Summer CSA Week 5

Most years I have felt that if you blink after the Fourth of July, you may miss summer. Fortunately we have more summer left than we’ve experienced so far. I’d like it to include more rain than it has so far. This week seems promising.

This year we have a great crew with a few new people who are figuring out the pace of work on the farm and where everything is and how to do farm tasks just so. Kelly, Madison and Nick are all new this year and started between early May and early June. Jane has returned after her first season last summer. It’s always nice to have repeat people who know the ropes. Lizzy comes out on CSA harvest days, Teri does all the deliveries and joins us on projects when not on the road or harvesting. Of course Dave is out planting, running things in the greenhouses, keeping knives sharp and a myriad of other tasks that need doing. A couple of long-term volunteers have been joining us on harvest days. Usually we throw open the gates for volunteers -but with COVID19 we’ve been keeping it to a minimum. (Now that I’m going to list them, it sounds like a lot – but believe me there used to be more that would work a day or two here and there) Joe, Ki, Rollie, Sandy and Betsy and of course Patricia who keeps us all organized. I think Janaki is still working on the Farm too. We see someone driving tractors around throughout the day and moving irrigation around constantly. There is a good chance it’s him doing all that work, but with the clouds of dust following the tractor it’s hard to see.

I’m so glad we have a good number of (and just plain good) people working on the farm. There is always a lot to do. It’s way more than just a few people could manage. My first season was 2014 and there were roughly 11 acres in vegetables with the other 11 in a cover crop. Now there are at least 15 acres in vegetables at the peak of the year. When I tell someone I work on a farm, and then they hear the size of it sometimes they seem to think it’s small. But with forty plus varieties of vegetables in fields + greenhouses there is a lot of work and every crop needs something different.

I hope you enjoy some of that variety in your share this week. I love this kind of a share box -you could just chop everything up into a big bowl and eat it! Likely, you’ll eat some of this and some of that and maybe keep some for later.
However you eat it -we hope you enjoy it. We enjoy growing it.

For the farm crew,

Karin


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Potato bug larvae -shortly before their demise.


In your share this week:

Broccoli – Carrots – Cucumber – Garlic Scapes – Greens Mix – Lettuce – Napa Cabbage – Green Onions – Snap Peas


 

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Garlic Scape Salt

From Gutsy By Nature

(After hearing that a member made some last week I thought it’d be a fun item to include!)

Ingredients
  • 12 fresh garlic scapes
  • ½ cup coarse sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 250° F.
  2. Roughly chop garlic scapes, then place in bowl of food processor along with sea salt and process until it becomes an even paste.
  3. Spread the paste in an even layer on a small baking sheet. Place in oven and allow to bake for 1 hour, stirring and re-spreading in an even layer every 15 minutes, until the paste is uniformly dried.
  4. Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle.
  5. Using your hands, crumble the dried salt and garlic scape mixture into fine pieces. If you find you have very hard and large clumps, you may wish to return this dried mixture to your food processor (making sure you have cleaned and dried it first) and pulverize it even further.
  6. Transfer the resulting garlic scape salt into jars for storage.

Carrot Ginger Dressing

  • 1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 small shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons white miso
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seed oil
  • 1/4 cup grape seed or another neutral oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
    Whiz the carrots, shallot and ginger in a blender or food processor until finely chopped. Scrape down the sides, then add the miso, vinegar and sesame oil. While the machine running, slowly drizzle in the grape seed oil and the water.

 

Summer CSA Week 4

At the end of every CSA season we send out a survey to you our members to find out what you thought of your share boxes throughout the season. There are some general questions about how we did, how you felt about the season, and then line by line we ask if you thought you got too much, too little, or just the right amount of every item we send all season long. It’s a long list, as you can imagine.

We use all that information to try to see what, if anything we should change about what we send in the share boxes, and thus, what we should plant on the farm every spring. Over the years it seems like the farm has honed in pretty well to what works for many of you.

Every year though, there are always responses that lean more to the “too much!” side than “never enough!” (we sure don’t want anyone to feel like there’s not enough -except the snap peas – we can never grow enough of those!).

