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Agrarian Harvest

Wholesome. Organic. Experience. All about our farm, food, and organic, small farm life.

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Food

Down on the Farm

Not up as early as I should be to get the work done before it gets hot. I should be getting up around 5 in the morning, but who wants to get up that early, then be tired in the afternoon and have to take a nap. Not me, I’m not the napping type. Nothing annoys me more than having to delay my day by having to lay down in the middle of the day to nap or be sluggish because I got up too early and I don’t like to go to bed early either. So I roll with the natural rhythm and routine my mind and body wants to take. Up around 7:30, cup of coffee to wake up with, computer time with my coffee to check email and to keep up on the book work for the farm. Breakfast and then I head outside to get work done and see what the farmer needs help with; whether it is weeding, harvesting, mowing or bitching about something (I’m really good at this one). Some may say that I have already wasted half my day, but for me my day and the warmth of the day is just getting started.

 

Meanwhile, the farmer was up at 5 am and started his day by making the coffee. Then headed straight out the door with yesterday’s leftover cold coffee to get things done while it is cool, but is always out there all day no matter what time he starts his day. There are always kinks in the day’s plan and we never get enough done so we try to just roll with it.

 

The farmer starts the day with irrigating the green beans. As he is setting water, he is wondering how the bean picker is going to handle picking with all the weeds. There seems to be more weeds than beans this year. There is definitely more weeds than last year he thinks. This means a lot of hand sorting. He walks down a few rows to check them. The plants just aren’t setting beans on, this means a very, very poor yield for the first planting. Over 8 rows he checks the second planting, the top of this planting was flooded with one of the early summer storms when we had a huge downpour and the canal ran over. The rest of the planting didn’t germinate well. On to check the third planting, it looks better but this means there won’t be beans to sell until the middle of August.

 

Shaking his head in disgust, he walks to the other side of the field and he checks the peas. He would like to pick peas today and get just one more picking from them. But nope, they have gotten too big, the heat has gotten to them. He’ll have to tell the farm wife to email our customers and let them know they are done for the season.

 

Next, he is off to the small plots by the house to pick basil while it is still cool. There he finds the weeds between the rows are taller than the basil. So it necessary to mow between the rows before you can successfully pick the basil. The mowing will take a few hours, so now the basil will have to be picked this evening when the mosquitoes are thick so he’ll be feeding them while the basil is being picked.

 

Now it has warmed up for the day, so the harvesting has to be focused on items that don’t wilt. The leafy greens can’t be harvested in the heat. The farmer heads out to harvest summer squash, with boxes in hand, he find the plants wilting. So is because of the heat or the squash bugs? Don’t know, possibly both, so the farmer turns the drip irrigation on them and then plants another planting of summer squash. He’ll go back to check those plants and harvest them later so he leaves the boxes out there. The farmer has a constant battle with squash bugs every summer. And the bugs always seem to win.

 

On to dig potatoes, that can be done in the heat. Luckily, we have a one row potato digger now so that helps takes some of the labor out it since we always seem to be digging in the heat of the day. The digger digs them, takes them up a short chain and drops them on top the ground. The farmer, farm wife and sometimes the farm kids go behind the digger with buckets to pick up the potatoes. We haul them back to the house with the tractor to be sorted and boxed up for orders and market. Finally, something that goes smoothly.

 

And when we think we have a schedule and have figured out how to get it all done, there is a steer in the sweet corn having a feast. 

. . . . Or the pigs are rooting up the neighbor’s pasture and he jumps the fence and hunts us down not happy about it.

. . . . Or the county sheriff is knocking on our door asking if we own pigs because there are pigs on the highway and no one else in the neighborhood is claiming them  . . . and the farm wife get to deal with this on her own because for some reason the farmer is suddenly no where around. Next time this scenario happens . . . I’m going tell him, “No, officer. Not anymore. My pigs got into my garden one too many times. They are now in my freezer. Would you like to see them?” These scenarios seems to happen every year. And this year there are way more things going wrong than right.

 

Life isn’t always fun on the farm. Most often, it is stress and sweat happening on the farm. Some days, it is unbearable to work your ass off day and night, put everything you have . . . financially, physically and emotionally . . . into what we are doing and have almost all of it fail.  And the misery of seeing your partner in life, marriage and farm dealing with all this, is just way too hard on a person. Sometimes . . . we can look back and laugh at our days. But usually not until the season is over and we are sitting on a beach hundreds of miles away from the farm, which doesn’t happen if there are too many crop failures for the year.

