Sheboygan Farmer’s Market on July 20th

Sheboygan Farmer’s Market on July 20th

Hey everybody!  Had a ton of fun in Sheboygan area this weekend.  Camping, farmer’s market, and a brief demo at the Midsummer Festival of the Arts to mark the the debut of the culinary art car!  Amy helped with all of it, also.  One of my favorite things about working with Nourish, is the opportunities presented for Amy and the boys to hang out with me!

We sampled a wonderful cucumber salad with apple cider vinegar, honey, and dill.  The best was the looks and questions we received after telling folks the other item was Chocolate Beet Cake.  All who tried it loved it, though!  I will get the recipes posted here or you can click through to nourishfarms.org.

Here is the recipe for the Beet Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

·
o 4 medium beets, trimmed, peeled, and cut into 2-inch chunks
o 2 cups all-purpose flour
o 1 1/2 cups sugar
o 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
o 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
o Salt
o 2 large eggs
o 3/4 cup warm water
o 1/4 cup safflower oil
o 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
o Vegetable oil cooking spray
Directions

Cover beets with 2 inches water in a pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until very tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp paring knife, about 30 minutes. Drain. Puree beets in a food processor until smooth.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Whisk in eggs, water, oil, vanilla, and 1 1/4 cups beet puree (reserve remaining puree for another use).
Coat a 9-inch round cake pan (3 inches deep) with cooking spray. Line bottom with parchment, and coat with spray. Pour batter into pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Turn out cake from pan, and discard parchment. Let cool completely, right side up.
Trim top of cake using a serrated knife to create a level surface. Transfer cake, cut side down, to a cake plate.

Finish with your favorite frosting or simply powdered sugar!

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Thanks to all who came out.  We will be out again on August 2 from 8:30am-1:30pm.  Here are some pictures of the food and people we saw!

 

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Farmer’s Market Finds on Fox 11!!

Farmer’s Market Finds on Fox 11!!

I was invited back to Good Day WI for a couple segments with Emily Deem.  We talked about fresh food, hunger, and shared a few recipes!  Check out the videos here.

And then this great still from the television!

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Summer Berry Sangria with Rhubarb
1 250ml bottle of red wine
1/4 cup pomegranate or other flavored vodka
1/4 cup triple sec or other orange flavored liquor
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup blue berries lightly pressed
1 cup sliced and and macerated strawberries (to macerate, sprinkle sliced berries with a couple teaspoons of sugar and let sit for 30 minutes)
1 cup raspberries lightly pressed
1 cup diced and pressed rhubarb
Combine all ingredients.  Taste and adjust sweetness with honey as preferred.
Vanilla Beet Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons assorted herbs (sage, basil, green onion, lavender)
1 cup chopped canned or roasted beets
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Salt and pepper
Blend ingredients in a food processor or your favorite blending gadget until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Use as you would any salad dressing or dip
Garden Update

Garden Update

IMG_6986Hey everybody! There is nothing better than to toil in the soil! We have been working hard the last few weeks and loved every moment of it.

Despite the weather working against us for the most of the spring, we are happy to report we are looking better than we have the last few years at this time.

We started peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, Brussels sprouts, watermelons, and pumpkins in the house some time ago. We transferred them to the garden over the last week and sowed seeds for corn, summer squash, carrots, potatoes, peas, green beans, black beans, and, of course, romenesco broccoli.

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I can’t wait to witness this one growing and discover how it cooks up! I swear it looks like something off an Allman Brother’s Band tour poster!

We spent a lot of time re-setting the raspberry and strawberry rows. We felt with better organized rows it would be much easier to harvest the fruit. The plants took to the change really well. We ended up with an extra row of raspberries and two more rows of strawberries. That includes giving away some and planting others in different areas such as the edge of the woods and patio planters.IMG_6971

 

The asparagus has been up for awhile.  We harvest about 4 dinner sides a week!IMG_6973

On the downside, we lost all but the garlic chives and dill in the herb garden due to the bitterly cold winter and the lilacs were ravaged by the last frost. We love cutting sprigs and bringing that beautiful scent into out home. We will have to ration them this year! We replaced many of the herbs with both seeds and some 3 inch potted ones. Mint, sage, purple ruffled basil, sweet basil, rosemary, cilantro, thyme, and Italian parsley are all looking wonderful!

The trees look beautiful in full bloom. My favorites are the cherry blossoms but they are all just so neat. IMG_6927IMG_6981IMG_6983This is our oldest, largest, and most awe inspiring apple tree. Man, the stories to be told if these trees could speak!

