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Old 06-26-2016, 04:26 PM
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This week i took a hog butchering class at a farm-to-table restaurant that offers culinary classes They only do classes of 6 which was really nice. The chef did a demo showing how to break his Berkshire half down into the primal cuts, then each pair got a half hog to work on. It was really interesting and a fun group of people. We got to socialize with mocktails and pork rolls before the class and pork tacos after the class.

Starting with the first cut...the tenderloin


Bacons!


This weeks shift at the farm was harvesting chard, romaine, redleaf, beets, shelling peas, and onions. They harvested a ton of garlic scapes this week so I boxed it up for wholesale. And we made the first baby artichoke sighting! I've been checking in on these guys ever since I helped plant some during my first shift. I've never seen anyone grow them in our climate before.



In my own garden, things are starting to fill in and potatoes are flowering!


And about half of the front yard broccoli are starting to brocc :D



And this weeks food update was cooking eggs in the Instant Pot for salad toppings. Hardboiled eggs peel like a dream out of this thing.

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Old 07-02-2016, 04:41 PM
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The morning was spent at the farm harvesting and washing these adorable little celeries, carrots, fresh garlic, beets, the first of the cherry tomatoes, and some cute little zephyr, zucchini, and patty pan squashes.



This weeks project was some long overdue mulching of the paths and front yard. It looks perty now and you can see how well things are starting to fill in.





I'm now totally in love with the Instant Pot. It gave me my first gelled chicken broth. I don't have access to chicken feet so I tried pigs feet to add extra gelatin.



And this recipe was suggested to me by a co-worker and was super delicious



Balsamic chicken with corn and swiss chard

2 TBSP EVOO
2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1 TBSP ketchup
1 TBSP dijon mustard
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 ears of corn, kernels cut off (about 2 cups)
2 TBSP butter
1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped (stems and leaves separated)
3 scallions, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste

Whisk EVOO, vinegar, ketchup and mustard in a small bowl. Brush over chicken and grill until cooked through.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet or dutch oven saute bacon until crisp. Add corn and swiss chard stems and cook until tender. Add butter, chard leaves, and scallions and cook several minutes until chard is wilted. Season with salt and pepper and serve with chicken.
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Old 07-10-2016, 03:13 PM
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I may have just had the best weeekend EVER! Friday night a group of 30 of us had a nice dinner with Joel Salatin followed by a short talk. Dinner was prepared by Chef Tory Miller, who's just one of the top 20 chefs in the nation and owns a few farm-to-table restaurants. I was sat next to a couple grass farmers and did some serious networking as well as stuffing my face on amazing local foods.







This morning I volunteered with the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund at the WI Mother Earth News Fair...and Eliot Coleman stopped by to say how much he appreciated the organization and stayed a half hour to chat!





Oh my goodness. I really geeked out.

Saturday I put in my workershare shift digging and washing some beautifuls potatoes and brought home the first of the baby artichokes in my share...which I can't wait to roast tonight.



In my own garden, everything is lovely and green.



I've started bringing in little harvests.



And started up weekly little batches of lactofermented pickles





My second monthly meat CSA basket has arrvied

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Old 07-17-2016, 05:38 PM
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Admiring the artichokes growing at the CSA.



And the share I earned this week. We are nearing peak basket sizes for the season.



My own yard is now a sea of green



And I'm bringing in all sorts of goodies. The peas are in the freezer now

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Old 07-24-2016, 11:03 AM
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I've been working my shift alone at the farm now that they've started their Saturday market. Sometimes she's already put aside veggies for the CSA and gives me a couple jobs to-do and othertimes like yesterday, I spend my shift harvesting and prepping boxes. I started at 6 to be done before the worst of the heat. I'm in the habit of coming early to walk the fields and see all of the changes...snapping shots of this walking spider and honey bees as I went.



Things have really started to pick up in my own garden. The first celebratory BLT has been had, and a chunky spaghetti sauce made with the first eggplant and bell pepper included. Cucumbers and squash are going crazy. And the first of the peaches have started to fall.



Preserving has started with the freezing of 7 one pound bags of green beans.



I have a recipe to share of a childhood favorite, Summertime Salad.



1 cup chopped romaine
1/4 cucumber, quartered and sliced
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
3 TBSP mayonnaise
pepper to taste

Mix all together and serve immediately. Makes a single serving.
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Old 07-31-2016, 10:57 AM
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This weeks workershare shift was spent trimming garlic. I really enjoyed sitting outside in the shade on such a beautiful day working on them, and ended up staying an hour longer than normal.



