Week No. 6 – 2011 Season

Just another storm to make raising your food a little more challenging 

My eyes flashed open. I grabbed groggily out of my sleep for the window. “Storm!” I called out to Dela. We both began lumbering out of our heavy sleep toward windows against wind and rain. Through the large sliding openings of the sunroom, I saw so much of our Natural world churning in the home garden, then suddenly bending to 70-mile-per-hour winds rushing upon our old farm buildings and greenhouses like a violent ocean. My initial pleasure at the sound of needed rain turned to fear. Our first hoop house’s east wall, 12 feet high and 30 feed across, was bending away from its metal purloins. Bare and open to the sky from the last storm that ripped plastic off this building a few weeks ago, the wall’s 4x4 posts were breaking off at the base from the force of a new storm. I stared, shocked to see 3 long days of framing and a week of winterizing that wall 3 years ago ruined in split seconds by that wind. I drew back away from the window. I did not want to see our hoop houses destroyed. Yet back at the first window, I saw 30 feet of limbs from the giant tree in our backyard toppled across two power lines running from our farmhouse to the pole at our well’s pump house and the machine shed service for our walk-in cooler, packing shed and soap kitchen. You all know the stories of that storm, which severed power to hundreds of thousands of people along the state line. If it struck you the way it did us, you probably found yourselves sitting in shock a few hours later, trying to adjust to the tremendous, sudden damage. Calls to the insurance agent, then electrical contractor after contractor, trying to find someone to come get electrical service restored. Paid help and family began then clearing away all the limbs from my noisy chain saw’s work. By noon we were all turning back to farm work. By mid-afternoon, our lines were back up, the pump running water, the cooler operating for our weekly harvest of vegetables. 

Setting times for community support – Last Friday, as we waited for our hybrid to be serviced after delivering produce in Madison, Dela and I found time to schedule a few workdays at our farm. So much seems to be happening so quickly. In 17 years of doing this work, we’ve never had a season charge along so rapidly. We’d like to hold one of Dela’s “Wine, Weeds and Cheese” days on the third Saturday of August, Aug. 20. The cheese, is of course, Dela’s cream cheese from our dairy goats’ milk, and some great varieties this year from Maple Leaf, a longtime creamery in the rolling Wisconsin hills nearby. The beverage is whatever you want to have with the potluck. And the weeds are what we all need to put down so that our vegetables keep growing and yielding over the 5 months of seasonal harvests. Dela and I with intern Joy could also really use some extra help this Monday and Tuesday, as our daughter Holly will have much of our rural neighborhood summer helpers out of town at a horse exhibition. Son Joel is also still away in North Carolina with military training. You don’t have to wait for a calendar schedule to visit and help out at Scotch Hill. It’s your farm, the entire year, and it always needs your support. Please email or call us to let us know when to expect your help. It takes a whole CSA! Come get acquainted with each other, the plants, sheep and goats, us, your farm: tony@scotchhillfarm.com / dela@scotchhillfarm.com 608 897-4288 Thanks for all your support!

This Week’s Vegetables are:

  • Snow peas
  • Bibb Lettuce
  • Pole Beans (Fortex – round, and Northeastern – flat; both cultivated to get 9 to 12 inches long, and yet stay moist and crisp)
  • Mixed lettuce varieties
  • Okra, one pound (great sliced raw into a salad, battered and lightly fried, in soups or gumbo)
  • Summer Squash
  • Cucumbers (Shuyo Long and H19 Little Leaf Traditional)
  • Dill OR Basil
  • Turnips
  • Broccoli
  • Beets (Bulls Blood or Chioggia varieties; be sure to eat those nutritious greens, too – see A to Z Cookbook)

Cooking Tips for the Week

 Quick beet Greens (A Donsecz, Vegetarian gourmet, Spring ‘93)

  • Pound beet greens, shredded
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, toasted

Toss beet greens, garlic, and oil in large saucepan or skillet. Cover and sauté until greens are just wilted. Add a splash of water if necessary to prevent greens from sticking to pan. Toast sunflower seeds in dry skillet or hot oven several minutes, tossing often and stir into green. Four servings.

Creamy Dill Dressing (Madison Herb Society Cookbook)

Combine one cup mayonnaise and 1 carton (8 ounces) sour cream; gradually stir in ¼ cup milk, mixing well. Stir in 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill, 1 tablespoon wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons paprika, ¼ teaspoon white pepper, 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cover and chill several hours. Serve with salad greens.