THIS IS OH, SO DELICIOUS, FRESH FROM YOUR GARDEN OR YOUR CSA BASKET!!
5 Medium Golden Yukon or Russet Potatoes
10 Medium Turnips
2-3 Tablespoons REAL Butter or Olive Oil
2 Cups Heavy Cream
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and peel the potatoes to 1/4" thick, place the slices into a bowl of cold water.
Peel the turnips and slice into 1/4" slices, butter or oil the sides and bottom of a baking dish or casserole dish. Drain the potatoes and pat dry. Layer the potatoes and turnips alternating the layers, season each layer to taste with sea salt and pepper.
Pour enough heavy cream, or to cut the fat, use 1/2 Chicken stock, to barely cover the potatoes and turnips. Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes. Rotate the dish half way through cooking for even browning.
ENJOY THE BOUNTY!
I have been extremely fortunate to have grown up on a farm and I owe this deep gratitude to my parents, especially my mother. I love you Mom!
My mother had an affinity for her flock of chickens that carried over from the live birds in our farm yard to the walls, curtains and décor in my mother’s kitchen! She loved chickens both as her egg laying pets and as kitchen décor, and I mean serious chicken addiction!
There is not a time in my life that I can remember that we as a family did not keep chickens, my mother enjoyed all breeds of chickens, including the fancy feathered bantam breeds.
As a very young child we would go to the coop and gather eggs, take them back to the kitchen and she would instruct us each time in how to wipe them, being careful not to “wash” them, she would tell us that washing them would disrupt the special outer coating and would cause the egg to become susceptible to bacteria. We would then be instructed on how to place them in the carton properly, she would say, remember “pointed side down”, it wasn’t until years later that I asked why? She told me that there is an air sac in the egg and if left “pointed side down” and the blunt larger rounded side up, it will keep the eggs fresher, longer. The blunt larger end should always be what you see when you open your egg carton. She was absolutely right! My mother knew an amazing amount about chickens in general, so I truly had a fantastic teacher.
As an adult and later on my own farm and after more research and of course my mother’s help and suggestions I chose to raise a mixed flock of heritage breeds for several reasons,
The first and most important reason is a personal one;
I truly have a deep and conscious desire to preserve breeds of livestock that are endangered and/or threatened; they became endangered and/or threatened due to industrialized factory farms that want the same type or breed of high producing egg layers. If we lose these AMAZING heritage breeds, we risk wiping out the genetic makeup from a species, and possibly losing critical genes that could save the poultry industry one day if the high production breeds fall susceptible to illnesses such as avian bird flu and other diseases.
More reasons I keep heritage breed chickens is for their amazing ability to forage naturally which has astounding benefits in a whole system biological way of growing food the way we grow food here at orchard creek farm, without the use of chemicals. They scratch and tear up the soil surface to eat bugs, weed seeds and weeds; they are the cleaning crew, I call them “pasture vacuums” for our fields and small orchard, eating ticks and a myriad of other insects, which keeps our insect ecology in check.
Our chickens help us in our mission to decrease waste and waste entering our landfills; they accomplish this by consuming vegetable and fruit scraps and gleaning the garden after the growing season is over.
We utilize their bedding materials and manures as a valuable resource for our compost piles. We also use ALL of the egg shells crushed and mixed into our compost.
There are too many benefits to mention in this article about the important roles our heritage chickens play on our farm. I am just truly grateful to have heritage breed chickens.
The breeds I have chosen for our farm here in NE Tennessee were chosen for specific reasons, they are as follows;
These breeds were chosen for excellent forage ability and their ability to disperse heat and humidity through their large combs and wattles.
Food for thought;
Did you know a mother Hen turns her eggs more than 50 times a day? Chickens are truly AMAZING!
Fair trade is a social movement to protect farmers in developing countries.
It gives the farmers a fair price for exported goods that they grow such as tea, coffee, and cocoa. It also protects artisans in disadvantaged countries.
This movement protects the environment,
promotes sustainability and improves the living and working conditions for these farmers.
Coffee, the second most traded commodity
in the WORLD! Farmers grow coffee in over 70 countries and export it worldwide.
Coffee is one of the oldest traded commodities in the world.
Do you still have squash producing? It is August and my plants are still going crazy, and its a good thing, because one of my favorite side dishes (whole meal), is sauteed zucchini and yellow straight neck squash!
Here is my recipe;
2 medium Zucchini squash
2 medium Yellow Straight Neck squash
1.2 C. FRESH GRATED Parmesan Cheese
wash and dry your squash, slice into ¼ inch slices (set aside), heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet, add your squash slices, cover for approximately ten minutes on medium heat. Remove lid and saute until golden on each side. Sprinkle your 1/2 Cup of fresh grated parmesan until melted. Remove from heat and serve.
Pairs well with beef, chops, grilled chicken or fish!
Courtesy of Orchard Creek Farm
It is hard to imagine getting too much rain in some parts of the country, but here in NE TN, it is a force to be reckoned with if you are growing your food crops biologically without the use of chemicals.
This is where the old saying "an ounce of prevention goes a long way", it is a true statement.
It is much easier to try to prevent the bacterial and fungus problems that can occur than to try to stop it once it starts.
These are the 6 steps I take to reduce disease and increase plant production naturally on our farm;
#1 ~RAIN GAUGE
We use a rain gauge to determine our areas rainfall, this is a tremendous help. Each area in this part of the country has its own little microclimate, you can leave home and it might be pouring down rain, you drive 20 minutes in a different direction and its dry and the sun is out and that area never receives rain that day. It actually happens in any part of the country where there are mountains.
This is a factor that attributes to these microclimates to begin with, I find it quite interesting. Keep a record from season to season to give you an average estimate of your specific areas rainfall.
It is imperative that you pick the very best location on your property that can assist with natural drainage, while not causing erosion issues and ultimately loss of critical topsoil. I prefer to plant a field crop on a slight slope if possible. A person can use swells or tiles if necessary. Keep in mind the steeper the slope the more nutrient loss, ideally it would be very slight slope.
You might be thinking why is rain #1 on the list, because, how on earth are we going to keep up with all of the nutrients our plants need, if the rain causes them all to leach out?
It is therefore really important to know your average rain fall and location to protect that healthy soil we are trying to create.
Here at Orchard Creek Farm we DO NOT till the ground, we build our soil from the ground up. Whether you use no-till, or till or grow in raised beds, containers, etc.., it is important to start your direct sown seeds and young plants in healthy soil. I recommend having a soil sample done PRIOR if you till, all the other methods described do not need a soil test prior, but you may want one after, but its not necessary in my opinion.
#4~ SEEDS and PLANTS
Choose the right seeds and plants for your area.
We choose when at all possible the disease resistant vigorous varieties of seeds to start.
Selecting the right seed and plant varieties is one of the best defenses against disease.
One of my favorite subjects! It is very unfortunate that mulch is used so little, this is one of the most important things a gardener can use in ANY climate. It holds in moisture, it blocks torrential down pours, it prevents nutrient loss, it keeps roots cool and dark, and protects the microorganisms in the sub soil, and all of these benefits help to control bacterial and fungal disease, it also helps control insect damage, especially in areas that receive heavy rains.
#6~ CROP ROTATION
Try to avoid planting the same crop, or the same plant family member in the same spot every year. This will prevent pest and diseases from multiplying and help break their cycle.
Photo of Swiss Chard grown on my farm.