Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Newsletter 10/31/07

Pete’s Greens Good Eats Newsletter Oct. 31, 2007
This week’s share includes: 1 pie pumpkin, 1 bu. fennel, purple and red carrots, shallots, mesclun, mixed potatoes, sweet salad turnips, 1 gallon cider, Patchwork bread (organic whole wheat milled at bakery, organic spelt flakes, sourdough, deep well water, sea salt), Jasper Hill Constant Bliss cheese, mixed peppers, broccoli or cauliflower
Important information: Thanksgiving Week Good Eats pickup is on Tuesday, Nov. 20. Please make a note of it!
Some of you might be tiring of peppers. This is the last time you’ll receive from our bumper crop this season. It is remarkable how many lbs. of peppers four, 200 ft. long beds produce. The round white bunched item is sweet salad turnips. This time of year they achieve turnip perfection-sweet buttery flavor. They can be cooked but when they taste this good it’s a shame not to eat them raw. The stems and green are great in stir-fry or soup. Half of you received broccoli, the other half cauliflower.
It’s the last day of October and we have 42 beds of roots still to be harvested out of our original 320. We’ll knock off about half of them today leaving just one more day of digging roots. It is a marathon that sometimes seems like it won’t end. Many thanks to Santiago, Steve, Elena, Meg, Maria, Heather and Emily for their dedicated work on root harvest. Steve has been in charge of transporting the roots from field to cooler and has done a great job arranging the in the cooler in a systematic manner. To give you some perspective on our root crop we harvested 7 acres. This has filled our 35 by 45 ft root cellar to the ceiling with very narrow aisles to walk through. It is about 150,000 lbs. of roots, or 75 tons. If families averaged 10 lbs. of roots per week Nov.-April it is enough for 500 families. We are one of the largest growers of roots in the State. You can see that if we are serious about Vermonters eating locally we need more farms.
We are doing our absolute best to get the newsletter to you before you pickup your share. If it is late it is because our internet service is not working. We have the best service available in Craftsbury and it works great 80% of the time but there is nothing we can do when it is down. We hear rumor that we will have service over phone lines by sometime next year, which will hopefully be an improvement. We are big supporters of government efforts to improve service in the boonies. There is so much business that can now be conducted in the back hills of Vermont but being connected is essential. Pete
With the weather finally feeling more like fall, it’s the perfect time for Pumpkin Soup! I improvise on this, but there are a few essential ingredients and an easy way to prepare the pumpkin. If you aren’t sure what to do with your fennel and turnips, they would be delicious here, too. Their flavor will be delicate in the soup. Otherwise, save the fennel and turnip for another recipe and add few stalks of celery to the soup.
1 pie pumpkin, about 3 lbs
2 medium or 3 small white turnips
1 or 2 fennel bulbs
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
3 Tbs olive oil
1 qt chicken or vegetable broth
1 qt water, as needed
Fresh or dried herbs to taste: thyme, sage, parsley, fennel greens
Pinch or red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 350; cut pumpkin in half, place in baking pan cut side down, add 2 inches water. Bake until tender, about an hour. Cool to handle, discard seeds, scoop out flesh and chop up a bit if it’s in large pieces. Set aside for now.
Now you could make a nice vegetable stock with the pumpkin shell, and the parings from the onions, fennel, and turnip. Cover with water in a large stock pot and simmer 15 minutes. While this cooks, you can chop and sauté the vegetables.
Dice the turnip, fennel bulb, and onion. Mince the garlic.
Heat olive oil in large soup pot, add onion, sauté 5 minutes; add the rest of the vegetables and sauté until fragrant and slightly browning. Add the salt, pepper, and seasonings. Stir around a couple of minutes, and then add in the pumpkin. Set a mesh strainer over the pot and very carefully pour in the vegetable stock. Simmer about 30 minutes, adding more stock or water as needed.
This can be a thick chunky soup or a velvety smooth puree, so add as much broth or more water as needed to make the desired consistency. A splash of cider is also lovely. Puree if you wish.
Garnish with fresh snipped parsley/fennel greens and/or some roasted pumpkin seeds.

