BRRRR! How is the weather where you are?
Here..... well, its almost freezing! We seemed to have about a week of fall and then the winter switch got flipped. 30 miles from us it was snowing! Fall on the farm means getting ready for winter. We seem to be having troubles keeping up with that here.
This week though we brought in some herbs from our greenhouse and garden so that we could have some during the winter to use fresh in cooking and in making tea. Lemon balm, anise hyssop, rosemary and chamomile.
While at a second hand store I found these adorable tea cups with herbs all along them and thought what better use than to put herbs in them too.
Below is a short tutorial and video on how to make your very own! Just plant - even if its in a tea cup and in your kitchen. Its a space everyone can have a little living green in their home and there is nothing like fresh herbs in cooking or in your tea pot! Cheers!
Tea Cup Kitchen Garden
What you need:
1 tea cup, coffee mug, or small pot of choice
1 small plant per cup, mug or pot
1/4 cup or so of a well drained potting mix (something with peet moss and vermiculite is great!)
Handful of small gravel, small river rock or other similar material
1.) Fill container (cup, mug or pot) about 1/8 to 1/4 full of your rock of choice. The smaller the better. The rock is going to drain the water so that the roots don't sit in water and rot. Sand works also and some research also says that adding some activated charchol will really help with the drainage.
2.) Place plant on top of the rock inside your container of choice, making sure any roots are pointed downward.
3.) Add soil mix around the plant so that the plant stands up.
4.) Water a little tiny bit not more than 1 tsp for a small cup. Decorate the top with remaining rocks if you wish.
trouble shooting drainage issues
- Remove plant and planting material. Drill a small hole with a dremel and diamond bit. Repot as before. Make sure to put a plate or other water catch under your cup.
- Change up the soil adding more sand and peet moss to help with draining.
- Make sure your plant is the right size for your container. You may need a larger container or smaller pot.
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!
Some people get up early and they go to the gym, or go for a walk or have some form of exercise they do to start off with their day. Its a great habit and start to great health.
On the farm, the garden is our gym. Its great because not only is it "free" but it "pays" us in food! And boy do we need the food after working in the garden, talk about a great way to stir up an appetite!
This time of year harvest season is hitting hard. We have LOADS of food coming in the house. The counter is piled with food of all sorts and we spend a couple days a week just processing and putting up food for the winter.
This week we are taking you with us as we dehydrate what we bring out of the garden. The freezer is full, the fermentation area is full so all that is left is to dry or can. I'm just not a fan of canning and in the video below you will find out why.
Do you have a summer garden? What food do you preserve to get you through the winter? Is there something that you wish you could/would grow and preserve? Share with us here!!!
The tomatoes are coming wildly from the garden, as soon as one batch is put up there is another batch! WE love our tomatoes though and we are thinking we probably grew enough to make enough pasta sauce all year without having to buy any.
After all I planted 80 tomato plants! Yes. I'm crazy.
Truth be told though, I hate canning. Its hot, its time consuming, its hot. Did I say that already?
Dehydrating tomatoes is so simple and while our huge dehydrator heats up the house some smaller dehydrators out on a porch in the shade do an excellent job! Check out video #2 this week on how you can dehydrate your tomatoes at home.
Did you know that we grow in a 4o ft long green house year around? We grow mostly food for our selves but this year we started adding some herbal crops for our tea. Our green house saves us tons of money on greens throughout the year especially in the off season when greens get more expensive. Its so much cheaper to plant a $3 bag of organic seed than to spend $3 on one head of lettuce.
But that can be hard in some cold places.
It can be near impossible!
With the help of a greenhouse, polytunnel or hoop house you can grow in colder climates, even in Maine, and have greens year around! This is a great affordable way to extend your gardening season and your household food budget.
The Farmer took a few days to help his brother put up their new hoop house. Its very similar to ours wit ha few adjustments. Check it out in this weeks video!
Gardens are a lot of work! First the area is prepared, for us that meant rotating the chickens through the area and then tilling it and then tapping it. Next the seeds need to be planted, watered, babied. Then the seedlings get transplanted out into the garden. Phew..... I'm so hungry after all of that work I'm going to be anxiously awaiting the food that comes from it. But wait we aren't done yet... we have to keep watering those baby plants. Make sure that weeds don't take them over.
The good news is that with a little effort up front the watering and weeding can be dealt with fairly simply. Mulching to the rescue! This week we take you on our mulching adventure showing you 5 reasons that its a good idea to mulch your garden, no matter what size, with a little added farm humor. Thanks for joining us down on the farm and we hope you have a wonderful week! We would love to know what you are growing and about your experience with mulching, let us know in the comment section below! Cheers!
Were all about local farms, growing our own food and helping to supply others. But what do we do when our lavender comes from France? We only have a few small lavender plants.... for now, but certainly not enough to keep our tea patrons content. We were blessed to find this lovely Oregon farm in Newburg that has plenty to supply us with. We thought we would take you along to see it and not both you and I know where the lavender comes from!
We started this gardening journey with putting our chickens in the garden to till it up, yet before even that we took you along with us as we built our chicken tractor, chickshaw, chicken thing. Then we had you with us as we built our soil block trays, showed you our soil blocking method and planted our seed. Its time to move those babies out to the garden and watch them grow! Join us this week as we move our basil out with the tomatoes. Soon we will be adding herbs for tea and for culinary use including chamomile, tarragon, lemon balm and more! Join us every step of the way as we share the happenings of the farm with you once a week on Youtube!
Thanks for being part of our farm family! Cheers!
Seed Panting season.... check. Packet of seeds.... check. Water.... check... soil to plant them in check....
How come it is that I plant ALL these seeds and only half of them come up. Now I have to replant. How come it is that I have to thin all these seeds that do come up and just toss them to the animals? What a waste.
Enter soil boxes and soil blocking. No more wasted seed, no more wondering if they are going to come up or not. Join us on our YouTube channel this week to learn how to mix soil blocking mix to use in your soil blocking trays we made last week. Elliot Coleman style. Who is he you ask? He is THE Organic gardener who has this growing thing down pat. He grows year around in Maine and has been for years, he makes a great living growing things in the snow. And his secret? Getting those seeds a good start. Lets get planting!
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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