Thursday, August 30, 2012

CSA for August 30th!

Winter squash: from left 'Winter Sunshine' Kabocha,
Acorn, 'Sugar Pie' Pumpkin
Hard to believe it's the last CSA day in August.  Next date is September...just sounds like Fall!  And we're so, so, so glad CSA was not yesterday!  Harvesting in yesterdays' heat and humidity would have been very difficult; today is such a pleasant day to work!

A reminder to consider the trading table.  Some items in limited supply will be available the next few weeks including ground cherries and tomatillos!  And, if anyone loves frying green tomatoes please let us know and we'll bring some!  Of course, the tomatoes are mostly in demand red and we usually let them fully ripen on the vine, but green are absolutely and completely possible for you!  Just let us know!  On the trade table today will also be the first pick of some Acorn squash and 'Sugar Pie' pumpkin.

Today's Full Shares are getting the first harvest of one of our favorite Winter Squash: Kabocha 'Winter Sunshine'!  This smooth, sweet squash is one of the few that improves as it cures so you can easily use it in a display (out of direct sun) for a couple of weeks and it will only get better.  This one rivals 'Sugar Pie' pumpkin in the pie-making category but as a side dish it's as nice as sweet potatoes!  With all the winter squash: you do not eat the skin or the seeds, unless the seeds are roasted!  Easiest way to cook is to cut in half, scoop out the seeds, face down on a cookie sheet with a wee bit of water or face up loaded with butter and bake until the skin can be easily pierced by a fork.  Then you just scoop out the flesh! Awesome for recipes for cookies and loaves that call for canned pumpkin - it's an even swap, just don't forget that a lot of canned pumpkin has already been flavored with cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and/or allspice!  Today's Single Shares are getting a Bush Delicata, also known as sweet potato squash because of its' flavor!  The Part Shares got an Acorn squash, one of the best known winter squash because of it's nutty flavor.

So, for the FULL SHARES:  5 lbs. potatoes 'Almera' white potato, 'Winter Sunshine' winter squash, assorted Patty Pans, Crookneck squash, cucumber, 1 lb. Dragons Tongue beans, pint grape or cherry tomatoes, slicer tomatoes, beets, carrots, apples.

PART SHARES:  5 lbs. either Almera white potatoes or Yukon Gold, marked on the bags, Acorn squash, assorted Patty Pans, Crookneck squash, cucumber, 1 lb. Dragon's Tongue beans, pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, beets, apples.

SINGLE SHARES:  3 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, Bush Delicata winter squash, assorted Patty Pans, cucumbers, pint cherry or grape tomatoes, beets, apples.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

CSA for August 28th!

The first Winter Squash: Bush Delicata!
What a lovely day getting ready for CSA!  Even though it got hot quickly, there was a lovely breeze all day.  And, we think we've gotten together a nice box for you today!  The June chicks are free-ranging now and getting along well with the rest of the flock.  The newly hatched chicks and their Mama are free-ranging and just being too cute for words!  One of our garden renters told us today that he and his lovely wife are expecting for the first time - with twins!  Just a day of nice things!

Derrick came to help a little earlier than usual 'cause there was so much to get ready!  Tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, apples all coming along nicely!  And...the first pick of winter squash!  Now, if you haven't notice, we love squash, summer and winter!  We're so excited the winter squash is starting to ripen! Everybody is getting Bush Delicata winter squash, also known as the Sweet Potato Squash due to it's (somewhat) sweet potato flavor.  Now, for those not familiar, with Winter Squash you do not eat the skin or seeds (unless you roast them).  It's the lovely flesh inside you're going for!  Winter squash can be halved, the seeds removed and the flesh oven-roasted in the skin until the skin is easily pierced with a fork.  For these small Delicatas, that may be half an hour at 350 C.  You can microwave Winter Squash, cutting the cooking time down by 2/3's, but we don't think the flavor or texture is as nice!  You can cook smaller winter squash whole, but do pierce them so they don't blow up!  You can also cut, peel and steam or boil the chunks.  Mashed like potatoes, maybe a little butter and maple syrup, butter and herbs!  We'll give you lots more ideas for Winter Squash in the next few weeks! (Winter squash fries.....)

