March Winter CSA

Hello beloved farm members,

This is the time of the year when our farm seasons begin to overlap. We are still packing up the last of our veggies from this past growing season and sending them to our wholesale customers and your CSA shares. In addition, the crew also started planting onions and greens for this upcoming season. Onions are the first to be seeded into flats, and one of the first be transplanted into the fields each year. This year we planted over 40,000 onion seeds! Greens mix is relatively quick, but it’s always touch and go whether they’ll be ready in time for the April Winter Shares, so bring on the sun! It’s exciting every year to get the new season rolling while we’re still sending out produce from last year.

This growing season we will have some new faces here on the farm as well as some seasoned veterans. Personally, I am excited to meet new crew members and learn their life stories and what brought them to work at the Food Farm. Everyone’s story is different but our goals are all relatively the same: getting our hands dirty and growing good organic veggies for our community. I feel like I learn new things almost every day at the farm, so I am also looking forward to that this year too.

A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of being interviewed by Fox21 to let our community know how things are going for us at the farm. Check our the interview (and my cinematic debut) by clicking this link here: https://www.fox21online.com/2022/02/28/food-farm-ready-for-2022-farming-season/?fbclid=IwAR1iteB7ZoSbY1O-82BXkTwMGjuKBPEG1ULnkIjY1QuBdD9-I94tPLq4k5A

We hope you’ll have a chance to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather this week!

For the farm crew, Emily

In your shares this month you will find:

Red Cabbage, Rutabaga, Beets, Red Potatoes, Fingerling Potatoes, Onions, Parsnips, and Orange and Purple Carrots.

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Beet and Fennel Salad with Citrus 

  • 2 lbs beets
  • 3 oranges (assortment looks pretty:  navel, cara cara, mandarins, blood oranges)
  • Fennel (one bulb), very thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, very thinly sliced (or red onion)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp vinegar (white wine or champagne best, white is OK)
  • 1/2-1 tsp sugar or honey
  • Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Trim and wash the beets and wrap them in foil.  Put them in the oven and roast for 45-60 minutes, until tender.  Let cool.
  • Slice the peels and pith off the citrus.  Thinly slice (1/4″ or less) or section the oranges over a bowl to catch the juices.  
  • Slice or dice the beets and layer them on a platter.  Place the thinly sliced fennel, orange sections, and shallots on top of the beets.  
  • Make the vinaigrette by combining the vinegar, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper (to taste) in a bowl.  Whisk until emulsified and pour over the salad. 
  • This salad is also very good with the addition of sliced avocado, but the leftovers are less attractive.  🙂

Carrot-Parsnip Soup (New York Times)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped parsnip (about 1 lb)
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cups coarsely chopped carrot (about 1 lb)
  • 2 cans (28oz total) vegetable broth
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp chives (garnish)
  • Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.  Add chopped parsnip, water, carrot and broth:  bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 50 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.  
  • Place 1/2 of parsnip mixture in a blender: process until smooth.  Pour pureed carrot mixture into a large bowl.  Repeat procedure with remaining veggies.  Stir in salt and pepper. 
  • Sprinkle chives on top of soup before serving.  

February Winter CSA

Greetings fellow food lovers,

It has been awfully chilly the last few weeks around the farm. Normally, we run around in circles and light veggie scraps on fire to stay warm every morning. We’ve also been curating a new dance routine to really turn up the heat in the packing shed. This helps us pack your veggies faster and also keeps our toes from freezing. Although I am just kidding, I often wonder during these cold midwinter stretches, “Why do I live somewhere that if I stayed outside too long, I would die?” On the other hand, the long winter can be a nice break from all of the summer work we do at the farm, and I love that we have real seasons in the Northland.

Speaking of the Northland, we had a great time seeing our community at Wild State Cider last week for our annual rutabaga giveaway. In case you missed it, this event had a unique twist this year: rutabaga curling! I can’t think of a better way to take advantage of this unique vegetable (aside from, you know, eating it). Plus, curlers can really sweep you off your feet. Our friends helped make a wonderful video with some highlights from the event which you can find on our Facebook page or by clicking this link: https://fb.watch/b8eTjlvrps/.

Make sure you sign up for your summer shares if you haven’t already! These spots tend to fill quickly. More of this information can be found right on our website. Let us know if you have any questions. Throughout these recent times of uncertainty in our food systems, the importance of local farms has really been brought to light. Community Supported Agriculture has given all of us stability and the ability to contribute to something bigger than ourselves. Our crew at the Food Farm continues to take this responsibility seriously and we appreciate our members and your support!

By the time I write the next newsletter, I expect we will have seen warmer days (by warmer days I mean anything above 20 degrees), and we’ll be starting up greenhouse work and seeding onions! Oh, and remember: organic vegetables make the perfect Valentine’s Day gifts.

Stay warm,

Emily

Your CSA farmers love you!

