Monday, November 7, 2016

Take a Leek

Sorry. I cannot resist potty humor.

So, you've got some leeks. Excellent! You are in for a sweet and subtle oniony treat.

Now what?

Leeks need trimming. Cut off the bottom of the leek, just above the root hairs. Cut off the top of the leek, just below the "V" shaped base of the dark green leaves. Slice the remaining white/pale green shaft of leek down the center, in preparation for the next step.

Wash the leek. Make sure the water flows in between the many layers of leek. Those nooks and crannies can hold a lot of sand.

And now you're good to go!

Check out these sites for tasty leek recipe ideas:

EatingWell has everything from apple and leek stuffed pork to leek, potato, and spinach stew.

Bon Appetit has sophisticated dishes like goat cheese, leek, and potato galettes.

Saveur has twists on classic leek dishes, like cream of fennel soup with leeks.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Fermented Radishes

Sauerkraut is not the only fermented food you can make. Carrots, Rutabaga, Beets, and even Chard can be fermented just the same way cabbage can.

So can radishes.

You can use any kind of radish to ferment. The little salad radishes are great if that's what you've got.

We like to use winter radishes. Especially the
Purple Daikons.
Our Purple Daikon radishes are purple through and through, because they're packed with pretty (and healthy) anthocyanins. As a result, they make some of the most beautiful pickles ever. Like lovely little salty-sour amethysts. 

This batch had some carrots too. Yum :)
As you can see, we like to dice our radishes before fermenting them, but you can cut them however you like. Sliced, shredded, and diced are all fine. 

Once they've fermented, you can use them as you would sauerkraut. Fermented radishes are great cooked with sausage and other pork, apples, and potatoes. Or nibble them cold while sipping a dark beer.

But why ferment radishes instead of making kraut? For one thing, radishes are abundant. The warm and extremely wet late summer weather we had this year was hard on the late season cabbage. We don't know anyone that had a good crop this year. But winter radishes are pretty forgiving, and, even with the challenging weather, we've got our usual bountiful harvest of them this year. And, as fermentation expert Sandor Katz says, "When life gives you lots of big radishes, turn them into a resource you can use for awhile.

However, a lack of cabbage is not the only reason to ferment winter radishes. Cabbage is notoriously hungry for nitrogen in the soil. Whether you grow with organic or conventional methods, you've got to make sure to give cabbage an extra boost of food at planting time. The nitrogen favors leaf growth (don't forget cabbage is actually a leafy green) rather than root growth, so radishes grow better in soil that is a little lean on nitrogen. It's possible to get more food from less resources growing winter radishes than growing cabbages.

And, finally, fermented radishes taste good. They lose their spice as they ferment, but keep their sweetly pungent flavor. They also keep their crunch. They're delicious.

Seda thinks so too.

If you are already a kraut maker, you know that fermenting is amazingly simple. If you've never fermented before, check out this basic fermented radish recipe from SeriousEats. It's a good one for beginners because it makes a not-too-overwhelming quart and includes a good tip for keeping the radishes under the brine as they ferment.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Week 8: GORP - Wintergreen Foods style

Well, I wont say we saved the best share overall for last, but I think everyone will appreciate this week's standout. Some of the long term Summer members will remember the ground cherries that we have grown. This year, we put most of the harvest into the dehydrator, and combined them with dry 'naked' pumpkin seeds (no hard outer shell), dry carrot pieces, and dry zucchini. Sometimes, it hurts me to share.
Ground cherries are the small yellowish fruit in the bottom left
Also, this week, most of the carrots are freshly dug, as well as some pink daikon radishes for the full share members. The radishes were left in the ground because they had frozen on top before I was able to pull them up, so I will be trimming the top parts off of them. The sections of them that were underground remained unfrozen and are quite tasty. 

The list for this weeks pickup is:

Dried Snack Mix (GORP)
Fruit Leathers

and full share gets:
More Carrots
More Squash
Daikon Radish

As it is the last share of the season, I want to take a minute to reflect on things. We can't stress it enough, we really appreciate all of our past, current and future CSA members. We wouldn't have made it this far without you, and we can't continue without you. We're looking forward to spring and the beginning of a new growth cycle. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Week 7

Today, at pickup, everybody will receive snow cones!


Well, this time of year, Andrea and I (Scott) go about blurging out all of our ideas for the future. We don't often find ourselves in the same spot very long for most of the year, and January is a time to consider what we've done well, and what we haven't. We've decided, after a couple of months for Andrea to get used to the idea, to formalize our management organization in a different way. As we started the farm and CSA, we naturally fell into doing the things that we were interested in, and good at. As our business grows, we've tried to separate out those things in a way that makes sense. All this adds up to Andrea quitting the CSA. She's been hanging on to aspects of organization, such as marketing and communication, but it's pulling her away from the direction she wants to go in with the wholesaling. She may occasionally write a blogpost this summer. Overall, though, the emailing and blog posting for the summer CSA and future seasons will be coming from me.