Some great ideas for summer squash here; love the salads made with raw, shaved zucchini!  It's time to get the mandoline out!  And while the mandoline is out - have you ever been to a Japanese restaurant and have that lovely cucumber salad Sunomono? A little sweet, a tiny bit sour.  Quite easy, you just need rice wine vinegar...and the cucumbers are coming along well right now!  Of course, there's always Greek salad with your tomatoes and a little feta cheese!

So, for the FULL SHARES:  5 lbs. Almera potatoes, Bush Delicata winter squash, lg. Kousa squash, Papaya pear squash, Gold Rush zucchini, 8 cobs corn, cucumber, Dragon's Tongue beans, green beans, apples, chard, pint assorted grape/cherry tomatoes, lb. slicer tomatoes, beets, carrots.

PART SHARES:  5 lbs. Almera potatoes, Bush Delicata winter squash, Kousa squash, Papaya Pear squash, Gold Rush zucchini, 5 cobs corn, cucumbers, lb. Dragons Tongue beans, apples, chard, pint cherry/grape tomatoes.

SINGLE SHARES:  3 lbs. Almera potatoes, Bush Delicata winter squash, Kousa squash, Papaya Pear squash, Gold Rush Zucchini, 3 cobs corn, cucumbers, 1/2 lb. Dragon's Tongue beans, apples, chard, cherry or grape tomatoes.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

CSA for Thursday, August 23!

Wow, did it get a little steamy this afternoon!  We were kind of petering out by 2 PM when we were still picking tomatoes!  Nothing like a vine-ripened tomato!  A word about tomatoes:  we're picking our field tomatoes, which are a wee bit more exposed to the elements than Evelyn and Menno's beautiful hothouse tomatoes.  We also grow varieties for flavor, not the varieties favorited by growers 'cause they're hard as rock right through delivery to the grocery store!  All our tomatoes may have a small bit of cracking and/or blemishes; especially the little cherry tomatoes are prone to splitting when they're really ripe.  Any that split while we're picking or packaging we just eat....but you still may have a few split during delivery.  They're still awesome....

We're still looking for new and nifty things to do with zucchini!  Shared this great recipe for zucchini pie on our Facebook page a couple of days ago!  Seems part quiche, part custard pie - sounds great.  And you could really do the spicing according to your tastes:  oregano and thyme for something rather Mediterranean, curry for something exotic...the possibilities are endless!  That's the awesome thing about the mild flavor of zucchini - it plays really well with other flavors!

A variety of herbs were cut today.  Some of you will get basil, with a bright green, pointy leaf.  Some will get oregano, with a soft, round, small leaf.  Some will get summer savory which looks rather ferny.  All go really well with tomatoes....and summer squash!  And corn on the cob....especially the summer savory!  Farmer Man is very proud to bring you this corn today!  We've really struggled to grow good corn organically - and we finally seem to be getting it right!  Today we've gotten the first pick on 'Golden Beauty', an old, standard yellow sweet corn.  We had some very lunch (quality control, don't you know!) and it was very nice.  Amanda and Ed supplied all the cucumbers today!

So for the FULL SHARES:  8 cobs corn, English and slicing cucumber, Hungarian Hot peppers, 1 lb. Dragon's Tongue beans, lg. Papaya Pear squash, Gold Rush zucchini, zucchini, 2 lb. slicing tomatoes, bundle of herb, 2 lbs. Cherry Red potatoes, 2 lbs. German Butterball potatoes.

PART SHARES:  6 cobs corn, slicing cuke, bell pepper, 1 lb. Dragons Tongue beans, med. Papaya Pear squash, Gold Rush zucchini, zucchini, pint cherry/grape tomatoes, bunch of herb, 1.5 lbs. Cherry Red potatoes, 1.5 lbs. German Butterball potatoes.

SINGLE SHARES:  4 cobs corn, slicing cuke, a Hungarian Hot pepper, 1/2 lb. Dragons Tongue beans, Papaya pear squash, Gold Rush zucchini, slicing cuke, bunch of herbs, 1 lb. Cherry Red tomatoes, 1 lb. German Butterball potatoes.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

CSA For Tuesday, August 21.

