With sweet corn and peaches available from several different growers at the market, it's fair to say that spring has turned the corner into summer even though the summer solstice is still about a week away.
We've also got blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries available from a number of different farms. You'll never find a better time for making pancakes, muffins, smoothies, cobblers, and pies. Fresh fruit is also great for topping your breakfast cereal or mixing into plain yogurt, and anyone who likes peanut butter and jelly should try using fresh berries (with maybe a touch of honey) in place of jelly for a whole new level of PBJ freshness and flavor.
The peak summer season is almost upon us. The only major summer crop we're still waiting on is melons, which should begin ripening in the next two or three weeks. The majority of our members should be at the market now bringing a great diversity and abundance of fresh, locally grown fruit and vegetables, milk, meat, eggs, baked goods, bedding and landscaping plants, cut flowers, artwork, and more. Come and see them this week at the SKY Farmers Market and enjoy the fruits of their labors.
See you there!
Farm Profile: Coleman Brothers Farm
For twin brothers Travis and Tracy Coleman, farming is truly a way of life. In fact, as third generation farmers, it's in their blood. It all began with their grandfather who was the first farmer in Indiana to grow 100 acres of watermelons back in 1951.
Travis and Tracy grew up on a 200 acre produce farm in Henderson, KY. Currently, on their own farm here in Warren County, they grow some 35-40 acres of produce and bedding plants, including 4 greenhouses and 3 high tunnels. This year they have expanded their range of products by adding pastured chicken and pork. This is no small operation!
Although most of what they raise is sold wholesale, they began selling plants, pumpkins, and produce at the SKY Farmers Market about 5 years ago. They have also diversified their markets by adding a new CSA subscription program that currently has about 25 members. According to Travis, selling his produce locally is one of the most rewarding aspects of farming. He really enjoys getting to know his customers and seeing first hand how the results of his hard work are appreciated.
Besides farming, Travis and Tracy are both part time agriculture instructors at Western Kentucky University and Owensboro Community and Technical College. Their work at WKU also includes running the Instructional Garden at the university's farm. These teaching positions provide them the opportunity to share the knowledge, skills, and love of farming that is their heritage and, in time, their legacy.
Pastured Chicken at Au Naturel Farm:
So, what makes it "pastured chicken"?
We start with day old chicks in a brooder. It's important for the first few weeks - until they grow feathers - to keep them warm and out of drafts - just like a mother hen would.
Baby chicks in the brooder
Then, at about 3-4 weeks, depending on the weather, we put them out on pasture where they can live like chickens, enjoying sunshine and warm breezes, and eating bugs, worms and grass to supplement their grain diet.
Young broilers in a pasture pen
It's a lot of work! They get fed and watered twice every day, and their shelter, which protects them from rain and predators, is moved to fresh green grass once or twice a day for 5 weeks. We think the green grass makes a huge difference in the taste of the chicken we raise.
Moving the pen
You may wonder why you can only get our fresh chicken in the summer. Well, it's just not pastured chicken if it isn't raised on pasture, and pastures in our state are only green from about Mid-March to late October. So, if you want pastured chicken in the winter, we encourage you to buy a few extras in the summer and freeze them.
Au Naturel Farm will be selling fresh pastured broilers this weekend at the SKY Farmers Market and again next month on Saturday July 21.
Last week one of the great pleasures of summer arrived at the SKY Farmers Market: SWEET CORN! This first sighting of sweet corn preceded the official start of summer by a couple of weeks, but no worries. All the better for us corn lovers!
You'd be hard pressed to find many creatures in the animal kingdom that don't go gaga over corn. For the past eighteen years we haven't been able to leave a basket of freshly shucked corn lying around without our cat snatching an ear, growling a challenge to us as she devours "her share." Our parrot's screams would wake the dead at the mere glimpse of an ear. Some of our dogs (the more incorrigible ones) just help themselves to corn growing in the garden. And that's just the domestics. Of course, wild animals and birds raiding the corn patch is the stuff of legend.
For some folks, there's no such thing as too much corn. But in the event that you happen to have a few extra ears, fresh sweet corn adds something special to just about any recipe. In salads, salsas, stews, soups, and beyond, be sure to include corn as you wander down that path of culinary creativity this season.
Super Deluxe Corny Cornbread (a seasonal favorite)
- 2 cups cornmeal
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups milk or buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 1 large spoon of butter
- 2 ears sweet corn, raw or cooked
- 1 cup grated cheese (cheddar or jack are good choices)
- 1 tsp cayenne (optional)
- a little salt
CUT corn off the cob.
MIX egg, soda, salt, corn, cheese, cayenne, and milk with cornmeal.
MELT butter and add to mixture.
BAKE in a well greased iron skillet or 9"x12" pan at 350º for 25-35 minutes until golden.
Happy Father's Day
Looking for a great gift idea? Tell your dad a joke for Father's Day:
What's the difference between broccoli and a booger?
-Most kids will eat that booger.
Happy Father's Day from the SKY Farmers Market!