Sunday, January 18, 2015

Week 6: Problems Solved--Thanks to Patience from our Members

Thank you thank you, gracious members, for allowing us a week to solve our winter storm problems.

When we checked in on things (by things, I mean the building where we store all the winter share produce and do all of the processing work for Wintergreen Foods) last Saturday we found a flooded basement and power outages.

The burst pipe was easy to find. Scott found it right away and redid some of the plumbing so that it will never be an issue again. He rocks. But the electrical issue was harder to track down. It seemed logical that the well pump and sump pump overloaded a breaker, but there were no tripped breakers. Flooded wires would have resulted in a tripped breaker too. It was perplexing.

It took a bit of sleuthing but Scott finally found the problem. The wind took out one of our power lines. It was kind of a duh moment when he figured it out because a downed line is an obvious thing to look for when the power is out, but we just weren't looking for two separate problems.

In the end, it was the best thing that could have happened. The power must have gone out pretty close to the time that the pipe burst, stopping the well pump and limiting the amount of water in the basement. We also got by with reasonably cheap repairs, since the lines are the power company's responsibility.

Thanks again to the members for giving us the time to work all that out. 

Now that you know what we've been up to this week, I'll get on with the share description.

For week 6 members will receive: Carrots, Potatoes, Rutabaga, Cabbage, Dried Onion OR Dried Tomatoes, and a Choice of Squash.

Members have probably become pretty familiar with these items. The winter gets a little routine. Some may be excited to know that we have pretty much gotten through all of the giant cabbage, most of the cabbage we distribute this week will be under 4 lbs. Also, this is the last week for potatoes. 

The squash are going to vary this week. The plan was to give everyone a long pie pumpkin in week six.

They make good pie and good ears.
They grew really well for us, and, once pureed, they bake into fabulous pies. However, they did not keep well for us. This is the first year we've grown them and our storage conditions have been colder than ideal for squash. We will give them another chance in 2015, but this year only about 12 made it into January. So, 12 members will get a long pie pumpkin. The rest of the members will have a choice of some "odds and ends" squash that have kept well for us including some sweet dumplings, hooligans, and delicata.

I know that some of you are getting tired with the delightful winter staple that is cabbage. Have you stuffed any yet? It makes the cabbage much more exciting.

You can make this recipe vegetarian by substituting cooked lentils for the beef. 

Wintergreen Style Stuffed Cabbage
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin
  • 1 head cabbage, cored but otherwise whole
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 ounce dried tomato, broken/chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 16 ounce can crushed tomatoes
Prepare one cup brown rice according to the package instructions. Add the salt and whole cumin at the beginning of the cooking time.

Like this.
Bring a large (large enough to contain your cabbage) pot of well salted water to boil. Once the water is boiling, cook the cabbage head for about 3 minutes, or until the cabbage is slightly tender. Set the cabbage aside to cool.

Heat 1/2 tablespoon butter in a small saute pan. Saute the garlic, onion, dried tomato, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes in the butter until the onion is just beginning to turn translucent.

It will look like this.
When the cabbage is cool, peel about twelve leaves off and remove the thick midribs of each leaf. Chop remaining cabbage and place in into the bottom of a large baking dish with a lid, like a dutch oven or a deep casserole dish.

The inner leaves get tricky, but broken leaves taste just as
good as whole leaves.
Once the rice is cooked and cool enough to touch, combine the still raw ground beef, cooked onion mixture, and cooked rice. Place about a half a cup of the beef and rice mixture into each cabbage leaf.


Then fold the leaf around the filling.

Like this.
The cook books all have fancy methods to use for folding the cabbage leaves around the filling, but I don't think it really matters. It will all cook up just fine.


Place each cabbage roll in the baking dish that already contains chopped cabbage. I ended up with two layers of cabbage rolls over a giant mound of chopped cabbage, but I used one of the mammoth cabbages. Once you have made all the cabbage rolls pour crushed tomatoes over the top of them.

Like this :)
 Bake, covered,  in a 350 degree oven for one hour. I had to bake mine uncovered for the first 15 minutes because the dish was too full for the lid to fit on (the cabbage on the bottom softened after 15 minutes and I could get the lid on).

Even the lumpiest rolls were delicious.





