Welcome to our 28th season! It’s time to reserve your shares for the upcoming year. If you were a member last year, please use this link to sign up. Last year’s signups went fast so I encourage you to reserve your share soon. If you’ll be new to the farm this year add your name to our mailing list and I’ll contact you in a couple weeks when we open things up for new members.
In lieu of our typical annual Food Farm social hour at Zeitgeist Arts, we’re doing a safer drive-through Rutabaga Giveaway in the parking lot between Wussow’s Concert Cafe and the Zenith Bookstore on Wednesday, February 3rd from 4-6 pm. It is a chance to see your farmers before the start of the season and, of course, get a rutabaga! Jason is crafting a special dish that you can order from their drive-through window, and Zenith is searching their inventory for rutabaga-themed books. (Perhaps they’ll find something in the Romance section.) Drive on out to West Duluth to support these two great businesses and say hello to your farmers! Note: Zenith does curbside delivery until 6 pm but is not open for browsing after 3. Wussow’s drive-through is open until 6:30.
2020 in review
This year saw a few big changes and a lot of steady improvement. Just like the rest of the world the global pandemic rocked our systems and there were particular weather challenges but on the whole we feel incredibly fortunate to come out of the year in pretty good shape.
We are so proud of our crew this year. We went into the season with a lot of apprehension about how to keep each other and our members safe. Despite our best-laid plans we didn’t know how the pandemic would affect our work. We had crew members out from time to time awaiting tests for minor symptoms or quarantining from possible exposure, but everyone picked up the slack and we were able to call in enough extra help when needed. Thankfully, no one contracted the virus during the growing season. Unfortunately, just after everything was out of the ground, I came down with COVID after running into town for a part for the skid steer. Thankfully, I didn’t pass the illness on to any members of the family or winter crew and was able to quarantine with moderate symptoms in a small cabin on the farm.
Without you, our eaters, we wouldn’t be able to do this work we are so passionate about. It was so wonderful to read your survey comments, your letters and your social media posts. Your feedback is really valuable to us as we plan the for future (we’re glad you loved the melons, and we’re putting more onions and garlic in the winter share!) We’re honored to be your farmers, and appreciate your participation as we continue to support and improve this beautiful place we call the Food Farm.
I’ll leave you with a slideshow for some images of the year past.
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.
Greetings on this sunny winter day! Karin was off newsletter duty today, so you’re stuck with the last minute ramblings Truman and I came up with. Here are his thoughts:
I would like to wish all the farm kids a very happy, jolly, merry Christmas and that you all get what you’re looking for this holiday. I am looking forward to special food in my stocking, especially candy canes because we only get those at Christmastime. My favorite foods for dinner are mashed potatoes, broccoli, carrots, and beets. I like making and eating gingerbread cookies. I also like being in my pjs all day, especially my footy firetruck pajamas. I call them my matchies because Ellis has the same ones.
Even–or I suppose especially–in a turbulent year like this, I am just so humbled by my position in this world, so thankful to have family and friends nearby, so honored to have hundreds of families trusting this farm for their food supply. The older I get the more I realize how essential it is to have these networks of support in place to allow me the energy to in turn do my part in what I hope is an effort to make the world a little better. Our family is incredibly grateful to this place, the people, and the planet we call home.
For the farm crew,
In your share today: Beets, Red Cabbage, Orange and Purple Carrots, Onions, Yellow and Russet Potatoes, Sunshine and Delicata Squash
Sorry, I didn’t have time to type in recipes today, so I’m just going to take a picture of two of my favorites–hopefully you can read the handwriting!. I was skeptical of the fresh beet/carrot salad at first, but it has become a staple in our house. And warm biscuits are hard to pass up any time of the year.
Welcome to the first 2020/2021 Winter share. Thanks for choosing our vegetables to grace your tables this fall… winter… spring… the season we call winter tends to drag itself out, doesn’t it? Each month, I hope that you will see your winter share as a re-setting of sorts for yourself and anyone you share food with as you get replenished with winter staples.
If this is your first time getting a CSA share with us- a special welcome! In times of uncertainty, thank you for plugging into something local. If this is your twentieth share with us, or some number in between, thank you for coming back for more. And, if you had a summer share with us… you can go ahead and use that one last carrot you’ve been hoarding–I speak from experience.
The end of last season’s Winter share felt smothered in uncertainty. The start of this one feels similar. We are facing a long winter with more uncertainty. In the midst of all the challenge and trouble, I hope you can find ways to lean into any and all of the things that feel positive and bring you joy. Maybe finding new ways to use your CSA share, or creative ways to share food with others in a safe way will be a focus this season.
