Friday, June 29, 2012

Now We're Cookin'

Our very own Jeremiah conducted a cooking class for the various "greens" we're now generating in our most prosperous gardens.  Interestingly, our African farmers had never tasted salad greens with dressing and our Bhutanes never mustard greens or collards. Given these farmers also sell their produce at our Farmers' Markets we thought it would prove both a lot of fun and beneficial to sales if we familiarized the farmers to the products they would be selling.  Another great day out here. 

Below is a recipe for Mustard Greens, they're amazing in flavor.  I myself like them raw cut up in salads as they add a wonderful "bite" to regular lettuces.  But, wanted to share the below recommendations:

Tips for Preparing Mustard Greens

Rinse mustard greens under cold running water and cut into 1/2" slices for quick and even cooking.
To get the most health benefits from mustard greens, we recommend letting them sit for a minimum of 5 minutes before cooking. Sprinkling with lemon juice before letting them sit may be able to help activate their myrosinase enzymes and increase formation of beneficial isothiocyanates in the greens.
The Healthiest Way of Cooking Mustard Greens

From all of the cooking methods we tried when cooking mustard greens, our favorite is Healthy Sauté. We think that it provides the greatest flavor and is also a method that allows for concentrated nutrient retention.
Heat 5 tablespoons of broth (vegetable or chicken) or water in a stainless steel skillet. Once bubbles begin to form add mustard greens, cover, and Healthy Sauté for 5 minutes. Toss with our Mediterranean Dressing which includes 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 medium clove garlic (pressed or chopped), 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, salt and black pepper to taste . Top with your favorite optional ingredients.

A Few Quick Serving Ideas
Young mustard greens make great additions to salads.
  • Serve healthy sautéed mustard greens with walnuts.
  • Adding chopped mustard greens to a pasta salad gives it a little kick. One of our favorite combinations is chopped tomatoes, pine nuts, goat cheese, pasta, and mustard greens tossed with a little olive oil.

Friday, June 1, 2012

We Made the News!

Thanks to Margaret Hagen who works for our UNH Cooperative Extension and well known queen of NH Master Gardners we were recently showcased on her GROW IT GREEN show with our state's only television station, WMUR.  Wow, what a boost it gave to our sales out here.  Last weekend alone we made over $700 at our farm stand and many folks related to us they were motivated to come out by the show.  All week they continued to come out.  A huge thank you for Margaret and WMUR from our whole team!

A big shout out is due to our friend Mike Brien of Gilford, NH for recording the show and then posting it on UTube.  Here's the link if you'd like to view our show.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

And the Harvesting Begins!

We're harvesting!!!!!!!  All the hard work up to this point is finally reaping some amazing produce to include rainbow swiss chard, kales, greens, and collards.  Come on out and buy some of the most beautiful produce you've ever seen AND it's organic.  Right now we're selling some at the roadside stand; however, we really need to draw folks up the driveway to shop at our newly revised (not quite finished) farm stand.  So very much going on you've just got to come out and see for yourselves!  And by the way, our little seedling stand has generated a lot of funds for our farmers ... over $2500 to date and still going strong. 

Rainbow Swiss Chard (left) and Red Russian Kale and the Greens/Collards are just as impressive

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Great and Prosperous Day

Booth Display

Funds Overseers and Change Makers

Happy Customers

Our Gang
The  Annual Milford Garden Club Plant Sale proved a huge success on so many levels. 
  1. First and most importantly was the most gracious hospitality of our hosts, the Milford Garden Club Ladies.  They waved the $25 entry fee and provided all our farmers with beautiful gardening gloves so each now have their own.  The smiles when they received these gifts were priceless
  2. The farmers worked the environment, totally new to them, like old hands.  Each migrated to their own comfort zone.  Some advocating certain seedlings, some helping the customers hold plants while they chose more, some providing oversight of the cash box.  These honed skills will definitely prove of benefit when our Farmers' market opens next month. 
  3. The exposure of our project to the local population will reap great benefits in the long run.  We handed out lots of our cards and advocated.  Many customers promised to come out and buy more seedlings, volunteer in the fields, donate garden tools, and buy produce when it becomes available
  4. We made over $200 at the sale.  Meanwhile, our plant stand in front of the property generated over $100 more... a banner day for sure
  5. We all had fun

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Seedlings for Sale COME BUY YOUR PLANTS

Our program includes sales of both seedlings and ultimately produce.  All monies go to our farmers as a means to supplement their current income, money they desperately need to raise their family under less dire circumstances. 

