Category Archive:

Weekly Photo Journal – August 20, 2014

The last week has marked the start of heirloom tomato season which is news worth celebrating!  We’ve also been busy baking and cooking in the farmhouse kitchen.  Here’s a glimpse at what’s been going on here at 1840 Farm during the last week.

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Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/08/weekly-photo-journal-august-20-2014/

Refrigerator Dilly Beans

Refrigerator Dilly Beans at 1840 FarmFor the past several years, I have been making refrigerator dill pickles using the cucumbers we harvest fresh from our garden. Making those simple, fresh pickles is a great way of pickling cucumbers without needing to spend hours standing over the canning pot.  In minutes, I can prepare several mason jars full of cucumber pickles that will be enjoyed by the whole family.

I do make several batches of pickles each summer that are canned for long term pantry storage. With luck and little planning, those water bath processed jars of pickles last us well into the winter. They’re delicious and we enjoy every last bite. Yet, there’s something altogether wonderful about a pickle that can be made in minutes, kept cold in the refrigerator, and eaten fresh during the season when heirloom vegetables are so plentiful in our garden.

Once I mastered the refrigerator cucumber pickles, I started experimenting with other fresh garden produce. These dilly beans are now just as beloved at 1840 Farm as the cucumber variety. Because these quick pickled green beans will be consumed within days instead of months, the vegetables require no cooking and stay crisp and brightly colored.

Much like the cucumber pickles we look forward to each summer, these dilly beans are quick and easy to put together. Simply prepare the brining liquid as you prep the fresh green beans. Once the beans have been trimmed to remove the ends and sized to fit in the mason jars, simply fill the jars with the brine. Within hours, the beans will be infused with the flavor of dill and vinegar. By the next day, they will be dilly bean perfection.

I keep several wide mouth canning jars full of refrigerator dilly beans in our refrigerator.  As one jar is emptied, I simply prep enough fresh green beans to refill the jar, add the beans to the brining liquid, and return the jar to the refrigerator I use plastic canning lids and write the day that the fresh beans were added using a dry erase marker.  That way, I always know which jar been brined thSeedsOfTheMonthClube longest and can serve those dilly beans first.

I find myself making more refrigerator dilly beans and refrigerator dill pickles almost every other day during the summer. They are both irresistibly fresh and vibrant in color and flavor. We can’t seem to get enough of them.  Rest assured, I will be planting more cucumbers and green beans in our garden next summer!

If you’re interested in expanding your garden, visit our sponsor and join the Seeds of the Month Club.  Every month, you’ll receive non-GMO seeds to add to your garden just like we do.  Better yet, you can save 25% off the price of a membership by clicking on the “join now” button.

 

 

1840 Farm Refrigerator Dilly Beans
makes two wide mouth pint jars

Because these dilly beans are refrigerated instead of prepared for long term storage, the recipe can be adjusted to your preference.  If you prefer a sweeter dilly bean, more sugar can be added.  If you like your pickled beans with more zing, reduce the sugar to intensify the flavor of the vinegar.  If you like a little heat, a small dried pepper could be placed in each jar before adding the trimmed green beans. I reuse the brining liquid several times during the course of a few weeks before making a fresh batch and starting the process all over again.

12 ounces white vinegar
4 ½ Tablespoons pickling salt
3/4 cup (144 grams) sugar
12 whole black peppercorns
4 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
1 bunch fresh dill
fresh green beans, washed and drained

Prepare the brining liquid by combining the white vinegar, salt, and sugar in a saucepan.  Simmer gently over medium heat until the salt and sugar are fully dissolved.  Remove the pan from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Gather two pint sized glass jars with lids.  I prefer to use wide mouth jars as they are easier to fill, but any clean jar will do.  To each jar, add 6 whole peppercorns, 2 clove of peeled and quartered garlic, and 1 generous handful of dill.

Trim the ends from the green beans before placing vertically in the prepared jars. Trim longer beans as necessary to fit in the jar. Continue to add trimmed beans until the jar is full.

Once the brining liquid has cooled to room temperature, pour approximately half of the liquid into each jar.  Cover and swirl slightly to disperse the spices.

Refrigerate the beans until ready to use.  These dilly beans must be refrigerated.  They are not intended for long term pantry storage.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/07/refrigerator-dilly-beans/

Mike the Gardener’s Seeds of the Month Club

SeedsOfTheMonthClubI am proud to introduce you to 1840 Farm’s newest sponsor:  Mike the Gardener’s Seeds of the Month Club.  The Seeds of the Month Club offers a unique opportunity to receive a collection of open pollinated, heirloom, non-GMO seed varieties delivered to your mailbox each month.  Their club offers seasoned and novice gardeners alike a wonderful opportunity to add new heirloom, non-GMO varieties to their gardens.

