Thursday, September 30, 2010

Beets, two ways!

The first time we visited the farm, the hubs helped put up the PVC in for the hoop house / greenhouse. What a treat to see it fully finished.  I don't know why I didn't take pictures of the inside plants.  Inside, they are growing celery, bell peppers, eggplant, and kale.
One of the treats of visiting the farm is that we get to taste what's growing. The hubs, his dad and I went out to the fields and dug these up.
I removed the greens from the beet. I save the ones that are in good shape, because they are just as delicious as beets.  I love that you can eat the entire plant!
Rinse the greens really well. I saw some slugs on these goodies.  Ewww.  Then throw it into a skillet and cook it with olive oil, salt and pepper.  If you never had beet greens before, try it.  It's totally wonderful, with a bit of a peppery after kick.
For the beets, I peeled them and cut them into bite size pieces. Drizzle again with olive oil, salt and pepper. With beets, they are so flavorful that you don't need to do much to them to taste good. It's funny, I grew up hating beets. That's because my parents used to serve these up boiled, which I think is the worst way to cook beets. Roast them and I swear you will crave them!
I asked the hubs to take a photo of my hands after all the prepping of the beets. He was wise to say he didn't want to help me with preparing beets. LOL. He said, "I don't want pink hands." It's no wonder they use beets for dye.
The finished product, with baked chicken. Yum, yum and yummy.
Check out more garden to table challenges at Greenish Thumb.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Canning for Hours and Hours!

At the family farm, like any homestead, they do a LOT of canning. This is one of two shelves in the cellar. Isn't it amazing!! They are well stocked for the winter. Among the goodies, are peaches, tomato sauce, pears, jam, pickles, dilly beans, beets, chicken, chicken stock, and turnips!
This is the cupboard in the kitchen!  Nothing like canning organic food!  Nutritious and tasty.

At the farm, there are some things that they don't grow. One of them is grapes. So they buy from other farmers. The in-laws bought 4 bushels of concord grapes to make grape juice and grape jelly. I've never canned grapes before, so this was a new experience for me. The taste of these grapes were so sweet and delicious and the smell was intoxicating. Wow!
Processing 4 bushels of grapes is a lot of work. First, the grapes are washed in water.
Then we pick off all the grapes off the stem. This takes forever!
For some jars, we pile the grapes in to make concentrated grape juice for Jelly. When the grapes are in, top off the jar with about 1/2 cup of boiling water.
This is what it looks like after it's been processed with a boiling water bath. Isn't the color just amazing?  So rich!
After we finished the jars of concentrated grape juice for grape jelly, we moved onto making grape juice for drinking.  For this recipe, in a quart size jar, add 1 cup of grapes and 1/2 cup of sugar.  Fill with water and process.  
This is just some of the many, many jars we did. We did 65 quarts in total. How long did that take us? A whopping 8 hours! Let me tell you, when we were finished, I never wanted to see grapes ever again!

Here Chick, Chick, Chick

On the farm, they raise a lot of chickens. They stay in a coop inside the barn at night, but in the day, they are free-range. They are free to travel anywhere on the farm, which they love to do.  They love to forage for food and find grubs and other treats.

The farm also just got in 35 new chicks. My father-in-law told me that with their first group of chickens, they taught them to come in to eat when they said "Here Chick, Chick, Chick". The chickens associated that call with food. So cool! Hopefully these baby chicks will learn that too. It gets cold on the farm, so they have this heat lamp to keep the chicks warm.
Aren't these baby brown chicks just adorable. I just want to pick one up and hug it!  I can't remember what breed they are, but they are prolific egg layers when they are full-grown.
These white chickens are being raised as "meat chickens", but "shhhhh!" don't tell them that. Gulp!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Giant Rhubarb

The family farm is growing lots of different crops.  Here is a shot of the fields.  Most of the crops are growing past the second fence in the back field.  The farm sells most of the crops at 2 different farmers markets and directly to their client list. 
There are rows of corn.  I found out that the pigs love to eat these, stalk, husk and corn!
And pumpkins!  This one was gorgeous! 
There was also white pumpkins! I've never seen these before, they are so unique!
Long Island Squash, if you have never eaten these, they are delicious! It reminds me of pumpkin but milder.

