Thursday, April 30, 2009

Farmers Market Tomorrow!!

Two days ago it was 89 degrees on the farm. Last night we had to cover the tomatoes in the greenhouse to keep them from getting frost nipped. Is this a typical spring in Maine? I think so. Maybe a bit warmer then normal. Just a little dramatic! The hot weather has produced some beautiful spring flowers. These are just a few of many daffodils that Weslene has planted on the farm. She has gorgeous flower gardens!

We have been very busy the last few days preparing for the first Sandy River Farmers Market. The Market season opens tomorrow morning! We will be open on Fridays 9am to 2pm and Tuesdays 2pm to 6pm May through October on Front St. in Farmington. For tomorrow we have a few veggies; parsnips, spinach, onions and maybe carrots (if we can get our butts in gear early enough tomorrow morning). We will also have maple syrup, eggs, and baked goods including bread (anadama, whole wheat, oatmeal, multi-grain, and cinnamon raisin) cinnamon rolls, and cookies. I was going to make a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, but that will have to wait until next Tuesday.

We have accomplished a lot in the last week. We planted our onion sets and starts. Here is a picture of our onion starts. Before the weeds start sprouting, we need to mulch. We will also need to side dress with chicken manure tea before the season is up.

We also planted the rest of the broccoli and tomatoes in the greenhouse, weeded the tomatoes in the small greenhouse, plowed under "The Three Corner Piece"(which will add about an acre to our garden space). Started all of our cucurbits (pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, melons etc.). Okay, so I say we, but I think so far Andy has done all of the items on this list.

This weekend we are planning on going over to visit the Norcotts to build top bar bee hives! I am so excited, I love seeing the bees at work. I also love their honey! We will post pictures and let you know how it went!
Hope to see you tomorrow!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Spring Treats

This time of year there are only a few fresh vegetables to choose from. On the farm, greens, parsnips, and storage vegetables are available. By now, we have used up our canned veggies and are eagerly awaiting the fresh.

Here is a recipe for a nice frittata, which is pleasing any time of day. It makes an especially nice light supper at the end of a long day. I serve it with steamed carrots and warmed up bread. We caramelize some onions before adding the greens.


Mixed Greens Frittata
Moosewood Restaurant New Classics

2 C chopped greens
¾ C chopped fresh parsley
¼ C chopped fresh basil
1 ½ tsp extra virgin olive oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ C water
¼ tsp salt
½ C grated feta, Parmesan, mozzarella or cheddar cheese

In a 10 inch ovenproof skillet, stir-fry the greens, parsley, and basil in 1 tsp of the oil until wilted and tender. Transfer the greens to the bowl. Rinse the skillet and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, water and salt and stir in ¼ cup of the cheese.

Lightly oil the skillet with the remaining ½ tsp of oil and place it on med-high heat. Stir the egg and cheese mixture into the greens and pour into the hot skillet. Sprinkle the top with the rest of the grated cheese. Lower the heat to med-low and cook, without stirring, until the edges are firm and pulling away from the sides of the pan, about 5 minutes. The frittata should be mostly cooked, but with the top still lightly undercooked. Place the skillet under the broiler for 3 to 5 minutes, until the top is firm and beginning to turn golden brown.
Cut into wedges and serve, either directly from the skillet or turned out onto a large plate.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Learning from mistakes

This year we have a lot of orders to fill. From CSA members to Farmers Markets, I would say we have about double the amount of of work as last year. The number one lesson I learned last year was that less is more. If we had only had a smaller garden, we would have had more time to take care of it all. Our onions were great, tomatoes were even better, but two patches of carrots went unharvested. They were too small to bother with because we didn't have time to weed and thin. So the weeds grew ever higher, and our excitement to deal with it diminished. This was the back garden which we are planting into a cover crop this year. Everything back there was pushed aside as we dealt with the other gardens.

