‘Tis the season for new potatoes and peas. If you have never had a fresh new potato dug from the garden or a local garden, do yourself a favor and go to the farmers market to get some. There is no comparison between a freshly dug new potato where the skin is peeling off and a potato that has been saved for storage. They are fresh, they are crisp, they are amazing. Slice one and cook it up with a couple garlic scapes. You won’t believe how good it is!
My dad’s family is from Northern Maine, potato country, and this is a recipe that we have eaten since I was little. My grandmother used to make it every time we went to Limestone.
Step one: get the children to stop eating all the peas before they get to the house…
Step two: Clean your potatoes gently, the skin is tender so you don’t need to peel it or anything. Just wash gently and chop the potatoes into bite sized pieces, better yet, get your children to help you, our five year old is a pro.
Boil potatoes gently in water until mostly cooked. Add your fresh peas and cook for about three minutes. Drain the water and add cream and butter, bring to a simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir gently. At this point your potatoes will be gently cooking and should be almost done.
The best way to eat this dish is by mashing your plate of peas and potatoes together so they absorb as much of the buttery cream as possible. So delicious, if I had a photo of me eating my first bite of the year I would post it, I’m sure it would have shown a look of pure pleasure…
We harvested our first summer squash today from the garden, I’m not sure how many more squash will appear from this beauty. My huge and beautiful summer squash plant, has been damaged, my guess is by a boy…they are sure it wasn’t, but you know, summer squash is in the greenhouse this year, so not so many other creatures could damage our plants…
Tonight I made a lovely dish, I put chopped up garlic scapes in some bacon grease and sauteed them while #2 sliced the squash, then I added the summer squash and sauteed until cooked adding salt and pepper. When they were fully cooked I added chopped basil and turned off the stove.
I also made a lovely salad with leaf lettuce, cilantro, basil and oregano. I added some apple (procured in the discount basket at the local market), goat cheese (I usually like to make my own, my brothers goats aren’t producing enough for me to barter with them right now), balsamic vinegar and olive oil, soooo delicious!
I sauteed up a ham steak just to warm it slightly to serve on the side.
All the greens and veggies and the ham was from our farm, I love that!
Enjoy what you can produce on your land, everyone can grow
We have piggies! Our piggies are happily rooting up the hillside at Mahalo Farm with there piggies. Mahalo Farm has an area that needs to be cleaned up in preparation for a future orchard. It is awesome that while growing our food, we can also prepare an area for growing more food!
Our garden’s are not perfect. What is perfect about our potato garden (as I am calling our away garden as we have planted only potatoes, onions and shallots there), is that I have gotten to spend time with the entire family in them, all five of us working together (OK, sometimes more play or eating or drawing is happening by some members of the family). Which has been so great, even though it can be challenging (only walk on the walkways boys, please don’t try to jump the beds, bahhhhh, I just asked you NOT to do that!)
We are also reorganizing our home garden. We realized that we were wasting a lot of space on pathways in the garden so we have been moving soil and laying down cardboard to cover weeds. Our goal is to cover all our garden area with cardboard, manure/compost and put wood chips in all the walkways. Two years ago in the fall we spread a lot of manure in four foot wide rows, the entire width of the garden, there were four rows between some of our raised beds, we spread the manure on landscape fabric to repress some weeds think, bad idea, don’t do this, it keeps the new soil and the old soil completely separate and you can’t plant any root crops in it. I have been trying to remember why we did this, perhaps because we had landscape fabric and not cardboard to put down, not sure, can’t remember. Trace and I having been pulling up as many weeds as we could from the soil, finding the end of the landscape fabric, putting cardboard on the area we were moving the soil to, moving the soil and putting wood chips on the cardboard around the soil to give a visual area for people to walk on. The idea of the cardboard is to kill the weeds underneath it and help the roots rot, the cardboard will disintegrate eventually letting the soil on top meet the soil underneath. My hope is to not have to disturb the soil too much when harvesting etc, to keep weed growth at bay. I am also going to try putting a large dark tarp over my beds that are not in use, this is supposed to help kill weed seeds, killing them before you have things planted makes a huge difference in the time people spend hand weeding. We do not have a tractor so everything we do is done with people power.
Needless to say, this is hot heavy work and River has been working on other projects, so T and I got to tackle this one ourselves. He is 12 and really into basketball and lacrosse and other sports, sometimes I have a hard time connecting with him as my interest in sports is slim unless he is the one playing. Being in the garden together, working towards a common goal without any distractions or little brothers has given us some time for him to talk when he is ready and for me to ask questions and give him lots of time to answer between sweaty grunts as we pulled up landscape fabric covered with 2 to 4 inches of soil, because we haven’t been hurried, it was a slow and steady kind of job.
This has been one of the slowest garden seasons for us in terms of getting seeds in the ground (I have never planted Brussel sprouts or carrots so late before – eeeekkkkk), but it has been rewarding for me in other ways. I have really appreciated the time spent with #1 and he has been proud of the hard work we have done together, things I needed an extra hand on and he is now big enough to be that extra hand. Seeing the potatoes sprout prolifically in the new field has been very satisfying for him as he has hoed, planted, covered and helped to hill (we haven’t gotten very far on this part) the potatoes. Number 2 is more interested in farming then #1, but #1 is willing to help which is awesome, my philosophy is if you like to eat, you get to help it grow in one way or another.
Our peas should be ready this week, yeah! We have lettuce, kale, swiss chard, garlic scapes, and a few strawberries ready.
We have tomato’s and pepper’s blossoming, our next task is to make trellis’ for our tomatoes, I think T and I will tackle that this weekend. I have to measure the gardens to make the right size trellis’. I am using a trellis design from Four Season Harvest by Elliot Coleman. I will be hanging ropes for the tomatoes to climb instead of using actual rope trellis’ as that is less expensive to buy. I am so excited about this. We are also going to put up a rope grid between the pepper plants that will support them as they grow and get heavy fruits.
I am enjoying this season of garden work and trying not to rush too much and stress myself out making for grumpy mama. This has been a challenge at times, but we have come up with a few things that help. I work in the mornings, I mostly take Tuesday and Thursday’s off for adventures or friend time and I let the littles watch some Daniel Tiger in the afternoons on Monday, Wednesday and Friday so I can write or do doTERRA research/work. This is a huge change as we have been a very low screen time family and I am still struggling with the guilt of feeling like they are watching too much TV, and needing to get some things done uninterrupted.
I am becoming immersed in essential oils, they are amazing, we are even going to use them in our chickens water to promote healthy gut health and prevent bacterial infections, so excited about this. If you would like to learn more about essential oils and uses in farming, contact me, I can help you find the answers if I don’t have them already! Visit my site below or send me an email.
We went to Milkweed Farm, about 20 minutes from us to pick strawberries for the freezer as ours are in the first year and not prolific by any stretch of the imagination.
Milkweed Farm in Brunswick is a wonderful place, Lucretia Woodruff, farmer extraordinar, has created an amazing farm with her family. Her knowledge of fruit and biodynamic farming techniques, amaze me and I wanted to glean any information I could from her.
This was a perfect place to pick with small children. Lucretia had last years strawberry patch available for the kids to pick from, right next to this years patch. There is also a play area with slides and hay bales etc. I had three mama friends with me and we had 8 children under 8 with us, they were easily entertained for the hour and a half we were there.
T was with me as well and both of us picked 8 pounds of strawberries in less then 1.5 hours. I cut and froze 10 quarts, and the rest was for immediate consumption, yuuuuummm! So tasty! We may have to go back in the next couple of weeks!