Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day of the Dead Celebration!

Let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life.
- John Muir

Thank you all for making this season such a bountiful one, filled with good will, friendship, healthy fruits and vegetables, and aimless love. "This morning as I walked along the lakeshore,/I fell in love with a wren/and later in the day with a mouse/the cat had dropped under the dining room table./In the shadows of an autumn evening,/I fell for a seamstress/still at her machine in the tailor's window,/and later for a bowl of broth,/steam rising like smoke from a naval battle./This is the best kind of love, I thought,/without recompense, without gifts,/or unkind words, without suspicion,/or silence on the telephone. AIMLESS LOVE, Billy Collins

Please join us this year at Lavender Lane as we celebrate Day of the Dead by making a huge, end-of-the-season compost heap in the middle or our autumn garden bed. No one escapes the yawning jaws of this decaying pile! Last year it was a fearsome being and when it was finished, there was music, dancing, food, a fire, and cheer. For we all knew, as the great biodynamic farmer, Alan Chadwick knew, "Life into death into life." We will begin putting the garden to bed a 3PM on Sunday evening, 1 November. Please bring a dish to share and friends and family!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pumpkin Pie from Scratch...

Dear Members,

Time is winding down. Don't forget our Day of the Dead Festival in the afternoon and evening of 1 November. We also want to put the garden to bed that day, so bring your work clothes! 

Thank you for all who have signed up for next year. We are filled up for 2010 and are happy to include any and all on our waiting list.

We have one more week for you to pick up the harvest. Please return any basket you might have then and we will give you a paper bag for your last harvest, if you need one. For this week we have 4 pounds of red potatoes, orange bell pepper, beets (with greens), collards and swiss chard, and a baking pumpkin. Here's a pretty good recipe.

For the crust:

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, well chilled
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

For the filling:

1 baking pumpkin
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups cream
1/2 cup honey or sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter into 1/4-inch cubes and add them to the flour mixture. With your fingertips, quickly and deftly rub the butter into the flour to make a dry, crumbly mixture. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water over the mixture. Using a fork, rapidly stir the dough until it gathers into clumps. If the mixture seems dry, add more water to hold the dough together. Gently form the dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic and place in the refrigerator to rest and chill for 15 minutes to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, cut the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds, place the pumpkin halves in a pan, shell side up, and bake for 1 hour or until the pumpkin is tender and exudes liquid and the shell starts to sag. Scrape the pulp from the shell and purée it with a fork or potato masher or in a blender. Measure 2 cups of the purée and set it aside. Reserve any additional pumpkin for another use.

Lightly butter a 9-inch pie pan. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and, starting from the center out, roll the dough to about 2 inches larger than the size of the pan. Loosen the pastry, fold it in half, lift it and unfold it into the pan. Press it into place, trim off the excess dough and crimp the edges.

Increase the temperature of the oven to 425°F.

In a large mixing bowl lightly beat the eggs. Add the purée and the remaining ingredients and stir to blend. Pour the mixture into the dough-lined pan. Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake an additional 45 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Monday, October 5, 2009

"Teeming autumn, big with rich increase"

So, of course, gloriously writes Shakespeare in Sonnet 97. Well, thought I, especially on this cold, drenchingly wet weekend, and when the need to strike up a furnace or fire is rumbling in our bones - what are we going to harvest during this harvest moon? Autumn's especial bounty never fails to astound me. It’s the mass of it, not delicate but weighty: cabbages, big squash, sunflower heads that resemble something unearthly, huge collard leaves, Jerusalem artichokes busting out of the soil, beets going berserk. My weekend fear has subsided, in other words. Wait until you see the Hubbard heirloom squash. These are so big, tough, and bulky that you need a saw or a hammer to break through the shell. But it’s worth the effort. This is purportedly the best kind of squash you can eat. But because they are rather homely looking, supermarkets barely touch them. You will. You will also receive a Bacalan De Rennes Cabbage. Listed by Vilmorin in 1867, this French heirloom was grown in the Saint-Brienc and Bordeaux localities. This late cabbage grew especially well in the mild, seaside climate along the west coast of France. These flavorful, green heads are still grown in France today, and, yes, Copley, Ohio! We’ll give you a break on the collards, give you some candy onions, and a great-looking gourd to grace your nature table.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fall Basket!

Such a chilly day today! This calls for.....
Warm Beet and Goat Cheese Salad
Steam beets without skin until fork tender. Mash Lavender Lane Sweet Onion and Dill Goat cheese with fork, some lemon, a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, and pepper (perhaps some plain yogurt would make it more sauce-like). Dollop over the beets and sprinkle with chopped celery. Serve with pita or crusted bread.

Please find for your baskets 2 acorn squash, a very large broccoli head, some fall beets, wonderful salad greens, including baby spinach and arugula. Of course there is always our bounty basket area with potatoes, peppers, and the like.

Rudolf Steiner and the Necessity of a Vegetarian Diet

The founder of our premium organic way of farming, which we call biodynamic, stated that he owed his vigor to a vegetarian diet. “I myself known that I would have been unable to go through strenuous activities of the last 24 years without vegetarian nutrition” (Rudolf Steiner, Nutrition and Health: Lectures of the Workmen: Anthroposophical Press, NY, 1987). All of the energizing exposure to the cosmos, including sunlight, starlight, and moonlight, experienced by plants in a garden that can be passed directly to the human being is negated when we eat meat. When the human being eats animal protein, she or he has to break it down into amino acids, urea, and glucose. However, this cosmic energy, so vital to our health and stamina, which we find as a direct source from plants, has been absorbed by the animal that is consumed. How this animal energy is used by the human being then becomes a question. What it boils down to is that, if you want to eat meat, you should hunt it in the wild. The Native Americans, who ate the flesh of animals, maintained a state of health and alertness greater than commonly seen today. Why? According to Steiner, there entered a pact between hunter and prey regarding the transformation of the hunted animal into a level of higher existence through ritual and respect. Going to a grocery store to eat a package of meat from a cow slaughtered in a disrespectful carnage houses could lead to big problems in the realm of aggression, etc. I shall simply ask: could a lot of inner city violence be a result of fast food meat consumption? One anthropologist has suggested the warfare in prehistoric Europe became permanent only after livestock breeding became common in rural communities. And Rudolf Steiner says that, if we look at the physical processes which result from meat-eating: “...we find that red blood corpuscles become darker and heavier and the blood has a greater tendency to clot. Connection with the plant world strengthens the human inwardly. Meat introduces something which gradually becomes something of a ‘foreign substance’ in humans, and goes its own independent way in him. Because the nervous system is thus influenced from the outside it may become susceptible to various nervous diseases. So, we see that in a certain sense, ‘we are what we eat.’ Can you imagine the madness we would see in a herd of cows fed on pigeons? Despite the calm, peaceful nature of a dove, the cow would be simply mad.” Why? The dove has eaten the life energy of the plant directly and the cow would only eat the flesh of a dove that has been denuded of this energy (Rudolf Steiner, Nutrition and Health: Lectures of the Workmen: Anthroposophical Press, NY, 1987).