I seem to remember a couple of years back, many members feeling like they had received too many green onions. A few snipped on top of a baked potato won’t use up a bunch a week, but it seems like green onions are often thought of as a garnish in recipes as opposed to a component adding a lot of flavor. Throughout my week, I seem to always be chopping an onion up, even before I’ve fully decided what to make for dinner. I know whatever I make, it needs onion. You can do the same thing with green onions. Whatever recipe calls for onion using green onions would offer that same flavor punch so you can either substitute/or add green onions. Plus, if you’re cooking them down like in a stir-fry, soup or curry you can use a lot of them. It maybe doesn’t need to be said (but I’ll say it), that green onions won’t need to be cooked as long, and can’t be caramelized in the same way as onions can.

In other years I’ve recommended sharing food with friends or family as a way to use up a share if you’re struggling to finish it by the next week. Pot-lucks can be a great way to share and use up whatever you have laying around. This year the option of gathering around food is more complicated, and sharing more difficult. In spite of this, or because of this, I hope you are able to find creative ways to use, store and maybe even share the vegetables you get from our farm.

Feel free to reach out if you have pro-tips on using up a share, or if you have questions that you think others might like answered as well!

For the farm crew,

Karin

 

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In your share this week:

Broccoli – Cauliflower – Cucumbers – Garlic scapes – Head lettuce – Green onions – Pac choi – Radishes


 

Roasted Cauliflower Spread

From Food and Wine

-I’ve said it before that I’m not much of a recipe person, and my educated guess is that this recipe would be very flexible. You could add in some of the garlic scapes and green onions, and probably change up the spices and herbs and still end up with a tasty spread as long as your liquid to solid ratio stays about the same.

  • 1 head of cauliflower (2 pounds), halved crosswise and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons tahini (sesame) paste
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • Sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 450°. In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower with the oil, ginger and coriander and season with salt. Spread the cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for about 40 minutes, stirring once or twice, until tender and lightly browned in spots. Let cool slightly.

Transfer the cauliflower to a food processor. Add the tahini and lemon juice and pulse to a chunky puree; season with salt. Add the cilantro and pulse just until incorporated. Transfer the spread to a bowl and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve warm with pita bread or chips (or on toast!)


Garlic Scape Pesto

  • 10 Garlic scapes
  • 1/3 C Pine nuts or walnuts 
  • 1/3 C Parmesan, asiago or simply parmesan dice or shredded
  • 1/2 Lemon juiced
  • 1/8 tsp Fine Sea Salt or more to taste
  • A few grinds of Pepper
  • 1/3 C Olive oil

Trim the garlic scapes by cutting just below the bulb. Discard the bulb and set the remaining scape aside.
In a food processor, add the chopped scapes. Add the pine nuts, cheese, juice of the lemon and salt and pepper. Process by pulsing until the mixture begins to break down. Scrape the bowl down.
With the processor running, slowly add all the olive oil. Continue to process until all the ingredients are incorporated and broken down, about one minute. Taste for salt.
Store in a covered container or lidded jar in the fridge and enjoy within a week. Also, you can freeze the pesto in a jar or in an ice-cube tray. Once frozen, in the ice-cube tray, remove and place in a zip top bag in the freezer.
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Summer CSA Week 3

I love this time of year. The time of light. This year, with a little baby added into my evening and morning routines, I find myself wanting to loll in bed for a bit longer first thing than I used to. Even so, it is nice to wake up to brightness, and to have an evening of light.

Like my little one’s babyhood – I wish I could put some of summer in a bottle to take sips of later in the year.

On the farm we’ve been enjoying the lovely days -though we would rather it rained. When “nice” weather goes on and on, it becomes too much of a good thing–all of the recent rain showers have missed the farm so there has been no real moisture for two months. Janaki has been spending more time than he has (yes, there is a black-hole on the farm where time gets sucked up and obliterated) moving irrigation from one field to the next to keep up with the demands of new plants and sprouting seeds with very young (i.e., short and delicate) root systems. It’s like putting out acres of tiny fires. Oh gosh-what an image.

Not a small part of me feels like our country right now fits this description somehow: like things have gotten to hot and dry for too long, and too few people are running around trying to fix the problems. Maybe what we need is, metaphorically, a deep cleansing rain as a country to wash the dust off and wet our cracking mouths. Or maybe what we need is a salve of sorts. Something to heal. Or maybe we are in a time where we just need to let wounds see the light of day, and have time to air out and be seen before anything more can be done.

I don’t really know.

I do know that with how interconnected we all are (and boy, did we ever really realize how much until lately?), even “just” getting a share from a local farm is part of the healing work. Sustainable food is part of food fairness, just as climate justice is social justice, and healthy choices for an individual add up to being healthy choices for a community.