In your shares this month:

Beets – Carrots – Green Cabbage – Parsnips – Baby Red and Russett Potatoes – Onions – Garlic – Delicata Squash

Mulligan Stew (The Soup and Bread Cookbook, B. Ojakangas)

  • 2 lbs beef stew meat cut into 1″ cubes (or substitute beans for a vegetarian version)
  • 4 medium thin skinned potatoes, yellow or red, washed, unpeeled and quartered
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into 2″ pieces
  • 4 small onions, quartered
  • 1 (1/2 lb) rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup red wine or water

In a 4-qt soup pot, combine the meat and cold water to cover and bring to a boil.  Add the potatoes, carrots, onions, rutabaga, parsley, sugar, salt, and pepper.  Simmer, tightly covered, over low heat until the meat is tender, about 2 hours and 30 minutes.

In a cup, mix the flour and wine/water until smooth.  Stir into the stew and cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently to thicken the stew. 

Kalldolmer (Danish cabbage rolls)(Danish Food Cookbook)

  • 3/4 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 lb ground pork
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice or 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 cans stewed tomatoes
  • 12 cabbage leaves (large)

Mix meats, rice/bread crumbs, onion, milk, egg, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Rinse a large cabbage head and remove about 12 large leaves.  Drop the leaves into boiling water for a few minutes to soften them.  Drain the leaves.  Place about 1/4 cup of meatball mix into the center of the leaf and wrap it like a package.  Brown in a frying pan and then place seam side down in a 9″x13″ baking pan.  Pour the tomatoes over them.  Bake 350F for about an hour.

November Winter CSA

Welcome to the first winter share of the season! There is no better time to receive your first dose of winter veggies than right after daylight savings time. Personally, after a long season here at the farm an extra hour of sleep is more than needed, even though we have to put up with Janaki complaining that his kids now wake up at 4:30 in the morning. This is also the final week of the season for many of our farm hands, some of whom have their own winter adventures ahead of them. Lucky for me, I get to stick around the farm this winter to help pack your winter shares and local wholesale orders.

If this is your first share with us, thank you for choosing local and organic. If you have been a member here for years, thank you for continuing to support our mission. Although we farm hands don’t interact with members very much, we definitely keep all of you in mind when doing various tasks on the farm. As we ventured through the great carrot and potato harvests of 2021, I considered how many mouths these crops will feed through the winter and it made the work more fulfilling.

The last few weeks have been really busy here at the farm to get us set up for the winter. We have cleared many fields of the crops they have been growing all season long. We harvested so many tons of carrots, potatoes, parsnips, cabbage, and Dave’s favorite crop: rutabagas. Among these harvests, Janaki has a plan for exactly which crop is going where this winter. Many carrots will end up in your winter shares. Others will be on the shelves at local grocery stores. The odd shaped and broken carrots even get sold to local businesses to make things such as kimchi. If it’s in the root cellar, it has a plan.

Also, be sure not to forget that it’s officially SOUP SEASON! I know I said that right at the turn of the first leaf this fall, but now it’s more relevant as we have finally experienced cooler temperatures. As a disclaimer, you’ll probably see many soup recipes in these newsletters this winter. A staple in the diets of many Minnesotans, soup may be the defining soup of the winter season. Luckily for you all, many (if not all) of our winter crops are perfect for soup makin’.

Your local soup enthusiast,

Emily

In your shares this month:

Beets, Brussel Sprouts, Carrots, Celery, Onions, Russet and Red Potatoes, Rosemary, Spinach, and Delicata and Kabocha Winter Squash

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Indonesian Carrot Soup (from New England Soup Factory Cookbook, Druker and Silverstein)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 whole cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced
  • 1.5 lbs carrots (we also use winter squash), peeled and sliced
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 16 oz coconut milk (one can)
  • 2 tbsp cilantro 
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat stockpot over medium high heat.  Add olive oil, garlic, ginger, onion, celery and carrots/squash.  Sauté for 10 minutes.  Add curry, coriander, cumin, pepper flakes, stock and sherry.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to med and simmer 30-40 minutes (until carrots and/or squash are tender).  Remove from heat and add honey, coconut milk, cilantro, salt, and pepper.  Puree the soup using immersion or conventional blender.  Makes 5-6 servings.

Spanish Tortilla (New York Times, Mark Bittman)

  • 1.25 lbs potatoes (3-4 medium)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 extra large eggs

Peel and thinly slice potatoes and onions.  Heat oil in nonstick skillet over medium heat.  After 3-4 minutes, drop in a potato slice.  When tiny bubbles appear around its edges, add potatoes, onions, salt and pepper.  Gently turn mixture in oil with a wooden spoon and adjust heat so oil bubbles lazily. Cook, turning potatoes every few minutes, until they are tender when pierced with a knife.  Adjust the heat.  If potatoes begin to break, they are overdone.  As potatoes cook, beat eggs with salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Turn oven on to 350 degrees F.  Drain the potatoes in a colander.  Wipe out skillet and heat over medium heat for one minute.  Add 2 tbsp. of oil.  Gently mix warm potatoes with eggs and add to skillet.  As soon as edges firm up, reduce heat to medium low and cook for 5 minutes.  Finish cooking in the oven.  Bake until firm (appx 10-15 minutes).  Serve warm (not hot) or at room temperature.

