After a few weeks of illness we are starting to get back to our normal schedule here down on the farm! Its the time of year where we are busy putting up the harvest from our own vegetable garden but as well as other local goodness that we use in our teas.
In today's video we are sharing how we turned 3 boxes of concord grapes from our neighbor into some juice for the freezer. We hope you enjoy and thanks for stopping by the farm!
The leaves are falling, the grapes are changing colors. The fall and Christmas decor is already in the stores. Wait! What? What is the date?!
While the official first day of fall is not until September 22nd (not too far off), down on the farm we are ready for this slower time of year to come. Summer is such a busy time on the farm planting and harvesting, trying to get our building project sealed up before the rains start and thankfully we don't have wood cutting on our list this year with the stash we have!
The local coffee shops are advertising pumpkin this and that, gingerbread is surely not far behind but you know what?! Its CHAI SEASON! While chai is the name for all kinds of tea in India, marsala chai is what us American's are familiar with. That spicy drink filled with cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and other spices that warms us up in the cooler months and makes us all comfy cozy.
Back to those coffee shops... most pumpkin spice latte's are flavored with synthetically flavored syrups and the sweetner in them is usually corn syrup. Far from a health food! Along with that is usually added a conventional milk. Today we are going to turn this unhealthy drink into something very healthy by just changing up what we use in the recipe.
Brewing the tea
First stop on our recipe journey is to get our tea brewed. Our preferred way to brew loose leaf tea is by using a french press. Typically used for coffee, french presses are very simple to use. Simply place the tea inside the press, pour your hot water over the top and place the lid/press on the top to steep. (Check out the demo in the video below)
We are excited that we were sent a new french press to review called the Espro P3. The most common french press is Bodum, which we have many of, because they are the easiest to find locally. We also have a couple of others that are lower end and we use all 5 of them every week when we brew tea for our farmer's market tea tastings.
I was super impressed with the Espro 3! Mostly for 3 reasons:
1.) The Double Filter System - Typically a french press has one filter that is made from metal mesh and some times the tiny tea bits will sneak through there. The Espro has a double filter system and catches all of the smallest particles making it great for any kind of tea. I'm sure it would work with fine ground coffee as well!
2.) Lock- This lovely lock keeps the glass carafe attached to the exterior case and handle which is great for when it comes time to hand wash. We have broken many carafe's because they fall out during washing and hit the sink then shatter. This lock ensures that won't happen during washing.
3.) Double Thick Glass- The carafe on this french press has double thick glass which helps keep the tea warmer longer and makes it more durable if dropped. Ask me how I know that its more durable if dropped ;) Yep, I dropped it! Not on purpose of course but I was super glad to see that it held up!
Check out the Espro in our video review below and also on Amazon.
Yes these are affiliate links, they provide our family farm with a wee bit of income so we can continue to bring you great recipes and local teas! There is no additional cost to you, if you decide to purchase. Cheers!
Espro P3 Standard
Espoo Stainless Steel
Large Espro Stainless Steel
Stainless Steel Frothing Pitcher
Mix'n it up
Now that we have covered the WHY we are drinking the chai and the how of brewing the tea lets get on to the actual recipe, because that's what you all are here for right ;) Bring on the tasty yummy (and healthy) Pumpkin Spice Bullet Proof Chai.
Pumpkin Spice Bullet Proof Chai Tea
4 - 6 TSP Loos Leaf Chai
( Recommended Decaf Chai, Cherry City Chai and/or Gingerbread Spice)
2 TSP Butter from Grass Fed Cows, melted (also known as grass fed butter, no - butter doesn't eat grass.... why do I say that, because the Farmer asked me.)
2 TBL Organic or Homegrown Pumpkin Puree
2 TSP Organic Coconut Oil, melted
2 TBL Organic Maple Syrup (the real stuff from trees!) or Local Raw Honey
1 C. Grassfed Milk (no milk doesn't eat grass... the cows, they eat the grass and make the milk... vs grain fed. That reason is a whoooole other post... leave a comment if you would like me to write it.)
1/4 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (or to taste, see recipe below)
1.) Steep the tea (any way you like) in 12-16 oz of almost boiling water for 7-10 minutes.
