Thursday, July 29, 2010


The first wave of broilers will be ready the second week of August. I will send out e-mails this next week to all of you who have placed orders. Please confirm that I have noted the correct amount ordered in an email back to us.
Your chicken share will be frozen, packed in a plastic bag whole.

First wave of Broilers and rabbit will be delivered to your drop site August 11th. Lamb and Pork will be need to picked up from the Farm.
Lamb will be ready early September.
Pork shares will be ready in the Fall. (Probably early Nov.)

thank you for supporting little flower farm's livestock adventures and furthering the cause of locally produced,grass fed, antibiotic-free meat!!
"The pig is a magnificent animal and really the pioneer on your holding. He will eat anything, and in his efforst to find food he will plow land, clear undergrowth, and devour all surpluses, even your dishwashing water. As William Cobbett wrote in his Cottage Economy: 'In short, without hogs, farming could not go on; and it never has gone on in any country in the world. The hogs are the great stay of the whole concern. They are much in small space; they make no show, as flocks and herds do; but without them, culitvation of the land would be a poor, a miserable barren concern.'"

We have officially named our two lovely hogs "Pork and Bean". Conventional farm wisdom about not naming animals destined for the table is always dashed by the congenial pig. How can you NOT name an animal so personable. Bean in particular has this knowing and gentle look in her eye....she seriously gazes. I can't explain it very well, but suffice to say, you can easily find yourself squating in the dirt looking deeply into her eyes....loosing all track of time, at peace with all of this silly little earth.

I regret to inform you that our sweet corn crop has passed away.
I wept. You may as well.
But not for too long, because we are going to buy some in to make up the lack. No one, and I mean no one should have to go through a summertime without hot butter and sticky sweet corn dribbling down their chin.
The deer love it, and we don't have an electric fence this year. Next year perhaps. Maybe we will surround it with a pit-bull pit next summer. There are always adjustments to make. The corn stalks made a delicious treat for the pigs and sheep and goats.

This Week's Newsletter

The sunflowers at the farm have headed up! They are standing guard over the cabbages.

11 of this week's boxes weren't stuffed with the we are printing it online this week for those of you who missed your latest installment.

Dear Friends,

Yesterday found us harvesting green beans. Alot of of prose has piled up through the ages about bean picking. Some have commented on the way it "frees the mind to comtemplate the transcendentals". Others on the "monotany made sweet by the conversation of a fellow picker"...Still others have put to page how a row of bean plants, picked, stands as a testament of what mankind is capable of...when at last he makes a go of some seemingly impossible enterprise. Really I cannot tell you whether I agree with any of these depictions. I can say, that as I plucked the slender treasures from their plants nothing....absolutely nothing passed through my mind.

Yet my own "commentary" on green beans was made in minutes when the sky darkened-well, half darkened, like the menacing eyebrow of a robber pirate, the theatrical purple "sky-shadow" painted on the horizon, readying our small portion of the world for high drama. A thunderstorm was upon us, dashing our harvest evening.

As we dashed from the field, hair tossed by high wind-flushed with the excitement of ziggzaggin lightening and cracking thunder I realized quite comically that from my "thoughtless" revery I had sprung into action and instinctively clutched at the two most important things in the field.

I was struggling homeward with my 1 1/2 year old in one arm and a bushel basket of those beans in the other. As I called out to my 4 year old to run ahead faster I felt like some Minnesotan version of Scarlet O'Hara...skirts a 'blowin', tenaciously holding onto "TARA" source of all life...

What was so important about that bushel of beans? Why did I drag it home in the middle of a thunderstorm and find it a safe spot in the house, clucking over it like a mother hen?

We've all had our moments. I admit to savage desire at times for Doritos or some such processed corn product....I've devoured hot dogs before thinking "feedlot pork be darned". Every other day on a farm with animals has one thinking "maybe an 8 to 5 behind a computer would be nice-heck I'd have 2 days off a week!" Those are the days the goats got out and ate your peas, the laying hens pecked one of your meat birds to death, a deer ate 2 cabbages, 6 lettuces, and just about all your corn, your bunnies wscape from their cage because the cats got in an "let them out", your toddlers are throwing pig feces at eachother, and you haven't the time to give them a bath because you have to move 100 new broilers to the field and pick beans...

