Farmer Ron will be updating this site with a blog highlighting the latest news from the farm: what’s new, what’s growing, what’s going on. And any other topic on his mind. Stay tuned!
May 1, 2013
What a week!
It’s going on again. Like that French expression, le plus ca change, le plus ca reste le meme: bees die-off, possibly with the widespread use of nicotinoid pesticides, and lower incidence of childhood allergies in immigrant children for their 1st 10 years in USA.
My dad, who did not have a college education and never used tobacco, claimed that if you placed nicotine paste on the skin of a rodent that eventually it would develop a cancer at that site. He had no formal exposure to the carcinogenic properties of nicotine, just intuition, albeit 65 years ago. He did eventually develop COPD, not from inhaling environmental tobacco smoke, but probably from turpentine, alcohol, and linseed oil fumes emanating from 55 gallon drums which he store in the basement of his hardware store.
Today an article appeared in the medical news describing the significant lower incidence rates of childhood allergies–i.e., eczema, asthma, and, hay fever–in immigrant children living in the USA. But after 10 years residing here, their rates of these disorders increased. The authors attributed the increase to possible environmental hygiene agent usage and denying access to such things as bacterial and parasite exposure, which can enhance resistance to allergies. Exposure to excess hygiene agents, commercial additives, pesticides, change in basic healthy diets, and processed foods can not only contribute to the development of acquired allergies, but also increased incidence of coronary artery disease.
So let’s keep things simple, eat healthier, engage in regular exercise programs, embrace the Fresh-Local food delivery system, keep the Earth and Water clean, support expansion of of green areas, and try to listen to Madre Tierra.
April 20, 2013
The days are getting longer, and Spring brings a state of increased farming activity. We have been dormant oil spraying our fruit trees, readying them for applications of B.T., cleaning up debris around their bases let over from winter, watching the daffodils emerging from madre tierra, listening to the arrival and music of our song birds, and noting the the frenetic activity of our over-wintered bees. Brush/debris has been burnt and ashes placed onto our compost pile, asparagus and garlic beds have been weeded, spring plants begun from seeds 4 weeks ago have been transplanted into larger holding pots, leek plants have been trimmed to 2″ to encourage stem thickness development, and sun chokes have been trimmed back also for stronger growth. radishes, Beets, Swiss chard, mustard, and collard seeds are already germinating, oca and chufa are resting in 4″ pots, and lots of chatting and networking is going on between growers and home gardening enthusiasts.
Working the dirt feels great, the air smells wonderful and clean, and increased outdoor activity means increased surveillance for the ever-present deer ticks. Awaiting our first crops of mushrooms 18 months since inoculating our logs, clearing new areas for ramp cultivation, and potting up lilacs, rose of sharon, and currant plants for our upcoming Wellfleet, and Orleans Framers Markets in May. Lots of new growers and vendors there are displaying their effervescent enthusiasms.
And always thanks to Mentor Bruce, Alicia, Jessica, Rosie, Farmers Bill and Jeff, our U Mass students, local restaurant supporting chefs, and the ever unpredictable weather of “You’re Sure to Fall in Love with Olde Cape Cod.”
March 19, 2013
It starts to extend our problems when less funds are available for those agencies meant to protect the citizens, when the Camelia sinenesis party wants smaller government, when we’re spending more taxpayer $$ to subsidize the fossil fuel to climatic warming producers. And let us not forget that less-government interventioners would have allowed the “too big to fail” institutions to fail, permitting a possible economic apocalypse to take place upon “47%” minority who
always come to the rescue of the kleptocrats. Also like in Cyprus this
past weekend, so that the self-made people can continue to bathe in
their visual-political-philosophic-economic dyslexia. And we all
know that financial institutions don’t need government regulation
becuase they always play fair, and don’t need a stronger S.E.C. etc.
March 15, 2013
The past 2 weeks have been very productive: surveyed the winter storm damage, and will repair our pea trellises, blownover or cracked. Jess whittled away at the brambles and bittersweet behind our bee hives in order to cover the cleared earth with oak leaves for our imminent planting of ramps; she also trimmed our rambling blackberry vines back to three feet, and showed no mercy. Meanwhile, Alicia has been planting Asian and snap peas; Ron has sprayed the 40-tree espalier fence around our strawberry garden with dormant oil, leaving another 27 trees in our front yard orchard to be sprayed also on a weekly basis until the beginning of petal drop. The first of our cherry belle radishes have been planted in our grow house, as well as Swiss chard, kale, arugula, and early beets; we also planted the same varieties outside to see the difference in germination. A 100′ fence of 6′ high flexible netting was installed around out 400 wintered-over leeks, which have already sustained winter deer chomping. Our Fall-planted garlic is up and thriving, as are our wintered-over collards, mustard, kale, and arugula, great for late winter salads. Have already seen our bees out on the few sunny days recently, and they still have some winter feed left in their hives.
Our pimient d’espillette SW French-style chile peppers, which we are calling Capeaprica =”Que Paprika”, have all dried out, and friend Bruce and I have been tearfully grinding it into different textures for our haute gourmet friends. We shall be offering this delightful 4000-6000 scovilles rated chile heat this season both at the farmers markets, at our farm stand, at local restaurants, and via the mail. There are few other special chile treats already germinating for this year, including by special permission only, after signing a disclaimer of liability, the 1,000,000 scoville scale rated infamous ghost pepper.
We shall again be offering our Surrey Farms MarketCardz, which entitle the bearer to a 20% discount on everything, except our eggs, at our Farmers Market venues.
