Monday, July 24, 2006

Grand Forks Farmers Market

This last Saturday we were back at the Grand Forks Farmers Market for the first time this season. It was wonderful to see some of our regular customers again. We will continue to be in Grand Forks on Saturdays from now until the end of August.

Speaking of our regular customers - one of them requested our Herb Cheddar Loaf recipe and unfortunately I did not have one in the recipe box. I told her I would post it here so everyone could access it - so here it is:
Herb Cheddar Loaf
1 pkg. active dry yeast, 1/4 cup warm water, 1/2 cup milk, 1/3 cup butter, 1 Tablespoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3 eggs, 1 Tablespoon Each fresh chopped Oregano, marjoram and thyme (or you may substitute 1 teaspoon dried), 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour, 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, and 1 egg white.

Sprinkle yeast into warm water and let stand until dissolved. Heat milk and butter until butter melts; pour into a mixing bowl. Add sugar and salt and let cool to lukewarm. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until smooth. Mix in the yeast mixture and the herbs. Gradually add 2 cups of the flour and beat until smooth. Add remaining flour and cheese and beat with a heavy duty electric mixer or wooden spoon. Turn out on a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and satiny. Place in a bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. Turn out dough on a board and knead lightly. Place in a greased 2 quart round casserole or souffle' dish. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk. Brush the top with lightly beaten egg white. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes, or until the loaf sounds hollow when thumped. Place on rack and let cool slightly. Turn out of dish. Makes 1 large loaf.


Monday, July 17, 2006

This past weekend was the annual meeting of the North Dakota State Horticulture Society. As usual, I attended the meeting sans my favorite sidekick (Barry) and substituted my mother and friend Donna. It was held in Grand Forks where community parks abound and many wonderful home gardens as well. The heat was stifling and at one point during the trip I was virtually wilted but overall I learned a few things and saw some great home gardens. The best part was seeing people I only get a chance to visit with once a year. Members come from all over the state to the meeting and we all have a great time. Connie Laugerquist from the International Peace Gardens and I had ourselves in tears several times by telling humorous stories. It was really fun.

The other fun part was the silent auction and shopping at local greenhouses afterward. I came home with a few additions for the night gardens, another crabapple (what I need another crabapple for is beyond me and well beyond Barry) and some great rocks. Yes, rocks. There is a member from the Surrey area that makes great rock mobiles. It will be hung in the gardens as soon as possible for everyone to enjoy. Of course it will take a healthy branch to hold it but it is really cool. Can't wait to get it hanging. Another piece of ND garden art to add to the growing collection.
There are no public classes scheduled this week and only one private group. We will harvest for the first time later this week and be available at the Grand Forks farmers market this coming Saturday. Hooray! The sweet smell of Basil is on its way. Barry will also go to Minot this week and pick up the chopper for the second round of rhubarb harvest.

Monday July 24th is the Savory Sage class. We have plenty of room left in this class so please call and register so I can plan supplies. We'll look at the different sages and talk about their uses. We'll cook with sage, make a facial astringent, and a small sage wreath for decoration. It will be great fun so send us an email or call to reserve your spot.
Stay Cool

Friday, July 07, 2006

What a fun evening!

Last night I traveled to Cando for the 4-H achievement day where I was to put on a demonstration of 'my choice'. I chose, of course, weeds. My demonstration was entitled, 'Eat Your Weedies'. I brought along some freshly 'harvested' purslane, chickweed, plantain, and lambsquarters. I had handouts with the nutritional value of the weeds, their wholesale value in California ($9.00-$22.00 per pound!) and recipe's for making delicious summer salads with the weeds. I even brought along some of my own. I served up a wonderful summer salad with fresh garden lettuce and lambsquarters, some egg salad with chickweed, and creamed cucumbers with purslane. It was great fun. The people were wonderful and most of them at least wanted to try a bite. It is amazing how many people you can get to eat weeds - wonder if they'd come out to the gardens to graze?

Of course, 4-H is my favorite youth organization. I was a 4-H'er. My son was a 4-H'er and just attended the Youth conference where he was an outgoing ambassador for North Dakota (outgoing - as in he is now too old to be in 4-H and must at some point become a leader to stay involved). Doing my demonstration last night made me feel as though I was back in 4-H, talking about my project, receiving awards and meeting new people. I guess even way back then I enjoyed teaching people new things. It's still that way today as people come to the gardens and take classes and tours. Here's a hefty congratulations to all of the hard working 4-H'ers and best of luck at the state fair. Thanks for the great time.

Monday, July 03, 2006

A new addition

This past weekend we were lucky enough to complete one of ourgoals for the farm. Since the beginning we've had an "on demand learning center" in our marketing plan. We never thought we would truly accomplish this as it had been 4 years and everything we saw to complete the project was too expensive.

On Friday after work I stopped at a yard sale across from our house in Devils Lake and there she was - what a beauty! A manual vending machine! It had belonged to a church and the woman assured me that it still worked. It had all of the keys and spare parts we would need and for a very nice price I purchased it (after calling Barry to confirm that this was something we still wanted to do). Saturday Barry and the neighbor worked to get it in good running order and to make sure all of the slots worked. It is in place and functioning - holding soda right now, but boy do we have plans for it.

The idea is to have a place where visitors can receive information if Barry and I are not there. The machine would be able to have plant lists for the theme gardens in one slot, a self guided walking tour in another, maybe a copy of the history of Churchs Ferry as written by G.C. Chamberes in 1894, and also some small and simple projects for children to do while at the farm. All of the items will need to be under $1.00, very affordable, but would be a nice touch for times when Barry and I cannot be at the farm to greet or tour guests. (helps to cover photocopying costs too) Now I just have some typing and formating work to do before this will be up and running. Be sure to stop by and check it out.

While Barry worked on the new 'learning center' I weeded. Right now the weeds are both a blessing and a curse. We are so dry that the weeds are the only thing holding the moisture in the soil but also because of the heat they are already setting seed which will mean more weeds as summer progresses. I hate to remove them and expose that beautiful black dirt to the drying sun and heat but if I don't - weeds, weeds, weeds will have to be a class added to this year's schedule!
Enjoy your Independance Day,
Holly and Barry