Sweet Corn - from Didier Farms in Prairie View, IL
This Week's Fruit Harvest:
Good morning from the farm!
We're extremely fortunate to share our farm with a wide variety of insects, mammals and birds that help to balance and manage our beautiful ecosystem. Here's a small window into our encounters in the field last week.
While Jeff and Tyler were surveying field tomatoes, this beautiful yellow swallowtail butterfly fluttered between the tomato plants. We have a diversity of native plant species that surround the edges of the farm fields and invite these creatures in to feast on their nectar.
As many know, we have abundance of predatory birds on the farm including Coopers and Red-Tailed Hawks that dot our fields, watching for small rodents to hunt.
This Red Tail Hawk thought nothing of Jeff's presence as it reviewed its breakfast options. So far this season, the hawks are spending most of their time flying high above the farm fields.
Our boys love watching these strong creatures hunt, except when it comes to our hens! To prevent the hawks preying on our flock of hens, our goats, Twix and Leia, moved in with the hens last fall to serve as their guardian goats. The size of the goats deter the hawks from swooping down to prey on unsuspecting hens.
The goats and hens also perform complimentary clean up duties with their different grazing techniques. For instance, we often find the goats reaching high for mulberries from the trees above, while the chickens clean up the fallen the berries below.
Our ever-present coyote population also watches for food opportunities as Jeff prepares fields for fall carrot seedings. These mostly nocturnal animals are often present in the daytime hours around the farm and the Prairie Crossing neighborhood, so we strive to give them plenty of space to feel comfortable.
We recently found they were in our squash fields 'playing' with the fall delicata squash. After hiding the squash under further the plants, we hope they will find other nighttime entertainment!
Enjoy this week's harvest from the rich ecosystem that exists at your farm!
Warmly, Jeff, Jen, and the farm crew
Notes from the Farm Kitchen
This week's potatoes are a Yukon Gold variety with a golden skin and medium yellow inner flesh. Their skin is more set than the new potatoes that you received earlier this season, though they are still best washed delicately and stored within a refrigerator. They are rich in flavor, and tasty when boiled and added to a mustard-based salad or delicious grilled alongside fresh corn on the cob and chicken.
Summer raspberriesare back! These very fragile berries are soft and ought to be eaten within a couple of days. If they begin to breakdown, I take a cue from the berries and spread onto my toast or stir into yogurt. Blueberries season continues with plenty of color and flavor. Blueberries are ideal to freeze for later use in winter baking or smoothies. Simply rinse, dry and spread out onto a sheet pan for freezing, then place into a ziplock once frozen.
Recipes from the Farm Kitchen
Fresh Sweet Corn and Beans Salad 5 ears of corn, shucked 1/2 cup diced onion 1/2 cup chopped vegetables(use what you have on hand! I used green beans.) 1/2 cup cooked beans, rinsed (I used garbanzo, cannellini beans would also work) 3 tablespoons cider vinegar 3 tablespoons good olive oil 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/2 cup julienned fresh basil leaves
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the corn for 3 minutes until the starchiness is just gone. Drain and immerse it in ice water to stop the cooking and to set the color. When the corn is cool, cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob. Toss the kernels in a large bowl with the red onions, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil. Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature.
Balsamic Roasted Onions 2 tbsp. olive oil 1/2 pound cipollini or sweet onions, peeled 2 teaspoons sugar 1 dash red pepper flakes 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Heat the oil in a 12-inch saute pan, add the onions and sugar, generous sprinkle of salt and pepper and red pepper, and toss to coat. Cook over medium heat until bottoms of onions are well browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the vinegar, toss well, and cook on stove an additional 5 minutes, until vinegar begins to reduce. If your saute pan is ovenproof, place it in the oven to roast. If not, transfer to a baking dish and roast in the oven. Cook until onions are fork tender, about 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the onions.
Grilled Blue Cheese and Peach Sandwiches 2 tablespoons softened butter 4 thick slices bread of choice 2 firm-ripe, peaches, pitted, thinly sliced 1 tablespoon runny honey 2 slices fresh mozzarella ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
Butter one side of each bread slice. Flip 2 slices over and top with peaches. Drizzle with honey. Top with cheeses and remaining bread slices, buttered sides up. Cook sandwiches in a large frying pan over medium heat, turning once, until golden and crisp on both sides, about 8 minutes total.
Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)... cucumbers, plums, cabbage, tomatoes, eggplant, peaches and more!