2.) Add the pumpkin, maple syrup, butter, coconut oil and steeped (strained) tea to a blender.
3.) Blend on high for about 2 minutes (we used the hot chocolate setting on the Blend Tec) until fats have emulsified and mixed together with the other ingredients.
4.) Warm up milk on stove so that its warm to the touch but not boiling and turn the heat off before the milk creates a skin over the top.
5.) Froth the milk using an electric frother or by placing it in a clean french press and pumping the press up and down until frothed.
6.) Pour pumpkin mix from blender into a mug, top with frothed milk and sprinkle on Pumpkin Pie Spice. Enjoy!!!
Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix
4 TBL Organic ground Cinnamon 1/2 TSP Organic ground Nutmeg
2 TSP Organic ground Ginger 1/2 TSP Organic ground Allspice
1/2 TSP Organic ground Cloves
Mix all the above spices together an store in an air tight container in a dark location. Should keep up to a year, if you don't use it by then!
Thanks for stopping by the farm and we will see you next week! Enjoy that cup of Pumpkin Spice Bullet Proof Chai!
In the Barnyard ...
Lots of lovin' on animals in the barnyard by littles.
Oh Tiny you are such a sweet lamb.
Daisy Dog a little too anxious to meet the animals in the barn yard.
We added 18 more layer chicks to the barn yard in hopes of replacing our current laying flock. We are adding three new breeds to the barn yard and we are looking forward to some deep dark chocolate eggs in the spring :)
Hi Roscoe, our barnyard mascot, still not the same without his Lucy Girl.
Big Boy is fattening up well and probably headed to the freezer soon. Its a blessing to be able to give them such a good life and to know where our food comes from and know it wasn't a feed lot.
Around the Farm ...
Bloom'n going on in the garden down on the farm!
God makes wonderfully beautiful plants, this is our tea harvest going into the dehydrator for our new Oregon Harvest Berry Tea, and Rose City Repose.
Beautiful roses from our single rose bush which hopefully will be graced with many more roses bushes this fall.
Harvesting our hop plants, such a wonderful blessing of a harvest this year!
The hops are big, bold and beautiful this year! Such an abundance!!!
September can be called harvest month for sure as we started hauling in the abundance from our crop garden. We missed a few zucchini but the chickens really didn't mind ;)
So many wonderful spaghetti squash will be entering our fall dishes so very soon.
We harvested giant red and yellow potatoes from our crop garden some of them weighing over 1 lb each!!
So much money saved by growing food in our yard... growing money in our yard ;)
About 55 lbs of potatoes from one small row of potatoes in our crop garden. Not enough to get us through the winter but a wonderful start and proof that they may be grown here in not even the best soil. We will be sure to add many more rows in our next planting of spring potatoes.
Building the Tea Studio...
If you have been following our farm you are already aware that we are adding on a tea studio to our farmhouse. It will give us a dedicated area to create the items in our farmstore. Currently every item is carefully handcrafted in our farm kitchen. We are very excited to be expanding our space!
Lots of dirt and lots of digging to get the foundation ready for the tea studio.
Building forms, this will be one sturdy foundation!
Helloooo cement truck! Time to pour! And this time it isn't tea ;)
Every good building starts with a solid foundation, how about this puppy?
The Farmer standing on our big wall... its starting to look like something now!
In the Greenhouse ...
Learning to work the new soil blocker and getting some winter plants started.
So happy to see our peppers start to fruit! Thank you St. Fiacre and Christ our Lord for answered prayers.
Working out in the greenhouse picking tomatoes with the toddler. She set them up just perfect for a little photo shoot. Time to put these puppies into the dehydrator for future sauce.
In the Farm Kitchen ...
Peaches from our local peach farm into the dehydrator and freezer for future treats.
Dehydrating aronia berries from Mt. Hope Farms for our Oregon Harvest Berry Tea. So yummy and unique!
Dinner from the garden including potato and zucchini fritters with farm fresh eggs, mini cantaloupe from the crop garden and cucumbers, tomatoes and basil from the garden.
Lunch time for our hard working construction grew! Hydrating Bloom'n Hibiscus tea and nourishing Sourdough Whole Wheat Bread... just the main ingredients for our lunch ;)
A busy day in the farm kitchen! Canning sugar free apple butter with apples we were blessed with, kombucha on its second ferment (elderberry, ginger, cardamom) and kefir fermenting.
