Week Eleven Farm News
Greetings Farm Share Members. It has been an eventful week at Simington Gardens. We have been very busy picking tomatoes, as you will see in your shares this week. We have also been doing a lot of fall transplanting and some plantings for late summer items. More salad will be on the way in a few weeks. Pickling cukes are on the way shortly. We had our first harvest of about ten pounds last week, so more and more will keep coming. We are in full swing harvesting for our wholesale accounts and our fields are not even weedy. We even have days off. Real days off, on schedule. Like going hiking at the beach with the dogs days off. Sometimes it is hard to make time to do something other than work at this time of year, but it is important to find that little bit of motivation to do something other than rest or do chores that do not get done during the week. I find myself making what I call holding tanks for used lunch Tupperware that I don’t wash at night. (I have quite the Tupperware collection for this reason.) We work a lot of hours, yes, but we do have lives. Our staff has families, other businesses, school, hobbies, pets, a hemp foundation and other operations that need tending. Of the three staffers that have children, one parent works days while the other nights, one has four children and works another job in the winter and one has a two year old, a cow, goats and a micro dairy business selling raw milk. And as far as the duties of the owner? Well, not only does he make sure everything happens at the farm but he deals with all of us and our issues, time restrictions, mistakes at work and does a bit of life coaching along the way. This all seems to be part of running and working for a small family agricultural operation. And all this makes my dish holding tanks not even worth mentioning. The point of this all is not to complain or seek pity, just to highlight that for anyone, jobs and life are sometimes difficult. Sometimes things do not go as planned. We have been understaffed for several months and just lost two more this Monday. But, we hired a new person yesterday. The attitude at the farm is overwhelmingly positive. And this is not just a reaction to recent events. We all know that what we are doing is very real and important and we like doing it. The farm moves on. Vegetables keep growing and needing water no matter what else might be happening. The seasons progress and people need to eat nutritious food. We will continue to provide this. This is a farm. People come and go, seasons come and go, but there is always something to harvest and take care of and we always need to eat. Thanks to everyone out there making this happen. Farm share members reading this right now: this is you!
On the topic of eating, this week in the shares you will find tomatoes of all varieties, kale, collards, potatoes, tomatillos, fennel, cucumbers, squash and cabbage. You have all had these things before and probably have more than a few creative uses for the items, but it seems that fennel and collards seem to be the ones that people are a bit unsure of through the weeks. Fennel is great cooked down with tomatoes for a pasta or pizza sauce. it is good juiced or in smoothies, it adds great flavor and crunch to salads when sliced super thin. Try this recipe for kale fennel slaw, adapted from the original in “Let Them Eat Vegan.”
1 small to medium-size apple, cored and julienned (3⁄4 to 1 cup), tossed in 1tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 1/2 – 3 cups julienned kale (leaves cut/torn from stems and stems discarded) (see note)
1 cup very thinly sliced or julienned fennel
1/4 cup golden raisins
2 to 4 tbsps sliced or chopped almonds
Extra salt and pepper to taste
1⁄2 cup almonds, soaked at least one hour, especially if using raw
2 1/2 tbsps apple cider vinegar
2 tbsps pure maple syrup or honey
2/3 cup water (or more to thin as needed; see note)
1 clove garlic
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1⁄2 tsp Dijon mustard
1⁄2 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
Curry powder to taste
Prepare all vegetables as noted above and place in a large mixing bowl. Add all dressing ingredients to a high powered blender and blend till creamy. Out of almonds or don’t have a blender? Sub mayo or a vegan version and decrease water to 1/4 cup to thin out as needed. Dressing should be thick, like ranch dressing. Add 2/3 cup to 3/4 cup dressing to vegetables. Mix to coat well and adjust for sauciness. If you want a lot, add a lot. If you want a more dry salad, add less. This packs well and is good with diced cooked chicken breast for more of a meal.
As far as collards go, try using them like kale. In fact, you could use them in this recipe and save the kale for something else. Add collards to a more traditional coleslaw recipe. Sautee them with Italian sausage, onion and garlic and tomatoes and add vegetable broth for a fast soup, though it is a bit hot for soup. Hold the broth and use the sauce for pasta or roasted potaotes and a fried egg for a Sunday breakfast. Vegetables are very adaptable. Often times collards can be used in the place of kale and vice versa. Simply googling the vegetable name and adding the word recipe behind it yields more results than you might want.
Fresh tomatoes make really good juice. Just place in blender, maybe with a cucumber and blend. Strain if you want or add salt, celery salt or hot pepper flakes or hot sauce. This is also great for a Bloody Mary base if we have not mentioned in previous postings.
As always, we hope you are enjoying everything and send us some recipe ideas or topics you would like to hear about in the blog to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also please let us know if you would like extra tomatoes for preserving.
Thank you for your support,
The Simington Gardens Team