Our apologies for not posting any updates over the last few months. The end of the season has been beyond crazy for us, trying to manage our full time jobs, school and running the farm. The truth is, 140 character sound bites seems to be all we can keep up with at the moment.
SO, if you'd like to keep in touch with us a little more over the winter season you can follow us on Twitter @skeeterfarm or check out the Facebook page, and even like us if you feel so inclined :)
We will be posting information about how to sign up for the 2012 CSA season in the new year. If you would like to be put on the CSA email list to be notified when registration starts, please send us an email at email@example.com.
Yummy times ahead! These days the weather is unpredictable, sun one moment, rain and clouds the next. But no matter what, fall is here. Crisp morning air, leaves on the ground, and the feeling like you can't get out of bed. I never craved a soup during our summertime weeks, but the simple nosh of soup is what beckons at our household these days. Now, soup I always thought was a bit of a meal one must follow a recipe for, but once you have the basic patterns down pat, you can create a soup out of any veggie there is! Being a follower of some celebrity chefs (not to name names ; ) I have learned many techniques for soups, full of seasonal produce, and packed full of flavor and nutrition. Here are some ideas to get you going a bit in the kitchen this fall and winter season, and if you are a new soup maker, try to notice the pattern of building flavor as you go along. Then be adventurous to try more new veggies whenever you want. I have had a blast! Does anyone out there have more new ideas? Please share on our facebook page, or email us with your great recipe!
Creamy Acorn Squash Soup 1 onion, or leek, diced 1 tbsp of dried rosemary 1 bay leaf 4 cups water 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 acorn squash, peeled and chopped into large chunks 1/4 c heavy cream salt and pepper to taste olive oil
Heat olive oil on medium heat, and add onion, garlic and herbs. Pan fry until translucent. Add squash, and water, and cook until squash is soft. Remove bay leaf, and puree in a food procesor until smooth. Put soup back into a pot on the stove and add cream, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Comfy Tomato and Bean Soup 1 c. cooked, or canned beans olive oil 1 onion, cubed 1 pepper, cubed 1 sprig thyme 1 can diced tomatoes, or 4 large fresh ones, diced 1/4 c. parmesan cheese salt and pepper to taste
Sautee onion and olive oil until translucent. Add beans, and squash with a fork until 1/2 the beans are crushed. Add thyme, pepper, tomatoes and 1/2 water and cook on medium for 20 minutes. Add 1/4 c of grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Add additional water if too thick.
Zingy Spinach and Broccoli Soup
1 broccoli head, washed and chopped 2 c. spinach 2 c. stock, veggie, or chicken 1/4 c. white wine 1 onion chopped 2 tbsp. dill, chopped olive oil salt and pepper to taste
Sautee onion in olive oil until translucent. Add broccoli and cook for 5 minutes, and add stock, white wine and continue to cook until broccoli is soft. Add dill and spinach. Cool for 10 minutes. Add to food processor and blend until smooth. Return to pot, and season with salt and pepper.
Kind of a funky title for a blog post, but quite honestly, I didn't know how to title this post. The realm of food preservation encompasses so much these days, and canning seems to spring to mind first. I think this comes from the fact that canning has hit a new stride. A new generation of canners has arisen, no doubt due to the resergence of interest in local food. Knowing that we cannot eat locally all year (although some areas of this province can), perserving our summer bounty is becoming more and more common. Of course this is not a new concept, to be sure, but the idea of canning tomatoes to see their pretty red color is something many a people have fallen in love with.
I have to say, I have been canning for years. While I love to open up my pantry to see all the pickles, jams, and other canned goods I have worked on through the summer months, I have been wanting to expand this idea of food preservation a little further. For example, food drying and curing. A technique that is steeped in history and to this day is used in every country in the world, drying and curing has now become my new thing. Last year I asked for a food dehyrator for Christmas. My parents indulged me, and with this summer, I have been trying it out. I always knew that drying foods or herbs needed a cool, dry, dark place to dry out in, and a dehydrator gives a more even thorough dry. Also, foods and herbs keep their color, and keeps more of the oils in the food. Can I just say, this is sweet. In my picture here, I have plates full of dried chamomile (for a tea order), and I am taking a stab at drying basil (for maybe CSA?). Wouldn't that be awesome too, opening up your tea or spice cupboard to find, nice clear bottles with your own dried herbs or teas? I think that maybe I am coming full circle with my idea of food preservation. For the longest time, I thought freezing veggies and fruit was persevering them, but what if I had a blackout, or my home was damaged in a earthquake? What would happen to my perishable goodies then?
