Shoving Leopard Farm

  (Barrytown, New York)
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September 2009

News from the garden

It’s September first but if feels like the 30th already.  The temperature dropped into the forties last night and I spied a few of the hens bringing out their knitting needles and Awesome Farm yarn to make little egg-hats and tiny leg-warmers.
This season has been a difficult one in our neck of the woods.  The non-stop wet weather meant that almost all our weeding had to be done by hand instead of by hoe, and our seeding and transplanting schedule was disrupted.    Our tomatoes finally started to show signs of the terrible late blight that has swept through the Northeast, causing farmers and gardeners to tear out hundreds of thousands of tomato and potato plants.  Late blight is caused by Phytophtora infestans, which was responsible for the Irish Potato Famine.  It is important to destroy any infected plant by either burning it or burying it deep and away from the garden because the spores can travel many miles by wind, infecting farmers’ plants along the way.
The back quadrant of the garden is now set with a handful of sardine-baited traps to capture the villain responsible for ravaging the sweet corn.  The have-a-heart trap captured a tiny skunk, obviously not our culprit.  Mr. Whitestripe was relocated to a nearby institution that boasts a smelly compost pile and multiple streams.
Despite these setbacks, the garden must grow on.  Greens are growing, leeks are blanching in their mulch, beets are sizing up, Brussels sprouts are tall and budding, basil is plentiful, winter squash is curing, melon plants are trying again, and the flowers are just bursting.  And as we say in farming: there’s always next year.

Seasonal recipe, by Abra

Fresh Beets with Ras el Hanout
Adapted from Mado Restaurant

6 beets of various colors
½ C crème fraiche
Ras el Hanout spice mixture

Wash, peel and slice beets into thin sticks;
Blend crème fraiche and a 1 T of the spice mixture adding more if needed;
Dress the raw beets with spiced mixture, salt and pepper

Ras el Hanout
1 teaspoon ground cumin?
1 teaspoon ground ginger?
I teaspoon turmeric?
1 teaspoon salt?
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon?
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper?
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper?
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds?
1/2 teaspoon cayenne?
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice?
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg?
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Spice mixture will keep in an air tight container for 6 months.

Nutrition corner, by Rosalind

Leeks: the much loved vegetable of Wales, so much so that Fluellen in Shakespeare's Henry V is teased about wearing a leek in his bonnet, i.e., being Welsh.  Many of us who aren't Welsh also like leeks.  They are stalwart members of the onion family, a family generally revered as helpful adjuncts to the immune system.  Leeks are a big winner where vitamin A and beta carotene are concerned, as well as lutein and zexanthin.  So if you have eye problems of any kind, start braising those leeks!  Chef Dominick Jones recommends a little water in a covered dish in the oven at 215 F. for several hours.  The resulting juice from the leeks is so sweet it tastes like dessert!

Upcoming events

•    September 2nd-7th, Columbia County Fair:
•    September 5th & 6th, Cow-munity Yard Sale at Liberty View Farm, 10-6. September 11th, Grapes and gourmets gone wild.
•    September 12th, Soup-A-Bowl: Pkps celebration of food and art, 12-2:30. On the banks of the Hudson River at the Mid-Hudson Children's Museum, just north of Poughkeepsie's waterfront Waryas Park.
•    September 26th: Phyllies Bridge Farm Auction, 2-5.

Miscellaneous notice

We have pasture hay for sale.  If you or any of your sheepish and goatish friends would like some, I can be reached at 845 758 9961.  We are making 35-40 lb square bales, and selling them for $3.50 each.  We do not have an economical way of delivering them, but we’re willing and able to help load them up!

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