Posts Tagged ‘chicory’

Sometimes, people ask us, “What do you do when it’s raining?” As a matter of fact, we work! Regardless of what Nature feels like, there is some farmin’ to do.

Today was no exception. We knew the big downpour was coming, so the day before, we did as much vegetable transplanting as possible and dug out the trenches/culverts on the hillside to ensure no veg beds would wash away. We also had to make sure the equipment and tools were covered or put away so as not to get wet and rust.

It rained a lot! This morning, Adam and Alder dug some culverts to stop the erosion in the recently cultivated Pond Field. I harvested produce (cauliflower, lettuce, sugar snap peas, broccoli shoots, and green chard) for Head Start and made the delivery in Ukiah. While in town, I purchased 6 bales of wheat straw for mulch. The guys up-sized some summer seedlings in the greenhouse and cut seed potato in preparation for planting later. There was some lunch where we discussed techniques for growing potatoes and how to find more shareholders for the Live Power CSA (which you should join!).

After some administrative computer stuff, I joined Adam and Alder in moving the sheep and cows into a new pasture area in the rangeland. Herding the animals has gotten easier with three of us instead of just two. Cell phones help too. We took down the fence, put it up in the new place, and herded the ovines and bovines – all pretty much at the same time. It went pretty smoothly. No cows went wild, no sheep scattered. I think we are getting better at herding.

Later, Adam and I threw straw down in the gullies in the Pond Field to prevent any more erosion. So, we got a lot done despite the rain, some wind, and a short spell of hail. We did see the sun a couple times, as well as some rainbows! And of course, the daily chores – checking the meat chickens and egg layers, feeding the livestock guardian dogs, and watering the greenhouse – were taken care of.

I was able to take a few pictures of the spring vegetables when it was not raining.

We have a couple beds of broccoli and cauliflower flourishing at the Pond Field.

These are some beds of different lettuce varieties growing in the north section of the Coyote Field.

This is radicchio under the floating row cover. The birds like to eat it if they can get to it.

These are beets we transplanted a while ago. We usually sow beet seeds directly into the vegetable bed, but because the soil has been so wet these past couple months, we had to start them as seedlings in the greenhouse.

Cabbage! - up close and still growing in the south section of the Coyote Field. Many other brassicas and lettuce are growing in this section.

Here is more lettuce (left) and one of our plantings of peas (right), ready for trellising.

Driving down the hill at the ranch, I spotted a rainbow over the vineyard. You can sort of see the grapes to the right.

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April 11, 2009

IN YOUR BASKET THIS WEEK

Scarlet Nantes Carrots
Red Ace & Bull’s Blood Beets
Ruby Ring Spring Onions
Lincoln Leeks
Fiero Radicchio
Various Lettuce
Italian Dandelion or Frisee Endive

NOTES FROM THE FIELD

This week brought us a few chilly days, but the rain was quite welcome. We haven’t had any frost issues up at Heart Arrow, although it has been important that we shut the greenhouse doors at night to keep our tomato starts warm and happy.

Before the first rain came, Adam did a lot of mowing at the Potter Valley property. We’ll probably refer to that piece of land as the Hale Ranch. A lot of our spring seedlings are ready to get into that ground, so when it is drier, we will be spreading compost and cultivating as soon as possible. The grapes at Heart Arrow are starting to bud, so we moved the sheep out of the vineyard and into the surrounding grassy areas to pasture. Moving the sheep is always an adventure or challenge; they are not the brightest animals. Two ewes had lambs this week – a single and twins. The sheep pretty much lamb all year round. We also put our four angora goats to pasture in a very green part of the garden, where the grass is super tall. It’s food for them and grass mowing for us.

Also, our first batch of 200 broiler chicks came in the mail from Iowa today! In case there was any question about food safety and using poultry manure as fertilizer, as a general rule, you do not harvest produce from that fertilized ground until after 120 days (4 months) of application. That is the USDA National Organic Program Standard, as well as what several university cooperative extension services recommend. So, we are going by that rule. The grass will uptake much of the nutrients, so there definitely will not be any danger of nutrient runoff if we get a fluke rain either. At this point, we are planning on planting the potatoes in that part of the garden; potatoes require a lot of nitrogen.

The broccoli and cauliflower we have left has not come to head yet, but they should do so soon before the end of the month. The fiero radicchio has finally matured to a good size – another chicory for your basket! They are so good for you. Unfortunately, the indigo radicchio was unexpectedly munched by Peter Rabbit or his friend a while ago, and it never recovered.

Blessed Pesach and Easter!
Adam Gaska and Paula Manalo

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onion starts. These storage onions will go in your CSA baskets in December.

NOTES ON THIS ISSUE

A Friday New York Times op-ed piece entitles “Free-Ranch Trichinosis” by James E. McWilliams, made me mad. Here’s a history professor at an ag college in Texas telling us that free-range pigs have more trichinosis than factory farmed pigs. What does he know? I wondered. What would Google reveal about this guy? Turns out he’s a flak for a PR firm “enviromedia: social marketing.” Couldn’t the New York Times have Googled this guy before printing his PR message for factory farming? Does the Times care?

Slate, the online journal, published another McWilliams piece about organic topsoil containing toxic metals. Apparently the evidence was slim, as even he admitted in the middle of the third paragraph: “Still, some evidence indicates that organic soil can, in some cases, be more contaminated.” Whew – wonder what he got paid for that weighty analysis?

What does all this mean? I think it means that small-scale organic agriculture is scaring big ag enough to make them hire PR flaks to turn out propaganda disguised as reporting.

What should we do? Buy our food from local farmers who share with us their farming methods. That’s what the CSA is all about. Thanks, Adam and Paula!

Janie Sheppard jsheppard@pacific.net

broiler chicks

broiler chicks

Radicchio and Parmesan Omelets for Two

(A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen: easy Seasonal Dishes for Family and Friends, by Jack Bishop)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small head radicchio, halved, cored, and thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. When the foaming subsides, add the onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the radicchio and cook, stirring often, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the radicchio into two piles on a small plate. Wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel.
  2. Beat 3 of the eggs with a fork in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Repeat with the remaining 3 eggs in a separate bowl.
  3. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of the remaining butter in the cleaned skillet over medium-high heat. When the foaming subsides, pour in the eggs from one bowl. Cook until the edges begin to set, about 15 seconds. With a spatula, pull the cooked edges in toward the center of the pan, then tilt the pan so the raw eggs can run underneath. Repeat until the omelet is just set, about 1 minute.
  4. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the cheese down the center of the omelet and top with half of the radicchio filling (about 1/4 cup). Use a spatula to fold one side of the omelet over the filling. Roll the omelet onto a warm plat. Wipe the pan clean, lower the heat to medium, and make a second omelet with the remaining butter, eggs, cheese, and radicchio. (Note: The pan will probably be a bit hotter when making the second omelet, so the time may be a bit shorter.) Serve immediately.

Serve with roasted potatoes seasoned with olive oil, garlic, salt, and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary.

Hale Ranch, tall cover crop.

Hale Ranch, tall cover crop.

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Eat Your Chicory

radicchio

fiero radicchio

frisee endive

frisee endive

red rib italian dandelion

red rib italian dandelion

eros escarole

eros escarole

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