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1840 Farm Paper & Ink – Strawberry Season

1840 Farm Paper and InkMy family knows all too well the depth of my love of paper and ink.  They indulge me in this lifelong love, following along as I meander through fine stationery and paper shops like other women browse in jewelry stores.  They know that I love to look at every type of paper, feeling the thickness and gazing at the colors before selecting something to bring home and add to my stash of papers and pens.

I have loved putting pen or pencil to paper since I was a very young girl.  I love to write.  I always have.  As a child, I used to sit with a pencil and a notebook and watch as the words filled page after page with stories and poems.  When I paused to search for the words to continue, I often found myself doodling some sort of small drawing.  That habit has continued to the present, with most of my notes and lists including a few drawings and doodles.

I also love to send a handwritten card or note to friends and family.  There’s something magical about sending my heart and soul anywhere in the world for the cost of a postage stamp.  I love being on the receiving end of that equation every bit as much as I enjoy sending warm heartfelt wishes to someone I love.

My love for paper, ink, and embracing the art of handwritten correspondence have all played a role in providing the inspiration for our newest line of handmade products for The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop.  It’s time for me to introduce you to 1840 Farm Paper & Ink.  I hope that you will enjoy using these products as much as I have loved creating them.1840 Farm Paper & Ink Strawberry Season

The items in our Paper & Ink line will feature my original drawings and celebrate the seasonality of life here at 1840 Farm.  From the fresh produce we harvest from our gardens during the warmer months to the activities that keep us busy inside the farmhouse during the long New England winter, these paper products will reflect the beauty of every month and season.

The first member of our Paper & Ink Collection celebrates Strawberry Season. I worked with my original paper and pencil drawing of a berry basket filled with fresh ripe strawberries,  transforming each curve and line into a digital file.  That digital artwork was used to create both the signature drawing featured on the front of each card and the pattern used to line the envelopes. Each card and notecard will be printed to order and cut by hand.  Each envelope will be embellished by hand with a custom paper liner.

Look for the Paper & Ink Collection to be added to The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop in the coming days.  In July, we’ll be adding a new design to the collection.  We can’t wait to share and celebrate each season of our lives here at 1840 Farm with you through this new Paper & Ink Collection!

To make sure that you don’t miss any of our original content or favorite recipes, DIY projects, and homesteading advice, subscribe to The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter. Visit our subscription form to become the newest member of The 1840 Farm Community.

Our newsletter isn’t the only way to follow what’s happening here at 1840 Farm.
You’re always welcome at 1840 Farm
and at The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.
You can also find 1840 Farm throughout the social media universe on
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, and Bloglovin‘.

We even created a new 1840 Farm Community Newsletter Pinterest board to catalog
our newsletter content so that you could easily pin your favorites to your own boards.

Come add your voice to our conversation!
We’ll hope to see you there!


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Welcome to 1840 Farm

You’re always welcome at 1840 Farm and we’re thrilled that you stopped by for a visit!  We have organized our favorite recipes and posts to make it easier for you to find exactly what you’re looking for.   You can access our posts by clicking on the photos below.  From pie baking tips to our basket collection and a photo tour of our gardens, you’re sure to find something that you’ll enjoy.


We hope that you’ll enjoy our most recent posts:


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Valentine’s Day Favorites at 1840 Farm

Valentine’s Day usually comes and goes in a flash.  This year, it falls on a Saturday during 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 holiday has passed us by.  For my Valentine, only chocolate will do.  Now I just have to decide which of our favorite recipes to bake!

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Vitamix Pro 750 Passes the 1840 Farmhouse Test

For years, I have heard from professional and home cooks about the wonders of the Vitamix.  Chefs extol its virtues in their professional kitchens.  Home cooks like myself are just as taken with its abilities.  From their accounts, it seemed that there wasn’t anything that the Vitamix couldn’t handle.

Several weeks ago, our sponsor JL Hufford sent me a Vitamix Pro 750 to test in our 1840 Farmhouse kitchen.  Finally, I would be able to form my own opinion about the Vitamix.  From the moment I began to unpack the unit from its box, I was taken with the sturdy construction.  This is a very solidly constructed piece of equipment.

