Saturday, November 21, 2009

New Greenhouse!

We have made the decision to put up a new greenhouse. We could get it up in the matter of a week if it was all we were doing. We have ordered the parts that need to go into the ground before it freezes, then the rest can go up at our leisure.

We have put up two greenhouses already, both from Rimol Greenhouse Systems in Hooksett New Hampshire. We did some price shopping before we started our first greenhouse project and they were the best we could find. I don't know if it is the best deal out there, but their customer service has been outstanding, and we have stayed with them because of that.

The first greenhouse we put up was 50'X34' and was erected in the fall of 2006. We were fairly inexperienced, and had a few mishaps... okay, just one major mishap. The greenhouse fell over. But it was our own fault, and we learned from our mistakes.Here is a picture of Andy putting up one of the bows that is the main structure of the old greenhouse.

In the summer of 2009 we put up a 100'x30' greenhouse. This greenhouse holds heat better because of its bigger size, and because it has two layers of plastic that are blown up like a balloon with a small fan. Here it is, you can see the old greenhouse in the background.

Our plan now is to add another 50' to the old greenhouse. It has been 3 years now and it's about time to change the plastic anyway... so why not! It will give us an opportunity to fix the drainage of the garden below the site. The onions in that plot this year stayed in a permanent puddle.
Okay okay, so all of that is boring! Here is a nice recipe for you. I made it for company the other day and I think they liked it. She asked for the recipe anyway!
Roasted Garlic and Butternut Squash Soup

2 garlic bulbs, outer papery skin removed
5 Tbl. Olive Oil
1 Large butternut squash
2 onions, chopped
1 tsp. coriander
5 Cups vegetable stock
1 Tbl. Oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste

4 large ripe tomatoes, halved and seeded
1 bell pepper, halved and seeded
1 large chili pepper, halved and seeded
2-3 Tbl. Olive oil
1 Tbl. Balsamic vinegar
Pinch of sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Place the garlic bulbs on a piece of foil and pour over half the olive oil. Add a pinch of thyme, then fold the foil around the garlic bulbs to enclose them completely. Place the foil parcel on a baking sheet with the butternut squash and brush the squash with 1 Tbl. olive oil. Add the tomatoes and peppers for salsa.

2. Roast the vegetables for 25 minutes, then remove the tomatoes, peppers and chili. Reduce the temp. to 375F and cook the squash and garlic for 20-25 minutes more, or until the squash is tender.

3. Heat the remaining oil in a large, heavy pan and cook the onions and ground coriander gently for about 10 minutes, or until softened.

4. Peel the pepper and chili and process in a food processor or blender with the tomatoes and 2 Tbl. olive oil. Stir in the vinegar and season to taste. Add the remaining oil if you think the salsa needs it.

5. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of its papery skin into the onions and scoop the squash out of its skin, adding it to the pan. Add the stock, 1 teaspoon salt and plenty of black pepper. Bring to boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

6. Stir in half of the oregano and cool the soup slightly, then process it in a blender or food processor. Alternatively, press the soup through a fine sieve.
Serve with sprinkle of oregano and scoop of salsa.
Enjoy and Eat Well!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

End of Summer and Fall in a nutshell

This summer has gone by really REALLY quickly. First there was the end of August rush with lots of veggies. The rain finally stopped (phew!!), the gardens dried out... and ohh my goodness the weeds had taken over!! It was like we had never done any weeding at all! All of that weeding was done for seemingly nothing! But we got it cleaned up.. for the most part. We lost about 20 feet of carrots, all of our parsnips, and our onions to weeds... all of which were sitting in a big lake for the first half of the summer!

The green beans did amazing this year! And, at least we were lucky enough to have tomatoes! We harvested tomatoes until October 28th this year thanks to our greenhouse. In fact, we are still ripening off tomatoes and selling them at the farmers market! They are not vine-ripened, but they are still delicious.

September is fair month in Maine. We only set up at the Farmington Fair, but that takes up a lot of energy! This is our farm booth this year. It was a good time!

October was absolutely gorgeous this year. The colors were so nice. The veggie season came to an end about the 2nd week in October. All we had left was storage veggies, the last of the tomatoes, and greens. The second week in October was when I told Andy at M and P's house that I thought we should get married this fall instead of waiting a year. So we called up Mom and Dad and set a date... November 1st. We were married on top of Bald Mt. in Weld surrounded by so many friends and family members that it brought tears to our eyes!

So that was the end of our summer and fall in a nutshell! It was busy, but over all amazing! Our wedding just made us realize how fortunate we are to have such great people in our lives. It is so nice to step back and think about it, and we are grateful that we had such an opportunity!