Archive for the ‘Garden’ Category

How to be a Locavore…

August 3, 2012

We had the privilege to speak last night at 2 Alices as part of the kick off of the Cornwall Locavore Challenge.  Here is our “talk.”  What a fun time we had!  We are very very proud of Rachel and Lauren for putting together this very important challenge and raising awareness about this important topic.

TEN REASONS TO BUY LOCAL FOOD

1)  Local food tastes and looks better. Food produced in your own community was produced within the past day or two.  We hand craft our cheeses for the best flavor and freshness. The cheese we bring to market is either made that week if it is a fresh cheese or cut and packaged the day before market if it is an aged cheese.

2) Local food is better for you. The shorter the time between the farm and your table, the less likely it is that nutrients will be lost from fresh food. Food imported from far away is older and has traveled on trucks or planes, and sat in warehouses before it gets to you.

3) Local food preserves genetic diversity. In the modern agricultural system, livestock are chosen for their ability to produce uniformly and withstand the rigors of factory farming so often there is limited genetic diversity in large-scale production.  Livestock diversity is higher where there are many small farms rather than few large farms.

4) Local food is safe. There’s a unique kind of assurance that comes from looking a farmer in the eye at farmers’ market or driving by the farm where your food comes from. Local farmers aren’t anonymous and they take their responsibility to the consumer seriously.  At our creamery, we strive to be transparent in our cheesemaking and have installed a large viewing window so the consumer can see how our cheese is made and how clean we keep our facility.

5) Local food supports local families. The wholesale prices that farmers get for their products are low, often near the cost of production. Local farmers who sell direct to consumers cut out the middleman and get full retail price for their food – which helps farm families stay on the land.

6) Local food builds community. When you buy direct from a farmer, you’re engaging in a time-honored connection between eater and producer. Knowing farmers gives you insight into the seasons, the land, and your food. In many cases, it gives you access to a place where your children and grandchildren can go to learn about nature and agriculture.  With the mild winter, we able to invite many families to our farm to help feed our baby goats, meet the milking herd, taste fresh milk and taste our cheeses.  Each dollar spent at our farm gets turned around and spend in our community.  It allows us to hire local folks and build a positive network.

7) Local food preserves open space. When farmers get paid more for their products by marketing locally, they’re less likely to sell farmland for development. When you buy locally grown food, you’re doing something proactive to preserve our working landscape. That landscape is an essential ingredient to other economic activity in the state, such as tourism and recreation.

8)  Local food keeps taxes down. According to several studies by the American Farmland Trust, farms contribute more in taxes than they require in services, whereas most development contributes less in taxes than the cost of required services. Goats don’t go to school or dial 911.

9) Local food benefits the environment and wildlife. Well-managed farms provide ecosystem services: they conserve fertile soil, protect water sources, and sequester carbon from the atmosphere. The farm environment is a patchwork of fields, meadows, woods, ponds and buildings that provide habitat for wildlife in our communities.

10) Local food is an investment in the future. By supporting local farmers today, you are helping to ensure that there will be farms in your community tomorrow. That is a matter of importance for food security, especially in light of an uncertain energy future and our current reliance on fossil fuels to produce, package, distribute and store food.   Not to mention if there is a zombie apocalypse, you know there will be milk, cheese and goat meat right here on Angola Road.

Watermelon, feta and mint salad

July 25, 2012

The heat wave has broken!  Let’s get out there!  There’s a whole lotta living to be done in this gorgeous world.   May I recommend a picnic and a swim in the lake?

Let’s make it easy.  Fresh chilled watermelon is sliced and diced.  A big chunk of our Moodna feta is crumbled.  Fresh mint is chopped.  And sesame seeds are sprinkled.

Have you ever combined watermelon and feta cheese?  The sweet and juicy watermelon is wonderfully complimented by salty feta cheese.  The mint makes it pop!  The seame seeds had balance to the color scheme and a crunchiness.  This sald makes my mouth thirsty and quenches my thirst all at the same time.

Watermelon Feta & Mint Salad

serves many or few

Dice as much watermelon as you’re in the mood to eat or share.  Sprinkle the watermelon generously with our Moodna feta cheese.  Coarsely chop fresh mint leaves and sprinkle on top.  I also love a good sprinkling of black sesame seeds.  For a super sweet watermelon treat, add a drizzle of honey.

Enjoy your picnic and swim!

Another use for whey

June 27, 2012

Check this out:

http://medievalcheese.blogspot.com/2012/06/how-to-preserve-vegetables-in-whey.html

Saturday Barn Report March 10, 2012

March 10, 2012

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Spring is definitely in the air.  Grass is turning green, daffodils are ready to bloom, shrubs are budding and leafing out.