In my own garden, the little sideyard is now covered in cantaloupe and watermelon vines



I've dug the first of the Purple Majesty potatoes for breakfast



And the first eggplant went into a chunky spaghetti sauce along with lots of tomatoes, squash, and the first green pepper.



This weeks recipe is a yummy Scrambled Egg with Spinach and Feta



2 eggs
1 oz crumbled feta
1 TBSP EVOO
2 handfuls spinach

Scramble eggs and feta and set aside. Saute spinach in EVOO until wilted. Add eggs and cook through.
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Old 07-31-2016, 11:23 AM
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Keep the great posts coming. I am impressed by your work. Love that garlic BTW
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Old 08-06-2016, 08:13 PM
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Last night, the farm hosted it's first field to fork dinner. I think there were about 60 guests, and proceeds are going to pay off the tractor they got to double their growing space this season. It was a wonderful night and the food was amazing and sourced heavily from the farm. All this meant that todays shift was cleaning up and stacking the chairs and tables.





My own garden is basically out of control :D I think I've finally found the upper limit for how intensively I can plant. I'm now jumping and ducking to get to my garage in the morning.



But it's worth it! Canning has started with the last of the peaches and green beans, and the first wave of tomatoes.





This weeks recipe is roast beef (I just used bone broth instead of the water + bullion) It's served with my new potatoes and some of last years canned carrots.

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Old 08-15-2016, 02:17 PM
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I just found this thread , I think you are my new hero , I just loved reading it and the amount of energy you have inspires me to keep working towards being more self reliant and then buy local .
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Old 08-15-2016, 08:58 PM
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The clean side of the farm work. I finish every shift by tidying up (putting away tools, cleaning all of the coolers, etc) and sanitizing the packing shed so it's ready to wash the next harvest.



I may be a notorious neat freak so I enjoy the work. I also know how much my farmer appreciates it as it's always been a trouble spot for them. As a thanks, she's started including some of her cut flowers in my shares. You can see they are going through their cat scan here :D



This week I was excited to visit my friends new homestead for a "farmcation". I met Buttercup, who's been providing milk for me this summer, and I got to milk my own gallon for the week. This is the friend who's raising 10 barred rocks for me, and you can see one here. They should be coming home to freezer camp in a month.



And a shot of morning chores! It was so beautiful there The rest of these ladies are busy popping out eggs for us. And I was excited to learn she's waiting for some bacon seeds to be weaned so I can buy some pastured piggy from her when they are ready (which is great, because the buyer's club has ridiculous prices on pork).



Back home, this years beans have scaled the fence and started their assault on the neighbors yard.



And the first of the corn came in this week!



More tomatoes have been put up. They are so beautiful



And finally this weeks recipe is a smoothie made with my milk kefir...fresh from the lovely Buttercup.



Green Blueberry Kefir Smoothie

1 cup milk kefir
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup spinach
1 frozen banana
6 ice cubes
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Old 08-15-2016, 09:10 PM
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I just found this thread , I think you are my new hero , I just loved reading it and the amount of energy you have inspires me to keep working towards being more self reliant and then buy local .
Awww thanks. I always tell people if a little fatty like me can do all this work alone, anyone can :D

We are lucky to have a great local food scene in Milwaukee. And statewide only California has more organic farms than us. It's been fun seeking out options and supporting local farms and farm-to-table restaurants. I just found out another one is opening next month nearby with more of a comfort food menu, which is exciting.
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Old 08-21-2016, 03:58 PM
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This weeks shift at the farm was pertying up the onions :D I was really rockin it too, I got about half of them done.



I found my largest spaghetti squash yet. The vines are super vigorous this year. They filled in their patch, the areas where the lettuce and chamomile were before they died back, started up the fences, and one is up on top of the garage now. It's getting a little concerning.



I'm busy simmering spaghetti sauce as I write. Every year I get so excited about sauce time, then like 8 hours later the kitchen is a mess, the dang sauce still isn't condensed enough to start canning, and I'm ready to give up pasta.