Thank you for being part of our farm and for participating in our work by gaining your daily sustenance from our food.

For the thirsty farm crew,

Karin

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In your share this week:

Beets – Greens mix – Lettuce – Green onions – Radishes – Spinach – Turnips


So many greens!

Does it feel like you are getting so many greens in your first shares this season? You are! That’s what the early shares are all about- and it feels good after a long season of fewer fresh salads!

It can feel like a lot to keep up with too. It doesn’t take more than a bag of sub-prime wilted greens in my fridge to make me feel discouraged about food choices I make during the week. Look no further than your freezer should you feel yourself drowning in greens. This week, beet tops, turnip tops and any spinach that feels like more than you’d use up this week can all be frozen.

Cut into 2″ square pieces, wash (per last week’s manifesto against gritty greens), blanch in a pot of boiling water for a minute and a half or so, dunk in an ice bath and then remove as much of the water as you can in a towel or by squeezing the greens. Freeze in a baggy or freezer paper for up to a year (but preferably less). Frozen greens work well for smoothies, adding to soups at the last minute or working into a meal of pasta or grains and legumes.

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Quick, spicy pickled radishes

From Cookie + Kate

Serving ideas- on top of or on the side of any thing you eat this week!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bunch radishes
  • ¾ cup white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (this yields very spicy pickles, so use ½ teaspoon for medium spicy pickles or none at all)
  • ½ teaspoon whole mustard seeds (optional)
  • Optional add-ins: garlic cloves, black peppercorns, fennel seeds, coriander seeds

  1. To prepare the radishes: Slice off the tops and bottoms of the radishes, then use a sharp chef’s knife or mandoline to slice the radishes into very thin rounds. Pack the rounds into a pint-sized canning jar. Top the rounds with red pepper flakes and mustard seeds.
  2. To prepare the brine: In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, honey or maple syrup and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, then pour the mixture over the radishes.
  3. Let the mixture cool to room temperature. You can serve the pickles immediately or cover and refrigerate for later consumption. The pickles will keep well in the refrigerator for several weeks, although they are in their most fresh and crisp state for about 5 days after pickling.

 

Summer CSA Week 2

Welcome to the early CSA season… you will be seeing many types of greens as these first weeks go by. If you are anything like me you may have a particular kind of excitement for tomatoes, snap peas and cauliflower, but sometimes greens can feel hard to use up, or use well. So, don’t feel bad if this is you- because it’s not just you! Here are my tips on using greens:

Making a point to eat greens earlier in the week while they’re still crisp makes them more enjoyable, and cleaning, storing and preparing them well is also key.

When you pick up your share and get it home, things like head lettuce, pac choi and kale bunches can benefit from a little trim off the bottom and a soak in cold water for a minute. Afterwards, dry them off a bit and put them into a bag with a flour sack towel (if you’ve got lots of tea towels, great, if not, I would highly recommend a 2-4 pack of flour sack towels to use this season). These steps will become more important as the temperatures go up.

Cut greens like our greens mix or loose lettuce mix shouldn’t get wet until right before use, and typically don’t need to be washed since we grow these in greenhouses to avoid rain splatter. You could leave the bag open in the fridge for an hour to cool them off, but don’t forget to fold the top back over or the greens will dry out.

All greens, including Napa cabbage, need to be stored in a plastic bag to avoid drying out and going limp. Same for broccoli and cauliflower. This is a great use for the bags we send some items in that don’t need to be kept in there to stay fresh (i.e., potatoes, tomatoes and snap peas because you’ll eat them all at once)

If you have a way to change the humidity of your fridge- they (and all the veggies in there) would appreciate being fairly humid.

The way I like to clean greens that might be dirty like head lettuce, spinach, kale (and cut greens only if they need it) is using a salad spinner. I’d recommend getting one if you don’t have one. Before I got one, I’d dunk greens in a large pot of water (this is not a time to skimp on water use!) 2-3 times (until it’s clear and grit free) spinning  the greens between each dunk outside in a towel. It was very satisfying, barbaric looking and worked fine. With a salad spinner I put my torn up greens in the basket, fill the base with water and gently agitate, lifting the basket of greens out, spinning, and re-rinsing 2-3 times. I always take the greens out of the water, then dump the water. If you just pour the wash water back through or over the greens into strainer you are just adding all that dirt back in. Maybe that’s obvious to you all, but I’ve seen some crazy stuff with how people “wash” greens!

