September 2011 - Morning Song Farm

Harvest Ticket, Page One, September 27-28

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We got a little carried away with the baby lettuce Spring Mix, and don’t have large enough containers; so large shares are receiving three clamshell containers, and small will receive two. After finishing up our trial case; we’ll find a larger version for our large shares… I know some of you might fault me for using the plastic clam shell containers that we’re trialing this week. But in my defense; they keep our herbs and tender greens in such better condition for you, the subscriber (and me the farmer in my own frig.) I looked around for recyclable product and am trialing a local vendor’s offerings. Any feedback would be appreciated. We’ve tried putting say, sprouts in brown paper bags and then switched to small plastic bags; and neither were as nice as the clamshells we’re trying today. At the end of the day, if produce is getting thrown away because it’s not stored properly and goes bad; that’s not a good trade off for us, or our subscribers. We have mint coming along, and will add it to our spring mix as we enter the cooler season that our mint enjoys. Upcoming is our apple harvest..I think next week or the week after we’ll start. We’re also raking our madadamia groves and gearing up for the nut harvest. I don’t anticipate having cracked out nuts in our boxes, though until end of October or beginning of November.

Orange Parsley Stuffing

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10 cups for so of dry bread crumbs. You can purchase “ready made,” or toast your chosen bread and then “Cuisinart” into bread crumbs. If you choose the Cuisinart method, go ahead and add the spices into your mixture at that point.
1 cup of finely chopped onion

1 cup chopped parsley

2 Tablespoons orange peel, finely chopped

2 teaspoons dried margoram

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 eggs
1 cup melted butter
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup lemon or lime juice
Combine all dry ingredients and mix. Then in a separate bowl combine eggs, butter, water and juice. Toss two bowls together with a few quick wisks. Don’t over work.

Use mixture to stuff turkey, chicken or this week’s peppers!

Parsley Potatoes

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Here’s a quick recipe for this week’s amazing parsley:

2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut

1/2 cup butter, melted (if you’ve never churned your own butter, this is a great recipe to try with your own butter….simply choose pure cream (no additives…yes read the label..most basic grocery stores order and sell cream with preservatives). Pour into a mixer’s bowl. Whip until the buttermilk separates from the butter. Pour off buttermilk and reserve for another use. What remains is pure butter. Salt lightly to taste.

1/2 cup finely chopped parsley. I use a Cuisinart for this, but a good knife will do the job

one crushed garlic clove

Cook potatoes until tender but DONT overdo. Drain and combine with butter and parsley; and garlic. Gently toss ingredients and salt to taste. Serve warm.

Roasted Peppers

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The Sahuaro Peppers in this week’s shares aren’t blazing hot, but aren’t “sweet,” either. I think they have the perfect balance between heat and meat. Here’s a quick marinate to use before roasting on your barbeque:

For every 6 peppers, crush 3 garlic cloves, and blend with 1/2 cup of vinegar; and salt to taste.

Soak peppers and then cut in halves and place on a low flame until done to your satisfaction. You can reserve the sauce and serve on the side or as a dip.

Love That Purslane

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Since the herb purslane is so nutrient packed, we’ve played around with different ways to serve it and here’s a farm favorite. Similar to how brocolli is often served with a dipping sauce, arrange your purslane branches around a dip of your choice and serve chilled. Easy and fun enough for kids and veggie-haters alike to enjoy! As soon as the nights get a little cooler, we won’t have anymore in the gardens…purslane is definately a summer herb.

Chicken News

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I’m not sure where to begin. There are times when I suppose all farmers feel like farming is handing them their ass. This month could certainly count as that for me. Six months ago predators killed our egg laying chickens and after a few months of reflecting, we ordered more through the mail. Determined to protect these new pets, we built what neighbors and friends have jokingly referred to as “Chicken Fort Knox.” We encirlced a portion of the macadamia grove with six foot coyote proof fencing, and then electrified the whole thing for good measure. Every one of us here at one time or another has made the mistake of leaning against the fencing and gotten blasted. There’s a reason an electrical jolt is called a “shock.” It truly is shocking; as in mometarily enducing tears. Don’t let the little solar powered gizmo that sends the power into this fence fool you. It means business. So I guess we were fairly confident of our chickens’ safety.

We planned to offer eggs for sale as soon as our chickens reached egg laying age and our software program was up and running. Just a few short weeks from our egg selling launch, a neighbor’s dog cleverly tunneled under the fencing far enough back, and deep enough into the soil, to avoid the electrical charge. We had over a 100 chickens and one very friendly turkey pet. My son Frankie discovered most of his birds torn asunder the following morning during his routine early morning chores. Not content to just kill and eat a chicken or two, the offending dog clearly went into a frenzy and killed everything he could catch. Our turkey, Tom, probably tried to protect “his” chickens and lost his life as well. A senseless loss of life, my almost grown-up son tried to hide the carnage from me; as I was already having a difficult week. An hour later, when I drove the kids to school, down the hill and past the chicken barn, I remarked that there sure were a lot of feathers laying around. “Molting mom, chickens molt in the heat, you know,” Frankie replied.

I’m saddened by the loss, and chagrined at the cost to safely raise chickens in Rainbow, CA. Now we’re securing the surviving chickens in the barn every night rather than letting them roam in their enclosure at night. We’ve added another line of electricity 6 inches out from the bottom of the fenceline and plan to trench and bury chicken wire to prevent tunneling.

We’ve ordered new baby chickens and expect their arrival in a week or so, to start the process anew.

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