Well, we had some dry weather, thankfully! We got several garden beds prepped for spring onions, potatoes and cabbage, broccoli, kale and lettuce! Then boy did the rain come! Lyme Kiln was flooded, but has since gone down. We have been so excited to be home and enjoying time with sweet Baby Farmer that time is flying by! Now it’s time to really get going in the garden. We have tons of baby plants started in the greenhouse and itching to get in the garden. We have just about emptied the greenhouse and refilled it again.
The first batch of meat chickens is doing so well in their brooder, when the grass first greens up they will head out to pasture! The farm cycle is always moving! Lately I’ve been in a pattern of using my veggies in my favorite ways. It’s fun to do creative things, too. My favorite way to use turnips is with carrots and a couple potatoes, boiled and then mashed with lots of homemade butter, cream and salt! I love to make kraut with cabbage, radishes and apples. There is no wrong way to eat potatoes! We have been doing hash browns again recently after forgetting them for awhile. Great with white or sweet potatoes! Great ideas for using extra milk are found here.
Our cow Libby had a little heifer last week. She is doing great and I think her name is officially Lilli-Pop! Look for her around the rabbit barn once this rain stops. We still have only 4 baby goats and waiting for three more mama goats to kid. Baby bunnies are popping out everywhere! One more calf is coming soon. We love to see if it’s a girl or boy!
I’ll be teaching a mini herbal class in Waterford this April, 25th. The details about signing up can be found here. It’s a short version of the weekend long class in July.
Remember to sign up soon for Summer CSA so we can save a space for you!
What lovely weather today is! It’s been so hot and muggy we appreciate a cool morning and so do the animals and vegetables! We hope you are all having a wonderful summer and maybe enjoying some travel. We will be going to a short family farming conference the last weekend in July. We are looking forward to staying with friends and enjoying some time in fellowship and learning good things to help us grow and live better. There will be come herbal classes by my favorite herbalist, Rachel Weaver, and we can’t wait to attend. She has several books that I find so helpful in keeping our family healthy. The first one I ever got is called “Be Your Own Doctor” and it’s packed full of great info.
We have been really enjoying our hams lately and I have posted before our favorite recipe, but I will recap here….
I make a brine of 3/4 c sea salt and 1 cup maple syrup, and about a gallon of water and mix it up in a stock pot. I then place a ham in it in the fridge. If I put it in frozen I let it brine for 5 days, if it’s thawed I do 3 days. Then I take it out of the brine and bake in the oven at 325 until it reached 160 degrees. You can make a glaze, but I never do. It is so amazing my family never leaves a scrap. We try and do a few at a time so we can also slice it thin for sandwiches the next day. The best part is the brine is reusable (assuming you keep it in the fridge). We like to put a chicken in it next and do the same thing. I have used the brine up to 4 times before dumping it.
Now for the exciting news! The tomatoes are coming in! I’d say finally, but really we are only at the brink of tomato season, but it never comes soon enough for me! Then when it comes, whew it comes! We will have canning tomatoes for extra purchase in the next few weeks. Just let us know if you’d like some (cabin pick up only). We have some kohlrabi still, lots of summer squash, first potato harvest is happening, the onions and garlic are all in and stored in the walk in cooler. That is a huge project and we are always thankful to see it finished. Cucumbers are going strong and peppers. The kale and lettuces are slowing down in the hot weather, but still some to be enjoyed. If you are running out of ideas for all the squash we are blessed with then try this au gratin recipe, it looks great! I for one, can saute it in butter with onions and never tire of it!
That’s it from the farm, hope you are enjoying it all!
This week you’ll enjoy:
Kale, Mustard Greens, Sage, Carrots, Lettuce, Sweet Potatoes (or some other fun items if you pick up here at the farm.)
We are enjoying the quick pace that spring has sprung on us! The leaves are now fully on the trees and everything in the garden is taking off. The tomatoes in the greenhouse are very happy and tons of eggplants, peppers and more tomatoes are waiting to go out into the fields to grow! Our second batch of meat chicks has arrived and is safely growing in their own hoop house. We are taking them veggie scraps and grass each day to teach them to actively search out healthy food in addition to the organic grains we grind for them. When they are three weeks old they will go out onto pasture each day and come into the safety of their house at night. The laying hens are also cranking out tons of great eggs, check the farm store for sales on eggs! Eating seasonally means eating more eggs in the spring when they lay more, have some egg salad or scrambled eggs today! When we get bored of scrambled eggs we just add sauteed veggies, onions and cheese and it’s like a quiche without all the work!