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Eye to Eye with a Raccoon

Last night, I went out to the compost to deliver some leftover greens and such. One of the composts is tied around a tree. I bend over, drop in the goodies over the encircled hardware wire, stand up, and am no more than two inches from what could have been construed to me in the darkness as a holdup! But no, this masked trickster, was a raccoon. He did not tear off up the tree, but rather he or she looks at me with an air of condescension and, how shall I put it (?), saunters up the tree at a most cocksure pace.

In native cultures, raccoon is the trickster who uses his wits to lead enemies astray, leaving them stranded and bewildered. The Cheyenne call him “macho-on” -- “one who makes magic,” and his or her bandit’s mask lends him an aura of mischievousness and wily intelligence. They are connoisseurs with food, preferring to dip food in sauces, spinning it around and around, and chewing to the point of savoring. 

Hats off to these survivors, who have lived practically unchanged on our continent for a million years or so. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Bit about Potatoes and Today's Harvest Baskets

The potato was cultivated by the peoples of Peru, the Incas. The Spanish conquistadores found the potato to be a very cheap staple to feed their slaves (as aspect of "discovering America" not always acknowledged). It would yield a huge amount of bulky starch on little arable land. However, this was a food product that was also grown in Europe, first grown there in 1588 by the botanist Clusius. However, it was treated with a great deal of suspicion in Europe where the peasants saw the plant as evil. For a couple of centuries the potato received a bad rap in Europe, blamed for everything from scrofula to leprosy. For forty years, the French pharmacist and agriculturalist Antoine-Auguste Parmentier sought to turn the tide of the French public opinion. The peasantry had hiterto trusted nothing but grain before the Revolution, but after it millions of Europeans abandoned the tradition to take up potato nutrition at roughly the same time. This is a quote from the Austrian philosopher and scientist, Rudolf Steiner, and founder of biodynamic farming: "One can study the development of human intellectual faculties from the time when there were not potatoes to the time after their introduction. Potatoes at a certain time began to play a particular role in Western devlopment. Before potatoes were eaten a great deal, people grasped things less quickly and readily, but what they grasped, they really knew. Their nature was conservative, profound, and reflective. After potatoes were eaten on a larger scale, people became quicker in taking up ideas, but what they thought up was not retained and did not sink in very deeply. Very small amounts of potato find their way into the brain, and can can be very potent; they spur on the forces of abstract intelligence." (K. Castellitz and B. Saunders Davies, Nutrition and Stimulants, Lectures and Extracts from Rudolf Steiner, Biodynamic Literature, USA, 1991.) In Japanese macrobiotic tradition the potato is seen as extremely "yin" (cold, expanded, watery, dark); it needs to be balanced in cooking by fire, sea salt, butter, fennel, or cumin seeds. Baked in their jackets or skin, potatoes give more nutritional value as the nutrients and some protein lie just under this skin. When the peel is removed, any nutrional value of the potato is lost. They are great roasted and served with lots of chopped parsley, garlic, chives and basil and then served with a good crispy green salad. Now, after your potato meal, remember you may be full of great ideas, but don't expect to remember them in the morning!

For your baskets today, please find, yes, potatoes, parsley, swiss chard, carrots, delicious Gala apples and more.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Thank you and our Harvest

I wanted to give a public word of deep thanks from the heart to our outstanding apprentices, Anders, Mary, and their son, Noah. Of the many projects handed over to them, you can see that the bread oven was an amazing accomplishment! We've had some delicious pizza already. What is most uncanny is that the majority of the materials were donated (beer bottles, sand, etc.) or dug up (our infamous Copley clay!). Again, thank you for all, dear friends.

In your baskets this week:
Choose from a large head of broccoli or cauliflower
2 pounds of freshly dug potatoes
Large green bell peppers
A variety of greens (Mustard, Arugula, Spinach, Mizuna, Jericho, etc.)
A bunch of collards

Semi-hot hungarian peppers (great to add to scrambled eggs!)
In the bounty area: tomatoes, runner beans, basil, and more.

Look for our special goat cheese this week: Garlic Dill and Sweet Onion Sage.

Cauliflower and Potato Tian
(Serves 3-4)
1 medium cauliflower, separated into small florets (6 cups florets)
3 medium potatoes, quartered lengthwise and sliced ¼ inch thick
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil, or ½ teaspoon dried
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup dry white wine or vegetable stock
¼ cup water
¼ teaspoon salt
Generous seasoning w/ freshly ground pepper

The Topping
2 slices homemade-style white bread
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. In a large bowl combine the cauliflower, potatoes, garlic, parsley, and basil.
3. In a small bowl beat together the olive oil, wine, water, salt, and pepper. Pour it on the vegetables and toss thoroughly to evenly coat them. Scrape this mixture into a 2 ½ quart shallow ovenproof casserole. Cover with foil. Bake 45 minutes.
4. Meanwhile make the topping by placing the bread in a food processor or blender and processing to make fresh bread crumbs. Pour them into a bowl, then drizzle on the tablespoon of olive oil. Toss thoroughly to distribute the oil.

5. After the casserole has cooked for 45 minutes, remove it from the oven and discard the foil. Sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese, then distribute the bread crumbs all over the top. Bake 15 more minutes, or until golden brown.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Making a Compost Pile - Biodynamically - to be Ready for Spring Planting!

A Sunday Afternoon Workshop, 20 September, at Lavender Lane Biodynamic Farm (1-4 P.M.)

There is hardly a gardening book published in the last twenty years that does not extol the virtues of what James Crockett referred to in "Victory Garden" as “brown gold.” There are recipes for compost building that are as elaborate as making a soufflé. We hope to offer some simple suggestions for a great compost. But what separates a biodynamic compost from others is provided by Rudolf Steiner in his lecture on “enlivening.” Compost, he spoke, with biodynamic preparations (a variety of herbs and plants from yarrow to stinging nettle) to enrich it, will be the quickest way to heal the land. “The point is that we should add living forces to it.” We will delve into how to do this and offer our herbal compost preparations to all of our workshop members for their own compost. The cost for all is ten dollars for CSA members, thirty dollars for non-members. As compost preparations for the workshop need to be ready for you, please send an e-mail by 13 September to reserve your slot ( We will gladly accept fees at the time of the workshop.
Thank you!
Farmer Jake

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

September Harvest and Saint Michael

Summer wanes as autumn approaches. Of course, the air smells of ripe apples. Sunlight, like goldenrod, is everywhere. Amid this ripening, we sense in our garden the bustling process of getting ready for bed. At night, chill is in the air; the flies and mosquitoes are no longer pesty. At the equinox, when days match the length of nights, there is the celebration of Michaelmas. St. Michael vanishes the dragon, giving us courage to overcome our hardness, our habits, so as we may take on wings and soar. 

