Shoving Leopard Farm

  (Barrytown, New York)

Posts tagged [leopard]

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!

August 2009

News from the garden

Rokeby appears to have been transported to the Pacific Northwest.  The consistent and heavy rains are taking a toll on the heat-loving crops, particularly the tomatoes, some of which are affected by late blight.  Some crops are resisting better than others; the chard and beets are bigger than I’ve ever seen them, the kale that is not in an inch of water is looking lush, and the broccoli are making side-shoot florettes as big as the main heads.  The cabbages are finally coming to a head, and the Brussels sprouts are looking healthy for a fall harvest.
We harvested the garlic and braided it all – soft- and hard-neck varieties alike.  These are now curing and drying in the wood shed.  The onions will soon have to be harvested and cured in the greenhouse and the rest of the potatoes will have to be dug up early if the rain continues. 
At least one of the chicken nuggets has started to lay little brown eggs, and her friends look ready to do the same.  Joe has donated a lovely Hamburg rooster to join the girls, and he – the rooster – seems to have acclimated nicely.  The older hens are cleaning up the garlic beds, preparing them for fall and winter crops.  Although there have been three recent attacks, the older girls continue to lay beautiful eggs of all different colors.  One even laid a soccer-ball patterned egg!
The flowers in the Pick-Your-Own labyrinth are undeterred by the rain and are getting bigger by the day.  The stand on the Poet’s Walk has been well supplied with bouquets on the few fair-weather weekends.

Seasonal recipe, by Abra

Blanched Green Beans and Corn Salad

1lb green beans blanched in salted water and cooled
4 ears of corn cut from the cob, blanched and cooled
1 handful of parsley, Arugula and mint
2 egg yolks
12 oz olive oil
2 T white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper

Blanch and cool the vegetables.
In a food processor place the yolks and vinegar, salt and pepper. Blend and slowly add the oil in a thin, steady stream until it emulsifies and makes a mayonnaise.
Add the greens to the mayo and blend until a pretty green
Taste and adjust seasoning
Toss the vegetables and mayo for a cool salad.

Nutrition corner, by Rosalind

If you can’t be in Tuscany in August eating your tomatoes, then you want to be in the Hudson Valley eating Marina’s!  That is, unless you have osteo-arthritis, in which case you might not want to eat them at all – or their cousins, the potatoes, the peppers, and the eggplants, all in the nightshade family, and reputed to worsen arthritic symptoms.  This may be because they upset calcium metabolism.   On the other hand, if it’s high blood pressure you want to curb, tomatoes, because of their gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) are recommended.  They originated in South America and the word tomato derives from the word in an Aztec language.

Upcoming events

•    August 5th, canning workshop at PFP.
•    August 7th-9th, NOFA Summer Conference. Amherst, MA.  Rosalind Michahelles presents on Friday.
•    August 8th, Chicken Coop building day at Shoving Leopard.
•    August 25th-30th, Dutchess County Fair.  Red Hook.  Yippeee!
•    September 11th, Grapes and gourmets gone wild.

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!

June 2009

News from the garden

Shoving Leopard Farm is about to enter its second CSA pick-up season, and the garden is right on track.  The head lettuces are bulking up; the chard, collards, and kale are ready for the first harvest; radishes, beets, and turnips are swelling; and even the first early broccoli has put out a floret.  Close behind are the scallions and spinach heads; the bean plants are almost a foot tall, and the earliest tomatoes are flowering… but these may be discouraged to promote a little more vegetative growth.
The first and second successions of the three sisters (corn, beans, and squash) are in the ground and looking robust; the early and the canning tomatoes are in the ground and the fall varieties are a week away from transplant; bell peppers and eggplants have been popped in the ground and share their beds with carrots, basil, parsley, cilantro, celery, celeriac, onions, lettuce, and spinach. 
Zinnia, cosmos, aster, snapdragons, ageratum, celosia, and many others are slowly filling the flower garden, which will be encircled by a ring of sunflowers and decorative corn. 
The new garden gate/trellis is up and fully functioning.  It will support the newly transplanted hardy kiwi vines, various vining cucumbers and nasturtium, as well as pole beans and gourds. 
Sadly, we lost one of our best friends and workers in an early morning fox raid.  Gretchen and four of her friends have gone to join Hensel in the great worm-bin in the sky.  The remaining layers, Blue Boots and the little yellow Auracana, have joined the flock of nuggets for the time being.  When the electric fence is fixed, they will all move to a hopefully safe summer run just outside the garden.

