Sixteen weeks! Can you believe it? After this week, we have two more distributions in our summer CSA. Autumn is truly harvest season. Shares this week are overflowing and the farm crew is building muscle bringing in heavy squash, pumpkins and carrots. Temperatures are brisk and refreshing and we are making preparations for the fast approaching first frost.
In your share this week:
Green Beans – Carrots – Cilantro – Cucumber – Kale – Onion – Sweet Red Peppers (not hot) – Green Bell Peppers – Hot Wax Pepper – Potatoes – Rutabaga – Squash – Spinach – Tomatoes
It’s always fun when throwing food is encouraged! The squash plants spreads out across the whole field, so when we harvest, squash are spread everywhere. To get squash consolidated we toss squash to each other across the field. You will find delicata and kabocha squash in your shares this week
This week’s box has all the vegetable ingredients you need for tasty pasties!
1 stick butter, cubed
1/2 cup shortening (Crisco)
1 cup boiling water
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 to 4 cups flour
1 1/2 lb meat, 70% ground beef, 30% ground pork (make vegetarian by excluding meat and adding a vegetarian gravy to the veggie filling)
2 diced onions
1 cup carrots, diced
1 1/2 cups rutabaga, peeled and diced
4 cups potatoes diced
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
dash of garlic salt (or use a minced fresh garlic clove)
Melt butter and Crisco in microwave. Stir in rest of crust ingredients. Do not over mix. Let cool to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
In a very large bowl, add ground beef and pork together, squishing together with a clean hand to combine. Roughly break apart into dime sized pieces. Add in all veggies and seasoning and mix ingredients well.
For jumbo sized pasties, roll dough into 10 inch circles. Add 1 cup filling on one side of each circle. With water, wet the edges of the dough around the filling. Add 1/2 tsp butter on top of filling. Fold dough over the side with the filling making a pouch. Press and seal all edges tightly. Trim any uneven edges and make a 1 inch slit on top of the pasty. Brush top with milk. Repeat until all ingredients are gone. For smaller pasties use 5 inch circles of dough and 1/2 cup of filling.
Bake for 1 hour at 400° F. Let cool slightly before serving, or let cool completely before storing.
Happy Spring, food lovers! The time has come for our final Winter Share of the season. Whether you’re new to us or a day-one member, we thank you for letting Food Farm feed your family this winter. Our root cellar is almost empty but our hearts are full. It is so rewarding to see the fruits of last year’s labor still providing nourishment at the dawn of a new season. I would also like to give a special shoutout to our wonderful soil and local honey bees for helping us make it all possible.
As I mentioned last month, this growing season is already in the works. Our onions and leeks are doing well. We have also started the first batches of tomatoes, peppers, and brassicas. As usual, there are some slight changes we’ve made to each of these crop plantings this year. We often experiment with new varieties in addition to other improvisations and adaptations and it is exciting to watch these changes unfold. The crew is eagerly waiting for the last of the snow to melt so we can get to work full time by the end of the month.
See you in the summertime!
In your shares this month: Beets, Carrots, Garlic, Onions, Yellow and Red Potatoes, Shallots, Rutabagas
Your recipes this month would make great sides for Easter dinner!
Carrot Puree 1 lb carrots peeled and cut into coins Add water to cover generously and bring to a boil. Cook until the carrots are completely tender (25 or so minutes). Drain and mash carrots with following: 1/2 cup milk or cream 1-1/2 tablespoon butter 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp ground cumin
Rutabaga and Potato Gratin 1-1/2 lbs rutabaga and potatoes (total), peeled and sliced thinly 1/2 clove of grated garlic 1/4 cup finely chopped onion salt and pepper 1/2 tsp thyme 3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar or Gruyere cheese 1-1/2 cup milk Heat oven to 400 degrees. Season sliced veggies with salt, pepper, and thyme. Arrange the veggies in a gratin dish (or 9″x13” pan). Add milk. Bake for 45 minutes, pressing veggies down into the milk one or two times during baking. After 45 minutes, add the cheese. Stir it into the veggie mix and return to oven for 20-30 minutes (until veggies are completely soft and easily pierced with a fork).
