Bountiful Blessings Farm Produce

  (Hinckley, Illinois)
Locally Grown - Quality Farm Produce at Affordable Prices
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Getting Ready for Spring - Leek and Potato Soup

This past week at the Bountiful Blessings Farm has been filled with preparation for Spring. We finished the construction of our new high tunnel. All we have left to do is hang the doors and backfill. It is exciting to see the progress as we anticipate seeding and growing for this year’s produce season. The seeds have all been ordered; the soil has been prepared; the seed room erected; flats ready; many seeds have arrived; most everything is ready to go! The days are getting longer and the work is multiplying. Once again, the folks at Bountiful Blessings Farm Produce are ready to grow a wonderful crop and to serve our local friends and neighbors with fresh veggies! In the meantime, here is a wonderful recipe for Leek and Potato Soup:

 

Leek and Potato Soup

4 Tbsp. – unsalted butter

1lb - leeks, trimmed and finely sliced

1 ½ lb - potatoes, roughly chopped

1 ½ pt - vegetable stock

4 - Sprigs of fresh rosemary

1 ½ cups – Whole milk

2 Tbsp. - chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 Tbsp. – Heavy whipping cream

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the leeks and sweat gently for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the potatoes, stock, rosemary and milk. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 20–25 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Remove from the heat. Cool for 10 minutes. Discard the rosemary, then pour into a blender or food processor, and puree until smooth. Return to a clean pan, and stir in the parsley and cream. Season to taste. Reheat gently and serve.

 

Serves 4

 
 

Another Stew Recipe - Great Comfort Food for a Winter NIght

 As I mentioned yesterday, we love soups, stews and chowders in the winter. Here is another one of our favorite recipes. This is one my grandpa enjoyed, so we named it after him. Today has been one of those days on the farm. We wanted to get our new high tunnel covered but the wind was too strong. I guess it will have to wait until next week.

Burton’s Beef Stew:

2 lbs lean stew beef, cut into bite size chunks

1 ½ cups - flour

3 tablespoons cooking oil

2 cups boiling water

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoon pepper

1 large chopped onion (1 cup)

3 to 4 medium potatoes cut in 1 inch squares

3 large carrots quartered lengthwise and cut in 1 inch lengths

1 14-oz can tomatoes, bite size

1 14-oz can stew tomatoes

Directions:

Roll beef in flour. Heat oil in pot on medium heat then brown beef a few pieces at a time, setting aside each piece when browned when finished return all to the pot. Pour in boiling water and watch out for splatter. Add Worcestershire, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 2 to 2 ½ hours or until the meat is tender. Add onion, potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes then cook another 30 minutes until potatoes are tender. May be served hot but taste best when refrigerated overnight and reheated.

 
 

Corn Chowder - We Love It!

This time of the year is one of our favorite times for making soups, stews and chowders. This is one really stands out as a favorite! Enjoy! I usually double the recipe as we love to savor it for several days.

 

Corn Chowder

2 tablespoons butter

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

6 sprigs fresh thyme - leaves only

¼ lbs Salt Pork (sliced) - bacon can be used

¼ cup all-purpose flour

6 cups canned vegetable stock

2 cups heavy cream

2 Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced

6 ears sweet corn - fresh frozen can used if needed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

 

Heat the butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, salt pork and thyme and cook until the vegetables are good and soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Dust the vegetables with flour and stir to coat everything well. Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Add the cream and the potatoes; bring to a boil and boil hard for about 7 minutes, until the potatoes break down (this will help to thicken the soup and give it a good texture). Cut the corn kernels off the cob and add to the soup. Season with salt and pepper and simmer until the corn is soft, about 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the parsley and give it another little drink of olive oil. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

 

 

 
 

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

 Here is a great recipe for a cold, snowy, night.