There will also be a bit more 'rules' for missed pickups moving forward, and we are going to change half shares to every week with an actual half share. These steps will make it easier for me to keep up with the numbers for pickups, as they won't be shifting up and down as dramatically as they have in the past. This doesn't mean I can't help out in the case of an emergency, or a pre-planned trip, but if you do forget a pickup, you will have the option of driving to Ontonagon on Thurs, Friday, or Saturday to get your produce, or forfeiting for the week.

Andrea's goals for the upcoming season are to produce as much dehydrated products as possible, so if you enjoy them, we hope you'll support us further by purchasing them from the Keweenaw Co-op and telling all of your friends to do the same. If you don't like them, we certainly appreciate feedback in order to improve our products.

Summer CSA produce will be much the same this year and pickups will remain mostly the same, Amber's Market on Sharon Ave in Houghton on Wed from 10 AM to 1 PM, and in Ontonagon on Wed at the old restaurant/new farm. We are going to eliminate the Ironwood pickup, as the number of members has been dwindling and we need to focus our goals. Also, we are going to have an on-farm self serve market instead of the Ontonagon 'Superior Farmer's Market' on Wednesday, and possibly Saturday.

We hope these changes will allow us to serve our community better, that's why we do what we do.

As always, if you have any questions, shoot us an email at

The share this week includes:

For half share members, carrots, 2 winter squash, dry beans, kale chips, cabbage, and onions
Full share receive also more carrots, more winter squash, dried cherry tomatoes, rutabaga.

As for recipes this week, I know there isn't any unknown vegetables, but I would recommend considering:

A baked bean recipe with the Marfax beans

Stuffed cabbage with a larger kraut cabbage

Chicken noodle soup with homemade egg noodles (so easy!) and pureed winter squash.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Winter Week Six: Super Smoothie

Happy New Year everyone! We celebrated with family visits and a touch of stomach flu. Viruses seem to get passed around whenever Seda sees her cousins.

We're feeling better now, thankfully, and hoping that you all had lovely New Year's celebrations with no vomiting :)

And now I'll start talking about food.

For half share members this week's share will include: two pounds Carrots, Rutabaga, Delicata OR Sweet Dumpling Squash, Acorn Squash, Cabbage, Onions, Flax Seed, Dried Greens, and Fruit and Flax Leathers.

Full share members will receive all the half share items plus: 2 additional pounds Carrots, 2 choice squash, Kale Chips, and Kohlrabi.

I am especially excited to be distributing Fruit and Flax Leathers this week. Everyone will receive two different kinds, blueberry and butternut. Both kinds have only three ingredients, apples, blueberry or squash puree, and flax seeds. Everything is grown in the Upper Peninsula.

Blueberry Fruit and Flax Leathers

The Fruit and Flax Leathers are one of our Wintergreen Foods products. We made our first few batches of them in the fall of 2014 and introduced them to the Ontonagon School vending machine, with great success. This year we've made quite a few more of them, and have been selling them through the Northwind and Keweenaw Co-ops in addition to school vending machines. If you are interested in getting them into your child's school, please let us know.

In 2014, the flax seed we used in the Fruit and Flax Leathers was grown by another Ontonagon farmer, but this year we grew it ourselves.

A small slice of the field of flax we enjoyed this summer.
And we harvested enough to include some in the winter shares. 

I have sort of a love/hate relationship with mass media food marketing. I don't like websites that claim certain foods are magical cure-all "super foods" because I know that nothing in life is that simple, but at the same time I understand that our farm business has been successful in part due to the national trend towards local foods--a trend which is not always that far removed from the websites touting "super foods". I also grow and sell some of the items that get labeled as super, like kale and, now, flax seeds. So, maybe I should just go with it ;)

Pro-biotic Super Food Smoothie with Flax Kale and Blueberries
  • 2 cups plain Yogurt
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 cup Blueberries (either frozen or fresh is fine) 
  • 1 Tablespoon Flax Seed
  • A handful of fresh or dried greens
Combine all of the ingredients in a blender, food processor, or large container if you are going to use an immersion blender. 

Blend them up!

This recipe makes enough for at least two people to share.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Winter Week Five: Christmas Time is Here Again

The snow came!!!

It's 6:30 at night in December, so it is too dark for me to take a picture of it, but I bet you've all seen it by now anyway.

We were enjoying the fall weather, but it felt wrong. I'm glad the world is right now. I really do like to have a white Christmas.

