Monday, October 28, 2013

October 29th: Bonus Pick Up


(photo credit to shareholder Anna Low)
What a fabulous growing season!!!  Thank you all for loving good, local food!
It was a year of abundance:  I have never, in my 13 years of farming, seen so many tomatoes on a plant! (or strawberries for that matter)  The chard and kale were impossible to keep up with their regrowth...and the peppers...yum yum yum!!!
I look forward to seeing many of you during the winter share--I am anticipating great bounty there as well.  And to others who seek local food for the winter, there are a few fabulous farmer's markets in Brunswick, Bath and Portland. 
Many of you commented on having to go back to the grocery store for the winter....especially for lettuce.  I challenge you to eat seasonally this winter.  Make salads of winter roots (carrots, beets, turnips, kohl rabi...) Dive into the realm of winter squash and kale for high vitamins.  Find pasture raised meats for your omega 3's and vitamin A&D.  It IS possible to eat seasonally and get enough nutrients, even in this cold climate.  It takes a bit of getting used to, but in the end, your body will acclimate better to the seasons and you will save money!!! 
Again, thank you for all of your support and love and shared goodies. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

October 22nd and 25th: The End of Summer

 Fall Harvest in 80 Degree Weather

The last few weeks we have been going through the motions of fall tasks: sending the animals on their end of life cruise, cleaning out and prepping fields for winter, and preparing to harvest storage crops like carrots, turnips and beets.  The crazy thing is that it has been nearly 80 degrees!!!  It feels a little unnatural to be harvesting storage crops in that heat--fearing that packing the cooler when the crops are so warm may overwork the cooler and potentially decrease their storage life in the process.  It looks like the temps are going to drop this week and we may fall into panic mode (to harvest everything before a freeze) overnight.  I've got my winter coat and hat ready to go! 
This week you will find parsnips in your share.  Most of the parsnips we grow are left in the ground, covered in straw and then dug in the early spring for the first summer share pick ups.  Digging parsnips is always a challenge. The roots are sometimes 18" long and it is very hard not to break them or gauge them with the digging fork.  I don't know if folks realize how hard it is to grow and or harvest some of the crops we offer.  Veggies may look simple and innocent when they are sitting on the shelf at pick up, but at times hours of labor went into planting, thinning, harvesting and cleaning them.  To name a few, crops like: leeks, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes and parsnips are very time and labor intensive.  Not that I am looking for sympathy, just thought you might want to know : )
Crops like broccoli and cauliflower elude me.  They take up loads of space and just pop out one head (unlike, for example, a pepper plant that needs just as much space, but it pumps out tens of fruit over the season).  Plus they want the temps and rainfall to be perfect for the 100 plus days it takes for them to mature (ha! yeah right!)  Alas, this fall's broccoli and cauliflower are finally starting to head up and look gorgeous!  Savor them sweetly. 
This week's harvest: lettuce, onion, potato, parsnip, carrot, pepper, tomato, broccoli/cauliflower (at least for halves---fulls got it last week), Chinese cabbage, pac choi, tat soi, kohl rabi, fennel....I might be forgetting something...

Monday, October 14, 2013

October 15th and 18th: Fall Farewells

A Season of Change

As I mentioned before, fall is my favorite season, however with it brings several changes to the farm and sometimes change is hard.  The hardest change is not having the pigs, turkeys and cows around anymore.  Although I am thankful to eat meat, and I raise them so that I know they have had a healthy, happy life, it is still sad to say goodbye.  I am certainly not desensitized to it, which is not easy, but, I think, important.  It builds a greater understanding of life, a deeper appreciation for the food we eat and a sense of community beyond the small one of people around us.  Saying goodbye to the animals reminds me that all of the food we eat is alive and great amounts of time, calories, resources and energy goes into raising it.  A reminder that being thankful for a meal goes beyond just putting food in my mouth.
We love you Pedro
 CIDER and APPLES this week
oooh and they are crisp and beautiful this year!!!
The last two weeks of pick up are sort of a smorgasbord, clean out the fields, potluck.  There will be a myriad of items so if you feel you can't take all the items this week, don't worry they will be there next week too.  (Meaning don't just load up on potatoes, onions and carrots--be daring try out the fennel and kohl rabi!!)
The bounty: lettuce, kale/chard, tat soi/pac choi, kohl rabi, potatoes, fennel carrots, beets, onions, peppers, tomatoes and winter squash
Fennel Salsa:  there are several online recipes.  This is one a shareholder recommended...


Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 25 minutes
Makes 4 cups, easily adapted for less

1/4 cup cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon good mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Salt & pepper to taste - go easy here
Fresh mint, chopped

1 pound fresh kohlrabi, trimmed, peeled, grated or cut into batons with a Benriner
2 apples, peeled, grated or cut into batons (try to keep equivalent volumes of kohlrabi:apple)

Whisk cream into light pillows - this takes a minute or so, no need to get out a mixer. Stir in remaining dressing ingredients, the kohlrabi and apple. Serve immediately.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

October 8th and 11th: Fall Fun

We had a BLAST...

Riding on the wagon...

Feeding apples to the pigs and turkeys...

Playing tomato baseball...

Gathering pumpkins...

Celebrating big pumpkins...

and playing Pin the Tire on the Tractor!
ThAnk YoU to all who came and made the day
full of life and laughter!
This week's bounty:

How to Use Celery Root

Celery root needs to be peeled - and be aggressive when you do it. Remove all of the slightly hairy brown exterior to reveal the creamy, solid flesh inside. Celery root is most classically and commonly used shredded and cooked in a simple Celery Root Salad. It is also delicious added to soups and stews. Try this Pork and Celery Root or, one of my favorites, use it in this Moroccan Vegetable Stew in place of the potatoes. Add celery root to mashed potatoes for a great twist.
Like all root vegetables, celery root is quite flexible, taking well to roasting, braising, or simmering. See 10 Ways to Use Root Vegetables for more ideas.

How to Use Sorrel

Sorrel is also a half-way point in terms of how to use it. More than anything else I can think of, it falls straight between herbs and greens. Use it as a leafy herb - like parsley or basil or mint - chopping it up to use in marinades and dressings or stirring it into soups (like this Sorrel Leek Soup) or casseroles for a bit of fresh flavor. Or, use it as a green, ripping the tender leaves into salads and stir-fries.
The tart and bright flavor of sorrel makes it particularly good at adding some life to potatoes, eggs, and whole grains. It is also delicious with smoked or oily fish like salmon or mackerel. Sorrel is classically paired with cream, sour cream, or yogurt - adding a vibrant green color and tartness to these plain items as their fatty creaminess tames the sharp flavor of the sorrel.
Sorrel is also a great addition to other cooked greens. Add a handful or two when you cook spinach, chard, or kale for a lovely sour kick.