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Author: bloomingglenfarm

The avalanche of summer crops is finally upon us- the heirloom tomatoes, sweet corn, eggplants and zucchini, the cantaloupes and cherry tomatoes, and gorgeous cutting flowers. Coming soon- watermelon, red field tomatoes and sweet peppers. Most of our garlic has been harvested and hung to dry- next up to be harvested and dried is the storage onions.

The heat spell passed and the cooler weather is a welcome relief to the farm crew. Finally!! To say it was difficult to stay mentally and physically sharp in the extreme heat last week- even with shorter days and frequent breaks- is an understatement. We were all feeling physically and emotionally exhausted by the end of the week. A huge thanks to our dedicated farm crew for enduring such challenging weather.

Surprisingly, despite the heat, the ground is still soggy from the continual rain storms.  We’ve been waiting for a chance to make beds for planting more fall crops: most importantly cauliflower, broccoli, fall radishes and roots. Hopefully Saturday is our day to plant!

This week’s share tipped the scales at a whopping 20 pounds! The heirloom tomatoes in the share included a rainbow of varieties: cherokee purple, cherokee green, brandywine, striped german, valencia, great white, and paul robeson. We harvest them ripe- so all the colors you see are ready to eat, even the green ones! It’s been very rewarding for the farm team to finally witness the fruits of seeds sown in February, and subsequently grafted, planted, trellised, pruned, irrigated, and generally spoiled over the past 5 months. Enjoy!!

Text by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner. Photos by Tricia Borneman, Sam Malriat, Robin Hernandez and Bob Dixon.

It seems like the theme of the farm these days is water. The past few weeks it was How much is falling on the crops and How much can our fields hold, and this week it is How much are we losing from our bodies as we work (1.5 litres an hour was heard on the news) and, How do we make sure we stay hydrated.

It was so hot at the farm Sam’s car window exploded. That was around 3 pm as we’d just come in from picking summer squash. We were happy none of us exploded.

The field tomatoes are loaded with beautiful green, slightly blushed with orange, fruit. They are behind a bit from last year due to all those rainy cloudy days. Does anyone remember that?! But we are expecting them to ripen into a sea of red any day now. Even our greenhouse tomatoes are ripening very very slowly this season.

On the horizon for next week: tomatillos, asian eggplant, cantaloupes and cherry tomatoes! We began to harvest our field of garlic- always an exciting time after nine months of growth. It is pulled, bundled and strung up in the barn to dry and cure over the next 5-6 weeks. 

This week’s share included the first of the sweet corn. We grow the corn organically like all our crops, so yes, you’ll see some bugs and worms. We are experimenting with releasing beneficial insects (parasitic wasps) to combat the european corn borers and the dreaded tip worm. This week alone we released 500,000. They came as eggs on perforated felt paper, to be hung in the corn field.

Here at Blooming Glen, it’s also a never ending quest to keep the blackbirds out of our sweet corn- the birds are responsible for shredding back the tips of the husks to get at the super sweet kernels. You may remember the year of the giant green bird net, or the year of the blow-up scare-eye ballons and tall rattling aluminum can sculptures. This year we’ve rigged up a cordless radio, rumored to keep the birds away. Preliminary results of this experiment show our birds like NPR, but not country music.  We’re not sure yet if it’s enough of a dislike to keep them out of the corn patch, however. We’ll keep you posted. Stay cool- and drink lots of water- we are!

Text and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner

We are still feeling the effects of the ongoing late spring and early summer rainstorms on many of our crops. Rotting greens and roots, and weeds that keep growing are just a few of the unwelcome results.  Missed plantings, however, are the biggest downside of wet soil. When we are unable to get into the fields to till and plant, there are gaps in the harvest down the road, many of which we are seeing now, and will continue to see.

 Dandelion
Dandelion greens, a new crop at Blooming Glen Farm this season, made an appearance at the markets and in the CSA share. This nutritious bitter green can be delicious, but is unfamiliar to many- it will be featured here next week in Mikaela’s recipe post.
On the farm a steady effort of hand weeding continues, as well as tomato trellising and tractor cultivation. We put straw down in the aisles of the pick-your-own flowers. This will help keep down the weeds, and the mud. Here’s a few of our crew enjoying a lunchtime break and a cool breeze.

Remember that photo a few weeks ago of the winter squash? Here’s a shot of the sweet striped oblong variety, delicata. It has grown by leaps and bounds in the heat.

