Volunteer Days!

We haven’t had an open house or anything on the farm for quite a while. It’s time for that to change!
We’ll be hosting several volunteer days throughout the month of September. Come on out to the farm for a tour, see what we’re up to, enjoy some sort of mushroom meal, and help us out with some projects.

There is always plenty to do! Some projects we have in mind:

  • some general clean-up
  • weed whipping around the mushrooms logs and other places. If you like weed-whipping, we’ve got lots of places that can use it!
  • fixing the chicken coop roof
  • replacing the shingles on the milk house (which we hope some day will be a little farm store!)
  • moving a shed (aka cabin) from one spot to another spot
  • finishing fixing up the shed so it can be used as a cabin
  • planting a couple fruit trees
  • and there are always logs to move – for those who want to try out our “Farm Fit” log-moving program!

Many hands make light work – and they make the work more fun. If you’d like to join us for a few hours or a day, please let us know! If there is a project that sounds fun to you or if you’re just happy to do anything, let us know that too.

We’ll have the volunteer days on Saturdays, September 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th.

Bonus: if you feel like coming Friday night or staying over Saturday night, we have plenty of room for camping. Bring your camping gear and hope for a clear night for lots of excellent stargazing!

Hello Almond Agaricus!

Last weekend I was looking at the Almond Agaricus bed from afar. You may remember from a couple months back when we started that bed. We dumped in compost, the spawn, and then covered it all in a layer of straw. And now the bed was covered in grass!  Darn grass.  I was worried about pulling the grass out because I didn’t know if I could step in the bed. Jeremy said that was fine, so I went to weed the mushroom bed.

Imagine my surprise when I went out to the bed and discovered a ton of mushrooms growing!

AA-giant

Giant Almond Agaricus growing up from under a log.

I pulled out the trusty walkie talkie and called in.

“Does anyone have a walkie talkie on them?”

After a few moments pause, Jeremy came on, “Yeah, I’ve got one.”

“Hey, so, there are a ton of mushrooms growing out here.”

“WHAT?! Oh my word!”

Next thing I see, Jeremy and Andy are running across the lawn to see the mushrooms!  Sure enough, they are Almond Agaricus. And clearly they have been growing for a while because they are huge and way past their prime. Andy tried one on as a hat.

AA-andy

We had to toss out most of these because they were too big, but there were a few that were a bit better sized – which you can purchase at the farmers market this weekend!

AA-box

There are a lot more coming on as I discovered the next day:

Okay, I made it sound like they’re growing on the logs, but they’re not. They’re just growing under the logs. They want some shade and it’s nice and shady under the logs! So we’re working on getting some shade set up for them. Go, Almond Agaricus, go!

Recipe: Broccoli Rabe

Okay everyone, you can file this one under, “messing around with sacred family recipes.”  My mom found this recipe when I was growing up and we had it all the time. It was easy to make and we all loved it.

I’m not sure what the original recipe called for, but we definitely made it our own. For one thing, we never actually used broccoli rabe – which is a bitter, broccoli-like vege. We always just used broccoli. Recently I wondered, “what would this be like with mushrooms?” It’s a bit of a sacrilege to add or remove anything from this sacred family recipe, but I did it anyway. I think my family will forgive me because the mushrooms are a great addition!

pasta1

Broccoli Rabe

Bowtie pasta, about 2 cups dry
Butter
A couple heads of broccoli
Italian sausage, 1/2 to 1 pound (depending on your preference)
Shiitake mushrooms, 8 ounces or more
Garlic
Chicken broth
Parmesan cheese

Put on a pot of water to boil for your pasta. While that’s going, heat about 1/2 a stick of butter in a large pan. Break the sausage off in little bite-size blobs and add to the pan. Cook the sausage thoroughly and then turn the heat off and set pan aside.

While the sausage cooks, de-stem and chop the mushrooms. Cut the broccoli into bite sized pieces, using the florets and as much as the stem as you like.  Mince 1-2 cloves of garlic.

Steam the broccoli over a pan of boiling water (sometimes I’ve managed to steam it over my boiling pasta). Heat a pan on medium-high heat, add 1-2 tablespoons of oil and saute the shiitake. When they’re soft and smell fragrant, add the garlic and cook another minute or so. Keep an eye on that garlic as it likes to burn!

When the mushrooms are done, tip them into the pan with the sausage. When the broccoli is done, add that to the sausage and mushrooms. When the pasta is cooked, drain, and add to the pan. If your original pan wasn’t big enough, you may need to switch to a bigger one! Add about 1/2 cup of chicken broth to the pan and mix everything up. Grate some Parmesan cheese, at least 1 cup – more if you like it cheesier. Add that to the pan and mix again. Put the lid on and let it sit for a couple minutes to let the flavors mingle and the cheese melt.

 

To be honest, I have already messed around with the making of this recipe. The way I grew up making it: after cooking the sausage we added a bunch of chicken broth to the pan and then put the uncooked broccoli in there and steamed the broccoli in the pan over the top of the sausage. When the broccoli was cooked, we added the pasta and cheese and let it all melt and integrate. Feel free to try it that way too!