Seasonal recipe, by Abra

Seared Whitefish with Peas and Radishes

½ lb fresh peas
1 shallot
1 bunch radishes
Handful of pea tendrils
4 sprigs of mint or marjoram
4 filets of whitefish or similar flakey fish with the skin still on

In a small sauce-pan melt a large knob of butter until foamy
Slice the shallot and gently sweat in the butter
Add the freshly shucked peas and let them simmer until tender but not mushy
Roughly chop the mint or marjoram and stir into the peas
Set aside
In a very hot pan add a splash of oil and sear the fish skin side down getting it very crispy
(Whitefish has thin filets and should be able to be cooked only on the stovetop. If you have a filet that is thicker place the pan in the oven without flipping the fish.)
Taste the peas and season as necessary
Place on the plate and serve the fish skin side up on top.
Toss the pea tendrils (or another green like Arugula or mizuna) with the radishes and some olive oil and either vinegar or a squeeze of lemon and place on top of the fish.

Nutrition Corner, by Rosalind

The Nutrition Corner, by Rosalind
If you think lettuce is mostly all the same, you might be wrong. To start with, there are four principal categories:
    Butterhead (Boston, Bibb)
    Crisphead (iceberg)
    Looseleaf (green leaf, red leaf)
If you are craving vitamin A, go for (in this order) romaine, green leaf, red leaf, iceberg, or Boston.  If it's potassium you're after, go for Boston, romaine, or iceberg.  Yes -- iceberg!  Not as chic as the others, maybe, but also good for you.  With all of these you get about 1 gram of fiber for 1 cup of chopped lettuce.
Source: Food and Fitness Advisor, June, 2008, p.3 (Weill Cornell Medical College)

Upcoming events

* June 1st: Anne’s baby is born. Welcome Emma!
* June 13th and 27th: Seed ‘n’ weed parties. Come to SLF garden between 10 AM and 5 PM for seeding and weeding.  Snacks and refreshments provided, trip to holy cow planned for right afterwards.
* July 3rd-5th: 5th Annual NE Permaculture Convergence, Montpelier VT.  Email: for details.


May 2009

News form theh garden

So much can happen to a garden in a month, and what an unusual month this April has been.  We went from having to cover the seedlings at night to protect them from the frost to having to cover the transplants during the day to protect them from the pounding sun and 90 degree heat!  All have survived and are enjoying the regular evening  “April” showers in early May.
It was a real joy to find the rototiller, given to SLF by Stephen and Elizabeth Shafer, in perfect working order after the winter it spent in the greenhouse.  My rusty thumbs have not yet wreaked their havoc on this machine.
We hosted two successful plating parties, during which we poked in and mulched 12 varieties of potato, transplanted four kinds of onion, and moved all the brassicae (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and caulifleur) into their beds. 
The hens have moved to their summer quarters – outside the garden, and away from tender transplants – while the 18 healthy teenage chicks help with garden fertility and pest-control in their chick(en) tractor. 
The front beds are filling in with chard, collards, spinach, beets, and transplanted lettuce, soon to be joined by pac choi, mustard greens, arugula, mizuna and other greens.  Carrots, turnips, last fall’s parsnips, kohlrabi, skirret, and other roots are appearing in the back beds.  If the chance of frost stays low, the more tender tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers, as well as all the labyrinth’s flowers, may make an early appearance in the garden.
In other, non-farmly news, your favorite Shoving Leopardess may be competing in the final arm-wrestling competition/fundraiser for Family of Woodstock.  See details in events calendar.