This week, please find for your baskets on our harvest table: a large spaghetti squash, two varieties of kale, swiss chard, polish garlic, sweet Italian grape and cippolini onions, genovese basil, heirloom tomatoes, one pound of freshly-dug French carrots, stevia (nature's natural sweetener), and look for runner beans, kohlrabi, sunflowers, and more in the bounty area. This week's goat cheese selections include lemony cream cheese and garlic-dill. The delicious recipe below uses most of the items in your basket for a Sepember dish!

Spaghetti Squash Recipe

1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup goat cheese
3 tablespoons sliced black olives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet. 
Place spaghetti squash cut sides down on the prepared baking sheet, and bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance. Remove squash from oven, and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled. 
Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion in oil until tender. Add garlic, and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, and cook only until tomatoes are warm. 
Use a large spoon to scoop the stringy pulp from the squash, and place in a medium bowl. Toss with the sauteed vegetables, goat cheese, olives, and basil. Serve warm.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Our Fajita Harvest this Week

Dear Members,

Where did the hot summer go? How chilly it has been. Fortunately, we persevere and thus today harvested 30 pounds of beans, large candy onions, some lovely red and yellow sweet peppers, yellow roma tomatoes, and more. I thought of how tasty some fajitas would be with the goodies in the basket this week.

Thank you to those who came out to work over the week. We appreciated the help last harvest day with picking flowers for bouquets. 

Oh, if you like the biodynamic brandywine tomatoes you receive and would like to plant one of these in your garden next year (being an heirloom and not a hybrid you should consider it), simply squeeze the seeds out. Allow for mold to develop on the seeds to destroy the outer protective layer. Wash the mold off, dry, and then store in some baggies for the spring to plant and flourish.

We will have a workshop on 20 September from 1 to 4 P.M. on compost building that utilizes the biodynamic method. Compost building is ideal to begin in the fall for spreading around trees, on flower beds, vegetables, and the like in the spring. I shall send an e-mail with the details. Please mark your calendars.

Thank you!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Nothing says summer like tomatoes, peppers, and basil!

Some items you may receive for your baskets are:

-Heirloom Tomatoes
-Semi-hot Hungarian Peppers
-Green Bell Peppers
-Mustard Greens
-Swiss Chard
-Spanish Roja Garlic

Tomato Basil Spaghettini with Goat Cheese

1 (16 ounce) package uncooked spaghettini
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 lemon, juiced
4 ounces soft goat cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
In a blender or food processor, blend the fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic, olive oil, and pepper just until chunky.
In a bowl, gently toss the cooked pasta and tomato mixture. Sprinkle lemon juice over the pasta and top with goat cheese just before serving.

Hungarian Peppers and Eggs

2 green bell peppers
1 yellow Hungarian wax pepper
2 firm-ripe tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
8 large eggs
salt and pepper

1. Stem and seed green bell and Hungarian peppers. Cut bell peppers into 1/2-inch squares. Finely chop Hungarian pepper.
2. Rinse tomatoes, core, and cut in half crosswise. Gently squeeze out and discard seeds and juice; coarsely chop tomatoes.
3. In a 10- to 12-inch nonstick frying pan over high heat, combine oil, onion, all the peppers, and half the tomatoes. Stir often until vegetables are tinged with brown and all liquid evaporates, 7 to 9 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in a bowl, beat eggs to blend with 2 tablespoons water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
5. Add egg mixture to vegetables and reduce heat to medium-low. With a wide spatula, lift cooked portion of eggs to allow uncooked portion to flow underneath until eggs are softly set, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to plates. Garnish with remaining tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Bit about Bats

The wind and rain blew so hard last night that, in the morning, on the wet lawn, lay an empty bat house. Farmer Anders and Gemma had an intense discussion about what lives in that small space. Gemma kept asking, what animal lives there? Rather foolhardy, I joined in with an answer - a bat. Of course, Farmer Anders knew that Gemma was looking inside and saw what appeared to be a spider nest. Where's the bat? I don't think any has lived here. What is this for? Bats. One of Pearl's children visiting, also chimed in on our brainteaser conversation: I know what bats are; they are vampires. Gemma said, they are what my brother uses to hit balls. And they live in that little house that fell to the ground. Vampires don't hit balls. Bats, whatever they are, certainly capture the imagination.

This may be because a bat is rather oxymoronic. It's a mammal that flies; it sees in the dark by listening to screams that are silent. Truly, though, this last bit of information makes our “intelligence” seem somewhat second rate. In other words, at a tremendous cruising speed they are able with little or no vision as we know it and in complete darkness to avoid tricky objects and to capture the tiniest of mosquitoes. How? They developed an ultra-complex sonar device 50 million years before we re-invented it.

About the vampire business, this bad rap results from a small group of South American bats. Contrary to popular notion, these creatures are tiny, do not possess hollow fangs for sucking, and do not prey on humans, and live in South America - not Transylvania. The funny thing about these vampire bats is that they make sneak attacks on Brazilian cattle and lap up their blood with their dainty tongues. That's not funny, but what is funny is that prior to this sanguine feast, they land 20 yards from their prey and tiptoe on the ground like giant-eared tarantulas wearing, one can imagine, goofy-looking smirks.  

Kind of takes the “oomfff' out of Macbeth's famous recipe concocted by the three witches:
Eye of a newt,
And toe of frog,
Wool of bat, 
And tongue of dog.

Wool of bat? You mean that stuff in the bat house?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Harvest Day and Welcome to New Members!

Dear Friends,

How hard it is to believe that we are now entering the second half of the season! A warm welcome to the new members and a heart-felt thank you to the departing members. We hope that there will be many opportunities for us all to come together in the coming months.

For your baskets this week:
Potatoes grown from Biodynamic Stock

French Fingerling potatoes are a light and creamy heirloom potato with delicious thin buff skin that never requires peeling! Distinctive yellow flesh with accents of rose red make this an attractive potato to serve. Delectable broiled with a splash of olive oil and sprinkles of thyme.

Pontiac Red Round potatoes with thin, deep red skin and crisp white flesh makes perfect creamy mashed potatoes. Great variety for growing baby potatoes.

Russian Blue’s texture is much like a russet so they are good to bake or mash, cook as French fry or even make into chips; but they also can be steamed or boiled. Roasting or grilling the halves will actually darken the colour and is most recommended, as the mild taste needs help with herbs and seasonings.

Freshly-dug Leeks

A Bunch of Parsley

Sweetest of Peaches - Contender Peaches

Georgia Southern Collards

Brandywine Tomatoes - take a look at the one we just picked: 1 pound 3oz! Not sold in grocery stores because they look bizarre, tomato connoisseurs believe they are the best.

In the bounty baskets, look for basil, peppers, magnificent heirloom tomatoes, flowers, and more.