I’m writing this because grit in greens is a pet peeve of mine. We do our best to clean and cool greens before they get packed in boxes, but the system is never perfect, especially if we have to harvest in the rain.

If using greens up is a struggle, I can’t tell you how amazing it is that most of them cook down to hardly anything at all. And if a pile of steamed spinach isn’t your thing, cut it up in to tiny pieces and put it in any sauce for pasta or other veggies, put it in eggs, just keep putting it in stuff! And don’t hold back on adding seasonings and dressings if that’s what helps you enjoy them. A spritz of lemon juice on bowl of fresh kale isn’t enjoyable for everyone–it’s OK in my book to load up on parmesan cheese and olive oil.

I hope some of these tips might help if you’re new to our Farm, or even if not. It’s nice to start off the season staying as on-top of the share as we can, and finding ways to creatively remove ourselves from the predominant culture of convenience.

Enjoy the food.

For the Farm crew,

Karin

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In your share this week:

Kale – Head lettuce – Green onions – Radishes – Spinach – Turnips


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Turnip Dhal

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp curry leaves (optional)
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 2-4 turnips
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp cayenne (to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup red lentils
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • fresh lemon juice and rice for serving

 

  1. Mince the garlic. Peel and dice the turnips. Wash the tomatoes and dice them as well.
  2. Add 3-4 tbsp water to a pot, add the garlic and curry leaves and sauté for 2 min.
  3. Add the tomatoes and cook for 1 min. Then, transfer the diced turnips to the pot, stir and cook covered for 2-3 min.
  4. In the meantime, rinse and drain the lentils. Add the lentils, spices, water and coconut milk to the pot and bring to a boil. Then, simmer slightly-covered on low for 17-20 min.
  5. Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice and brown or basmati rice. Store leftovers in the fridge. As the dhal may thicken in the fridge, add a bit of water when reheating it on the stove.

Summer 2020 CSA Week 1

It’s the first week of the Food Farm Summer CSA share!

Welcome if you are new to this, and welcome if this is your 20th year! We are glad you’re here. Thank you for being part of our farm by choosing to participate in the farm this season. Using fresh, whole food is extra work, and we are grateful that you’ll do that work. It makes what we do on the farm worth it -indeed it’s the whole point.

The first week of deliveries is a truly exciting time here on the farm, especially this year. We have three crew members who are new to our farm and to vegetable farming in general, and you could just feel the excitement as folks showed up this morning. To those of us who have been around awhile this first box is pretty modest, and the anxiety of the season ahead sits heavy with us. Being able to see the beginning of harvest season through their eyes gives us renewed energy for the sweat and toil that lies ahead.

In that spirit, take this food, bless it in whatever way makes sense to you, and let the energy it gives you propel you into action that makes the world, and whatever you have agency over, more just, fair, and loving.

For the farm crew,

Janaki

 

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In your share this week:

Pac choi – Lettuce – Rhubarb – Spinach – Greens mix – Oregano


The secret to eating your veggies, especially greens? Drizzle something amazing over them! From our friends at the Duluth Grill (who know a thing or two about making our veggies taste extra good):

Curry Sauce!

  • 1/4 cup seeded serrano peppers
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper corns
  • 1/2 stalk lemon grass
  • 1 tsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 lime zest (use the other half of the lime to make a quarantini?)
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 Tbsp diced onion
  • 1 1/2 tsp aminos
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • One 15oz can coconut milk

Toast coriander and pepper corns in a skillet. Trim and chop lemon grass. Combine all ingredients except the coconut milk in a food processor until smooth.

Place puree in medium pot and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add coconut milk, whisk and simmer for another 15 minutes. Serve over greens or roasted veggies, keep sealed in the fridge!


Rhubarb Chutney -from Martha Stewart (she serves it along side thick cut bacon -yum!)

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
  • 8 ounces rhubarb, cut into a 1/2-inch dice (2 cups)
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped (1/3 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger (from a 1 1/2-inch piece)
  • 1/2 habanero or Scotch-bonnet pepper, finely chopped (ribs and seeds removed for less heat, if desired)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/4 pounds extra-thick-cut bacon, halved crosswise
Step 1

Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepan. Cover and cook over medium heat until sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to medium-high, and boil until caramel turns medium amber, 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully add vinegar (mixture will spatter and caramel will seize). Continue cooking, stirring, until caramel dissolves again.