Trepidation, shaken, not stirred, seems to be on the drink menu for our country, and world, this year. I’m not a linguist, but trepidation has always felt like a word of movement to me. I suppose one could sit in trepidation, though I think of it pairing with “walking forward in -” or “moving through with -“.
Whatever comes in these winter months, I hope that in moving forward, with whichever emotions we bring, we can work in our own day-to-days to bring healing and to make manifest a world with more possibility for everyone.
For the farm crew,
In your share this month: Brussels Sprouts – Beets – Green Cabbage – Carrots – Celery* – Delicata and Kabocha Winter Squash – Onions – Red and Yellow Potatoes – Turnips
A note on the celery in today’s share: this crop was one of the things that we harvested half-frozen in the snow a few weeks ago, and it was the least able to cope with that kind of abuse. It’s not in great shape and we debated not sending it at all, but in the end decided that we would let members make the call of whether they can use it or not. It wouldn’t fit in the regular boxes, so look for the gray harvest bins nearby. This is a new-ish crop for us, and when it works well the flavor is amazing so we hope it’s worth your patience at times like this when it’s below our normal quality standards.
Brussels Sprouts – From the Crowded Kitchen
3 ½ lbs. brussels sprouts, peeled
3 tbsp olive oil
½ tbsp fine kosher salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
Maple Mustard Dressing:
2 tbsp vegan mayonnaise
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp dijon mustard
¼ tsp pepper
⅛ tsp salt
Preheat oven to 400˚F.
Wash and thoroughly dry brussels sprouts. To prep brussels sprouts, slice off the woody, tough stem, then use your hands to peel off the leaves. You may have to trim the steam again as you work towards the interior. See blog posts for photo tutorial!
Toss leaves with olive oil, salt and pepper and transfer to 2 large sheet pans. Roast for 30-35 minutes total, stirring well half way through cook time and again at 25 minutes. For even cooking, switch bottom and top trays halfway through cooking. Keep a close eye on the oven as oven times may differ.
Meanwhile, whisk together all dressing ingredients until smooth.
Remove brussels sprouts from oven, transfer to a large bowl and toss with dressing. Serve warm.
Lemon Tahini Dressing for roasted veggies (or whatever!)
2 tablespoons tahini
1 juice and zest of lemon
1 clove garlic grated
½ teaspoon salt
~¼ cup hot water
¼ cup parsley minced
In a small bowl, whisk together tahini, lemon juice/zest, garlic, and salt. Slowly add in the hot water until desired consistency is reached. Stir in parsley and toss on roasted vegetables!
It’s been a wild ride since Summer Shares ended just 12 days ago! This spring we debated whether to start the 18-week season on June 8th or wait until the 15th, which would have been more normal. Boy are we glad we started the season sooner! We are so fortunate to have made some timely investments in harvesting equipment over the past few years. This enabled us to harvest both the carrot and potato crops in just two days apiece. After a summer of harvesting crops by the cartload, it was quite a change for the crew to be bringing in bin after 1,000 pound bin to quickly fill the cellar. I personally love the rush of the final harvest but it’s not for everyone, and folks who are new to the farm get a little wide-eyed as the tone and pace of the farm cranks into high gear. This year’s crew got to experience that rush in an even more compressed version than usual, and we’re incredibly appreciative of their willingness to provide the big push that was necessary to get it all done.
After all of the drama, the only crop we won’t have enough of to supply what we normally do for the Winter Shares are parsnips. We haven’t done a final tally yet, but we know from a preliminary look that we’re way behind last year’s totals, especially on carrots and potatoes. It’s not a huge surprise–a summer of heat and drought mixed with a few extreme events in the form of rain and hail combined to make a tough year for growing plants. Taking all this into account, we consider it good fortune to have a mediocre harvest vs. a disastrous one. While there’s still a lot of work to be done around the farm–so many projects are often set aside when fall triage mode sets in–at least the food is safe and protected for a winter of good eating. We’re glad to be able to fill up the boxes with goodness for your family.
One true note of sadness on the farm this week: our old farm dog Dobby passed away on Monday. It was not unexpected–we knew he wouldn’t make it through another winter–but we’re all pretty sad to have lost a trusty companion and good friend. We adopted him as a two year old former stray, and his gentle nature quickly became an important fixture on the farm–a wag and lean from Dobby was a great way for everyone on the farm to start their day. Chester now bears the burden of sole member of the welcoming committee! Thanks for all of your support and participation through this most interesting of farm seasons.
As I look back over this farm season, I am reminded of how challenging it has been. There was not enough rain, then too much at once, then hail, then not enough rain again. It hasn’t been an easy year on the vegetables = not an easy year on the farmers.
Obviously, out there in the world there has been a huge amount of difficulty and unpredictability that has affected all of us. So much rubber seems to be meeting the road at once and it stinks. I practically have to hold my nose while listening to the news.