Dragons Tongue!
Lots of the 'tastes of summer' in todays basket!  Amanda and Ed supplied corn for everybody, and Evelyn and Menno have tomatoes for all the shares!  We're going to cut basil like crazy to go with those tomatoes!  A little soft, white cheese and you've the making of an awesome Caprese salad!  We made a 'Caprese' style pasta Sunday night, tossing penne with fresh homemade creamy goat cheese, some wee cherry tomatoes and fresh basil.  A little pepper and dinner was served!  Cream cheese would work just as well, it would melt and nicely coat the pasta.  How about Open-faced Chicken Caprese Sandwiches....

Zucchinis and summer squash are still going strong!  Made these zucchini/chocolate chip/dried cranberry cookies on the weekend - really good!  Raisins would work in the mix, too but the cranberries just added some extra 'zing'!  Still intend to make these zucchini pancakes - should be awesome with Manitoba maple syrup!  On our Facebook page, we've been sharing some great little stuffed Patty Pan squash recipes; of course, the summer squash is pretty much interchangeable, but the Patty Pans are just so cute and different when stuffed!  We're enjoying the Kousa squash stuffed with all sorts of things, too!

Dragons Tongue beans continue to do well - another good pick today!  We love introducing people to the bean; it's unusual and rare and really yummy!  Love when customers try new stuff, eat well and have fun;  Farmers Market customer Kaylyn posted this on our Facebook page:  'Please, please, please tell me you will have more dragon's tongue beans at the Global Market this week! I picked up a bag yesterday AM and my kids devoured them at dinner tonight... including my oldest. And if you knew what a picky eater my oldest is, you'd realize this is something pretty amazing! We may have also goofed around w/them, sticking out of our mouths, pretending we were dragons. ;)'  CSAer Caryl was thinking outside the (bean) box when she made this hummus recipe, substituting the chick peas and peas for Dragons Tongue!  She says it was very good!

For the FULL SHARES:  2 lbs. Linzer Fingerling potato, 2 lbs. Cherry Red potato, 2 lbs. tomatoes, 4 cobs corn, 2 cucumbers, 1.5 lbs. Dragon Tongue beans, 2 zucchini, crooked neck squash, Patty Pan squash, Swiss chard, basil.

For the PART SHARES:  1.5 lbs. Linzer Fingerling potato, 1.5 lbs. Cherry Red potato, 1.5 lbs. tomatoes, 3 cobs corn, cucumber, 1 lb. Dragon Tonuge beans, zucchini, crooked neck squash, Patty Pan squash, basil.

For the SINGLE SHARES:  1 lb. Linzer Fingerling potato, 1 lb. Cherry Red potato,  corn, cucumber, 1/2 lb. DragonTongue beans, zucchini, crooked neck squash, Patty Pan squash, basil.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

CSA for Thursday, August 16th!

Fresh and very local: Two miles east on Veteran's Way!
Yesterdays' rain was glorious...just what the gardens needed!  Steady and gentle, even the dug out went up a few inches!  Even though we though we'd picked the summer squash quite well on Tuesday, there was quite a few big ones to be found!  It's amazing how that happens!  Did make it a bit mucky, particularly picking beans this morning.  The cucumbers fattened up in odd shapes, what with the extra moisture!

Speaking of beans: they've done well for us this year!  If you're getting a little 'beaned out', now is the time to freeze some for winter use!  Freezing at the peak of freshness and ripeness is ideal.  To freeze beans you must blanch or partially cook them first.  Get a large pot of water boiling (some people will salt the water, we don't), have a large bowl of ice water or fill the sink with ice water.  Clean the beans and cut them into the pieces you would use.  Boil two minutes, remove into the ice water to stop the cooking, then dry thoroughly: we quite often blot gently between two clean towels.  When dry, pack into freezer bags or containers, leaving a little 'head space' and freeze.  The Dragons Tongue' beans freeze very well and are an awesome addition to soups and stews in the winter; you can add them frozen to something you're going to cook awhile.  For a side dish, you just need to complete their cooking by boiling or steaming!  Here's a great link for freezing just about anything from veggies to fruits to meats!

Our growing partners, Amanda and Ed, checked their corn yesterday and decided it was ready!  We're delighted to bring you this today; it's not summer 'til we've had fresh corn!  Our first seeding of corn is coming really nicely, but we're probably a week away (we won't forget you if you're a Tuesday CSAer reading this!), the second seeding is a little further behind so there will be more coming over the next few weeks!

