There are little things I forget about how the season goes this time of year. I enjoy the changes of season, and I am happy that autumn is coming. And even though I’ve had a fair number of seasons now, there are still things I forget and am glad to be reminded of, like looking back at old photos from happy times, or smelling something that matches a memory perfectly.
Three weeks ago, I don’t know that I could have remembered if asters bloom purple to begin with and then fade to white, or start white and get darker as they age. Now, I remember, and I see: most of them start off purple. It seems like it wasn’t so very long ago the sun came in to wake me up and now I roll over in bed until I see a hint of a glow in the east. I’ll get up before her, but I like to see that she’ll join me before too long. I forgot that happened so soon, and it is taking adjusting to.
On my drives to and from the farm I’ve been reminded that this is the time of year that deer start to turn from their red summer coats to their grey-brown winter coat. There are some of each color roaming in the fields in Wrenshall, trying to put on more weight.
It is the season of plenty. This past weekend the Food Farm had a booth at the Lake Superior Sustainable Farming Harvest Fest down at Bay Front. Harvesting and preparing to go was added work for the crew the Friday before, and they did a great job. It was all worth it to hear the compliments about how the food looked, and to see people get excited about well grown, local food.
It was fun to meet a few members at the Harvest Fest. Out of the scores of people that get our summer share I know only a handful of you -and any face I can put with a name is a treat.
That’s what I like about doing the Harvest Fest- it colors in a fuller picture of what the work of farming is all about. Hearing what people are planning for dinner, or talking to them about what the purple peppers are like or letting them know to wait a while before eating their winter squash (yes, it’s coming!) makes the work feel whole somehow.
It’s dawning on me that in some way, except for what I snack on throughout the day (which is a lot) or take home for myself (also a lot) it’s as if I forget I’m working with food. Real food – so real I almost want to capitalize it. All the energy we (mostly the soil and sun) spend to make this food- you get that energy. You take it and turn it into other work like organizing, caring for children or parents or yourself, hiking, preserving, crafting … anything you do. That’s why we do the work on the farm, and I’m glad to have a reason to be reminded of it.
For the farm crew,
In your share this week:
- Yellow Beans
- Red cabbage
- Greens mix
- Red onions
- Green pepers
- Russet potatoes
Roasted Root Vegetables
- 1 cup diced, raw beet
- 4 carrots, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cups diced potatoes
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup torn beet greens
- Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
- Place the beet, carrot, onion, potatoes, garlic, and garbanzo beans into a 9×13 inch baking dish. Drizzle with the olive oil, then season with thyme, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
- Bake, uncovered, in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, stirring once midway through baking. Remove the baking dish from the oven, and stir in the wine. Return to the oven, and bake until the wine has mostly evaporated and the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes more. Stir in the beet greens, allowing them to wilt from the heat of the vegetables. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.
Carrot Cake Pancakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (I used a smidge less)
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (optional, I skipped them)
2 tablespoons golden raisins (optional, ditto)
1 large egg
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups finely grated carrots (from about a 3/4 pound bundle whole carrots)
3 tablespoons butter, for griddle
Cream cheese topping
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Dash of ground cinnamon
Place a rack in the upper third of your oven and preheat to 200°F. This will keep the pancakes warmed as they’re fried in batches.
To make the pancakes: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and, if using, nuts and raisins. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, brown sugar, buttermilk and vanilla. Stir in carrots. Stir carrot mixture into dry ingredients, stirring until just Incorporated. Let rest for five minutes while you make the cream cheese topping.
To make the cream cheese topping: In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese until fluffy and lump-free. Whisk in powdered sugar, two tablespoons milk, vanilla and cinnamon. If you’d like the mixture thinner, add the remaining tablespoon of milk (I did not).
Over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a cast-iron skillet or griddle pan. Spoon 2 tablespoons batter into the hot pan per pancake (to me, this seemed like too little but after experimenting with larger pancakes, I advise you to listen to Joy; It’s a wiggly batter and much easier to and cook in small puddles), flipping once, until pancakes are golden on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer finished pancakes to a serving dish or tray in the oven, to keep warm while you repeat the process with the remaining batter, adding more butter as needed.
Serve warm with cream cheese topping.