Our tomatoes dehydrated, in their jar until its sauce making time! God's bounty is beautiful!
And the finished product, homemade tomato sauce with garden fresh dehydrated tomatoes served over a locally hand crafted pasta and on the side, a garden fresh salad!
In the Farm Store ...
Welcoming fall with our newest tea, Oregon Harvest Berry! Featuring four local Oregon farms: Blackberry leaves from our little farm, apples from Queener Farms, Aronia Berries from Mt. Hope Farms and blue Cornflowers from Floating Petals Confetti.
Its a beautiful applish berry tea, so Oregon and so harvest season! Check out more photos and the details of the tea over in our farm store. Welcome Oregon Harvest Berry!
Another Oregon blend on our list for the fall/winter season! Say hello to Coastal Cranberry Spice! Featuring Oregon grown cranberries along with hibiscus, cinnamon, lemongrass, ginger and more. Very reminiscent of a mulled wine with all the benefits of tea and alcohol free! Check Coastal Cranberry Spice out here in our farm store here.
Today's cool Oregon rainy day is making me wish for this lovely vibrant tea!
Three new gift sets have made their appearance in our farm store as well! Two new sets for men: one features 2 oz tins of our Cypress Deodorant and Beard Balm. The other features our tea and salve with smaller tins of salve. The third is a salve only set for new mothers/expectant mothers. Featuring three of our 2 oz salves: Farmer's Wife Nursing Salve, Baby Bum and Body Balm, and Belly Balm for growing and changing bellies. Check them all out in our farm store under the gift set section! And for being a devoted reader please make sure to take 10% off your order with coupon code THANKYOU2016!
Thanks for stopping by the farm!
Last week in our blog post, 7 Reasons for Eating Seasonably on the Farm, we talked about the reasons WHY to eat in season. How that benefits our health, the world that we live in, our pocket book and so on. If you missed out on that post please hop on over and read that one first. Today we are talking about the HOW of eating in season. I really think that the practice of eating in season brings the love of seasons to each person even if they only truly appreciate that vine ripe tomato in the hot days of summer. A tomato in any other season just isn't the same!
How to Find Seasonal Foods
When eating foods that are in season first we have to know where to find those foods. It can be as simple as shopping at the same grocery store that you currently shop at or as fun as hitting the farmer's market in your local city or visiting a local farm.
When searching out seasonal foods in your local grocery store you want to think about what season it is. Many of us know that watermelons grow in the summer as do tomatoes, we know that pumpkins and squash come the end of summer and into the fall ect. Many of traditions and our culture are based on these things so some of them will come naturally. You will want to look up online what is in season in your area and when. This great database by the Sustainable Table gives you a way to search your area and time of year for seasonable foods, just click here to check out their database. Usually the price of the produce in the grocery store will tell you how seasonal it is. Also many grocery stores are now placing the details of where the item was grown or placing a local sign near the price tag. If it was grown in Mexico it is probably not seasonal for our area. Look for those locally grown signs and stick with things you know tend to be eaten in the season you are in.
A great way to get an education, without searching online for what is in season, is to visit your local farmer's market or a small local farm. When you visit a farmer's market they will only have farmers there that are local and have grown all their fruits and veggies (even meats) on their farm. This means that they are not imported and they are only growing what is in season. This is probably the best and easiest way to switch to foods that are in season. To find a local farmer's market near you check out the USDA Local Food Directories Listing found here. You can also Google or look on Facebook by typing in a city near you and the words 'farmers market'.
How to Plan and Prepare Seasonal Foods
Now that we know WHERE we find seasonal foods what do we do with them? Many of us are use to eating what ever the recipe we are making calls for no matter what the season is. Hamburgers in the middle of winter with tomatoes and lettuce, no problem! Oh wait there is snow out on the ground... maybe those things are not in season right now.
Some of eating in season requires an adjustment to our mind frame and our eating habits. While it is natural to want a juicy watermelon in summer to cool you off, we are just very habitual people that we have to make a mental effort to change our habits. Which is why the prior post was about reasons for changing to seasonal foods.