It’s no secret that I love to garden.  There’s something so fulfilling about planting a tiny seed and tending it for months until it produces a harvest to be served at our family table.  We grow our entire garden from seed and I can’t seem to say no to a new interesting variety when planning our garden each spring.  Throughout the season, I walk through the gardens contemplating how I might be able to squeeze in one more row of lettuce or carrots.  I am forever looking at a small bit of grassy yard space and visualizing how I can convince my family that we should construct a raised bed to plant more heirloom tomatoes next year.

Along with my continual garden planning, I seek out companies that offer non-GMO seeds.  I like to spend my gardening dollars on seeds that help to ensure the diversity that I so love to grow in our gardens here at 1840 Farm.  I like to support the companies that feel as I do, that more diversity in our seed choices and resulting food supply is good for everyone whether they choose to plant a garden or frequent their local farmer’s market.

For that reason, I encourage you to click on the “Join Now” button here on our page to learn more about the Seeds of the Month Club.  By using this link, you will receive a 25% discount on your membership.  As a member, you will receive non-GMO seeds hand selected for your growing zone.  The first shipment of seeds will consist of eight packets and will be followed by four seed packets each month throughout the length of your membership.  The producers of the seeds offered by the Seeds of the Month Club have taken the Safe Seed Pledge.so you can be confident that the seeds you receive will be non-GMO varieties.

My first month’s collection of seeds are in the mail, on their way to our mailbox here at 1840 Farm.  I can’t wait to plant them in our heirloom garden and share my experience growing these varieties with you throughout the growing season.  I’ll be sharing photo updates on our Facebook page, Instagram, and in our Garden Tour Photo Gallery right here on our blog.  I hope that you’ll join me in becoming a member of the Seeds of the Month Club and share in the fun with me.

You can learn more about Mike the Gardener’s Seeds of the Month Club by visiting them on Facebook,  I am proud to welcome  Mike the Gardener’s Seeds of the Month Club to our wonderful community of 1840 Farm sponsors and grateful that they are offering such a generous discount to the members of The 1840 Farm Community.  Here’s hoping that we all have a wonderful gardening season this year!

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/07/mike-the-gardeners-seeds-of-the-month-club/

Strawberry Jam

 Strawberry Jam at 1840 FarmStrawberry Jam
yields approximately 4 pints

Most strawberry jam recipes call for adding pectin in order to properly gel the jam. Strawberries have very little pectin, so a source of pectin must be added. I StrawberriesJamWMprefer to use the natural pectin in an apple rather than add commercially produced powdered pectin. I find that an apple adds plenty of pectin along with a touch of tangy flavor that offers a nice counterpoint to the sweet earthiness of the fresh strawberries.

The grated apple softens as the jam cooks, releasing its pectin and becoming nearly unrecognizable in the finished jam. The apple peel should be removed before canning the finished jam. At our house, the apple peel coated in rich strawberry jam is a delicacy. It’s like the best fruit leather on earth and is happily devoured by the whole family!

1 ½ pounds strawberries, washed, stemmed, and cut into small pieces
2 cups (384 grams) granulated sugar
1 medium apple, prepared as directed below
Juice of ½ lemon (approximately 2 Tablespoons)
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Place several plates or large spoons in the freezer for use in gel test. If you are planning to can the jam, ready your canning pot, jars, lids, rings, and canning equipment. I like to use 4 or 8 ounce canning jars when processing this jam.

StrawberriesAppleWMUsing a sharp paring knife or vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the apple in long strips. Core and quarter the apple. Use a grater to grate the apple quarters. Add the grated apple and apple peel to a large non-reactive pot with the strawberries and sugar. Stir gently to combine and place the pot on a burner over medium heat.

Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat slightly and continue to boil for 15 minutes, stirring as needed to prevent the sugars from burning. Using a slotted spoon, remove the strawberry pieces from the pot and transfer to a medium bowl. Removing the strawberries will help them to maintain a firmer texture in the final jam.

Continue to boil the liquid in the pot for another 15 minutes. Return the reserved berries to the pot and add the lemon juice. Stir to combine and continue to boil gently for another 15 minutes or until the mixture passes the gel test when allowed to cool on the chilled plates or spoons set aside in the freezer.

While the gel test may sound like a daunting scientific experiment, it is actually a simple, visual method for determining if your jam has reached the ideal consistency. This test will allow you to measure the finished consistency of your jam. If the mixture is too loose, it can be boiled further to allow a bit more of the liquid to evaporate. If the mixture has boiled too long and is slightly too thick, a small bit of liquid can be added to loosen the mixture before canning.

Performing the gel test involves placing a bit of the hot jam on a plate or large spoon that has been StrawberryGelTestWMchilled in the freezer. When the mixture has been allowed to cool, the consistency can be accurately gauged. When cool, the jam should form a cohesive mixture, forming a wrinkle as it moves when pressed with your finger. If you run a finger through the small puddle of jam, it should split apart and then return to a cohesive puddle moments later.

