Sunday, June 29, 2008

Veggies...what are they good for?


The carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativus, Etymology: Middle French carotte, from Late Latin carōta, from Greek karōton, originally from the Indoeuropean root ker- (horn), due to its horny shape) is a root vegetable, usually orange or white, or red-white blend in colour, with a crisp texture when fresh. The edible part of a carrot is a taproot. It is a domesticated form of the wild carrot, Daucus carota, native to Europe and southwestern Asia. It has been bred for its greatly enlarged and more palatable, less woody-textured edible taproot, but is still the same species. (

Carrot Ginger Soup
  • 1 diced medium red onion
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons fresh minced ginger
  • 2-3 clove finely minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup of orange juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup cream
Heat olive oil over medium heat in the bottom of stockpot. Add onions and cook until soft, but do not brown. Add ginger and garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.Add carrots, broth, and orange juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until carrots are exceedingly tender, about 20-30 minutes. In batches, puree soup in blender (or do it in the pot if you have an immersion blender).Thin with additional broth as needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (

Dilled Carrots

  • 3 cups carrots cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill weed
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Cover. Bring to boil then cook gently for approximately 10 minutes or until carrots are tender crisp. (The Practical Produce Cookbook, pg. 57).

Friday, June 27, 2008

Grilled, baked or broiled?

I know all babies grow up, but that was fast! On Friday, May 9th I first took pictures of these chickens. They were so small and fluffy. Looking at them now you would never know why I thought they were so cute.

Recently one of the CSA members asked John if he names the birds. He replied, "Why yes. They are named dinner, dinner and dinner." I know I shouldn't be looking forward to it, but one of these birds is going to be on my July 4th table.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I can't help myself!

The raspberries at the farm are out of this world! I have eaten a pint of them a day for the last few days.

At the end of last season, the CSA members requested that the shares include fruit. This year rhubarb, strawberries and raspberries were planted with the hope that next year there will be a large enough yield to include them in the CSA shares. Theresa planted two types of raspberries, one summer variety which is fruiting now and one everbearing variety which will continue to fruit into the fall (which is a good thing for me because I am not ready to give them up anytime soon).

The raspberries are producing, but their fruit production really won't take off until next year. The strawberries did not produce many berries, which was expected, and the rhubarb cannot be harvested until next year in order to give the plant time to grow. In the mean time, it's a good thing you aren't actually what you eat or I would now be an appealing shade of pink.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Quick! Let's get out of here!

That's what I imagine one head lettuce said to the other right before they bolted.

In hot weather lettuce bolts or begins to produce seeds, making the lettuce too bitter to eat. We had a few days of unseasonably warm weather two weeks ago which brought about the end of our head lettuce season. Organic Gardening offers the tip:

To extend your growing season, plant lettuce between or under larger plants to shade it from strong sun. (

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Veggies...what are the good for?

  • Kale
    Kale or Borecole is a form of cabbage (Brassical oleracea, Acephala Group), green in color, in which the central leaves do not form a head. It is considered to be closer to wild cabbage than most domesticated forms. (

    Kale with Red Pepper
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 medium red sweet pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Wash greens well. Trim tough stems. Chop coarsely. Bring 1/4 inch water to boil in 10 inch skillet. Add greens. Cover and cook one minute or until greens are wilted. Drain and set aside. Melt butter in same skillet. Add red pepper and garlic; cook until tender. Stir in greens, salt and pepper. Cover and cook 3-5 minutes. (The Practical Produce Cookbook, pg. 107)

Kale with Sour Cream

  • 3 lb kale
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup sour cream

Wash the kale in cold water and remove heavy stems. Put in a saucepan with boiling salted water to cover. Simmer, covered, for 5-10 minutes or until kale is tender. Drain and chop fine. Return chopped kale to saucepan and stir in the butter, salt, pepper and nutmet. Heat through. Stir in sour cream gradually, Heat through, but do not boil. (The Practical Produce Cookbook, pg. 106).

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A part of history

Having the opportunity to work at Colchester Farm is particularly interesting because Colchester has been designated a Maryland Century Farm. This means that not only am I gaining valuable farming experience, I get to help ensure the continuation of farming on the property.

"To receive this designation, at least one descendant of the pre-1884 owners must still live on and/or farm the property; the farm must retain ten of its original acres and the property must turn a profit of at least $2,500.00," (Kent County Office of Tourism Development, Farms & Country Tour Brochure).

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Now that's a carrot!!

