Thursday, July 23, 2009

This week, we seem to be continuing our discussion on the environmental factors that affect farming: Our tomatoes are being hollowed out and have puncture marks in them. Insects? Disease? Weather? Soil? No……. CROWS! For some reason, this year the crows are all over the tomatoes. We are trying a variety of deterrents such as building a scarecrow, suspending shiny objects, such as aluminum pans and cds (anyone have old cds to spare??), and even resorting to the old shotgun! We’ll keep you posted!

Then there are the potatoes: You may have noticed that some of the larger Yukon Gold potatoes have a hollow center. “A hollow heart (a lens- or star-shaped cavity at the center of the tuber) results when conditions such as high rainfall…………over stimulate growth” (from Rodale’s Garden Problem Solver). We certainly had high rainfall and very rapid growth of our potato plants in June. You cannot tell from the outside of the potato if this condition exists inside. The outsides look perfectly fine. The hollowed area, however, is typically quite small, is easily excised and in no way affects the taste of the rest of the potato, but for now, maybe you should plan on cutting open your larger potatoes before cooking them.

Reminder: Please bring bags appropriate for use on pick up days. Lately we have been running low!

Our first Seedlings Cooking Class for 3-6 year olds will be Monday August 3rd from 4-5 pm. We will make flowers out of a variety of vegetables and a yummy spread to dip them in!
Please register your child by calling us or emailing us. The cost is $10 per child.

We will have a complete schedule of children and adult classes ready shortly.

Farm Tour:
Ben and Anna Stoltzfus are hosting a Farm Tour on Saturday August 1st. It is a great way to see the workings of a true Amish farm and enjoy hay rides, Ben’s homemade ice cream, and samples of his other delicious dairy products. You can find the details attached here.

Some of the zucchini coming in from the field are dangerously large….. great for bread.
Zucchini Bread
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups grated zucchini
2/3 cup melted unsalted butter
2 teaspoons baking soda
Pinch salt
3 cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup dried raisins or cranberries

Preheat oven to 350.
In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs and vanilla.
Mix in the grated zucchini and the melted butter.
Sprinkle baking soda and salt over the mixture and add in. Add the flour, a third at a time. Sprinkle in the cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix. Fold in the nuts and dried fruit..
Divide the batter equally between 2 buttered 5x9 inch loaf pans. Bake for one hour. (Check for doneness at 50 minutes) or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on pans for 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool thoroughly.
Makes 2 loaves.

For those of you looking to eliminate gluten from your diet, here is a Zucchini Bread recipe from the internet:

Although the recipe below calls for canola oil, a much more healthy alternative would be melted coconut oil, melted butter, or olive oil!

3 eggs1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 cups fresh grated zucchini
3/4 cup tapioca flour
3/4 cup white rice flour3
/4 cup sorghum flour
3/4 cup arrowroot powder (in place of cornstarch)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbs. xantham gum
1 tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1. Preheat to 350F, just like in the other recipes.
2. I did not use a mixer. I used a plain old fashioned, no-power-needed, whisk. It worked fine. I beat the eggs, and then added in the sugar, oil, applesauce, and zucchini. The recipe says to add the zucchini w/ the dry ingredients, but after grating my zucchini I really felt that it was not a dry ingredient, and belonged with the wet. After adding everything, I mixed some more w/ my whisk.
3. Mix the rest of the ingredients together, and gradually add to the wet while stirring. Keep stirring until all the flour is incorporated and you have a smooth texture.
4. Grease a 9″ x 5″ bread pan. To grease a pan, since I don’t like breathing in pump sprays very much, I do it the old fashioned way – take some butter and grease the pan, then coat lightly with flour, and shake. I think greasing a pan by this method works a lot better than spraying some non-stick spray.
5. The Baking Beauties says to fill 2 bread pans half way. My batter only filled one bread pan half way. Maybe I just have an abnormally wide bread pan? Not sure. Do what fits, but don’t fill anything more than half way, because this will rise a lot in the oven.
6. Bake until done. For me this was about an hour, and I used the “sticky knife” test to determine when it was done. I liked the tip on Baking Beauties about adding the aluminum foil if the crust is browning too quickly before the loaf is done. Mine didn’t, but very useful tip if yours does!
By the way, this bread is great w/ melted butter and homemade jam, or as a sandwich, or as toast, the list goes on and on….

This recipe for Lemon Verbena Ice Cream comes from our member, Harriet Stone, who says that the taste is heavenly… can’t wait to try it!! This will be especially delicious with Ben’s milk and cream!!

Lemon Verbena Ice Cream
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup sugar (I use ½ cup)
60 fresh lemon verbena leaves
1 T. vodka (optional to keep the ice cream from freezing too hard; you usually don't have to worry about storing left-overs)
In a large sauce pan, combine the cream, milk, sugar, and verbena leaves. Heat over moderate heat just until tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for an hour. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve (I just scoop out the leaves with a slotted spoon.) and discard the leaves. Refrigerate until well chilled. Process in an ice-cream freezer.

See you around the farm!
Annmarie and Sam

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