Jake's Run

CSA and Farm


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Lemon Balm Infusions

My lemon balm was overtaking the herb garden. I had no idea what to do with the stuff, other than walking by and pinching a leaf to smell. I turned to Pinterest for ideas and decided I would use my lemon balm to make infused oil and infused vinegar. The oil will be used later in products such as lip balm, salve and soap. The vinegar can be used in cooking, salad dressings or (most likely) as a conditioner for my hair (fragrance allergy, if you haven’t read past blog entries).
The process is super simple:

Harvest the lemon balm and wash.  Our wash station is made of two halves of a 55-gallon food grade barrel. 

That’s a LOT of lemon balm!

2.  Strip the leaves from the stems. Rinse leaves again. Dry leaves. I use my handy dandy salad spinner. 

3.  Stuff a clean glass jar 3/4 full with dry leaves. Really pack them in there. The more leaves, the better the infusion. 

4.  Pour liquid over leaves, making sure to get rid of air bubbles. I added grapeseed oil to some jars, apple cider vinegar to the rest. 

5.  Using plastic lids (I bought mine at Walmart), close jars. 

6.  Gently shake and roll jar to cover all leaves. 

When I was finished, I had 3 quarts of vinegar and 2 quarts + 1 pint of oil. 
Here’s the difference between oil process and vinegar process:

OIL:  Place jars in a sunny windowsill. Occasionally shake the jars and place back on windowsill. 8 weeks later, your oil will be ready. 

VINEGAR:  Place jars in a cool, dark location (mine are in my bathroom). Every few days, shake the jars gently and return to their dark place. 6 weeks later, your vinegar will be ready. 

After the infusions are finished, strain the leaves from the liquid and store liquid, to be used for whatever you need. I’ll be making soap, lip balm and salve with my oil. 

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05.19.17

Hello friends!  It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to post. We spent the winter working on off season projects, then in February we started plants.

This year, we started cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, and herbs in the greenhouse – all of which have now been planted in the main gardens and are growing happily 🙂

Our chickens seem to be working overtime and we’re getting 5 dozen eggs each day. If you know of anyone who needs any, please call or text me at 270.302.9468.

 

We’ve also planted corn, radishes, beets, spinach, lettuce, kale, chard, peas, green beans and probably a few other things I can’t recall at the moment.

We decided not to offer a CSA this year, focusing more on the farmers market. Delivery times were just too much and was keeping us out of the fields.  It’s just us. No employees, so we have to make the best use of our time.

Anyways, we’re still around. Still having fun and making the most of each day. We’ll be seeing everyone soon at the farmers market!


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Update

After so much rain this summer, we finally got rained out two weeks ago. However, since then Mother Nature has been kind to us and we’ve finally dried out. The Fall crops have been planted and are looking great!  Broccoli, cabbage, yellow squash, zucchini, scalloped squash, kale and beets are all in our future.  Winter squash (butternut, acorn and spaghetti) are ready to be harvested. That will happen within the week. 

The chickens began their late summer molt a couple of weeks ago. This reduces egg production because they’re using most of their protein stores to make new winter feathers. This should end in the next few weeks and egg production will go back up. 

We replaced the second back tire of the summer on the tractor. It’s expensive and not something we financially needed, but it is what it is. The new tires should last a long time. It sure beats doing everything by hand!  

It’s been a long, hot, humid and downright moist summer. I’m ready for cooler nights with the windows open and cheaper electric bills. 


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Meet Zuzu!

Please welcome Zuzu to the farm!  She’s a Boar mix goat who recently turned one. In a few short months, she’ll be bred with our Clarence to make beautiful little kids!


when Clarence met Zuzu 🙂

Additionally, yesterday was Ferdinand (AKA Cow)’s 1st birthday.  Of course, Farm Girl had to bake him a cake. Or two. One was for us, the other for him. She said she wrote “MEEHR” on the cake because that’s how he calls to us when we’re outside – as in “come MEEHR and feed me animal crackers!!”


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Apple cider vinegar

Google apple cider vinegar and you’ll discover a myriad of uses. It can be used as a non-toxic cleaning solution, hair conditioner (my personal favorite), fabric softener, cooking ingredient…  I could go on and on. ACV is my “go to” liquid. I use it for everything. 

Last summer, I read an article (or twelve) on how to make your own apple cider vinegar. I didn’t  believe it could be as easy and simple as the Internet was telling me. 

But it IS!! It really is!

I buy a lot of apples. Sometimes they get eaten quickly, sometimes not. When they get a little mushy, they get made into ACV. You can also use the peels and cores. 

  
HOW TO MAKE APPLE CIDER VINEGAR:

You will need: 

  • Water
  • Apples
  • Sugar
  • Glass jar with ring
  • Coffee filter
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Teaspoon

Directions:

1. Dice organic apples. (You can also use leftover peels and cores).)

2. Place in glass jar. Fill 3/4 full. 

3. Mix 2T. sugar with 2 C. water. 

4. Pour water into jar, covering apples. 

5. Cover with cheesecloth or coffee filter. (I use a coffee filter and the jar ring)

6. Store in a warm, dark place for 4 weeks. (I write the date on the coffee filter)

7. Strain out apple pieces. 

8. Return liquid to jar and cover with same cover. 

9. Put the jar back into the dark place and store for 4-6 weeks, stirring occasionally. 

At the end of this time, your apple cider vinegar will be ready to use.

I made a total of three batches in quart jars, which yielded 1.5 quarts of ACV. 

  
I can’t wait to use it, but I’ve saved a portion to be made into rose vinegar this summer when the rose bushes bloom. (Also easy, but that’s another post.)

Until next time…


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Jalapeño Jelly :)

We’ve had a great crop of jalapeños this year. So, I thought I’d attempt jalapeño jelly for the first time. It was no more difficult than any other jelly, but since my skin is pretty sensitive to jalapeños and I had to stir it for 10 minutes while it boiled, my hands are burning. 

I’ve never tried it, but I’ve heard it’s good served over a warm block of cream cheese. We’ll see…

  


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Red Pepper Flakes

When we have extra cayenne peppers we dry them and process them into red pepper flakes.  

A quart of pepper flakes will last us a LONG time.

  1. Wash the peppers and allow to dry. 
  2. Remove tops. 
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  4. Place in oven on lowest temp (we have an old gas oven with a pilot light that keeps the perfect temp for drying). 
  5. When dried completely, place in air tight storage container until you have enough to process.
  6. * Place dried peppers in food processor and process until desired consistency is achieved (some people use a blender, but I like the consistency from our food processor). *remember that cayenne can irritate your eyes and skin. Use caution and try to avoid breathing in the dust produced by this step. It WILL make you cough, sneeze, nose run, eyes water, etc. 
  7. When desired consistency has been achieved, place flakes in air tight container. Remember to avoid breathing in the dust. 
  8. Pepper flakes are now ready to use.