Archive for October, 2012

Winter Share Week 3; October 25, 2012

WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

Winter box week 3

butternut squash

cilantro

pie pumpkin

bagged spinach

thyme

cabbage

bagged broccoli

brussel sprouts

lacinato kale

potatoes

onions

garlic

NOTES ON THE BOX

Pretty much the same as last week.  As you can tell with the Winter Shares, if you aren’t able to get through all the produce in a week, it’s a good idea to have an area set aside for storage of things like onions, garlic, squash, and potatoes.  For your broccoli and other greens, freezing is a great idea and can be done quite easily and quickly.  Broccoli can be chopped, blanched for a few minutes, run under cold water to stop the cooking, drained well, then placed into freezer bags until you are ready to use them.  Thawed broccoli is good for soups and casseroles.  Greens can be blanched (very shortly for spinach) then drained and chopped and put into a freezer bag.  We like having frozen spinach on hand for spinach lasagna or other pasta dishes.

Cilantro FINALLY made it into the boxes.  We tried four plantings of cilantro this season!  One got rained out in the Spring, the next bolted before it sized up enough to harvest, the third planting didn’t germinate because it was too hot when we planted it, and this final one we expected to have for our last Summer box, but it wasn’t big enough to send out.   I know cilantro seems to be much more of a summertime herb, but it’s great with curry or on tacos or burritos.

RECIPES

I’m quite excited to share a super easy and yummy way to cook cabbage!  I know that cabbage is a challenging vegetable for many, but it’s actually very versatile.  The good thing about it is that even if you can’t use it up right away, it will hold for a VERY LONG TIME.  At a farm I once worked on, when cleaning out the cooler in the spring, we discovered a cabbage in a box in the back of the cooler.  It had been harvested in October and was found in March.  It had quite a bit of fuzzy mold on it, but after peeling away a few layers of leaves, we found the interior to be in good condition!  We cooked it, ate it, and we are still alive to tell the tale!  While I don’t recommend trying to keep cabbage around for 5 months, just know that there’s no rush to get it all eaten in a couple of weeks.  But really, the recipe in the link is so easy and fantastic.  We had it for lunch without the Bacon, and it was still so yummy!

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Brown Lentil Soup With Cilantro

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Roasted Butternut Apple Soup with Cilantro and Walnut Pesto

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Garlic, Thyme, Lemon Potato and Brussel Sprouts

1. Clean, dice, and boil several potatoes  until you can pierce them easily with a fork.  Amount depends on how many you are feeding and how hungry you are…

2. While the potatoes are cooking, prep the rest of your ingredients. Take the brussels sprouts off their stalk, then slice off the hard woody bottom on each one can cut the large ones in half. Chop 1 large red onion into small pieces. Chop 4 cloves of garlic into smaller pieces. Prepare fresh thyme by sliding your fingers over the stems to remove the leaves.  The small stems are pretty tender at the top are tender enough that you don’t have to worry about them. You want enough to make about two tsp (or more if you like a lot of thyme!)

3. Toss the boiled potatoes and prepared brussel sprouts in a pan with the onion, garlic, thyme, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp salt, and some fresh ground pepper.  Mix everything so it’s all evenly coated.  Cook in a skillet on medium-high heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring every five or so minutes to keep things from burning. Let cook until the brussels are tender and there is some nice browning on them and the potatoes.  Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over everything before serving.

ON THE FARM

making bunches of cilantro

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Winter Share Week 2; October 18, 2012

What’s in the box?

Winter Share week 2

pie pumpkin

sweet dumpling or delicata squash

potatoes

celeriac

bagged broccoli

bagged spinach

curly kale

sage

garlic

onions (red and yellow)

brussel sprouts

Notes on the box…

Please see last weeks post for storage tips.

This is CELERIAC.

Celeriac is a root.  The flavor is similar to celery, but the texture is similar to other root vegetables.  Store it in the crisper drawer of your fridge.  When you are ready to prepare it, it’s best to peel it (a pairing knife works well) because the small gnarled roots tend to hold on to a lot of dirt.  Celeriac is great cubed and roasted, cubed and sautéed, added to soups where celery is called for, you can cut it up and boil it with potatoes and mash to add a little new flavor to your mashed potatoes…  it’s a great vegetable!