So why do you give "a hill of beans" for....a hill of beans?? Why do you grab the basket of beans and your child in a natural disaster?

Because those beans are iconic.

They represent one more scrap of effort toward a community that does not have to feed their families food which has been sprayed with toxins. One more step toward direct markets, and away from giant corporations monoplozing food business for money's sake. Every bushel pulled from that field is a handshake with you members that have made a commitment to a 5 acre love note to the land and to society. You have signed your name to a small effort at big change, and every green bean represents hope for a safer healthier, more just, more sustainablem more soulful and more delicious way of life.

We are all a handful of families from the metro area. We have a 2 acre plot of land. At times it's beautiful (cabbages!). At times it's not. (Weeds!) But in the end these two acres are doing more to attract butterflies and bees, increase fertility, interest the neighbors, and feed body and soul than they have done for the last 50 years. How many other similar scraps of land are out there ready and able to do the same? CSA means a plot of land is more than a plot of land, and a group of strangers more than strangers.

CSA makes a bean more than a bean. (And a bushel basket of them worth braving the elements for.) Happy Eating!

"Blessings on thee, little man,

Barefoot boy, with cheek of tan!

With thy turned- up pantaloons,

And thy merry whistled tundes;

With thy red lip, redder still

Kissed by strawberries on the hill;

With the sunshine on thy face,

through thy torn brim's juanty grace,

From my heart I give thee joy-

I was once a barefoot boy!

-John Greenleaf Whittier-

The nicest thing you can do for your grandparent, your mother, or your toddler is to serve up a nice old fashioned British tea party in my opinion. (Perhaps iced tea or lemonade in this weahter?) And at least ONCE in your life- no matter WHO you are, 48 year old construction worker or a 16 year old blues guitarist or a 4 year old ballet dancer-you must try a cucmber sandwhich. Delicate, dainty, oh so refreshing.


Cucumber Tea Sandwhiches

Gourmet Cookbook says: "Don't even think about getting out the mayonnaise jar. These must be made with good, sweet butter."

For chive butter:

*3/4 stick unsalted butter softened

*2 tsp lemon juice

*1/4 tsp salt

*2 TBSP chopped chives

For the Sandwhiches:

*12 very thin slices firm white bread. Crusts fed to pigs.

*1 cucumber, peeled and sliced PAPER thin.

*1/2 tsp salt

*freshly ground black pepper

1. Spread chive butter on bread. Arrange 2 layers of cucmber on 6 slices and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with other 6 slices.

2. Press down gently. Cut DIAGONALLY into quaters. MMMmmm.


Nigella Lawson's Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad

"It is unfathomably good with hot frankfurters" Nigella

*2 medium cucumbers

*2 tsp sugar

*2 TBSP white whine vinegar

*2 tsp kosher salt (or 1 tsp table salt)

*1/4 cup finely chopped dill

1. Peel and finely slice cucmbers into wafer thin circles and place into a large bowl.

2. Whisk together sugar, vinegar, salt. Pour over cucumbers.

3. Add chopped dill and toss. Transfer to a shallow dish.


Thursday, July 22, 2010


Stuff these babies and pack a picnic!
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugarZest of one lemon
2 teaspoons lemon juice
12 medium basil leaves, finely sliced (chiffonade)
3 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the water, yeast, and sugar, and set aside for 5 minutes, until it begins to get foamy.

2. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, basil, and flour, and knead with the dough hook until the dough is smooth and beginning to become elastic.

3. Add the olive oil and continue kneading until the oil is incorporated and the dough is smooth, shiny, and elastic.

4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes.

5. After 30 minutes, the dough will have risen, but it won't be doubled. Take it out of the bowl, knead it briefly, and divide it into 12 roughly equal portions. They don't have to be exactly the same unless you're a perfectionist. I actually like the option of having some larger and some smaller.

