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The Briar Patch Garden

Ebbleskewers, Milkweed Pod and Teasel Weed

M-C HartmanWow!  What a great, fun visit down memory lane this month’s edition of Capper’s Farmer magazine was!  The wonderful Susi Jacobson article “Foraging for a Fall Wreath” brought back memories of Mother pulling over the car repeatedly throughout the fall while travelling down roads and byways to “harvest” teasel weed, milk weed pods and other interesting dry plant materials.  Mom was very creative and would turn these articles of nature into pictures, flower arrangements, wreaths and other wonderful decorative products with a little glue, glitter, paint, and brain power.  I grin thinking of her creativity every time I buzz by a patch of milkweed pod bursting, or teasel weed standing tall and prickly in salute.  

And then farther on in the magazine I turned the page and low and behold a magnificent article on what we called in our family “Ebbleskewers”!  Mom’s Grandparents came over on the boat from Denmark, so one of my inheritances from her is her Ebbleskewer pan.  I got so excited reading the interesting and creative recipes shared and so much of the history of this wonderful “pancake” from my childhood that I promptly began soaking bread overnight in milk, dug out the pan, and the next day invited Dad over for a brunch with Mike and me.  Linsey Knerl, thank you for reminding me of my Nana and that wonderful joy.  And for giving my Father, husband, and myself a special brunch together to boot!  For us, Ebbleskewers were an extra Christmas time treat.  We have a basic recipe passed down to us which I thought I would share with you.  It is not the lovely fancy ones listed in Linsey’s article, but it is a nice recipe that is not hard to make if you have the pan.

Nana’s Ebbleskewer Recipe

Soak 3 medium slices of white bread in one quart of buttermilk overnight.  Add four cups flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 2 tablespoons melted butter.  Beat 4 eggs well and add.  Slice thin pieces of apple to insert into the batter after poured into the pan.  Heat Ebbleskewer pan on medium heat.  Fill greased Ebbleskewer pan ½ full.  Turn Ebbleskewers (we just turned them fully over 180 degrees one time) using a fork once the bottom sections have browned.  Serve with confectioner’s sugar and/or honey.

In our more health conscious age, I used sprouted wheat bread instead of the white bread, and whole wheat flour instead of standard flour.  Dad still liked them and Mike told me in all the years we have been married he did not remember me ever cooking them, so he did not have anything to compare them to.  They were a hit and I am looking forward to trying Linsey’s recipes.  We were too busy enjoying the food for me to remember to take a picture for you, so please enjoy Karen Keb’s pictures in Linsey’s article instead!  And her recipes!

Meet Our Organic/Certified Naturally Grown CSA Farmer Reuben DeMaster

M-C HartmanOur CSA Farmer Reuben DeMaster is an entrepreneurial farmer who is always busy adding to his offerings.  For instance, this year he has added a Saturday farm market to his delivered CSA where he not only features his own organically grown produce, but local farm products from other organic growers (such as grass fed beef and honey), his own roasting chickens, lamb, pork, eggs, and some lightly sprayed fruit from nearby farmers.  Because his farm is tucked into the Northwest corner of Lehigh County, PA, he also features some unique and unusual products to entice customers to travel to him.  These include whole grain breads, desserts, and pizza baked in his wood fired outdoor brick oven.  When we arrived he was busy making a Margarita pizza.

Reuben DeMaster with his brick oven.

Reuben and his brick oven. Photo by Mike Hartman.

Reuben DeMaster making pizzas.

Reuben making pizzas. Photo by Mike Hartman.

This year he is also adding in a fall CSA. (Now accepting members.)  He also creatively added a chef this spring to make Saturday evening dinners featuring seasonal dishes created from products grown on the farm, as well as teach cooking classes.  Alas the chef left before we could take advantage of his expertise.  He hopes to add in more children’s education and activities in the future.

We have participated in his wife’s yogurt making class which was delightful.

His farm, Willow Haven Farm, is included in the Naturally Grown organization as a member, with stricter standards than the government defining organic practices.

Reuben’s intern of two years Imbert, indicated that moving his family out from the city to become Reuben’s Intern was the best decision he had ever made in his life.  This man grins from ear to ear when you meet him at the farm.

How we found Reuben is a short story involving both the Lehigh County Annual Farm Tour and my slow realization that our backyard garden/mini farm needed to morph into something different than annual vegetables and weeds.  At the time, our internet connection was slow and frequently disrupted, making it difficult to do research, so when our local paper advertised the annual farm tour, my hubby and I went to enjoy the day.  We were impressed with him and his farm and signed up to receive several boxes of vegetables that fall.  The initial vegetables were terrific and in January we signed up for his summer CSA.  Having the vegetables delivered to our home made the CSA doable for us.  If we had needed to travel out to the farm to pick them up, it probably would not have worked for us.  Currently we are in our second year of participating in his CSA.  Reuben has a great cooperative spirit and has worked out arrangements with some local families to deliver the vegetables weekly on Wednesday afternoons to his customers in exchange for their own shares.  He also works other arrangements out for people who choose to help out on the farm.  Please check out his website listed above for more details, but know from a customer perspective, he has done a lot of creative thinking and implementation.  Each time a box is delivered to us it is like getting a little bit of Christmas – always a delightful surprise!