Boulder Belt Eco-Farm

  (Eaton, Ohio)
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Boulder belt Farm Share Initiative-Week Two

It's week two for the farm Share Initiative (Eugene doesn't like the word "Program". I think we have been watching too many episodes of Lost, so program has been changed to "Initiative"). Like last week, Monday and Tuesday's weather is not being cooperative for harvesting. It is cold, windy and raining heavily as I write this. I am hoping that sometime between now and 9am tomorrow it will get better for at least 2 hours so we can go harvest in relative comfort. But if it doesn't let up than harvest will be in relative discomfort. Thursday is forecasted to be a beautiful spring day.

So, I have been thinking about dealing with whole foods. I have been cooking with such for the past 15 years or so and this has become second nature to me so I tend to forget that a lot of you are rather new to this whole idea of buying local and cooking with fresh, whole ingredients. To make your life easier you need some items (if you don't have them already). Get a salad spinner, they cost.  A vegetable peelers is essential for carrots, turnips, parsnips, rutabagas, etc.. Get the wide/horizontal kind over the traditional skinny/vertical bladed kind (I just found this out about 2 weeks ago after resisting change to the wide (horizontal) bladed peeler). One of my all time favorite cooking tools is a micro-planer. This is wonderful for grating hard cheese like parmesan, chocolate and garlic (You will toss out your garlic press after processing garlic using one of these, at least I did and have never regretted it). Buy one of these at a hardware store as they are about 30% cheaper this way. There are other useful things but at the moment they are not coming to mind.

Things on the farm are coming along. I have spent the past 4 days dealing with pepper and eggplant seedlings that will eventually be transplanted to the garden in early June and be harvested in August through frost. I started about 500 seeds of both a week ago and over the weekend most germinated and that meant I had to make 200 soil blocks in order to transfer the germinants into more soil so the seedlings will grow and thrive over the next 8 weeks. Because it has been too cold to put the lettuce and cabbage/broccoli seedlings that are under lights out into cold frames we had a log jam of seedlings over the weekend in the germination room. but now it is warm enough to move to older and more cold hardy seedlings outside in order to make room for the peppers and eggplant. On tax day I will start the 400 tomato plants that will become our main tomato crop.

While I have been starting seeds Eugene has been moving hoop houses so we have them where we need them to grow early zucchini, melons, cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers. these early crops will, if all goes well, ready to go a good 4 to 6 weeks earlier than the main crops. That said about 1/2 the time the weather does not cooperate with us (it gets too cold) and that cold causes the early crops to slow down and than they are ready to harvest only a week early (and a couple of times they were so cold shocked they started producing fruit 2 weeks after the main crop was coming in). He also has been tilling up beds in the garden so we have a place to put more lettuce, spring mix, broccoli, onions, leeks, peas, etc.

We have a potluck dinner coming up this Sunday from 5 to 8pm. We will supply a huge salad and a couple of different dressings and will also have a gallon of sweet apple cider we pressed from our apples last year. You bring a dish that can feed six or so people and something to eat with (i.e. dishes and cutlery). Please RSVP a yes or no about this dinner ASAP.

We will take back any paper or plastic bags you get from the FSI and re use them. we will also take any other plastic or paper grocery bags you were going to toss/recycle. we will use them to pack shares, at the farmers market and at our farm store. We go through a lot of bags in a year and do not like to ever use virgin plastic

Tarragon Vinaigrette

1/4 cup vinegar (I mix a good balsamic with rice vinegar)
1/2 cup olive oil (get a good Spanish oil-i recently found out almost all the olive oil we buy in this country comes from Spain, even the oil that says it is Italian. But the oil that is labeled it is from Spain is higher quality that the oil they sell to other countries for export so you can get cheaper and better quality oil this way. I get all my olive oil at Jungle Jim's-they have by far the best selection and prices on 3 liters cans)
2 cloves fresh garlic minced or put through a press
1TSP dried tarragon
1tsp dried basil/cinnamon basil
1tsp salt
1/4 cup honey

Mix everything but the oil together in a glass carafe or jar (a pint canning jar works okay for this). Put a lid on the container and shake well until everything is mixed. Now add the oil and shake a gain. Let this sit at least an hour so the flavors can marry than it ready to dress a salad.

Spring Mix
Red Turnips
Dried Cherry Tomatoes
Dried Tarragon

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