What a difference a month makes! We know that there’s a lot more of winter left, but it feels like spring is just around the corner. Annie and the kids and I are getting away for a family trip to Washington, DC this week to visit friends and family. We’re really looking forward to having a little time away before we open up the greenhouse for onion planting in just two weeks!
Share signups are going well, we’re about 90% full for the summer season, but there’s still a chance to get a spot if you haven’t done it yet.
We are looking for a couple of seasonal farm crew members for the upcoming season, if you know of someone who is interested in good, meaningful work with a team of great people, have them reach out, I’d love to talk with them! https://foodfarmcsa.com/employment/
Unfortunately, it looks like the weather won’t be cooperating for curling on Wednesday, but we’re still planning to bring in a bunch of rutabagas to give away at Wild State Cider on Wednesday evening, and we’d love to see you! If you have friends or family who are interested in the farm, send them down to meet us and answer any questions they might have about being a member.
Enjoy the sunshine! For the farm crew,
In your share today:
Beets — Green Cabbage — Orange and Purple Carrots — Garlic — Onions — Parsnips Red and Russet Potatoes –Delicata Squash
Valentine’s Casserole (or Hotdish for you true Minnesotans)
5 cups cream or 1/2-n-1/2 (see Tips)
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups Parmesan cheese (see tips)
1 tsp cornstarch
1 lb dark leafy greens (kale, collards, or finely chopped green cabbage)
3 cups chopped potatoes and squash (total)
2 cups chopped yellow onion
8 slices bacon, diced (omit if vegetarian)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bring first two ingredients to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes or until reduced by half. Stir in 1 cup of cheese.
2. Stirred together corn starch and 1 tablespoon of water. Whisk into cream mixture until thickened.
3. Wash and dry greens. If using collards, cook in boiling water until tender (5minutes).
4. Cook bacon in large skillet over medium high heat, stirring often When crisp, add onion, cook five minutes or until tender. Add the diced vegetables and saute for another 5 minutes. Stir in the greens and cook for three more minutes.
5. Mix the cream mixture with the vegetables and pour into a lightly greased 11 x 7 baking dish. Stir the breadcrumbs, remaining cheese, and olive oil together and sprinkle over the casserole.
6. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the diced vegetables are cooked thoroughly and the breadcrumbs on top are golden brown. Let stand for five minutes before serving.
Try fat free 1/2-n-1/2 rather than milk or the sauce can curdle.
Sharp cheddar also works well but use some Parmesan for the topping.
– Sights around the farm: tractors, sprawling fields, and farm house hydrangeas.
New in the box this week we have tomatoes and basil; the perfect pair. Now we really know it’s summer! Janaki has taken a well earned vacation with his family this week. The farm crew is happy to hold down the fort here in Wrenshall. We’re still planting fall brassicas, weeding young plants, and looking forward to the coming preserving shares.
In your share this week:
Basil – Broccoli – Carrots with Tops – Cucumber – Kale – Lettuce – Green Onion – Snap Peas – Tomato – Zucchini
Guess what vegetable these baby plants will grow up into!
Scroll to the bottom for the answer.
Quinoa Vegetable Salad with Tahini Dressing
4 cups chopped kale
1 ½ cup chopped cucumber
1 ½ cup snap peas trimmed
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/3 cup quinoa (or 1 cup cooked quinoa. Raw quinoa will give you 3x as much cooked quinoa)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
1 tablespoon warm water
1 teaspoon agave nectar (can substitute with honey)
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook Quinoa – If you are starting with cooked quinoa, skip to step 3! Rinse raw quinoa for 30 seconds in a fine mesh colander. Drain well.
Combine the rinsed quinoa and 2/3 cups water in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then decrease the heat a bit to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water, about 10 minutes.
Remove the pot from heat, cover, and let the quinoa steam for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Season with a pinch of salt. Allow to cool completely.
Make the Dressing – In a small glass bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, tahini, water and agave nectar. If the tahini is difficult to whisk, microwave the mixture on HIGH for about 10 seconds. Salt and pepper to taste.
