Monday, October 19, 2020

Harvest Monday - 19 October 2020

 Sad to say but our first frost arrived early Sunday morning here in southern New Hampshire. Not necessarily sad from a harvest perspective, but for what it portends (winter, with no gardening). I'll talk more about it later.

I started the harvest week by cutting all the remaining winter squash from the mostly dead vines. I've shown all of these before, except for the lone Chirimen squash (a Yokohama-type) in the bottom right corner of the photo. It was an exceptional year for squash, and we've enjoyed all we've tried so far. The one with the long neck is a surprise Neck Pumpkin that formed late in the season.

Raspberries are continuing to gift us with an abundance. I'm not sure what effect the brief frost will have on them.

Early in the week we started the fermentation process on several types of peppers. From left, here are Habanero, Sugar Rush Peach (roasted first), and Hot Lemon. Two of them have airlock lids, but the Sugar Rush in the middle has to be burped daily. These should be ready in two weeks.

I sorted through the tomatoes ripening indoors and picked out the ones that were ready. 

There was enough to make another batch of thick, unseasoned sauce. The result filled four quart freezer bags.


Now about the frost. The temperature just touched freezing around dawn, held there for awhile, then started to climb. I was pretty sure that when I went out to the garden I would find damage, but that wasn't really the case...yet. Nonetheless, I felt it was time to take down the indeterminate tomatoes and peppers. I didn't try to salvage any tomatoes; it's already been a fabulous year for them and with what we already have ripening inside, we didn't need any more. I did want to harvest all the peppers though. So here's what I brought in.

On the left are all the Hot Lemon peppers; on the right, all the Sugar Rush Peach. There are also a few Serranos.  My plan is to roast the Sugar Rush and make an unfermented hot sauce. Not sure yet about the Hot Lemon. The Serranos are excellent for salsas.


In this picture are the Habaneros, the Madame Jeanette (Suriname), and the Thai hot peppers Full Moon and Vesuvius. I'm pretty sure I will make additional unfermented sauces with them.


And in this picture are all the cayenne and the sweet(ish) Mad Hatter peppers. The Mad Hatter will get chopped and frozen. 


I set up the smoker and smoked all the cayennes for drying and grinding. Since they are so thin, it took only a short time to smoke them.

Cayenne peppers on the smoker

So with that, we said goodbye to all the summer crops. Future Harvest Monday posts will be a lot less colorful! Thanks for reading, and thanks again to Dave at HappyAcres.blog for hosting Harvest Monday.






Monday, October 12, 2020

Harvest Monday - 12 October 2020

 Hello again from Eight Gate Farm. While technically we did not get a frost last week, it got awfully close. Some of the more tender plants looked frost-nipped. Prior to that, I picked all the ripe hot peppers.

From left: thin cayenne, Madame Jeanette, Sugar Rush Peach, Habanero, Hot Lemon

Same with the sweet ones.

Jimmy Nardello's, Arroz con Pollo

We also made a generous cutting of spinach, which filled two bags.

Spinach

Later, after the cold spell, I took nearly all the rest of the hot peppers from the plants that looked damaged.

From left: thin cayenne, Vesuvius, Hot Lemon, Habanero with a single Madame Jeanette

That should be enough to finally start the hot sauce process!

Having learned they were getting damaged by voles, I picked all the carrots. The vole-damaged ones on the left far outnumbered the others. But I'll let you in on a little secret. Trimming away the damaged ends and peeling them, we use them anyway.

Yaya carrots

I also picked all the remaining turnips. Some had grown quite large. This gave us useful greens as well.

Turnips

Here's what we had for the freezer from all that. In these uncertain times, it's comforting to know we have quality food put by.



Fall raspberries are giving us pleasure, with daily pickings like this or more.


As for tomatoes, I'm continuing to pick any that show some color and adding them to the pile on the kitchen island. One day last week I sorted though what we had to see what could be immediately used.


We processed those into 3 pints of thick sauce. Not enough to efficiently can, but great for ready use as needed.


