Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Big Red Farmstand, Wednesday October 16, 1pm to 5pm

Hello friends,
21st century small farm: veggies, sheep, solar panels.

Well, I think it's really fall now.  This will probably be the last week for eggplants and peppers, and the summer squash is finally slowing down too (though not stopping yet!).  Our recipes this week feature several of these late summer/early fall ingredients, helping us to savor this transitional time of warm, sunny days and chilly nights.

As we close in on the end of pepper season, I've finally found a recipe for stuffed Poblano chiles that I think is worth sharing with you all (see below).  We've grown Poblanos on every farm where we've worked, and have experienced a real range of spiciness, from green-pepper-mild to Jalapeno-hot.  I always thought that was odd, and a couple of years ago someone (who seemed like a reliable source) told me that a field's (or garden plot's) soil composition and chemistry is largely responsible for the level of heat in the peppers grown there.  So, in practical terms, what that means is we have even less control over this than we thought... oh well!  Isn't farming interesting?

Another reason to believe autumn has arrived: we harvested our first celery this week!  Our celery won't look exactly like what you find in the store -- it has skinny stalks and lots of leaves, and is much darker green in color -- but it has a flavor that will knock your socks off.  It's looking great, and we hope to have it available for the remainder of the season, right up until Thanksgiving for all your soup and stuffing needs!  Our kale supply also continues to improve, as I know many of you will be glad to hear.

The corn picker takes in
cornstalks in the front...
 This week, Howard Myers, who grows corn and soybeans on much of the rest of Lawrenceville School's farmland, has been harvesting his corn.  The equipment Howard uses, and the scale on which he uses it, are so different from the scale of the Big Red Farm that it hardly seems like we belong to the same industry!

...and spits chopped stubble
out the back.
 Howard told us that his grandfather picked his corn by hand, and he'd be lucky to pick eighty bushels in a day.  Howard's corn picker, by contrast, picks 500 bushels in an hour.  The corn then makes its way down south to become Indian Head cornmeal.  The Big Red Farm Crew took a walk back to the cornfield on Tuesday to watch the corn picker in action; a great opportunity to discuss the extremes present in farming, just within Mercer County!
Andy and his lady friends

We also had a visit earlier this week from the girls' cross country team, who stopped by to check out the farm, ask questions, and say hello to the sheep.  We're glad to have been a stop along their running route!


Full disclosure: this year's Big Red Farm poblanos are pretty hot.  I'm not sure what that says about our soil chemistry, but there it is.  Though we like spicy food, and use hot peppers (sparingly) in lots of our home cooking, we're not too adventurous in this house when it comes to heat, so what I think is hot may be pleasantly mild to someone else.  Either way, this is your official hot pepper heads-up!  I still highly recommend this recipe; the creamy risotto and cool crema help to offset the peppers' heat; and don't forget, Walt at Village Farm still has lots of sweet corn!  (Corn Risotto-Stuffed Poblanos)

Also, as we get into crisp fall days and chilly nights, doesn't your whole being cry out for soup?  This minestrone is infinitely adaptable; use whatever veggies you have lying around (or can find at the farmstand!).  Right now, as summer squash and potatoes overlap with kale, carrots and celery, is the perfect moment for minestrone.  (Early Autumn Minestrone)


This week, we hope to have the following available on Wednesday in front of Edith Chapel, from 1pm to 5pm:

  • Baby Lettuce Mix - $2.50 bag
  • Beets - $2.50 bunch
  • Carrots - $2.00 bunch
  • Celery - $2.00 each
  • Chard - $2.50 bunch
  • Eggplant - $3.00 lb
  • Flowers - $2.50 bouquet
  • Garlic - $1.50 bulb (limited quantity)
  • Kale -- $2.50 bunch
  • Assorted Onions - $2.00 lb (limited quantity)
  • Colored Peppers - $4.00 lb
  • Hot Peppers - 2 for $1.00
  • Potatoes - $4.50 quart
  • Summer Squash - $2.00 lb


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!

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