Posts tagged ‘Farming’

Puffball mushroom, Puffball mushroom

a polyphyletic assemblage
a polyphyletic assemblage

Today’s photograph is brought to you by all the strange weather we’ve been having. A long dry spell followed by a long wet spell made for the perfect conditions for mushrooms. The Puffball is a common variety on the ESVA. In its young form, it’s edible but it has very little flavor and even less consistency when cooked.

Flight traffic at 53VG

Private airports – especially those on a farm – tend to have minimal traffic. Once in a while, the owner may try to put together an adhoc fly-in. But for most of the year, the airspace over a private grass runway is pretty quiet.

There are exceptions to nearly every rule – even rules of thumb..

This morning, I had intentions to go fly. The day dawned with thick fog. Once the fog lifted, it didn't go far – if became very low clouds. The clouds were too low for my flight plan, but it didn't ground everyone.

I took the opportunity to take a few pictures.


Planting tomatoes on a commercial scale

multi-row planting rig

Commercial farming has become very mechanized, even labor intensive crops such as tomatoes.

This tractor tows a special built trailer which covers six rows at a time. The trailer has six seats. In front of each seat is a spoked wheel which is designed to poke holes in the poly that covers a planting bed row every 24 inches.

Above the spoked wheel, is a large sloped rack which is loaded with partitioned crates containing tomato seedlings. A worker sits in each of the seats, takes a seedling, and plants it in the hole made by the spoked wheel.

All of this happens as the tractor rolls down the rows. The workers can not waste any movement or they will fall behind and miss a planting.

Rows are 300 feet long and there are often 100 or more rows in a field.

Anyone looking for work?

Small beginnings

small beginnings

While it doesn’t look like much now, this is the start of the corn crop. With a couple of warm days and some rain anticipated, this little sprout has a pretty good start on growing up to feed a chicken one day.

It’s gonna be corn

With the Eastern Central states being as cold and wet as they have been, crops are late getting planted. So, the question has been “will it be beans or corn ?” Last year was the first year in many that there was corn planted. The other years its been soy beans. (That's sow-ee beans to some.)

Well, after being out and about is Saturday morning running errands, we came back to find the big green tractor hitched up and ready to roll.

One thing about having corn, it blocks the view of the road and makes the runway stand out when viewed from the pattern.


Garden Fresh Pasta Sauce

lots of tomatoes make lots of sauce
lots of tomatoes make lots of sauce

The recipe is pretty simple …

1 large sweet onion
2 green peppers
1 red pepper
6 oz chopped mushrooms
1 crown of garlic
herbs, salt, pepper to taste (my selection consists of 3 tbsp of Salspray Feather Dustings, 1 tbsp Basel, 2 tbsp oregano, 1 tbsp crushed thyme, 2 tbsp of raw sugar, 1 tbsp of kosher salt, and 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper)
15 lbs Roma tomatoes (24 cups once they’ve been blanched, skinned, and processed to resemble “crushed tomatoes”)

Find the biggest pan you can and then go find another. This recipe is big! Ideally, you want a 15″ spider pan, a 16 qt boiling pot or canning pot and a 6 qt pot or bowl. If you are doing multiple batches “assembly line style” you will also want a 12 qt boiling pot for blanching since you will be blanching, cooking down, and canning all at the same time.

Blanch the tomatoes and remove the skins. Pulse in a food processor to get the consistency of crushed tomatoes. Use the food processor to dice the onion and peppers too. Mince the garlic.

Sauté the onions and peppers in a little olive oil. Toss in the minced garlic and cook another 5-10 minutes on low. Add the ‘flavor’ mix. Stir to combine. Remove the contents from the pan and set it aside. (I use a clean empty 1qt yogurt container.)

Start adding the tomatoes to the pan. Cook down to make some room and keep adding the tomatoes. The goal is to reduce the total volume by about half. When there is enough room in the pan, add back the cooked onions, pepper, garlic, and ‘flavor’ mix.

This recipe makes 4 quarts (more or less) depending on how much the tomatoes get cooked down.

Ladle the pasta sauce into sterilized 1quart canning jars. You could use one of those canning funnels but I just use another 1qt yogurt container and fill it about half way so I can squeeze it to fill the jars without messing the rims. Put some in each jar and cycle around is will insure they all have a consistent blend. When you get down To the end of the pan, you can add some heat to cook down the extra juice a bit. (if it looks like you will not get all the jars full, then short one and enjoy that one for dinner.)

My only problem is that this week’s harvest alone was 75 lbs of tomatoes! (5 batches)