Wild Things Farm

  (Crab Orchard, Tennessee)
Farm life adventures of the Happy Hoer
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New Year, New Season

Time just keeps marching on--well, it seems more like jogging nowadays.  It's really hard to believe it's time to be starting some of the seedlings for this next season in just a COUPLE OF WEEKS!

One of the things most exciting about gardening for a living is looking forward to next season.  Each year notes are made all summer long about what worked, what didn't, which areas of the garden grew certain crops and so on.   The next year all those notes are checked and re-checked and guess what?  Mother Nature changes the rules!!!!  Keeps us on our toes and gives us something to talk about at the market.

Plans are to fence in several of the gardens this year to keep deer out once and for all because the resident Catahoula Hattie doesn't get much sleep at night from having to bark at them so much :-)

The 2014 season will be the 7th season for the CSA.  There will be 20 shares available; 10 for the Fairfield Glade Wednesday delivery, 5 for the Friday farm pickup and 5 for the Knoxville Sunday delivery.  If you've been thinking about joining the farm you better do it quickly because after "the first of the year" is when it fills up each year.   I do attend the Wednesday Farmer's Market at Fairfield Glade, but the CSA members get first choice and I don't grow everything for market that is grown for the members.

Why join the CSA?  Well, if you're one to procrastinate and don't make it to the market, you'll not have fresh, organically grown produce to fuel your body with.  The members are really good about sharing recipes that they've tried and I'll pass them along during the season as well as share recipes that I find to share.  There are always a few veggies that are grown that are hopefully something new and I will share how to prepare them with the members as well.

Belonging to a CSA assures you that you will have fresh, organic produce each week to prepare food that our bodies are meant to consume rather than the processed, sugar-infused crap we find lining the grocery store shelves.  Oops, sorry for that little jump onto my soapbox (but it's true).  Oh, I'm not free of guilt--I love crackers with my soup and chili and I'm a self-proclaimed chocoholic BUT I do eat lots of veggies from the farm gardens.

Being a CSA member is almost like having your own garden but you don't have to worry with the pests, drought, weeds, and back-breaking work---that's the farmer's job!

This year's prices are $520 for Fairfield Glade and farm pickup full share ($310 for half share) and $620 for Sunday Knoxville delivery ($360 for half share), and the season runs for 20 weeks from early May to September.  For share sizes and more details check out the farm listing on this website.

Do you know your farmer?   You should.


Greens and Barley Salad

It's amazing how many different flavors you can get from a bowl of greens.  During the winter there are assorted greens growing in the high tunnel and I'm always looking for different flavors to keep the greens interesting to the tastebuds.

The April issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine had an interesting recipe that I tried yesterday.  The barley in the recipe is what really did the trick.

Greens and Barley Salad

4 cups assorted greens such as baby bok choy, endive, radicchio, and/or butter lettuce (Okay, I used spinach and baby Swiss chard--close enough :-))
1/2 head cauliflower, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
2 carrots, peeled and then sliced into ribbons with a peeler
1/2 cup cooked barley
1/4 cup lemon or lime juice (I used lime)
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp nutmeg (I didn't have any of this)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 handful of toasted walnuts (you have to burn the 1st batch then do the second one perfectly)

In a large bowl combine the vegetables and barley.  I sort of kept the barley together on one side and the veggies on the other so I could taste them separately.  I also had a few cherry tomatoes that were "on their last leg" so I threw them in the bowl as well.

Mix the lemon or lime joice, honey, and the paprika, nutmeg and cayenne in a jar with a screw-top lid.  Shake well then pour over the greens and top with walnuts.  YUM!  This is a keeper.


Washing Fresh Greens

The high tunnel has been productive this winter season--well, as productive as it can be.  Plants just don't grow nearly as fast in the winter as they do in the summer.  A wonderful mix of greens just passed through the kitchen sink into the fridge for part of the evening meal.  I get lots of questions about the best way to wash fresh greens.

First off, this is only the way I do it--not a scientific approach at all.  The greens grown on the farm are all organical so the only things that need to be washed off are debris and the occasional snail.  I can deal with things I can see, it's the things I can't see that I don't want to deal with :-)

Place the greens in a big bowl of cold water:


Then swish the leaves  around with your hand to knock the debris loose.


  I pick it up a few leaves at a time and place in the salad spinner, checking them really well for cleanliness.



Once the salad spinner is about 3/4 full, put the lid on and give it a few spins to dry the leaves.   The salad is then ready to mix with whatever other items you want.  This particular mix I call the "Kitchen Sink" salad mix because it contains arugula, lettuce, broccoli raab, spinach, and baby Swiss chard leaves.  A lot of people have never tried baby Swiss Chard leaves in a salad, but they are delicious, and more nutritious when raw.

If you're not going to eat greens right away, don't wash them until you're getting ready to eat or cook them, and keep them in the fridge.

Now, for supper.........


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