Summer CSA Week 18

That’s right farm sharers… It’s the final countdown (insert Europe guitarist). I think every one of us on the farm is shocked that the final CSA delivery is upon us. Not only because it’s still in the 70s during the day, but it also seems like only yesterday we were on the back of the transplanter planting the first of thousands of veggie starts. I don’t think we could have done it without that life-saving, and back-saving implement. Moreover, we could not have done it all without the support of our community and share members. It is all of you that keep the farm afloat and drive us to be the best farmers we can be. 18 weeks of shares have gone by in the blink of an eye yet we have so much to show for it. We have fed hundreds of people fresh, local, and organic veggies all while sustainably stewarding our farm.

This is not to say that with the end of the Summer CSA that comes the end of our work on the farm. In fact, we are just starting most of the large scale projects that will prepare us for our ’21-’22 Winter CSA, winter wholesale orders, and winter itself. On the farm hand side of things, this means clearing out the greenhouses, harvesting insane amounts of carrots, potatoes, beets, rutabagas, parsnips and cabbage, taking down trellises, and stowing the irrigation pipe that got our plants through this brutal summer. On the Janaki side of things, this means ensuring that fields are seeded with cover crops, compost is produced to feed our soil microbes, and operating the tractors so that us farm hands do not suffer at the expense of the insane amount of carrots I mentioned. Of course these aren’t the only things we will be doing over the next month, but you get the idea.

Just as we’re putting the farm to bed, we’re including a few sprigs of lavender in your share, long used as an aromatherapy sleep aide.

Here’s a list of things I have learned this season, even though nobody asked for it:

  • Do not waste time picking burs off of Chester. He will only come back around covered in more. He is also a professional skunk hunter and deer carcass finder.
  • Driving a very old tractor (we call it Stubby) is very fun and also terrifying at the same time.
  • Pigweed is a noxious plant that really makes you question whether or not being an organic farm is really worth it… (It is).
  • When a bee colony swarms they are actually super calm because they are not protecting their queen or hive anymore. I once walked through a swarm of thousands of bees to feed the chickens.
  • Raccoons sneak onto the farm for our tiny corn patch and nothing else.
  • Aside from the skunks that Chester brings around, the worst smell on the farm is hands down the smell of rotting daikon radish.
  • Do NOT harvest beets without gloves on unless you want to look like a murder suspect.
  • There is no such thing as a free meal.

Once again, we could not have done it without all of your support this season. We look forward to feeding you again in 2022. Until then, we will be here waiting and working the land to ensure you all receive high quality veggies next time around.

Take care,

Emily

“Agriculture is the noblest of all alchemy; for it turns earth, and even manure, into gold, conferring upon its cultivator the additional reward of health.” – Paul Chatfield

In your shares this week:

Beets – Carrots – Cilantro – Collar Greens – Lavender – Lettuce – Yellow Onions – Sweet Red Peppers – Hot Peppers – Potatoes – Rutabagas – Red Shallots – Delicata and Kabocha Winter Squash

A wonderful rainbow that made an appearance after we were rained on all day.
An absurdly large daikon radish that is destined for Spirit Creek Farm kimchi.

Red Flannel Hash (modified from NYT Cooking)

This recipe also works wonderfully with left-over roasted vegetables!

1.5 cups diced potatoes

1 cup diced squash

1/2 cup diced beets

1/2 cup diced carrots

1/2 cup diced peppers

1/4 cup diced onion

1/2 tsp each thyme and parsley

salt and pepper to taste


*Note:  Dice all the veggies into the similarly sized cubes (~1/2 inch) Heat oven to 425.  Place potatoes, squash, and beets on a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of oil and bake for 20 minutes.  Add remaining veggies and herbs to the pan with the remaining olive oil and bake another 25 minutes.   
Fry the baked veggies in a frying pan with butter in a single layer to achieve crispness.  Top with a fried egg and serve with a side salad.


Strata (savory bread pudding)

1/2 lb french bread (stale or leftover works best), enough to make 4 cups of bread cubes

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup diced peppers

1 cup diced or grated squash (~1/4″ cubes)

2 cups kale

1 clove garlic, minced

1.5 cups milk

1/2 cup grated hard cheese (swiss, gruyere, or cheddar)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp fresh rosemary (or 1/2tsp dried) 

1 tsp salt

4 large eggs


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Soak the bread cubes in 3/4 c. of the milk. Oil or butter a 2 qt baking dish.  Heat a frying pan and add the kale.  Fry over medium heat until the leaves begin to soften and wilt.  Cover the pan and let the kale steam until cooked (3 minutes).  Remove from pan, press or squeeze out the excess liquid.  Chop coarsely and set aside.  Add 1 tbsp oil to the same frying pan and add the mushrooms and peppers.  Fry on medium heat until the mushrooms are cooked and the peppers have lost some of their moisture.  Add the minced garlic and the squash, and continue to fry for another minute.  Stir in the rosemary and kale.  Remove from heat, pour into a bowl with the cubed bread, the two cheeses, and toss together.  Arrange in a baking dish.
Beat eggs in a medium bowl and add the remaining milk and salt (and a few shakes of black pepper if you like it).  Pour over the bread and press the bread down into the custard mix.  Bake for 40-50 minutes until puffed up and brown and a knife poked into the strata comes out clean.
Note:  this can be assembled and left (covered) in the fridge for the night for a quick and easy morning bake, too!