Also, I made a batch of terrific goat cheese if I may say so myself: Garlic Chive! We have quite a few eggs for sale, as well.

Potato Leek Soup

3 pounds potatoes, peeled and quartered
6 cups vegetable broth
2 leeks, bulb only
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup white wine
salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
parsley to garnish

Cook potatoes in vegetable stock until soft. Set aside, do not drain.
Put potatoes in the work bowl of a food processor in batches. Add 5 cups of vegetable stock from the potato cooking pot. Puree until smooth.
Half the leeks lengthwise, and soak in water to clean. Finely slice. Saute in butter until transparent. Add white wine, and cook for 3 minutes.
In a soup pot, combine remaining cup of stock from the potato cooking pot and sauteed leeks. Stir in pureed potatoes, and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and white pepper. Cook to desired consistency, adding more stock if necessary. Garnish with parsley.

Peach Salsa

4 ripe, yellow peaches, peeled, stoned and chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime

Preparation:Combine, peaches, onion, jalapeno, cilantro in a medium bowl. Drizzle lime juice over mixture and toss. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Can We Come Home With You?

A few weeks back, we were happy to learn that our little rabbit friend Filbert became a proud mother of five baby bunnies. Her babies are now young adults and need to move out of the nest. We would be ever so delighted if you would like to take a rabbit home with you. Rabbit manure makes excellent fertilizer for your garden. Worms love it, and so will your vegetables and flowers. Please send an email to or call 330.666.6152 to let us know if you would like to adopt a rabbit.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Our work day this past Saturday was a huge success! Many of you came to help out on the farm, and you brought 17 children! What wonderful energy we had for the plants that day. We really got a lot accomplished. Thank you. And thank you to our friend Pearl Whitley who made a spectacular lunch for us all.

The items you will receive in your baskets this week are:
-1 HUGE Copenhagen Cabbage - This is one big head of cabbage.
-Detroit Red Beets - Peel and shred these for a light, colorful salad.
-A bunch of swiss chard - A mixture of Ruby, Rainbow, and Fordhook Giant varieties.
-Basil - The ultimate summer herb.
-Heirloom tomato - With the warm weather comes tomatoes!
-A variety of rare peppers - Fish, Hungarian Hot Wax, Paprika, Jalapeno, Anaheim varieties....
-A bag of salad mix - A unique item for mid-August as lettuces like it cool.

Some recipes....

Tomato, Basil, Goat Cheese Salad
serves 4

-1 heirloom tomato
-1 small bunch basil
-6 oz. goat cheese
-extra virgin olive oil
-sea salt
-fresh ground pepper

Slice the tomato into 1/4 inch slices. Remove the basil leaves from the stems. Arrange the tomato slices, basil leaves, and spoonfuls of goat cheese alternating on a platter. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls
serves 6

1 medium sweet onion, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 small cans tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste
fresh oregano to taste, chopped
1 tablespoon honey or to taste
1 medium head green cabbage
6 tablespoons goat cheese
1 cup uncooked white rice
1 egg
1 teaspoon curry powder

In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.
Add onion and garlic. Saute until onion is softened and just beginning to brown.
Remove from heat and set aside.
In saucepan, combine tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, oregano and honey. Stir in 2 tablespoons onion sauteed onion.
Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook rice in salted water until tender. Drain.
Wash cabbage and carefully remove 12 outer leaves. Steam or cook leaves until pliable.
Combine onion mixture with rice, parsley, egg and 2 tablespoons simmered tomato sauce. Stir in cheese, salt to taste and curry powder.
Spoon rice mixture into center of cabbage leaves. Fold in sides and roll up. Secure with toothpicks.
Place cabbage rolls in simmering tomato sauce and simmer 10 to 15 minutes.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

This Week's Offerings and Work Day this Saturday!

This Week's Offerings are:
*2 Large Leeks - These have a mild onion flavor.
*Red Skinned Potatoes - Perfect for roasting or potato salad.
*Green Bell Peppers - Crunchy and fresh, nice eaten raw or in a stir-fry.
*Candy Onion - Even bigger this week, these are great sliced on a sandwich.
*Zucchini - Medium sized with a delicate skin, very good with fresh herbs from our herb garden.

*Collard/Kale Bunch - Try juicing these greens for a healthy snack.

*Kohlrabi - Belongs to the cabbage family and got its name from a German word meaning "cabbage-turnip". They were popular in Germany during the 16th century and only recently have they been appreciated elsewhere. Both the leaves and swollen underground stem are edible, specially the stem which can be green, white or purple. Its flavor is milder than a turnip's. If young and tender they may be eaten raw, very thinly sliced.

Bounty Basket! (First-of-the-season tomatoes, roma bush beans, mild and spicy peppers, and a variety of mints - apple, spearmint, chocolate - for iced tea)


Farmer Jake's Limeade: serves 1

-1 apple, cored
-1 lemon, peeled
-4/5 leaves collards

Juice all ingredients in a juicer and drink slowly.

Roasted Summer Potato Salad: serves 4

-1.5 pounds potatoes, diced
-1 half candy onion, diced
-1 green bell pepper, diced
-1 zucchini, diced
-1 small bunch rosemary, oregano, thyme, tarragon, or any other fresh herb you like, removed from the stem
-3 Tbsp. olive oil
-salt and pepper to taste

Mix potato, onion, pepper, zucchini, herbs, and olive oil in a large bowl. Bake at 375 degrees for about 35-40 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add salt and pepper to your liking. Serve warm.

Work Day this Saturday!

The summer days are flying by. So fast, in fact, that the first half of our season is almost over. The last pickup day for the first half of the season (Summer Share) will be Tuesday, August 11. The first pick up day for the second half of the season (Autumn Share) will be Tuesday, August 18.

To say farewell to our Summer Shareholders and welcome the Autumn Shareholders, we have scheduled a work day for Saturday, August 8 from 9am. to 12 pm. We hope that many of you can make it. This is an invitation to all members and your families. Everyone is welcome to join us after the workday for a homemade lunch prepared by Pearl Whitley, our chef. Please let us know if you plan on attending.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Vincent, Potatoes, and Your Harvest Baskets

Vincent van Gogh, The Potato Eaters, 1885. Oil on canvas 82 x 114 cm. Vincent van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