Once the mixture has passed the gel test, remove the pot from the heat. Remove the apple peel and stir in the vanilla.  Ladle hot jam into sterilized 4 or 8 ounce jars leaving ¼ inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles from the side of the jar.  Using a clean cloth, remove any residue from the rim of the jar.  Place a lid on the jar and tighten with band.  Gently lower the filled jar into the boiling water canner.  Repeat until all jars have been added to the pot.  Place lid on canning pot.  Return water to a boil.

Once the water has returned to a boil, process half-pint jars of jam for 15 minutes.  Turn off the heat and remove the lid from pot.  Allow the jars to rest in the water for at least five minutes.  Carefully remove jars to a towel lined baking sheet.  Allow jars to cool up to 24 hours before checking the seals and labeling the jars for storage. A properly sealed jar of strawberry jam can be stored and used for up to one year.


June 2014 From Scratch MagazineThis recipe appeared in the June 2014 issue of From Scratch Magazine.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/06/strawberry-jam/

Rhubarb and Strawberry Brown Butter Crumble Cake

Strawberry and Rhubarb at 1840 FarmEarlier this week, the June issue of From Scratch Magazine was published.  The issue is filled with great seasonal content including three of my favorite strawberry recipes. In its pages, you’ll find my recipe for Strawberry Jam, Oat Scones with Fresh Strawberries, and Rhubarb and Strawberry Brown Butter Crumble Cake.  We have been enjoying the crumble cake all spring as our rhubarb is harvested fresh from the garden.  You’ll find the recipe for the crumble below so that you can bake it for your friends and family.

The other two recipes in my article are equally delicious.  I was inspired to add fresh strawberries to my family’s favorite scone recipe after reading Honey & Oats: Everyday Favorites Baked with Whole Grains and Natural Sweeteners by Jennifer Katzinger. The results were fantastic. In fact, these scones were such a hit that they have become our favorite scone recipe.  I can’t wait to try a few of the delicious looking recipes from this cookbook.June Giveaway at 1840 Farm

When making my family’s favorite Rhubarb and Strawberry Brown Butter Crumble, I used my favorite brand of cinnamon, Flavor of the Earth Ceylon Cinnamon.  Unlike most of the cinnamon I find in the grocery store, this cinnamon powder is freshly ground from 100% real cinnamon bark. Flavor the Earth Ceylon Cinnamon has an amazing flavor and is a great source of Manganese, Fiber, Calcium and Iron.

I don’t want you to simply take my word for it that this cookbook and cinnamon are fantastic.  Thanks to the book’s publisher, Sasquatch Books, you can win a copy of this beautiful cookbook and find inspiration to add whole grains and natural sweeteners to your family’s favorite recipes.  Flavor of the Earth has also generously added a one pound bag of their Ceylon Cinnamon Powder to our giveaway.  I wanted to join in the fun, so I added one of our 1840 Farm Vanilla Extract Kits.  The winner of this giveaway will be ready to bake something amazing using this prize package!

One lucky reader be randomly selected to win:

You can enter by leaving a comment on this post sharing what you love to make using cinnamon and by liking a trio of Facebook pages.  Don’t worry, if you already follow 1840 Farm on Facebook, you can simply confirm that status with a click of the button below and claim your entries.  The contest closes on Thursday, June 12, 2014.  Good luck to all who enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rhubarb and Strawberry Brown Butter Crumble CakeRhubarb Strawberry Brown Butter Crumble Cake at 1840 Farm
makes 6-8 servings

This cake is the perfect way to enjoy the amazing flavor of fresh rhubarb and strawberries all year long. Long after the season has ended, I can prepare delicious recipes that highlight the delicious flavor of rhubarb and strawberries.

Rhubarb freezes incredibly well, so I stock the freezer with plenty of rhubarb to last all winter long in our favorite baking recipes. Each year, I harvest ripe stalks of rhubarb before washing and slicing into ½ inch pieces. I place them in a single layer on a small sheet pan in the freezer and leave them to freeze overnight. Once they are frozen solid, I transfer them to a freezer bag for long term storage.

While rhubarb freezes well, I prefer to utilize our homemade strawberry jam rather than freeze the strawberries. By using jam, I can control the amount of liquid in the recipe and create a fruit filling that has a beautiful appearance and consistency. When combined with the rhubarb, brown butter, and oats, the results are delicious.

1 ½ cups (6 ounces) rhubarb, cut into ½ inch slices
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 Tablespoons (1 ounce) butter
¼ cup (48 grams) granulated sugar
¼ cup (48 grams) brown sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ cup (2 ounces) strawberry jam
1 ½ cups (180 grams) All-purpose flour
1 cup (80 grams) old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup (120 grams) brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
12 Tablespoons (6 ounces) butter, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly butter an 8 inch springform pan.  Set aside.

