30 Sep

Ten Benefits to Buying Local

In these hard financial times, supporting local businesses is so important! Here is what our local Sustainable Business Council has to say about the benefits of buying local:

  1. Independent local businesses in communities with buy-local campaigns have higher sales growth than those in areas without a campaign.
  2. Independent local businesses return more money to the local economy than non-local businesses.
  3. Buying from and contracting with locally-owned businesses supports local jobs.
  4. Small firms (that are generally locally-owned) give more to charity on a per-employee basis than larger ones.
  5. Local residents have a greater influence on actions taken by locally-owned independent businesses than on non-local firms, which encourages the businesses to engage in more sustainable practices.
  6. There is a positive correlation between the number of small- to medium-sized local businesses and community wealth.
  7. Communities with a higher concentration of small, locally-owned businesses have healthier populations.
  8. Fuel consumed to get locally-produced products to market is often lower, reducing greenhouse gas emission and dependence on foreign oil.
  9. Locally-owned businesses often pay more in local taxes per dollar of revenue and thus provide more local government services to the community per dollar of revenue.
  10. Buying local builds community and supports your friends and neighbors.

Ten Benefits to Buying Local

21 Sep

Garden News – September 21, 2017

It’s wet and chilly out there!  I had to harvest some things this morning, which I really  don’t like to do when the plants are wet.  You can easily spread bacterial diseases like powdery mildew from plant to plant when touching them.

Some of you have been asking about funny  looking leaves on your tomatoes and squash.  So here is a picture of what the disease really looks like.

plant disease

If you catch it soon enough there are natural remedies that can be foliar sprayed….like baking soda and water, diluted milk, and if you happen to have a plant duster, any clay like bentonite or a product called Surround can be used.  It is too late at this point to do much about it in this cooler Fall weather.    But now you know what to watch for next year in your gardens or pots.

Here’s some of the goodies you will find in your box this week.  Swiss Chard, Scallions, Jalapeno and Cayenne Peppers, Carrots, Eggplant, Summer Squash and tomatoes.  The cucumbers are still in abundance, so you will be getting them, too.  I  hope you are using them in soups,  salads and dips and stretching your boundaries a little  to use them in some of the recipes I gave you a few weeks ago.

30 Aug

2017 CSA News – August, 30th 2017

We are so blessed to be living here in Billings

Well, I lied!   The new seedlings that we planted over the course of the last few weeks were starting to germinate, but  some of them did not make it.  I guess the hot weather, once again, did it’s number on them.  Is it ever going to cool off?  It’s already the end of August!  I am trying to decide on whether to try again, or if it may already be too late.  I do not have a  sense about how long the fall season will last.  Oh well!  The challenges in the garden are nothing like the challenges that people are facing in other parts of Montana with the forest fires, and in Texas with the Hurricane.  We are so blessed to be living here in Billings.  We have food to eat, water to drink and homes in which to live .   We have much to be thankful for!

Wendy harvested lots of beautiful carrots this week.  Aren’t they something!

Harvesting our many crops can be very labor intensive….especially the root crops like carrot, beets and onions.  Once they are forked out the soil,  they are washed, visually inspected, allowed to dry and then either bunched for our CSA boxes or bagged for bulk sales to our restaurants.  We are always amazed at the visual beauty of our veggies!

Beautiful Edirne Eggplant

Beautiful Edirne Eggplant

This weeks share will include some of these eggplant, along with the last of the summer lettuce, and more broccoli greens.  I hope you have enjoyed the greens.  Ben and Tyler at the Fieldhouse have been using the broccoli greens to wrap around fresh fish filet, and their guests have been loving it!   More tomatoes for you too, this week, along with Suyo Long Japanese cucumbers, more delicious haricot vert, patty pans, zucchini, and, of course, the herbs.

16 Aug

Garden News

Hawthorne

It’s been a week of “hurry and catch up”!  As I mentioned in the last newsletter, the plantings that were done a month ago did not germinate.  So….we planted all the crops again, and hallelujah,  they are all coming up!  We are hopefull that fall lasts a long time so there will be abundant harvests of late season crops.

There is a plethora of veggies in your share this week.  Among them are some TOMATOES!  There are still not a huge amount of them, but at least there are enough to get us started!  There will also be beets, carrots, scallions, Swiss chard, cucumbers, zucchini, patty pan, a small bunch of broccoli side shoots and basil.

Hawthorne berries are traditionally used as a heart tonic.  I make tinctures out of the fruit and it is an important addition to my herbal apothecary

I also make what I call a “Roadside Jam” out of these hawthorne berries, along with whatever other berries I have here on the farm…chokecherries, elderberries and  Oregon grape.  You can find all of these berries out in the wild!  I remember picking wild chokecherries along the country roads with my mom when I was a small child.  What fond memories.