The Kitchen Goddess and her mother closed down their plot at the community garden. As usual the "MIL" went home with a bounty. But they are sad it's over for the season.


That's a wrap for another week. Thank you for reading, and thanks again to Dave at HappyAcres.blog for hosting Harvest Monday.



Monday, October 5, 2020

Harvest Monday - 5 October 2020

 Autumn greetings from Eight Gate Farm! The week started off surprisingly warm, even humid. On Tuesday we took a day off from garden chores and drove two hours up to The North Country. We went through Franconia Notch and stopped where the famous New Hampshire icon “The Old Man of the Mountains” once could be viewed. The mist made it look gloomy.

The rocks making up the stone face fell in 2003. A helpful sign showed how it suddenly happened on that fateful night.


Continuing on, we took a pleasant hike to Cherry Pond in the Conte National Wildlife Refuge. The water was low because of the drought, but still made a pretty picture, with Mount Starr King in the background.


There were only two new harvests this week. These are hybrid Thai hot peppers called “Full Moon” and “Vesuvius.” Again, these plants came from my gardener friend who loves growing unusual peppers as much as I do.

Full Moon and Vesuvius

In non-new harvests, I picked all the Poblano peppers. These were stuffed with meat loaf (!), wrapped with bacon, and smoked. We ate what we could, and the rest went into the freezer.

Poblano peppers

I picked a bunch more ripe hot peppers. In the top row are Anaheims, then cayenne and Sugar Rush Peach, then Habaneros and Hot Lemons.

Hot to very hot peppers

I also picked a few seasoning peppers. Here’s an Alma Paprika, and some Arroz con Pollo.

We decided it was time to replenish the spice drawer. I picked all the remaining Anaheims, smoked them, and we finished drying them in the oven.

Smoked Anaheims prior to drying

The Kitchen Goddess then ground them in her dedicated spice mill.

Smoked Anaheim pepper powder

All the Alma Paprika peppers were dried and ground.

Paprika

And all the hot red chiles had the same treatment. This produced chile powder and some flakes.


I’m sure glad did that late-summer planting of spinach. Another thinning produced a good quantity of fresh greens for us. When I was a boy, spinach was my favorite vegetable; in fact, maybe the only one I ate (probably Popeye propaganda). Now it mainly goes into our morning smoothies; a thing unknown back then.

Spinach

It’s nice to still have flowers to cut and brighten the home.

That’s all for this week. Thank you for reading. It looks like we may get a frost overnight on Thursday. If so, that day should be busy! If we make it through that, it warms back up again for the rest of the forecast. Thanks as always to Dave at HappyAcres.blog for hosting Harvest Monday!

Monday, September 28, 2020

Harvest Monday - 28 September 2020

 Here’s another Harvest Monday update from Eight Gate Farm. This past week the weather moderated considerably from the near-freezing lows at the beginning of the week. We escaped any damage here, but two miles away, at the community garden, some of my plants were a little frost-nipped. It must be in a different microclimate.

Last year I bought a generic cayenne pepper plant to replace a plant that had died. I liked the way it grew, producing dozens of thin fruit. I got a lot of red ones, and many more that did not get red-ripe in time, but still made a very useful green chile hot sauce. I saved some seeds. It looks like the plant came up true this year, so it’s probably not a hybrid. I call it “Thin Cayenne” for lack of a better name. It gave me its first ripe fruit this week.


A friend gave me a “Madame Jeanette” pepper plant. This is also called Yellow Suriname. Its heat rivals Habanero. I got the first two ripe ones this week, shown here along with three Habaneros I picked at the same time. I will add the ripe ones to my Habanero sauce, and any remaining green ones to the green sauce. Should give it lots of kick!


Another first harvest this week was spinach. I heavily sowed four short rows on August 20. It has done well, and these are thinnings.

Giant Nobel spinach

I picked the last of the shishito peppers, regardless of size. I think having two plants is the right amount. Last year we had four, and that was really too many.

