Friday, June 29, 2012

Saturday June 30th
Conover and Morganton Farmers' Markets til noon

This week’s organic garden harvest
Carrots, sweet Nantes
        “Red Russian”
Swiss Chard
Potatoes- Red, White and Blue potatoes! Yes those are the colors.  I love this potato mixture so much, and it makes the most festive All-American potato salad.  These are new potatoes so don’t scrub them. Soak them in cool water for 5 or 10 minutes and gently wipe them with a paper towel so the tasty, tender skins don’t tear off.
Garlic- You’ve never had garlic like this.  The garlic is a freshly harvested heirloom variety called Chesnook Red.
Cucumbers- Don’t miss our specialty, snack size, and American slicing cucumber varieties. 
Summer Squash- Flavor!  We’ve got some tasty varieties.  Nutty, firm, with a tender texture.  We’ve got 5 different types of squash for you. Choose from Cousa, Slik, Goldy, Parthenon, and Zephyr.

RED, WHITE, AND BLUE!  Stunning potatoes from our garden.  Image (and organic seed potatoes) from

See our pastured meats availability below in the next blog post.  Pork chops and more!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Pastured Pork- Pepperoni for the Fourth!  Grab a stick for appetizers at a cookout or for an easy snack while watching fireworks next week. 
 *This Saturday and next Wednesday, we will have pork chops, Italian sausage, Country sausage, and Bratwurst links. (Conover and Morganton markets on Saturday, Hickory Market next Wednesday.)
Pastured Free Range Eggs-  The hens have been munching away on clover and seem to enjoy the shade cloth over the windows in the Chicken Palace Coop.  All our animals are fed certified organic grains.
        -See recipe below for a tangy Cucumber Potato Salad with tasty pastured eggs!

Pastured Chicken- Free range on grass pastures, fed certified organic grains. Flavorful and tender.
-Packs of 2 boneless breasts
-Packs of 2 leg quarters and 2 wings
Pastured Beef (Hickory Market only)- Grazed on pastures with no antibiotics or hormones.  Very lean, flavorful and tender Angus beef.  The small amounts of fat in our pastured beef is “healthy” fat; higher in CLA’s and omega 3 fatty acids.  Our cattle is supplemented with small daily amounts of certified organic grains in the summer.
        -Gound beef     
        -Boneless stew beef (very tender for kabobs too)

Auntie Bonnie’s Potato Cucumber Salad
From the cookbook, How it all Vegan, 1999.
This tangy, tart salad will tickle your tastebuds.

2-3 cups new potatoes, cubed
1 tbsp fresh dill, chives or parsley, chopped (you can used green onions)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp prepared horseradish
¼ cup flax oil (or your choice of salad type oil)
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
2-3 cups cucumber, cubed
In a medium pot, boil the cubed potatoes in water until they can be pierced easily with a fork.  In a small bowl, whisk together the chosen herb, mustard, vinegar, horseradish, oil, salt, and pepper.  Set aside.  Once the potatoes are done, drain and rinse under cold water until cool.  In a medium bowl, mix together the potatoes, cucumbers and dressing just before serving. 
Marie’s adjustment:
I like to give the potatoes a quick rinse, then pour the dressing over the partially-cooled potatoes and refrigerate for a few hours.  Then mix the cucumbers in before serving.  This lets the flavor soak into the potatoes more.
·         Variation: (Not Vegan) Add some healthy protein- Chop boiled eggs into large chunks and sprinkle over the salad after combining the cucumbers into the potatoes.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Returning soon!  This Saturday at Conover and Morganton Farmers Markets.  Wednesday, the 4th of July for Hickory Farmers Market.    
      Delicious Bluebird Farm pastured pork raised with certified organic grains from Reedy Fork Farm!  

Still available:  Eggs from free range hens on pasture and pastured chicken. All fed certified organic grains.

The layer flock in the pasture with sheep and their palace.

And the vegetables keep growing!

Elisa and the delicious carrots!

