Tuesday, June 19, 2012

SVSF @ Beltane Farm!

To kick off the first week of summer, SVSF paid a visit to Beltane Farm in Lebanon, CT for a seasonal goat milk cheese tasting. (Photos courtesy of Paul Parzyszek)

We even met some roadside llamas along the way:

Spending some quality time nursing the newborns:

After a thorough introduction to the goats, the farmers and the wide variety of cheeses on the menu, we spent an hour in the tasting house enjoying the local art (fantastic pottery, artisan goat milk soaps and local honey) and tasting the selection before proceeding to the checkout to buy a couple pounds of cheese to enjoy at home. A favorite of the group included the chive and black pepper fresh chevre: an award winning cheese made in fresh weekly. Other seasonings include dill, black pepper, boursin and plain

Another favorite was the Dans de la Lune, a French style rinded cheese ripened for 10-12 days, thick and creamy with a tart and fruity finish, great for pairing with white wine. 

The majority of Beltane Farm products are sold at local CT farmers markets. You can check here to see if their products will be available at a market near you. Big thanks to Paul Trubey and his staff for the wonderful visit! Next visit: Cassidy Hill Vineyard in Coventry?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Why did the chicken cross the road?

To get to it's playground!
Well, that's what the chickens at SVSF are doing at least.

Another awesome summer project we took on was to extend the chicken coop and build them a little playground so they have more room to hang out and play when we can't let them out onto the farm to roam and play there. We added an additional 10 feet in length to the chicken's fencing and created a little door way for them to go in and out of the new fenced in area. Here's a snap shot of the new fencing!

In addition to the fencing, you may have noticed the wooden structure in the middle. With the help of farmers Laura, Jen and additional assistance from farm groupie/ Laura's boyfriend, Karl, we used twine and some pieces of wood to create a little "playground" as we like to call it for the chickens to hop up on and roost on top of when they wanna flap their wings but don't want to go in their coop. Here's another picture of it in use by the chickens!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

From Plots to Plates

Nothing is better than fresh produce for dinner and us at spring valley student farm definitely understand that! Today while reviewing the fields with Julia we got the opportunity to snag two of the Chioggia beets, also known as candy- striped beets. Using the beets, farm fresh eggs from our chickens and a radish from the field Jenn S and I took to making ourselves a little dinner.

Here is a picture of us with our ingredients before cooking them.

Here are the eggs, the beet and the leaves of the beets. We put the beet in tin foil and broiled it in the oven to get all the delicious beet flavors mixed in. We took the stalk of the beets and after lots of rinsing we divided them up into two sections. We sautéed some of the stalks in a pan with the radish and combined it with the scrambled eggs for a makeshift omelet. The remaining stalks we simply steamed because we wanted to enjoy the stalks natural flavor. 

After 30 minutes of broiling, scrambling and sautéing we got our delicious and completely home-harvested meal to perfection.

In the bowl we have the split apart Chioggia beet and the steamed stalks. On the plate is our delicious beet stalks and radish scrambled eggs. The most fun part of the meal was definitely splitting open the Chioggia beets. It was also a pleasant surprise to find out the beets had a different and almost sweeter taste than normal beets that are darker and not striped.

Here's Jenn S. enjoying her meal that came right from the plot to her plate! 

Post by: Jen Kruzansky

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Beans, Beans the Magical Fruit

Everybody loves beans, maybe you like them in your burrito, or possibly you like them baked, or maybe you just like the song about them. Either way beans are a great crop for our garden and we took no hesitation with the architecture and building of different types of bean poles for our climbing beans. We set out to make two different designs and after much research we settled on two different methods.

Our first idea utilizes wood poles with twine strung across each pole. We hope that the beans will grow up and curl around the different levels.

Our second design is quite different and these ones resemble may poles. We simply took slim branches from the woods and attached twine to the top and fastened the ends into the ground. These are taller and we hope their height will allow them to also grow taller than the other ones.

We are super excited to see the outcome and we will keep you posted on more bean action in the near future.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Summertime and the livings...dirty.

This summer has been filled with non-stop plant action. We have been filling our days with clearing out  patches, weeding, harvesting and of course planting! This summer so far we have planted a numerous array of crops. We have planted everything from beans to corn to squash and even a few plants with fun names such as 'diva zucchini'.

Here are a few pictures of our different crops!

Here is some garlic with some lettuce growing in-between!

These are our potatoes, we have hilled them so they can expand their tubers more and make us more delicious potatoes.

This is Mesclun, we are getting ready to harvest these soon!

Here we have Tanner working on our asparagus! 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Spring Valley Student Farm welcomes summer farmers!

This summer most of the farmers stayed, however we did say goodbye to some for the summer (they will be back in the fall, so no need to worry.) To Lina, Chris, Shane and Paul we wish all of you good luck on your adventures this summer!

While goodbyes are sad it is always nice when they are accompanied by some hellos and we give a big welcome to our new summer farmers, Jen Silverstein, Jen Kruzansky and Brett Lehner!

Both are members of the ecohouse learning community and took a wonderful opportunity to help out and live on the farm for this summer. We are very excited to welcome them and have them join our community. You can check out the "About the Farmers" page to learn more about them!