Summer Share #4, 2016
My Fine Homestead Newsletter
6/22/ 2016
In This Issue:
  1. Announcements 
  2. In Your Box 
  3. Veggie Spotlight Fennel
  4. Recipe - Salad with Fennel and Oranges
  5. On The Farm . . .
1. If you have an  EOW Share AND you pickup at any of these places: John Muir Dr, Transformations, Waban Hill, Wayland Dr, Plain, Arena, SGFM - This is your week! (Your next box will be July 6.)

2. SG Farmers Market cancelled this Saturday because of the Arts & Crafts Fair. 

3. Bike the Barns - FairShare's annual Partnershares fundraisers are happening soon!
  • Bike the Barns Driftless - Sunday 6/26
  • Bike the Barn - Sunday, 9/18

4. Annual Farm Party is July 31.

5. Previous newsletters are on our Facebook page .  

6.  ??? Questions ??? 
In Your Box  - Full Share

Asparagus - from Spring Run Farm
Mesclun- 1/2 lb mix of lettuces, arugula
Salad Turnips- greens can also be used.
Fennel - store loosely wrapped in a damp towel 
Sugar Snap Peas- 1/2 lb, pod is edible
Kohlrabi-  greens can also be used.
Baby Beets- greens can also be used.
Garlic Scapes- the edible stalk & flower bud of garlic plants. Cut-off the small bulb before preparing. Here are some recipe ideas for scapes and here are some more. Our favorite way to prepare them is to steam for 6-8 minutes and serve with butter - Mmmm! Store in fridge in a damp cloth or loosely closed plastic bag.
In Your Box - Half Share

Salad Turnips-  greens can also be used.
Kohlrabi greens can also be used.
Beets-  greens can also be used.
Garlic Scapes- the edible stalk & flower bud of garlic plants.  Cut-off the small bulb before preparing. Here are some  recipe ideas for scapes   and   here are some more.   Our favorite way to prepare them is to steam for 6-8 minutes and serve with butter - Mmmm! Store in fridge in a damp cloth or loosely closed plastic bag.

Twisted Carrots

If you find any "twisted carrots" (examples below) in your bunch - email or text me to receive a bar of our handcrafted goat milk soap in your next box!
Vegetable Spotlight  - Fennel

(Information from Farm-Fresh and Fast andFour Season Farm Gardner's Cookbook)

Fennel is an Italian import enjoyed by Thomas Jefferson in his gardens at Monticello. There are two types of fennel plants. Leaf fennel is grown as an herb with fernlike foliage, yellow flowers and tasty seeds. The bulb type, generally called Florence fennel, has been bred to widen at the bottom into a swollen mass of overlapping stem bases.

Its mild, slightly sweet black licorice-like flavor is more pronounced when served raw, but mellowed by cooking. Although most often used for its white, bulbous lower stem, its feathery leaves and thin green stems should also be saved. The fronds can be added to salads, used as garnish or as a herb. The green stems and any tough outer layers of the bulb flavor broths, roasted poultry or fish (discard before serving).

Small bulbs are best for raw use in salads, but larger, older bulbs can be used if the toughest outermost layers are removed and the interior ones thinly sliced (wash thoroughly and cut out any brown parts as you go). This is easy to do if you stack several of the curved layers, cupped together, grasp them at the top, and slice the bases thinly with a mandoline (available at Asian food stores - perfect for slicing vegetables thinly) Mature ones are also delicious roasted, grilled or braised. Fennel is one of those versatile vegetables that can enhance many dishes quite apart from those where it is featured alone.

To enhance fennel's characteristic licorice flavor, cook it with crushed fennel seeds or an anise-based liquor. Fennel can even be used in desserts. Serve fresh slices with soft goat cheese, figs and dessert wine, or candy it to serve alone or in lemony desserts.

Salad with Fennel and Oranges
(Four Season Farm Gardener's Cookbook)

1 head soft-leaf lettuce or the equivalent amount leaf lettuce
 1 medium-size fennel bulb, trimmed and scrubbed
2 oranges
1/4 small red onion, very thinly sliced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano, coarsely shredded

1. Rinse and dry the lettuce leaves. Arrange on a platter or individual salad plates.

2. Quarter the fennel bulb lengthwise, and then cut out the core from each quarter with a large sharp knife. Break the overlapping pieces apart, and nesting them two at a time, slice crosswise on a the fine blade of a mandolin or on a box grater. Distribute over the lettuce.