Wash and trim the rhubarb stalks. Slice each stalk into ½ inch pieces and place them in a medium bowl. Add the cornstarch and toss gently to coat the rhubarb.

Make the brown butter. In a small skillet, melt the 2 Tablespoons of butter over medium heat. After the butter melts, you will notice that the milk solids will begin to separate.  Continue to cook, stirring occasionally to allow those solids to brown slightly.  You will notice a slight change in color and aroma.  Brown butter has a slightly nutty aroma which will signal that the solids have caramelized and that the brown butter has finished cooking. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and strawberry jam to the warm skillet. Stir gently to fully combine the ingredients before adding them to the bowl with the rhubarb. Stir to coat the rhubarb with the brown butter mixture. Set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Pulse to combine. With the machine running, add the butter gradually. Add the vanilla extract and process until the mixture comes together and forms large clumps.

Transfer two thirds of the crumble mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Press the mixture lightly to form a crust that completely covers the bottom the pan.  Stir the rhubarb strawberry mixture and pour over the crust, spreading to cover evenly.  Sprinkle the remaining crumble mixture evenly on top of the fruit filling.

Transfer the pan to the oven and bake the crumble in the preheated oven for 30 – 35 minutes until the topping has browned lightly and the fruit filling has thickened.  Remove from the oven to cool. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream.


June 2014 From Scratch MagazineThis recipe appeared in the June 2014 issue of From Scratch Magazine.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/06/rhubarb-and-strawberry-brown-butter-crumble-cake/

French Harlequin Heirloom Marigold

The 1840 Farm Pollinators GardenFrench Marigolds have a centuries old secret:  they aren’t really French.  It is believed that they made their way to France in the 1500s.  An illustration of a striped French Marigold appeared as early as a 1791 edition of Curtis’ Botanical Magazine.  This marigold was described as being yellow with red striped petals.

Centuries later, we still refer to some varieties as “French”.  Perhaps this is a nod to the gardeners of France who worked diligently to cross their most beautiful specimens in a quest to better the blooms.  Or, it could simply be due to the fact that all things French were thought to be beautiful and of the highest quality at the time that the marigold first came to America.

American gardeners in that era were eager to  attempt to replicate the beautiful gardens in France.  Travelers took garden tours, carefully noting both the species and methods used to create France’s most notable gardens.  One of those travelers was  the man who would become our young nation’s third President:  Thomas Jefferson.

The French Marigold was a common sight in Colonial gardens, bringing beauty and utility to the garden plot.  In 1808, Jefferson wrote in his garden journal about having two varieties of marigold in his gardens at Monticello in Virginia.  It is believed that the French Marigold was one of the two varieties that he had growing on the grounds at Monticello.  He often referred to the French variety as the “lesser African marigold” as it was thought to have made its way to France via Africa.

Jefferson enjoyed marigolds so much that he sent them to his granddaughter Anne.  Anne happily wrote to him, reporting that the two varieties of marigold seeds he had given them were still flourishing.  It is thought that the French Marigold was one of the two varieties he had sent her.

Marigolds were long thought to be poisonous due to their pungent aroma.  Gardeners believed that any flower with a strong, unpleasant scent was sure to be poisonous.  Centuries later, we can still use their scent and pest deterring qualities to our advantage in the tomato patch.

Marigolds make excellent companions for tomato plants.  Their pungent aroma is thought to help deter harmful nematodes who love to decimate the tomato patch.  They also bring beauty to the tomato garden by filling the space beneath the towering vines.

Their beneficial properties can be taken advantage of long after the growing season has ended.  Allow spent marigold plants to dry in the garden at the end of your growing season.  Before the first frost, break the dried marigold plant into small pieces and turn them under the top layer of the soil.  Doing so will discourage nematodes from overwintering in your garden’s soil, giving next year’s plants a head start on overcoming these garden pests.

Tennis Ball Heirloom Lettuce is one of the four varieties included in our The Pollinators Garden Heirloom Seed Collection available in The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.  The 2014 Heirloom Seed Collection is a collaboration between 1840 Farm and Fresh Eggs Daily.  Together, we have curated our favorite heirloom varieties into collections that are ideally suited for growing together.  The heirloom, non-GMO seeds in our collection are from family owned seed purveyor Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company.

1840 Farm

We invite you to join The 1840 Farm Community on Facebook and Fresh Eggs Daily on Facebook to share updates from your garden and keep up to date on what we’re harvesting from our heirloom gardens. We’ll also be sharing regular garden updates along with fresh, seasonal recipes in our 1840 Farm Community Newsletter and The Fresh Eggs Daily Newsletter.  In the meantime, you can view photos from the gardens at 1840 Farm by visiting our Garden Photo Tour.  More photos will be added as we progress through the 2014 growing season.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/05/french-harlequin-heirloom-marigold/

Strawberry Puff Pancake Recipe

I have many fond memories of this dish from my childhood.  My mother made this recipe for countless holiday morning breakfasts.  It was always topped with fresh strawberries, sour cream, and a sprinkling of brown sugar.  It was always called Strawberry Puff Pancake.

