Tag Archives: brussel sprouts

Battening Down the Hatches

Silvery red cabbage leaves

Silvery red cabbage leaves

Rain is in the forecast, a novel situation for us in “Droughtville” (California). We’ve had a couple practice storms roll through, dropping an inch, more or less, just to tease us. But this week, we’ve heard up to 7 inches could fall. The whole community is excited, hoping this will open the storm door and eventually lead us out of the dry conditions we’ve experienced for several years now. The reservoirs are low and steps are being taken to monitor ground water supplies. We have two good wells on the property we use to irrigate year-round. And so far, that’s been enough. Paul has also switched most crops to drip lines for most of their life cycle, rather than overhead, sprinkler-type watering. We trade off using less water for more plastic and more labor.

Cover crop has been planted wherever possible.

Cover crop has been planted wherever possible.

Lush cover crop.

Lush cover crop.

The farm prepares for winter rains every year, whether they come or not. As the day length shortens and the nights cool, fields are cleared of finished tomatoes and eggplant, tilled until smooth and flat, composted and finally cover crop seed has been planted wherever we want to give the beds a carbon boost. Ditches are checked and regraded where necessary.

Hoops to cover beds await

Hoops to cover beds await

Hoops are set up over beds in case the rain becomes too much for small plants. Plastic covers can be pulled over the top of the hoops, if need be. We’re ready and waiting to have time in the shop, to clean and sharpen tools, to change the oil for the many machines, and to get to the projects that await, like the recently purchased cultivating tractor that needs a new front axle and for the whole under-belly apparatus to be rebuilt and mounted.

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Romanesco plays peek-a-boo

So we wait to see how much will fall.

Red beets

Red beets

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Rainbow chard is loving this cooler, wetter weather.

Rainbow chard is loving this cooler, wetter weather.

 

Lots of new pipe. The days of moving pipe from field to field are numbered!

Lots of new pipe. The days of moving pipe from field to field are numbered!

Surprise artichokes are popping here and there.

Surprise artichokes are popping here and there.

Moving compost

Moving compost

Attending the compost

Attending the compost

Two kinds of leeks, King Richard on the left and Lexton on the right.

Two kinds of leeks, King Richard on the left and Lexton on the right.

Joanie came to visit on Thanksgiving.

Joanie came to visit on Thanksgiving.

Brussels sprouts are just beginning to form

Brussels sprouts are just beginning to form

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

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New (used) Kubota cultivating tractor

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Front axle needs work

 


Summer Evenings…in January?

IMG_5057Yes, it’s weird. The days are gorgeous. We are hearing of snow and cold in much of the country and we sit in bliss with the whole day feeling like a warm summer evening. The sun stays low. It doesn’t get too hot.

We know we need rain. And we’d love to see it on the horizon. But we’ll put up with this loveliness as we don’t have much of a choice.

We’ll be back at the local Farmers’ Market this week, after a three week break. And we’ll have plenty!

Brussels sprouts galore

Brussels sprouts galore

Red cabbages

Red cabbages

Young collard and kales

Young collard and kales

Lacinato kale is crowning up.

Lacinato kale is crowning up.

These lettuces were planted this morning.

These lettuces were planted this morning.

Three different varieties of sprouting broccoli with various maturation dates.

Three different varieties of sprouting broccoli with various maturation dates.


Transition to Cool

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Brassicas and beets

It’s happening again. Shorter daylight, cooler nights,

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“Winter Luxury” pie pumpkins

The pie pumpkins are all cut and lined up, as they cure. They will be picked up and brought indoors before it starts raining. We will sell them throughout the winter. Our winter squash crop is small this year. It was planted in new low-fertility ground. Building soil takes time.

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Early morning lettuce picking

Today is Thursday, a big pick and pack day for the field crew.

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Lacinato kale and red-stemmed dandelion

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Rows of cabbage planted about 3 weeks ago

We have some beautiful fields, with fall crops coming in; Lacinato kale, celery, celery root, dandelion greens, savoy cabbage, brussels sprouts,.

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Beautiful savoy cabbage, ready in a week or 2

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Little baby brussels sprouts

The greenhouse is filled with lettuce starts and greens.

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Rainbow chard and collard

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Tomatoes cut from their trellises

And the first crops of tomatoes are finished, the drip lines pulled, trellis lines cut. The stakes will be pulled out soon. Then on to the next crop.


Pushin’ in February

Peas

Peas

So much is happening. The weather, the great dictator of what happens on the farm, has been very generous to us. It must have been over 70 degrees F. today. Beautiful. We’re planting spinach, turnips, radishes, lettuce, pea seeds in the field. Once planted, some are covered. We may plant beets and carrots this week.

