Week 14: Watermelon & Fennel

Week 14: Watermelon & Fennel

I’ve been checking out two potential sites for Movement Ground Farm.  One is up and over the border in New Hampshire, while the other is right over the border in Connecticut.   One puts me a little too far away from Providence, and the other too far away from Boston.   But both are beautiful, and I’m beginning to piece together a multi-dimensional pro and con analysis of these two properties, while continuing to look for more that may pop up.

lyndeborough

100+ acre property in Lyndeborough, NH that comes with a lake and a view of the hills!

 

 

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140 acre property in Voluntown, CT that also used to be an old campgrounds back in the 1970s.

 

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Laurence helping us with duck processing and Anim helping with the havest during the busy duck processing week.

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Matt and Lucas resting after a long day of work, and Puma who just got up from a nap agrees that its about time to rest as well!

 

This Week’s Menu

green lettuce head

watermelon

d’avignon or red radishes

edamame

fennel

Tia To or Vietnamese shiso

 

Recipe Ideas

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5 Spice Duck with Quick Pickled Daikon, Shiso on a Tortilla

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Duck yakitori with pumpkin, shiso, and daikon salad with plum dipping sauce

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Slow roasted duck with olive gravy and garlic-fennel confit

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Lemony radish and fennel salad

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Warm buttered radish and edamame salad

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Soy and sesame edamame

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Watermelon & Fennel Salad with Honey Lime Vinagrette

 

Everybody is Cooking Duck!

looks like we got some chefs among us

 

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Pekin duck on a paleo scallion pancake by Keith & Dulari

 

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Pekin duck by David Jenkin’s mom’s boyfriend’s family recipe!

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Peking style Pekin duck by Anna Cheung

 

20989047_797358933779356_1303605511091660938_oDouble duck by Farmer Kohei

Cooked standing up for a crispier skin by Susan & Wesley Wright

 

Duck, Duck, Melon…?

August 15, 2017

Week 11

0730170805b_HDRScreen Shot 2017-08-17 at 6.38.57 AM[Our Pekin, or Peking, ducks happily frolicking around the farm.  Who wouldn’t like that?]


 

Duck, Melons, & Yard Long Beans

Judy here again!  It’s been a little busy at the farm.. what with the decision to process our own birds by way of a mobile processing unit!  Rather than sending them to a USDA approved facility to process and package our free range feathered friends, we decided to go through the process ourselves!  Which means training on equipment & health codes, certification, licensing, fees, tests, renting a mobile processing unit, etc.  It is quite an ordeal!  But it sure does give you a level of appreciation for the work to get the meat on your plate, as well as the produce.

 

Duck

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Since Farmer Kohei and company are preoccupied with making sure our duck friends are treated and processed well… I’m tasked with making sure YOU’LL be able to enjoy it.  So if you haven’t cooked with duck before, you’re in for a tasty end product!  We hope you can love your duck as much as we’ve loved raising the ducks.

What to know about duck:
a) it tends to have a more “gamey”, dark meat flavor than its chicken friend, but can be oh-so-good.
b) the skin is a little thicker and more full of oils compared to chicken, but a lot will be rendered out in the cooking process.  This excess duck fat can be reserved and used for other cooking needs!  Try roasting veggies with it, flavoring mashed potatoes, using it in vinaigrettes, etc..  It freezes well, so you can go find some more ways to use duck fat.
c) it can be tasty!  Try it!

 

Recipe Ideas

Peking Duck Style
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(courtesy of SeriousEats.com)
No need to make the extras, unless you really want to, but definitely try your duck cooked in this manner.  Farmer Kohei has cooked it this way before and loved the taste!

 

Spiced Slow-roasted Duck
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(courtesy of BBC GoodFood.com)
Another way to roast a whole duck.  Similar to pork, duck can be paired with a lightly sweet sauce like apple sauce, as in this recipe, or for a more Asian twist, try hoisin sauce or a sweetened tamarind sauce. (Keep in mind this recipe is British, so you’ll have to convert to Fahrenheit and the metric system.)