Adjusting Foods you Already Love
Here are a few ways to adjust the foods you love to our current season:
#1 Make Your Favorites Seasonal
It is always easiest to start with those foods that are familiar to you and your family and just tweak them a bit to fit the season. Lets take a few examples and tweak them a bit:
Hamburgers- Keep the bun (make sure its whole foods!), keep the cheese, keep the meat (both local and grass fed of course) but lets change out those veggies for the season. In the summer lettuce and tomatoes are fantastic or maybe change it up and add some fresh basil pesto to your burger. How about the fall? In the fall use sautéed mushrooms and cheese. In the winter how about some fried onions from storage and some homemade BBQ sauce, preserved pickles or go for a veggie burger made from beans and rice. In the spring what about trying a cauliflower 'chicken' burger or adding grilled spring onions and herbed mayo to your beefy burger.
Tacos - In the spring, fried cauliflower tacos are wonderful and taste like cod fish. Add some in-season cabbage slaw and your good to go! In the summer some grilled chicken with zucchini and tomato salsa with fresh fruit on the side would be perfect. In the fall how about these Chipotle Quinoa Sweet Potato Tacos with Cranberry Salsa? They look great! Last but not least, the winter taco, how about a potato and chorizo taco? Or ground beef and lentils with preserved tomatillo salsa?
Lasagana- In the spring use a white sauce and fill it with chicken and spring veggies such as asparagus, spinach etc. In the summer its time for the tomatoes and basil to shine! In the fall a good butternut squash lasagna would be perfect and in the winter hopefully you preserved some of those lovely tomatoes into sauce, dehydrated some mushrooms and have fresh spinach growing in your greenhouse or cold frame, or even from the store.
Spaghetti- Springtime spaghetti could be a white sauce with lot of spinach and asparagus, in the summer again the tomatoes and basil will shine through and some grilled chicken or ground beef. In the fall its time to turn those zucchini into noodles or find a spaghetti squash and add to your sauce what ever veggies you have on hand. The winter is always about featuring your preserved foods or cold, hearty winter veggies such as squashes, hearty greens and root veggies. Mix it up a bit with a white sauce, use veggies as noodles, your stored or dehydrated spices and veggies. Get creative!
Salads- We eat these year around because our kale seems to want to grow year around. Our lettuce is totally another story. We always start with a base of greens, what ever is fresh, local, seasonal. We add what we have and there have been some combinations that looked strange but tasted great. Our travels abroad to Russia, Bulgaria and Rome have taught us a few things about salads! Like that citrus in them is better than tomatoes and fruit of any kind for that matter. Our favorite winter salads have apples, dried cranberries or raisins and nuts with an apple cider vinaigrette. Sometimes we eat that through the spring if our spinach is abundant and apple storage lasts that long. Eventually in the spring we welcome radishes, carrots, cabbage, strawberries, sugar snap peas. In the summer its tomatoes, green beans, zucchini, peaches, blueberries, cucumbers. In the fall apples start coming back and we tend to cook more veggies during this time when the weather is cooling off.
#2 Switch Out Ingredients for Seasonal Veggies
Necessity is the mother of invention right? Later this spring I found myself totally forgetting to buy celery. Well it wasn't at the farmer's market so what is a girl to do?! I found that using fennel in place of celery in many dishes didn't affect the taste much and sometimes made it more exciting. It is very similar to celery in its texture and form but has a bit of a licorice bite. I must say, in our curried chicken sandwiches it brought more life to it.
Another example could be onions. In the spring, 'spring onions' are ready to use, sub them in place of your typical storage onion (or what we might consider a regular onion). Chives come on a bit after spring onions so those could be used next in season. You could pull your onions from the garden early and use them as 'new onions' and later on use your storage onions.
Potatoes also do not grow year around but are typically stored for long periods. In the spring new potatoes or fingerlings will be more affordable than your typical baking potato. Start with the new potatoes and wait for the fall for your baking potatoes.
Take a look at the veggies in your recipe, are they what is in season now? Could you trade out something else instead?
#3 Try Something New!
Its ok to change up your eating habits and try something new. Many ethnic recipes tend to use whole foods that are in season because for most of them that is all they have avialable to them. A blessing in disguise if you ask me, they do not have to learn what is in season as we who are reading (and writing this post) have to work to learn.