I know you are probably getting a little bored with all of the summer squash and cucumbers.  But this is what the garden has been producing in abundance,  so we need to take advantage of the bounty,  There are many ways to preserve these veggies, and you will most certainly enjoy taking an entree out  of the freezer that you made with the summer harvest.

I hope you are all enjoying the cooler weather.  I know Wendy and I sure are!  I  look forward to seeing you all tomorrow from 4 to 6 PM.  If you are unable to pick up your share, be sure and let me know ahead of time, so that I do not make up your box.  I am unable to hold your box for later a later pick up.

09 Aug

Garden News

It’s been such a pleasure working in the garden this past week.  We have actually been able to plant new crops of snap peas, lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, radish, beets, Asian greens, carrots and more.  Now all we have to do is pray that the heat doesn’t return to the high 90’s in order to give those little seeds time to germinate.  The second plantings of cucumbers and beans are starting to climb their fencing, so it won’t be too long before you will have some more of them in your CSA share.

We use lots of leaf mulch this time of year, especially when we are planting new seed beds.  The leaves were saved from last year’s tree cleanup, so nothing is wasted.  The mulch helps to conserve the moisture in the soil, which is so important on hot sunny days when new crops are coming up.

It’s been wild berry picking time!  Although I grow these here on the property, they are still a native berry.  On top are chokecherries, and below, Oregon grape.

Oregon grape is sometimes referred to as “False Holly”  You can see why in this photo.  It is a low growing, ground cover like shrub that is evergreen.  The berries are challenging to harvest because the leaves are prickly!

This is the time of year when I do most of my preserving, canning and playing with the bounty that surrounds me.  The wild berries will be made into jams, chutney and flavored vinegar.  Other fruits and herbs will give their personalities to flavored oils, butters and other experimental concoctions.  It’s an alchemical process with such a wonderful assortment of inspirational vegetation.   So, this is a good time for you, too,  to take advantage of the beautiful organic produce that is grown here in the gardens and preserve some of the goodness for your own eating over the winter.  If you have never “put away” produce, I have lots of experience and recipes, so just ask!  I encourage you to find ways to become more self sufficient.  Right now, there is an over abundance of cucumbers, summer squash and basil that would be wonderful additions to your  freezer or pantry.

This week’s share will  include beets, carrots, scallions, kale, summer squash, shallots, broccoli greens and basil.  There will be a few tomatoes again, but it definitely is not a tomato year.  I am really disappointed and at a loss!  The heat was just too much for them.  Peppers are struggling,  too, but they are coming slowly.  Eggplants are showing promise.

03 Aug

Garden News – August 2nd, 2017

planting, organic farm produce and vegetables, garden, kate rossetto, billings, montana

What a difference a day makes!  It was only in the 70’s today!  Wendy and I felt like children with lots and lots of energy to keep working well into the afternoon.  The July heat had forced us out of the garden by 1 PM on the days that we worked and by that time were were sweaty, exhausted, dehydrated and quite bitchy if I might say so myself!

The challenges we have faced are not like any I have had to deal  with in all of my years of farming.  I always tell people that I fly by the seat of my pants most of the time, but that has been exceptionally true this year.  Just keeping everything watered has been a full time job.  We tried to plant new seeds of the lettuces, radish and other greens and they didn’t even sprout.  What a waste of seeds!  The tomatoes are full of flowers with a few fruits set, but they are not ripening.  I have talked to other growers around the area and everyone is having the same problem.  I think it is just too darn hot!  I am thankful that at least the summer squash and cucumbers are producing!

Today, Wendy and I took  advantage of the cool temps and bravely transplanted the broccoli, cauliflower and cabbages that were started  awhile back.  I had planned to get them  into the garden sooner, but I did not want them to succumb to the heat.  I hope we have a nice long fall, so that we can once again enjoy these cooler weather veggies.  Keep your fingers crossed!

It’s chokecherry picking time and my  next door neighbor has a huge shrub that she invited me to pick as she never uses nor wants them.  So far I have harvest over 35 pounds. Some of them went to the Fieldhouse, some up to Quality Food Distributing in Bozeman and some I will make into a lovely fruit vinegar.  I made some last year and it was a huge hit!  I have a few pounds left and there are more that I can get, so if you would like some let me know.