 

How to Cut Up a Whole Duck


(courtesy of MapleLeafFarms.com)
Don’t want to have to use up a whole duck for one meal?  Try breaking it down into parts and make sausage, or use the different parts in separate recipes. This site also has tips and recipes to cook duck breast and duck legs.

 


 

Bittermelon

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[photo courtesy of SpecialtyProduce.com]

 

Not familiar with the bittermelon?  Don’t be discouraged or scared off by this green, bumpy gourd.  It is also called bitter melon, bitter gourd, bitter squash, karela, or balsam pear.  As its name claims, it is, indeed, bitter.  But the bitter taste, according to many cultures, holds quite a few medicinal and nutritional properties (i.e. being good for blood circulation and lowering blood pressure–but consult with a doctor if trying to treat these issues); according to some (and SpecialtyProduce.com), “it is rich in iron, contains twice the beta-carotene of broccoli, twice the calcium of spinach, and twice the potassium of banana.”  Try it raw in juice form (a customer at the Farmer’s Market claimed that’s the only way she’s consumed it!), or cook it in soups, stir-frys, or pickle it.

Bittermelon is a pale green color while young, and when ripe, can turn into an orange-red color.  It is a plant widely grown in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and South America.  Try searching for some recipe ideas across those food genres!  Here’s a few recipes to give you an idea of its versatility, if you don’t mind getting a little bitter :).

Pro tip: if you want to decrease some of its bitterness bite, slice thinly, place in a strainer and sprinkle with salt until all pieces are covered, let sit for about 15 minutes.  Then rinse off salt with water, and squeeze out excess water from bitter melon pieces until mostly dry. Repeat rinsing step as necessary until salt is completely washed off.

 

Vietnamese-style Sautéed Bitter Melon with Pork Belly & Egg
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(courtesy of Tasty Desu’s Blog)
I’d recommend adding a little seasoning to this dish to add some oomph–i.e. a teaspoon or so of fish sauce and sugar.  This can be made vegetarian by omitting the pork, and adding another sort of flavor by way of dashes of soy sauce and sugar.

 

Southeast Asian-style Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup
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(courtesy of HungryHuy.com)
This recipe from HungryHuy.com leans towards Vietnamese cuisine, but is very similar to one my Cambodian mom makes.  You could probably find similar pork-stuffed bitter melon soup recipes across some Southeast Asian cuisines.  In these soups, it certainly tastes better the next day (some of the bitterness calms down and flavors are enhanced)!  Do some tasty experimenting, and see which soup recipes you like best!

 

Bitter Melon Juice with Apple & Lemon Water
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(courtesy of China Sichuan Food)

 

A South Asian-inspired Bitter Melon Stir Fry
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(courtesy of Ma Recipes Blog)
I recommend trying this recipe, and then adding a twist to it with a little tomato paste or tomato sauce.  Yum!

 

A Caribbean Bitter Melon & Salted Fish Stir Fry
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(courtesy of CaribbeanPot.com)

 


 

Fuzzy Melon

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[photo courtesy of New Roots for Refugees Blog]

 

Fuzzy melon, also known as mo qua, or hairy gourd looks similar to a zucchini.

 

Week 10: August 1, 2017

August 1, 2017 – Week 10

CSA Menu

Green tomatoes

Fresh red onions

New potatoes

Jalapenos

(Eggplants, Peppers, Cukes, Cherry tomatoes)

 

Farm Update

We are gearing up for D-Day…duck processing day!    It’s already been quite a trip getting all the necessary licenses, board approvals, water tests, and trainings.   And since this is the first time we are actually processing birds ourselves (and ducks are one of the trickiest poultry to process), this is going to be quite a learning experience.    Other than that, things are going well at the Movement Aviary Farm!

