One of the highlights of my life the last few months is food preservation. It looks me right in the face every time I step foot in our amazing root cellar at the farm. From seed to storage, there is nothing more satisfying than preserving the bounty of the season, especially when you can watch a crop throughout its entire lifetime. My shelves are full of some amazing local produce thanks both to my job at the farm and having friends in the farm community. I am still relatively new to food preserving. The volume needed for a highly self-sustaining lifestyle hasn’t been attainable quite yet, so it seems like less of a chore and more of an experiment. We all know there are much less time-strenuous ways of getting and keeping food but I’m enjoying honing the craft of putting up food for the winter.
When I’m sweating over a hot stove by myself I often thing about the times when people would participate in community canning parties. It seems like a big stretch to organize events like that today, but it seems like such a great thing and I love hearing stories about farm members getting together with friends and family to process food together! It’s so great to know exactly what you’re eating and where it comes from, and doing the work with others makes it an occasion rather than just a chore. Plus, the apple fruit roll-ups I made with local apples taste much better than Betty Crocker’s.
After last week’s storm the fields are covered in snow, though it looks like we may lose it all this week. A good hard freeze gives our soil a nice reset each year and can kill invasive pests, so we’re hoping that we do get some extended winter weather soon, and we sure could use some moisture in the ground. Towards the end of this harvest season, we removed all of the plastic walls from one of the greenhouses to give the soil inside a much-needed snow treatment this winter. While the plastic stays up on most of the greenhouses every winter, we try to leave it off over winter when it needs to be replaced. This helps wash away mineral build ups from many seasons of irrigation, loosen the soil with a few good freeze-thaw cycles, and build up the subsoil water reserves. I have a feeling that one of the first tasks to happen on the farm this spring is reassembling the greenhouse. I hope we have some calm days this spring, because any breeze can get pretty exciting when you’re holding a 48×150 foot kite! If you see us hitchhiking back from Wisconsin in April you’ll know what happened.
From Food Farm to you, enjoy this holiday season!
Queue “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” by Bing Crosby
For the farm crew, Emily
In your shares this month:
Beets – Green Cabbage – Orange and Purple Carrots – Garlic – Onions – French Fingerling and Yellow Potatoes – Sunshine and Delicata Squash
Beet, Apple, and Walnut Salad – The Book of Salads by Sonia Uvezian
- 2 large, cooked beets – peeled and chopped
- 2 tart apples – peeled, cored, and chopped
- 6 stalks celery
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp orange juice
- 1 small clove of garlic – crushed (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine apples, beets, celery and walnuts in a bowl.
- Beat together the oil, vinegar, juice, salt, pepper, and garlic with a fork and whisk until well blended.
- Pour over salad. Toss gently but thoroughly. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Creamy Garlic Dressing – Moosewood Cooks at Home
- 3 garlic cloves – minced or pressed
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp chopped basil (or 1 tsp dried)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp grated Parmesan
- pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup milk
- Put garlic, oil, vinegar, basil, salt, Parmesan, and pepper into a blender or processor and whirl for a couple of seconds.
- With the blender still running, slowly add the milk, whirling until the dressing is thick and smooth. Covered and refrigerated, this will keep a week.
Roasted [Sunshine] Squash Soup – Simply Recipes
- 3-4 lbs. sunshine squash, seeded (about 1 large squash)
- This squash is in your share this month!
- 2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 cups chopped or sliced onions
- 2 ribs celery, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
- 2-inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Lime juice, for serving
- Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
- Roast the squash: Preheat oven to 400°F. Use a heavy chef’s knife or cleaver (it helps if you have a rubber mallet as well) to cut the kabocha squash half into a few large pieces. (Kabocha squash is thick and meaty and can be a challenge to cut. Make sure the squash is stable on your cutting board before you start to cut it.) Scoop out the seeds (you can toast them like pumpkin seeds!) and stringy insides. Place the squash pieces on a foil or Silpat lined roasting pan.
- Rub 1 tablespoon olive oil over all sides, and sprinkle with salt. Put the squash pieces skin side up on the pan. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour, until completely cooked through, soft, and caramelized at the edges. Remove from oven and let sit.
- Sauté onions, celery, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander: Heat the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high heat in a large (4 to 6 quart) thick-bottomed pan. Add the onions and celery. Lower the heat to medium and cook until softened, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, and coriander and cook 2 minutes more.
- Add squash, stock, salt, pepper, then simmer: Once squash is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin. Place the roasted kabocha squash flesh into the pot with the onions and celery mixture. Add the stock, salt and pepper. Increase heat to high to bring the soup to a simmer, then lower the heat to low, partially cover and cook 8 to 10 minutes.
- Purée the soup: Remove from heat. Use an immersion blender (or work in batches with a standing blender, only filling the blender bowl 1/3 of the way each time) to purée the soup.
- Add more salt to taste. Sprinkle with lime juice and chopped cilantro to serve.