Monday, October 25, 2010

Potatoes Harvested!

The potatoes are in! Cooperative weekend weather and a work crew – including Grandma Wanda Metzger – filled the cellar with five varieties of organic potatoes.
We'll be selling them in 5-lb. bags.
We purchased our certified organic seed from Wood Prairie Farm in Bridgewater, Maine. The descriptions are theirs.
BUTTE RUSSETS – highest in Vitamin C and protein. Great baked, mashed, or fried.
CAROLA – a sunny yellow potato from Germany boasting a smooth, creamy texture and exceptional flavor. Suitable for baking or frying.
ROSE GOLD – the best of the red-skinned golden-fleshed potatoes. A mildly dry potato that is perfect baked, steamed or in creamy soups. Unsurpassed taste
REDDALE – striking red potato with fine, moist flesh. Delicious boiled, baked or Au Gratin.
RED CLOUD – beautiful crimson potato is uncommonly dry and delicious baked or boiled. Extra good keeper.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

From Summer To Fall

Often by the time of the autumnal equinox, we've already had a frost here on Crandall Hill but his year, we sailed right through until October. Son Joseph stopped for a cup of coffee early this morning before heading into the woods for archery season and reported a sheen of frost on the porch.
I still have a few baskets of tomatoes awaiting attention but now we're looking at harvesting potatoes, beets, carrots and shallots before the temperatures dip lower and lower.
Arthur brought in the winter squashes and pumpkins yesterday. Are you looking for a pumpkin? We have many sizes and shapes from which to choose. Call or e-mail us!
I'll post some pictures.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Late Season Tomato Harvest

Often by this time of the year, we've had a killing frost. But in 2010, we have sailed into the autumn with above average temperatures after a couple of nights in the mid-30s.
On the Metzger Farm, our tomato harvest continues as evidenced by the bounty on the kitchen counter! I've canned and frozen the excess but we still have beautiful tomatoes available for at least a couple more days.
We were seduced by the glossy pictures in the seed catalogs in January and ordered many varieties of heirloom tomato seeds. When I panicked and thought my little plants might not yield the harvests I wanted, I took a trip to Ithaca to find organically-grown plants to add to the stock.
We have many varieties still available - some of which are pictured here. The biggest tomato is Rose. There are also Black Krim, Black From Tula, Green Zebra and Early Girls pictured.
If you'd like to try any of these, or need some more tomatoes for late-season canning, call or e-mail me soon.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Roasted Tomato Sauce

It's tomato time!
I have a new favorite way to made tomato sauce that concentrates the taste of the wonderful variety of tomatoes we've been enjoying this summer. It's a simple process and the kitchen smells wonderful while it's happening.
Roasted Tomato Sauce
Wash and core ripe tomatoes and cut into chunks of a uniform size. (I leave cherry tomatoes whole and cut the others in similar sizes). Spread the tomatoes in a roasting pan that's been coated with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and additional olive oil and stir. I add several cloves of garlic at this point. You may also add fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano. Roast in a 425 degree oven until thickened, stirring now and then. Keep an eye on the sauce because, at the end, the moisture tends to evaporate quickly. It can take a couple of hours depending on the moisture content of the tomatoes and the quantity you put in the pan. Let the sauce cool and then put it through a food mill to remove the seeds and skins. That's all there is to it. I've frozen it thus far but expect it could be jarred and processed in a pressure canner as well.
I plan to experiment with adding additional ingredients - like peppers, onions and other vegetables, and trying a batch with large amounts of garlic!
The Metzger Heritage Farm has tomatoes available - call us at 274-8004 or email to place your order ( Remember that we've grown these beauties without chemical pesticides, using organic methods!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Potato Update

It was in the spring that I first posted a picture of grandson Rowan as his folks planted their first garden in Oregon. Here's Rowan enjoying the first harvest!
Here on Crandall Hill we've poked around the well-mulched mounds to find our own beautiful organic potatoes too! Last weekend Joseph took his grandmother up on the hill to the potato patch where they dug a half-bushel of red and white beauties. Grandma Wanda Metzger is one of those standing behind the heritage in the Metzger Heritage Farm.
We're taking orders for potatoes now and expect to begin harvest in the next couple of weeks. Our potatoes were grown from certified organic seed with no chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Garden Bounty

