Farm Journal – 6/13/21

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We are adding pick up locations as farmers markets are opening up. You can now find us at

Sundays – Squirrel Hill Farmers Market – 9am – 1 pm

Wednesdays – Here at The Farm – 11 – 7

Fridays – Northside Farmers Market – 3 – 7 pm

NEW! Saturdays – Mt. Lebonon, Uptown – 9 – 12.

Mondays – East Liberty Farmers Market – 3 – 7 pm (closed this Monday)

We’re dropping the East Liberty Market – as it was showing a penchant for losing money rather than making money. Our apologies to our local customers that did show up at that market, we do hope that you’ll be able to find us at the other markets. We are accepted into the Mt Lebonon Uptown market on Saturday, and we’ll do our best to make it successful! If you are one of our peeps living in that area, please come to market and say “hi” and bring a friend or two!

Frozen chickens are now up on our website too!

Farm Musings – by Jen

Maybe because I’m older and have kids, but this impending sense of Overwhelm comes on earlier and earlier every year. It’s the time of year when the to-do list grows faster than we can check it off. The to-dos are like a bad weed, every time you lop off the top it branches out and grows three times faster. Greg and I have been farming here since 2007. We bought the this turn-key farm from Jack and Dale, the previous owners who started up this organic farm from what folks around here call “The Bachman Farm” (which it hasn’t been since the 80’s). Every morning Dale would write out a manageable to-do list and we’d usually get it all done. Back then (before kids), we’d be out there in the dark harvesting crops with headlamps and sorting tomatoes until midnight.

Greg and I were reminiscing about our start up “apprentice” year here and how we (including Greg’s brother and a friend, there were four of us at the time) came in with open eyes and the notion that we’d soak in absolutely all the info we could on how to run this farm. But we also came into it with preconceived notions. We’d seen how the established systems here were “faulty”, “inefficient” or “outdated”. We’d make changes and improvements that seemed sensible. Now I see, in a young and naive way, we were too bold. We moved too fast, in the classic “newbie” manner.

I’ve worked on a number of farms since 1996, when I first took up the trade. I think back to how each farmer took me under their wing and (not necessarily benevolently ) explained how they wanted each task done…. Their Way. It used to gall me, being told how to pick beans (insert any farm task here)… I mean, I know how to pick beans! And I’d stubbornly continue to pick beans the way I wanted to pick beans. My Way.

I look back on those years and think how frustrating that must have been for those folks to see how inefficient my laboring was. They’d put in years of body mechanics, muscle memory and trial and error, knowing how to grab fistfuls of beans in one swipe, how to stay bent over and never stand up or kneel, so you motor right down the row. If only I’d quit being the know-it-all youngster and train my body to be fast, efficient, and do it their way… we’d get more farm work done in a day.

Now I’m that old (“seasoned” sounds better) farmer, watching the youngsters do it their way. Most of the time, I’ll leave them in my dust, as my years of muscle memory allow me to be fast and thorough. For some reason though, it doesn’t get my hackles up, like it did for my farming mentors. I know my crew are doing the best they can, with the way their body is built and used. The farm muscle isn’t built overnight. It takes years of backbreaking work to realize that, not matter what, you’re gonna pick 20,000 garlic scapes by the end of the day. You might as well kick it into high gear, get the job done and move onto something else that doesn’t involve stooping. You’re not going to get ahead of that to-do list by dawdling! Occasionally, you just need to have the “eye of the tiger”, harvest like the “old farmer” tells you to, and the Overwhelm be damned!


Garlic Scape Ideas (you’re gonna need them!)

Garlic Scape Soup

2 Tbs butter or olive-oil

2 dz garlic scapes

3 large russet potatoes, unpeeled and cut into ½ inch dice

5 cups vegetable stock or water

2 large handfuls spinach (or kale!) leaves, stemmed

Juice of ½ a lemon

½ tsp salt

Black pepper

¼ cup heavy cream, optional

Chive blossoms for garnish

Heat the butter or oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, and then add the scapes and sauté for 2 minutes.  Add the potatoes and stock, cover and simmer about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through and beginning to break down.

Remove from the heat, add the spinach and puree using a hand blender.

Season with the lemon juice, salt, and a few grinds of pepper.  Whisk in the cream for a silkier texture.  If the soup tastes flat, add salt a few big pinches at a time until the flavors really pop.  Served garnished with chive blossoms.  –“Super Natural Cooking” by Heidi Swanson.

Garlic Scape Pesto Recipe | from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients

1 pound garlic scapes, cut into 2-inch pieces

1  1⁄4 cups grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice ground black pepper to taste

Directions

Blend the garlic scapes, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, and pepper together in a food processor until smooth. (freezes well!)


This Week’s Menu

What I plan for at 11 pm on Sunday doesn’t always pan out to what we harvest on a Tuesday or a Friday. Items may vary at the whim of Mother Nature:

This week – look for Kale, lettuce, cabbage, herbs, scallions, garlic scapes, radishes, and maybe even peas!!


Field Crops

Our first year at trying our hand at potatoes and they are looking good! Greg surprised me with the question “shouldn’t you pinch off the flowers”? And I really didn’t know. A quick search on the internet and low and behold – he was right! Pinching off the flowers encourages the plant to put efforts into root/tuber production for a bigger harvest! Go Greg!

It’s been awhile since we’ve had a nice broccoli harvest – when forces align and we end up with the perfect weather for broccoli. I’m excited to start harvesting – but there’s a finite window for when it’s “ready”. Let’s hope it coincides with CSA day at the broccoli’s peak!

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