Once I had unpacked the Vitamix, it was time to put it to work in our kitchen.  First up was one of my son’s favorite beverages, our homemade take on the Orange Julius.  We’ve been making this recipe for years in our standard blender.  Unfortunately, we have never been able to achieve that frothy, smooth texture that we hoped for using our blender.  No matter how long we blended the ingredients, it just didn’t become a homogeneous mixture.VitamixOrangeSq

So, we gathered the ingredients, placed them in the Vitamix container, and selected the smoothie setting.  We turned on the power and watched as the ingredients were effortlessly transformed into that frothy, silky consistency that we had tried so hard to achieve in the past.  After pouring the mixture from the container, I added warm water and a touch of dish soap, returned the container to the base, and powered it on using the cleaning setting.  In moments, the unit was clean, needing only a quick rinse with fresh water to remove the soapy solution.

During that first week, we used the Vitamix Pro 750 to blend many other smoothies, soups, and liquids.  We made a recipe of our Smoky Chili Puree to flavor a batch of Black Bean Chili.  In seconds, the tomatoes and chilies in the container were pureed and smooth.  It was clear that liquids were no match for the VItamix.

Now that we had established the ability of the Vitamix to handle smoothies, sauces, and soups, it was time to move on to processing items that weren’t liquid based.  First up was a batch of pizza dough.  I would have never thought of making pizza dough in this machine before reading the extensive 350 page cookbook that was included in the package.  The Vitamix effortlessly transformed the ingredients into a smooth ball of pizza dough.

After pizza dough, I set out to make a family favorite using the Vitamix.  It was time to make a Gooey Butter Cake.  The Vitamix powered through the buttery crust without any trouble.  Next up was the gooey mixture of cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar.  I’ve made this recipe dozens of times, but both my stand mixer and food processor fail to create a completely smooth mixture.  No matter how long I allow the butter and cream cheese to come to room temperature, no matter how long I blend or process the ingredients, lumps are still present.

After placing the ingredients in the Vitamix container, I processed it on setting 3.  After the blade had stopped, I removed the lid to inspect the mixture.  It was completely velvety and smooth.  There wasn’t a single lump in sight.  The Vitamix had done what my blender, stand mixer, and food processor had failed to do.  It was official:  I was now a member of the contingent of cooks who believe that the Vitamix can handle anything.  This machine had passed the1840 Farmhouse test with flying colors.

I am very grateful that JL Hufford allowed me to put the Vitamix Pro 750 to the test.  It passed every challenge I gave it and earned my resounding seal of approval.  I’m even more grateful that they’re offering a special 10% savings on this amazing machine to the members of our 1840 Farm Community!  This is a limited time offer, so don’t delay.  If you’ve been dreaming of adding a Vitamix to your kitchen’s arsenal or giving one as a gift, this is an amazing opportunity to save.

Visit JL Hufford and enter the coupon code “skyhigh10″ to save 10% on your purchase of the Vitamix Pro 750 until 12/14/14.  I hope that you’ll take advantage of this amazing savings and then you’ll share with me what delicious dishes you’re making using your new Vitamix.  Until then, here are the recipes that we tested with our Vitamix.  Enjoy!




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1840 Farmhouse Brioche

I first made brioche bread about a dozen years ago. I made it out of necessity. I loved the taste and texture of brioche bread, but didn’t have a local bakery that turned out those lovely golden loaves. While Standard Baking Co. in Portland, Maine creates fantastic brioche, driving two hours for bread (no matter how delicious) seemed a bit extreme.

Photo Sep 28, 9 47 42 AMSo, I went to the farmhouse kitchen armed with one of my favorite cookbooks: Baking with Julia. I read the detailed recipe and followed its instructions to the letter. It was a somewhat disarming undertaking giving the precision of the directions. I pressed on, inspired by the promise of creating my own brioche loaves right here in our farmhouse.

