Digging Potatoes by Tractor

Today was the first day we used our new potato digger – an implement which connects to the 3-point behind the tractor with a furrower that digs into the ground just below the spuds  This may not sound like a big deal, but I assure you this is like reaching the 21st century for us.  Until this point digging potatoes was a medieval endeavor where I jumped as high as I could on a 5-tine potato fork and then throw my back into popping potato plants out of hard August ground.  As I wrenched on the potato fork (2 years ago I broke 4 of them), Mar burrowed through the dirt behind me like a badger.  This was always the job that we never really wanted to do.  On a harvest day, we typically only tackled the job after having a few cups of coffee and it typically took us about 2 hours to get a bin by hand.

Today was quite a difference.  We still had to burrow through the ground searching for potatoes, but digging with the tractor took a grand total of about 10 minutes.

In the Box:

Cherry Tomatoes: It’s luck of the draw if you got ‘Sakura’ Grape tomatoes, ‘Sungold’ cherry tomatoes, or ‘black cherry’ tomatoes. 
Red Cabbage: See recipe below. 
Green Onions
Summer Squash: Everyone has a zucchini plus either a straightneck summer squash or yellow zucchini – you can use straightneck the same as zucchini.  Try as a fritter (grated squash with a couple eggs – fry in a pan).
Purple Kohlrabi
Greens: Most people got swiss chard, but some got collards 
Italian Parsley 
Yellow ‘Elfy’ Potatoes: I’m impressed with these potatoes as the first time growing them…we simply boiled them and found them to be really creamy.  
‘Provider’ Green Beans  

Spicy Mexican Slaw with Lime and Cilantro from KalynsKitchen.com

(Makes about 4 servings, recipe can be easily doubled. Recipe adapted slightly from Fine Cooking Annual 2008.)

4 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
(You can use all green or all red cabbage.)
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (or more)
4 T mayo
3 T fresh lime juice (more or less to taste)
hot sauce to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp. green Tabasco sauce)
salt to taste (I used Vege-Sal)

Thinly slice cabbage, using a mandoline or food processor if desired. Slice green onions, and wash, dry and chop cilantro. (I use a Mini salad spinner to wash herbs and spin them dry.) Combine cabbage, green onions and cilantro in large salad bowl.

In small bowl, whisk together, mayo, lime juice, and hot sauce. (You may want to start with less than the full amount of lime juice and hot sauce and keep adding until you have the desired blend of sour/hot flavor.)

Use a wooden spoon to mix dressing into cabbage mixture. Season to taste with salt and serve immediately, or chill for a few hours.

This salad will keep well overnight in the refrigerator, but the lime juice will cause the red cabbage to bleed color and turn the salad slightly pink. If you’re making extra you might want to use all green cabbage, although I didn’t mind the pink color at all when I ate the leftovers!

New Tools at Lida Farm

Each year we typically add a new tool or two to the farm arsenal. This year, after breaking about 5 potato forks last year, we picked up a broadfork from Johnnys in Maine (it’s even made in Maine). As you can see from the picture it is like a potato fork but with two handles. It’s a strong steel design with about 15 tines on the bottom that even I haven’t been able to break yet. A broadfork is designed for deep tillage or aerating ground so as to break up hardpan or the area at the depth of a plow or disk where the ground is quite hard. I use it to harvest potatoes and I’ve found it to work great for harvesting carrots where I can dig a foot and a half of the row instead of the 8 inches with a traditional potato fork. Cool.

Like everybody we try to find those tools which make out life a bit easier and fit our scale. The tempation in this kind of work is to put a motor on everything. Sometimes that makes sense, but I always say “but then I have to take care of another engine…” I guarantee my broadfork will work when it’s rainy or cold or hot – more than I can say for my snowblower.

In the box:
Watermelon: Most everybody should have received a yellow variety called Sunshine, although some of you hit the jackpot and got a new variety I grew called Orange Sherbert – they look the same from the outside so it’s a surprise. Man, these are nice.
Melon: Most everybody got a white-fleshed Ananas variety called San Juan, although some got a green-fleshed Galia melon called Diplomat.
Sweet Corn
Russet Potatoes
Italia Pepper: This is the long green-red pepper…it is sweet, not hot. This first flush aren’t the prettiest, but I wanted to get some in the box, because, if you’re like me, you’re getting impatient for some colored peppers.
Islander Purple Pepper
A Roma Tomato Mix: I thought we’d switch up from the standard slicing varieties for a week. The yellow romas are nice – they are either a variety called Powers or Golden Rave. The reds are San Marzano.
Carrot Bunch: Mixed varieties again or standard orange with some Atomic Red or White Satin or Yellow Sun mixed in.
A Couple Cucumbers
Japanese or Italian Eggplant: It’s Japanese if it’s long and slender or a varity called Nadia or Zebra if standard eggplant shape. They cook and are prepared the same way.

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