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The next cycle of kidding began yesterday with Sarah, one of our new Alpine yearlings, kidding a big Nubian-Alpine cross buckling.  The six other Alpines will follow her and then just a handful of the last Nubian does: Jeannie, Peggy and On, all first fresheners and two mature ladies, Lucy, one of my first milking goats and dam to the Lucy line in my herd, and Sophie.

Our doelings are growing well.  Beatrice, Gwen and Corrine look like keepers, still evaluating Dora and Faith.

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Josephine and Katie are making visits to the buck shed with hopes of rebreeding them for an August kidding.  If they successfully breed and kid and come into lacatation, we will have them available for sale as family milkers.

We are milking twice a day, 29 goats as of today.  When the kidding finishes, we’ll be milking 40.  It seems to be about a two hour process each time from beginning to end (sanitizing and assembling equipment, setting up, milking seven plus rounds of four goats at a time, processing the milk, cleaning and disassembling the equipment, general clean up).

There is lots of cheese making going on from the gallons and gallons of milk we are getting each day.  Most of it is being made into wheels of Sackett Ridge to be aged in our cave until the summer markets start.  We make a vat of Canterbury and a vat of Trestle once a week so we can have really fresh cheese available.  We are also making two varieties of Moodna now, the first, a pungent salty Greek style feta, and the second, a new variety, a crumbly milder less salty American style feta.  Both of these get aged in our cave as well after brining.  All of the extra Canterbury gets marinated with our special recipe and marinates in the cave.

The chickens and ducks are loving the weather and laying more eggs that seem to sell as soon as they are gathered.  We did save some duck eggs for some friends to incubate and should see those ducklings come back to the farm in April.   We are also providing ducks eggs to the local nursery school to incubate and hatch in the classroom.

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We started building an evaporator to boil down maple sap into syrup but didn’t finish it.  It seems we may have missed maple sugaring this year with the concentration on the goats.

We are looking at the garden longingly as well but this year, the goats may keep us from that as well.

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We have been having open hours each weekend from noon to 2 pm for farm visits and cheese tasting and sales.  We have been attending the Cornwall Winter Farmer’s Market whenever it is scheduled.  Blooming Hill Farm and Palaia Vineyards each carry our cheese for sale.  Hudson Street Café uses our cheeses in their menu and Donna is making an excellent appetizer special this week: Asparagus and Edgwick Farms Goat Cheese Fritters with pickled asparagus and mixed greens. Mmmm.

On March 21 at 11 am, the NYS Commissioner of Agriculture, Darrel Aubertine, is dedicating our new creamery and we are holding a ribbon cutting ceremony.

On April 2 at 1 pm, the USDA is holding a press conference at Food Gems in Middletown to honor us and the six other Hudson Valley recipients of the value added producer grants.

We are hoping it quiets down after that.

Recipe Sunday – Bruschetta with Marinated Goat Cheese, Tomato, Basil & Garlic

October 2, 2011

The unseasonable warmth and humidity of last week caused a burst of growth in our basil plants, we had two gorgeous heirloom tomatoes from the Cornwall Farmer’s Market as well as garlic and a fresh baguette and one of our marinated chevre in olive oil, herbs de provence and diced garlic — all the makings for a delicious bruschetta.

We preheated the oven to 450 degrees.   We poured off the oil from the marinated chevre into a bowl and put the chevre on a plate to bring to room temperature.  We sliced the baguette on the diagonal in 1/4 inch slices and brushed each side with some of the marinated oil and laid each slice flat on a cookie sheet.  We diced the tomatoes and let them drain through a colander to eliminate some of the juice.  We chopped up the basil and two cloves of garlic and then mixed the tomatoes, basil and garlic in a bowl, drizzling a little of the marinated olive oil into the mixture and adding salt and pepper to taste and preference.  Once the oven was preheated, we toasted the baguette slices, turning once the slices were light brown, only a matter of minutes so watch them closely.  The marinated chevre was lightly spread on each toasted slice and then returned to the cookie sheet.  A dollop of the tomato mixture was spooned on each slice.  The whole sheet went back into the oven until warmed through, between 8 and 10 minutes.

Yummy!  The family devoured them so quickly that the photo op was lost.  Oh well but it sort of looked like this with a crispier toasted baguette slice.

Weekly Barn Report

September 3, 2011

Whoops…make that monthly barn report. We blinked our eyes and August was gone in a poof! Here is a brief summary of what happened on the farm.

