Week 15, Summer is flying by

Wow, we are enjoying the heatwave after all the rain this summer. Feeling blessed as there are parts of our country where they are experiencing drought, but sometimes it’s fun to farm without being in a downpour! We have some great things coming out of the garden right now!
Eggplant, Peppers, Shallots, Onions, Basil, Cucumbers, Carrots, Tomatoes, Potatoes, Melons, Green Beans, and Garlic. Squash took a break and will return soon (we lost two sucessions to unknown causes and are waitig for the next to catch up. Lettuce is struggling a bit in the heat, but should be back strong soon. Okra is almost ready, yay!
If anyone would like to order bulk cucumbers, peppers, onions or tomatoes for canning please let us know. We will have them soon. My favorite summertime recipe for canning is Rotel. It’s somewhat like salsa and somewhat like tomato sauce. A good friend introduced me to a recipe for it years ago and I hear it can be bought in grocery stores, but don’t go to those often so I wouldn’t know! We use it as salsa in the winter when we miss tomatoes and also in chili or soups. This is my go to recipe, I use honey instead of sugar and have great results and I usually don’t use hot peppers, but add more bell peppers.
Another favorite right now, as the cherry tomatoes start coming in, is roasted cherry tomatoes with garlic and basil. It’s so good on anything! Tonight we had it over quinoa for a simple supper. I just slice mine, toss with olive oil, mix in basil leaves and sliced garlic and roast for about half hour at 350 or until we want to eat! If you need more precise details try this recipe and add the basil.
Shallots are the dark pink skinned ‘onion’ looking items! Here is a fun site with great recipes for shallots, though we tend to just use them like onions, you can be more creative! It wouldn’t be summer if I didn’t mention my favorite dish…….Ratatouille! My version is to either saute or roast any combo of Eggplant, Peppers, Onions, Shallots, Squash, Garlic or Tomatoes and serve along side meat or with ground beef. I love to make this in huge batches and freeze it for a quick meal or even a winter craving for summer veggies. For a detailed recipe try this!

Farm update: We have three cows due to calf in the next three weeks so be on the lookout for some cute babies! We had 6 piglets born last week and they are doing great! Sadly Mama pig doesn’t like visitors so we won’t be showing them off. We have one kitten left looking for a great home, let us know if you are interested.
Enjoy!
The Bakers

Happy Independence Day!

We hope you all had a blessed 4th of July filled with family or friends or both, and of course good, local food as we did! We are waiting on the first tomatoes and excited to have peppers by this weekend. It’s almost salsa time! It’s fun to talk to other farmers and see what is thriving in their gardens. One friend has green beans already but their peppers are behind ours, it’s hard to predict!

The garlic is amazingly fresh and this week you may also enjoy basil, cabbage, kohlrabi, kale, squash, cucumbers and more! The cooking is easy as any of those items taste good together! My new favorite hot weather meal is this:
Brown rice, cooked and cooled and dressed with lemon juice, olive oil, splash of liquid aminos and maple syrup. Chopped cabbage, cilantro and scallions. You can add cooked chicken to make it a main dish or leave as is for a side. It’s quick, easy and can be eaten room temperature or cold. OH and we top it with avocado if we have it. Can’t wait to add tomatoes to it!

We harvested tons of chickens this week in the hot weather and are thankful to have that hot chore behind us. All the equipment worked well and it was a blessing to have it go smoothly. Our next batch arrives next week along with THanksgiving Turkeys! Can you believe we are already planning our and your thanksgiving? We are, in more ways than one. We are also planting brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli and more for November!

We have a few spots available in the herbal class we are teaching this weekend in Waterford if you are intersted in learning how to keep your family healthy with homemade medicine. We need to know by tomorrow so we can harvest enough herbs for everyone. Let me know if you want to register and have trouble. This is an in depth class and you will take home lots of herbal remedies along with lots of knowledge.

Have a great week and Sean and the little farmers look forward to seeing you for meat pick up this weekend 3-5. We enjoyed seeing those of you that came today! Thanks for everyone’s patience with the cabin fridge being broken, we hope the part arrives today and that it will be fixed soon.
Blessings,
Your Farmers

Week 8 Summer is here!

Summer is here! Wow, we enjoy all the garden has to offer this time of year! So many healthy choices, eating local is always fun, but in the summer it’s hard to choose what to eat! We enjoy how many different ways to enjoy winter crops since there are less choices. Today we made zucchini boats by scooping out the flesh with a melon baller and chopping it up with garlic scapes and sauteing it with ground beef. Then we mixed in cheese and put it all back in the boats and baked them. Yum! A few nights ago we made the best ever chicken fried steak recipe. It takes a little time, but so worth it!

We have also been making our minute steaks in the instant pot (its perfect for making them tender quickly) and then slicing them up for stir fry with rice and summer squash. The onions are almost ready and I can’t wait! For Father’s Day we got a smoker and smoked some chickens on it. If I loved pasture raised chicken before, I can’t tell you how excited I am about this! So juicy and tender and delish! Let’s just say the farmer was pleased with his gift!

We are still making garlic scape and chive pesto, but the real deal is right around the corner! Basil is here and there is plenty this week! Try this pesto when you can! Scapes can be substituted for garlic nicely. And pesto freezes well.

We made our first batch of hay this past weekend and ended up with 35 lovely round bales of nice organic hay that we will use for the cows and horses in the winter. It’s always a blessing when the rain holds off and the hay doesn’t get rained on during the process. Now we have two more properties to make the hay on and we’ll be done until it grows back late summer and we start the process again. Finding three days in a row with no rain can be a challenge, so we were thankful! We are working hard keeping the animals cool during this warm week, but it’s good to remember those cold days when water freezes and different things are hard!
Guess what was born this week???