Sunday, December 28, 2014

Deer Rammers Pie (I promise that isn't as weird as it sounds)

Another slow news week on the farming front. Though we do have an excellent reason.

CHRISTMAS, of course :)

This year's tree, pre cutting.
As you can see, we're big Charlie Brown fans.
This year's Christmas highlights included:

A ukelele,
a hatchet,
and this masterpiece. 
Also this delicious use for leftover mashed potatoes.
 It featured many of the goodies that are included
in this week's share.
The share will include carrots, potatoes, kohlrabi, sweet mama winter squash, cabbage, rutabaga, and dry beans.

The kohlrabi has (like everything in the share) been in storage since November. The outside looks a bit shriveled, but the inside is still good enough to enjoy raw with a sprinkle of salt and lime juice.

Sweet mama squash is the first of the real keeper squash to show up in the shares this winter. This one doesn't reach its most delicious until it has been in storage for a few months. Which means now. Sweet mama is dense and sweet, a good squash to cube and cook in a soup, stew, or casserole. 

The dry beans are finally making an appearance this week! Most members will receive marfax, which are a baking bean. You don't need to bake them, but the beans have the familiar flavor of baking type beans. I like to cook them on the stove (after soaking) with a maple syrup and chopped carrots. They have the sweetness of baked beans without the fuss. If you have a bit of bacon to brown in the pan before you cook them (and then crumble on top when the beans are done) so much the better.

Now it's time to explain the title of the post. You know shepherds pie, made with lamb? The recipe for this week is basically a shepherds pie, except that it is made with venison. Normally that would be called a hunters pie or simply a shepherds pie by people who don't feel the need to rename a recipe just because they changed the type of meat in it (those people are crazy). However, our freezer is full of venison that we accidentally hunted, with our van, which is a Dodge Ram. So this pie is a deer rammers pie. And now you know.

Of course, you can use whatever meat you'd like to in this recipe. Just be sure to rename it accordingly. 

Deer Rammers Pie

  • About 3 cups leftover mashed potatoes (we always put cream cheese in our mashed potatoes--you should try it)
  • olive oil
  • 1 pound ground venison or other meat of your choosing
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Two cups root vegetables such as carrots, rutabaga, or kohlrabi, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat a little bit of olive oil in a cast iron skillet (or other over proof skillet) over low/medium heat.

Add the onion, ground meat, and root vegetables. Cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is just browned. 
Don't eat it yet. It gets better.
Add salt, pepper and flour and stir well. Stir in the milk and cook, stirring constantly, until the milk and flour have taken on a creamy consistancy. You won't see a lot of liquid in the pan, but it should look deliciously oozy throughout. If it doesn't, stir in another tablespoon or so of milk.

Remove the skillet from the heat and spread the still cold mashed potatoes over the top of the meat, like you're frosting a layer cake.

Bake at 350 degrees for thirty minutes. Broil for an additional five minutes (or so--always watch closely when you are broiling to avoid burning) for a golden brown crust.







Sunday, December 14, 2014

Merry Christmas Brownies...with Beets

Hey Look, it's May!
Just kidding, I know it's December. It's usually way snowier than this in May.

We do have some baby spring greens going into the shares this week though, so I think I can be forgiven for my confusion over the season :)

The greens are microgreens. They are similar to sprouts, but more mature. Also, they're grown on a substrate (like soil, in this case we used a fiber grow mat and fertilized them with liquid kelp) and harvested. They do not include the roots like sprouts do. You may have noticed some photos of them scroll by you on our Facebook page earlier this week.

Here they are again.

Microgreens are new for us, we've been experimenting with them this year and, though we definitely have some greens to give to our members, we still have several questions to answer. For example, we aren't sure at all how much greens we'll end up with when we harvest them tomorrow, which is why some members will be taking home fresh rosemary with their share on Tuesday instead of microgreens.

In addition to the microgreens or rosemary, members will receive the following: Rutabaga, Onions, Carrots, Potatoes, Butternut Squash, Cabbage, Leeks and Beets.

And, I'm re-sharing one of our favorite Christmas cookie recipes. I originally posted this way back in 2010, but Scott said it's too good not to re-post for winter share members. Hope you like it!