I think a lot of us have been thinking about food, how we get it, and how much of it we keep on hand at any one time during these past several months. Or any shopping and consuming really; I’ve learned about myself that I ran way more petty errands than I needed to in the “before times”.
For me, preparing food has been a nice diversion from other parts of life that feel more unsure, and more stressful. It’s been nice to sometimes, not always, have a meditative approach to cooking and baking to go along with the sometimes meditative aspects of farming. I’ve been lucky to be on both sides for a while now.
I hope that for you, getting your CSA share each week has been a positive point of structure and rhythm, even as normal rhythms get canceled, changed or postponed. We are glad you chose our CSA, and want to hear what you thought about it on the end of season survey! We’re always fine-tuning things to most closely match what has been working best for our members.
If you are also a member of our Winter Share, then we’ll “see” you in a few weeks. (A few weeks that is a blur of harvest activity around the farm!). If you just get our Summer Shares, we hope you have a good fall and winter, and look forward to connecting again in the spring. Either way, we hope your dinner table continues to be a center for you in these un-centering times.
Thank you for participating with us in this crazy, messy, tasty thing we call life.
For the farm crew,
In your share this week: Brussels Sprouts – Carrots – Celery – Cilantro – Cucumber – Garlic – Greens Mix – Kale – Lettuce – Onions – Sweet and Hot Peppers – French Fingerling Potatoes – Delicata Squash – Tomatoes
Roasted & Stuffed Squash
From No Crumbs Left
For the Squash: Delicata squash 1 tsp salt ½ tsp pepper 1 Tbsp olive oil
For the Ground Sirloin Filling: 2 Tbsp olive oil 2/3 cup chopped onion 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 ½ – 3 cups sliced brown mushrooms 1 ½ pounds ground sirloin 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper ¼ tsp cayenne 2 generous handfuls spinach, chopped (could use greens mix!)
Preheat oven to 400. Peel and cut the squash into 1” thick rounds. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a large sheet pan, lined with parchment paper. Cook until soft but not mushy, about 55 minutes, flipping halfway through. While the squash is cooking, make the filling: Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté the onions for 3 minutes then add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds, stirring. Add the mushrooms and cook, covered for 3 minutes. Uncover and cook for 3 more minutes. Add the ground sirloin and cook over high heat, about 6 minutes (or until meat is no longer pink), breaking up clumps with a wooden spoon.
Add the salt, pepper and cayenne. Then add the spinach and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove the squash from the oven and place on plates. Top with the meat mixture and serve.
Dijon-Braised Brussels Sprouts
1 pound brussels sprouts 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1 tablespoon olive oil Salt Freshly ground black pepper 1/2 cup dry white wine 1 cup broth (chicken or vegetable) 2 to 3 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced 2 tablespoons heavy cream 1 tablespoon smooth dijon mustard (or more to taste) 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)
Trim sprouts and halve lengthwise. In a large, heavy 12-inch skillet heat butter and oil over moderate heat. Arrange halved sprouts in skillet, cut sides down, in one layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook sprouts, without turning until undersides are golden brown, about 5 minutes. [Updated to note: If your sprouts don’t fit in one layer, don’t fret! Brown them in batches, then add them all back to the pan, spreading them as flat as possible, before continuing with the shallots, wine, etc.]
Add the shallots, wine and stock and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low (for a gentle simmer), cover the pot with a lid (foil works too, if your skillet lacks a lid) and cook the sprouts until they are tender can be pierced easily with the tip of a paring knife, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove the lid, and scoop out brussels (leaving the sauce behind). Add cream and simmer for two to three minutes, until slightly thickened. Whisk in mustard. Taste for seasoning, and adjust as necessary with more salt, pepper or Dijon. Pour sauce over brussels, sprinkle with parsley, if using, and serve immediately.
I am thinking of the autumn colors, naturally. They are so lovely and so fleeting. Unlike the turn of season at the end of winter, which seems to drag on and on through slush and grime, autumn is so fast, and so crisp. It is the snap of an apple, hands on a cold steering wheel, wind in your face, yard work hastily finished. It’s clean and clear and cold and beautifully strips away the things of summer and gets us ready for a long tuck-in time.
Don’t blink or you’ll miss it!
The CSA season usually feels like it goes so fast. One week left, and poof, there go 18 weeks. This year has felt a little slower in some ways (because this year has been 500 years long), but quick enough that I just realized I need to start using my frozen rhubarb and not wait for next April like I have some years. The time is now! Switch out those early summer/spring items to make way for frozen squash or soups or greens.