CSAer Natalia posted this recipe on the Aagaard Farms' Facebook page last week.  This zucchini butter is getting rave reviews from a number of friends who've made it already!  It's quite easy and stores well in the refrigerator for a few weeks!  Awesome on toast, or I think it would make a great pasta sauce, too!  I'm also lovin' this recipe for zucchini cookies with chocolate chips and dried cranberries!

So for the FULL SHARES:  2 lbs. 'Sangria' red potatoes, 2 lbs. 'Linzer' fingerling potatoes, 4 cobs of corn, cucumbers, 3/4 lb. 'Dragon Tongue' beans, Crookneck squash, Kousa squash, Swiss Chard.

For the PART SHARES: 2 lbs. 'Sangria' red potatoes, 21lb. 'Linzer' fingerling potatoes, 3 cobs of corn, cucumbers, 3/4 lb. 'Dragon Tongue' beans, Romanesque squash, Swiss Chard.

For the SINGLE SHARES: 2 lbs. 'Linzer' fingerling potatoes, corn, cucumber, 3/4 lb. yellow wax bean, small Crookneck squash, small Romanesque squash.

Please don't forget about the trade/market table!  We'll be bringing little quantities of things we don't have enough for shares: like beets, maybe carrots soon, and things you have in quantity like extra potatoes, beans and cucumbers.  If you get something you wouldn't use, or you need something in a quantity for a particular recipe: come on over and 'make a deal'!  See you next week!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

CSA for Tuesday, August 14th!

Reta in the beans! Thank, Reta!

I've been having some interesting discussions, particularly with new CSAers, about CSA baskets and seasonal food.  CSA makes you a more spontaneous cook: one never knows what one is going to get in the basket, so the menus for the weeks' meals are formulated after pick-up.  Some people have changed their weekly grocery shopping day to the day of pick-up, or the day after.  Most interesting, to me, is some of the 'newbies' discoveries about seasonal food!  Many didn't really know things in the garden have 'their time', and then are finished.  In a world where we go to the grocery store and buy beans from different places in the world six or eight months out of the year, they were surprised to find that fresh, local beans are available for about three weeks!  That's it!  The little plants grow, flower, set beans and then are done!  The same with peas, raspberries and more!  Summer squash is a slightly different story: as long as you keep picking, they keep flowering and producing.  It's interesting to see how 'removed' people have become from the knowledge of growing food.  Anyone who does even a bit of gardening is somewhat more aware of the cycles; people who grew up on a farm or had a grandparent on the farm remembers the 'bean picking time' - a chore some grew to dislike, apparently!

The Spiralizer!
We have Reta, a Thursday CSAer, to thank for some of todays' beans!  Reta volunteered to come spend some time this morning and I really enjoyed her company.  Reta is one who remembers picking beans on the farm - and she was pretty good at it even though, apparently, I gave her some of the toughest rows!  It was kind of funny when I assigned her a couple of rows that turned out to have been picked before, then took one for myself that had obviously not been picked!  I didn't do it on purpose, really!  I could literally fill a bucket in half the time!  She also helped scour the patch for cucumbers for everyone!  What was neat is that Reta brought along a gadget we've talked about called the 'Spirallizer'.  I wasn't familiar with it when she mentioned it at her CSA pick up so she did a demonstration today.  It's kind of like a mandolin, but it cuts fruits and veggies into spiral shapes of different widths!  Really neat to see Reta turn out 'spaghetti' from a 'Goldrush' zucchini.  I really like this little thing - I'm going to cruise online for when later tonight, after CSA and goat milking!  You can make pasta shapes (raw zucchini salad with little spirals or actual zucchini spaghetti!), and chip shapes using everything from summer squash and potatoes to fruits like apples!  Really cool little gadget!  Thanks for sharing, and coming to help, Reta!!!!!

Speaking of summer squash...they keep on coming!  Wish the carrots and beets would grow soooo enthusiastically!!!  Here's a few neat things I've found or been shown this week:  garlic-grilled Patty Pan with chia brown rice, sounds good!  And, if you're not cruising our Facebook page, CSAer Natalia shared this recipe for zucchini butter!  I've had a couple of great comments already from people who have tried it!