Traditional brioche is baked from dough enriched by fresh eggs and butter. Each addition must be perfectly timed before advancing to the next step. If these steps are rushed, the dough will break apart, forming several small clumps that will resist coming back together into one congruous ball of dough. Yet care must be taken not to over mix the dough as too much mixing can ruin the airy texture that makes brioche so wonderful.

Once the eggs have been successfully integrated into the dough, butter must be added in much the same way. It is added a bit at a time, allowing the butter to fully blend with the dough. This process can take thirty minutes or more. All of this kneading puts a heavy toll on a stand mixer. As the dough is kneaded, the mixer must be monitored to ensure that it does not overheat or, worse yet, burn out completely. Kneading this dough for such a long time is a herculean task for a residential kitchen’s mixer.

My first few batches of brioche were made with great success. They were delicious in every way and a big hit with my family. It seemed that I 10336599_733865503347292_2681057661619279851_nhad conquered this dough and learned how to make loaves of delicious brioche bread. I delighted in the knowledge that we would have brioche whenever we wanted without the need for a two hour road trip.

I continued to mix up batches of brioche dough regularly. I heeded the warning within the recipe. I took care to judiciously pace the half hour of mixing, stopping if the mixer seemed to be approaching the point of overheating or causing damage to the motor.

And then, one day as I was finishing a batch of dough, the motor ground to an abrupt halt. It cried uncle and refused to do anything other than emit a high pitched grinding noise when I turned the motor on. My mixer had seen its last batch of brioche dough. I was afraid that I might have also seen mine.

I tried in vain to repair the mixer’s worn gear to no avail. Next, I did what any serious baker would do. I started saving for a new mixer. When the day finally came that Mr. 1840 Farm treated me to the wonderful surprise of a replacement mixer, I couldn’t wait to make a batch of brioche bread.

I was a bit hesitant. I worried that working my beloved dough would put my latest mixer in jeopardy. My fear of a repeat performance led me to wonder if I might be able to simplify the brioche recipe to require less precision from me and less muscle from my mixer’s motor.

Photo Aug 04, 9 19 31 AMI tried several times to simplify the recipe by consolidating steps and simplifying the recipe without sacrificing the flavor and texture of the traditional brioche that I love so much. Most of the loaves were edible, but did not resemble brioche at all. A few of the loaves were painfully dense and decidedly inedible.

While I am fairly confident in my baking abilities, I began to wonder if it was time to give up. Thankfully, I didn’t. Instead, I decided to abandon most of what I knew about the techniques that I had used to create traditional brioche.  I focused on the dough itself. I set out to create a heavily enriched dough that would yield a baked loaf with brioche’s hallmark golden, papery thin crust and rich, airy texture.

Gradually, I made minor changes to the proportions of the ingredients and the method I used to create the dough. Several batches later, the loaves were exactly as I had hoped. The crust was golden and flaky and surrounded an interior that was light and punctuated with the rich flavor of eggs and butter.

My mixer had survived this bread experiment and so had I. Better yet, my family had delicious brioche bread to enjoy that was everything we hoped it would be. To celebrate, I did what any dedicated bread baker would do: I started working on a new recipe.  I’m hoping to develop a brioche recipe that will incorporate our freshly milled whole wheat flour. Don’t worry; I’ll share that recipe with you as soon as I finish testing it!

1840 Farmhouse Brioche
Makes two loaves

I find that adding Grandma Eloise’s Dough Enhancer helps to extend the shelf life of my homemade loaves by several days, but if you don’t have it on hand, you can omit it from the recipe.  The resulting loaf will still be delicious, but the texture will be slightly more dense and the shelf life will be several days shorter.  You can learn more about the dough enhancer on my recipe for our Farmhouse Country Loaf.

12 ounces (1 ¾ cup) warm waterPhoto Aug 03, 9 32 44 PM
21 grams (1 Tablespoon) honey
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon Dough Enhancer
840 grams (7 cups) All-purpose flour
3 large eggs, room temperature
4 ounces (1 stick) butter, grated

If you are using a dough proofer, preheat the proofer following the manufacturer’s instructions as you prepare the dough.   Whisk the warm water and honey in the bowl of a large stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over the top of the liquid. Allow the yeast to rest as you prepare the remaining ingredients.

