Thursday, February 16, 2017

Buy Local!

The Metzger Heritage Farm cart at Costa's Shursave Food Shop in Coudersport has been re-stocked with our luscious certified organic potatoes.  By shopping locally and putting a bag of Potter County organic potatoes in your cart, you are supporting the local economy.

Here's a recipe tailored to our gourmet potato assortment. It's adapted from Gourmet magazine. With organic potatoes, you have no fears about pesticide residue on the skins, so why not just scrub them and leave the skins on?

Red White and Blue Potato Salad

    • 1 cup chopped green onions, divided
    • 1/2 cup Greek-style plain yogurt
    • 1/4 cup sour cream
    • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
    • 2 Tb. white wine vinegar
    • 3 tsp. Dijon mustard
    • 2 teaspoons sugar
    • 2 teaspoons salt (divided)
    • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 2-lb. bag of Metzger Heritage Farm Certified Organic Gourmet Potato Assortment
    • 10-ounce package frozen peas, thawed
    • 1 cup crumbled blue cheese (about 4 ounces)
    • Paprika
  1. Whisk 1/2 cup green onions with yogurt, sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, sugar, 1 tsp. salt and pepper in medium bowl. Cover and chill dressing while preparing potatoes.
  2. Place all potatoes in large saucepan. (You may want to chunk them in order to have them all be the same size so they cook evenly.) Add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Add teaspoon of salt. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium, and boil until tender – time will vary depending on size and variety of potatoes. Drain and cool to room temperature.
  3. Cut potatoes into 1/2-inch-thick slices and place in large bowl. Add dressing, peas, and blue cheese; toss gently. Cover and chill at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.
  4. Sprinkle potato salad with paprika and remaining 1/2 cup green onions just before serving.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Summer Dreaming

Known in our neighborhood as "Summer Lilac"

This plant grows at the corner of the parking area in our front lawn. Now a tall, gangly shrub, it started as a small shoot from a plant that lives over the hill from us on Sunset Valley Farm. John Peet shared a cutting with us when I admired a similar plant that grows along Dingman Run Road where Dave and Betty Mottern live.
According to the University of Arkansas website, the name "summer lilac" was given to the early hybrids by French nurserymen, many of whom developed the French lilacs of that same period. During the 1920's the name "butterfly bush" became popular as a common name and seems to have replaced the first common name for the species.
While you're thinking of summer, don't forget that we will be offering our certified organic tomato and pepper plants for sale again in 2017. Details will follow but if you're interested in a particular variety, let us know ( and we'll try to find the certified organic seed to grow them for you.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Organic Production

Are we the only ones who scour the produce department of grocery stores to compare organic vegetables ... and their prices ... with our own?

And when you see a sign for a Farmer's Market, do you stop to take a look ... and have a visit with the growers?

Sale price is $1.98 per pound for USDA Certified Organic apples
These were grown in Washington, where 60% of the apples
in the USA are produced.

Price is $2.99 lb.
And some of us even capture the images on our handy phone cameras.

The price is $4 lb. for USDA Certified Organic Potatoes
From Trader Joe's
So how do we price the certified organic produce we grow on our farm? We have been relying more and more on calculations that help us figure out the actual costs of production. As a result of that work, we have come to the conclusion that there are vegetables we have grown for sale in the past that cannot be sold at a price that compensates us for the cost of production.  And there are others that can be profitable if we pay attention to the variables.

The USDA has the following advice for organic growers regarding pricing:

"Your pricing strategy speaks volumes about your business. You will quickly earn a reputation as fair and ethical if you have a good pricing strategy. The alternative is to be known as cheap, dishonest and desperate among consumers and competitors. Your pricing strategy should be consistent, accurate and reliable. Many people want farmers to have a good quality of life and are willing to pay a fair price for quality products, so price according to what you are spending and add a reasonable markup."
Buying directly from the farmer - either at the farm or at Farmers' Markets puts all profit into the hands of the farmer.

From a Farmers' Market in a nearby town

Friday, January 27, 2017

How About Them Apples?

. . . from the 2016 harvest of USDA Certified Organic Apples
It's nearly the end of January 2017 and we're still taking stock of the 2016 growing season ... our second year as a USDA Certified Organic operation.