       Today, as I reached into the earth to dig up potatoes, I thought of Vincent van Gogh, the fact that he died this very day, long ago (July 27, 1890), and of his first major painting, The Potato Eaters...
     "He is a filthy beast," so thought Vincent van Gogh about his family's estimation of him. What others would diagnose as mental illness, Vincent thought of as illumination - a new vision of what painting could be: a revelation of heaven here on earth. He thought himself a prophet-painter and a thinker. The thinker side of him poured thoughts out in a deluge of words in the letters he wrote to his younger brother, Theo. The prophet-painter side began as an epiphany. He decided he would be an artist and it would take him ten years to do it. After ten years, quite eerily, Vincent killed himself. He knew for certain that painting was in the very marrow of his bones. He wanted his fellow humans to know that this man feels for the earth keenly. If he were to demonstrate to the common poor that if heaven were in simple things - the smell of the soil, the petal of a flower, a frugal meal - he had better be one with them, not above them.
            And then it happened. The Potato Eaters is his first undeniable masterpiece. It is a curriculum vitae of everything he'd thought and felt up to this point, everything that would make him a revolutionary artist is already here. The dark thick color was chosen not just for pictorial effect but you might say philosophically.  For a starter, the brown is - to be blunt - a manure brown. This color, Vincent explained, was of dusty spuds before they’ve been rinsed. Lost in total identification, Van Gogh paints like a clod. The heavy loaded brush doing its own manual labor. The picture appears dug and tilled rather than painted. There’s total union between painter and farmer family. It's all in the hands.
           "I tried to bring about the idea that these people eating potatoes by the light of their lamp have dug the earth with the self-same hands that they are putting into their dish. Manual labor, a meal honestly earned. Anyone who wants to paint peasants looking mamby pamby can suit himself." So wrote Vincent to his brother, Theo.
           It's almost as if he’s giving a smirk at the polite siennas and decorous burnt umbers of the drawing room paintings he’d had to sell to the rich and famous with a clinched jaw as a young man London. It’s this humble, hard-working family before you who dine in a state of grace. Their potato supper is a holy communion of the toiling class. His art, like this painting, would reclaim what had once belonged to religion: consolation for our mortality through the relish of the gift of life.
And now I understand
how you suffered for your sanity
how you tried to set them free
perhaps they'll listen now.
For they could not love you
but still your love was true and when no hope was left in sight on that starry starry night. You took your life as lovers often do;
But I could have told you
this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you...


For your baskets tomorrow:
Freshly-dug Red Potatoes (of course)
A Sprig of Rosemary (great for baking with your potatoes!)
Salad Cucumbers
Several Ears of Delicious Sweet Corn
A Bunch of Swiss Chard
A Bag of Heirloom Lettuce
Baby Carrots

From Pearl Whitley's Lavender Lane Cookbook
Roasted Vegetables
The great thing about this recipe is that you can use any  combination of vegetables  that you like;  tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, parsnips, summer or winter squash, sweet potatoes, turnips,  onions, rutabagas, zucchini, squash, etc. This recipe serves 4-6 people.
Potatoes,  peeled or not and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 Carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 medium Butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 Parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425o F. Place vegetables in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Toss the vegetables well with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes.

Roasted Rosemary and Red Potatoes 

red skinned new potatoes
3/4 c. unsalted butter
1/2 c. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. lemon zest, grated
2 tsp. rosemary
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Quarter potatoes and arrange in baking dish in single layer. Salt and pepper potatoes. Combine butter, lemon juice and lemon zest in a saucepan and heat until butter is melted. Pour mixture over potatoes. Sprinkle rosemary over potatoes. Bake until lightly browned for 30 to 45 minutes.

Friday, July 24, 2009

One Wild and Precious Life

After working in the fields, looking at the gorgeous clay oven that Mary, Anders, Christian, and Augie worked on today, I decided to pick up some poetry tonight as an out breath this summer day. The first poem I began to contemplate is by Mary Oliver, a native of Maple Heights, Ohio. 

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper I mean
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down 
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes. 
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?  

Monday, July 20, 2009

Zucchini and Beans and Cukes, oh my!

Dear Friends,

Just a note to let you know that we are alas ready to sell our fresh goat cheese in little tubs to any takers. The ingredients are simple: biodynamic goat milk, organic lemons, and sea salt. Below you will find a delicious recipe for zucchini and goat cheese.

First, does anyone have any coffee cans or something similiar as a platform for melons? If you do, we could sure use some. Thanks!

Here is more or less what you will find in your baskets this week:

Candy Onion
Black Beauty Zucchini
Straightneck Yellow Squash
A Bag of Heirloom Lettuces
A Large Bag of Derby Bush Beans
Bounty Basket (Hot, Mild, and Sweet Peppers, Detroit Dark Red Beets, etc.)


Serves 6 as a starter.
1 zucchini or two
2 ounces goat cheese
2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar (you can substitute another kind of fruit vinegar if you wish)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

1. Trim the zucchini and cut it in paper-thin slices using a sharp knife or a mandoline. Arrange in a circular pattern on individual plates. Start from the outside and work your way in, each slice overlapping the previous one. Sprinkle the cheese over the slices.

2. Whisk together vinegar and olive oil in a small bowl and drizzle over zucchini and cheese. Sprinkle with thyme, salt, and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.


Serves 6
1 large onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
1 pound summer squash, sliced
1/3 cup water
3 large plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

In a large nonstick skillet, saute the onion, garlic and seasonings in oil until onion is tender. Add the beans, squash and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until just tender. Add tomatoes and parsley; cover and simmer 5 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender. Serve with a slotted spoon.


3-4 small to medium zucchini
5 green onions, finely chopped
6 oz feta cheese
Small bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
Small bunch fresh mint, chopped
1 tbsp dried mint
1 tsp paprika
1 cup flour
3 eggs beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil for frying
2-3 Limes

Grate the zucchini by hand or food processor. Spread on a kitchen towel to soak up a little of the moisture. Place the green onions in a bowl. Crumble in the feta. Stir in the parsley, mint, dried mint and paprika. Add the flour and season with salt and pepper. Add the egg and mix thoroughly, Mix in the zucchini. It won’t be pretty, but that’s just as it should be.
Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of your pan. Drop tablespoons of the mixture into the oil and flatten with the back of your spoon. Cook approx. 2-3 minutes on each side until they are golden brown. Move them to a plate covered in paper towel or something equally as absorbent and continue cook ing the remaining batter.
If you like, sprinkle a little lime juice on the fritters before serving. Also very good without.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Pick-Up Day!

The weeks of the summer are floating by like a wispy cloud. I can’t thank all of you enough who turned out for our work day this weekend! You all reminded me of busy little bees (pulling weeds, cutting trees, removing sod, hanging our beautiful school bell, working on the clay oven, meditating in front of the chicks...), so I came up with a thought about the food you helped so much to cultivate. We are told that one of the means of communication and integration within the hive of the honeybee is through food, the honey, that is created and shared by its members. This sun-filled food is packed with information about the universe and literally becomes a part of the bee. When we eat biodynamic food, we eat to communicate and to gain knowledge about the world in heretofore unseen ways. We should revel in the idea that we eat not only to live and to satisfy our appetites but to become attuned to another level (or as some would say, a greater level) of consciousness.       