Like any new parent, I can say how much faster time goes with a baby. They say that the days are long and the years are short, but even the days seem so quick with him when I realize it’s already late afternoon and there’s still so much I “need” to do (like laundry, always) and there’s still so much he “should do” like hear big words or classical music or whatever. It’s nice to have him around to remind me of how much is worth exploring in just a few square feet of forest, or living room.
Having autumn, slow food, or little people to slow down for so we don’t over look the fleeting beauty and bounty of the world is such a blessing. I hope in the often craziness of life this week there are moments that spark your curiosity or rekindle your joy.
MISO ROASTED ROOT VEGGIE NOODLE BOWL From The Leek and the Carrot
Serves 4-6 Takes 1 hour
1 1/2 pounds carrots, topped and peeled 1 1/2 pound beets, topped and peeled 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon white miso paste 2 tablespoons maple syrup, divided 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil 4 cups roughly chopped mushrooms (I used a mixture of shittakes and cremini) 8-10 ounces rice noodles (I love the Lotus Foods Millet & Brown Rice Ramen) 4-5 ounces lettuce mix 2-3 avocados, sliced 1/2 cup Almond Miso Dressing (see below) 2 tablespoons white or black sesame seeds, optional Kimchi, optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut beets in half and then cut each half into quarters. Cut carrots in half in the middle and then quarter each half lengthwise. Spread out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, white miso paste and 1 tablespoon maple syrup until smooth. Brush carrots and beets with this mixture then roast for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, toss veggies and then roast 20 minutes longer.
In a medium saucepan, mix together soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and remaining 1 tablespoon maple syrup. Add mushrooms and toss until they’re well-coated. Cook over medium low heat for 15-20 minutes. The mushrooms will first release a lot of liquid, then reduce down. Once fully cooked and soft, remove from the heat.
Cook noodles according to package directions.
Divide lettuce mix evenly into dinner bowls. Top with noodles and miso roasted veg. Spoon mushroom mixture (sauce and mushrooms) over noodles. Add 1/2 avocado to each bowl. Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons of Almond Miso dressing and then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Add kimchi to your preference.
Almond Miso Dressing 1/2 cup almonds 5 tablespoons olive oil 3 tablespoons water 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar 1 tablespoon white miso 1 tablespoon maple syrup
In a food processor, process almonds until finely chopped (so it looks roughly like minced garlic). Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth. You may have to scrape down edges a couple times.
Creamy Roasted Carrot Soup
2 pounds carrots 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt, divided, to taste 1 medium yellow onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced ½ teaspoon ground coriander ¼ teaspoon ground cumin 4 cups vegetable broth (or water) 2 cups water 1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, to taste 1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice, to taste Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup, if desired.
To prepare your carrots, peel them and then cut them on the diagonal so each piece is about ½″ thick at the widest part (see photos).
Place the carrots on the baking sheet. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Toss until the carrots are lightly coated in oil and seasonings. Arrange them in a single layer.
Roast the carrots until they’re caramelized on the edges and easily pierced through by a fork, 25 to 40 minutes, tossing halfway.
Once the carrots are almost done roasting, in a Dutch oven or soup pot, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and turning translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the garlic, coriander and cumin. Cook until fragrant while stirring constantly, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Pour in the vegetable broth and water, while scraping up any browned bits on the bottom with a wooden spoon or sturdy silicone spatula.
Add the roasted carrots to the pot when they are out of the oven. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, to give the flavors time to meld.
Once the soup is done cooking, remove the pot from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Then, carefully transfer the hot soup to a blender, working in batches if necessary.
Add the butter, lemon juice, and several twists of black pepper. Blend until completely smooth. Add additional salt and pepper if necessary, to taste. Add another tablespoon of butter if you’d like more richness, or a little more lemon juice if it needs more zing. Blend again, and serve.
This soup keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for about four days, or for several months in the freezer.
The summer -turned fall- CSA has just two weeks more after this one, and it will probably go out with a climax of color, just like the summer does. We have winter squash in out of the field now, and are harvesting a variety of potatoes to go along with all the usual summer/end of summer produce you’ve been seeing lately. I hope that you have been finding fresh and creative ways to use the vegetables each week. I say this knowing that for me, I tend to get in a rut of cooking (sometimes tasty ruts, but still, how many zucchini fritters can one family eat?) and am now thankful for a change of weather to remind me of other go-to foods I love to make.
When I was growing up, my mom used to make big batch meals, some for dinner, some to freeze, and more often than not, some to bring to someone who needed it. My sister and I loved smelling whatever was cooking all day, and were primed and ready for chili, or spaghetti or roast for dinner by the time it rolled around. The worst was when she said it was something she was making a day or two ahead of time -pure torture for growing kids to wait to eat whatever smelled so good!
