Full and By Farm: Shoveling Snow

Winter cupola atop barn at Full and By Farm

Cupola atop barn at Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

We’ve had someone shoveling just about around the clock here for the last couple of days, with no signs of stopping. From far above it must look like an ant colony—pathways running around the barns, outbuildings and different compost piles, intersecting with one another at all sorts of angles. It’s a fun way to visualize a small and busy farm, all of our movements laid down and frozen in snow if not time.

We will have the share ready tonight, complete with parking spaces and walkways to the csa room. Hopefully members can all make it out of your driveways and down the street to resupply your pantries.

In the Farm Shares

In the veggie share: shallots, winter squash, leeks, white, blue and fingerling potatoes, garlic, red and white onions, green, red and savoy cabbage, carrots, beets, wheat berries, whole wheat regular flour and pastry flour. Next week: brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes for more holiday cooking.

In the meat share: Pork, beef, broilers and stew birds in the freezer. Stock and organ meats from beef and chickens. Lard and leaf lard are available for holiday baking.

Sara Kurak
Full and By Farm

Full and By Farm: Snowy Skies and Freezing Ground

Corn elevator (Credit: Full and By Farm)

Corn elevator (Credit: Full and By Farm)

December, snowy skies and freezing ground are upon us. Within hours of our thanksgiving guests arriving at the farm last Wednesday afternoon we had them out in the blowing snow and darkening skies finishing up leek harvest—digging, pulling, and topping as fast as the snow was covering our work. We stowed the leeks in the walk-in, ready to dole out for months to come, and sat down to a warm and hearty meal that everyone was thankful for. We have just four more weeks in this year’s share (if you haven’t returned your forms yet for the winter share please do!). This year, both Christmas and New Year’s day fall on Thursdays. We will have pick-up on Friday evening both of those week’s. Mark your calendars.

James has been placing cedar posts in the not quite frozen ground along the northern wall of the bank barn this week—preparing a walkway back to the person-sized door in the csa room.

Round bales of Hay (Credit: Full and By Farm)

Round bales of hay (Credit: Full and By Farm)

We plan to close up the big sliding door this year to make the space warmer and give our arms a break rolling the big door open and closed. Very future plans call for a pavilion along that side of the barn, in the footprint of the old lean-to—a covered space for gathering during the share and farm dinners, and a place for the big, summer harvests to fill when they are too big to fit in between four walls. Until then, a semi-temporary, sloping walkway.

I have fallen three weeks behind in sending farm photos. This week we catch up with a series of winter feed shots—corn, wheat and hay being gathered and stored to nourish us and the animals through the winter.

Filtering wheat (Credit: Full and By Farm)

Filtering wheat (Credit: Full and By Farm)

In the Farm Shares

In the veggie share: brussel sprouts, winter squash, leeks, kale, white, blue and fingerling potatoes, garlic, red and white onions, green, red and savoy cabbage, carrots, beets, wheat berries, whole wheat regular flour and pastry flour. Coming soon dry beans and shallots.

In the meat share: New chicken stock made from whole stew birds, fresh herbs and veggies! No salt has been added. Pork, beef, broilers and stew birds in the freezer. Lard and leaf lard for holiday baking.

Full and By Farm: Thanksgiving Pick Up

Chickens at Full and By Farm (Credit: virtualdavis)

Chickens at Full and By Farm (Credit: virtualDavis)

We are holding a special csa pick up TONIGHT—load up on your weekly goods as well as thanksgiving dinner ingredients, including sweet potatoes. We will be here 4-6 pm as usual.

We processed our older batch of layers this week which means our freezers are full to the brim with stew birds. Stew birds get a bad rap for being tough, but the key is to cook them long and slow in liquid and pick appropriate recipes. Because of the birds longer life, the meat is richer and more flavorful. Stew birds make the best chicken soup, are perfect for chicken pot pie and are an amazing fajita filler—marinated and cooked until the meat falls off the bone. They are great as a winter meal—just put the pot on the back of the woodstove to cook away.

In the Farm Shares

In the veggie share: sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, winter squash, leeks, kale, white, blue and fingerling potatoes, garlic, red and white onions, green, red and savoy cabbage, carrots, beets, wheat berries, whole wheat regular flour and pastry flour and kim chee.

In the meat share: Fresh stew birds. Pork, beef and chicken in the freezer. Lard and leaf lard for holiday baking.