Summer CSA Week 15

It’s hard to believe that we are already on the 15th week of the CSA, it feels like the season just started last week!? Anyways, while we are excited to share with you the vegetables of the week, there are still a few that you may not see this week, or next. Crops like brussels sprouts take a long time to mature–they’re seeded in early June and usually aren’t ready until the last week of the CSA. Most crops, like the celery in your shares today, are a couple of weeks ahead of schedule, but the brussels are actually slow enough that they may not even mature in time. I’m excited to eat them even if we have to wait for the winter shares.

This past weekend we attended the Harvest Festival at Bayfront and enjoyed seeing many familiar and new faces at the booth. The crew worked all day Friday harvesting vegetables to ensure that festival-goers received the freshest produce possible. It was great to see everyone after a year off from the festival.

The theme of last week seemed to be our potatoes. We worked on getting out the rest of the first planting of potatoes which included whites, russets, and yellows. Potatoes rock our world in so many ways and are incredibly versatile. I thought it might be useful to include a guide as to what potatoes are good for different potato cooking techniques. Disclaimer: this guide is based on a quick Google search and really, you can do whatever you want to your potatoes.

Fingerlings: great for baking, roasting, and potato salads. Not as good for soups.

Russets: These are the long brown potatoes in the share today. These are good for baking, mashing, french fries, and chips.

Reds: Unlike Russets, red potatoes do not fluff up as much when cooked. This makes them good for soups and stews.

Yellow/Gold: Creamier than most and are great for mashing, roasting, and grilling.

White: Great for french fries and hashbrowns. Doesn’t necessarily need peeling due to thin skin.

That’s the reference guide I use when choosing potatoes, but I use the different varieties interchangeably for the most part. Next up, I felt compelled to include a recipe for a classic potato dish that I grew up eating at every family gathering and holiday, and I hope you did too.

Thanks for reading,

Emily

We were fortunate to receive a few random rain showers and a big rainbow last week.

In your shares this week:

Beans – Broccoli – Carrots – Celery – Cucumbers – Dill – Lettuce – Onions – Red Peppers – POTATOES – Acorn Squash – Tomatoes

Farmer Kathleen driving the crew back to the potato fields for harvesting.

Potatoes au Gratin by RecipeTinEats

  • 1 1/2 cups cream
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter,melted
  • 2 lb starchy potatoes, Russet
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups gruyere cheese (or mozzarella)
  • 2 tsp thyme leaves
  • Cream Mixture: Place butter, cream and garlic in a jug or jar. Mix until combined.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Slice potatoes: Peel the potatoes and slice them 1/8″. Or use a slicer!
  • Layer 1: Spread 1/3 of the potatoes in a baking dish, then pour over 1/3 of the Cream Mixture, scatter with 1/3 of the salt, pepper and thyme. Sprinkle with 3/4 cups cheese.
  • Layers 2 & 3: Repeat for the 2nd and third layer, but do not finish with cheese on the top layer (will add later).
  • Cover & bake: Cover with lid or foil, and bake for 1 hr 15 min or until the potatoes in the middle are soft (use knife to test).
  • Top with cheese, bake again: Remove foil, top with cheese. Bake for a further 10 to 15 minutes until golden and bubbly. Stand 5 minutes before serving.

Cream of Celery Soup by AllRecipes

  • 3 quarts vegetable stock 
  • 1 head of celery, coarsely chopped
  • ½ pound carrots, julienned
  • ½ pound onions, chopped 
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 3 quarts hot milk
  • 1 cup margarine
  • Step 1 Pour the vegetable stock into a large pot, and bring to a boil. Add the celery, carrots and onion to the pot.
  • Step 2 Whisk together the flour, salt, pepper, and milk; add to the pot along with the margarine.
  • Step 3 Boil for 10 minutes, then strain out the vegetables by pouring through a sieve, or if the vegetables are large enough, a colander may be used.

Summer CSA Week 11

I am sure I have said in newsletters of yore that recipes aren’t really my thing. Finding them for the newsletter – I just do the laziest thing which, depending on what I’m looking for, is either just googling “spinach recipes” or whatever, or going to a couple of my go-to sites for ideas and seeing what they say. Recipes aren’t really my thing, but I do like pretty pictures of food, and being forced to look up new ideas for the newsletter does help me snap out of a rut (re: last week’s zucchini fritters comment).

A lot of the way I cook (when I’m not “cooking” eggs and toast) feels like just throwing what I have lying around together, often in one or two pots and then eating all of whatever it is in a bowl. Sometimes I don’t feel like it counts as a “meal”- the Midwest concept of what a meal is has imbedded itself in my brain. Sometimes I don’t feel like it counts unless there’s meat (duh) and two sides (one being potatoes) and dessert. I’ll skip the glass of skim milk at dinner… but thanks for offering.

