Minding the wasips

Grapes were turning to wine on the stem since I had left them until they were sweet. Swarms of wasps, honey bees, earwigs, little specs of crawly things and big bumbling flies were having a party while I was trying to snip off the clusters without drawing attention. I left the bunches too high to be reached so the party went on.

We are down to the final days of raspberry harvesting – boo hoo. The old patch is to be mowed down since it was taking up space on the high tunnel route. The new patch has outperformed all previous years with enormous berries. The challenge is the wasips yet again – tricky creatures that cling to the berries until they are fwipped off. They munch on the fruit along with picnic beetles and tiny red ants. All creatures seem to know what is good!

Nathan and Steve were able to move one high tunnel over to plot #1 today. It takes a windless clear day, a working winch or four strong folks to move the wheels down the cleared track. The next one is to be moved to plot #3 tomorrow morning! It’s like waltzing with elephants – very slow and methodical.

This week is the last CSA pickup for summer farm shares. The boxes will be full of salad mix, radishes, Brussels sprouts, leeks, broccoli, napa cabbage, arugula, mizuna, green peppers and eggplant. Carrots, sweet potatoes, white & purple potatoes, white & red onions, a variety of garlic, fresh Red Ace beets are for sale and will be part of fall farm shares so…..stay with us and continue to enjoy the good eats!

Kohlrabi are coming in all sizes – one variety is the size of a small cabbage! We farmers all had a munch of a sample today and it was declared a winner. This must be perfect weather….

Looking for spuds – not gold

I woke up this morning with a nebulous song about ‘gold – gold – gold – just gotta have that gold’ – haha. I never saw the movie – MacKenna’s Gold but it was a hit in Thailand, back in the 60′s. All the other kids in the boarding house could head off to whatever movie they chose but me – my choice had to be rated high in Parents Magazine at the time. How was I so fortunate?

Back to the gold……we tried to dig out more of our potatoes yesterday, as we have been trying to do for the last month….but it is too wet. Potatoes are rotting in the ground! Not a sweet smelling find.

Hip Hip for the folks who keep coming back week after week for their share of the harvest! And for the regular shoppers! You are appreciated and will be written down in the ‘good eats’ cookbook I write – haha!

There may not be gold in our potato patch or pockets but there surely was in each bite of the sautéed parsnip/red pepper/broccoli dish we had for supper. Oh my!

This week’s farm shares should receive: salad mix, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, Napa cabbage, sweet peppers, onions and potatoes. Of course, there is plenty more for sale.,


Harder cooks

Where else other than here? We could end up with 3 Harders in the kitchen! Imagine! There is talk of some wild things happening so keep alert. All will be known when October rolls around.

My little boat is in upheaval mode but I think my anchor still holds. Our awesome farming duo, Nathan and Loida, will be leaving in October. Ooof, it is hard work not being continually in the doldrums. New staff in the kitchen will be replacing my coworker who is off to college the first week of October. My daughter Esther, and her husband Carlos, will be visiting over this same period of time. The youngest son is to travel this direction to run the Twin City Marathon with Steve. There is one bedroom left which will be taken by my sister who wants to give hugs all around – haha!

So, let’s celebrate and if tears flow, let them be from the joy past and hope for the future.

Our Farm to Table dinner, The Last Hurrah, is scheduled for October 7, which is a change since it is the first Friday. Loida and Nathan will be the guests in attendance. Summer is fading away, giving its adieu next Thursday, and we want to mark its passing by having an elegant dinner with folks who choose to join us around the table. The menu is still needing to appear! Tickets are on sale for the limited seating.

Salad mix is back – whoo whoo! It is hard work to produce such a nice looking bag of greens – kudos to the farming duo once again. In addition, farm share members should receive sweet peppers, Napa cabbage, tomatoes, green cabbage, kale, arugula, Swiss chard, potatoes and onions.

Minuet in cabbage

A slow stately dance in triple time …holding a Minuet napa cabbage! Now that would be a trick. Or maybe, preparing this napa is a dance in the kitchen – haha. Minuets are Chinese napa cabbages which are mild in flavor and wonderful chopped into ribbons for a salad, substituted for lettuce in all things, used as a wrap or stir-fried. They store well in the refrigerator; I start slicing off what I need from the top and continue on down to the core for each additional meal.

It hit me today that Nathan and Loida might only be here another 6 weeks! You wonder why I work so hard? I am not good with partings….

I have been making pepper relish with some added jalapeños for that special kick. It is delish with cream cheese! Pint bottles are slowly being filled.

Farm shares should receive sweet peppers, beets, leeks, onions, eggplant, huge Minuet Napa cabbage and tomatoes.

We have Genovese basil, red basil, lemon basil, lemon balm, summer savory and thyme available for sale as well as: Kale and Swiss chard, fresh potatoes, 4 kinds of garlic, summer squash and some sweet corn oooeeee!

Rye bread with beets and thyme is the bread of the week – haha! There are always samples – just ask.

Throwing again

A grammar lesson to begin the day regarding three prepositions: in, down and out. I have felt most ‘down and out’ this week since our walk-in cooler off the kitchen decided to be a freezer and bags of cabbages destined for sauerkraut had to be thrown out. I checked into purchasing an alarm system….that option was $1,000!

Back to the prepositions….I don’t have a towel so substitute an eggplant. The vegetables ‘ring’ me in the market and I feel like ‘throwing in the eggplant’ – haha. Surrender? I come close sometimes, but then folks stop by and are so grateful and enthusiastic that we exist in this far off spot, that it pulls me through. Yes!

Fancy metal gauntlets or gloves with dueling swords only impress me in the movies. What if instead, I throw down an eggplant? Now it is your turn, take up the purple gem, come up with a savory recipe and I’ll meet you – your place or mine?

Nathan and Loida made awesome Eggplant Burgers for Steve and I for our 40th anniversary this past Sunday. The recipe can be found in ‘Simply In Season’ a world community cookbook. Also here:

2 T oil                                                                                                                                       2 t wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar                                                                                      1 t Dijon mustard                                                                                                                   1/4 t salt                                                                                                                                1/4 t pepper                                                                                                                      Whisk together in a small bowl

1-2 eggplants – cut crosswise into 1/4″ thick slices to make 12-16 slices. Brush with oil mixture. Place on grill over medium-high heat. Close lid and cook, turning and occasionally brushing on more oil, until tender ~5-10 minutes.

8 thin slices provolone or other cheese                                                                                  2 tomatoes, sliced                                                                                                                   4 large roasted red sweet peppers                                                                                           8-16 fresh basil leaves

Place a slice of cheese on 1 eggplant slice, top with another eggplant slice. Top with 2 tomato slices, roasted red sweet pepper, then 2-4 basil leaves.  Top with another eggplant slice. Repeat to make 4 stacks. Place on a grill, close the lid and cook for about 2 minutes, turning once.

Drizzle balsamic vinegar or olive oil on inside of split rolls. Toast them on the grill. Lightly rub a cut piece of garlic on them. Add stacked eggplants and serve!

This week’s farm shares should include: leeks, eggplant, the last cucumber, tomatoes, summer squash, beets, red peppers and onions. Buns are for sale – throw in/down the eggplant burgers – your place or mine?