Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Good Eats Newsletter - June 17, 2009

Important Share Information
Welcome to the new Summer Share! Your first pick-up is tomorrow (Wednesday). If you are unsure of your pick-up times or site location, please visit our website's Pick-Up page. If you have any questions about your pick-up please email Amy Skelton. You can also leave a message on voice mail at 802.586.2882 x2, but in nearly all circumstances email will get a quicker response.


When Picking Up Your Share Please:

* Check off your share name on the pick-up list.
* Note that only one name is listed for the share. Be sure to look for your partner, if you don't find your name.
* Check the share type on the list. Share types are Vegetable Only, Localvore, and Localvore Vegetarian. If you are listed incorrectly, let Amy know via email.
* If you can't find your share name at all, do NOT take a share. Please contact Amy right away and we'll figure it out.
* Pick-up instructions are on a separate clipboard or uinder the weekly name list on same clipboard.
* Follow the specific item list/instructions for the share you have selected to
assemble your share. (Localvore Vegetarian or Localvore or Vegetable Only)
* When splitting your share, coordinate with your share-mate to make sure that you DON'T take double the amount of any items.
* Please Note that the first Meat Share pick up is not this week, it is July 1


This Week's Vegetable Share Contains
Mesclun Greens; Spinach; 1 Bunch Ruby Red Swiss Chard; 1 Bunch Red or Chiogga Beets; 1 Bunch Cilantro; Pac Choi; 1 Quart Soup Base; 1 Pint of Strawberries; 1/2 lb Rhubarb plus.....

1 European Cucumber -or- Tomatoes
(depending on site location)

Localvore Share Members Also Receive

1 Dozen Pullet Eggs
1 Quart Applesauce
2 lbs Early Riser Cornmeal
Elmore Mountain Fresh Herb and Sea Salt Focaccia

What To Do If You Have a Problem
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 Amy 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.

Our site hosts have instructions to distribute left over food by Thursday afternoon if we have not heard back from anyone. This assures that they don't end up with bad food on their hands. If you would like to receive an item that you missed at pick-up, you must contact Amy by Thursday morning.

If we can't resolve your issue right away, a quick call or email ensures that you will get on the pick list for the following week.

Storage and Use Tips

Pak Choi - Also known as Bok Choy or Chinese Cabbage this vegetable is most common in Chinese cuisine. Part of the cabbage family, it packs in nutrition with high scores for vitamins A and C and calcium. Both leaves and stems may be eaten raw or cooked, but leaves, particularly when they are more mature are more often served cooked. To prepare Pac Choi, use a chef's nice to make thin slices across from the bottom of the head up freeing the stalks as you do so. Wash the stalks to remove any trapped silt from between stalks. Although you can cook chopped leaves and stalks together in a dish it is nice to separate them when chopping so that you may toss them into a dish at seperate times allowing stalks to cook a little longer than leaves so that leaves aren't over cooked. Pac Choi should be stored in a plastic bag in the produce drawer of your fridge.

Soup Base - the soup base in the share today should be put in the freezer until you are planning to make a hearty soup. The soup base is made of many kinds of root vegetables and squash and other vegetables on the farm. It is simmered until the vegetables are soft and then the vegetable puree is made. Try adding some next time you make a hearty soup or stew. The soup base is vitamin and mineral packed and will add a depth of flavor to your soup. Thaw the quart container when you plan to make soup, and if you don't use the whole thing, refreeze immediately for next use.

Newsletter Intro

My name is Amy Skelton and I write the Good Eats newsletter each week. It goes out every Tuesday evening with helpful information, farm updates, the week's share contents, storage and use tips, localvore information and recipes. Pete or Meg will often chime in with farm updates, thoughts and pleas for feedback. The picking for the weekly share begins on Monday and the packing of shares is finished late Tuesday afternoon. Though we try to get the newsletter out just as early as we can, we do like to wait until the share is finalized. Sometimes there are last minute changes to the contents and we want to make sure that you've got the right information to go with your pick-up.

