Seasons have changed and it's always exciting to experience new, local, in season foods. Sometimes we need to step outside the box and let our tastes expand for what is available on a local level.
Thursday morning's market is going to be delicious. Tracy (a new farm member) has harvested some nice zucchini and summer squash along with some pretty happy tomatoes. Right now, she's working on picking as many happy Anna Dorset apples as possible. Michael and some friends picked peaches the other day - I'm thinking they're not the happiest for eating - but definitely be perfect for jamming or juicing.
What's Not Happy
Our happy hens are happy - however egg production is slowing down. It's just the cycle of life. Lettuces, chard, kale and all those wonderful root vegetables have bolted and what we didn't want to save have been pulled. One exception - there will be a few beet and carrot offerings Thursday morning.
The HSM has been alive and well for just about a year. That's the Thursday morning honor system - you weigh it yourself, do the math yourself and then have integrity to pay what you own.
A while back we decided to extend farm/market hours to others - those who became Farm Members. It's not horribly detailed or difficult - but if we've not chatted about "how to become a Farm Member" see me on Thursday morning. At times I can accomodate and connect (at the farm) with those who work/just can't make it to the Thursday to explain.
My Farm Kitchen
Our goaty girls are surely happy. Most girls continue to produce between 8-10 pounds + a day. Besides making our salted goat milk caramels (which by the way - we sold ALL last week and by the way - that makes us happy), I offered to step in Michael's role of farm cheese maker. He's been so busy fixing hoses, planting trees and assisting in the build of that really nice patio off the library door (thanks to a partial donation to the farm for the project).
So....I've been using the extra milk to "experiment" with making cheese. I think Gouda is going to be my thing. I'm in love with Gouda. Presently all the Gouda that is NOT in the brine is in our cheese cave. A few weeks ago I'd tried my hand at cheddar. I passed out samples at the market to those of you delight in cheese and I was happy with your pleasant experience. I took a few blocks of Gouda on a short PNW visit. One of my daughters is a cheese lover...she could live off cheese. She liked it...made mama happy!
Caramels and Jams and Jellies
Like I just wrote, it seems as if our salted goat milk caramels are making quite a few people happy. We've been invited into a few stores in the valley and a lovely little gift shop is giving them a try up in the PNW. Awesome.
If you live in the Phoenix valley - you can email me with your order at email@example.com and pick up your order at the farm. This way you save shipping.
If you live outside the valley - Michael gladly ships and orders can be taken here at www.simplycaramel.com - Usually your orders head to the PO the next day.
Jam and jelly making have also been heating up the kitchen these days. I LOVE making jams and jelly! Strawberry Honey Jam, Red Wine Jelly, Lemon Verbena and Mint Apple Jelly are made almost weekly and of course available at our farm market. I've been asked to teach a few jam/jelly making classes - I'll consider that for the fall when we offer other Farm Homesteading Classes.
We keep having people mention to us that they would like to donate to the farm and a few of it's needs. Blushing here cause of the kindness. Like I wrote above - a family donated $900 toward the farm patio project. Awesome.
We're not a non-profit so a tax donation receipt doesn't happen but if your heart is led to donate funds toward a farm need - we've decided to just say thank you for your support.
A current need is to purchase a milking machine. They're around the $2,000 price tag from Caprine Supply or the Parts Department. We hand milk the 5 girls twice a day and for the past few months have decided it's out of the "it'd be nice" to it seeming to be more of a need.
Farm Awards and Press
For the past year, our farm and (hard) work has been getting some attention. A year ago the AZ Republic did an amazing 3 - page spread about us (read here). Phoenix New Times voted me (couldn't believe it) as one of the valley's taste makers - read here). Robin Sewell with Arizona Highways did a video clip on us (see here). And this year - just a few weeks ago, I got (so surprised) nominated for Phoenix New Times Big Brain Award (read here). We had a very fun night downtown passing out caramel samples and meeting some super fun people.
Last summer we closed the Thursday market down the second week of August and reopened Mid-October. We'll do the same thing this year. . . except it might be that last week of July.
Now - this is the catch. IF you're a Farm Member - you'll still have access to the produce, goats milk and cheese and specialty butters and caramels on every day BUT Saturday. Remember, we unlock those market doors AFTER morning farm chores and lock them AFTER we do evening farm chores.
Well....those are the happy happenings to this date at the farm.