Friday, July 21, 2017

Produce List for July 22 Farmer's Market

The picture below captures our produce and price board for the Ruidoso Downs Farmer's & Artisan's Market on Saturday morning, July 22.  We are usually set up by 7 am and sell out of the sweet salad mix right away.  See you there!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Produce List for July 15 Farmer's Market

Hello all,

Here is our produce and price list for the Farmer's & Artisan's Market at Ruidoso Downs on Saturday, July 15:

We are usually sold out by 11 am and some items earlier than that.  Looking forward to seeing you all at the market!

Eat well.  Be happy.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Patience

"Patience is a virtue." (from the poem “Piers Plowman” written between the years 1360 and 1387)

"Patience was born from our inability to control much in our lives." (Oliver Burkeman)

We had some cool nights as well as hail storms that have slowed down the growing process.  These are just a couple of the challenges of high altitude, southwest growing.  We sure appreciate your patience on the produce.  Believe me, we are as anxious as you to get these tasty veggies on the table.

We will be at the Ruidoso Downs Farmer's & Artisans Market this Saturday, July 8, with just a few items:  French Tarragon ($4/bag), Chives ($3/bag), and Green Onions ($2 bunch - be warned, this batch is REALLY strong flavored!)

Many of our customers are unfamiliar with French Tarragon, therefore we have posted below a recipe for Tarragon Chicken and instructions for making flavored vinegar.  

Since we only have a few items ready now, we are not yet open at the farm site.  See you at the market!

Eat well.  Be happy!

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Poulet à l'Estragon (Tarragon Chicken)
By thirschfeld
There are lots of ways to make this dish. You could use whole fresh tomatoes, you could eliminate the cream and you could make it complicated by using multiple pans. I haven't done any of these but what I have done is keep the recipe simple and straight forward which in the end creates a rewarding and satisfying comfort food. I rarely cook anything other than a whole chicken, whether left whole or cut into pieces. Thighs would be great for this as would (I have put my hands over my eyes) boneless skinless chicken breasts. If you use the breasts be very mindful of your cooking time or you will dry them out.
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
  • 1 chicken, 3 1/2 to 4 pounds, cut into 8 pieces
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 cups chicken stock or water
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 shallots, trimmed, peeled and julienned
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons tarragon, minced, plus four sprigs
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
Instructions:
  1. Season the chicken with salt and white pepper. Place a heavy bottom 12" skillet over medium high heat. When the pan is hot add enough olive oil to form a thin film on the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken skin side down. Brown the chicken to your liking.
  2. When the chicken is brown quickly remove it to a plate. Add the butter and the shallots to the sauté pan. Saute the shallots until golden.
  3. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and let the wine reduce to a tablespoon or so. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste and the sprigs of tarragon. Place the chicken back into the pan and let the sauce come to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer.
  4. Place a lid on the pan and simmer the chicken until tender. About thirty minutes. Meanwhile heat the oven broiler.
  5. When the chicken is tender remove the lid from the pan. Carefully place the pan into the oven under the broiler and broil it for 3 to 5 minutes or however much time it takes to crisp up the skin. Remove from the oven.
  6. Remove the chicken to a platter. Place the pan over high heat. Add the cream and stir it in. Add the chopped tarragon. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning. Stir and bring to a boil.
  7. Sauce the chicken and serve over rice with extra sauce on the side.



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Flavored Vinegars - Flavored vinegars can be safely prepared. They are best stored in the refrigerator.

Pre-Preparation
Containers. Select and prepare containers first. Use only glass jars or bottles that are free of cracks or nicks and can be sealed with a screw-band lid, cap or cork. Wash hands well before starting any food preparation work. Wash containers thoroughly, then sterilize by immersing the jars in a pan of hot water and simmering for 10 minutes. Once the jars are sterilized, remove from the simmering water and invert on a paper towel to dry. Fill while the jars are still warm.
Lids and caps. If using screw caps, wash in hot soapy water, rinse and scald in boiling water. (To scald, follow manufacturer’s directions, or place caps in a saucepan of warm water, heat to just below boiling and then remove from the heat source. Leave caps in the hot water until ready to use.) Use non-corrodible metal or plastic screw caps. If using corks, select new, pre-sterilized corks. Use tongs to dip corks in and out of boiling water 3-4 times. Prepare two-piece metal home canning jar lids according to manufacturer’s directions for canning. If using these lids, allow enough headspace between the lid and the vinegar so that there is no contact between them. Plastic storage screw caps that are made for canning jars are also now available and would work well for flavored vinegars.
Herbs and spices. Commercial companies that make herbal vinegars dip the herbs in antibacterial agents not readily available to consumers. As an alternative, briefly dip the fresh herbs in a sanitizing bleach solution of 1 teaspoon household bleach per 6 cups (1½ quarts) of water, rinse thoroughly under cold water, and pat dry. For best results, use only the best leaves and flowers. Discard any brown, discolored, trampled or nibbled parts of the herbs. Fresh herbs are best picked just after the morning dew has dried. Allow three to four sprigs of fresh herbs or 3 tablespoons dried herbs per pint of vinegar. Spices such as peppercorns and mustard seed are also popular in flavored vinegars.
Vinegar selection. The type of vinegar to use as the base depends on what is being added. Fruits blend well with apple cider vinegar. Distilled white vinegar is clear in color and best with delicate herbs. Red and white wine vinegars work well with garlic and tarragon. Do be aware, however, that wine and rice vinegars contain protein that provides an excellent medium for bacterial growth, if not stored properly.

