Just found out that one of our members makes laundry powder, picked some up for myself, and wanted to let you know about it, too!
Handcrafted Laundry Products
Whether you’re trying to reduce your exposure to unnecessary chemicals, lessen your footprint on the earth or just save money these laundry products may be for you. Dionne Warr creates handcrafted laundry products that are both environmentally and people friendly.
Laundry Powder is available in your choice of three scents -- tea tree & lavender, citrus or unscented. The base of each batch of laundry powder is Dionne's own soap, handcrafted from coconut oil, RSPO palm oil, lye and essential oils (the unscented soap is free of essential oils). Each loaf of soap is grated and mixed with baking soda, washing soda, borax and Oxyclean. For a regular load, one tablespoon is all you need to keep your clothes looking and smelling clean!
Stain Removal Bars are also available. Simply wet the bar and your soiled article of clothing and rub them together until you create suds. Once you've soaped up your soiled clothing it can be laundered right away or saved until you're ready to do a load. After all, there are no harsh chemicals that require your immediate attention.
At present there are two lightly scented options for Linen & Room Spray, citrus and lavender. Many people like to spray their pillows for a fresh scent, but it can be used for so much more than that! Use it as a chemical-free version of Febreeze. Use it as a room spray to eliminate those not so fresh scents. Keep it in your fridge and spritz yourself when you need a refreshing pick me up!
Dionne’s dryer balls are handcrafted from 100% wool. According to the David Suzuki Foundation, if you toss three to five balls in your dryer with your wet laundry, you'll reduce your drying time by 30-50% as well as reduce the amount of static created in the dryer! And what's even better? If you have an essential oil that you like, you can add a few drops to your dryer balls. Then when you toss your dryer balls into the dryer, it will add a lovely scent to your whole load of laundry without the chemicals of dryer sheets!
I've been doing some meat inventory this morning and sorting out the pork we got last week. We got four pigs back from Reid's Meats late last week, and since it was late in the day, Tim and I just had time to label it and get it into the freezer.
Today though, I have some time to sort out what we have and organize for next weeks meat shares. Once the pigs are at the butchers, I call in with what we want it cut into. I usually get roasts, but this time I decided to get all the roasts cut into steaks. So we have fresh ham steaks, shoulder steaks, ground pork, pork chops, hocks, and spare ribs. Enough to fill one whole chest freezer (med size), and probably that will give us pork for two meat shares.
You only get a few ribs back from four pigs and so we'll be putting those on as add on's. They range from 2lbs packages to 4-5lbs. I wanted to share a rib recipe that is quite delicious. It's called 12345 spare ribs, and growing up it was the rib recipe that my dad would always make. He presented it in a covered dish and would serve it with white rice (which is so good with some of the rib sauce on it), gingered carrots, and a salad. This recipe does have quite a bit of sugar in it. So what I do is really enjoy it in moderation and make it once or twice a year.
12345 Spare Ribs
2 pounds pork ribs (spare ribs or country-style, cut into chunks)
1 tablespoon sherry
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons tamari
5 tablespoons water
In a large wide-mouthed heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, combine the rice wine, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and water. Add the spareribs and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 40 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
If the meat dries out and starts to burn, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time. The ribs are ready when the meat is tender and glossed with a sticky, reddish-brown glaze and the liquid has been absorbed. Serve with freshly steamed rice and a vegetable side dish.
If there’s still a lot of liquid at the end of the cooking time (this can happen if the meat contains a lot of water), remove the meat and raise the heat to high. Cook until the liquid turns into a thick, sticky sauce. Add the ribs back into the pot and toss to coat. You can also broil the ribs on high for 3 to 4 minutes to create a nice burnished crust while you reduce the sauce..
Last week, Josh let me know that the pickling cucumbers were ready, and we decided this year we will sell them as pickling packs, which include everything you need to make a batch of dill pickles.
One quick phone call to my Mom yesterday to get her recipe, and the smell of all that dill in the office made me decide to make a batch after work last night. So, if you want to do the same, here's what you'll need:
-8 quart jars
-8 lid flats and screw tops
-4 cups vinegar
-1 cup kosher or pickling salt
-A TapRoot Pickle Pack
The process is pretty simple. I used to make pickles for my Mom to sell every night in cucumber season, so I've gotten pretty efficient, and it took just 35 minutes last night to make 8 jars. For yourself, budget an hour of your time, with maybe a little extra for clean up.
Step 1: Sanitize the jars. I don't have any fancy equipment, and just put my jars open side down in a big roasting pan filled with water with the oven on about 350 degrees. A jar lifter is a huge help getting the jars back out and avoiding burns while doing so! See photo>>
Step 2: Make the brine. Mix 4 cups vinegar (I use regular vinegar, if you're using the pickling vinegar it is stronger and will require less vinegar and more water for this recipe), 12 cups water, and 1 cup salt in a pot. Bring to a boil and maintain heat so that it is just below a simmer (not boiling, still hot and steaming).