We have had some fun meals lately, the grill has been going with hamburgers and ribs! My favorite was grilled burgers, oven fries and sauteed chard with onions! Simple yet very satisfying. We also used a kombucha batter and lard to fry our onions from last week and the nasturtium blossoms!Remember healthy animal fats are good for you. YUM! Battered and friend flowers, what a fun treat! We also like them on salads. The carrots and sage are delicious together in this recipe, it’s a fun website that teaches you how to make things ahead and freeze and reheat. To save your herbs for later you can either spread them in a sunny window to dry on a paper towel or even blend and mix with sea salt to preserve them (recipe here). The mustard greens are great sauteed with onion or chives and butter, then at the last minute I love to add some cream or shredded cheese. We also discovered the chive pesto from last week, is good in everything! I added it to a crustless quiche, dipped cucumbers in it and also mixed it into mashed potatoes. Crazy good!
Remember the farm tour is coming up, the 19th and 20th we are open 10-4. Come on out and see where we raise your food! Pet some animals too.
Have a great week,
Fun finds in this weeks CSA:
Chives, Chard, Onions, Cucumbers, Lettuce, Braising greens with some flowers
We had some great meals this busy day. We needed a quick buy filling lunch. So we baked some sweet potatoes, sauteed some ground beef with garlic and then added this weeks braising greens. They are a mini pok choy with some lovely floweres ontop, the entire plant is edible but some of the stems are tough so use your judgement about which to toss and which to cook. We did the entire bag, mostly because the 8 year old was preparing them and we just picked out the tough stems and were grateful! Otherwise go here to learn about great ways to use these greens.
We also grilled pork chops for dinner along with onion slices (in your shares). The pork was rubbed with our honey, dried oregano, and bacon rub (from the cabin). They hit the spot! Tomorrow we are going to make chive pesto and serve it on some bread. We have a new soaked grains recipe we are perfecting. You can also make chive vinegar and make everyone think you are very fancy!
Well different things happen on the farm all the time that throw off our plans for the day. We begin with a plan, but often things happen that are out of our control. Like a cow or pig being in labor, or a fence breaking. Sometimes that is hard and sometimes it’s no big deal, we just reorganize. Well when it’s the day before opening day of Summer CSA and we have purposely scheduled to harvest our chickens that day(basically because in VA starting them any earlier in the year isn’t good for the farmers or the chickens), and the freezer is empty of last years chickens, and we need to harvest them to fill the CSA boxes AND the equipment is broken…..you see where I am going with this.
We have lots of old members and some new ones at each turn of the season, and I just kept thinking how blessed we are that if I had to cancel the meat pick up until next week that everyone would be kind and understand! However it wouldn’t be very convenient for anyone, farmers included! And so the farmer continued all day to try and fix the broken part. After many hours of trouble shooting, prayers and a trip to town, we were up and running! Phew, in a perfect world we would have had a trial run last week and made sure it was all working, but seriously there isn’t time for that. We have thousands of plants that want to get into the garden, but maybe next year we’ll schedule that maintenance in! So thank you for being a part of our “farm-ily” and making this a community effort!
It is with much excitement that we are headed to bed with plenty of chickens nicely packaged and ready for pick up and delivery tomorrow. Enjoy your veggies and meat and especially the chicken! We will celebrate tomorrow by having some grilled chicken!
I have been trying to write the post with delicious meat recipes for three weeks now! Not sure where time goes! We have had fun getting the spring push done! We planted 200 pounds of potatoes with the help of a GMU volunteer group! On our own we planted hundreds of raspberry and black berry plants, 1,000 strawberry plants and 6,000 onions! Oh my! This was in addition to several hundred veggie starts that go in every week. We are so thankful the rush is behind us!
As we bring the winter CSA to a close we are excited to begin again for the summer season (after a week off and a quick trip to Williamsburg!). Thank you all for your support! I wanted to share some of our favorite recipes. We love to eat what we grow, it keeps us going to be able to have enough energy to do all this! I try to make sure by 9 am I know what is for lunch and dinner and have all the ingredients ready. When that falls apart I grab for the instant pot and it all works out anyway!
Instant pot spanish rice goes great with some ground beef, sour cream, greens and there you go! Perfect for a quick and easy lunch or dinner.
