This week, one of the community gardens in Omaha suffered from vandalism. A batch of kids from the Sherman Community Center had started seeds in a greenhouse weeks ago and transplanted them in a 4800 square foot garden. That night, someone tore out everything.
As a farmer – and a father – I could only imagine the devastation that these kids felt. After all the excitement of growing their own plants and planning for delicious vegetables, they were robbed of the future.
When I heard, I called the City of Omaha Parks Foundation to coordinate replacements. I knew Omaha farming community could donate plants and seeds to these children. Amber Miller at the Foundation was thrilled at the offer.
It turns out, I was not the only one. The very next day, the entire garden was replanted with donated plants and seeds. It shows that our community is ready to support those in need, especially when it comes to kids in the garden. Amber told me that the City is installing a new community garden next week, and all incoming donations will be used there.
Black Sheep Farms will collect your donations through Saturday on the farm and in downtown Omaha and transport them to the community garden group. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements.
Posted by blacksheepfarms on May 30, 2012
As part of the Black Sheep Farms 2012 Community Supported Agriculture program, we’ve teamed up with The Grey Plume to provide recipes that use ingredients fresh from the farm. Chef Clayton Chapman and his team are happy to share some inspiration to your kitchen.
Pesto is one of our favorite things of all time. It is such a versatile sauce. It can be used in pastas, on fish, chicken or as a spread on an appetizer or something of the sort. While traditional pesto is made with loads of basil, garlic scape pesto is pretty incredible. It can be served fresh, which is preferable, but can also be frozen to be used at a later time. If freezing, put your pesto in a double layer zip-loc bag to help protect it from freezer burn. This recipe calls for blanching the scapes, this helps takes a little bit of the raw punch out of the garlic, but if that is what you are looking for, you may omit this step. This pesto recipe should yield a couple cups of finished product and can be applied to any dish, any which way you like…enjoy!
garlic scapes | .5 lbs
flat leaf parsley, stems removed | .5 cups
genovese or sweet basil, whatever is available, stems removed | .25 cups
shallot or red onion, minced | .25 cups
pine nuts (optional), toasted and rough chopped | .5 cups
lancaster duet cheese or a soft parmesan, shaved on a microplane | 1 cup
extra virgin olive oil | 1 cup
meyer lemon (or regular lemons), zested and juiced | 1 ea
cayenne pepper| 1 tsp
raw honey | 1 Tb
sea or kosher salt | TT
black pepper | TT
1) Take one garlic scape and slice into 1/8” slices. Place in olive oil and heat gently on stove. Once oil starts to make small bubbles (it is reaching about 140-150 degrees), remove pot from stove. Allow garlic scape to sit in oil for as long as possible. You can even do this step a day in advance if you like. If you are prepping this the day before, make sure the oil is placed in the refrigerator until ready to assemble the pesto.
2) Heat pot of boiling water and make an ice bath. Blanch scapes in water until tender and shock in ice bath. The scapes should still have a little crunch to them when they are removed from the water. They should be in the boiling water for less than 1 minute.
3) Remove scapes from ice bath and split lengthwise down the middle. Mince the scapes into as tiny as pieces as possible.
4) Strain the single scape out of the olive oil and mince the parsley and basil. Mix the remainder of the ingredients as well as the oil, parsley and basil.
5) Season TT with salt and fresh ground black pepper.
*TT = to taste
© The Grey Plume; All rights reserved.
Posted by blacksheepfarms on May 26, 2012
My first act as a gardener involved murder. Thirteen years ago, Brian and I purchased our first home in Benson, one month before having our first son. It was torture moving into our very own place, and being so hugely pregnant, I was unable to take part in any renovations. I had never had a garden before, but I was so eager to create one. Forget planning and prepping, I was ready to buy and plant! When we moved in, there was a huge peony bush right next to the driveway. I hated it. In my mind, peonies were “grandma” flowers, and when I saw the ants, I was convinced that this thing HAD to go. I’m not sure what I was thinking; I mean, peonies are gorgeous! (I blame pregnancy hormones.) I’m not the type to be patient and wait until I can actually see my feet before I jump into digging up a giant bush. Nope, those buds would not open in my yard if I had anything to say about it. So, I did what any other very pregnant and slightly unreasonable girl would do and begged my husband to please dig it up. Being the great guy he is, he pulled it from the ground and we promptly threw it away. Can you believe that? No freecycle, no craigslist, no asking the neighbors if they would like to give it a home. Heck, we didn’t even compost it; we chucked it in the garbage can. I still shudder when I think of how wasteful we were back then.
Over the years, we’ve evolved quite a bit in our gardening ways. When we moved to this farm, there were two peonies in an overgrown area surrounded by stinging nettle. I could have mowed them down. I didn’t. I braved the nettle and dug them up, dividing them and moving them to a better location. Then a friend of mine offered me even more plants from her garden. I was delighted when she showed up with 10 or more beautiful bushes.
This year, all of my peonies bloomed into incredible shades of magenta, white and pale pink.
I made sure to send some to my sister, who appreciated peonies long before I ever did, then I placed them all over my house. I smile every time I walk by the bouquets in my house. They are an exquisite reminder of just how far I’ve come.
Posted by blacksheepfarms on May 6, 2012