Sage pairs well with potatoes and also winter squash.  If you would like to dry it, just hang it upside down in a dark spot.  Use less sage when it is dried because the flavor concentrates.

Recipes…

Creamy Celeriac Soup with Bacon Bits

Raw Celeriac and Apple Salad   This recipe calls for watercress, but I think it would be great served on top of the spinach in this weeks box.

Spaghetti With Broccoli Cream Pesto  From Smitten Kitchen

Dijon Braised Brussel Sprouts from Smitten Kitchen

Maple Glazed Acorn Squash with Apples, Sage, and Parsnips (substitute celeriac for parsnips and if you don’t have acorn squash, try it with the sweet dumpling)

On the farm….

Garlic was planted last Friday.  It was a lovely fall day.  We seem to consistently get the garlic in on a lovely fall day.  Planting garlic is usually the last big thing that we get done every season.  Once it’s done we breathe a sigh of relief.  We celebrated Otto’s second birthday with lots of family.  We ate a huge feast (everyone really loved the brussel sprouts roasted and the delicata and sweet dumpling squash cooked as suggested in last weeks post).  It’s been nice to have more space in our days than we did when weeds kept growing and there was always something that needed to get planted or to get trellised or to get harvested….  We’ve been able to visit some of our farmer friends again.  We check in with them to see how their seasons went.  Sounds like things went well (though it was too dry) for everyone that we’ve check in with so far.  This winding down on the farm also allows Rama to get back to taking cheesemaking classes and getting apprentice hours towards getting her cheese makers license.   We look forward to eventually being able to sell our members the delicious cheese we’ve been making!  We hope you enjoy the box this week.

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Winter Share, Week 1; October 11, 2012

What’s in the box?

Winter Share Week 1

bagged spinach

green and ripe heirloom tomatoes

yellow onions

garlic

parsley

carnival squash

brussel sprouts

acorn squash

pie pumpkin

collard greens

green cabbage

broccoli

potatoes


Notes on the box….

Spinach, parsley, collards, cabbage, brussel sprouts, and broccoli can all be stored in your fridge.  You’ll want to keep the spinach, parsley, and collards in your crisper.

Store onions, garlic, winter squash, tomatoes, and potatoes outside of your fridge.

If you don’t have room in your fridge, feel free to pop the sprouts off the stalk of the brussel sprouts and put them in a plastic bag before storing them in the fridge.  Their flavor tends to diminish the longer they are off the stalk, so try to cook them soon.  They are one of many crops that taste quite a lot better fresh from the farm than they do from the store.  These sprouts suffered through an extra hot and dry summer and fall, so the flavor isn’t quite as awesome as previous seasons, but still quite good even if there is a little bit more bitterness than they normally have.  The stalk is not edible.  NOTE:  When cooking brussel sprouts, be sure to cut off the tough end where the sprout connects to the stalk.  Then CUT THE SPROUTS IN HALF.  It makes them cook more quickly and taste a lot better than overcooking the whole thing in an attempt to get the entire sprout tender!  Though they are often steamed, they are really great roasted or sautéed.

We prewash the spinach, but to be sure that you don’t get any grit in your salad or whatever you decide to make with it, we suggest washing or rinsing again.

The collards are nice and sweet again after a few good frosts and some cool weather.  We made pretty huge bunches of collards.  After some discussion in the field we decided that for the remainder of the Winter Share boxes, we will give smaller bunches of more varieties of greens so as not to force you to eat one type of green all week long.  Hope you can get through and enjoy these collards, though.  If you have a hard time, you can sneak some leaves into smoothies.  If you have a juicer, you can juice both the stems and leaves.  Or you can stem and cut up the collards and blanche them, and freeze.  They are great to add to soups later.

Most of the broccoli is side shoots.  After the plant puts on its main head and we harvest that, it grows multiple small heads.  We really like cooking with the side shoots because they are so easy  to work with.  The stalk is edible and can be chopped and cooked with the head of the broccoli.

