It is garlic scape season again! This is a 2-3 week period in June and July about a month before the garlic is ready to harvest. Scapes are the flower umbrel of a hardnecked garlic. Since we want the energy of the plant to go into the garlic clove, we remove these and eat them.
Uses for Scapes – We use scapes in 2 ways – as a green vegetable and as a major ingredient in pesto. Raw, scapes taste like a solid green garlic. They are rather strong. Cooked, they mellow in flavor. The texture is somewhere between cooked green beans and cooked asparagus. The flavor sort of resembles a garlic-y green bean.
Green Vegetable – We chop the scapes to a size similar to green beans and cook them in a similar manner. They can be steamed, sauteed or boiled. They can be added to soups, stews or stir-fries. They can also be blanched and frozen – we blanch them for 2 minutes.
Pesto – For our family, I take 1 part scapes to 1 part nut or seed to 1 part cheese to 1/2 part oil. I blend these together in the blender or food processor. The blender takes more oil, the food processor less. I have found that any nut/seed, cheese or oil will work. We don’t like the traditional pesto nuts and cheeses, so we use the ones we have, usually walnuts, cheddar cheese and olive oil. The flavor of this mellows with refrigeration. It can also be frozen. We eat it with veggies, crackers or bread OR eat it plain.
Just for reference or planning, 1/2 lb scapes chopped = about 2 cups.
We have been raising chickens on pasture again this year. We purchase day old chicks from the non-GMO flock of Freedom Ranger Hatchery out of PA. These arrived by mail in late April, brooded in our brooder and moved to our field in May. Once in the field we kept them in a moveable pen. This protects them from the local predators – dogs, coyotes, and foxes. And we move it daily so that they can get fresh vegetation.
Here is the pen:
and the path that they followed. You can sort of see how they ate down the grass. And later this summer if we look at the path, we will see that it is greener than the rest of the pasture because of the fresh natural nitrogen application!
We will be processing them soon as whole frozen birds.
Mint is our herb this week. It is a hardy perennial with aromatic leaves. I like to dry it and use it as tea in the winter. Several leaves can be added to salads or stirfries for a change in the flavor. And some add it to drinks to make them more minty. This is $1/bunch.
Green garlic is immature garlic. Like all alliums – garlic, shallots, onions – parts of the whole plant are edible throughout its life cycle. If it is soft and not stalky, it can be eaten. It can be used in stirfries or soups OR it can be used in salads or eaten raw, depending how well you like the garlic flavor.
Rhubarb is plentiful this time of year. The tangy, tart stalks taste good with sugar or fruit usually in a dessert type dish. We like Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake and Rhubarb Upside Down Cake. The Farmer has also started adding a bit here and there to his veggie stirfries. It adds a little tang and softness. And I want to try to make some jam with it this year.
Just a note – .6 lb. is about 2 cups, which is usually what a recipe calls for. Rhubarb freezes easily. Cut it into 1/2 in. slices, put it in a freezing container, and put in the freezer. Voila! Then you have it to use later in the year. We like the coffee cake as part of our Easter breakfast, so each year I try to make sure I save some frozen rhubarb for that.
As is common in rural properties, The Farm is posted land. The Farmer doesn’t want uninvited guests leaving a gate open or tromping through crops. So when The Farmer’s Wife takes her walk along the road, the bright yellow signs are hard to miss.
The other day, The Farmer’s Wife came back from a walk and reported on a violation of the posted sign. We had an intruder!
It is the job of the brave Farmer to protect his borders, so out he went, weapon in hand…
On Wednesdays from 2-6 p.m. we will be at the Syracuse Eastside Neighborhood Farmers Market which is held at the Westcott Community Center on the corner of Euclid and Westcott in the university area. We are usually on the Euclid side of the building. I refer to this market at the Westcott market.
On Thursdays from 12-6 p.m. we will be at the Fayetteville Market which is held in the Town Center in the parking lot.
On any day we are available at the farm in Nedrow by appointment.
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March is time to start some seeds! So far this year we have started tomatoes, gourds, and rosemary.
We built a little plant nursery in our basement a few years ago that we raise our plants in. A string of outdoor Christmas lights are in the bottom to keep the soil warm. And overhead lights are on a timer to simulate sunlight. The plastic tent covering can be peeled back into a large opening. This lets us soak everything well with a hand sprayer.
Hopefully these young tomato plants will be producing fruit later this summer.
Late last fall we decided to re-try our hand at raising some goats. We bought a fine Nubian-Saanen cross, named Pesch, from farmers we know in Cortland County. She had been bred and expected to deliver in March.
Well, deliver she did…and along came kid number 1.
(Land mammals clean off their new babies by licking them off, so Mama is doing a good job here with her newborn.)
And then along came kid number 2.
(Baby 1 has its head up, which is a good sign. Within a couple of minutes she will be trying to stand up, although her legs will be too wobbly to support her.)
And the out popped kid number 3.
(Kid 3 was 15 – 20 minutes after Kid 1, so the first little lady is already trying to figure out how to eat.)
All was going well with our three little kids. And then we tried to follow good veterinary practice and gave them a booster shot of selenium and Vitamin E. Unfortunately, we got our dosage wrong and thus we arrive at our iatrogenic issue. Two of the kids reacted to the overdose and ended up dying.
It was a sad re-introduction to raising goats, but we are glad that we have one little guy (the kids call him Ralph) that jumps around the pen playing with Mama.