76 Tromboncini Squash

I love tromboncini (or the singular, “tromboncino,” or botanical, “Rampicante”) squash.  It fills an odd niche, later than most summer squash, yet earlier than most winter squash.  It’s storage life is halfway between, too.  It’s flavor is somewhere between a zucchini and a butternut.   So, I call it an autumn squash.

Tromboncini squash have a long, seedless neck, and dangle from their trellis like a trombone hanging on the wall.  Supposedly they can get to the size of a trombone as well, and thus they receive their name.  So, 76 tromboncini lead the big parade, and, on a pound of food per square foot measure, they’re one of the most efficient foods we can grow.

Alas, they’re unfamiliar to most people.  So we’re still working on getting people to try them (though most everyone who tries one comes back for more).  In the meantime, there are lots for us to use.  So, I needed to get creative.   Here are a few tromboncini uses: Continue reading

2017 Week 26 – Week of 4 September

Trench

Just a small portion of our trench, showing a new hydrant install, as well as the partially-repaired electric that was cut by the backhoe, and phone line still waiting for repair

So, my weekly gratitude photo is a bit different this week.  This time, I’ve never been so grateful that I decided NOT to do a project myself.

We’re having some serious infrastructure work done on the farm.  We’re running electrical to the barn (no more extension cord from the house to the air compressor or block heater on the tractor!  Lights in the winter!), the summer kitchen to be, and the greenhouse/X’s shop.  We’re also putting in a two inch irrigation mainline from the well out about 480 feet, which should allow much lower maintenance and higher efficiency irrigation of the veggie field.

I was a bit worried about all of the underground obstacles to work around, so we hired a local electrician friend.  Such a good call!  Besides the fact that they have a lot more equipment and experience, he brought a 5 person crew out to work, expecting it to take a day and a half.  Well, until they cut the pipe from the well with the backhoe.  Then the electrical with the backhoe.  Then couldn’t find the phone/internet (it wasn’t where the location service flagged it), until they decided to dig the electrical a bit deeper to make it easier to repair.  Oops, the phone was in the same trench, just a bit deeper than the electric.    Then they ran the trencher through the drain line from the geothermal system.  Then two drain lines from the septic…

This all makes them sound incompetent, but that’s really not the case.  Things at our place were just not done in a normal manner.  I almost certainly would have run into each and every one of the same problems they did.  But wouldn’t have insurance to cover it, nor the experience fixing it all, nor the time to deal with the setbacks.  Suffice it to say, we still have no internet, the well is only producing a fraction of the flow rate it should, the lane is all torn up, and they’re probably only about half way done.  Hiring it out, even though somewhat more expensive than what I expected it would cost to have done it myself, may just be the most cost effective of choices we could have made!

Meanwhile, we did an OK, job following the menu last week.  The Tromboncini Fajitas turned out to be an amazing inspiration – really, the best fajitas I’ve had.  So, we’re going to repeat significant chunks of the same menu this week.  It’s seasonal, an yummy, and, well, there’s a lot of stuff and only a little inspiration.

 

BreakfastLunchDinnerNotes/Prep
MonZucchini Bead
Peach
Dining HallDining HallBlueberry Festival Parade

Lancer Band
TuesZucchini Bead
Peach
Caprese SaladTromboncini Fajitas
Salad
No Farmers' Market
Lancer Band
Make something for mentees
WedZucchini Bead
Peach
Tromboncini FajitasLamb Burgers w/ Fresh Tomatoes & Onions from the garden
Roasted Tromboncini Squash
Green & Yellow Wax Beans
Watermelon
Mentor/Mentee Time
ThurZucchini Bead
Asian Pear
Dining HallSausage Spaghetti Pie (from freezer)Retreat, Late Lessons, & Late Duty
FriZucchini Bead
Asian Pear
Sausage Spaghetti Pie
Harvest Panic - piece while pickingHarvest
SatZucchini BeadMunching at the MarketPizza?Farmers’ Market
SunZucchini Bead
Dining HallMarket Leftover Stir FryGarrison Parade

New from the farm: The current produce list is over 25 items long!

Groceries: Park N. Shop – $2.82

Tromboncini Fajitas

Fajitas made with Tromboncini Squash

Tromboncini Fajitas

I really love tromboncini squash.  And, we’ve had quite a surplus from the garden this year.

So, pondering what to make for dinner, and looking at tower of squash, then looking at the onions I had just harvested, then over at the stack of lugs filled with peppers, the muse hit me with fajitas. Continue reading

2017 Week 35 – Week of 28 August

A basket of onions

Onions on our farmers’ market display

The weekly menu returns after its summer vacation this week!

We’re back to school with a partial week of classes under our belt, so it’s time to get back in the routine of planning meals.  Spending most of my time off-farm means we won’t be snacking on veggies while working in the field, and cooking around the schedule needs forethought.

Meanwhile, things are really hopping at the farm!  We have a huge volume of produce coming in. We’ve hauled over a ton of produce to market each of the last four weeks, with more to come.  The late summer/early fall crops have done well.  Of particular note, and a great personal existential victory, is onions.  It’s embarrassing as someone people think of as a gardening guru, but I’ve never been successful growing bulbing onions.  I’ve tried multiple methods, in gardens with widely varying conditions over 15 years, with no success.  Until this year!

This year’s onion crop produced a great harvest of salad onions in the late spring and early summer, and now we’re harvesting good-sized bulbs, with great flavor.  It’s also a variety known to be a good long-storing variety, so we should be set for the winter (though they sold like crazy at market this weekend, which surprised me a bit).