Full and By Farm: Good Season for Baking

Full and By Farm Dry Goods (Credit: virtualdavis)

Full and By Farm Dry Goods (Credit: virtualDavis)

Next Thursday is Thanksgiving so we will be holding csa pick up on Tuesday from 4 -6. Load up on good thanksgiving meal ingredients—sweet potatoes, pumpkins, onions, garlic, leeks, and potatoes for mashing. Add some tasty brussel sprouts to the spread for something green.

The recent cold snap has been a good impetus to switch gears on the table as well as the boot rack—from meals planned around fresh greens to heartier winter fare. It’s suddenly smells and feels delightful to have a pot of soup slow cooking on your stove for the afternoon, or a pan of squash and roots roasting away in the oven.

It’s also a great season to get into baking bread and pastries. We are in the process of cleaning this year’s wheat (that giant trailer that we’ve all been avoiding banging our knees on in the csa room for months), and have milled up the first batch into whole wheat flour. We have also milled some soft white wheat that we bought in, which makes a lighter, but still whole wheat, pastry flour.

These flours are different in the protein and thus gluten content—the higher the protein the more gluten. Higher gluten is great for making bread, lower gluten is better for pastries, cakes and cookies. Both of our flours are whole grain, the bran has not been removed prior to milling. This makes it much healthier for you since most of the nutrients are in the bran. Bakers often suggest sifting out the bran since it’s stemy-ness can damage the gluten strands in your dough, impeding its rise. But, the bran can be saved and used too—sprinkled over oatmeal, or baked into muffins and pancakes. You can also reintegrate it into your bread by rolling the loaves in bran before baking, adding a nutty crunch to the crust and putting the nutrients back in.

In the Farm Shares

In the veggie share: brussel sprouts, winter squash, leeks, kale, white, blue and fingerling potatoes, garlic, red and white onions, green, red and savoy cabbage, carrots, beets, wheat berries, whole wheat regular flour and pastry flour. Next week: sweet potatoes.

In the meat share: Pork, beef and chicken in the freezer. Lard and leaf lard for holiday baking.

Sara Kurak
Full and By Farm

Full and By Farm: Fresh Greens Still Coming In

Horse at Full and By Farm (Credit: virtualdavis)

Horse grazing at Full and By Farm (Credit: virtualDavis)

November has just started to show itself on the greens in the field. The less tolerant varieties of lettuce have started to wilt, the tips of the leaves whitening with frost damage. There are plenty of heartier heads out there and depending on just how cold it gets we will hopefully have more weeks of fresh greens coming in.

Yesterday I harvested endive roots for the cellar. They are laid out in the greenhouse right now drying—long, thick roots looking almost like a parsnip with green masses of leaves on top. Those tops will come off tomorrow and the roots will be stored in the cooler. When true winter comes I’ll pull them out to plant in barrels of moist soil, moving them to a warmer location, but still keeping them in the dark. If all goes well this should force tender, pale heads of leaves to form on the roots. Endive can be used raw in salads, or braised, grilled or roasted for a cooked dish. However they are prepared they are incredibly nutritious and a wonderful treat in the midst of root season.

If you have not done so already, please return winter share forms or discuss options with us if you need more time. We want to get our numbers settled soon. After a beautiful growing season we have lots of great food in the veggie share this winter—the return of cornmeal, seven varieties of dried beans, krauts and kimchees as well as the full round of storage vegetables and sweet maple syrup in the early spring, asparagus and early greens. The freezers are loaded with pork, beef and chicken and the laying hens will be at it all winter long. So many good things in store.

In the Farm Shares

In the veggie share: brussel sprouts, winter squash, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, leeks, lettuce, kale, chard, white, blue and fingerling potatoes, garlic, red and white cooking onions, green, red and savoy cabbage, carrots, beets, wheat berries, whole wheat flour.

In the meat share: Pork, beef and chicken in the freezer. New sausage this week: bourbon fennel and ginger sage.

Sara Kurak
Full and By Farm

Full and By Farm: Ahead on Winter Prep

Wilberforce and adopted mother Winnifred savoring the last weeks of fresh grass (Credit: James Graves)

Wilberforce and adopted mother Winnifred savoring the last weeks of fresh grass (Credit: James Graves)

We are cruising ahead this year on winter prep—all but a few hearty veggies are now out of the field, as are the pigs. The cattle are still in pasture, making their slow, daily move toward their winter paddocks. There is a seemingly endless punchlist of odds and ends. Without a major construction project for the first time this fall, it seems possible to stay ahead of it all. We’ll have our first taste this weekend of blowing snow and freezing rain to test out how we are doing.