So now, what about those turnips, fennel and beets if you don’t use them in the pumpkin soup? I saw this intriguing recipe for a Turnip salad. The white sweet salad turnips are the ones to use for this.
1 bunch turnips, trimmed, halved and sliced
1 tsp salt
1 orange
Juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ tsp harissa or other chile garlic paste
3 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
Salt the turnip slices and set aside for 30 minutes. Drain and squeeze out the excess liquid.
While the turnip is being salted, prepare the rest of the salad ingredients. Cut the rind off of the orange with a sharp knife. Cut into 1 inch chunks. Blend together the lemon juice, garlic, harissa, salt to taste, and olive oil. Toss turnips, orange and dressing. Garnish with cilantro.
The beets are wonderful as a roasted vegetable. Scrub the roots, but you don’t have to peel the whole thing, just trim as needed. Toss together chunks of beets, fennel, turnips, carrots and any other roots, wedges of onion and minced garlic with salt, pepper and a couple tablespoons of olive oil. A pinch of cumin and paprika are nice, too. Place in a baking dish, roast at 400 for about hour, covered for the first 30 minutes. When done, the roots should be tender and nicely browned. Stir a couple times during roasting.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Newsletter October 24, 2007

Pete's Greens Good Eats Newsletter Oct. 24, 2007

This is the first week of the bi-weekly root share pickups. Root share bags will be labeled root share. Please be careful to make sure you are picking up the correct type of share and cross your name off the sheet. Thanks

This week's Root Share contains: sugarsnax carrots, potatoes, 1 bu. salad turnips, red beets, cabbage, celeriac, 1 bunch of kohlrabi

This week's Vegetable/Localvore Share contains:sweet salad turnips, ruby red chard, yellow onions, tomatillos, cilantro, green tomatoes, spaghetti squash, sugarsnax carrots, garlic, mixed peppers, mesclun, Bonnieview Farm blue cheese, 5# bag apples

This share was advertised as approximately a $25 vegetable value and a $20 Localvore food value per week. For the first few weeks while there is so much garden bounty we are going to provide somewhat less Localvore food and more vegetables. We might err on the side of more than $20 value of Localvore food in January and February when there is less vegetable diversity.
Also, we forgot to mention this in our advertising of this share period, but we are going to skip the Christmas week delivery. There will be no Good Eats on Dec. 26. Many of you will be out of town and the farm crew will appreciate the break. We will make up the $45 value of the skipped week by providing extra food between now and then. If anyone has a problem with this plan let Pete know at

We have filled the cellar of the house with our sweet potato crop. We're running the wood furnace and keeping the cellar at 80 plus degrees. Sweet potatoes need 2 weeks of curing at 80 degrees and 80% humidity in order to become sweet and to store properly. It feels so bizarre to place a root crop in those conditions-any other that we grow would be a stinking mess after 2 weeks at high heat and high humidity. We thought our crop was poor because the summer was not very hot but we found some surprisingly nice beds while digging them. You should start receiving them regularly in a couple weeks.

Tomatillos?! They're a little weird with that papery husk on them, but what a great salsa you can make. A distant relative of the tomato, potato, pepper and eggplant, tomatillos have a succulent tangy flesh. You can keep them in the fridge for several weeks as long as they are firm and unblemished. Store in an open container or loose bag so they don't sweat. But we hope you can't wait to eat them!

They are best cooked for a sauce or salsa. Simmer the peeled fruits for a soft juicy consistency or roast with the husks on for a thicker texture and more concentrated flavor. In either case, you want to watch them carefully so they don't burst. Boil for 10 minutes or so; roast @ 450 for 10-15 minutes. Here's a delicious salsa I like them roasted and you even have all the ingredients in this share!



Rinse the tomatillos and roast in their jackets @ 450 for 10 or 15 minutes. They should brown but not burst open. Cool to handle & peel off the husks. Fork mash the tomatillos in a bowl then mix in all other ingredients. Taste for salt & spice. You can also pulse all together in a food processor, but I like to leave a little texture.