Back when the farm still had chickens for meat, one had been injured somehow a couple weeks before we were set to harvest them all. Figuring she might not make it that long, and knowing that either way she was suffering, Janaki said I could have (read: eat) her if I wanted to do that on my free time. So after work, I pulled together all the stuff I’d need to kill, clean and pluck the chicken and got to work. It isn’t really so very much work if you know what you’re doing, but what I did learn that evening was cleaning up from killing one chicken is just about as much work as cleaning up from 200. A little blood, a lot of blood, either way everything has to get totally clean. Only there’s just one dead chicken, verses food for dozens of families. So, I decided that day I’d set a minimum of 5 chickens next time.
In the before times (as they are called now) the crew used to eat lunches all together in Janaki and Annie’s house (ever more becoming Truman and Ellis’ house!). Some years we’d have a rotation down of who would go in a bit early to start lunch, other years we’d all cook together as fast as we could in an hour. Often I’d find myself in there with a pot of rice and a pile of vegetables and 25 minutes to put something together for 5, 6 sometimes 8 people. I could lie here because who’s going to check… but the truth is that the kitchen sometimes looked like a tornado had struck by the time I was finishing up. Many a time someone (Patricia) would come in and start working around me in the kitchen, scraping cut ends of onions off into the compost and washing salad spinners and colanders. But the end result was usually half way decent, fresh whole-food for a hungry farm crew and a kitchen that went back to sorts.
If only my kitchen at home had a person walking around behind me making things cleaner. Right now, it has a little person walking around pulling towels out of the drawer, putting measuring spoons between the fridge and the wall and holding onto the back of my pants. Basically, he’s no help. To boot, I’ve realized the same lesson applies from the chickens: cooking using whole food for 8 people – same mess as cooking for 3. Is this just me? So, the down side of that is obvious, it is: wow, what a mess. The plus side: it really isn’t so much more work to make twice, or three times as much and put some away for later. If you have to wash a cutting board, counter, knife and pots anyway, why not just chop a little more? If you’re roasting something, is another couple of baking sheets such a burden?
If anything, I write this as a pep talk to myself to just go nuts cooking. We can all go wild in these next few weeks of bounty, like squirrels running around frantically for acorns.
For the farm crew,
In your share this week: Northeaster Green Beans – Carrots – Cilantro – Cucumbers – Greens Mix – Leeks – Onions – Red and Hot Peppers – Potatoes – Rutabagas – Acorn Squash -Tomatoes – Zucchini
from The Leek and the Carrot
My two cents, and educated guess, is that quiche is usually very flexible, and as long as you don’t add something too watery (like tomatoes) without changing the amount of milk you add, you can put in just about anything you want as substitutions. Example, leeks instead of onions, or adding red pepper instead of mushrooms.
2 partially baked pie crusts (see below) or 2 store-bought pie crusts 1/4 cup sunflower oil (or olive oil), divided 4 cups diced butternut squash 1 tablespoon Kosher salt, divided 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided 1/2 teaspoon sage 1/2 teaspoon thyme 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, divided 1 garlic bulb 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced 2 tablespoons butter, divided 1 teaspoon sugar 1/4 pound shittake mushrooms, loosely chopped 3 kale leaves, stalks removed and roughly chopped 1 cup finely shredded parmesan 6 eggs 2 cups half & half or whole milk
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss diced butternut squash with 2 tablespoons oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, sage, thyme and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Pour out onto a large baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes. Set aside once finished. Cut the top off a garlic bulb. Drizzle with one tablespoon oil. Wrap in foil and add to the oven to roast until the squash is finished. Once cooked, remove from foil and squeeze cloves out of the peel. Gently chop and set aside. Meanwhile, begin caramelizing onions. Combine last tablespoon oil and one tablespoon butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onions, 1 teaspoon salt and remaining pepper. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 15 minutes until well softened. Add sugar and continue cooking for 10 minutes until lightly browned and just caramelized. Remove from pan and set aside. Wipe the large skillet out with a paper towel (if necessary) and add remaining tablespoon of butter. Melt over medium low heat. Add mushrooms along with remaining teaspoon Kosher salt. Saute for 5 minutes. Add kale and remaining 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Cook for an additional 5 minutes until just wilted. Reduce oven temperature to 375 and prepare your quiche! Add half of the cooked butternut squash, chopped softened garlic, caramelized onions and sauted mushrooms and greens to each partially cooked pie crust. Sprinkle 1/2 cup parmesan cheese over each quiche. In a large bowl, combine 6 eggs and cream or milk. Whisk until smooth. Pour mixture over each quiche so that all veggies are covered. Bake quiche for 35 minutes or until center is set. Enjoy warm today, tomorrow or all throughout the week!
