Friday, July 31, 2009

0 Mile Stirfry!

It included Kale, 3 kinds of Zuchinis, garlic - scapes and bulbs, onion, brocoli, beans, peas, tomatoes and a touch of strawberry wine.....
Could have added: Green peppers (not quite ready), Jalapeno Peppers (cooking for kids), cabbage (hmmmm) and aubergine (not quite ready.....)

Too bad I can't make Soya Sauce!

Note to self: When there's little boy fingerprints on front lens of camera it can't focus.....the pictures do not do the pile of food justice :)

Cherry Picking

We are lucky enough to have a UPICK organic cherry farm here in the valley. Not many people know of it but we do....we descended upon them last weekend. And picked and picked and picked. The kids had berries right at their height and they picked a LOT.
We did what people do when they come to our strawberry farm.....We picked 70 plus pounds and didn't have enough money!!!

I couldn't stop....just one more red berry!
And I looooooooove cherries. I used to eat them til I was sick when I was young.

I stuffed the jars, got the syrup in and ended up with 42 jars....which means we ate about oh 10-14 pounds :)
(Rule of thumb: 20 lbs does 15 quarts)
Have I mentionned the Organic Blueberry Farm yet? I've picked about 40 lbs there so far this year.....

The final product....My boys can go through 2 jars for desert so this is only 21 nights over the winter....Now on to peaches :) and tomatoes....and apple juice....

PS I have a new recipe for grilled zukes that includes balsamic vinegar and cheese......I'll give it a go and let you know!

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Real Food

Zuchinni Bread
Zuchinni muffins
Zuchini Pizza
Zuchinni Pancakes
Zuchini Tacos
Zuchini pasta sauce

Can you tell we have FAR too many zukes!?


Saturday, July 25, 2009

A camoflauged spider....and upickers getting strawberries - with a little Eau De Piggy when the wind blew the wrong direction. Some people know where their pork comes from - and our waiting list is super long for Pork next year.....So much for being worried about swine flu. I didn't need to put up my sign "If you've been to Mexico, Stay Away from my pigs!" Everyone LOVED them....We had people of all ages get excited and head out to feed the pigs!

Some berries from our farm (blues from down the road), some eggplants (YUM!) and the heritage tomatoes starting to come along! So much to do - so little time.....feeling a little pressure from the pressure canner......

Friday, July 24, 2009

Food Inc.

Food Inc. The Movie. Opening our eyes as to where our food comes from. Hopefully being released soon.....unless some agrifood business has lobbied hard enough......

Check out the interview with the director HERE

And further information about what YOU can do check out their article HERE

I am slowly but surely morphing into my mother. And though there are many many things I don't like about my mom.......I was lucky enough to have a mother with a HUGE veggie garden growing up. She worked full time, had two kids, a husband who didn't help at home and somehow she had this HUMUNGOUS garden. She processed and froze it all. When I don't know. I don't remember any weeds either. We ate our own veggies all winter, and had a canning shed full to the brim. So last night we harvested two 10 lb cauliflowers from our garden (check out photo with dwarfed wine bottle!), a basket of broccoli that will feed us for weeks. I blanched the veggies, froze on cookie sheets and tonight threw in ziplocs. I have 6 pounds of sugar snaps to process tonight. I need another freezer.

Did I mention I have a squash hedge. Hubby calls it a squash jungle. I will have enough spaghetti squash to feed the Valley? My tomatoes in the greenhouse are going nuts.....see photos in next post....

Thursday, July 23, 2009

New Pests

Lice. Yep. Got the call from a close friend. They were infested. Checked my kids. Two had em. The two with long beautiful hair. Little Holdy with his new "Butt Cutt" was home free. I freaked. IN MY HOUSE THOSE ICKY THINGS!!! I head off to the Drugstore - apparently 3 out of 4 drugstores are closed on Sunday nights......and at the 4th I buy the "Lice Killing Shampoo" and a nit comb before heading home. To new kids. Two boys whose heads I haven't seen in years......They are SO handsome. And a hubby who reads the ingredients on the shampoo box and says "We won't spray this sh!t on our fields why would we apply it to their scalps???" DOH! Toxic stuff I tell ya in that bottle - the same insecticides as in agricultural pesticides. We nit comb and wash and get a mountain of laundry on the go. I send hubby out for an alternative....He comes home with Tea Tree Oil (THE MAGIC STUFF I TELL YAH!!!) by this time it's midnight and I'm exhausted. The next morning we nit comb, do more bedding laundry and quarantine parts of the house and all their dolls. I soak their heads in white conditioner mixed with Tea Tree Oil and don't wash it out. I do this every morning and night all week. Haven't had a nit since the first day and believe me when you are nit combing you and they can feel them coming off - it hurts! (nit=egg attached to hair) WE ARE CLEAN. (Hubby and I managed to stay free) I daresay we nipped this one in the bud. My friend, on the other hand, used the toxic stuff and is still fighting the bugs. She hasn't shaved her kid's head and is battling the bug.......hmmmmmm ORGANICS and cultural practices work in all aspects of your life not just on a farm!!

Overheard in the bathroom:

Holdy "Look! Mummy! It's a boy factory!" As his dad completed his head and beard shave to join the boys with their new look....

Sawyer "August, look at me, I look completely different. I LOOK LIKE AN ELF!!!"

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009


What to do when your crazy squash hedge ......