For your share this week you can expect the following:

Half share: 1 lb Onions, 2 lbs Carrots, One Acorn Squash, One Squash Choice, Cabbage, Dry Beans (a baking variety).

Full share: All the half share items plus more Carrots, One Long Pie Pumpkin, Kohlrabi, Kale Chips, and Daikon Radishes.

I've braided together some of the smaller red onions we harvested this year into one pound braids.We're distributing them with this week's share as a sort of Christmas decoration. You can hang them up if you'd like to, just cut onions from the top down so the braids hold together while you use them up.

The change in weather has not only put me in the mood for Christmas. It's also put me in the mood for stew, which is what I made for the share recipe this week.

I used lamb because we trade vegetables for meat with one of our neighbors (which is the sweetest deal ever!) and usually get a lot of lamb, but you can feel free to swap in beef or venison if that is what you have on hand. This is a super simple stew, in which the vegetables play the starring role, so put in your favorites. I've written the recipe with the vegetables I used (many of which are, of course, in this week's share) but you can change it however you like. Other ideas include potatoes, sweet potatoes, daikon radishes, rutabaga, turnip, or mushrooms.

Stew for a Snowy Day
  • 1 pound cubed stew meat (lamb, beef, or venison)
  • 4 small onions (such as those in your braid) peeled and halved
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 4 cups stock or water
  • 1 storage kohlrabi, peeled really well and cut into one inch cubes
  • 1 pound carrots, cut into large chunks
  • 1 acorn squash, peeled and cut into one inch cubes

Place the meat, onions, flour, salt and pepper into a large pot over medium heat. Stir to coat the meat with flour.

Cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is lightly browned and the flour is toasted. Watch carefully, turning down the heat if needed, do that the flour doesn't burn.

When the meat is browned, add the stock and remaining chopped vegetables. Don't worry if your vegetables are not quite covered with liquid at this point, they will release a lot of liquid as they cook and cover themselves.

Bring the stew to a boil, turn down to low, cover, and simmer until everything is as tender as you'd like it to be. This will take at least an hour of simmering.

When the stew is done, put it in a bowl and pose with it.

Seda likes to be in the blog. She also likes to decorate the table
with tangerine stickers. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Winter Week 4: This is Fall

For those of you who are life long Yoopers. This is the kind of November and December weather that the rest of Michigan refers to as fall.

I'm used to wondering whether or not I'd have a white Christmas when I lived downstate, but it feels completely wrong up here.

Christmas lights look silly without snow around.

On the plus side, the unusual weather allowed Scott to get some fall projects done. 

Which meant that I could take this awesome
picture of him.
And it was the warmest ever weekend for Ontonagon's annual Hometown Christmas fireworks and parade.

Hometown Christmas  is always a wonderful time.

Turns out it's even more wonderful when no
one has to worry about cold noses or toes.
This weather also means the December fields look a lot different than we're used to and the most cold hardy vegetables we grow are actually still growing. So, even though it's December 8th, members will be getting some fresh greens in their shares this week.

Half Share Members can look forward to: Onions, Rutabaga, Cabbage, Buttercup Squash, Jester OR Carnival Squash, 3 pounds Daikon, Dried Tomatoes, and 
Baby Kale. 

Full Share Members will get all that good stuff as well as: Brussels Sprouts, Parsley, An additional Squash choice, and more baby kale. 

This week's recipe focuses on the daikon radishes. We have been growing them for some time now because they are a reliable crop for our area that store exceptionally well and are quite versatile. It's easy (for me at least) to look at them and automatically think stir fry or salad because of their Asian radishy-ness, but they're also great cooked in ways you might think more suited to a turnip or potato. As in this recipe.

Roasted Pork Shoulder with Daikon Radish and Balsamic Vinegar
  •  One 2-3 pound Pork Shoulder Roast
  • 1.5 lbs Daikon Radishes (about half of what is in the share this week) cut into 3/4 inch rounds
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • .5 ounce dried tomato (about a third of what is in the share this week) chopped finely
  • 1 or 2 small onions (red is best) chopped finely
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place the sliced daikon radishes in the bottom of a roasting pan that is large enough to accommodate the pork roast. Set the roast on top of the radishes.

Combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dried tomato, chopped onion, salt and pepper.

Pour the olive oil mixture over the top of the roast.

It will look like this going into the oven. Though maybe your oven
 door is cleaner than mine.
Roast, uncovered, at 425 for 20 minutes. Turn the heat down to 350 and continue to roast, uncovered, until the meat is cooked through and tender, which took about 3 hours in total for me. The time it takes will depend on the size of your roast. Turn the meat every hour or so and spoon the liquid from the bottom of the pan over the roast as it cooks. The dried tomatoes will caramelize and soften as they cook and you will be able to spread them across the surface of the roast while it cooks. Do that, it's delicious.