All We Need Farm

  (Needville, Texas)
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Thanksgiving...

Thanksgiving…

 

Jay and I decided not to go to Louisiana this Thanksgiving.  Lots of reasons why, but I am happy for this choice.  We spent the time at home in very productive ways.  We finished all of the winter homes for our animals and spent real quality time with our family and some dear friends.  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner sourced from our farm and a beautiful TX wine.

 

I am so happy to finish our animal shelters because we had our first frost this morning.  All of the basil is now gone, but the chickens, the goats, and the rabbits were happy.  We started the fence on the Dannhaus side of our property only to realize that we need a new drill bit for our auger.   There is always something – thus the name of our farm – All We Need can be taken two ways. 

 

Today we did horse judging in the morning, Santa pictures in the afternoon, feels like a holiday, rested and full.  Now is time for a fire and Thanksgiving leftovers. 

 

We are so thankful-thankful for our family and our farm, the stars in the night sky, our incredible vegetables, our animals (even big bad Ben), and the firewood that my father chopped all summer.  We are thankful for our customers and CSA members who support our family and for this holiday that allows us to reflect, even if just for a moment, about this beautiful life that we share. 

 

I would like to remember a Jessie Clare quote, “God is good, all the time”.

 

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Turnip and Sunchoke Casserole

Choke and Turnip Casserole….a new twist on mac and cheese…

 

·        4 or 5 large turnips cut into bite size pieces

 

·        A handful of small sun choke, don’t peel them.

 

·        Olive Oil

 

·        A bag of egg noodles

 

·        2 Eggs

 

·        ¼  of a cup of Milk or cream – just don’t use skim

 

·        3 tlbspoons of Butter cut into small pieces.

 

·        Cheddar Cheese

 

 

Place water on to boil.  Once boiling, add noodles and cook according to package directions.

 

Place the clean vegetables in an oven proof dish, coat with a small amount of olive oil, salt and pepper and broil until the veggies are soft. 

 

Mix veggies, cooked noodles, eggs, milk and butter and cook for 20 minutes at 350.  Top with cheese and place back into the oven until melted. 

 

 

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Farmer Stacey's Root Stew

Farmer Stacey's Root stew...

 

  • 1 lb of stew meat (the butcher at Lads cut it with the bone in for me either way works)
  • Your Turnips quartered
  • Your carrots, topped and halved if large
  • Your radish, quartered
  • Chopped Green onions to taste
  • Chopped Garlic Chive to taste
  • Bay Leaf
  • Flour
  • Oil
  • 2 cups of water or broth (beef or vegetable)

 

Heat oil on stove in a heavy bottom pan, coat meat with flour.  Once oil is hot, add onions and chives.  Once the onions have infused their flavor add beef and turn until it's browned.  Add root veggies and bay.  Slowly add broth until it is well mixed.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook on low for 45 minutes to an hour.  Serve over rice or egg noodle pasta.

 

Please note that I did not add any salt or pepper to this recipe.  It was delicious without any seasonings. 

 

This stew can be frozen and used later.

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Mint Julep

Mint Julep-

 

Ingredients:
A small handful of mint leaves
1 ounce bourbon
1 ounce southern comfort
1 ounce simple syrup
1 cup of crushed ice
1 sprig of fresh mint for garnish
 
Place mint leaves in a glass and using the back end of a spoon, crush mint leaves to release the oil and flavor.  Add bourbon, Southern Comfort, simple syrup and crushed ice.  Stir until well blended and frost has formed on outside of glass.  Garnish with mint and serve. 

 

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Soaked Radish

Soaked Radish….Marinating the radish takes the heat down a notch. 

Ingredients:

 

·         5 French Breakfast Radish

 

·         ¼ cup of olive oil

 

·         ¼ of a cup of balsamic vinegar

 

·         3 tablespoons of honey

 

·         Gruyere cheese or sharp white cheddar.

 

·         Mint leaves

 

Mix oil, honey and vinegar with a wisk.  Cut the radish in small bite size circles and place in the mixture.  Cover and allow to sit for at least an hour (longer is better-overnight ideal).  Cut the cheese into small cubes and place on your radish pieces.  Top with mint leaves. 

 

Note:  Don’t throw out your marinade because it will make a great salad dressing. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sweet Potato Soup

Sweet Potato Soup….adapted from Chef Folse’s… “Encyclopedia of Cajun and Creole Cuisine”-this ain’t Dr. Weil’s healthy kitchen

Ingredients:

·         2 cups of diced sweetpotato

·         Your bag of sweetpotato greens

·         1 cup of julienned smoked sausage

·         ½ cup of butter

·         Your green onions-

·         1 hot pepper

·         ¼ cup of minced garlic chives

·         1 cup of flour

·         3 quarts of chicken stock

·         1 quart of heavy whipping cream

·         Salt and pepper to taste

 

In a soup pot, melt butter over medium heat, and stir in sausage, onions, pepper and garlic.  Sauté’ 3-5 minutes stirring constantly, whisk in flour until a blonde roux is formed…A blonde roux is not cooked so long, you don’t want the flour to turn brown.