There are three types of Winter Squash this week.  Sweet Dumpling, Acorn, and Pie Pumpkin.  We try to keep squash with any bumps, scrapes, or bruises out of the boxes.  There are a handful of acorn squash with the stems missing.  Any Winter Squash with imperfections should be eaten first as they won’t hold as well as others.  Otherwise, WinterSquash should hold for at least a couple of months and they make nice Autumn decoration as you wait to eat them. Wash off the squash before you cook them!

The skin on the Sweet Dumpling is edible, making it a great squash for cutting in half, seeding, slicing into crescent moons or rings, tossing with some olive oil and spices of your choice, and roasting in the oven until fork tender and slighty carmelized on the edges.

Sweet Dumpling

Some people eat the skin of the acorn squash and some do not.  It depends on how long you roast it and your preference for tough or fiberous textures.  These are a less sweet squash that taste great cut in half, seeded, and roasted with butter and maple syrup or honey until nice and soft. They are also wonderful stuffed with your favorite savory stuffing.

Acorn Squash

Pie Pumpkins are good for roasting and using in pumpkin muffins, bread, pie, and smoothies.  They are also good if you can seed the pumpkin, peel the skin (you need a good vegetable peeler to do this), and cube and add to curries or use in soups.  They are also good for Halloween decorations.

pie pumpkin

The tomatoes were picked from the greenhouses as we are cleaning them out to get them ready for next season.  Green tomatoes can be ripened by putting them in a paper bag with an apple on your counter.  The texture and flavor of these tomatoes aren’t the best for fresh eating, but are great for sauces and stews.

Recipes…..

sautéed Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Onions from Alice Waters The Art of Simple Food

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Braised Collard Greens from Mad Hungry by Lucinda Scala Quinn

1 lb. collard greens, trimmed and washed, water still clinging to the leaves

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 slices bacon, cut in half lengthwise and sliced crosswise in ½-inch pieces

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

Coarse salt

1. Remove the tough stems from the collard leaves.  Finely slice the stems crosswise. Stack a few leaves on top of each other and cut into 1 ½- to 2-inch pieces. Repeat with all leaves.  You’ll have 8 packed cups.

2. Heat a 20-inch sauté pan over high heat.  Swirl in the oil and add the onion, bacon, and red pepper flakes.  Fry until the onion is soft and the bacon is beginning to render its fat and crisp up, about 13 minutes.

3. Add the greens, 2 cups at a time.  Stir into the onion mixture as you add.  They will collapse and shrink in the heat.

4.  When all the greens are in the pan and the heat has returned to sizzling high, pour in the vinegar.  Stir to evaporate.  Cover and let the greens cook over low heat until just tender, 10 to 15 minutes.  Add a bit of water as needed to keep the greens from burning.  Add salt to taste and serve.

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I made this recipe for Creamed Spinach from the book Mad Hungry, but I doubled the sauce, added a few cloves of minced garlic, and mixed it and the spinach in with some cooked pasta and topped with grated Romano.  It made a great and quick lunch.  Josh has made Creamed Collards, by substituting sautéed collard greens and garlic for the spinach and adds 1/4 cup of cream to the sauce.  It’s really rich and delicious!

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Please see last weeks blog post for many more recipes using ingredients from the box!

On the farm….

It’s feeling very much like Winter is knocking on the farm.  We are cooking a lot in the oven and making soup on the stove.  We are drinking tea on our breaks.  We are getting sore, pink fingers on cold mornings bunching greens in wet weather.  Those cold damp days make us want to get our work done quickly so that we can be inside, warm, and out of the weather.  But we are LOVING the sunny crisp clear days that make us so happy to be working outside!

We have picked rock out of the garlic patch for next season. This would be the third picking this summer. Still hauling multiple full trailer loads. But we push on. We have saved garlic seed for 8 eight years running now. You may have seen some small heads of garlic this season as we are holding back the largest for seed stock, and our hope will be to have enough large stock to give to you and have enough for seed. That day is getting near.

The weather continues to be dry, we are still irrigating the carrots, and broccoli that we hope will come on soon. The growing days are numbered. long range forecast predic cold and dry conditions this winter, so we will be sure to mulch the garlic to prevent heaving and frost damage.

