BeeGreenFarm is nestled in the foothills of the Snowcapped Sierras. It is chilly, but the Blenheim apricot trees are plump with bloom and bud, bearing hope for a fragrant and scrumptious Spring and jam-filled Summer.
The 7th day of March, the Blenheim Apricot tree is plump with bloom and bud bearing hope for May harvest delight and June jam. Find your way to BeeGreen Farm, just beneath the rainbow!
Oh my goodness, it is actually the end of September.
Just yesterday, Rick Perillo came up to the farm and volunteered.He worked so hard and accomplished so much. We pulled out the last of the lettuce and he carefully rebuilt all the circles and the furrows. We added compost and gypsum and slowly but surely are preparing for Fall planting. We pulled out the last of the corn last week.
The big, literally the big news of the Summer, was our 32 pound watermelon. Yes, 32 pounds and it was delicious too. We are also harvesting the lovely”Lily” crenshaw melon. Aromatic, sweet, a perfect Summer treat. I have harvested almost all of the Winter Squash, Kabocha and Delicata. The garden is looking a little bare, but it is time to work the soil. I did direct seed some onions, lettuce and I tried some last minute beans, which are really pumping and I actually think I will beable to harvest a few before Winter’s cold. Last weekend Nick and I planted nine flats of red onions, three kinds of lettuce, arugula, cauliflower collard greens, rapini and spigariello liscia. I return to the farm tomorrow morning and once the heat subsides, look forward to planting these seedlings in the garden.
I also harvested Fuji apples last week. They are really juicy and crunch and sweet. I did a 50/50 split with the deer. I did have quite a bit of coddling moth damage, even though Nick and I were diligent in making a home brew of deterrent in early Spring. Next year, we will prepare more jars of deterrent and maybe get a handle of these invasive moths.
One really exciting thing I implemented this Summer was using my early green and early crab apples for pectin. It was like magic. I made some apricot jam and gently tossed a handful of quartered green apples in to the brew and bingo…gelled right up. Too hot to think about canning this week, but I am looking forward to late season peach jam.
The Fuyu persimmons have a blush of orange and I am looking forward to seeing them tomorrow. There is nothing as sweet as a dried persimmon. The first year I made them I overlooked peeling them and each one just plopped to the floor. There is truth in learning from your mistakes. Persimmon cookies are among my favorites. Their consistency is more like pudding cookies; a lovely Autumn treat. It is September.
oh, and the Chorisia Speciosa in Culver City is in full bloom. The hummingbirds playfully delight in dipping and diving in the pinkness. I planted this tree 27 years ago when Joshua was born. It is a beautiful and strong tree…and Joshua is a beautiful and strong man.
It is September.
It is August; the days are still hot, but the cool evening breeze has a way of removing even the recollection of the beads of sweat and aching bones. It is August and the Showers of Persiad delight the brave and lucky skyward-gazing , star-bathing souls who venture into the midnight garden. It is August and time to till and amend the soil for Fall planting. It is August and the winter squash, melons and cucumbers are filling the beds. It is August and the hills are dry so the deer really appreciate all the green fresh goodies in the garden. It is August.
It is nearing the end of Mulberry Season and I have decided to savor these last two harvests and make jam; well it is really mulberries in syrup; I call it jambath. Yesterday I canned 16 – 4 oz. jars and 2 – 8 oz. jars. These syrups aka jambath are divine toppings for yoghurt, ice cream or creme fraiche. I did two variations…#1. lemon verbena and #2. 86% chocolate which is a bit like nutella, but with mulberries. Upon the suggestion of several friends and customers I decided to try drying the Mulberries. The flavor and texture create a simply delicious morsel of delight. I will dry some more from the next harvest tonight.
Yesterday was busy; in addition to canning I also baked some kale. This is a newfound way to prepare my most favorite leafy vegetable. Cut into 1 – 2″ squares , lightly bathed in olive oil and salt, then baked at 450, turning every 5 minutes, these make for a healthy crunchy snack. I was especially gladdened when a science camp full of 12 year old girls, loved these tasty morsels. (Last week, I was lucky enough to work at a Summer Science Camp, presenting facts and fun about nutrition, farming and sustainability). It was a great experience; the girls were engaged, enthusiastic and curious.