One customer of Metzger Heritage Farm enjoyed these fresh vegetables this week! We have good supplies of string beans (purple, wax, green) for a few more pickings. The late planting of green beans will be ready in early September (if the frost holds off). The pickling cucumbers are very prolific this year and we continue to pick them daily. There is also a good supply of Swiss chard, and zucchini. We have some crook-neck summer squash and carrots and will have lots of round zucchini in the next few days. If you'd like new potatoes (red or white), let us know and we'll dig some for you. Some have asked about sweet corn. We selected two varieties this year, one of which was completely consumed by foraging crows shortly after it was planted. The other variety is probably two or three weeks out.
If you'd like to share in the bounty, please call (814-274-8004) or e-mail (, and place your order. We can arrange delivery or you may pick up at the farm.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Farmstand Now Open

The days move so quickly now that it's harvest season on the farm. Check out our farm stand! We're offering carrots, beets, chard, new potatoes, green, purple and yellow string beans, zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers and lettuce. Remember, we can pick to your order if you need larger quantities. I also have a good number of round zucchinis that are perfect for stuffing. Recipes to follow.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bring On The Beans

I love growing beans! They offer almost instant gratification with their big seeds and vigorous growth.
I snapped these photos of the soybeans and two varieties of "string" beans.
Last year I raised several different kinds of dried beans and saved the seed to plant this year.
I'm quite excited about the soybeans. They're a short season variety and some will be harvested as edamame, while others will be allowed to ripen and dry on the vine.
Ready now are green beans and purple beans (beautiful purple color which cooks to a deep green). Let me know if you'd like some. I have quantities suitable for eating and preserving.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Peas Ready Now!

Peas growing on tall trellises have a long tradition on this old farm on Crandall Hill. Though my (Jane's) tenure tending this patch of earth reaches only back to 1971, I have long appreciated hearing the loving recollections of those who can still see Grandpa Matteson out in the garden with his hoe and can hear the laughter of the women gathered on the front porch working at shelling peas still warm from the sun.
We're picking our 21st century peas daily and offering them for sale at $3 a pound. They're available at our makeshift roadside stand at 905 Dingman Run Road or call (274-8004) or e-mail ( and we'll be happy to accommodate your needs. All the vegetables are grown without chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides.
We also have Swiss Chard available now. Watch for some recipe suggestions in the next couple of days. We appreciate your interest in our soon-to-be-organic farm.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Good, Good, Good For Us All!

Tom Chapin serenaded a large crowd last evening in the Chautauqua Ampitheater in what was billed as a concert for children and adults. Tom is known these days as a children's performer but he doesn't hesitate to include social commentary in his songs. I couldn't help but sing along as he began to sing about locally grown food with the catchy refrain "locally grown and locally eaten is good, good, good for us all!" Could this be a theme song for our fledgling farm? With lyrics like "it seems paradoxic and carbon-dioxic to force all our food to commute. Wasting gallons of fuel which we know isn’t cool for people or planets or fruits." and  "Aside from the karma of helping the farm-a who lives in your county or state, the very best reason to buy what’s in season the taste is incredibly great!" This great song is by John Forster and Tom Chapin and will be included an a cd being released later this summer. (Check out
We're just days away from a bumper group of peas on the Metzger Farm. If you'd like some, please call the house (814-274-8004) and leave a message or e-mail Remember . . . "locally grown and locally eaten is good, good, good for us all."

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Spring Planting!

I hear the low hum of the tractor as sunlight streams in the window by my desk. Arthur has been our since sun-up tenderly burying seeds in the nurturing soil. He's planting sweet corn now. We've chosen two varieties from Seeds For Change. We're planning to keep the weeds at bay thanks to our cousin Timmer who has fabricated a uniquely designed cultivator. I'll post some photos of the "Metzgervator" in action when the time comes!
What do you think of the peas? They're being trellised for ease in picking. We'll have them for sale - either as a pick-your-own or we'll pick them for you. In my mind, peas fresh from the garden are very special. You just can't go to the supermarket and find them in all seasons like other commercially-produced vegetables. Be sure to reserve yours now. I'll keep you posted as we near the harvest times.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The news media, with its penchant for teasingly incomplete reporting on "health" issues, has been buzzing with the latest "explanation" for the increase in ADHD in children - pesticides used in the farming industry.
We've all allowed ourselves to be lulled into a sense that government regulators are the ones who really have a handle on what's safe and what is not. And we blindly trust those who assure us that those who handle these pesticides have been trained to "properly" apply the poisons to our foods.  
What’s On My Food? is a searchable database designed to make the public problem of pesticide exposure visible and more understandable. I recommend this link as you might begin to explore an understanding of what is really on – and in – your food.
I'm moving Food, Inc. to the top of my Netflix queue. This documentary about agribusiness was recently shown on PBS and I could watch only the first hour before experiencing overload! This link takes you to a page with 10 simple things you can do to change our food system. Of course, near the top of the list is finding a local source for fruits and vegetables!