3. Cut off the ends of the oranges and stand them on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, peel them from end to end, removing both peel and bitter pith. Slice the oranges crosswise into rounds and distribute over the lettuce and fennel.

4. Separate the onion slices and scatter them over the salad.

5. Combine the oil and vinegar in a small glass jar, and whisk or shake to blend thoroughly. Pour over the salad.

6. Sprinkle salad with salt and pepper to taste, and finally with the Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

On the Farm . . .
 Sometimes I don't know what to tell you about. The days run together. We feed and water animals, till harvested beds, and re-plant them,and weed others. Seemingly like every other day. And that's ok. We like it when things go smoothly. But sometimes big events (or rather, big events for us) happen. We've had a few of those recently.

Recently we unexpectedly lost our beloved dog, Bindi. Bill, Bindi, and I had been moving chicken pens in the pasture. A noisy truck and trailer drove by, and Bindi darted towards the road. Bill called her, but she didn't hear or was too focused on the moving vehicle. Both the truck and trailer hit her. Bill and I ran to her, the kids down by the house had heard the commotion and weren't far behind us. She died in Bill's arms as he carried her back to the yard. The neighbors were shocked and sorry. They hadn't seen her in the long grass of the ditch. I calmly assured them it wasn't their fault while in my head I was screaming Noooo!!!

We gathered around her stunned - how could this have happened? She had just grabbed at a straying chick not 10 minutes earlier. How could my kids' best friend be gone? She was their confidant, their partner in exploring excursions to the creek, their cuddling buddy in our oversized red chair. How could we now be sitting there holding her lifeless body?

Tears streamed down our faces. Marlee pleaded for this to be a horrible dream. It was almost unbearable for me to see the pain on my children's faces. I felt overwhelming guilt that I hadn't worked harder on her recall command. Maybe if I had taken the time, she would have heard Bill call and come back us. We'd be moving the next pen right now, blissfully ignorant of the danger we had avoided. Or couldn't we go back in time? This time I'd grab her collar when the truck came. Wasn't there something we could do?  Bindi was only 2 years old. We thought we had years of time with her. We didn't know we were going to say goodbye today. How can life be so fleeting? How can we go on knowing how vulnerable life is? Look what can happen in a minute's time. And it can't be undone. Ever.

As we took turns holding her and letting what had happened sink in, I knew the work day we had planned would have to wait. We had a grave to dig. A spot by the lilac bush in our yard was chosen. It overlooked the fields where Bindi had spent so much time with us. She helped dig potatoes as a pup. She stole pea pods off the vines when she thought we weren't looking. She dug up marauding ground squirrels. And she sat with us while we weeded. Everywhere I looked, I saw memories of her. 

We dug the hole. Liam wrapped her in a white sheet and laid her carefully in the ground. We gently covered her with the dirt not wanting to let her go. We marked the spot with a large blue stone and set another long rock to the side so we could sit near her if we chose. It was hard to to leave the spot and go in the lifeless house, but we did. We spent the remainder of the day in a daze, holding each other, and feeling our loss.

As the days passed, we realized we needed to find not just another farm dog but more importantly a friend. We didn't find the right one until last week. A little Australian Shepherd we named Pixie, a small human-like form with magical qualities. We picked her up on Father's Day and have spent the last few days falling under her spell. We conveniently forgot how sharp puppy teeth are and how hard it is to get up at 3 am for potty breaks. But when she burrows her nose just so in the side of our necks and licks our face, we forget our loss and smile as we embrace this new life, and the new memories we are making.

Bindi will never be replaced. We gave her our hearts, and she took good care of them. So much so, that when she left, we knew we wanted and needed to give them to another worthy dog. Welcome Pixie. You have big paws to fill, but we'll enjoy being here with you as you try.  

In memory of Bindi - in our hearts forever. 
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