Our bacon rub deserves mentioning because we use it on so much! Our bacon is unseasoned to avoid chemicals and ingredients we can’t pronounce! So we sprinkle 1 TBS of rub onto our bacon and place it on a rack with a cookie sheet (with sides) under it. We bake at 400 for 16 minutes…..PERFECT BACON is what we get! The rub is also perfect for seasoning our hams which can be made in the instant pot with little work. My simple version is to place a ham (sprinkled with 1 TBS per pound of meat) into the pot with 1 cup kombucha and cook for 1 hour at high pressure. This recipe sounds fun if you want some more details. I also think it’s perfect on chicken!
With just a little prep ahead of time we love to enjoy some short ribs after a long day working! Each time we enter the house during the day we smell the deliciousness that will be on the table later! Put on top of some instant pot mashed potatoes and a side salad of rubbed kale and you have some happy farmers! We just take our homemade dressings and massage in into the kale, but for some fancy recipes try this!
Lastly my favorite last minute dinner is to throw packages of stew meat (even frozen stew cubes will work) into the pot with some broth (about a cup) for 30 minutes on high pressure. Then I use the quick release and add 2 cups rice and 4 cups liquid (either water or half water and half tomato sauce) and any seasonings you like. Then I do 20 more minutes at high and serve with a salad. It’s really so easy to eat simple, wholesome meals and we love it!
We enjoy sharing our ‘fruits’ with you, our ‘farm-ily”! Blessings,
We are so excited with all the baby plants around here! We are about to plant some basil out in the green house and I wish I could do a scratch and sniff Instagram post! Along with the baby tomatoes popping up, I am ready for summer and BLT’s! But without getting ahead of myself, I will tell you what else has been keeping us busy! We are all settled in with the new cow (Timmy named her Ducklegs)! She has decided she likes us afterall….whew, training new cows is always hard, but this one was particularly challenging. All is well now also with her calf “peekaboo” who would love a pat from you when you come to the farm store.
The farmer girls have been hatching eggs in the incubator and having lots of fun with baby chicks, ducks and they even have some goose eggs that are fertile. It took three years for our geese to decide to like each other enough to have fertile eggs! Very exciting. Gracie is in charge of the hatching and doing a great job with it! But we all like to help her.
We have some new soap flavors coming to the cabin soon, so stay tuned! We are about to make a goat milk soap that we only offer seasonally when we have goat milk! Our “man” soap is back in stock finally, pick up a bar of ‘Real Blokes Soap’ next time for a special man in your life. It has a great woodsy smell.
Here are some great recipe ideas for this weeks share:
Beets Mashed beets anyone?
Cabbage and purple radish slaw What a different slaw, so good!
Sweet Potatoes Fries! But I always use lard or coconut oil instead of a vegetable oil!
Enjoy and have a great Easter!
Well the brooder is full of 400 baby chicks, the baby goat kids are on display near the farm store (stop by and give them a pat) and the greenhouse is filling with seedlings! Winter may be blowing outside still, but the days are getting longer and everything is growing! We love seeing the customers come up to the fence to visit the puppies in the front yard. The Bernese Mountain Dogs are growing so much! Gus and Dolly are always up for a pat.
Last week we enjoyed spinach, mustard greens, onions, carrots, cabbage and potatoes in the shares. This week you will find spinach, beets, lettuce, broccoli, shallots or garlic and sweet potatoes. We have been enjoying steamed broccoli, with sausage and roasted beets and sweet potatoes. The white sweet potatoes are by far the sweetest this year. We are peeling them this time of year (as the peels are tougher than before), cubing and tossing in lard and roasting for an hour at 400. Makes the perfect side dish!
We love shredding up potatoes for homemade hash browns. This recipe takes the mystery out of how to get them to not stick! The sweet potatoes work as well and add a nice depth to the flavor. It so fun to have salad in the winter, though we are dreaming of cucumbers and tomatoes on top, we are enjoying shredded beets, radishes and carrots instead. It’s fun to do a nice oil and vinegar dressing on top. We use a simple recipe to start all our dressings. It’s 2 parts olive oil, 1 part honey or maple syrup and 1 part vinegar. Raw cider vinegar is our go to, but balsamic makes a nice change.
Keep your eyes out for the green eggs coming in now. The brown egg layers preform all winter (thankfully), but the green egg layers take a break and start again in spring. Have a great week and we’ll see you around!