If, as happens occasionally, there are changes to the share that occur after the newsletter has been sent, you may receive a follow-up email Tuesday night or Wednesday. If you have any feedback on the newsletter, recipe contributions or just general questions about the CSA, feel free to email me.

We also post each newsletter on our blog at PetesGreens.Blogspot.com. It generally gets posted sometime on Wednesday. There's a good history there for recipes, farm stories and share contents.

Pete's Greens Farmstand is Open!
Busy, busy, busy is the name of the game here on the farm and recently we added to the excitement by opening our farmstand. This is the third year the stand will be open for summer and fall and we are even toying with the idea of operating year round! Our dream is for the farmstand to become a source for truly local products farmed organically or very sustainably. Along with a large selection of our organic veggies including a variety of baby greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, strawberries, zucchini, basil, herbs, scallions, and a variety of other bunching items and root veggies, we are also offering many of our favorite localvore items. These include fresh baked bread and Focaccia from Elmore Mountain Bread, delivered Wednesday evenings and (soon) Friday evenings. The bread and focaccia are made entirely of local ingredients including all the toppings on the focaccia (many from our farm). We are also offering different cheeses from local cheese makers, egg's from Deb, sunflower oil, tamari, miso, oats and grains of different sorts, popcorn, maple sugar, honey, apple butter, sea salt, dry beans, Cranberry Bob's cranberries...the list goes on. These products are mostly coming from within a 100 mile radius of our farm with the exception of a few products we feel are necessary and still quite local, Maine sea salt for example.

In addition to the localvore products, we are stocking the stand full of different products from our kitchen here. Currently we have Applesauce and a Rainbow Roots Kraut. Pestos and salsas should be making their way on to the shelves soon, and there will be many more creations from the kitchen as the season progresses.

We are soon acquiring a freezer for the farmstand and will be filling it with our Pete's Pastured Chicken. Our chickens live out their days romping around in the grass, climbing and scratching in the compost dirt pile, and nesting in their chicken house which is moved every few days. Later this year we will add our own pork and beef to the farmstand.

This is just the beginning for the farmstand. I think it is crucial for this community and other surrounding communities to have a place to go to purchase local goods and support their local economy. It is important to Pete and me to make this food accessible to everyone. Through our CSA, Farmer’s Market stand, and farmstand, we are selling directly to the people eating our food. Therefore, we are able to control the mark up on our products and charge less. Goods that we purchase for the stand and our CSA are less expensive than in most retail stores because we choose to mark them up only a small amount so that they are affordable for everyone. Some of these products are so very local that many of the producers drop their product off on their way to or from work or it is brought by an employee that lives in our area. We hope our farmstand will become a cornerstone for the community, providing a one stop source for healthy, organic, local food while bringing our community together and supporting other local producers. Hope to see you at the farmstand soon! ~ Meg

Pete's Chicken is Now Available for Order
Finally we are ready to fill orders for Pete's Pastured Chickens! Good Eats Members may order chickens and have them delivered to their CSA site on chicken delivery days. Non Members can order and pick up at the farm in Craftsbury. We will also be selling chickens at the Capital City Farmer's Market every Saturday from 9 till 1:00. More information about placing orders may be found on the website.

Pete's Pastured Chicken

Young Farmer Mixer June 18 at Claire's/Hardwick
On June 18th, The Center for an Agricultural Economy, Vermont Soy, and High Mowing Organic Seeds, and Greenhorns are co-sponsoring a Young Farmer Mixer with The Greenhorns team at Claire's and The Center's office, followed by a bonfire afterward at High Mowing. Please spread the word far and wide so that all the young farmers that you know and work with can be filled with the exciting spirit of like minded people in our state and connect with a national movement. You may know of the Greenhorns - it is an inspiring film project about young farmers in America. Watch the trailer . It is directed by Severine, a 28 year old organic veggie grower from NY who is a force to be reckoned with.