It's hard to believe that it has only been a month and a half since I arrived at the farm. Today we harvested our first carrots for the CSA members (the carrots for which I named my blog). Seeing them now it seems impossible that I didn't recognize them. However, today when we were weeding the second round of baby carrots, if you weren't standing too far away, you would have heard an "Oops!" or two, maybe four.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Veggies...what are they good for?

Chard – Chard (Beta vulgaris var. cicla), also known as Swiss Chard, Silverbeet, Perpetual Spinach, or Mangold, is a Beta vulgaris subsp. maritima. While used for its leaves, it is in the same species as
the garden beet, which is grown primarily for its roots. (

Ziti & Chard

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 cups chopped chard
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups of cooked ziti
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup chopped, pitted Kalmata olives
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup shaved Romano cheese

  • Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chard; saute 2 minutes. Combine chard mixture, pasta and other ingredients; mix well; top with cheese. (

    Sauteed Chard with Red Pepper

    • Large bunch of fresh swiss chard
    • 1 small clove garlic, sliced
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons water
    • Pinch of dried, crushed red pepper
    • 1 teaspoon butter
    • salt

    Rinse out the Swiss chard leaves thoroughly. Remove the toughest third of the stalk. Heat a saucepan on a medium heat setting, add olive oil, a few small slices of garlic and the crushed red pepper. Sauté for about a minute. Add the chopped Swiss chard leaves. Cover. Check after about 5 minutes. If it looks dry, add a couple tablespoons of water. Flip the leaves over in the pan, so that what was on the bottom, is now on the top. Cover again. Check for doneness after another 5 minutes (remove a piece and taste it). Add salt to taste, and a small amount of butter. Remove the swiss chard to a serving dish. (

      Friday, June 13, 2008

      Soil Fertility

      The Maryland Cooperative Extension recommends that we:

      Feed the Soil First!
      The surest way to improve soil quality and plant growth is the regular incorporation of organic matter such as composted yard waste. Organic matter improves soil structure, slowly releases nutrients, increases beneficial microbial activity, and reduces the need for purchased fertilizers. (

      This week we took fourteen samples from around the 10 acre fields and sent them for soil testing. This will help us to get a better understanding of the conditions of the soil. One of Colchester's goals is to farm in a way that does not deplete soil nutrients and therefore eliminates the need for agricultural fertilizers and other additives. However, sometimes our soil needs some help, and when it does we turn to organic additives. When we transplanted some of our seedlings we used organic pelletized poultry manor to increase the soil fertility. This adds Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium, Calcium and Sulphur to the soil.

      The Home & Garden division of the Maryland Cooperative Extension recommends:

      Take a soil test every 3 to 4 years. Fertilize according to test recommendations. Use less than the recommended amounts listed on fertilizer packages. (

      Understanding exactly what your soil needs can reduce uneccesary chemincal inputs and can help bring about healty soil without harming the environment.

      Thursday, June 12, 2008

      Warm weather is here to stay

      Well it appears the warm weather has finally arrived on the farm bringing with it lots of weeds and some more welcome new additions. This morning when we came in there were three new calves. I have never seen such a young calf and went right up to the fence for a closer look. Mom was less than happy about that. You can't see it in the photo, but boy did she snort at me!

      Tuesday, June 10, 2008

      Chickens in the Forest

      Last week 200 new laying hens were introduced to the farm. They have never been free roaming before, and are quite frightened of their large new habitat. They dart from one hiding place to another.

      Today while we were washing vegetables one of the CSA members walked by and said, "It sounds like a gang fight out there." John replied, "Oh, that's just the chickens." Apparently our established ladies would just as soon see the new chickens stay in hiding.

      Sunday, June 8, 2008

      Veggies...What are they good for?

      Arugula is an aromatic salad green. It is also known as rocket, roquette, rugula, and rucola, and is popular in Italian cuisine...In Roman times Arugula was grown for both its leaves and the seeds. The seed was used for flavoring oils.

      Iced Arugula Soup
      • Two tablespoons olive oil
      • 4 scallions
      • 1/2 pound Arugula leaves, well washed, blotted, crisped and roughly chopped
      • 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
      • 1 cup heavy cream
      • salt and pepper to taste
      Saute the scallions in olive oil until translucent, stir in the Arugula leaves and 1 cup of the stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook covered, just until the leaves wilt, a minute or two. Remove from heat and puree until the mixture is very smooth.

      Heat the remaining sauce in a saucepan, then pour in the Arugula puree. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, but don't allow the mixture to boil. Remove from heat., stir in the cream, season to taste, then chill until icy cold.

      Garnish with fresh thyme or Arugula leaves.

