Sunday, September 16

New this week:
Nasturtium Greens & Flowers, Delicata Squash, French Breakfast Radish, Cilantro, Baby Kohlrabi, Celery, Red Russian Kale (bunched), Mustard Greens (bunched), Heirloom Watermelon. 

Ribeye Steaks, Hot & Extra Sage Breakfast Pork Sausage, Jowl Bacon, Boneless Pork Chops. 

And last but not least, Sauerkraut.    

Notes: Food storage and organization

I want to draw everyone's attention to a couple of links this weeks. One on refrigerator organization and another on food storage. Hopefully, you'll find these tips helpful to stay organized and keep everything as fresh as possible for as long as possible. Everything should be lasting the entire two weeks between deliveries. 

+ So here's one for refrigerator organization

+ And here's one for fruit and veg. storage tips

Notes: Veggies and Other Goods
Nasturtium Greens and Flowers offer a assertive peppery flavor profile. Great added to any salad for both flavor and color! Kohlrabi is similar to a radish or turnip. Often used raw as an addition to salads or a vehicle for dips. In "baby" form, the skin shouldn't need to be peeled, but you may wish to if you prefer. The greens are tender enough to be chopped and added to the salad or quickly sautéed. The watermelon is personal sized, and honestly, they've been a little hit and miss for us--sometimes we'll catch one that isn't totally ripe (which means a bummer bland melon), but on the whole, they've been pretty good. As an heirloom, it is not quit as sweet as some of the newer varieties. Delicata Squash is a fantastic and sweet winter squash that does not need to be peeled.  

We are offering Tomato Seconds by the 5 lb increment. These are tomatoes that have a blemish, soft spot, or a crack, or is somehow just not perfect. These would be great for processing into sauce or salsa, or try your own tomato paste (see recipe below). Just cut the blemish off and use the parts that are still good. 

Jowl bacon is a bit fattier than regular bacon from the belly. While it's perfectly acceptable to use just like regular bacon, it's great as a flavor addition to anything you might be cooking. For example, fry some bacon, remove the bacon but leave the fat, sauté your greens in the fat and then add the chopped bacon at the end of cooking the greens. We love bacon fat dressing on our salads. Pouring the hot fat over your salad is known as a "kilt" (or "killed") salad. We add a big squeeze of lemon to balance the fat, season with salt and pepper, and call that a "dressed salad."    

Finally, here is this week's order form.

+ Delivery for this order is WEDNESDAY. Expect us sometime between 4-7pm. 

+ Please complete this order by MONDAY night so we can harvest on Tuesday. 

+ Remember, you are ordering for two weeks. 

+ And please remember to set out a couple coolers so everything can stay crisp until you get home.  


Pictured above: Alma meeting our heifer calf, Clover. It's so amazing to see Alma appear to take an interest in the animals around the farm. Walking around, she'll often fixate on the cows or chickens, or cats, as if studying them, and then turn to one of us and laugh or smile. 
Pictured Below: Looks like we're adding a new animal to the farm-animal family, a Blue Heeler who wandered up the driveway and hasn't left yet. He seemed pretty hungry when he got here, but he's been enjoying some eggs and yogurt and even some farm veggies. We're calling him Henry Pickle Higgins: "Henry" for Henry County, "Pickle" because we like pickles, and "Higgins" because it's a combo of Jenny and I's last names. We still miss our sweet dog Shiloh who passed away in May, but it's nice to have some canine energy around again.
--Farm Update-- 

First, we're happy to be adding two new families this week! The community is expanding!

We were excited last week to meet with the folks from the KY Division of Water to discuss water conservation for the farm. They are taking applications for a cost share program to implement water storage and conservation projects around the state. It's programs like these that are a huge help to farms like ours, especially as we are still just getting the farm going and key pieces of infrastructure (including water infrastructure) will have long-term benefits for us. 

Of course, we have tons of ideas for projects and the real task is going to be in picking which ones are the top priority for us. There are still two pasture fields that have no water access, making grazing those fields more challenging than it needs to be; catching water off our high tunnel to supply a drip irrigation system would be really great, and as we're thinking through building an upgraded milking parlor, we are thinking through how to handle the waste water from cleaning the equipment and from cleaning the barn. And it sounds like they are interested in helping us restore the spring that feeds one of our ponds. 

As we were discussing water conservation practices on the farm, I was encouraged by the positive feedback we received for farming the way we are. I've mentioned before how we practice "dry farming" techniques in our field production (not the covered High Tunnel).

In a nutshell, "dry farming" probably used to just be called "farming," kind of like how "organic farming" used to just be called "farming"--dry farming techniques are used by a lot of old timers, even if they don't call it that. The goal is to trap and hold as much water that falls on the farm and to keep it in the soil, which is the exact place we want to store the water. Then we work the soil at certain times and in certain ways so as to utilize that water throughout the season. For example, we want to cultivate very shallowly shortly after a rain. Doing this creates a "dust mulch" (the soil surface is dry, but it's trapping all the water just under that dry surface). Then the roots of plants search for the water, going deeper and deeper, which gives us more drought tolerant plants and plants that are drawing deeper soil nutrients and minerals. 

When done correctly, there's really no need to water the garden in a region like ours which receives almost 45 inches of rain a year. Someone I consider a mentor in farming hasn't watered his garden in over 25 years, which is to say he hasn't needed to water even in pretty serious droughts. When walking around his farm, talking about water, he would look at his cows and say, "They are my irrigation system; they're how I 'water' the garden." Then he moves on to the next interesting topic, sometimes leaving you scratching your head as to what he could mean only later realizing exactly what he means: he's talking about using the cow's manure to make compost, which is applied to the garden, which helps the garden soil hold and retain the water.

It's neat, too, that the research coming out about dry farmed vegetables and fruits is saying something that is already pretty intuitive: the food is more nutritious! As plant roots are drawing from a deeper soil profile, they are accumulating a more diverse set of nutrients and minerals.     

While these kinds of projects are so exciting, they are also a reminder that the farm is a long, on-going project that will take a lifetime (or two or three) to finish. I'm reminded of something Wes Jackson wrote. He said, "If you life's work can be achieved in your lifetime, you're not thinking big enough." So here's to a week of big ideas, and lofty, long-term goals! 


All about Eggs
I came across this article in one of my newsfeeds and thought I'd pass it along. I love learning little tricks and tips for cooking items I think I already have a good grasp on, like eggs. When I see stuff like this, I'm often reminded cooking is another one of those life-long learning activities--you never know everything, and part of the beauty of cooking is discovering something new. 

So here are 12 tips for cooking eggs from "Tasty." 

I am especially a fan of Gordon Ramsay's tip on scrambled eggs.   
Follow us on Instagram for more farm photos!
Your Valley Spirit Farmers! 
Caleb, Kelly, Judah & Rebekah Fiechter on the left. Joseph, Abbie, Ruth and Angus Monroe on the right.
And from Pink Elephant Farm & Kitchen, Jenny Vaughn and Justin Owings.
As a reminder, this is all new to all of us. Please feel free to reach out at any time with any and all questions or concerns. We want this to be a highly positive experience for all of us, and a big part of ensuring this is keeping the communication and feedback lines always open. Let us know what's going on--what you liked, what you cooked, how veggies are storing and holding up for you, etc.. 
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