Farmer & A Dream

This farmer has a dream . . . . . . .  another dream. Some days I would say, “Oh-no, I don’t want to hear it because I don’t want to raise another type of animal!” But this dream doesn’t involve another animal. And without the farmer dreaming we would not be here or be farming today. We are both big dreamers and believe everyone should dream and work toward your dream until your dreams come true.

We started with dreaming to farm, that evolved into organic farming, then to organic farming of a large diversity of produce and herbs (almost 20 acres worth). Now the dream is opening up a storefront on the farm, an on-farm market. It’s an idea that I’m liking. A farm market in our garage; a market that we don’t have to load up . . . drive to . . .  unload and set up . . . take down . . . load up again to then have to drive home exhausted . . . to have to unload yet again all that wasn’t sold (which is usually around 10 or 10:30 pm for the markets in the Wood River Valley). . . then go irrigate and feed the animals before bed.

An on-farm market is less work for the farmer and more time on the farm so we can sell at wholesale prices. The vision for this on-farm market is to offer a one stop shopping for fresh food that is in-season. We will be offering all our produce, eggs, herbs, meat, soap and laundry detergent along with products from other local farms like milk and cheese from Old Almo Creamery.DSCN9441

Our on-farm market is open on Wednesdays from 1 to 6 pm. Giving everyone a chance to come to the farm to buy product at discounted prices. 

So here’s to another dream! Fear less, dream more and may life be happier!

 

Flurry of August

August has to be the busiest month of the whole summer. I can’t remember ever having a calendar that had a blank day in August.  I have heard it said that August is the month of timelessness. The produce is producing at max, so there is more harvest than normal, more varieties of produce are producing and needed harvested in August, and everything  from apricots, peaches, tomatoes, green beans to pickles needs to be canned, jammed, dried or froze. It is also the time of year when we need to start to think and plan for the school year and then there are all the birthdays and BBQs planned in August. There are so many days in August when my head is spinning and I scream, ” Aaahhh, really, how do we do it all?” On those days, I take a few deep breaths, start with one task at a time and drink a few beers. Everything gets done in long run and all is okay . . . . .. or the produce I was suppose to be canning for winter starts to go bad and I feed it to the pigs or chickens, I have enough canned from last year to last the winter. Right? ? ?

Here is what has been keeping us busy on the farm in August:

We have a wide variety of producDSCN7728e that is producing well: seeded watermelons, muskmelons, cantaloupe, green beans, swiss chard, kale, bell peppers, serrano peppers, chile peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, slicing tomatoes, Sun Gold tomatoes. The san marzano and roma tomatoes are slower to come on but are slowly starting to produce. Our carrots are doing amazingly well this year and we are happy to have baby carrots with or without tops available. The garlic and onions have been harvested and cured, we have  been cleaning and getting it ready to sale.

Last year, our melons grew and produced well. We also had request for melons that we didn’t have so this year we decided to plant many more melons. It has been incredibly surprising how many melons the plants are producing and we have harvested the last tDSCN7722wo weeks. We have had a mountain of melons to sell at the farmers’ markets. They have such a sweet aroma and can be smelled from several feet away. And the smell is nothing compared to the taste. Yummmmm!

Unfortunetly, our eggplants are not producing yet. The plants are big and beautiful, but there are only a few blooms and they aren’t making eggplants. This is very unfortunate since my mouth is watering for eggplant parmesan and baba ghanoush. We are hoping they will start producing abundantly before frost. They better hurry, I’m thinking we are going to have an early frost this year. And our beets rotted in the ground so no beets this year.

I know this season will wind down all too soon. Then it will be cold and I will be dreaming of summer again. In all the busyiness there is lots of joy to be had.  I really do love summer and all that goes along with it. I even enjoy canning, and yes, I do get enough canned, jammed, dried or froze to last us the winter. And at the end of an exhausting day, there is nothing like having a beer while sitting on the porch gazing at the moon and stars and listening to the insects. Cheers!

Best Strawberry Rhubarb Pie & the Crust Failure

This is probably the best pie I have ever made.

strawberry rhubarb pie
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

The farmer and our son love pies, any kind of pie. The farmer especially likes fruit pies. The problem here is that I stink at making pie crust. By the way, that is hard for me to admit. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so I will work on something until I perfect it. And I have worked on making pie crust for the last 13 years, I haven’t had one that has turned out or been good. So I tend to stick to graham cracker crust and cream pies, I know it’s not a healthy option, but I can make them and they are good. The problem is that graham cracker crust and fruit pie filling don’t work too well together. And the farmer is a little picky about his pies; he doesn’t want a soggy crust! And he will let me know when things are too soggy, too salty, under cooked, too bland, too anything, the list can go on. However, the one thing he has never commented about is food being cooked too long or too crunchy. He likes food well-done with some crunch to it and I like everything under-cooked and rare.

