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Agrarian Harvest

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

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summer

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.

2016 CSA

We are now accepting applications for our 2016 CSA season. It is cold out now, but it is our time to plan for the coming season and order our seed. We work hard all summer and now that it is cold we are spending time together with family, reading books, and planning for the coming year.

If you view the attached pdf document you can view our list of produce that we plan to grow. If you sign up early, we can add requested products to our seed order. Our application is also in the attached document and can be mailed in.

To see pricing and for details, you can view our CSA page, open the pdf below, call us, or email us at myfood@agrarianharvest.com

As a note, we have specific dates and times for pickup. They can be viewed on our CSA page and on the CSA application. If you and friends or coworkers sign up, it may be possible to add locations and times as long as they fit with our farming schedule.

AgrarianHarvestVegetableShareApplication

Farmers’ Market Selling & Spunk

Last week I posted that we were enjoying our Indian summer, well, after posting I did some research and figured out that we actually are not having an Indian summer. An Indian summer is unseasonably warm weather in the fall after a good hard frost. Since we have not had a frost or even a cold spell yet, we are not experiencing an Indian summer. We are a just fortunate to still have warm weather, no frost, and produce still growing and producing.

Thanks to this wonderful weather we still have lots of produce and are still able to participate in our local farmers’ market. This is good in some ways and bad in others. We are happy to still be providing our local community with organic, fresh produce and happy to be eating it ourselves. But we are getting tired and worn out; slowing down just like the produce. We have lost our enthusiasm and spunk for all the harvesting and preparing for the market, but we are still at it.

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Most people don’t realize how much work it takes to sell at a farmers market, unless you have actually participated in one. And how much determination it takes to keep at it the whole season, May through October. It takes most, if not all day, the day before market to harvest, package and prepare all supplies and products. We are usually up into the wee hours of the night getting ready; especially in the middle of the summer when there is a lot to harvest and get ready. Some weeks we don’t make it to bed until 2 am and then we’re up at 5 am to finish the last minute harvesting and load all that produce. This takes some critical thinking. We load all our boxes/crates/coolers of produce/product, tables, canopy, signs and the family into an excursion. There have been several weeks I don’t know how we have gotten everything in the excursion. When we unload at market, we look like a little car of clowns. You know the cartoon image of clowns that just keep piling out of a little tiny car. Well, that’s us at farmers’ market, people, boxes, coolers just keep coming out of the excursion. We get looks of how did you get all of that in there? We have hopes of having a trailer to haul it all in next year.

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Once everything is unloaded, then there is the set up. We set up the canopy and tables. Next come the organizing of several boxes/crates; making the display cute and inviting. There is the rush of getting all this done before the early bird shoppers arrive and before the vendor meeting starts. Then market starts. If we are lucky it is busy and the time goes by fast. But on some days it is slow and time drags by. It may be a very cool day and we bounce around trying to keep warm, it may be a very hot and there is not enough shade for the produce and people or our worst market day was cold and pouring rain. Whatever the day holds, we stand there and sell for four hours of market.

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At the end of market, it is time to take it all down. We like to stay open until all the customers have left the market. Then we start to load all the produce/product that we have left. Lastly, we fold up the tables and canopy. There are usually empty boxes that we break down, so the loading to come home is easier, but can still be tricky to get it all to fit back in the excursion.  We drive home and it is time to unload again. This is probably the hardest part because we are all tired and hungry. Once unloaded, we head for the house and collapse in the living room for a family movie and time to rest.

For most of September and October, I haven’t had the energy to keep up with all my domestic duties and go to market on Saturdays. So I have bowed out of the farmers’ market routine. I’m thankful for the Other Half taking on the Saturday market work and sells on his own. I ran out of spunk several weeks ago for the pre-dawn loading, chilly morning air while setting up for market and the energy to do rest of the market. Instead, I have  put my energy into canning, drying and preserving produce for winter. Another wonderful aspect of farm life; being able to eat your own produce all winter long!

Summer Balancing Act

How does a person balance work, play and rest when you farm? On the farm there is always work to be done. A farmer works from sun up to sun down and lots of times in between in the dark. I know that is true on our farm. We are getting pretty talented at working in the dark while holding flashlights in our mouths.