Rain and Chill

The weather roller-coaster continues here on Crandall Hill. After a weekend of sunshine and warming temperatures (I missed the nice weekend weather as I headed to North Carolina for the wedding of my cousin's daughter in Winston-Salem), we've been under the clouds and feeling the familiar damp chill again. The weather prognosticators promise a warmer day today with sunshine tomorrow. I hope they're right!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Rain and Rhubarb

I've heard it for years . . .  "will the rain will spoil the rhubarb?" Is it just small talk or does it have some other meaning? Well, it's raining as I write this and I wonder . . . 
As promised, here's another way to use rhubarb . . . and if the rain doesn't spoil it, we can harvest to your order!
 I've been making this rhubarb crisp for years and it's always a success at potlucks. I imagine one could include strawberries when they're in season as well. I've also used the basic recipe and substituted blueberries (cutting down on the sugar, of course!).
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar (packed)
1 cup rolled oats (either quick or old fashioned)
1/2 cup oat bran or wheat bran (if you don't have it, substitute another 1/2 cup of oats)
2 tsp. cinnamon
Combine above ingredients in a large bowl. Add 10 Tb. melted butter and stir to make a crumbly mixture. Press half the mixture evenly on the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking pan.
Cut 2 lbs. (about 8 cups) rhubarb (cut into 1-inch pieces) on top of of crust.
Combine 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup cornstarch in medium saucepan. Add 2 cups water and heat to boiling. Boil, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in 2 tsp. vanilla. Pour over rhubarb.
Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture over rhubarb and bake in 350-degree oven until bubbly around the edges (about an hour).
It's wonderful served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.
I've also made a half recipe and baked it in a 9-inch pan.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Rhubarb's Ready Now!

If you're interested in some rhubarb, please let me know. I'll be happy to pick it fresh to your specifications.
I'll be sharing my recipe for Rhubarb Crisp in a future post.

Pie Plant

It's really spring when the rhubarb is ready! Here on our farm, we have a healthy rhubarb patch, planted many years ago at the far end of the garden. Most have enjoyed rhubarb baked in a pie. Here's a recipe for an unusual use for "pie plant" – Rhubarb Chutney 
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon ground garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
4 cups 1/2-inch cubes fresh rhubarb (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup (generous) chopped red onion
1/3 cup dried tart cherries or golden raisins (about 2 ounces)

Combine first 8 ingredients in heavy large pot. Bring to simmer over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add rhubarb, onion and dried cherries and cook until rhubarb is tender and mixture thickens slightly (about 5 minutes). (I find this takes longer than the five minutes mentioned in the recipe but plan on watching and stirring so it doesn't scorch on the bottom.) Cool completely and store in the refrigerator in a glass jar. Bring to room temperature before serving as a condiment for chicken, lamb or pork. It's also good on grilled tofu.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Apples In Our Future?

We've been most extraordinarily busy since my last post. A new subscription to Lancaster Farming brought us word of an auction in Allensville featuring a complete cider press. We traveled to the auction and were the winning bidder on the equipment but . . . the owner changed his mind about selling and we returned home disappointed and somewhat baffled. However, we're in conversation with a fellow in nearby New York state who is looking to sell an antique cider press.
Peas are in the ground and I hope to sow some lettuce, beets, onion sets, carrots and shallots in the next couple of days. Tomatoes, pepper and melon seedlings are happily established in the new greenhouse. Arthur built us some cleverly designed three-tiered wheeled carts so we can easily move the flats around. The greenhouse is wonderful!
The chicken peeps are growing and will soon be ready to move into the chicken house.
My next post will feature rhubarb....coming soon!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Field Day

