It has been a little loud and chaotic at the farmstand this week. You might have noticed the looming piles of loam and gravel up near Central Ave. or perhaps the ear-piercing beeping of the back up alarms. No? We did. But the progress is amazing. The basement of the new stand is nearly excavated, with a footing almost poured. There are lots of conditionals in that sentence but we are weaving around a few remaining obstacles. The largest of which are the existing farmstand, which we will still be operating in for a few to 6 weeks, and the old boiler room, coal room, and block house which are just waiting for their demolition permit to come through.
It is really exciting right now, as right out our back door we can see the footprint of the new building taking shape. There is plenty of visibility for customers as well as the safety fence lines the main walkway to the greenhouse. So if you have any little ones at home that can’t get enough of big earth moving machines now is the time to bring them by to get a glimpse.
We moved steadily into the second crop of peas and should have them regularly for a while now. Strawberries are still strong, we will have to see how this late week wet spell treats them though. Summer squash, zucchini, and pickle cukes have started to trickle in as expected, giving some real summer flavor to the farmstand. In other exciting news the first beans of the season seem to be blowing up into ripeness, and while I can’t make any promises they seem like they will want to be picked this weekend. Having tasted a handful of the early green beans already, wow, worth the long winter’s wait.
Speaking of waiting, we have been waiting way too long to thank all of you for your continued support over the last year and in advance for the summer ahead. So this Saturday from 10-4 please join us for our annual Customer Appreciation Day. Stop in and join us and many of our favorite vendors as they share their wares with you with free samples and a little insight into the care and art that goes into making our baked goods, desserts, sauces, dips, and more!
Our huge plant sale is still going, including drastic mark downs on most hangers and annual packs and 20% off shrubs and roses. Plus, if you are one of our email subscribers, don’t forget to print and use your coupon soon! They expire at the end of June.
Hope yours was grand. Perhaps the nicest day for weather we have had all year. And as a special treat we welcomed a new father and mother to the farm today. Yeah, I don’t have much news tonight, but the greenhouse’s killdeer hatched over a few hours this morning much to everyone’s excitement. They little puffballs went from huddled en masse to running through the field by the end of the day. It was pretty joyful to watch their first steps, while mom and dad had a whole new type of stress to manage.
In produce news, strawberries are still coming in strong, and apologies for the shortages of peas this weekend. The break between the two varieties has been greater than we hoped, but if the warmth and sun sticks we should be into the next ones very shortly. We will bring them in as soon as they fill out, probably in three or four days.
There is still plenty of other treats to come in for. We have started bringing in swiss chard and will start to see summer squash from our fields soon too.
Hope you has a wonderful weekend, and can’t wait to see you in soon!
If, like me, you are a horrible child, you may have had, once again, no idea that Father’s Day was this weekend. Well it is. On Sunday. And since I’ve done you the great favor of reminder, perhaps you would love to take care of the gift you still need down at Volante’s. You may think to yourself, yeah sure Volante’s is great for Mother’s day, what with all those amazing hanging baskets and flowering abundances, but what does Dad want with the place?
Ok, of course you aren’t thinking that. I mean isn’t Strawberry season Dad’s absolute favorite? Or maybe peas? Everyone has a soft spot for one of those. And as a good child isn’t it your responsibility to make sure Pops is eating healthy? You might not have had a chance to get down here since we opened up with produce again this season, but the goods are flying out the door quickly. We are just keeping up with demand on both peas and berries, which is good for all of us. It ensures you are getting the absolute freshest for your table.
Also ideal for Dad are our Patio Tomato Planters. Complete with complementary herbs these planters give him a ready to go garden. The perfect gift for a busy dad who hasn’t gotten around to all his garden chores yet. These are a quick and ready to go gift.
Also quick and ready to go we are thrilled to be carrying Ever So Humble Pies from Walpole again. A nice fresh fruit made from scratch pie could hit the spot for everyone Sunday evening.
Right after you let Dad wow you with his culinary skills by grilling up some of our tasty new marinated meat. We are carrying a selection of chicken, steak and turkey in marinades prepared by Dom’s of Medford. Any Dad likes to be appreciated for what he does well, and these pre marinated meats will make it even easier for him.
This weeks dry spell, as short as it has been has allowed us to get a few things caught up in the field. We are getting the tomatoes trellised and pruned and caged as appropriate. This is a time-consuming process but they appreciate it and by keeping the plants trim and supported they will provide fruit large and early. additionally we are trying to get caught up on the weeding. As you know we never be ahead on it, but as long as we keep most of them at bay we can hope for some success. The second crop of carrots and beets are barely out of the ground but their weedy neighbors are certainly doing fine, and that story repeats all over the farm. Unfortunately all that wonderful rain makes weeding harder. Well in effect they come out much easier but they don’t really tend to die. So again the current dryness is huge.
Back to the topic of parents, both Dad and Mom Killdeer have been stressing over their clutch of eggs by the big greenhouse. It seems like they should be hatching any day now. while Mom has gotten quite good at fending off intruders, it will certainly take both of them to corral four youngsters with all the traffic going through here lately.