Beet Brownies



The baking time will vary for these brownies. It seems to depend on the moisture content of the beets. The most important thing is not to over bake them. They go from perfect to burnt in a flash. So start checking at 25 minutes and check every five minutes or so until they are done.

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Butter and flour a 9x13 inch pan
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 - 3 medium beets
  • 1 cup walnut halves (optional)
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (optional)

This is how your diced beets should look.
  1. Dice the beets very small. They should be about the size of chocolate chips. I don't peel mine, but you can if you prefer. Do it by hand because a food processor makes the beets too juicy and changes the texture of the brownies. 
  2. Combine the butter, honey, cocoa powder, and cinnamon in a saucepan large enough to contain all of the ingredients. Place it over low heat.
  3. Stir occasionally until the butter has melted and it looks like chocolate sauce.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugar and salt.
  5. Incorporate the eggs, one at a time.
  6. Add the flour. Stir just until the ingredients are combined.
  7. Fold in the diced beets, and the walnuts and chocolate if using
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared dish and bake at 350 F for 25 (or more - see header) minutes.
  9. The brownies are done when the surface is golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out with crumbs stuck to it, rather than wet with batter.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Winter CSA Flies By

So far, from the farmer perspective, we are finding the Winter CSA to be pretty low key. The vegetables are doing nicely in storage. Just hanging out and waiting for us to pack them up and bring them to the members. The stress of wondering what the weather will do to us is over for the season and now we get to sit back and share the fruits of our labors.

Hopefully the members are enjoying things as much as we are :)

This week's fruits include the following: Brussels Sprouts, Onions, 5 lbs Carrots, 4 lbs Potatoes, Spaghetti Squash, 2 Honey Bear Acorn Squash and Dried Tomatoes.

This will be the last of the spaghetti squash and Brussels sprouts until next fall, so you should probably savor them. To help you with that task I have come up with a spaghetti squash twist on one of my old standby recipes. (Sesame Noodles is the twisted recipe, if you are wondering)

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I think it may be the best spaghetti squash recipe in the entire world.

I have a little spaghetti squash aside to get out of the way before I get to the recipe. I've been trying to determine whether I like roasting spaghetti squash whole or halved better. For this particular recipe, I went with whole. I made that choice for two reasons. 1. The internet would have me believe that roasting whole leads to longer, more noodle like squash strands and this recipe is one of those rare occasions in which I'm using spaghetti squash as a noodle stand in. 2. This recipe is meant to be made with cold spaghetti squash, and it seemed easier to stick a whole baked squash in the fridge than two halves.

I very carefully considered these two potential advantages when cooking this squash dish today, because I wanted to answer this question once and for all. (And because I don't have much stuff to carefully consider during the winter.)

I came to the conclusion that I prefer to halve the squash. The whole squash was much wetter than halved squash tends to be and I'm not really sure that the strands were of a noticeably different length. It was probably easier to stick into the fridge after cooking than two halves would have been, but it was a bother to separate the seeds from the good stuff which kind of balanced that out.


It's interesting to peel a whole baked spaghetti squash and it starts out promisingly tidy.
But once you start taking the innards out it turns into a smush of seeds and strands and messy fingers.
I don't care for messy fingers.

Now that that's settled. Here's the recipe.

Sesame Spaghetti Squash
  • 1 spaghetti squash, baked until soft and cooled
  • 2 carrots, peeled into long noodle like strips or shredded
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, or other sweetener of your choosing
Combine the spaghetti squash strands and carrot in a serving bowl and set aside.

Stir together the remaining ingredients with a fork until well combined. Pour the resulting sauce over the squash and carrots and stir to coat.

Then devour it. We ate all of ours up while we waited for the steelhead to
finish baking in the oven. It was really really good.



Sunday, November 16, 2014

Early Winter

I don't need to tell any of you guys that winter came early this year. I'm sure you've noticed all on your own.

It's kind of hard to miss.

This photo was taken this morning out front of the
Northwinds Co-op in Ironwood.
Incidentally, if you have concerns about municipal snow removal in the U.P. as we head into this daunting winter, you might want to consider signing the petition at the link below. It was started by Eva Smith-Fergason, a long time Wintergreen Farm CSA member and the manager of the Northwinds Co-op. She is trying to get the challenge of snow removal in the U.P. on the political radar before it becomes insurmountable this season.