Today, everyone is getting what is probably our favorite potato.  Out of thirty varieties, that's saying something!  We have our favs for roasting, and our fav for the BBQ, but when it comes to an all around potato this is the one we pick the most.  We've dug 'Sangria' for you today:  a red skinned, white fleshed potato.  It is always creamy and smooth, with good flavor.  It is awesome mashed, we usually eat it cut into chunks and steam it.  We use it frequently in scalloped potatoes.  It is not the best choice for tin foil packs on the BBQ, as it will get a little mushy.  We've taken it at somewhat small sizes; it's an awesome storage potato so you will see it again later in the season!  Enjoy it now, unpeeled, in potato salad or the classic mashed potato!

So, for the FULL SHARES:  4 lbs. 'Sangria' potatoes, onions, Swiss chard, 'Papaya Pear' squash, zucchini, assorted Patty Pans, lb. 'Dragons Tongue' beans, 1/2 lb. yellow wax beans, English cucumber.

For the PART SHARES: 3 lbs. 'Sangria' potatoes, onions, Swiss chard, 'Papaya Pear' squash, 'Goldrush' zucchini, assorted Patty Pans, lb. 'Dragons Tongue' beans, 1/2 lb. yellow wax beans, slicing cucumber.

SINGLE SHARES: 2 lbs. 'Sangria' potatoes, onions, Swiss chard, 1/2 lb. 'Dragons Tongue' beans, 'Goldrush' zucchini, assorted Patty Pans, slicing cucumber.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

CSA for Thursday, August 9th.

Surprise! More babies!
A day with a few little distractions.  The ladies of 'From Dirt to Dinner', the documentary on CSA and Aagaard Farms, were here with photographer Shaun this morning, getting some footage of the preparations for CSA.  They will be at the pick up tonight, too, for coverage from start to finish!  Aside from a short meeting first thing for us to lay out what we'd be doing where...the group wasn't really much of a distraction at all!  They ghosted around, shooting here and there!  According to Twitter, Shaun did get to try a young banana pepper that gave him a bit of a start!

A much bigger distraction was....the discovery of baby chicks!  Meg came back into the house after lunch, asking when we acquired chicks.  We answered June, and she said she'd just seen some little fuzz ball types around the waterer!  Out we go and sure enough:  one of the hens has quietly and discreetly gone broody and hatched five eggs!  Don't know where, don't know how but we've got five brand-new  critters, a day old!  Three black and two yellow peeping, chirping babies!  While Farmer Man watched, Rocky the Rooster wandered over and pecked at one, so we got the baby play pen back out, scooped up Momma and chicks and got them safely ensconced in the barn!  There's a cute picture on our Facebook page - check it out!

As for food - we got at that today, too!  Growing partners Amanda and Ed provided nice cabbage for everyone today.  Check out Tuesday's blog post for some great recipe links for everything from salad to braised to stir fries!  Cabbage and summer squash go well together in a stir fry....and there is, of course, some summer squash in your boxes today.  On Sunday, I made these zucchini brownies;  just delicious!  Moist and full of chocolate flavor, used the easy icing recipe included - very good!  Got the first pick on cucumbers, not enough for everyone today but they're coming nicely!  Also got a few bell peppers from one of our renters...Sandra can't eat peppers but loves to grow them so we scored a few for the Full Shares today!

We've dug 'Yukon Gold' potatoes today: one of our favs with a buttery flavor, nice crispness that does make them excellent for homemade french fries.  They're starting to get up to a good size now!  We're interested in knowing if you're getting enough/not enough/too many potatoes - leave a comment at the end of the blog!  A few years back when everyone was on the 'Low Carb' diet - suddenly we seemed to be giving out way too many potatoes!

So, for the FULL SHARES:  We weighed them: 30 lbs of food!  In the box: 2 cabbage, a Romanesque summer squash, Patty Pan squash, a Kousa or Mediterranean squash, Crookneck squash,  zucchini, bell pepper, cucumber, 1/2 lb green beans, 1/2 lb. yellow beans, 1 lb. Dragon's Tongue beans, 3 lbs. 'Yukon Gold' potatoes.

PART SHARES: 2 cabbage, a Romanesque squash, Patty Pan, Kousa squash, Crookneck squash, zucchini, 1/2 lb. yellow beans, 1/2 lb. Dragon's Tongue beans, cucumber, 2 lbs. 'Yukon Gold' potatoes.

