Impt – our friend and the Tar sands pipeline protest

Hi again,

One thing I forgot (because I hadn’t read Wheatberry’s post yet) is that there is a demonstration in Washington DC protesting the Tar Sands Pipeline and our friend Ben Lester is going, if anyone wants to go with him (to get arrested) and stand up for this, it’s very important. I feel ashamed and rediculous for not saying an automatic YES! We’ll be there! but I have to figure it out with my family, as do you. Read their blog post for more info, and send him any words of support you can or better yet, join him!!!

THANKS!!!   Sarah

OPEN today, last corn, salad dressing

Hi everyone, corn season is winding down for us, the last of the Silver Queen is ready to be picked! It’s actually not especially sweet, but very flavorful and delicious – we prefer it to any other corn (but we’re also a little biased!)

We’ve been canning and freezing like mad – like squirrels getting ready for winter. I feel so lucky to have all this amazing food for our family. We’ve made tomato sauce, and frozen peaches, corn and blueberries. Lots that I haven’t gotten to – like ratatouille, pickles, pickled beets, green beans, but there’s always next year if they don’t happen this fall. I love that there’s always next year for all the dreams we don’t get to…

So today (Wed) we’ll be open from 4-6, with corn, tomatoes, arugula, mixed cooking greens, kale, collards (I have some good recipes for these that even people who don’t like kale love!), parsley, cucumbers, pick-your-own flowers, olive oil and kalamata olives (delicious!). 

By the way, for those of you who have already bought olives, they are brined in my family’s own organic wine vinegar (which unfortunately they do not sell, I asked…) so save that brine, mix it in the blender with shallots or red onion, garlic, mustard, fresh herbs, a little honey, maybe some regular vinegar (the brine’s a little salty) and slowly drizzle in some olive oil. Adjust amounts until you love the flavor! Once you figure out some good dressings you’ll never go back to store dressings. Our other favorite dressing  is (goat) yogurt, some soft goat cheese, garlic, shallots or small onion, a little brine or rice vinegar and parsley or basil (or sometimes mint and cucumbers). Very simple, easy – blend in a cuisinart or blender!

Hope to see you later today, and if we dont, hope you enjoy these beautiful summer days!  Blessings, Sarah

OPEN! and easy Elderberry Syrup recipe

We’ll be OPEN tomorrow, Wed Aug 17th

but CLOSED this Saturday Aug 20th while Edie and I attend the New England Women’s Herbal Conference in NH.

We have Kale, collards, rainbow chard, tomatoes, basil,
carrots, zucchini, olive oil, olives, flowers…

NEW: We have mesclun mix, plain arugula and baby broccoli raab for salads, cut to order. We will have some Silver Queen CORN for sale as well.

We ate our first cooked corn for dinner, and it was so good I ran out and took photos in the near-dark. I’ve never seen baby ears sprouting out of the bottom of the big ears! They must like chicken manure compost…

And I want to share our rice paddy for those of you who haven’t seen it

Did you know we can grow rice in the Northeast?
This is Hayayuki, and below is Duborskian (upclose)

Much more feathery. Very beautiful rice seed from
Christian Elwell of South River Miso in Conway, MA.

This paddy has been one of our favorite projects this year. More on this later, maybe a slideshow of seed to harvest, we’ll see…

So, on to Elderberry Syrup.

The birds LOVE Elderberries. So do we. The berries have antiviral properties and if a syrup is taken at the first sign of a cold, you can usually send it off…Unless you choose to load up on sugar and wheat and other “sugary” foods, which will weaken your body making it harder to fight off infections… but that’s too heavy a topic. Today I made Elderberry syrup with Lucy, a super-sweet, hardworking volunteer on our farm. This is what we did. But first, identifying them:

They hang in clusters, these reddish-purplish-black berries, with wine-colored stems. They are just beginning to ripen in our area. They love to grow on the sides of streams, or where they can keep their feet wet, but where there is a little sunlight poking through. Get a good book to identify them if you are going out to pick, or better yet, bring a friend who knows Elderberry.

The Elderberries that grow in the Northeast are ripe when they are black, not maroon or red. I have heard the raw and unripe berries are toxic, as are the seeds, leaves and stems. But not the plump black berries. Our family has eaten plenty of raw berries with no problems, just FYI.

Pick Elderberries by cutting off at the stem above the cluster of berries. I like to ask permission first and thank the plant for her medicine. Put them into a basket and bring them home. We also picked the last few blueberries and the first blackberries to add to our brew. We then pulled the berries gently off the stems into a pot with a little water in it (so they don’t burn on the stove). We added our other berries and simmered them all for about 10 minutes. I’m sure there are other ways and this can be flexible, there are zillions of recipes and techniques, this is just what I do.

Then we strained it all out thru a jelly bag, making a delicious, red mess in my beautiful Joy bowl…

For Lucy’s I felt like I should add a few tablespoons of honey (per 8oz jar) to preserve it, and for taste, so we did. Hers will keep in the fridge for a few weeks. Technically and officially you would add equal amounts of sweetener to syrup (then it would last 2-3 months in the fridge). Personally I find this offensive (I am a recovering MAJOR sugar addict) so for ours I didn’t add anything and just left 1/2″ spacing at the top of each half-pint and stuck them in the freezer, labeled, once they cooled. I love the taste of the fruit, and it’s hard sometimes to get that flavor with so much “sweet”.

Some years I have added organic apple cider vinegar or brandy to help it keep longer, first cooking it down on low heat to thicken and concentrate, getting sweeter naturally. I remember this lasting a few weeks in the fridge. But the last few days I have had cooked up blueberries to pour generously on my pancakes and I love just the plain fruit, so am hoping this will be as good out of the freezer as it is fresh! It’s easy in the middle of winter if you are coming down with something to defrost a jar.

There are many other variations, including fresh ginger in with the simmering fruit, or more blueberries, or a little echinacea root ~ have fun!

We’re back! Open again!

Birch Moon Farm & Herbals, Shutesbury Center

42 Cooleyville Rd (2 houses down from the library on the 202-side)

Hi everyone, just wanted you to know we did not fall off the face of the Earth,
we’ve been working hard here keeping up with weeds and watering,
nourishing ourselves, and growing LOTS of good food.

We’ll be OPEN Wednesdays 4-6pm (starting today) and Saturdays 12-4pm.

 We have (all organic, not certified):

PYO Flower garden (and pre-made bouquets $5 each)

tomatoes (heirloom, beauties and plums) $4/lb

basil $3/bunch

cukes $1.50/lb

zucchini ~ yellow & green $1.50/lb

small bunches of herbs $1-2/ bunch

rainbow chard $3/ bunch

kale (curly and tuscan) $3/bunch

Olive oil (XV organic, from Kalamata olives!) $36/tin

Kalamata Olives (also from my extended family in Greece, organic of course!) $15/ quart, $8/pint

(bring your own jar for olives or $1 deposit)

SOON we’ll have SWEET CORN (grown here!!!)

Hope to see you, remember we are CASH ONLY and love it when you bring your own bags (but we do have some as well).

THANKS, Sarah and Keith Shields