With shares like this week’s especially, I feel like all the food is just waiting to be chopped up and eaten together. I do recommend cooking the potatoes first. All these veggies would be great in a grain bowl for example. Is that so 2017? 2017 BCE? I just made a salad that is not unlike the quinoa chickpea salad below, but instead of a mustardy dressing, I used a huge scoop of fresh basil-pesto in the dressing. So good.

You also don’t have to chop all the veggies and mix them all together this very night. So much chopping! So much time! No matter what I do, I don’t feel like I get any faster at processing whole veggies and working with any whole food takes time. You’re allowed to cut a zucchini in half, cover it in cheese and store bought sauce and roast the living daylights out of it. You can even call that dinner. No milk and no meat, no problem!

All of this is partially a pep talk to myself to get me to do something with the cauliflower in my fridge before another one ends up there!

For the farm crew,

Karin


In your share this week:
Basil – Beans – Cabbage (Monday), or Cauliflower (Thursday) – Carrots – Cilantro – Lettuce Mix – Melon – Onions – Sweet and Hot Peppers – Red Potatoes – Tomatoes – Zucchini


Zucchini Turkey Meatballs with Zoodles

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • ¾ cup unseasoned breadcrumbs, or you could use seasoned
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

FOR THE NOODLES
2 medium zucchinis, zoodled with a spiralizer (or…https://topwithcinnamon.com/lazy-girls-zucchini-spaghetti-no-fancy-tools-required-with-peas-creme-fraiche-and-pesto/)

Your favorite pasta sauce


Line a large baking sheet with wax paper.
Place all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl. Using your hands, gently work all the ingredients together, careful to not overwork the meat.


Using a two tablespoons, scoop meat into individual balls and place on the prepared baking sheet. Once all is scooped, form the meat into balls. Freeze 20 of them in a freezer-safe plastic bag or container and place 10 of them onto a plate to set aside to cook.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil.


Once the oil is hot, carefully place the meatballs into the skillet and let brown on one side then turn with tongs. Continue cooking until meatballs are all cooked through, about 7-10 minutes.
For the zoodles, you can either just blanch them in hot water and add sauce on top along with the meatballs or you can throw them into the same skillet and cook them until softened and pour sauce on top along with the meatballs.
Serve warm!

The meatball mixture makes roughly 30 meatballs. They freeze really well and I love having the ability to pull them out of the freezer during busy work weeks! 🙂

Quinoa Chickpea Salad with Summer Veggies!

From the Crowded Kitchen

  • 1 cup dry quinoa, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced (1 small onion)
  • 2 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced (2 cloves)
  • 1 cup finely chopped spinach (or any leafy green)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup cucumber, finely diced
  • ¾ cup grated carrot
  • ¾ cup finely diced yellow bell pepper (1 small pepper)
  • 3 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 14.5 oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed well
  • ¼ cup grated vegan parmesan (or regular)

VINAIGRETTE:

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ teaspoon maple syrup (or agave)
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions and add ½ teaspoon of salt to the water.
  2. While quinoa is cooking, add olive oil to a small skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes, until softened and slightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. 
  3. Once the quinoa is done cooking, transfer to a bowl to cool slightly (you can place in the fridge or freezer to speed this up). 
  4. Add all vinaigrette ingredients to a small mixing bowl and whisk until well combined.
  5. Prep the spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, pepper and parsley.
  6. Add all ingredients (cooked quinoa, onions/garlic, vegetables, parmesan) to a large mixing bowl and toss well with the vinaigrette.
  7. Optional: refrigerate for 30 minutes-1 hour before serving (or enjoy right away!).

Summer CSA Week 10

We’re just over half way through the 2021 summer share! We hope you’ve been enjoying the ever more summery selection! Our item list on the white board hardly fits any more – time to write it smaller. The crew has more of a routine as the summer goes on as different people take on a different, regularly harvested crop like daily zucchini and cucumbers, and almost daily melons (for a while), peppers and broccoli (never ending!). The addition of increasingly more harvesting is butting up against some later-than normal season weeding as rains have helped both crops, and the little (and not so little) unwanted plants in our fields.

We will be getting into a more regular rhythm of harvesting large amounts of things at a time too, to have available for a week or two at a time. The first planting of carrots got harvested a week and a half ago, and we have a few bins of cabbage in the cooler waiting for wholesale orders and for CSA delivery. The garlic is out of the ground, a couple weeks ahead of usual, and is curing in the greenhouse for now. Soon we’ll trim those stalks and move the garlic to make way for onions. Bit by bit the harvest ramps up, and we can start ticking entire crops off the list.

How about all of you? Do you feel like you’re in a good rhythm of using your share, or are you stuck in a rut? Hopefully you won’t ever feel too stuck since the veggies change throughout the season, though I think my household is already ready to move on from zucchini fritters… Time to move on to my regularly occurring (but it’s been a while!) potato salad I guess!

August in Minnesota always feels so full and so fast with late summer camping trips, or weddings and planning for the fall and school season ahead. Even if school isn’t a part of your life any more, there seems to be a different pace to things come September. I hope you are all finding satisfying ways to spend these last summery weeks. Perhaps in a couple of weeks, on the 21st (3-5pm), you’ll find yourself out here at the Food Farm for our farm gathering, or up the road for the Free Range Film Festival (7pm)! What could be more summery than an afternoon drive out to Wrenshall?

