Tomatoes



DaisyPatch Farm

First off, I love that commercial. So funny. Why, you ask, am I starting this DaisyPatch update with a Planet Fitness commercial? Because I, too, have been lifting things up and putting them down. Over 60 pounds of tomatoes to be exact. In one harvest last week, I hauled in 55.2 pounds. In one bag. It probably would have been funny to see. Every few steps I stopped and put the bag down. Then, grunting like a weight lifter, picked up the bag, went a few more steps and put it down again. It’s not like I can’t lift 55 pounds. I can. But this bag was awkward. (Yeah, we’ll go with that.)

Now begins sauce time. And salsa time. And ketchup time. And catsup time (if that’s how you roll). And stuffed tomato time. You get the idea. If you have a favorite recipe for tomatoes, send it to thedaisypatchfarm@gmail.com and I will post it and give you credit. ūüôā


My spotty tomato haiku…ahem…

Spotty tomatoes

It’s kind of embarrassing

Damn f’ing fungus

Yup, that’s a decent pile of tomatoes for the first harvest. Look closely at the striped romas. They not lookin’ so hot. The lower half of each plant is just about dead. The spots have spread to the ‘maters as you can see. We’ve made the decision to not grow tomatoes next year. At all. Get rid of the fungus that is buried deep in the soil, possessing it like a demon, coming to the surface on hot, humid days. So, we’re going to¬†jar as many of these as we can (we’ve read up, the spotty tomatoes are fine to eat, but we’re going to cook them anyway. You know, boil off the evil.)

Meanwhile, we’ll deal with the counter (and windowsill and sink…) full of spotty ‘maters. Evil, possessed, spotty ‘maters. Damn it.



I just made bruschetta and want to share the recipe. Before we go there, however, we need a lesson on how to pronounce, “bruschetta.” I used to say “BROO-shett-uh.”¬† That is incorrect. After ordering a delish rendition of bruschetta at Dolce Vita in Boston’s North End, I have learned to say it correctly. (If you get the chance to go there, GO! Franco rocks, and¬†sings to the crowd. Much fun to be had by all!)¬†

Ready? Here we go…”Br(roll that ‘r’)oo-SKETT-tuh.” Now, kiss all your fingertips (and thumbtip, is that considered a finger in an example such as this? I think it is, but, whatever, all five of them) at the same time, then pull your hand away and flare your fingers out into a jazz hand. This is a terrible, stereotypical gesture I have learned from movies and television and I use it here without shame.

So, here is the DaisyPatch version of the Dolce Vita bruschetta.

1 loaf Italian bread (I bought a fresh loaf that was soft. You can buy the crusty kind (is that French? Well THAT won’t work. This is an Italian recipe) but I avoid the crusty kind because it shreds the roof of my mouth. Like Captain Crunch. Ouch. That stuff was painful. How did that get on the market in the first place, I ask you? That cereal inflicted injury. Did I digress?) Slice and then toast in the broiler until just lightly browned (too brown and we’ll get that shredded roof of the mouth thing again.)

1 clove garlic, minced

3-4 tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup fresh basil – chopped

1 tbsp fresh thyme – removed from the stem

1 shallot (or a teensy red onion), chopped

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp olive oil

coarse salt

fresh ground pepper

*Note- I don’t measure. I completely eyeballed it, but I think that looks about right.

Mix the garlic, tomatoes, shallot, basil, thyme in a bowl. Add olive oil. Let sit.

Reduce the balsamic vinegar in a pan over the stove until it starts to look thick. Cool. It will get a bit thicker as it cools. You want it thick like honey.

When you are ready to serve, put the veggie mixings on the toasted bread, salt and pepper to taste.  Drizzle with a little balsamic. Serve it up.

And say it with me. Bruschetta. (Don’t forget the hand gesture – kiss, pull, jazz). Molto bene.

(Author note: I am exceptionally proud of these. All veggies and herbs were ours. And they were delicioso.)


