Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sunday Morning Market

Sunday Morning Market
Last week during the quiet, peaceful hours of Sunday morning we set up a small Honor System market at our farm. Michael and I liked the idea of providing a few baskets of produce, eggs, honey or bread for those who weren't able to stop by our market on other days.  Quietly little groups of women, men and families strolled in, picked and weighed and then paid - all without the help of anyone else.  I happened to need to run over to the market and had a most wonderful chit chat with two women who came at the same time. I loved that moment.

So, we're going to do this again - tomorrow morning. After I milk the goats - around 8 am I'll put eggplant, squash, onions, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggs, honey, Jill's peach jam, my Red Wine Jelly at the market. Everything Goat - in the black refrigerator is available - all the time - and the prices are marked. 

You weigh your produce at the scale by the table, then you simply market down what you are purchasing, your name and how much $ and then leave the card in the black cabinet and then put your $$ in the money box inside the cabinet. 

It's simple and it's the honor system and the farm is quiet and peaceful on Sunday morning.  Around noon the Sunday Morning Market will end.  Have a great Sunday!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Market Hours, No Rushing

People generally aren't to keen on change. Recently, our market hours have changed and just about everyone has adjusted and for that, we're thankful.

Just in case you missed the news - our vintage market gates open on Thursday morning at 9 am and we close the gates at Noon.  No more Thursday afternoons.  The second market opportunity is Saturday morning. Our vintage market gates open at 8 am and we will close them at 11:30.

Vintage Garden Seating
We've created a little garden seating area with some tables and chairs and umbrellas for early arrivals to enjoy the farm ambiance, sip a cup of water and wait while we finish scurrying around setting up. 

This past Thursday it dawned on me that market shopping is a lot different than big box store shopping. Three words come to mind when I think of what our market is about:

1.   l....i....n....g....e....r  AND  r....e....l....a.....x     ( I know, that's two words.)  

You just can't come to a place like ours and expect to rush in and rush out.  Often there are people walking everywhere, walking around one another and standing in line with their arms or basket filled.  Our little French cafe is full of people lingering over a cup of 50 cent coffee, an Urban Farm magazine or the New York Times or just visiting with the person in the table next to theirs.   

2.   c....o....n....n....e....c....t

The Simple Farm is about connection. Connection to earth/God/people. 
It's a place where a sense of community dwells. 
It's a place - an opportunity to connect to someone you've never met - 
because a commonality exists - over food. . . wanting 
food that is pure, good, healthy, not full of hormones, pesticides or GMO's.  

Chicory that has bolted - and in it's bolting it's most beautiful.
Yesterday people in line waiting to check out began to chat - they chatted over the farm experience, over how they were planning to prepare the squash, the eggplant or 
that they were going to try pickling cucumbers for the first time.

3.    e....x....p....e....r....i....e....n....c.....e

Experience is my third word - because that's exactly what you do (if you slow down enough) - experience. A place like ours is to be experienced - to be soaked up.  I think most of us Westerners have lost the art of "experiencing" - we're going way to fast to the next thing that we miss the moment. We miss the now. This farm is about retraining human senses to soak up and take in and breathe a bit.

So, we hope when you turn into 9080 you'll let go of any of the rush 
to connect and to experience what it is that Providence has for you here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tomatoes at The Market Tomorrow...Excites Us

Every farm has a seasonal centerpiece and during this one, heirloom tomatoes are ours.

Two years ago we rocked the North Scottsdale Farmer's Market with our heirloom tomatoes - I know I'm bragging, but the comments we received said I can.

This year we've had areas of tomatoes that have struggled. Not happy I generally say.

Well, this morning I just about called for a party. We harvested a ton of lovely heirlooms for tomorrows market. Big beautiful tomatoes and tons of little yellow pears and cherry tomatoes. I can't can't wait to show them to you. We'll still complement ours with the beautiful organically grown yellow boys and taxis and a few of the reds from Farmer Frank at Crooked Sky. Every bit as wonderful as ours.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Domestic Home Arts: It's Time To Pickle Your Cucumbers

Many summers I watched Mom get out her big water bath canner and slice and chop fruit and vegetables to can them for the "off season."

