What kind of poppers do we have this week?

Special invitation to to our “Friends and Farm-ily” and anyone who is interested in seeing the farm! We will be having a fun farm open house and Apple Butter Festival October 20th from 10-5pm. Come meet the baby calves, bunnies and our mini horse who finally has a name…..Juniper! More details for the farm day coming soon, but mark your calendars and plan to come enjoy some time on the farm! It marks the final pick up for Summer 2018 Season. November 1st is the start of Winter CSA, details for that coming soon as well.

Well if jalapenos poppers are your style, I promise Passion Poppers will be! They are a kiwi berry grown in the US. We love getting them from a farm in PA every year (hope to have our own growing eventually). We are sharing them with you this week in the CSA. As the box states you let them ripen on the counter until they begin to look a little wrinkly and then pop them in your mouth! They are delicious and you won’t want to share! We hope you love them as much as we do!

I have some awesome recipes to share this week. We were beginning to think we had used every possible way to enjoy eggplant, but since it’s been so abundant this year we had to find one more way. A “farm-ily” member mentioned eggplant moussaka so we had to try it! You won’t be disappointed. And it freezes well for a last minute meal later on.

We are still enjoying peppers and sad to see the tomatoes go so early this year. But the different weather patterns make some things thrive and others struggle. So it was no bumper tomato year, but there was plenty of other veggies to be thankful for. My new favorite pepper recipe is this casserole! You can add any sauteed veggie to it as well as peppers. We serve it over rice for a nice vegetarian dinner (or add ground beef or sausage). When even the 4 year old devours it, I know it’s a winner! He loves vegetables, but only raw….not a huge fan of cooked ones yet.

It’s time for winter squash!!! Best way to eat acorn squash. Spaghetti squash is my second favorite and here is a great way to prepare it. I love it served like pasta with pesto on it. Butternut will be here soon!

Enjoy!
The Bakers

Fall is around the corner

We are awaiting the cooler weather and so is the garden! The summer crops are still pumping, like eggplant, peppers, tomatoes and green beans. We are having a slow okra season, but hope for a bumper crop soon. Some of you are cheering and some are groaning, I hear you! I love okra any way I use it but I find first time okra fans like this post might help. I love it just plain roasted with butter and garlic and salt, you know me….I don’t usually use a recipe, but here is one if you need some guidelines (but skip the bad oil and double the butter).

The Squash is back after two successions were mysteriously killed buy some weather issue or bug we couldn’t determine. Potatoes, garlic , onions are abundant and sweet potatoes will be harvested in the next month. Which brings me to the mystery green this week…..did anyone know what it was?

Sweet potato greens are a wonderful treat and full of vitamins and minerals! Here are some fun ideas for using it.

Farm baby updates, we have two precious calves doing great on their nurse cow mama Elise. She had suffered an abscess on her leg and wasn’t able to do the long walk back and forth to the pasture we rotate. As we needed her nearby for treatment and nursing back to health we decided a more gentle way to handle her full bag of milk was to let two calves nurse her. She has taken to them splendidly and is healing nicely. She will begin to put weight back on now that she is healing. Next farm baby expected is a baby Baker, due date December 31st!

For canning and freezing ideas look here and here. We love to make double when we cook and freeze for a busy day.
Don’t forget meat pick up from 2-4 this Thursday in the cabin or during regular pick up hours at your dropsite!

Keep your eyes open for a special invitation to a fall farm visit we are planning!
Blessings,
The Bakers

Jalapeno Fun!

If summer isn’t tasty enough I just discovered the joy of jalapeno’s! Sure I have made poppers before and being a little bit afraid of spicy things I mostly like watching the kids enjoying them, and tentatively eat some. One customer told me he eats raw jalapeno poppers, I am for sure not that brave. However it would be so good for you! For some reason yesterday I decided to add some to our scalloped potatoes thinking that the long baking time would moderate the heat. Boy was I right and the flavor was unbeatable! I just used this recipe and added sliced jalapenos and cooked pork bbq to make it a whole meal. We loved it! Try it out, we don’t pack hot peppers in delivery shares, but they are always available at the csa pick up and in the cabin store. The keep a really long time, too!

If you haven’t tried the fennel yet, this is a great way to enjoy it! And if you don’t have goats or bunnies to serve the tops too try some of these great ideas! We love this seldom seen vegetable!

We had the first of the three calves born on Monday night! Look at facebook or instagram soon for pictures of her. The littlest farm boy has claimed her as his and named her Blossom. She will be on display near the cabin soon, but right now she is up in the newborn stall in the barn getting lots of little farmer snuggles. She did take a walk with them yesterday and came to the kitchen to visit me! What a silly surprise. We also had a neighbor’s donkey get loose and come visit our donkey, he too came up the back porch steps for a visit! Life on the farm!!!

OH, and this weekend we are going to try grilling a whole chicken. I plan to rub our bacon rub under the skin and cut the chicken in half along the backbone and splay it open (spatchcock style). We have a charcoal grill so I’ll get the coals going and then spread them out to either side and cook it over indirect heat for about an hour. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Enjoy your week and your lovingly raised goodies from the Bakers!

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!