Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Week 7: July 24, 2012

Cauliflower, Carrots, Potatoes, Rainbow Chard, Leaf Lettuce, Shelling Peas, Snow Peas, Green Onions & Basil

            Last Tuesday evening, after rushing around getting a record number of CSA bags made up and delivered, we loaded seventy six meat birds into the stock trailer and took them to be butchered.  It was hot and the chickens were all panting, but comfortably tucked into the shavings while we rushed through my Mom’s birthday dinner; finishing our cake before dashing out the door.  Adam and I decided to take chickens to Pritchard by ourselves, and leave the apprentices at home, our first “date” in months.  I have not done any exploring around Pritchard, and it is quite lovely, with lots of horse acreages tucked into the hills. 
            We met the lady who runs the facility and she showed us where to unload all the birds. Someone had cancelled their delivery and she had space for more birds, so we decided to unload and return in the morning.  Adam had to catch each chicken and pass it to me so I could load it into a two level trailer with wooden sides.  These are big chickens, probably twelve pounds live, and I had trouble holding onto them.  Feathers were flying, and I was trying not to bruise the birds or get scratched by their surprisingly wicked claws.  What a date. 
            Wednesday morning Adam got up and went to work at four am, and I went out to catch another fifty chickens with the apprentices at six.  This time we were able to herd the chickens from one trailer to the other by backing them together.  Then it was back to the farm to clean out the big fridge and the freezers.  By three pm all our beautiful chickens were butchered, bagged and ready for the table; all we had to do was go pick them up.    
Fresh roasted chicken for dinner, yum yum.  J

Speaking of chicken, please contact me if you want to order chickens.  The summer birds are almost all sold and Adam and I are trying to decide if and how many we need to raise this fall. 

Simple Gratin of Greens
Onion, garlic, salt, pepper
Greens such as spinach, chard, kale, cabbage, turnip tops, kohlrabi leaves... even broccoli or cauliflower will work.   
1) Wash your greens, and chop them coarsely.  Sauté the onion and garlic in some olive oil, add the greens and cook until wilted.  Season the greens with salt and pepper and whatever herbs you wish. 
2) Rub a generous film of olive oil around the inside of a shallow baking dish to prevent the greens from sticking.  Press the cooked greens into the dish and sprinkle the top with a generous quantity of dried bread crumbs. 
3) To ensure the gratin browns evenly, dribble olive oil over the surface or mix the bread crumbs with melted butter before you spread them on the greens.   A sprinkle of parmesan cheese is a great finishing touch. 
4) Put the dish in a preheated oven at 375 F.  Cook for 10 – 20 minutes until the bread crumbs have browned and are crispy.  Serve
This recipe is really simple and delicious.  Last night Lisa made it with a mix of chard, kale and cauliflower, topping the crumbs with cheddar cheese.  Delicious! 

Jen’s Seasonal Salad
1 cauliflower, cut into florets
generous handful of snow peas, stems removed
 2 – 3 carrots, julienned
* Use whatever vegetables you have on hand, broccoli, shell peas, sugar snaps, and zucchini will all work.  I added leftover boiled potatoes last time I made this salad and it was delicious. 
¼ cup of olives
3 – 5 green onions, chopped
Dressing:  1/3 cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp Dijon mustard
1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced
several fresh basil leaves cut into ribbons
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the vegetable mix.  Boil a pot of water, add the cauliflower florets and blanch for 2 or 3 minutes until translucent but still crisp.  Remove the cauliflower with a slotted spoon and chill in cold water.  Once the water is boiling again, add the snow peas and cook for less than a minute, just until they are bright green.  Repeat this process with the carrots and any other vegetables you have on hand, chilling them in cold water and draining them well.  When you have enough to serve the crowd you are feeding make the dressing.  
Dressing:  Mix the red wine vinegar, olive oil, mustard, garlic and basil in a bowl; season with salt and pepper to taste.  The dressing should be a bit sharp.  Mix the chilled veggies with the olives and green onions, and toss in the dressing.   This salad really improves with age, so make it a few hours ahead of time if you can.   Serve it cold or warm.  