Step 2

Stir in rhubarb, shallot, ginger, chile pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper; return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until rhubarb is tender and liquid is syrupy, about 10 minutes. Strain chutney, reserving syrup, and transfer to a serving bowl. Return syrup to saucepan and simmer over medium heat until thickened and reduced to 1/3 cup, about 5 minutes.

April Winter Share

Welcome to

In the few years I’ve been writing the Food Farm newsletter, this spring one has usually been especially fun to write. I like noting the melting snow, the running streams, the singing birds, new greens. Now though, I am just focused on willing the weather to hurry up and get warm so I can sit outside and talk with my family without shivering. So that we all can. 

The uncertainty of life is being exemplified right now, loud and clear. Intellectually, of course, I know that life is uncertain. Death and taxes and all that. But the magnitude of this cross-(insert all boundaries here) crisis and its still-unclear, unseeable conclusion has shaken me.

My feelings have been yo-yo-ing a lot this past month. I’ve been angry (my personal go to), sad, restful, indignant, needy, munchy, introspective, the opposite of introspective, blessed feeling, stressed feeling and most of the other ones except confident.

My thoughts, similarly, go round and round: I wonder about the lasting impact economically, socially. I think I should stop listening to MPR. I think I should never stop listening to MPR. I wonder if this will change the way my generation is treating the planet. I wonder if my generation can change.

In my own discombobulation, it’s hard to feel like I have much to offer you in a newsletter.

I can only say we are connected. We’re so wonderfully connected.

Of course we know that on some level day to day, but now the necessity of our separation makes it so…real, but unreachable. We’ve been together in stores, and on sidewalks and at funerals and concerts and on the beach and on airplanes and in meetings. I’ve driven past you with my windows down, I’ve handed you a shopping list you dropped. I’ve bent down to check on your kid who fell of her bike. I’ve breathed in the air you’ve breathed out. I’ve touched the food you’ve eaten from the farm for years, at planting, weeding, and harvest, and I’ll do it again this summer.

It feels amazing to be back on the farm after weeks of cocooning with my little family. Replacing those mixed-up thoughts and feelings with good, solid work that is for a purpose. Thinking of all of you, most of whom I’ve never met, gaining sustenance from what I’m doing helps get out of my head and chill out. The separation we’re participating in is abnormal, temporary, and a reminder of the power in human closeness, from necessary care to those everyday moments.

There’s no telling exactly what the coming weeks and months will bring. Some of us will get sick. Perhaps a lot of us. All of us will miss friends and family and walking down a sidewalk without side-stepping each other.

I wish you all well in this time.

For the masked farm crew,

Karin


In your share this month:

Beets – Carrots – Onions – Parsnips – Fingerling, Russet, and Baby Yellow Potatoes – Rutabaga – Spinach, Greens Mix and Thyme!


I’m trying to include recipes that are either flexible, or use a lot of staples that I hope you all have!

Carrot Cake Bread 

Ingredients

1/2 cup canola oil 

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs 

1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 

½  tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

½ tsp ginger

1 teaspoon baking powder 

1/2 teaspoon baking soda 

1/2 teaspoon salt (scant)

2 cups finely grated carrots 

1/4 cup raisins (optional soaked in brandy or rum)

1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. Place the canola oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, applesauce and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. Whisk vigorously until smooth and combined.
  4. Add the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the bowl. Continue whisking until the mixture is just combined. Do not over-mix.
  5. Fold in the grated carrots, raisins and walnuts and then pour the batter into the loaf pan.
  6. Bake the bread for 55-65 minutes on the middle rack until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Check to see that bread is done. Remove from oven or add time as needed.
  8. Allow the bread to rest in the pan for 10 minutes and then release the bread from the pan onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving.

Vegetable Pancakes +sauce

I have found this recipe to be very flexible. You could use parsnips, beets or rutabaga easily, just keep the ratio of veggies to flour and egg about the same and shred everything finely.

Pancakes
1/2 small head cabbage, very thinly sliced (1 pound or 5 to 6 cups shreds) which will be easiest on a mandoline if you have one
4 medium carrots, peeled into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
Canola, safflower or peanut oil for frying

Tangy Sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (note: this is not vegetarian)
1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon rice cooking wine or sake
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey (use 2 if you like a sweeter sauce)
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

Make the pancakes: Toss cabbage, carrot, onions and salt together in a large bowl. Toss mixture with flour so it coats all of the vegetables. Stir in the eggs. Heat a large heavy skillet on medium-high heat. Coat the bottom with oil and heat that too.