You may have noticed the many large excavation machines at work this week. Frankly you certainly heard them if you didn’t see them. This is the second stage of our renovation. The final remnants of the back greenhouses and barns have been removed and we should switch over to temporary power any day now. Then they can begin to really stake out the building parameters and we can start to see the shape of things to come. The main farm stand and greenhouse 14 will still remain for another month, but the overall look of the place will start to change drastically. Please bring it to our attention if you are having trouble finding any of the products you are used to, we will be happy to track them down.
Oh last but never least, we started our huge plant sale today! I can only assume Crazy Teri will put her mark on it in days to come, but if there was something you were hemming and hawing about you want to pop in soon to see if it has gotten even more attractive. A few weeks of professional care and a lower price will do that to a lot of things, our plants included!
Homegrown this week:
As all of our homegrown fruits and veggies start coming in, I can’t help but crave some new recipes in which to enjoy them! I have included a few here that I am sure to try in the next few days. Each recipe is based around a homegrown item that we currently have on our farmstand. Enjoy, and let me know what you think!
Sauteed Chicken and Radishes with Mustard and Tarragon
from Bon Apetit
Find the original recipe here.
– 4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
– 2 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided
– 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
– 2 tablespoons minced shallot
– 1/4 cup dry white wine
– 1 cup low-salt chicken broth
– 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
– 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
– 2 bunches radishes (such as red, pink, purple, and white; about 20), trimmed of all but 1/2 inch of green tops, radishes halved lengthwise
– Fresh tarragon sprigs (for garnish)
– Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to skillet and cook until browned and cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes per side, depending on thickness. Transfer chicken to plate; cover to keep warm. Add shallot to same skillet; stir over medium-high heat 1 minute. Add wine, then broth to skillet; bring to boil. Whisk in mustard and chopped tarragon; boil until sauce thickens enough to coat spoon lightly and is reduced to scant 1/2 cup, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in 1/2 tablespoon butter; set aside.
– Meanwhile, melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter with remaining 1 tablespoon oil in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add radishes; sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper; cook without stirring until radishes begin to brown, about 4 minutes. Continue to cook radishes until crisp-tender, stirring occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes longer.
– Cut chicken breast halves crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices; arrange on platter. Place radishes around and over chicken. Spoon sauce over chicken and radishes. Garnish with tarragon sprigs and serve.
Frozen Strawberries and Cream Bars
from Pip & Ebby
Find the original recipe here.
– 2 pounds strawberries, hulled and halved
– 3/4 cup sugar
– pinch of coarse salt
– 7 large egg whites
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 2/3 cup cold heavy cream
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– In a blender or food processor, combine strawberries, sugar, and salt. Puree until smooth. Pour into a 9×13 baking dish and transfer to the freezer. Scrape with a fork every 30 minutes until mixture is thick and slushy for about 2 total hours.
– In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites on high speed until foamy. With mixer on medium, gradually add sugar. Increase speed to high and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 3 minutes.
– In another medium bowl, beat the heavy cream and vanilla on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 1 to 2 minutes.
– With a rubber spatula, gently fold whipped cream into egg white mixture. Pour over the strawberry mixture and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Freeze until firm, about 4 hours (or, covered, up to 3 days), before cutting into 12 squares.
How to Grill Beets
Find the original article here.
– Heat the grill to medium-hot – you should be able to hold your hand about an inch over the cooking grate for about 2 seconds.
– Peel and slice beets. (Tip: Use rubber gloves to avoid staining your hands!)
– Brush beets with olive or vegetable oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
– Place beets on grill. If using a gas grill, cover. Cook 8 to 10 minutes, turn, and cook until beets are tender and grill-marked, another 8 to 10 minutes.
– Serve beets hot, warm, or at room temperature. Drizzle with additional olive oil for serving, if you like. This is also a great time to use any nut oils – toasted walnut oil or hazelnut oil in particular – since they are delicious on grilled beets.
Now that you know how to grill beets successfully, give this award-winning recipe a try! The following recipe won our first place prize in the 2009 Customer Cooking Contest. It calls for roasted beets, but feel free to substitute grilled beets if you prefer.
Warm Roasted Beet Salad with Gorgonzola and Toasted Walnuts
submitted by Sandra DeJong
– 8 medium-sized beets (the more different kinds the better)
– olive oil
– salt and pepper
– 4 to 6 oz of blue cheese, preferably a soft gorgonzola (Tip: Visit Wasik’s Cheese Shop in Wellesley for the good stuff!)
– one cup walnut halves or pieces
– chopped homegrown scallions
– salad greens (like our homegrown baby greens – arugula and lettuce!)
– 2/3 cup olive oil
– 1/3 cup lemon juice
– 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
– salt and pepper to taste
– Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut ends off the beets. Place on a roasting pan lightly coated with olive oil and brush the beets well with olive oil, sprinkling with salt and pepper.
– Roast at 400 degrees for approximately 40 minutes. Should still be firm but easily pierced by a fork. Cooking time will vary depending on size of beet. *Note: You can grill your beets using the guidelines above this recipe if you prefer.