Assemble the Salad – Place the kale in a colander and run warm water over it while massaging the leaves until the kale softens.
In a large bowl, combine the kale, cucumber, snap peas, tomatoes and quinoa. Toss with the dressing. Serve.
We love fresh produce any time of the year, but early summer is particularly special. There’s something magical about the first time in a season we’re able to share a vegetable. We have several firsts this week: cauliflower, kale, cucumber, AND garlic scapes. We’re watching our harvests diversify and we love it!
Pictured to the right: the crew weeding carrots in a wet fog on the 4th of July.
We’ve had some more storms and wet weather this past week, but fortunately nothing severe, and the moisture levels aren’t excessive. A word of advice to home gardeners: stay out of your gardens as much as possible in wet weather. Stepping in wet mud will cause compaction and be detrimental to your soil’s health. Plant diseases spread more readily in wet weather and your hands and tools could make that worse. On the Farm, have to keep working, even when it’s rainy, but we’re very selective about the tasks we do and how we harvest. Keep dry!
In your share this week:
Broccoli – Cauliflower – Lettuce – Green Onions – Carrots with Tops – Kale – Garlic Scapes – Cucumber
4 tablespoons butter (use olive oil for a vegan alternative)
1 cup diced onion
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock or hot water
1 1/2 cups whole milk (optional)
1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
~4 cups (8 oz) mixed chopped spring greens, include scapes, kale, green onions, carrot tops, and/or broccoli (use whatever is on hand!)
3 tablespoons olive oil (to cook meat)
3 oz chorizo or bacon, finely diced (optional)
Melt butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Once the butter foams add onion and potato and stir to coat butter. Add salt and pepper. Turn down heat and sweat the onions and potato on with a tight fitting lid for 10 minutes. Vegetables should not brown.
Heat the stock (or water) in a saucepan until simmering. Add hot liquid to potatoes and onions and simmer 5-10 minutes more until vegetables are completely cooked. Add greens and simmer uncovered for 2-3 minutes more. (Don’t over cook the greens!)
Blend with a blender or hand blender. Puree until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir or blend in milk and cream.
If adding meat, heat olive oil in a small skillet. Add chorizo or bacon and cook until fat is rendered and meat is crisp, 5-10 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Reserve the oil for a garnish or other cooking projects.
Serve soup hot with the above meat and a few drops of the cooking oil to garnish.
This soup can be made a day in advance and kept in the refrigerator! Just gently reheat on the stove top, uncovered. To make this recipe vegetarian, use vegetable broth and skip step 4. To make vegan, also exclude the milk and cream, or substitute with vegan milk option.
*The above recipe is adapted from “Forgotten Skills of Cooking” by Darina Allen and has revisions from volunteer Deb Rausch to better suit our boxes this week. *(Source of recipe previously listed incorrectly.)
What are garlic scapes?
Scapes are the curly stems produced by hardneck varieties of garlic. We prune off these scapes so the garlic plant puts more energy into producing the garlic heads we all enjoy. If left on the plant these scapes would produce bulbils, which are like seeds that produce a clone of the parent plant.
Lucky for us, scapes are super tasty and get us through the early summer before the garlic crop is ready! Scapes are have a hot garlic flavor when eaten fresh and are a great garlic replacement in pesto. When cooked, the flavor mellows out. Try grilling garlic scapes or adding them to soups.
Still looking for recipes?
Use the Tag Cloud below to find archived recipes from past years. Just click an ingredient below and you’ll be taken to a list of all posted newsletters with a recipe that includes that vegetable. The larger the text below, the more posts there are including that vegetable.
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.
“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
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!
This past week was the week of squash. To be honest, I’ll probably never see that much squash again in one place. On Wednesday we harvested around 8,000 pounds of Delicata alone. As much as it feels like it will never end when we are in the middle of harvesting, the end results are very satisfying to look at. 4 tons of Delicata sitting on drying racks is a sight for sore eyes (and arms). It is also very funny to be using old bakery racks as storage racks. They sure do get the job done though.