The name made sense given that the dish was topped with strawberries and the batter puffed dramatically while it baked in the oven.  It seemed magical to me that you could pour a thin batter into the pie plate, slide it in the oven and watch as it transformed into an airy, delicate concoction.

For a chicken keeper, this is a delicious celebration of the fresh eggs that we collect from our heritage breed hens.  The resulting pancake is full of the fresh, rich flavor of fresh eggs.  The flavor is paired with the beautiful golden color of the yolks provided by hens that enjoy sunshine, fresh air, and plenty of fresh green grass and treats.

I know now that this dish bears a remarkable resemblance to the German Dutch Baby or Dutch Pancake.  No matter its name, the recipe is similar to a popover and yields a light, eggy, custard-like pancake that is delicious when topped with fresh fruit. While the combination of sour cream and brown sugar with the fresh strawberries may seem curious at first, I promise that it won’t disappoint.  We have tried topping this pancake with whipped cream and syrup, but this is our favorite trio of toppings.

This is a family favorite here at 1840 Farm and sure to become one around your family table.  I hope that you’ll enjoy it just as much as we do!

Strawberry Puff Pancake (German Dutch Baby)
serves 4-6 as a main course topped with fresh fruit

3 Tablespoons (1 ½ ounces) butter
3 large eggs
1 ½ cups (12 ounces) whole milk
6 Tablespoons (72 grams) granulated sugar
¾ cup (90 grams) All-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place the butter in a glass pie pan, 9 inch cast iron skillet, or similarly sized casserole dish and transfer to the warm oven as you prepare the batter.  I like to place the baking dish or skillet on top of a cookie sheet to catch any excess batter that might overflow the pan as it bakes.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs using a whisk until they are light and frothy.  Add the milk and whisk until well combined.  Add the sugar, flour, and salt and whisk until the mixture is completely smooth.

Remove the warm baking dish from the oven.  Pour the batter into the pan and return it to the oven.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the edges are puffed and lightly brown.  When the pancake is fully baked, a sharp knife inserted into the middle of the pan will come out clean.

Remove the pancake from the oven and serve topped with a sprinkling of brown sugar, fresh sliced strawberries, and a dollop of sour cream.  Enjoy!

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    Valentine's Day usually comes and goes in a flash.  This year, it falls on the Friday before a three-day weekend here at 1840 Farm.  That seems like the perfect excuse to dust off all of our favorite Valentine's Day recipes and enjoy each and every one of them before the weekend is through.
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Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/04/strawberry-puff-pancake-recipe/

A Backyard Rabbit Giveaway

This is Herbert Menninger our French Angora Rabbit.  We first met him in the spring of 2011.  It was a casual meeting at a small family farm.  When I say casual, I mean that I casually mentioned how beautiful he was to the farmer who owned him.

We weren’t looking for a rabbit to add to our barnyard.  Instead, we had come to visit this farm to meet a pair of dairy goats we were considering purchasing.

It seemed harmless enough to mention that this rabbit was strikingly handsome.  He simply was.  Within moments, the farmer mentioned that they were hoping to find several of their rabbits new homes.  Then she went the extra step and suggested that this rabbit could come home to live with our family if we wanted him to.

We hadn’t gone to visit her farm expecting to see a rabbit, much less agree to bring one home.  As we left,  I told her that we would consider her kind offer just as we were considering the dairy goats she had available.  As I drove home, I came to a powerful realization:  we needed to make room in the barn for the most adorable rabbit I had ever seen.

As I said, we weren’t expecting to add a rabbit to our farm.  I had been poring over books about dairy goats and reading blogs written by goat keepers.  I had been putting myself through a crash course in preparation for adding a few goats to our farm.  Now I needed to get ready to bring this fluffy little guy home to live with us.

I had a rabbit as a child, but the world of fiber rabbits was new to me.  We started out by gathering information from our favorite homesteading publications along with the tools and supplies that would help this rabbit make himself at home.  A few weeks later, he did indeed take a car ride and come home with us.

In moments, he had surveyed his hutch, tested his water bottle, and settled in for a nap.  As we watched him, I came to another realization:  we had just brought our 170 year old barn back to its original purpose.  Our barn was no longer simply a place to store the tractor, workshop, and potting shed.  It was a shelter for the animals that helped turn our home into a working homestead.  Our barn had come back to life with the simple addition of this small rabbit.

