Category Archives: Cooking with Fresh Vegetables

Just What We Do, by Ben Hewitt

This from my friend Ben Hewitt, will make you think. I have a real problem with today’s obsession of treating food as medicine, which just adds to the hysteria over food choices. “Eat real food, not so much, mostly plants,” Michael Pollan. My mantra.

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Filed under Canning and Preserving, Cooking with Fresh Vegetables, Lessons Learned, Sustainability, Uncategorized

Winter Carrots — A Sweet Treat!

This is the second winter we’ve stored carrots underground. The winter carrots are definitely the sweetest and tastiest of all. Something about the cold temperatures concentrates the sugars and flavor.

Here is how we do it…

One last planting of Rainbow and Napoli carrots went in the garden behind my house near the end of the summer, where they grew to full-size.DSC_0204

We sold some at market, gave some to shares which ended in December, and used quite a few in our soups and stews.

Before the ground froze, a trench about 18 inches deep was dug alongside the carrot patch. The remaining carrots were dug out and laid in the trench with the greens still on. Enough dirt was sprinkled in around them to hold them upright. A thick layer of salt hay was mounded on top to prevent the ground from freezing underneath.DSC_0207

Yesterday’s temps were in the 40s, and I went out back to replenish my supply. Moving aside the hay, I groped around in the wet earth and pulled them out one at a time. They were still fresh, firm, and rendolent with that unique carrotty fragrance.DSC_0208

Food? Doesn’t look like much until they come inside for a rinse…DSC_0203

Yummy, sweet and gorgeous! I wish you could taste how different these are from the ones you get in the supermarket!


Filed under Canning and Preserving, Cooking with Fresh Vegetables, CSA Shares, Four Season Gardening

Welcome to 2013 and a new Mehaffey Farmer!

Hello 2013 and goodbye 2012. Wow! What a year! It was a year filled with growth and change for this farm and its people. Almost more than we could keep up with ourselves! But that is not a bad thing when you are chasing a very big and ambitious dream, and the dream is only beginning to unfold. Yes, we work hard here, but it is still rewarding and it is the best work I know! Of all the hundreds of photos taken around the farm, I have managed to winnow this year down to a few highlights:

On Dec. 31, New Year's Eve, we welcomed our newest family member, Silas William Mehaffey!First and foremost, we welcomed our newest family member, who belongs to our son Ross and his wife Acacia. Silas William Mehaffey was born on December 31. He is as they say,  a real “keeper!”

In the cold early winter months of 2012, the boys started work on the foundation and drainage for the new cooler. They also began welding parts for the new greenhouse. Bill and I took a vacation in Florida.DSC_0087

When we got back, we started soil blocks for the starts greenhouse, and planted onions and celery on my windowsills.DSC_0077DSC_0675

We held an engagment party.


In Spring, we added a hive of bees, then dealt with a swarm which gave us an extra hive. We plowed fields, and harvested the first asparagus of the season and started to plant. Then, we put up our second greenhouse.


This shot of the new moveable greenhouse was taken just after the guys moved into its summer location. It had covered rows of greens, and now  ready to house tomatoes, eggplants and peppers.


Some new animals came to the farm, but first, a beautiful new barn to house them had to be built.DSC_0083

Then came Prudance.


And Gracie and Lilly, who boarded with us for awhile.lilygrace

After the donkeys left, Pru got a new BFF, Ruby the pony who came to replace them. Hi Ruby! Don’t they look like sisters?


My sister Leslie came to stay for the whole summer in the role of “House Elf.” She kept order in my house and cooked delicious meals for the crew all summer.DSC_0245

And just look at the bounty she had to work with!DSC_0480

Our meals looked like this…


and this…pretty much every day!


Two interns came to work with us, Rosie and Susan, They pitched in and gave 110 percent!!DSC_0158

Rich joined us for another summer. (Shelby adores him!) He kept us in succession plantings the entire summer.


Desi and I made up the rest of the crew. That’s Inigo Montoya, one of her bunnies. The other is a Inigo’s stuffed toy, which keeps him warm! Later, Desi added a second bunny, “Cinder.”


That’s me in the new greenhouse, planting the tomatoes.


We had a wedding shower, followed in short order by the most amazingly beautiful wedding this farm has ever seen.


Literally everyone we know pitched in to help us make this the most amazing day and we all felt the love. It definitely was one of those: “It Takes a Village” weddings.

Desi’s mom Leslie flew in from Washington State for a whole month, helped us spruce up the place and did a tremendous amount of harvesting too! It was so great having her here.