So this year, I am planting new secession crops only after I have the first secession taken care of. Once my baby carrots have germinated, and I have thinned and weeded them, we will plant the next bed of carrots. That's the idea anyway. Most of the time it is easier said then done.

We have planted a 105 ft. Row of Salad Mix (covered with Remay to keep flea beetles off of it), 50 ft. row of beets (Golden beets will have to wait until it warms up a bit more), 9 ft. of baby carrots, and 50 ft. of spinach, a few spring onions, and some herbs. This is a picture of the blackberry field where we are planting a majority of our crops this year. In the distance you can see 3 of the four greenhouses. Above the garden is a good sized blackberry patch.
In other great farm news, we just got our Earth Way Seeder from the UPS man! That will make planting a much quicker task!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Breaking Ground

It's been so beautiful, I feel grateful to be able to work outside all of the time. Yesterday we got our peas planted. We rototilled half of the pea patch, but the other half was soft enough to rake. We need to do a better job at mulching this year. The old greenhouse is ready for tomatoes! The chickens did a great job, and the soil looks wonderful. We just need to protect them from the chilly nights with double coverage.

This year I have three personal garden goals:

1.) successfully grow celery : I have already killed the celery that I started, so unfortunately I don't think this goal will be met!

2.) Try companion planting: Companion planting "involves the influence of some crops on others and the arrangements of different species according to their ability to enhance or inhibit each other's growth." (Anna Carr Good Neighbors: Companion Planting for Gardeners).
So I will try interplanting basil with tomatoes. This should work for us since we tie our tomatoes up on strings hanging down from the greenhouse. Supposedly interplanting basil with tomatoes makes the tomatoes taste even better (we'll be doing taste tests with our customers!) but to me, it just seemed like a great use of that space between tomato plants. I also planted radishes with my peas.

3.) Get the back garden under control!: This is a big task. In order to acheive this we are doing a few things. First, we are planting a low growing green manure crop such as clover with wheat. The garden isn't that big, so our idea is to leave the garden fallow for this year, harvest the wheat, till it all under and our garden will be as good as new! Well, that's what we're hoping anyway. But then there's my little section of the garden that I've been nursing. Using an idea that Paula told me about, I've started collecting leaves, dried grass, and any other mulching materials that I have laying around from last fall. I have been piling them up under a piece of clear plastic with the hopes of getting it warmed up enough to kill some of the weed seeds. Then, the plan is to plant started seedlings in the mulch. The soil is pretty good, since we have tilled in a lot of carbon in the form of horse manure and shavings, and nitrogen in the form of chicken manure. It's a work in progress. I have pictures of the before, I'll post them with the "after" pictures when we get to that point!

As for the parsnips, I still haven't tried them... maybe tonight!

Eat well!

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Greetings to you all!

It is another glorious spring day here in Farmington. I should be out in the greenhouse, or perhaps planting those peas that I said I would get into the ground a week ago. But no, I am writing my first blog.

I have big plans for this blog. I will be posting what we have available on the farm, recipes, pictures, gardening tips, and just your everyday farm gossip.

Here's where we are in our growing season:

We have 3 greenhouses. This winter we had chickens living in two, eating grubs and seeds, and leaving us "chicken truffels" as my mom calls it, or fertelizing the ground for us. One greenhouse is now empty and the soil has been rototilled. Tomatoes and Basil will be going in tomorrow. The other still has chickens in it. The last greenhouse has spinach, beets, bunching onions, salad mix and seedlings in it. The greenhouses are unheated, so the tomatoes and other cold sensitive plants need to be covered with row covers, and we lose sleep on the really cold nights worring that they will freeze.

The snow has melted and the soil has thawed, so we were able to harvest parsnips yesterday. I have never tried parsnips before, so that's what we're having for supper tonight. I'll let you know how they turn out.

Other then that, garlic is poking through the hay, and peas need to be planted.

Thanks for reading!

Eat Well!