So these questions helped me sort out what preserving actually is. I will always freeze berries for the winter, but in addition to this, wouldn't it be cool to maybe dry some too? To throw on cereal or oatmeal, or in trail mixes to snack on? Hmm... maybe I've caught on to something here. If only I ate meat, then I would be curing a big ham leg in my spare room.....
One of the obvious perks of working/owning/living on a farm is the bounty of fresh food that we have to choose from when we go to construct our meals. This season, more than ever, we have delved into eating like true veggie farmers! This in part due to having a great kitchen to cook in, now living ON the farm and an amazing cooking partner do it it with (Pat).
As the meals have become more and more delicious, elaborate and fantastic I started to think about how our eating habits have changed since we started farming. Frequent trips to the grocery store are no more! We eat what we have, and make meals so good they would knock your socks off. These photos hopefully share a little insight into the world of seasonal meals that we Skeeter Farmers have come to enjoy.
There is nothing more amazing than an at home, mid-work week lunch (major perk to farming). Here we made fresh kale/basil pesto pasta. Topped off with a homebrew porter.
In and amongst the chaos that is the summer around here, it's nice to have fresh flowers adorning the house. I realize these aren't food, but too pretty not to share.
I've had to get over my distaste for beets this summer. Here were enjoying some farmers market leftover chioggia beet and cabbage salad. Not something I would ever have put together, but true to the idea of eating what you got! Rather Dr. Seuss I think....
Another amazing mid-work week lunch at home. This time it's fresh pesto pasta topped with sauteed crookneck squashes and tomatoes on a bed of arugula.
Just another pretty bouquet of flowers to make me happy while working on the master's thesis. These flowers were grown specifically for a wedding in August. We are happy to have the leftovers :)
Edible flower petals make eating salad so much more enjoyable. This is Skeeter Farm's special blend of salad mix!
You know what makes salad mix even more enjoyable? If you top it with pan fried peppers and summer squash then load it up with pesto. Hmmmm....I am noticing a theme with a lot of these lunches!
Here is some after-the-market dinner prep. Dinner prep usually starts around 9:30 pm and doesn't get eaten until after 10:30 - something that we have had to come to terms with in this summer of chaos. We have also had to come to terms with eating 2 lbs of beans at each sitting. Hate to see any of this bounty go to waste :)
You know what goes good with 2 lbs of beans? 4 lbs of potatoes and beets!
We eat a lot of kale too!
The only bad thing about this type of eating is when the season runs out! In order to enjoy our food year round we are canning up a storm. Here's Colleen and I pickling cukes and beans. Simon is supervising from his box.
Have we made you hungry? Please tell us/show us all of the wonderful things you are making with this season's bounty by posting a pic on our facebook wall. Thanks to all of our customers who have shared so far.
Hello canning enthusiasts! At Skeeter Farm, our pickling cukes are on there way! I think each one of us, deep down has the desire to pickle to our heart's content, and think of cold, wet December days when opening up a pickle jar becomes a source of comfort.
If you are interested and full filling this canning desire, or are looking for some fresh cukes for your annual pickle fest, email us. We are filling orders now.
High summer is here everyone, and so is the onslaught of zucchinis and summer squash. I, like everyone out there who loves summer, loves the zucchini family. Our weather this spring and summer has brought on a great many crops, and with so many pollinators that we have at Skeeter Farm, zucchini and summer squash are in abundance.
Usually people have a few recipies they fall back on with zucchini, but there truly is a great mulititude of ideas out there. Zucchini, patty pans, and crooknecks are mild in flavor, so they take on any flavor that it is cooked with. Herbs are great, along with tomatoes, cheeses, and alliums highten the flavor and usefullness of this delicate veggie.
If you are in need of a few more recipie ideas, here are a few, and I hope you enjoy!
Slice a zucchini lengthways and brush with a bit of olive oil. Grill until soft, and grill marks appear. Remove from the grill, and squeeze some lemon juice on top, add some crumbled feta, and top with fresh mint, basil, or green onion.
