Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Week 21--The Last Pick Up

Well, here it is. The last week of Summer CSA pick-ups. It has been a pleasure growing food for all of you and getting to know you and your families. I admit, having a little winter break will be nice, but I am already making plans for next year and am excitedly awaiting the seed catalogue's' arrival in the mail.
In the future, if you are interested, I plan to have a Winter Share. This would be a once a month pickup of mostly storage vegetables from Nov-April. Right now, however, I am maxed out on storage in my "little" walk in cooler. I would need to build/find more storage space before I venture into Winter Shares. This is part of the reason why I created the Holiday Shares. It is a way for me to get food to you guys a little longer, maximizing but not exceeding the storage space I currently have. Which brings me to a little reminder: even though I have called them Holiday Shares--(it was just a marketing tool, which has actually come back to haunt me) all of the food is storage able food. Meaning, what you pick up from me in November could actually be stored in your home and eaten in March. My point is, even if you are not having guests for the holidays, the food will not go to waste!!! It is a way for you to prolong getting local carrots, potatoes, onions, beets, winter squash, cabbage, garlic...So don't be shy, sign up!
HOLIDAY SHARES still open--you don't need guests to eat them, it's just a fancy name for a winter share!!!
I do however, sell whatever food I have left after the Holiday Shares at the Winter Market at Fort Andros in Brunswick. It's a great market, check it out!
Saturdays 9-12:30, November-April
This Week's Loot: Fennel, Parsley Root, Beets, Carrots, Leeks, Potatoes, Kale, Spinach, Winter Squash
Fennel: This delectable little (yes, they are smaller than usual) has a strong fennel, or black licorice, flavor. It is great raw or cooked. In salads or soups. You can steam it, blanch it, saute it. Great with fish or chicken...
Parsley Root: This fun root has a strong, you guessed it, parley flavor. It too can be eaten raw or cooked. I shredded it last not on my salad. You could use it in soups, your mashed potatoes...the possibilities are endless!
Stock up and Enjoy. Have a great winter!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Week 20--The Fall Harvest

The pick your own pumpkin party and potluck was a blast! Thanks for all who came (and helped move all the pumpkins!) The food was fabulous and it was fun getting to know all of you better!

And, of course, Simon had a blast too. He helped to pick out the perfect pumpkin and to make sure there were no mice hitchhiking on them : )
This past week, I was busy harvesting rutabagas, cleaning onions and popping garlic. Today I will plant the garlic and cover it with a neat bed of straw. Soon all that will be left in the gardens for harvest are hearty greens like kale and spinach.
...Speaking of Spinach...these last two weeks will be full of greens! Fill up on them, because this is it until spring! They will keep in your fridge in a perforated plastic bag for at least a week. You may also chose to make soups or pies with them and freeze, or blanch the greens for 2 minutes, drain and freeze. Stock up for winter : )
Half the cows go this Thursday. I am sold out this year, but it isn't too early to sign up for 2010--the pork and beef go fast!
The turkeys go on Friday---I still have some left to sell. And I have lowered the price to $3.50/#, what a deal!!!!
This Week's Loot: lettuce mix, spinach, chard, kale, potatoes, carrots, onions, chinese cabbage, tat soi, pac choi, pumpkins
Next Week's Loot: lettuce?, kale, leeks, onions, potatoes, carrots, beets, winter squash, fennel
Stir-Fried Kale and Spinach with Hazelnuts
1/2 cup hazelnuts
2 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
10 cups kale and spinach, chopped
salt and pepper
1. toast hazelnuts in a n ungreased skillet, stir constantly for about 5 minutes, then chop when cool
2. Saute onion and garlic, add greens in batches, stir fry until tender, about 8 minutes
3. stir in hazelnuts
Apple Flavored Winter Squash Cake
1 stick butter, room temp
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups cooked winter squash
1/2 cup apple cider
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp bkg soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
1. Beat butter until fluffy. Beat in sugar until mixed. Add eggs, one at at time. Add squash and cider, mix well.
2. Sift flour bkg soda, salt and spices. Add to cream mixture in batches.
3. Pour into a buttered and floured bundt pan
4. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and pour on glaze.

Apple Cider Glaze
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup apple cider
Sift sugar into a bowl. Whisk in cider until smooth, pour over cooled cake right away

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Week 19--The Blessing of Fall

October 13 and 16th
Quack! Quack! Dora says, "Eat turkey, not duck!"