To make a large pancake, add 1/4 of the vegetable mixture to the skillet, pressing it out into a 1/2- to 3/4-inch pancake. Gently press the pancake down flat. Cook until the edges beging to brown, about 3 minutes. 30 seconds to 1 minute later, flip the pancake with a large spatula. (If this is terrifying, you can first slide the pancake onto a plate, and, using potholders, reverse it back into the hot skillet.) Cook on the other side until the edges brown, and then again up to a minute more (you can peek to make sure the color is right underneath).

To make small pancakes, you can use tongs but I seriously find using my fingers and grabbing little piles, letting a little batter drip back into the bowl, and depositing them in piles on the skillet easier, to form 3 to 4 pancakes. Press down gently with a spatula to they flatten slightly, but no need to spread them much. Cook for 3 minutes, or until the edges brown. Flip the pancakes and cook them again until brown underneath.

Regardless of pancake size, you can keep them warm on a tray in the oven at 200 to 250 degrees until needed.

If desired, make okonomiyaki sauce: Combine all sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and let simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, until smooth and thick.

Serve pancakes with sauce and any of the other fixings listed above, from Japanese mayo to scallions and toasted sesame seeds.

Do ahead: Extra pancakes will keep in the fridge for a couple days, or can be spread on a tray in the freezer until frozen, then combined in a freezer bag to be stored until needed. Reheat on a baking sheet in a hot oven until crisp again.

Link

Here is our update on how the farm is handling the current global pandemic…
Hi Food Farmers,
Well, our unseasonably warm weather has ground to a halt much like everything else right now, so it’s still looking pretty snowy here at the farm. But the onions are up and the first planting of tomatoes is germinating! I almost have the planting schedule and field maps done, but that work has been interrupted by a lot of planning for this viral epidemic. We have a good start, but there’s more to be done to ensure the health and safety of our staff, members, and family.
The first step was to review our Food Safety Plan. In addition to our annual update, we’re developing an addendum to reflect special precautions to take regarding Covid-19. While we will have new procedures for most aspects of farm operations, much of our seasonal crew will be starting in just a couple of weeks, so figuring out how to keep staff and family safe is the priority this week. I am talking to pick up site hosts to figure out how to keep everyone protected during Summer Share season. We’re hoping to have share pickup outside for the last Winter Share, but we need to begin planning for summer as it looks like this outbreak requires an extended adjustment to the way we interact.
We are very concerned about the impact on our restaurant customers, including the Duluth Grill, Wussow’s Concert Cafe, OMC Smokehouse, and Chester Creek Cafe. These have been such steadfast supporters of our farm that an extended impact on them could be really harmful to us as well as the community as a whole. Many of them are offering curbside service, so please patronize them as you are able.
There will be more information to come, but I wanted to let you know that we are closely monitoring the situation and doing our best to ensure a safe and stable local food supply.
One other quick note: I was on the KUMD show The Simple Plate last week. If you’re interested in hearing me ramble about local food, agriculture, and what it’s like growing up on an organic farm, you can find the episode here: https://www.kumd.org/post/simple-plate-food-farm
Finally – a quick note on shares – we are filling up quickly!
We are seeing an increased interest in accessing local food, so if you haven’t signed up yet, please do so soon! Either click here or go to www.foodfarm.us and select the “CSA Shares” tab. If you have friends who are interested, please send them the signup link as well.
We are aware that the disruption to the economy may make it more difficult to make payments on time. Part of the beauty of Community Supported Agriculture is that members are able to support each other, not just the farm. Since most members are able to pay in advance for their share, the farm has flexibility for those who are experiencing financial difficulty. Please try to be proactive and reach out to me beforehand so we can come up with a payment plan.
We also have the Food Access Fund available to help those who would not otherwise be able to afford the full cost of a share. Please donate if you are able, and please contact me if support is needed.
Thank you all and take care!
Janaki

March Winter Share

Est. 2012

Storing carrots from last season has proven to be difficult this winter. We harvested so, so many carrots and filled every available space with them at the end of October. But between harvest and now, we’ve lost quite a few of them.

