organic food

Peanuts: come shell or high water

Since Rural Studio Farm is a not a commercial farm, we get to grow a wide variety of crops that many other small-scale organic farms might find inefficient to grow, in terms of space and time. Lately, we have been enjoying such a treat: peanuts.

We began peanuts in soil blocks way back in May before transplanting to the field. As they grow, the plants produce little yellow flowers, which then fade and produce a peg, called a peduncle, that pushes several inches underground to produce the tasty little morsels. Typically, they require around four months to mature, but are low maintenance and pest-free, making them a great crop for us to grow during the summer when Eric was without his usual student workers.

A few weeks ago, we dug up the plants and left them to dry in the greenhouse for several days.

Then we separated the peanuts from the plant and took them to kitchen where our cook, Catherine, made some delicious boiled peanuts for our lunches. We got 10 gallons of dried peanuts from about 80 linear feet of plants.

Rural Studio's cook, Cat, boils a large pot of peanuts

It is all about ingredients

Each week we celebrate one ingredient from the Rural Studio Farm during a special lunch and discussion (led by Elena Barthel). The ultimate goal of the these Thursday lunches together is to learn about healthier eating habits. We suggest using fewer ingredients and higher quality, organic produce in our meals. Our own farm salad is always part of our celebration with a good dose of Tuscan olive oil.

The first ingredient we celebrated this year is tomato. Tomatoes can be grown in our greenhouse in early March and in the field garden in May. They can be eaten fresh in the hot summer months and easily preserved to be consumed during both the fall and the spring semester as tomato sauce.

Ode To Tomatoes by  Pablo  Neruda

The street
filled with tomatoes,
summer, light is halved
like a tomato,
its juice runs
through the streets.
In December,
the tomato invades
the kitchen,
it enters at lunchtime,
takes its ease on countertops,
among glasses,
butter dishes,
blue saltcellars.
It sheds its own light,
benign majesty.
Unfortunately, we must
murder it:
the knife sinks
into living flesh,
red viscera a cool sun,
profound, inexhaustible,
populates the salads
of Chile, happily, it is wed
to the clear onion,
and to celebrate the union
we pour oil,
essential child of the olive,
onto its halved hemispheres,
pepper adds its fragrance,
salt, its magnetism;
it is the wedding of the day, parsley
hoists its flag,
potatoes bubble vigorously,
the aroma of the roast knocks
at the door, it’s time!
come on! and, on the table, at the midpoint
of summer, the tomato,
star of earth, recurrent
and fertile star,
displays its convolutions,
its canals, its remarkable amplitude
and abundance, no pit,
no husk, no leaves or thorns,
the tomato offers its gift
of fiery color and cool completeness.