As soon as the last few roofs are clear of snow we’ll be turning our energy to signups for the 2023 season! We hope to be ready for folks to sign up beginning around January 20th.
Mark your calendars for our annual Farmers Come to Town/Rutabaga Giveaway (and curling) event on February 15th at Wild State Cider. We will be there from 4pm to 7pm introducing one and all to the exciting sport of rutabaga curling, and enjoying the company of farm members.
Happy animals on the farm. Our baby polar bear, Chester, is in his element with winter in full swing. He’s a white dog and in white world and we’ve never seen him so clean! Our laying chickens are warm in their greenhouse home and enjoying reject produce so nothing goes to waste. We even have song birds on our bird feeders!
Baby Russet Hash Browns!
Our simplest recipe yet! Tested and approved by numerous Food Farm staff and volunteers. Small russet potatoes make delicious easy hash browns because they have a low moisture content and a high ratio of skin to flesh, so no draining or precooking is required.
Baby russet potatoes (grated, as many as desired)
Season to taste with salt and pepper
Grate baby russet potatoes
Heat a skillet or pan to medium heat and add a generous amount of oil
Spread grated potatoes in a layer no thicker than one inch in the pan. Do not stir or agitate. Cover with a lid until the bottom appears toasted and crispy, then flip the hash browns. (This will likely need to be done in sections around the pan unless you’re just doing a small amount.)
Add a little more oil after flipping (I usually use canola oil at first when the pan is hot and olive oil after flipping)
Once the 2nd side is toasted as well, season and serve!
Want to get experimental? Janaki’s favorite is to add some grated beets to the mix–even kids who normally don’t like beets don’t argue! Or you could try rutabagas, parsnips, or onions, too.
Some folks are unsure what to do with rutabagas and parsnips, but we’re here to help! If the ideas below don’t get you interested, try emailing our Veggie Hotline–fellow farm members who love to help people figure out what to do with produce: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rutabaga is also known as “Swede” and is part of the same plant family as cabbage and turnip. Try substituting rutabaga for potato for a slightly sweeter, lower carb option. We recently added some rutabagas to air-fried french fries and they turned out great!
Browse all previously posted rutabaga recipeshere.
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.
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.
2022 will be the 29th season of community supported agriculture here at the farm. That is over 500 weeks of delivering summer shares to thousands of local community members. We have seen a great deal of veggies come and go over the years, and we are still just as excited to grow through another year. Personally, I am excited to experience another season of organic farming because there is so much to learn. My favorite part of the growing season happens to be the very beginning. Greenhouse work is so interesting and requires great attention to detail in order to ensure success throughout the whole season. I am also excited to hang around the critters at the Food Farm. Organic farming really seems to bring out the best in our garter snakes, birds, bugs, and Chester.
I realize it is January and dreaming of spring and summer seems unfair. Especially when we still have literally tons of food in the root cellar. Rutabagas and parsnips have made their debut in your winter shares this month. They’ve been patiently waiting in the root cellar since the end of the growing season (they’re the last few vegetables we harvest every year). One fun (and slightly embarrassing) fact about myself is before working at the Food Farm, I had never tried either of these vegetables. It seems that even as a farm worker, there may still be crops I have yet to try for the first time. Nonetheless, they’re amazing vegetables and one of our amazing CSA members has provided us with the perfect recipes for them.
Hopefully your holiday season was full of amazing food, crafted from either newly discovered recipes or the traditional ones that hold a special place in your celebrations. Appreciating and considering where your food is grown makes it more fun to be a home chef. I hope that you all love having the produce we grow in your homes as much as I do.
Until next time,
In your shares this month
Chioggia Beets, Carrots, Onions, Parsnips, Red and Yellow Potatoes, Rutabagas, Winter Sweet and Delicata Squash
Oven Baked Rutabaga Fries
2 lbs rutabaga, cut into 1-inch wedges
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder (optional, but encouraged)
1/4 tsp. paprika (opt.)
1/4 tsp. ground cumin (opt.)
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper (opt.)
Preheat oven to 450F. Grease a large rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
In a large bowl, toss the rutabagas with oil until thoroughly coated.
In a small bowl, combine the salt and spices.
Sprinkle the spices over the rutabagas and toss to coat. Spread the rutabagas over the prepared sheet in a single layer and bake for 30-35 minutes until browned and crispy.
Quick-Pickled Rutabagas (*pickling fluid from New York Times)
1/4-1/2 lbs rutabaga
1 cup water
1/4 cup rice-wine vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
5 tablespoons white sugar
2 tsp salt (optional additions (to your taste): peppercorns, coriander seeds, chili pepper, star anise)
Bring water to a boil and pour into a bowl containing the vinegars, sugar, salt, and optional flavors. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Scrub the rutabaga and slice thinly.
Pour the vinegar mixture over the rutabaga and let them sit at room temp until the liquid is slightly cooled.
Transfer to the refrigerator for at least one hour before eating. Eat within the week!
Parsnip Flan (Wall Street Journal)
1/2 lb parsnips, peeled and finely chopped
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp water
1/2 cup half-and-half
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
8 ramekins (for baking the flan)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a couple quarts of water to a boil.
Place parsnips in a medium saucepan and cover with 1/2″ water. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook parsnips until very tender, 5-6 minutes. Reserve 2 tbsp of cooking water, then drain parsnips.
Heat 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons reserved cooking water in a 10″ skillet over high heat until the sugar liquifies. Continue cooking over high heat, swirling pan occasionally until sugar caramelizes to a dark amber. Immediately divide caramel among ramekins.
In a blender, puree parsnips with half and half, eggs, vanilla, salt and remaining 1/4 cup sugar until smooth. Pour mixture through a mesh sieve into a bowl and divide among ramekins.