Step 3: Place the lid flats in another small pot of almost boiling water (This sanitizes them as well and softens the rubber so you get a good seal. Always use new flats, it's just a good practice, and saves the disappointment of seals not holding)
Step 4: Prepare the cucumbers, garlic, and dill while everything is heating up. The dill should be washed and divided into the amount you want in each jar (I use a stem or two and 1 flower head per jar). The garlic should be removed from it's paper wrapper (I put one clove per jar, some people like more, so depending on your taste). Both the stem end and the end of the cucumber should be trimmed off, and then they should be washed in cold water. Depending on how dirty they are, sometimes I scrub each one. Poke through any larger cucumbers with a sharp knife to help them pickle uniformly. All this trimming and scrubbing may seem like a lot of work, but it goes fast and is totally worth it (according to Mom and I, at least) in the final product.
Step 5: Start packing the jars. Remove the hot jar with a jar lifter (totally worth getting one, even if you never make pickles again, they are amazing!), and continuing to hold the jar with the lifter, put in dill and garlic (The signature Teri move is tying the dill in a loose knot, so it stays out of the way at the bottom). Start with larger cucumbers, lining them up along the bottom layer, and the smaller ones are great for packing in the top.
Step 6: Fill jar as much as you can with cucumbers, and then fill to the bottom of the jar rim with brine. Wipe the rim to ensure no excess brine is between the seal and the glass. Take out a flat from the hot water, place on top, and tighten screw lid to finger tight (you'll regret it if you tighten it too much at this point).
Step 7: You should process the full jars in a hot water bath just until the cucumbers turn from green to brownish green. So long as everything has been hot along the way, you shouldn't have any problems with seals. Place in a cooler place (basement, root cellar, etc) to seal jars. The flat will suck inwards and sometimes even make a "POP!" when they seal.
You can eat these right away as young dills, or store for a later time and more intense pickle flavour! I don't actually like eating pickles, but Mom's recipe is such a hit that each year she has cases upon cases of pre-orders, so I know it's a good one!
The TapRoot Pickle Pack was awesome. The perfect amount of everything for this recipe, the cucumbers are a great size, and there's the variety you need in sizing for making dills (some big ones, some small ones, and everything in between).
From time to time, we like to let our customers know whats happening, here on the farm. I've been doing a lot of weed management this summer, and am using some techniques that I thought some might find interesting.
A new tool we got this year, is a tractor mounted flame weeder. This has four propane jets, that floats a couple of inches above the ground and cooks the weeds as we drive over them. Backpack flame weeders have been popular on organic farms for a while, but not many farms have a flamer that goes on a tractor. We use it in a number of ways. The main way is flaming a bed, after its been seeded, but before the seeds emerge. That way we can cook all those little weeds, that have already come up before the crop. We've also used it on our potatoes. Because the potato plants are big and juicy, the damage to the crop is minimal, while the damage to the weeds is detrimental.
We also have an antique Alice Chambers 'G', cultivating tractor. It uses a tool bar underneath the belly of the tractor, with cultivating teeth on it. Because its mounted under the belly, your able to see where the teeth are, and can weed between rows, four at a time.
Of course, no farm can get away without weeding by hand. This is very labour intensive, but thanks to our team, we are usually able to keep it under control. We've also had one of our CSA members, Sylvia, doing a work share, where she pays for her share through farm labour. She's spent a lot of time weeding this spring and has made a huge difference in the field this spring.
<< Sylvia weeding carrots this past Saturday. She comes prepared with the necessary gear to avoid the rampant no-see-ums we are currently being harrassed by!
There is the 'many little hammers' method of weed control, where a number of tools, each with a different purpose, all play a part in managing weeds on the farm. Until they come up with one tool that can weed all of our different crops, we will always need many little hammers.
Jon and I get an entree veggie share as part of working at the farm. With zucchini in season, and a few weekly bonuses of these abundant vegetables, we ended up with a whole lot in our crisper, and my valiant efforts making stir fry, zucchini pasta sauce, zucchini lasagna, and zucchini cake still left some in the fridge! I reached out on Facebook and Dionne shared her recipe for zucchini relish with me. Can't wait, and it uses 10 cups of zucchini which will help get through the glut!
10 cups grated zucchini, peels too
1 cup grated carrots
4 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped green peppers
1 cup chopped red peppers
1/4 cup pickling salt
Place vegetables in a large bowl. Add pickling salt. Leave overnight. In morning, rinse in cold water; drain well.
Mix dressing in large pot on stove; add rinsed vegetables and boil 5 to 10 minutes. Seal in jars. Makes 6-7 500ml jars.
The recipe is quite old… I process it in a hot water bath for 10 minutes even though it doesn't call for it. I think it might just be that the recipe is from way back when people figured if the seal on the jar "popped" it was safe enough.