I've been washing hundreds of pounds of carrots this last week for storage and Dora has been in duck heaven! She stands under the screen and gets showered by wash water. And buries her bill into the puddles looking for slugs, while Simon sits in the driveway and watches the cows. These past few weeks have been beautiful, and even though I am soooo busy, I must say I am blessed!
Speaking of washing...I really do wash your greens before your get them. But be ware that you need to wash them again. I find most things easiest to chop first, then rinse. The pine needles have made a blanket over all my fields, (it's quite pretty actually). I have tried to pick them out of your produce, but there may be a rouge one...or two left!

Well the weather has quickly changed and I have been in "full tilt boogie", as my friend Jill would say, harvesting. I am hoping for a few more nice days to gets next year's garlic in the ground. I usually plant it mid October and then mulch it with straw. It waits in the ground until the longer days of April and then slowly little green garlic tops emerge. This week you may see me "popping" the garlic cloves, or removing them from the bulb. I pick the biggest and most perfect looking cloves to plant so that the new bulbs will be free of disease and as big as possible; the clove size you plant dictates the size of the bulb to come. Maybe this year I will be planting the garlic through a layer of snow? That would be a first : )

This Week's Loot: Lettuce, Kale, Kohlrabi, Peppers, Tomatilloes, Spaghetti Squash, Carrots, Potatoes, Onions, Cabbage

Next Week's Loot: Lettuce mix, spinach, pac choi, carrots, onions, potatoes, chard, pumpkins
Kohlrabi--This fun "swollen stem" can be eaten raw or cooked. Try it both ways and see which way you like best! If you find the skin tough, you may peel it, although if you are cooking it,you may not need to.
3 kholrabi, peeled and chopped
1 cup finely shredded cabbage
1 small onion
1 apple, diced
1/2 c currents or raisins
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Combine first five ingredients in a large bowl. Toss in oil and cider. Cover and refrigerate a few hours to let flavors blend.
Kale Pie
10 inch pie crust
4 cups chopped kale leaves
1 Tbs olive oil
2 small onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs
1 cup feta cheese
1/2 c half and half
1/2 tsp salt
Boil kale for about 3 minutes (wilted but still bright green). Allow to drip dry.
Saute onions, garlic until onions are turning golden.
Lightly beat eggs. Add feta half and half, kale, onions and salt. Stir and then pour into crust. Bake until center of pie is firm, 40 minutes at 375.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Week 18--The Thank You Note

Taking a walk around the fields today...I can't believe it is October. The season has flown by and although I am happy with most crops, I was hoping for a little Indian Summer to beef up a few last minute plantings. Yellow and red leaves shower me as I drive under the maple trees on the edge of the field and watching the cows graze in front of a backdrop of color has been delightful these past few days. My back is sore from lugging most of the winter squash into our basement to protect them from cold nights, and long rows of carrots, beets, rutabagas and cabbage await their chance to be bundled in my arms. It is very satisfying to feel abundant, rich in food. A joy to rid of that "pit of the stomach ache" that drenched me in the early summer. I hope that you, too, have felt abundant in food most of this season and for seasons to come.

Thank you to all who filled out a survey! Your comments throughout the entire season have been helpful. All in all folks seemed very pleased (thank, God!). A few reoccurring themes were:

1. A handful of folks wanted the note printed out. No problem! I will print out a few notes each week and if this appeals to you, help yourself. Sorry though, there will be no photos.

2. More fruit. Ahh that would be nice. However, growing fruit is an art of farming technique and time all in itself. I grow the PYO strawberries and raspberries in hopes that you feel you have your "own" patch. And I will always pick at least one quart of strawberries per full share. Raspberries just take too long for me to pick enough for all. I will try to be more diligent on buying in blueberries when they are in season. And I could buy in some apples if you would like, although they won't be organic. Let me know. We are thinking about a PYO blueberry patch, but that will be down the road. Apples will be a part of the Thanksgiving share...We have planted a few peaches, plums and pears, but the trees are young and by no means did we plant an orchard. I encourage you to visit a local orchard like Rocky Ridge (Bowdoin) or Willow Pond Farm (Sabattus) in the fall.

3. Lack of quantity and diversity early in the season. Part of joining a CSA is that you take the good with the bad, the glut of melons with the lack of spinach. However, I am taking steps to improve the spring season like planting more, just in case, and erecting a hoop house (an unheated greenhouse) for early greens. AND next year the asparagus should be ready to pick!!