I remember going to IHOP for breakfast before Sunday Church as a young lad during the Bronze Age. Loaded with “maple syrup” (wink, wink), these pancakes, each weighing about 20 pounds, did a number on numbing me. Little wonder I often fell asleep through the sermon. Just think if I had some of the biodynamic salad you are about to eat this week!

Speaking of which, here is what you will find in your baskets.

Salad Slicing Cucumbers
A Bag of Fresh Picked Lettuce -
“Forelleschuss”, “Reines de Glaces”, and “Merlot” - and a nasturtium flower.
A Pound of Detroit Red Dark Beets
Rainbow and Fordhook Swiss Chard
(And yes, you’re right -) Collards!!!
1 Box of Blue Ridge Blueberries
(try some of these notoriousy sweet berries in your salads...)

Here is a good recipe... (Just ask and I can tell you where you might find some of the best goat cheese on the planet:)

Salad with Chevre and Walnuts
3oz (90gr) goat cheese
1/4 cup (1oz, 25gr) walnuts 
1/2 cup (3oz, 90gr) cherry tomatoes (sorry, not quite ready, but soon you will groan in collard-like fashion!)  
1/4 cup Greek olives 
Tarragon Vinaigrette

Prepare lettuce and put into a medium bowl. Add vinaigrette and toss (using tongs) to combine. Arrange on 2 dinner plates. Slice six 1/3" (1cm) rounds of goat cheese and arrange on lettuce. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and arrange on lettuce. Divide walnuts and olives and sprinkle on salad. Serve. 

Tarragon Vinaigrette
3 tbs olive oil - the good stuff (not cold pressed in Nebraska)
1 tbs apple cider vinegar (Bragg’s)
1 tsp Dijon-style mustard
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp fresh tarragon (cut a sprig or two from our herb garden)
2 tsp snipped chives (same with this...) 

In small bowl whisk vinegar, mustard and lemon juice. Slowly whisk in olive oil. When incorporated add herbs and whisk to combine.

Simply Swiss1 bunch of fresh Swiss chard1 small clove garlic, sliced 2 Tbsp olive oil2 Tbsp waterPinch of dried crushed red pepper1 teaspoon butterSalt  

1 Rinse out the Swiss chard leaves thoroughly. Remove the toughest third of the stalk, discard or save for another recipe. Roughly chop the leaves into inch-wide strips.
2 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.

Blueberry Muffins  

1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup orange juice
1 cup blueberries
2 tbsp flour.

Heat oven to 400F.
In a large bowl mix together the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.
In a small bowl, beat the eggs then add the oil and orange juice. Add to flour mixture and mix a few turns. Add blueberries and fold in gently.

Fill 12 greased muffin cups with batter. Bake 20-25 mins. Cool in pan a few minutes then remove to a rack to finish cooling.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Harvest Day

We hope you are all enjoying the fresh, healthy, biodynamic vegetables which you have received in the past weeks. For this week, we are offering the following:

Gonzales Country Cabbage - a large, crisp head; delicious shredded with lemon and salt.
Sweet Candy Onion - a freshly-dug onion; excellent raw in salads or on a sandwich.
Pickling Cucumbers - crunchy and cute, these are a perfect snack by themselves.
Mix of Heirloom Salad Greens from a Biodynamic Seed Company- until fall, this will be the last week to savor these unique greens not found often at markets or stores: corn salad, miner's lettuce, watercress, arugula, purslane, nasturtium flowers...
Dill Bouquet - this herb is wonderful on potatoes or in one of the following recipes.
Stevia/Mint combo - stevia is a great natural sugar substitute. Cut this and the mint and brew some sweet mint iced tea!
Bounty Baskets:
And from this point on for all of you hot pepper fans, we are going to have a great variety in our bounty baskets, including jalapeno, habenero, paprika, fish, anaheim, hungarian banana, and more. Not all care for hot peppers, so we will have them available for you to choose. We will also have Winterbohr, Red Russian, and Dinosaur Kale in the basket. We have turnips as well.

And - as always - some recipes to go along with this week's harvest:

Cabbage Rolls
(Serves 6 to 8)

This is a great recipe using Chinese cabbage or regular green cabbage from the well-known Moosewood Restaurant series of cookbooks.

1 large head of green cabbage or Chinese cabbage*
2 medium onions (or 1 large onion)
2 tsp olive oil
3 ½ cups chopped mushrooms
1 cup grated carrots
6 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
¼ tsp dried or 1 tbsp fresh, chopped thyme
½ tsp dried or 2 tbsp fresh dill
¼ cup fresh, minced flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp tamari sauce (soy sauce if you prefer)
1 tbsp miso
12 oz cake tofu, pressed and mashed**
1 cup tomato juice
*If you use Chinese cabbage, pull off about 12 large leaves and blanch them for about 2 minutes.
**Place tofu cakes of firm or soft Chinese-style tofu between 2 plates. Rest a heavy can or book on the top plate. Leave for 30 minutes. Remove the weight and top plate and drain the water. The tofu is now ready to be mashed with a fork.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Core the cabbage and chop the onions. Carefully place the cabbage in the boiling water, cover and cook for about 5 minutes or until the leaves pull away easily from the head. (Use 2 forks to test whether the cabbage is ready, one to20keep the head steady, the other to try to loosen a leaf). Once you have determined that the cabbage is ready, carefully pour the hot water off and set aside 12 leaves to cool while you go on to the next step.

In a large skillet, sauté the onion in the olive oil until translucent. Add the mushrooms, carrots and garlic and cook, stirring often, for 4-5 minutes. Add the thyme, dill and parsley and continue to cook until the mushrooms are soft. Add the lemon juice, tamari, miso, and mashed tofu. Mix well. When all is heated through, remove from the heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Assemble the roll. Place ½ cup of filling at the broad end of each cabbage leaf. Fold the side edges toward the middle over the filling, and then roll up lengthwise. Place the rolls, seam side down, in a 9x12 inch baking pan. Pour the tomato juice over and cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for about 20 minutes or until hot.