In a medium bowl, combine the salt, dough enhancer (if using), and flour. Grate the butter and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth.

Add the eggs to the bowl with the warm water and honey. Whisk until combined. Mount the bowl on the mixer’s base and attach the dough hook. Add the dry ingredients all in one addition before turning the mixer’s motor on low speed.

Photo Aug 03, 10 52 09 PMMix for a few minutes, until the dough begins to take shape. The dough will appear to be slightly dry. With the motor running, begin adding the grated butter a bit at a time, allowing the butter to be incorporated into the dough before adding more. Continue this process until all of the butter has been added.

Stop the mixer and asses the dough. It should be shiny and moist, but not excessively sticky. The ball of dough should be smooth and elastic. If it is too sticky, simply start the mixer and gradually add up to ½ cup of All-purpose flour to the dough. Take care not to add too much flour as it will yield a finished loaf that is too dry.

Transfer the dough to a large buttered bowl to rise in a dough proofer or a warm, draft free location.  Allow the dough to rise until it has nearly doubled in size. Using my dough proofer set at 82 degrees, this takes approximately 45 to 60 minutes.

Once the dough has nearly doubled in size, divide it into two equal sections. Form each section into a loaf and place in a buttered or oiled loaf pan. Be sure to oil the top rim of the loaf pan as this dough has a tendency to rise well above the top of the pan. Oiling the top rim of the pan will make releasing the baked loaf from the pan much easier.10600412_733618986705277_6540797265334883724_n

Transfer the two loaves back to the proofing chamber or warm, draft free location for rising. Allow the loaves to rise until they have reached a height of more than one inch above the top edge of the loaf pans.  Using my dough proofer, this takes about one 60 – 90 minutes.

As the dough nears the end of its rise, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  If you have a pizza stone, this is a great time to put it to use.  I like to use stones when baking bread in order to deliver even heat to the bottom of the loaf as it bakes.  I find that my loaves bake more evenly when I have the stones in the oven during preheating and baking.

Once the loaves have risen sufficiently and the oven has reached the proper temperature, transfer the loaves to the oven.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, turning near the halfway mark to ensure even browning.  When the loaves are fully baked, they will be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.  Remove the baked loaves from their pans to a wire rack. Allow them to cool completely before slicing or storing.

Don’t miss my post about the best way to store fresh bread to learn how you should be storing your fresh loaf of bread.  You can also learn more about My Favorite Bread Baking Tools and Ingredients and share your own with me.

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In the Studio at 1840 Farm

Here’s what we’re working on in the 1840 Farm Studio.  Click on a photo to enlarge.


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In the Farmhouse Kitchen

Here’s what we’re working on in the farmhouse kitchen at 1840 Farm.  Click on a photo to enlarge.

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The 1840 Farm Amazon Shop

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1840 Farm Thread Gallery

We have 39 colors of thread on hand and are always looking for a few more.  Click on a photo to enlarge and get a closer look.

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2014 Heirloom Seed Collection from 1840 Farm and Fresh Eggs Daily

1840 Farm

Last year, we launched our first 1840 Farm Heirloom Seed Collections in order to share our favorite heirloom varieties with our readers.  This year, we are excited to be partnering with our friends at Fresh Eggs Daily to bring you an expanded selection of Heirloom Seed Collections.  Each collection has been carefully curated to pair varieties that are well suited for growing together in your gardens and ours.  All of the seeds in our collections are heirloom, non-GMO, and sourced from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company, a family owned seed purveyor.

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Lisa and I first became friends during the summer of 2012.  What started as a casual conversation about chicken keeping and writing quickly evolved into an ongoing dialog about so much more.  Within days, we were trading messages about using old fashioned techniques to care for our animals, tips for tending to our gardens, and the warm childhood memories of our grandparents doing the same.  Two years have passed and our conversation is still going strong.

This winter, we discovered that we were each working independently on curating heirloom seed collections for the upcoming growing season.  Within minutes, we decided that working together on the collection would allow us to offer a better variety of seeds to our customers and give us another reason to chat all summer long.