Savoring the flavors of the season by canning is a very optimistic endeavor and working at this Science Camp was an optimistic experience.
It is August.
So many seeds and other things have sprouted since my last posting.
The Fava beans, kale , squashes and mixed greens are in the ground. We had record breaking heat, so all these little seeds are off to a good start.
Second night at the farm, Lefty the blue eyed dog, best friend, buddy of mine got skunked. There was a racket on the front porch. Oops, Lefty scrambled out and phsoosh that skunk got him. My good friend, Suzanne , who I had called, to exclaim that the skunk was now locked on the front porch, went online and found the antidote of a hydrogen peroxide and dishsoap cocktail. Luckily I had both on hand. In the meantime, I made my way outside, around the house to quietly open the front porch door from the outside. I made my way back around to the back door to begin applying the antidote to poor Lefty who was quivering in the wake of the stink… Although the peroxide was great…it turns out that vinegar is the best! It took many applications of vinegar to all porous surfaces to return the house to it’s original aroma.
On to tastier events. I did it. I finally made my first two loaves of bread. Sourdough ciabatta to be exact. Quite lovely. It was a six hour party ( me, the yeast and a lot of flour, some water, a lot of hand strength, some salt and a whole lot of enthusiasm) resulting in two loaves of crunchy crusted, light and tasty bread. I followed Jerry’s (Surfas Breadmaking Demonstration, September 12) directions , which I don’t do often…But it worked…and I am a very happy camper and all who shared the bounty enjoyed the bread as well as my joy.
I drove north to S.F. to take Anna a dresser, unearthed from the storage area I painted it, loaded it up in the Subaru for her new bedroom which is closetless. We spent two lovely days together. I found my way to the Civic Center Farmer’s market and two CCOF farmers from Chico/Sacramento area and filled her fridge with fresh goods before I headed back to 3R.
Upon my return I found the fava beans had sprouted and the kobacha and delicatas had grown about three inches…that is, the ones the rabbits didn’t trim back.
Bye for now!
The Delicata and Kobacha seeds have sprouted. I started them in some old cardboard boxes and have just transplanted them in to an assortment of recycled paper towel cores and 2″ pots. I will plant them in the newly tilled field at the farm next week. They take 90 days to harvest, so I am hoping for no frost days til mid December. I also started some 27 day…yes, hard to believe 27 day lettuce mix. I planted those seeds in shoe boxes. Think we’ll just be harvesting from the shoeboxes in 20 more days.
Cara from Tavern is coming by to pick up 3 pints of wild plum sauce. She is going to experiment with a marinade for vegetables as well as maybe to add to a dessert for the fundraiser this Monday for the School Lunch Fundraiser at the Spiraling Orchard 1250 W. Court Street, Los Angeles 90033 http://www.aclaparks.org. 213-481-8113.
Yesterday morning I canned 6 jars of peach jam, using O’Henry peaches and a little brown sugar. Quite tasty…not too sweet. I was not afraid to really cook it down, stirring constantly and removing the foam. The final consistency was quite firm…somewhere between a spoon and fork jam.
I really enjoy the process. I don’t always do things the easiest way, but I kind of bond with the process. Today, I jammed up wild plums; they are way to tiny to consider peeling before hand, so I just put the tiny little plums in the pot and let them faint; then I turned up the heat, once the skins detached I simply removed them carefully with a fork. I continued to stir them…it takes a long time (say 15 minutes for all the flesh to detach from the tiny pit. I then picked out the pits, put them in a strainer above the pot and stirred them until the pits were clean and let the last bit of plum drip into the pot. It came out quite thick. I only added one half cup brown sugar. I like canning in small batches. It took about one half hour start to finish. This will make a nice holiday gift. I saved the two tablespoonfuls that did not fit in the jar, for my morning yoghurt. Yum.
I just found this really informative site, filled with FAQs about canning.
Right of the top it answers questions on the subject most talked about yesterday…Is it safe to can fruits without sugar?
Yes. Sugar is added to improve flavor, help stabilize color, and retain the shape of the fruit. It is not added as a preservative.
Dashing out for an early morning walk. Will continue later.