      Pasta with Tuna, Arugula and Hot Pepper
      • 1 pound dried fettuccine
      • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
      • 2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
      • Generous pinch hot pepper flakes
      • 2 - 6 oz cans of tuna packed in olive oil, drained
      • Kosher salt
      • 1/2 to 3/4 pounds Arugula leaves
      Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and boil until al dente.

      While pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium-low heat. Add the garlic and hot pepper flakes and cook until garlic is fragrant and sizzling. Add tuna and shred it into fine flakes with fork. Season with salt. Keep warm over low heat.

      Just before the pasta is ready, set aside 1 cup of boiling water. Drain pasta and return it to the warm pot over medium heat. Add the Arugula and tuna mixture to the pasta in the pasta pot. Toss vigorously with tong, moistening with some of the reserved water. The Arugula will wilt in the heat of the pasta. Divide among warm bowls and serve immediately.

      Saturday, June 7, 2008

      Vegetables Really Do Come From Plants

      I grew up in the suburbs of Maryland. I always say that I have no experience growing food and that all my food has always come from the grocery store, but that really isn't true. As a child my family grew tomatoes, raspberries, rhubarb and had pear trees. On the other hand, we never had what you might think of as a vegetable garden.

      Around the farm I find that I am constantly surprised by the plants from which my supermarket vegetables spring forth. Broccoli for example. I never really thought about what it would like in the ground until I saw it. It is completely recognizable, but it never occurred to me to think about the plant before.

      CSA members can take advantage of on farm pick-up on Fridays. Getting to come out to the farm once a week allows for the members to gain a better understanding of the life cycle of their food and the farm as a whole. In this way CSAs increase people's connection to their food.

      Wednesday, June 4, 2008

      Mechanical Pest Control

      According to ATTRA (National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service)

      The Colorado Potato Beetle is native to North America and is the most important pest to potato crops in most areas of the United States.

      They have reproduced quickly in our potato field. Colchester's Community Supported Agriculture Project offers its shareholders 22 weeks of pesticide-free vegetables. This means that we cannot control the Colorado Potato Beetle by spraying. Today, five of us spent three hours removing both the adult beetles and the larvae by hand. This process is called mechanical pest control.

      Monday, June 2, 2008

      Creative Recycling

      It is always exciting to find new uses for your trash. In this case, I am referring to cardboard boxes. Cardboard boxes make great mulch. We went to the local market and picked up all their cardboard and newspapers which were waiting to be recycled and used them to cover between rows in our tomato field.

      According to Garden Organic:

      Mulching is an excellent way of controlling weeds and clearing ground. It works because mulches stop light from reaching weeds. Without light they cannot grow because they cannot photosynthesize (the process by which a plant makes food).

      ( (As an aside, I also think mulching is excellent because it cuts down on the time you have to spend hoeing). It is interesting to note that though corroguated cardboard is the cardboard of choice, according to Garden Organic it is alright to mulch and compost with all types of cardboard:

      The inks used these days are no longer contain the harmful heavy metals which used to be a problem. Due to economic reasons the industry has converted to vegetable based inks.

      Renegade Cow

      I don't know what is going on with the animals in this town. As part of the CSA program, we offer the choice of fresh cut flowers as a selection to our CSA members. On Friday, I was cutting daises when I heard, "Moo," and it sounded very close. I turned and looked up. Uh oh... I yelled, "Theresa! Cow!" In no time Carey and Theresa had chased the renegade cow back where she belonged. I am left wondering though...ducks in the kitchen, cows in the flower bed, what's next?

      Sunday, June 1, 2008

      Veggies...What are they good for?

      The radish (Raphanus sativus) is an edible root vegetable of the Brassicaceae family that was domesticated in Europe in pre-Roman times. They are grown and consumed throughout the world. Radishes have numerous varieties, varying in size, color and duration of required cultivation time. There are some radishes that are grown for their seeds; oilseed radishes are grown, as the name implies, for oil production. (

      Creamy Radish Soup
      8 oz package cream cheese

      2 tablespoons horseradish
      1 tablespoon fresh dill
      1 tablespoon fresh chives
      Dash of salt
      1 cup shredded radishes

      Mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours so flavors meld. Serve on bread or crackers. (

      Sweet Cucumber and Radish Salad
      1 large cucumber (1lb)
      1 bunch radishes
      ¼ cup cider vinegar
      1 ½ tablespoon sugar
      1 tablespoon oil

      Peel cucumber, then halve lengthwise and slice crosswise ¼ inch thick. Cut each radish lengthwise into 8 wedges.
      Bring vinegar, sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then stir in oil.
      Pour hot dressing over cucumbers and radishes in a bowl and stir. Let stand for 10 minutes, stir and season with salt before serving. (