This week the weather’s held off for us so we’ve been able to get in our fields without getting too terribly muddy. We’ve been harvesting, weeding, cultivating, preparing our fall fields for planting and doing irrigation work. The apprentices learned during their class on Tuesday that the irrigation work never ends. There is always something to fix!
Note from an Apprentice
This week’s note is from Jenna DePaull.
Olive being out at the farm especially since I have tons of new vegetable puns that I can say! So please enjoy as I plant them here or there in my post!
As I think about my time at the farm, relaying my activities would require a whole blog on my experience alone! Over the past few weeks I have harvested carrots, squash, zucchini, beets, cucumbers, and enough garlic to make my Italian grandma proud! I have used the BCS mower, the vacuum seeder for transplants, a 3-wheeled cultivator and even got to try my hand at driving some of the big tractors on the farm, which I am happy to report the only thing injured was my pride when I couldn’t figure out how to start one of the tractors. We have weeded, pruned, plucked and worked in every condition of weather from blazing hot to torrential rain but it’s okay, it builds “carroter.”
Lettuce reflect on this week’s class which was dedicated to learning the fundamentals of irrigation. Did you know the biggest water user in the world is agricultural practices and consequently, the largest polluter? Or that steady irrigation systems helped humans evolve from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a more stationary living environment? Water on the farm is a fundamental part of successfully growing crops and thus every gallon counts especially when on a city water system like the farm is. The drip tape system used at the farm has proved to be the most efficient as it reduces water usage, decreases disease and prevents watering weeds between rows. The main disadvantage I have seen is that it is very labor intensive since the lines tend to sprout leeks (get it?) but on hot days those leaks are more like a blessing if you ask me!
As an animal science major with the goal of wildlife conservation, I yam so grateful for the experience the farm has given me thus far. It has shown me a wonderful perspective on water conservation, soil management, and pest and weed control, all of which are integral parts of habitat restoration and species conservation.
You can’t e-scape the puns yet! Perhaps I should squash this while I’m still ahead (…of lettuce). But really, I know that I have beet-en these puns too much already! Hopefully some other good jokes will turnip while I’m out here! Until then, I will end on this last joke in honor of the u-pick fields opening soon: What does a nosy pepper do? It gets jalapeño business!
If you made it through this whole post thank you! I can chardly wait to see all of you at distribution!
What’s In Your Share
For this week, you’ll receive:
+ Red Ace Beets
+ Salad mix
+ Lettuce heads
+ D’avignon Radish (a French breakfast variety)
This week we are opening up the You-Pick fields! We are growing a few crops specifically for folks who want to come out to the farm and You-Pick. Some of these crops you may also receive in your share (i.e. basil), while others are only being grown for You-Pick (i.e. flowers, okra, and cherry tomatoes). You may come to the farm for You-Pick anytime during the normal farm hours, Monday through Friday, 7:30am-4:00pm, except Thursdays in which You-Pick is open until 6:30pm.
Every week, we will list what is available in the weekly newsletter (see below). On your first visit, we ask that you find one of the organic team (in the organic shed or out in the fields) for a You-Pick orientation. You will need to bring your own harvest containers and your own pruners or scissors.
• Please no pets
• Please stay out of fields not specified in the newsletter as containing You-Pick crops.
• You-Pick privileges are limited to primary/secondary shareholders, but please feel free to bring your grandchildren, visiting family members, etc. with you when you come.
• Please drive slowly on the gravel roads and especially around the parking lot.
•Please park your car in the parking lot and walk to the fields.
How to get here:
The Horticulture Research Farm is located on the southwest corner of Man-O-War and Nicholasville Road. From the UK campus, head south (towards Nicholasville) on Nicholasville Road. Turn right onto Man-O-War Boulevard. Take the first left turn (there is a stoplight) onto the farm. Stay straight on the farm road, go past the residence on your left and the greenhouses on the right. Please park in the small parking lot on your left.
The following items are available for You-Pick:
+ Herbs: onion chives, garlic chives, flat parsley, curly parsley, thyme, marjoram, savory, lavender, chamomile, sage, oregano, rosemary and basil*
* Note: some of the herbs are still very small, so please be mindful to only harvest a small portion of each plant. In particular some of the rosemary plants and basil are still quite small.
Below are two tables that may help you to use your veggies in a more timely manner.
Taken from The Practical Produce Cookbook by Ray and Elsie Hoover and family
How to freeze beets:
Remove tops, leaving 1/2-inch stem. Wash; cook until tender: small beets, 25-30 minutes; medium, 45-50 minutes. Cool, peel, slice or cube.
How to can beets:
Remove tops; leaving 1 inch stem and tap root. Wash. Cover with boiling water until skins slip easily. Can small beets whole; cut larger ones into uniform slices or dice them. Pack hot. Cover with boiling water, leaving 1 inch headspace. Add 1/2 tsp. salt to pints and 1 tsp. to quarts. Iodized or plain table salt may be used.
Process in a pressure canner; pints 30 minutes and quarts 35 minutes. Process at 10 lbs. pressure for elevations up to 1000 feet above sea level. Process at 15 lbs. of pressure for elevations over 1000 feet above sea level.
Gramma Joanna’s “I Can’t Believe It’s Zucchini” Bars
Submitted by Jenna DePaull
4 c. zucchini, peeled and diced
2/3 c. lemon juice
1 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
4 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 c. margarine
Place peeled zucchini and lemon juice in saucepan and boil for 10 minutes on low heat. Then add sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon to the mixture. Continue to cook 10 more minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
Preheat oven to 350°. Mix all crust ingredients well. Combining dry ingredients and then gradually adding to the margarine works best. Place half of the crust mixture in a 9″ by 13″ pan and press into place. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Mix 2/3 cup of the remaining crust mixture into the zucchini mix. Then sprinkle 1 1/2 cups of crust mixture for the crumble on top. Resuming baking at 350° for 30-40 minutes.
Au Gratin Cabbage
From Simply in Season
2 cups cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup carrots, shredded
1/3 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 cup milk
3 Tbsp cheese, shredded
Sauté cabbage, carrots, and green onions until crisp-tender in greased frypan. Transfer to a greased 1-quart baking dish. Combine milk, egg, and cheese in a small bowl. Pour over vegetables. Garnish with 1 Tbs fresh parsley and 1 Tbs grated Parmesan cheese. Bake. at 350°F for 30-35 minutes.
Fresh Basil Pesto
From Simply Recipes
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.
2. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Serve with pasta, or over baked potatoes, or spread over toasted baguette slices.
Makes about 1 cup.