On Friday I spent the morning with some local farmers at a field day sponsored by the Potter-McKean County Conservation Districts. The purpose of the field day was to demonstrate the use of cover crops and the no-till planting method.
Last fall, after a corn planting had been harvested, the Conservation District planted several cover crops using several different methods on a beautiful field in Coneville.
It was an interesting morning and I learned a lot about conventional agriculture and new processes (like no-till) that focus on conservation of the soil. However, the process, like most of conventional agriculture, is heavily dependent on herbicides and chemical fertilizers. 
As we all introduced ourselves, I was pleased to note that I wasn't the only one who used the word "organic." I was, however, the sole female workshop participant.
Pictured at left is Joel Myers from the Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance. His cap says "Soil Is Meant To Be Covered.:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spring on the Hill

Awakening to snow on the skylights yesterday was a bit of a shock after a week of 70+ degree days! But by mid-day, the snow had melted away. Everything outside is well ahead of schedule and I fear for the apple blossoms if we get a really cold snap. Last year we lost our entire apple crop when a late-season freeze moved in after a very warm spring.
The photo of Rowan Day published first here accompanies a nice little article in the Endeavor newspaper about the Pennsylvania Path to Organic program and the two Potter County farms embarking on this ambitious project.
The new greenhouse should be at a place where I can move my little tomato plants from their sunny windows in the house. For those of you who know our place, you'll see that Arthur has converted the southeast corner of the shop into a lovely sunny space.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


In the 1940s and 1950s, the Potter County farmers working these rocky fields began growing more and more potatoes. They shared in the development of the "Potato City" complex at the summit of Denton Hill on Route 6 dedicated to the breeding and development of new potato varieties. The complex served as a site for field trials, demonstrations and meetings all aimed at marketing Potter County as the potato capital of the east.
Here on Crandall Hill, the Mattesons and Metzgers were part of the Potter County potato growing family. Though it's been many years since potatoes were grown commercially on these acres, we've ordered organic seed potatoes to plant this spring and hope to market several unique and time-tested varieties of organically grown potatoes this fall.
Here's our six-month-old grandson, Rowan Eugene Day, surveying the seed potatoes that his parents (Jonathan and Kate Metzger Day) will soon plant in their Oregon garden. I calculate that he's the sixth generation of a potato growing family!

Monday, March 29, 2010


I love shallots. Until I was introduced to the unique taste of shallots, I would substitute onions when I came across shallots as an ingredient in recipes - not knowing what I was missing!
We have grown shallots for the past two years on the Metzger Farm. The first year was strictly an experiment with one packet of seeds. Last summer we experimented more, growing four varieties with staggered plantings and were rewarded by harvesting enough to offer some for sale at the Coudersport Jubilee.
This year we're planning to grow more and market more.
In the meantime, we still have some of last year's harvest left as they're keeping well- as evidenced by the photo accompanying this blog post.
Today I'm planning to fill the old farmhouse with the aroma of carmelized shallots - an idea sparked by a visit to Williams-Sonoma yesterday afternoon.  On their gourmet food shelves, I spied jars of carmelized shallots and checked the label for and idea of how to make it at home.;
Here's the recipe I'm going to use. I'll let you know how it turns out and if you'd like to try your own, let me know and I'll provide the shallots!
Caramelized Shallots
2 lb. shallots, peeled but left intact
3 Tb. unsalted butter
2 Tb. sugar
Melt butter in an ovenproof skillet, add the shallots and sprinkle with sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the shallots begin to turn golden brown, stirring to keep them from sticking.. Add 3 Tb. red wine vinegar, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper and stir. Place the skillet in a 400 degree over and roast 15 to 30 minutes until they are tender. Season to taste.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Showers

Only a few lonely patches of snow remain on the hill behind our old farmhouse this morning after days of warm breezes and yesterday's fitful rain showers. I heard the heavy rain on the skylights last evening but I missed the promised thundershowers. I mention this here because I remember someone telling me that there was a correlation between the first thunderstorm of spring and the first frost date in the fall. Do any of you know of that old farmer's tale?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Treat

If you would like a source of fresh, naturally-grown vegetables this summer, consider the Metzger Farm.  For the past two summers we've grown a large assortment of vegetables and sold some through the Farmer's Market and the Food Matrix's CSA program. This year we're expanding our farm and are ready to offer a broad selection of fresh produce. I'll tell you more about our plans in upcoming blog posts.
How many of you remember the little natural foods store that Carolyn and Francis Castano opened on North East Street in Coudersport? It was located in the building that had housed Dominic Castano's tailoring shop I remember from my childhood. The Castanos ran weekly ads in the Potter Enterprise (where I worked as a compositor/graphic designer at the time) and sometimes included recipes. I remember this recipe for Colcannon when St. Patrick's Day makes its annual appearance.
You'll note that it uses ingredients that we can still enjoy from last summer's gardening season.
3-4 medium potatoes, scrubbed and quartered (no need to peel them!)
2 cups chopped cabbage
2 Tb. butter or olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
Milk or unsweetened soymilk
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Cook potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain and put in a casserole dish that has been lightly coated with butter or oil or cooking spray Mash potatoes but leave a few chunks. Cook cabbage in a skillet with a small amount of water until nearly tender. Drain and add to casserole dish. Saute the onion in butter or oil until lightly carmelized. Add to casserole dish along with the cheese and milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix together and bake at 325 until heated through and the cheese is melted.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Potter County Potatoes