Within days, we had renamed this handsome rabbit and had fallen in love with his gentle demeanor.  From the moment he arrived, he has been sweet and gentle.  Watching Herbert enjoy a sunny day outside is my favorite way to end a long day spent working in the garden.

A month later, our first Nigerian Dwarf dairy goats came home to join Herbert in our barn.  That was almost three years ago.  The barn is full of life and it is nearly impossible to imagine a time when it wasn’t.  I hope that it will always provide shelter for animals that call our farm home.

This year, GRIT Magazine published their annual Guide to Backyard Rabbits.  The issue is filled with a collection of useful articles covering topics from preparing to care for your first rabbit by gathering the necessary supplies and tools, helping your rabbit handle the summer heat, and exhibiting at rabbit shows.  It also includes something very special:  a photo of 1840 Farm’s very own Herbert Menninger!

Sure enough, you’ll find Herbert in a gallery of adorable rabbit photos on page 8 and 9 in this year’s issue.  Seeing his photo in GRIT’s Guide to Backyard Rabbits seemed like a moment to celebrate.  So, we’ve invited a few of our favorite rabbit loving companies to participate in a giveaway for all of you who keep rabbits in your life or may be adding new rabbits this spring.

Our Backyard Rabbit Giveaway is a fantastic collection of our favorite rabbit keeping tools.  Two lucky winners will be randomly selected and win:

Here at 1840 Farm, we look forward to receiving our issue of GRIT Magazine each month.  You might say that it is a family tradition that goes back at least three generations.  My Great Grandfather read his GRIT Newspaper each night after the day’s work was done and the dairy farm had been put to bed for the evening.  I find myself reading it over 50 years later to gather new ideas and information for tending to our family farm each month.

We have been using Blue Seal Feeds since we became chicken keepers in 2010.  Our chickens are fed Organic Life throughout each their lives.  Our goats love their Caprine Challenger feed and have maintained excellent health and lactation levels.  We love using Sunshine Plus as a nutritional supplement to provide beneficial yeast cultures and vitamins and minerals for our dairy goats and rabbit.

We do our best to keep a well stocked medicine cabinet in our barn.  While I would like to think that our good husbandry practices are enough to ensure that our animals will always be in good health, I know that some accidents and illnesses are far beyond my control.  For the unexpected moment when I find that one of our animals isn’t in top form, I find comfort in knowing that our medicine cabinet will have exactly what I need to help them fully recover to good health in a timely fashion.

We always keep VetRx on hand in each formula for our animals here at 1840 Farm.   Our medicine cabinet wouldn’t seem complete without VetRx formulas for our dog, chickens, goats, and rabbit.  I have found each formula to be incredibly effective at treating a host of ailments.  It’s no wonder that these formulas have been available for over 100 years!

I hope that you will take a moment and enter for a chance to win The Backyard Rabbits Giveaway.  We’ll contact the two lucky winners via Email on Friday, April 5th.  Good luck to all who enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends Thursday, April 10th at 11:59 PM EST. Open to Residents of the US only.  Prizes cannot be shipped to PO Boxes.  Winner will be selected by Random.org and be notified by email. Winner will be given 72 hours to respond to notification Email before a new winner is selected. The products are offered for the giveaway free of charge, no purchase necessary. Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter are in no way associated with this giveaway.  The information you provide will be kept private and will not be shared and will not be used for any purpose other than to contact the winner.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/04/a-backyard-rabbit-giveaway/

The Easy Keepers Garden Heirloom Seed Collection

We have been growing heirlooms here at 1840 Farm since 2006.  Every summer, we embark on a challenge that lasts through the entire growing season:  we try to grow heirloom tomatoes from seed.  For added fun, we add in a geography component to the challenge.

Here in New England, we have a painfully short 90 day growing season.  In the case of tomatoes, peppers, and other warm weather loving crops, that short 90 day window can be a race against time.  Once we have finally arrived at the last frost date and can introduce those plants into the garden, the race is on.

Maybe that never-ending battle with the calendar is why I love the heirloom varieties that are so much easier to grow.  They are more tolerant of our cool evenings and short growing season.  These varieties don’t need to be started weeks earlier inside the farmhouse.  Instead, they can be directly sown into the garden soil while temperatures are still much cooler thank our beloved tomatoes will tolerate.

The 1840 Farm Heirloom Easy Keepers Collection includes heirloom varieties that are perfectly suited for the beginning or casual gardener. Each of the varieties can be directly sown into a small garden plot or in containers. They are also among our favorite varieties to plant in the gardens at 1840 Farm. The Easy Keepers Garden includes four historic heirloom varieties:

+ Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce
+ Dwarf Siberian Kale
+ French Breakfast Radish
+ Tennis Ball Lettuce

The 1840 Farm Heirloom Easy Keepers Collections available in The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.  The 2014 Heirloom Seed Collection is a collaboration between 1840 Farm and Fresh Eggs Daily.  Together, we have curated our favorite heirloom varieties into collections that are ideally suited for growing together.  The heirloom, non-GMO seeds in our collection are from family owned seed purveyor Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company.