Meat Share Changes

We snuck in two changes to the meat share last week. The first is plasticized paper. In the past we have used regular paper, with a coating of lard to protect the meat from freezer burn and keep it from sticking to the wrapper. The plastic layer means less work for us wrapping, and hopefully less freezer burn. We’d love your feedback though, in how your meat is keeping and how you feel about increasing the plastic in our farm food system.

The second change was a new sausage flavor: maple sage, with the farm’s own maple syrup. Get back to us on how you like it and if we should keep it in the rotation.

In the Farm Shares

In the veggie share: celery, winter squash, leeks, lettuce, kale, chard, white, blue and fingerling potatoes, garlic, red and white cooking onions, green, red and savoy cabbage, carrots, beets, wheat berries, whole wheat flour. Brussel Sprouts are still sweeting in the field, they will be out soon.

In the meat share: Fresh pork again this week, bacon is now sliced and wrapped. Beef and chickens in the freezer.

Sara Kurak
Full and By Farm

Full and By Farm: Root Pulling

James's photo this week shows Josh, Sara, Lightning and Rosa after seeding a section of the veggie field to cover crop for the winter. (Credit: James Graves)

James’s photo this week shows Josh, Sara, Lightning and Rosa after seeding a section of the veggie field to cover crop for the winter. (Credit: James Graves)

Yesterday was root pulling day. All of the recent rain has saturated the soil passed the point of absorption, and the cool, cloudy skies won’t take much away through evaporation. As a result we’ve spent much time lately on muddy knees pulling muddy vegetables out of the field. The carrots are beautiful and long this year, they don’t appear to have suffered any rotten tips from the wet. The beets are overly-plentiful as usual on this farm, and we brought in a good crop of turnips, kohlrabi and radishes to spice up the winter. There is more yet to pull—celeriac, parsnips, and the endive that we will force for fresh greens during the coldest weeks of winter.

The future fruit orchard, with some of the best, well-drained soil on the farm, has stayed nice and dry. After plowing, the field has been disc and disced and disced some more, then a quick pass with the harrow to even it out. Yesterday we planted rye grass as a winter cover crop. A little late in the season to be seeding, but we’re banking on the mild weather we have experienced so far to give us a little boost. We will see how our hopes pan out.

If you did not pick up paperwork for the winter share it’s still available.

In the Farm Shares

In the veggie share: celery, winter squash, leeks, lettuce, kale, chard, white, blue and fingerling potatoes, garlic, red and white cooking onions, green, red and savoy cabbage, carrots, beets, wheat berries, whole wheat flour. Gourds and pumpkins still available.

In the meat share: Pork, beef and chickens in the freezer. New sausage this week: sweet italian, spicy italian, garlic sage and maple sage. The spicy italian is real hot this year! The maple sage real sweet. Bacon is being smoked tomorrow.

Sara Kurak
Full and By Farm

Full and By Farm: Updating Technologies

Ray the Full and By Farm cattle herd sire (Credit: James Graves)

Ray the Full and By Farm herd sire (Credit: James Graves)

High speed internet and cell phones are new and novel technologies around here—we’ve switched over from dial-up and our old land-line just this year. While there was a lot of kicking and screaming to get us up to date, since getting an old i-phone James has not looked back. Along with apps to keep track of how he spends his time and to have his calendar remind him when he is supposed to be somewhere, he has been snapping pictures all over the farm. He captured this shot of our herd sire Ray under a moody sky, just after he destroyed an ant hill up in Triangle Field.

Cider

We’ll have the cider press going for veggie share members this evening. Stay for awhile to help throw apples in the hopper and wring the juice out with the big press wheel. Please bring a jar to take some cider home.

Winter Membership

Winter membership forms are available tonight for the next season which starts up January 2nd. It’s been a beautiful growing season and the storage rooms are loaded to the brim with potatoes, cabbage, garlic, onions and five types of dry beans already. We have a good harvest of leeks, lots of roots and dry corn for milling yet to come. We’re planning for a more consistent supply of fermented goodies (kraut and kim chee) as well as strawberry jelly mid-winter, and maple syrup in spring. We’ll have beef, pork, broilers and eggs all available for the entire winter too. We’re extra happy to have the new, larger root cellar and walk-in cooler this year to keep all of our veggies happy and healthy for a long storage season.

This season’s share is not winding down just yet. We’ll be going through the end of December with plenty of fresh greens coming out of the field. Brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes yet to come.