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Pekin ducklings have become giants and probably already weigh 5 Lbs!

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Our Americana chicks have been living in a small A-frame up near the house and will now be moved into the back fields to join the flock of layers.

0801170950a (1)After growing up on pasture, the female quails have been moved into laying pens, where their eggs roll out – making them easy to collect and perfectly clean.

Our goslings now own this farm!    Want something, ask them!    Here they are showing off their under water swimming skills.

And our 4-week old turkeys arrived yesterday!    Since they lived indoors their wholes lives, they love it here!!

 

Recipe Ideas

chutney

Green Tomato Chutney by http://indianhealthyrecipes.com/

 

Thai Hot and Sour Green Tomato Stir Fry by https://culinariaeugenius.wordpress.com

Pickled Green Tomatoes

Pickled Green Tomatoes by Love and Olive Oil

Veasna’s Lime and Beef Green Tomato Salad on Food.com

 

 

Slow-roasted green tomato soup with caramelized onions, dark leafy greens and herbed oil and garlic cream. Naturally gluten-free, and vegan.

Roasted green tomato soup with herbed oil and garlic cream by With Food and Love

Lacto-Fermented Green Tomato Pickles

Lacto fermented green tomato pickles by culturesforhealth.com

Green Tomato Pizza - Photo: Diana Rattray

Green tomato pizza on the spruce.com

 

…and finally

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES!   by onegreenplanet.org

 

 

 

Week 9: MGF for the Win!

July 25, 2017

Week 9

[This past weekend, Farmer Kohei entered a fundraising Grill-Off competition,
organized by the Asian American Resource Workshop.  He and Farmer Lucas
took First Place, featuring the farm’s tasty produce!!
Clockwise from left: grilled sweet miso glazed eggplant w/ scallion;
grilled emu onigiri stuffed with quail egg; Grill-Off First Place “medals”]


 

MENU

Fresh, uncured garlic heads
Rainbow Swiss chard
Thai basil
Lettuce (all except Revere + FANG)
Red beets (all except Revere + FANG + Providence)
Cucumbers (only Revere + FANG)
Eggplants (only Revere + Providence + FANG)
and either Chicken, Duck, or Quail Eggs

 

I’M BAAAACCKKKK!!!  It’s me, Judy–a friend of MGF, here!  I was the default writer of the MGF blogs way back in its first year, and I took a break to birth and nurture a baby into the world (who also makes a feature in some of the farm photos every now and then :P).  I hope to write for you all again as a guest blogger; you may also see me keeping up with some of the MGF Facebook page photos and posts to keep it interesting.  It’s a process of trying to keep up on social media while the farmers and friends and volunteers help to keep the daily farm life going…so sometimes our social media isn’t as instantaneous as this unlimited data, smart phone-wielding culture seems to crave.   So if there are other folks interested in being a guest blogger, let us know!!  And continue tagging your Movement Ground Farm related photos if you use Facebook or Instagram (yes…MGF is now on the Instagram!).

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Week 8: Quail eggs & snapping turtles

 

July 18, 2017

Week 8

 

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Caleb walking amongst the Nabechan, a giant Japanese scallion.

This Week’s Menu

Nabechan (scallions)

Cilantro

Basil (opal or genovese)

Yellow zucchini or pattypan squash

Cucumbers

Bok choy

Red cabbage or mizuna bunches

And quail eggs for Cambridge, Dorchester, and Quincy!

 

Quail egg recipes

 

You can eat quail eggs the same way you eat chicken eggs, but the best way to eat them is to boil them versus making a sunny side-up or scrambled egg.   This is because of the amazing texture and taste of the egg.  The yolk is creamier and the whites cook firmer, so when plopping a marinated, pickled, or just plain quail egg in your mouth, it kind of well… plops open as your teeth bite into it!   They are the perfect snack.