1840 Farm

This year, 1840 Farm offers five heirloom seed collections for purchase. The 1840 Farm Favorites Garden includes six of our favorite varieties to plant in the gardens here at 1840 Farm. The Easy Keepers Garden includes four varieties that are perfect for the beginning gardener and can be sown directly into a small garden plot or containers. The Pollinators Garden features six flowering plants that will help to attract beneficial pollinators to your garden. Our Three Sisters Garden includes four packets of seed that allow you to enjoy delicious produce and an American history lesson as you put into practice one of the oldest forms of companion planting.   The Tomato Lover’s Garden features six of our favorite heirloom tomato varieties.

We invite you to join The 1840 Farm Community on Facebook and Fresh Eggs Daily on Facebook to share updates from your garden and keep up to date on what we’re harvesting from our heirloom gardens. We’ll also be sharing regular garden updates along with fresh, seasonal recipes in our 1840 Farm Community Newsletter and The Fresh Eggs Daily Newsletter.  In the meantime, you can view photos from the gardens at 1840 Farm by visiting our Garden Photo Tour.  More photos will be added as we progress through the 2014 growing season.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/04/the-easy-keepers-garden-heirloom-seed-collection/

Tennis Ball Heirloom Lettuce

Tennis Ball Lettuce was found in the United States as early as the eighteenth century.  It was a favorite of Thomas Jefferson.  He grew it in the famed garden at Monticello beginning in 1809.  When describing Tennis Ball, he wrote, “it does not require so much care and attention” as other varieties of lettuce.

Tennis Ball Lettuce is a Butterhead variety of lettuce.  It is considered to be the origin of today’s Boston lettuces.  Heads of Tennis Ball Lettuce grow in tightly formed rosettes.  The leaves are light green in color and have a soft, smooth texture.

Lettuces can be succession planted to be enjoyed throughout the growing season.  They prefer the cooler conditions of spring and fall to summer’s heat.  When sowing in the summer, consider planting lettuce in the shade of larger, established plants.  They can be grown as companions with dill, mint, chives, beets, cucumber, and beans.  Lettuce is one of the few vegetables that can be grown successfully with dill.

In Thomas Jefferson’s day, the leaves of Tennis Ball Lettuce were preserved by pickling them in a salt brine solution.  Doing so allowed the leaves to be stored and enjoyed during the long winter when fresh greens were unavailable.  The leaves were then served as an accompaniment to the main course during a meal.

Here at 1840 Farm, we don’t feel the need to pickle these tender greens.  Instead, we enjoy them dressed lightly and served as a main course or side dish.  They pair wonderfully with roasted potatoes.

We plant Tennis Ball Lettuce every year in our heirloom garden.  We’ve even included Tennis Ball Heirloom Lettuce in our 1840 Farm Heirloom Seed Collection.  Tennis Ball Lettuce was included in our Easy Keepers Garden Heirloom Seed Collection this year.

Tennis Ball Lettuce is listed on Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste.  The Ark of Taste lists 200 foods that are in danger of becoming extinct.  Here’s hoping that we’ll all be able to enjoy delicious Tennis Ball Lettuce from our gardens for many generations to come.

Tennis Ball Heirloom Lettuce is one of the four varieties included in our Easy Keepers Heirloom Seed Collection available in The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.  The 2014 Heirloom Seed Collection is a collaboration between 1840 Farm and Fresh Eggs Daily.  Together, we have curated our favorite heirloom varieties into collections that are ideally suited for growing together.  The heirloom, non-GMO seeds in our collection are from family owned seed purveyor Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company.

1840 Farm

We invite you to join The 1840 Farm Community on Facebook and Fresh Eggs Daily on Facebook to share updates from your garden and keep up to date on what we’re harvesting from our heirloom gardens. We’ll also be sharing regular garden updates along with fresh, seasonal recipes in our 1840 Farm Community Newsletter and The Fresh Eggs Daily Newsletter.  In the meantime, you can view photos from the gardens at 1840 Farm by visiting our Garden Photo Tour.  More photos will be added as we progress through the 2014 growing season.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/04/tennis-ball-heirloom-lettuce/

French Breakfast Heirloom Radish

Here at 1840 Farm, we eagerly await radish season each spring.  Radishes are the first vegetable crop harvested from our garden and announce the happy arrival of the growing season.  They also enable us to enjoy eating a spring menu favorite:  sliced radish tartine.

French Breakfast Heirloom Radishes are always among the radishes planted in the 1840 Farm garden.  They are beautiful and delicious.  They have a crisp exterior and are full of earthy flavor.