Anyway, back to the pie. Last year, our son helped make a strawberry rhubarb lattice pie and it was delicious. By the way he made the crust himself last year and it was good. Yaaay, it’s a bit embarrassing, my 8 year old makes better pie crust than I do. So this year, I decided to try it with a graham cracker crust and a crunch topping. And it was amazing!!! Even the farmer loved it!

So here is the recipe:

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

12 graham crackers ( I always use the one without high fructose corn syrups or dyes)             1/4 C Butter                                                                                                                                                          3 1/2 C Rhubarb, chopped                                                                                                                              3 1/2 C Strawberries, hulled and halved if they are large                                                                     1/4 to 1/2 C Sugar, depending how sweet you want it. I always use the least amount so 1/4 C. 1/4 C Cornstarch                                                                                                                                                1 1/2 C Oatmeal                                                                                                                                                 1/4 C Brown Sugar                                                                                                                                             1/4 C Pecans, Walnuts, or nut of your choice

Melt the butter. Crumble the graham crackers and mix with melted butter. Press into a pie plate. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 8 to 10 minutes. I cooked mine until it was dark, overcooked to me, but just right for the farmer. Set aside and let cool.

In a pot, combine the rhubarb, half of the strawberries, sugar and cornstarch. Cook over medium heat until thickens, stirring often. Remove of stove top and stir in the rest of the strawberries. Pour into the prepared pie plate.

For the topping: in a food processor combine oatmeal, brown sugar and nuts. Blend until chopped up or the consistency that you like. Sprinkle on top of pie. Let pie cool and set up, then enjoy! I hope you enjoy this pie as much as we did!

 

 

Recipes . . . . Collard Greens

As a farmer’s wife, it is thrilling for me to be able cook meals with ingredients that come directly from our farm. And I love doing it on a daily basis, however, with farming life tends to get really busy when the produce is abundant. We get consumed by task that need to be done on the farm and don’t make time to cook meals from scratch some days. On busy days we come in the house late and everyone is really hungry and tired, we tend to fall back on eggs for our quick and easy go to supper. There are so many ways to cook eggs and it is quick, then we can fall into bed to get some rest.

 

I’m always willing to try new recipes or ways to prepare things and like to experiment with my cooking. The farmer teases me from time to time that our kitchen is more like a lab.  So when I have successful new recipes or favorites I want to share it with you. I may even let you know about some of my failures. I’m wanting to spread my joy of cooking farm fresh food. I’m hoping to share on a regular basis some of our recipes that we use for preparing our produce and meat. We always eat what is in-season and readily available on our farm.

 

So at this time my focus is going to be on collard greens. I’m actually new to growing and eating this leafy green. We have been told it is a southern food. So I turned to our aunt and uncle that lives in Alabama for advice on how to cook these greens.  Tcollard greens 2hey gave me some ways to cook collard greens and I came up with some of my own ideas after search the website for recipes. Then, of course, I didn’t follow any reci
pe exactly. I do my own thing, always do!

 

Here is how we have prepared and ate collard greens so far:

  • Saute in a frying pan with bacon grease, salt, pepper, and chopped green onions and green garlic. Cook them this way on a grill and they will taste even better!
  • Throw them in a soup!  I made my version of Italian Wedding Soup, which involves just cooking sausage (not making meatballs . . . .  that takes too much time) and throwing everything in the pot to simmer. So I used collard green in the soup instead of kale. It was delicious!
  • I  boiled a ham hock with water and chicken broth. Then added sauteed onion, green garlic, salt and pepper. The ham hock simmered for several hours, then about 45 minutes before we wanted to eat I put the collard greens in the pot to simmer. This turned out like a soup, I had lots of broth in the pot. It was very good, the kids even loved it!
  • Cook the collard greens  in a pot with a little chicken broth and onions, season with paprika, salt and pepper; then drop in cornmeal dumplings on top. Put the lid on and steam the dumplings until done. This one is a favorite of our aunt and uncle from Alabama. I have yet to make this but plan to be cooking it up this week, except I plan to add chopped fried bacon to the greens. Yummm!  I will most likely post on our facebook page how it turns out.
  • Substitute them in any recipe you would use kale or cabbage.  They can be tough when ate raw, but I think they make an excellent Cole Slaw salad.

 

I am loving collard greens now! They are so versatile and don’t cook to mush, unless, of course you cook them waaaayyyy too long. Then they can turn to mush.

Spring Greens

The salad greens are thriving in the cold frame. We are very excited to be eating salad on a regular basis again! (Pictured is a mix of spring mix lettuce, arugula, and spinach.)

