beets

Market Days Are Here Again

It has been a long wait, but we are happy to report that starting next week, we will be back in our market swing.

I’ll be posting our market schedule below on the website calendar and on Facebook.

Here is a preview of what harvests await:

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Jalapeno

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Cayenne

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Romas

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Lettuces

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Beets

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Zephyr

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Eight ball

Green beans and potatoes are coming to market, too.

Stay tuned for more!

Winter harvests

Here are some snapshots of a few winter harvest we are enjoying on the farm at the moment…

Dangling some carrots

Dangling some carrots

There are few things as delicious as an over-wintered carrot. The slip nip of the colder temps causes the carrots to become sweeter (stress = more sugar production). Crunchy and sweet? Perfect.

Kennebec tater

Kennebec tater

A cozy layer of straw mulch helps protect these spuds (and 3 other varieties) from the sun and the nip of frost. Other than the pups digging them up in pursuit of voles, we will be dining off of these guys well into the spring/early summer.

Dent corn

Dent corn

The corn in this photo is called “Bloody Butcher,” an  heirloom dent corn dating from the mid 1800s and likely was traded between settlers and Native Americans. Dent corn was used mainly for grinding into meal or flour, but it can be roasted or fried (is a sweet corn) as well. Mostly, it is used for decorative purposes today. Here is a little story from NPR entitled “On The Trail To Preserve Appalachia’s Bounty Of Heirloom Crops” that gives a slightly regional perspective on this historical variety.

I have been looking into home mills. I am interested in trying my hand at grinding some of these kernels into a flour or meal. Anyone try that before? Regardless, this variety is a staple in our garden for its beauty and history.

Pickled beets

Pickled beets

These jars full of burgundy goodness have become a winter staple for us. Pickled beets. They are zingy, textured and simply delicious. This season wasn’t our best beet crop, but what was left over was all harvested and canned. It was the top item on my to-do list this month. To think I hated beets all my life until I started growing them. Beets from a tin can (what we grew up with) DO NOT COMPARE to fresh beets. And THESE canned beets are miles above all. Served on their own as a side or sliced onto greens with a pungent cheese and vinaigrette dressing…beets are on the winter menu often.

 

 

What did you do last night?

Last night, I took on the adventure of pickling some beets, thinking that it all seemed pretty easy and straightforward…shouldn’t take too long (cursed).

The process begins with preparing the beets:

A mess of beets

A mess of beets

Boiling beets

Boiling beets

A good scrubbing under some cold water. What I neglected to read was that these guys had to be boiled for 20-40 minutes…ok. I’ve time. So, let’s boil them.

Meanwhile, I made my pickling liquid. I had to have onions in the mix.

Pickling liquid

Pickling liquid

Once the beets were soft, I drained them and rinsed them under cold, running water per Ball’s Book of Canning’s instructions…and “slipped the skins”…which I hadn’t done before, but after boiling beets, just running your fingers over the exterior beet causes the skins to “slip” right off. Very easy! Then I sliced instead of quartered.

Ready to pickle!!

Ready to pickle!!

Such pretty colors! Golden, Red Ace, Merlin and Chioggia beets.

The sliced beets got added to the pickling liquid and brought to a boil. Then hot jars were packed with beets and liquid (some got whole cloves per another recipe) then processed.

After processing, the jars were allowed to cool. Here’s the line up:

Good morning pickled beets!

Good morning pickled beets!

So, my hour and a half long project really was more like 3 1/2 to 4 hours long. Such is how it goes when I think something will be “easy.” Honestly, though, it WAS easy and fun….and delicious (I sampled a few pieces while packing the jars)….I just need to be sure to read the sidebars to recipes for better time estimations! 🙂