One of the crops we're investigating growing as we transition to organic is potatoes. For years we've grown our potatoes without chemical fertilizer, herbicides or pesticides so we know it can be done - as evidenced by this photo of the 2009 crop. For 2010 we've ordered a selection of organic certified seed potato varieties and can't wait for the package to arrive!
Meanwhile, we still have a goodly amount of last fall's potatoes in the cellar. If anyone is interested in purchasing some, let us know and we'll get them to you. We have reds and whites.
Here's a recipe, modified from my dog-eared copy of a 1972 version of "Recipes For A Small Planet," for potato soup.

1/4 cup butter (you can use oil and and/or use less but I like the rich flavor that butter adds)
2 large onions, chopped
2 cups diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
In a large soup pot, saute the onions, carrots and celery in butter until the onions are transparent. Sprinkle with a bit salt and pepper during this process.
Add 6-8 medium potatoes, diced (you can add more if you wish), 1 tsp. dried marjoram, 1 tsp. dill seeds, 1 tsp. caraway seeds and about a quart of vegetable stock or water to comfortably cover the vegetables. Simmer until potatoes are cooked.
Dissolve 1 1/2 cups milk powder in 2 cups of the cooking liquid (I use a blender for this process) and add back to the soup. Adjust the seasoning - it will probably need additional salt. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley or chives or a bit of chopped sweet onion. Homemade salt rising bread is a wonderful accompaniment but we'll need to invite a guest blogger to provide that recipe!
If you don't care for the strong flavors of the caraway seeds or dill seeds, omit them. A little bit of dried dill is good with the soup.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Using Winter Vegetables

My freezer is still stocked with blueberries, beans, broccoli, green peppers and one prized package of peas from last year's bounty. The jars on the wide old shelves in the cellar are about half empty ... or should I say half full?
In the old refrigerator in the shop I still have a couple of heads of cabbage - both red and green and a bag of carrots. We planted several varieties of carrots last summer and most have stored well, keeping their sweetness and texture. This year we're going to try some of the purple carrots to add some variety to the carrots we'll be offering for sale. Let us know if you have any special requests!
Here's a recipe that uses some of those stored vegetables.
Cabbage Salad
3 carrots
1/2 green cabbage
1/2 red cabbage
1 red bell pepper
1 sweet onion (red or white)
cilantro to taste (since cilantro is one of the few things Arthur doesn't appreciate, I leave it out of his portion)
1/3 cup lime juice
1/2 tsp. cumin
minced garlic to taste (1 -3 cloves)
salt and pepper to taste1/2 tsp. tabasco (more if you like it hot!)
1/2 cup olive oil
I use the food processor to chop the vegetables, then mix everything together in a large bowl.

Tomorrow I'll post a wonderful potato soup recipe. I'm headed outdoors now to see how spring has progressed with the melting snow yesterday. We're promised one more good day before the rains come.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

First Robin!

Winter came early this year and though Potter County was spared the major snowstorms that paralyzed southeastern Pennsylvania, the gardens and fields are still asleep under blankets of dirty snow.
Betsy and I heard geese on our morning walk today. Arthur saw a robin in a neighbor's yard. The chives in my herb garden are poking through the earth. I must cut some forsythia branches to force.
Arthur is busy working on our new greenhouse. He's modifying a corner of the "shop" with floor-to-ceiling windows to capture the sunshine. It's in this new spot that we'll start our crops of heirloom tomatoes, a selection of hot, sweet and middle of the road peppers, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, melons and eggplants.
We're planting Alderman Tall Telephone peas this year, with hopes to get them in the ground on Good Friday if the weather cooperates. Early crops of lettuce, spinach, carrots and beets will follow shortly thereafter.
(Welcome to our new blog. We'll update frequently.)