Sunday, November 22, 2015

Week 3: In which we give thanks and Pooh gets stuck in a tight place

Andrea wants you all to know that this is a guest post, by me, Scott.

This week, you will receive:
Brussels Sprouts
Butternut Squash
Acorn Squash

Full share members also get:
"Other" Squash

Some of you have asked about potatoes in the future, and I am afraid to say that you have seen all you will from our farm this year. Despite a dry spring, excellent planting team, and good hilling, the plants never seemed to recover from the cold and too wet June weather. Next year will be perfect.

This week, we are distributing one of my all time favorite vegetables, the mighty celeriac, aka celery root. With it's mild celery flavor and somewhat nutty qualities, it gets it's own part of my heart. On the bottomland farm that we worked at in Grand Rapids, MI, the celeriac grew to the size of softballs. We've never achieved that on our own mineral soil. The flavor of our much smaller roots continues to make it worth growing though. You can slice them thin and eat them raw, with cheese and crackers, or add them to soups. You can roast them with other root vegetables. I tried a new approach this evening, sauteed in olive oil with salt and pepper.

1/4 cup Leeks, cut into 1 inch long pieces, large ones sliced in half lengthwise
1/2-1 cup grated Celeriac
3-4 tbls Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

I tried to grate the celeriac using a cheese grater with limited success, and ended up slicing most of it into thin pieces, however, the grated pieces were much better than the sliced, so I highly recommend using a food processor to shred or grate it if you have one.

Heat the frying pan and olive oil to low-med heat and then add the leeks. Stir after 1 minute and add the celeriac. Cook for around 5 minutes for grated and more for sliced.

I envisioned this to be served with mashed potatoes and gravy, and although I didn't try it, I stand by the vision.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Winter Week 2: Farm Fairies

I frequently joke about farm fairies. Mainly the jokes tend towards irate mutterings about the fact that farm fairies do not exist.

I'm pretty sure that most non farmer folks who fantasize about bucolic farm life are unwittingly imagining farm fairies.

You see, unless a farm has fairies to take on some of the workload, farmers have very little time to simply bask in the pleasures of farm life.

But this harvest season, we've had fairies.

That's not me and Scott harvesting carrots!!!
Jake and Ashley, the fabulous farmers of North Harvest CSA in Calumet have been moonlighting at Wintergreen. They're helping us bring in the harvest.

Skilled workers are about as close as we can get to farm fairies :)

This week, half share members will receive 3 pounds Carrots, Carnival Squash, Rutabaga, Brussels Sprouts, 1 pound Winter Radishes, Cabbage, Leeks, and Chard.

Full share members will get all of that plus 2 more pounds Carrots and 1 more pound Radishes, Acorn Sqush, additional Leeks, and Celery.

Our members have seen more than a few winter radishes over the years, and this year's winter members will be seeing several more of them. I get that they are strange things to cook with if you aren't accustomed to them. I try to feature them frequently in the share descriptions with preparation ideas and recipes.

If you like them raw, I'm especially fond of the slaw recipe in this post.

If you prefer your veggies to have slightly less heart-burn-inducing fire to them, then you should cook your winter radishes. We like to cut them into chunks and roast them along with rutabaga, carrots, and whatever other root vegetables we have on hand. 

They're also good like this:

Orange Glazed Carrots and Daikon

  • 1 lb carrots, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 lb daikon radishes (I used a mix of white and purple), also cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium/low heat. Add the ginger and cinnamon and stir until well combined. Add the sliced vegetables, stir together well.

Add the salt and orange juice. Cook, stirring frequently until the vegetables are just tender and the orange juice has reduced by about half, thickening into a glaze, about 10-15 minutes.


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Winter Share 1: Sunny Days

I love that I get to look at this tree everyday.

I also love the weather this fall, strange as it is. Though we have certainly brought in a lot of produce for storage already, this lingering warmth and sunshine means that much of this first winter share is actually going to be harvested fresh from the fields the day before distribution, just like a summer share.