So the fourth of July is upon us, the summer is flying by and what have we done all summer long? Any guesses? You got it! We have worked, worked, worked!!! I am convinced that life is too short to work so hard and summer is for fun. So I’m trying to convince the Other Half that we need scheduled hours for work and scheduled hours for play and rest. The crops will grow even if there are weeds growing among them. Would they have produced better if we pulled every weed within a foot diameter around every plant? At this point, I don’t care. They are producing, there is a crop to harvest, now let’s enjoy life! Life, fun and memories will pass us by if we insist on getting all the work done before we take a break. Farmers need to observe holidays too. In fact, farmers should have a holiday just for them. They, of all people, deserve a break. Yes, I do think highly of farmers. We grew up in agricultural communities and on farms so we have experienced the “farm life” all of our  lives. Farmers work almost everyday of the year no matter what the weather does; there is always water to change or animals to feed or care for. Farmers work, work darn hard, and feed a lot of people without ever hearing a simple, “Thank You.”. No, your food didn’t grow on a grocery store shelf, it all started on the farm. Well, at least all the food that is not in a box started on a farm. To all the farmers out there, listen up, take a day off. It’s okay! Oh, but you may still need to irrigate and feed the animals unless you can get someone else to fill in for you.

We are starting by taking a couple of hours a week to take the kids fishing at a local lake. Maybe we or should I say the Other Half  and a lot of other farmers I know can work up to taking whole days off as a family. As for this weekend, I’m ready to have some fun and enjoy these wonderful summer days. I’m taking the weekend off and I’m positive the farm and weeds will still be here when I get up Monday morning. Happy Independence Day! And don’t let the summer pass you by!

Update: We were able to enjoy a day of fun, local festivities together as a family.  Not a full day off from most people’s  opinion because there was irrigation water to change and animals to feed so just a little bit of work. Or as a farmer views it, this part of farming is not work, it’s just a normal function of everyday life like breathing and feeding yourself breakfast. So we officially called this a “day off.” And the weeds are still here! We will get to work on those today.

The Beginning of Summer

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It’s beginning to look a lot like . . . .  summer! The most wonderful time of year! I feel like I’m singing a Christmas carol or maybe I sound like Olaf singing In Summer on that very popular kids movie this past year.

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Well, at least, summer is my favorite time of year. And the beginning of summer is great; when the work winds down and the fun begins or maybe I should say the planting winds down and the eating of fresh produce is abundant. The planting is almost done, there are plants that are just sprouting and ones that are up are thriving and starting to produce. A time of year when we can really enjoy the vegetables of our labor. This past week we were able to start harvesting and eating parsley, fresh dill, and garlic scapes. The sugar snap peas are soon to come, possibly this week, along with the swiss chard. I just love DSCN7003watching plants grow and produce, not that we get time to actually sit and watch the plants. It’s more of a quick observation as we are passing by them or a meandering look as we are working close by.

Although, this time of year also means we will start weeding for hours a day to keep them pesky weeds at bay.  Besides using plastic ground cover, we are trying areas with wood chip and hay mulching to keep the weeds at bay. If this works, those areas will go to no-till. I also hope this means less weeding for this year and in future years and more free time to go hiking and fishing. Or time to sit in shade on those hot afternoons sipping ice tea reading a good book or blogging.

Farewell Dark Clouds

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We are saying good-bye to the dark, gray skies that have been hanging over for the last couple of weeks. Although, it feels like months. It is so hard to get moving early in the morning when the dark clouds are hanging over and it is damp and cool outside. It’s so much easier to sit by the warm fire (yes, we have been building fires in the mornings) a little bit longer instead of having to go out to do chores.  Chores do get done reluctantly, then everyone hurries by inside to sit by the fire or wrap up in a blanket instead of staying outside to get rest of the days work done. Or the dark clouds roll in during the middle of the day with the wind, rain or hail. Then we end up having to stop what we are doing to protect ourselves and have to leave our work unfinished. There is nothing more frustrating than having to leave a project only partially done. We have lots of planting still to do; bits and pieces of it are getting done between rain storms. Who would want to stay out in the gray, dreary, wet weather to kneel in the mud to put down weed barrier or plant anything? We are ready for summer and all that it brings. Bring on the sun, the heat, the work, long days, sounds and smells of summer nights, BBQs, firepits, fresh fruits, berries and veggies and all the fun of summer.

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