Harvest Totals January 2014

The kiddo helping out in the greenhouse.

The kiddo helping out in the greenhouse.

Here are the harvest totals for January 2014, with approximate market value (using retail pricing from our local grocery store and the farmer’s market, with guesstimate pricing on items I haven’t seen for sale).   Continue reading

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Happy New Year! Farm Goals for 2014

Happy New Year!  I’m not the type to make New Year’s resolutions, though I do like to set goals at the beginning of each year (I know, a resolution is just a goal, but the connotation of the word seems so much more strict and less easily-attainable).  This year, I have several goals for the farm, both large and small:

  1. Use more fresh herbs.  I grow a ton of herbs, mostly perennial herbs like rosemary, thyme, etc., and one of the things I learned from keeping a record of my harvest totals is that I hardly harvested any!
  2. Dry more herbs to give as gifts/use in homemade spice mixes.  I do usually dry enough thyme, sage, and oregano to get me through the winter (though, oddly enough, despite the very cold winter we’ve had so far, these guys haven’t yet gone deciduous like they usually do in my yard), but I would like to try my hand at creating custom spice blends with these and other herbs.
  3. Keep track of money spent towards the farm, and measure it against my estimate of the value of farm products.  (I started off doing this last year, tracking garden expenditures using mint.com, but things got complicated and I got lazy.)  I WILL do it this year!
  4. Clean up the greenhouse, repot some of the orchids, and sell some if possible.  The greenhouse has been VERY neglected since we had our son almost two years ago, and I’d like to get things healthier and looking nicer again.  (The poor orchids have been fertilized once, maybe twice at the most, since Leif was born!)
  5. Cut down a large, established camellia (I’ve been meaning to do this since we moved in seven years ago – it looks lovely in February, but pretty awful most of the year, as it’s planted in full sun) and plant a citrus tree in its place.
  6. Plant a serviceberry to replace the one that my dad accidentally mowed over last year.
  7. Propagate gooseberries to replace the ones that my dad mowed over last year (he thought he was doing me a favor by mowing what, to him, looked like an overgrown, weedy plot, but which was really filled with forage for the bees – oregano and borage – overcropped over several newly-planted gooseberries).
  8. Completely remove bermuda grass from front yard (ha!  Like it’s even possible to eradicate bermuda grass), and add a deer fence to allow for planting of edibles in the front yard.  It’s a large, mostly sunny space that currently holds only a few deer-resistant ornamentals on the sunny side and our compost piles on the shady side, and I’d love to be able to use it more productively.

    The front yard in its current state.  Pretty dull, no?

    The front yard in its current state. Pretty dull, no?

  9. Start up a little farm stand to sell excess produce and/or give it away to the local food pantry, or through the new facebook group I’ve started in association with the Buy Nothing Project.
  10. Start an Etsy store to sell excess honey, beeswax, and products made from honey/beeswax.  (This is very unlikely to actually happen this year, but I’m putting it on my list so that I keep thinking about it, and maybe start planning it better for next year.)
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Harvest Totals December 2013

Here are the harvest totals for December (and final totals for 2013!), with approximate market value (using retail pricing from our local grocery store and the farmer’s market, with guesstimate pricing on items I haven’t seen for sale).   Continue reading

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Reorganizing My Seed Collection

My name is Emilie, and I’m a seed hoarder.

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Harvest Totals November 2013

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?  Herbs picked for use in Thanksgiving dinner.

Are you going to Scarborough Fair? Herbs picked for use in Thanksgiving dinner.

Here are the harvest totals for November, with approximate market value (using retail pricing from our local grocery store and the farmer’s market, with guesstimate pricing on items I haven’t seen for sale).   Continue reading

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Probiotic Cranberry-Orange Soda

Beverages are not typically something I put a lot of effort into for the holidays – we usually have homebrew (okay, that takes several hours of effort, but my husband is the one doing it), wine, and we’ll pick up a few bottles of commercial sparkling cider as a special drink for the kids and alcohol-free adults.  I figure that so much effort goes into the meal planning and prep, I don’t need to add one more thing to my holiday cooking agenda.  This year, however, I’ve decided to make a soda (or two – I’ll probably do a batch of my tarragon soda in addition to this cranberry soda) for those who don’t want to drink wine or beer with their dinner.  It would also make a great pre-dinner drink, with a bit of vodka mixed in!  And the beauty of this soda is that it can be made up to a couple of weeks ahead, so all you have to do on the big day is pop open the bottle and pour. Continue reading

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Lacto-Fermented Carrots

Okay, so I know I’ve been posting a lot of fermented-food recipes lately, but it’s fall and there’s not a lot going on in the garden right now, so my creative energy has been going towards cooking and fermenting.  Though I guess I was doing a lot of fermenting in the summer, too – here’s a photo of the various ferments on my countertop in early August:

Carrots, escabeche, dill pickles (almost done fermenting), dill pickles (just started fermenting), and minced green chiles (for hot sauce); in front is a jar of kefir fermenting.

Carrots, escabeche, dill pickles (almost done fermenting), dill pickles (just started fermenting), and minced green chiles (for hot sauce); in front is a jar of kefir fermenting.

Being a good German girl, I’ve always loved sauerkraut, but it wasn’t until relatively recently that I discovered that *other* veggies (pretty nearly anything) can be prepared in a similar fashion.   Continue reading

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