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

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cold Weather Comfort Cooking - Pumpkin Recipes and Crockpot Pot Roast

     It is that time of year in New England when cold temperatures move us inside to warm fires and delectable scents from the kitchen.  Halloween is done, and you might ask what is to be done with those pumpkins you used for decorating.  We never got around to carving our pumpkins, so they were still intact when I decided to use the seeds.  Of course, you can cook the meat of the pumpkin, but that is not what I did today.  Instead, I took off the top, and scooped out the seeds to roast and use in cooking and baking.  

   I have done some interesting combinations while roasting the seeds.  If I am using them in things like breads or muffins, I just roast the seeds in a little butter and shake a little cinnamon or honey on them.  It will make them sweet, with a nice crunch.
     Other combinations I have done is olive oil, smoked paprika and garlic powder.  I have also just used olive oil and salt.  You can create any combination of herbs you like.  I am still trying to perfect a nice honey mustard pumpkin seed but haven't succeeded in getting the nice hot flavor of mustard yet.  Here is one recipe I found from, just to get you familiar with roasting your seeds. 


  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons melted butter (olive oil or vegetable oil work well) or 2 teaspoons melted oil (olive oil or vegetable oil work well)
  • salt
  • garlic powder (optional)
  • cayenne pepper (optional)
  • seasoning salt (optional)
  • cajun seasoning (optional)


  1. 1
    Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. 2
    While it's OK to leave some strings and pulp on your seeds (it adds flavor) clean off any major chunks.
  3. 3
    Toss pumpkin seeds in a bowl with the melted butter or oil and seasonings of your choice.
  4. 4
    Spread pumpkin seeds in a single layer on baking sheet.
  5. 5
    Bake for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.

          My next recipe uses the roasted sweet pumpkin seeds.  This time around I did not roast the seeds first.  They were used as a topping for a breakfast scone I made this morning.  The seeds came out a little tough because I did not pre-roast them, but they added a nice crunch and flavor to this scone recipe.  It is a labor intensive scone recipe, so give yourself a good 1 1/2 hours to make it.  Of course, I had to scoop the seeds out of the pumpkin this morning, which made the time spent on the scones even more lengthy.  
                  Pumpkin Ginger Scones 

    1/2 cup sugar, divided
    2 cups all purpose flour
    2 tsp. baking powder
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    1/2 tsp. baking soda
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold butter,
         cut into pieces
    1 egg
    1/2 cup solid-pack pumpkin
    1/4 cup sour cream
    1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
    2 tblsp. finely chopped 
        crystallized ginger
    1 tblsp. butter melted. 
    1 tblsp. maple sugar
    Pumpkin seeds for topping

    1.  Preheat oven to 425* F.  
    2.  Reserve 1 tblsp. sugar.   Here is where I made an adjustment.  I did take away 1 tblsp white  sugar, but put it back in the sugar bowl.  Instead, I used 1 tblsp. maple sugar, and set it aside for later.  
     3.)  Combine remaining sugar, flour, 
    baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt 
    in large bowl.  
    Cut in cold butter with pastry 
    blender or two knives 
    until mixture
                                 resembles coarse crumbs.
    3.)  Beat egg in medium bowl.  Add pumpkin, sour cream and ginger; beat until well blended.

    4.)  Add to flour mixture; stir until mixture forms soft dough that leaves side of bowl.  Do not loose heart.  It takes time to get it about the consistency of cookie dough.  I had to press the spoon into the mixture to get it to finally mix. 

    5.)  Turn out dough onto well floured surface.  Knead ten times.  Roll out dough into a 9" x 6" rectangle with floured rolling pin. 
    I used Smart Balance instead of butter, so my dough was sticky.  I dusted quite a bit on top of the dough before rolling out.  I also used parchment paper as my surface.  It is cleaner and easier to move your dough around as you roll it. 

    6.)  Cut into six 3-inch squares.  Cut each square diagonally in half, making 12 triangles. 
             Place 2 inches apart on parchment lined  
                                                                    baking sheet.  

    7.)  Press about 6-8 pumpkin seeds into each triangle.  Brush tops with melted butter.  I dripped Smart Balance on the tops so I wouldn't remove the pumpkin seeds.  After you have buttered the scones, sprinkle reserved 1 tblsp. maple sugar on top.  

    8.)  Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on wire rack 10 minutes.  Serve warm.

         To finish out my busy day of cooking, I decided to make a pot roast using the crock pot.  Crock pots are an ideal way to give your family a hearty meal after their day of school, work or play on a cold day.  It is also relatively simple to place your vegetables and meats into the pot before you go to work.  
          The many recipes you can find for slow cooking is mind-boggling.  There are many savory dishes that use ingredients like beer, wine, broths, and ready made soups.  The recipe I decided on today is similar to Yankee Pot Roast, with a few changes.

                            Easy Pot Roast and Veggies


    3 to 4 lb. chuck roast
    4 medium potatoes
    4 medium carrots, sliced, or 1 lb. baby carrots. 
    2 celery ribs, thinly sliced (optional)
    1/2 cup celery leaves with thin stems from celery top.
    1 - oz. envelope dry onion soup mix
    2 cups water
    1/4 cup Merlot cooking wine

    When choosing celery, I find I prefer using the leafy tops and sweet thin stems over the actual celery.  For me the celery flavor is unpleasant when using the celery ribs.  The leaves and stems give a more savory flavor, not so overpowering.  I must look strange as I peek into the bagged celery, looking for the leafiest, but it is a trick I stumbled upon when I was short on celery, so I added the leaves.  I have been using them for roasts and stews ever since.                

    1.)  Place roast in crock pot.  Sprinkle the dry onion soup mix all over the roast and press in to the meat. 

    2.)  Place potatoes, carrots and celery in slow cooker.

    3.)  Add water and wine.  

    4.)  Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

    5.)  To add more flavor to the gravy after meat is cooked, add a packet of G.Washington Beef Gravy and Seasoning. 

         We topped off todays meal with a pumpkin pie made from One Pie Pumpkin.  I used a Pillsbury ready made pie crust.  Here is the recipe from the back of the can.

    One-Pie New England Pumpkin Pie Recipe

    • 1 can ONE-PIE Pumpkin
    • 1 tbsp. Cornstarch
    • 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp. Ginger
    • 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
    • 1/2 tsp. Salt (Scant)
    • 1/2 tbsp. Butter (Melted)
    • 1 1/2 cups Milk or 1-12 oz. can Evaporated Milk
    • 1 cup Sugar
    • 1/8 cup Moasses
    • 2 Eggs (beaten)
    Sift Sugar, Cornstarch, Salt, Cinnamon, Ginger, & Nutmeg together. Mix this with contents of one can ONE-PIE Pumpkin. Add Eggs, beaten, Melted Butter, Molasses, & Milk. Add a dash of Lemon Juice (if desired). Line a 9-inch pie plate, pour in contents. Preheat oven & bake at 450 for 15 minutes. Then reduce temp. to 350 & continue to bake for 50 minutes.

    *For best results use fresh ingredients.

          Whew, that was a busy day of cooking.  Well I am ready to settle down into a nice warm bath, relax, and get ready for my work day tomorrow.  Enjoy this cold weather that is settling in by making your inner home warm and inviting. 

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