The root crops are coming!  This week we have more tasty, sweet garden carrots at the Morganton and Conover Markets.  It is a great job pulling the bright orange, crisp roots from the soil.  After this weekend’s rain the soil was a crumbly texture perfect for digging.  The loose dark brown dirt just fell away from the roots.  The next digging project was potatoes.  This year we planted some potatoes here at Bluebird Farm to avoid the insect problems present in the big field at the other farm.  We also planted some over there to try to have more quantity.  We haven’t dug them up yet.  But the potatoes here at the home farm grew beautifully.  This week we'll have Yukon Gold potatoes at the Saturday  Morganton and Conover Markets. -a creamy yellow-gold type of potato.  Digging for potatoes is kind of looking for eggs, but in the ground.  We use the digging fork to loosen the soil around the plants.  But we can’t dig any closer because we might stab potatoes (stabbed about a dozen).  So then we go through by hand and grub for potatoes-turning them out of unexpected lumps of dirt and weeds.  It is quite the fun job, especially when you’re rewarded with baskets full of potatoes at the end!  Enjoy the bounty,
Your farmers,
 William and Marie

  William with a garden fork. 

Adam and Elisa display the fine potato harvest from a few beds.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Short market day tomorrow for Bluebird Farm. We’re at the Farmers’ Markets tomorrow until 9:30.
Morganton and Conover Farmers’ Markets

This week’s harvest
Carrots, sweet Nantes
        “Red Russian”
Pastured Chicken- packs of 2 boneless breasts and packs of 2 leg quarters and 2 wings.
Pastured Free Range Eggs-  The hens have been munching away on clover and seem to enjoy the shade cloth over the windows in the Chicken Palace Coop.
Pastured Pork-   Country Backbones (a great buy with succulent meat) and Side Meat   
        We’ll have chops and sausages next Saturday.

Garden treasures
Carrots are the most satisfying vegetable to harvest.  I carefully loosen the soil next to the row of carrots with a short handled digging fork and pull the carrots up from the rich soil with a gentle tug to their tall greens.
Sweet, crisp, and tender!  This deep orange Nantes carrot does not need peeling; just wash and eat raw.  You can go ahead and cook it if you’d like, but I don’t think they need to be cooked to enjoy their rich sweet flavor.
If you must cook them, don’t overcook-just lightly steam.  Try this flavorful recipe if you prefer cooked carrots.
Sweet Dill Carrots
Adapted from How it All Vegan!
6-10 medium carrots or 12-15 small carrots, sliced into your favorite shape
2 tblsp chopped  fresh dill or 1 tblsp dried dill
1 tblsp sweetener, your choice
1 tblsp olive oil
In a medium pot or steamer, steam the carrots until they can be pierced easily with a fork. Drain and then place the carrots in a small bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir together until well incorporated. Makes 2-4 servings. 

Digging fork

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Garlic and other goings ons

Elisa's got your kale!

Garlic Galore!
We love garlic. We adore that zesty flavor that garlic adds to vegetables and meats. Adam, Elisa, William, and I spent the afternoon harvesting, sorting, and bundling several varieties of garlic from the garden.  Garlic is rather homely looking straight out of the garden; it is covered in dirt.  You don’t wash it though, you hang it out to dry.  That way the garlic will keep for about 6 months or so. 

Elisa and Adam, our friends from the San Francisco area, are adventurous souls who are taking a working vacation at our farm this summer.  We’ve been so happy to have them working hard with us, and even more happy for the fun entertainment of friends!

Marie with the garlic pile


Dancing with the dog

Who let them on the farm?

Marie ad her flowers

Friday, June 15, 2012


Morganton (8 am til noon) and Conover Farmers’ Markets (7:30 til noon)
Check out the Black Bean, Chorizo, and Kale Burrito recipe below from

Today’s Harvest:
Remember, we don’t spray synthetic chemicals…Bugs love squash and zucchini plants, so they are typically heavily sprayed with pesticides. We use a natural and certified organic product made with Chrysanthemum flowers for squash bugs (and other pests when needed) in our garden.  Similarly, cucumbers get pest insects too.  Our pesticide management attitude is to share a bit with the critters, so we don’t mind that our veggies don’t look “perfect.”

All raised with organic methods.
Summer squash and zucchini- small and tender.  We like to add chopped zucchini to a pasta salad. 
Cucumbers- so fresh and crisp and sweet. Many varieties to choose from!
Red Russian” Kale See recipe below
“Curly” Kale See recipe below  
“Lacinato” Kale- an Italian heirloom, tasty and tender See recipe below
Parsley- Chop finely and add a fresh from the garden flavor to anything.
Cilantro- fresh and lively
Dill-nothing like a little fresh dill sprinkled over a lovely salad.

