13 Jun

Garden News – June 13th, 2015

This is a quick update on the progress in the gardens. If all goes well, I am hoping to start the first share pick up date on July 2nd. We all know that rain is a good thing…especially here in the high plains desert, but too much is too much! I have been beating myself up about not being on time this year with the beginning of the CSA, but Mother Nature is just not working with me. The cool weather slowed everything down by at least 10 to 14 days. Now, we have the full blown heat of this past week and the plants are in shock! Such is the life on the farm. There is absolutely nothing I can do about it, but continue to bless the gardens and do everything humanly possible to make sure that they are productive.

I have worked out the schedule for those of you who have purchased half shares. You will be picking up your produce every other week, in a leap frog way. The majority of you purchased the half share. There will be 15 members picking up every week…some full shares and some half shares.

Week one pick up (July 2nd) will be the following subscribers: From then on, you will pick up your second share on July 16th and every other week from there.

Susan Baak, Jessie Browning, Virginia Bryan, Annika Charter-Williams, Steve Charter, Charis Cravens, David Duke, Pamela Gustafson, James Haney, Halcyon LaPoint, Lindsey James, Paula & Tom Larsen, Vanessa McNeill, John Pugrud, Sonya Whiteley

Week two pick up (July 9th) will be the following subscribers: From then on, you will pick up your second share on July 23rd and every other week from there.

Virginia Bryan, Charis Cravens, Lindsey James, Merita Murdock, Kat Pakora, Alicia Pettys, John Pulgrud, Kerry Sandelin, Sue Tanner, Carol Wardell, Jordan Westerholm, Sonya Whiteley, Nancy Wilkins, Mike Williams

Those of you who purcased full shares will come every week. I trust you know who you are!

I hope this is not too confusing for you. I was ready for a good strong cocktail after finishing figuring it out! This way there will be around 15 of you here every week to pick up your share. It is my hope that we will be able to extend the last pick up date, as we are starting late. We will have to see at the end of fall what the weather will be. I plan on having winter squash, carrots, onions, beets at the end of the season as they can take a light frost and the cooler weather. If its anything like last year there will be a plethora of peppers, eggplants and tomatoes that I have rushed out to harvest before the freeze.

I am trying real hard to communicate with you better and more often, but please know that this is such a busy time for me in the gardens. I have been out there every day from sun up till sun down, seeding, transplanting and WEEDING.

If you need clarification on any of this, just give me a call. I am outside all of the time, but always return my calls.

The markets are full of spinach and strawberries right now, and since it has been so hot, salads for dinner are quick, easy and nutritious without being too filling. I love this Spinach & Strawberry Salad. I hope you give it a try.

Spinach Salad with Strawberries + Pine Nuts

Ingredients:

1 cucumber, peeled and diced
2 1/2 cups spinach
2 cups quartered strawberries
3 tbsp. roasted pine nuts (roasted in a skillet over the stove on medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly)
1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh chopped dill to taste
Crumbled blue or feta cheese

Instructions

Peel and dice the cucumber, and slice the strawberries.

Roast the pine nuts in a skillet on medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until slightly roasted.

In a bowl combine the cucumber, spinach, strawberries, and pine nuts.

Mix the Dijon mustard, honey, white wine vinegar, and canola oil in a small cup.

Add the dressing to the salad and toss to mix, adding the herbs, cheese, some salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately.

 

08 Jun

Welcome sun!

It was a good week to spend weeding! There is never enough time once the garden really gets going to keep up with them. My shoulder is screaming at me, and my knees, too, as being down on the ground crawling around and using that constant repetitive drawing and pulling motion of the Japanese hand hoe gives these joints a real workout! There is still allot more to do, but I am getting it done!

Since it really heated up these last few days, I have started transplanting some of the seedlings that needed to go out. Hopefully we will not receive any more spring storms.

The herbs are up!  They have been loving the cooler weather.   Tarragon is already quite tall and the chives are blooming, so it is time to make my yearly batch of beautiful, pink Chive vinegar. It is quite lovely to look at, and I use it on many summer salads, like potato and pasta salads and, of course, coleslaw. It is wonderful splashed over quickly sautéed veggies. If you don’t have any chives in your garden, plant some! They are easy to grow and once you have some, you will have them forever. I will probably have some to sell later on in the season.

Chive Blossom Vinegar
Yield: 1 quart

chive-vinegar

Ingredients

3/4 quart chive blossoms
About 1 quart champagne or white wine vinegar
Directions
• 1. Heat the vinegar in a small saucepan over low heat until just warm. Keep an eye out so that it doesn’t boil; you want the warmth of the vinegar to seduce the coy, subtle flavor out of the blossoms, not immolate them.
• 2. Meanwhile, plunge the flowers in a bowl of cold water and gentle swish them around to flush out any dirt and bugs that have taken up residence. Dump the flowers into a colander and thwack it against the side of the sink to shake off the excess water.
• 3. Stuff the jar with the blooms.
• 4. Pour enough of the warm vinegar into the jar just to submerge the blossoms, using a metal spoon to push down any errant blooms that want to float up over the top. You might not need all of the vinegar.
• 5. Let the vinegar cool, then place a square of parchment paper or saran wrap over the opening of the jar and screw on the top. You want to make sure the vinegar doesn’t come in contact with the metal lid, as the acid will erode the finish of the cap and do nasty things to the taste of your infused vinegar. Place the container in a dark, cool spot that’s so hidden you’ll forget about it.
• 6. When you’re happy with the chive-y strength of the brew, strain it through a fine sieve and toss the spent blossoms. Pour the vinegar into your favorite (preferably glass) sterilized bottle with a rubber stopper and display prominently. Its hue–the blush of a very embarrassed Rosé–is a great conversation starter. Just don’t forget to use it.

05 Jun

Garden News – June 2015

Welcome to Kate’s Garden & June! I cannot believe how fast this month has come upon us and how slow the season has progressed. Barbara and I had planned to start the CSA program in just 2 weeks; however, living in this beautiful state has perks and downsides. With the weather so cold and wet this spring, we haven’t been able to get all of the seeds and plants into the ground as fast as we were hoping. The ones that are already out there are just sitting!

That being said, we will hopefully be able to start by the end of June. We need some heat! We will continue to update you on the garden progress and when your first pick-up date will be. Mother Nature has her own schedule, and we just have to work with her, even though it can be challenging at times.

We are so thankful that, so far, the hail has missed us this week and are hoping that the sun warms us up quickly so that everything starts growing! You can see from the above photo that the cabbages are doing quite well and we do have some beautiful French Breakfast radishes that are about ready to be harvested. The rhubarb plants are thriving and huge! We worked very hard this past weekend to get the tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants transplanted, but there is still a lot of seeding left to do.

We are always looking for volunteers to help us keep up with the garden. This year we will have a couple of FFA students from Shepherd Middle School helping us weed and learn how to run a successful farm. The girls are very excited to learn and help out. Please do not hesitate to let us know if you are interested in learning as well.

Our rhubarb is available at the Good Earth Market right now, so why not whip up some sauce to stir into your yogurt or top off a scoop of vanilla ice cream. My favorite yummy fruit crisp is always a hit, too!

01 Jun

Basketfull of freshly harvested German Chamomile

Fresh harvested German Chamomile

What would we do without this amazing plant?  It self seeds in our gardens every year.  It doesn’t always show up where we want it too, and it definitely has a mind of its own!  However, we always have plenty to harvest and make into our tinctures and oil infusions.  Some of the harvest is dried for a calming herbal tea.  It comes in handy when we are overcome with stress and sleepless nights!  The oil infusions are one of the ingredients in our Baby Collection.