Have a lovely week and enjoy the bounty!
Blessings,
The Bakers

Week 6 CSA

Wow, June already! We are enjoying this cool weather, after some really hot and really rainy times! This week your shares have a fun new(to some of you) veggie! Green Kohlrabi!! We love this little gem because it’s fun, and you can’t go wrong with how you eat it. Raw, baked, stir fried, no wrong way! Even the leaves are edible. We like to put them on grilled cheese sandwiches or chop and saute them. Try these ideas out!

If you haven’t made anything with your scapes yet, you have to try the pesto! We put some on homemade pizza last night and it was amazing! We used some summer squash that we sauteed first and ground beef, too. It was so good I can’t wait for pizza night again. Don’t worry there are still some scapes if you have already used yours!

We are also loving the salad and happy for that easy side dish almost every night. We alternate between a homemade oil and vinegar, ranch (made with our spice rub in the cabin and homemade sour cream or mayo) and a great asian dressing I make (I tweak this with honey instead of sugar and I use olive oil instead of peanut with a splash of sesame oil).

I also made a great salad the other day that made a perfect portable lunch for Sean and the CSA delivery helper this week. The children take turns each week dropping off CSA with him and this week he and Emily got to stop for a picnic at Mom’s Apple Pie in round hill after delivery our teas to them. I cooked and cooled some quinoa, cooked a frozen chicken in the instant pot and chopped and cooled the meat, then diced some raw summer squash and salted it and let it sit for 15 minutes. I chopped kale and added to the cooled quinoa and chicken, then rinsed and drained the squash and added it to the mix. Then I poured the asian dressing over it all. It was delicious!

OH and we sent some yummy cube steaks out this week, my favorite way to make them is this! I don’t make the gravy and we love it without. Scared of how to cook your ham roast? Don’t be! I use the instant pot and sautee each side first, then cook for 55 minutes at high pressure with a cup of apple cider and a sprinkle of our bacon rub, then finish in the oven to crisp it up. It’s perfect, you could modify with a crock pot as well. Don’t forget the bacon rub is also perfect on your bacon and even a chicken!

We hope you enjoy the bounty!
Blessings,
The Bakers

Week 4 Summer CSA

Well, the sunshine is back and the garden and farmers are thankful! We have some delicious salad and veggies coming your way this week! Baby leaf lettuce, head lettuce, cucumbers, radishes, baby bok choi, and lacinato kale! We have been enjoying lots of salads and we made rabbit pie with bok choi and chard. We had some very old and sad looking white sweet potatoes and here is what we did: (Inspired by attempting to make out of season shepherds pie.)
I cooked one rabbit (purchased from the Day Spring Farm kids) in the instant pot with 3/4 cup water and salt and herbs for 15 minutes. While it was cooking I chopped a bunch of chard, stems and all and 3 baby bok choi and sauteed them. Then added 2 cups of frozen marinara (from last summer) and covered to simmer. Then I took the rabbit out of the pot to cool and added the peeled sweet potatoes cut into 3 hunks. I let them cook on high in the instant pot for 20 minutes and I went out to harvest lettuce for CSA. When we headed in we pulled the rabbit off the bones and added to the simmering veggies and sauce. Then drained and mashed the sweet potato with some butter and salt and topped the dish with them. Pictures on facebook and instagram, let’s just say yum, it was a hit! So we named it rabbit pie! When the carrots are back in season, we will do shepherds pie!

I also can’t wait to make this cocoa as a treat now that I have more gelatin. Don’t get me wrong homemade bone broth from your bones and chicken backs is an excellent way to get nutrients, but this is one fun way!
Frothy Hot Cocoa(and if there are leftovers that you put in the fridge they become pudding!)
4 Cups Raw Whole Milk
1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder
1/4 Cup Raw Honey or Maple Syrup
1/4 Cup Grass Fed Gelatin
2 Tbs Grass-fed Butter
2 Tbs Coconut Oil
1 tsp Vanilla
Heat 3 3/4 cups of milk in a pan. In a small bowl mix the remaining 1/4 cup milk with gelatin, honey and cocoa powder. Stir with a small whisk until a smooth paste is formed. Pour the cocoa paste into the heated milk and whisk until smooth. Add the butter and coconut oil. Whip in a blender or with an immersion blender until frothy. Serve with whipped cream for an extra fun treat! Yeild: 4 servings (We always double.)

For the holiday we will be mostly gardening and tending the animals, but we will set aside some time to grill some of our beef and play some games. Our favorite hamburgers are easy, just thaw your ground beef, mix in some of our garlic herb rub (located in the cabin store) and shape! Did you know if you push a dent into your burger before cooking that it won’t puff up and get rounded on top? Then it cooks evenly and isn’t too fat for a bun. Can’t wait!

We hope you have a great holiday weekend and enjoy your food!
Blessings,
The Bakers

CSA Week 2

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,
The Bakers

Summer CSA week 1

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!

Almost grill time, always instant pot time!

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,
The Bakers

Happy Spring!

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:
Young chard
Beets Mashed beets anyone?
Cabbage and purple radish slaw What a different slaw, so good!
Spinach
Sweet Potatoes Fries! But I always use lard or coconut oil instead of a vegetable oil!

Enjoy and have a great Easter!
Blessings,
The Bakers

Week 20 Winter CSA, Babies everywhere!

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!

Blessings,
The Bakers