A spud of a different color

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we’re kind of potato people. Chances are if you’re a member you’ve come across some of our early varieties, Augusta or Red Norland, but more selection is to come! We have dedicated just over half of an acre of our growing space to good ole fashion spuds. But we’re not satisfied by just any potato. We are growing seven varieties of organic, heirloom potatoes that you won’t find in your average grocery store (many of which are pink or purple). But, seven varieties may seem overwhelming. Crazy even. Who grows seven varieties of potatoes?! Why grow so many? Is there even a difference?

Well, we honestly didn’t (well, the interns didn’t at least) know the difference until last night. Despite the descriptive differences found online and in seed books, the seven varieties can easily seem to blend together. Surely they are all just potatoes right? We decided to put our spuds to the ultimate test: A potato face-off.

Our incredible spuds show off their color just before baking.

Our incredible spuds show off their color just before baking.

In the front of the photo you see the familiar Red Norlands with the soon-to-come purple and pink tie-dye Purple Vikings. We hate to brag, but honestly it was quite an impressive sight seeing them all laid out. After a rinse, we chopped them and baked them all in tin foil with a little bit of olive oil and salt. Then it was time for the blind taste test. Each contestant (everyone other than me) was given a score sheet on which they graded each potato on a scale from one to five in three different categories: flavor, texture, and visuals. At the end of the testing I tallied the scores.

As far as numbers go, the Purple Viking ended up on top. With its stunning colors and creamy texture it was no surprise, though, there was some dissent among the group with many arguing for the Desiree potato (which won’t be out until later in the season). Desiree climbed its way to the top of the texture list while the classic red skinned and white fleshed Red Norland held a steady lead on the visual front.

The Purple Viking variety came out on top of the over-all spud competition.

The Purple Viking variety came out on top of the over-all spud competition.

We also decided that we should turn the tables a bit and judge the judgers. Turns out that Meghan is the true potato lover of the group (giving most of the spuds high scores) while one unnamed member of the group seemed to lack an appreciation for spudly glory. So long story short: All of the potatoes were great but, look forward to the Purple Vikings this fall and make sure to ask Meghan about her favorite varieties (she’ll be at the St. Joe farmer’s market this weekend)!

Catching up and camp

Hello there!

First, I apologize for the delay! It’s been an eventful week at the farm so finding time to sit down and write has been tricky, but now I’ve got lots to tell (and show) you! I know you’re all on the edge of your seats about the vegetable challenge. By Friday afternoon we had all finished our vegetables and had started supplementing with tomatoes! We are continuing the challenge this week, which has been a bit harder, but still rewarding! Especially with the new potatoes to look forward to. Yum.

Julio takes the campers on a hayride through the fields.

Julio takes the campers on a hayride through the fields.

 

We had a bit of extra help harvesting those potatoes this week because farm camp was in session! The first week of farm camp concluded yesterday with a flourish of blueberry muffins, birdhouses, and hayrides! Having kids around certainly added energy to the day-to-day work (even though, between them and the ducks, most of the blueberries have disappeared!)

Some sole survivors after farm camp and ducks!

Some sole survivors after farm camp and ducks!

As for the farm crew, we’ve been having our own share of fun as well. On Sunday Meghan (another one!) joined us on the farm. She will be at Granor until December and we are so excited to have her! She’ll be at the farm store tomorrow all day, be sure to stop by and stay hi. Yesterday, the six of us went to visit Bertrand Farm and see their amazing diversified operation. We are hoping to tour other local farms that are doing new and exciting things, and Bertrand was our first stop! It was very informative to learn about techniques that other farmers are using (at Bertrand they are beginning to implement permaculture practices on their land.) Here at Granor we just finished preparing field four for fall cabbages and brussel sprouts! Lucky CSA members!

Phew! It’s been a long and rewarding week. I hope to share the fruits of our harvest with you this week at the St. Joe’s farmer’s market tomorrow or here at the farm! As always thanks for reading, eating, and sharing!

Best,

Meg the intern

We’ve got the power

We’re past the halfway point of our challenge, so I thought I’d catch you up on our adventures. In general, our vegetable eating has been top notch. We are all well on our way to finishing our Full CSA shares and have found some fab recipes along the way.

At the St. Joe farmers market on Saturday I bought a bag of The Local Epicurean‘s fresh Basil & Garlic pasta (they’re usually the stand next to us and well worth visiting). Katelyn and I decided to make a vegetarian pasta carbonara with our own garlic scapes and duck eggs. Sounds mouth watering doesn’t it? That’s what we thought, especially after a long day’s work. We were mid-vegetable cutting and had just put the water on the stove to boil when the power went out. While it would storm later that night, there was no immediate explanation for the sudden loss of electricity. It seemed as if the carbonara was dead on arrival. We ate our salads to pass the time, hoping that we would hear the hum of electricity within the hour. Nothing.

