Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter December 19, 2007

Pete's Greens Good Eats Newsletter Dec. 19, 2007

This week's
vegetable localvore share includes: rainbow roots, sweet potatoes, cabbage, 1 butternut squash, 1 garlic, onions, cippolini onions, fingerling potatoes, sunflower sprouts from Gourmet Greens, Cabot Clothbound cheddar cheese from Jasper Hill in Greensboro, bread from Patchwork Bakery, organic apple cider from Champlain Orchards, cranberries from Vermont Cranberry Co., organic butter from Compton, QC, and organic barley and yellow peas from Michel Gaudreau's mill, also of Compton.

Root share contains: rainbow roots, cabbage, fingerling potatoes, sugarsnax carrots
Bread ingredients: Organic fresh milled whole wheat flour, organic unbleached wheat flour, organic wheat and barley flakes, deep well water, sourdough, salt

Notes and Localvore Goodies

This is quite a share! We hope you have a wonderful holiday week. Don't forget, there is no Good Eats next Wednesday Dec. 26 The next share is January 2, 2008.
Please return bags and egg cartons to pickup sites for us to reuse and please cross you name off the pickup sheet when picking up your share.

Great progress is happening on our new greenhouse project. Our 40 by 60 ft headhouse (building attached to a greenhouse containing utilities, workspace, sprouting room, seed storage) is framed and hopefully the roof will be on by the time you read this. After that we will focus on installing a waste restaurant grease burning boiler to heat the headhouse and the 40 by 150 ft greenhouse attached to it. This greenhouse will be for growing starts to be transplanted to the field and to other greenhouses. Later in the winter we will construct two 35 by 200 ft. moveable greenhouses. In a future newsletter I'll explain the rationale behind a moveable greenhouse.
The main goal of the greenhouse construction project is to produce more greens for Good Eats members, Dec.-Mar. While we never expect to harvest large quantities of greens in the month of January, with a proper facility we can do alot better than we are now. We are disappointed by how early our greens ended this December-a real old fashioned early winter has really shown the weaknesses of our current facilities. We hope you enjoy the sunflower sprouts from Gourmet Greens. We intend to offer their sprouts regularly until our new facility is up and running.
It is important to understand that the those of you who signed up for this share period are funding our new greenhouse project. Rather than taking out a sizable loan from a bank we are able to cash flow this project thanks to the support of our members. This is direct evidence that spending money on local food production is the best way to increase local food production. Because all of you were willing to join Good Eats this period even without much for greens in the winter months, next year there will be alot more greenery in the winter months. Your signup dollars will have a lasting impact on your family's ability to eat a high quality local diet year-round in the future. Thanks for your support.

Best, Pete


The butter is from Diane Groleau at the Beurrerie du Patrimoine in Compton , QC. Diane makes butter, as well as a number of cheeses, real buttermilk, cottage cheese, yogurt, and goats milk products too, exclusively from milk produced on their farm. They have a large and very tidy organic dairy operation with a sweet little retail shop out front, complete with a couple of plywood cows you can pose with for a photo. The shop has other local products and crafts, as well as a window to watch the cheese production. The whole family, including her three sons and two daughters-in-law, helps on the farm in some way. Even her 6 month old grandson was upstairs. Meeting another producer and connecting you with them is the best part of my job.

So I was glad to be at the farm last Thursday when Bob stopped by to drop off the cranberries. He pulled up in a bright green little Scion and we chatted a bit while unloading. It turns out he has two other regular jobs and they work the cranberries on the side. He is a wine maker at Boyden Valley and a ski instructor at Smuggs. This explains the cranberry wine connection, as well as how he "keeps busy" during the off season. Bob hopes you'll stop by the winery to use your coupon for a bottle of wine for the holidays. Betsy (Bob's wife) also helps with the cranberries and is working on a maple sweetened dried cranberry. And ,no, Betsy just has one job as a forester for Burlington Electric. Growers for 12 years now, they have 3 1/2 acres of cranberries producing 22,000 pounds of fruit. It sounded like a great yield to me, but Bob was modest and said really productive bogs can produce three times that! They use IPM methods, meaning they use conventional fertilizers and some pesticides as needed, with careful monitoring. He explained to me that it's necessary to use conventional fertilizers because they cannot drive on the bogs so they are unable to spread compost. Agricultural cranberries are grown in beds to avoid wetland drainage and impacts. According to Bob, the fruit is relatively pest free, and so pesticide use is minimal. Probably by next season they will be able to host visitors. Field trip, anyone?

A last note about localvore items. Charlie Emers, of Patchwork Bakery in Hardwick has been making bread regularly for Good Eats this share. The barley and wheat flakes in this week's bread are from Michel Gaudreau. He gets organic whole wheat berries from a grower in Glover and grinds the flour fresh when he makes our bread. Wow, that's local! Now, he's trying out a new unbleached flour from Quebec. Charlie is excited about making a wider variety of breads and we are looking forward to tasting them! Meunerie Milanaise grows and mills organic grains and flours. You can check out their company at www.lamilanaise.com


Storage tips

  • The bag of roots will keep in the fridge for a couple weeks, as will the cabbage and cippolini onions.
  • The sweet potatoes are not washed because they store better with the dirt on. Keep in a bin or drawer at room temperature. These will continue to sweeten with storage.
  • The regular onions and fingerlings can also be stored at room temperature in a bin or drawer, in the dark, with a shark. Just kidding.
Recipes

I found this recipe in The New American Cooking by Joan Nathan. I love this book, and the soup is tasty, too. If you have a localvore foodie on your list, here's the cookbook you've been searching for. There's even a mention on Pete's in here, plus a photo of the Jasper Hill brothers on the cover. Posing with a cow, no less. This book has delicious recipes and interviews with a wide range of growers and cooks across the country.

It turns out this traditional Haitian New Years' dish is perfect for the Vermont localvore. The primary vegetable ingredients are right in your share, and local beef should be readily available. I get mine here from Marjorie and Brett Urie. My family all loved this; I hope you will too.

HAITIAN SOUPE JAUNE "YELLOW SOUP"

1 butternut squash, 3 1/2 #
salt
pepper
1/4 c olive oil
1 1/2 # cubed stew beef
1 Tbsp Creole seasoning (follows)
2 c diced onion
4 c shredded cabbage
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp ginger, minced
3 Qt chicken broth or water
1 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp allspice
3 cups carrots, cut in 1" pieces
1 tbsp dry parsley

Creole Seasoning:
21/2 Tbsp paprika
2 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 Tbsp cayenne
1 Tbsp oregano, dry
1 Tbsp thyme, dry
Combine and store in a jar with a tight fitting lid

Cut squash in half, brush with 2 tbsp oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper. Roast at 400 for an hour, until tender. Cool and remove pulp; set aside.(I did this the day before)

Combine beef with 1 Tbsp Creole seasoning. Sear beef in remaining oil in a large stock pot. Add onions, garlic, and cabbage. Saute about 5 minutes. Add ginger, allspice, thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Stir around a couple of minutes more, then add the squash and broth. Bring to a simmer, cook covered for about an hour. Stir occasionally and taste for seasonings. Add in carrots and cook 30 minutes more. Stir in parsley at the end.

A couple notes: I wasn't sure my beef would be tender in an hour, so I cooked it for 30 minutes with some of the broth in my pressure cooker. I still browned it, but then removed it from the stockpot. Then I added it back in with the carrots, and it was perfect. Also, we wanted it to be a bit spicier, and added red pepper flakes. The batch I made wasn't really yellow, I wonder if I used enough squash. No matter, it was a warming hearty bowl of goodness.

As always, Happy Cooking!

Heather

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