In spite of some years that she helped  bring in the family funds, Mom always practiced the home arts. What she served at the family meal table was prepared with love and care.  In looking back, every meal time, was a celebration of love. I specifically remember Moms pickled beets (she reminded me about them the other day) and her pickled cucumbers - To Die For!

Well, it's our season to get out the canners or use the non canning methods to "put up" those delicious pickling cucumbers no only for present day divulgent but for the fall season when pickles are gone. What a nice treat, especially at our fall holiday meal tables, to serve up a little tray of pickled cucumbers that we "put up" from the summer harvest!

This year we seeded a ton of pickling cucumbers that are just beginning to turn corners but until they are ready, Kelly at Desert Roots has been so kind to let us complement our harvest with hers.

We'll sell the cucumbers in 10 # bags since most  most recipes call for around that amount. I can't wait for Thursday and Saturday market time to hear all the "I remember when Mom/Grandma pickled cucumbers" stories and recipes. So bring them on! We'll put up a board with your favorite recipes and who knows, maybe we'll start The Simple Farm recipe book with all the fun favorites!

"Putting up" or canning pickling cucumbers isn't hard at all and to get you inspired I've posted two easy recipes that sound fabulous. I intend to try both myself as my family are big pickle lovers. 


Gracious Garlic Dills  - 
Trader Joes often has fresh dill in their herb section that has come from California)

 8 # of pickling cucumbers
4 cups white vinegar
12 cups water
2/3 cup pickling salt
16 whole cloves garlic
4 teaspoons minced garlic
16 springs fresh dill weed (use dry)
4 teaspoons dry dill weed

1. Wash cucumbers and soak in ice water for 2 hours. If you're planning to slice these, wait until just canning.
2.  Bring the vinegar, water and salt to boil. 
3. Place 2 cloves of garlic, 2 sprigs of dill, 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic and 1/4 teaspoon dry dill into each of the 8 quart jars (that have been sterilized). Pack each jar with approximately 1 pound of cucumbers. 
4.  Fill jars with brine, leaving 1" headspace and making sure the cucumbers are fully covered.
5. Cap and process jars for 15 minutes in a hot-water bath. Age for 2 months before eating.

Recipe source here.

Here's something similar to what Mom used to make:

Old Fashioned Kosher Pickles

3-4 pounds young small cucumbers
2-4 sprigs fresh dill (again use dried OR Trader Joes often has fresh in their herb section that has come from California)
6 - 8 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and cut in half
kosher salt
white vinegar

1. In a large jar, place 2 sprigs of dill
2. Wash and snip off ends of cucumbers. Put cucumbers in the jar until it is full.
3. Add water to the jar, one cup at a time. Then add 1 tablespoon of kosher salt and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar for every 3 cups of water added.
4.  Top with 2 more sprigs of dill and 3-4 more cloves of garlic.
5. Once the jar is filled to the top, seal jar. Gently shake to mix.
6. Set in window or outside whee it will get some sun. Allow approximately 4 days for fermenting. If you like more sour pickles, you can let them stay in the jar an extra day or two.
7. Refrigerate.

1. Use cucumbers that are small, dark green and firm.
2. The jar should be filled to the top with the cucumbers and water.
3. The vinegar ensures the pickles will be crunchy and not soft. So, if you like a hard pickle, add a bit more vinegar.
4. If you want your pickles to be ready in less that 4 days, you can boil the water with the salt and vinegar. Let it stand so it gets to room temperature. Then add it to the cucumbers. This speeds the fermenting time.

Recipe source here.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Farm Stand At The Simple Farm Today Only

It's such a lovely morning that we decided to set up a farm stand table today (Sunday) at the market for those who didn't get their tomatoes, corn and Goat Milk Products. 

Today, tomatoes are $3 a pound and corn is .50 an ear.  

Everything Goat is in the refrigerator and it's marked.  Chevre, Feta, Sour Cream (which is so buttery), Quark, 1/2 gallon milk and quart size milk. 

Just weigh your tomatoes with the scale hanging to the left of the tomato. Use the envelop to write down your purchase, put your $ in the envelop and place the envelop in the money box. The money box is in the big black armoire. 

We'll be putzing around the farm today enjoying a day of rest after an incredibly busy week.