Use this salsa with any Mexican dish, enchiladas, tacos, huevos rancheros, beans & rice, etc. Also great with grilled fish, etc.

Now, what about that spaghetti squash? This is easy, just prick the whole squash in a few places and bake @ 350 for 35-50 minutes, until soft but not mush. Very carefully transfer to a cutting board and cut open so it will not keep cooking. Cool to handle, scoop seeds & discard. Use a fork to separate out the strands into a bowl. Now you are ready to serve with your favorite sauce.

You could also saute up some garlic, onion, red peppers in olive oil; add the ruby chard, dress with a splash of white balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper, toss with the squash and crumble on some of that Bonnieview Blue.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Newsletter, October 17

Welcome to the Oct. -Feb share period. We're excited about the diversity of vegetables that are in the field and piling up in the root cellar.

In your shares this week:
ruby red chard, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, bell peppers, leeks, napa cabbage, fingerling potatoes, sugar snax carrots, mesclun, Patchwork Farm Bread, Vermont Soy Tofu and our eggs.

If you haven't already, visit our blog at
You'll find past newsletters, musings, articles of interest and recipes throughout. A great resource for those of you who have the time for such meanderings and a good way to keep in touch regardless.

Don't forget to grab your complimentary copy of the first edition of Edible Green Mountains that publisher and Good Eats member Deborah Schapiro has graciously given. The magazine is filled with gorgeous photography and informative, lively articles that bring home the experiences of local farmers and producers as well as our own choice to eat on a local level. Recipes abound and there are links to many local resources as well. Feel free to send your thoughts and feedback. I stole a copy from the office and read it in my car today, while waiting for the kids to get out of school.

Vermont Soy Company is a local, organic company located in our neighboring town of Hardwick. Their philosophy is summed up by "The Whole Bean Way", a philosophy that encompasses using the full potential of the soybean as opposed to extracts. It's exciting to offer a product like this to our members and we welcome your feedback. Visit their site for recipe ideas too.

Patchwork Farm and Bakery is a favorite around here and located on Pumpkin Lane in East Hardwick. This bread is a Localvore loaf, meaning the ingredients, save the salt, were procured within 100 miles of our farm. The aroma of freshly baked loaves, 120+ strong, filled the office tonight and my stomach gurgled in response. Eat these loaves quickly and store in the bag on the counter. If you cannot eat them in a day or two, try slicing and freezing in plastic. If not, then remember...stale bread makes awesome french toast for lazy Sunday mornings.

When it comes to storing your vegetables, remember a couple of basic rules. Don't wash your vegetables before storing and make sure they are dry. Washing, for many veggies, removes their ability to protect themselves from the environment. Washed carrots will get limp faster than you can say "Vitamin A" and potatoes get soft. If they come in a plastic bag and it's damp, air out the bag or transfer naked to the crisper of your fridge. A little loose saran wrap or dry dish cloth will often do the trick of retarding moisture loss. -Elena

Chard: Store in the crisper, dry. Use like spinach.
Brussel Sprouts: Can be stored for a little while in the fridge, but taste best when cooked fresh. Try pan roasting in olive oil or sunflower oil, salt and pepper, until the skin is crisp and brown.
Cauliflower: Store wrapped in plastic in the crisper of the fridge. Should be okay for a few days, but will start to speckle and brown if not eaten right away. Great recipe for roasted cauliflower in the Edible Green Mountains magazine. I also like it steamed or baked with lots of butter and cheese.
Leeks: These guys will store for a long time in the fridge, but i prefer to chop off the green tops, slice thinly and store them in the freezer to use at a moments notice. Think carmelized leeks with roasted garlic and pan fried potatoes... I feel a recipe inspiration coming on!
Bell Peppers: Store in the crisper.I believe you will be getting green and red peppers this week. These are both great cooking peppers if you are not partial to the sweetness of raw. The other possible colors are creamy white or purple. Those guys like to be eaten raw as they lose their color when cooked and just look blah.
Napa Cabbage: Good stuff. In a bag in the fridge. Crunchy slaw is an old standby or try braising with apples and onions. Add a splash of cider vinegar and you have a good thing.
Fingerling Potatoes: Small, finger like tubers. Store in a paper bag in a cool, dry place. No need to peel, just scrub clean before cooking. Roast whole with some olive oil, salt and pepper or boil until just tender and toss with butter and herbs.
Carrots: Any need for me to explain storage or cooking?
Mesclun: The greens of Pete's Greens. Wash and spin dry before eating. Will last 3 to 5 days if dry and in the crisper. Eat with absolutely everything. I like mine tossed with balsamic viniagrette and piled on a slice of homemade pizza.