Pie crust: 2-1/2 cups flour 1 tablespoon sugar 1 teaspoon Kosher salt 2 sticks butter, cut into pieces and very cold 1/2 cup cold water
I love to make pie crust in my food processor. I think it is the simplest thing on Earth. If you don’t have a food processor, follow this recipe; same techniques but no food processor necessary. Before I even begin making the crust, I cut the butter into pieces and stick it in a bowl in the freezer. Then I fill a one- or two-cup measuring cup with 1/2 cup cold water and stick that in the freezer too. The trick with pie dough is to work quickly so that the butter stays cold and in small uneven pieces. This is what creates a flaky crust. Chilling these ingredients right before you start helps with this. Combine flour, sugar and salt in the food processor and pulse a few times until well combined. Add all the butter at once and pulse a few times until broken up but not at all incorporated. What you are looking for is pea-sized pieces of butter sprinkled throughout. Uniform size is not important. Add half the cold water to the mixture, turn on the food processor and slowly pour in the rest of the water. Continue running the food processor until the dough comes together into one mass (it will not be a ball, but will be smooth and even). Remove dough from food processor using a rubber spatula and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour. When ready to use, turn half the pie dough out onto a well-floured counter. Dust the top with flour and roll out until about 12 inches in diameter. Press into a 10-inch pie pan, line with foil and add pie weights (or dried beans). Bake at 425 degrees (with the butternut squash works well!) for 10 minutes.
Carrot Salad with Tahini, Crisped Chickpeas and Salted Pistachios
From the Smitten Kitchen
Chickpeas 1 3/4 cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 15-ounce can, drained and patted dry on paper towels 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Salad 1 pound carrots, peeled and coarsely grated 1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley 1/4 cup shelled, salted pistachios, coarsely chopped
Dressing 1 medium garlic clove, minced 1/4 cup lemon juice 3 tablespoons well-stirred tahini 2 tablespoons water, plus more if needed 2 tablespoons olive oil Salt and red pepper flakes to taste
Roast chickpeas: Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss chickpeas with one tablespoon olive oil, salt and cumin until they’re all coated. Spread them on a baking sheet or pan and roast them in the oven until they’re browned and crisp. This can take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size and firmness of your chickpeas. Toss them occasionally to make sure they’re toasting evenly. Set aside until needed.
Make dressing: Whisk all ingredients together until smooth, adding more water if needed to thin the dressing slightly. Taste and adjust seasoning; don’t worry if it tastes a little sharp on the lemon, it will marry perfectly with the sweet grated carrots.
Assemble salad: Place grated carrots in large bowl and toss with parsley. Mix in 2/3 of the dressing, adding more if desired. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle with a large handful of chickpeas (you’ll have extra and if you’re like us, won’t regret it) and pistachios and dig in.
Do ahead: Salad keeps well in the fridge for two days, however, I’d add the chickpeas and pistachios right before serving, so they don’t get soft.
There is no denying: fall is in the air. Mornings and evenings are cool, and dark. The first few red and yellow leaves are turning with the cold nights, and the ones that have fallen already have that spicy-autumn smell. I love that smell. I love fall arriving, and picking up a caramel apple, making soups again (after a too-hot for soup summer!) and maybe having a back-yard fire to two.
I also have some trepidation about this fall. As far as the farm goes, we have seen a lot of rain towards the end of the season many years in a row, and it leads to some nail biting when thinking of getting into the fields to harvest our main storage crops. We’re hoping for a drier fall this year, but it’s quite dry right now so we wouldn’t mind a little rain. We are also hoping for a full and healthy crew. It is hard to not look ahead, as if through a fog, and worry about what will happen when, inevitably, people start coming down with colds or worse and are waiting for COVID tests back.
Looking ahead to fall is difficult this year, because of all the uncertainty. The cold will bring more distance between friends and family, and many of the things we look forward to about this time are not happening (like Friday football and Harvest Fest). I am resolute to find fun where I can, and to sit around with friends outside while I still can, too.
I hope your week, and first bit of fall, start off well as you are replenished with fresh veggies. Maybe you will turn them all into a healthy, hearty soup to warm you and yours up.
1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour and up to 4 (the longer the better)
3 garlic cloves
2 lemons, zested
½ tsp salt
2 tsp white miso paste
You may need ¼ cup cashew soaking water or more, to blend
For the Zucchini Fritters:
4 cups grated zucchini
3 tbsp scallions, finely chopped
2 tbsp basil, finely chopped
1 1/2 tbsp flax meal + 3 tbsp water
1/4 cup gluten free all purpose flour
1/4 cup plain gluten free regular or panko style bread crumbs
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt plus 1/2 tsp more to season mixture
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4-1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 tbsp of olive oil for cooking
For the Lemon Cashew Cream:
Drain the cashews, reserving soaking water in case you need it to blend the sauce.