Your share this week will include the last of the beautiful broccoli, along with carrots, beets, a selection of summer squashes, swiss chard, slicing cucumbers, scallions, Genovese and Tulsi basils.  Pick up your share between 4 and 6 PM and be sure and bring your shopping bags of boxes.  I think it is supposed to be cooler again so it might actually be more pleasant to hang out visit!

19 Jul

Garden News – July 19, 2017

We have zucchini, which means that summer is really here!  The cucumbers are now just beginning, too, so from now on there will be a plethora of both.  Just remember this when you start complaining that you are getting tired of eating them, because in the deep of winter, you will be missing their wonderful taste!

There are not too many things things in the garden that can handle this heat.  Even the tomatoes, peppers and eggplants aren’t sure if they want to set fruit.

We are starting early each day and harvesting before it gets too hot.  We began seeding our fall crops  this week.  That means that making sure the seed beds stay good and wet is a priority.  Seeds are typically planted shallow and the soil will dry out quickly in this heat.  We always use a light mulch over the new seed beds to retain moisture and keep the soil cool, but it is a challenge with daytime temps well into the 90’s.

Your share this week is another bounty  of goodness.  The last of the tender leaf lettuce, cabbage, beets, rainbow chard, braising mix (all cut up and ready to wash), scallion, dragon radish, haricot vert and basil.  I have some wonderful recipes listed below using some  of  the produce, so let’s get cooking!

Sautéed Greens with Creamy Polenta

First, cook the polenta which will take around 30-40 minutes.   Of course, before serving, add butter and Parmesan to the pot and then taste it, and add more butter and Parmesan.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced or 1/2 cup ramps, Chopped
  • 2 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Bunch Swiss chard, the greens roughly chopped and the stems sliced small. Use the whole plant. You can also use other greens like kale, mustards or spinach
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pinches hot pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Parmesan cheese grated to taste

Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat, add oil, wait 30 seconds and add onions, chard stems, pepper flakes and garlic.  Cook/sauté until they begin to color and the chard stems become tender, but still crunchy. Next, add the greens, lower the heat to medium and cover pan with lid and allow greens to cook for about 3-5 minutes. Taste, season with salt and pepper and serve over creamy polenta. Drizzle a little good quality olive oil over the dish and top with shaved or grated cheese.

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad
Recipe from DELANCEY, by Molly Wizenberg (Simon & Schuster, 2014)

Serves 2 to 3

Don’t be put off by the number of steps. The dressing can be made a few days ahead.  This salad is wide open to adaptations and a great vehicle for using up leftovers or odds and ends. Take the recipe and run with it, using whatever vegetables and cooked meats you have on hand. Though it changes the whole concept, try substituting hot freshly cooked rice for the noodles.

The dressing:

3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 to 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
6 to 8 tablespoons water, to taste
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1 fresh Thai (also sold as “bird’s eye”) chile, minced

The salad:

8 ounces thin rice noodles (roughly the width of linguine)
3 or 4 napa cabbage leaves, thinly sliced crosswise (can substitute any other cabbage)
1 medium carrot, shredded or cut into matchsticks
1/2 cucumber, halved, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 handful chopped fresh herbs, preferably a combination of basil, cilantro, and mint
8 ounces cooked meat or shrimp, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

To prepare the dressing, combine the fish sauce, lime juice, 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar, 6 tablespoons of the water, the garlic, and the chile. Whisk well. Taste: if it’s too pungent, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time. If you’d like more sweetness, add more brown sugar, 1/2 tablespoon at a time. Remember that you’re going to be putting this dressing on unsalted vegetables and noodles: you want the dressing to have a lot of flavor, but it shouldn’t knock you over. Pour into a serving bowl. (Covered and chilled, the dressing will keep for 3 days to a week.)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rice noodles, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until tender but not mushy. Immediately drain the noodles into a colander, and rinse them well with cold water. Lay out a clean kitchen towel on the countertop, shake the colander to drain away excess water, and then spread the cooked noodles on the towel to drain further.
Divide the noodles between two or three good-sized bowls, depending on the number of diners, and top with the vegetables, herbs, and meat. Scatter the peanuts on top. Allow each person to spoon on dressing to taste. Toss well, and eat. (Alternatively, you can present this salad family-style: Toss the vegetables, herbs, and noodles in a mixing bowl and then mound them on a serving platter. Arrange the meat over the noodles, and top with peanuts. Each diner can scoop their own portion from the platter and dress it as they see fit.)
I will see you all tomorrow from 4 to 6 for your share pick up.  I thank you all again for your support of Kate’s Garden.  It really means allot to me and even though it has been so hot this season, I am still enjoying being able to provide vital nutritious food for you and your families.  Blessings to you all!