For the busy crew,

Karin


In your share this week:
Green Beans – Broccoli – Carrots – Cucumber – Dill – Melons! – Sweet Onion – Green Onions – Sweet and Hot Peppers – Potatoes – Tomatoes – Zucchini


Cream of Broccoli Soup, By Farmer John

One large head of broccoli “the biggest you can find”, chopped
One large onion, the biggest you can find, chopped (not a sweet onion… sorry)
One large carrot, also the biggest you can find, chopped

2 Cloves Garlic
2 Tbsp, (but he uses 3) butter
2 Cups chicken or veggie broth
Salt to taste
1 Cup milk

Cook veggies in broth until quite soft, and then blend the living daylights out of it with an immersion blender. Add milk, stir and taste.
We talked about the option of freezing the soup – perhaps freeze it before blending, and adding the milk, so as to simplify the reheating. Then thaw, heat, blend and add milk when you’re ready to serve.

Ultimate Zucchini Bread

From The Smitten Kitchen

I have been making this like it’s going out of style… but it never will in my house! If you want a fun little description about how she got to this recipe from other less satisfying versions, look it up on her website – all her complaints about plain old zucchini bread were also my own- but I love this recipe! Disclaimer… it is basically eating cake for breakfast.

  • 2 cups (13 ounces or 370 grams) grated, packed zucchini, not wrung out, grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) of a neutral oil (I use safflower), olive oil, or melted unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (95 grams) packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons (25 grams) raw or turbinado sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 6-cup or 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray. Place grated zucchini in a large bowl and add oil, eggs, sugars, vanilla, and salt. Use a fork to mix until combined. Sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and baking powder over surface of batter and mix until combined — and then, for extra security that the ingredients are well-dispersed, give it 10 extra stirs. Add flour and mix until just combined. Pour into prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the raw or turbinado sugar — don’t skimp. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick or tester inserted into the middle cake but also into the top of the cake, closer to the dome, comes out batter-free.

Let cool completely in the pan. Leave in pan, unwrapped, overnight or 24 hours, until removing (carefully, so not to ruin flaky lid) and serving in slices. Zucchini bread keeps for 4 to 5 days at room temperature. I wrap only the cut end of the cake in foil, and return it to the baking pan, leaving the top exposed so that it stays crunchy.

Summer CSA Week 7

It isn’t an easy summer to be a plant – or someone trying to grow plants. All the trees around town look tired and soft, like a sweaty brochure being used as a fan. Janaki is spending his time running irrigation around to keep vegetables alive in their turn, constant triage ensuring that every crop has what it needs. There are around 42 fields now, some quite large. Wow, I had never counted. No wonder I still get “lost” with the field numbers.

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There is something daunting about the weather this year. It’s not a good rain year. Last year wasn’t a good rain year, nor particularly snowy. Who can say if this is a trend, but who can say what a trend is other than unusual and more intense. It feels unsettling to know that the rest of my life will be marked by these changes. Perhaps some more “normal” feeling seasons or years will still happen- but I fear for more winters with little snow (what is the point of winter if there is no snow!?) and more growing seasons that are hot and dry. And what all will that change? In my life time will pine trees become more rare, will more invasive pests and plants make their way north, will all the ash trees die? Probably. Maybe I’ll find myself accepting change and growing a patch of lavender in my 70s. Or maybe I’ll move somewhere I can still ski.

Going down either an emotional or intellectual rabbit hole of climate worry will drive anyone insane after a while. Beyond my worry is grief, which is easier to be with than worry in the long term, but still not easy.

The other day I found myself thinking how hard it would be to plan and build for these changes we see. From air conditioning in schools to making changes to river banks – a lot could get done and some of it is a guessing game.

On the farm Janaki is continually making those guesses as well as he can in an attempt to mitigate risk and maintain some level of sanity in our work. We can’t make it rain, but he is in the market for a more sustainable and efficient irrigation system. And when (not if) the 5 inches of rain in a weekend fall, he has drain-tile now throughout the fields, to give the water somewhere to go instead of sitting and rotting carrots. We use refrigeration in the root cellar now, instead of solely relying on cold fall air to cool the old cellar for winter storage. Many changes in the past 8 seasons I have known the farm – and many of them just in time. We’re trying, folks. Thanks for coming with us on the journey.

For the farm crew,

Karin


In your share this week:
Broccoli – Carrots – Cucumbers – Lettuce – Green Onions – Peas – Tomatoes


Carrot and White Bean Burgers

From The Smitten Kitchen

  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup panko-style breadcrumbs
  • 3 shallots, or 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup packed grated carrot (from 2 medium carrots)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Two 15-ounce cans cannellini or other white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Burger accompaniments, as you like

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add the panko and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer crumbs to a large bowl, then return the pan to the heat.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet, followed by the shallot or onion. Cook until softened and lightly golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, salt, and carrots and stir frequently until the carrots are soft and a bit blistered, another 8 to 10 minutes. Add the vinegar, scraping up all the browned bits until the pan is dry. Remove from heat and add the bowl with the toasted panko. Add beans and use a wooden spoon or spatula to very coarsely mash the mixture until a bit pasty and the mixture coheres in places—there should still be plenty of beans intact. Add pepper, and more salt if needed, to aste. Stir in the egg. Shape into 6 patties (I used a 1/2 cup measure as a scoop) for the size burger you see here; 4 patties for really large burgers (to warn, I found this size a little unwieldy), or 8 to 10 for slider-size.