Combine the cashes, garlic, all the lemon zest, juice from one lemon, salt, and miso in a blender. Blend until smooth, adding cashew soaking water one tablespoon at a time if necessary to achieve a creamy sauce.
To make the fritters:
Grate zucchini. Place in a mesh colander inside a bowl and toss well with 1 1/2 tsp of salt. Let sit for about 35 minutes. Be sure to toss and squeeze the moisture out of the zucchini 3-4 times while it is sitting. (The zucchini will release a lot of moisture!) After 35 minutes, transfer zucchini to a clean dish towel and squeeze out as much remaining moisture as possible.
While the zucchini is sitting, mix together the flour, bread crumbs, nutritional yeast, 1/2 tsp of salt, garlic powder, and 1/4 tsp of pepper.
Add flax meal to a bowl with water, stir and let sit for 20 minutes. Stir once or twice.
Add zucchini to a bowl with scallions and basil. Mix well, then add in all of the dry ingredients. Add flax + water mixture and mix well. Let mixture sit at room temp for 20-30 minutes so the flax egg has some time to bind the mixture together. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if desired.
Heat a large nonstick fry pan over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp of oil. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup so patties are the same size. Form into a ball in your hand and press flat, about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Cook for 4- 5 minutes on each side over medium heat, until golden brown and crispy.
Gluten-Free Pan Pizza from King Arthur Flour
1 3/4 cups all purpose gluten free flour
2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoons olive oil + 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, for the pan
1/3 to 1/2 cup tomato sauce or pizza sauce, homemade or store-bought
freshly grated hard cheese and fresh herbs for sprinkling on top after baking, optional*
Veggies from the Food Farm!!
To make the crust: Place the dry ingredients (except the yeast) into the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl. Mix until thoroughly blended.
Place the warm water, 2 tablespoons olive oil, yeast, and a scant 1 cup of the dry mixture into a small bowl. Stir to combine; a few lumps are OK. Set aside for 30 minutes or so, until the mixture is bubbly and smells yeasty.
Add this mixture to the remaining dry ingredients and beat on medium-high speed for 4 minutes using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer. The mixture will be thick and sticky, but not elastic; it won’t feel like regular yeast dough. Note: You must use an electric mixer to make this dough; mixing by hand doesn’t do a thorough enough job.
Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 30 minutes or so.
Pour the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil into a cast-iron skillet that’s 10” to 11” diameter across the top, and about 9” across the bottom. Tilt the pan to coat the bottom with the oil. This heavy, dark pan will give you superb crust; but if you don’t have a cast-iron pan, use a 10” round cake pan, a 9” square pan, or other oven-safe, similar-sized, heavy-bottomed skillet.
Scrape the dough from the bowl into the pan. Starting at the center of the dough and working outward toward the edges, use your wet fingers to press the dough to fill the bottom of the pan.
Let the dough rest, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
While the dough is resting, place one rack at the bottom of the oven and one toward the top (about 4″ to 5″ from the top heating element). Preheat the oven to 375°F.
When you’re ready to bake the pizza, scatter about three-quarters of the mozzarella (a scant 1 cup) evenly over the crust. Cover the entire crust right to the edge, so the cheese will become deep golden brown and crispy as the pizza bakes. Dollop small spoonfuls of the sauce over the cheese (putting the cheese on first will prevent the top of the crust from getting soggy under the sauce) then sprinkle on the remaining mozzarella.
Bake the pizza on the bottom rack of the oven for 20 to 22 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and the bottom and edges of the crust are golden brown (use a spatula to check the bottom). If the bottom is brown but the top still seems pale, transfer the pizza to the top rack and bake for 3 to 5 minutes longer. On the other hand, if the top seems fine but the bottom’s not browned to your liking, leave the pizza on the bottom rack for another 2 to 4 minutes. Home ovens can vary a lot, so use the visual cues and your own preferences to gauge when you’ve achieved the perfect bake. You’ll notice the pizza has shrunk away from the sides of the pan, and perhaps deflated a bit; that’s OK.
Remove the pizza from the oven and place the pan on a cooling rack. Carefully run a spatula between the edge of the pizza and side of the pan to prevent the cheese from sticking as it cools. If desired, sprinkle freshly grated hard cheese and fresh herbs over the hot pizza. Let the pizza cool briefly, and as soon as you feel comfortable doing so transfer it from the pan to a cooling rack or cutting surface. Serve pizza hot or warm.
Store any leftovers, well wrapped, in the refrigerator for a day or so; freeze for longer storage.
