Exciting news this week - construction on our new pack shed has begun! We have been dreaming about having a perfect space to wash, pack, and store veggies, to store other farm supplies, and to house some of our seedling production too. Currently we make do with the small basement of our house and our detached garage. As our farm continues to grow, we have definitely outgrown these makeshift spaces for washing, packing and storage. Our garage is about 90% farm stuff and 10% bicycles right now :) The new pack shed is being built right next to the farm fields at the end of the gravel driveway that we had put in last year. It will be amazing to be able to bring produce so quickly from the fields to the washing and packing area. We will also have better storage for some of our supplies and important equipment - especially our walk-behind tractor that typically lives in an open-sided shed over the winter. The timing of this construction is perfect because it will give us plenty of time to outfit the pack shed with the sinks, tables, shelves and walk-in cooler that we'll need before the start of the season next year. We'll need to run plumbing and electric up the hill as well, so there are plenty of things to do and figure out during the off season. Once we have electric up the hill, we'll have the ability to run it to hoophouses and eventually a bigger greenhouse that is the next big project we are dreaming about. If we can swing it, we would love to put up a solar installation on the pack shed roof. It would be amazing to warm and cool our greenhouses, light our shed and house, cool our vegetables, and deliver our produce in an electric van all with the power of the sun. Fall is certainly the season for future plans and dreams.
Roma beans are back in the share this week. This is the latest bean planting we've ever done and it feels awesome to have one last harvest of this classic summer veggie. Baby kale is new in the share this week. We had a bit of this red russian kale in the spring, but that planting was a bit weedy and we didn't get as much as we'd hoped out of it. This fall planting is looking great, so I'm hoping we can get at least a couple of cuts off of it. Baby kale is more tender than full size kale, so it is great for salads (add it to your salad mix if you like). It would be amazing with the fresh dill salad dressing recipe Maria has below. You can also cook the kale if you like and it would be nice mixed with the sweet potato green from last week if you still have those in your fridge. The tomatoes have really gone downhill and the plants are starting to look like they are ready to be done for the season. The peppers however are mostly still looking good, so I'm hoping we can continue to pick from those as long as the weather doesn't turn too cold.
Hope you all have an excellent week!
Recipes from Maria:
Fresh Dill Dip and Salad Dressing
Dill Dip is yummy served with veggies, potato chips, or on salads and baked potatoes!
Add cottage cheese and sour cream to blender. Blend until smooth.
Add remaining ingredients and blend until combined.
Pour into a jar, or container, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Serve with veggies, potato chips, or over salad or baked potatoes.
Garlic Ginger Vegetable Stir Fry
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1-2 tablespoons sriracha (depending on how spicy you like it)
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion (cut into large chunks)
1 red bell pepper (cut into large chunks)
1 yellow bell pepper (cut into large chunks)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 zucchini (cut into large wedges)
1 Chinese eggplant (cut into 1/2" slices)
1 5 oz. can water chestnuts (drained)
1 head broccoli (cut into florets)
1 handful sugar snap peas (cut into ½” chunks)
1 handful roma beans (cut into ½” chunks)
4 carrots (sliced)
Yakisoba noodles or rice (for serving)
Sesame seeds (for garnish)
Add soy sauce, brandy, brown sugar, cornstarch, sriracha, and ginger to a small mason jar or tupperware. Seal and shake well to combine. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large wok or skillet over high heat. Add the onion, peppers, peas, carrots, and beans and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the zucchini and Chinese eggplant, and cook for 2-3 minutes longer. Add the water chestnuts and broccoli and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes longer. The veggies should still be fairly firm.
Add in the sauce, stir, and allow to heat through for 1-2 minutes, until the veggies are coated and the sauce thickened. If the sauce gets too thick, add in an additional splash of water.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over noodles or rice, if desired.