 Click here to sign the petition regarding snow removal in Ironwood and get some attention for the issue of snow removal in the U.P.

You wouldn't think it, but this snow actually has a silver lining for the vegetables. We were unable to get every single carrot we grew this year harvested before the season shifted (though we do have a generous ton in storage). We had a feeling that would happen, so we'd made a deal with one of the hay farmers in the area to deliver a few round bales this fall so that we could mulch them. Carrots keep very well in the ground over the winter, as long as their shoulders are insulated so they don't freeze. Unfortunately, the fields were too wet this fall for our hay farmer friend to make his delivery. There was a bit of hand wringing on our part as we tried to figure out how to mulch the carrots before the temperatures dipped low enough to damage them.

Then this happened.

Carrots tucked under several inches of nature's best winter insulator.
And we breathed a massive sigh of relief.

Your carrots will be safe all winter long :)

After getting a lot of feedback from you (thanks everyone!) about the first winter share, I believe you're all happy to hear that the carrots aren't going anywhere. I think you'll also be mostly happy to hear that we are reducing the carrots this week from 5 to 3 pounds and increasing the quantity of onions we distribute.

The full share includes: Brussels sprouts, 3 pounds carrots, 3 pound onions, 4 pounds potatoes, 2 honey bear acorn squash, 1 delicata squash, 1 sweet dumpling squash, two heads of garlic and rutabaga.

Happy Squashgiving :)

If you want to try a squash recipe that doesn't involve roasting as the first step, I suggest trying it with the delicata. As in this recipe. Though to be honest, I would never put marinara on delicata squash. That sounds wrong.

Roasted Rutabaga Fries sound right though. I would and have made them, and you should too. Even if you receive one of the massive bagas this week, it will disappear quickly if you use it to make fries.

Roasted Rutabaga Fries 

If you wanted more traditional fries you could break out the peanut oil and deep fry the rutabaga, but that sounds complicated and messy to me. These roasted fries are easy and delicious.

  • 1 rutabaga, peeled of any tough skin and cut into quarter inch strips
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • seasoning of your choosing (I used dried oregano and lemon peel for this batch, other good bets are cumin, garlic, or curry powder)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Toss the rutabaga pieces until they are evenly coated with olive oil and seasonings,

 Spread the rutabaga out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast at 400 degrees, stirring occasionally, until the rutabaga begins to brown, about 15-20 minutes.

Like this.



Monday, November 3, 2014

A New Beginning

We've never started a CSA season in November before. It's kind of...exhausting...in a good way :)

When we initially decided to offer a winter share this year, we imagined a bigger break between the end of the summer share and the beginning of the winter share. But the weather had other ideas.

So, though our bodies crave their usual fall rest, we are scrambling to get all the produce into storage before the cold gets it. We're doing okay so far, but if you notice Scott looking a little sore at pick-up you'll know why. He has to carry all the heavy boxes.

Luckily, we have our members to help us with some of the labor.

I didn't have my camera at the bean party, but one of the members did. Thanks Keren!
Saturday's bean party was a huge success. Not only was it fun, it was productive.

We didn't get through anything like ALL the beans (the photo on the top left shows
our mounds of drying bean plants) but we did get a lot shelled. The jars in this
photo are half gallon.

Many hands make light work. Thanks everyone who came out and helped us!

We have to finish shelling to be sure, but it looks like we have enough that members will be seeing beans in their shares at least once this winter.

This week members will receive: 5 pounds carrots, 5 pounds potatoes, 1 pound beets, 2 Brussels sprout stalks, a winter luxury pie pumpkin, a spaghetti squash, kale, hakurei, celeriac, and onions from Dignity Farm.

Our onions were a major failure this year, so we are trading carrots for onions with Dignity Farm, a family farm in Calumet that follows sustainable growing methods similar to ours at Wintergreen. Please feel free to ask me lots of questions if you want to know anything about their growing methods.

The kale is loose, rather than bunched as you usually get it. We have a ton of nice smaller leaves right now that would be a challenge to bunch. They may grow bigger before they suffer too many freezes to taste good, but it is more likely that we would lose the chance to harvest them if we wait until they reach a more bunchable size.