Cajun Rutabaga Chips CHIPS Rutabaga (peeled) 1.5 lbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil 0.7 fl oz. CAJUN SEASONING Oregano 1 tsp Thyme 1 tsp Paprika 0.5 tsp Cayenne Pepper 0.5 tsp Garlic Powder 0.5 tsp Black Pepper 1 pinch Salt STEP 1 Peel the rutabaga and then use a mandolin slicer or sharp knife to slice the swede into very thin chips. Ensure the chips are 1 to 2 mm thick, or they won’t crisp up as nicely. STEP 2 Combine the Cajun seasoning ingredients in a small bowl. In another bowl, toss the rutabaga chips with the olive oil. Then, tip in the cajun spice mix and rub the chips thoroughly until they’re well coated STEP 3 Now, arrange the seasoned chips flat on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. You can keep them close to one another as they will shrink a lot while cooking. As they might not fit all into one tray, we recommend baking them on multiple trays. Bake the chips for 25 minutes at 250 °F in fan mode or at 285 °F in static mode. Once they look smaller and curled up, flip them upside down and swap the trays top to bottom and front to back.
These chips are best when consumed on the same day as they will lose some of their crispiness when stored longer.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
As we round the year, and pull out the next calendar, I am reminded of the push-pull of this time of year in my own mind: is it still this farm season or is it the next farm season? The answer must always be “this farm season”… but you get what I mean. The winter crew spends our few work days packing food grown this past year, but we look forward in planning to the next growing season. There is much to be grateful for from this past growing season- even though it was also very challenging. There is reason to hope too, for good in the coming season on the farm.
The end of one season, and the beginning of another on a farm is evocative of the cyclical nature of so many aspects in life. Winter gives way to spring, which lends itself to warmth and melting creeks. Fallen leaves of a season become next summer’s worm food. Pallet boxes full of potatoes and carrots are emptied, which leads to fields again full of the same.
Of course, the cyclical nature in most things around us isn’t a guarantee of anything particularly. Some things appear to go on and on no matter what, but behind the scenes much has to align for farm seasons to come and go, for seasonal changes to go on without interruption, for insect and bird and whale migration to continue unimpeded.
In these insane times we find ourselves in, I am often reminded, with the clarity of lemon juice in a cut, that very little is guaranteed. Even things set in stone can be shaken. I don’t know if the pain of what we are facing is the pain of birth, or the pain of death. Where are we in the cycle, and is there room for us after the turn? It feels imperative to acknowledge that much of what is good in life, and in the world, is very delicate, and in need of defending. Tearing down, ripping, breaking trust, poisoning land is all so easy. It can be done in a moment. The work of building back up, or reaching for a better stronger future for everyone, and all the living things sharing this planet, is slow hard work. Work that may feel almost undoable.
My hope for you this month is that the slow food from your share be a starting point of health and healing. In the setting of your table, the roasting of vegetables, the breaking of bread and sharing of drink may we all find ways to gather our strength together. Though the strength may feel as illusive as vapor rising from the lake, it can grow, rise, gather slowly, return to cloud and gain enough of itself together to become a healing deluge in time.
With care and love to you all in this time, and for the Farm crew whom you support,
In your share this month: Chioggia Beets, Green Cabbage, Carrots, Red and Yellow Potatoes, Onions, Rutabaga, Winter Sweet and Delicata Squash
Raw rutabaga and purple carrot salad
Ingredients 1 rutabaga 3 purple carrots (any carrots work – these are just pretty in the salad if you have any left over) 1 large apple 1/2 cup walnuts chopped (optional)
For the dressing: 1/4 cup olive oil 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar 1 tbsp honey 2 tsp dijon mustard
Instructions Shred the rutabaga, carrots and apple in a food processer, spiralizer, or grater (or do small matchsticks). Add the walnuts (optional).
In a separate bowl, combine the ingredients for the dressing and whisk until smooth. Pour over the salad ingredients and toss until coated.
Enjoy chilled or at room temperature!
Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils
Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen
3/4 cup black or green lentils 6 cups peeled, seeded and cubed winter squash (1-inch cubes) (from about a 2-pound squash) 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon hot smoked Spanish paprika* 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt 1 cup soft crumbled goat cheese 4 cups arugula (optional) 1/4 cup thinly sliced mint leaves (optional) 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, plus additional to taste Roasted seeds (about 1/2 cup) from your butternut squash
Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss squash cubes with 2 tablespoons oil, cumin, paprika and salt. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet and roast 20 minutes. Flip pieces and roast for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until tender. Cool.
Meanwhile, soak lentils for 10 minutes in a small bowl, then drain. Cook lentils in boiling salted water until tender but firm, about 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water, then drain and cool.
Combine lentils, pumpkin, any oil you can scrape from the baking sheet with arugula, if using, half of goat cheese, mint, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper and extra vinegar, if desired. Divide among plates and pass with remaining goat cheese to sprinkle.