Delicata are not the only variety of squash we are growing this year. The others include: Winter Sweet, Acorn, Kabocha and Sunshine. To be honest I think I would name my pet after these squashes. Maybe not Delicata though… I sometimes think that squash is such an interesting crop so I decided to do a little research to spice up this newsletter. Here are some fun facts about squash:
The name “squash” comes from a Native American word “askutasquash” which means “eaten raw or uncooked” which is….ironic. Or at least I have always cooked my squash.
Squashes are some of the oldest crops. Some estimates are at 10,000 years old.
The regions of Mexico and surrounding Central American countries are where squash is originally thought to come from.
We grow both summer and winter squash here at Food Farm. Summer squashes are harvested when they’re immature and their skins are still soft. For example, zucchini is a well-known summer squash. Winter squashes are harvested when their skin is hard, making them suitable for long term storage.
Pretty soon your summer CSA will be over and your household may start to accumulate more and more squash. Pumpkins will be on their way to you soon. Jack-o-lanterns will be carved. Pies will be baked. Although this is the beginning of the end of our time being your summer farmers, we still have a LOT to get done on the farm before freeze-up. Best of all, the autumn equinox is on Wednesday. According to the MN DNR Fall Color Finder, between 10-25% of our trees in the area are turning color. Fall has quickly become my favorite time of the year since I started farming.
I’m keeping this newsletter short and sweet, just like our acorn squash.
Thanks for tuning in,
In your shares this week: Arugula – Beans – Carrots – Cucumbers – Red Russian Kale – Leeks – Onions – Parsley – Peppers – Potatoes – Acorn and Sunshine Squash – Tomatoes – Zucchini
Chinese Chard with Almonds by TasteofHome
1 bunch chard (about 1 pound), chopped (the Red Russian Kale this week is tender enough to use in place of Chard)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large sweet red pepper, cut into strips
1 large tomato, diced
1 small red onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh gingerroot
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
3/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Dash crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 2 in. of water to a boil. Add chard; cook, covered, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain; set aside.
In same saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add pepper, tomato and onion; saute until pepper is crisp-tender, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute more. Stir in next five ingredients; add cooked chard. Cook and stir until pepper is tender, 3-4 minutes ; add lemon juice. Top with almonds.
Kale and Leek Gratin by Food & Wine
3 pounds kale, de-stemmed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 medium leeks, white and tender green parts only, sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 quart whole milk
1/2 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper
In a large pot of boiling water, blanch the kale in batches until wilted, about 1 minute. Drain, squeeze dry and chop it.
Heat the oil in the pot. Add the leeks and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until tender, 7 minutes. Uncover, add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add the kale, season with salt and remove from the heat.
Preheat the oven to 425°. Butter a 10-by-15-inch baking dish. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour over moderate heat to form a paste. Gradually whisk in one-third of the milk and cook, whisking, until the mixture starts to thicken. Repeat two more times with the remaining milk. Bring the sauce to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking often, until thickened and no floury taste remains, 15 minutes. Whisk in the cheeses and the nutmeg; season with salt and pepper. Mix the sauce into the leeks and kale. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Bake in the upper third of the oven for about 25 minutes, until bubbling and golden brown on top. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.
I don’t think of myself as a superstitious person typically, but in the past couple weeks I have: left car windows open, left laundry on the line over night, left an open bag of potting soil on my deck (for days), not washed the car, left the garbage lid open, and left the deck chairs out instead of tipped up. This list isn’t just to show how lazy I am, it’s to show that I am TRYING to send a message (to whom it may concern) that we need rain! If I leave these things this way maybe they can be a sacrifice of sorts for rain. None of the passing showers that went through the area have hit the farm and we’ve had less than 1/4″ of rain in the last three scorching weeks, so I invite you all to participate in my efforts such as they are. Maybe the message will get through (and we’ll all have to take in that sopping laundry with joy).