We have enjoyed the article about our farm in this season’s Cape Cod Life, as well as the recent podcast interview by Nicole Cormier of Delicious Living Nutrition in Sandwich, MA. I also enjoyed visiting chef friends Rebecca Arnold at Pain D’Avignon, Toby Hill of Lyrica, Martha Kane and friends at Fin in Dennis, Shareef Badawy at the Brewster Fish House, and Philippe Rispoli P B in Wellfleet. In addition, our products can be consumed at Sunbird Food Truck, Wellfleet, Sol Restaurant Wellfleet, and 10 Tables Restaurant, Provincetown; Our Cape farms appreciate their strong support of the Fresh Local movement.
Looks like it’s time to go back to outside and do green house chores, continue with our Spring cleanup, and trim our January sowed leeks, which look like 4″ wisps of grass.
Working the Dirt in Brewster, Ron
January 5, 2013
Visions of sugar plums, candy canes, and Santa are still fresh in our minds, as well as seed catalogs, crop selections, plot sketches,planting schedules, and Spring clean up. We’ve transplanted our leeks for Spring in October and November, hilling them up to protect their stalks, as well as to blanch them, planted about 2000 garlic bulbs, started new beds of red currants, sunchokes, expanded our black currant area, spread several tons of eel grass, yards of aged cow manure, limed over the plant beds, mulched our alpine and regular strawberries, buried our jacon tubers in preparation for planting in May, bunked down our bees with winter feed, cleaned up the mushroom log area, cleaned out our grow house, consolidated and turned our large ill and his tractor.
My mentor Bruce Elliott and I have been experimenting with chili peppers. producing both plants and ground Basque chilli powder, as well as Aleppo, and shishito peppers for sowing and introducing to our Cape friends soon. I have been experimenting with types of mesclun this winter, Hawaiian purple sweet potatoes, fingerlings, mini yellow Yukon golds, yams, propagating more rosemary, sage, vegetarian fugu, purslane, various chicories, and transplanting finer lime grafted seedlings into larger containers, and trial germinating some newer varieties of cukes, summer and winter squashes, and beans.
Farmer Bill tells me that the asparagus patches are well prepared for a, hopeful, bumper crop of asparagus starting in April, and the apple, peach, and pear trees, have been well mulched with wood chips by our great staff, Jess and Alicia. We shall continue to have flavored honeys available, and also organic jams this year.
Happy New again to you,and all of our friends; looking forward to returning soon, and getting those peas into the ground at the end of February or early March.
See you soon.
June 10, 2012
The sun has re-emerged, and our crew has been busy digging, trimming roots, and rough coverings from our abundant crop of spring or green garlic. The air is perfumed with a cloying sweetness of garlic stems and bulblets.
We have wrapped them into convenient bundles for either individual or restaurant sizes, and have delivered them to our farm stand, the Orleans Farmers Market, and local restaurants in Hyannis, Dennis, Brewster, and Provincetown; The trimmed bundles of scallion-like alium evokes both pleasant and surprised smiles upon smelling the soft fragrance of the grown garlic.
Our seed stock comes from organic growers met at the Portland State University Farmers Market each Fall. The cloves are planted in October after prepping our plant beds with mulched oak leaves, eel grass, 2 year old cow manure, lime, and lots of care from friend Abby.
The stems can be used as regular garlic, roasted on a barbecue, pureed and added to fresh pasta with a drizzling of olive oil, or made into a green garlic salsa to accompany meats, fowl, or fish; We will continue to harvest our spring offerings for the next 2-3 weeks.
May 11, 2012
Working the Dirt in Brewster, and I know why I fell in Love with Olde Cape Cod.
The light, the light that taught that of Province to shine (liberal paraphrase of William S’s famous play ); the warm lovely sun has returned to the Cape. The Baltimore Orioles, Robins, Blue Jays, and Barn Swallows are chasing each other, screeching those special Spring courtship songs expressing impatience to get on with the next part of the season. The swallows have started to build nests in our garage; the bees are investigating surplace frames which we’ve stored over the winter.
We’re here again, planting leeks seedlings, transplanting purple potato, fingerlings, and yam shoots, harvesting spring garlic, perennial collards, southern collards, over wintered kale and leeks, French breakfast radishes, chocolate mint, arugula, mustard blossoms, and thinning our rosemary, hyssop, lemon thyme. Planting, planting, planning, breathless and weeding; the air is fragrant with white lilacs, and there is a cool breeze against my face.
I feel like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland with not enough time. I’m late, I’m late; so much to do; orders to deliver, and the Orleans Farmers’ Market scheduled for tomorrow at 8 a.m.
The days are too short, but I’m smiling, and full of joy.
Browse this borrowed recipe for a delightful Spring soup.
South Union Spring Garlic and Potato Soup
(Recipe courtesy George Formaro via the Food Network)
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 3 cups diced potato
- 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
- Pinch cracked black pepper
- 3/4 cup chopped spring garlic (substitute green onions in off season)
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 tablespoons cold water
- 1 cup shredded pepper jack
Bring chicken broth to a boil. Add potatoes. Lower heat to simmer. Add
minced garlic and black pepper and cook for 30 minutes.
Add spring garlic and heavy cream and cook for an additional 10 to 15
minutes. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and water together to make a
slurry. Slowly pour the slurry into the soup, and bring to a boil to
thicken. Thickness of the soup will depend on starchiness of potato.
When soup reaches desired thickness, add cheese. Thoroughly melt
cheese and serve.