Ruby Eggs on Patchwork Toast
Forgive the casualness of this particular recipe. I'm a fan of Eggs Florentine, but since you received Ruby Chard this week and no tomatoes, I refined and renamed my favorite brunch food. Enjoy!-elena

2 farm fresh eggs, poached (as easy as cracking them into a pot of boiling water and fishing them out 2 to 3 minutes later)
1/2# of ruby red chard, lightly sauteed with butter and chopped leeks
4 slices of roasted red peppers
4 T of creamy mornay (recipe follows)
2 thick slices of Patchwork Farm bread

Assemble the Ruby Eggs: Divide and pile the wilted Ruby Chard on each slice of bread. Follow with poached eggs and the roasted peppers. Toast or broil lightly in the toaster oven or broiler until just heated through, but the yolk is still runny. Garnish lavishly with mornay and eat with gusto! Perfect with sparkling orange juice or hot black coffee.

Making the Mornay: Melt 2 T of butter. Add 2 T of flour and whisk over medium heat for 2 minutes. Lower heat and slowly pour 2 cups of heated milk (for thinner, lower fat sauce) or cream (for thicker, high fat sauce) while furiously whisking to avoid cooked lumps of goo. Let simmer for a minute or two and then add 1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan or swiss cheese or sharp cheddar. I like to add some blue cheese as well for extra tang. Continue to stir and cook until thickened. Store in the fridge for several days and reheat with a few tablespoons of milk.

Alternative to Cream Sauce: I've not tried this yet, but for those of you who are willing and/or not interested in a lot of fat in your diet, i've got a recipe for a reduced orange syrup. Basically it consists of simmering orange juice until a bit viscous, adding some salt and pepper, a bit of oil and fresh herbs. It sounded like it might work on the Ruby Eggs, but then again...maybe not. Let me know if you try it.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Newsletter October 10th

Pete’s Greens Good Eats Newsletter Oct. 10, 2007
This week’s share contains: mesclun, ½# mixed peppers, 1 bu. ruby red chard, ½# zukes, 1 red kuri squash, ½# broccoli, ¾# roma tomatoes, 1# yellow onion, 1 bu. sweet salad turnips, ½# eggplant, yogurt, and eggs
This is the last week of our summer share period! Thanks to all of you who joined. It definitely felt like our most successful share yet. Thanks to all of you who have signed up for our Oct.17-Feb 13 share period and hopefully we’ll see those of you who didn’t again next summer. I have been feeling much gratitude towards our share members as we struggle to collect money from late paying wholesale customers. It has made a tremendous difference to the financial situation of the farm that you are willing to pay us ahead of time and trust us to provide the food promised. It also is very gratifying to see the truckload of CSA shares leave the farm and realize that they are going right into people’s kitchens with no middlemen. We love Good Eats and consider it to be the future of Pete’s Greens.
With that in mind please take a couple minutes to fill out our Good Eats assessment form. Your feedback, both positive and negative helps us to improve. Our goal is for Good Eats to get better and better over the next year so any suggestions are appreciated.
We continue to fill the cooler with roots. In fact we are starting to wonder where this enormously bountiful crop will all fit. Yesterday we pulled a daikon radish that is 2 ½ ft. long and 4 inches thick. I’m hoping to dry it down for firewood. I’ve head rumor of a kohlrabi that is the size of a volleyball lurking somewhere in the field. Some unsuspecting winter shareholder might be lucky recipient of it. We are slightly over halfway with our root harvest with 3 weeks to go. If the weather holds and our backs last, we’ll get it done. -Pete