SINGLE SHARES:  A cabbage, Patty Pan squash, Kousa squash, Crookneck squash, zucchini, 1/2 lb. yellow beans, 1/2 lb Dragons Tongue beans, 2 lbs. 'Yukon Gold' potatoes.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

CSA For Tuesday, August 7th!

Free labour! Visiting niece Meg got put to work,
helping us prepare for CSA today! 
Our growing partners Amanda and Ed stepped up to the plate today!  The bad news:  their carrots and beets suck, too.  We've heard it from our garden renters and other vendors at the Global Market; germination was very poor for many people.  Amanda and Ed got absolutely no, zero, zilch germination on their first seeding of carrots and very little on a second seeding of re-purchased seeds.  They've just enough for personal use and nothing to share.  We've gotten some germination - probably enough for just one share for all our families.  What a disappointment!!!  The question is: would you like them in smaller sizes soon or larger sizes later?

However, the good news - Amanda and Ed have grown beautiful cabbage so it's a cabbage fest today!  Here's a link to a slew of links for cabbage salads.  Here's a super simple butter braised cabbage side dish.  Cabbage is awesome in a stir fry - add it in with some summer squash.  Here's an Asian inspired version.  Of course, cabbage soup, cabbage rolls......the heads should stay very nice in the fridge for a couple of weeks!  Amanda and Ed also supplied the lovely burpless cucumbers today!

I'm surprised by the number of people that don't think of eating zucchini raw.  Zucchini sticks used to rule the veggie tray - well, in the '80's perhaps!  Here's a lovely recipe for a raw zucchini salad from food writer Michael Ruhlman.  Here's a neat link to raw spicy zucchini chips - they sound yummy!  How about zucchini carpaccio?  And this raw zucchini pasta with vegan curry cream is one we're going to try really soon!  We like to keep Thai red curry paste in the fridge....should be good in this pasta!  Here's another link with multiple zucchini recipes: the Parmesan encrusted zucchini sticks sound awfully good!

Final pick on the shelling peas - we know that for sure 'cause we were pulling the plants as we went.  They are typical of the last of the seasons' ripening: some little, funny pods with only a couple of peas, but good peas!  There's some great peas, some slightly older and some very young - may as well take them all in the last picking!  Also, today is the first dig of Yukon Gold potatoes, one of our favs!  This is golden skinned, golden fleshed, crisp potato, awesome for fries, great mashed or boiled, good in foil on the BBQ!

Keep in mind please, that we're going to try to keep a few extra goodies on the trading tables...while supplies last.  We know you're getting a lot of summer squash right now, so do feel free to trade.  We're going to try to stock with things that we're not getting a lot of: today we'll have a few bundles of our little beets, and some Swiss chard, as well as extra cucumbers and beans!

So for the FULL SHARES:  2 large cabbage, cucumber, onions, 'Goldrush' zucchini, 'Sun Green' zucchini, a Romanesque squash, 'Papaya Pear' squash, Kousa or Mediterranean squash, 1 lb. yellow beans, 1 lb. 'Dragons Tongue' beans, wee bag shelling peas, 3 lbs. 'Yukon Gold' potatoes.

For the PART SHARES:  2 med. cabbage, cucumber, onions, 'Goldrush' zucchini, 'Sun Green' zucchini, Romanesque squash, 'Papaya Pear, squash, 1 lb. yellow beans, 1/2 lb. 'Dragons' Tongue' beans, 2 lbs. 'Yukon Gold' potatoes.

For the SINGLE SHARES:  2 small cabbage, cucumber, onions, 'Goldrush' zucchini, 'Sun Green' zucchini, Romanesque squash, 'Papaya Pear' squash, 1 lb. yellow beans, 1/2 lb. 'Dragons Tongue' beans, 1.5 lbs. 'Yukon Gold' potatoes.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

CSA for Thursday, August 2nd!

For those of you getting raspberries today, you have Thursday member Leanne to thank!  Leanne must be a raspberry fan 'cause she volunteered to come pick, and brought the family!  She brought dad Earl, and son Stephan, who is on vacation from a job in Taiwan!  Also in the 'crew' was Stephan's Taiwanese girlfriend Sarah, who had a peek at country life, Manitoba style!  Thank you so much to all four for coming to pick!  The raspberry crop is definitely waning, and it wasn't easy to find berries!