Summer Squash and Pasta
Cook your pasta until al dente, and while warm drizzle with a bit of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add grated summer squash, as much as you would like, and some grated parmesan cheese.
Zucchini and Tomatoes
Cube zucchini or summer squash and add to a pan on medium heat with a bit of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and add two fresh tomatoes, and one clove of chopped garlic. Saute until zucchini is tender. Top with some ripped basil.
Baked Summer Veggies
Par boil four potatoes just until fork tender. Drain, let cool, and slice 1/2 inch slices. Slice 4 tomatoes and one medium zucchini. Once all the veggies are sliced, diagonally layer and alternate them in a shallow baking pan. Once complete, sprinkle fresh oregano, salt and pepper and bake for about 20 minutes.
Many moons ago, Colleen wrote about the initial surge of those pesky little wireworms in the hoop house. Well, they continue to turn up once in a while around the farm, evidenced by sad, drooping plants here and there. So, the fight continues...
A little info for those who don't know much about the wireworms. Our particular wireworm species are either Agriotis obscurus or Agriotes lineatus, both non-native, both a pain in the behind. Wireworms are the larvae stage of a click beetle, and stay in the larvae stage of the life cycle for 3 - 4 years, feasting on poor little plants. Once they become adult click beetles, they don't hurt plants.
I guess in some ways, we are not all that unlike the wireworm. We both like Yarrow. We both like Skeeter Farm. We both like plants. However, there is one all important difference. While we humans like to enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of the plants' labour, wireworms like to take plants well before their time. For this reason, we will forever be enemies.
Initial efforts to deal with the wireworm included negotiation (no luck) and the trusted sacrificial carrot tactic (very effective).
Well, this past week we stepped things up and took the fight to the wireworm with the enlistment of Beneficial Native Nematodes!!! Nematodes naturally occur in the soil and eat soil dwelling insects like larvae and grubs, leaving friendly earthworms and plants to go about their business. In effect, we have brought in some reinforcements to help fight the good fight. We'll keep you posted.
Yes it is finally here. Our first CSA of 2011. Many a serious nights worried about harvest dates, germination happenings, and the absence of sunshine.... but it all worked out. Folks, we were very proud to put forth this effort, and we are stoked about our crops!
Amy and Patrick on there way to you very shortly.... and myself the subsequent week... to drop off your veggies. Now remember, each week brings forth a new set of unpredictable events, so bear with us, as we will do our best, and we will not forget about what the farming experience means and the ability to provide local ingredients means so much to us.
Crunch, crunch! Now, not wanting to let the cat out of the bag already, with just days until our first CSA delivery of 2011, but we at Skeeter Farm have had luck this year with all kinds of lettuce and greens. Truth is, this luck has arisen from the (let's face it) cold, wet spring. While some crops are a bit behind, all kinds of greens are a growin' out in Yarrow.
Back in May when I started planting the greens bed, I had a great time perusing our seed reserves to decide what kind of lettuces to plant. Freckled romaine and usual romaine, green leaf, butter lettuce, and even a 'drunken woman' variety got me interested enough to commit to several rows of lettuce. Good thing, as I never thought we would have such a challenging, nervous time in June, waiting for seed germination of dill and cilantro or for peas and beans to finally have a growth spurt. But kale, swiss chard and bok choi have all been troopers with the lettuce to flow us in to the weeks, and now days, before our first farm harvest.
So whether you are a customer that will be receiving a bag next week, or a loyal market goer in Coquitlam, or maybe a Skeeter Farm 'friend', we hope you enjoy our Skeeter Farm spring/summer/fall greens, because trust me, this head of romaine tastes even better than how scrumptious it looks!
Skeeter Farm grows vegetables, flowers and herbs on a small-scale farm in Yarrow, BC. Fresh veggies are available through local farmers markets and through our CSA program (sold out for 2011) with shares from Yarrow to Vancouver. Please email us to be put on our waiting list for CSA shares in 2012.
Vegetables in production include: - Beets - Carrots - Lettuce - Salad Greens - Arugula - Bok Choi - Chard - Potatoes - Sweet Corn - Radishes - Kale - Cabbage - Broccoli - Eggplants - Tomatoes - Peppers - Long English Cukes - Beans - Peas - Squash - Pickling Cukes - Basil - Dry Beans - And much more!
visit Fraser Valley Duck and Goose's website. They are the folks we lease land from! (click the pic)