Resources, Data Bases and More
A lot of eating in season is just eating what is available to us. The best way to know what that is to shop the local farmers market (or purchase a CSA), see and purchase what is available and then learn to make do with those options. That could be related to learning a language by full emersion such as when a student partakes in an exchange program. There is nothing like learning by diving in. Though even those students do their due diligence before they fly off to their country of choice.
Below we are excited to share with you some of the resources we use to learn to eat in season! Our favorite place to find seasonal recipes is on Pinterest! It is probably the main reason we use this social media website. Its just full of too many good ideas. We have a board of recipes for each season. Feel free to click on them and check them out!
Make sure you also check out the Sustainable Table's Seasonal Food Guide online! Its super easy to just enter the area you live in and then the season you are searching and up come a list of your seasonal foods! How awesome is that?!
Another great place to find seasonal recipes at the Sustainable Table
Download our Seasonal Eats Pack here for free which includes a menu planner for local, in season and whole foods as well as a list of seasonal foods and free recipe cards! Don't miss out on this great resource!
Howdy from down on the farm! If you are just joining us, welcome to our 6 part series of learning how to ditch the grocery store and grow all your own food sustainably. Our first blog post in the series may be found here; Simple and Easy Skills Make you Grocery Store Free. Make sure to check that out if you haven't already and grab those free printables!
Today we are going to share some great reasons about WHY you would want to eat in season and WHAT eating in season is. The third post in this blog series will go about showing you the HOW to eat in season. We have some great resources and recipes for that upcoming post.
What is Eating in Season?
Eating in season means that we eat the foods that are harvested in the season we are in. Simply put we would not eat watermelons in December or pumpkins in May fresh from the garden. Instead we would be eating pumpkins in the fall (put up in cold storage or preserved) and watermelons in August or September depending on the area you live in. Another good example is tomatoes, nothing tastes better than a garden fresh tomato in August but those December tomatoes taste off and are never as flavorful as in summer.
"All things have their season, and in their time all things pass under heaven." - Ecclesiasticus 20:22
#1 Forces us to Use Whole Foods
Why should we eat with the seasons? We would love to share with you 7 different reasons. The main purpose of our blog post today though is to follow up with progress and ditching the grocery store and growing a sustainable garden. So the main reason to eat seasonably is that it first forces us to eat whole foods. If we are eating with the seasons we are not consuming things like potato chips from the store, microwave meals, fast food etc. We are cooking at home from scratch with real whole foods grown/harvested in the current season. We are picking which ingredients go into our foods from the type of sugar and flour to the type of potatoes we use to make our own chips and if we bake or fry those. For this reason its much healthier as well as more affordable. For when we do the work ourselves we save money by paying ourselves to do the labor.
#2 Trains You to Eat What you can Grow
The second most important reason is that by eating in season it trains us to eat what we will grow ourselves. If we eat a watermelon out of season in December we will never be able to eat what we grow. Watermelons love warm weather and it takes a lot more effort and tools to grow them out of season. By eating in season we can 'pretend' that we are eating from the garden. We learn what we would be growing in the garden if we were growing our own food and we also know what we would be harvesting. It gives us practice on the cooking and preservation of those items that we may grow later. It also gives us an education in gardening before we dive in and grow our own. Eating in season also gives us a chance to discover if we want to grow that vegetable or fruit in our own garden or if its not something that we would enjoy. There is no reason to grow what you won't eat.
#3 More Affordable
Eating in season is also more affordable. When fruits and veggies are in season they are usually in abundance. Take for instance zucchini. We have it in abundance down on the farm right now with 3-5 or more a day. The grocery store or farmers markets are also going to have an abundance and the general rule of supply and demand applies here. When there is more supply the price goes down according to the demand. It also costs less to grow zucchini in the summer locally than to have to import it from another location far away and so naturally the price would be less. This applies to all seasonal fruits and veggies not just zucchini.
#4 Better for our Health
Seasonal eating is much healthier for us because the fruits and veggies are usually picked at their peak. They tend to be more local and so they travel less. For these two reasons there is much more nutrition in an in-season fruit or vegetable than there would be for an out of season veggie or fruit. They are also healthier because they are a whole food and not processed. Eating seasonal foods, locally, provides even more nutrition because they are harvested at their peak. When they are picked at their peak they also have more flavor than those picked too soon. Did you know that bananas are typically gassed to speed up and control their ripening?
