As July draws to a close, we are enjoying some beautiful days even with the wet summer we have been having. Our apprentice program is now half over. Its hard to believe that Jodi, Ben, Oliver and Lucy have been with us for 3 months! We have really hit a nice rhythm on the farm and everyone is working hard and learning more about our grazing methods. We’ve all had lots of laughs together. Thanks guys!
Sundsay August 10th: HOEDOWN ON THE HILL at Maple Wind Farm. 4:30-sunset. Come listen to the bluegrass music of the Meatpackers and enjoy the company of friends and good food. Maple Wind meat tastes and lemonade provided. Please bring a dish or dessert to share and your own plate/fork (BYOB too). Rain or shine. Walk to the party site is about 5 min from parking. Carpooling recommended. See you here!
ON THE FARM: Business as usual, the animals are doing well. We brought back our three bulls from the group of beeves at the Andrews Farm to keep Eliza Jane company in the pasture. She’s found one particular “friend” that she has been cozy with- so we expect to see a calf from her in the spring! Egg production is getting more and more each day so expect to see them in Beaudrys, Green Grocer and all our farmers markets locations…YUM! We took our sow that did not get pregnant to the butcher and the two other sows have been renegades in their pasture breaking out often so we put them in the pasture with the rest of the market pigs so hopefully they will stay put.
IN THE GARDEN: This week we put in the fall broccoli and some purple cauliflour as well as some new kinds of kale ready this fall. We seeded some turnips ready early September and are strategizing some of our final sowings of greens, spinach and herbs. Thankfully we have had no deer or woodchuck activity this summer, I hope we keep it that way.
THIS WEEKS HARVEST: Some new items to enjoy: fennel, red cabbage, lots of green beans and yes finally carrots!!! Also some more summer squash, cucumbers, onions, herbs. Sorry, we did not end up harvesting potatoes this week, we will get the horse team out next week and use the potato harvester.
FENNEL:………….Since this is the only fennel you will get all summer, I found some interesting information below. Expand your horizons, enjoy the versatility of this unique vegetable.
From Cooking Light website: Don’t let an aversion to black jelly beans keep you away from fennel. Native to the Mediterranean region, this licorice-flavored member of the parsley family is one of Italy’s most popular vegetables.
Work with it, and you will find that the aromatic plant lends itself well to a wider variety of foods than you might have first suspected. Another benefit: one cup contains almost 20 percent of your recommended daily value of vitamin C. Most fennel available in American markets is grown in California. The type you’ll find—Florence, or bulb, fennel (sometimes labeled “fresh anise”)—has a bulbous base, stalks like celery, and feathery leaves that resemble Queen Anne’s lace. Like celery, the entire plant is edible. The crisp and slightly sweet bulb is especially delicious served raw in salads. Whether braised, sautéed, roasted, or grilled, the bulb mellows and softens with cooking.
Look for small, heavy, white bulbs that are firm and free of cracks, browning, or moist areas. The stalks should be crisp, with feathery, bright-green fronds. Wrapped in plastic, fennel keeps for just a few days in the refrigerator; the flavor fades as it dries out.
The Whole Fennel
• Fennel seeds don’t come from bulb fennel but from common, or wild, fennel. The seeds are slightly nutty, with the expected licorice flavor, and are widely used in sausages, stews, soups, and curries.
• Fennel stalks can take the place of celery in soups and stews, and can be used as a “bed” for roasted chicken and meats.
• Use fronds as a garnish, or chop them and use as you would other herbs, like dill or parsley. Chopped fennel works especially well in Italian tomato sauces, but add it late in the cooking process so the flavor isn’t diluted.
• Trim the stalks about an inch above the bulb.
• If you want pieces to stay together for grilling, keep the root end intact. Otherwise, trim about a half inch off the root end before cooking.
• To slice fennel, stand the bulb on the root end and cut vertically.
IN THE KITCHEN: Thanks to Jodi for these awesome ideas!! Tonight in fact, we did a test recipe for the squash casserole- yum!!!!! Im excited to try the carrot/fennel dish!
Squash Custard Casserole
8-10 squash, trimmed and sliced into 1/2 inch thick rounds (2 lbs.)
2 large eggs
4 tblspns (1/2 stick) butter melted
1/2 cup milk
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tblspns finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tblspns sugar
1 tspn salt
1/4 tspn black pepper
1 cup coarse bread crumbs
1 cup grated melting cheese such as cheddar or gruyere
2 strips bacon, sliced crosswise into 1 inch-wide sections, cooked crisp and crumbled
~Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 12 by 8 inch ovenproof casserole.
~Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the squash and cook over medium-high heat
until barely wilted, about 2 min. Drain and set aside.
~Combine the eggs, butter, milk, onion, parsley, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large
bowl. Add the squash and mix. Transfer the mixture to the casserole. Sprinkle the
bread crumbs, cheddar, and crumbled bacon over the top. Bake for 35 min. or until
the top is golden and crunchy.
Icy Cold Summer Soup
1 cup finely shredded cabbage
1/4 each yellow, red, and green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 celery rib, trimmed and sliced very thin
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 scallion, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 radishes, trimmed and sliced into thin rounds
1 medium tomato, cut into 1/4 inch dice
8 cups vegetable juice
Sour cream or plain yogurt for topping
`Combine all the ingredients except the sour cream in a large bowl. Stir to mix,
cover and refrigerate for several hours.
~serve chilled, with a bowl or sour cream on the side if desired.
Carrots Braised with Fennel
1 tblspn butter
1 tblspn olive oil
4 medium carrots, trimmed and julienned
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and cut to same thickness as carrots
1/2 cup broth
1/3 cup white wine
1/4 cup chopped fennel fronds
~Heat the butter and oil together in a large saute pan until the butter melts. Add
the carrots and fennel and stir to coat. Cover the pan and cook over low heat for 10
min, or until wilted.
~Add the broth and wine, raise the heat to medium, and cook, uncovered for 10 min
more or until the liquid has evaporated and the vegetables are fork tender.
~Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with the chopped fronds and serve right away.
Eat well, eat local.