Some lucky full share member will receive these
very Brussels sprouts on Tuesday.
This week's half share members will receive: Kale, Celery or Parsley, Leeks, Carrots, Kohlrabi, Honey Bear Acorn Squash, and a Pie Pumpkin.

The full share members will receive: All that yummy half share stuff plus Potatoes, Beets, Brussels Sprouts and a Spaghetti Squash.

So, this is a lot of food coming at you. If you're not sure how to store it, here are some tips:

Squash store well for up to a month on the counter. Try to keep them out of direct sun and away from a hot stove or other appliance that causes temperature swings. Of the squash you are receiving this week, the spaghetti squash will keep the longest and the pumpkin will keep for the least amount of time.

Beets, carrots, kohlrabi, and leeks will all keep nicely in a crisper. So will Brussels sprouts. The sprouts do best stored on the stalks. Leeks store best with any yellow leaves trimmed away before storage.

The kale and celery or parsley will not keep as long as the other items in your share. Protect them from drying out in the fridge with a plastic bag and try to eat them up within a week of getting them.

Now, what should you do with this bounty you are about to receive? Eat it, of course :)

I know some of the items in the share can be challenging to cook with, so I came up with a recipe that uses some of the hardest to use stuff. It's simple to make, but kind of time consuming. There is a lot of peeling and chopping involved. That's kind of how it goes with the winter veggies. Food that stores well tends to require a fair amount of breaking down to become tasty. This recipe makes plenty though, so the hard work is worth it.

You'll be lunching on pumpkin, kohlrabi, kale and leeks all
week long :)

Curried Pumpkin and Kohlrabi Stew

Neither pumpkin nor kohlrabi have a ton of flavor on their own, so pairing them with strong seasonings like curry works really well. If you like spice, throw in a bit of jalapeno or cayenne to add some heat. The pumpkin softens as it cooks, which is what adds body to this all vegetable stew.
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried ginger, or a half inch piece of fresh ginger peeled and minced
  • 2 leeks, washed well and roughly chopped
  • 4 stalks of celery with leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 large kohlrabi peeled! (always peel the kohlrabi well, the peel is very woody) and cut into bite sized cubes.
  • 1 medium pie pumpkin peeled (I peeled mine whole with a vegetable peeler before cutting into it. It took strong hands and about ten minutes.), seeds removed and cut into bite sized cubes.
  • 1/2 bunch kale, with stems, roughly chopped
  • 3 large carrots (about 1/2 pound), cut into two inch pieces
  • 2 cups of water
  • Salt to taste (I used a teaspoon)
In a large cooking pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks, celery, curry powder and ginger. Stir constantly until the leeks and celery begin to wilt and the spices are very fragrant. About three minutes.

Add the remaining vegetables, the water, and the salt. The vegetables will release a lot of liquid as they cook, the water you are adding at this point is just enough to get their juices flowing. 

Let the water come to a boil, turn the heat down to low, and cover. Cook, stirring every 15 minutes or so, until the pumpkin begins to break down. About 45 minutes.

Eat for a week.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Week 16: First Frost of Fall and Last Share of Summer

As is usual, it's been an unusual year as far as the weather is concerned. Planting season was slow to get going (really, really slow if you recall) but, once the weather started to cooperate, we plodded along and planted everything as planned--even if it was later than we'd like.

And we're so glad we did! This has been the warmest fall we've ever seen, and the latest first frost--allowing the crops a little bonus time to ripen up. In fact, we haven't even had our first frost yet this fall. Though, we're pretty sure it will happen tonight.

Which is why the main activity on the farm over the last few days has been bringing in squash. It won't keep if it gets frosted.

And we have far more than we can eat in the next few days :)
Even with help from the members, who'll be getting plenty of squash in the shares this week. This week's share will include: Spaghetti Squash, Honey Bear Acorn Squash, Pie Pumpkins, Celeriac, Cabbage, Rutabaga, Kale, Tomatoes, Winter Radishes, Carrots or Beets, and Leeks or Scallions.