Recipes and Storage Ideas:
Hi everyone! In your shares this week you received beautiful Kuri Squashes and enough vegetables to make an awesome ratatouille. Serve the ratatouille over hot pasta or creamy polenta and have leftovers in a salad for lunch the next day. There are dozens of recipes out there for ratatouille, but mostly i just cook eggplant, onions, peppers, lots of garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes and zucchini in olive oil. I also like to add fresh herbs and red wine towards the end, but the beauty of this dish is that it lends itself to interpretation. -Elena

Chard: Store as you would mesclun. Dry and in the cooler. Try wilting and tossing with pasta or making a creamy sauce and tossing for a side dish to roasted meat. Anything you use spinach in, chard will substitute quite nicely.
Salad Turnips: Sweet turnips are a treat on salad or as a snack with dip for the kids. Store in the fridge.
Kuri Squash: Leave it out on the counter. Slice through the hard skin, clean out seeds and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until tender.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Montpelier Farmers Market goes year-round!

Includes a blurb about Pete's Greens recent grant for expanding the kitchen too. -elena
MONTPELIER – Vermont's growing season may be curbed by cold weather, but the thriving marketplace it feeds is not.

The weekly Saturday Montpelier Farmers Market, until now a fair-weather phenomenon, will expand this winter into a year-round enterprise.

"I'm hoping this winter market will really open people's eyes to what is available in Vermont throughout the whole year," says Jessie Schmidt, manager of the Montpelier market. "Vendors are working harder to extend their seasons … There's just a lot more available now."

The wintertime market, to be held in the Vermont College gymnasium from 10 a.m. -2 p.m. on the first Saturday of every month beginning in December, won't be as frequent an occasion as its summertime companion. But the monthly event, Schmidt says, will spotlight the expanding scope of local offerings.

"Farmers work really hard storing an incredible amount and variety of vegetables," Schmidt says. "Traditional root crops – carrots and potatoes, and items like squash, rutabagas, will be available. Vendors also have been successful at extending their seasons, so you can expect to see some winter greens and herbs as well."

Local livestock farmers also will sell their products, offering everything from lamb sausage to T-bone steaks.

Read the rest at Times Argus Article: Montpelier Market to go Year-Round

Good Eats Newsletter Oct. 3rd, 2007

In your shares this week: mesclun, 1# mixed peppers, 3/4# baby kale for wilting, 1.5# colored cauliflower, 2# mixed carrots, 2# mixed potatoes, Localvore apple pie from Champlain Orchards, Butterworks Jersey cream

This week, for the second time in the history of Good Eats we are offering Localvore pies from Champlain Orchards. The crust is made from whole wheat soft pastry flour from Ben Gleason's farm near Middlebury, apples are from the Orchard, butter is unfortunately Cabot (New England local rather than Vermont), and the maple syrup and eggs are local. This is an example of the sort of collaboration that Good Eats is all about.
You are receiving a giant bag of mesclun this week. For the past few weeks we have had extra greens so you have received more than you have paid for. If it's too much for your family pass it on to friend! I like to eat piles of greens this time of year to stock my body with vitamins and minerals for the long and less green winter ahead. Also the cool temps bring out a nice sweetness in the greens and a thicker, juicier texture.
Speaking of cool temps we haven't had many lately. While we are basking in the fine fall weather it is messing up our greens plantings. We carefully calibrate our late summer and early fall plantings to ensure that our greens mature at a staggered rate so that we have lots to wholesale through October. This year they are maturing too soon and I'm concerned that the last week or two of October we are going to be short for our wholesale accounts. Also we need gradually cooler temps in order to harden off our greens so they can better withstand the cold coming. Who knows, maybe we'll have another repeat of last fall's amazing balminess.
Oct-Feb signups have gone amazingly well. We have filled the vegetable/Localvore share with essentially no advertising. Thanks to all of you who have signed up and thanks for telling your friends. I was studying our accounts receivables sheet for our wholesale accounts today and feeling frustrated by how hard it is to get many of our wholesale customers to pay us. It is a pleasure and honor to provide food directly to customers who pay us ahead of time, and who so faithfully let us know what they like and don't like about what we provide.
We do have many Root Shares available. This is an introductory offering that allows you to get a taste of what Pete's Greens in the winter is all about. Read about this new, bi-weekly share on the website or e-mail a mailing address and I'll send a brochure. Pete

