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Victory Gardens Making You Crazy?

This time of year if you have more than one tomato plant, you are likely feeling insane pressure, to pick and process, pick and process, pick and process. If you have cherry tomatoes, you are likely completely unhinged while dreaming of some far away exotic place where the hammock dictates how you spend your time, or you might actually hear yourself uttering the words, "I can't wait 'til winter!"

The upside of all of this is that your kitchen smells like an Italian grandma, late night pasta to taste it is a treat, and in hindsight, you will be so proud of yourselves for having been productive and creating something delicious! You're almost done. Hang in there. Keep on. Yadda yadda!

Someday I will be happy with one tomato plant, but in the meantime, I save seed from my absolute favorite tomato, the Barnes Mountain Yellow, because I can no longer find it for sale. I originally acquired this seed from Baker Creek Seed (here's a good alternative). This is a HUGE tomato with solid flesh and low acidity. It makes fantastic fork and knife tomato sandwiches, but is also great for pizza sauce, pasta sauce, enchilada sauce, salsa, and soup. In the name of looking for ways to be different, I am all about yellow and orange tomatoes. My husband, on the other hand, adores the classic reds, so we have a fair amount of those hanging around as well. William always makes the pizza sauce for the Dirt Farm - red sauce a must in his eyes.

Last week I made a Tomato Basil Soup for the store, but this week, exotic India spoke to me, so have created a Coconut Curried Lentil and Tomato Soup. It will be wonderful with a bit of Naan on the side, a dollop of yogurt (Desperation Dairy, perhaps!) and a sprinkling of toasted nuts. I'm retiring quite a bit of it to the freezer for a midwinter warm up.

Sumac is in full bloom out here, so I thought I'd try my hand at harvesting. Sweet William went out Sunday morning and returned with a huge bag of the flowers for me to play with. This morning I ran them through the blender to begin the process of removing the tangy red fuzz from the hard inner seed. I'm going to let them dry a bit before I run them through the flour sifter to extract the flavorful part. I love the Middle East spice blend Za'atar, and some of you know I have my own version for sale in the store. I call ours "Wisca'atar!"


It's that time of year to chop corn for silage. If a farmer has cattle, they will be chopping. You might think this is harvest time for corn if you see a tractor, a chopper box or a big truck collecting the corn out in the field, but this is very different than using a combine to harvest the seed. First of all, corn is not yet fully mature yet and must be at a the correct moisture content to be turned into silage. When it is chopped, the leaves, stalk and cob are cut and chopped up into small pieces. Then it is brought back to the farm where it is either blown into a long plastic tube called a "silage bag," or piled up under a huge plastic sheet often covered in tires to keep it from blowing off. Corn chopped for silage begins to ferment in those coverings and creates winter food for cattle.


With an abundance of recently dried onions, basil and oregano, we have a new Lake View Herb Vinaigrette. It's tasty on salads - especially those with sliced tomatoes!

Fall apples got me thinking about caramel for dipping, so you will find a Butter Caramel Salted sauce in the fridge. This is a more buttery version of your average caramel, lighter in color with a little secret zing.

Having been in the Peace Corps in Honduras, I learned a bit about Central American Food, and fell in love with El Salvador's Pupusa. This is a corn cake stuffed with meat, beans, cheese in any combination, then flattened back into a thick tortilla before being cooked. Typically they are served with a pickled cabbage with oregano and carrots or a mild salsa. They are great served with enchilada sauce and pickled peppers. Guess what I have in the store - everything you need for a Pupusa style enchilada (bean and cheese available). This is fast food at its finest!

Of course, I always look for things of beauty around the farm to share. This week I have oregano flower bouquets for a gorgeous dried arrangement to take you through winter.

If you've been here before, you know we have lots to offer. The fridge is full of field mustards, pickles and salad dressings. On the shelves we have our line of full-spectrum CBD oils, balms and butters. You might want a CBD bath bomb or a little CBD bud to enjoy your evening smoke! We have sunflower birdseed, Backyard Buddy Chow for those of you who want shell corn to feed chickens, goats, or your backyard deer. Our maple syrup is ready for waffles or pancakes, we have our own blend of Farm Tea, a variety of farm created spice blends to make your meals sing, and lots of interesting art for gift giving.


Last weekend I hosted the first ever Farm to Farm Walking Tour. I hope to schedule a couple more over the next few weeks, so watch for "Farm News" on the website and/or Facebook. (View of neighbor's farm from tour - photo courtesy of Isabel Subtil.)

William and I are also marking our Sugar Bush Trails for you to enjoy some Forest Farm Walks during the Fall progression of changing colors. We hope to have those trails ready to go in two weeks. I'll keep you posted.

Enjoy the gorgeous weather. Hold your loved ones close. Eat well. Eat slow and walk.

Love to you all,

Sarah Brenner

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