Talk about cukes! We’ve grown pickling cukes before, but not these regular ones. We have 6 plants growing up a vertical trellis. I’ve harvested 6 cukes so far and can count at least 15 more on the plants. My favorite recipe is pretty easy:

Make the dressing first. Put about¬†2 cups white vinegar, 1/2 cup white sugar and a pinch of paprika into a sauce pan. Boil (it’ll burn your nose, trust me) until the consistency is like a thin maple syrup. Cool in the fridge where it will thicken up. It will be a nice mix of sweet and tangy with a tiny lingering heat of the paprika.

Cut cucumbers into 1 inch chunks. Cut tomatoes into one inch chunks. (You know, about the same amount of each.) When the dressing is completely cool, mix some into the tomato/cukes until just dressed (don’t drown!)¬†Serve immediately. It isn’t really that great the next day.

Enjoy!


The Daisy Patch.

My tomato haiku…ahem…

They’re called Tomatoes

My friend calls them TommyToes

Really, his kids do

We have the blight again, but (cross your fingers, knock on wood, pinch the bamboo, yes I am superstitious) (“pinch the bamboo” sounded dirty) they seem to be thriving still. Who knows how long it will last. I think the blight isn’t spreading because it has been so dry. (OK! That is an understatement. It has been bloody, freeking hot, like 105 for New Hampshire is unheard of hellhot.) We have been spraying with organic fungicide (which smells EXACTLY like Grandpa’s camp. Technically, it smells like Bactine, but I only remember Bactine from Grandpa’s camp, ergo, my comparison). We also have been removing the diseased leaves which prevents splashing the fungus during a rainstorm. (Which hasn’t happened. Because it is bloody, freeking hot.)

While outside puttering, I noticed how different the leaves are amongst (between? whatever, you get it) the different varieties of ‘maters. I thought I’d kind of, you know, show a little variety map. Ready? Brace yourself, this is GRIPPING STUFF. (Seriously? Why does this fascinate me? I have no idea.)

Those patio tomatoes, the last one, were a garden center replacement for one we lost. Of course, it is a hybrid and is not touched, at all, by the blight. The others are heirloom and are, of course, affected quite a bit by it. Of course. We are planning to move all the tomatoes to the front kitchen garden next year and the lettuces, etc. will hopefully be in the greenhouse.

All in all, we are hoping to have tomatoes this year. We have already harvested three striped Roma tomatoes, and the plants ARE full of flowers, and Keith has been using the organic bloom booster so here’s hoping the fruit stays ahead of the fungus.


DaisyPatch Farm.

Thanks to Mrs. Cheever’s neighbors, there is now a law in North Hampton that, with less than 4 acres of property, we can have, “…no more than 12 poultry per lot and…husbandry of poultry that includes one or more roosters shall require a Conditional Use Permit as provided under subparagraph 4, below…

4.¬† The following process shall be used…

a. An application shall be submitted to the planning board…

b. Boring

c. The Planning Board shall conduct a public hearing for which proper notice has been given to abutters and the public. (Read…they notify our neighbors that we want a rooster so that our neighbors can come to the public hearing and dispute. Yes. THAT is what this says.)

d. The Planning Board shall have authority to impose reasonable conditions of approval that the board deems appropriate (huh?)

e. Boring, something about fees that didn’t make sense cuz no dollar figures were listed. Whatever.

f. Animal Density…something about best management practices for manure handling based upon the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture manual entited, “Best Management Practices for Handling of Compost, Fertilizer and Manure” (which shall, from here on in, be called the SHIT SHEET).

g. Burden of Proof. Blah blah blah stating you need to demonstrate and specify the manner in which the operation shall be conducted in compliance with THIS pamphlet and that rule and this law and that law AND to demonstrate that the Animal Husbandry operation shall not cause pollution, soil degradation, unreasonable odor, unreasonable noise and disturbance of the peace. (No mess, no smell, no noise, did you hear us? We said NO NOISE! Get it, stupid?)

ARE YOU F’ING KIDDING ME?