Recipes and Storage Ideas:

Hi everyone! Although I’m no longer working at the farm much, I will continue to work on these newsletters until someone fabulous can step in and take over. I’ve included a recipe for a Spanish tortilla that can be intimidating to some, but a wonderful way to eat the baby kale in your shares. –elena

Peppers: Keep cool in the crisper of your fridge. Not sure what colors you received this week, but they are all yummy and sweet eaten raw. The red and green ones will retain their color roasted or cooked, but the purple ones tend to get brown looking, so eat those raw in salads.

Mesclun: Think big salads this week. Use the peppers, colored cauliflower and boil then slice a couple of the beautiful purple potatoes to garnish the mesclun, sprinkle with nuts, cheese, fresh apples and pears and drizzle with a garlicky, balsamic vinaigrette. The essence of “yum”!

Carrots: In a plastic bag in the crisper. If they start to get kind of floppy, try setting in ice water for several minutes before using or eating to crisp them up.

Potatoes: Store in paper bag in the fridge or a drawer. Keep light away. I love these potatoes cut into wedges, tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper and roasted in the oven at 375 for 30 minutes. The colors are amazing and tasty too.

Cauliflower: Keep in crisper and use sooner rather than later. Dark spots will start to form if not eaten in a day or two, but they can be cut out and the vegetable can still be eaten…it’s just not nearly as pretty!

Kale: Baby kale in your shares this week and the lacy, serrated leaves are beautiful and tender enough to toss in a salad. I prefer to heat sunflower oil, toss in some a couple cloves of minced garlic and heat that until fragrant. Then toss in the freshly washed kale and toss until just wilted. Salt and pepper to your hearts content. Eat with roasted meats or served with creamy, cheesy polenta and you’ll understand my love for winter greens.

Kale and Potato Spanish Tortilla

-adapted from Gourmet, 2003

A Spanish tortilla is very much like an omelet or frittata. It makes a filling supper on a cool night.

2 T olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb potatoes, scrubbed clean, boiled until just tender and diced into 1/2" cubes

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 to 3/4 lb baby kale

7 large, farm fresh eggs

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, saute until fragrant and then toss in potatoes. Cook until slightly crisp, with onions and garlic turning translucent. In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to a boil, generously add salt and cook the kale until wilted. Immediately drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Drain and squeeze the kale in your hands to rid it of excess moisture, then roughly chop and add to potato mixture. Beat eggs in a bowl and add to vegetable mixture, cooking on low heat, covered, until edges are set but center is still loose, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 15 minutes.

Shake skillet gently to make sure tortilla is not sticking (if it is sticking, loosen with a heatproof plastic spatula). Slide tortilla onto a large flat plate, then invert skillet over tortilla and flip it back into skillet. Round off edge of tortilla with plastic spatula and cook over low heat, covered, 10 minutes more. Slide tortilla onto a plate and serve warm, cut into wedges.

Makes about 6 servings

Maple Cinnamon Scented Whipped Cream

The key to whipping up cream quickly is to store the bowl and beaters in the freezer until ready to use. I like this on pear crisp that is made with walnuts. Best to use an electric hand beater for speed, but a blender will do in a pinch or if you are up for it, an icy cold wire whisk.

1 cup Butterworks Cream

1 pinch salt

1 T Brandy, Rum or Vanilla Extract

2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 to 4 T Maple Syrup

In a large, icy cold glass or melamine bowl, beat the cream with an electric beater for a few minutes, until beginning to thicken. Add salt, liquor or extract, cinnamon and 2 T of syrup. Continue to beat until cream is thick. Taste and add more syrup as needed. Beat until the cream is thick, slightly clotted and ready to serve.