aren’t jumping in line to go through with it.

I am confident enough in our farm’s management practices to go through with it.   We have been working hard to do the right things concerning stewardship of the land.   It is a lot harder to manage land without the use of “prohibited materials.”   And we have been working hard to stay within the confines of restricted materials too, manure included.   Since we have been doing the right things, I believe we have earned the title organic.   The process is daunting and expensive, though.   And I’m not sure if I’m willing to spend the additional $660.00 for my five dairy goats and another yet additional $660.00 for our four pigs and 130 chickens, oh and those figures are annual contributions.   That just doesn’t make sense, so again the small family farm can be outnumbered literally.   I’m not even sure I can get certified without spending all of the application fees for each “division” of the farm.   I’m still going to try.   It’s going to be another long night.

I love my vet!

Finding a livestock vet can be grueling especially if you have small animals, and only a few.   Right now we have five milking nannies, one buck, 1 yearling doe, 8 kids, four ewes and 6 lambs, four pigs, and about 130 chickens of various ages and breeds.   This list could be why so many vets have said, I can’t help you.   Is it too diverse?   Should we need to have 100 head of cattle to make your trip worth while?   How about if we just raised chickens, or pigs, or goats or sheep?   Maybe I can find an egg laying dog and just make the whole thing much easier!

Dr. Michelle Anderson is a diamond in the ruff, and a Godsend to us.   We have a standing yearly appointment with her to make sure that all of our animals are happy and healthy.   We are also coached by her along the way to make sure that we are doing all of the right things to keep it that way.   Dr. Anderson has taught me so much about livestock health.   She has instructed me on giving tetnus shots, the life cycle of a parasite, nutritional requirements and infection prevention.   She also has shown me how to castrate and dehorn in the safest, mildest way, train my goats how to not kick me while I’m milking them, and handle my sheep so they respond to guidance.

Dr. Anderson is also working with us on our raw milk certification for the goats and sheep.   A vet that does all of this for their clients is PRICELESS!!!!   And even though her value is far beyond what I could ever afford, she still only charges  a very minimal fee for her work.   Infact, she will tell us if there are state programs to cover the costs of testing for milk permits, just to save us a little money.

My animals are very healthy, but I know that if I had any other vet, that wouldn’t be the case.   Dr. Anderson is in every way a teacher of good things for the farmer and the animals.   When looking for a vet, consider this post.   Remember to ask your vet if there are things that you can improve on.   It is horrible to have an emergency with pets and animals.   If you are armed with a good animal first aid kit, and the right knowledge, you may only need an annual well check too!

 

 

Chickens in the Barnyard, Chickens in the Trees

Some of my favorite bloggers are posting quite a bit about predators harming their chickens.   I am familiar with this malady, as it took us six years to keep a clutch of chickens from harm’s way.

The barn hosted another entirely different set of circumstances, which we did not know about until our first clutch of chickens were nearly mature.    We didn’t know about these predators because they were primarily of the nocturnal species of wildlife that you only read about, never really seeing them too much.   These included opossums, raccoons, bats, coyote, rats and weasels.   Five of the six listed here are threats to chickens.   And these critters had at a feast every year for six years, despite my attempts at trying to fool, cage proof, catch and remove them.

One year, I even tried keeping our chicks in a pigeon coop on the second story of our tractor shed.   I climbed a ladder everyday, making several trips with water, feed and poultry litter.   This was done in vain, because it was one hot July morning that I climbed that ladder only to find lots of dead chickens.   Apparently a few raccoons figured out how to get into the top of the tractor shed and wasted the entire group of them.   It was horribly sad, and a real mess to deal with.

That was the last of the chicken massacres via wildlife predators.   That was also after we moved larger livestock into the barn, and decided to feed our chickens near the bigger animals.   These bigger animals were our goats.   We spent a considerable amount of time catching and removing the wild animals from the barn, and we moved and cleaned up many habitats they were apparently residing.

We acquired some adult Araucana hens and roosters.   We let them free range.   They took roost in trees, high barn lofts and along the stalls of the goats.   Araucana Americana or Easter egg chickens are not the same, but very similar.    Ours are probably not pure breed, that doesn’t matter to me because they are alive and thriving.   They have survival instincts far surpassing many other domestic varieties.    They can jump and fly rather well.   They can run fast.   The hens make great mothers.   They do not, however lay many eggs in the winter, I have addressed this by introducing other domestic breeds slowly and a little at a time.   I trade fertile eggs with other farmers and allow our hens to hatch them, and our hens protect their peeps fiercely.

The first winter we had our Araucana chickens, a peacock showed up and roosted with the chickens.   This was not only very strange, but entertaining and a fine conversation piece.   He came in with a bunch of wild turkeys in the hay fields.   I spotted him in the fields a few times wondering “What in the world is that?”   About two weeks after my first sighting of him, he decided to live with us for the winter.   He roosted in the trees too, and ate with the chickens, squawked when someone came to our house, and strutted his stuff for the hens.   When spring returned, so did the turkeys, and our peacock guest left the same way he came, with the turkeys.

I learned some valuable lessons through this experience.

If you can’t beat wildlife,  join it and try a wilder breed of stock to begin with.

Having our chickens in a cage or pen only kept our chickens confined to make it easy for predators to catch.   Once the predators know they can eat, they will return and find a way to their next meal.

Having diversity throughout the operation can serve many purposes, like having larger animals close by as a deterrent to predators.   Our first goats here had their horns.   I don’t  recommend horned goats, and prefer dis-budded goats, but they were able to defend themselves for the first few years and no major injuries occurred to the goats.

These Color Range peeps are a heritage breed chicken that we received on Friday.

Helpful Farmers

We had a very busy weekend!   First we went to our friends freshtaraunt Horn O’Plenty to support their sneak preview and construction progress.   Kim and Joel from Wild Meadows Farm were there with a documentary, Y.E.R.T.   We had a lovely evening making pizzas and watching the movie.

I love times like this.   I felt a real sense of community and bonding.   It seems that most small farmers in our community really strike a sweet chord with one another, understanding that our own situations are not unique.   We are all trying so very hard to present the idea of a local food system that helps our neighbors, strengthens our local economy, benefits the environment.   We all work so very hard from seed to table setting.   While we have our own unique ways and methods, we strive for a lesser impact to the ecosystem around us.   We are creative, imaginative, idealistic, resourceful.   We have the same drive to live on less financial means for the greater good.   We love the challenges life presents to us.

I hope to see my friends’ success.   The Horns beat the pavement to market their farm products, and they deserve good things to come.    Kim and Joel reach out to the community, too.   They educate hundreds of people every year teaching better ways to get the same results, food, clothing and shelter.   Of course, status plays an important role in society.  But with the kind of guidance that a farmer can give, status may not take on the same meaning as our commercial counterparts portray.   Who has less trash on the curb at the end of the week?   Who can feed their family with the least amount of fossil fuel usage?   How would that be for keeping up with the Joneses?

http://hornoplenty.blogspot.com/                                                         http://wildmeadowsfarm.com/

We are Making Potato Pizza for the Horn O'Plenty Preview and Y.E.R.T. show.

A Little Help Here?

This is peanut’s biggest boy.   He was born on Feburary 6, 2012.   He was the last one of three born, and the first one to eat by himself with no help.   We will probably keep him and train him for cart pulling, so his name is really important because he will live with it the rest of his life.   Any ideas?

Call me anything but late for supper!