These hot windy days are not only very drying, but also prevent us from irrigating during the day, so Janaki has been moving the irrigation around a lot at night (you know, in his spare time) to make sure all the plants get what they need, especially when so many are tiny seedlings without deep roots yet.
What can we say but say the so-annoying phrase “new normal”? Late spring used to bring rain fairly consistently, and in a soaking, spread out kind of way. And they sometimes still do. Sometimes there are still 45 and foggy days in the end of May- we had a few of those this year. Predictability and farming have never danced well together, but this new climate has scratched up the record we were trying to dance to. In the back of my head now I have a fear about dry-dry-dry and then a deluge of 5 inches of rain over night. It seems to be what happens.
On a sort of lame flip side – I think we’re staying on top of the weeds pretty well so far. Turns out they need water too (though somehow less…. how is that fair?) This past week saw the second and largest planting of potatoes in the ground, as well as the 5th and BY FAR largest planting of cabbage and some broccoli. Good luck out there little babies. We’re on your side!
We are happy to send a box that’s a little fluffier and fuller this week. It would have been a hot week to try to save the rhubarb and early spinach through -hopefully you found that harvest to be worth it! Each week -bit by bit there will be more variety in the boxes headed your way. As you get home with your share, especially on these warm days, a quick soak in a sink full of cold water can help prolong the life of many greens like pac choi and lettuce. They get cooled after we harvest them, but may warm up again at your pick up site. Cut-greens like this week’s greens mix could be put in the fridge with the bag open, but make sure to close the bag up again before night so they don’t dry out. If you use radish and turnip greens, good for you! They could also benefit from a cold soak, though I would really try to dry them well and then use them sooner than later.
Like greens, humans keep better with a good dunking now and then. If not that, maybe you can at least make time to dump some water on your head, or run your wrists under some cool water (trust me, it helps). And, if you do those things, maybe stand by a plant to share some of that water!
Enjoy the veggies!
For the farm crew,
Floating row cover!
In your share this week: Greens Mix – Romaine Lettuce – Pac Choi – Radishes – Spinach – Turnips
Turnip and Kale Gratin -From Bon Appetit
In the body of text about this recipe, it says that turnip greens can be used in place of the kale! Voila!
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 2 cups heavy cream ½ teaspoon dried thyme 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided 3 medium onions, thinly sliced Kosher salt 3 bunches Tuscan kale, ribs and stems removed, leaves torn 4 medium turnips (about 1¾ pounds total), trimmed, peeled, cut into ½-inch pieces 3 large eggs, beaten to blend 4 ounces Fontina cheese, grated (about 1 cup) 1 ounce Parmesan, finely grated (about 1 cup) 8 ounces day-old white country-style bread, cut into ½-inch pieces Freshly ground black pepper
Bring garlic, cream, and thyme to a bare simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and let cream simmer 30 minutes. Let cool.
Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium-low. Add onions, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally and adding a splash or two of water if onions begin to stick to pan, until caramelized and amber colored, 45–60 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool. Wipe out skillet.
Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. butter in same skillet. Working in batches, add kale, tossing and letting it wilt slightly before adding more; season with salt. Cook until kale is wilted and tender, 5–8 minutes; transfer to bowl with onions.
While kale is cooking, cook turnips in a large pot of boiling well-salted water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes; drain. Transfer to a bowl of ice water and let cool. Drain; pat dry. Transfer to bowl with onions.
Preheat oven to 375°. Whisk eggs, Fontina cheese, Parmesan, and cooled cream mixture in a large bowl to combine. Add onion mixture and bread; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a 13×9″ baking dish and press down on mixture with your hands to form a tight, even layer. Bake gratin, uncovered, until well browned, 40–50 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
Gratin can be assembled 12 hours ahead. Cover and chill.
