We started markets this week. It was hot. REALLY hot.
I drank a lot of water, lemonade. and iced coffee and saw a ridiculous number of smiling faces – all of them thrilled that we are back and selling lots of fabulous local produce. Many sincere thanks to those who remembered and mentioned the hardships we endured last summer with the massive, devastating floods. It was nice to hear the praise and admiration, not that it was expected or even deserved. We did what we had to do and we got through it. Anyone faced with similar misfortune would do the same.
Laura, along with a big gang of Ringwood friends, came up to the farm after the floods and helped us clean up. She stopped by the market on Saturday and reminded me that she was on the tractor and cart that I got stuck in the mud that day. I will say it was by no fault of my own but simply driving in fields that were so saturated was a mistake. But the squash had to get picked! I stopped restocking the potted lemon thyme and stared off into nothing and said, “Wow. That was a miserable experience.”
Of course I mean the floods and such, NOT the fact that so many of our wonderful customers-turned-friends came to the farm to help us in our time of need. Laura agreed, and said she really didn’t understand the widespread devastation until she saw it for herself and I told the group that, “those onions over there are from the farm next door. They floated here and were left when the water receded.”
We talk about the floods often, Thomas and I. We talk about all the veggies and personal possessions that we lost, the fact that we had no power for days and days, and the fact that we were always afraid of what was going to happen next. We talk about how much we learned and about how strong we could be when necessary. We remember the smell of rotting vegetation and wet clothes and not bathing.
All through this, my boy will hang his arm around my neck as we look at pictures on the computer. And then Thomas looks at me with those golden brown eyes and says, ‘but we made it fun, right Mommy? And nobody got hurt. That’s what we have to be thankful for.” He puckers up dramatically and kisses me on the cheek, then wanders off to play Legos.
Dammit if that kid isn’t right. Such an old soul he is…
Sometimes I wonder if he teaches me more than I teach him.
We have loads of teaching moments around the farm and I’m always one to capitalize on them. As you’ve seen here in previous blogs over the last two years, Thomas and I often take walks or rides around the farm after dinner. We check out the crops, sometimes snacking on cucumbers, peas, raw corn and carrots. We find lettuce that has been nibbled and carrots that have been pulled out of the ground, the only thing left a stub of orange and deer tracks. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to find a nest of killdeer eggs (birds) or just-born bunnies. If there are aphids in the peppers or potato beetles in the eggplant we need to warn Papa so he can kill the little bastards before they decimate our crops. We have bills to pay and no crops means no money. We make mental notes of what crops will be ready soon and maybe we’ll talk a little cooking.
Thomas decided to walk through and check the garlic crop. He’s a cornball…. and pulled a Sheldon Cooper ball pit routine. He cracks me up with that bazinga. And who would guess that my kid would enjoy Big Bang Theory? Google it, watch a video, then picture my kid popping up out of the garlic patch. It’ll make you smile, too!
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Last July, we held “Farm Tour Friday”. We set up a mini farmers market right at the farm and took groups for tractor rides, showing them our farm and how their favorite veggies are grown. Of course, we let people pick and eat some veggies, too, mostly peas and carrots. We also took them on a walking tour of the greenhouses, tractor barn and our washing/cooling facility (The Barn).
Unbeknownst to us at the time, we were visited that day by a lovely lady who just happened to have a new goat farm. Talitha and Dan at Edgwick Farm have quickly become great friends and we’re happy to say their farm is thriving and the farmstead cheeses that they make by hand are out of this world!
We have so much faith in them and their product that Bialas Farms and Edgwick Farm are working together to offer a veggie and cheese CSA during the summer of 2012. If you’d like more information about our CSA, email me at farmer(at)bialasfarms(dot) com and I’ll send you the applications right away. We’re nearing our cut-off date and I don’t want anyone to miss out!
I have tried almost every type of cheese Talitha and Dan make. Lucky me! Last week I got a pound of whole goat’s milk ricotta cheese. It was very dense, almost crumbly, and absolutely pure in flavor. I know Talitha has an explanation as to why it’s different from regular supermarket ricotta. Something to do with using all milk versus using the whey. I’m hoping she’ll comment below and refresh my memory…
I used half of it to make ‘lasagna roll-ups’ and the other half-pound went into these lemon-ricotta bars that my friend Judy (I’m linking to this particular blog post because Edgwick also makes feta) turned me on to a while back via Pinterest.
Follow the link to Food52 and substitute an equal amount of goat’s milk ricotta for the ricotta. This recipe is now my standard – it has replaced my tried and true lemon bar recipe and I’m thrilled with the results. Let me know if you try it!
Pulse the dry ingredients in a food processor to blend.
Add cold butter cut into tablespoon-size pats and pulse some more.
The crumbs will be pretty fine, about like coarse cornmeal.
Pour the crumbs into a parchment lined and buttered 9×13 pan and press firmly to form a crust. REFRIGERATE the unbaked crust for 30 minutes or more. THIS IS IMPORTANT so please don’t skimp. Bake until golden.
Combine filling ingredients in bowl and whisk together until well blended.
If the lumpy bits are unappealing to you, give the filling a zip or two in the food processor to combine rather than whisk in a bowl. Why not? The machine is dirty anyway… Pour the filling into the baked crust then bake some more.
As hard as it is, and believe me, it WAS hard), allow the lemon bars to cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 2 hours. You can then run a small knife around the edges and lift out the paper or just cut yourself square after square and eat yourself into a creamy, citrusy oblivion.
No complaints about these babies, except when they were all gone…. Time to get some more ricotta!