Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Lucky Twice

This morning my husband and I went to pick raspberries. Last year, we had to schedule an hour block and we could pick pints or quarts. This year, things are not as plentiful. We could only schedule a half-hour block and were given the option of half-pints or pints. We opted to pick 4 pints. Which we did as quickly as possible. Thunder started rumbling in the distance. We picked faster. 

Just as we were leaving the raspberry row, the sky erupted with lightning and, a few minutes later, it poured.

By the time we got home, the sky was so dark, it felt like 8 pm. I made a batch of raspberry jam without pectin, and ended up with about 6-7 cups of jam from 2 quarts of berries.

This afternoon, we went back out to pick up the farm share. We kept an eye on the weather report and went when it had stopped raining. We did curtail the pick-your-own part of the share. In particular, we opted to skip the flowers and tomatillos and I didn't glean any of the tomatoes that were left (not on the share, but up for grabs for people who had the time). Thankfully, we got back to the car a few minutes before it once again started raining buckets. The farm share was full of late season greens: lettuce, arugula, kale, escarole, and chard, plus raspberries, onions, eggplant, peppers, kohlrabi, and herbs. 

Three more weeks of the share to go! Hopefully there will be better weather. 

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Keeping Up

Last week at the farm I grabbed more plum tomatoes, which seemed like a lot at the time but cooked down to only two pints of tomato sauce - lots of Striped Roman heirloom plums, a few Romas, and the better part of a quart of sungolds. The share included two quarts of sungolds, but I only picked one. We just can't eat them fast enough! There is only a month left at the farm, and I expect that we'll be moving more into the winter squashes soon. For now there are lots of carrots, peppers, eggplant, onions, and greens, plus a few handfuls of raspberries. 

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Yellow Heirloom Tomatoes

Last week at the farm, instead of picking plum tomatoes (they were pretty picked over by the time I got there) I picked a bunch of yellow tomatoes. These are some form of heirloom tomato, but I don't know which one. It might be a Yellow Oxheart. It might be a Lillian's Yellow. Or something completely different. Regardless, they're large, they're uniformly yellow, and they're very sweet. Last year I made a salsa amarillo out of them. This year, I'm on a pizza sauce kick, so I made a batch of yellow tomato pizza sauce.

Well, really, it turns out orange when it's cooked down. We'll call it Golden Pizza Sauce. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Bee Hood Failure Mode

It's been a while so I went to check on the bees. They're generally doing well but it is later in the season so, despite my smoker, they were definitely trying to defend themselves against me. I guess they thought I was going to rob the hive. Not to mention it took me a while to get the Flow hive off the rest of the boxes and once I got into the upper brood box I inspected a few combs and then decided to leave them alone as they were getting agitated. 

Normally, my hood works great, but there must have been a little gap today between the hood and my coveralls because a bee got inside my hood and proceeded to sting me on the side of my nose, up near my eye. All I could do was catch it in the hood netting and get it out, and then I grabbed my spray bottle of rubbing alcohol and sprayed my face. Yes, it did burn in my eyes, but I needed to neutralize the alarm pheromones and keep the rest of the bees away. That did work, but I was certainly done for the day. I closed everything back up and got out of there, quick!

Good news, though - I did see lots of honey and definitely larvae and capped brood. I have not yet seen Cybeele but I'll trust that she's in there somewhere. 

My nose doesn't hurt too badly, either. Could've been a lot worse. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021


The tomatoes from last week are finally ripe and I made another batch of pizza sauce. Despite having more purée from the same number of tomatoes, I ended up with fewer jars of sauce. Which is odd, considering it's the same thickness as the previous batch. I guess these tomatoes were just juicier to begin with? Anyway, I ended up with 4 cups of sauce. This way, even if the rest of the tomatoes at the farm aren't great, I still have a lot of pizza sauce until next season rolls around.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Salsa Verde

Yesterday, which was an uneventfully rainy day, I picked up the farm share.

I say uneventful because often when I am at the farm and it rains it takes the form of a tremendous downpour, complete with lightning; it's like a curtain of rain is drawn across the field. Yesterday it was more steady - no significant hazards, but still drenched at the end. So I can be forgiven for not picking the flowers, or the tiny handful of raspberries in our allotted share. But I did grab a bunch of tomatillos and tomatoes, before the wet weather destroys those crops.

The tomatoes still have some ripening to do, but the tomatillos were enough to make four cups of salsa verde. Since I only had three jars, there is more in the fridge to do something with. I did get three decent sized poblano peppers in the share and so I might make chile rellenos and top with salsa verde. Something like this recipe, in fact. 

Also today I prepped my four entries for the fair. I have to take them in tomorrow before work. 

As I typed all this, I looked up to see 5 monarch butterflies on my butterfly bush. That's the most I've ever seen here at one time. They're so beautiful!

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Pizza and Doughnuts

Due to the frequent rain the tomato crop at the farm share has been limited. We're expecting more rain over the next few days so yesterday they said we could pick 15 large tomatoes each in addition to the sungold cherry tomatoes. I picked plum tomatoes and set to work this morning making pizza sauce, which is something that we use a lot of throughout the year. 15 tomatoes made a half-batch of sauce, about 4.5 cups. 

But that isn't nearly as exciting as doughnuts! Last Saturday I took a recreational cooking class at the culinary school and it was all about doughnuts. Mmm. In pairs we made a batch of yeasted doughnuts that were then deep fried; my partner and I opted for Boston Cream. It is, after all, a classic. And a favorite of this family for sure. Each student could also make their own batch of cake doughnuts; the choices were apple cider, gingerbread and Devil's Food; I made the Devil's Food and my partner made gingerbread and we shared the results. I also made a humongous batch of chocolate glaze which we shared with other groups and also the chef instructor planned to keep the rest and use it the next day. 

All in all, the doughnuts were tasty and easy, and now I have another pan to buy....