Pac Choi and Shiitake Stir-fry From The Spruce Eats
3 to 4 cloves garlic (minced) 1 cup shiitake mushrooms (sliced OR 1/2 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms and 1/2 cup sliced button mushrooms) 2 teaspoons canola oil or other high-heat oil 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or, use tamari) 1 pac choi 5 to 6 green onions (sliced) 1/4 cup vegetable broth 2 teaspoons fresh ginger (minced or grated) 2 teaspoons sesame oil 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)
Saute the garlic and mushrooms in oil for 3 to 5 minutes then add in the soy sauce, the bok choy and scallions, and cook for a few more minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and add vegetable broth and ginger. Simmer for another 3 to 5 minutes. Finally, stir in the sesame oil and the optional sesame seeds and remove from heat.
When I first started farming, in Texas (in August…) I didn’t know what kale was. I thought sorghum sudangrass was corn. I had never heard of okra and didn’t know when to pick a cabbage.
Most of us all lived on the farm, and volunteers and interns all did the bulk of the work and farm chores in the morning, followed by lunch together. Afternoons were a time for informal classes for anyone on the farm or more chores and farm or office work for interns and devoted volunteers.
There were usually anywhere from 15 to 30 (but usually 20 something) mouths to feed at the group lunch time, and lunch prep was done on a rotating basis. I had never cooked for that many people before, and never been so “limited” by the ingredients at my disposal. We had our pick of anything the farm produced, other than meat. From the store, we had dried beans, other legumes, rice and quinoa (another new one me!). Oils, vinegars, spices. No cheese. No meat. Very few quick cans of anything, no convenience food. The quickest thing we had was eggs and toast. But if you did anything with store-bought bread for lunch, we’d run out quick and have none for breakfasts.
My first meals consisted of large, deep baking pans filled with onions, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and so, so much yellow summer squash. I’d season the veggies, bake them, and serve them over whatever grains or legumes I made up. Anyone on lunch duty was given the whole morning work time to make up enough food, and I quickly learned to chop fast out of necessity. I chopped whatever veggies were around, and while I did, I planned what I’d make with them.
Looking back I feel like I learned more about cooking by doing, and from watching and eating what other people prepared, in a few short months than I had up to that point. Sorry mom.
I guess most of what stood out was the newness of eating in-season so thoroughly. Obviously I didn’t keep the same menu through the year, as summer produce faded to winter greens and squashes and roots. The variety of dishes from all the same simple ingredients we were able to enjoy was amazing to me. If left to my own devices, I’d probably just make pizza, miso soup and hash-browns until I died. But because of cooking alongside other people I learned about so many tips, tricks, and ways to use vegetables and grains that made them interesting, new feeling and delicious: homemade dressings! massaged greens! more salt!
The best thing about food is sharing it with other people; either by prepping together, or by eating together. It’s hard now to see the next time I’d possibly cook for so many people again. We don’t even cook together on the farm these days, we just bring lunch and talk together about what we make at home. At least that’s something.
I hope you’re finding ways to stay inspired about cooking (or roasting, grilling, baking, frying…) throughout the season, even if you aren’t maybe sharing as many meals this summer as you might otherwise. Pass on what’s keeping you interested in using our in-season veggies! Maybe someone scrolling by will be inspired.
My tip: just start chopping veggies until inspiration hits.
And, especially when it comes to other people passing through the kitchen, a timely saute of onions and garlic in a pan always makes people hopeful for a delicious meal, even if you don’t know what it is yet!
For the farm crew,
In your share this week:
Green Beans – Carrots – Cauliflower – Cucumbers – Greens Mix – Kale – Green Onions – Onions – Sweet Red Peppers – New Potatoes – Tomatoes – Zucchini
From Taproot Magazine
2-4 garlic cloves (or, maybe 1 Food Farm garlic clove!)
1/4 to 1/2 cup unsalted nuts such as sunflower seeds, walnuts or pine nuts
1/4 to 1 cup grated or chopped cheese such as Parmesan, Asiago or Romano
2 to 4 cups destemmed and roughly chopped kale
1/4 to 1 cup olive oil
Salt to taste (don’t forget the cheese adds a lot!)
Ground black pepper
Pulse garlic in food processor until well chopped. Add nuts and pulse until just chopped. Add cheese and blend until it is the consistency you want your pesto to be. Transfer to bowl and set aside.