Tomato seedlings

Tomato seedlings

The greenhouse is starting to really fill up with freshly planted flats, some covered, some not. The first planting of tomatoes have blasted out of their flats and pushed the remay into puffy pillows. So have the peppers. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, fennel and onions were all started in the greenhouse flats last week or before.Greenhouse

Lettuce, chard, kales and collard are all being transplanted. Once in the field, they are also covered to insure against wild weather swings. We hope they will feel secure enough to take off.

Covered beds and open ground

Covered beds and open ground

Sprinklers

Running the water

The irrigation system is engaged with the warm dry weather. The final bit of field turning is almost complete as the pipes are hooked up.Pipe

There is an experiment in the new field with planting oats, wheat and barley, side-by-side. Which will be the most beneficial to this soil? We’ll see.

Wheat, Barley and Oats

Wheat, Barley and Oats

The Farm Stand signposts are all that remain of last summer's bounty.

The signposts are all that remain of last summer’s Farm Stand.

Brussels sprouts, covered bed and beyond the farm

Brussels sprouts, covered bed and beyond the farm

 

Daikon radishes are being harvested out of the cover crop between the rows of regrowing artichokes.

Daikon radishes are being harvested out of the cover crop between the rows of regrowing artichokes.


Transitions

The first planting of tomatoes decline.

Walking slowly around the farm, it’s obvious that summer’s bounty is beginning to decline.

We’re selling a lot of tomatoes, melons and cucumbers this year through various marketing paths. It’s great to see all this vibrant food moving into the community. Our farm stand has been a wonderful addition. We anticipate staying open until either the weather or lack of product, forces us to close. Thank you all for folding us into your Saturday routine.

Brussels sprouts, fennel, broccoli, then summer squash (being harvested)

Brussels sprouts are beautiful plants that grow for a long time. Planted in the greenhouse in June, in the field in August, but not ready to harvest for another 45-50 days! That’s a lot of weeding!

The transition from summer’s full heavy crops to the more intense, longer-in-the-ground, cooler-season foods, is happening. Kales and cabbages, beautiful brussels sprouts and feathery fennel and asparagus, are all looking very fresh and new.

This is the time of year things move around in the shops and storage areas to make room for winter squash, onions and shallots.

Additionally this year, Paul is renovating some of his growing fields to make things easier next year.

Beet greens look wonderful right now.

Lettuce stripes, with brassicas, celery and fennel behind.

This beautiful oak on the edge of the new field.


Raw Sprout Salad

Last week was the first week we brought Brussel Sprouts to the market. It’s hard to find a vegetable that creates quite the same buzz, both positive an negative. It’s an old family joke. My dad hates sprouts so much, my mom never looks at them, let alone bring them into the kitchen. Needless to say, I didn’t have my first Brussel sprout experience until I was an adult.

First go-round, I just sliced them in half and put them in a pan with a roasting chicken. Whoa, new favorite food! They sucked up the chicken juices and caramelized where they contacted the pan. Wow. My poor dad. My poor MOM! Such a sacrifice.

Having enjoyed a raw kale salad over and over this past summer, this recipe caught my eye. All the comments raved, which is not the case for most of the recipes I look at, controversial vegetable or not. Before I got a chance to try it, we had them at the market and I mentioned it to a customer. The woman standing next to her had just eaten a raw sprout salad in Napa at a fancy restaurant from a fancy chef. She was buying two baskets. Her memory of the fantabulous salad included a citrus vinaigrette and prosciutto. May this one is a base from which I invite you to spring.

Raw Sprout Salad    serves 4
1 lb. brussel sprouts
2 cups toasted walnut halves
1/3 cup grated pecorino, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
Juice of 1 lemon
Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper

Working over a large bowl, shave brussel sprouts into very thin slices on a mandoline, starting from each sprout’s top while holding it between thumb and forefinger by its stem. Discard stems.
Add walnuts, pecorino, olive oil, lemon juice, and black pepper to taste. Depending on the saltiness of the cheese, season lightly with salt to taste.
Toss with a spoon until just combined and divide salad between 4 bowls or small plates. Using a peeler, shave more pecorino over the top; drizzle with more olive oil and add more

pepper to taste.

Coarsely chopped walnuts

I choose to chop the cheese rather than grate it.

It's a salad that improves being made in advance, perfect for a holiday meal.


Morning

Thanksgiving is tomorrow.

Yet there is plenty to do at the farm.

The morning is cool and quiet.

Rain is expected later today.


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