– While beets are cooking, mix salad dressing ingredients together with a whisk. Lightly coat walnuts with olive oil and lightly toast them on a tray.
– Arrange greens into a thin bed on a plate. Remove beets from oven or gill and let cool enough to be able to hold them. Peel beets by slipping skin off (should occur easily). *Tip: Wear plastic gloves to avoid staining your hands!
– Slice beets in 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices and arrange over the bed of greens. Crumble cheese evenly over the beets and sprinkle walnuts and scallions on top. Drizzle salad dressing and serve immediately. *Note: you may have some dressing left over for future use.
Pasta with Peas and Bacon
Find the original recipe here.
– 1 pound pasta
– 6 ounces bacon, roughly chopped
– ½ yellow onion, chopped
– 5 cloves garlic, minced
– 2 cups peas
– 3 tablespoons heavy cream
– ½ cup grated Parmesan
– 1 tablespoon butter
– Salt and pepper
– Cook the pasta until al dente. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water. Strain and set aside.
– Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon until slightly crispy. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until onions are softened. Add the peas and stir to combine.
– Pour in the cream and simmer for a few minutes (for an even creamier pasta feel free to add more cream). Add the reserved pasta and toss to coat.
– Add the grated cheese and some of the reserved pasta water and thoroughly mix. Stir in the butter and season with salt and pepper.
– Serve with additional Parmesan for grating.
There are many more recipes to come and plenty of other delicious fruits and veggies to get to, so don’t worry! So stop on down the farm and take a look at all the great stuff we have – and more is coming in daily!
Have a great day and don’t forget to eat local!
And all sorts of other produce too. So this is our official last summer opening of produce season ever. This time next year we will have already been carrying produce for a few months. Change is on the horizon to be sure. if you haven’t been down lately you may not even recognize the place. The number of structures missing is now rivaling the amount still standing, but most importantly the greenhouse is still full of gorgeous flowers and the stand, for the time being has been transformed one final time into a produce wonderland.
When we open Thursday we will have all the wonderful baked goods and jams and jellies you have been missing. We will have a full line of vegetables and fruit, seasonal and tropical both. And to everyone’s joy we will have homegrown produce as well.
We will have an assortment of leaf and head lettuce available bright and early. Everything in the first crop isn’t ready yet, but there will be some sharp-looking Salad Bowl and Flashy Trout Back heads available. We will also continue to have our special early scallions, or young onions, fresh and spicy. Rhubarb is available and mint and dandelion greens should make an appearance as well. Spinach is struggling to beat the heat, but should be around. Radishes are literally bursting in the ground, so we want to get those on your plate as soon as possible.
And of course Strawberries are at their absolute peak. Really amazing right now. And we fully expect to have peas by noon tomorrow as well. They have been swelling up all week and with this heat wave should be sweet and perfect as can be.
With produce season new hours come as well. We are now open 9-6:30 Monday through Friday, and 9-6 on weekends.
It’s true! The first of the homegrown produce is IN! (As of about 4 minutes ago…) you’ll defininitely want to head down today to grab literally the FIRST PICK of our scallions, spinach, rhubarb and radishes! Although these few pickings are a little ahead of our Thursday June 9th produce opening, we couldn’t keep them to ourselves.
As of Thursday the 9th, we’ll have a variety of great homegrown produce for you to choose from – including lettuce and maybe peas shortly thereafter? For more information please see Ryan’s previous post.
In other news, greenhouse demolition is cranking full-speed ahead as our “Destructo Team” works along.
Hope to see you down here this weekend – it’s the perfect planting weather! We are fully stocked with a fresh selection of annuals inside our gorgeous sunny greenhouse and perennials of all sorts in our outside perennial beds.
Don’t forget to check out all the new stuff we’ve received since last week! And we still have our 20% off pottery sale running until the 7th, so be sure to take advantage!
There is really so much going on at the farm this week it is hard to focus. The greenhouses are hopping and emptying. The fields are beginning to bulge with fruit. And in the midst of this we have begun the next phase of the Farm Stand Renovation Project.
Apparently there were some tornadoes rolling around the area this evening. Just to be on top of things we took our trees down early. That way you don’t have to clean them up later. I am actually writing now before I get in to see what kind of damage the storms managed overnight in the morning, should help me sleep easier.
The lack of alarming phone calls always bodes well. But really we were just prepping the back section of the farm stand for its face lift. Greenhouse #2 more or less disappeared over the last 2 days, and it seem #3 will follow quickly.
As customers you should notice very little of this change for the time being. the next change of note is our change over to produce next thursday, June 9th. This is at least one you are used to and hopefully look forward to as much as us. We hope to open with strawberries, scallions, beet greens, and baby greens, and in the very near future we should see some peas, maybe even before next thursday!? Want to be the first in line? That’s why the farm has a twitter account, doubtless our followers there will be the first to know. Be one of them too.
There are still loads of amazing perennials and annuals coming in regularly to the greenhouse, many are just starting to enter the height of their blooming season, especially the Iris, Delphinium, and Larkspur which are available in stunning specimens. To see these and even more check out the new album over on our facebook page.