Free Range Eggs: The hens are still laying well! Eggs from free range hens fed organic grains on grass pasture. 
Free range on pasture!

Pastured Pork:  Well, we have a low supply of most cuts of our fabulous pork. 
Spicy Chorizo sausage.  We still have a few pounds of this tasty sausage- try with black beans.
Side Meat- Rub in kosher salt, black pepper, and maple syrup the night before.  Fry over medium heat in a cast iron skillet.  Meaty and chewy with rich flavor…kind of like the tasty, chewy parts of a pork chop.
Our pork supply will dwindle until June 30th.  We’ll have more thick, bone-in pork chops and sausage at the June 30th Morganton and Conover markets.

Pastured Chicken: We have whole chickens, entire cut-up chickens, and boneless breasts.  Our chickens are raised outdoors on grass pasture roaming and eating organic grains.

 Red Russian kale

Beans 'n Greens Burritos w/ Chorizo
slightly adapted from the Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman
yield: ~8-10 burritos (depending on size of tortilla)

8-10 homemade whole wheat tortillas 
*see recipe below, or store bought
2 Tbs. olive oil
½ lb. fresh,
 homemade chorizo, or store bought
~1 Tbs. minced garlic
~1 Tbs. chipotle chile powder
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
~1 lb. kale, roughly chopped
2 c. cooked or canned black beans, drained, liquid reserved
½ c. crumbled queso fresco
Pico de Gallo, for serving

Heat the oven to 350° F. Stack tortillas and roll them up in a sheet of foil.  Place them in the oven to warm while you cook the filling.

Place oil in a large, cast-iron skillet over medium heat.  When it's hot, add the chorizo and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat, until it is cooked through.  If the pan is very dry (which is more likely with homemade chorizo than storebought), add a bit more oil.  Add garlic and onion and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until they are soft.  Sprinkle in chile powder, a bit of salt and pepper, and then add kale.  Cook, stirring from time to time until it wilts and releases liquid, ~5 minutes.  Stir in the black beans, mashing a bit with a fork or potato masher, adding a bit of the reserved bean liquid if mixture seems too dry.

To roll each burrito, lay a tortilla on a flat surface and divide the filling mixture evenly among the tortillas (amount you get will depend on size of tortilla) on the third closest to you.  Sprinkle on cheese.  Fold tortilla over from bottom to cover filling, then fold in the sides to fully enclose them; finish rolling and put burrito seam side down on  a plate.  Serve with pico de gallo on side.

Curly kale growing in the field and a hoophouse covering tomatoes in the background.

Red Russian Kale growing

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Wet and rain

Curly kale beds with hoophouse in background

        Maybe it’s not officially summer, but out in the vegetable field it sure feels like it.  The warm green days are beginning to blend together in our heads and it’s hard to keep straight one day from the next.  Did we weed that yesterday or three days ago?  When was the last time we checked on the tomatoes? 
        The defining characteristic of this week has been the water, rain here and there and everywhere. The pasture and vegetables have been enjoying the regular moisture.  The farmers, well, we just try to be happy for the plants.  We can try to shift our work a little bit to be in the barn or under cover during rain.  But usually we just have to do the same thing we would have done otherwise, only wetter. 
        This week-don’t ask which day, I’ve forgotten already-we had a record transplant day.  In only a 3 hours Marie, William, and a friend who has been helping weekly set out about 200 squash, 250 cucumbers, and 150 basil plants.  The squash and cucumbers you’ve been enjoying the last few weeks are from the first two successions of plants.  Like with the lettuce and other greens that we plant frequently to ensure a continuous harvest we plant multiple ages of squash and cucumbers through the summer.  A planting only has a peak harvest of 2-4 weeks depending on weather, insects, weeds, and nutrients in the soil.  So we plan to plant monthly up until August.  The August plants will be the last because they will start producing in September, a month before our October frost.  Any later plantings wouldn’t have a chance to produce before frost.
        Enjoy the harvest!

William and Marie              

Close up of curly kale growing in the garden.  Try the kale chips recipe in this previous post...

Check out this picture of tomato plants in the hoophouse from almost 2 weeks ago.  The plants are about 1 1/2 feet taller now!  We will have tomatoes in about a month or sooner.