Seasonal recipe, by Abra

Sautéed Morels
From Chez Panisse

5oz morels
2 large shallots
1 small garlic clove
1 T olive oil
2 T butter
Salt and Pepper
Lemon juice
2 T chopped parsley

Clean mushrooms
Cook the shallots and garlic in half the butter and oil until translucent
Add mushrooms and ½ C water and season
Cover and simmer for 4 min
Uncover and add rest of butter and raise the heat to evaporate the extra moisture
Toss with lemon juice and parsley

Shaved Asparagus Salad

Mustard Vinaigrette
2 shallots minced
1 lemon juice and zest
2 T whole grain mustard
½ C olive oil

Mix all together and taste add lemon and seasoning

Trim off any dry ends of the asparagus and shave the raw asparagus on a bias
Toss asparagus and lettuce greens with the vinaigrette
Season and adjust

 Nutrition corner, by Rosalind

People who love asparagus don't need to be told it's good for them -- they will eat it any way.  It's usually the first solid green vegetable we get in the spring, i.e., not leafy.  Paul Pitchford, in his classic work of reference Healing With Whole Foods, tells us that asparagus is helpful to those suffering from high blood pressure or arteriosclerosis.  It's a diuretic, which, in moderation, is good for the kidneys (except in cases of inflammation). Asparagus is, furthermore, a good source of vitamin A and also lutein and ziaxanthin, all of which are credited with protecting us from eye problems.

So, unless you have inflamed kidneys, eat up and enjoy your asparagus, knowing that your body is expert at deploying the vitamins and minerals!

Upcoming events

*Saturdays in May: Awesome Farm products sold at Montgomery Place Orchards farm stand on 9G.
*May 5th: Bubby’s Burritos opens for the season!  Tues-Sat, except for rain.
*May 15th: Women’s arm wrestling competition/fundraiser for Family of Woodstock.  8PM at Kathleen’s barn, 33 Broadway, Tivoli.


April 2009

News from the garden

 Spring has sprung in the Hudson Valley!  Meg’s baby Susanna was born on March 13th, the first spring peepers were heard on the 16th; a carpet of those yellow flowers (small whorled pogonia?) bloomed on the 18th, the first ramps were sighted on the 22ndth, and 18 healthy baby chicks arrived at the post office on the 23rd.  Now over a week old, the chicks express all their henly instincts – scratching, stretching, preening, dusting, and fighting over worms and sprouts.
The brassica and allium starts in the greenhouse are keeping their feet warm with electric blankets, and the more tender tomato, pepper, eggplant, and lettuce starts are in the kitchen benefiting from the wood stove.  The first sugarsnap and shell peas have been planted in a bed of perennial creeping onion (thanks to Tesha); currant suckers have been stuck in where last year’s cuttings didn’t take; and the new bed of blueberries and rhubarb has been started (more rhubarb divisions welcome!). 
The next couple of weeks will be spent preparing garden beds for the transplant of collards, broccoli, cabbage, kale, beets, lettuce, leeks, onions, scallywags, and chards, and for the direct seeding of oats and peas, Asian green mixes, salad mixes, herbs, potatoes (10 varieties!), beans, carrots, radishes, scorzonera, and turnips.  Volunteer help will be greatly appreciated.

There are a few open spots for the 2009 CSA, so please spread the word.  The new website has information about the CSA and a sign-up sheet:
This newsletter will be archived with previous ones on the website so that you can relive the seasons and refer back to Abra’s delicious recipes and Rosalind’s nutrition tidbits.

Seasonal recipe, by Abra

Sun choke Fondant

1 lb sun chokes
2oz butter
4oz stock
3 sheets gelatin bloomed in ice water
1 C cream then whipped

Peel and sweat chokes in butter
Add stock and season heavily
Add gelatin
Blend until smooth
Let cool
Temper in whipped cream

Ramp Soup

5# cleaned ramps
2 ½ gallons
5 peeled yukons
1 pt cream

Sweat ramps in butter
Add in the Yukon diced and the chicken stock
Cook till potatoes are tender and blend
Finish with cream

The nutrition corner, by Rosalind

In the spring of the year, seeds realize their potential by sprouting. What happens? The seed releases enzymes to convert stored food into available food – for the plant and thus for us in the form of vitamins, enzymes, amino acids and simple sugars. In their early growth state, sprouts are very easy to digest. Recent research by the American Cancer Society suggests that sprouts may contain anti-cancer properties, high levels of active antioxidants, concentrated amounts of phytochemicals and significant amounts of vitamins A, C and D. (See: )
Edible sprouts are many and various: alfalfa, mung bean, lentil, radish, clover, sunflower, broccoli, garbanzo and adzuki.  If any of these are new to you, why not give them a try?