Preparation
To make flavored vinegars, place the prepared herbs, fruits or spices in the sterilized jars, being careful to avoid overpacking the bottles. Use three to four sprigs of fresh herbs, 3 tablespoons of dried herbs or 1 to 2 cups of fruit or vegetables per pint of vinegar to be flavored. Heat vinegar to just below boiling (190F), then pour over the herbs and cap tightly. Allow to stand for three to four weeks in a cool, dark place for the flavor to develop fully. Then, strain the vinegar through a damp cheesecloth or coffee filter one or more times until the vinegar is no longer cloudy. Discard the fruit, vegetables or herbs. Pour the strained vinegar into a clean sterilized jar. Add a sprig or two of fresh herbs or berries that have been sanitized as described above. Seal tightly. Store in the refrigerator for best flavor retention.
The flavoring process can be shortened by a week or so by bruising or coarsely chopping the herbs and fruits before placing in the bottles and adding the hot vinegar. To test for flavor development, place a few drops of the flavored vinegar on some white bread and taste. When the flavor is appropriate, strain the ingredients one or more times through a damp cheesecloth or coffee filter. Pour the strained vinegar into a clean sterilized jar. Add a sprig or two of fresh herbs that have been sanitized as described above. Seal tightly. Store in the refrigerator for best flavor retention. 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Mulch Delivery

We have been spreading mulch on our raised beds.  The purpose of mulch is to assist in water retention, to suppress weeds and increase organic matter in the soil.  Sierra Contracting in Ruidoso Downs has tree and pine needle material shredded to 3/4" or less.  Our loads show much less than 3/4" with only a few pieces of wood in each yard.  We can pick up about 2 yards per trip.  Each trip was taking too much time away from working on the farm, so we had 30 yards delivered on Wednesday.  The guys at Sierra Contracting have been very helpful.  If you want mulch, give them a call first to make sure they have inventory (575-378-1091).  We were told we used up their standing inventory and they were grinding more.




Monday, May 22, 2017

Bee Removal

This is a reminder that we remove bees for free!  Call us if you or a friend need to have bees removed.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Garden Helpers

We had an encounter yesterday that required us to re-familiarize ourselves with good and bad snakes.  Working along the house by the low tunnel, I spied something next to a rock.  Better safe than sorry, I summoned the experts (Myron, dad and Bama!)  For quite some time, the head was all we could see.  Here are a couple of clues that were extremely helpful:
1. Pupils round or elliptical? (round, nonvenomous; the exception is the coral snake)
2. Heat sensing pit between eyes and nostrils? (no, nonvenomous)


Then it came out of the hole.  And kept coming...
3.  The head, while triangular, is not broad.


4. Tail stays close to the ground, and no rattler.

After measuring the space that the snake HAD occupied (hey, it may not be poisonous, but it is a constrictor), we estimate the length at just over 5' 3".  This bull snake is a welcome predator among the many we see around the farm, including road runners.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Snow Covered Beds


When the temperature is 80F and we are out preparing the field, the temptation is great to transplant our tropical type plants such as tomatoes and peppers.  RESIST! 

With high altitude farming, even though we are as far south as latitude 33.55N, we cannot be like our counterparts to the east in Mississippi and South Carolina.  They already have tomato plants in the ground more than half grown and are well into their farmers' markets.  We must not be lured in by the warm April days.  Almost every year a snow storm, frost or freeze hits us between the end of April and May 15.  It was true again this year as our seedlings seemed to shiver at the sight of snow outside.  It began snowing Friday evening and continued to snow through Saturday evening, topped off with below freezing temperatures early this (Sunday) morning.

Snow in the field on Saturday:

You can just make out the nnow covered beds:

Ford 8N still outfitted with snow blade:

Farm Jeep is NOT snow-proof.  Jeep don't care.

We are hopeful the apple trees will still give fruit this year...

Wild rose seems to survive anything:

Soon enough, after May 15, when you drive by the farm you shall see the transplants gradually expanding across the field.  But not before that.

Here is to hoping for a great growing season so we call all munch on some good veggies.

Eat fresh, live happy.