***Your farmers are coming to the big city on February 19 from 5-7 in the Zeitgeist Arts atrium to talk about the upcoming season and give away some of our precious rutabagas! You can come and sign up for a CSA share or just chat local organic farming and swap root vegetable recipes.***
If you are reading this, and you’re in Northern Minnesota or Wisconsin right now, congratulations. You’re still here! The stand-out weather events of the past few weeks are a great unifier of sorts. Case in point: I know we’ll all be shoveling this evening, no? At least it’s fluffy.
I’ve always felt that our less than ideal driving conditions actually make us better drivers. The slipping and sliding, not to mention the hills and banks of snow (that I’m sure hide my silvery Civic from all cross traffic) keep us in constant awareness of our actions on the road affecting those around us. We know to slow down early before stoplights, and to give the right of way to anyone trying to make it up a narrow avenue. We shovel people out and get pushed out of intersections by strangers, with no time, or traction, to stop and say thank you. We’re all in it together, and I think we either love complaining about it or relishing in the wintry wonderland of it all. Or a mix of the two.
And we’re unified by our source of staples for the month. At points during these winter months I’m sure many of us are eating lunches and dinners that look very similar. Our cutting boards will all look bright pink at points too.
As always, I’m thankful that you all seek out our winter (and summer) CSA and with that support we are able to keep growing in sustainability and resilience for our shifting climate.
We are all unified in that too, though it doesn’t always create the rush of feeling of sliding to, or maybe past, a stop sign. Sometimes it is like a lullaby of climate change – of more and more sunny beach days in the summer where the Lake is actually warm. Or of fewer mosquitoes on camping trips. Sometimes the way we are affecting the environment does pack a punch. Like with washed out bridges from “hundred year” floods that have happened back to back, or record highs year after year, or a photo of stacks upon stacks of bison skulls bleached in the prairie sun. Our grasping reach has been off balance for a long time, and we’re sliding.
Day by day, with our choice to eat locally what we can, and live simply in the ways we can, we’re unified in trying to make the out-of-control slide slower, to ease the burden our convenience culture has put on the environment.
I hope we can go forth in the world and treat each other with with the same awareness too. We are all a part of the climate just as much as the Lake or the rutabagas or the honey bees. On the surface it’s often impossible to see who might be sliding uncontrollably down hill, or unable to dig their way out of a drift as the winds of life blow, or who might need a kind push to get going, even if they don’t stop to say thank you.
The roads, our dinner plates and our humanity unify us, and I for one should practice going out with a sense of collaboration and not of playing bumper cars with anyone or anything.
For the boot stomping and carrot bagging farm crew,
In your share this month:
Red and Chioggia beets – Red cabbage – Carrots – Yellow and red onions – Parsnips – Red and yellow Potatoes – Rutabaga – Delicata squash
Spicy squash salad with lentils and goat cheese -From the Smitten Kitchen
Serves 6 as an appetizer, 3 as a main
3/4 cup black or green lentils
6 cups peeled, seeded and cubed squash (1-inch cubes)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon hot smoked Spanish paprika*
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup soft crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced mint leaves (optional)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, plus additional to taste
Roasted squash seeds (about 1/2 cup)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss squash cubes with 2 tablespoons oil, cumin, paprika and salt. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet and roast 20 minutes. Flip pieces and roast for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until tender. Cool.
Meanwhile, soak lentils for 10 minutes in a small bowl, then drain. Cook lentils in boiling salted water until tender but firm, about 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water, then drain and cool.
Combine lentils, squash, any oil you can scrape from the baking sheet (I didn’t get enough for this to be worth it) with arugula, if using, half of goat cheese, mint, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper and extra vinegar, if desired (we felt it needed it). Divide among plates and pass with remaining goat cheese to sprinkle.
*More or less spicy to taste
1/2 lb delicata, peeled and cubed
3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 large beet, peeled and cubed
1 rutabaga, peeled and cubed
1 parsnip, peeled and cubed
¼ cup butter, room temperature
1 pinch ground nutmeg
salt and ground black pepper to taste
Place squash, potato, beet, rutabaga and parsnip into a large pot and cover with salted water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Drain and return to pot.
Mash vegetable mixture and butter together with a potato masher or fork until orange-ish with streaks of red from the beets; season with nutmeg, salt, and black pepper.