Siena Farms Blog
Maybe you found our little blog because you’re a fan of our farmstand…
Or maybe you found our page because you’re a CSA member…
Or maybe you came here because you needed some new ideas for veggies…
Whatever your reason, we’re glad you’re here! Did you know that even though it’s mid-season you can still join us for a CSA Farm Share? Click the little CSA tab at the top to find out what the pro-rated amount is to get a 1/2 bushel box of the best we’ve got – now through Thanksgiving.
If you’re here for new recipes or to share what’s going on with your Siena Farms veggies this year, please look below or leave us a comment with your delicious dish!
We love fairytale eggplant! The clever name most likely derived from its fantastic color scheme and miniature size. The fairytale is bred to be small, thin-skinned and have a beautiful purple and white color pattern. The smooth texture and superior taste define this eggplant when it’s cooked because the purple fades to a rich caramel after five minutes. The fairytale’s creamy flavor is drawn out on the grill or in the oven, converting even the most ardent hater of eggplant. There is no need to peel the skin or salt and rinse, just grill-roast and enjoy like an eggplant popper!
These are the days that New Englanders and farmers alike wait for all year long. Cool mornings, hot sunny days and temperate evenings are a farmer’s reward for lasting through the hottest July days. The extra reward for us right now is the completely ideal growing weather we’ve experienced recently. Steady rain followed by warm sun like today is the perfect formula for summer yields and germinating fall crops. Our onion crop has finally been cured and stored for the winter, surpassing our previous yield record by almost double. It’s quite a sight in our big barn where our garlic is already hung and cured and now, our onions and shallots are stacked to the ceiling. As the storage crops begin to fill every space we have we are still enjoying our steady tomato harvest and the best that the summer has to offer.
No, we’re not serving lunch, but we are growing the best produce for you to enjoy your lunch! It occurred to us the other day just how rockin’ a Nicoise Salad would be with all Siena Farms’ goodies. With our bounty of tomatoes popping up every day, we’re ready to share with you a classic recipe from epicurious.com. Epicurious is the website that coordinates all recipes from top national food magazines.
Be sure to make yours with SF onions, garlic, parsley, haricot verts, fresh dug potatoes, bell peppers and tomatoes! Talk about a taste of Summer…
Summer watermelons evoke so much nostalgia for New Englanders that is has become a treat we savor year round. Nothing even comes close to a local, vine ripened watermelon during the beautiful August months. Their flesh is sugary and sweet, the seeds crunchy and the rind is filled with juice. When you are done enjoying the red flesh, squeeze the rind and collect the juice. It will produce noticeably more juice than a store bought watermelon. Our method of growing does not rely on any herbicidal spraying that makes a conventional watermelon rind unsafe to eat. This means you can enjoy the juice, pickle the rinds, and savor the natural flavor of this wonderful fruit! Don’t forget about the endless cocktail possibilities! Let us know how you enjoy your melons.
It’s a shame that there aren’t more beet lovers out there! Each year we get excited to see them poking through the ground, only to spy their rainbow of colors as we harvest them. From red ace, to chiogga, to golden and candy stripes – beets are magically delicious!
At Oleana and Sofra they roast them and blend with greek yogurt, lemon juice, dill, garlic and black pepper to make beet tzatziki… to die for! What about pickling some, grilling, roasting, or even just shaving raw over a summer salad?
Beets, goat cheese and arugula salads are a great balance of sweetness, earth, spiciness (from the arugula), tang and a fresh crunch.
Have you thought about a cold, summer borscht? In Poland they fill pierogies with this tasty root. In New Zealand they always add a slab to the top of their favorite burger. In the Ukraine they serve a beet salad with pickles, carrots, and peas with fresh onion.
Sometimes we like to slice them thinly and roast in a hot oven until they are just a bit toasty on the edges. A bit of the water evaporates and the sugars caramelize… sprinkle those babies with a touch of sea sale for a salty-sweet side that is pretty darn amazing!
What are you doing with your beets?
Organic farming is a true challenge and every year we choose to make important improvements to our infrastructure in order to maximize efficiency and crop yields. This year we added a new piece of machinery that may look tame in pictures, but it’s pretty awesome and tough – a large tractor mounted flame weeder!
The flame weeder allows us to kill weed flushes that begin to grow before young seeds germinate. This is crucial for crops such as fall carrots, where the germination period is long enough for weeds to push their way through the earth. Just a few short days after planting, the tilled soil begins to show a flush of tiny weeds. At this exact and very small window in time, our farmers use the flamer to burn the weeds, providing uncontested growth for the new seeds to pop a day or two later. This process makes the early stages of cultivation easier. We can also more easily observe the crop’s “stand” (the percentage of the seeds planted that grew). Flaming is much more eco-conscious and cost effective than many herbicide sprays, we are happy to have it in our repertoire
After many days without rain, our fields got a much deserved drink today. Thank you, Mother Nature! The veggies thank you, too!
Weeds are a constant concern for farmers especially in the height of the summer when the conditions are perfect for rapid growth. It takes our two most experienced tractor drivers, Troy and Eero, the majority of each day riding the cultivating tractors pictured above just to stay ahead of aggressive weed growth. The two cultivation tractors run blades in between our nine-row beds destroying the weed population before it has time to establish itself. One of the challenges this time year, is managing the cultivation schedule in dry fields because, in turning the soil to destroy weeds, you also deplete essential moisture content. Without running the cultivation tractor, the weeds will take over and reach above growing plants for sunlight. As the summer drought lingers, Troy and Eero have had to stay extra in-tune with each of our fields and every micro detail in order to preserve freshly seeded fall crops. Luckily, the steady heat and more specifically the dry (no humidity) air has allowed our tomatoes to keep their advantage over early blight as we push toward heavier harvests. Keep an eye out for some simple tomato recipes for you all to enjoy this weekend.
Tomato Season is here! The unrelenting heat that made history in July has broke, giving us manageable warmth and plenty of sunshine. The dog days can be uncomfortable, but tomatoes love them! And when the July heat subsides our lovely tomatoes begin to turn red and the harvest begins. Tomatoes are sensitive to weather and disease, hence their late start this season. Their vulnerability makes the beginning days of the tomato season that much more nerve wracking as minute nutrient deficiencies can stunt growth or cause disease. Despite our paranoia, the first tomato harvests have garnered healthy looking fruit. With the sun showing no sign of stopping, we are sure the harvest will begin to get heavy.Every tomato is picked by hand and placed into a small plastic lug that can hold about 30 medium tomatoes. Those lugs are brought to our washing station and rinsed and dried. They are then sorted by ripeness and stored in Farmer Chris and Chef Ana’s garage to insure a sterile, fruit fly free environment
. On market days we bring a selection of the best tomatoes we have to offer along with so many other classic summer crops. Iconic summer veggies like eggplant, peppers, onions, zucchini, cucumbers and corn all grace the farm stand. As the season hits its peak in mid September, we will have the majority of our fall crops as well as the remnants of tomato season harvests. After the first frost, these blissfully flavorful summer veggies disappear, so get your canning supplies out and buy in bulk! Come by our Markets and see for yourself!