 

Chicken Noodle Soup

1 - 3 lb. whole chicken

2 qts. water

2 tsp. salt

1 ½ c. chicken stock

2 c. celery, chopped

2 c. carrots, chopped

1 tart apple, chopped

1 c. onions, chopped

Dash pepper

4 c. egg noodles

Place chicken in kettle with 2 quarts water. Cook over medium heat until tender (about 2½ hours). Remove chicken from kettle and strain broth. Debone chicken and return to kettle with strained broth. Add chicken stock, celery, carrots, apple, onions, and pepper and cook until vegetables are tender. When vegetables are tender, add noodles and cook 8-10 minutes.

 
 

Home Made Kettle Corn

We eat a lot of popcorn at the Bountiful Blessings Farm. One of our favorite recipes is Kettle Corn. We also make quick caramel corn. I will post that recipe another time. Check out our web site for our home grown popcorn. I use one of those theater popcorn poppers to make all of our popcorn and this recipe. It works great. Nonetheless, the method printed here works well.

 

Homemade Kettle Corn

Ingredients:

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels

Directions:

Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, stir in the sugar and popcorn. Cover, and shake the pot constantly to keep the sugar from burning. Once the popping has slowed to once every 2 to 3 seconds, remove the pot from the heat and continue to shake for a few minutes until the popping has stopped. Pour into a large bowl, and allow to cool, stirring occasionally to break up large clumps.

 
 

Don and Eileen's Borscht

I love beets, however, I love them pickled! Nonetheless, after trying them in our friend's Don and Eileen Albinger's Borscht recipe, I love beets cooked this way as well. This is a wonderful winter soup. We try to enjoy it several times over the winter.

Don and Eileen’s Borscht

8 cups beef broth

1 pound ground beef (cooked)

1 large onion, peeled, quartered

4 large beets, peeled, chopped (boil in advance)

4 carrots, peeled, chopped

1 large russet potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 cups thinly sliced cabbage

¼  cup chopped fresh dill

3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 cup sour cream

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Brown ground beef in skillet, drain and allow to cool. In a large sauce pan bring 4 cups of the beef broth, ground beef and onion to boil in large pot. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 1 hour. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Spoon fat from top of chilled broth and discard. Add remaining 4 cups broth, beets, carrots, and potato; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in cabbage and 1/8 cup dill; cook until cabbage is tender, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in vinegar. Ladle soup into bowls. Top with sour cream and remaining 1/8 cup dill. The flavors may be enhanced by refrigerating overnight and reheating the next day.

 

Serves 6.

 
 

Grilled Habanero Salsa with Mango and MORE!

I am really looking forward to the growing season as I want to experiment with some of my recipes. Here is one I want to try. Someone sent it to me so I am unable to give credit to whomever came up with the recipe. Nonetheless, it looks wonderful.

Ingredients:

2 habanero peppers

2 mangoes

3 (3/4 inch) slices of fresh pineapple

3 ears of sweet corn

1/2 red onion

5 cloves of garlic, in their skin

2 TBSP olive oil

1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped

half of a lime

1/2 tsp salt

 

Directions:

  1. Start grill.

  2. Prepare ingredients: wash habaneros; cut mango flesh away from pit and remove peel; slice pineapple and remove core and rind; shuck corn; cut onion in half or into thick slices; seperate garlic cloves (leaving skins on) and place them in a grill-proof bowl with olive oil; wash and chop cilantro.

  3. Place habaneros, mango halves, pineapple slices, corn, onion, lime half and bowl with garlic and oil on grill. Turn items as needed. Remove from the grill as they begin to blacken. More than likely you’ll remove your mangos and pineapple slices first, followed by the habaneros, lime, onions and then corn. Remove your garlic last, as you’ll want to provide as much time as you can infuse the olive oil with the garlic flavor.

  4. As items cool, chop them into uniform bits so that everything is around the same size – except for the garlic and habaneros! You want to remove the skins from the habaneros and garlic cloves and then mince them as finely as you can.