It was a very wet month that ended with a tropical storm and over eight inches of rain in a 24 hour period. The hoop house flooded and we lost eight large trees that came down with out destroying any property. We’ll have enough firewood until 2013! here is Daniel next to the biggest, a huge walnut tree, over 100 years old.

On the evening of August 19th a hail and windstorm struck while we were in the hoop house milking. We had never experienced such weather and were able to observe how the hoop house handled it. Outdoors the ground looked like it has snowed.

The creamery construction progressed and is nearing the end in the coming weeks. The siding is complete, the lighting and electricity has been installed, the windows and outside doors are in. We are working on painting the floors and then we can start moving equipment in.

We moved the chickens to the chicken tractor in the driveway (still looking for wagon wheels so it can be moveable). It has been interesting to have the chickens closer to the house. The roosters all crow at 5 am and wake us up. In October, we will butcher all the extra roosters.

We had a broody hen and stuck eggs under her and now have seven chicks hopping around. very cute!

The pigs are move than ready for butchering and have been thriving on milk, corn and scraps from Painters’ Restaurant and Hudson Street Cafe.

A traveling butcher will be coming in this month we hope. Then we will find two more piglets.

The bees survived all the wet weather.

The garden suffered from neglect and the weather.  Right before the tropical storm, we harvested 2 five gallon buckets of tomatoes.

These made great sauce that we canned.

At the beginning of the month, with the help of volunteers, a whole herd health check was done and everyone’s hooves were trimmed and all the doelings vaccinated.

POG, our Nubian buck was moved in with the does and the doelings were moved in with Henry, our Boer buck.  Both have performed their purpose in life and everyone has been bred.  Babies will start to come at the end of January.

We had the opportunity to purchase seven six month old Alpine doelings out of http://www.doesleap.com/.  They are such beautiful sweet girls and the perfect addition to the herd.

Bean Harvest

July 2, 2011

Despite the fact that a ground hog completely defoliated the green beans, they produced lovely green beans that we were able to begin harvesting today.  Green bean salad for dinner!

Garden update

June 11, 2011

Farming takes perseverance.  Something is always breaking, going wrong, sick or dying.  You have to be able to roll with the punches and come back and figure out what went wrong and fix it.

While Talitha was away visiting colleges with Emma, not only did the chickens get into the garden and scratch up all the seedlings but a groundhog moved into the firewood pile and ate the tops off of the well established peas and beans.  The peas were not savable, the radishes were gone, the beans might rally provided the groundhog is removed (have-a-heart trap is baited next to the bean bed), a few chard remain, a few lettuce seedlings survived, the kale are gone, the brussel sprouts are gone, the cucumbers are gone, the zucchini and squash are gone, a few butternut squash and acorn squash are rallying, the basil was destroyed, the parsley was replanted and might recover.  Only the tomatoes and marigolds were untouched.

Talitha cleaned up the mess and replanted peas, cucumbers, zucchini and yellow squash.  Her son, Daniel built pole bean stands so pole beans were planted in one of the destroyed beds with nasturtium around the edges.   Between the replanted cucumber hills and the summer squash and zucchini hills, a row of zinnias were seeded.  The tomatoes have gotten big enough to start tying to the stakes.

More planting over the weekend….

Update June 13, 2011:  Got the groundhog.

Flower Garden Report: Irises in Bloom!

June 1, 2011

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Tomatoes in the ground

May 28, 2011

Usually we plant tomatoes around Mother’s Day.  This year with the wet cold spring, it only just got warm enough to get them in the ground.

Emma, Daniel and Talitha built a long raised bed in the new hillside garden out of composted manure and decomposted fall leaves and cover it with black plastic.

We planted fifty nine plants:

12 Roma

7 Yellow pear

4 Early Girl

16 Better Boy

10 Brandywine

2 Cherry

8 Big Beef

We put a stake next to each plant.  We planted rose colored cleome seedlings at each end.

You are probably asking why do we need so many tomatoes?

Mostly we eat them fresh from the time they ripen to the first frost.  The wide variety of tomatoes will offer varied timing on harvest.  We eat fresh tomatoes in every meal during harvest season and snack on the little ones.  When frost hits in October, any tomatoes that have started ripening get layed between newspaper and stored in a closet where they slowly ripen over the next few weeks.  Solid green tomatoes get made into relish or similar recipes and canned.  During the summer harvest, the extra tomatoes are processed into one of three recipes: a basic tomato sauce that is canned, a prima vera sauce that is pressure canned and a roasted tomato, onion, garlic and basil sauce that is frozen.  Our goal this year is to can 100 quarts of the basic sauce, 20 quarts of the prima vera sauce and 20 quarts of the roasted tomato sauce.


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