Thursday, June 24, 2010

Farm work and veggies coming soon:

Snap peas. Beets with greens. Cabbages. More carrots, scallions, snow and shelling peas. Cucumbers are about 1 inch long. We've picked about 10 summer squashes and 3 smallish green peppers. Melons look great and are blooming and setting fruit.

We have gotten about a half inch of rain in the last 2-3 weeks - all the storms have gone south or north of us. It's quite dry here, but we have the irrigation hooked up to most of the gardens now.

The summer onslaught of weeds and weeding is in full pull-and-hoe mode. If we don't keep ahead of them now, we are behind all the rest of the growing season. We bought a new weeder this year that pulls behind a tractor with a person riding it and controlling the tined weeders. Very cool!

A woodchuck has been eating beans and carrot tops. We have the live trap set and the guns loaded. They are so destructive. They also dig huge holes in fields that will break a cow's leg.

All the melons are planted now, and doing well. We still have more cucumbers to plant, many more beans to plant. All the winter squashes are in, and pumpkins, too. Corn is growing well. The tomatoes are in need of trellising but are doing well. We are picking and eating a few each day and hope to have them for you all soon.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Laughing Tree Brick Oven Bakery

Will have bread available for sale at Thursday's CSA pickup. Try some samples! Buy some to treat your family to more wholesome food! Read the post from a few days ago to know more about this delicious opportunity.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A week off

Remember we are taking a week off of CSA around July 4th. There will be no pickup on July 1st or 5th, and no deliveries on July 3rd and 6th. We are not going out of town, but this gives us time to catch up on the maintenance and get the Fall crops planted. We are also usually putting up hay and doing large farm work, too. AND maybe, just maybe, we will get time to go to Lake Michigan, visit friends, have a few days off. We haven't been to the lake yet - Farming doesn't allow for much leisure time in the normal vacation time of Summer.

We will still be at Sweetwater Market on Saturday, July 3rd, selling the things that won't keep till next CSA day, July 8th. Come visit us there!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Laughing Tree Brick Oven Bakery!

Greetings members of Earthscape/Full Circle Farm!

My name is Hilde Muller. My husband Charlie and I are former CSA members (and farm workers) at the Bobier's farm. We are currently in the process of opening a small Bakery adjacent to our home in Elbridge township.We are calling the bakery Laughing Tree Brick Oven Bakery and we aim to take bread and other goodies to various farmers' markets by mid-July. As a way of gearing up for our official bakery debut in July, we are conducting a series of trial bakes in our Wood-Fired Brick Oven. This hand-built oven utilizes wood-fire heat that is stored in 15,000 pounds of masonry! Traditionally, ovens of this sort have been used all over the world for professional and communal bread-baking. To our understanding, there are only forty of these ovens in use in the United States and now we have one right here in our own backyard that Charlie built last winter! We are very excited to be baking in this oven and to be producing handmade, full-flavored bread for the good people of Oceana County.

Nearly all of our breads are naturally-leavened--this means that, rather than using commercial yeast, we cultivate a starter that captures wild yeast (yeast naturally present in the flour and in the air). A naturally-leavened bread is more easily digested by our bodies because it undergoes a longer period of fermentation. This long period of fermentation contributes to the development of extraordinary flavors!! Our breads are made with simple ingredients (organic flours and grains, sea salt) but the breads themselves are full-flavored and complex. Another wonderful benefit of a naturally-leavened bread is that it keeps for a week on the counter. Our bread also freezes beautifully if a whole loaf is too much for one to eat at a time!

The two breads we are baking on Monday that will be available exclusively to the members of Earthscape/Full Circle CSA at the trial bake price of $5/loaf are:

WEST MICHIGAN WHEAT. Our signature loaf. A rich, chewy crust and a creamy white crumb (interior) flecked with the sweetest hint of Michigan Whole Wheat (grown in Eaton Rapids). Perfect for bread and butter or memorable sandwiches--an everyday treat... Twenty-five hours from start to finish (from the time we feed the starter to the time we pull it out of the oven...)

GRIFF'S 8-GRAIN. A hearty 8-grain, 3-seed bread named for our hearty neighbor Jim Griffin. We don't know what we'd do without Jim and we don't know what we would do without this deeply satisfying loaf. Made with four Michigan-grown organic grains (wheat, rye, barley, kamut), plus four additional organic grains (millet, buckwheat, steel-cut oats, cornmeal), and topped with sunflower, sesame, and poppy seeds--this is easily our most complicated loaf! But well worth every ounce of effort (especially considering all those grains are soaked for 12 hours before the dough is even mixed!) We love this bread sliced and bare-naked...It doesn't even need butter! We mix a bit of raw Michigan Honey into the dough and it lends the finished bread just a touch of sweetness. Needless to say, this bread makes AMAZING toast. Also, twenty-five hours from start to finish...

So, Come to Monday farm pickup and sample a slice or two of bread!
We are delighted to be able to offer these trial-bake loaves to you and your family.

Peace be with you,

Hilde and Charlie Muller
Laughing Tree Brick Oven Bakery

Monday, June 14, 2010

Chinese Cabbage and Carrots!

The carrots today are Mokum, an early, smaller, sweet variety that make me continually say "I need to grow more of these!" They win the taste test and are so fun to grow!

The Chinese Cabbage has tried to bolt (make seed), so rather than having 1 head for 2 weeks, you will get 2 heads today. If you have a Vegetables A to Z book, look up storage and recipes there. this is a Napa cabbage called Fun Jen. Chinese cabbage originated near the Beijing region of China, and is widely used in East Asian cuisine. Napa cabbage is lighter in color than pak choy.