So, let’s say it all together, shall we? On three. One. Two. Three. “Thanks Mrs. Cheever’s neighbors.”

It makes one little homesteader-wanna-be consider just walking away from the idea of getting little cluckers altogether. (She folds her arms, sticks her lips out in a pout and stomps her foot. But I want an Ooompa Loompa NOW.)

Jaws set in determination, we figuratively stuck out our tongues, said, “Nana nana boo boo” and set out during the rainy (well, depressingly drizzly) Saturday of Memorial Weekend to look at chicken coops that were for sale in the area. (Craig’s List. It’s not just for massages and murders.) (Ok, that was wrong. Very wrong, but I am laughing so hard I had a coughing fit and so I think I’m keeping it.)

One was used and a decent price, but, well, a bit beat up (too hard).¬†One was brand new, a guy custom built them, but seemed rickety (too soft). One was brand new, perfect¬†size, shape and super sturdy.¬†AND it was built by the Amish (juuuuust right). (I mean, thems good builders, right?) Alas, we have no truck. (Yes, we have no bananas.) So, it stayed at Agway and we went home. We weren’t ready anyway. Homework. I must do much homework.

This past Friday afternoon, I came home after work and sat at the breakfast bar. DaisyMae was quite happy I was home and would NOT leave me alone. So, without even taking my post-commute-pee (it’s a 50 minute drive I’ll have you know), I grabbed the orange soccer ball and tried to walk without tripping on the INSANE dog as we headed out to the back yard, asking Keith if he wanted to come play with us. You know, bulldog in the middle. It’s a great game. Also, Keith and I could walk the yard and plan on where the coop could go.

Several minutes of soccer passed (DaisyMae is a very good guard), and I noticed sticks and leaves all through the yard from the windstorm the night before. Why Keith was filming this little game of ball was beyond me, but I thought I’d share it. Click here.

I have the best hubby ever.


My February doldrums haiku…ahem…

Have the stomach flu

I’ve¬†been knitting and **ting

For the last 2 days

Yup. I thought I’d bring you, my gentle readers, into my hell.¬† The 6 foot high snow bank (no lie) is a bit shorter and there are actually patches of ground for DaisyMae to use as her “spot.” The wind today is pretty gusty and although it looked a bit nice out earlier, I, alas, have been stuck inside. This stomach bug is just not fun. Rice, ginger ale, water and saltines have been my chosen menu for about 46 hours while I stayed home from work yesterday (sparing my co-workers in my day job from my condition) and alternated between sleeping (having¬†snoozed only 2 hours the night before) and knitting a new hat for myself and, well, just plain bitching about how crappy I feel.

I looked outside at our garden, still buried under about 3 feet of snow and wondered how soon it will be before I’m digging again. We had our sundried tomatoes in a neat little vegetarian dish last week. What will we be eating at this time next year (can you tell I have food on the brain? The bland diet is just so, what’s the word? Boring?)¬†We plan to have the greenhouse completed, so will I finally be able to trudge out and pick greens even though it’s Winter? Will we have canned or frozen enough veggies to eat throughout the year? Gosh, I hope so. I like that we still have some things left in the pantry and freezer: 1/2 bottle of maple syrup; herbs; ketchup; tomato sauce; sundried tomatoes; garlic; green beans; carrots; shallots. I was hoping we’d be able to use our veggies in at least every home-cooked meal throughout the non-growing season. We’re not quite there (sometimes, you just crave spaghetti with parm and butter and nothing else), but we’re pretty close. To take my mind off my misery, I thought I’d share…here’s that neat little vegetarian dish (a bit modified from the original which was something we ate once and tried our best to copy).

(Without measurements. Use the force, Luke.) (There! She did it again. She stuck in a Star Wars reference in her gardening blog. HOW DOES SHE DO IT?)

Pie Crust for 2 pies

About a cup of sundried tomatoes, boiled until soft, then drained and pureed.

1 can of artichoke hearts (unmarinated). Drain and chop.