Cucumber-Dill Salad
(Serves 4)

3 pickling cucumbers
3 tablespoons cider or white vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion, sliced and broken into rings
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill

Wash the cucumber(s) and partially remove the peel in lengthwise strips using a vegetable peeler or fork and leaving a little skin between each strip. Thinly slice the cucumber widthwise. Place the vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper in a bowl and whisk. Add the cucumber, onion, and dill, and toss well. The salad can be served at once, but it will improve in flavor if you let the ingredients marinate for 5 minutes.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Fire Fairies (flies)

Last night, my daughter Gemma looked out over the cornfield and said, “there they are, the fire fairies.” Before each meal, we light the candle with this verse:
“Fire Fairies come to us.
Bring to us your golden light.
When the Fire Fairies come, 
They bring light, light from the sun.”
Oh, those magnificent fireflies. Memories. Who needs fireworks. I remember, back about a thousand years ago when I was a college student, sitting in a lawn chair watching the fireflies dance and play in a meadow. I accompanied them on my stereo with Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto. Somehow, we must carry the gift of these kinds of memories into the winter to warm our hearts. These dog days, when Sirius, the dog star rises and sets with the sun will be fleeting...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Fourth Week of Harvest

It is Tuesday again, and we are ready to harvest. The following items are what will be offered this week:

Beets - Large, round and red. Perfect for salads, pickling, and making cake (see below).
Turnips - Purple top variety given with the greens. The root can be eaten raw or cooked, and the greens are good for stir-fries or soups.
Garlic (Spanish Red Roja and Polish White) - This garlic was just harvested yesterday and is fresh. It should be used soon or dried for 2 weeks for longer storage.
Swiss Chard - Beautiful red, yellow and white ribbed leaves. Great for soups or braising.
Collards - Don't you love these greens?!?! They are chock full of vitamins.
Parsley - A clean tasting herb, good for freshening your breath.
Lavender Bouquet - Our lavender is in full bloom and makes a nice addition to your table. Hang upside-down for drying.

And the recipes are....

Coconut Milk and Greens
4 cups greens (kale, spinach, Swiss chard, turnip, collards) 
1 tsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 cup coconut milk
A bit of fresh basil
Sauté the chopped onion in the oil, then add the basil, coconut milk and greens. Let steam until mixture comes to a soft boil. Serve over rice or pasta.

Grated Beet Salad (Moosewood variation!) 
2 to 3 Raw Beets, peeled or not - but grated like cheese
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 Tb. Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tb. Olive Oil
Chopped Parsley
1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste
Stir all this up in a bowl and serve cold. This excellent recipe uses three of the items from your basket. 

Beet Cake by Pearl Whitley
This is a wonderful recipe for using the superfood beet. It is also a sugar-free recipe for those of us who would like a healthy cake we know is great for us. Carrots can be substituted in the same volume for a fantastic carrot cake. Serves 4
1/2 pound raw beets
one 2-in. piece ginger, finely chopped
1 egg
3 fluid oz. honey
1/4 cup olive oil
seeds from a vanilla bean or 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup polenta
zest and juice of one orange
pinch each of salt, allspice, ground cinnamon
3/4 cup all purpose flour
Boil the beets until soft, allow to cool a little then remove the skin. Mash them until smooth. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 10 in. cake pan. Place mashed beets, ginger, honey, olive oil, egg yolk and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk together. Then add baking powder, polenta, orange zest and juice, salt, allspice, cinnamon and flour. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff and fold them into the mixture. Pour mixture into the cake pan and bake until spongy, about 35 min. Sitck a toothpick in and when it comes out clean the cake is done. Allow to cool.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Herb Garden

We would like to remind everyone that our herb garden is now established and ready for you to pick some fresh herbs for your recipes. This week's recipes included the herbs tarragon and thyme. So if you are visiting the farm, stop by the herb garden in the front for a few fresh herbs.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Week 3 Harvests

This past week at Lavender Lane has been very busy and very wet. Thanks to the rain, and now the sunshine, the plants are growing very well. Aside from tending to the plants, we have begun building our outdoor cobb oven. We are really looking forward to all of the bread and pizzas we can soon bake.

This week's offerings are:

Canadian Shallots - with a flavor somewhere between onion and garlic, these are sought out by many chefs. Excellent cooked with wine or roasted like garlic with the skin on.

Broccoli - tasty enough to be eaten raw or chop it up into a stir fry.

Candy Sweet Onions - these have a mild, almost sweet flavor. Try them raw.

Collards - good for braising or sautéeing with caramelized onions.

Snap and Snow Peas - no shelling required. Eat both of these types in the pod, raw or cooked.
Salad Mix - a blend of several types of lettuces and greens, including merlot lettuce and mizuna.

And the recipes....

Augie’s Portobello Mushroom and Caramelized Shallot Omelet

Keep the shallots in chunks when you cook them for soft pockets of caramelized shallots in your filling. 

6 tsp. unsalted butter

4 shallots (quartered) (in basket)

few drops of maple syrup

4 portobello mushrooms
some tarragon (mmm? where might I get a snipet of tarragon???)
3 Tb. goat cheese (mmm? where might I get some fresh goat cheese???)
4 large eggs (mmm? where might I get some fresh eggs???)
2 Tb. water
Olive oil

Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and maple syrup. Cook over medium low for 10 minutes. Scrape shallots into bowl.
In same skillet, add mushroom and cook for 10 minutes. Then stir in shallots, and gently stir in goat cheese. Set aside.
In bowl beat eggs with water and salt to taste
Heat oil over medium-high heat. Pour half of egg mixture in skillet. With inverted spatula push the set egg toward the center and tip the pan to let the liquid run back to the edge. When most of the egg is cooked, spoon in filling on one half and immediately flip omelet in half. Serve immediately.

Broccoli with Garlic Butter and Cashews

1 small head broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
1/3 cup butter
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup chopped salted cashews

Place the broccoli into a large pot with about 1 inch of water in the bottom. Bring to a boil, and cook for 7 minutes, or until tender but still crisp. Drain, and arrange broccoli on a serving platter.
While the broccoli is cooking, melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Mix in the soy sauce, pepper and garlic. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat. Mix in the cashews, and pour the sauce over the broccoli. Serve immediately.

Sugar Snap Peas

1/2 pound sugar snap peas
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped shallots
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
kosher salt to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Spread sugar snap peas in a single layer on a medium baking sheet, and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with shallots, thyme, and kosher salt.
Bake 6 to 8 minutes in the preheated oven, until tender but firm.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Second Week of Harvest

We are now entering our second week of harvest, and hopefully everyone will enjoy their food as much as we enjoyed growing it. Pickup day for everyone - as earlier announced - will be on Tuesdays.

Here are this weeks offerings:

Red Leaf Lettuce - a mild taste, a nice crunch, and excellent in a variety of dishes.

Garlic Scapes - the unopened flower head of the garlic plant; has a milder flavor than the bulb.

Radishes - French Breakfast/Easter Egg - colorful, spicy radishes, great in salads or with cheese.

Green Onions - long, thin onions, also called spring onions or scallions with a mild flavor; can be eaten raw or cooked.

Beet/Turnip Greens - the tops of our beets and turnips; perfect for sautéing.

Dakota Shelling Peas - peas in a pod; very sweet and tender (they don't even need honey!)

Mixed Salad Herbs -  A wonderful mix of cilantro, parsley, chervil, and a beautiful dill flower. 

...And some recipes to go with them - and again, if anyone has recipes that simply are to die for, please let us know!

Sautéed Garlic Scapes

Trim off the bottoms of the scape stems and the tips of the flower heads. The recipe that follows is best when made the day before serving and then refrigerated. Let it stand at room temperature before serving.

