What's happening down on the farm
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The regular season of the Emporia Farmer’s Market starts this Saturday, and we plan to be there with fresh, locally grown goodies. The Market is in the lot at 7th & Merchant, and selling starts at 8 am. We will have our free-range eggs (check it out, our eggs will be in the breakfast burritos for sale at the Kiosk!), a green and red “All Star” lettuce mix, broccoli, green onions and a smaller, easier-to-manage cabbage called Caraflex. This cabbage has tender cone-shaped heads, and is just the right size for someone who doesn’t feel the need to make a gallon of sauerkraut! Try it finely shredded in a salad for extra crunch, or instead of lettuce in fish tacos.
Happenings On the Farm
The strong winds we’ve had lately have given our high tunnel (just in production this spring!) sort of a beating. We had to make some repairs to the doors after the wind caught them and blew them open and shut a few times. Not to worry though, the veggies in the tunnel are coming along just fine.
Our 28 hens are giving us plenty of eggs, and we’ve got another 30 chicks growing quickly. They’ll start laying small eggs around September. The small eggs (called pullet eggs) are the tastiest!
We’re gearing up our perennial patch for more selection in years to come. We’ve planted 60 asparagus crowns, some green and some purple. If things go well, we can start selling asparagus next year. We’ve also planted some rhubarb, bunching onions, and will soon be planting raspberries.
Other things we hope to be able to sell this year – tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, bok choi, spinach, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, eggplant, watermelon, cantaloupe, green beans, zucchini, butternut squash, blackberries, strawberries, and pie pumpkins.
I hope to see you at the market this weekend! Be sure to stop by and say hi!
Posted by Cheryl
@ 11:49 PM CDT
We had our first ever booth at the Emporia Farmer’s Market this Saturday. The weather was warm and beautiful. The market opened at 8:00, and I had a customer waiting at my booth for the opening bell in order to buy radishes. Our offerings at this first market included strawberries, Romaine lettuce, All-star red and green leaf lettuce mix, radishes, an assortment of herbs and mints, and of course, eggs.
A lot of planning and preparation went into this market – getting a table, tablecloth, baskets, and basket liners ready, getting our canopy and learning how to set it up and take it down, not to mention growing, picking, washing, and bagging all the veggies. My goal for our first market day was to at least earn back the $25 annual market promotion fee that each market vendor has to pay. We more than made that fee back, and had sold out of what we brought by 9:30.
We expect to have about the same items for sale next week, with the possible addition of iceberg lettuce and oregano. The peas are blooming profusely, so we’re looking forward to having peas at the market in a few weeks. Our broccoli and cauliflower have heads about the size of quarters, so we’re looking forward to being able to offer those at a future market. Our cantaloupes, Crenshaw melons and watermelons are sprouting and full of promise. We hope our garden continues to produce well, so we can expand our offerings, and eventually open our Saturday afternoon farm stand location on South Avenue.
We learned a lot at this market. We learned we need to plant more, so we can bring more, so we don’t sell out by 9:30! We learned that our price signs need to be taller, made out of something stiffer so they don’t curl, and written in something besides water soluble ink. We learned that we need to have some sort of display for our eggs, because people don’t realize we have them under the table in a cooler.
If you stopped by our booth this weekend, Thank you! We hope to see you again next week. If you didn’t stop by our booth, be sure to check out our offerings next week.
Posted by Cheryl
@ 06:57 PM CDT
I had intended to write part two of “Building a hoop house for pastured poultry” this week, but the weather has been somewhat uncooperative for working outdoors. So, in celebration of the half inch of ice covering everything, turning the world into a crystal wonderland, I’m spending as much time as possible indoors looking out. Winter is beautiful if you don’t have to be out in it.
There are lots of ways to keep warm in this type of weather. I like to wash and dry the bed sheets right before going to bed, so they’re still warm from the dryer when I crawl in. Comfort soups like ham and beans, chicken and noodles, or creamy bacon and potato soup are warming from the inside out. Hot cocoa with whipped cream or a marshmallow on top is always good, as is snuggling with the whole family under a blanket watching old movies on TV.
However, one of my favorite things to do in cold weather is to bake. I’ve been fortunate that my hens have continued to lay throughout the winter, and they’ve blessed me with plenty of eggs for breakfasts and baking. In fact, since one of my best egg customers has left the Kansas winter behind for an extended stay with relatives in sunny Arizona, I’m finding myself left with an overabundance of eggs. So, my baking goals today have been geared towards using some of my extra eggs. One my favorite recipes that uses lots of eggs is pound cake.
Traditional Pound Cake
1 dozen eggs, separated
1 pound butter, softened
1 pound sugar
1 pound cake flour
2 Tablespoons vanilla
Whip egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Set aside. Cream egg yolks, sugar, butter, and vanilla until smooth and no longer grainy. If your butter is unsalted, add 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Fold in egg whites. Divide batter between 2 bread pans (or one Bundt or tube pan) sprayed with non-stick spray, or greased and floured. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Allow to cool, remove from pan and slice. Serve with fruit topping and whipped cream.
This versatile recipe is very easy to play with to get different varieties. Try adding coconut, or using lemon, almond, or rum flavoring instead of vanilla. Sprinkle chopped walnuts in the bottom of the pan before adding batter for a nut-crusted cake.
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup water
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
Dissolve the cornstarch in 1/4 cup water. Set aside. Cook blueberries, sugar, and lemon juice in 1/4 cup water, until the water boils and the blueberry skins break. Remove from heat and add cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly until sauce thickens. Serve warm over slices of pound cake.
Posted by Cheryl
@ 04:53 PM CST
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