Place ramekins in a roasting pan and carefully pour boiling water into the pan (avoid splashing!) until it reaches halfway up the ramekins. Bake until the flans are set but slightly wobbly in the center (approx. 15-20 minutes). Transfer ramekins to frig and chill completely.
To serve, run the tip of a knife around the interior edge of the ramekins and invert the flan with their caramel onto dessert plates.
Now we have four Winter Shares done, and two to go! I hope that you all are well into the swing of using these storage-time staples each month. It can be nice to settle into patterns and familiar recipes. I’ve been through a few: hashbrowns, cubed and sautéed roots together with an egg on top, spicy coleslaw, miso soup, chocolate-chocolate chip cookies with peanut butter. Oh wait, that’s a different category.
If your go-to recipes are starting to feel more like a rut, and less like a comfort, I hope you can find some ways to add some pep and switch things up this month. Making a meal plan change can be as easy as trying a new condiment, or digging into the back of the spice cupboard and see what has fallen out of use for a while (not too long though… they do go bad [mom]). If you normally reach for lemon juice to brighten dishes, try a new vinegar, or some wine.
I know I’ve said before, that I have learned more about cooking from friends and roommates than I ever have from a cook-book or blog. From canning tomatoes to homemade pita bread to massaged kale to chopping food small enough- my friends didn’t even know the lessons they passed on just by sharing a kitchen.
The joy of cooking and preparing food together is something I miss. Sharing meals and passing dishes around a table to friends or family is going to be the first thing I do whenever those kinds of things can happen again. I am sure I will cry the first time.
With the sharing of food in groups missing, the connection between food and community might feel non-existent at times. Maybe if you split your share with another family you have an additional sense of connection as you sort through boxes together or drop food off. I am glad that at least, with the food you get from our farm, we are all still connected, and your support is a critical part of how we can do what we do. Indeed, of why we do what we do.
Even if you find yourself alone over a plate of uninspired-feeling (but delicious tasting) roasted delicata some time this month… you might not actually be as alone in that as you think.
For the farm crew,
In your share this month: Beets – Purple and Orange Carrots – Green Cabbage – Delicata Squash – Onions – Parsnips* – Red and Baby Yellow Potatoes
*A note on our tiny little parsnips: this crop got 2020ed (is that be a verb now?), and the replanted ones didn’t have time to size up very well. I would recommend NOT peeling them, but scrubbing them well instead. The rusty, oxidized look on the outside shouldn’t affect the taste. They are just too small to peel. Here’s to next year’s planting going better.
Potato-Parsnip Latkes with Horseradish and Dill From the Smitten Kitchen
Yield: About 18 2 1/2 to 3-inch latkes
Pancakes 1/2 pound (about 1 large) potato 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1 pound parsnips (Farm note: you got 1 1/2 lbs in your share, and you could probably get away with using all of them in this) 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill 1 teaspoon table salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper Olive oil (or a mix of olive and vegetable or peanut oil) for frying
Sauce 1 cup sour cream 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon table salt 1 tablespoon freshly grated or prepared horseradish 1 tablespoon chopped dill
Preheat: Oven to 250 degrees. Line one large or two smaller baking sheets with foil and leave them in the oven until needed.
Prepare vegetables: grate them on the large holes of a box grater or (my preferred method) using the shredding blade of a food processor.
Transfer shredded vegetables to a lint-free dishtowel or square of cheesecloth, and wring out as much liquid as possible. Let stand for two minutes, then wring again. Wetness is the enemy of crisp, light latkes, so we want to get rid of as much as possible.
Make batter: Transfer wrung-out vegetables to a large bowl. Add lemon juice. In a tiny dish, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and any herbs or additional seasonings and toss with vegetables, evenly coating the strands. In the same tiny dish, whisk your egg(s) and then stir this into the vegetable-flour mixture, evenly coating the strands.
Prepare pan: Heat a large, heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium heat. Once skillet is hot, add 3 tablespoons oil and heat oil until shimmering. If you’re unsure, you can flick a droplet of water onto the oil; if it hisses and sputters, you’re good to go.
Cook: Using a fork or your fingertips (letting the eggy batter drain off a little is good), gather spoonful-sized mounds of battered vegetables and drop them onto the heated skillet. When golden underneath, 3 to 4 minutes later, flip pancakes. Cook on the other side until nicely bronzed underneath, another 2 to 3 minutes, and transfer to paper towels briefly to drain pancakes, before transferring them again to tray(s) in warm oven. If latkes cook too quickly or slowly on the stove, adjust the heat accordingly.
Add more oil if needed (you want to keep the pan at that 3 tablespoon level), being sure it is heated before adding more pancakes to the skillet. Repeat with remaining batter. I like to keep the latkes in the oven for at least 10 minutes to ensure they’ve cooked through before serving them. This gives you time to…
Make sauce: Mix sauce ingredients in a small dish. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Beet and Carrot salad with Currants From the Leek and the Carrot
4 garlic cloves, minced 1/2 cup dried currants (or cranberries) 1/4 cup champagne vinegar 2 large (or 1 extra-large) beets, peeled 3-4 large carrots, peeled 2 apples 1/2 lemon, juiced 1 teaspoon Kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1/2 cup olive oil 1-2 cups chopped and toasted almonds
In a small bowl, combine garlic, currants and vinegar. Let currants plump and garlic mellow in there for at least 20 minutes. It will likely take that long to get your veggies cut up anyhow.
Cut the beets, carrots and apples into matchsticks and place in a large bowl. Squeeze with lemon and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine then add the garlic and currant mixture. Drizzle with olive oil and toss several more times to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
When ready to eat, serve with toasted almonds. If not eating all at once, keep toasted almonds to the side and add right before eating so they maintain their crunch.