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Old 08-21-2016, 05:42 PM
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Just awesome. How big is you growing area if you don't mind me asking?
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Old 08-21-2016, 06:01 PM
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Just awesome. How big is you growing area if you don't mind me asking?
My lot is 1/10 acre
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Old 08-21-2016, 06:09 PM
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My lot is 1/10 acre
Still, doing all you can with what you have is great. Plus working that farm. Impressive.
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Old 08-28-2016, 08:32 PM
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Admiring one of the artichokes that got away from us at the farm.



Back home, I got to nibble on the first fruits from the goji berry I planted last year. I had thought it wasn't going to be ready this season as the estimates I saw showed it producing earlier in the summer, but it's covered in flowers now.



I have two before and afters to share. First up, the first pumpkin from my first attempt at growing them.



I cooked it for 13 minutes in the Instant Pot, then roasted the seeds and blended the flesh into puree. Pictured is my celebratory Pumpkin Spice Latte...which was amazing.



And the first cauliflower came in as well.



Now it's Cheesy Cauliflower Soup!



1 onion, diced
2 TBSP butter
1 cauliflower, chopped
1 potato, diced
3 cups bone broth
1 cup raw milk
4 oz raw cheddar

Saute onion in butter until tender. Add cauliflower, potato, and broth and simmer 30 minutes. Mash or blend at this point, if you'd like. Lower heat. Add milk and cheddar and gently warm through.
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Old 08-28-2016, 08:55 PM
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Cauliflower is one of those vegetables I can only eat raw. Certain vegetables are just disgusting to me when cooked. The soup LOOKS great though.
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Old 09-05-2016, 02:15 PM
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I spent this weeks workershare shift tending the the broccoli and cauliflower, and weeding like a maniac.



I put in my saffron crocus early this week. I've tried growing saffron before, but didn't realize they needed to be stored for winter in my climate and ended up killing them after the first harvest. Hopefully it goes better this time.



I brought in the last of the cantaloupe. It's bed, the corn, beans, and lettuce are already bare. They are predicting a rough winter and it does seem like things are wrapping up earlier than usual.



I was able to get in a hike this weekend, returning to the lovely Monches Segment of the Ice Age Trail. I have to admit I was bad and pre-ordered the newest fitbit now that they finally have a waterproof version. I've been doing pretty well on my diet so it's time to focus on exercise! Maybe it'll finally make a difference :D





And finally, the food portion of this weeks post. I thought I'd share my menu: homemade yogurt with fruit, steak with delicata squash and swiss chard, tacos, and chicken fried rice.

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Old 09-05-2016, 09:30 PM
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I've sent a few people to your thread as a example of how to learn sustainable level food production by working at a CSA vs patio gardening. Not that one should not tinker on a small scale as supplemental food, but I get nervous that the scale and quantities of food required per adult per year are not even approachable on any patio I've seen.

Can you give us an update on the size/scale of the CSA (how many people are getting their weekly vegetables from this one)? If you were suddenly and pleasantly dropped into a house with acreage, what would You do with the garden space?

inMichigan

PS love your photos and would very much like to have that row tractor

Last edited by inMichigan; 09-05-2016 at 09:36 PM.. Reason: fat fingers typing too fast!
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Old 09-07-2016, 04:26 PM
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I've sent a few people to your thread as a example of how to learn sustainable level food production by working at a CSA vs patio gardening. Not that one should not tinker on a small scale as supplemental food, but I get nervous that the scale and quantities of food required per adult per year are not even approachable on any patio I've seen.

Can you give us an update on the size/scale of the CSA (how many people are getting their weekly vegetables from this one)? If you were suddenly and pleasantly dropped into a house with acreage, what would You do with the garden space?

inMichigan

PS love your photos and would very much like to have that row tractor
I don't actually have any updates as to how she's doing businesswise as she's at her Saturday Farmer's Market during the summer, so I don't get to talk to her. She's been leaving me lists of chores for now, and we'll be working together again later in fall.

If I were to get some land to play with, I'd definitely do a good rototiller for the type of small scale farming I'm interested in. With that and 2 seeders (an earthway and a little lettuce one) she was handling enough on her own to get to market when she started on an acre or so. The Extension expected me to be able to do direct-to-restaurant on 1/4 acre (think salsa garden and some greens for a mexican restaurant), so you can work with a small amount to get your foot in the door and scale up.

If my goal were self-sufficiency, we're talking a fraction of an acre for garden space for one. Add some chickens, maybe a cow and pig... and I'd be doing pretty well for myself food production-wise even on a few acres.
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