In processor (no need to clean in between steps) combine kale, oil and salt and pepper and pulse until the kale is well chopped.
Add nut + cheese mixture back into food processor, and pulse briefly just to mix together. Add more oil, or salt, or pepper as needed. Use, store within 2 weeks or freeze.
From the Smitten Kitchen
The best zucchini bread I have ever had, and I can’t get enough of it!
2 cups grated, packed zucchini, not wrung out, grated on the large holes of a box grater
2 large eggs
2/3 cup of a neutral oil (I use safflower), olive oil, or melted unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup 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 all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons 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.
Winter is coming and there is a hell of a lot of work left to do. Thankfully there is sunshine on the horizon this week. We could all you a good dose of vitamin D to boost our harvesting spirits.
Fun fact the month of September only saw 7 days with no rain for the twin ports region. Let’s hope October can at least get into the double digits.
So should I get on with it and just tell you the answer already? I did have to look back at the newsletter archives to obtain the stats. It was joyful to watch each box grow from week to week as more food becomes plentiful and ready to harvest.
Without further ado:
First place goes to the Food Farm mascot. The greatest vegetable on earth. The tastiest creature to come out of the ground: The Carrot
The carrot appeared a whopping 15 out of 18 times.
Second place goes to my favorite summer food. A cool refreshment after a scorching hot day. The Cucumber appeared in your CSA box 13 out of 18 times. You can thank Sam next time you see him for diligently caring for them all summer.
Third place belongs to an underdog. A sweet snappy snack to go with every meal. The Peppers, who I lumped together because it’s my quiz and I make the rules. Usually sweet but sometimes spicy, Peppers appeared 11 times this summer.
Fourth place you would have thought higher on the list, but they are late bloomers. Perfect sliced with mayo and bread. The Tomato appeared 10 times.
And last but certainly not least Fifth place goes to the leader in the winter months. The one with their own room in the root cellar. Eaten best as crispy hash browns, The Potato, appeared 9 times this summer.
Regardless of correct answers congratulations you’ve won! And we hope you continue to win for years to come! Thank you for supporting The Food Farm. Thank you for eating that giant list of vegetables. Thank you for finding creative things to do with greens mix.
From a farm crew off finding the joy,
In your box:
Brussels Sprouts, Northeaster Pole Beans, Carrots, Celery, Garlic, Greens Mix, Onions, Oregano, Peppers, French Fingerling Potatoes, Rutabaga, Spinach, Delicata and Acorn Squash, Tomatoes
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
3/4 lb brussels sprouts
Garlic-sliced very thin
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place Brussel sprouts on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Scatter sliced garlic across pan. Grate Parmesan cheese over Brussel sprouts. Bake 20 minutes or until sprouts are golden brown and crispy at edges.
Harvest Moon Kale Ceaser Salad
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 tbsp tamari
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp paprika
1 delicata squash
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 bunch kale (or greens mix!)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large apple
2 tsp maple syrup
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 325. Place pecans on baking sheet and roast for 7 minutes. Place nuts in bowl. Toss nuts with tamari, cinnamon and paprika. Set aside.
Increase heat to 400. Slice delicata into half moons. Place on parchment paper covered pan and bake 20 minutes.
Meanwhile de-stem kale. Rip into bite sized pieces. Squeeze half lemon over kale and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with pinch of salt. Massage kale in hands until kale is tender. About 2 minutes.
Slice apples and toss in with other half of lemon juice.
Combine everything into serving bowl, drizzle with mustard and maple syrup and eat!
So after the CSA on Monday I think we are going to start building an ark. Two of every vegetable of course. Two Astro vans, thank goodness. Wouldn’t want those to die off.
After a summer of wishing it would rain Mother Nature has decided now would be a much better time to challenge us. The thing is it’s way more fun to get rained on when it’s 70 or 80 degrees as opposed to 40 or 50 degrees.
