30 June 2012

Market Report: Potatoes, Green Beans, and Onions

Peruvian Blue potatoes...fresh out of the ground!

 That's right folks, we'll have red, white, and blue "new" potatoes at the market tomorrow...just in time for patriotic potato salad!  We won't have a lot of these potatoes and expect to sell out, so come early!  These potatoes are "new" meaning that they have very tender flesh and skins, and don't need to be peeled before eating.  Seriously, give it a try!  Using a tractor to dig these new potatoes can cause them to be bruised, so we dug these by hand today (and it was already 90 degrees)!

Darryl and Debby unearthing blue potatoes by hand (and spade).

Ta da!

All loaded up and ready to bring to the market tomorrow.

And now, as promised, are some pictures of our traditional 4th of July potato salad!
Start with a mix of red, white, and blue new potatoes from Brittany Hollow Farm.
Mise en place! This is a french term meaning "everything in its place"...a way of getting organized in the kitchen.
After boiling and slicing the potatoes, add Brittany Hollow Farm scallion, parsley, and chive along with salt, pepper, a little mustard, and mayonnaise.  Delicious!

At tomorrow's market we'll also have green beans and our first sweet onions.  See you there!

And did I mention that our pick-your-own flower fields are now open to the public 7 days a week?  The blooms are looking beautiful!
Our flower bouquets will be for sale at the Red Hook Farmers Market on Saturdays...and you can also come and pick your own in our field on Rt. 9 (1/4 mile S. of Hannaford in Red Hook).

27 June 2012

Opening Day for Flowers!

Hello!  Debby, here guestblogging with some exciting news about our self-serve U-Pick flowers!  We will be opening this Friday (June 29th)!  We grow over 20 cut flower varieties including four kinds of zinnias, 6 kinds of celosia, sunflowers, and more.  We'll be open daily from 7am-7pm and provide clippers and buckets for you to use (although people with their own clippers and buckets have been known to come earlier and later).  Business will continue into the early fall, or until the flowers stop blooming.

The price for flowers is $10 per bucket ($12 if you take one of our yellow buckets with you when you go).  There is a money box next to the stand, but it doesn't give change so exact payment is required (cash or local checks).  We run our stand on the honor system and thank you in advance for your honesty.  

Children are welcome, and we find that many of them enjoy wandering the fields in search of butterflies!  This is a great way for the whole family to spend some time outside on a beautiful summer day.  Here are some words from our past customers about how much they have enjoyed the experience!  Caution: It can get quite hot over there so don't forget to bring a water bottle.

Snapdragons, celosia, and our first zinnias are blooming now, with sunflowers to follow in a couple of weeks.    Don't forget to bring your camera and post a picture or check-in on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/BrittanyHollowFarm)!

Do you have any questions?  Feel free to call us at 845-758-FARM or email us at brittanyhollowfarm@gmail.com.  See you in the flower patch!

A small wildflower bouquet...cosmos, bachelor's buttons, and ???

An early sunflower...more to come in a couple of weeks!

The snapdragons are in full bloom right now.

Peppermint-stick zinnia.

Blue ageratum.

Cleome (look out, I have thorns!)

Snow on the Mountain: a unique cut flower.

Love Lies Bleeding -- aren't these so cool?

Strawflowers.  Great for bouquets or for drying.

The beautiful Debby with the first bouquet of the season.

Painted tongue.

A beautiful celosia for foliage.

Flamingo feather celosia.

Bombay celosia, a new variety this year.

Ta-da!  Lots of variety already, and more to come!

23 June 2012

Another Saturday night!

Well hello again!  Another Saturday has come and (almost) gone, and Brittany Hollow is ready for the Rhinebeck Farmers Market tomorrow.  How about that rain we had yesterday?  Ross (my brother) and I were out working and continued working through the deluge.  After the oppressive heat we had on Wednesday and Thursday the rain was certainly welcome!

Ross and I braving the storm in the name of veggies!

Tomorrow morning before coming to the market I am going to be picking lots of basil and beautiful baby squash, many of the squash with blossoms attached.  Come early to get your hands on these treasures.  Simply cut them down the middle (including the blossom) and sauté in olive oil, garlic, and a little salt and they are delicious.  We’ll have more broccoli this week too. 

It looks like it is going to be another hot week…don’t you love NY in the summer?  When it is hot, all I feel like eating are salads of various kinds.  I am dying to try this one from one of my favorite blogs: Smitten Kitchen.  Well I have good news for my fellow salad eaters.  We will have lots of salad bags for sale tomorrow!  For those who aren’t familiar, salad bags are a special blend of seven (!) varieties of pesticide-free Brittany Hollow Farm lettuce.  The lettuce is triple-washed and then bagged and topped with a medley of edible flowers (nasturtiums, pansies, violas, arugula flowers, bok choi flowers, and mustard flowers).  All you have to do it pour the bag into a bowl and enjoy!

Here is our professional-grade salad spinner!  Salad for 20 anyone?

Speaking of delicious summer salads, did anyone see the NY Times beet salad recipe?  You can access it here.  I saw this recipe and was instantly salivating.  The other night, I hosted a very small dinner party, and with the oppressive heat we’ve been experiencing I knew this was just the dish to make.  What a great recipe!  I love that it uses the beets as well as the greens.  Both the beets and the greens are a tremendous source of vitamins C, E, K, and A.  I supplemented the greens portion with our Swiss chard and this dish was delicious.  I am an onion, garlic, and vinegar lover so the onion-y taste and the tang from the vinegar were just right for me.  I picked extra beets today just in case you guys want to try the recipe!  ;O) 

You can check out this beet salad recipe here.  I used a medley of golden, purple, and Chiogga beets and
Swiss chard greens/stems!

The perfect summer dinner...cold beet salad and a crostini with mozzarella, prosciutto, and pesto.  Best when made with Brittany Hollow Farm pesticide-free beets and basil of course!  Sheeba waited patiently for a bite of beets and seemed to enjoy them!

See you at the market!

20 June 2012

Photo Updates: Then and Now

One cool perk of having this blog is that I can look back and see how much everything has grown since the beginning of the season.  In my blog about sowing our first seeds we saw this garlic picture.  Taken way back in mid-March.  
Now, 3 months later, the garlic are huge!  

We have been bringing fresh-pulled green garlic to the Farmers Market (and eating lots of it at home) and it is delicious.  We’ll likely pull the garlic around the 4th of July and then we’ll start bringing traditional garlic that can be stored for months at a time (although I bet you’ll use it faster than that).  

The tomatoes that we planted several weeks ago (see blog here) have grown like crazy and are covered with green tomatoes.  If we can keep the birds and woodchucks out of them this should be a great tomato year.  I can’t wait to have my first BLT of the season!!!!

We planted small tomatoes a few weeks ago (read about it here)...

And they turned into big tomato plants with green tomatoes growing already!
I can't wait for them to ripen!  Stay away, crows!  These are mine!
The hop shoots that I blogged about in April (Hoppy April!)  had just emerged from the ground back in April.  

A small hop plant back in April...just starting to grow.

Now look at them!  The hops are a perennial rhizome and should grow better each year.  The saying goes, “In year 1 they sleep, in year 2 they creep, and in year 3 they leap!”  Well, these hops are only 2 years old, but I think that they are more than creeping!  Hopefully these cones will continue to develop and will give us a nice crop of fresh hops to use in our homebrewing.

Whoa!  That was fast!  These hops are looking good!
Tiny hop cones.  We'll use them to make Brittany Hollow Homebrew later in the year.
Finally, the potatoes.  We planted them back in April (read about it here), and now they are almost ready to eat!  The potato plants are HUGE and have just started to flower.  Supposedly, when the plants begin to flower it is safe to start “stealing” some potatoes from the sides of the hills.  We did this the other night and cooked a handful for dinner.  Those new potatoes were awesome.  They were sweet and smooth, and didn’t need to be peeled.  We are looking forward to bringing our first potatoes to the market in 2 weeks…just in time for 4th of July potato salad (we make ours with red, white, and blue potatoes….don’t worry, I’ll post a picture).

A picture of me back on potato planting day in April.  Contemplating life perhaps.
Those seed potatoes are now almost ready to eat!
Baby red potatoes...so delicious!
Everything else on the farm is growing well, too.  If you drive past our U-Pick flower land on Rt. 9 just ¼ mile south of Hannaford, you’ll see that the cut flowers look great!  We should be opening the U-Pick sometime around 4th of July.  Keep checking this blog and our facebook page (www.facebook.com/BrittanyHollowFarm) for updates!

16 June 2012

Market Report - June 17 (Father's Day)

Can you believe it is Saturday again?  This summer is flying by.  For the market tomorrow, we'll have all of your old favorites (lettuce, radishes, bok choi, stir-fry mix, spinach, salad bags, Swiss chard, collard greens, kale, lacinata kale, spring garlic, rhubarb, chives, scallions, basil, and so on!) PLUS a couple of new additions.  And best of all, remember that everything we grow is pesticide-free.
BROCCOLI is here!!  We'll be picking the broccoli on Sunday morning just before driving to the market, so it will be completely and utterly fresh and delicious.  If you have a dad that loves broccoli, come on down to the Rhinebeck Farmers Market and pick some up for him!  We expect to sell out of this quickly tomorrow, but we'll have more next week!

It is hard to believe that just a couple of months ago I was blogging about the evil rodent that ate our greenhouse broccoli seedlings...and now look at it!

Look at these big beautiful plants!  Lots of broccoli to come this season.
 We'll also have a few pints of baby zucchini and yellow squash for those who come to the market early.  These little guys are so tender and delicious, and come with the blossoms attached (a tasty treat).  Try them on the grill for Father's Day!  I'm sure that in a couple of weeks I will be sick and tired of picking and eating squash, but right now I am very excited for this sign of summer!

The basil is looking good, and will be in attendance at the market.  Pesto anyone?

Lacinata kale is delicious and is SO good for you.  Have you tried making a massaged kale salad yet?  A great way to get some raw leafy greens into your diet.  Ask me for details and a recipe at the market!

Scallions are ready!  I put them in literally everything I cook.  Remember back in May when I planted them (my blog was on companion planting)?  They sure have grown since then. 

This rainbow Swiss chard is beautiful!  It always brightens my day.  I ate some tonight for dinner and it was delicious!

Here's something to look forward to!  We dug a few potatoes just to see how they are growing.  They look great and we should have some to bring to the market in 2-3 weeks!

Here I am in my goofy sun-hat.  See you in Rhinebeck at the market!

13 June 2012

Deer Patrol

Throughout the course of the summer, we get grief from all kinds of animals that do damage to our crops.  Woodchucks nibble our peas and turkeys scratch into our hills of potatoes to dig for bugs, but deer are the worst of all.  An adult deer eats more than 6 pounds of vegetation PER DAY.  A whole herd of them, moving around at night, can decimate our crops.  The deer that live here at Brittany Hollow seem to have favorite foods that they target year after year.  These foods include: lettuce, green beans, peas, broccoli, beets, and tomato plants.  I can’t say that I blame them, as these are some of my favorite veggies too…but c’mon guys!  Why can’t you just eat alfalfa and clover and grass?  We have plenty of that to share.

A doe in the background with a newborn fawn in the foreground.
By day they are adorable, but by night they are ruthless killers of beets!

In our attempt to fool the deer, we employ all sorts of tricks.  Our farm is too large to fence, and we don’t use any chemicals, but we come up with other ways.  I have already talked about companion planting, which is one way to deter deer.  As I mentioned in an earlier blog, we sometimes use cloth row covers to “hide” our lettuce and beans from the deer.  We uncover the plants during the day, and cover them back up at night when the deer start their prowling.  Sometimes this works, and sometimes we find that the deer have held a county-wide barn-dance on the row cover at night, puncturing holes in it with their sharp hooves and eating plants through the holes.

Cloth row covers over the beans.

One of the oldest ideas for keeping deer and birds out of crops is the idea of a scarecrow.  We used to make elaborate scarecrows in the fall to put out in the front yard as decorations.  When it comes to deer, we follow the mentality that scarecrows are more about quantity than quality.  We just use a rag or scrap of old fabric and tie it to a post in the field.  We make little armies of these rag people and they seem to do a good job of scaring the deer.  The downside is that we have to constantly be moving the scarecrows around.  If they stay in one place for too long, the deer get wise to the ruse.  The scarecrows seem to work…they sometimes scare my dog Sheeba as we walk around the fields.

Part of the rag-people army.

The Ross-man posing with a poor-man's scarecrow.
Speaking of Sheeba, she has inspired another technique.  I sometimes brush my dog and scatter her fur around the fields that the deer are bothering.  My hope is that the deers’ sensitive noses will smell Sheeba and know that there is a ferocious guard dog on duty.  So far, this has not worked well.  I wonder why…

Yawwwn...what am I supposed to be doing?  Chasing deer?

The other morning I woke abruptly at about 6:10am to the sound of my mom (Debby) screaming, “You get outta heeeeeeere!!!!”.  I looked out my window and saw mom running around in her bathrobe, chasing a deer out of our bean and tomato field.  The deer looked terrified and ran away.

My sister-in-law’s mother, Lydia, recently mentioned that she had tried fencing the deer out of a garden using fishing line.  The idea is that the deer can feel the fishing line press into their fur, but can’t see the thin line and therefore can’t jump over it.  She didn’t think it had worked for her, but it sounded so easy that we had to give it a try.  So far it has worked well on the tomatoes and summer squash.  My fishing line trap did work on my mother however…the other day she drove a tractor through my fishing line fence because it was so darn near invisible!

Fishing line fence around our squash and tomatoes.  Does it work?  Too early to tell, but at least it makes us feel better.

None of these methods works perfectly…so we just plant extra.  I asked my mom the other day why we plant so many beans (there is no way we can pick them all), and she said, “We plant a row for the deer, and then a row for us…another row for the deer, and another row for us.”  That just about sums it up!