50’s outside meant 70’s in the high tunnel and plenty to harvest. What a wondrous day for the last day of January. Once I got done with my have-to’s in the AM, I made an executive decision to ignore my need-to’s in the house and spend a few hours working in the high tunnel and the garden. I was richly rewarded. Salad greens, edible flowers, and Jerusalem artichokes will be heading to the restaurant with the chef tomorrow. The weekend’s Jerusalem artichoke chowder was a sell-out hit. It was great to get my hands into the earth and go treasure hunting for them. Mother Nature does a great job of keeping them crisp and fresh for whenever we need them. The “candy carrots” are sweet and crisp. In addition to the harvest, I loved seeing a dandelion in the high tunnel and some beautiful magenta kales.
Just like the Whos in Whoville, Our Christmas feast included roast beast, in this case–leg of lamb. We also had roasted carrots glazed with cider molasses (a thicker version of our cider syrup) and mashed potatoes. This meal came mostly from our own backyard with the addition of a beautiful grassed leg of lamb from Thistle Byre Farm. I marinated the lamb with olive oil, fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, white wine, garlic, salt, and pepper. The carrots are Napoli carrots from our high tunnel. These are Eliot Coleman’s much lauded “candy carrots” that are sweetened by some heavy frosts and freezes. I harvested them along with some beautiful Jerusalem artichokes on Christmas Eve. The artichokes are heaped with compost in their outdoor bed. Our mild winter made it quite easy to harvest them. The carrots were amazingly sweet and lovely. These holiday gifts from our own farm were a beautiful celebration of the day.
Here’s the official breakdown for the Dark Days Challenge:
Our own farm:
Chicken broth (for mashed potatoes)
Apple cider molasses (home canned from Markle Farm cider)
Leg of lamb
Despite a broken toe and some pretty unrelenting pain issues for the chief farmer (me), things are pretty good around here. The garden and the harvest is bigger and better than ever. Just take a look:
We have picked cherry tomatoes by the gallon this summer. We also use them by the gallon at the restaurant. For the past month or so, Small Wonder Farm has been able to produce nearly all of the restaurant’s needs. Tiny “currant” tomatoes are the Chef’s favorite. The 2 red currants and 1 gold currant planted in the high tunnel have taken a superhuman effort to pick. We can easily spend an hour or more on each plant every other day. We also grew and love our Chocolate Cherry tomatoes and a new variety for the farm–Tomatoberry–both spectacular.
The small cluster of onions pictured are from Egyptian Walking Onions, a perennial onion that forms clusters of onions at the top of the plant to be replanted and a larger bulb at the base to be harvested. These have been on my radar for a while now. I have read about them and then I saw them growing at Connor Prairie. I was delighted when I saw them offered by Daniel Fagerstrom ofGreen Gate Garden. Daniel is an inspiring farmer who often offers things just a little out of the ordinary. I was delighted to have gotten some Jerusalem Artichoke plants from him this spring as well. His Green Gate Garden at Fair Oaks Farm is a marvel of diversity, beauty, and bounty.
I purchased the scalloped squashes from Ginny Markle of Markle Farm for the restaurant. They were too beautiful to pass up and too lovely not to photograph before sending them with the chef. Many locals know Ginny and her amazing array of beautiful fruits and vegetables.
Ginny and Daniel are enough reason to attend the Saturday market in Lafayette.