  5. Combine everything together in a bowl and mix. Pour the garlic oil over the top and stir one more time and then taste test. Add up to a 1/2 tsp of salt if you believe it needs it.

  6. Serve with corn chips, on top of grilled chicken breast, along side pork tenderloin, or even just as a side dish because it is that good!  Enjoy!

 
 

Beef Stew Kind of a Day

BEEF STEW
2 pounds beef chuck or stew meat, cut in 1-inch cubes
¼ cup flour
1 ½ t salt
½ t pepper
1 ½ cups beef broth
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic
1 bay leaf
1 t paprika
4 carrots, sliced
3 potatoes, diced
2 onions, chopped
1 stalk celery, sliced


Place meat in crock-pot. Mix flour, salt & pepper and pour over meat; stir to coat meat with flour. Add remaining ingredients & stir to mix well. Cover & cook on low 10 to 12 hours. (High: 4 to 6 hours) Stir stew thoroughly before serving.

 
 

It is Officially Pumpkin Season!!

 

 We started picking pumpkins!!!

 

 
 

Catch Up Day

Today was one of those days when I was finally able to get caught up with a few personal things I needed to do. It has been very busy with picking and maintaining the crop. Our stands have been very busy and the vegetables have been excellent. We received about 6 tenths inches of rain overnight and throughout the day. It is still sprinkling now as I write this. Tomorrow morning I have an appointment and then I will spend the day picking and sorting. We strive diligently to provide our customers with the finest quility vegetables we can give them. One of us inspects every piece that we sell. I do not want to get so big that we are unable to provide such a service and product. It sounds like the weather will be nice tomorrow and Wednesday and then we might get some more rain. I wish these rains would have come last month! Nonetheless, we have been blessed with a great harvest. Stop into one of stands this week for some tasty sweet corn, melons and a large variety of wonderful, healthy, locally grown vegetables. May God bless you this upcoming week.
 
 

Rain Day

We have been working very hard at the Bountiful Blessings Farm in Hinckley, Illinois. Between our farm stands and picking, we have not had a lot of time to do anything. Andy, Peter and George have been picking corn and tomatoes, cabbage, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow and patty pan squash, peppers and much more. Today was the Hinckley Farmer's Market and the Kane County Flea Market. Our stands have been busy this past week. Many people are enjoying our melons and sweet corn. The heirloom tomatoes are coming on and the heirloom peppers are producing a bumper crop. We all hope you are having a great summer and are taking the opportunity to eat some great locally grown food! God bless!

 

Here is the grandkids enjoying some sweet corn!


 
 

Melons!

Today we got our first Sensation melons. They are a totally unique melon. Sensation is a one of a kind variety that has excellent taste, texture, sweetness and aroma. If harvested when the rind is turning from green to yellow, the flesh will be green and white. At this stage the flesh is crisp and sweet and the shelf life is best. When the melons are allowed to fully mature, the flesh will be sweet, pure white and soft. The 5.5-6 lb. fruit have sparse but distinctive netting over green, yellow and orange skin. (Harris Seed). Our customers love this melon. Nonetheless, our cantaloupes are wonderful too! If you stop by one of our stands, give one of the melons a try. 
 
 

'Tis the Season

We have been blessed with an inch and a half of rain this past week. It has been so long since we had rain; I forgot what mud looked like. The family has been busy working the farmer's market, stands and at the farm. We have been busy harvesting tomatoes, sweet corn, potatoes, zucchini, yellow summer squash, onions, and much more. This is my favorite time of year. It is so much fun to see the glow of delight on a person's face when tell us how much they enjoyed a particular vegetable. Please stop in to one of our stands and say hello. May God bless you!
 
 

Sweet Corn and Tomatoes!!

