Leeks are a mild form of onions with a slightly different flavor. To prepare them, cut them in half lengthwise down the whole leek and remove root end. Carefully, rinse between each layer to remove soil accumulated during their growth. Proceed to cut or chop them however you will use them. Use them in cooking like onions or raw in salads. Here is a really great way to use them as well. This soup is thick and creamy - very filling and nourishing.
Potato Leek Soup
Bring to a boil and simmer together in large pot until potatoes are very soft.
1 med - large Leek, cut into approx 1" lengths 3 med Potatoes, peeled and cubed 2 cups Water or chicken broth 1 tsp Salt
Blend together in a blender until smooth, adding 1 cup almond milk, soy milk, or light cream. You may need to add more to make it blendable. Pour back in pot and add
1 tsp Mustard powder pinch of Granulated garlic 1/4 tsp Pepper 1/4 cup Margarine
Heat on low heat until butter is melted and soup is hot. Approx 4 servings.
We are thankful for the good harvest this fall, the weather to harvest it, strong help to bring it in, and a very nice place to store it. Onions, Sweet Potatoes, Squash, and potatoes are in storage now with lots more crops still to come. Today we harvested some really nice leeks as you can see in this picture. We also harvested some of our best ever Fennel bulbs.
Here we are harvesting potatoes. Our harvesting methods are old fashioned (the digger is over 50 years old) but it provides jobs for people who really appreciate the work. We might get a medium sized harvester some day, but it is not worth a large modern unit for the small amount we grow.
I seeded the winter's salad mix on Saturday inside our greenhouse. After the tomato crop is finished, we seed salad mix and transplant spinach so that our box customers can enjoy fresh greens all winter long. There is a lot to learn with winter growing. In some ways it is like learning to farm all over again. How much is heat is enough while still being cost effective? When is the best time to end the tomatoes so we can still have a winter crop of greens? How much water does it take and how cold can we let it get without crop injury? Is it better to heat when it is mild out or when it is cold and sunny? If it is warm in the day and cold at night, do the plants still grow well? We have learned a lot over the past 4 winters but there is still so much to learn.
The strawberries are growing well in the mild fall weather. Weeding and mulching will help to ensure a good crop next spring. Making Organic Strawberries pay has continued to be one of our biggest challenges, but this crop is our best looking yet and we are experimenting with several different things so we can learn as much as possible toward next year.
I don't usually post personal pictures on the blog, but many of you have expressed concern over how much we work. While it doesn't happen very often, we were able to get away last weekend. Nollie looked after the animal for us so we could take Bruce and spend a couple days at the Bay of Fundy! As much as we like farming, we appreciate the chance to get away from the 24/7 demands once in a while.
We finished harvesting the squash last week and moved right into the sweet potato harvest. This is by far the nicest and the largest crop of sweet potatoes we have ever grown. I was worried that the dry weather had slowed them down but the warm days in September clearly had a very good effect. From test plants I dug it looks like the roots more than doubled in size during the first 3 weeks of the month!
We have harvested about 12,000 pounds with still another 1/4 to 1/3 of the patch to go.
More chicken went to the processor today and much of it has been cut up so we can offer the various parts along with the whole birds. We are having more birds cut up this year so hope to keep up with the demand for cut up chicken a little better.
The pigs continue to do well and enjoy their veggies too. When we have zucchini or summer squash that gets too big or broccoli that gets a bit yellow, the pigs are the perfect solution. They love to eat them and it means less grain so helps to reduce the cost to feed them. We have given a couple school tours this week with one more to go and the pigs certainly have been the highlight!
Our squash harvest is in full swing. The fog from the river valley kept the frost off earlier this week and we plan to have all the squash in the warehouse by Thursday night before the next cold night. Large fans and slatted bins will help to keep the air moving and should help us store the squash better than we have been able to in the past.
Bringing the squash in from the field is one of my favorite fall activities! There are so many bins and they are so colorful - it is rewarding after a long summer of work.
Open Farm day went well here last Sunday. Weather was beautiful and lots of people came out. We had sample boxes on display so I took a picture of the winter box sample for those who could not come. There is still lots of room but is time to sign up for your winter boxes before they sell out! Just go to the sign up tab on our website and follow the prompts. Also remember that the winter box is a bit larger than the summer one because it has to last two weeks instead of one.
Finally for those following our strawberry crop, here is how they looked on Sunday. The Strawberry transplants seem to really like the white row cover.
We are hosting an Open Farm day at our farm this Sunday along with other farms around the province. It will be from noon to 4:00 September 20. The primary attraction will be the new warehouse and ability to see a variety of livestock on pasture. There are some vegetables nearby too and we are going to try to offer a short hay ride as well.
Here is a photo of our packing team. Kirsten is QC (quality control) and Whelan is our senior farm hand. Together they make sure all the boxes get the right things and that the quality is top notch. After working under a tarp and then out of a woodshed, we really appreciate having such a nice place to work in.
It is a challenge to get it all in one picture but I tried to give you a perspective of how we pack your boxes. 325 boxes every week is a lot of boxes but with a good crew it goes quickly and efficiently. The boxes get loaded into the waiting bus at the end of the line.
We are preparing to plant our last cover crops for the season. I was at a farm tour in Jemseg on the weekend and saw a new cover crop idea we'd like to try. Cover crops are crops we seed in a field solely for the value and improvement they bring to the soil. These crops are not harvested for sale. Cover cropping is one of the many ways organic farmers improve their soils and manage their weeds without the use of toxic chemicals or fertilizers.
Finally, here is a .picture of our new Strawberries planted late August. Every year we learn more in our journey to grow good organic strawberries and I'm excited to see how these plants do. They are under a heat promoting white row cover which should help them develop thick crowns and set good fruit buds for next spring.