After two late spring freezes destroyed much of our 2015 apple crop, we greeted 2016 with optimism.

It was exciting to bring a nice selection of apple varieties to the Farmers' Market in the early fall.

We delivered several varieties to our fellow organic farmers Dennis and Bridget to sell at Quest Farm Produce in Almond, N.Y. We also marketed apples at Costa's Shursave Food Shop in Coudersport.

Certified organic apples that had some defects were sold at a reduced price for folks to use for applesauce and other processed foods. (And our pantry is stocked with jars of certified organic applesauce too!)

Less-Than-Perfect apples make great pie, too!

In looking to the coming year, it's valuable to remind our customers that the average conventionally-grown apple has more pesticide residue on it than any other fruit or vegetable. According to the Environmental Working Group, pesticides showed up on 98 percent of the washed apple samples tested. Apples were found to have up to 48 different kinds of pesticides on them.
You will pay more for USDA certified apples but you will have the assurance that the apples you are eating are free of harmful pesticide residue.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Giving Thanks

On this Thanksgiving Day, I share with you with well-chosen words of Wendell Berry and photos from gardens past.

"The pleasure of eating should be an extensive pleasure, not that of the mere gourmet. People who know the garden in which their vegetables have grown and know that the garden is healthy will remember the beauty of the growing plants, perhaps in the dewy first light of morning when gardens are at their best.

"Such a memory involves itself with the food and is one of the pleasures of eating. The knowledge of the good health if the garden relieves and frees and comforts the eater. ...

"A significant part of the pleasure of eating is one's accurate consciousness of the lives and the world from which food comes. The pleasure of eating, then, may be the best available standard of our health. And this pleasure, I think, is pretty fully available to the urban consumer who will make the necessary effort.

"I mentioned earlier the politics, esthetics, and ethics of food. But to speak of the pleasure of eating is to go beyond those categories. Eating with the fullest pleasure - pleasure, that is, that does not depend on ignorance - is perhaps the profoundest enactment of our connection with the world."

"In this pleasure we experience and celebrate our dependence and our gratitude, for we are living from mystery, from creatures we did not make and powers we cannot comprehend. ..."

(Wendell Berry from the 1989 essay "The Pleasures of Eating" as republished in Bringing it to the Table, 2009.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Lessons From Apples

Beautiful rosy red certified organic applesauce
By all accounts, 2016 was a great apple year in Potter County! Here on Crandall Hill, we were excited to harvest apples of many varieties from our fledgling certified organic orchard.
Last year we weren't so fortunate as late-spring frosts prevented the setting of fruit.
It was fun to experiment with the different kinds of apples going into the big old stock pot that has served through many canning seasons. This batch featured many different kinds of apples, including some that lent their rosy hue to the finished product. We're going to enjoy some for dinner tonight!

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Joy Of Beets

Beets are a crop we love to grow here on Crandall Hill. Whether they're planted early in the spring or later in the summer, they thrive in our garden spot.

Detroit Dark Red along with a couple Chioggia in the mix
They were planted mid-summer this year and we've been harvesting for about a month and a half. Today they're all coming out the ground and it's your last chance to buy these certified organic jewels.
Many folks are into juicing and finding fresh beets - let alone certified organic beets - is a chore in this area. Beets are high in fiber and rich in vitamins A & C. Here's a local, convenient source so call today 814-274-8004 to reserve yours.
Beets are high in fiber and rich in vitamins A & C.
I have found they keep well for several months in the refrigerator when they're lightly wrapped and when there's a paper towel to absorb any extra moisure that accumulates.
Here's a recipe to get you started.
Onion Beet Salad
2 1/2 lbs. of whole fresh beets
5 Tb. olive oil
1 large red onion, chipped
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tb. honey
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. pepper
Scrub beets and place on a large square of aluminum foil. Drizzle with some of the olive oil and turn to coat. Fold foil over beets and seal tightly. Bake in 400-degree oven for about an hour or until tender. Allow beets to cool and the skins will slip off.
Cut beets into cubes and place in large bowl. Add the onion. In separate bowl whisk together the vineyard, honey, salt, basil pepper and rest of the olive oil. Pour over beet mixture and gently toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, stirring occasionally. Serve with a slotted spoon.