Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mesclun Salad Greens - California Style

California Mesclun Salad Now Available at:
Dunn Creek Farm
Murray Harbour North PEI
Nabuurs Garden Center
Brudenell/Montague PEI
Phone Your Order: 962-3427

There are many ways to mix up a mesclun salad. The word itself is vague enough to encourage you to try for taste above a specific mix of young greens. Some like big bold leafy greens and textures that will stand up and carry a heavy wave of creamy dressing. Others prefer a light and more delicate mix where the salad itself is the star and vinaigrette offers polite accompaniment.

Our mesclun salad is more likely to be the latter, especially in it's early season, first cut form. This mix was developed in California's wine country so it's not surprising that it lends itself to a light lunch or supper and a traditional olive oil and wine vinegar. Think Mediterranean cuisine - fish and seafood, semi soft cheese, good bread, pasta, fresh strawberries, a crisp white wine and a warm summer day!

The mix contains several sweet lettuces, peppery mustard, tangy oriental flavors and includes the up-and-coming star of the salad world - nutty arugula.

We also add a dash of edible flowers in season; for flavor and bit of extra panache at table. Sometime it's "cucumbery" borage sometimes it's peppery nasturtiums and always it's a mix that is dressed to impress!

Like everything we grow, our mesclun is hand raised in small quantities, so supply is limited. We plant new beds every few weeks and we expect to have a limited supply on hand all summer. Stop by for a free taste!

Until next time, best wishes from Dunn Creek Farm

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Seeds Waiting For Rain

We've planted our early corn and yellow beans and set out transplants of squash, cucumbers, some tomato, heirloom peas and basil but no rain has come to get things growing.

It's been cool and cloudy for days with light showers and a forecast calling for rain, but so far nothing but a sprinkle or two and winds that tends to dry out our plants and the already dusty topsoil.

Tomorrow calls for sun. We may have to carry water to the field.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Report To Mrs. Revlin's Grade 2 Class - Monte Vista School

(Note: Toby is writing this report for his class at Monte Vista School in Santa Barbara, California. In Canada, 2nd grade is called grade 2!)

Toby's Animals on the Farm

My mom found this baby kitten stranded in the ditch in front of our farm. She thought it sounded like a bird, so she named her, "Birdy". She brought her in the house and bought a bottle of milk for her. Birdy was a surprise for me when I came home. Birdy likes to play with a toy mouse. And she likes to chase a ball of yarn around. I like her. She is a good surprise.

This is our rooster, Chester. He goes "buck buck buck" and talks to his hens. He crows a lot too. I hear him crow when it's morning. Every day I check the chickens and make sure they have food and water. And then I look for eggs in the hay nest.

This is one of our hens on the nest in the chicken coop. She doesn't have a name yet. Would you like to help us name her? She is very shy, she is missing some feathers but she lays eggs for us. Mrs. Revlin can send us your ideas for a name.

Every day I look in the nesting box for eggs. We have three hens and they don't lay every day, so sometimes there are no eggs. The hens lay eggs in the hay nest because that is where they feel safe. Sometimes the eggs are white and sometimes they're brown because they come from different chickens. My dad had this egg for breakfast!

I miss you guys and I hope I'll see you next year!


Thursday, June 12, 2008

We've Got Asparagus!

Fresh Organic Asparagus Now at Dunn Creek Farm Rte. 17, Murray Harbour No. PEI. Also available at Nabuurs Garden Center in Brudenell/Montague. Phone in your order - (902)962-3427.

The trend in food publishing today is to create images that makes food a fantasy of desire.

Well, to me, the romancing of food in the perfect kitchen misses an opportunity to love it as it arrives from the earth - before it reaches trendy chefs and fussy photographers. This is especially true of asparagus.

Three years ago we gently planted 300 Jersey Giant root crowns in hand dug beds. Then we waited and weeded. And mulched and weeded. We've looked after this small crop through the seasons and now our waiting is over (but not the weeding!). We do indeed have fresh organic asparagus available in limited quantity over the next several weeks.

Asparagus is a welcome early season guest. It arrives before our other summer favorites do and seldom stays long enough to grow tiresome. We pick ours by hand and select each spear for tenderness and quality. You'll seldom find stringy fibres so no peeling is required. Just a light steam (4 or 5 minutes will probably do it) and it stays delightfully textured and flavorful. A simple pat of butter will do for dressing or, if you're a bit handy in the kitchen, try chilling your steamed asparagus and then serve it with a honey, mustard and shallot dressing.

I'm also determined to pickle some asparagus this season! Dropping a bit of pickled asparagus onto a plate of cheeses and crackers will perk up a sunset at the shore. Or plop one into a Bloody Mary for something unique and tasty!

Of course, some of our crop never reaches the market. It's eaten fresh as it's picked! I invite you to try this crisp, green and sweet treat yourself!

Mesclun Salad Mix

We are also beginning to bring in some early mesclun greens from the green house beds. This is a lovely California style mix of sweet lettuces, spicy mustard, savory arugula and a hint of tangy oriental flavors. It's super with a healthy, traditional
vinaigrette, some crusty bread and a light wine.

That's the news for now! Until next time, all the best from Dunn Creek Farm, PEI.