Produces this in the 2.3 days you did not check for zuchinis?????

You grab the food processor out of your back bottom cupboard, clean the mouse poop out (Did I mention we got kittens?) and grate grate grate....

And make yummy zuchinni (quichie) pizza YUMMERS!!! (Did I say it was YUMMY?)

and a mountain loaf of zuchinni bread.....Hay! Where's the great photo?! I hate picassa! - The loaf looks like the rockies rising out of the prairies.....
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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Rant about the public.....

Can I rant with a customer never seeing this, hope so.
Are people really stupid. I think so.
People really don't think before they speak, really.
Do you have just one basket of strawberries, I drove all this way? Looking at fridge full of berries, all sold to customers waiting on order list for 10 days.....(Did you call first? What a waste of fossil fuels)
You're closed, but I just need a few??? Yup and I need a few hours (days?) with my kids after being on the fields for 9 hours.......Why weren't you here at 8 am like everyone else???
Last time I was here I ate so many strawberries I threw up on the way home, it wasn't pretty.... Yup, there's another 2 or 3 pounds not paid for, thanks a lot, that's stealing, you wouldn't eat like that at Superstore would you???
There's no ripe berries! Would you please get down on your knees and actually lift a leaf and look for them, they're hiding. The last people here got 2 ice cream buckets in 15 feet of a row....
There's not enough ripe berries! I don't have a direct line to Mother Nature, they don't ripen all at once.....this hasn't been picked for 3 days and we won't pick again for 3 days.....Seriously people think every berry should ripen at once and they shouldn't have to look for the ripe ones.....and if they pick an underripe....well throw it out of the bucket so they don't have to pay for it.....
There's no ripe berries! Stop reaching into the next row, then I have to listen to everyone tell me that!!!!
It costs *&%????? Yes, I bet you pay $4 for an ice cream cone at the lake, $5 something for a Blizzard at DQ and spend $20 plus for a meal for the family at Micky Ds......people who really care where their food comes from don't blink an eye.......
There's a mark on this berry. Yes we're organic, that means that no toxic insecticides have been sprayed on your berries, the occassional bug scar shouldn't matter......I picked up so many "reject" berries from customers and put them in my own freezer this year - MAN!!! Do you KNOW what is on your food????
There's some moldy berries. Ok, it's been a bad year for us with the weather. And factors beyond our control. That mother nature thing again. Organic farming - no sprays can bite you in the butt.....I get it, it's yucky. It sucks for us too losing 20% of our crop.
Did you know that potatoes are sprayed after harvest directly so they don't sprout in the store?
There's bugs on my raspberries......Did you know that commercial raspberries have insecticides sprayed on them 2-3 days before harvest as purchasers have a zero bug tolerance??? Yep, toxic. On your berries. Eat the damm bugs. Less harmful, more nutritious than chemical bug killer poison.......
I need to pick 50 pounds of berries today - what do you mean it's slow picking? We've been open for a month, it's over.......have at her......
Last year I was put on a row with no berries, this year I want berries. The lady in the shop said I'd get berries. As the lady jumped in to pick in a closed area and then yelled at me.......she treated me like a servant or slave, I wanted to punch her lights out......back to the LIFT THE DAMM LEAVES LADY thing.....
What do you mean your raspberry patch is closed. I drove here from *#&#$^$ THERE ARE NO RIPE BERRIES BONEHEAD......I CAN'T MANUFACTURE THEM, THAT MOTHER NATURE THING AGAIN......

phew, that was fun......

I'm sure I'll come up with more.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Exploding Weevils! EOSF#8

We hate weevils here. With a passion. All my kids know what they look like and what to do to them when they find one. Squish it. Dead. Really dead. These bugs are incredible. The summer we collected the 25,000 or so of them I left some in a bucket in the greenhouse. With no holes. All winter. Temperatures were freezing all winter. -10 or so. And they were alive the next spring.
So how do we kill them?
My research showed that biological control in the form of parasitic nematodes was a viable option. (The microscopic nematodes - and yes we all had a look - invade the grub by swimming in mouth or anus, multiply and explode out to find more grubs to infect, sounds perfect eh?) I pushed and pushed and pushed. Hubby did a bunch of research. Richard Cowles made some recommendations. We ordered one BILLION, yes ONE BILLION, nematodes to spray on our fields. Conditions have to be right. Not too cold, grubs in the soil for the nematodes to infect and nice wet weather after spraying. Sunlight kills them so spraying should be done at night. Picture farmer lady sitting on the back of the tractor, in the dark, with a flashlight and a spraying wand between her legs with the PTO spinning (very dangerous) with hubby driving tractor up and down each and every row for 6 hours in the dark on a rainy evening in September. Sore sore butt. Cold cold mama.
Conditions were PERFECT. We were ecstatic. And 2 days later it got hot and didn't rain for 4 weeks. We found no infected grubs.
We ended up ploughing in one field that was only 2 years old as we could see it was severely affected even in September.....
Will we try again? I hope so, I haven't started the campaign yet. I have to lead my dang horse (hubby) to water slowly so he thinks it's mostly his idea ;)
Our fields have NEVER looked better, we have NO dead spots this year. NONE. Every other year there have been patches that were unpickable. 2007, the second year we had the farm was such a downer. It has only improved since then with a direct correlation to the decrease in spraying we do. Go figure. Doh!
Next: Organic fungicides.....our next learning curve!