It’s been disappointing to see carrots go bad like this- and we wish we had answers. Our best guess at this point is that it was a result of having such excessive wetness this fall. From discussions Janaki had with a few growers at the Organic Conference, it sounds like others have had similar problems every once in awhile. At least we’re not alone, but after so many years of winter storage it’s definitely a surprise when things like this happen. The winter farm crew and volunteers have been putting on a brave face and dealing with a lot of focused sorting as carrots get checked, one by one. If I had a dollar for every carrot I’d inspected this winter, I’d be writing this from a yacht. In the Mediterranean. A small yacht, but still.

The pigs over at Yker Acres have been having a great winter enjoying the castoff carrots, but it’s been hard for the crew after all of the work that went into such a great crop. Fortunately, we did go into the fall with a record amount of carrots, so we should have plenty for the April shares, even with the amount we’ve lost.

But carrot rot isn’t the only thing happening on the farm. Dave was back at work in the greenhouse starting onions and greens last week, the days are brighter than they were a month ago, and the rutabagas stored just fine, don’t you worry! 

It shouldn’t surprise me that one negative thing can easily fill up the nooks and crannies of our collective mood. It just seems to be the way it is. When faced with disappointment and difficulty it gets harder and harder to have a broader outlook on things. I have to keep reminding myself that carrot storage is just one part of the farm, and there are so many other parts all working together to make it pretty great. 

I hope this March share finds you all well, and enjoying the things of life that we all get to enjoy, no matter the circumstances.  

For the persevering farm crew, 

Karin 

 


In your share this month:

Cabbage – Carrots – Beets – Onions – Parsnips – Fingerling and yellow potatoes – Rutabaga


 

Raw rutabaga and carrot salad

1 rutabaga

3 carrots (purple would be pretty, if you still have some)

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

Shred the rutabaga, carrots and apple in a food processor, 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!


Old Farm Favorite: Cabbage Salad Dressing

1/2 c butter milk or yogurt, or 1/4 c olive oil
1/2 c mayonnaise
1 T horseradish
1 t stone ground mustard
1 t salt
1 to 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Mix in a bowl. Use on fresh cabbage salad. Store in refrigerator for later use. Can easily halve or double.

February Winter Share

Rosemary

 

Two big buckets full of carrot seed came to the farm today and more will be coming soon. Next year’s harvest awaits in those tiny, seemingly miraculous little bits of life stuff.  Sometimes I imagine that seeds should be vibrating with how much expectant energy they have bundled up inside.

Before we know it, it’ll be planting time and someone will be eating dust behind the tractor to watch those little seeds fall into place and get lightly covered up again. Then there’ll be tiny little grassy first leaves, then a couple weeks later we’ll be back to carrot weeding. If you’ve read past newsletters, you have probably picked up on the carrot weeding being kind of a thing around here. A test of mental and physical fortitude, if you will. (And we talk it up A LOT, but the truth is, with 5 summers of carrot weeding under my belt, I can say, it gets easier and easier).

Then, some sunny (I hope) October day we’ll start driving around and around and around the once and future carrot fields harvesting all those juicy manifestations of a winter plan. ‘Round and ’round the seasons go, and all that potential just sitting and waiting in a tiny seed.

I think it would be so fun to visit a seed farm someday. Since I’ve always harvested veggies to eat, I’ve never seen most of them at their point of actual maturity. Fruits like tomatoes and squash and things with the seeds in them are mature of course, but I’ve never seen a cabbage go into flower, and I think that’d be the coolest thing. Or cauliflower, that’d be so cool too!

To farm is to participate in the intensely cyclical nature of our world. Our whole life, farming or not, is completely wrapped up within the cycle of it all. I brought my baby to a funeral a couple of weeks ago, which struck me as somehow appropriate and hopeful. Or at least he was an adorable mood brightener.

All around things are ending and things are starting. Much of it in a more complicated, difficult, beautiful, awe-full way than carrots. But the carrots, and their seeds bring it all to mind this time of year.

I hope you enjoy last winter’s hope and expectation in your boxes this month.