BreakfastLunchDinnerNotes/Prep
MonZucchini Bead
Peach
Tromboncini Fajitas
Minnesota Midget Melon
Salad
Spaghetti Squash w/ Pesto Cream Sauce
Salad

Lancer Band
TuesZucchini Bead
Peach
Spaghetti Squash w/ Pesto Cream SauceEat at market (final Tuesday Evening market of the year)Farmers' Market
WedZucchini Bead
Peach
Dining HallLamb Burgers w/ Fresh Tomatoes & Onions from the garden
Roasted Tromboncini Squash
Green & Yellow Wax Beans
Watermelon
ThurZucchini Bead
Asian Pear
Homemade Frozen Burrito
Watermelon
Dining HallRetreat & Late Duty
FriZucchini Bead
Asian Pear
Homemade Frozen Burrito
Watermelon
Harvest Panic - piece while pickingHarvest
SatZucchini BeadMunching at the MarketPizza?Farmers’ Market
SunZucchini Bead
Dining HallMarket Leftover Stir FryGarrison Parade

New from the farm: The current produce list is over 25 items long!

Groceries: No grocery shopping this week!

Menus Returning Soon!

a truckload of produce at the farmers' market

Getting ready to set up at the farmers’ market – over 1800 lbs of produce!

So I’ve received a few comments about missing menus.  Why haven’t I posted any?  Am I giving up my all-organic, all-unprocessed diet ambitions?  Or did all of the health stuff I talk about on the why page suddenly reverse itself?

Alas, I’m still fighting the autoimmune problem (though it has improved a great deal).  It’s more like the weekly menu has taken a summer vacation.

The end of the school year is crazy busy for most teachers.  For band directors at private boarding schools with many complex ceremonial needs, it’s insane.  Add to that running an organic farm, and, well, planned eating is a bit challenging.  Eating is a bit challenging…  Thus, I intentionally didn’t plan the last couple weeks of classes and all-day faculty meetings.

Immediately following that, I was way behind on the farm, due to health problems in the winter and the school schedule, but our annual Hole in the Woodstock event was just a couple of weeks away.  So, crazy days there.

From there on out, the garden has been dominating life.  Two days a week of farmers’ markets (a market may only appear to be a few hours from the outside, but it’s way more than a full days’ work!), a full day of harvesting for both…  Those are times it’s difficult to do a meal.

Ironically, they’re also times full of great food!  Every morning begins with a walk down each garden bed checking on the progress of our 2 1/2 acres of veggies.  There’s a lot of sampling that goes on during those walks!  And, of course, I spent a fair bit of time developing recipes for the onslaught of zucchini!

So, all told, I don’t really need to plan menus in the summer.  Much of my eating isn’t even in meals anyway.  However, school’s starting to come back to life.  We’ve had a few meetings and workshops already, and the band is back this weekend.  Then we jump in, with the matriculation ceremony during the eclipse!

So, I’ll be posting menus again shortly.  The next couple of weeks are going to be weird transition stuff, so I may not do so until classes get going.  But stay tuned, and we’ll be back at it soon!

Pizza Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Pizza Stuffed Zucchini Boat

Pizza Stuffed Zucchini Boat

So, I wanted something a little different for the daily zucchini adventure today.  Something a bit more filling.  Something savory and rich.  And I enjoyed the squash and Italian Sausage flavor combination from my Rotini Tromboncini the other day.

Well, our main zucchini variety is Costata Romanesca, an Italian heirloom variety that we really love.  Italian zucchini, Italian sausage….  What could be more faux-Italian (yet really American) than pizza? Continue reading

Zucchini Pancakes

Zucchini Pancakes with wild blackberries

Zucchini Pancakes with fresh wild blackberries

Back to creative outlets for our zucchini glut.  Zucchini for breakfast (or brunch)!  Pancakes are an underutilized food group.  They can be savory or sweet, salty or caramelized.  Eggy, floury, or, in this case, loaded with zucchini.  This is a great way to boost the nutritional profile of your pancake, yet still good with berries and maple syrup (grade B, of course!).   Continue reading

Rotini Tromboncini

Tromboncini Rotini – A tasty, colorful, and unique summer dinner

Taking another break from the mass influx of zucchini, it’s time to play with tromboncini squash again.  I love Troboncini – they are extremely versatile, functioning as both a winter and a summer squash.  Their flavor is somewhere between a zucchini and a butternut.  And they have a long, seedless neck.

The parmesan tromboncini discs I made the other day were really yummy.  But let’s face it, that’s an appetizer.  We needed something more substantial for dinner.  And colorful.  Time for squash and pasta! Continue reading

Parmesan Tromboncini Discs

Parmesan Tromboncini Discs

Parmesan Tromboncini Discs

Even though we’re getting slammed with zucchini, the Tromboncini squash are also starting to come in.  Tromboncini are uncommon, but I’m not sure why.  They’re very productive, at least in terms of pounds of food produced (though most of the squash tend to be large, so you don’t necessarily have large numbers of them).  They are easy to use – they have a long neck that is entirely seedless, then a bulb on the end that contains all of the seeds, and a skin that’s only slightly thicker than zucchini, so most recipes don’t need peeling.  They are versatile – they can function both as a summer squash and as a winter squash (though they don’t store quite as long as, say, a butternut).  And they are very tasty, with a flavor somewhere between a zucchini and an acorn squash.

Anyway, we have converted a few true believers at market.  Most people are afraid to try them, but those who do usually come back for more.  But, due either to the massive pile of zucchini on our table, or too few brave culinarians, we had a few left after this week’s markets.  So, yesterday was a day to be creative with Tromboncini.   Continue reading