We've got a good pick on Kousa (Kusa) or Lebanese squash.  It looks like zucchini, but a lighter green with a net pattern on the skin.  It's a yummy squash: firmer than zucchini, with a mild 'wheatish' flavor. It is traditionally used small and stuffed, often with ground lamb and spices.  Here's a great link to a version: the 'hard' version is stuffing, the 'easy' version is the same ingredients just chopped and stir-fried!  Check it out here.  Another nice recipe is very similar to my Mother's version for stuffing a vegetable marrow: sausage and bread stuffing, find it here.  Oh, yes, and if any of you are familiar with veggie marrow and would like one, let us know!  We have a very small patch, mostly for us and my sister Keltie!

The potatoes are finally getting a bit beyond the baby stage.  Kind of a surprise to find some nice sizes in the Norland Reds today!  The Carlton Whites had the occasional monster in the mix!  We've been worried about the lack of moisture, but these are growing nicely!  These will be awesome sliced thick and roasted or tucked into tinfoil packs for the BBQ!

First good cut on the Swiss Chard.  We grow a variety called 'Bright Lights' with multi-coloured stems. We find it a bit milder and more tender than the big, old white-stemmed varieties.  Not familiar with Swiss Chard?  Treat it just like you might spinach.  It's good raw, excellent sliced a bit and put into stir fries.  The bigger leaves make good wraps, or treat like a vine leaf for moussaka!  We just steam up a mess of it: Farmer Man likes it with a bit of vinegar (like beet greens), I like it with too much butter and salt and pepper!

Thanks, too, to Thursday CSAer Deborah for coming and helping pick green beans this morning!  She got enough for everyone to get some, and then our workers Derrick and Henry got into the yellow French Filet and......the first pick on the Dragon's Tongue - our fav bean!  A heirloom Romano or butter bean, Dragon's Tongue is thick and flat, with purple stripes.  Don't over-cook this one: cook just long enough that the stripes are just beginning to fade.  This is a tender, largely stringless, awesome bean and does well in soups, stews and tin foil packs on the BBQ!  It's great raw, or simply steamed.  I know this one will make some of your very happy, because you've experienced it in previous years or tried it from us at the Farmers Markets!

So for the FULL SHARES:  3 lbs. Norland potatoes, Kousa squash ( heritage variety called Costata Romanesque from Heritage Harvest Seeds in Carmen, MB), a Magda Kousa squash, couple of Patty Pan, large 'Gold Rush' zucchini, edible pod peas, 2/3 lb. green beans, 2/3 lb. golden filet beans, Dragons Tongue beans, yellow cooking onions, Red Mammoth raspberries, bunch of Swiss Chard.

For the PART SHARES:  2 lbs. mixed Norland Red and Carlton White potatoes, Costata Romanesque Kousa squash, Magda Kousa squash, Papaya Pear squash, med. Gold Rush zucchini, 2/3 lb. Green Beans, 2/3 lb. golden filet beans, lb. Dragon's Tongue beans, yellow cooking onions, 1/2 basket Boyne raspberries, small bunch Swiss Chard.

For the SINGLE SHARES:  1/5 lbs. Norland Red potatoes, Crookneck squash, Magda Kousa squash, sm. Gold Rush zucchini, wee bag of shelling peas, 2/3 lb Green Beans, 2/3 lb. Dragon Tongue beans, yellow cooking onions.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Our Little Manitoba Dairy Goat Herd!

Mervy and Marty, two of the triplets.

An update on our little herd of goats!  We've had goats a little over a year now, starting with our three Mamas: Goldie, Mabel and Chocolate arrived last June.  We currently have a herd of ten - having added Daddy Randi in December and having seen the birth of six kids through May and June!  What an adjustment it's been; the time has been full of laughs, joy and yes, quite a bit of frustration and worry!  Being new goat keepers nothing is familiar, routine or 'to be expected'.  You can read all you want and watch all the videos you can find, but the best lessons learned are the ones you experience!

