Sunday, November 29, 2009


No, these are not more radishes! At last the Purple Globe turnips are ready, along with the Seven Top Southern Prize leaf turnips. I hope all the good fertile compost and much love has made them nice and sweet. Say what you will, but I like the taste of turnips. They are not starchy like potatoes, but I like the mellow brassica flavor. These will be boiled with butter and salt for dinner. The greens will be boiled with bacon and a splash of vinegar to serve. These are the first, but there are more to follow. Mmmm....I can taste the saurruben already.

Aren't we sick of radishes yet?

Here is a new batch of radish pickles to be put up. It is so easy and they are so tasty I wanted to share the process.

First we harvest and clean the radishes. I throw the tops to the pigs because they love them so much and I am not really fond of radish greens. Then we trim the top and bottom and slice them in pretty shapes. Rosie likes to help me out with washing them.

Here are some radish rose pickles I'm trying. Salt is supposed to open them up, so I figure they will bloom in the salty brine. Or they'll stay closed and just be really tasty.
Next I wash the jars and add any seasonings: garlic, ginger, mustard, pepper, dill, etc. Then I pack in the radishes and add a tablespoon of fine sea salt on top. I've been liking to add a round slice of onion on the top, to keep the radishes in the brine, prevent molds while they are fermenting and for flavor.
Then I pour over well water to almost the top of the jar. Leave an inch or so for air space. Then I leave them in a warm place--on top of my stove in the cold weather. In warmer weather I leave them on the counter. They start bubbling and eventually become nice and sour--takes 3 days to more than a week, depending on if it is warm or cold.

Our Thanksgiving

First we must say how thankful we are for having the opportunity to grow food for ourselves, our family and our friends.

We are also very thankful for our Broad Breasted Bronze turkeys, who are continuing to feed us and are very delicious (don't worry, we still have Sulaymon. And he has a girlfriend now--names anyone?).

We are sorry the turkeys were so enormous this year that they were just not affordable. We had no idea they would be so big. I thought their feathers would account for more of their size. They were about 4olbs live weight, and pretty difficult to handle. I could hardly move the carcasses around to clean them. The one my inlaws roasted was 26lbs dressed out. They didn't even fit in our turkey cone and our beloved featherman plucker was no match for the monsters. We mostly hand plucked them, which was suprisingly not a pain. Turkeys must have less feathers than chickens.

Our plan for next year is to get a few different kinds of turkeys to give some different weights. We would like people to preorder, and mark if they'd like a small turkey, medium turkey or gianormous turkey. It was the best turkey we've ever eaten, very tender and moist despite the size.
This pumpkin pictured is one of our Forbes Family Favorite squashes, left to grow into a pumpkin. It was the pumpkin pie this thanksgiving. It was a very tasty squash, not unlike white sweet potato in that it was very sweet and sort of mealy. It wasn't stringy at all. It made a lovely smooth pumpkin pie. I saved the seeds, of course, to be planted next summer.

A little tour of the winter garden

The winter garden is really taking off with the cool weather. The peas have pods, although none have made it home so far, they are so tasty and easy to just snip off and eat. The golden peas are just starting to produce and are very lovely. The beets, too, are looking more and more cheerful.

Winter gardens are all roots and greens it seems. In the above photo you can see the Harris Model Parsnips and the Egyptian Walking Onions, planted with cilantro and parsley, the carrot beds and some of the arugula to the left, past the pea trellis. I must say I wasn't counting on the arugula to be quite so large. And we have already been eating salads from it as much as we can. The trick with arugula salad is goat cheese, walnuts and a simple balsamic dressing.

Here is the Japanese Giant Red Mustard. It is almost as colorful as the cosmos. We had some in stir fry already. It went very well with the Extra Dwarf Pak Choy.

Here the cabbage is starting to make heads. This is the savoy cabbage:

The lettuce was slow to start, but is looking very nice now. I think it was just too warm this fall until now. This lettuce below is from a mixture of lettuce, but we are also growing Yugoslavian Butterhead, which I like a lot.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The fruits of labor

This is what we took home the other day--a big pumpkin, lush bowlfuls of lettuce, arugula and Extra Dwarf Pak Choy (my favorite--the bowl above the pumpkin), eggs and a rainbow of radishes. I'm making a big batch of pickles this afternoon.
A humble harvest compared to more established farms, but I love the feeling of getting food from the land, and it is a vision of abundance that gets me up in the morning to work another day.


Our Christmas ducks have arrived! They are so cute. I've never raised ducks before. We do have four Muscovy ducks, but they came with a mama who did all the work for us. Lifting them out of the box I was surprised at how woolly and light they are. They have such funny little bills and feet. They don't just peck at the food, they gobble it and then pump their little necks up and down to swallow.

Their mannerisms are hilarious. We've been watching them for the entertainment factor (it beats TV). When we first got them they kept tripping over their feet and waddling funny and falling over on their backs and wiggling their feet in the air.

It is interesting to see the difference in mannerisms in poultry: Baby chickens have a busy way of cluster together peeping and scratching and the turkeys are solemn and polite, but the ducks are like little Charlie Chaplins with webbed feet.

They are very messy and are always dabbling in the waterer. The water runs down their big bills and wets the down around their necks so they look like a cross between a duck and a turken.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Radishes! Our second harvest. I love the variety. From left to right they are Munchener Bier, Black Spanish, Misato Rose, one little Cherry Belle, Plum Purple, Jaune D'or Ovale, and a daikon.
I plan to pickle them this afternoon. The last pickles were great they are almost all gone already.
It was an easy recipe--a sliced onion, sliced radishes, 1 tablespoon of seasalt and water.