We managed to make it through our first two frost warnings relatively unscathed. That's right - frost warnings in August! It did get rather chilly each night but we seemed to avoid frost which hopefully gives us a few more weeks of good growing weather.
I am going to spend the next couple of blog posts profiling some of 'Our Favourite Things' for each of us on the farm but before I get into that I wanted to do a quick egg update. As members noticed last week, our egg production has reduced. This is for two reasons. First, our chickens tend to start laying less as we head into fall. And second, we are beginning to sell and butcher some of our laying hens. We have been doing much thinking about our farm in 2018 and have decided to streamline operations and make some changes (more on these changes in future blogs). One big change we will be making is to nearly eliminate egg production going forward. We will always have a few chickens for our own eggs but will not be making this a major farm enterprise. The reason for making this choice is two-fold: financial viability and personal enjoyment. Our egg production is the least financially profitable part of our farm and ties us to the property in ways that our other ventures do not. As a result of fewer eggs this season I will be doing these two things: bringing eggs to the CSA pickup on a bi-weekly basis and limiting eggs to 1 dozen at a time per CSA family.
And now, on to 'Lorraine's Favourite Things'. I thought profiling each of us on the farm would give share members a better understanding of us and also learn more about why we do what we do. Stay tuned for Rob, Terran, and Rowan's favourite things in future blogs! Since we are listing our favourite kitchen hacks below, we will be skipping the weekly recipe for this series.
Favourite Farming Task
Harvesting is my favourite task: seeing all the beautiful produce that is a result of my hard work makes that work worthwhile. My love of harvesting is followed closely by my love of anything related to planning: plotting crops in the field, ordering seed, and thinking of ways to grow the business.
Favourite Crop to Grow
This is kind of like asking a parent to choose their favourite child! It's much easier for me to choose my least favourite crops to grow (peas and parsnips). As for my favourites, I love growing any type of onion. They grow really well for us and we use so many in our cooking that I can't imagine not having such variety of flavours. I also love growing anything in the curcubit family like winter squash, summer squash, and cucumbers. Finally, I love growing carrots. While weeding them is a real pain, they also produce very well in our soils, are well loved by share members, and can be enjoyed nearly year-round.
Favourite Vegetable to Eat
Now this is hard! I enjoy every single vegetable (unless you count mushrooms) when they are fresh and in-season. The variability of foods that we eat throughout the seasons is one of my favourite parts of farming. But if I had to choose, I'd narrow it down to these favourites: kale, cabbage, arugula, yellow beans, patty pan squash, delicata squash, onions, garlic, tomatoes, new potatoes, and all fresh herbs. So not really a very narrow list.... :)
Favourite Kitchen Hack
Keep a jar of herb pistou at the ready in the fridge at all times. Not sure what to do with a vegetable? Simply steam or roast and then drizzle with a little of the herb pistou and it's delicious! Add a poached or fried egg, whole grain like rice or quinoa, a handful of nuts or seeds, or some meat or cooked legume and you have a nutritious and simple meal. A large percentage of our meals involve the above items drizzled in herb pistou. You can cook a large volume of grains or meat at the beginning of the week to simply warm up and toss with your vegetables and pistou for a super quick meal. Traditionally, pistou is a combination of olive oil, basil, garlic, and sea salt. But you can customize it in any way you want. Here are my favourite combos:
Spring Pistou: olive oil, chives, oregano, garlic, lemon zest, sea salt
Basil & Parsley Pistou: olive oil, basil, parsley, garlic, red pepper flakes (optional), sea salt
Cilantro Pistou: olive oil, cilantro, garlic, honey, jalapeno (optional), sea salt
I use approximately 1 cup oil and small handful of each of the herbs plus 1 clove of garlic and the remaining ingredients to taste. I put everything in a wide-mouth 500ml mason jar and then blend with an immersion blender. You could also use a regular blender or just chop all the herbs finely and don't blend.
Favourite Non-farming Past-time
My three favourite past-times are reading, music and theatre, and camping. Reading is the easiest for me to fit in to our busy summer schedule and I love everything from mystery novels and historical fiction to all sorts of non-fiction. Right now I am reading The Case of the Dueling Neurosurgeons by Sam Keane, which explores the history of neuroscience. As for music, I have played the piano pretty much my entire life and have decided this winter to teach myself to play the ukelele. This is inspired from watching YouTube videos of the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain! And camping - something we find hard to do when owning a farm but I hope to do more of in the coming years.
Favourite Farm Attire
My wide-brimmed hat, worn-in Blundstones, and fanny pack are essentials! My hat has seen better days: stained and warped brim from wearing in rain and sun and wind. And just the other week I pulled it on my head so hard I ripped part of the brim away from the hat so now it hangs partially off my head. My fanny pack carries everything from my phone, headphones, notepad, pencil, lip balm, sharpening tool, elastics, and random bits of other supplies I need at any given time!
Favourite Way to Pass Time While Doing Field Work
Sometimes field work is exciting and I enjoy listening to the sound of nature or chatting with whomever I am working with. But much of the time I am working alone on a task that is monotonous or less enjoyable. For those times I listen to podcasts. My current favourites are: Farmer to Farmer Podcast, Revisionist History, Dear Hank and John, and The History Chicks.