Originally adding the three does to our routine was not at all a burden.  We already had a pattern morning and night for feeding the chickens and we had, in previous years, had a small group of Berkshire pigs to care for each summer.  We did not bring in pigs for the summer we added the goats - one thing at a time.  When we added young Randi in December the Farmers Market season was over, the farm was quiet and he just went in with the does and was hardly a 'blip' on the work radar.  There were when the does were following Farmer Man around and figured out how to get on the roof of our house!  We got into a nice rhythm of feeding, grooming and hoof trimming and all was well.

Gaffer and Marty: less than two weeks apart in age, but
being an only child gave Gaffer a weight advantage
from the beginning!
Goats are awesome animals: sociable, intelligent, affectionate.  We enjoyed, throughout the Fall and Winter, taking them for walks, without leashes.  We learned not to worry about them 'escaping' because they always just came to look for us if they got out.  We did find we had to improve our fencing a bit - they are smart critters and better jumpers than you might think!  And yes, they like to eat the ornamental flowers and shrubs in your beds, borders and pots! We continued our education, to care for the does while pregnant and into birth.  However, nothing prepares you for actually going through labor with a goat the first time, second or third time!  Of course, each doe had a totally different experience with a different set of problems!  You can read more about the birth of all the kids here, here and here.  Choosing the 'goat', 'Nubian goats, or 'The Goatling' labels from the right-hand side of the blog will bring up all the posts concerning them!  Adding the routine of milking and feeding baby goats has been a bit of a strain!  Our big error was having babies in May/June - when we should have been planting and tending our vegetables.  We thought we were being so smart (!) having less to worry about in warmer weather but it did put us behind in the gardens!

We're still learning lots, each and every day.  Randi was very young when we brought him here: we both laughed when we first saw him and asked if he was old enough to 'do the job'!  He obviously was, and has produced beautiful kids!  Randi is a purebred registered Nubian goat; his father Buccaneer was recently declared on of the top ten bucks in Canada!  Our newest experience is a buck in rut: Randi has decided it's mating season now, and he's already putting on his 'show'.  Fall is officially mating season, as the days get shorter, and we have no intention of breeding the does again until October.  This could be an interesting few months coming up!  The mating rituals of male goats involves weird moaning noises, peeing on one's own face and producing lots of musky odors!  I guess the does don't mind, but I'm not finding him as attractive these days!  It's actually quite 'yucky' to pet him at this time, much to his consternation!  He loves a good rub on the forehead but.....not happening right now!

Marble, the third triplet, and the twins, grazing and nibbling
on their favorite treat: willow branches!
Our females are all high-percentage, commercial Nubian does.  Goldie and Chocolate are 75% Nubian, Mabel is 85% Nubian.  We chose Randi as our herd sire to strengthen the Nubian/milking lines.  Goldie is part Saanen and Alpine, and has the cute little wattles under her chin, which she has passed on to her son Gafferty.  As Gaffer has been fully weaned, we're quickly learning that Goldie is an incredible milker!  Literally twice the production daily of the other two mamas at around two litres morning and again at night!  If you're interested in increasing production in your dairy goat herd, Gaffer is available for sale - contact us!  Mabel, although not a 'happy' mother, is a very good milker, quickly producing her litre and a bit morning and again at night.  Her triplets are high percentage Nubians, with the added milking genes of Randi's lineage.  Her two sons, Mervyn and Marty, are also available for sale and are extremely friendly and people-oriented as they have been bottle fed from birth.  Chocolate has the creamiest milk of all three - although we've never had it officially tested in any way, but by taste, to us, it's the nicest milk.  Her milking capacity is a bit of an unknown, as we are still allowing her to nurse her twins, but we keep them separated during the day and get more than a liter in the evening milking!  I believe her twin girls will be available for sale, because we do not have the capacity for too large a herd right now.

Having baby goats around the farm has been extremely fun!  It's made us very popular with friends and customers; we've become a bit of a destination!  Hey, wait a minute, isn't that agri-tourism?  Maybe we should have made some money at giving tours!  Baby goats are just a hoot - they run and jump and climb and then 'zoom' over to see how you are.  Especially the triplets, bottle-fed from birth, are just like pet dogs, although they're getting a little big for our laps now!  And soon, now that we're getting extra milk - some serious soap making is going to go on around here!  Once we get caught up in the vegetable maybe October for that soap making!