We’re hoping that you will join us in growing a few of our favorite heirlooms in your gardens.  Together, we can learn more about the history of these varieties and share our favorite preparations for our families and the animals in our care.  Whether you grow a collection of herbs to boost the health of your hens or tend a tomato patch to brighten the fresh meals served at your family table, we hope that you will enjoy joining in our friendly conversation this summer and beyond.

In the coming weeks, you will learn more about each individual variety in this year’s collection.   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.

While we’re all waiting for spring weather to finally arrive and the growing season to begin, 1840 Farm, Fresh Eggs Daily, and Sasquatch Books have a fantastic giveaway to share with you.  One lucky winner will win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck to all who enter!

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1840 Farm Heirloom Seed Collection

We have been planting heirlooms in the gardens at 1840 Farm since our first summer living here.  It started simply enough with a few  packets of heirloom tomato seeds.  They had interesting names and stories that held our attention long before we had ever tasted an heirloom fruit or vegetable fresh from our garden.

One bite of an heirloom tomato was all it took to make me a believer in heirloom varieties.  The flavor was amazing: rich and full and unlike anything I had ever tasted.  Nine years have passed, but I haven’t planted anything but an heirloom in our gardens since that first delicious bite.

In 2013, we launched our first 1840 Farm Heirloom Seed Collections in order to share our favorite heirloom varieties with our readers. Last year, we joined forces with our friends at Fresh Eggs Daily to bring you an expanded selection of Heirloom Seed Collections.

This year, we’re working together again and have expanded each of our offerings to bring you even more variety. Each collection has been carefully curated to pair varieties that are well suited for growing together in your gardens and ours. All of the seeds in our collections are heirloom, non-GMO, and sourced from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company, a family owned seed purveyor.

In 2015, we are proud to offer nine heirloom seed collections for sale.  You can click on any of the images below to learn more about each specific collection. We hope that you will enjoy growing these heirlooms in your garden as much as we do.

We invite you to join The 1840 Farm Community on Facebook to share updates from your garden and keep up to date on what we’re harvesting from the heirloom gardens here at 1840 Farm.  We’ll also be sharing regular garden updates along with fresh, seasonal recipes here on our blog and in the pages of In Season Magazine.

1840 Farm Heirloom Tomato Seed Collection  1840 Farm Heirloom Seeds Favorites Collection  The Pollinator's Garden Heirloom Seed Collection

1840 Farm Thomas Jefferson Heirloom Seed Collection  Lewis & Clark Expedition Heirloom Seed Collection  Three Sisters Garden Heirloom Seed Collection

The Children's Heirloom Garden Collection  The Easy Keepers Heirloom Seed Collection  The Container Garden Heirloom Seed Collection

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 growing season.

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December Savings in the 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop

We had a wonderful and very White Christmas here at 1840 Farm.  I hope that you enjoyed a holiday filled with family, friends, and many memories in the making.  I know that we certainly did.

Mother Nature gave us over 20 inches of fresh snow the week before the holiday.  This morning, she decided to give us about five or six more.  There isn’t a single spot on the farm that isn’t resting under a thick blanket of snow.

As the snow gets deeper outside, I find myself dreaming more and more of spring inside.  It’s hard not to when you’re surrounded by beautiful heirloom seed catalogs and bright, cheery fabrics just begging to be made into baskets, trivets, and other handmade items for The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.

As I’m busy thinking of spring, I plan to pass the time by stitching up the first bright, spring baskets for our shop.  While I can’t wait to fill the shop with brightly colored baskets, I want to find homes for the lovely baskets that are in the shop first. So, I’m offering 20% off all purchases over $10.00 between now and the New Year.

To take advantage of the savings, simply enter “DECEMBER” during the checkout process. The 20% discount can be applied to the holiday items that have already been discounted, allowing you to realize savings of over 30% on several of our holiday items..

This coupon code cannot be applied to custom orders.  Instead, we’re hoping that you’ll visit our 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy and find an item in our shop that’s ready to ship and absolutely perfect for you.  This coupon code will expire at midnight on December 31, 2013, so hurry to enjoy the biggest savings we have offered all year long!

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