2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
8 ounces young garlic scapes, trimmed
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper or to taste
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/4 cup grilled haloumi cheese,cut into very small dice (see note below)

Heat the oil in a broad sauté pan and add sugar. Stir to caramelize the sugar for about 2 to 3 minutes and add the scapes. Cover and sauté over a medium-high heat for no more than 3 minutes, occasionally shaking the pan to prevent the scapes from scorching. After 3 minutes, add the chopped tomatoes and wine. Stir the pan, then cover and reduce the heat to low; continue cooking 5 to 6 minutes, or until the scapes are tender but not soft. Season, then add the parsley and haloumi, and serve at room temperature.
Note: Haloumi cheese is a goat and/or sheep cheese made in Cyprus and now widely available in the United States. It can be sliced and grilled, or fried in a skillet, and it doesn’t melt. Haloumi’s salty flavor is a great addition to this recipe, but other salty cheeses such as cheddar or aged chevre can be substituted.

Balsamic Pea Salad

16 ounces green peas
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
3/4 cup mayonnaise or yogurt
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
black pepper to taste

Place peas in a large bowl.
Toast almonds in a skillet over medium heat. Then combine with peas.
Stir in onions, feta cheese, and mayonnaise. Mix in balsamic vinegar, and season with pepper. Cover, and refrigerate.

I eat my peas with honey,
I've done it all my life.
It makes the peas taste funny,
But it keeps them on my knife.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Big Projects Ahead

We have a few projects ahead of us and would like to know if you have any supplies you could donate. Among the projects are trellising our tomatoes, building a cobb oven, and building a greenhouse. For the tomatoes, ladies, we need all of your snagged pantyhose (they stretch and are gentle on the plants). For the cobb oven, we need, for now: empty glass bottles for the insulation, drain rock and mason sand (or a cheap source for them...). The greenhouse is a project for the future, and there will be more to come on this later.

Monday, June 8, 2009

First Week's Offerings...

It's almost time to begin harvesting! We'd like to give you an idea of the items you may find in your baskets as well as a recipe or two to go along with these items. You can check here the day before your pick up to find out what treasures await you! We hope you enjoy.

First weeks offerings....

*Buttercrunch Lettuce: leaf lettuce with a crisp, fresh taste and soft, bibb leaves given as a head.
*Easter Egg Radishes: small, spicy, round radishes which come in a bounty of colors. The tops are also great braised.
*Rhubarb: red stalks which are tart in flavor. Excellent stewed with a little sweetener.
*Mixed Greens: a variety of small leaves for salads or garnishing.
*Kale: a robust green with lots of vitamins and minerals.
*Collards: traditional southern green with a slight cabbage flavor.
*Strawberries: from a non-spraying Amish farm.

....and some recipes:

Everyone’s Favorite Superfood by Pearl Whitley

Of course , we’re talking about greens – kale, collards, swiss chard, spinach, and mustard greens. People may tend to shy away because they think they’re bitter. That’s only because they haven’t tasted them when they’ve been cooked right. It’s worth giving them another shot. They’re full of nutrients: They have calcium and vitamin K (for bones), lutein (for eyesight), beta-carotene and B vitamins (heart health), and iron (for energy).

· Braise, don’t steam & nbsp;them. Steaming makes them bitter. Braising mellows the flavor and tenderizes the leaves. Slice the greens into ribbons. Place them in a large pot with a splash of vegetable or chicken broth and a pinch of salt. Cover the pot and cook until wilted. This should only take 4-5 minutes.
· Add braised greens to whole grain pasta. Drizzle with olive oil and toss with feta or goat cheese and toasted walnuts. Can also be layered in a lasagna.
· Braise with crushed garlic and a little liquid amino acids. Lovely with sauteed mushrooms and a little mozzarella on toast.

Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins

· 1 cup bread flour
· 1/3 cup amaranth flour
· 2/3 cup brown rice flour
· 2 teaspoons baking powder
· 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
· 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
· 1/2 cup chopped rhubarb
· 1/2 cup water
· 1/4 cup honey
· 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
· 1 egg
· 1/2 cup chopped strawberries

Place rhubarb and water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Strain the rhubarb, and reserve the juice. Measure the juices, and if necessary, add a bit of water to make 3/4 cup liquid.
Whisk together rhubarb juice, honey, oil, and egg.
In a large bowl, mix flours, baking powder, baking soda, and allspice. Pour juice mixture into flour mixture, and stir briefly to combine. Do not overmix. Fold in rhubarb and strawberries. Spoon batter into 12 oiled or paper lined muffin cups.
Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 22 to 25 minutes.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

New Chicks!

As most of you already know, our hens are not laying as many eggs as they used to. However, we have just recently welcomed some new members to the Lavender Lane family. These new chicks should begin laying this coming fall. When we received the baby chickens, they were only 1 day old. For about 2 weeks, they lived in a cardbord box with only a warming lamp, food, water, and each other. This past Friday, we have finished building a moveable chicken coop, which will serve as the babies new home! The five biggest chicks are now living in fresh air with lots of good bugs to eat and grass to scratch. We hope the rest grow quickly and soon follow their sisters.

Also, this coming week will be our first week of harvests. We expect a lot of healthy greens :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

May Festival 2009

To view many more pictures, please click here.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Spring is here!

It has been another wonderful week at Lavender Lane. We've received some much-needed rain, and the plants are grateful. The smell of chocolate greets us in the front yard from a cocoa shell mulch we've put down in the herb and flower beds. We have also planted our very own "lavender lane" along the driveway, so drive and walk carefully around these delicate, new plants. Many new flowers adorn the garden. These will hopefully attract many beautiful and beneficial insects. We also had another field trip this week. Class 2 from Spring Garden Waldorf School helped us prepare and plant a bed of watermelons. Thank you, Class 2!

Last Sunday was the May work day, and we had a great turnout. We really accomplished a lot from weeding in the garden to cleaning in the chicken coop and much, much more. So thank you to all!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Weekly Update

We've all been very busy this week at the farm. Preparations for this month's work day have been made, not to mention for our May Festival. And of course, we've been planting collards, strawberries, and a large variety of heirloom tomatoes and peppers in the fields. We have a new perennial area in hopes of attracting birds and beneficial insects, and we have added a star-shaped culinary herb garden. Class one and Class two from Spring Garden Waldorf School visited the farm this week and helped us plant Spot's Pumpkin Patch in the front yard! Class one prepared the biodynamic preparation for the patch, while class two planted the seeds. Thanks for your help, kids!

We will try to update this blog every week, so check back to see what else is happening on the farm!

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Welcome to the Lavender Lane Biodynamic Farm blog site. This site will be used to update members and others about weekly progress, items available, events at the farm, and anything else you might like to know! Please check back often to stay updated.

Hold the date:

Don't forget to mark your calendars for Sunday, May 31 when Lavender Lane will be holding its May Festival from 1pm to 4pm (with casual evening events and music from 5pm). A list of events for the May Festival will be announced soon....