First, a heads up before I forget: the Big Red Farmstand will be closed on Saturday, September 21; we're going out of town for the wedding of a dear friend. We'll be back on schedule the following Wednesday, and we're sorry for any inconvenience.
Now that the summer is truly over (at least, according to the academic calendar) and everyone is settling back into the school routine, we want to let you know that Big Red Farm Shares are still available! Basically, in exchange for paying up front and opening an account, we give you a discount, and occasional special offers will be made available to you as a member of the farm. Also, you don't have to remember to bring your wallet to the farmstand! We plan for the farmstand to be open until Thanksgiving, and any balance left in your account at that point will roll over to the 2014 season. Check out this post for all the details.
In other news, we had our first meeting of the fall 2013 student farm crew on Tuesday. A small but enthusiastic group of students harvested most of the tomatoes we'll have at Wednesday's farmstand, and they'll do the same on Friday. We're very excited to have students on the farm again!
|Baby kale and broccoli|
(they're bigger than this now)
Speaking of fall 2013, last week and this week our focus has been on getting all of our fall crops into the ground. We're a little behind -- we've had a few setbacks, between weather and pests -- but with the student farm crew's help, we hope to finish transplanting broccoli, kale, cabbage, and lettuce, and seeding carrots, beets, arugula, lettuce mix, and spinach. Also coming later in the fall: radishes, onions, leeks, and, with luck, more potatoes! Our very heartfelt thanks to Matt Conver at Cherry Grove Organics who let us have lots of his extra broccoli and kale seedlings after the near-complete failure of our first planting.
As for the veggies: fennel is done, we're taking a week or two off from potatoes, and our egg supply is lackluster (see below), but the baby lettuce mix is delicious, we still have tomatoes, and scallions are back!
ON THE FARM:
|A big clutch of eggs|
in happier days...
As many of you have noticed, to everyone's disappointment, our egg supplies have been even lower than usual for the past week or so. Here's why: our few remaining adult layers are going into their moult. In the late summer or early fall, chickens naturally shed their feathers and grow a whole new set. This can be pretty alarming; the hens look increasingly threadbare and scruffy as their old feathers lose their shine and fall out. Since moulting is triggered by shorter days, most commercial operations use artificial light in their chicken houses to fool the hens into thinking it's still summer.
We're trying to give our chickens as long, happy and un-manipulated a lifestyle as possible, so we're not using any lights, and the price we pay is an early-fall hiatus in egg production. Most hens take a break from laying during their moult. The reason for this is that both eggs and feathers are almost entirely composed of protein, and the poor old hen doesn't have enough protein resources to make eggs and grow new feathers at the same time. Once her lustrous new feathers have grown in (usually a matter of eight or ten weeks), she'll get right back into laying.
Also, I know I keep saying this, but our younger hens really will start laying soon! That may even happen before the older girls have finished their moult. On the other hand, it may not. Thanks to everyone for your patience in the meantime!
Throughout this summer, we've been hearing from our wholesale customers that it's been a terrible year for zucchini and summer squash. Wet weather and disease problems have led to high prices and low availability throughout this part of the country. The Big Red Farm has certainly experienced its share of wet weather and disease problems with our summer squash, but we're delighted to be harvesting good quantities of beautiful "Zephyr" summer squash from a so far healthy third planting. This delicious salad is a fitting way to say goodbye to summer. (Summer Squash Ribbons with Almond Pesto)
|'Orient Express' eggplant|
Isn't it great how the eggplants bounced back? As a lifelong eggplant fan (as a child, my favorite color was purple, which I think may have been the initial attraction), I couldn't be happier. Here is a delicious Indian preparation for those long, narrow, Asian-style eggplants we're growing at the farm, from noted cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey. (Sweet & Sour Aubergines)
|Rabbi Levy's stuffed peppers for Rosh Hashanah|
Big Red veggies around town: Rabbi Levy used some Big Red Farm produce in last week's Rosh Hashanah dinner, including these peppers! As we continue to compile the long list of good pepper-stuffings, we better hit her up for her recipe -- I hear they were delicious! Our thanks to Rabbi Levy for her support of the farm.
AT THE FARMSTAND:
This week, we hope to have the following available in front of Edith Chapel on Wednesday and Saturday from 1pm to 5pm:
- Baby Lettuce Mix - $2.50 bag
- Beets - $2.00 lb
- Chard - $2.50 bunch
- Sweet Corn from Village Farms - $0.50 ear
- Eggplant - $3.00 lb
- Eggs - $5.00 dozen (limit 1 dozen per customer)
- Endive - $2.50 each
- Flowers - $2.50 bouquet
- Okra - $2.50 pint
- Red Tropea Onions - $3.00 lb
- Colored Peppers - $4.00 lb
- Green Peppers - $0.75 each
- Hot Peppers - 2 for $1.00
- Scallions (back!) - $1.50 bunch
- Summer Squash - $2.00 lb
- Sunflowers - $0.50 stem
- Tomatillos - $2.00 pint
- Cherry Tomatoes - $3.50 pint
- Heirloom Tomatoes - $4.00 lb
- 'Juliet' (mini-plum) Tomatoes (limited quantity) - $5.00 quart
- Roma (plum) Tomatoes - $3.00 lb
- Slicing Tomatoes - $3.00 lb
HOW TO FIND US:
The Big Red Farmstand will be on the Lawrenceville Campus for the fall. Right now we're located in front of Edith Chapel. Enter campus by the main gate on Route 206 (opposite the Lawrenceville Post Office and Craven Lane), and bear right into the circle. The Chapel is about halfway around the circle, and you'll see our sign. Don't forget your shopping bags!