For the farm crew,

Karin

ruta giveaway postcard 2020 v3


In your share this month:

Chioggia beets, Cabbage, Carrots (orange and purple), Onions, Parsnips, Baby yellow potatoes, Red potatoes, Winter squash: Delicata, Wintersweet or Sunshine, and Shokichi Green (which look like a very small Wintersweet)


Oven Baked Beet Chips

Ingredients

  • 12 beets red, golden, or mixed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil 
  • 2 teaspoon celery salt or sea salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F, and line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Scrub the beets well with a veggie brush and cut off the tops.
  • Use a mandolin slicer to slice the beets paper thin (1/16-inch). When the beet slices are this thin, there is no need to peel them first. Hold the root end while dragging the beets across the mandolin and watch your fingertips closely.
  • Place the beet slices in a large bowl and pour the oil and salt over the top. Toss well. Ready for the secret step? Now let the beets sit in the oil and salt until they release their natural juices, about 15-20 minutes. This is what allows them to retain a better shape and color.
  • Toss the beets again, then drain off the liquid. Lay the slices out in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 45-60 minutes until crisp, but not brown. Test after 45 minutes and only bake longer if necessary. Remove the beet chips from the oven and cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.

Notes

This recipe can be easily halved to make a smaller batch. However, I like making a large batch we can munch on all week.

Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

I like to grate the carrots by hand — actually, that’s a lie, I don’t enjoy it one bit — because I want it very finely grated for a soft batter. The food processor works, too, but the pieces are a bit thicker.

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
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.

January Winter Share

dapper

When I was a kid I hated January. I loved November (my birthday month, and Thanksgiving) and I loved December and the lead up to the holidays. When all the excitement was over, my little kid feelings (which are the biggest feelings) were in a free fall. School started again. There wasn’t any more candy. No more lights and Christmas music.

For years and years now, much as I love the holiday season, I tend to think of January as the real start to winter, and I’m glad to see it come. It is the real time of hunkering down and getting in the swing of winter and all its glory. To me that means burning candles, reading books, getting out for winter walks, and eating a lot of potatoes and parsnips. My baby enjoys three of those four things. These next couple of weeks we’ll be working on the love of food. I think he’ll be a natural, since putting things in his mouth seems to be the main event of any given minute.

All the candle burning and walking doesn’t always make up for this being a challenging time of year for many of us though. Short, cloudy days can leave one feeling rather bleak and cooped up. I hadn’t realized I was feeling that way until I was in the root cellar on what felt like the first sunny day in forever, last week. There will be more where that came from though, I’m sure.

Until then, I hope you all can bask in the left over summer sun that has been hiding in the vegetables! Squash and carrots and beets can add a splash of color to a winter plate. Perhaps you’ve started off this year with some new goals, or aspirations. Mine is to eat more squash! I’m so obsessed with potatoes, all the time, but I want to mix it up. And eating more squash really isn’t mixing it up so much. I’ve got some pesto thawing in the fridge right now – more stored up summer sunshine – and I love a big spoon-full on delicata halves.

I hope this New Year has been good to you so far, and that you’ve been good to you as well. And I’m sure our winter veggies will brighten your meals, and hopefully inspire more slow, good food!

For the hunkered in farm crew,

Karin


In your share this month: 

Beets, green cabbage, carrots, onions, parsnips, red and yellow potatoes,

Delicata and Kabocha squash


 

Cabbage Soup -from the Smitten Kitchen

1 pound pork butt, cut into small cubes
1 1/2 quarts chicken stock
4 cups water
3 allspice berries
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried marjoram
1 cup sauerkraut, plus around 4 tablespoons juice
1 large potato, peeled and diced
2 carrots, minced
3 stalks celery, minced
1 onion, diced
2 cups fresh cabbage, shredded thin

Place the pork in a medium stockpot with the chicken stock, water, allspice, bay leaves, and marjoram. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low heat for about 2 hours. Remove the pork and set aside on a plate to cool. Skim fat from stock, leaving a few “eyes” of fat for flavor.

Add sauerkraut and simmer for 20 minutes. Add potato and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and cabbage and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the pork and simmer for 10 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add sauerkraut juice.


 

As you may know by now, I am not much of a recipe person, but I wanted to pass on something I’ve made a couple of times, and enjoyed. During the summer season I love making zucchini fritters for lunches on the farm. When the weather turned cool last year I found myself wondering about a winter veggie version of  farm-fritters.

Roughly, this is what I do:

Grate a delicata squash, a carrot or two, a potato or two (and parsnips too, why not?) and lightly steam. Turn out into large bowl and add 3-4 eggs and ~3/4 cup flour. Eye ball it so it looks lightly battery, i.e., add another egg if necessary. Add salt to taste.

Spoon onto a heated pan with cooking oil, and fry on both sides until crispy brown. Serve with pepper and whatever condiments you like!