6. Roll each portion into a ball as you would for buns, then flatten each one slightly. Cover them with a clean kitchen cloth so they don't dry out as you're working with them one at a time.

7. Assuming you're using a cast iron pan, heat the pan over medium-high heat while you start rolling the flatbreads. You don't need any oil: these are cooked in a dry pan.

8. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the first flatbread to a 6-inch circle. Brush off any excess flour and put the first flatbread in your frying pan. (A little flour clinging to the flatbread is fine, but flour that falls off in the pan may burn so you want to remove as much as possible.)

9. Start rolling the next flatbread while you're keeping an eye on the first. It will start forming bubbles and might puff up completely. It will take a minute or so to cook on the first side, depending on how hot your pan is. When the the bottom is lightly browned in spots but the bread is still completely soft and pliable, it's done on the first side.

10. Turn the bread over and cook on the second side for about 30 seconds or so. Again, you're looking for a few brown spots. If the bread is puffy, press it down with a spatula so the whole surface is contacting the pan. Press gently to deflate it, and watch out for escaping steam.

11. If you get a good rhythm going, you can have the next flatbread rolled when the first one is finished. If you have a large griddle, or if you're cooking them outdoors on your grill, you can cook two or three at a time. And here's another time saver: if you're cooking these on your grill, close the lid and they'll cook on both sides. No need for turning, unless you want more browning (or grill marks) on that second side.

12. Have a clean kitchen towel ready for your flatbreads. Put them on the towel and fold the sides over to cover them as they're done, and stack them up as you have more. They're best served right away, while they're still warm from cooking. If you want to reheat them later, just heat them briefly in your dry cast iron pan. A few seconds is all they'll need.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Heart and Soul

"Always remember, a cat looks down on man, a dog looks up to man, but a pig will look man right in the eye and see his equal.
Winston Churchhill
We have some new hired help on the farm. Our two lovely pigs. They are cleaning up the spent brassica beds for us, and fertilizing it to boot.
When they arrived on the farm (in the back of our trusy Dodge pick-up) I cannot describe to you the sighs of contentment that reverberated all around the farm. It was as if the heart of the farm had finally been born. We can carry on now and climb lofty heights of sustainable agriculture and friendship and peace now that these two hogs are home.

Pigs are made to root. They are happy when they are snrokling about in the grass and dirt. So why do most hog producers keep them in dark outbuildings on slats with 10 other pigs in a 8x8 bin? One of the mysteries of the modern world.
We slaughtered 7 of the broilers a few days ago. They are soothed before the end by soft words, fresh air, and maiden comfort.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

"Part of the secret in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside"
-Mark Twain
A new batch of broilers arrived today. I rescued one of them from the water trough....he had apparently decided to take a bath. He lay all scrawny and runtish on his back gasping and peeping pitifully. He looked, for all intents and purposes, as one destined for grave...but this being one of those days, I didn't feel up to the "stiff upper lip sometimes a farmer does what he has to" cull job. So I did what all self-respecting farmwives do. I put the poor little thing in a cozy box in the sun porch and waited to ask my husband to do the deed.

One hour later I heard gurgles of delight and raced to the sun porch to find my wee girl playing hide and seek with a fluffy puff of a chick who was merrily racing and peeping his blessed little heart out. It was, and I am not kidding you folks, like witnessing the RESURRECTION. That chick was not the chick I had put in the box to die...and I cannot describe the strange sensation of seeing sudden and vivacious life where you had only expected to find illness and black death.
I found myself in a state of fumbling gratitude, wonder, and awe...I stumbled over the rushing of thoughts which ran something like
"what if I hadn't put that box in a sunny spot? What if I had dispatched that little thing? That tremendous victory had nothing to do with me! Why am I so overcome by the plight of one tiny little yellow bird? What is life? How does"

When I put that little chick back in with the others I felt the pride that a mother must feel when her child has bested the bullies against all odds. Not moments ago those other 99 cornish rock cross broiler chicks were pecking at that poor thing as if to hasten his untimely demise....and now, here he was strutting his stuff, back amongst them as one who had traveled, who had seen the world, and had been to the brink and back. Heck he had seen the sun porch!

