Category Archives: Foraging

High Meadow Farm has a New Site!

Pea sproutsA new Website, that is;  Our new Website is ready to roll!  

If you subscribe and follow our blog updates and would like to continue receiving them, I encourage you to re-submit your subscription on our new page so that you will know when we have a new post.

As the new season approaches, we are looking forward to introducing our new, customize-able shares to our members, the addition of lambs to our farm and farmers market season starting soon!  We hope that you will stay in touch with us.   Meanwhile, check out our new Website and let us know what you think!

Thank you for following us through our changing seasons at High Meadow Farm.  Have a great summer!

~Meg~

Garden Gleanings and Open Farm Days

Days like these have me missing the harvesting for the farmers market, but then I know there will soon be more days like last Saturday’s market; low 40’s and pouring rain!  That’s not so much fun anymore!

None the less, there are crops in the field that are continuing to grow and produce beautifully.  We have already harvested and put into cold storage most of our crops for winter.  There are still some tasty vegetables in the field that we’ll harvest for the early winter storage share boxes and for our Open Farm Market and we also offer some select produce for sale now from the fields while the weather holds.

With the extended warmth of this extraordinary fall, I have been enjoying the continued season of gleaning produce that remains in the field, even though I know that an El Nino season isn’t without consequence.  We have had a few light frosts, but no hard freezes yet and that is very unusual for this time of year.  The frosts have made some of the hardier greens that remain in the fields sweet and tasty and we continue to harvest them until the extreme cold arrives.  I know that we will be relying on our storage crops soon enough but for now, with a little more time to cook we’ve been gleaning the fields and loving it all.

With a little more time on my hands I have been playing with leafy “blends” and there have been some interesting creations.  I wince each time I say “pesto” (sans basil) so perhaps “pâté would be more appropriate.  My favorite so far is Kale and Fennel Leaf.  You may find that blend surprising, but then so did we! The Fennel leaf brought an unexpected sweet balance to the kale and it was very good. Spinach and cilantro was also a hit although the Arugula/cilantro mixture was…so-so.  I’m still working on that.

Sweet Onion and Savoy Cabbage Casserole

Sweet Onion and Savoy Cabbage Casserole

We’ve also been on a bit of a sweet onion binge.  (So sweet they have Halloween candy beat!) The large, sweet beauties don’t store as well through the winter months as the storage varieties do but they sure do caramelize and cook down for some delicious onion soups, onion tarts and baked onion dishes. They were also a perfect pairing with Savoy Cabbage in a Sweet Onion and Savoy Cabbage Casserole last night.

Our first Winter Market at the farm is coming up on Saturday, November 21. From 10:00 – 2:00 pm. There will be lots of certified organic produce, eggs and more.

Available from the farm NOW are some varieties of potatoes, onions; red, yellow, white or sweet (get them while they last) and anything that we can easily harvest from the fields for you: beautiful broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage, celery root and Daikon radish and leeks. Just call ahead to set up a time and stop out: 920-988-5023.

For the “cream of the crop”, mark your calendars for Nov. 21 or sign up for a winter share to be sure that you get the crops that we have reserved just for them!

In Search of Shoots

At this time of year, when the countryside is so richly green, most of our bodies are craving those green, leafy veggies that are so fresh and satisfying.  You may have some of those delicious and extremely healthy greens growing right in your back yard and you don’t even know it!

Every day of spring brings more shoots, flowers, birds, sun; all evidence of how nature has provided for us all if we take just a little time to know and respect our surroundings and how they work with one-another .  Who wouldn’t love an excuse to get out and enjoy the day?

My walks around the farm are now taking twice as long as usual.  I am always stopped dead in my tracks with something beautiful.  I am compelled to always carry my trusty old camera that works 75% of the time.  (Poor old guy- how many years of dust can a camera really take under its lens cover?)

Here are some of the flora that I encountered today and some of the stars of several of our meals this week!

Stinging nettle?  Yum! Nettle grows in nitrogen-rich soil and has a unique tendency to cause burning pain to the skin if you brush against it.  It has sticky, histamine-filled hairs on the stem and leaf that cause this, but if you can look beyond that and wear long sleeves and rubber gloves, now is the time to feast on its tender shoots!  If you should get stung, one effective remedy is Achille millefolium, a.k.a. wild yarrow.  You can rub the leaves on your skin and it will help tons.  They don’t really grow in the same type of soil, though, so I often have the cultivated variety, with the yellow flowers planted in areas around the farm, especially near the nettle patches.

Nettle is not a weed that we let hang around in the vegetable fields, but after years of fighting it, I have finally embraced it as a blessing to have access too on the farm. I harvest bags full at this time of the year for fresh eating and t dry for tea infusions.  Nettle has very powerful health benefits and the taste is similar to spinach and asparagus all in one.  I steam it with a little salt, or add some red pepper flakes, (it was delicious with some over-wintered scallions that were found in the field!).  You can serve them as a side dish as you would spinach or add them to a tortilla roll-up with other ingredients.

Nettle, rinsed and spun dry in a salad spinner

Nettles and green onions. Be sure to steam the stems until they are very tender. (these could have steamed a little longer, but they were still delicious.)

Into the pan with a little olive oil and a lid ( the wetness on the leaves will help them steam)

If you would like to learn more about foraging, there is still room in a workshop this weekend with foraging expert, Casey Dahl at the Sustain Jefferson Gardening Workshops (www.sustainjefferson.org ).

Here are a few more pictures from the farm-

Prunus ‘Americana’ (American Plum)
Sweet treats in July.

Un-gathered rosehips

Wood Anemone

Green and Grey

Way down inside the hoop house, under the plastic and the row cover is a bright spot in the dreary landscape. This lush beautiful green is the first thing we crave when the cold weather keeps the other greens in limbo.  Just a few nice warm days and the Claytonia is back in business!

Claytonia Perfoliata

Claytonia, aka ‘Miners Lettuce’ is related to common and cultivated purslane; a weed to some, a salad and source of tons of vitamin C to others!  ‘Miners lettuce’ got its name because it grew abundantly and was so often eaten by miners to prevent scurvy.  A plate-full (a large salad) can contain about 1/2 of your daily requirement for Vit. C!

When my son was in college he would come home and devour bags full of the green.  It really made me wonder how much time he was spending in a dark, nutrient-deprived environment.  I am relieved that now that those days are behind him, he’s living in CA, shopping at great farmers markets and he still craves Claytonia in the spring.