Friday, December 13, 2013

Farm Dinner Party and a Full Freezer

December is a month to make sure your freezer is full with all the good tasting, healthy food you worked so hard to raise.  It's also a good time to share that good food with friends.

This year the Benners decided to entertain a dozen friends and the menu (at end of post) was almost entirely made up of food produced at Old School Farm.  Al's beet saute was pretty amazing (thanks for the ingredient tips Dave :) , but it was Deena Benner's quiche that stole the show.  Great company of friends and fresh farm ingredients - nothing can beat it.

Rocco and his deer
Turning to more serious issues for this time of year, early winter is a time to make sure the freezer is stocked with venison for the coming months.  Al had been unsuccessful with his new crossbow, so now it came down to gun season. When the chips are down and a deer is needed, the Camilli clan (friends of the Benners) can usually be
counted on to deliver some venison.  This year was no exception as Rocco Camilli bagged a button buck with his

antlerless deer tag in the wooded hillside at the farm. Dave and Al butchered it, and then the vacuum sealer took over, and now the meat is in the freezer.

Don Whitman tempts the flock

Also over the holidays, a visit was paid to the farm by the parents of the Benner's sister-in-law, Lisa Seligsohn. Don and Charlotte Whitman from Maine/Virginia, just happened to time it right and enjoyed some of the Old School turkey leftovers in a hearty soup Al had made (the same turkey the Whitmans had eaten three days before at the Benners on Thanksgiving).  While Charlotte toured the farmhouse and viewed old photos of the farm, Al showed Don around the property, even paying a visit to the remainder of the turkey flock that was spared as breeding
Our Spanish Black Tom
stock for next season.  Don ("Fixer Pop" to his grandkids) is an avid outdoorsman and DIY guy who has been following this blog regularly, so he was most interested in seeing things firsthand. We're glad the Whitmans stopped by!

Dave has been hard at work making repairs around the house and grounds as needed and getting everything secure and stowed away for what is looking like it could be a long, cold winter.  Most importantly he has been focusing on bringing in a lot of seasoned firewood that had been cut earlier this past year.  He's also now working on securing interns for next season and creating a detailed report for USDA regarding production in our high tunnel greenhouse (a requirement for the grant we received)

Winter Oats just seeded
The ground inside the high tunnel was seeded with winter oats several weeks back and with 60 - 70 degree temps in there during sunny days, this cover crop is really taking off.  We are even attempting to over winter some of the serious eggplant "shrub" root stock - probably won't work, but we love to experiment - we've got about a foot of mulch on them. Speaking of mulch, the 400 asparagus plants are all mulched in for winter.

Finally, we are currently looking into the possibility of acquiring crop insurance for the flood plain growing area so we can have the peace of mind to expand our growing areas of vegetables.   We sell through the new Wayne County cooperative being organized by Sky Ballantine over at Ant Hill Farm. It's a great program where various farmers can list what they have extra of each week and local restaurants (and soon individuals) can order what they want and pick up at one of three weekly pick up locations.  Best of all each farmer sets their price for their offerings.  Last year our beets, carrots, kale and tomatoes moved very nicely and we would like to expand our offerings and volumes.

We'll be taking a break from the blog until mid to late January as there won't be a whole lot to report over the next few weeks.  Until next time we hope your holiday season is joyful and warm.

Your Friends at Old School Farm    

Farm to Table Dinner Menu - November 24th, 2013

Massaged” Kale Salad  -   Dinosaur Kale, Dried Cranberries, Currants, Toasted Almonds, Shredded Carrots, Diced Apple, w/ Olive Oil, Sea Salt, Black Pepper

Ethiopian Style Beets -  Diced Red & Gold  “Grex” Beets, Yogurt, Curry, Cumin, Yogurt, Olive Oil, Sea Salt, Black Pepper, touch of OSF Honey

Quiche a la Deena -  Old School Farm Free- Range Organic Eggs, Heavy Cream, Various Cheeses, Asparagus, Spinach, Crab, Puffball Mushroom, Sundried tomatoes

Thanksgiving - Deena Benner and her parents, Phyllis & Sheldon Seligsohn

Phyllis, Cousin Ben, and 99 year old Grandma Sophie

Charlotte Whitman

Sue Benner with some Old School Turkey and sides

Early winter view from above the garden area

The last day of the last front tooth!

It has since been cracked - it was a double yoker.  So would it have hatched two chicks?  We think so.