Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Big Red Farm Stand, Wednesday October 29, 1-5pm

The Big Red Farm sugar maple, about 200 years old.
Unfortunately, photos can't do it justice.
Hello friends,

As the farm's spectacular sugar maple tells us, it's the end of October.  The colors of the leaves are a good guide for the veggies we should be eating at this time of year; deep red beets, bright orange carrots, dusty-brown-skinned potatoes, dark leafy greens, and of course, lots and lots of golden winter squash.  Luckily, those are precisely the things coming out of the Big Red Farm!  Pick two or three, roast, braise, or puree, and you'll have a plate that looks like the October woods.

Once again a chance of rain is forecast for Wednesday (this is three in a row!).  We had such a good time under the Pop Hall portico last week that we're going to be there again tomorrow.  If you're coming to the Community Service Halloween Party in the Bowl, why not stop by the farm stand for some fresh produce?  And if you're coming over for fresh produce, you'll get the chance to see Lawrenceville students in action, providing Halloween cheer for local kids.

We are saying goodbye to a few more items this week: we're done with eggplant and flowers, and this will probably be the last week for onions, peppers, carrots, and broccoli (at least for awhile -- the broccoli plants may get a second wind, we'll see).  However, the fall lettuces are getting a little bigger (things grow s l o w l y in this cool weather), and this week we welcome green cabbage to the farm stand table!  Combine it with our red cabbage for some colorful slaw.  Also, we still have many pumpkins!  So if you're in need of last-minute Halloween decor, stop by Pop Hall tomorrow.


Garlic cloves ready to plant
This is garlic planting week on the Big Red Farm!  Garlic is planted in the fall (I've been told that by Columbus Day is the general rule, but... I think we'll be okay), hangs out in the ground all winter, insulated from freezing by a few inches of soil and some straw mulch, and then takes off in the spring.  Seeing those little green spears poking through the straw is always one of the earliest signs for us that the season is starting up; we look at them in the craziness of spring work and say, "Well, at least we'll have garlic this year, whatever else happens!"

The farm crew has been sorting and separating seed garlic from our total garlic harvest, and we'll be planting it later this week.  We grow two varieties of garlic on the Big Red Farm: German Extra Hardy (also known as German White), and a variety of Rocambole selected by a farmer friend's former boss.  The boss's name was Keith, so we call it Keith's Rocambole.  We think that German Extra Hardy is the easiest variety to grow in this region; it makes big, beautiful bulbs, usually with only four or five giant cloves (big cloves mean less peeling), even under relatively poor conditions.  Keith's Rocambole makes smaller bulbs with more cloves, each encased in a purplish covering; it's extremely fragrant and flavorful, and is particularly good roasted.
Members of Kirby House
planting garlic last fall

To prepare garlic for planting, the bulbs must be separated into cloves.  The cloves are planted individually, and each one will produce a bulb next summer.  We try to keep the biggest, most uniform bulbs for seed each year, thus selecting over time for the best possible product.  Last year we had only a small amount of German White seed garlic, so we kept most of this year's crop as seed for 2015's harvest -- what you've been seeing at the farm stand has been mostly Rocambole.

We are big fans of garlic as a crop.  It requires very little attention during its life cycle, and we harvest two crops off of each plant: the scape, or flower stalk, in June, and the bulb in July.  It's also easy to save seed for the following year, so, whether you're a commercial farmer or a home gardener, you can be sure that you're not bringing in any pests or diseases from elsewhere, and that you're selecting for plants that produce well on your land.


Since this looks like the last week for broccoli, I encourage you to try some roasted.  I didn't really get into broccoli until I started roasting it, and this is also the farm baby's preferred avenue to broccoli consumption.  It's very easy prep and is done fairly quickly; it's especially convenient if you're already roasting something else (winter squash, perhaps?) and can just chuck the broccoli into the same oven.  One final point about roasting broccoli: you'll never throw away the stems again!  {Oven-Roasted Broccoli}


This week we hope to have the following available from 1pm to 5pm under the Pop Hall portico:
  • Beets - $2.00 lb
  • Broccoli - $3.00 lb (probably last week for this)
  • Green Cabbage - $2.00 each
  • Red Cabbage - $2.00 each
  • Carrots special - $2.00 lb (last week for these)
  • Celery - $2.50 each
  • Rainbow Chard - $2.50 bunch
  • Garlic - $1.00 bulb
  • Kale - $2.50 bunch
  • Lettuce (limited quantity) - $2.00 head
  • Onions - $1.50 lb (last week for these)
  • Sweet Peppers - $3.00 lb (last week for these)
  • Assorted Hot Peppers - 2/$1.00 (last week for these)
  • Potatoes - $3.50 quart large, $5.00 quart "fancy"
  • Carving Pumpkins - $5.00 large, $3.00 small
  • Spinach (limited quantity) - $2.50 bag
  • Winter Squash (Acorn, Butternut, Delicata) -- $1.50 lb


The farm stand is located front portico of Pop Hall, facing the Bowl.  Enter campus by the main gate on Route 206 (opposite the Lawrenceville Post Office and Craven Lane) and bear right into the circle. Bear right again at the fork in the road and continue straight until you see the Farm Stand signs.

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