This is the second week that we're giving out these lovely flowering kale:

We hope you are enjoying last week's kale. They are a bit different than the more familiar, broader leafed kales like winterbor or lacinato. I've found that they don't make good chips or salads because they're more stem than leaf. Happily, these  particular kales have some of the sweetest stems we've ever tasted and they are especially good in soup. Like the Pumpkin Apple Soup I made for this week's recipe.

Pumpkin Apple Soup
  • One Pie Pumpkin
  • One Leek
  • Three small (or one normal sized) Celeriac
  • Two tart Apples
  • 4 cups Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ginger
  • Salt, Pepper, and Cayenne Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Milk or Cream
  • 12 stems Kale
Halve the pumpkin and cook it at 350 degrees until soft, about one hour.

Meanwhile, chop the leeks, celeriac and apples into 1/4 inch pieces. Combine them with the chicken stock and seasonings in a medium saucepan. Bring them to a simmer and simmer until the celeriac are tender, about twenty minutes.

Chop the kale, stem and all, into bite sized pieces.

When the pumpkin has finished cooking, remove the seeds and discard. Then scoop out the flesh and puree it with the milk or cream until it is very smooth. 

Stir the pumpkin puree into the chicken stock, apples, celeriac and leeks. Then stir in the chopped kale.

Return the soup to low/medium heat and cook until it just barely begins to simmer, then serve.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Week 15: Dinosaur Egg Buritos

It's squash time! We are beginning the process of pulling in all the winter squash we grew. As usual, we're starting with spaghetti and acorn squash because they are ready the earliest and don't require time in storage to become delicious.

The spaghetti squash were particularly fun to harvest. We plant our squash in black plastic because the plastic heats the soil to allow for earlier planting and keeps weeds down. The plants grow out of holes we poke in the plastic but, because spaghetti squash make big rambling vines, most of the fruits form in the paths between the plastic.

Like this.
And because the ground on which our squash grew this year was newly turned from hayfield into vegetable field this spring (and so is extra weedy), there is a dense mat of wild carrot in those paths.

Finding the squash that lurks beneath the carrot fronds is like hunting for Easter eggs. 

Laid by dinosaurs.
This week each member will receive: Spaghetti Squash, 2 Honey Bear Acorn Squash, Kale, Kohlrabi, Celery, Tomatoes, Red Cabbage or Kraut Cabbage, Beets or Carrots, Leeks or Scallions, and Basil or Parsley.

If you'd like to make sauerkraut but aren't sure how to go about it, this website has an excellent tutorial. 

If you'd like to make Dinosaur Egg Burritos, do this:

Spaghetti Squash Burritos

The quantities of seasonings (salt, cumin, garlic, cayenne) in this recipe are approximate because the size of a spaghetti squash can vary widely. My squash was on the big end of medium. Taste as you go and use the amount of seasoning that suits your taste buds.

For the filling:
  • One Spaghetti Squash
  • Two teaspoons butter
  • Two medium or one large Tomato, diced
  • One or more sweet or hot Peppers, diced (optional)
  • One teaspoon salt
  • One teaspoon garlic powder
  • One teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream
  • One can Pinto Beans, drained and rinsed
For serving:
  • Flour or Corn Tortillas
  • Diced fresh tomato
  • Sliced scallions
Halve the spaghetti squash, scoop out the seeds, and bake in a 350 degree oven until it is very soft, about one hour.

When the squash is cooked and cool enough to touch, scoop the flesh into a large bowl. Add chopped tomato and pepper (if using) as well as salt, garlic. cumin seeds, and cayenne.

Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the seasoned spaghetti squash. Cook, stirring frequently, until the tomato and pepper is just tender, 5 to 10 minutes.

Turn the heat to low and add the sour cream and pinto beans. Stir until the beans and sour cream are well mixed with the spaghetti squash and everything is heated through.