Endless showers, impeachment headlines and vegetables that need harvesting. If you can find the joy then that could be a recipe for success.
Most of the week was spent harvesting the second planting of carrots. We also picked the last of the outside tomatoes and stacked the squash to store for winter. We took the new potato harvester for a test run. Little tweaks and improvements were made to the design. And it works great!
A ray of baby sunshine came out to the farm on Friday. Bosen and Karin lent a hand and all seemed right with the world again.
From a farm crew out finding the joy,
In Your CSA box:
Northeastern Pole Beans, Beets, Broccoli, Carrots, Cilantro, Cucumber, Lettuce, Yellow Onion, Parsley, Red-ish Sweet Peppers, Hot Peppers, Potatoes, Delicata and Sunshine Squash, Tomatoes, Turnips
Breakfast Huevos Rancheros
Lots of people have very different meanings for huevos rancheros. I like to keep it simple.
2-4 medium potatoes (depending on number of people eating), shredded.
Eggs and or meat of choice.
Shred potatoes and squeeze as much water out of them as possible. Heat skillet (cast iron is ideal) to medium high heat with olive oil. Test skillet with sample of potatoes or water to see if it sizzles.
Once skillet is hot place shredded potatoes evenly on skillet about 1-2 inches thick. Salt and pepper top. Drizzle olive oil over top as well.
Leave alone for 5 minutes. Check the bottom often to make sure it isn’t sticking to pan. Flip once golden brown. Salt and pepper other side. Wait another 5 minutes and turn off heat.
Fry eggs to desired consistency. I would recommend over medium-hard. Place shredded cheese on hash browns. Place cooked egg on top of cheese. Apply more cheese. Add a dollop of sour cream and salsa. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
Add ground beef or shredded pork if you are into that for a different flavor.
Autumn Harvest Salad
1 garlic clove
3 cooked beets
1 raw onion
1 bunch of crunchy kale
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 cup farro- cooked
3/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
4 oz goat cheese
Parsley for garnish
Set oven to 400 degrees. Cut delicata into slices. Dress with olive oil, salt pepper and chili powder. Roast for 15 minutes.
Cut beets into small cubes. Toss in olive oil place on baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes or until tender.
Cook farro by directions and cool. Whisk together ingredients for dressing: apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, olive oil, paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper.
In a large bowl add kale, squash, farro, beets and chopped raw onion. Add dressing and mix well. Top with goat cheese and a garnish of parsley.
How do you prepare for something you’ve never done before; Knowledge, hydration, relaxation and one metric ton of good faith?
I’m participating in a 100 mile bike race next week and I’m kind of freaking out. I’ve never biked that far before. I’ve raced my bike countless times but never that far.
Thankfully I’m finding a bit of solace in the farm. During lunch Sam whipped out a couple of cookbooks. One stood out to me: From Asparagus to Zucchini. According to Sam this book came to fruition when CSAs started becoming more popular around the US. People were excited to get a CSA box but were left overwhelmed with what to do with all the veggies.
How do you all prepare for a CSA box every week? Mix up lots of dressings for salads I hope! Perhaps clear shelves in the refrigerator? I feel that committing to a Summer CSA share is more impressive that completing a 100 mile bike race. Summer CSA share season is a marathon not a sprint.
Thank you for eating veggies you might not have tried before and experimenting with recipes new to you. Thank you for reminding me a 100 mile bike race is a walk in the park compared to eating a farm load of veggies, you are the real athletes!!!
Also if you are having trouble eating all of those mixed greens some fun ways to use them up could be:
Put them on a sandwich
Mix in with scrambled eggs
Add to lentil or miso soup
The carrot field is a beach where the carrots soak up the sun all day. This past week more cucumbers went into the ground, more potatoes went into the ground and the onion field got a cozy layer of mulch. Weeding continued throughout the farm; the bright sunny days have been prime weed killing weather.
The deer fence across the road got one step closer to being finished. Garrett and I post-pounded many T-posts. Additional support wood posts were added to the fence lines. The next step is to hang the gates and roll out the fence!