Summer is already starting to wind down for us. Brian goes back to school on Monday (his off-farm job is a middle school music teacher). He loves teaching and looks forward to it, but it is always hard for him not to be able to work on our land all day. We have two more markets left; there isn't going to be a market on labor day. Our crops are still producing like crazy, so we are working out a weekly produce drop. Also, we may be doing a once a month indoor market as well. Keep checking the blog or email for more info.
Earlier this week we took the kids to the coast to visit the aquarium, play on the beach, explore tide pools, and buy some yummy crab. It was lots of fun, although nerve-racking when the kids were wading in the waves! It is such a blessing to live just an hour or two from the coast.
I haven't been doing as much baking this summer, but I have been making no-knead, dutch oven bread. You can find the recipe here. It is so fast and easy, and impresses guests. By cooking it in dutch oven or other heavy duty covered pot, it seals in the moisture and heat to make perfect artisan bread. The dutch oven we use came from Brian's great grandfather, who mined for gold and lived in a tiny cabin in Southern Oregon. I feel in touch with our family's history ever time I use it. When we first got our dutch oven cast iron pot, it was rusty and neglected. But we did lots of scrubbing and curing and now I use it often for roasting chicken and veggies, cooking in my solar oven, or baking bread.
Brian finished the chicken tractor and we have three of our hens in it digging up the soil, eating weeds and bugs, and fertilizing in between rows of vegetables. I picked a few of our hens that seemed to be either getting picked on by other hens or getting too much attention from our rooster. We have also put been putting our goats in the lower field and they are getting
to work munching thistles.
We are still planting for the winter gardens and I am try to plan what I would like to plant for the rest of this year: cover crops, garlic, fava beans, etc. We are also starting to get ideas about what to grow next year. We are looking at what worked this year, what didn't sell, what we sold out of, and what gaps we had in availability. If you have any ideas or there is something special you would like us to grow for you, let us know! We would love some input.
This year was really done "by the seat of our pants"; we basically just grew what we normally grow and brought the excess to the market. Items we thought would sell really well didn't (lettuce, radishes) but items I didn't anticipate selling a lot of always sell out (onions, eggplant). So we are planning with that information in mind. Although, next year's market may be totally different. One of our biggest questions is whether or not to increase the size of our flock. Right now we have 20 chickens and when we sell out of eggs we end up just barely covering our feed costs, and not covering the labor involved. The eggs are fun, and people seem to really like them, but we aren't sure how cost effective they are. I now know why people charge so much for eggs at the larger farmer's markets. We hope to see you all at the last markets; we will keep updating the blog and have items (fall produce, honey, goats milk soap, salves, etc) available all fall and into the winter.