Upcoming events

*Beekeeping workshops at Poughkeepsie Farm Project. April 4th, 9 am – 12 pm, Poughkeepsie. $30-$35, pre-registration.
*Annual Work Weekend at Awesome Farm.  April 4th, 10-6, and April 5th 10-5.  “Join us for coop building, repairing and upgrading, spring cleaning, and general merry making while we work.”
*Grafting Workshop with Lee Reich. May 2nd, 9-11:30 am, New Palz.  $60, pre-registration required.

Feb 2009

News from the garden

The syrup days are here!  Our taps are in, and when the sun shines, the sap flows into cans, buckets, and water jugs, soon to be poured onto pancakes as warm syrup.
The seeds have arrived and the greenhouse and crop plans are ready.  The first to be seeded will be the onions and leeks, followed by early greens and brassicae, herbs, and then the bulk of the summer crops.   The transition from the planning stages to the early production stage of the garden is always fun.
This year we will be offering a total of 25 CSA shares, including 2 working shares.  Details are on the next page.   Registration form emailed separately.  There will be a PYO flower bouquet in the labyrinth again, and the farm stand on Poet’s Walk will be open and on the honor-system.
The new website should be up soon, with pictures, recipes, description of the garden, the agricultural history of Rokeby, links and more!  The address will be posted in the next newsletter.
This Saturday the 14th, the last of this season’s Red Hook Winter Farmer’s Market will be hosted at the Elmendorf Inn from 10-2.  All your favorite farmers will be there - Hardy Roots, Migliarelli, Featheridge, Awesome Farm, Montgommery Orchards, Shoving Leopard, and more!  Look for SLF sharing a table with Tivoli Bread and Baking, where we’ll be selling chocolate cakes, and fruit tartlets.

CSA Information

Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, is a system in which you and your family become “shareholders” in the production, and receive a share of each week’s harvest.

All-veggie (full and half):
Twenty-five shares will be offered this season ($450 for full, $250 for half). Pick-up days will be Tuesdays or Fridays from June through October.

Strictly floral
A 12-week pick-your-own bouquets in the flower labyrinth beginning in July ($150). 

Awesome farm eggs from free-range hens
An egg share gets you either a dozen eggs weekly or a dozen eggs every other week.  You pick up your eggs when you pick up your vegetables.
Weekly = 20 week egg share $110
Every other week = 10 week egg share $55.

Working shares:
Receive one full veggie share in trade for 80 hours of help in the garden, either all at once or spread out over the season.
Receive one floral share for 25 hours of help throughout the season. 

Email us at to receive a registration form.

More information on each option will be posted on the website.

Winter pantry recipes, from Rosalind’s newsletter

Maggie’s Spicy Pumpkin Soup

1 medium/small eating pumpkin, roughly 5-6 lbs
4 tablespoons of butter or coconut oil
1½ cups of coconut milk or cream
2 cups of water or broth (to reach desired thickness)
2  minced garlic cloves
¼ teaspoon of crushed red pepper or cayenne (optional)
2 teaspoons of minced ginger
1 teaspoon of turmeric
¼ teaspoon of ground coriander
¼ teaspoon of ground cumin
1 pinch of ground clove
¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
Sea salt to taste

Wash and then cut the pumpkin into halves, scooping out seeds and strings.
Use half the butter (or oil) to coat the insides after scoring them; then bake them skin-side down at 375 F. for about an hour or until the flesh is soft.
Heat the remaining butter or oil in a pan with the minced garlic and the other spices of your choosing until they are blended and the garlic is softened. Set aside for later.
Scoop out all the pumpkin flesh* and blend it (in batches, if your blender is small) with the coconut milk or cream.  Add the batches together in a large pot and then add as much broth or water as needed to get the desired thickness.
Add the spice mixture and stir.
Add salt to taste.
Serve with a generous dollop of plain yogurt.


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