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.