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Today I’m going to share with you a very personal side of the farm.

The story of this farm is a zig zag; turns where you least expect it and big wins where the naysayers said it couldn’t be done.

My Dad is probably my biggest fan and has been beside me all the way.

My mom and dad moved across the street from the farm in 2008 when I was pregnant with my third child. Mom & Dad bought the 1/2 acre next to them and I expanded the farm. That was about the time I started my first, small CSA. WE grew a lot of potatoes on the ‘Wheeler’ plot in those early years. Dad always helped where and when he wanted to. If I asked him specifically to do something he might balk and then a day or two later the task was complete. He was a big help with so many tasks.

Through thick and thin, Dad always commended me for my hard work and, well, stubbornness, when it came to making a living farming. I remember him saying ‘I don’t know how you’re gonna do it Lis’ but the underlying feeling was support. Always support. And that’s all he ever gave. He would pound stakes, mow, rip up plastic and landscape fabric. Sometimes there would be a crate of zucchini waiting for me that he had picked the evening before (you know how in the height of summer you can practically watch zucchini grow!). His energy to help clean up at the end of the season was always admirable, and VERY welcome.

In the early days we supplied the farm on used tools and found objects. Mom and Dad, to this day, love to go to garage sales and auctions to find treasures for the farm. They have found a huge variety of tools and implements we’ve needed over the years for pennies on the dollar.

At potato harvest time Dad loved to watch. He’s not much for bending over and picking potatoes, harvesting potatoes the way we do it is brutal work. But potatoes are Dad’s favorite crop. Every harvest, without fail, he would pick up a freshly dug tater from the dirt, brush it off (maybe spit clean it) and take a big bite. I never tired of watching him eat raw potatoes. It’s always made me laugh.

We just celebrated Dad’s 84th birthday. He has slowed down quite a bit. A couple years back he’d still wander out to the garden and ask me if I needed any help. He’d come out and think sand bags were dogs and the flag pole was a person. His eyesight was worsening so we didn’t think much of it then. He definitely started repeating the same stories…but that’s what people do when they’re retired and getting older…forgot who they told what-right?

Later, about 1.5 years ago, Dad was diagnosed with Lewy body Dementia. It’s a brutal disease with similar symptoms to Parkinsons and Alzheimers. So far, despite different medicines, Dad suffers from fairly constant, very unpleasant hallucinations.

To give you a better idea of LBD I took this from dementiasociety.org

“Lewy body disease is one of the most common causes of Dementia in the elderly. Lewy body disease happens when abnormal structures, called Lewy bodies, build up in areas of the brain. The disease may cause a wide range of symptoms, including changes in alertness and attention, hallucinations, problems with movement and posture, muscle stiffness, and confusion.

Lewy body disease usually begins between the ages of 50 and 85. The disease gets worse over time. There is no cure. Treatment focuses on drugs to help symptoms.”

In Lewy Body Dementia [LBD], these abnormal proteins are diffuse throughout other areas of the brain, including the cerebral cortex. The brain chemical acetylcholine is depleted, causing disruption of perception, thinking, and behavior. Lewy body disease exists either in pure form or in conjunction with other brain changes, including those typically seen in Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.”

So anyways, today, in Dad’s honor, we’ll go over the potatoes we’re harvesting and I’ll give you a favorite new recipe for Potatoes Provencal from a market customer and friend, Bob Jones.

Purple Majesty: Who doesn’t love a purple potato? Always a favorite, they don’t grow so well for us but we keep on trying. They have a denser texture and slightly nuttier, earthier flavor than white potatoes. Purple potatoes are a tasty way to add a pop of color to your plate while enjoying a serving of health benefit.The many benefits of purple potatoes include their ability to prevent blood clots, improve digestive function, promote weight loss, and boost cognitive function, among many others.

German Butterball: Here’s another farm favorite and favorite of many restaurants. Created in Idaho in 1988 German Butterball potatoes are medium to large in size and are round to oblong in shape. The pale, smooth, yellow skin is lightly netted with shallow eyes, dark brown spots, and brown patches. The flesh is a vibrant yellow to gold and is firm, waxy, and dense. When cooked, German Butterball potatoes have a creamy and tender flesh that takes on a smooth consistency and offers a rich, buttery flavor. In conclusion, they make thee most wonderful mashed potatoes!

Red Norland: A red potato well suited to grow in this environment. All in all they are hearty and super versatile; steam, roast, bake, mash or fry them and they are delicious!

French Fingerlings: a small variety popular in France, its place of origin, as well as in the United States where it is considered a specialty. They are known for being extremely versatile in dishes and delicious!

 

Potatoes Provencal:

As a matter of fact I was at Bob & Judy’s for dinner last night and he made this dish-YUMMY.
Bob says ‘it is best served at room temperature, so you won’t need to worry about timing with other dishes you may be serving. We have made it in the winter with chunks of full size potatoes, but this dish REALLY shines in early summer when most of the ingredients are available fresh at the farmer’s market’
1-2 lb new potatoes. Cut larger ones in half to about 1″. 1lb is about one dry pint.
1 medium onion, sliced into 1/4″ wedges in the direction from top to root
6 cloves of garlic, crushed with peels removed, cut roughly in half the long way
12 cherry tomatoes, or 2-3 regular tomatoes cut into 1/2″ wedges
12 pitted olives
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
1 Tablespoon of dried herbes de Provence
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste (2-3 grinds for us)
1. Preheat oven to 400F
2. Toss ingredients together in a large roasting pan until everything is covered in oil and herbs
3. Roast for 15 minutes. Stir and reduce heat to 375F. Roast for 15 minutes and stir. Roast for 15 more minutes for a total of 45 minutes roasting time. Onions and tomatoes should be soft and a little carmelized.
4. Let cool to room temperature and garnish with chives
Bon Appetit! And let me know your favorite potato & favorite potato recipe.