July’s blog was getting a little depressing, we’ll admit. Truth be told about August, it’s one of the most trying months of the season. It’s dry, hot, stressful, and big decision time. We’ll just leave it at that and talk about something more entertaining: FOOD.
Food is why we farm. Seems like an obvious statement but we spend so much time in the great outdoors dealing with dirt, bugs and plants, carving out some sad excuse for a cash flow system that we forget how vital our line of work is. That is, until this time of year when we are overloaded with market leftovers, bumper crops, final harvests and everything else we cherish. We alternate between feeling panicked and blessed as we work like bees to ensure that as little food as possible goes to waste. Waste is a poor word here for in the worst cases, food becomes compost or hog feed and therefore remains in the farm food cycle and out of the landfill. We hit some sort of stride this season though where we worked overtime to preserve what will realistically get us through the winter months while still feeling somewhat satisified with our market.
For the first time we went at canning full force. First were green beans, then tomatoes, red sauce, salsa, and now we’re on to pickled okra, a favorite to both hoard and sell at market. This year’s AWESOME basil crop has warranted biweekly pesto batches which are frozen for later. It’s an odd feeling to spend days and evenings sweating in the kitchen during the hottest times of the year all with meals months away, in the coldest season, in mind. We’re harvesting and curing winter squashes which we grow in the summer and store for winter (that’s where the confusion of the name comes from). Thrashing, shelling, and winnowing the dry beans and grains is also an evening past time. On the weekends we’re skipping around to neighbors’ blueberry patches and bringing home gallons to wash and freeze. The resident mechanic/engineer/ultra man Thomas has repurposed an old Frigidaire this month into a monstrous utility sized dehydrator. We’ve dealt with tomatoes molding overnight to burning in hours as he tweaks the temperature, air flow, screen prototype and exhaust rate. This will go down as one of those projects that will pay for its self in the long run and show you just what your man is made of. Mine must have copper wiring for a circulatory system.
|Tomatoes waiting for Winter|
|Green Bean Glory|
Current favorite cook books:
Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll
Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables