Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - July 30, 2008

Pete's Musings
Hi Folks, We've had a tough week and a half on the farm due to excessive rain. I just heard this morning that this July is the fifth wettest month on record in St. Jay. For most of you this will be the third week in a row with no baby greens. The first week we planned to not give out greens because we have heard in the past the some of you prefer a break from them. But the past 2 weeks, we just have not been able to scrape them together. Several crops were torn by hard rain and then other beds yellowed or just didn't grow. The rest of the farm is fairing fairly well, especially if it stops raining. We are looking good on greens starting next week. The farm has lost a lot of money the past 2 weeks due to the rain. So, hopefully, we will have a good second half of the summer. -Pete

Weekly CSA in Pictures
During the Open House the other week, I had the pleasure of meeting Ed Walker and his wife Lauren Kusiv. They live on Adams Court, just down the street from the Romms who host our south end of Burlington pick-up spot. Ed and Lauren have been documenting in photographs the weekly shares they've been receiving this summer. On their Flikr page, they've also captured many of the dishes they've made with the week's bounty. Enjoy the photos!

Vermont Earth Institute - Menu for the Future
The Vermont Earth Institute recently contacted me regarding their new discussion course called "Menu for the Future." There have been several of our members who have been able to participate in the program, including Kate Stephenson, who was on the editing committee that developed the reader out of the Northwest Earth Institute in Portland, OR. I asked Kate to fill everyone in on the program and this is what she put together:

Menu for the Future focuses on the topic of food, local eating, food politics, and how we make decisions about what we eat. The way it works is that a group of 8-10 people gets together (it can be friends, co-workers, church members, or a group that hadn't previously known each other) and commit to meeting for 6 sessions (you choose as a group when and where). The course reader is available for $18 and includes 6 chapters-- each focusing on a different topic under the larger umbrella of food issues-- and each chapter includes a handful of essays, articles and poems. These are short pieces and each chapter takes less than half an hour to read. Then when the group meets there is an open discussion-- one person will volunteer to facilitate and keep the group to the time allotted, and that's pretty much it! I was able to join a group of folks from Calais, Montpelier and Berlin at the beginning of the summer, which was great fun. We decided to do a potluck dinner each session (since the topic was food!) and rotated around to different houses. I only knew a few of the folks in the group previously, so it was a great way to meet new people and have some really engaging conversation about something I feel really passionate about.

If anyone is interested in joining a discussion group, or starting up your own group, contact the Vermont Earth Institute staff in Central VT-- Nicole DiDomenico, 279-2371.

Packing Your CSA Shares - Photos
I (Nancy) have an editorial correction to make. Last week, I posted an article on the blog about putting the weekly summer CSA shares together. In the newsletter description, I bemoaned the fact that I had lost my camera with all of the pictures of picking and washing the produce. I believe the words I used about my camera were, "never to be seen again." It should have read, "never to be seen, until I looked in the drawer where the camera belongs." So, the pictures that go along with the process are now posted with the story.

This Week's Share Contains
Mixed Yellow Potatoes; Alisa Craig Onions; Mixed Colorful -or- Sugarsnax Carrots; Bunch Green Kale; Bunch Flat Leaf Parsley; Savoy Cabbage; Bunch Garlic Scapes; Radicchio; Broccoli/Cauliflower Mix -or- Mixed Green Beans -or- Green Peppers.

Localvore Share:
Gleason Grains Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, Eggs, Pete's Kitchen Pickles.

Storage and Use Tips
Carrots: Pete's is known for the beautiful assortment of heirloom carrots and rare varieties that we grow. This week, you'll either receive a bunch of colorful carrots or sugarsnax. As the name implies, the sugarsnax are particularly sweet and much loved by kids and adults alike. They are a long orange carrot. Carrots should be stored unwashed, loosely wrapped in the crisper drawer of your fridge.
Kale: The closes thing to salad greens in your share today, the variety in your bags will be Green Kale. If you're really jonesing for a green salad, try removing the stems from the kale and slicing the leaves into very, very thin ribbons. Toss this with a nice dressing and veggies of your choice for a hearty salad. You can see how this kale looks compared to other varieties that we grow on our Vegetable Greens Identification page. Kale should be stored unwashed, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.
Savoy Cabbage: Round with crinkled leaves, Savoys are the beauties of the cabbage world. Their leaves are more delicate and more loosely packed than their green cabbage cousins. Store as you would other cabbages, unwashed, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer. Don't worry if the outer leaves begin to discolor or tear on you, just remove them to expose the perfectly good leaves remaining below.

Localvore 'Lore from Heather
Pete's Kitchen Pickles! Jeffrey has been busy making barrels and barrels of pickles! These are lacto-fermented, made with a brine of salt, water, fresh dill, garlic, peppercorns and mustard seed. We were able to get loads of pickling cucumbers from High Mowing seeds that went into the mix along with the cukes grown here. We have lots of pickles! The cucumbers are layered into 55 gallon barrels, covered with brine and sealed with a bag of brine; another loose fitting lid is placed on top. It's important that the cucumbers are fully submerged and that air is sealed out while still allowing fermentation gases to escape. The pickles ferment at room temperature for 5 to 6 days. When they turn from salty to sour they are ready for refrigeration.

Jeffrey made a test batch a couple of weeks ago, and learned a few things along the way. He says he wishes he started with a smaller batch than 20 bushels! Ah well, now there are lots of extras for staff to eat. My 16-month old daughter Naomi enjoyed three of them yesterday before I cut her off! The pickles Jeffrey packed for the share are perfect half-sours. Please keep them in the fridge, if they last that long!

The eggs this week are form Pete's and Vermont Compost Company in Montpelier. Our chickens aren't producing enough eggs for us to include them in the share as often as we'd like. I have been looking for another egg producer so we can include eggs every two weeks. Last week I thought Vermont Compost would be able to supply us, but it isn't going to work out long term. A couple of other smaller farms in Craftsbury I contacted aren't able to sell us eggs either. So I'll keep looking. If you know of a possible egg source, please drop me an email!

The whole-wheat pastry flour this week is from Ben Gleason in Bridport, VT. I have made delicious muffins, scones, pancakes, waffles, piecrust and more with this flour. Sometimes I use part unbleached flour, depending on what I'm baking. With a lower gluten content than bread flour, this pastry flour makes very tender baked goods. It will not work for kneaded yeast breads, though!

Recipes
Kale Quesadillas
Serve these with your favorite fresh or canned salsa and a dollop of creme fraiche. The Indian Cabbage and Carrot Salad, below, would make a perfect side dish. Approximately 4 servings.

1 TB sunflower oil or bacon fat
1/2 a sweet onion, minced
2 garlic scapes, minced
One bunch of kale, stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
1 large green pepper, stems and seeds removed, chopped (optional)
1/4 tsp kosher salt, or more to taste
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
1 tsp ground cumin
1 TB minced fresh oregano, or 1 tsp dried, crumbled
8 oz Neighborly Farms Monterey or Pepper Jack Cheese, shredded
2 extra large (12") flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 375F. Heat oil or bacon fat in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and scapes and saute until onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add kale, green pepper if using, salt, pepper, cumin and oregano. Toss to combine and continue sauteing until kale is nicely wilted, about 3-5 minutes more. Taste mixture and adjust seasonings.

Lay bottom tortilla on a greased cookie sheet or round baking stone. Spread kale mixture evenly over tortilla and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Cover with second tortilla. Place in heated oven and bake until cheese is nicely melted, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, cut into wedges and serve with salsa and creme fraiche or sour cream.

Roasted Potatoes with Scapes and Parsley
These potatoes make a delicious side for grilled meats with a helping of grilled radicchio. Save the leftovers to use in the Roasted Potato Salad below. Makes enough for 3-4 servings, plus reserves for the potato salad.

2.5 lbs. potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1" - 1.5" chunks
3 TB sunflower or olive oil
3 garlic scapes, sliced very thin
Generous sprinkling of Maine sea or kosher salt to taste
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375F. Toss potatoes with oil, scapes and salt. Spread out on a large cookie sheet or sheet pan. Roast, tossing every 10-15 minutes, until potatoes are nicely browned on the outside and soft on the inside, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven toss with parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Roasted Potato Salad
The toasted mustard seeds in the dressing make this potato salad something special. If you've got some grilled radicchio on hand, toss in about a quarter head thinly sliced. Both the color and the crunch will be welcome additions. Serves 4.

3-4 cups leftover roasted potatoes
1 TB brown mustard seeds
1/4 cup good mayonnaise, homemade or Hellmann's
3 TB cider vinegar
2 TB Dijon mustard
1/2 cup chopped pickles
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 hard boiled egg, chopped
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Remove potatoes from refrigerator about 30 minutes before you begin to prepare the dressing. Place them in a medium bowl. Heat small frying pan over medium heat. Add mustard seeds and cook, keeping seeds in the pan moving, until seeds begin to brown, about 30 seconds. Immediately add seeds to mayonnaise in a small bowl. Add vinegar, Dijon, pickles, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. Pour over potatoes. Add chopped egg and parsley. Mix to combine.

Indian Cabbage and Carrot Salad
From the "Lite and Luscious Cuisine of India" cookbook, by Madhu Gadia. 4 servings.

4 cups cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup carrots, scrubbed and grated
1 tsp sunflower oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
pinch of turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Heat oil in a heavy skillet on high heat. Add mustard seeds, cover with a lid to avoid splattering and cook for a few seconds until the mustard seeds stop popping. Add the cabbage and carrots and then the turmeric, salt and pepper. Stir to mix. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, until heated through. Do not overcook. The cabbage should be just barely cooked. Transfer to a serving platter immediately.

Onion and Thyme Flan
Sweet onions are key for this dish. If you like, bake it in a crust and call it a quiche. Serves 4-6.

3 large sweet onions
2 TB butter
1 tsp salt
2 tsp fresh thyme
fresh black pepper
2 TB sherry or Marsala
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
4 oz grated sharp cheese

Preheat oven to 350F. Peel and chop the onions. Melt butter in a large skillet and cook the onions with a bit of salt over low heat until golden and melting soft. This will take about 1/2 hour. Stir gently and often to prevent burning. Add the thyme, pepper and Marsala and stir, cooking until the liquid cooks off. Remove from heat.

Whisk together the eggs, milk and a pinch of salt.

Without a crust: stir the onions and cheese into the eggs. Pour mixture into a buttered baking dish. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until set and a knife comes out clean.

With a crust, layer 1/2 the cheese then onions in crust and pour over the egg mixture. Then top with remaining cheese and bake as above.

Whole Wheat Crust
Makes a single 9" crust, doubles easily.

1/2 stick butter (4 TB)
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
scant 1/4 tsp salt
about 3 TB iced water or buttermilk

Mix together flour and salt. Cut butter into dry ingredients until crumbly. Toss to combine with the iced water or buttermilk. Add just enough liquid to create a dough that just comes together. Press into a disk, wrap and chill 30 minutes. Roll out to fit pie plate and crimp edge. Cover and keep in the refrigerator until ready to fill.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - July 23, 2008

CSA Pick-up Instructions
Please remember to read the pick-up instructions carefully each week. We have been having some shortages when we include fruit in the share from other producers. We know it is easy to assume that fruit should be included in the Vegetable Only share, but frequently this fruit is brought in from another farm for our Localvore Share. For example, the plums this week are for the Localvores and are paid for out of their extra fees. Our Localvore shareholders who arrive late can be very disappointed to find their fruit is no longer there for them. Thank you for taking according to instructions!

Missing or Damaged Items
Though we do our best to make sure that every delivery and pick-up goes smoothly, there are the occasional shortages and disappointments. Should you arrive at your pick-up spot to find that one or more of your items are missing or that some of your produce is in unsatisfactory condition, please let us know right away! Our goal is 100% satisfaction. If you can call or email Nancy as soon as you discover the problem, she may be able to resolve it the same day. Sometimes, a site host is able to find items a shareholder may have overlooked and the shareholder is able to go back Wednesday evening or Thursday morning to retrieve the items. I've also had shareholders who have mistakenly taken an item call me to see if they can deliver that item to the family who was shorted. If we can't resolve your issue right away, a quick call or email ensures that you will get on the picklist for the following week.

Packing Your CSA Shares
Last week in the newsletter we had promised to put together an article detailing what goes into packing, picking and delivering your CSA shares each week. For those of you interested in the nitty-gritty of what goes on here, you can read Putting Together a Weekly Summer CSA Delivery. My (Nancy's) intention was to include photographs of some of the various stages of the share process. I went out with Meg and got some great pics out in the field and in the washhouse. Unfortunately, I left my camera that same night at a pizza place, never to be seen again. I promise to take some pictures and post them with the article just as soon as I buy a new camera.

This Week's Share Contains
Head Napa Cabbage; Summer Squash; Bunch Beets; Bunch Basil; Mixed Green and Purple Peppers; Broccoli -or- Bunch Red Bor Kale; Red Tomatoes; Alisa Craig Sweet Onions; Pickling Cucumbers; Escarole; Mesclun -or- Japanese Eggplant -or- Fennel;

Localvore Share:
Champlain Valley Apiaries Honey; Vermont Milk Company Cheese Curds; and Champlain Orchards Plums.

Storage and Use Tips
Escarole: With broad, pale green leaves escarole is less bitter than other members of the chicory family. You can tear some and add it to your salad. It also benefits from cooking. Try sauteing the escarole and adding it to your pasta. Or chop it up and add it to a soup. You can store escarole, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer for up to a week.
Green and Purple Peppers: Store unwashed peppers in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer. Guard against any excess moisture that will cause your peppers to begin to go soft too quickly. As the purple peppers are fully ripe at picking, eat these first. You may find that they have a slightly sweeter flavor than the green as well.
Basil: If you can't find a use for this week's basil, you can freeze it for the winter. First pull, wash and dry the leaves, then give them a chop. Put them in a blender with just enough sunflower oil to allow the blades to spin and a puree to form. It doesn't need to be perfectly smooth. Scrape your puree into an ice cube tray and freeze. Once your cubes are solid, you can remove from the tray and keep them in a plastic bag in your freezer. If you don't have an ice cube tray, place your puree in a plastic bag. Seal it, making sure to squeeze out any extra air. Freeze the bag, flattened out on a cookie sheet. You can chip off the amount of basil flavoring you desire from the frozen sheet throughout the winter.

Localvore 'Lore from Heather
Champlain Valley Apiaries has been producing high quality honey since 1931. The crystallized raw honey tastes like the flowers the bees have collected from. Light in color, with a delicious and delicate flavor, its texture is smooth and creamy. Not at all like the chunky crystals you get when heated honey goes solid in the cupboard! This honey is collected early in the season, when the bees have been working clover and alfalfa fields and early wildflowers, but after the dandelions. They have approximately 1200 hives located in the Champlain Valley, from Orwell, VT to the Canadian border. Unlike large national honey producers, the Mraz's do not move their hives to follow the pollen blooms around the country. This is truly local honey.

Established by Charles Mraz (1905-1999), the firm is entering its third generation of proprietorship. Charles’ grandson Charles E. Mraz has moved back to Middlebury from New York City where he has been a senior project supervisor with Sciame Construction Co. Inc. for the past eight years. Find out more about their operation and read an article about them in the September 2007 New York Times at champlainvalleyhoney.com.

The plums from Champlain Orchards are sure to be sweet and juicy! If you want to make a trip to Shoreham and get more plums, they are holding a one day only "Pick Your Own" on July 27, from 1-3 pm. Their farmstand and bakery will also be open. Beautiful Lake Champlain views and delicious fresh fruit and pies, who could resist?! For directions and more details go to www.champlainorchards.com.

The Vermont Milk Company here in Hardwick VT is committed to producing excellent dairy products from local milk. It was started in September 2006 by a group of investors and farmers dedicated to creating a market for local milk at a fair price to the farmers. They recently went through a restructuring and are a stronger company as a result. They are currently making a variety of cheeses, yogurt and ice cream. We are glad to be partnering with them and hope you enjoy the cheese curds. They are fun to eat straight form the container, and are the key to making traditional Canadian Poutine - fries with gravy and cheese.

Recipes
Panzanella
The fastest and most delicious salad you can make out of day old bread and summer tomatoes! 6 servings.

6 cups bread cubes from a day old crusty, chewy loaf
1 lb. tomatoes cut into small chunks
3 little cucs, cut into 1/2 inch quarter rounds
1/2 cup thin slices sweet onion
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper

1/2 cup oil
3 TB vinegar
1 minced clove garlic
salt and pepper

2/3 cup fresh basil, cut into thin ribbons

Combine bread with vegetables in a serving bowl. Whisk together the dressing and add to the bread mixture along with the basil. Let stand at room temp, stirring occasionally, for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Chilaquile Casserole
Freely interpreted from the "Still Life With Menu" Cookbook by Mollie Katzen, Heather makes this often in the summer when she has lots of squash!

12 corn tortillas
1 medium hot pepper, minced, to taste!
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 squash, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2 moon slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh herbs: minced cilantro and/or basil and/or oregano
2 tsp oil
salt & pepper

3 cups grated cheese (cheddar or jack or chopped up cheese curds)
4 eggs
2 c buttermilk

Butter a 2 quart baking dish and preheat oven to 350. Saute vegetables in oil until just tender and releasing some juices. Combine with herbs and season with salt and pepper.

Whisk together the eggs and buttermilk. Layer 6 tortillas in baking dish, top with vegetables and 1/2 of cheese. Top with remaining tortillas, pierce all over with a knife. Pour the milk and eggs mixture over it. Bake uncovered 20 minutes, add remaining cheese and bake 15 minutes more. Delicious warm or at room temperature. Excellent with some homemade Pico de Gallo salsa!

White Bean and Escarole Soup
Paired with some fresh sliced bread and a side salad, it's the perfect light supper. Adapted from Epicurious.com. Serves 4.

1 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1 purple pepper, cut into small dice
1 green pepper, cut into small dice
2 garlic scapes (or cloves), minced
3 cups (packed) 1-inch pieces escarole (about 1/2 large head)
4 cups (or more) vegetable or chicken broth
3 1/4 cups cooked white beans, such as Soldier or Jacob's Cattle
1 lb tomatoes, cut crosswise, seeds removed, then diced
2 tablespoons freshly grated local, sharp, hard cheese, or Parmesan

Heat oil in heavy large Dutch over medium-low heat. Add onion, pepper and garlic and sauté until onion is golden and tender, about 7 minutes. Add escarole; stir 3 minutes. Add 4 cups broth, beans and tomatoes and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until escarole is tender and flavors blend, about 20 minutes. Thin with more broth, if desired. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before continuing.) Ladel soup into bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

Fruited Grain Salad
6 servings.

2 cups wheat berries
3 TB vinegar
1 TB lemon juice
1/4 cup oil
1 TB honey
1/2 cup minced sweet onion
7 large fresh mint leaves, minced
5 ripe plums, sliced into little wedges

Soak wheat berries for 30 minutes. Drain and place in a saucepan with about 5 cups water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until tender, about an hour. Drain as needed and toss in a large bowl with the rest of the ingredients, except for the plums. Cover and chill. Toss with plums just before serving.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Putting Together a Weekly Summer CSA Delivery




Pete's Greens delivers CSA shares 51 weeks out of the year, taking only Christmas week off from the schedule. Each week, many people at the farm are involved in planning the share; picking, washing and packing vegetables; and getting the bounty out for delivery. This article gives a rough time line of the process of preparing a summer share. The steps involved in putting together shares for late-fall, winter and early spring would be slightly different.

Many months in advance, Pete will decide how many shareholders he thinks that our farm can satisfactorily support. For our Summer 2008 share, we have almost 200 shares. As many people sometimes split a share, we actually have closer to 300 members. Pete and the crew will need to plant enough quantities of vegetables to be able to harvest for those 200 shares each week. Nancy will get the word out to those who may wish to join for the upcoming season.

Heather, who runs the Localvore portion of the share, generally plans her schedule of items 2-3 weeks in advance, sometimes even further. For some special cheeses, she will begin planning with the cheesemaker well in advance to make sure they will have enough of the item for all of our Localvore shareholders. The design of a week's share generally is complete 2 weeks in advance and items are ordered. Heather manages every detail with our local foods suppliers, from scoping out new products, ordering the items, taking delivery, portioning items (if necessary), and sorting the items to go out to our pick-up sites.

Early Monday morning, 2 days before delivery, Pete and Meg will decide which vegetables go into the week's share. They will walk around the fields and greenhouses, seeing how everything is growing and deciding what is ready for harvest. They are looking for vegetables that will be able to provide 200 portions for the share. Sometimes, if we don't have enough of any one vegetable, they will determine that a portion of the shareholders will get one vegetable, and the rest another. For example, this week some folks will get kale and others broccoli. Pete and Meg do their best to make sure that everyone gets an equitable value of veggies in every share.

We will often be asked why on a particular week we have something for sale at the Farmer's Market, but it wasn't in the share. We actually do our best to put the CSA first for veggies, much to the disappointment of some local chefs. However, we can only provide to our shareholders what is ready to pick in significant quantity a day or two before the share. Sometimes, we have much less of a particular vegetable ready for picking. Moreover, what's still maturing on Monday maybe ripe for harvest on Friday.

Once Pete and Meg have decide what should be included in the week's share, the crew will begin picking immediately. It's generally Meg and 4 farmhands doing the picking. It will take them 24 man-hours to harvest and wash the week's bounty. To give you an idea of the scope, every share generally contains a minimum of 7 different vegetable varieties. This week we have 10. With 10 items, they would pick and pull a minimum of 2000 vegetables. That's not taking into account that there might be four beets to a bunch or 6 potatoes to a bag. Once everything is clean, it is stored in totes in the cooler.

Tuesday mornings the crew is busy packing orders for wholesale, many of which will go out on the Black River Produce truck that visits the farm around noon. Some weeks, localvore products will arrive on this same truck. This week, we are expecting plums from Champlain Orchards.

After lunch, the crew will setup their packing stations and pack the CSA Vegetable bags. By the time they get going with this, it's usually about 3pm and the bags are ready to go back in the cooler by 6pm. It is during this time that any shortages or substitutions in the share may surface. While Nancy is busy trying to finish the newsletter for the week, she may get a quick email at 3pm saying that the there wasn't enough arugula to go around, so some shareholders will be receiving mustard greens. Or, there my be an item that doesn't look as good as we would have liked and it's eliminated from the share, only to be replaced by something new. We like to hold the newsletter until we feel that the share is set in stone. That way, the recipes will reflect the share contents and people can reliably do their shopping based on the list. Of course, there is the rare exception and we will sometimes update information with a blast email to all.

Wednesday morning, Tim is up with the birds and begins packing the truck at 4:15 am. The CSA shares will take up about 60% of our refrigerated truck. He will pack orders for stores and restaurants located along the CSA route as well. Tim will make about 30 - 50 stops on his loop from Craftsbury through Hardwick and Montplier, to Middlesex, up around Burlington, back to Waterbury, Stowe and Morrisville. As he makes his CSA and wholesale deliveries, he will pick-up waste vegetable oil for heating the greenhouse, as well as empty coolers from the previous week's CSA delivery and wax boxes we can use again.

At each CSA site, Tim will set out the vegetable bags, coolers, boxes of localvore items, etc., as well as make sure that there is a clipboard and pen with the CSA pick-up instructions and name check-off sheets. We do our best to ensure that the right amounts of all items are delivered to each site and that the instructions are clear enough that each person should take all that they should, but no more. Of course, occasionally we are off on an item or vegetable bag count, or someone mistakenly takes an item not included in their share. In these cases, our members can call or email Nancy to let her know of the problem. If she learns of a problem soon enough, any missed items can go into the pick lists for Monday morning and be delivered with the upcoming Wednesday's share.



Meg Picking Tomatoes in the Greenhouse


Sabina and Elena Picking Radishes in the Fields


Produce is Loaded on the Truck Destined for the Wash House


Carol Bean Waits at the Wash House for the Truck to Arrive


Meg Unloads the Truck

Succoro Washes the Freshly Picked Produce


Deborah and Hanna Clean Onions


Tim Delivers to the CSA Sites. Note, not the
actual delivery truck.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - July 16, 2008

Open House
Thank you to everyone who braved the weather to attend our Open House this past Sunday. Though we were wondering if it would be just us in attendance, at 11:15 the cars began to trickle into the lot. We figure we had about 80 people in attendance, mostly community and CSA members. It was a real pleasure to get to know some of you and to be able to put faces with names. The rain forced the crew to move the setup inside at the last minute. The kitchen, with only a three-bay sink installed so far and a steam kettle in the corner, made a perfect location to setup food, tables, face painting and music. The rain let up about noon, allowing Pete to get a couple of farm tours in and Deborah to give folks a hay ride and run a few sack races.

The thing that did end up getting bumped with the delayed rain schedule was the CSA meeting. Pete sends his apologies to anyone who was hoping to attend the meeting. He really enjoys giving the farm tours and just got wrapped up in the final tour. Pete and I spoke after the event and decided that next year we will have the CSA meeting first on the schedule, to make sure that we fit it in. Our intention for the CSA meeting was to introduce the people and tasks involved in preparing and delivering your share each week, as well as to hear your feedback in an interactive discussion. Though the interactive discussion may have to wait until next year, I will include a write-up in an upcoming newsletter of what happens, on the farm and off, to get the shares out to you each week.

Meet the Alliums
It may have been awhile since I mentioned Culinate.com, but it is one of my favorite Websites about food. There are many articles and recipes posted on Culinate that are both interesting and applicable. While not preachy, it does have a welcome sensibility about heathful, seasonal and sustainable eating. I subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter, which is short and easily scanned for relevant content. Here's an article that appeared a few weeks back on alliums: Meet the Alliums. It's a very good overview of one of my favorite vegetable families and includes references to sweet onions and garlic scapes, both of which are in your share today.

Gubernatorial Debate
The Mad River Valley Localvore Project, VNRC and American Flatbread have teamed up to host a debate between the three major gubernatorial candidates focused on the future of our environment and our food. Possibly the only debate this election season to focus so much attention on Vermont agriculture, the event will take place at 5pm, Sunday, July 20th at American Flatbread in Waitsfield. Governor Jim Douglas (R), Anthony Pollina (P) and Speaker Gaye Symington (D) will all be present to answer questions posed by David Moats, Editorial Editor for the Rutland Herald. A Flatbread picnic will immediately follow the debate. More Information...

NOFA Classes
The Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) of Vermont. Is holding many diverse classes this summer aimed at giving localvores more tools to raise their own food. You can check out a list of what's on offer this summer at their Website. If you would like to find out more about a class or register to attend, please contact NOFA directly.

This Week's Share Contains
Summer Squash; Cucumbers; Selection of Pickling Cucs; Broccoli; Cauliflower -or- Potatoes*; Alisa Craig Sweet Onions; Garlic Scapes; Kohlrabi; Elmore Roots Vermont Blueberry Jam**; Tofu from Vermont Soy**; and Champlain Orchards Raspberries**.

*If you received cauliflower last week, expect to get potatoes this week, and visa-versa.

**Localvore share only.

Storage and Use Tips
Summer Squash: I often refer to Angelic Organics' Website for tips on how to best store my vegetables. Here's what they say about zucchini and summer squash: "Zucchini and summer squash respire through their skins, so they need to be refrigerated as soon as possible. Store them unwashed in a perforated plastic bag in the vegetable bin, or refrigerate them in a sealed Tupperware container that you've lined with a kitchen towel. In the refrigerator they keep for about a week and a half."

Kohlrabi: For anyone unfamiliar with it, that knob of a vegetable with little odd "legs" sticking out is kohlrabi. Though it resembles a root, it's actually the stem of the kohlrabi plant, a member of the brassicas family. You can thinly slice or grate it raw and add it to salads. You can also saute it, add it to a gratin or casserole, grill slices of it or braise it. You should peel the tough outer layer first, no matter which way to plan to prepare it. Store it loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.

Cucumbers: There are many varieties of cucumbers, roughly categorized between regular slicing cucs and pickling cucs. How can you tell the difference? Cucumbers meant for eating out of hand are generally larger than their pickling counterparts. They also have a thicker skin. It's their size and thicker skin that make them less desirable for preserving.

The European, or seedless, cucumbers are longer and thinner than the traditional version. Though not entirely seedless, they do contain fewer and smaller seeds. As cucumbers age, it's the seeds that can make them taste more bitter. You can use traditional cucs in recipes calling for the European variety; just use a teaspoon to scrape out the seeds first.

Pickling cucumbers, also called Kirby cucumbers, come in many varieties. They don't grow as large as slicing cucumbers and are generally picked when they are 2" to 4" long.

Keep all cucumbers loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer. Do not store them with fruits like apples, melons or other fruits that emit ethylene gas, as the gas will make your cucs go soft more quickly.

Localvore 'Lore from Heather
I am excited and a bit nervous about the raspberries for the share this week. Bill from Champlain Orchards has been telling me about the raspberries for months, and Meg and I thought they'd be an amazing treat. There's one catch; raspberries just don't hold for shipping. These are lovely right now. I just checked them in. When you pick up tomorrow, though, they may look less than perfect. Please enjoy them straight away, as in on the way home! Or make the Chocolate Cream Tofu Pie below and eat them with that. Or Freeze them if you must. But do it right away. Don't try to keep them until Thursday!

Vermont Soy makes their tofu from locally grown soybeans. Their mission is to promote sustainable local economies, organic farming and green business practices, and make the freshest soy products available using whole organic soybeans. The tofu also happens to be delicious! When I was there last week, Sophia showed me the cool bike blender they have. It's a bike mounted to be stationary, with a blender geared to run off of the back wheel. She said they were at a 4th of July celebration and made smoothies for samples! Sounded like a blast. The recipe below for Chocolate Cream Pie is from their Website. You could always leave out the crust and just have mousse.

Elmore Roots Nursery is set on an idyllic hillside in Elmore, VT. I drove out VT Route 12 past the lake and up through the wide open rolling hills on a hot sunny day last week. Elmore is just beautiful, and the nursery is amazing. They grow and sell every imaginable fruit and nut that you could grow here, as well as a great selection of ornamentals and perennials. Their motto is "If it grows in Elmore, it will grow where you are," though, I think this applies to cold winter areas, rather than the South! In any case, they shared with me some of their history and the philosophy behind what they do. This is the " local organic homegrown jam story":

In 1979 we arrived in Vermont on foot having hiked the long trail from the Massachusetts border almost to Elmore. We lived on apples and wild berries for a month while the hills changed color...Invited to live on an old hayfield, we began planting fruit trees to grow our own. Noticing that most of the plants arriving were of poor quality and not suited for our cold climate, we began searching through literature and asking old timers in Vermont for what works up here.

For 27 years we have tested and proven by example what fruits thrive in our Northern Vermont climate. We were one of the first 30 farms to be certified organic in the early 1980's.

We propagate our best plants so you can grow them in your yard, too. We also coach you how to grow them successfully with the least input.

Our hardy fruiting plants produce a lot of food. We are proud to be able to share this with you in the form of our Elmore Roots Jam. We pour our fruit into large kettles until warm and add certified organic evaporated cane juice sugar and stir it until it is jam. We have found that using sugar retains the most real fruit flavor and allows the least cooking of the fruit.

Gabriel Tempesta drew the new labels. Our whole crew worked on the design, and on the harvest. From planting the trees, picking the fruit, making the jam, and bringing it to you, we are proud to provide you with our local homegrown jam. Enjoy and come visit our farm.

Recipes
Grilled Tofu Fajitas
Serves 4.

Marinade:
juice of 3 limes
3 tbsp sunflower oil
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
red pepper flakes to taste
2 garlic scapes, chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt

2 cakes tofu
2 summer squash
1 onion

4 flour tortillas
salsa
sour cream

Combine marinade ingredients in small food processor bowl. Process until pureed. Cut the tofu into strips, place in a large bowl and gently coat with marinade. Marinate at least 15 minutes. Preheat the grill.

Cut the squash into diagonal half-moons and the onion into wedges. Place the tofu on the grill and toss the vegetables with the remaining marinade in the bowl and grill. You may need to do this in batches and a grill tray works great so the vegetables don't fall through. When the tofu and vegetables are brown and tender, remove to a platter and keep warm. Quickly grill the tortillas to warm them, then serve promptly with salsa and sour cream.

Braised Kohlrabi
Braising kohlrabi in white wine really brings out the sweetness of this vegetable. Makes a wonderful accompaniment to grilled chicken or fish. Serves 4.

1.5 lb. kohlrabi, peeled and chopped into 1" pieces
2 garlic scapes, chopped into 1/4" pieces
2 TB butter
1.5 teaspoon fresh tarragon, finely chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon dried, crumbled)
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup white wine
chopped fresh parsley

Melt butter in a medium-sized skillet set over medium heat. Add the kohlrabi, scapes, tarragon, salt and pepper, and toss to coat with butter. Pour in white wine. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and cover. Continue to cook, adjusting heat to keep pan contents at a slow simmer, approximately 10-15 minutes, until slightly tender. Uncover and turn the heat up a bit. Cook until the kohlrabi is slightly colored. Remove from heat and transfer to serving dish. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Refrigerator Pickles
Looking through Andrea Chesman's book, "Pickles & Relishes, From apples to zucchini, 150 recipes for preserving the harvest," it was difficult to decide which recipe to include in today's newsletter. I chose to adapt this one, as it required no sterilizing or hot water baths. If you would like to preserve pickles for the winter, you should check out her entire book. This recipe yields 1 pint, but is easily doubled.

3 cups thinly sliced cucumbers
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1 garlic scape, cut into 1" pieces
3/4 cup honey
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 tsp pickling salt
1/4 tsp celery seeds
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric

In a glass or crockery bowl, alternately layer the cucumbers, onions and scape. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the honey, vinegar, salt and spices. Bring to a boil, and stir to combine. Pour the syrup over the vegetables. Cool. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving.

Chocolate Soy Cream Pie
Serves 6-8.

2 blocks Vermont Soy extra firm tofu
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup Vermont honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup Vermont Soy Chocolate soymilk
1 Baked single pie crust
Whipped cream
Fresh mint sprigs

Process tofu, cocoa, honey, cinnamon and chocolate milk together in a food processor or blender. Scoop recipe into your favorite baked homemade crust and chill for 2 hours. Garnish with whipped cream and mint just before serving. Or fold in the whipped cream to make a luscious, but not vegan, mousse.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - July 9, 2008

Thank you for bringing back your plastic vegetable bags and egg cartons!

Pete's Musings
Hot and humid and growing a little dusty here on the farm. We are excited about our open farm day this Sunday and are busy getting the fields tidied up for that. Most crops are looking great and we had a tremendous farmer's market display last Saturday. Steve and I are busy prepping 10 acres of land for planting storage crops. Hopefully, most of them will be in by the end of the week. It's always exciting to get them in the ground but I do it with a bit of trepidation knowing how much work it is to dig them in the fall. -Pete

Open House This Sunday
We are hoping to see as many of you as possible at our Open House this Sunday from 11am to 3pm. A copy of the invitation is posted here with corrected directions from Morrisville.

Finding the Best Way to Cook All Those Vegetables
Dave Wahler, one of our shareholders, passed along this New York Times article the other week. It covers some pretty interesting ground on how best to prepare and eat your vegetables for maximum nutritional value. I'm not sure that I'll change my approach to cooking produce due to this article, but it is good food for thought.

This Week's Share Contains
Large Bunch of Basil; 1 Onion; Head Napa Cabbage; Bunch Purple Scallions; Radicchio; Cauliflower -or- spring dug potatoes; Tomatoes; Bag of Arugula topped off with Mesclun; Pete's Eggs*; Butterworks Farm Yogurt*; Maple Wind Farm Breakfast Sausage* -or- Bonnieview Farm Mossend Blue Cheese*.

*Localvore share only. Please be sure to follow the directions for pick-up based on whether you signed up as a Localvore "Vegetarian," or not.

Storage and Use Tips
Radicchio: A member of the Chicories family along with endive and escarole, radicchio resembles a small red lettuce. You can chop radicchio and add it to your salad for some color and extra flavor. It is also quite good brushed with olive oil before tossing on the grill. Try adding some to risotto. Keep unwashed radicchio in a perforated plastic bag in the crisper drawer for up to a week.
Napa Cabbage: Also called "Chinese Cabbage," Napa is sweeter and milder than round cabbage. It can be sliced and used raw in salads, thrown in stir-fries, or fermented in traditional kimchi. Napa cabbage should be stored unwashed in your crisper drawer, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag. To use, first cut out the core. Soak the leaves in cool water to rinse and crisp them. Then, remove from the water and drain.
Onion: As the onion in your bag today is fresh and not cured, you will want to keep it in a plastic bag in your refrigerator.

Localvore 'Lore from Heather
Localvores this week should be all set to serve up a fine breakfast! We have Pete's eggs, Butterworks yogurt, and either breakfast sausage or blue cheese.

For the vegetarian Localvore shares, I've included Mossend Blue from Bonnieview Farm. Neil and Kristen Urie raise ewes, lambs and make three cheeses down the South Albany Road on the Albany-Craftsbury line. They currently milk 180 ewes, and also have 40 laying hens and a slew of pigs. Besides their one-year-old daughter Tressa, there are five employees, including Michael who also works here, and Marissa and Princess of Ploughgate Creamery.

Bonnieview is hosting an elegant Farm to Table dinner at the farm on Saturday, July 26, at 5:30 pm. Picture white tablecloths and a panoramic mountain view under the maples. Cooking for this event will be chef Sissy Hicks, former owner-chef of the historic Dorset Inn. This six course meal features pasture raised lamb, whey-fed pork, milk, cheese, eggs, and garden produce from Bonnieview Farm as well as other local farms. For more information and reservations call the farm 755-6878.

The breakfast sausage in this week's share comes from Maple Wind Farm in Huntington, VT. I met Beth Whiting last spring at a NOFA conference, where we first talked about including their meat in Good Eats. It's taken longer than I had hoped, but here it is! This is very special sausage, made from their own organic, pasture raised pork. I got this piece about how they raise the pigs from their website. Check it out for even more great photos and a lot more interesting details about all of the animals that they raise.

NEW for 2008! Our pigs are milk fed! We now have a family cow and Eliza Jane is producing about 8-10 gallons of milk- the pigs love it! Our pigs are on pasture ahead of our sheep flock getting rotated every day. So far they have been very herdable!

Raising pigs is an acquired skill, and we’re starting to get a feel for it. We raise two groups of piglets each year! Pigs can get as much as 70% of their diet from above and below the pasture surface, and we round out their diet with high-quality organic feed!

In addition to raising delicious pork, we use the pigs to re-condition pasture that may not be producing as well as we’d like. We bring them in as sodbusters on a quarter acre at a time, then follow their efforts with re-seeding and mulching.

We have four sows and plan to farrow piglets in spring and fall. Come see the little ones cavort!

What's the Difference?
Maple Wind Pork / Conventional Pork
No vaccinations / Vaccinations (immuno-depressant)
Pasture based natural foods / No pasture
Not fed antibiotics / Daily doses of antibiotics
Fed Grain processed in VT by Morrison's Feed / Grain produced with chemical assitance
Compost & natural soil amendments / Chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides
Rotated to fresh pasture / Confined in cages too small for movement
High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids, CLAs / Low concentrations of Omega-3s
Local — produced, processed and sold locally / 1000 miles for average pork in the U.S.

Recipes

Thai CSA Noodles
This is Nancy's favorite "go to" recipe for a spring and summer CSA share. Although, this recipe calls for Napa cabbage, you could easily use spinach, broccoli, kale and/or chard instead. The adults in our family like to add an extra hot chili, the kids prefer just the mild kick one chili provides. Serves 6.

1 lb. pork sausage, plain or breakfast
1 lb. spaghetti or linguini
2 tsp sunflower oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic scapes chopped fine, or 3 garlic cloves minced
1 hot pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped, or 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 head Napa cabbage, sliced in thin ribbons
3 TB fish sauce
2 TB soy sauce
1 TB green curry paste
2 TB dry sherry
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
juice of 1/2 a lime
1 cup basil, julienned
1 cup cilantro, optional
1 cup scallions, thinly sliced

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil while you fry the crumbled sausage in a large, heavy-bottomed pan or wok over medium-high heat. When sausage is fully cooked drain meat and reserve. Add pasta to the boiling water. Heat oil in the heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and chili. Saute, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes. Add Napa cabbage. Cook, tossing frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until cabbage just begins to wilt. Add fish sauce, soy, sherry, curry paste, ginger, pepper and reserved sausage. Toss to combine and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in lime juice, basil, scallions and cilantro (if using). Drain pasta, reserving up to 1 cup of the cooking water. Toss the sausage and veggies with drained pasta, adding a bit of the reserved water, if necessary.

Grilled Radicchio with Balsamic Glaze
This recipe comes from Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian." It would be delicious sprinkled with some blue cheese. Mark also suggests using the grilled radicchio in the Mediterranean Slaw recipe below. Serves 4.

1 pound radicchio, cored and quartered
1 TB sunflower oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 TB honey
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your grill to a moderately high heat. Brush the radicchio with the oil, taking care to keep the wedges in tact. Stir the honey into the vinegar and set aside. Place the radicchio wedges on the grill, cut sides down. Grill for a minute or two, then turn and brush (or drizzle) with the vinegar mixture. Cook until just starting to crisp and char around the edges, another couple of minutes. Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature. Sprinkle with blue cheese, if desired.

Mediterranean Slaw
1 recipe Grilled Radicchio (above)
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 TB sunflower oil, or to taste

Cool down grilled radicchio and mince the leaves. Toss with the scallions, parsley and oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Italian Cauliflower
Here's Heather's favorite quick Italian cauliflower dish. This is best when the cauliflower is just tender, not mushy. Put a couple of sausages on the grill and toss a salad. There's dinner. Serves 4.

1 cauliflower, cut into florets
3 TB oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 TB vinegar
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
salt & pepper
red pepper flakes
minced Italian flat parsley

Heat oil in a wide deep skillet and saute onion until translucent. Add cauliflower and a couple tablespoons of water. Continue cooking and stirring often. When cauliflower and onion begin to brown a bit, add the vinegar. Cover and cook until vinegar cooks off. Stir in tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, pepper flakes, and parsley. Simmer covered until cauliflower is tender, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Good Eats Newsletter - July 2, 2008

Important Share Information
Thank you for continuing to cross off your names when you pick-up your share. It really helps us to contact the right person should there be any shares left behind at the end of the day.

Farm Update
I've been trying to make time to get out of the farm office and down to the fields and greenhouses to see how everything is growing. There's a lot going on right now. The crops are really filling in. Our chickens (meat birds) are also doing very well. We received about 200 chicks at the farm several weeks ago that are now almost grown to maturity. They have been spending their time foraging around the big greenhouse. This past week, we received about 200 more chicks in the mail. They are under warm red lights in the headhouse, still fluffy and creamy yellow.

Open House
Please don't forget about our Open House on Sunday, July 13th. We really hope that everyone can make it. A copy of the invitation that went out to all last week is posted here. Please note that this posted version has the corrected version of directions from Morrisville.

Farm Share
Thank you to all who contributed to NOFA's Farm Share program for this share period. Farm Share makes it possible for financially eligible families to qualify for subsidized CSA shares. Our fundraising effort was a great success. The generousity of our shareholders has made it possible for 6 families to join our CSA for the summer that may not have otherwise had access to farm fresh, organic food. We are very pleased to be participating in this project with NOFA Vermont.

This Week's Share Contains
Tomatoes; Fennel Bulb; Bunch Cilantro; Bunch Bright Lights Swiss Chard; French Breakfast Radishes -or- Easter Egg Radishes; Bunch Garlic Scapes; Mesclun; Mixed Potatoes; Head Lettuce; Pete's Kitchen Arugula Pesto*; Ploughgate Fromage Blanc*; and Good Companion Bakery Sourdough Bread*.

*Localvore share only.

Storage and Use Tips
Tomatoes: Store your tomatoes at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. An aerated basked it ideal. Please don't refrigerate your tomatoes. According to the Penn State Agricultural Magazine, "A tomato will lose its aroma and flavor after just 40 minutes in the refrigerator." If you've sliced open a tomato and find yourself with a piece that you won't use in the next few hours, you can refrigerate this portion. I find the best way to store these left over pieces is cut-side-down in a small bowl. But, use it quickly before it gets mushy and looses all its flavor.
Fennel: A member of the parsley family, fennel has a pleasantly mild licorice flavor. It is great raw, thinly sliced and added to salads. It also takes well to braising and adds a wonderful flavor to soups, pastas and stews. You will want to cut off the stalks and fronds before using the bulb in a recipe. The fronds make a particularly, beautiful and flavorful garnish. Dirt can get trapped between the overlapping bulb layers. To wash, cut off the base and stalks, then cut the bulb in half lengthwise. If there is dirt all the way through the bulb that you can't get out with all the layers still attached, you will have to cut high enough on the base to separate the layers for washing. Store fennel, unwashed, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.
Radishes: If you have long, thin radishes, white at the bottom and deep pink towards the greens, you have French breakfast radishes. A multi-colored bunch indicates that you have the easter egg variety. Both are beautiful, crunchy and delicious. Try slicing the radishes thin and adding to your green or tuna salad. Pour a small ramekin of sunflower oil, salt to taste and dip the radishes in for an easy appetizer. Lightly toast a thin slice of this share's bread, spread with the fromage blanc and cover with very thinly sliced radishes. Or, try them sauted until warm in butter, sprinkled with salt. Don't forget to separate the radish greens from the radishes before storing both in their own plastic bags in the crisper drawer.

