Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Foodies, Farmers and Fracktivists

Coleman weighs peppers on Mom's "Old School" scale
September was a blur - it came and went faster than any month so far this year here at the farm. We have been incredibly busy harvesting produce and eating, selling, canning, freezing and giving it away.

This has been a great experience for Owen and Coleman as they have been involved with picking vegetables that they then were able to sell on the street corner to neighbors back in Philadelphia. The profits were split up between the farm, the boys, and a charity of the boys' choosing.

Boys learn important life lessons by growing food
Anyone have numb fingers yet?

Three of our more unique crops have been transformed into some very tasty appetizers and specialty foods.  Jalapeno peppers became Jalapeno Poppers stuffed with a mix of cheeses - these disappear as soon as they come out of the oven, and so far have only lasted a couple of days in the freezer :)

Carmen sweet red peppers starting to roast
We also made several batches of tomatillo salsa using our purple tomatillos, fresh pineapple or mango, cilantro, organic cane crystals, onion, and jalapenos of course.  It is pretty amazing.

Perhaps the most irresistible food we have been making are the fire roasted sweet red peppers made over coals on an open fire.  They are jarred in their own juices and a bit of salt and apple cider vinegar. We would never even consider selling a jar of these!   This is candy for the boys.

Wild Food Update:

Butternuts - A delicious, native nut tree
Last fall Al, Dave and the boys gathered a bushel or two of butternuts from a wild tree on the property that decided to produce nuts heavily.  These were stored by hanging them in mesh "baskets" in the basement.  They are stored w/ the husks on to better preserve them.  We recently cracked a few and the flavor was superior to black walnuts.  We will be adding these to the last batch of zucchini bread for sure.

Buff Orpingtons- this heritage breed goes broody & will often sit on eggs until they hatch

EGGS !     Our flock of hens has finally matured enough to start laying eggs - we are only averaging three small eggs per day at the moment, but that should be up to 18 or so by springtime.

The earthen cob oven takes shape

We can almost smell the bread...  The bread and pizza oven is really taking shape nicely.  It is very time consuming to thoroughly blend 3 parts sand and 1 part clay with your feet, but as you can see the hard work is really starting to pay off.  We have about eight inches more to go with insulating layers of the clay/sand mixed with straw for insulation to go.  We hope to start to fire the oven later this month.  Watch our latest video for the cob oven here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMhXZwusbK0&feature=youtu.be

Fracktivist   Finally, a couple of weeks ago, Al Benner attended the Shale Gas Outrage protest march in Center City Philadelphia.  Close to two thousand people turned out along with some well known speakers to help create more awareness about all the health hazards associated with the dangerous "fracking" process.  This method extracts methane gas from the shale layer a mile deep below our aquifers in the northern half of Pennsylvania.  120,000 wells are planned by the industry.  3,000 wells are in and many failures have already occurred.  More Pennsylvanians get their water from wells than any other state.

Fracking is a threat to Old School Farm since the farm relies on pure water for all it's animals and crops.  At the moment the Delaware River Basin Commission has a tentative moratorium on drilling within the Delaware River Watershed where the farm is located.  This could change at any time.

You can see the overview of the demonstration here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HNJhJDc2do
Be sure to let your officials know you care about clean air and water for Pennsylvanians and all Americans.  The oil and gas industry is on a major campaign right now to convince Americans that this process is perfectly safe when it is not.

Until next time-  enjoy this beautiful time of year and the great outdoors... and some more photos from the farm:

Your Friends at Old School Farm

Our sheep enjoying native grasses, milkweed and golden rod.  

Heritage Breed Turkeys - Spanish Black, Bourbon Reds, and Royal Palm 
Our one and only celery plant! - we need to plant more next year.

Dave discusses oven with neighbors Pat & Jim Sanders
Al working on the cob oven

Our neighbor Gail and her son w/ a bag of produce

A warm late September day and the bees were VERY busy

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to leave any comments you wish...