It’s week 18 already! Only 7 more weeks in the winter CSA, a week off and then begins the summer season on May 1st. Send your email to sign up if you haven’t already! Some yummy veggies headed your way this week!
Kale(This soup sounds great, but I would make your own broth first!)
Sweet and Spicey salad mix
Celeriac (Try this awesome soup) or just peel, dice and add to stir fry.
Sweet Potatoes (White)
We made up a soup this week, that was so good! We made some broth from a turkey carcass(about 24 hours on the stove top with sea salt and a splash of vinegar and a few quarts of water) and strained it and added some peeled, cubed white potatoes (from last weeks share). There was about enough broth to cover the potatoes (we all know the ‘farm-her’ doesn’t measure). We simmered it until the potatoes were fork tender (can be done on stove top or instant pot). I had some left over roasted garlic that I added, about 2 heads. Then I used the stick blender and blended until almost all the lumps were gone. I stirred in some sour cream and topped it with some homemade cheese and left over bacon. You would have thought I had served steak and shrimp! We had some very thankful farmers that night! (And it was so easy!)
Ground beef uses?
The healthy sloppy joe has been added to our menu! We serve it over homemade mashed potatoes for a filling, but gluten free meal. With salad or slaw on the side. I skip the brown sugar and add more mustard since we make our own and it’s sweetened with honey.
It’s very windy out there with 40 mile an hour gusts, but we are thankful that everyone and everything is safe and sound so far. We have been moving generators all day keeping the fridges and freezers cold, the incubator and plant germination chambers and greenhouse warm and a few lights on in the house for the little farmers! We ran out of gas during milking and Farmer Boy and his two farmer girl helpers found themselves in the pitch black! Thankfully someone had a flash light and found more gas quickly. It’s never dull here!
We had two baby goats born this week, they got to meet CSA members on Thursday and hope to be around Saturday too. They are very cute and we hope you get to meet them soon. Watch facebook or instagram for pictures soon. We also hope everyone is safe and at home eating yummy food!
Farming with our family for your family
Hello everyone! So glad it is getting warmer, spring is finally here.
Here is what’s going on at DAY SPRING FARM. Princess lollipop had her calf on Feb.21, a healthy bull. He is adorable, bouncing about in his outdoor calf pen and drooling on customers fingers. We recently found out that two more of our cows, Fawn and Dolly are expecting calves l. Dolly in October, Fawn on Christmas day! We will let you know when they are born.
Gardening, gardening, gardening! I think that is all we do now that it is warmer. Peas are being planted in outdoor rows. It is normally too cold outside to plant anything in the ground but since we have a plastic mulch layer, it warms the soil to the proper temperature for warmer weather loving crops. The proper temperature is about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Broccoli and kale are steadily being planted under row cover. TIP: If you don’t want to buy row cover (in my opinion it is well worth the buy) you could use bedclothes. We have spread lime to raise the PH. of the soil as the PH.[of the soil] should be 7-7.5; chicken manure and fish meal to be followed by greensand and potassium to replace nutrients. We planted potatoes a week ago. We tilled a swath about 7 feet wide and 150 feet long and planted them, eyes up, every twelve inches with rows twelve inches apart.
We have tomatoes growing out our ears! Roma, Striped German, Big Beef, Black Cherry, Clementines: you name it, we have it. They were planted in the middle of March and will be planted outside on the first of May. Cucumbers are planted in soil blocks. Soil blocking is potting soil that is watered and then pressed firmly into a metal frame, then ejected. The seed is then placed in a small indentation in the top of the soil block. The advantages to soil blocks are that
- it reduces the use of plastic.
- it air prunes the roots when the root reaches the edge so the plant does not get root bound.
- it is very good for transplanting cucurbits(squash,cucumbers,watermelons etc.) because they DO not like their roots disturbed
We are trying a new kind of cucumber this year. The name of is West Indian Burr Gherkin. I won’t write anything about them yet as I don’t have any experience with them yet. But Pam Dawling who gardens 3 ½ acres in central VA has a wonderful article about them at a website she writes for. You can find it at: www.growingformarket.com.
Just recently a friend gave us a little garden cart that needed a face lift. It was 36in wide and 48in long.I and my sister tore it down to the bare metal frame and rebuilt it. We used reclaimed oak fence boards and a few 2×6 boards. It is now 50in wide and 60in long and very sturdy. We chose the dimensions so it would carry fifteen 1020 flats without any room to jostle around. I have included a few pictures below.