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Managing the Flocks (both chickens and children!)

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Managing the Flocks (both chickens and children!)
This Week's Vegetable Harvest:
  • Head Lettuce
  • Green Beans
  • Cucumber
  • Arugula
  • Zucchini
  • Rainbow Swiss Chard
  • Scallions
  • Colorful Bell Pepper
  • Tendersweet Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes

This Week's Fruit Harvest:
  • 'Pristine' and 'Dandee Red' Summer Apples
  • 'Red Haven' Peaches
  • 'Himrod' (seedless) Grapes
Farm Journal
As the school year begins, there's always a lot of change. Last week, our high school and college employees began their transition back to school. This year, some returned to college campuses. Some will continue to work with us periodically to as they balance remote learning with time in the field.
Our kids are also learning both remotely and in the farm fields. They continue to assist us with farm chores like moving irrigation hoses late into the evenings with Dad to washing eggs with Mom. We've enjoyed having them more present at the farm as they've become even more involved in our daily farm rituals and with the work of farm crew.
Our other "kids" (our flock of Isa Brown laying hens) received a welcome visit from a fellow farmer from African this week. He said they looked "very healthy and happy" (and given his many years of experience with raising thousands of chickens, this was quite a compliment!) even though they've had a rough season.
We caught this video of coyotes jumping the fencing in the early morning hours.
This season's predation of our chickens has been intense, in fact, more so than any other year of raising chickens at our farm. While we've taken many different safety measures throughout the season to keep them safe, we still lost a significant portion of our flock to coyotes, hawks, owls, possums and raccoons. 
This predator pressure is not only stressful to the farmer (!) but its also stressful to the hens. The hens' ability to lay consistent eggs depends on a calm, predictable lifestyle and a regular schedule of healthy food, water and sunshine. Unfortunately, these predator stresses, paired with shorter daylengths, means that our hens are laying fewer eggs than usual.
So our for our Egg Share members: you will continue to receive a regular rotation of Prairie Wind eggs and you may occasionally receive pasture-raised eggs from our fellow egg farmers, the Koopsen family. Joe's Farm is located in Three Rivers, Michigan. Their eggs are delicious and we're happy to continue to partner with a variety of farmers to bring you great local food!
Best of wishes to your "flock" and all students in this unique semester. Thank you for continuing to support family farmers throughout the year!

Warmly,
The Miller Family and the farm crew
Notes from the Farm Kitchen
This week's Pristine and Dandee Red Apples are early, delicate, tart summer apples and a great pairing with sweet summer peaches. Pristine apples are most similar to Yellow Delicious apple and Dandee Red apples are firm, crisp and tart somewhat similar to a MacIntosh. Both are great additions to lunches and equally as good baked. 
Tendersweet cabbage is a beloved variety in our farm kitchen as its sweeter in flavor and we only grow in the summer season. The tendersweet cabbage harvest is pictured in the first picture of this newsletter. We consider tendersweet seasonal because it is known to store for weeks rather than months (like many fall cabbages do) so its flavor is well worth enjoying in the warmer months. You can use as you normally would other cabbage varieties in soups, stews, salads and slaws.
Seasonal Recipes from the Farm Kitchen

Grandma's Apple Cake - a family favorite!
2.5 c sugar
1 T cinnamon
3 c all purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 c vegetable oil
¾ c sour cream
4 large eggs
¼ c orange juice
2 t orange zest
2 t vanilla extract
4 c diced, cored, peeled summer apples
1 c chopped walnuts
powdered sugar
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 12 cup nonstick bundt pan. Mix ½ c sugar and cinnamon in small bowl, set aside. Mix flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl. Whisk remaining 2 cups sugar, oil, sour cream, eggs, orange juice, orange zest and vanilla extract in large bowl to blend. Stir in flour mixture. Pour half of the batter in the prepared pan. Spring half of the apples over batter, then half of the chopped walnuts and half of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Spoon remaining batter over this. Sprinkle remaining apples, walnuts and cinnamon sugar mixture.
 
Bake cake for 55 minutes. Cover pan loosely with foil and continue baking until tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 30 minutes longer. Cool make in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Cut around pan sides to loosen cake. Turn out cake onto rack and cool completely. Transfer to platter and dust with powdered sugar.

Broccoli & Cheddar Quiche
1 9-inch frozen deep pie crust
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped purplette onions
2 cups chopped broccoli
6 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 cup half and half
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Place oven rack in middle position, place cookie sheet on oven rack and preheat to 375 degrees.  Place crust in pie pan and place into oven. While pie crust bakes, heat oil in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent and edges begin to brown, about 6-8 minutes. Add onions, broccoli florets, and cheese to bottom of pre-baked pie crust.
 
In medium bowl whisk together eggs, yolks, half and half, salt and pepper until combined. Pour mixture over pie crust. Bake quiche on top of cookie sheet 35-40 minute or until quiche is set and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Move quiche to wire rack and let cool 15 minutes before serving.

Zucchini Caprese Sandwich
1 medium zucchini, trimmed and cut lengthwise into 6 slices 
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
4 (2-ounce) ciabatta rolls, split and toasted
8 large fresh basil leaves
1 medium tomato, thinly sliced 
6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced 

Heat a large grill pan over medium-high heat. Place zucchini in a shallow dish. Add 2 teaspoons oil, garlic, and oregano; toss to coat. Arrange zucchini in grill pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until grill marks appear. Cut each zucchini piece in half crosswise. Return zucchini to shallow dish. Drizzle with vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper.

Brush bottom halves of rolls with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Top evenly with zucchini, tomatoes, and mozzarella. Brush cut side of roll tops with remaining liquid from shallow dish, and place on sandwiches. Heat the sandwiches in pan until warm.

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