And my favorite, Acorn Squash.  These aren't ripe yet.  This is by far my favorite type of squash.  Cut it in half, drizzle EVOO, salt and pepper and roast in oven.  Yummy.
The coolest plants on the farm were these giant rhubarb plants. Wow, they were enormous!

Raspberry Crop

One of the crops that is grown on the family farm are Raspberries. I spent a few hours picking some ripe raspberries for our own consumption and they were sweet and delicious!
This particular plant was a beauty. I wish my raspberry plant could take off like this one.
Since the farm is organic, (only natural organic pesticides are used on crops) they are constantly fighting these little suckers! As I was picking raspberries, I saw this grasshopper. Apparently, they are a major pest with eating plants. I tried to catch this one, but it hopped away.
Check out these raspberries. Too bad they were not ripe yet!
Here is one of the rows of raspberry bushes. This is just one of many rows. Hmm, maybe I should make raspberry bushes my new hedges!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Grace and Jill, Went Up the Hill

As soon as we got to the farm, the first thing we did was greet the family then immediately say "Hi" to Grace, the Belgian Horse, and Jill, the Percheron. We miss the horses so much! I was so excited that I got to feed the horses some hay. They were so into the hay that I couldn't get a good photo, they were moving around so much.
I turned off the flash, here is a better photo of them munching on some hay. 
Here is a close-up of Gracie. Look at that face! Awwww!

Road Trip to the Family Farm

I've been absent with blogging this week, because we took a road trip up North to the hubs parents' family farm.  They live 7 hours north of us in upstate New York.  It's so far north that it is closer to Ottawa, Canada than New York City.  They call this area the North Country.  It's very rural and scenic with a lot of farms and barns and livestock.  I love looking out the window and taking pictures. 
I'm sorry these photos are blurry. My camera doesn't do well with motion. Many of the barns are old, I thought this one looked really neat.
Cows!  Whenever I saw cows grazing, I got super excited.  They are so cute, I just want to pet one!
Here's even more cows!
After 7 hours of driving, we finally pulled up to the family farm. This is the pole barn that the hubs' father built by himself. Isn't it lovely?  And the horses, Grace on the left, and Jill on the right.  I love seeing the horses, they are so sweet.
There were some massive clouds rolling in, check out the dairy farm next door to the family farm.  Isn't that view just picturesque?  I love the storm clouds, looks just amazing.
More photos to come on what we did at the farm!

End of the Summer Season Flowers

Even though I didn't like the cosmos growing in our garden, they are pretty flowers. We clipped the last of the flowers and brought them inside, before we ripped out all the wildflowers in the backyard.  We also had a few black eyed susans growing in the wild seed mix.  I hope they come back next year.  These flowers mark for us, the end of summer.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Saving Seeds

It's the time of year... to save seeds. Here I am saving marigolds. By far, one of the easiest seeds to save. I grew a lot of marigolds this year, I'm saving these seeds to put into Christmas cards this year. I thought that could be a fun idea. What seeds are you saving?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mantis, Meet Mantis

This year we bought a kiwi green Honda Element.  It was time, our old car broke down on Route 80 once, and it was the scariest experience ever!  We crawled home at 40 mph on a highway that has a 65 mph speed limit.  Grammie named our car "Mantis" because it's so bright green in color! Little did she know that this was an appropriate name for the car.  Continue reading below!
This weekend, we went to out to get pizza at Goodfellas.  The best brick oven pizza!  We order the chicken parmesan pizza.  Delcious!
I was so amazed how big the piece of basil was on the pizza.  Get a load of this!  It was almost as large as a slice of pizza!  Whoa!

After the pizza, we decided to get a beer at the Killmeyer's bier garden.  I love a good German Weisse!
As we were sipping on our beer, this little kitty came through a hole in the fence and hung around enjoying the atmosphere and the live band.  A very chill kitty.
When we left, we got in the car and noticed a huge mantis on the windshield of our car!  This is the first praying mantis I've ever seen in Staten Island.  I told my husband that she must have been attracted to our green car "Mantis".  Our car was like the mother ship calling her in.  She probably thought our green car was a giant plant! 
We had a paper bag in the car, so we scooped her into the bag and transported our little mantis friend to our garden.  We figure it would make a better home here than in the parking lot of some bar!
Related Posts with Thumbnails

Book Recommendations