What About This? And What About That?

WILTED, AGAIN???

How many of you have had to throw out, or thought you had to throw out, wilted veggies? I am not referring to veggies that are past due, but maybe it’s wilted lettuce that may have sat in your box a little longer than planned, soft carrots, flimsy kale or greens of any kind. The answer to this disappointment is a clean sink with very cold water

I do this regularly. I don’t eat all of my produce on the day I get it and sometimes I might forget about something sitting in my crisper. Not to worry!!! A cold water bath will revive the sleepiest of produce. Here’s how ya do it!

Step 1: Fill your kitchen sink with cold water. I would recommend cleaning with a super diluted bleach solution. Avoid using dish soap as the residue can stay on your produce and that will almost always equal bad things in the loo if you know what I mean!!

Step 2: Place produce in cold bath for approximately 10-15 minutes.
Cold water bath for the greens.

Step 3: Watch your produce crisp up and become like new! Yay!!!!!

Another trick I have learned through the years is to wash your greens; lettuce, kale, etc. first and then place in a zip lock with dry paper towels separating layers of your produce. This has helped keep my veggies fresh and crisp for a lot longer.

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MY PRODUCE ISN’T RIPE!

Not to worry! I know when I get my produce I want to dive right in! Especially if there are peaches, mango’s, AVOCADOS, or apricots! These particular items sometimes come to us before they are ripe. Just leave it on your counter for a day or two, and that will allow it to continue ripening. If you find that your produce ripens too quickly and you aren’t ready to eat all of it at once, just pop it back in the fridge and that will slow the ripening process.

Keep in mind that organic food, by nature, is not going to keep as long as

conventionally grown produce and utilizing the refrigerator will help to give you more time to consume your goods.

MY BANANAS WENT BROWN BEFORE I COULD EAT THEM!!!

That doesn’t mean you can’t use them! When your bananas go brown throw them in the freezer and use them in the future in smoothies or to make banana bread…or even dog treats! Those bananas will continue to serve you for a good long time that way!

MY HERBS GO BAD SO FAST!!!

One of my favorite things to do with herbs/spices is to chop them up while fresh and put them in an ice cube tray. Then I take coconut oil or whatever your oil of choice is and cover the spices/herbs with them and freeze! Then when you are ready to use them you just pop one out and throw it in the pan and VOILA! All set! You can do this with your veggies too and freeze them for later use in smoothies!

We strive to make your experience with Casco Bay Organics as pleasurable and convenient as possible. We hope these tips help. If you have any tips to help your fellow foodies get the most out of their produce, share with us on Facebook! We might just use your tip for the TIP OF THE WEEK which will be introduced next week in our blog.

Happy eating to you all and see you on Thursday!

HARMONY FARM -MADISON NEW HAMPSHIRE

Fresh Goat's Milk from Harmony Farm-Madison, NH

Have you ever had fresh goats milk? I had never tried goats milk until I had the pleasure of visiting a brand new farm in Madison, NH last week. Sharon Laitinen- Dembinski ; RN, NP, former Corporate Executive for a company that ran 18 addiction treatment facilities in five states now adds farmer to her already impressive resume. Sharon raises Nubian goats for meat and dairy on Harmony Farm in Madison, New Hampshire. Sharing the farm with John, her high school sweetheart and husband of over 30 years, their three adopted children; Alex, Noah, and Jesse, and four dogs! Sharon and John also have two grown children, Sarah and Tony, who have children of their own making Sharon and John grandparents three times. I asked Sharon what made her decide to leave the corporate world to become a farmer and she replied, “I want to know where my children are, and where my food comes from…I want to feel part of the cycle of life and sustenance. My 16 year old son watched the documentary ‘Food Inc. 2 years ago and insisted I watch it with him after he watched it once alone. I was shocked. Why didn’t I know how big food industries treat animals? And now that I knew how could I keep eating that food?!”
Upon arrival we were greeted by two male goats, Atticus and Hercules. The bucks were mowing the lawn and they stopped and looked at us as if to say, “Oh hey! Hi!” Sharon welcomed us with a smile and she brought us into the house. Inside we were met by a very sweet Black Lab named Bruno and an 8 week old Old English Sheep Dog named Cleo. A little fur ball of a Jack Russell was also in the mix, being very polite and waiting his turn to say hello. “My favorite part of being a farmer is going to sound sappy, but I just love feeling so close to the natural world. I’ve always loved animals- any kind of animal- but farm animals especially. My grandparents had a farm and I spent many blissful days there. About 10 years ago I started dreaming of living in a rural area and raising farm animals.”

Sharon gave us the tour of the 120 year old farmhouse the family recently purchased and is restoring. Handmade shelving and vibrant colors help to show Sharon’s personality in the home while balancing perfectly with the craftsmanship of the original architecture. Moving on to the kitchen, we see cheese making books laying on the beautiful old wooden table. Hanging from a rack of pots and pans was a freshly made ball of chevre cheese draining into a bucket; at the kitchen sink were clean milk bottles used this morning for the 7am milking. We were given a quick tutorial as to what each piece of milking equipment was and then we headed outside to meet the girl

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The barn was cozy and clean smelling of fresh hay and grain. Sharon prides herself on keeping a clean barn and we were thoroughly impressed. The girls; Wicked- due to kid May 12,a first time freshener, Lexie- due to kid May 18th, Hiku- due to kid May 10th, Tata and Tiana produce close to a gal of yummy milk a day, Chicklet, a first time freshener, produces about 1/2 gal of milk a day. Freshening refers to the first time a goat produces milk. This can be a very tough training period. Teaching your girl to get up on the stand, get off the stand, and be milked can frustrate the lady and you! We can’t forget to give a shout out to Cheekie! Cheekie, AKA Sausage, was unable to produce and therefore went off to the butcher to further help sustain the Dembinski clan and their homestead.

After meeting and learning about each of the goats Sharon herded us inside the spacious pen and shut the gate. Here, both Jillian and I turned into little kids. Surrounded by these majestic Nubian beauties, we were nibbled and kissed. TaTa, the smallest of them all, took a liking to me immediately and me to her. She jumped on me much like an excited pup and followed me around the enclosure nibbling my arms and fingers. Jillian was having her own selfie party with some of the other girls and having lots of fun getting smooched by these super personable animals. Another lovely lady named Lexi, pregnant with triplets and as big as a house, showed affection to us and was more than happy to let us feel her very pregnant belly. She seemed to love it. 267 266

After the meet and greet, Jillian and I got the opportunity to milk one of the ladies. Sharon showed us how she did it and explained that her daily milking schedule is 7am and 7pm. We were both a little nervous, but excited. And wouldn’t you know, we both did it perfectly!
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After the milking, we said goodbye to those lovely ladies and made our way back to the house. We chatted with Sharon about life and about the babies that were soon to come. We also learned that Sharon will be getting her first piglets in a few weeks and chickens are in the works as well, free range that is.
Cheese, milk, pretty ladies and a pack of dogs; really, what more could you want? Farm life. Sharon makes it look very easy to be a farmer but we could see that wasn’t the case. In addition to raising 3 boys and restoring her home, she has a daily chore list that far exceeds the 8 hours of conventional employment we are all used to. Hat’s off to your farmers. Hug them. They feed you:)

I would like to say a very special thank you to Sharon Dembinski, her family, and her farm for allowing us to crash their homestead and glimpse into the world of dairy farming. Thank you, also, to all those cutie patootie Nubian Princes and Princesses for cuddling our brains off! We so look forward to updates and another visit to watch them all grow!

 

 

Beth Bouthot