Category Archive: Food

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.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/09/farmhouse-brioche/

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/

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/

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/

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/

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/

Black Seeded Simpson Heirloom Lettuce

Black Seeded Simpson Heirloom Lettuce is a staple in our 1840 Farm garden every year.  I first tasted Black Seeded Simpson four years ago when I reached down on a sunny day to pull a fresh leaf from the lettuce bed.  One bite of a crunchy, ruffled leaf was all it took to make it one of my favorite tastes of summer.  Since then, I have come to appreciate its beauty as much as its flavor.

The color of this lettuce is stunning.  Its large, deeply textured leaves are a brilliant bright green color with just enough of an undertone of yellow to stand out among the other lettuces we grow.  Each leaf is large and reaches upright towards the sun.

Black Seeded Simpson is quick to mature, making it one of the first fresh harvests from our raised bed garden each year.  Throughout the season, it resists bolting unlike many other lettuces that we have tried.  This variety consistently thrives during the heat and drought of the summer.

Black Seeded Simpson is a loose leaf variety of lettuce.  Instead of growing in tight heads, it produces individual, loose, leaves attached to a central stalk.  This growing habit allows leaves to be harvested throughout the growing season without disturbing the plant.  This method of harvest when paired with succession planting will ensure a steady crop of delicious greens all summer long.  It’s no wonder that gardeners have been growing Black Seeded Simpson in their salad gardens for over 150 years!

Black Seeded Simpson 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/black-seeded-simpson-heirloom-lettuce/

The Three Sisters Garden Heirloom Seed Collection

Throughout the year, we produce as much food for our family table as possible here at 1840 Farm.  We span the calendar year from spring’s maple syrup to summer’s garden produce to fall and winter’s fresh eggs from the coop and milk from our dairy goat herd.  Each season and crop has a purpose.

Each year, the beans, corn, and squash grown in our garden will be featured on our Thanksgiving table.  These three crops can be grown in a variety of ways in the garden, but I like to use an interplanting technique that may be as old as Thanksgiving itself.   Planting a Three Sisters Garden will provide delicious produce for our November celebration and allow us to participate in an American history lesson right outside our farmhouse door.

The Three Sisters Garden may very well be the first instance of the companion planting technique that gardeners still use today.  There is a wonderful old legend about the Three Sisters Garden that involves a Native American woman who had three daughters who struggled to peacefully coexist.

The legend tells the tale of her brilliant method for showing her daughters the value of diversity and peaceful coexistence.  She planted the three crops of corn, beans, and squash together to show her daughters that together, they could support each other yet retain their own individuality.  As members of the group, they were stronger than they could possibly be as individuals.

While some historians disagree regarding the historical accuracy of the story, the legend of the and its gardening technique have endured through the centuries.   In fact, artwork of a woman tending a Three Sisters Garden appears on the reverse side of the Sacajawea US Dollar coin that was released in 2009.  Now you can help to preserve the legend with The 1840 Farm Three Sisters Garden Heirloom Collection.

Last year, we offered a collection of three heirloom varieties used by the Wampanoag Tribe to our customers in our Three Sisters Garden Collection.  This year, our The Sisters Garden Collection features four historic heirloom varieties.  We have paired the original three heirlooms with a sunflower that was named for the Hidatsa Tribes that also famously planted corn, maize, and squash as companions in their gardens.  The 2014 Three Sisters Garden Collection includes four historic heirloom varieties:

Hidatsa Sunflower
Long Island Cheese Squash
Stowell’s Evergreen Sweet Corn
Sunset Runner Bean

To plant a Three Sisters Garden, prepare a mound of garden soil approximately 48 inches wide.  Amending the soil with compost will help to improve the productivity of each of the crops during the growing season.  After the danger of frost has passed, plant the corn in the mound, making a circle about 24 inches in diameter.   Plant four to six seeds in each inch deep hole.   Space the corn plantings about 8 inches apart along the perimeter of the circle.

Once the corn has grown to between 4-6 inches tall, plant the bean seeds.  Evenly space the beans around the base of each corn stalk.  Seven to ten days after planting the beans, plant the squash seeds.  Plant 2-3 squash seeds in each of three or four holes inside the circle of corn and beans.