NOFA VT Summer Workshops for Gardeners and Homesteaders
The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont is hosting some great workshops this summer. The first of them is below. For a full list please visit www.nofavt.org

Growing Organic Vegetables in a 10x12 ft Garden Cut Into the Lawn – in 15 Minutes a Day. Join Henry Homeyer, gardening columnist and author of The Vermont Gardener’s Companion, to learn how to convert a 10 ft by 12 ft patch of you lawn into a veggie garden that can produce significant quantities of food with minimal investment in just 15 minute of work a day. The workshop will be outdoors rain or shine.
When - Saturday, June 20 10 am-12 noon
Where - Vermont Technical College Randolph Center
$10 for NOFA members & apprentices, $15 for non-members

Localvore 'Lore

Each week in this section we try to highlight some of the localvore items that folks signed up for the Localvore Share will be receiving at pick-up. We try to mix up what you'll receive each week, so that everyone gets to sample a wide variety of locally grown and produced food items. We do our best to source items from within 100 miles of the farm, directly if at all possible. Though we occasionally wander outside this radius, it's pretty rare. Our 100 miles allows us access to many interesting products from Quebec, New York, New Hampshire, and of course, most of Vermont. This week we have Focaccia from Elmore Mountain Bakery, eggs from Pa Pa Doodles Farm aka Deborah Rosewolf's Happy Hens, Cornmeal from Butterworks Farm, and Applesauce made in Pete's kitchen from apples grown by Champlain Orchards.

Elmore Mountain bakes for the share just about every other week. Andrew and Blair do a fantastic job of sourcing their flour and other ingredients close to home. This just in from Andrew

For this week's share we made a Fresh Herb and Sea Salt Focaccia. The VT made Sunflower oil inspired us as a substitute for Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and allowed us to make our wood-fired focaccia. We added a bunch of fresh herbs to balance the bitterness of the oil, including Pete's parsley and scallions and fresh rosemary and thyme from our garden. The dough is brushed with Sunflower Oil and sprinkled with Maine Sea Salt before being baked in our oven at over 600 degrees. The focaccia is great with cheese, hummus and olives or stuffed with fresh grilled vegetables.

Deborah Rosewolf from Pa Pa Doodles Farm in Craftsbury Common has always had her own hens, but recently she increased the size of her flock in order to supply Good Eats. We were having trouble sourcing enough locally grown, farm fresh and free range eggs for the share and Deborah stepped up to the plate. Her young flock has just begun laying a few weeks ago, so their eggs are small still but will size up fast in the coming weeks. We'll be supplying eggs to the share just about every other week so you will have the opportunity to experience the change in egg size from pullets to mature hens.

Butterworks Farm
in Westfield, VT has supplied Early Riser Cornmeal this week. This is an open pollinated variety of organic corn that the Lazors have been growing for years on the farm in an isolated place far from other corn crops to protect it from stray GMO pollen. Jack saves his seed each year for the following year's crop, taking time from harvesting other crops to select the ears from the strongest plants. The corn is freshly ground and should be stored in a cool place - preferably the fridge or your freezer. This is beautiful cornmeal full of rich corn flavor, great for baking or making polenta. The Lazor's have supplied their favorite cornbread recipe below.

Last, Nick was in the kitchen most of the day Monday making applesauce for the share. The apples are grown by from Champlain Orchards in Vergennes. The diverse mix of apples selected for us by Bill Suhr/Champlain Orchards ensures a much more flavorful sauce. Great stuff for kids or adults. The applesauce also stores well in the freezer!

Recipes
I made polenta after I got home last night from the farm with a bag of cornmeal in hand. It's such an easy, homey dish and can be paired with so many other items in the share that I thought it worth focusing on this week. I made mine the old fashioned way, on the stovetop but I like the oven baked version below for the simplicity. When the polenta is finished on the stovetop you end up with cornmeal mush, but as polenta cools it firms up. And if you chill it in the fridge, you can then cut it into all sorts of shapes for later dishes. I love it right out of the pot and every other way as well. I can see a lovely meal of freshly made parmesan polenta served with Simple Swiss Chard posted Jun 10, 2009 at the petesgreens.blogspot.com. Or a Pan Seared Polenta served with a Mesclun Salad with Roasted Beets. Yum.

Oven-Baked Polenta
By Martha Rose Shulman and published in the NYT June 9, 2009
Polenta is traditionally made on the stovetop. The classic recipe is to stir 1 cup of polenta (a coarse grind cornmeal) into 4 cups water boiling water with one tsp of salt addes. Then polenta is simmered and stirred constantly or at very regular intervals until it is a thickened gruel. It takes 50 minutes or so and requires watchfulness. Martha's oven baked method simplifies the process.

1 cup polenta
1 quart water
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the polenta, water and salt in a 2-quart baking dish. Stir together, and place in the oven. Bake 50 minutes. Remove from the oven, and stir in the butter. Use a fork or a spatula to stir the polenta well, and return to the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, and stir again. Carefully taste a little bit of the polenta; if the grains are not completely soft, return to the oven for 10 minutes.

Serve right away for soft polenta, or let sit five minutes for a stiffer polenta. Spoon onto a plate. Make a depression in the middle, and serve with the topping of your choice or plain, as a side dish.

Alternatively, for grilling or use in another recipe, allow to chill and stiffen in the baking dish, or scrape into a lightly oiled or buttered bread pan and chill.

Polenta With Parmesan
When you remove the polenta from the oven, stir in 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan. Serve at once. I like to grind a little black pepper over the top.

Grilled Polenta Squares
Prepare a medium grill or heat an electric griddle on medium. Cut the polenta into squares, and brush the squares on both sides with olive oil. Place on the grill or griddle. When grill marks appear or when nicely browned, usually in about two to three minutes, turn and brown the other side. Serve hot.

Pan-Seared Polenta Squares
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, and sear the polenta squares on both sides oil until lightly colored. The surface should be slightly crisp.

Chloe's Pete's Greens Pasta
Chloe is a Good Eats CSA member and wanted to share a recipe for pasta that she has been making with the greens from Good Eats. You could use pac choi, swiss chard or beet greens here.

Ingredients
Olive oil
Chopped garlic (at least 6-8 large cloves or more depending on taste)
anchovies or anchovy paste (or 20 kalamata olives)
1 lb Pasta
1-3 bunches of greens, stemmed if necessary and chopped
Grated parmesan or pecorino cheese or both

Boil a large pot of salted water for the pasta. Add pasta and follow cooking times given for the pasta. During the the last 3-5 minutes add chopped greens to the pasta water.
Drain pasta and greens and combine with the garlic/anchovy (or kalamata) oil. Combine. Serve with grated cheese on top.
Variations -add 1-3 fresh tomatoes to the simmering garlic mixture, or other vegetables. Or add just a few spoonfuls of your favorite marinara. Add fresh basil. Or try adding an egg and some milk or cream to the hot pasta. mmmm.


Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler with Cornmeal Biscuit Topping
Crunchy cornmeal biscuit tops a classic strawberry and rhubarb filling.
Bon App├ętit April 1996

Filling
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups strawberries, hulled, halved
2.5 cups 1/2-inch-thick slices rhubarb


Topping
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk (or 1/2 cup milk with 1 tsp lemon juice)

For Filling:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix sugar, flour and cloves in large bowl. Add strawberries and rhubarb and toss to coat with sugar mixture. Transfer filling to 10-inch-diameter glass pie dish.

For Topping:
Mix flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually add buttermilk, tossing with fork until moist clumps form (do not overmix). Spoon topping evenly over filling.

Bake until topping is golden brown and filling is tender, about 25 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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