Looks like we may be back to the drawing board on our search for a farm. The property we put an offer on was initially priced pretty high for a fixer-upper, but we had hoped the seller would come down. Unfortunately after several counter-offers there’s still a big gap between their asking price and our offer. Despite the problems with the house, the 63 acreas of land itself is valuable, but we’re worried that after making the necessary renovations we won’t have enough money left over for other things (like building a greenhouse, for instance). We decided that it would be a good idea to continue our search and see what new properties may have been listed.
While we were agonizing over how to proceed, Frank looked online and found another farm, right down the road from the first one, that may fit the bill. We actually recognized it, because Frank had pointed out the large greenhouse as we drove by! It’s only 13 acres, but if we plan well it might actually be plenty of space to grow all that we need.
Surprisingly, we are feeling a bit more comfortable considering a smaller piece of land. Having had no previous experience owning land, we’re not sure how well we would be able to keep up with 63 acres. The smaller farm doesn’t include woods, but it is adjacent to a large forested area. We may be willing to give up owning our own woods, especially if we were near a wildlife managment area or privately owned woods that we could get permission to access outside of hunting season.
Once we decided to consider a smaller farm, we found several other promising properties for sale within the same area. We want to see them as soon as possible, so we’re dropping everything, stuffing some clothes, toys, and cloth diapers into a suitcase and heading back to Wisconsin!
Luckily we’ve been getting plenty of rain lately and I’m not too worried about how our garden will fare while we’re gone. Our greens have been loving the spring rain so much you can almost watch them putting out new leaves! Our collards are looking especially lush, so I decided we should have some for dinner. With such an abundance of greens this time of year we’re always thinking up new ways to enjoy them. We’re just a tiny bit busy at the moment, so we needed a quick, easy meal. This simple recipe can be prepared, start to finish, in less than 15 minutes!
If you’re like me and you got excited during planting this spring, by now you may have more greens than you know what to do with! We used collard greens in this recipe, but you could easily substitute any fresh greens such as chard, turnip greens, or kale. Last week we tried it with turnip greens and it was fantastic. The lemon does a good job of masking any bitterness and the raisins add a wonderful touch of sweetness.
You can use any noodle you like for this dish, but we chose to use soba noodles. Soba is made from buckwheat, which is actually different from wheat and is gluten-free (if you’re going for a truly gluten-free pasta be sure to check the package, because some brands of soba are made with wheat as well as buckwheat). Buckwheat is hearty and delicious and has the added benefits of being high in antioxidants, protein, vitamins and minerals!
This was such an easy meal to make that the most time-consuming part for me was picking the greens, washing them, and chopping them. The greens do reduce their size in the pan, but you still need to give them a coarse chop to make them easier to eat. I like to chop my greens into about 1/2-inch by 2-inch strips. Then you sautée some garlic, add the greens, and season them with lemon, salt and pepper. Toss with toasted pine nuts, raisins and noodles, and dinner is served!
Quick Collard Greens, Toasted Pine Nuts and Raisins Over Buckwheat Noodles
- Half a 12-ounce package of gluten free noodles such as soba
- A large mixing bowl full of collards or other greens (about 1/2 pound), chopped
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- Juice of 1 whole lemon (about 5 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to the instructions on the packet and immediately toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil to prevent sticking.
- Heat a small skillet over medium heat and toast pine nuts, shaking the pan often to prevent burning, until golden (about 3 minutes).
- In a large skillet, gently heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic and sautée 1 minute, being careful not to burn it.
- Add the greens to the pan with the garlic and sautée until wilted. Different types of greens may take slightly different lengths of time (collard greens took 5 minutes).
- Season the greens with lemon juice, salt, and pepper and combine with the pasta, raisins and pine nuts.