Marsh Edge Farm Notes

Marsh Edge Farm Notes:
Welcome to my farm blog. I don't have a farm, but I do everything possible to have fresh produce on my table all summer long, as well as can and preserve much of what I grow. I live on the edge of Tolland Marsh and three years ago began calling my home garden Marsh Edge Farm. I created a label to place on all my canned goods, and everything I preserve, from jams to saurkraut end up with one of my simple labels.

I have two gardens, one is a spring garden and the other is my summer garden. From each garden I usually can grow enough to keep me in fresh vegetables for the whole summer, as well as enough to can and freeze to last the winter.

I also grow many of the herbs that go into my dishes. One of my favorite things to do with all these vegetables is create recipes that my family will eat. That is what this blog is mainly about, the recipes I develop or create in my kitchen as I experiment. Hope you enjoy reading my farm blog, and I hope you will try some of my recipes.

Updates for 2014

After a few years of very bad crops, I have left behind the vegetable gardens for awhile. However, I have found that fresh produce is available throughout the summer at the many farmers markets in the area. Here is a list of some of the markets and farms I gather my fresh fruits and vegetables from.

Rockville Farmers Market: Thursdays from 10 to 1 at the courthouse parking lot.

Tolland Farmers Market: Saturdays from 9 to 12 on the green.

Coventry Regional Farmers Market: Sundays from 11 to 2 at the Nathan Hale Homestead on South St.

Wright's Orchard on South River Road in Tolland, CT

Larry Lemeks Berries on Goose Lane in Tolland, CT.

Johnny Appleseeds Peach Orchard on Old Schoolhouse Rd. in Ellington, CT.

Buell Orchards in Eastford, CT.

There are many other farmers markets throughout the state of Connecticut on different days as well as numerous roadside stands. Support your local farmers no matter how small and you will gain in health and well being by eating the freshest of the fresh.

A link to the Connecticut Farmers Markets for 2014

Friday, July 8, 2011

Basil - As Crazy As The Chard

Well, I must admit that this wet weather has just caused the leafy crops to go crazy.  Once again, it rained today and the chard tripled in size from yesterday.   The basil plants are getting heavy with leaves, as well.  I keep pinching the flowers off the basil, and it just keeps getting bushier.  So what does one do with too much basil, and too much chard?  Well, one simple way to use basil is to make PESTO!   It is definitely pesto making time.  I can't believe it is only early July and I am already making pesto.  I have a long season ahead of me.  One combination that actually makes a decent pesto is combining basil with swiss chard.  Be a little adventurous and try this different sort of pesto.

Chard Pesto Sauce

3 Cups                       Torn chard leaves
1/2 cup                       coarsely chopped fresh basil
2                                 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp                         extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup                       pine nuts
1/3 cup                       freshly grated Parmesan cheese (Try feta cheese too, for a different taste)

1.)  Process chard, basil and garlic in a food processor with on/off motion until finely chopped. 
      Slowly add oil and pine nuts, process until blended.  Stir in cheese.

2.)  Transfer to 3 small containers, cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze
       for longer storage.  One container will serve 2 or 3 people as a pasta sauce.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups concentrated pesto.

Here is some variations on the recipe.  I combined some sesame oil in with the olive oil, and used feta cheese rather than parmesan cheese.  I also added an extra clove of garlic and added some sesame seeds after I blended the pesto.  Next time I make this pesto, I am going to try it with pistachio nuts instead of pine nuts, to see if it will add just a little sweetness to the chard, which can be bitter.  Happy experimenting.  Send me your creations to my e-mail and I will add them.


Chard pesto is great, and works well on hot pasta, or spread on pizza crust for a quick appetizer.  Also try tucking a little of the pesto under the skin of chicken before it is grilled.   There is a really nice appetizer made from the chard pesto which is very tasty, but also high in calories.  Well, just spend a few hours in your backyard playing badminton and it will burn up all those extra calories. 


Pesto Torta Appetizer

Blend 1 8 oz package softened cream cheese with 1/2 cup softened butter or margarine.  Line a small bowl with plastic wrap.  Layer one third cheese mixture, 1/4 cup Chard Pesto Sauce, one-third cheese, 1/4 cup pesto and one-third cheese.  Cover and chill until firm.  Unmold and serve at room temperature with crackers or thinly sliced baguette.  Makes 1 1/2 cups.  The torta can also be frozen.


My stomach is growling as I think of this tasty appetizer and the last time I made it.  It is really good.  It would also work very well on small pieces of pumpernickel bread.  I have one more simple recipe to make with this chard pesto.  The kids especially like this one because of its extreme resemblance to pizza. 


Pesto Pita Pizzas

Cut 2 whole wheat pitas in half.  Split each half and spread with 1 tsp Chard Pesto Sauce.  Sprinkle each with some chopped sweet red pepper and shredded mozzarella cheese.  Bake in 400 F (200 C) oven for 5 minutes or until cheese melts.  Cut each pita quarter in half for appetizer or leave uncut for lunch.  Makes 16 appetizers or 2-4 lunch servings.


That's it for today.  The weekend is finally here, and there are still lots of parties going on to extend the 4th of July celebration, so try a few of these appetizers for one of those parties.  They don't heat up the kitchen too much and use two abundantly available items at many local farmers markets as well as at roadside stands and the grocery store.  Happy appetizer making.  Hope to hear some comments as you try some of the recipes.

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