 

Add chicken stock, one ladle at a time, stirring constantly until a soup consistency is achieved.  Stir in sweetpotato.  Bring to a rolling boil, reduce to simmer and cook approximately 30 minutes.  Mix in cream, greens, and chives.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  When potatoes are tender, serve in soup bowls. 

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What to do with so much Mustard Greens?

·       Jambalaya with mustard

 

·       Mustard and white bean soup

 

·       Mustard in scrambled eggs

 

·       Mustard on the side of fried eggs

 

·       Mustard in a pasta cream sauce with other seasonal veggies.

 

·       Mustard wraps

 

·       Plain ole’ mustard greens and bacon

 

 

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Progress

We have gotten so much rain in the past week.  The good news is that the carrots and the beets that I planted last week have sprouted.  I am so very excited to see that progress.  This week's momentum is slow.  There are many weeds to pull and the ground is saturated.  I am hoping to get in front of that situation very soon. 

Emelie and Jessie Clare will enter Ketchup into the Fort Bend County Fair tonight.  This is our first attempt at presenting a food product.  I am guessing that we will learn soooo very much from this experience. 

Emelie shows rabbits on Thursday night.  Our bunnies are looking good.  Emelie has come a long way from where we were last year for the fair.  We are so proud of her. 

There is so much to do.  I will provide an update later in the week... Stacey

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Okra, Peach, Pepper Salad

Made this on a whim this morning and had it with a fried egg.  Talk about good.  No leftovers...

Enough for one large serving or two small...

  1. 6 medium okra fingers
  2. 1 summer peach
  3. 1 large banana pepper

Chop okra and pepper finely.  Cut the peach into bite size peices with the skin on.  Toss and splash with apple cinder vinegar.  Not too much.  Eat fast or the okra will slime.

 

 

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One man is not an Island.

A friend from college wrote me last week.  She lives in NYC, and they are thinking of leaving the big apple for the farm.  She asked for advice.  I thought long and hard about the very best advice I could give someone looking to make this lifestyle change.  There are so many things to say.  Five years into this adventure, and I feel as though I could write a book and add a chapter every month.  Here is what I wrote.

1) Know who you are and why you want to do this work. Write that down, and when you get off the road, because it happens, go back and read it.

22)How do you define success is another thing to have for reference. For example, I lost every cucumber and squash I planted this year to a bug infestation. So easy to get down, but my success is not defined by how many cucumbers I bring to market. 

   3)Have an off farm friend or mentor to lean on.

I have been thinking about this advice, specifically about #3. 

I have a friend Cathy Sullivan.  Cathy has a farm 10 miles south of me in a little town called Damon, Sullivan’s Heart Happy Farm.  She is an amazing lady.  Her style of farming is very similar to mine and because our land is so close, we share many of the same problems and sometimes the same bounty. 

One thing I know from this work is that it is very, very hard.  If you try to go alone, you will fail, drown, or be blown away by much bigger competition.  The only way to go the long haul is to work together towards a goal that is better, cleaner, local food.

We live in a society that values the independent soul, the self made man.  However, anyone who farms knows that one man is not an island.  I need the support of a pat on the back or a “hey did you think of calling that guy down the road”, or a “hey I called that guy down the road for you”.

A gentle push or a kick in the pants never hurt anyone.  Advice like, “Stacey, you can’t point a gun at the crop dusters, if they fly over your property, it’s illegal.”  That’s priceless. 

I did not know Cathy when I bought my land, but I am so happy to know her and to work with her.  Find a friend and let them know how important they are to your work, your life, your family.  Share that today.

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Fall

Just in case you haven’t spent the last two weeks “under the Texas sun”, I thought that I would share with you that fall is on its way.  During August, our days were hot, hot, hot and sticky humid.  Now we are transitioning into shorter days, the sun is rising later and later.  There is a beautiful cool wind from the South, and the cloud cover is wonderful. 

The animals are moving just a little more and so am I.  Looking forward to the bounty of fall, watching my crops and my children grow while hoping for less weeding and more harvesting. 

Yesterday, my 9 year old brought me a doll that we bought while visiting a friend in Peru.  The dress was coming apart at the waist.   “Mom, can you sew my doll?”.  I asked her if she remembered where we got the doll.  She replayed back to me the train ride, the sidewalk, the lady that we bought it from, what she was wearing, and what we did following.  I was shocked.  

The doll is now 6 years old and still beautiful.  As I sewed it together, I thought of the care that went into making it and how beautiful it still was.  My mind wandered as I thought about the lady we bought it from, what her life is like now, is she still making dolls?  I wish that she could know how Emelie cares for her creation and the impact that she had on my little girl. 

Long story short, how we spend our days makes a difference in the lives of those around us.  I hope to know that my work brings beauty and variety to the tables of my family and community.     

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