Serve with tortillas and fresh tomatoes and scallions.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Week 13: Farmer Food

I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

We did! Mostly we labored, but we enjoyed it :) There is a lot to harvest this time of year.

And this year has kept us extra busy, as we balance the increased production of Wintergreen Foods products with our usual CSA activities. 

Products like Kale Chips!
(I'm especially enthusiastic about these.)
Not surprisingly, we have found that with new endeavors come new challenges and new heights of busyness, but, while we certainly haven't achieved perfection (there's always next year...) the fields are in good shape as we transition into fall.

The dry beans are drying, the winter radishes are maturing, the acorn squash are ripening and the late planted (remember when June rains kept chasing us out of the fields?) fall crops are heading up nicely.  

Like the cauliflower :)
This week's share will include: Cauliflower, Rutabaga, Kale or Chard, Potatoes, Leeks, Tomatoes, Cucumbers and/or Summer Squash, and Fresh Herbs.

Now, we know that we're not the only family that is extra busy this time of year. Harvest time is also back to school time. So this week's recipe could not be simpler, and it makes use of the sometimes-challenging-to-cook rutabaga in a kid friendly way.

I called this post Farmer Food because I used some extra weird looking cauliflower and rutabaga when I made the recipe. We always feast on the funny looking stuff :)

Curly cauliflower and a rutabaga light bulb.

Maple Roasted Rutabaga and Cauliflower

1 Rutabaga, cut into one inch pieces
1 Cauliflower, separated into large curds
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees

Toss chopped rutabaga and cauliflower curds together in a bowl. Stir together the maple syrup, olive oil, and salt until they are well mixed.

Stir the maple oil mixture into the cauliflower and rutabaga to coat. Spread the coated vegetables onto a baking sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, stirring after about 10 minutes.

When it's ready, the rutabaga will be toasty and golden.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Week 12: Happy September

With the beginning of September has come a grey sky over yellow fields of goldenrod...

At least that's what today looks like at our place.
...and a share packed with fall vegetables.

Just like early September, this week's share is a lovely mix of summer and fall. It includes: Kale, Potatoes, Leeks, Rutabaga, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Broccoli, and Fresh Herbs.

The rutabagas are our usual variety, a lumpier than average heirloom called gilfeather's turnip (though they are true 'bagas and not turnips). I know some members find rutabagas especially challenging. Check out our rutabaga pinterest board for several ideas if you need some inspiration. My favorite is the baked rutabaga fries. I made some seasoned with oregano a while back, they were heavenly.

Or you can make some soup with your 'baga, like this:

Potato and Rutabaga Soup with Kale and Bacon Crumbles 

For the soup:
  • 3 strips of bacon, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 Leek, well cleaned, white and light green parts only, chopped small
  • 1-3 cloves garlic, minced, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 pound potatoes, chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 rutabaga, chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • 5-6 Kale Leaves, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 4-6 (or possibly even more) cups of milk
For the kale crumbles:
  • 3 strips of bacon, chopped into small pieces
  • 5-6 kale leaves, stemmed and chopped into bite sized pieces
In a large pot over medium heat, cook the first three strips of chopped bacon, the chopped leek, garlic and nutmeg until the bacon is cooked but not crisp and the leek is softened.

If you weren't sure, the leek should look like this
before cooking.
Add the chopped potato, rutabaga, and first six leaves of kale to the soup pot, then add milk to cover. For me that was just over four cups of milk. Bring the milk to a simmer, turn the heat to low and simmer until the rutabaga and potato are very soft, about 30-45 minutes.

Meanwhile, make kale crumbles. In a small saute pan over medium heat, cook the second three strips of bacon and the second six kale leaves until both are crisp.

Once the rutabaga and potato are tender, blend until the soup is smooth. Add milk as you blend until the soup is as thin as you like it, this took about two cups of milk for me. Taste and add salt if needed.

Sprinkle a bit of kale and bacon crumbles over each serving of soup, along with some grated cheese if you like. We used smoked Gruyere on ours, Parmesan would be good too.