We unfortunately don’t have the wide variety that we had last season as the dry hot weather took out many of the plantings we had hoped to have for this time of season. But the boxes are still full.

Survey results will be in soon

have a great week

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week 18; October 4, 2012 Last box of the Summer Season

FULL SHARE

eggs! (not pictured)

bagged spinach

red onions

mini-Long Island Cheese Pumpkin (edible)

Acorn Squash

Leeks

green-top beets

green and ripe heirloom tomatoes

bagged brussel sprouts

cabbage

broccoli

SINGLE SHARE

eggs

leeks

acorn squash

red cabbage

lacinato kale

bagged spinach

green tomatoes

bagged brussel sprouts

red onion

Notes on the box…

The eggs are from our wonderful flock of laying hens who are out running around in the pasture as you read this.  They eat bugs, grass, and an Organic grain ration and the eggs are very different than even the Organic eggs in the grocery store.  You will certainly notice the difference in flavor.  We hope you enjoy them!

We went ahead and pulled the brussel sprouts off the stalks.  I know it’s a fun task, and it’s easier for us to leave them on the stalk (and they stay tastier longer on the stalk) but we wouldn’t have been able to fit everything in the box if we had left them on, so we bagged them up.  Use them sooner rather than later for the best flavor!

As explained in previous blog posts, we had poor germination on our carrots, beets, and lettuce earlier in the season.  We finally got a planting to germinate, but nothing sized up enough on time to make it into the boxes.  Except these baby beets of which we only had enough for bunches for the full shares.  Sorry about that, Single Share beet lovers!  The beets and their greens are edible, but both will store longer if you remove the tops from the beets.  I suggest cutting below the rubberband and putting the beet roots in a bag.  The tops will store better in plastic in your crsiper as well because they lose moisture very quickly.  The baby beets don’t need to be peeled and are fantastic roasted with a little oil until they are tender.  Beet tops are great sauted to wilted with a little oil and garlic and then finished with a squeeze of lemon juice.  You can also add them to the bagged spinach (if you are cooking the spinach) or use it in any recipe that calls for chard.

Green tomatoes for a nice green tomato recipe (see below) OR you can put them in a paper bag with an apple and they will ripen.  They won’t have that great Summer time flavor.  Most all tomatoes that you buy in the store are picked green and ripened with ethylene.  The trick with the bag works because apples naturally release ethylene.

Store the Winter Squash, tomatoes, garlic, and onions outside of the fridge and everything else in the fridge.

Recipes…..

Flash Pickled Green Tomatoes from Food and Wine.  Make these and put them on a BLT Or a TLT (with tempeh instead of bacon).  If you have no L, you can substitute Spinach!

Making the Most of Green Tomaotes provides several ideas.

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Warm Cabbage, Onion, and Apple Slaw from Alic Waters’ Chez Panisse Vegetables.  Serves 8-10

1 medium yellow or red onion

1 medium red or green cabbage

2 large crisp, sweet apples

oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper

Peel and slice the onions very thin. Trim the cabbage, core it, cut it in half, and slice it into a fine chiffonade, as for coleslaw.  Peel, core and slice the apples very thin.  In a large saute pan, heat the iol and begin to saute the onions.  When they are translucent and just beginning to brown, add the apples.  Saute about 1 min until everything is sizzling.  Add the cabbage, the salt and pepper, and a dash of vinegar, and a little water.  Stir on a hot flame just long enough to barely cook the cabbage.  It should retain a little crunch and sweetness of fresh cabbage.  Serve with pork, roast chicken, or duck; a savory grain and legume pilaf or roast potatoes; or by itself, cold.

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Spinach Salad with Roasted Baby Beets

Wash the beets and toss them with a little oil.  You can cut them into halves or quarters or bite size pieces depending on what you like.  Cook them in a 375 degree oven until they are fork tender.  Time will vary depending on if you cut them up or not.  Toast some nuts, wash your spinach and make a dressing (honey mustard is nice) Toss the spinach with the dressing, top with toasted nuts, cooled roasted beets, maybe some finely diced red onion, and some goat cheese or grated cheese of your choice.

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From our Liberty Village Host, Natalie….  a suggestion for a quick and easy go-to meal!  Thanks, Natalie!