We were excited this week to host Harvest Restaurant Partners Group for a farm tour. Harvest Restaurants has grown from a single restaurant in 1996 to nine highly-regarded restaurants today in northern New Jersey, including Huntley Taverne and Trap Rock Restaurant and Brewery. Through a mutual relationship with local wholesale buyer Zone 7, the chefs from these 9 restaurants have the opportunity to buy from local farmers like ourselves. Their trip to the farm was a chance to see the source of the vegetables featured in some of their menus, as well as to be inspired by the smell and flavors of those fresh picked veggies.

Text by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner. Top two photos by Rebecca Metcalf, third by Tom Murtha, photos of chef tour courtesy of Zone 7.

I’ve been making a beet burger recipe that was given to me by a farmer friend from Wisconsin for a few years now.  At first, I was pretty excited about it and looked forward to beet season just so that I could make the recipe again. But, after making it so many times it needed some new life. A kitchen experiment was in order. So, I decided to use the same general recipe for the burgers and pair them with some new flavors. I exchanged the bun and cheddar cheese for pita and feta crumbles.  The result was just was I was looking for: something refreshingly tasty, yet wholesome at the same time! If you like falafel as much as I do, this recipe is worth a try. It’s just a twist on more traditional Mediterranean meal.

Falafel Style Beet patties

4 medium size beets, peeled and quartered
3-4 medium carrots, chunked
1 large sweet spring onion, sliced
¼ cup sunflower seeds
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 medium eggs
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the beets, carrots, onion, sunflower seeds and flour in a food processor and chop until a finely diced mixture is created. (If you don’t have a food processor you can finely grate the vegetable components straight into a bowl.)  Transfer mixture to a medium sized bowl and add eggs and salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly in order to coat vegetables in egg.

Next, use your hands to create golf ball sized rounds of the mixture, making sure to squeeze out the extra moisture as you go. You can squeeze it over the bowl or directly into the sink. (Be aware: your hands will take on a bright magenta color during this process, but it does eventually wash off!) Place the rounds on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes or until tops become deep red in color.

For extra crispy beet patties, transfer the rounds into a warm skillet with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil for about 5 minutes, flipping once. You can skip this step if you prefer to just bake them. Serve patties with pita, swiss chard or lettuce, and feta. For more flavor you can add a sauce of ½ a diced cucumber, 3 sprigs of finely chopped dill, and 2 Tablespoons of yogurt. This recipe serves 4-5 people.

If you’re completely new to beet burgers, feel free to use the recipe for its original purpose by making the mixture into patties instead of balls. And, you can add shredded cheddar cheese (about ½ cup) right into the mixture to give it an even richer burger flavor. I would serve them on wheat buns with your favorite burger toppings.

Photos and recipe by Blooming Glen Farm apprentice Rebecca Metcalf.

I grew up in Cold Spring, KY, somewhere on the cusp of the country and suburbia just outside of Cincinnati, OH.  We had a set of encyclopedias that were referenced often after dinners, usually the result of some disagreement or just plain ignorance of a particular topic.  I think this part of my life instilled in me the notion that we have a whole lifetime to learn as much as we can and it is most likely a never-ending endeavor.  Following this curiosity has led me, formally and informally, to be a musician, a long-distance hiker, a geographer, a community organizer and data nerd, a traveler of the Americas, and now a farmer.  My partner, Rebecca, mentioned in her apprentice profile how the visibility of farms in Latin America inspired us to help create that reality closer to home and ultimately brought us to Blooming Glen Farm.  Here, I find myself being educated on the most essential task of survival and wondering how it took so long to arrive at this.   

Farming so far has amazed me in its strange paradox of being complicatedly simple, in its constant presence and persistent pace, in its demand for improvisation and flexibility, and in the length of time it takes transforming a seed into something somebody wants to buy. My appreciation for where food comes from and what effort that goes into it has grown. I can only compare the physical demand required for this occupation to when I hiked over 2,000 miles on the Appalachian Trail in 2005.  Never since then have I felt the level of exhaustion at the end of every day until now.  I can honestly say it is one of my favorite feelings in life.  It’s the feeling of satisfaction that I was gifted an able body and I am using it to it’s fullest potential and that potential is helping promote health and knowledge. 

As I have worked in the field for the past two months, my thoughts have been revolving around the history of this country’s physical laborers and how farming creates a connection to a complex and deep past. It also has drawn my attention to what the future looks like as farmers become increasingly more scarce.  With around 2% of the population claiming farming as their full time occupation and the average age of a farmer at 57 there is an urgency to figure out why farming has or is fallen out of favor. Simultaneously I see a growing excitement that is shared by many of my peers in the possibility of reclaiming how we produce and consume food in a healthy and sustainable manner.

My previous occupation at the Network Center for Community Change in Louisville, KY taught me more than I ever thought I would learn about how to take ideas and make them work by getting as many people as possible thinking about these ideas, having discussions, and turning those discussions into action.  I think that is why I am here today.  I want to work on how we connect two worlds: the world that produces the obscurely tangible ideas like better communities and the absolutely tangible world of scale production of real food.  I want to find the answer to why it has taken 30 years for me to figure out how many people 30+ acres of land can feed.  I want to join the others already working on these issues and learn how we can make sure future generations know what food actually is from a young age. Rebecca and I are lucky to have found an opportunity to pursue these desires and pay the bills while doing so. Thanks to Tricia and Tom, my fellow farmers, and all the people reading this who support people who grow food and understand that the decisions we make in our daily lives are real and have implications that reach way beyond where we live and work.

Text and photos courtesy of Bob Dixon.

Grilled summer squashOne of my favorite parts of summer is the time we get to spend cooking and eating outside.  Grilling vegetables brings out a depth of flavor that just cannot be matched on the stovetop, and we’ve been taking full advantage of that with this season’s CSA share.  One of the best veggies to grill is summer squash and its partner, zuchinni.

Eating summer squash provides us with cancer-fighting antioxidant nutrients Grilled summer squashvitamin A, vitamin C and manganese. We also get a healthy dose of essential minerals magnesium and potassium, as well as copper. However, because many of these nutrients live in the skin of the squash, we need to make sure we leave it intact. Grilling summer squash allows us to do just that!

Of course, squash can be cubed or cut into disks for kabobs, but I really like it when its cut into planks and placed right on the grates of a hot grill. The recipe below calls for this method of cooking; give it a try and let us know what you think. I’ve paired the delicious and nutritious summer squashes with superfoods, brown rice and Swiss chard, and healthy plant protein from chickpeas. All that wrapped up into a summery salad suitable for a main dish or a side — that’s tough to beat!

Grilled summer squash

Grilled Summer Squash & Brown Rice Salad

Ingredients

1 cup brown rice
3-4 summer squash and/or zucchini, sliced lengthwise, about 1/4″ thick
5-6 leaves Swiss chard, stems completely removed (slice the stem out from between the two halves of the leaves)
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 sweet onion and some of its greens, chopped

Dressing
2 tbs olive oil (or other oil of your choice)
1 tsp grated lemon zest plus 2 tbs juice
1/2 teaspoon agave
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh herbs of your choice (basil works great here), chopped
additional salt and pepper to taste

Method
Cook the rice according to package directions.

Fire up your grill! Lay out the squash slices. Lightly spray each side with grapeseed (or other high-heat) oil, and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Once the grill is heated, place the squash in one layer, cover and cook for ~3 minutes, until grill marks are apparent. Flip and cook another couple minutes, again until grill marks are apparent. Squash cooks very quickly on the grill and can become soggy (especially the larger ones) if left on too long, so be careful not to overcook. Remove from heat and let cool.

Blanch the Swiss chard in boiling water for 2 minutes, rinse in cold water and chop. Add chard, onion, chickpeas to a serving bowl.

Cut squash into a large dice and add to the bowl; you should have about 2 cups.  Gently stir in rice.

Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well and then add to salad, stirring to combine everything. Adjust seasonings to taste.  Serve at room temperature, or chill.  This salad also make a great stuffing for tortillas or collard wraps.

Post and photos by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!

11.2 inches of rain have fallen on the farm in the last 30 days- that’s a quarter of our annual rainfall. As farmers we pretty much are always checking the weather radar, but these past few weeks it seems like we are glued to our mobile devices, as storms constantly pop up and head our way. Luckily there has been enough drying time between downpours for us to get the last of the winter squash planted, along with the leeks and brussel sprouts. We were also able to cultivate the sweet potato aisles, stake and trellis the peppers and eggplants, and hand weed the corn, onions and sweet potatoes.

CSA share week 6, 7/2/13.

This week’s share sees the first of the potatoes- freshly dug with tender uncured skins, they are called new potatoes, and should be refrigerated. Our crew had the chance yesterday to get up close and personal with the colorado potato beetle- left to its own devices this colorful striped beetle will rapidly defoliate the potatoes (and eggplants), eventually killing the plants. Instead, we hand pick them off the crops, dropping them into buckets of soapy water.

Cantaloupes; sweet potato vines

Walking throught the cantaloupe field this weekend, there was a steady hum of honey bees. It won’t be long before we are enjoying these fragrant fruits. The sweet potato vines are rapidly spreading- they seem to be flourishing in the rain, as are the green beans. Despite lots of muddy feet, CSA members enjoyed the pick-your-own flower patch this week, which is in full bloom.

Photos and text by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.

This is the first in a series of recipes contributed by local chefs, inspired by the fresh seasonal vegetables of Blooming Glen Farm. Chef Kristin Moyer of Perkasie is excited to be part of a planning team focused on bringing a Community Supported Kitchen and Supper Club to the area.

Herby Yellowfin Tuna Loin. Grilled Sweet Spring Onions.
Perfect Blooming Glen Greens with a Carrot Ginger Beet Vinaigrette.

The dressing recipe calls for Beet Kvass which is a tangy fermented tonic. I chose to add carrots to the kvass as well, just for fun, although it is not necessary. Plan ahead a few days so you have this on hand for the recipe.
Take a 1 Quart mason jar and add enough unpeeled yet cleaned beets and carrots, chopped fairly small, to fill the jar 3/4 of the way. Add to the veggies 1 Tablespoon of sea salt for a quart sized jar. Fill with filtered water to top and lid it. Shake slightly to help dissolve the salt. Set it and forget it, in a warm spot for no less than 3 days. Strain out the liquid and you will have a beautiful nourishing tonic. Refrigerate and enjoy. Use some in dressing recipe below.

For the Dressing
Combine the following ingredients in a blender or food processor (Vitamix is KING):
4 fresh carrots
1/2 cup carrot/beet, or just beet, kvass
3 Tablespoons honey
1/4 cup sherry vinegar or any vinegar/citrus combo you like
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or any oil you prefer (walnut would be good)
1 inch knob of ginger
Juice of an orange
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

For the Tuna
Ask your fish guy for TUNA LOIN. 1 to 1 1/2 pounds is suitable for a family of four. It is super simple to handle. It will most likely come with the skin on one side and a dark red chunk down a portion of it. Do not be alarmed. Place it on your cutting board with the skin down. Slide the knife under the skin and roll away from the knife as you slice through between the flesh and the skin. It should be rather easy. The tuna is pretty resilient so don’t worry about damaging it. Now that the skin is removed, find the blood line (deep red portion) and cut that out! Take the clean and pretty tuna and place your hand on top to secure. Slice horizontally right through the center of the loin. Separate the top and bottom pieces and place them next to each other. Slice the bottom piece again long ways to create logs. You now have three long log-like tuna loins. Wasn’t that Easy?!

Now, heat 2 Tablespoons of peanut or safflower oil in a pan on medium high. You are going to sear each loin on every side so you want it pretty hot. Don’t try to move it too soon, it will stick. When it’s ready to release, it will.
*DO NOT COOK ALL THE WAY THROUGH. The aim is medium rare, so high heat to brown, then remove to a cutting board. Cool completely.

As for the herbs, I gathered a good handful of most herbs, plus the edible flowers, in the Discovery Garden at Blooming Glen Farm. De-stem and wipe with a damp towel, chop fine and set aside.
When the tuna is completely cooled, sprinkle each loin with oil, salt, pepper and the herbs to coat. Give them a nice massage.
Wrap individually in saran wrap and place in fridge for at least 6 hours.

To Compose the Dish
Toss your sweet spring onions in oil, salt and pepper, give them 5 minutes on a hot grill to char.
Any mix of lettuce, spinach, radicchio, chard, kale, arugula, etc…will do.
Super thin slices of carrot and cukes to taste.
A generous drizzling of the Carrot Ginger Beet Vinaigrette.
Top with sliced tuna and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. ENJOY!

My name is Kristin and I harbor a healthy obsession with food. It is with much gratitude that I joyfully create in the kitchen. Through creative expression I find health and vibrancy, sprung forth by a deep nurtured connection with my Source. The food we eat will also embody this life force, if the well from which it springs is one of Purity and Love. Every living thing longs for this connection and every vein of life holds within it the knowledge of its place in the energetic chain. I believe that the core principle of sustainability is simply nurturing each things innate ability to exist and perform to its purpose and potential. When I slice into a chiogga beet and lay my eyes on the rings of brilliance and color, I KNOW humility, my place in the grand scheme of thing, a pawn to that beet, a servant with a grateful heart flying high on a purpose driven life. Contact me at 215-804-6684 or holyleo1@verizon.net  for catering, or if you are interested in being part of the upcoming Community Supported Kitchen adventures! Happy Feeding!  
 
Recipe and last two photos from Kristin Moyer. Blog post edited and compiled by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.

Depite the fact that the we are just a few days into summer, here at the farm we are already looking ahead to fall. Into the ground went our winter squash crop- butternut and delicata- as well as a later planting of field tomatoes. The hot dry wind had us racing to irrigate the tender transplants- quite a switch from the downpours a few weeks ago!

Delicata winter squash.

While our main crew has Sunday and Mondays off, crops like cucumbers and summer squash- and soon tomatoes- need to be harvested every other day, so the conveyor belt is put into action on Mondays. Thankfully, our crew has grown in size with the addition of local high school and college students. Every morning except Wednesday is spent harvesting, so we squeeze all our farm work in on that day, and in the late afternoons.

Weeding the sweet corn.

Thursday’s share, as well as this Friday’s first boxed delivery share to Doylestown, may look a little different from the one below. A miscommunication with one of our crew resulted in the untimely mowing of the radicchio crop (oops!). The heat is also causing the broccoli to flower faster that we can get it picked.

CSA share week 5, 6/25/13.

Looking ahead, the heirloom tomatoes are setting beautiful fruit- it won’t be long now!

Next week’s pick-up will continue as regularly scheduled, despite the holiday. You can look forward to freshly-dug new potatoes for your fourth of July barbecues. If you won’t be picking up on Thursday, or need to switch to Tuesday the 2nd, please let us know!

Harvesting dark red norland potatoes.

Photos and text by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner. Photo of tomatoes by Rebecca Metcalf.

Napa CabbageThe delicate and pretty napa cabbage we found in our CSA shares this week regularly appears in East Asian dishes, from savory stir-fries to spicy Korean kimchi.  Napa is specifically a Chinese cabbage, comparable in flavor to bok choy and, of course, other cabbages.

Napa does have a milder flavor than the standard green and savoy cabbages, but still has all the nutrition those offer:

“[Cabbage’s] anti-inflammatory properties are stellar, thanks to the high content of an amino acid called glutamine. In addition to promoting the digestive process and intestinal health, glutamine has been shown to be useful in all sorts of treatments including burns and peptic ulcers. Because cabbage is a member of the cruciferous family, it’s also a great cancer-fighting food. Cruciferous veggies are high in indole-3-carbinol, a chemical shown to block the growth of cancer cells, as well as stimulate DNA repair in cells. Finally, a look at cabbage’s nutritional profile shows it as an excellent source of vitamins K and C, a very good source of fiber, manganese, folate, vitamin B6 potassium and omega-3 fatty acids, and a good source of thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, and protein.”

This time of year, when the days are getting hotter and the air is humid, I prefer using napa uncooked, in a refreshing slaw.  There are tons of flavor varieties to play with when it comes to slaws.  Use the recipe below as a base, and try adding other shredded veggies, nuts, seeds, and vinegars.

Sesame Napa Slaw
Sesame Napa Slaw
Ingredients
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon tamari sauce
1/2 teaspoon agave syrup
1 head napa cabbage, end trimmed, outer leaves removed, and chopped (about 4 cups)
2 green onions, with some of the greens, sliced thin
pepper, to taste

Method
In a bowl, mix the seeds, oil, vinegar, tamari and agave.  Add the cabbage and onion and toss, so that dressing coats the veggies. Pepper to taste and serve.

Post sources and recommended links:
Cabbages, from The Cooks Thesaurus.
8 Things to do with Napa Cabbage from She Knows.
Napa Cabbage: 5 Healthy Uses and Nutrition Facts, from Lunch Box Bunch.

Post and photos by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!