To cook the veggie burgers, heat a thin layer of olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat and carefully cook until browned and slightly firm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes per side. It may be necessary to cook in batches. Serve hot or at room temperature, with whatever you like on or with veggie burgers.

Quinoa Broccoli Salad

From Cookie and Kate

Slaw

  • ¾ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ½ cup slivered or sliced almonds
  • 1 ½ pounds broccoli (about 2 large or 3 medium heads)
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh basil

Honey-mustard dressing

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons smooth Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or more lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Red pepper flakes, optional (for heat)
  1. To cook the quinoa: First, rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh colander under running water. In a medium-sized pot, combine the rinsed quinoa and 1 ½ cups water. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer the quinoa until it has absorbed all of the water. Remove the quinoa from heat, cover the pot and let it rest for 5 minutes. Uncover the pot and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Set it aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, toast the almonds: In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the almonds, stirring frequently, until they are fragrant and starting to turn golden on the edges, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a large serving bowl to cool.
  3. To prepare the broccoli slice the florets off the stems into manageable pieces. Feed the broccoli florets through your food processor using the slicing blade, then switch to the grating blade to shred the stems. Alternatively, you can shred the broccoli with a mandoline or by hand with a sharp knife.
  4. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a liquid measuring cup and whisk until emulsified. The dressing should be pleasantly tangy and pack a punch. If it’s overwhelmingly acidic, add a little more honey to balance out the flavors. If it needs more kick, add a bit more mustard or lemon juice.
  5. Add the shredded broccoli slaw, cooked quinoa and chopped basil to your large serving bowl. Pour the dressing over the mixture and toss until well mixed. Let the slaw rest for about 20 minutes to let the flavors meld.

April Winter Share

We have made it to the true end of another season at the Food Farm. Where there used to be pallet boxes of root-vegetables stacked to the (very high) ceiling there are now only a few, with dribs and drabs left in them, hither and thither, with much room to spare in the cooler. The potato room is more full of stacks of empty pallet boxes and stored machinery than potatoes.

Now is the time for looking ahead to the coming season. Onions, leeks, inside tomatoes, peppers, and broccoli have all been started already. It is nice to have a change of scenery by walking into the greenhouse after being in the root cellar all day. It is like getting to the land of Oz, with less singing. Dave was mowing the rye grass cover crop in the newest green house the other day and the smell wafted over to the driveway where I was standing- fresh mown grass has got to be in the top 10 best smells.

We hope you like the note the winter share is ending on. Expected root-staples and some greens and spinach to brighten up your tables. I am always hungry for the first greens out of the green house- it’s almost like the first raspberry. But greener.

I tell ya, the few 60 degree days we’ve had ruin me. Even being from here, it still makes me lose my mind. I want to pack away all my sweaters (which is silly, because of course they stay out all year)- put the screens back in the windows and hang all my jackets in the closet. The little hints of warmth are a joy- but there is a lot of spring left. I’m trying to have patience. I’m waiting for the warm part of spring like my little boy waits for toast to pop out of the toaster. Only he’s cuter.

Maybe these last cool weeks will give you a chance to make another great veggie soup, or some other warm and roasty concoction with your share.
If you also have a summer share this year, we’ll see you at the season-turn with more greens, and ever growing color and variety.

Thank you for coming along with us through, what felt to me, to be a rather long and dismal winter. We hope yours was made better at least by the food on your plate.

‘Til next time, and for the farm crew,

Karin


In your share this month:
Beets – Purple and Orange Carrots – Onions – Parsnips – Russet and Yellow Potatoes – Rutabaga… and Spinach & Greens Mix! Happy Spring!


Using the spinach: wash spinach well by dunking at least twice (or until water is clean) and spinning or draining in between. Remove stems if you want – and eat it sooner than later as some of it was frost damaged, as you will see. Store in a bag loose, with a tea towel.

There is about 3/4 pound in your share, and it could be used in a small batch of Saag, or spanakopita, or used in a quiche or with eggs during the week. If you don’t think you’ll get to it this week, blanch it for about 2 minutes, dunk in cold water and freeze in a baggy for later. This crop was planted in September and managed to survive even through the extreme cold we had in February. Overwintered spinach is almost like a different vegetable, and it’s one of our favorites even though it takes a little prep work to trim off the frosted tips.


Indian-Spiced Carrots with Yogurt
From the Leek and the Carrot

½ cup Greek yogurt, divided
1 tablespoon curry powder
1-1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 garlic cloves, minced, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound carrots tops trimmed, cut in half if large
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Mix together ¼ cup yogurt, curry powder, onion powder, garlic powder, 1 minced garlic clove, and olive oil in a large bowl until smooth.  Season well with salt and pepper.  Add carrots and toss to coat.  Roast on a baking sheet in a single layer, turning occasionally, for 30 minutes.  You’ll want them to be lightly charred in spots and very tender.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together lemon juice, remaining garlic clove and remaining ¼ cup yogurt in a small bowl.  Season well with salt and pepper.
  3. Place cooked carrots on a platter (along with any crunchy bits left on the baking sheet).  Drizzle with yogurt mixture.  Serve warm.

