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Showing posts from October, 2012

Harvesting Beans the Hard Way

Some of our beans are easily harvested by using our mechanical combine (COM-bine). (Farmer  jargon tip for the next time you want to impress someone at a social occasion: COM-bin-ing is the act of harvesting with a mechanical combine. So we combine our beans, corn, wheat, oats, etc.)
Except when we don't:

Some of our heirloom beans grow on sprawling, low-to-the-ground plants. Using a combine to harvest them would waste too much. This is probably why they are heirloom beans, instead of becoming mainstream, widely-grown varieties like the black turtle bean. Hand-harvesting is hard work.


This is what we've been doing for several weeks, on the days with nice weather.


This is what we've been doing for several weeks, on the days with not so nice weather. There are a couple of steps in between picking and sorting, but I don't have pictures handy for those steps.

October Bean Tomato Salad

If you still have cherry tomatoes in your garden, quick, run out and pick them before it freezes. (Or cover them with an old sheet every time it freezes to prolong your enjoyment.)

I have been remiss in posting this yummy bean salad recipe to our blog. It's been available at markets, but now I'm adding it to my collection here.

October Bean Tomato Salad
4 cups cooked October Beans and set aside to cool (reserve broth for later) 2 TBSP. olive oil 1 small sweet onion, diced 2 tsp. fresh garlic 1/2 cup white wine vinegar 1/4 olive oil 1 tsp. kosher salt 1 tsp. pepper 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced 2 tsp. fresh basil, chopped 2 tsp. parsley, chopped
In skillet heat oil. Add onions and garlic and sauté until soft. Add cooked beans, 1 cup of reserved broth, and remaining ingredients (except tomatoes). Simmer for half an hour (until beans are soft and broth is thick). Remove from heat; let cool. Add tomatoes and toss (also add more fresh basil and parsley before serving).
I also found great informa…

Black Turtle Beans

We spent a lot of time worrying and praying this summer. It feels like a long time ago, but this summer was exceptionally dry and hot. We wondered if we'd get a bean crop at all. The definition of trust is pulling weeds under the hot sun, even when it hasn't rained for weeks and you're not sure you'll even have anything to harvest.

Fast forward to today, and we've been harvesting the heirloom dry beans for about a month now. Some we do by hand (more about that later) and some we harvest with the combine. The black turtle beans stand up nice and tall, and are perfect for using the combine. Thank goodness.


So yesterday we started harvesting the black turtle beans. Black turtles are the bean you reach for when a recipe calls for a can of black beans. Most of us just know them by the "black bean" name. 


And this is how they grow. Many people think that beans are dried. Ours (and as far as I know, most beans) are not mechanically dried, but rather sun and win…

Foodie Bloggers' Weekend

Somewhere in the blur of harvesting and cleaning our beans and making decisions about packaging and ordering supplies and contacting restaurants, retail outlets and farmers' markets a little blog post caught my eye. Taste of Michigan Weekend is 20 food bloggers coming to Grand Rapids to check out the local foodie hot spots.

Since we have an interest in the topic of local food, I read further and noticed that they would be giving a swag bag with local foodie goodies to each participant. I emailed to see if they'd like a small sample of our heirloom beans, and we made arrangements to drop them off. That was a couple of weeks ago. This weekend is the actual event.

Enjoy your weekend, ladies.

A Working Vacation

This past weekend we headed up to northern lower Michigan (a long drive from us, I might add!) for the Northern Michigan Lamb & Wool Festival. Even though it is a lot of work to get ready for these shows, and the timing of this one is particularly difficult, we make the effort. We enjoy getting together with friends who love wool. Some of these friends we only see once a year at this festival. 
Our daughter came with us to attend shearing school. She spent the day listening to instruction, watching others shear sheep, and shearing 7 lambs herself. It was a wonderful opportunity, and shows the great commitment of the existing Michigan shearers to passing on the skills of their trade to young people. She enjoyed herself at the shearing school, and it was nice to have her along for the weekend.

We asked the vendor chair for a double booth this year, to give us a little more space.


They were kind enough to give us the ONLY double booth with a barn board backdrop, for added ambiance. …