Farm Week: October 14-18, 2013

Another beautiful week in the valley here at Chubby Bunny. When we weren't harvesting, we planted garlic, tended to the winter greens in the hoophouse, and were all-around social butterflies. Because we're still putting off the first hard frost, we're getting a great pepper harvest still. Between peppers and the two stuffed meat freezers, I had an urge to make stuffed peppers. Rather than eat stuffed peppers all week, I made a bunch to share with my fellow apprentices on Tuesday night. I did have to cut them a little short to fit in my toaster oven, but they were delicious nonetheless. On Wednesday, we went to eat with the apprentices at the other farm in Falls Village. Thursday, we and the Hayhurst clan went to eat with Kay and Bill, the neighbors who went looking for young farmers ten years ago and found Dan and Tracy. Another lovely night in lovely company with delicious food.

As if that wasn't enough excitement for one week, we had a double dose of farm fun on Saturday. First, we had a little party for the members - apple cider press, hay rides, fresh cider doughnuts, jams and charcuterie Tracy made with the odd bits - beef tongue, country pate, and chicken liver pate. We had members come up from our delivery sites in White Plains and southern Connecticut, and lots of people visited the farm for the first time. We made a bit of a dent in the over-full meat freezers, and kids and adults alike had a fun day on the farm. Afterwards, we had friends and family over to trailer-town for a bonfire "after-party." I brined a brisket this week for corned beef, which I slow-cooked all day in some homebrewed IPA with onions, garlic, turnips, and carrots. We had a great fire, complete with guitars, a fiddle, and a banjo. A little rain didn't dampen the party much, and the music continued with everyone crowded under my little trailer awning. Unfortunately, the full moon was a bit obscured by the rain-bearing clouds, but the night was certainly one to remember.

Thinking about: conference plans, road trip stamina, brine

Reading: Alice Munro's Too Much Happiness, another mystery novel, Wes Jackson's New Roots for Agriculture

Eating: veggie dinners, salmon cakes, charcuterie, corned beef, stuffed peppers

Farm Week: August 26-30, 2013

Barring one unexpected development, this week chugged along as normal. Besides our normal harvests, we seeded still more salad mix, arugula, and spinach. We transplanted a last round of chard, and we have just one last round of flats awaiting transplanting this fall. We finally harvested some outdoor tomatoes and a ton of zucchini, so it felt for awhile that July arrived in late August. That month of rain really set us back, and we still haven't left the repercussions behind. Our late-planted eggplant don't look like they're going to produce much - we've only harvested about one fruit per plant. We only were able to save about 20% of our sweet potato crop from the weeds, and I grudgingly tilled under the weed-choked beds this week.

The big news this week was that Farmer Dan has thrown out his arm from an old recurring injury, and he was in a sling all week. The good news is that it's not his strong arm, but he will be a bit incapacitated for the near future. Not one to take illness or disability lying down, we spent much of the week tssk-ing his insistence on continuing to use his arm against all protestations.

This week also brought a midweek birthday celebration for Ham (apprentice Dan) - highlights included a delicious peach pie from Tracy and a very rousing two-stringed uke performance from Baxter. We marked the holiday weekend last night with a great bonfire, which I'm going to devote a whole post to later this week. First, I have to recover from said bonfire in time to go to the fair! The tilt-a-whirl is out of the question, but I think I might be able to muster the strength for the mandatory corn dog!

Thinking about: impending cold, later sunrises, tradition

Reading: Therese Anne Fowler's Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, Michael Pollan's Second Nature, David Rakoff's Love Dishonor Marry Die Cherish Perish A Novel

Eating: tacos with homemade refried black beans and grassfed local beef, homegrown ground pork with carmelized fennel and wilted greens, freshest ripest peaches