Wednesday, September 16, 2015

USDA Organic Certification In Sight!

Arthur and I spent the afternoon on Friday with the inspector from Pennsylvania Certified Organic. He sat down at our dining room table, opened his laptop and began a painstaking review of our organic systems plan. We had prepared for his visit by pulling out binders, receipts and notes, gathering seeds, fertilizer and other inputs and anything else we thought he might need. Then together we toured the fields, gardens, orchards, high tunnel and barns.

He will submit his report to PCO early this week and we're keeping our fingers crossed that we'll have the certificate in hand by month's end.
Here's the description of Organic Agriculture from the USDA Website:

What is Organic Agriculture?

Organic agriculture produces products using methods that preserve the environment and avoid most synthetic materials, such as pesticides and antibiotics. USDA organic standards describe how farmers grow crops and raise livestock and which materials they may use.
Organic farmers, ranchers, and food processors follow a defined set of standards to produce organic food and fiber. Congress described general organic principles in the Organic Foods Production Act, and the USDA defines specific organic standards. These standards cover the product from farm to table, including soil and water quality, pest control, livestock practices, and rules for food additives.
Organic farms and processors:
  • Preserve natural resources and biodiversity
  • Support animal health and welfare
  • Provide access to the outdoors so that animals can exercise their natural behaviors
  • Only use approved materials
  • Do not use genetically modified ingredients
  • Receive annual onsite inspections
  • Separate organic food from non-organic food

We'll see you at the Potter County Farmers' Market on Friday,  offering for sale our vegetables grown organically right here in our own community. This week we will have peppers of all temperatures and colors; winter squash including acorn, butternut, buttercup, Red Kuri, delicata; leafy head lettuce; fresh herbs; string beans; carrots; beets ... and whatever else is still growing. And be sure to ask us about Organic Certification!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Summer's End

Sweetie Cherry Tomatoes
If you read the sidebar on this blog, you'll see that we were selected to participate in the Path To Organic program administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. The program was designed to assist farmers in transitioning to certified organic production.
On Friday, an inspector from Pennsylvania Certified Organic will be coming to Crandall Hill for a site visit. He has reviewed our Organic Systems Plan and will sit down with us to go over details and then tour our farm.
We're excited about taking this step in the process and have been working hard to have everything ready for this visit.
And since we won't be at the Farmers' Market Friday, let me update you on our late-summer garden.
Hungarian Hot Wax

Ancho Poblano Peppers

Grandpa Admire's Lettuce
Rosa Bianca Eggplant
Cauliflower On A Dewy Morning

Ring Of Fire Cayenne Peppers
Golden California Wonder Sweet Pepper

Mid-Summer Tomato Crop

Ready To Become Roasted Tomato Sauce

It's Edamame Time

Every year about this time, the edible-podded soybeans are ready. For the uninitiated, they're known as edamame and you can find them on the menu at the Chinese restaurant in Coudersport and the Japanese restaurant in Olean. They're available in the freezer cases at Wegmann's, TOPS and Genesee Natural Foods - either shelled or still in their fuzzy pods.
And, for a limited time, they're available fresh from the vines at Metzger Heritage Farm.
We're not going to be at the Farmers' Market on Friday ... I'll tell you more in another post ... so if you want some, please get in touch as soon as possible. Telephone is best at 274-8004 (814 area code). Our email is
If you've never tried edamame, here's a recipe I have adapated from one that appeared in Bon Appetit magazine.

Blistered Edamame
Sizzling in the cast iron frying pan
1/2 pound fresh edamame
1 Tb. olive oil
2 dried chiles (I dry my own each year. Pictured is one half of a Ring of Fire cayenne and one half of a Maya Red habenero.)
3 cloves of garlic, smashed (leave peel on)
Zest from half a lime
Lime wedges
Kosher salt
Wash edamame and steam gently over boiling water for a couple minutes until the pods turn bright green. Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan (I prefer cast iron) over high heat and add olive oil to coat pan. Drop edamame from the steamer basket into the hot skillet, add chiles and garlic cloves. Cook and stir over high heat for about 5-7 minutes until pods are golden and blistered. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with lime zest and Kosher salt to taste. Serve with lime wedges. To eat, hold the pods with your fingers and put in your mouth, slide the tender little morsels out between your teeth and discard the shells. Sometimes the little fuzzies on the pods tickle your lips!
If you like things spicy, add a few hot pepper flakes too!

Here they are, ready to enjoy!