March Winter Share

We have a birthday, and tiny little party planned, on the farm for Dave today. It’s a birthday that ends with a zero, so we can’t let it pass by. I think maybe he’s 20, which is a little crazy because he’s worked out here 28 years or so. We’re excited for a little fun together at the farm.

In thinking about this small party I am reminded of the handful of friend and family birthday parties that got put off early last spring, in hope of a chance to hold a celebration in a couple of months. Those postponed parties never happened, and bit by bit the newness and scariness of the pandemic gave-way to this current reality. The beginning of this month seems to have a lot of people reminiscing about the last “normal” gatherings they were a part of, or about the few days that things went from open to shut down.

One silver lining about the time we have all found ourselves in this past year might include food. Last spring, interest in our Summer CSA shares lead us to filling up, and going past our target number, very quickly. This year again, we filled up quickly for the coming Summer CSA too. This is nice for us, for the local economy, and, we trust, for you our members too. Perhaps preparing food and sharing food has turned into a different experience for some of you this past year with changing schedules and fewer places to go. Canning supplies, seeds, community gardens – all these things are in hot demand. This seems like a good thing to me. Of course, it can feel normal to most of us to think of having a pantry full of food or time to make some new pastries or bread, but this time has shown the immense inequity in pay, job security, and food security in our country and it is a privilege to have canning lids or instant yeast be the only scarcity some of us have to think about.

During this time, the partnership between food and celebration is what I miss most. Sometimes I catch some question in the news to the extent of ‘will we ever go back to… the old normal?’ Plenty of things about the old normal weren’t so great to start with, but when it comes to things like pot-lucks, Holiday dinners and other extraordinary but regular gatherings I am sure we’ll go back to it. Those things feel essential to our humanity in some way. If we never shared meals together again, it would be like never hearing music again.

This pandemic has felt like a year of holding ones’ breath. Whenever it’s safe- I’ll be ready with a plate and fork to eat with anyone who will sit with me.

For the farm crew,

Karin


In your share this month:
Beets – Red cabbage – Carrots – Onions – Russet and French Fingerling potatoes – Rutabaga

Carrot Cake
From The Smitten Kitchen

Makes 24 cupcakes (or one two-layer cake, instructions at end)

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups canola oil
4 large eggs
3 cups grated peeled carrots (Note, I grate mine in my with my finest grater, though it’s slower. Worth it for a smooth and fluffy texture!)
1 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line 24 cupcake molds with papers, or butter and flour them.

Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in medium bowl to blend. Whisk sugar and oil in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time. Add flour mixture and stir until blended. Stir in carrots, walnuts and raisins, if using them. Divide batter among cupcake molds, filling 3/4 of each.

Bake cupcakes 14 to 18 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Let cool in pans for five minutes or so, then transfer cakes to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before icing them.

To make a carrot layer cake: Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans instead of cupcake molds. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper. Butter and flour paper; tap out excess flour. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, and bake the layers for about 40 minutes each, or until a tester inserted into center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes. Turn out onto racks. Peel off paper; cool cakes completely.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

In a stand mixer beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy. Chill the frosting for 10 to 20 minutes, until it has set up enough to spread smoothly.

To assemble a carrot layer cake, frost the top of one cake, place the other cake on top. Frost the sides and top, swirling decoratively. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes to set up frosting.

For the layer cake scenario, you will probably have a bit of leftover frosting, which you can tint and use for decorating, or save to smear on gingersnaps. What, you don’t do that too?


Slow Cooked Rutabagas with pork
From the Southern Kitchen

Ingredients
2 to 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, tied into a single roast with butcher’s twine
5 large garlic cloves, halved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 (1-pound) rutabagas, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup sugar, plus more to taste
2 to 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Pepper vinegar
Apple cider vinegar

Instructions
Heat the oven to 300 degrees.

Use a paring knife to poke 10 slits about 1 inch deep all around the pork shoulder. Stick one garlic halve in each slit. Aggressively season the pork shoulder with salt and pepper. 

In a large Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the pork shoulder and sear until well-browned on all sides, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to the oven and roast until fork-tender, 3 to 4 hours. Let rest in the pot until cool enough to handle.

Use two forks to shred the pork into bite-sized pieces, leaving all drippings and cooking liquid in the pot. Add the rutabagas and sugar. Pour in enough chicken broth to come to the top of the meat and vegetables. Add water, if needed, to fill the pot. Season with salt and pepper. 

Place the pot over high heat and bring the cooking liquid to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the rutabaga is very tender and the sauce is fully-flavored, about 12 hours. (See note.)

After 12 hours of cooking, taste the stew and season with additional salt and sugar, if needed. Skim off any excess fat from the top of the stew. Stir in vinegars to taste, and serve hot.