Amy has worked tirelessly on the flower beds and they look great. The daffodils and tulips are up and some annuals were planted to add color. We lost a rose bush but the others seem to be coming along.IMG_6888IMG_6985

IMG_6984We approach these projects with the mindset that we do not know everything we need to, but we will work hard and keep reading and researching how to do it better. Every year seems to be more efficient and rewarding, and, frankly, that’s enough to us!  On top of all that, working the garden turns into some quality family time.  The boys love to help and even Pippe, the garden cat is always somewhere close!IMG_6935IMG_6934

Garden Update or Sowing the Seeds

Hey everybody!  Spent the day outside and you can’t wipe the smiles from our faces!  It is amazing how underneath that clean, pristine layer of snow is a dirty, muddy visage complete with 5 months of litter from our busy street!  We spent the day getting the yard picked up, taking down outdoor holiday lights, cleaning the garage, and working on an awesome re-purpose project that we will share soon.  Most importantly, however, is we planted the first round of seeds to start indoors.

We have done this for a few years now.  Early planting allows us the get the most of the the relatively short summers we have up here and get some our garden treats a little earlier.   As vegetables grow we transplant them to larger pots and temper them to outside temps at we get closer to outdoor planting time.  We are expected to be frost free around May 17th, but there is a 7 foot frost line this year, which is a little scary.  There is some fear among farmers and gardeners that the ground temp will not be in a good growing range for a month after that.  While we do not use a standard “raised” bed, this year we will be filling the garden with mulch, soil, compost, newspaper, and grass clippings that should help raise the soil temp.  We are looking to add about 9 inches to the garden.  We will talk much more about this in coming weeks.

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Today was about getting a jump on the season and feeding the need to get in some dirt.  We use a commercial mini-greenhouse product with a planting medium that is dried to tiny little hockey pucks.  After soaking with a few cups water, the soil is reconstituted and seeds are planted.  We plant 2-6 seeds per small cylinder of soil and thin two one as they start to grow.  The clear top paired up with our southern facing sun room, create a miniature eco-system and great climate for our wee little seedlings.

Today we planted 12 different types of seed.  Watermelon and pumpkins are fairly new to us this year.  Our intention is to keep these small and controlled, only growing 4-6 of each and limiting their ability to take over a garden.  We have both an eggplant (black beauty) and tomatillo for this season also.  The eggplants did quite well last year, with one plant producing 16-20 small fruits.  We are going to try tomatillos again.  These guys require some good heat and were a challenge last season, but we are trying again.

We have four types of pepper planted.  Jalapeno, mixed color bells, habanero, and cayenne.  All fared well last season and we expect a solid showing again.  Finally, we have our tomato varieties, super sweet 100, roma, big boy, and tigerella.  We had a ton of success with tomatoes last season and are approaching them the same this season.  The super sweets are tiny and we train them up a trellis on a southern exposed garage wall.  The other three virtually took over our garden resulting in over 175 pounds of product!

So, that’s where we are today!  I am trying to check for sprouts in our starters every hour, guess I need to find another project.  Thanks for hanging out!

 

Getting off on the Right Foot for the Gardening Season

Hey everybody!  Spring is almost here.  Which means the number on thing on our minds is garden prep.  We need to till and fill the garden.  Figure out when to start the tomatoes, peppers, and other plants we jump start indoors.  This year we are trying to do more companion growing, expand the garden some, and try some new plants.

We have been raising gardens for 4 seasons.  Every year we seem to approach it in a more orderly fashion and formulate better plans.   This year we start the season with 21 fruit trees (and the intention to add a couple more), three solid rows of raspberry bushes, two crimson rhubarb plants, three rows of red and purple asparagus, 24 or so strawberry plants, and another 800 square feet or so for yearly planting.  In addition, there is the 25 square foot herb and tea garden and thrice that for flower beds.  Today, I am going to outline the process for the year.  Every other Monday (maybe more often during active times) I will post an update as to where the garden is, how things are going, or how we met challenges.  Should be a fun season for all of us!

As with any large project, the best place to start is with a list.  We make a list of the tasks that need to tackled through the growing season.

  1. till garden
  2. clean up asparagus, raspberry, and strawberry plants
  3. cut back grape vines
  4. build up lost soil
  5. decide on plants
  6. plant indoor starters
  7. compost/fertilize herb garden
  8. Set up rain water barrels
  9. trim peach and pear trees
  10. plant garden
  11. pest prevention (cat can’t get them all!)
  12. stake out large/vine plants
  13. continually weed and add compost/grass trimmings
  14. trim /coddle plants as needed
  15. harvest
  16. end of season maintenance

As the year goes on, we will tackle these issues, sometimes more than once.  Stay tuned it is going to be an awesome adventure to get through fall.  Thanks for hanging out!