Mellow Star

I cut another 20 winter squash. We’ve now been able to try the Hunter butternut, and a couple of the Sugaretti spaghetti squashes. We’re very pleased with them.

Top: Butterscotch, middle: Sugaretti, bottom: Hunter

 This week we cracked open (literally) a 2 ½ pound Sugaretti, which yielded four servings cooked.

Cooked Sugaretti spaghetti squash

The Kitchen Goddess made a really wonderful “Keto Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca.” She added one of our eggplants to the recipe. It was nice to know that everything except the capers and olives came from our garden.

Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca

She also oven-dried and ground four of our Alma Paprika peppers.

Paprika

Here’s a picture of the tomato situation on Saturday. For safety, I’ve been picking them when just a little ripe and finishing them indoors. The fully ripe ones are in front of the “tomato boat.” 


With the small tomatoes, plus four of the beefsteaks, we made tomato paste. It took almost the whole day to simmer down. She put it into three trays that had held ginger paste, a teaspoon per cell. We had enough left over to fill three ice cube trays. 

Tomato paste

She froze them in the trays, then popped them out and put them into a ziplock bag. This will be very convenient for adding to dishes which require paste.

In wildlife notes, I snapped this picture of two young white-tailed deer. It’s grainy because I took it through a screen. Five seconds later they decided they didn’t like me, and took off like a shot for the woods. A few days later they came back with their mom.

White-tailed deer

That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading! Please check out all the other Harvest Monday posts at HappyAcres.blog.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Harvest Monday - 21 September 2020

 Hello again from Eight Gate Farm. As the first day of autumn approaches, the temperatures are dropping rapidly. Last night we got down to 35 F. (~1.7 C.) There was some frost on certain surfaces. So the “first harvests” have a “last gasp of summer” feel to them.

I picked the first Habanero peppers. When I get more to turn orange (hopefully!) I will turn them into a hot sauce. The sauce I made last year was a big hit with a friend when I gave him a bottle.

Habanero peppers

I picked the first fiery Hot Lemon peppers. If I get enough these too will become a hot sauce.

Hot Lemon peppers

I picked the first Sungold tomatoes from my hastily-assembled community garden plot. The plant was another gift. It’s nice to have friends that garden! I’ve never grown Sungold before, and am amazed at its productivity.

Sungold

While it’s been an excellent year for tomatoes and peppers, the same can’t be said about eggplants. My seedlings weren’t up to my usual standards, and once I set them out they suffered a major attack from flea beetles. So what you see here is going to be the bulk of the harvest.

Nadia eggplants

When we first “bought the farm” ten years ago, one of the first things I did was plant a Macoun apple tree. It’s grown beautifully, but never has given us any fruit. Either it blossoms and doesn’t set fruit, or fails to blossom at all. I was seriously thinking about cutting it down or at least severely pruning it. Lo and behold, it gave one apple this year! But it doesn’t fool me.

Macoun apple

In continuing harvests, more Anaheim peppers were picked, and thus more chiles rellenos were made.

Anaheim apple

I picked six big Poblano peppers, and all the remaining jalapenos. These were stuffed and smoked as usual.

I gathered a nice harvest of sweet peppers. At the top are Jimmy Nardello’s, then Cubanelles, then Cornito Rosso, and at the bottom the delightful seasoning pepper Arroz con Pollo. These were all cut and frozen without blanching. We found that worked great last year.

Sweet peppers

Our raspberries continue to produce. We are enjoying them in our breakfast smoothies, and even have enough to stock the freezer.


On Sunday we made another batch of really thick pasta sauce. We didn’t have time to can it that day, but I’m guessing there is maybe 5 quarts worth.


I close with a picture of some interesting flowers, "Dreadlocks Amaranth.” The plants self-sowed from last year. The Kitchen Goddess loves them, but I’m a little unsure. Actually I find them kind of creepy. They sure are colorful though.

Dreadlocks Amaranth

That's all for this week. Thanks for reading, and thanks once again to Dave at HappyAcres.blog for hosting Harvest Monday.