Monday, March 17, 2014

Fresh Cut Herbs at Market

 I have finally made something to display my herb bunches in at the market.  For years now I have been trying to figure out a good way to display my cut herbs, and have tried may different ways, but nothing seems to work very well.  So for the past 4 or 5 years I have been thinking of building something to display them in and have finally done so.  I can not wait till I get it completely done (still have to do finishing touches and stain it), and am so excited to get to see how it looks and works at the markets.  I am going to see how it works this season and may end up building another one next winter.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Heirloom Vegetable of the Month - China Rose Radish

China Rose Radishes
I have just received one of my favorite heirloom seed catalogs in the mail and reading through all the descriptions of all the wonderful seeds has inspired me to do a new post every month about a different heirloom vegetable.  This month I will start with the China Rose Radish.  Which is one of my favorite radishes.

You probably could have guessed, by the name, but the China Rose radish originated from China, and is believed to have evolved directly out of the wild radish, making it one of the oldest radishes.  It is said to have been introduced to North America by Jesuit monks in the 1950's. 

China Rose radishes are grown better in the fall/winter which is why you will most likely only find these radishes at my table in the fall and not the spring.  They are long radishes verses the normal round radish that you would find in the store, but their long root make them wonderful for slicing.

How to Eat:
Can be used just like you would any other radish, but their long root make them very easy to slice.  Many people only think of using radishes in salads or snacking on them, but radishes (especially winter radishes) are also great roasted sauteed, fried, and steamed.  Many people do not know but you can also cook with the radish tops and use them much like you would other types of greens and turnip tops.

 Here is a good site that gives some good ideas of what you can do with radishes and explains some of the best uses for some different types of radishes.
The Warmth of a Winter Radish

Nutrition Data:
~ Radish leaves are an excellent source of calcium.
~ Can be beneficial to diabetics since they are low on the glycemic-index, and may actually help stabilize blood sugar.
~ It is high in potassium which may help lower high blood pressure, caused by high sodium intake.
~ 9 Reasons to "Eat Your Radishes"!
1. Naturally Cooling  2. Sooth Sore Throats  3. Aids Digestion  4. Prevents Viral Infections  5. Eliminates Toxins  6. Protects Against Cancer  7. Relieves Indigestion  8. Low in Calories, High in Nutrients  9. Keeps you Hydrated
The above reasons come from Full Circle, 9 Reasons to "Eat Your Radishes"!  You can read the details about all the reasons, just click on the above link to visit the website.
~ Low in Calories, Cholesterol, and Saturated Fat
~ High in Vitamin A and C, Calcium, Fiber, Potassium, and Magnesium
~ Nutrition Data for Radishes, Raw

Monday, December 9, 2013

Heirloom Vegetables

Back when I started growing vegetables on my own I use to grow mainly hybrid vegetables.  Most of the vegetables in the hybrid seed catalogs all look the same, they all boast of great disease resistance, and quick maturing.  Now I look at these same seed catalogs and they kind of boar me.  When they get a new variety it is usually the same exact looking vegetable that they had last year except new and improved.  Do not get me wrong I still do grow some hybrids but over the years I have been slowly phasing them out.  I can even see myself in the near future just growing heirlooms entirely.  Now when I look through my heirloom seed catalogs most of the descriptions focus on taste and flavor, the best use of the particular variety, and one of the most interesting things is the history of the variety.  Many heirloom varieties come with a very interesting history, stories of the families that grew them and passed them down from generation to generation, and many varieties have been around for a very long time.  Many people believe that if it is a carrot and it is not orange it must be some weird mutation, or genetically engineered vegetable, but this is not true, in fact some of the more unusual vegetable varieties have actually been around longer or just as long as some of your more common varieties.

Starting this month (December) each month I will pick a different heirloom vegetable, one that I either grow or plan to grow and tell a little bit about its history, how to eat it, and nutrition data.  For the month of December I will be starting off with China Rose Radish.  A very old, beautiful and tasty radish.

To start thing off here is a little bit about some heirloom vegetable varieties.

The Crapaudine Beet is believed to be the oldest beet in existence, it is believed to possibly be around 1000 years old.  The common beets that we know today were only developed around 300 year ago.  I have never grown this variety, but after reading about it I will be adding it to my list of seeds to order for this coming year.  It is a dark beet with a red inside, a long carrot like shape, and a thick bark like skin, that is said to be very easy to peel. 

Some of the oldest carrots are not all orange, in fact white, yellow and purple carrots have been grown since before the 1100's.  It was not until around the 1600's that the orange carrot we know of today was first grown in Holland.