Week 6: July 17, 2012

July 17, 2012
Sugar Snap Peas, Snow Peas, Shelling Peas, Beets, Parsley, Green Onions &
Romaine Lettuce

            In the past week I feel like we have spent most of our time picking peas.  Friday we picked for market and yesterday we picked for the CSA, out in the heat without a breeze both days. You eat so many peas and when you think you cannot possibly eat any more you see the perfect pea pod and you just have to eat it.  L Ugh

            The garden is growing like crazy, the tomatoes and squash have doubled in size since last week and the cucumbers are finally blooming.  The carrots have sized up and will feature in next week’s shares.  The animals are all dealing with the heat as best they can.  Everywhere you go there are groups of panting sheep.  They all act like they are seriously over heated, crowding into the tiniest piece of shade thrown by a gate or fence post when they could be resting under the trees, and then you watch them all go out to nonchalantly graze in the sun.  The pigs have created several large mud wallows, and the piglets love rolling around in the mud.    

            One of our Muscovy ducks has decided to try hatching another batch of eggs.  She has parked herself in the bottom of the barn beside the bag of grain we feed to the milk cow, so well hidden no-one knew she was here.  Last Thursday Lisa was carrying a table back to the CSA area when the duck freaked out, and flew right through the glass window of the barn.  Poor Lisa went running outside expecting to find a gory mess, and the duck was perfectly fine; not a feather out of place.

Easy pea ideas

Sugar Snap peas
Take off the stem end and string on the sugar snaps.  Drop into boiling water and cook until just tender.  Drain and toss with a good dollop of garlic butter or herb butter.  Serve

Snow peas
Remove the stem end and place the snow peas in a pot.  Pour boiling water over the peas and let sit for 1 minute.  Drain and chill.  Drizzle with sesame oil and a little soy sauce, sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Serve warm or cold.

Altamura Pea Soup – Minestra di piselle di Altamura
olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
4 large handfuls of freshly shelled peas, keep the shells
2 pints chicken stock
9 oz dried spaghetti, broken into 1 inch lengths
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
optional, 1 sprig each of fresh mint, basil and rosemary
small handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

“If I am using fresh peas, what I like to do to make the soup even tastier is boil up the stock with the shells of the peas.  You can do this while you’re frying the onions.  Then you can strain the stock onto your onions and peas when they are ready.”  Jamie Oliver
Pour a good glug of olive oil into a pan, add the onions and fry slowly for 10 minutes. Stir in the peas and chicken stock, bring to a boil, and simmer for another 10 minutes or so.  Cook your spaghetti in salted boiling water for half the time recommended on the package, then drain and add it to the pea soup to finish cooking.  It is nice to add the springs of herbs and pop them into the soup to give it a nice fragrance, removing them before serving.  When the pasta’s cooked, have a taste of the soup and season carefully with salt and pepper.  Divide the soup between the bowls, drizzle over a little extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with the parsley. 
Jamie’s Italy,  Jamie Oliver 

Meg O’Mally --- Folk at the Farm
Wednesday July 25th at 8pm – all are welcome!

 “From the oceanside forests and farms of Canada’s West Coast, comes the free-range style of O’mally, a fresh face from British Columbia’s Gulf Islands, and a breakout artist with a distinctive sound.  O’mally’s well paced clawhammer banjo and acoustic guitar layer her strong and earthy vocals, and are complimented by the clear harmonies of fiddle player Elise Boeur, culminating in a collection of delightfully orchestrated yet simple old time and folk songs. “

Acoustic folk artist Meg O’Mally is a friend of my brother’s from Victoria.  Last year she put on a wonderful show in our hay barn and we are lucky to have her back again.    We will set up benches and will carry on regardless of the weather.   Bring chairs if you would like to be more comfortable.

