Archive for the ‘Farming’ Category

Fewer than seasons past, but more than enough to make many jars of cranberry sauce, cranberry jalapeño jam, and fill my freezer for my winter baking and cooking needs. Yum! I just love having a nearby cranberry bog right here in Kennebunk.

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… for this season anyway. With the exception of a few rows of carrots, beets, cabbage, kale, ruby chard & some Brussel sprouts, the fields are looking pretty bare now that all the winter squash, gourds and pumpkins have been picked. My resident family of deer beat me to some… Geez and we planted them their own dedicated 4 rows of corn just for them this year in hopes that they’d steer clear of the pumpkin patch! LOL ah well, everybody’s gotta eat I guess.

The only thing left to plant is some spinach and of course, more garlic, (yes, Jimbo it’s time again) and horse radish in a dedicated location, that never got planted this year. We’re due for some heavy rains early next week, so the seaweed and salt marsh hay will be plentiful and mine for the taking. My friendly cow farmer has promised to deliver a truckload of fresh manure to top dress the fields for overwintering, once everything is tilled under one last time… and that’s a wrap for this year. Weather permitting, I’m planning to add a few more raised beds to be built and hopefully a second cold frame. Keeping fingers crossed my plans go as scheduled.

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The first of October, with it’s chill in the air can mean only one thing– pumpkin season! Spent the weekend down in Boston and popped into Wilson Farm for some delicious treats. ❤ their display! Best I’ve ever seen!

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Last of the tomatoes 😦 Gosh, they are just so delicious! Some went into sauce, some into meatballs….. some roasted as well as many jars of salsa. End of another fairly good growing season. I’m gonna miss picking you off the vine come mid February and no doubt cussing. LOL!

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Two hot food trends for 2019 had been reported to be soups and mushrooms, and you’ll get no argument from my good friend Timmy, who’s my fave mushroom mogul in my neck of the woods. A true nature lover, Tim has been playing in the dirt and working on his green thumb, longer than he can remember, and seldom does he come to visit without bringing me a sack of his most recent foraging trips. Yum & lucky me! 🙂

His love of mushrooms, and living off the land led him here to Maine some 30 years ago where he bought a broken down old, neglected farm. The land around his farm was the deciding factor for his purchase, where he now primarily forages wild mushrooms and grows a plethora of healthy fresh mushrooms, organic veggies and some cut flowers.

With such a varied selection of mushrooms you’d be hard pressed making your selections… pink, grey, golden oyster mushrooms, shiitake, pioppino, lions mane, nameko and so many more! With all this harvesting to do, Tim keeps pretty busy supplying his long list of local restaurants from Boston to Maine. And then of course, there are his good friends he graces regularly with all of this fungi goodness, too! LOL

So, some of my ‘sack’ went into a large pot of mushroom spaghetti sauce and some into a fave soup, Mushroom Chick Pea & Veggie.

Now I realize it’s still 87 degrees here today, but I’m a planner! And before we know it.. I’ll be thrilled to have many containers of this scrumptious tummy warming, heart healthy soup in my freezer for those not so far off ( unfortunately!!) chillier evenings.

Mushrooms are a wonderful substitute for meat in a vegetarian and vegan recipes and are touted worldwide for their health benefits. What better way to use mushrooms than in a delicious soup loaded with healthy veggies?

One of the things I love about this soup is it’s flexibility. You can easily substitute whatever you like for so many of the ingredients. For example, you could use oyster mushrooms in this soup and substitute chicken for the chick peas ( if you’re not doing vegetarian or vegan), use bok choy instead of spinach, and make it very Asian. Or you could use a different vinegar, perhaps, Balsamic and leave out the soy sauce, use tomatoes instead with some chard and cippollini onions and adjust the seasonings, to make it more Italian. And it’s vegan and gluten-free too!

* 1/2 cup chopped onion

* 4 cloves minced garlic

* 1 cup sliced assorted mushrooms

* 1-2 tsp fresh ginger, minced

* 1/2 cup chopped carrots

* 1/2 cup other veggies ( like peppers, celery, sweet potatoes or whatever you like)

* 1/2 cup cooked chick peas

* 1/4 tsp cumin

* 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

* 1/4 tsp white pepper

* 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder

* 1/4 tsp cayenne

* 2 tsp soy sauce

* 2 tsp rice vinegar

* 1-1.5 tsp sugar

* 2 cups vegetable broth

* 5 cups water

* 1 cup spinach, chard or bok choy, roughly chopped

* 1/4 tsp sea salt

* cornstarch to thicken (optional)

1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and a pinch of salt and cook 3 minutes or just about translucent, stirring occasionally.

2. Add mushrooms and cook, and mix for 3 minutes or until they start to get golden.

3. Add ginger, carrots and veggies and cook 3-4 minutes

4. Add chickpeas and spices and cook another 3 minutes.

5. Add soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, broth and water. Partially cover and cook 20 minutes. Add in the spinach or other greens. Cook for 2 minutes. Taste and add sea salt if needed. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer another 15 minutes. Garnish with fresh herbs of choice or scallions serve it hot.

6. *** If you’d like to thicken, mix 2 tsp cornstarch in 2 TBL water and mix into the soup in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Makes 4 servings.

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I don’t keep a lot garden statuary at my farm, but a few of my faves are musts… St Francis, Saint Fiacre, a couple of garden fairies, and a few frogs I’ve collected over the years or have been gifted. They say frogs and toads are an awesome addition to any garden. Sharing your garden with a resident toad or two is a great way to bring down the pest population of buggies, slugs and snails and in all likelihood if you’re lucky enough to have them, a great indication of a pretty clean environment.

At my old farm, I had a gazillion toads as we were plagued with slugs there.. but it’s not the case at this new location, as it’s very dry and located in full sun from dawn to dusk. And some days I kind of miss seeing them… the toads, not the slugs! 🙂

But then last night I was pleasantly surprised as I went along the rows of squash I was picking for dinner. I’m not sure if our monsoon rain washed him in or not, but boy, was I happy to find him! And though it’s nearing the end of another season, I secretly hopes he plans to set up housekeeping.

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Quickie Lunch

… then off to the beach.

Tomato, leek, and Brie bruschetta Yum!

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