After bringing your water to a boil…boil for two minutes if you want soft boiled eggs with the yolk still runny.   Boil for two and a half minutes for a soft-boiled egg.   Boil for three minutes for a medium boiled egg.  Boil for four minutes for a hard-boiled egg. The yolk will be completely set.   Give them an ice bath afterwards and then the shells should peel off easily.

Then the possibilities are endless.   They are amazing in soups and stews as they soak up and marinate so well.   They are also great in stir-frys and salads, on toast for breakfast, blended raw in a smoothie, or pickled.    Here are some pictures to help you think of how you might enjoy yours!

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Soy grilled quail egg with sesame as featured on http://www.ottolenghi.co.uk

Quail Egg Sandwiches

Open faced quail egg sandwich as featured on http://cavemanketo.com

Kwek Kwek Egg Recipe

Kwek-kwek (Fried orange battered quail eggs) featured on http://panlasangpinoy.com

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Pickled quail egg with grated beet featured on http://gourmet.lovetoknow.com/

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Saffron potato crouquettes with soft boiled quail eggs featured on http://www.astackofdishes.com

 

 

 

Farm Update

Pekin ducklings are growing fast and tomorrow we transfer them out to pasture.   We kept them in a grassy pen by the barn this past week to see how they cope with the elements while keeping a close watch on them.

Most recently farming has been feeling like a constant and bloody battle against pests, predators, and diseases.   The new electric fence we installed has seemed to work in keeping the laying chickens in and the foxes out.  So that is a load off of my mind.   Then some mites moved into our coop but luckily we caught that early on and treated the chickens with pyrethrum, an organic substance derived from the Chrysantheum flower.

But we are still in limbo in our battle with the groundhogs.   Round one happened last year, and we lost hard.  I’m talking about over 600 damaged lettuce heads  – that’s almost $2000 of produce!   I actually snuck up behind one once and netted it!   I managed to get it into a cage, only to find that it escaped out of a hole on the other side of the cage.   Last year they won.  This year we’ve been setting traps, daily and diligently, but to no avail.  Multiple traps next to their dens at multiple locations around the farm.   No matter how we bait it, they don’t enter!   We agreed that after so much effort and so much loss in produce and labor, when we finally caught one, well… we would eat it!  So last month we caught one!   And well… since it is illegal to trap and release, we kept to our promise and prepared farm fresh roasted groundhog.   Round 2, we won!   To bring you up to speed, last week we couldn’t give everyone green curly kale, because we discovered that half of them were gone!   At this point, they’re still winning.

Today we were out in the field spraying the tomatoes with a certified organic copper spray, since we received reports that Late Blight (a fungus) was reported in upstate NY last week and was predicted to land in Massachusetts by mid this week.   We started these baby tomatoes back in February!  Nursed them, watered them, potted them up, and then transplanted them.  We lodged stakes between every two plants, and we pruned them, and then we started stringing them!   No way are we going to let an early case of Late Blight (which usually comes in late summer) destroy our crop!   We’ve also discovered a new threat – the green horned tomato caterpillar.  Usually they are manageable.   This year, they are everywhere!

Yesterday while we were rescuing the tomatoes, one of our poor goslings was sabotaged from below the murky waters of the swamp.   A large snapping turtle tried to take it down.   We managed to intervene and rescue the gosling, who now has a large tear in her breast.   We hope she is going to make it.   So here is where the battle starts to feel daunting.  During all of these set-backs and battles with pests and predators, the weeds have been growing ferociously!    And I wish we could tackle them, but now comes the deadline to start seeding all of our Fall and Winter crops.  Up against a force of nature, we’re striving to become one ourselves in order to keep up.

 

9247I’m extremely happy with how the Cornish game hen came out.  They are so tender and sweet.   Every experience I’ve had eating them so far has been excellent!

The garlic harvest may be this week or next week, but WOW, look at the size of these!

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The first tomato!    And it’s about to whacked off its stem in this picture!