Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Solstice

Yeah daddy! Soltice is here and the days are getting longer. Almost ironic that it's the beginning of winter but also the time at least for me to beginn thinking about farming again. In these prts you can normally count on six weeks on each side of the soltice where's there's not much growth happening. So even though its the start of winter we'll be starting a new season in just over a month. So now is the time relax, reflect and plan for next year. There's always something to do. Seed orders go in in January and mapping ot next years arm plan is in proccess.

Some good news here is that the hard freeze we had a couple weeks back really didn't do as much damage as I had first thought. I am very happy to report that the fava beans are alive and the broccoli took a minimal hit. Greens are gone but thats OK. They'll be back soon enough.

Happy holidays to all.

Your farmer


Thursday, December 17, 2009

CSA For The Holiday

Who would'nt enjoy receiving a Maple Rock Farm CSA share for a Christmas gift? There's Plenty of time left. Give someone you love a great and meanigful gift. Minimum amount is $100.00.

OR... I'm also offering the food bank Match again. I'll match any contribution of a CSA share that is to be donated to the Food Bank by 50%. Last year we delivered over two $2,000 in fresh produce on this program.

Happy holidays everyone,

Your farmer,


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Last Nights Supper

Last nights dinner was more symbolic than fancy. What was special was that it represented the last fresh harvest of the year. We normally go a bit longer into December but the cold snap we are experiencing has most of the fresh veg in the field looking a little less than desirable. Some of it may come back as the weather moderates but alot of it is gone. The real success was the kids liked it.

For the main course we had tenderloin of Mangalitsa. Wow! Best ever. So simple to make too. I used a dry rub and seared it off and finished it low and slow in the oven. Awesome. We also had artichokes, fresh steamed cauliflower and baked potatoes. I came up with a new bread recipe too. Savory whole wheat with kabocha squash mixed in. It was fantastic. We have alot of winter squash and this was a great way to incorpoate it. I always make lunches for the kids to take to school. When they get sandwiches I like to use home baked bread. The prefer it and it's not all pumped full of crap. Normally it's a white bread but I was thinking of something different and more nutrtious. They loved the whole wheat/kabocha. Theres nothing like fresh bread served hot right out of the oven slathered in butter and honey. It definately takes me back to my mom Novella Steward and her great wheat bread she made when I was a kid. Yum!

The weather has brought things to a halt here. Very cold but beautifuly sunny, crisp and clear. The down time is allowing me to focus on getting the year end news letter written and planning things for next year. In January we'll be hosting some farm dinners here. The idea is somewhat similar to an underground supper club. Great food shared with friends family style. It's something I've wanted to do since the day I've started the farm. Just never been able to pull it off in the summer due to the lack of time. It had never really occured to me to do them in the winter but it's the perfect time. Cozy atmosphere, good food, friends new and old gathered around the farmers table. I think it's the scenario for a food memory you'll never forget.

I'll keep you posted.

Your Farmer,


Monday, December 7, 2009

Farmer Porn

This time of year most farmers are just wrapping things up from a long productive year and don't even want to start thinking about next year yet. Then the seed catalogs start showing up with all of their sexy, glossy photos of new and heirloom vegetables and titilating descriptions expounding all of the virtues of each and how and why we should grow them. I must confess I am weak. Oh lord I try to be a good man but every year I fall to the temptations of the evil. Take tomatoes for example. Over the years I have grown hundreds of different varieties. I have just a handful that have proved themselves worthy and I vow to only grow those chosen ones. Yet when I start making orders I start to stray and add a few here and there and then all of a sudden I have 30 varieties and a justification for each one of them. Then later as I'm dumping out flats of tomatoes into the compost pile a strange feeling of guilt, possesion and self reasoning sets in. "Why didn't I just stick to the ones I know do the best"? "Why did I order so many"? "Shouldn't I be giving these to someone"? "Better too many than not enough right"? Right. The subsequent harvest confirms my kmowledge, my trusted varieties perform as always. Some of the others do well but are generally lack luster. Note to self: "don't grow that one next year" Yeah okay, but what about?

In my own defense. I would have never discovered my favorites without succuming to temptation. So as the catalogs appear and I begin to plan out next years crops I'll try to restrain, but I know I'll cave a some point. It's okay, I can justify myself, It's who I am.

Your farmer,