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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Heirloom Vegetables

Fresh Sustainable Produce - Grown Locally
September 29, 2015
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Farmer's Notes: Heirloom Vegetables

Here at Cane Creek Farm we grow about 50 varieties of vegetables, both heirloom and more modern types. As we find heirloom vegetables we like, we add them to our repertoire.

Heirloom vegetables are about flavor, about color and shape, about variety and timelessness and perhaps most fascinatingly, about lore. The Jimmy Nardello sweet frying pepper is an example.Jimmy was of the first Nardello generation born in America.  His Mother brought the seeds for her beloved peppers from the B  region of southern Italy when they migrated to Connecticut. In Naugatuck, he built terraces like they did in the hillsides of southern Italy.  He dried the peppers to use in the winter and kept seeds for the following year.  When he died  in 1983, he donated seed to the Seed Savers  Exchange, who have been stewards of the pepper for 30 years. They are now listed on the Slow Foods Ark of Taste, a sorta endangered list for vegetables. As soon as our Jimmy Nardello peppers turn red they will be in the shares.

Our pumpkins are heirloom seed from a more local source.  Up in Dawsonville, these pumpkins have been grown for generations. When Bradley Weaver wanted to get started growing pumpkins, his neighbor, of Burt's Pumpkins fame gave him some of the heirloom seed his family had always grown and he has been growing them for 10 years.  When his mother, Karen took my Organic Growing Class, she told me about the seed, and vowed that I would not have any problems growing them, as I had had with previous varieties.  Was she ever right!  These pumpkins grow so vigorously and they taste delicious! Their color and shape is not the jack o' lantern standard, but that is what you get with heirloom seed.
If you want to visit a nice pumpkin patch without so much hype, try Bradley's Pumpkin Patch
 

Peppers

We grow all kinds of peppers here at the farm. It has taken me almost 10 years to get down the pepper growing here in our moist, creek-bottom soil. My friend and fellow farmer Harold Carney has been my pepper mentor. I still don't grow peppers as well as he does, but we have certainly improved.

The lunchbox peppers have very few seeds, so they are fine to eat whole as a snacking pepper.  They also make a pretty appetizer when halved and stuffed with pimento cheese or a herbed cheese.  Jalapeño peppers stuffed with cream cheese and grilled or broiled are also delicious.

Bell peppers can be used along with onions and garlic as a base for a soup, rice dish, potato dish, stew, etc.  Peppers and cheese go together really well, so a casserole of peppers and cheese is yummy. I also like to add a little diced pepper to eggs, salads, or anything else when you want a little color.

 

Pumpkins

To prepare the pumpkin, take the seeds out and cut it into chunks. Oil a cookie sheet or two or three and bake the pumpkin until it is tender, about 30-40 minutes. Cool and remove the skin.  Puree in a food processor or blender.
Allison's Pumpkin Bread(Makes 2 loaves)
Ingredients
3 cups of flour
1 tbls + 2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp of baking soda
1 1/2 tsp of salt
2 1/2 cups of sugar
2 cups of pumpkin puree
4 large eggs
1 cup of vegetable oil (I used 1/2 cup of oil and 1/2 cup of applesauce)
1/2 cup of orange juice OR water
1 cup of dried cranberries  
1. Preheat oven to 350 F
2. Grease and flour OR line with wax paper 2 9x5 pans
3. Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl
4. Combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil, and juice OR water in another large bowl. Beat until just blended.
5. Make a well in the flour mixture and add pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture. Stir only until moist
6. Fold in cranberries
7. Spoon batter equally into pans
8. Bake: 60 to 65 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean
9. Let cool and enjoy!!!!
Thanks to Allison Mehler for this great recipe!

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Photo above:Bradley's Heirloom pumpkins

This Week's Share

Wash your produce before eating

Medium
Garlic
Pumpkin
Peppers
Okra
Malabar spinach
Greens


Large
All of the above plus,
Eggplant
Lunchbox peppers
Baby Pac Choi

 

Recipe ideas
Raw okra salad - Combine 18 pods of okra, sliced, 1 small tomato, chopped, 1 clove of garlic, mashed, 1 sweet banana pepper,cut in rings,1 half a small onion, chopped
Season with 2-4 tablespoons of olive oil and a tablespoon of soy sauce.
Such a simple salad that I have enjoyed often this fall.
Okra pickles are great and with this refrigerator version, so easy.
1 cup white vinegar
2 cups water
1 tsp celery seed
1 pound small okra pods, washed with stems removed
2 cloves garlic
        2 small chili peppers                   
Make a brine with vinegar, water and celery seeds.  Boil in an enamel or stainless steel pot. Pack okra firmly in hot, scalded pint jars. In each jar put 1 clove of garlic and 1 chili pepper. Pour boiling brine over the okra and place the tops on the jars. Store in the refrigerator.

Pepper Poppers
Jalapeño peppers
Cream cheese
Bacon
Remove seeds and membranes with a spoon.  Wear gloves if you use your fingers.  Stuff each half of the pepper with cream cheese then put the halves together.  Wipe away any excess cheese.  Wrap each pepper with a 1/3 of a piece of bacon and fasten with a toothpick.  Broil until the bacon is crisp.  Serve as a hot appetizer!  The cream cheese and broiling tame the heat of the peppers to some extent.
Lablabi
4 15.5 oz cans of chickpeas, about 6 cups
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
6 slices day-old bread, broken into small pieces
Garnishes
1 preserved lemon sliced
6 sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, thinly sliced
1 tbs ground cumin
6 tsp rinsed capers
6 tsp hot pepper chili paste
6 tbs olive oil
 
Strain and rinse the chickpeas and add them t a 4 quart pot with 6 cups of water, the garlic, and the salt.  Bring to a boil and then simmer until the chick peas are heated through. To serve, place one crumbed slice of bread in each bowl and fill with the hot broth and chickpeas. Garnish with slices of preserved lemon and sun-dried tomatoes, a pinch of cumin, a teaspoon each of chili paste and capers, and a healthy drizzle of olive oil.
 

 
Heirloom varieties grown at Cane Creek Farm

Jimmy Nardello peppers

Cherokee purple tomatoes

Purple  top Turnips

 

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Our mailing address is:
5110 Jekyll Rd. Cumming, GA
visit us online at www.canecreekfarm.net







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Cane Creek Farm · 5110 Jekyll Rd. · Cumming, GA 30040 · USA

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