The last few days have been very hectic. Between watering, weeding and taking care of the pests, we have tow satnds open and a third will be open tomorrow. This is the season I love! I love to be busy working hard and seeing our produce sold and enjoyed by those who support us, the local farmers. The weather has not been the best, but we are thankful for the little amounts of rain God has provided. The high tunnel tomatoes are very tasty and abundant. The tomatoes in the field are starting to ripen and it is so coll to see things happen after all the planning we did this winter. Our sweet corn is coming in and tastes great! Andy is gone on vacation and Peter has been working his butt off to fill Andy's shoes. Kim and Dad have also been working hard to make this a wonderful year. Mom is also gone for a few days relaxing in Missouri. We miss them, but know they deserve some free time. Please continue to remember us in your prayers as we really need rain. May God richly bless you this week!
 
 

Did Someone Notice It Is Hot Outside???

It has been awhile since I have posted an entry. I am sorry. Things have been super, super busy. Between watering, weeding, picking and markets, there has been no time to write. I decided to post an entry to request your prayers, not only for us, but for all the farmers effected by the drought. Please join us in praying for rain and favorable weather to complete this year's crop. I trust our Heavenly Father will provide us with what is needed. May God grant you a wonderful weekend. 
 
 

Bracing for the Heat

It has been sweltering here at the Bountiful Blessings Farm. We are watering and preparing for the next few days of very intense heat. The plants are doing well considering the heat. It is predicted that it will reach 104 degrees tomorrow. The guys are coming in to do some weeding for a couple of hours in the morning, but I will be sending them home around noon. We need rain very badly. It sounds like we might get some this weekend. I really am hoping we do. Hope you are having a good week. May God richly bless you!

 

Here is our pumpkin field:

 

 
 

Hinckley Farmer's Market - June 23rd - First Day

Today was the first Hinckley Farmer's Market for the season. We hope everyone who stopped by will stop in again next weekend for more yummy veggies. Thank you again for support your local farmers and merchants. I also want to thank the Hinckley Fresh Market for allowing us to use their parking lot to hold the market. Moreover, thank you to Nora and James Roderick for all the work they have done to get the market started. It looks like it will be a great season! 

The crops at Bountiful Blessings Farm are doing well, we just need a little rain. I keep praying for rain and I know it will get here soon enough. Thank You Lord for providing us with good weather. I hope all of you are having a great weekend. God Bless! 

 Here is our popcorn patch:

 

 


 
 

Continuing on Schedule

Been very busy these last few days. We planted more sweet corn, cultivated sweet corn, cultivated squash and gourds, weeded beans and tomatoes, weeded other areas of the farm. watered, watered, watered... Such is our schedule. Besides all of that we are starting to pick a few things for our customers. Our CSA accounts will be getting their first batch of veggies this upcoming week, providing we get some rain. And did I mention, we are continuing our planting schedule on other veggies, like onions, beans and seeding cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage for fall. 

The tomatoes in the high tunnel are coming along very nicely and those in the field look good despite the drought. We have been watering stuff, but things really look pretty good overall, considering. There is still some moisture in the ground and a chance of rain tonight and tomorrow morning. I am praying we get some! I just keep trusting the Lord. Hope you have a good evening. God bless!

 
 

I'm Not Worrying

Every now and then things seem to work out great. Today seemed to be one of those days. Oh, yes, there were problems, but it all worked out in the end. I truly beleive putting everything into God's hands solves a lot of problems. Worrying solves none. We continued to plant the last remaining crucifer crops. Today we put in about 500 cabbage and 250 broccoli plants. We should be finished tomorrow if everything goes right. Dad is nearing the completion of the preparation area in building three. It won't be long and the season will be in full swing. All in all, other than some weeds, things look pretty good. The dry weather is slowing the growth of the veggies down, but they still look nice. I am hoping for rain soon though!!! I heard maybe on Monday of the upcoming week we might get some. I know I am not the only one in the boat, but rain would be nice. I hope you all are having an exceptionally good week! May God continue to shower you with His blessings!

This photo shows a small section of the Bountiful Blessings Farm. The view is looking north from the road. The first plot is potatoes. The next plot back is onions and behind that potatoes and then cabbage.

 
 
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