#5 Inspires Creativity
Eating whole seasonal foods tends to inspire some creativity in the kitchen. When you have gone through 10-20 zucchini, zucchini sautés just don't cut it any more. Many can probably attest to baking zucchini bread, zucchini cake, zucchini this and that and the other. By the way... have you seen our zucchini recipe board on Pinterest? Just incase.... you know... your like us and have lots of zucchini hanging out! Yum... I think its time to make some zucchini brownies now.
Any how, case in point. When there is an abundance of produce it forces us to come up with interesting dishes, ways to preserve them and use them in order to make sure they don't go to waste. And while that might seem like a trial, some of the best things have been invented out of necessity.
#6 In Tune with God's Seasons
"All expect of thee that thou give them food in season." -Psalm 103:27
This reason to eat foods in season is what started our little farm adventure. We are Catholics here down on the farm and the Catholic Church has what is called the Liturgical Year. Its the means by which the Church organizes the year and its devotions. Every Sunday's Mass has certain prayers that go with it and certain Bible verses and stories that are read and meditated on. There is also a day of the year in which each Saint has his/her feast day and that is commemorated in the Mass. This is what is called the Liturgical Year. Just as in a secular calendar, the Church's calendar has seasons and we call those Liturgical Seasons. All of the lessons are very much based on the cycle of the earth's seasons. In the late fall and early winter we have Advent, the waiting of Christ coming to earth (time before Christmas), in winter we have a long Christmas season, then in the Spring we welcome Lent and Easter. The summer time is referred to as Time after Pentecost or as Maria Von Trapp called it "the green meadow".
It is this Liturgical calendar that brought us to love and appreciate every season for its harvests, for its rest, for its work. We celebrate and do penance according to the season in which God has designed and it isn't only designed in His liturgical calendar but also in the world which He created. When we add eating in season to this we look forward to summer because the fruits are on their way, sometimes we look forward to the end because the zucchini is done (can you see where my brain is these days?!). God in His omnipotence has certainly ordained that certain fruits and veggies grow during certain seasons so that they are the most beneficial to us during certain times. For God has a purpose in all His designs. He created nutrition packed berries and water filled fruits to help cool us in the summer and He created many wonderful nourishing greens and cruciferous veggies to help our systems clear out after a long winter of heavy rich foods. God is so good in designing things for our benefit! Eating with the seasons brings us closer to God and His creations.
#7 Better Steward's of God's Creations
"And the Lord God took man, and put him into the paradise of pleasure, to dress it, and to keep it." Genesis 2:15
When God created Adam He created Him to take care of the world which He just made. As descendants of Adam, we are called to do the same and make sure that we are using the tools that God gave us properly. When we eat in season we are more likely to eat locally sourced food. More often than not that locally sourced food doesn't require the chemical usage that a food from a distance will require to preserve it. Those whole foods will not come, usually, wrapped in plastics and as much packaging had it traveled a long distance or if it was preserved for a long time. So there is much less waste especially if you compost or feed food scraps to farm animals. Less energy is used when growing foods in season than out of season. Less fertilizer and less water is needed. Eating in season is also very sustainable. When we use the left overs of those whole in season foods properly they can also build up the soil where we can plant again. A food system based on processed foods, grown abroad creates a lot of garbage waste, labor waste and resource waste that could be saved by eating whole foods grown locally and in season.
How to Eat in Season & What's on the Menu?
Now that we know and understand why eating in season is so healthy for our body's and minds, why it is much more affordable and how it helps us to be better at taking care of God's green earth, HOW do we do it? What veggie grows during what time of year? How do we cook it? We plan to answer those questions and provide some free tools for you to put to use in next weeks blog post. Please make sure to return for part 3 of our 6 part series!
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"Cast iron; noun
Welcome to our Family Tea Farm!
Howdy from our farm to your home! It is said that the, "farm is the nursery of the family," and that "the family is the nursery of the nation." We hope you enjoy your visit to our blog as we share with you the happenings on our little "nursery". Thank you for following us on our journey and watching us GROW! Read more about our farm HERE.
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