In the deepest part of winter, we stay busy by preparing for the spring and the season to come. When we’re not at the farmers market, we’re being industrious in the barn or in the office, or we’re at work on infrastructure, building for the future.
Crop planning for 75+ crops on a 65 acre farm is a big task for us at the beginning of every year. We look at prior year sales to decide whether to grow more or less of a certain crop, then figure out how much seed we need for each variety of each crop, adjust planting or greenhouse dates from last year, decide on a seed supplier for each variety, and then finally puzzle out how to slot each succession of each crop into this year’s crop rotation plan. It’s quite a process, and requires multiple spreadsheets, calculators, and of course, plenty of coffee and snacks.
After many days of applying brute force brain power, we emerge from hibernation in the barn with a loooong seed order, an even longer greenhouse and field seeding schedule, and a field map that doesn’t leave anything out. Then, after submitting our seed orders to 7 or 8 of our usual seed and plant suppliers, we wait for the deluge of seed shipments. Our stack of seed boxes is only about 2 feet tall at the moment, but we expect it to double within a few days. That’s a lot of seeds!
Next on our list of winter tasks is a thorough clean out of our greenhouses, then we’ll all fight over who gets to plant the first seeds of 2019! We’ll keep you posted.
We tried a new brownie recipe over the weekend for the Super Bowl and we’ve already made it a second time. These are seriously yummy brownies and they have not one but TWO secret ingredients that make them a little more healthy: Sweet Potatoes and peanut butter. Seriously, so good. They’re very chocolatey, but not too sweet–a combination we love. We adapted this recipe (to punch up the Sweet Potato, among other things) from chocolatecoveredkatie.com. Enjoy!
Sweet Potato Brownies
yield: 16 brownies
1 cup roasted Sweet Potato puree
3/4 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons whole wheat flour
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1.5 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder (this isn’t really enough to add heat, just an interesting slightly-smoky flavor; increase this if you want some heat in yours)
Preheat the oven to 325F and place a rack in the center of the oven. Butter an 8″ square pan well.
Gently heat the peanut butter until it is stir-able. Then add the Sweet Potato puree and vanilla and whisk well to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk all the remaining ingredients together, making sure that the baking soda chunks are fully broken up and incorporated. Add the dry ingredients to the Sweet Potato/peanut butter mixture and combine well. Now your ‘batter’ is the consistency of Play-Doh. Scoop it into the prepared pan and smooth it flat.
Bake for 20 minutes and let cool fully before cutting.