In the Farm Shares

In the veggie share: celery, spinach, winter squash, leeks, cauliflower, broccoli, sweet and hot peppers, lettuce, kale, chard, white, blue and fingerling potatoes, garlic, red and white cooking onions, green, red and savoy cabbage, carrots, beets, wheat berries, whole wheat flour and cider. Gourds and pumpkins are still available for late decorators.

In the meat share: Fresh pork available; chops, ribs, hamsteaks and roasts. Beef and chickens in the freezer. Sausage and bacon are in the works, coming soon.

Sara Kurak
Full and By Farm

Full and By Farm: Winter Fields Ready

The last of the winter-time veggie field prep was finished as the sun fell yesterday evening, just in time for the slow, soaking rain to move in. All of the summer crops and trellises are out, compost spread and cover crop seed drilled in. It was a strange project to be sweating over on a warm, seventy-something day.

Cattle crossing the road at Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

Cattle crossing the road at Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

The field is now a series of orderly stripes—lush green pea-oat cover from August, bare soil that was just cleared and seeded down, and narrow rows of the late season hold-outs—leeks, brussel sprouts and corn drying down for grinding into cornmeal. The western-most section of field is vibrant still with rows of winter roots, huge broccoli plants and lettuce heads. Despite the warm days, the weather did manage a quick frost this past weekend, reminding us that fall, if not here quite on time, is really on its way.

We had a great time last week taking the horses and hay wagon out to the field to pick pumpkins followed by a campfire, dinner and tasty desserts. Thanks to everyone for coming out. Special thanks to Allison and Jennifer for decorating the barn and making the place look beautifully festive for the celebration.

In the Farm Shares

In the veggie share: celery (delightful with peanut butter and raisins), spinach, winter squash, leeks, cauliflower, broccoli, eggplant, sweet and hot peppers, lettuce, kale, chard, white, blue and fingerling potatoes, garlic, red and white cooking onions, scallions, green, red and savoy cabbage, carrots, beets, wheat berries, whole wheat flour.

In the meat share: Fresh broiler chickens in the cooler. All cuts of beef are available as well as pork chops, roasts, and scrapple in the freezer. Pork in the share next week.

Sara Kurak
Full and By Farm

Full and By Farm: Digging for Potatoes

Crates of potatoes and onions at Full and By Farm (Credit: virtualdavis)

Crates of potatoes and onions at Full and By Farm (Credit: virtualDavis)

I’ve spent much of the last two weeks on my knees, digging through the soil on the search for potatoes, a cloud of fine dust has been following me all through the day like Pig-Pen from Charlie Brown. This year the search hasn’t been very hard. We have 2900 pounds so far, and a row and a half of fingerlings yet to go. It’s a huge harvest for us, and they’ve been beautiful tubers, with little worm damage and no rot—a promise of potatoes all winter and into next year’s spring and summer.

Tomorrow we plan to bring in the winter squash, which has been curing in the field in this wonderfully dry, cool weather, and the dry beans, vines and all, before the next rainy spell glues them down to muddy pathways. The vines will be spread in the hay mow of the bank barn until we have time to thresh and winnow them once the rush of autumn harvest passes by.

Farm Dinner and Pumpkin Harvest

Pumpkin Harvest

Pumpkin Harvest (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’re in the midst of planning next Thursday’s farm dinner and pumpkin harvest. We’ll gather pumpkins on the hay wagons during share pick-up (all hands are welcome, the more the merrier!), then bring them down to the barnyard with the horses at 6. We’ll make some hearty fall soups and have bread and salad. Members bring desserts and drinks to share and a table setting for yourself. Then, take home your favorite pumpkin for Halloween! Please rsvp by Tuesday so we can plan enough food.

In the Farm Shares

In the veggie share: winter squash, spinach, leeks, cauliflower, broccoli shoots, tomatoes, eggplant, sweet and hot peppers, lettuce mix, mesclun mix, white, blue and fingerling potatoes, garlic, sweet summer onions, red and white cooking onions, scallions, green, red and savoy cabbage, carrots, beets, kale, chard, wheat berries, whole wheat flour and ruby kraut with caraway and onion! There are still plenty of sungolds, tomatillos and beautiful flowers out in the field for picking.

In the meat share: Fresh steaks for the grill tonight. Ground beef and pot roast, pork chops, scrapple and broiler chickens in the freezer. We have beef stock, chicken and beef organ meats and lard available as well.

Sara Kurak
Full and By Farm