DSC_0635The cooler got finished just in time to keep things cool for the wedding feast, thanks to our boys and their friends, most notably Dan LeFave, Russell Sanderson, Rob Swiniarski and Brad Gallant. And thanks to Rich for doing double duty harvesting and cooking up a farm fresh meal with his friend Joe, the caterer.



They even got the old 1930 Model AA flatbed running, those men. They used it to transport the groom and his groomsmen to the wedding ceremony! Aaoogah!



Mike + Desi 0316

(They clean up pretty good, don’t they?) The wedding day dawned a perfect August day, with none of the heat you might expect at this time of year.


The Reverend Carol Waleryszak, Michael’s aunt, officiated, making the ceremony personal, and unforgettable.

Mike + Desi 0442

After the wedding it was back to every day the business of getting in the harvest, doing more markets through Christmas, running our fall CSA, delivering vegetables and buttoning up for winter. Whew!

But first, everyone got in a week of much needed R&R, the honeymooners flew off to California, while some of us went up Maine, to Pierce Pond, our favorite fishing spot. We’re slowly learning to build in some away days in order to survive the pace that the rest of our year demands of us.

Unfortunately, after withstanding two hurricanes and several other windy events, a freak December windstorm did some serious damage our original hoophouse in December. Of course it was totally unexpected, but then, such things never are expected, until they just happen, and we say oh well, it’s not the end of the world, and then we move on. We have already repaired most of the damage, and expect to be growing carrots in there by February.


This Christmas, Ross presented us all with T-shirts with an awesome new graphic he’s working on. Very soon we’ll have our own Mehaffey Farm hoodies, shirts and caps to wear next summer. The eventual design will end up being a more basic, graphic arts style suitable for two and three color printing, but it’s so much fun having this first edition to wear.


We are glad the world didn’t end on 12/21/12, and now, after a brief holiday and freezing cold interlude, we get to do it all again! These welcome winter months will afford us a little time to think and breathe and plan and prepare.

All in all it was a very good year and we wish everyone the best to come in 2013!


Filed under Antique tractor, Bees, Canning and Preserving, Cooking with Fresh Vegetables, CSA Shares, Farm Animals, Four Season Gardening, Greenhouse, Planting, Spring, Tractor

Old Friends on the Farm

The whirl of the holidays has at last ended and we wish you a Happy New Year!

We’ve really enjoyed the extended season (and extra vegetables) afforded by the unseasonably warm weather, up to and including New Year’s Eve Day when it was pushing 60 degrees here!

Unlike last year at this time, we are still harvesting from the greenhouse. Here’s mache and fresh arugula we harvested, for our Christmas salad, served with gorgonzola crumbles, candied pecans and a lovely maple basil balsamic vinaigrette. So delicious!

Last night the mercury dipped to 6F Ouch! But more like January. (Couldn’t we at least have some snow? Please? I know, be careful what you wish for…but I so want to go snowshoeing in the woods behind the farm…)

Our old friends Karen and Ralph (Ralph prefers “good friends,” to “old”, sorry Ralph…) drove up from New Jersey to help us welcome in 2012. We’ve known each other since “before…” before kids, before marriage, before granchildren, all of which proceeded for us in tandem over the past 30+ years. Now all of our respective kids are married, or are about to be. Grandchildren have arrived or are arriving soon. Truly “old” friends are the best kind!

As I said, it was pushing 60 on New Year’s Eve day and we took full advantage of the lovely weather for various pursuits on the farm. Karen and I visited the greenhouse to harvest another salad for our New Year’s gathering.

Meanwhile, Ralph got out his metal detector and Bill grabbed a shovel to see what they could find under the newly turned earth. Ralph was wishing for an old pocket knife or watch, or ring, or a buried cache of coins under the old stone walls…

Dave, our friend from Parker River Alpaca Farm joined the fun.

Nothing but a few coins were found…but cameraderie and exercise trumps treasure any day, don’t you think?

Meanwhile, Karen and I wandered around the farm and found Desiree out back with her bunny, “Inigo Montoya.” Sadly, Inigo’s friend, Wesley died last week, so until a new friend arrives (soon!) Inigo has “Pony,” his stuffed animal to snuggle with. Sometimes Suchi (Desi’s mini-Pom) gets into the cage to snuggle with the bunnies.

Then, Karen and I took a good long walk in the woods. Life indeed is rich, isn’t it?


Filed under Cooking with Fresh Vegetables, Four Season Gardening, Greenhouse

Cooking in the Barn!

Thanks to some skillful editing by producer Joe Langhan, and his cameraman Louie,  I think this came out pretty good!

Cooking with the Daily News – Bok Choy with Cashew Sauce Then click on the header: Ingredients, Vegetables. It’s under Bok Choy.

Click on the link to see the video!

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Filed under Cooking with Fresh Vegetables