There are hundreds of different varieties of heirloom tomatoes.  They come in colors such as red, yellow, orange, purple, green, pink, brown, white, and striped.  There are many different sizes and shapes, such as cherry, plum, stuffing tomatoes, slicing tomatoes, paste, pear tomatoes, and many more.  Every color and variety also has its own unique taste and use.  Some are sweet, some are bitter, low acid, high acid, I can go on and on.  Just do a google image search for heirloom tomatoes and you will be amazed by the color and beauty all over your computer screen. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

How We Used Our Thanksgiving Turkey

Well our Thanksgiving turkey has now been baked, boiled, canned, and only what was left (bones) was thrown in the trash.  After Thanksgiving I had saved the extra liquid from when we had cooked the turkey and made up a large pot of gravy with it, and into that went a bunch of the leftover turkey.  I also cooked up some plain fushilli pasta and made up some red and pink mashed potatoes.  Mashed potatoes went onto the plate, then the pasta and the turkey and gravy got poured over the top of the potatoes and pasta, yum.

Mashed potatoes and pasta with turkey and gravy

15 jars of canned turkey broth

Today I made turkey broth out of the left over turkey carcass, and I ended up with 15 jars.  Last year I had also made turkey broth, and it was so nice this year to be able to pull out a jar of my homemade turkey broth and use it when I made my stuffing.

I am almost done using up all of my Thanksgiving leftovers, tomorrow I will be using up the last of my pumpkin puree, and baking up some more pumpkin pies to freeze for later use.  I also have some leftover winter squash puree that I will either be making some winter squash waffles (to freeze) or some winter squash pancakes, just depends on what I fell like.

Then I will get to relax for a little while and really start planning out and preparing for next years growing season.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

Just thought I would share some pictures from our Thanksgiving this year. 

My mom mashing purple potatoes

Beets with kale

Purple mashed potatoes

Gravy for the potatoes

Dragon Tongue Beans

Sweet corn

Winter Squash with nuts and scallions

Pumpkin bread stuffing

Macaroni salad (of course with our pasta and turnips)

Homemade onion bread

 Our turkey this year (from Brown Brothers Farm in Paris, Ohio)

Surprise picture of Frank and my dad

And here is everything on my plate

 And of course, can not forget about the homemade pumpkin pie for dessert.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving is Almost Here!

So today I spent some time getting ready for Thanksgiving.  I made pumpkin bread for my pumpkin bread stuffing, I cooked up some more pumpkin for my pumpkin pie that I will be making tomorrow, and I made some winter squash cookies out of some left over winter squash puree.

Tomorrow I need to make the pumpkin pies and prep the turkey, which I have to pick up tomorrow.  This year our turkey will be coming from Brown Brothers Chicken Farm in Paris, Ohio.  I meet Bill Brown of Brown Brothers up at Akron General Farmers Market, since he was selling right next to me this year.  He has really good chicken so I am excited to be getting a turkey from him this year.

Everything that we cook for Thanksgiving is something that I grow.  It is nice because we do not have any shopping to do before Thanksgiving other than to pick up a lemon for the turkey.  Of course I did have to get some eggs and the turkey, but they both came from someone I know.

Another cool thing is when I cook up my pumpkins I either save the seed for planting or for eating, of coarse I use the puree for whatever I am going to cook with it, and I save the skins to feed to my worms.  Absolutely no waste other than the stem, which does go into the trash.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fall Spiced Rigatoni with Pumpkin Sauce

I have a new pasta available called Fall Spiced Rigatoni Pasta.  Today I turned some pumpkin puree into a nice sauce for my Fall Spiced Rigatoni.  Here is the recipe:

Fall Spiced Rigatoni with Pumpkin Sauce
1 (8oz.) package Fall Spiced Rigatoni Pasta (cooked according to package directions)
1 lb. pork sausage
2 tbls. butter (divided)
1 small pie pumpkin
1 1/2 pint container heavy whipping cream
About 8-10 large kale leaves (torn into pieces)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cut pumpkin in half, scrape out insides and seeds.  Place in a casserole with about 1/2 inch of water on the bottom.  Place a little bit of butter in to each pumpkin half, altogether equaling about 1 tablespoon.  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes or until inside is soft.  Once pumpkin is cooled remove puree and set aside.  In a large deep saucepan over medium heat brown sausage in 1 tablespoon butter.  Once sausage is browned add heavy whipping cream and pumpkin puree.  Over medium heat cook for about 5 minutes, then add kale and cooked rigatoni pasta, cook for approximately 5 minutes longer, remove from heat, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

There is no sugar in this recipe (I try to stay away from sugar myself), but if you would like it to be sweet, I do not see why you couldn't add some brown sugar to this dish.  Also another thing I plan to try is to add some chopped nuts to the recipe.

For more pasta recipes do not forget to visit our Pasta Page.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Our Pasta at DeSimone's Country Market

Just wanted to let everyone know that my pasta is now available at DeSimone's Country Market.  They have just opened up the store and I am amazed by how great of a job they have done at making it look really wonderful already, and every time I go in there it looks even better.  They also have lots of other vendors products from the farmers markets that they sell at available in the store.  The store is going to be open year around, so for those of you who would like to get my pasta during the winter you know where to find it.  