The French Breakfast appeared in French markets in the late 1870s.  This variety is more cylindrical in shape than others.  It exhibits its trademark coloring, with rosy pinkish red shoulders that fade to almost pure white at its tip.

Radish greens can be used as spicy salad greens or added to the compost heap.  If you are lucky enough to keep chickens  or ducks, serve the greens as a fresh treat.  Our hens come running when they see us in the radish beds, knowing that a delicious treat will be soon to follow.

Long before our beloved tomatoes are ripe or the raspberries are ready for picking, we can count on our heirloom radishes to be at their best.  In a matter of minutes, we can select a few radishes and make delicious tartines.   Taking that first bite seems like a delicious way to celebrate the arrival of another growing season.

The French Breakfast Heirloom Radish is one of the four varieties included in our Easy Keepers Heirloom Seed Collection available in The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.  The 2014 Heirloom Seed Collection is a collaboration between 1840 Farm and Fresh Eggs Daily.  Together, we have curated our favorite heirloom varieties into collections that are ideally suited for growing together.  The heirloom, non-GMO seeds in our collection are from family owned seed purveyor Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company.

1840 Farm

We invite you to join The 1840 Farm Community on Facebook and Fresh Eggs Daily on Facebook to share updates from your garden and keep up to date on what we’re harvesting from our heirloom gardens. We’ll also be sharing regular garden updates along with fresh, seasonal recipes in our 1840 Farm Community Newsletter and The Fresh Eggs Daily Newsletter.  In the meantime, you can view photos from the gardens at 1840 Farm by visiting our Garden Photo Tour.  More photos will be added as we progress through the 2014 growing season.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/04/french-breakfast-heirloom-radish-2/

Dwarf Siberian Heirloom Kale

Each year, it seems that a particular food takes center stage.  Suddenly, it appears in the food sections of popular magazines, on the menus of my favorite restaurants, and in the cookbook section of our local bookstore.  For the past year or so, that food has been kale.  Everywhere I look, there seems to be kale prepared in one form or another.  Every time I taste it, I am left wondering why kale ever fell out of favor on our dinner plates here in America.

Kale is beautiful, delicious, and packs a powerful boost of nutrition in every leaf.  Researches boast that they have identified more than 45 individual flavonoids in kale.  Kale is a cruciferous vegetable and believed to be both anti-inflammatory and a powerful antioxidant.  Kale contains Vitamin K, Vitamin C, beta carotene, lutein, and calcium.

Dwarf Siberian Kale hails from Russia, so it prefers cooler temperatures, making it ideal for cultivating as an early season and late season crop in the garden.  Here in New England, kale tolerates our cooler evenings without any need for added protection.  In warmer parts of the country, kale is an excellent crop for fall and early winter growing.

This variety matures quickly, reaching its first harvest in a mere 50 days.  The mature plants reach approximately 14 inches in height and feature large, softly ruffled leaves that are a beautiful dark green color.  The inner leaves can be harvested throughout the season until damaging cold weather arrives, allowing the main plant to continue thriving and producing delicious leaves.

When our kale is ready for harvest, we add it to stir fry dishes and pastas.  We also enjoy it served lightly sautéed in sesame oil with red pepper flakes, a drizzle of soy sauce, and a light sprinkling of cheese.  When colder weather arrives, we find ourselves adding chopped kale to soups and chili with delicious results.  Given its delicious flavor, versatility on the plate, and nutritional benefits, it’s easy to see why kale has become so popular.

As I was preparing this post, I came to a powerful realization:  I didn’t have a single photo of kale growing in our heirloom garden.  Instead, I had a full collection of kale being featured on our dinner plates.  Perhaps that fact is the biggest testament to the delicious flavor of kale that I could share.  This year, I intend to enjoy kale while it grows in the garden and when it is served at our family table.  Who knows, I might even remember to take a picture of its beautiful leaves while it is still in the garden!

Dwarf Siberian Heirloom Kale is one of the four varieties included in our Easy Keepers Heirloom Seed Collection available in The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.  The 2014 Heirloom Seed Collection is a collaboration between 1840 Farm and Fresh Eggs Daily.  Together, we have curated our favorite heirloom varieties into collections that are ideally suited for growing together.  The heirloom, non-GMO seeds in our collection are from family owned seed purveyor Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company.

1840 Farm

We invite you to join The 1840 Farm Community on Facebook and Fresh Eggs Daily on Facebook to share updates from your garden and keep up to date on what we’re harvesting from our heirloom gardens. We’ll also be sharing regular garden updates along with fresh, seasonal recipes in our 1840 Farm Community Newsletter and The Fresh Eggs Daily Newsletter.  In the meantime, you can view photos from the gardens at 1840 Farm by visiting our Garden Photo Tour.  More photos will be added as we progress through the 2014 growing season.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/04/dwarf-siberian-heirloom-kale/

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