'Tis the season
...to be jolly, and I'm definitely in the spirit. Sorry our newsletter is going out a little late this week, but we were up in Myerstown all day picking ourselves out an early Christmas gift. For the uninitiated it might look like some sort of spider-alien's dune buggy, but this glorious piece of space age tech is an Allis-Chalmers Model "G" tractor. These treasured machines are the kind of tools that vegetable farmers can build a system around. With a rear mounted engine and belly-mounted implements, the driver is able to get an up close look at work being done. I cant say I see the advantage in that for a plow or, for that matter, a manure rake (which, yes, they made). On the other hand, with cultivating tools like those pictured here to weed between long rows of beets, carrots, lettuce, and other small-seeded crops, the farmer can weed much more effectively and quickly, increasing yields and decreasing time spent on hands and knees.
Just shy of 30,000 of these orange beauties came off a single production line in Alabama from 1948 to 1955. However, due in part to an already changing agricultural system that saw returning GIs leaving farms for freshly industrialized cities, while small-hold farms transitioned to suburbs or consolidated monocultures, the "G" was a disappointing seller and production halted. Decades later, back-to-the-landers and subsequent generations would rediscover its tremendous utility for the small- to medium-scale vegetable operation. Other so-called "cultivating tractors" exist, but the "G" remains the favorite.
Only in the last 5 years, as the number of small farms in America has begun to increase for the first time in decades, have companies begun to manufacture new tractors with a similar design. And now, thanks to the kind folks at Wenger's of Myerstown, Good Dog Farm is a proud owner of one! On a personal note, this just makes us feel like pretty much the coolest. But you should be excited too, because this means we can grow so many more beets, carrots, parsnips, and lettuce than ever before!
So, while we treat ourselves like the best heavy machinery Advent calendar, you should treat yourselves and your loved ones to some Good Dog Farm swag! Shirts, bags, mugs, and sweatshirts are available here. They feature our beautiful logo designed by dear friend Spotty Boy Press, who also sells excellent woodcuts of manatees, cacti, and other critters wearing sweaters for Christmas! Support your favorite Hereford farmers and look good doing it!
And now some eats
As temperatures plummet, the number of veggies that can take it dwindles. Now that we've had one 17F and one 24F night, we've hit the low point in variety and we expect to have most of our current listings available for the remainder of the season. One of the stars in our kitchen are our mustard greens, lumped broadly together in our availability as "Stir Fry Mix." We call it that, because right out of the bag, with 3-5 minutes in a pan, these make a delicious sauteed side, especially with a splash of soy sauce or Shanxi vinegar. But these tender, nutty, sweet, extra-cold hardy greens are great for many things. This week, Joanna used them to make Saag Paneer to go with Chana Masala, and it was delicious.
But to be honest, we've been pretty busy lately and dinner has really been getting away from us some nights. As the sun starts to set before 5, where does the time go? On nights like these, we often feel like turning to our old friend garlic mashed potatoes and the jars and jars of chicken stock in the freezer. But, in the interest of classing up the joint a little, there's nothing quite like shepherd's pie. We recommend just good old Red Norlands for mashing. Here's a great vegetarian recipe that uses mushrooms. Plus, you should definitely get some of our carrots in the filling.
A couple housekeeping issues
Finally, just a quick reminder to please return your boxes. And we now have a longer pickup window. You can come to Hex as early as 1 pm to get your shares now. Order here by Monday morning for Wednesday delivery. Thanks and enjoy.