“i made this last week, i thought of you all…as i used ONLY YOUR food plus pasta to create one of my FAVORITE/EASY go-to meals:

in a skillet/fry pan, take a little evoo and one very large or 2 small onion and saute…when slightly softened (not browned) add 2-3 tomatoes, diced (all but core in, last time i used a giant heirloom…delicious), salt, pepper and red chili flake to preference for heat.

while doing this, boil nicely salted water w/ whole grain penne (or any short pasta of your liking), reserving 1/2 c liquid,
when noodles are done, so is your sauce, add some of Rama’s grated Romano (generously with a little more on top)…

toss, add reserved water if you want it ‘more saucy’…and enjoy.  if you want it heartier or someone in your family (we will call him Jason) needs MEAT, we add a cooked chicken breast diced…”

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Derek made this for us for lunch after his partner Terese made it for him for supper.  It’s yummy!  Coconut Brussel Sprouts with Dal

On the Farm…..

This is officially the last box of the 2012 Summer Season.  We will be sending an email with a link to the 2012 survey.  Please take a few minutes to fill it out.  We read and value every response.  The surveys help us a lot in our planning for next season.

We also invite you all to go ahead and sign up for the 2013 season.  If you sign up now, you will be guaranteed the 2012 price and you will be doing us a favor!  We need funds for the seed order which we place in December and if everyone waits until April of next year, we have to dip into savings or live pretty lean during the Winter to get the order paid for…  Or we wait until the CSA money starts coming in and some of our best varieities of seeds might be sold out!

We want to take a moment to thank our crew.  Craig, Lauren, Derek, and Cassandra have been so much fun to have around and amazingly dedicated workers.  It’s a lot to ask for people that are working for not much pay to care about the farm as much as we do.  Enough to show up each day with the sun and to work until the jobs are done.  They all gave so much and all worked with interest and passion and great attitudes.  We hope that they learned and discovered what they set out to by working on our farm.  Any of our members who had the good fortune of meeting them know how kind they are and how much they love farming and food!  These guys are like family to us and we look forward to seeing where they go and what they decide to do.  One thing is for sure, they ALL have what it takes to be farmers and they will be successful in any endeavor they choose.  Thank you so much crew of 2012!

We also want to give a great thanks to all of you who signed up and were a part of our farm. We would not be here without you. It may seem somewhat far removed from your life in the city, but we really want you to know what impact your food choices have. If we were not with us, these 40 acres that we call home would most likely be a Genetically Modified corn field or a worn out hayfield rented to a retiring dairyman who can’t afford to give anything back to the soil. You are  helping to challenge what many people see as farming. I was riding in a tow truck the other day and the driver asked what I do. I kept it simple and said “I’m farming full time”, immediately he started asking about corn prices. I didn’t really have the time to get into the details, but that is exactly the opposite of what we are doing here. When you buy food from us, you are supporting a business that sells real food to its neighbors… not the highest bidder on the global stock exchange. Half of our income doesn’t go to oil and chemical companies or vertically integrated agribusiness. It goes to the local hardware stores, the bakery in town, Organic seed companies, our employees who are most likely to carry on farming in some capacity, who are learning what it takes to grow food and applying it to thier lives. YOU helped to make it all happen! We have offered the alternative to the multinational corporations. You have chosen not to get some or all of your food from those places, but from us. This has a ripple effect that can turn the tide, that can make our region food secure and make our community more diverse and economically and environmentally sustainable. This is a blueprint for the future. You have taken part in what will be looked at as a great experiment that changed the way we got food.  Directly from the farm.

You have our deepest gratitude.  We look forward to feeding you and your families for many years to come.

2012 farm crew

brussel sprouts

the stalks are cut with a sawz-all or heavy duty loppers

then they are put into harvest bins and driven to the packing shed

unless all the bins fall off the wagon first…

taking the sprouts off the stalk is not the most entertaining job, until…

Farmer Josh feels inspired to sing out!

he’s inspired by his love for the Sprout!

back to work, slightly more entertained

First Winter box will be delivered next Thusday to those members who signed up for a Winter Share.  See ya then!

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