DSCN7355

The curly kale overwintered in the field and is growing. I love putting this kale in our smoothies. The kids even drink the smoothies. These green smoothies are becoming our go-to afternoon snack once again. We absolutely love this time of year when everything is greening up and starting to grow! We’ve even been going out into the yard and harvesting dandelion leaves to eat and for tea. It is simply that time of year when all greens are appealing!

DSCN7351

We sell all greens individual,  request a mix or buy a CSA share or half share and you won’t miss out on any of our produce.

Produce                                                                       Produce CSA

 

Greens, Eggs, & CSA

It is so fitting that we ate our first greens (arugula) out of the cold frame on St Patrick’s Day. I have been craving the fresh, wholesome greens grown in our soil and this was the perfect day for our first taste!

We will have arugula available starting March 23th and the spinach should be close behind. Check our produce page for pricing. Produce

The days are longer and I’m not thrilled about losing sleep, but the chickens are loving it. Our egg production has increased, so we have plenty of eggs available, just in time for Easter. Try dying brown eggs this Easter or do some baking or just eat them. Eggs

Spring is almost here and so is the start of our Spring CSA and full season CSA. They start the second week of May, buy your share soon. Produce CSA

Email, call or text us. How To Buy From Us

Thanksgiving Traditions

For Thanksgiving, we go to the parents’ houses for big family gatherings. And we always eat turkey, the bigger the better, that way there are lots of leftovers. Four years ago, we started our own little Thanksgiving tradition. We cook our own Thanksgiving feast at our house for our little family the night before Thanksgiving. That way we have our own Thanksgiving leftovers to eat the days after Thanksgiving.

I usually cook a chicken or two, once again the bigger the better, or a turkey. Whenever I buy a turkey, I always buy the biggest one I can find. We love poultry leftovers and you can make freezer meals of the leftover meat! This year I didn’t buy a turkey since we raised so many chickens this summer and still have lots in the freezers. So the plan is to cook a couple of chickens.

It is has been a desire for me to cook or roast a whole pig. I know people do it all the time, we have customer who come buy small pigs from us to roast whole. So I’ve had this strong desire to roast a pig ever since this Spring when we had piglets that kept getting out and rooting up my yard, flower beds and garden. When they would get out and make a mess or kill my plants, my first reaction was being mad. . . . .  then I started looking at them a different way. . . . . . they were a feast on legs. They were the prime size to kill and roast whole.  We have not done that yet, but I have tried to convince the other half to do it since it is too big of task for me to do on my own.  I kept thinking that summer would be a great time to do it, but it was so very busy for us so we didn’t take the time to try something new. And those pigs have grown up and gone to the butcher, but we have another batch that are the perfect size to roast whole again. Now I’m thinking that Thanksgiving and Christmas is a good time to roast a whole pig for those large family feast! 20151125_102403

So if your family already has a tradition of roasting a pig for Thanksgiving or Christmas and you are looking for a pig, or if this is a new desire for you too and you need a pig, then give us a call (visit our Buy page or Contact Us page). We have pigs of all sizes and pork available by the cut.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Feasting!!! We hope everyone has a Thanksgiving full of blessings and love!

Produce And New CSA Opportunity Available

Farmers’ Market may be over, but you can still get fresh, local, organic produce all winter long!

AGRARIAN HARVEST has produce, eggs, meat and other products available all year round. At the moment, we have organic eggs, winter squash, pumpkins, kale, swiss chard, garlic, broccoli, turnips, diakon radishes, cabbage, celery, pork, chicken, herbs, soap, laundry detergent, herbs and more. Visit our product pages to get a full list of products and availability. We will have whole, frozen chicken; pork by the cut; whole pigs and eggs all winter long. As for all the produce, it will be available until we sell out of the pumpkins, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, cabbage, turnips, diakon radishes, celery, beets and herbs. The broccoli, kale, swiss chard will be available until it freezes too hard for these plants. Some winters, like last year, we have kale all winter long.  We start growing greens and radishes in our cold frame during the winter so they will be available in early, early spring. So whenever you are in need of fresh produce, check with us first.

Also, we will be offering CSA shares this coming year. There will be two different sizes of produce CSA and a meat CSA with multiple pick-up locations to pick from. If you are interested in buying a CSA and want to the guarantee that you will get a box of fresh, organic, wholesome produce every week, contact us to sign up. Watch for our CSA page later this month for details.

E-mail us at myfood@agrarianharvest.com or call/text us at (208) 308-5332. You can visit us at our farm in Buhl to get product any day of the week or we deliver to Twin Falls on Wednesdays.

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