Roasted red peppers, chopped

Shredded mozzarella

1 container ricotta

Grated Parmesan

2 eggs

Heat oven to 350

Put 1 crust in pie plate for pie bottom.

Spread sundried tomato paste on bottom of crust

Mix ricotta with 1 egg, some ground pepper and some grated parm (you know, like lasagne) (We are low sodium here in the DaisyPatch household, so feel free to add a pinch of salt if your taste desires, but try it without, there’s enough flavor in here, you migh be able to skip it.)

Spread ricotta mixture on top of tomato paste.

Sprinkle (ok, pour) shredded mozzarella over ricotta.

Layer on chopped artichokes.

Layer on chopped red peppers (scarce, or you’ll be dying of heartburn 2 hours later, TRUST ME!)

More mozzarella (can you ever have too much?)

Put the other pie crust on top and, using the other egg that you’ve beaten with a fork (and called a few names because it doesn’t know its place and didn’t listen to you like good eggs should), brush the egg over the crust.

Bake in the oven until top is golden brown.

Enjoy while I go make myself some rice. (OH! and Keith just poured himself some of our favorite wine! This is torture.)

~By the way, you can subscribe to this blog if you like. I won’t mind. This way, when I update, it will get emailed to you. I don’t sell the email addresses or anything.


My Seed Catalog haiku…ahem…

Oh Seed Catalogs!

With all your varieties

Can’t we get them all?

As I pore over seed brochures, I need to recall lessons from last year when we overcrowded things a bit. (Ok, more than “a bit”). We also realized that we want more varieties of things. How the hell are we supposed to accomodate more types of veggies? We didn’t really have too much go to waste (except during the tomato blight).

So, what is a homesteader to do? I think the solution is to plant more varieties, but fewer plants of each. This way, we can try more things. Also, I need to add some things to the list that I forgot last year:

  • Zucchini
  • Sugar Pumpkins
  • Butternut Squash
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • and of course…daisies (although not a vegetable, I do find it necessary to have some daisies considering our homestead is called The Daisy Patch)

I need to plant fewer of the following:

  • Basil (I know, can you believe it? We had so much though.)
  • Lettuce
  • Green Peppers
  • Husk Cherries (WHAT? But you love those! True, but they naturally re-seeded themselves and grew all over the damn property and by the side of the road, there is NO reason we have to start as any this year.)
  • Scallions
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cucumbers – maybe just 1 less.

And more of…

  • Edamame (ONE LAST TIME and then THIS IS IT! If I don’t get them to work this year, I will NEVER try them again.)
  • Thyme
  • Salad tomatoes (We lost them to the blight and were left mostly with plum and Reistomate)
  • Potatoes

Now it is time for some new things. This is where I am stuck. I have no clue what we would like. We did not like Brussells Sprouts (thanks anyway, Doreen!) We did like Parsnips. So any recomendations for some newer things we might like? Please note they’ll need to be able to grow in the North East. Thanks!

And Merry Christmas (on a Christmas side note…I plan to bake like a fiend this week. I finished one knitting project, hope to finish another and still have some Christmas Shopping to do. It’s going to be a great week (I mean it – I love this stuff!))


I mean, it always feels good to eat, but somehow, it just feels better when you grew it yourself. We’ve been eating the veggies we picked and preserved. Here is a dinner Keith made. Halibut, our potatoes, our parsnips and our tomatoes and tomato sauce. Oh, and our herbs (and yes, he always arranges the plate artfully, not just for the blog photo! I love that. DaisyPatchFarm Bistro serves up some beautiful plates!)

¬†So, to the left are our fingerling potatoes, the parsnip is in the middle and (another I forget the type isn’t that awful? I’m too lazy right now to go get our gardening notes) potato. The tomatoes were reduced and added to our sauce with some herbs and the halibut was pan-seared. That’s our parsley too. Can I just say?¬† It was pretty damn good.¬† Of course, the fingerling potato looks like a doody and the parsnip looks like the finger of a dead person, but who cares? Nummy.

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