The extra hurry-hurry of fall on the farm is starting now. We have had a new crew member join our ranks as we’ve had to fill holes in the schedule, and still there is not enough time in the day, most days. We are starting to harvest almost all the time now: keeping the root-cellar stocked for the CSA and our wholesale customers with carrots, beets, potatoes and cabbage. We hope you’ll enjoy the baby carrots in your share today–we had to begin harvesting the second planting before they have completely sized up, so you’ll be getting a bunch of snack sized ones this week and next. Zucchini and cucumbers have had a tough time this year and are starting to fade already, even though frost has not showed up yet. With more produce coming out of the field each week, we’re also working to keep up with pallet box washing, knowing that soon instead of needing one or two at a time, we’ll need 6, 12, 20 in a day.
I love this time of year on the farm. I love when it’s cooler, I love looking over beds and seeing them full of produce early afternoon, and empty by evening. I love getting into a rhythm of harvest-wash-store, repeat, almost every day. Sometimes it can feel like the harvesting takes up an awful lot of time, and couldn’t we just get something done if it weren’t for all these veggies… but then I remember that the harvest is the whole reason we do what we do. Harvest happens, so that your breakfast, lunch and dinner can happen.
Thank you for participating in our farming with us by providing purpose for our veggies! What a change in the bounty from early June to now- so much variety, and so many options of what to make, or store for later. We hope you enjoy the share, and find some (warm and cozy?) ways to enjoy the food.
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil 1/4 cup olive oil + more for drizzling 3 tablespoons soy sauce 1 tablespoon rice vinegar 1 tablespoon sriracha, optional Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs 6-8 bone-in, skin-on drumsticks 1 head cabbage 1 head garlic, separated and peeled 3 leeks, white and pale green parts only, cut int 1-inch thick slices
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl combine oils, soy sauce, vinegar and sriracha. Place chicken in a second bowl. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and then pour 1/4 cup of the oil mixture over the chicken. Let it sit while you prep the veggies.
Cut the cabbage in half through it’s core. Keep halving and slicing the whole head of cabbage until you wind up with lots and lots of wedges (all no thicker than 1-inch). Some pieces of cabbage will shred and fall apart as you cut the cabbage, but it will be fine. Add cabbage to first large bowl (the one with the remaining sauce not the chicken) along with peeled garlic cloves and sliced leeks. Toss to coat veggies with sauce and season with a bit of salt and pepper.
Add chicken to large baking sheet and roast in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and nestle chicken with vegetables. It will feel like a lot and you’ll need to nestle the vegetables under the chicken a bit. That’s fine! Roast for 35-40 minutes longer until juices have reduced, veggies begin to caramelize and the skin on the chicken begins to crisp.
Serve veggies and chicken together (atop mashed potatoes) with any residual sauce. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
From The Smitten Kitchen
1/2 cup finely grated aged Pecorino Romano 1 tablespoon potato starch or cornstarch 1/2 teaspoon fine sea or table salt, or to taste 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper, or a larger amount coarsely ground 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, or olive oil 2 pounds potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/8-inch-thick, ideally on a mandolin 8 cups loosely packed arugula 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil 2 teaspoons (10 ml) white wine vinegar
Assemble the potatoes: Heat your oven to 375°F. Combine the cheese, potato starch or cornstarch, salt, and pepper in a small dish. Taste a pinch; you want it to have a strong salty-peppery kick, because it’s going to be distributed all over the galette.
Pour 1 tablespoon butter or oil into the bottom of a 9-inch-diameter cast-iron or ovenproof skillet, and swirl it up the sides. Arrange the potatoes in overlapping concentric circles in a single layer at the bottom of the pan. (This will use approximately a quarter of your sliced potatoes.) Drizzle with 1 teaspoon butter or oil, and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the cheese-pepper mixture. You’ll need to repeat this three or four times to use up your potatoes (depending on their size). At the end, you should have about 1 tablespoon cheese-pepper mixture left over; reserve this. Drizzle any remaining melted butter over the top.
To bake: Lightly coat a piece of foil with nonstick spray and cover the skillet tightly with it. Put in heated oven for 35 minutes, at which point the potatoes will be almost tender. Use potholdered hands to press firmly on the foil to compact the potatoes a bit. Remove and reserve the foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes more, until lightly brown all over. Press again with the foil, remove, then briefly run under the broiler for an even golden-brown finish.
To finish and serve: While the galette bakes, toss the arugula with the olive oil and vinegar, keeping the dressing very light.
Once the galette is out of the oven, let it rest in the skillet for a few minutes before running a knife around to ensure that it is loose. Gently tip the skillet over your sink to drain any excess butter or oil. Invert it onto a plate or cutting board, then flip right side up. Cut the galette into wedges, then top with the dressed greens, and sprinkle with the reserved cheese-pepper mixture.
Do ahead: This galette can be made up to 3 days in advance. Rewarm at 350 degrees for 15 minutes with foil on top.