In Korean cuisine, it is the main ingredient of baechu kimchi, the most common type of kimchi, but is also eaten raw as a wrap for pork or oysters, dipped in gochujang. The outer, tougher leaves are used in soups.

Stir fry it or make an oriental salad!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Raising good beef

As a meat grower, I disagree with the notion that bovines should never eat grain. Should humans never eat dessert? Our steers love to have all the grass and hay they can eat, plenty of land they can roam, even in winter, and a little home grown and ground-on-the-farm grain in their last few months. The natural diet of free ranging ruminants changes as the season progresses. Grasses and forbs lose their succulence, the stems become woodier, and the seeds mature. The seed of many wild grasses resemble and have nutrients much the same as the commonly fed small grains like oats, barley and rye. We believe the quality key is free-range pasture and a limited amount of non-GMO mixed grains as the animals mature. NO corn silage, crowded confinement or feedlots!

People always tell us our beef is more tasty and tender than other 'grass-fed' beef they've had.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sweetwater Market today!

Come see us! If you are a CSA Shares family you should have received a parsley plant. I'll have some at the Market for anyone who missed out.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Turnip Greens Recipe (thanks, Heidi!)

Leon O'Neal's Turnip Greens Epicurious | April 2002

by Robb Walsh
Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook

At Leon's "World's Finest" In & Out B-B-Q House on Galveston Island, they serve tender ribs and tangy sauce with sensational Southern-style vegetables. "It's all in the seasoning," says Leon. Here's his recipe for turnip greens.

Yield: Makes 4 servings
1 large bunch turnip greens
1 small turnip, peeled and diced
Dash of sugar
6 slices bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon lemon pepper
Salt to taste
Louisiana hot-pepper sauce

Wash the greens in several changes of water in the sink until no more grit is seen. Chop the greens coarsely. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the greens, the turnip, and the sugar. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain.

In a large skillet, sauté the bacon until it gives up its grease. Add the onion and cook 7 minutes until the onion is soft. Toss the greens with the bacon and onion. Add the lemon pepper and salt. Serve with Louisiana hot-pepper sauce.

Monday, June 7, 2010

This is the perfect book for people who want to know more about vegetables. I purchase it to sell to you all and our customers at Sweetwater Market. CSA members get a reduced price ~~ $18 per book.

This informative and easy-to-use cookbook celebrates sustainable farming with a wide array of scrumptious recipes for seasonal, farm-fresh produce. From peas, peppers and potatoes to basil, bok choy, and burdock root, From Asparagus to Zucchini highlights the best of seasonal cuisine from around the country.
Revised and updated third edition features:

-- 420 recipes, 80% new, 100% are original

-- Recipes and information for more than 50 vegetables and herbs

-- Dishes from growers, farm members, and home cooks who love vegetables

-- Special sections on community supported agriculture, the benefits of eating locally, seasonal cooking, recipes for kids, and much, much more!

Today's veggies

Garlic Scapes are the seed heads of garlic that should be cut off in order to get bigger bulbs. They taste like garlic and make a yummy addition to anything that needs garlic flavor. You can also make garlic scape pesto, tho I don't think there's enough in your share box for a large batch of it. Simply grind the scapes with almonds or pine nuts, parmesan cheese, olive oil and sea salt.

Our turnip roots are not as blemish-free this year (hot weather mostly, as they are a cool weather crop). We tried to sort out only good ones for Shares. If there are any bad spots, it's pretty obvious and they just need peeling and trimming. We had mashed turnips for lunch today! I trimmed the rejects and cubed them. I sauteed some onion, added a little water and cubed turnips, some garlic and also some left over cauliflower. When it was all soft and mushy, I blended it together, added some butter, salt and pepper, and could hardly wait for it all to cool to eat!

Turnip greens are supercharged with so many different nutrients. They are an excellent source of vitamin A (through their concentration of carotenoids such as beta-carotene), vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B6, folate, copper, calcium, and dietary fiber. They should be stored separately from the roots and used in 4-5 days. Wash them, trim out the rib unless you are cooking them a longer time in a soup. Chop them and steam or saute them. Here are some ideas for eating:

Serve sautéed turnip greens seasoned with some tamari, lemon juice and cayenne pepper.

Make a simple meal with a little Southern inspiration. Serve cooked turnip greens with beans and rice.

Healthy sauté turnip greens, sweet potatoes and tofu, and serve alongside your favorite grain.

Use turnip greens in addition to spinach when making vegetarian lasagna.

What's in your box??

If you are visiting this blog page, you will see the list of this week's share veggies on the right side. When the next week's veggies are posted, the list of veggies from the previous week moves to the very bottom of the blog under 2010.

I try to get this all updated by Monday or Thursday afternoon. Of course, Thursday update wasn't completed till this morning...

Feel free to email or call if you have questions about anything.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Patti Kreilick joined us this past week! Her Dad lived in our Sugar Shack one summer when he was about her age. Everyone is glad for better housing now. Here's her bio:

I was born in Shelby in 1983 (note from Patrice: I was at her birth). As a baby in a back pack, I toured the cow pasture with Bill, and an interest was sparked at a young age. Most of my childhood was spent in Fremont, OH, where I lived on a farm as a young girl. After attending Miami University and achieving a degree in English Literature, I moved to Nashville for four years, working at The Tin Angel Restaurant. My interest in food, its production and preparation grew through this experience. I'm looking forward to getting back to my roots and experiencing life in Western Michigan as an adult.

We'll have to update her picture to Farmer Patti soon!