Life on a farm is struggle. There are times when a farmer feels he's farming little more than death and woe. But there are always and ever those resurrections, having little to do with him, which buoy the soul and send him back out to battle the weeds, the worms, the weather...warm with the glowish delight and wonder of that which causes all things to live and breathe and have their being.

"the threshhold which the world
crosses in (man) is
the threshhold of wonder."
Pope John Paul II
Our recent attempt at Farmhouse Cheddar.
(Before the aging process)
"Never commit yourself to a cheese without first examing it."

T.S. Eliot
Why does everything that is delicious contain so much mystery? An entire world of bacteria and mold and proteins and fats is contained in one small cheese. The rind is a battlefield....we send in our troops (certain benificial molds, or perhaps vinegar, maybe wax) to win set up camp and scare off the enemy...
In the end, the cheese will be unique because from start to finish ONE MILLION things could have happened to alter it's taste...too much heat, too much humidity, an errant yeast, a strange household bacteria, a weed the goat ate that morning....and we find satisfaction in that ultimate embrace of.....mystery.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

July 7th Box

The cucumbers are sending out their blossoms, the lillies are out, we are cutting herbs now for winter medicine. That's yarrow in the basket:defender against colds. Willa, cute kitten extraordinare and budding mouser examines the antics of her siblings....the Bee Balm basking in the morning sunrise....

This week's box brought you the last of the chard for a while, radishes (don't forget, you can eat those green tops!!), basil sprigs, green beans, broccoli, salad mix, snap peas, snow peas, onions, garlic scape...and of course your weekly newsletter from the farm. Some boxes don't have beans but have broccoli, and vice versa....we are ramping up our direct seeding rate to rectify that!
7 of you are without your newsletter this week.

To the White Bear Drop folks: Yours are in the mail today. Should arrive by tommorow.
To the 2 others: email us, and we'll send it along.

Congratulations to Paula!

Fellow member Paula came up with a great way to use up your extra greens and won herself a little flower farm chevre in the process:

"I took the poc choi leaves, broccoli leaves and the swiss chard and cut them all up together. I cooked about 4 pieces of cut up bacon, added a chopped onion, then the greens, stirred to coat the leaves. Add chicken stock or white wine and simmer until all are soft - about 1/2 hour. Serve warm with a splash of vinegar over the top - yummy!"

Morning on the Farm

Morning begins with light...light in the lace curtains. And the sound of the roosters...morning light always reminds me of all of the promise of youth. Then a glance out the window at the sheep slowing beginning their morning graze...the kittens tackling eachother, and the guinea hens moving en mass.

Here are the guineas are prowling about the farm...keeping ticks at bay, at looking generally...comical.
Green tomatoes are hanging on the the morning they gleam and drip with dew and you just stand there and stare at them with your fist in your mouth wanting to devour them unawares...but of course they're not ready yet...and they just hang there voluptuously and smirk at you...and tempt you to no end with racy thoughts of wedges of mozzarella and sprinklings of basil and olive oil dribbling over them...
The Sunflowers are up and following that burning ball...they haven't open up yet...but soon they will greet the day in resplendent glory!
raised bed gardens have been replanted to extra eggplant and basil and cabbage. Red Cabbage is such a rock star in the garden. So beautiful!
This week will bring more weeding and direct seeding. We are going to be seeding at twice the rate...this way we can provide bigger bags of green beans for all! It's been a learning year to be sure. For instance: when the gardening books tell you "cauliflower is the hardest vegetable to grow" Don't try it for your CSA.
Next year our rows will also be spaced farther apart to accommodate the tiller...and that will aid in the battle against the weeds. There is nothing more crushing than to loose a crop to weeds. I'm afraid that we lost an early crop of beets to them.
The onions are glamourous these days....
Our last planting of potatoes will soon commence.