So thank you for your patience, encouragement, comments, compliments and love of food! I hope you will consider joining again next year. (It's not too early to sign up now.) And please pass the farm name along!!!! I had 32 members this year and next year I would love to have 50.

Goodbye to the 8 not-so-little pigs. I admit, I am a little sad and am not ready for them to go--they are so entertaining! But alas, I am a meat eater and what better meat to eat?!
This Week's Loot: Tomatilloes (great for making green salsa!), Lettuce, Tat Soi, Chinese Cabbage, Potatoes, Carrots, Beets, Delecata Winter Squash, Leeks, Peppers, Broccoli, Sorrel, Parsley
Next Week's Loot: Lettuce, Chard, Broccoli, Pac Choi, Kohl Rabi, Butternut Squash...
Sorrel--I think if you try this herb, you will love it!!! I added a 1/4 cup chopped in my potato leek soup this weekend--it adds a nice lemony falvor. A small amount chopped into a salad is superb too!
Tomatilloes--These little fruits are related to tomatoes and are excelent roasted and used in salsa or sauce. They are not very good eaten raw by themselves, but you can make a raw salsa with them.
Tomatillo Salsa Verde Recipe
To cook the tomatillos, you can either roast them in the oven, or boil them. Roasting will deliver more flavor; boiling may be faster and use less energy. Either way works, though boiling is a more common way to cook the tomatillos.
1 1/2 lb tomatillos
1/2 cup chopped white onion
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 Jalapeño peppers OR 2 serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded and chopped
Salt to taste
1 Remove papery husks from tomatillos and rinse well.
2a Roasting method Cut in half and place cut side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place under a broiler for about 5-7 minutes to lightly blacken the skin.
2b Boiling method Place tomatillos in a saucepan, cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove tomatillos with a slotted spoon.
2 Place tomatillos, lime juice, onions, cilantro, chili peppers, sugar in a food processor (or blender) and pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixed. Season to taste with salt. Cool in refrigerator.
Serve with chips or as a salsa accompaniment to Mexican dishes.
Makes 3 cups.
Delicata Squash is an heirloom squash. Since it’s an heirloom veggie, it’s grown for flavor and not for mass-shipping; the thin skin of this squash made it harder to transport thousands of miles from where it was grown. The thin skin is a great asset, in my opinion. It makes it easy to prepare (you don’t need an axe and and a tree-stump to cut up this squash), and you can even leave the skin on and–get this–eat it after baking! But besides the skin, the flesh is golden, sweet, and smoothly-textured. It’s perfect for just baking, chopping into stir-fry or blending into a lovely silky bisque.
Delicata Squash Bisque Serves 4 large bowls, 6-8 Cups3 Pounds Delicata Squash, (2 pounds after prepping)
Oil for roasting
1 tsp Thyme
Lots of Black Pepper
1 1/2 tsp Salt, more or less to taste
Cashew Cream
1 Cup Raw, Unsalted Cashews
1 Cup Rich Vegetable Broth, divided
Preheat oven to 400º F.
Peel squash and chop off the ends. Halve the squash and scrape out the seeds. Place on a baking sheet cut-side down and brush lightly with oil. Bake for 30-40 minutes until tender and beginning to brown. Flip squash before the baking is finished if needed to prevent burning.
Meanwhile, add the cashews to your blender and 1/2 cup of veggie broth. Begin pulsing to incorporate, eventually turning the blender all the way on while slowly adding the other 1/2 cup of broth. Once all the broth is added (1 cup total), let the blender run for 1-2 minutes until very, very smooth. Set cream aside. If your blender can’t get the cream completely smooth, strain before adding it to the soup.
Remove squash from the oven. Using a spatula, transfer it into a large soup pot. Break up the squash into chunks with a spoon or your spatula and add 4 cups of veggie broth, thyme, and black pepper. Bring to a boil then turn down the heat and let simmer for 20 minutes, covered.
Working in batches if needed, blend the soup until very smooth, being careful not to overfill your blender.
Return the blended soup to the pot and add all but 1/4 cup of the cashew cream. Season with salt and more pepper. How much salt you add with depend on how salty your broth is to begin with. I thought 1 1/2 tsp salt was perfect for my batch, but yours might differ.
Remove soup to bowls (or mugs!) and garnish with extra cashew cream drizzled on the top and some fresh black pepper.