Monday, August 29, 2011

It's all about Food Preservation

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.....

Monday, August 15, 2011

How to Eat Like a Veggie Farmer

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.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pickling Cukes are Ready!

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.

You can reach us at: for all orders, and we can give you pricing right away.

We hope to hear from you soon!

Oodles of Zucchini!

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!

Grilled Zucchini

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.

Yum, yum, can't wait until dinner!