Monday, January 23, 2012

Away We Go

Here we go peeps. The 2012 growing season is under Way. Seeds and supplies are coming in everyday and we are pretty much moving forward with some kind of proccess being made each day. We're still harvest a bit here and there and keeping the store open once or twice a week.

Still hobbling on the crutches but hopefully coming off of them very soon. I actually find out this week from the Doctor how its looking on the inside. Feels pretty good though. I'm seriously hoping for good news here. I'm getting pretty antsy. I'm seven weeks out from fusion surgery.

I've had quite a bit of time to devote to the farm plan, things are looking pretty organized. It's all coming together. We have a few things coming up in the greenhouses but its mostly a blank slate right now. We'll be firing it up here pretty quick. We've been puttering here and there a bit. Jay made up some potting soil today, we'll be seeding in flats here by next week.

We seem to have erradicated our rabbit issue but not before they completely wiped out one whole greenhouse full of lettuce. Just as a side note, the rabbit braised in mustard and creme freche over wilted Asian greens is to die for.

We've had a few CSA renewals come in and are counting on more. Would like to see it hit a new level this year. We need it. Seems like most everyone I talk to is just treading water. We're all ready to swim.

Consolidating fileds this year. Dropping one site entirely but expanding another. We're basically down to three. I'm looking forward to that for sure. Hopefully next year we'll be down to two.

Alright, thats a peek at whats happening. More to come later,

Farmer John

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Why We Farm

People often ask me how I got into farming. Well.... When I was growing up we alway had a big garden. Some of my first food memories came from that experience. I can remember especially what real tomatoes tasted like and other great things too like sqash, beans, strawberries, scallions, radishes and much more. One time, when we were visiting Oklahoma, where my parents are from, we had a meal at my aunt Dovies. It was wonderful, fresh black eyed peas, okra, yellow crookneck squash, big fat slices of tomatoes with salt and boiled potatoes. this was all right out of the garden and I even remember helping pick all of that. I was maybe nine or ten. Of course I didn't know then just how influencial that trip would be on me but it might be the first time I recall liking vegetables. Don't get me wrong, I'm no vegetarian by any means. We raise hogs here occasianlly and there is nothing better. It's not uncommon around here to have beast on a stick in one form or another. (one of my other passions is cooking with live fire) Lately, the rabbits have been mighty tasty.

The jist here is we like to eat and we like to eat well. There's just nothing like being able to have the best of the best available to cook with and having lots of it. One thing you'll never see at our home is a lack of good food and hospitality. We really like sharing what we do with our friends, family and neighbors and farming dovetails with that pretty well. So many of my fondest memories through my life revolve around food. My mom in particular was a big influence on the way I cook today. Mostly southern influenced comfort food. The other big influence is from my wife / partner Katie. She's a slightly more refined cook than I am and more inclined to use a recipe, in fact, her forte is being able to spot out a great recipe. She's very good at coming up with standards that we use in our everyday cooking. Here's a few of our seasonal favorites.

Green garlic pesto.. We make this from the whole adolescant garlic. Just chop it up and give it a whiz in the cuisinart with a nice olive oil and a little salt. Jar it up in small containers and pop it in the freezer. We keep one in the fridge at all times and use it daily.

Sambal.. Katie use's her friend Ming Tsai's recipe. It's basically red jalapeno's with lots of garlic and reduced in rice wine vinegar. Food wouldn't be the same around here without it. Seriously awesome.

Tomato paste... Homemade, it resembles nothing of store bought. Lightly cook a huge pot of toms, run the whole thing through a food mill to remove seed and skin. Reuce on the stove for a couple hours then pour onto sheet pans and bake for about three hours at 350. Stir in a little olive oil. Jar and freeze. we again use this one daily, it's unreal.

There's so much more but we'll leave it there for today.

Keep well friends, we're enjoying a nice snow day here. maybe we'll make chili!

Farmer John

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

End Of An Era

I've written about my grandpa here before but I've just been thinking about him alot lately. Mostly because I'm laid up and enjoy watching history programs. His name was John Gideon Anderson. he was born in 1872 and died in 1956. I didn't come along until 1963 so unfortunately I never had the chance to meet the man. He had a section of land in Roger Mills county close to Meridian in western Oklahoma. I'm not for sure what year he arrived there but apparently he came up from Texas, must have been the early 1900's. He was a cowboy in his earlier day but took up farming and was the local blacksmith in his area. I know from stories that the Anderson farm was a place where people congregated. Farmers would bring their plowshares to grandpa for sharpening and I'm sure he fixed all kinds of other stuff too. He was a pretty jovial guy and was pretty good on the fiddle. I reckon he liked to take a little moonshine here and there and take a chaw or smoke a pipe. Grandma Mitty was a happy person who always took in a stranger and I think was pretty widly known as being a real good cook. She often cooked for the farm hands during the harvest. I know she'd go out and round up and butcher her own chickens and grandpa I heard could eat about a dozen biscuits in one sitting so I bet she could make e'm tasty. My mom was born there in 1917. She's still alive and doing pretty well for someone in their mid 90's. She was the last of six kids. I am the last of five. I was born 91 years after o'l John Gideon. That's a long time. Wish like hell I could have spent some time with him. It's all history now. We still have the farm in the family, not much going on there these days other than gas and oil drilling. Used to be a right lively place. Times are changing but I still have the history. My sister Paulette is real good about keeping the past alive. I appreciate the fact she has all the knowledge and is passing it on. It may all seem like such a long time ago but then again, not really that long at all.

I'll post some more stories later, thanks sis.

Farmer John