I just dropped off a bunch of my pasta on Sunday, and I still have a bunch of other varieties to make up, which I will have them down there very soon.

I also wanted to mention for those of you who have bought my pasta before, that I have just got an new pasta machine and the rigatoni die for this machine is a different size form my old one.  I still use the same recipe, and is still the same great quality, it is just going to look a little different.  Also since I got a new machine I am now able to make make some new pasta varieties (shapes), besides the rigatoni and macaroni that I already make, including pasta shells, fushilli, and fettuccini.

DeSimone's Country Market
8517 Norwalk Road
Litchfield, Ohio 44253

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Unknown Winter Squash

So due to the fact that I had thrown some winter squash and pumpkins in my lettuce garden at home, in the spring I had lots of winter squash that came up on its own.  Most of them I pulled out since I did not want pumpkins growing all over in my valuable lettuce planting area.  But I did leave a couple of vines that were out of the way and ended up growing out of the garden area anyhow.  One of them was a regular normal pumpkin, but the other one is the plant in question.  When I first seen it I thought it looked like a delicata winter squash crossed with maybe a pumpkin?

I grew a lot of winter squashes and pumpkins last year so I am not exactly sure what it would be a mix of, I do know I did not have anything exactly like it last year.  Can not wait to cut into it and see how it tastes.  If it is good I will have to see if I can work on getting a new variety going and save all the seeds.

Vegetables coming very soon!

I took some pictures the other day, and just thought I would post some pictures of some of the veggies that I am starting to pick or will be picking soon.

These are two new past tomatoes that I was trying out this year.  The one to the left is a very pretty yellow paste tomato called Cream Sausage, and the one on the right is a striped paste tomato, called Striped Roman.  I will be growing both of them again next year.

My personal favorite variety of basil, Blue Spice Basil.

Some of my zucchini and summer squash plants, I have over a dozen different varieties planted right now.

This is something new that I have tried this year and will definitely be growing again next year, yard long beans!  I love these beans, they are great for sauteing and the red beans keep their color.  I have just started picking beans from my first planting of these guys, but due to the weather I only had about a dozen plants that come up, which is why I have not started selling them yet.  But do not worry I have a full second planting right next to these that is coming along very well and should start producing beans very soon.

I also have somewhere around 8 different varieties of beets in the ground and growing well.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Pasta at the Market

So it has been quite a while since I have done a blog post, and since this year has been a very strange year (bad year as far as vegetables go), I thought I had better get everyone up to date.  Anyhow we had gotten quite a lot of rain in a short period of time out at the farm, which is why our table at the market does not look anything like it normally would this time of year.  Our vegetables are way behind, which is why the past few weeks I have not been able to bring much of anything as far as vegetables go (if anything at all) to my markets.

But, I have been bringing a wide selection of homemade pasta to the market.  I have been making pasta for myself at home for quite some time now, and have always wanted to start selling it at the market, but just have not done so.  With all the problems I have been having out at the farm this year it seemed like the perfect opportunity to start selling pasta.

I have been adding new varieties of pasta every week, and now have quite a variety available. 

Rigatoni Pasta
Garlic Rigatoni Pasta
Basil Rigatoni Pasta
Paprika Rigatoni Pasta
Lemon Pepper Poppy Seed Rigatoni Pasta
Poppy Seed Rigatoni Pasta
Cajun Rigatoni Pasta
Whole Wheat Rigatoni Pasta
Garbanzo Fava, Flax Seed Rigatoni Pasta

Cinnamon Rigatoni Pasta
Chocolate Rigatoni Pasta

Garbanzo Fava, Flax Seed Macaroni Pasta
Macaroni Pasta

As far as my vegetables go here is some of what I hope to have soon:
~ Potatoes I have just started digging and will have a variety of fingerlings (blue, red, pink, and yellow)
~ Sweet Potatoes (Common variety and yellow)
~ I should have my lettuce mixes available again around the middle of next month
~ Radishes, beets, and turnips should also be available around the same time as the lettuce
~ Zucchini and Summer Squash - I have over a dozen different varieties coming soon
~ Dragon Tongue Beans - A favorite at Valley City Farmers market (yellow beans with purple stripes)
~ Yard Long Beans (green and red)
~ Slicing Tomatoes (many different varieties and colors)
~ I am hoping to have okra, sweet and hot peppers soon 

Sadly due to the rain there are a lot of things that I just did not get planted, and a lot of things just died on me completely, such as my winter squash and pumpkins which I never did get planted due to lack of time in between frost and lots of rain.  

I just wanted to thank all of my customers for their patience this year, I have some really great customers that have been very understanding and I know have been eagerly waiting for my vegetables to start coming in again.  I just wanted to let everyone just how much I do appreciate all the wonderful customers that I do have.  

Thank you to all of my customers