DIRECTIONS to Ranfurly Farm, 797 Bailey Road:  Turn south off Highway 1 onto the Squilax Anglemont Road.  Turn left onto the Squilax Turtle Valley road (it is the only road between Highway 1 and the bridge).  Travel 4.8 km up into Turtle Valley and turn left onto Bailey Road; you should see a sign for the Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge pointing down Bailey Road.  Go 2.5 km and you will see the Ranfurly Farm sign on the right.    

Friday, July 13, 2012

Week 5: July 10

Snow Peas, Sugar Snap Peas, Shelling Peas, Broccoli, Leaf Lettuce, Green Onions, Yukina Savoy & Mizuna  

                What a storm!  The entire farm crew sat out on the deck and watched the lightning.  The rain was blowing in on our legs, and the two dogs huddled under our chairs, waiting for the noise to cease.  Good thing we had that little bit of rain to keep the fires down, and lucky for us we do not have hay to worry about. 
            Peas are the vegetable of the week.  We grow sugar snap peas, snow peas and regular shelling peas, and I have at least two varieties of each type.   Each spring I seed varieties with different maturity rates at different times to extend the harvest period.  But, no matter what your plan is, all the peas come at once.  This morning we picked five out of six beds.  Yikes. 

Snow Peas: flat, tender, edible pea pods common in Asia.  They are excellent raw, stir fried, or lightly steamed. Just remember to remove the stem end and string first. 

Sugar Snap Peas: juicy, edible pods that are filled with delicious baby peas.  Snap off the stem end and eat the whole thing pod and all.  They are excellent raw, lightly steamed or stir fried.  

Shelling Peas:  the sweet little peas we all know and love. Not to be confused with sugar snaps,  shelling peas have a tough fibrous pod that needs to be removed to expose the peas inside.  As kids we used to have movie night and the whole family would sit in the living room on a hot afternoon shelling peas to freeze for winter.

Mizuna: white stems and sharply pointed leaves, the purple variety has purple stems and edges.  Mizuna is tasty raw, but can be sautéed.   

Yukina Savoy: with its white stems and deeply wrinkled dark green, spoon shaped leaves it is a common ingredient in commercial salad mix.  It makes an excellent addition to stir fries, but I like it best raw, and would mix it with some lettuce and other greens for salad. 
These are the last spring greens, the rest have gone to flower so I am leaving them to attract bees to the garden. 

We have had several people join the CSA in the last two weeks, so I figured I needed to reiterate a few key things.

Reviving salad greens:  the lovely leafy greens of early spring are delicious and healthful, but they tend to wilt very quickly after harvest.  To revive limp greens, place them in a sink of cold water for 10 – 30 minutes.  Make sure the greens are submerged, by gently pressing them under the water.  Shake or spin dry before refrigerating.  This technique works for broccoli, heads of lettuce, chard, kale, even peas and carrots. 
Wash your veggies:    Please wash all of your vegetables thoroughly before consumption.       Most of the vegetables are not washed before they are packed into your bags.  This saves us time and energy, and limits damage due to handling.  Most crops leafy crops are only rinsed off to cool them down or remove soil from their roots.  The rest is up to you.

Meat Packs
Ranfurly Farm pasture raises pork, beef, lamb, and chicken in addition to growing great vegetables.  Our meat is free of antibiotics and artificial growth hormones, and processed at a government inspected facility.  Call or email me if you would like to place an order.
Chickens will be ready by July 30th, whole chickens $3.75/lb;  1/2 chickens $4/lb.

July Meat Pack  -  $100
Average Weight
Pork Chops
2 packs
4 chops, 2 lbs
Ground Beef
3 packs
3 lbs
Bacon or Breakfast sausage
1 pack
1 lb
Pork Shoulder Roast   or
3.5 lbs
Beef Bottom Round Roast

2.5 lbs
Spicy Italian or Bratwurst Sausage  (Pork)
1 pack
1 lb
Sirloin Steak
1 pack
2 steaks, 1.4 lbs
Pork Spare ribs
1 or 2 packs
2.46 lbs

Please return your bags we are running low.  J