Seedling sales include varieties of lettuce, mustard, collards, kale, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, radish, squash, pumpkins. 

So far our sale of seedlings  to a local farmer; Garden Centers in Amherst, Milford, and Hooksett; as well as our own little farm stand at the end of the driveway are proving most profitable for our Market Farmers.  They've worked so very hard and we're all thrilled at this initial success.  Needless to say, we can't wait to sell our beautiful produce. 

Delivering Seedlings to the Amherst Garden Center

Arranging Displays
Jenkins Road Farm Stand

Ultimately produce will be sold directly from the 64 Jenkins Road property on a daily basis as well as at the International Farmers' Markets which begin June 5.  These markets will be held in Manchester on Tuesdays from 3-6:30 PM at 315 Pine Street (east side) and then on Wednesdays 3-6:30 PM at Lafayette Park (west side). 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Joy Abounds

A good day.  It was beautifully sunny, we had prepared multitudes of "flats" filled with glorious seedlings for selling at local nurseries, and then the African music came on our boom box.  We just couldn't hold ourselves back, the joy exuded.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Preparing Fields for Planting

Clearing our two plots of land has proven arduous, but highly rewarding as the planting of our cold weather crops continues.  In addition to the Arel property (photos 1 & 2), we are now starting to cultivate parts of the Prince property (photos 3 & 4). 

Maria building raised beds for the Wala Walas

Dhumanti lining up the raised bed to ensure straight lines

Craig "The Tiller Man" tills while the farmers
weed and remove larger stones

Joy Abounds!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Calvary Comes to the Rescue!!!!

Of course it's raining cats and dogs on Monday when our Bedford High students told us they'd come back to help on their own time.  Given this, Gail and Jeremiah naturally assumed no one would show and started planning accordingly over early morning cups of coffe.  Soooo very much to do to include:
  • Move all plants from catepillar houses down to the now tilled (not all but enough) garden.  But because of the heavy rains, we would have to walk them down rather than destroy the Arel's lawn by driving them in the large truck... probably close to 150 trays of seedlings
  • Once catepillar houses were emptied, move seedlings from the greenhouse tables out to the catepillar houses and then the established eggplant and peppers onto the tables
  • Start separating the hundreds of tomato seedlings into their own cells, which also requires filling many trays with fertilized soil.  The tomatoes would then be secured in the grow chambers at the end of the day
  • Start planting some of the greens into the gardens... Wala Walas are now in the ground
Just an overpowering list for two people, so we contemplated taking a nap instead.  But low and behold two cars filled with 5 BHS students arrived around 9 AM raring to go.  There went our naps.  By the end of the day, all the above tasks were complete and while we were exhausted and soaked to the bone, the sense of accomplishment and pride abounded in all. All and all, a fantastic day thanks to these kind hearted and spirited Bedford teens. 
The Calvary arrives (1 more coming)

Mmmmmm, I love fish guts and seaweed


Monday, April 23, 2012

Day 2: Yet Another Great Day

We were saddened to see our Day 1 crew drive off, thinking we'd never get another great group of students like them.  Once again, we were proven WRONG.  Day 2 Bedford High Students proved equally enthusiastic, finishing up work done on Day 1 and pressing on with new and sometimes even more arduous tasks.  What joy!

Mentor Dave with new Demolition/Construction Team

Pure joy amid stench and heat

A scraping mission til beehive discoverd

Hard core throughout the day,
completing the dirtiest of jobs

Wants to come back during spring break to finish the job

And, he wants in with his construction buddy

Not thrilled when they found out they were mixing fish guts into soil;
however, you can see they adapted just fine

Day 2 Crew

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Demolition and Clean Up DAY 1

Mentor Dave working with demolition crew

Benches in front of Head Houses now gone. 
It's Cleanup time, not an easy task
Our Day 1 Team of 16 Bedford HS students worked incredibly hard to clean  up the head house area so we can start selling seedlings and ultimately our harvest right from here.  As a group, the only break they would take was a short lunch break.  We had to physically tear them away from their various missions when the bus arrived at the end of the day. 

Even the BHS Teachers Worked Hard, a Nasty Job

Green Waste Crew.  Loaded and Secured hundreds of pounds. 
AND, learned how to make a square knot

Supervisor Roger coached on taking down existing structure
 for ultimate move to the front of the head houses