Meanwhile, Patrick and Julio had serendipitously planned to grill that night. As we hungrily watched them eat their sausages, it occurred to us that it might be possible to boil water on the grill. In theory, this is obvious. It practice, this is difficult. The entire pot was scalding hot inside the grill, so the process of transferring the pasta to another pot without burning ourselves turned out to be quite difficult, but entertaining no the less. Making the actual sauce with two of our decadent duck eggs and fresh scapes turned out to be easy peasy lemon squeezy.

2: Hungry Interns; 1: Pasta Carbonara; 0: Electricity.

2: Hungry Interns; 1: Pasta Carbonara; 0: Electricity.

Long story short, the Pasta Carbonara was cooked successfully and it was incredible. My stomach is grumbling just thinking about it. The best part? We realized that other than the cheese, all of the ingredients were local. In addition to using no electricity, I’d say this meal was pretty green!

The finished garlic scape carbonara with fresh basil & garlic pasta.

The finished garlic scape carbonara with fresh basil & garlic pasta.

For those who are interested in trying the recipe themselves, it can be found here. I highly recommend it, it’s easy, fun, and delicious (especially with the duck eggs, which are particularly rich and available at our farm store)!  As always, thanks for reading and enjoy this week’s harvest!

Meg the Intern

The Great Vegetable Challenge

This has been a week of firsts. The first day of summer. The first week of CSA shares. The first time using radishes in guacamole. The first Granor Farm blog post. On behalf of the 2014 Granor Farm crew, welcome! Thanks for reading, thanks for visiting, but most importantly thank you for eating vegetables.

It may seem silly to thank you for that last one, but we at the farm have a new found appreciation for our CSA members’ ability to consume their weekly bags of leafy greens. In honor of the first week of CSA shares we decided to embark on team challenge: Each crew member (the new crop of interns pictured in the last post and Sarah, our Farm Manager) has one week (Friday-Friday) to eat a Full CSA share.

The challenge started Friday with vegetable selection, a process that those CSA members who pick-up at the farm know well. We followed the same rules that our members do, as explained on the chalkboard in the farm store: nine vegetables each, and for us no duplicates to avoid the urge to stay with safe choices, or, in the words of Patrick, “zucchini, zucchini, zucchini.”

The chalkboard in the farm store shows what vegetables are available each week.

The chalkboard in the farm store shows what vegetables are available each week.

Selecting our vegetables felt a bit like a sports-team draft. Strategizing which players would be the most versatile, the riskiest, the safe bets. “Kale = kale chips. Easy. Turnips, sweet, crisp, and pink! What could go wrong. But wow that’s a lot of greens … Can I eat that much foliage? Better get scallions, those go in everything.” And so on. There were definitely some game time decisions made in the cooler, but by the end there were five bags full of nine kinds of vegetables and five hungry crew members ready to start cooking.

Despite what might seem like expert know-how on the topic of cooking vegetables, all of us at the farm have a veggie we haven’t tried or a technique we need to test. Friday night Julio, a self-proclaimed novice cook, experimented with traditional guacamole by adding garlic scapes, scallions and even radishes for taste and texture. Meanwhile, across the counter Sarah made an incredible batch of scallion pancakes while Patrick grilled squash and Katelyn and I sauteed turnip greens and chard. Needless to say, there were a lot of exciting things happening and a lot of post-meal satisfaction.

Julio's Guac with radishes, scapes, and scallions. Grilled squash and zucchini in the background!

Julio’s Guac with radishes, scapes, and scallions. Grilled squash and zucchini in the background!

While there may be an ice cream reward waiting for successful eaters next Friday, this challenge is more than a competition. It will be an opportunity for us to explore the many ways our produce can be enjoyed, in addition to practicing our cooking skills and learning ways to reduce food waste. If all goes well, this may be something we keep up all summer! It seemed rather selfish of us not to share all of this cooking, eating and bonding time with our members, so we decided to share! We’ll be posting recipes, favorites and flops, in addition to pictures and stories all week. And don’t be shy! You’re all veterans of the vegetable eating trade so share your tips and tricks! Here, on Facebook, in person, wherever you find us.

In the meantime, enjoy the greens, the pinks, and the summer.

Best,

Meg the intern