Localvore 'Lore from Heather
“Ploughgate” is a Scottish word that describes the measure of land it takes a team of oxen to plow in a day. Marisa Mauro and Princess MacLean started Ploughgate Creamery after working for years on Vermont cheese making farms. They are working toward an eventual goal of operating their own dairy that will be focused on producing farmstead cheese, and utilizing draft animal power for farm work. In the meantime, the creamery works closely with nearby farmers whose practices they can feel proud of. They love the art of cheese making, the animals, (both four footed and microscopic), who do the real work, and the land that makes it all possible and worthwhile.

The cheese they are offering Good Eats this week is a fresh soft cheese made with organic cows milk. It is a fromage blanc style cheese, which is in the same family as cream cheese, quark, and crème frâiche. It is called “Cowslem” which is another Scottish word, which refers to the gleam of the evening star that the cattle were driven home by. It can be used in either sweet or savory recipes, used as a spread or eaten alone. Some suggested uses are: as a base for a dip; on top of strawberries and topped with maple syrup; or substitute it in recipes that call for cream cheese, ricotta, yogurt, or other soft cheeses, such as lasagna, cheesecake or stuffed shells. Mince up some garlic scapes and cilantro to make an herb spread for your bread and top it with thick slices of tomatoes!

As I write this, Jeffery, the farm chef, is whipping up many, many batches of arugula pesto. We have abundant arugula right now, so he made a couple sample batches last week for us to try. I voted for the one with more blue cheese. He’s using Baily Hazen Blue from Jasper Hill and the Quebec sunflower oil, along with a bit of garlic. The color is vivid; the taste is sublime. He says to think of this as a condiment and recommends a splash of lemon juice mixed in with your recipe. He would have added it here, but the acidity will turn the pesto brown. He recommends using the pesto to finish pasta either warm or as a salad, to marinate chicken before baking, as a sandwich spread, or as a topping for flatbread (recipe below). Here's the sandwich he made with it: slice bread, spread on the arugula pesto, add sliced tomato, thinly sliced grilled beef, a fried egg, and a handful of mesclun. Messy but divine!

We have bread! Pete suggested a while back that we try contacting Good Companion Bakery as a Localvore loaf source. So here it is, fresh Localvore sourdough bread. Their website, www.goodcompanionbakery.com, has a wealth of information. This season Erica and Eric have another couple, Chloe and Alex, working on the farm with them. They use draft horses to farm. Do check out their website, as I can hardly do them justice here! What I can tell you is that they grow wheat and rye for bread flour, as well as a variety of market vegetable crops. Eric is the primary baker. He told me they are using some of their own flour, some whole-wheat flour from Ben Gleason, and Mount Marcy flour from Champlain Valley Milling, which is made up partially from New York flour.

While Nancy was putting the newsletter together, Eric stopped by and we had a good conversation. He said that he is committed to making excellent bread, with a nice high rise and crusty exterior. He is also invested in growing and milling wheat to make his bread. Local meets artisan is his ultimate goal, and he says it will be about a year until he can produce enough wheat.

A couple of interesting constraints make this trickier than just growing more wheat. Climate conditions result in a lower protein content in wheat grown here. Also, the flour is more easily digested by yeast, making it rise faster and then collapse. He has to use less yeast, and a portion of unbleached white flour with a higher protein in order to make a loaf he's happy with. For Eric, eating localvore should not ever be equated with austere or mediocre food choices. He is clearly a dedicated farmer and baker, and we are glad to be partnering with him!

Please let me know how you like your loaves!

Recipes
Deborah’s Fried Potatoes and Fennel
While working together in the farmstand the other day, Deborah told Heather about her favorite fennel and potato dish. Heather just knew she had to share it with you-all. Serves 6.

2# Potatoes
2 bulbs fennel
2-3 Tbsp oil
2 garlic scapes
salt & pepper

Slice potatoes into thin rounds. Trim the ends and the stems from fennel; cut the bulb into thin julienne. Heat oil in a large skillet and sauté the potatoes with fennel, garlic, salt & pepper until golden brown.

Pasta with Swiss Chard, Garlic and Tomatoes
Serves 2.

1 pound Swiss chard
1/8 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
3 garlic scapes, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1/2 cup water
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 pound fusilli
1/4 cup freshly grated hard, sharp cheese, such as Crawford Family Farms Picante

Separate the leaves of the swiss chard from the stems and chop. Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the scapes and red pepper, saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the stems and 1/4 cup of the water, and cook the mixture, covered, for 2 minutes. Add the leaves with the remaining 1/4 cup water and salt and pepper to taste and cook the mixture, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook the mixture, covered, for 3 minutes, or until the leaves are tender.

While the chard is cooking, in a kettle of salted boiling water boil the fusilli until it is al dente and drain it in a colander. In a large bowl toss the pasta with the chard mixture and the grated cheese. Garnish with additional grated cheese, if desired.

Garnished Tomato Rounds
Nothing could be simpler to make or such a fresh, summer treat to enjoy. Serves 2.

2 ripe tomatoes
fromage blanc
arugula pesto
sunflower oil, for drizzling

Slice tomatoes into 1/3" thick rounds. Spread about 1 1/2 teaspoons of fromage blanc on each round. Spread about 1/2 teaspoon of pesto on top of the cheese. Drizzle with sunflower oil and enjoy.

Simple Fennel Salad
Serves 4.
2 c thinly sliced fennel bulb
2 c mesclun
1 handful of thinly sliced radishes
2 tbsp vinegar
3 tbsp oil
salt & pepper to taste

Toss it all together in a salad bowl. Really. That’s it!

Potato and Arugula Pizza

1 recipe of pizza dough (below)
1 recipe fried potatoes and fennel (above)
¼ cup arugula pesto
1 tomato, cut into thin wedges or small chunks
grated cheese of your choice

Divide the dough into 2 portions and form into pizzas. Par-bake briefly to set, then spread with arugula pesto. Top with potatoes, fennel, tomatoes and grated cheese. Grill or bake until toasty, bubbly and melted.

Quick Pizza Dough

1 tbsp yeast
1 C warm water
3 C flour (whole wheat and or unbleached as you prefer)
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt

Blend four, yeast and salt in a mixing bowl or food processor. Mix in water and oil to make kneadable dough. Use a bit more water or flour to get the right consistency. Knead 10 minutes by mixer or hand, one minute by processor. Set aside to rise one hour.