Planting corn, bean, and squash together is a sustainable method of companion planting, allowing each plant to help contribute to the success of the other varieties.  The towering corn stalks serve as a trellis for the climbing beans, allowing them to be grown without the need for a supplemental support system.  As the beans grow, they help to enrich the soil.  Their roots produce nitrogen which feeds the corn and squash plants throughout the growing season.

In the Three Sisters Garden, the large leaves of the squash plant shelter the soil, suppressing weed growth and discouraging pests from damaging the trio of crops.  The prickly vines of the squash plant deter pests from the garden and help to protect the developing crops.  The flowery blooms of the bean and squash plants help to attract pollinators to the garden, increasing the productivity of the entire garden.

The sunflowers can be planted along with the other three varieties in the Three Sisters Garden.  Their bright blooms will help to attract pollinators to your garden. When spent, the large flower heads can be harvested for their delicious seeds or shared with your flock as a nutritious treat.

I look forward to showcasing produce directly from the garden at 1840 Farm on this year’s Thanksgiving table.  Beans, corn, and squash will join spinach, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and fresh herbs in our favorite holiday dishes.  Enjoying this homegrown produce on our family table will make our holiday celebration even more memorable.

The Three Sisters Garden Collection is 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/2014/03/the-three-sisters-garden-heirloom-seed-collection-2/

Sunset Runner Heirloom Bean

The Sunset Runner Bean is beloved for its ability to bring beauty and a nutritious crop to your garden plot.  The beautiful salmon pink colored blooms are unique to the sunset variety of runner bean.  The vines can grow to be six feet tall and make a wonderful climbing vine for arbors and trellises.  Continually harvesting the pods will encourage the plant to keep producing until the first freeze.

While there are many varieties of runner beans, the sunset is unique in many ways.  First, the seeds are a beautiful, dark black color. The climbing vines bear their beautiful pink blossoms early and continue to produce edible pods and beans during the growing season.   While some beans have only one purpose in the kitchen, the Sunset Runner Bean is delicious when used as a fresh snap bean, canned or frozen for later use, or as a dried bean.

The Sunset Heirloom Runner Bean is one of the most beautiful plants that we grow in the garden at 1840 Farm.  Its hardy vine and beautiful flowers are a constant throughout the summer.  We love to walk through the paths in between the raised beds and snap fresh pods straight off the vine.  Most of them are eaten right in the garden and never make it back to the farmhouse.  Those that do are blanched briefly before being sautéed lightly in butter.  Either way, they’re a delicious, healthy treat straight from the garden.

The Sunset Runner Heirloom Bean is one of the four varieties included in our Three Sisters 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/2014/03/sunset-runner-heirloom-bean/

Stowell’s Evergreen Heirloom Sweet Corn

Biting into a perfectly ripe ear of sweet corn is a summer rite of passage.  There’s just something about the sweet, juicy flavor of sweet corn that instantly transports me back to my childhood.  When I watch my children enjoying an ear of corn grown in our garden, I know that they are building a memory that will stay with them for years to come.

Stowell’s Evergreen is an heirloom variety that dates back to the mid 1800s.  Nathaniel Stowell lovingly crafted this sweet corn by crossing Menomony Soft Corn and Northern Sugar Corn.  The resulting corn combined the best traits from both.

In 1855, Nathaniel agreed to sell two ears of seed corn to a friend with the understanding that they would only be used in his family garden.  They settled on a price of $4.00.  Unfortunately for Mr. Stowell, his friend promptly sold those two ears to an established seed company for an incredible $20,000!  In 1856, Thoburn and Company Seed offered Stowell’s seed for sale to their customers.

More than 150 years have passed since Nathaniel watched as his beloved sweet corn’s future slipped between his fingers.  Somehow, I feel like I’m helping to right a wrong when I plant these heirloom seeds in our family garden.  I can only imagine that Mr. Stowell hoped that generations of family farmers and gardeners would lovingly grow his corn for their family.  I hope that you will join me in growing Stowell’s Evergreen Heirloom Sweet Corn for your family’ table.

Stowell’s Evergreen Heirloom Sweet Corn is one of the four varieties included in our Three Sisters 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/2014/03/stowells-evergreen-heirloom-sweet-corn-2/

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