Plus, the loose kale is kind of gorgeous. 

In case you were wondering, I did not randomly insert the words winter luxury into the list of items you'll be receiving this week. A winter luxury pie pumpkin is a particular kind of pie pumpkin. They are extremely gorgeous pumpkins, and some people seem to find them tastier than other pie pumpkins. I still like the baby pam better. I'd love to hear what you think. If you want to learn more about winter luxury pie pumpkins, check out this post by the see saver's exchange.

And, please, if you want to know anything about the food in your shares, remember that you can always ask me. A lot of you do already, and lately I've been getting a lot of questions about the beets. It seems that not everyone knows what to do with them.

Here's an idea.

Beet Kale Salad with Cinnamon Citrus Dressing

You could make this with roasted Brussels sprouts rather than kale. Just roast the sprouts alongside the beets, uncovered. Check frequently because they will probably be done much sooner than the beets are.
  • One pound beets, trimmed and cut into equal sized pieces
  • 1/4 pound kale
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange or tangerine juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Place the beets in a single layer in a shallow baking dish (like a lasagna pan), covered with tin foil. Bake at 400 degrees until the beets are just tender, about 30 minutes.

While the beets are roasting, stem the kale (the easiest way to do this is to grasp the base of the stem firmly in one hand and use the other hand to sort of push the tender leafy parts off the tough stem--it's fast and you lose less than if you try to try the stems out with a knife) and chop it into bite sized pieces. Put the kale in a salad bowl and set it aside.

Stir together the juice, oil, salt, and cinnamon until the mixture is pretty well emulsified.

When the beets are done, pour the dressing over them and stir to ensure the beets are coated. Then add the beets and dressing to the kale and toss to coat the kale with dressing. Let the salad sit for about a half hour before eating it for the best flavor and texture.




Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Week 16: A Whole New Winter

Normally we come to the end of summer CSA season, exhausted and ready for a winter of relative rest before starting the whole thing over again.

But this year is different. We're still pretty tired, but we're also exhilarated. As we harvest and pack the final summer share for the season, we are also planning the first winter share.

Not to mention tucking tons of root vegetables into storage, determining how best to clean the 850 lbs of flax seed we just got in from a farmer down the road (who plans to supply us with around five tons next year!), and working out the packaging kinks as we roll out lightly processed products via Wintergreen Foods.

Dwayne Kolpack (of flaxseed fame) also grows sunflowers.
We stopped by a month or so ago for a flower photo shoot.

He hasn't been able to combine these yet, but we'll get some when he does :)
But I'm getting ahead of myself. I skipped right past the details of this week's share, which will include: 5 pounds Carrots, 4 pounds Potatoes, 2 pounds Beets, 2 Honey Bear Acorn Squash, Cabbage, Leeks, 3 Gourds OR 2 Hooligan Pumpkins, Rutabaga OR Celeriac, and Pac Choi OR Hakurei.

These are Hooligans, if you were wondering. It's hard to tell from the photo,
but they're about the same size as the small gourds we grow. Also, they aren't
always this blurry. They have dry, mildly sweet flesh.

The share is much the same as last week, but this one has leeks. This year's leeks are a bit improved over last year's, though they are still on the small side. They taste great though. We grew them in sand and compost, so be sure to wash them well to remove all the grit. If you aren't sure what to do with them, try this soup. It's a recipe Scott invented way back in our farm intern days. It's on the this side, use less milk (down to four cups is fine) if you would like it a little thicker.

Squash Leek Soup


  • Two honey bear acorn squash (or one larger sweet fleshed winter squash)
  • 6 cups milk or cream
  • 2 small or one medium leek
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • a pinch nutmeg or curry powder
Halve the squash and scoop out the seeds. Bake at 400 degrees until the squash are very soft, about 35-45 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the milk over low heat in a large saucepan. Clean the leek thoroughly and slice it thinly (compost the tough upper portions of the leaves, the tender green parts are fine though). When the milk is not quite simmering, add the sliced leek. Let it cook, without simmering, until the leeks are tender, about 20 minutes.

When the squash and leeks are both tender, scoop the squash flesh into the leeks and milk. Add salt and nutmeg and puree the mixture until it is smooth.