Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Good Eats Newsletter - July 29, 2009

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains
Mesclun Greens, 1 Bunch of Celery; 1 Head of Napa Cabbage; 1 lb Zucchini; Garlic; Mixed Beans, 1 Pint Strawberries; Tomatoes; plus....

Cayenne Pepper -or- Jalapeno Pepper
Broccoli -or- Cauliflower
1 Pint of Strawberries -or- Cherry Tomatoes

*Adams Court will receive the European Cucumber that they missed last week.

Please note that we did something CRAZY and packed the celery upside down this week. We had to decide between cutting it down because it was so tall or putting it in upside down and risking some broken tops in order to include tops. We chose the latter.

Localvore Share Members Also Receive
Red Hen Whole Wheat Bread
Denis Michaud's Maple Syrup
Pa Pa Doodles Farm Eggs

Storage and Use Tips
You may have noticed the absence of the storage and use tips in the last couple of newsletters. I will be updating our website in the coming weeks and transferring the storage and use tips to the pages we have set up for veggie info and will also begin the task of compiling all the recipes we have sent you over time to these pages as well. It will be a work in progress for a while as it's a fairly big job. In the meantime, you can always go to Pete's blogspot. There you can search by vegetable for info previously posted.

Mark Your Calendar - Farm Potluck Set for Sunday August 23!
We are having a little party at the farm! In the afternoon on August 23rd, we are hosting a potluck with music, farm tours, kids activities, and of course, good eats. The event gives us the chance to meet all of you and offers you the opportunity to tour the farm and check out where your food is grown. More details to come but please mark your calendars, we really hope to see you there!

Pick Up Site Changes & Issues with Your Weekly Share
We want you to be happy and fully satisfied with your share. If you have problems at pick up like missing or damaged vegetables, please tell us and we'll send replacements the following week. If you need to change your pick up location one week, or you won't be home and want your share to go to the food shelf, please let us know so we can help arrange that. However we must hear from you by the weekend to make changes for the following week's share.




Pete out cultivating the leeks


Summer Share Still Open

We are still signing people up for the summer share. We are prorating remaining weeks so if you know anyone who wants to join us, please direct them to the website or to amy@petesgreens.com.
Summer Share
Meat Share

Of Bags and Boxes

We have a packing dilemma and we thought we'd share it with all of you in hopes that perhaps by working together we can find a solution.

Each week on the farm we pack 230 CSA shares into plastic bags. Bags that we purchase new (adding to the environmental issue of more plastic bags in the world). The plastic bags serve their main purpose in keeping most of a veggie share together, but because they don't offer enough protection for vegetables, we keep some vegetables out of the bag. Like tomatoes and cukes that would get bruised or broken. And then sometimes this becomes confusing for people picking up... is that item on the shelf part of my veggie share or is that a localvore item? Hmmm... The plastic bag isn't the perfect vehicle for the weekly share.

What are other options?
Boxes would better protect the food from damage because all share items could go together in a box. But they take up a lot of room at the sites, they are expensive, and getting boxes back each week may be difficult. These boxes would pile up and sit for a week until our next delivery which might create space issues for some sites.

Canvas or other material reusable bags could be an option. Each member would have to have two bags that would alternate to and from the sites. Each member would bring back an empty bag when they picked up their share and the empty bag would be repacked the following week, and so on. The problem here obviously is that bags would be forgotten at home and then what? I guess we would pack those shares in plastic again maybe... There's also the issue of keeping the canvas bags clean (they'd get pretty wet each week and wet musty bags aren't great for keeping pristine fresh vegetables pristine and fresh). These bags won't keep veggies perfectly protected either though they might be better than plastic bags (and this system far more environmentally sound) .

Letting people pack their own shares at sites is an option and one that is used by many other CSA's. But we have heard from some share members that they like the ease of their Good Eats pick up, because they don't have to pick and pack. And surely there would be pick up errors with this system too. And it may require more from our site hosts to layout the vegetables in an organized way, extra time they may not have.

It's a dilemma and we'd like to know what you think. Our #1 goal is to continue to bring you healthy, organic, beautiful food, fresh from the field, in as efficient, practical, and environmentally friendly manner as possible.

We would appreciate any feedback you have to offer. We want to create a system that will work well for everyone on and off the farm......so please, put your thinking caps on and send us your ideas. We'll be sending out a brief survey to ask this and a few other questions in the next week or so. In the meantime if you have thoughts, please send an email and share them with us.

Thanks to all of you for helping to support our farm and for allowing us to continue to grow and provide food for you and your families. You are greatly appreciated.

Localvore Lore

We have maple syrup in the share today from Denis Michaud in Hardwick. Denis' maple syrup operation is certified organic and we are excited to have such a great local source. I have provided a maple recipe below in case you need inspiration.

Red Hen Bakery has baked us their whole wheat bread bread this week using 100% whole wheat flour from Meunerie Milanaise in Quebec.

And we have eggs once again from Deb's Pa Pa Doodles Farm. Enjoy!

Recipes


Basic Stir Fried Vegetables
Great stuff in the share this week for a stir fry! This recipe is from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. There is of course room for endless variations here. You can swap in and out different veggies, add nuts to the final minute of cooking, add dried chiles or chile paste for heat, add tofu or tempeh (even better if cooked and browned first), or up to 1 TB sweetener (honey, maple syrup, etc).

2 TB oil
1 TB minced garlic
1 TB fresh ginger
1/2 cup onions or scallions
1 medium zucchini, cut into slices or chunks
2 cups Napa cabbage
1 large carrot
2 stalks celery
1/2 lb green beans (preferable parboiled and then quickly cooled)
1/4 cup stock or water
2 TB tamari
1 tsp sesame oil (preferably dark)

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil , and almost immediately the garlic, ginger, and scallions or onions. Cook stirring for about 15 seconds, then add carrots, celery, snow peas and stock and raise the heat to high.

Cook, stirring constantly, adding liquid (water or stock) if mixture is totally dry, until the vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes. Then add the sesame oil and soy sauce.

Napa Salad
A simple tasty salad for a hot day.

Dressing
1 pinch celery seeds
1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
1/4 tsp fresh ginger, very finely minced .
1/2 c canola oil or other light-flavored oil
1/2 tsp prepared brown mustard .
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
4 tsp sugar

2 small carrots grated
2 apples, sliced (a crisp, sweet-tart variety is best) .
1/2 c pecans, coarsely broken .
1/2 head napa cabbage .
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced

Divide your half-head of napa lengthwise into 3 or 4 sections & knife-shred crosswise to yield strips about 5 inches long by 1/4 inch wide. Grate carrots.

Mix dressing ingredients & let rest for 5 mins to mix the flavors.
Toss together all salad ingredients with the dressing.
Garnish with pecan halves & thin rings of apple if desired.

Celery Soup
This is a classic French recipe, this one taken again from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.

3 TB butter
1 small onion
1 lb celery, roughly chopped (reserve the fresh greens for garnish)
1 large potato
salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 cups vegetable stock
2 tsp sugar or honey to taste (optional)
1/2 cup cream or sour cream (optional)
1/4 cup celery greens, finely chopped

Put the butter in a large, deep saucepan or casserole over medium heat. When the butter melts, add the vegetables. Season w/ salt & pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until celery softens a bit. Add the stock and cook until the vegetables are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes more.

Puree the soup in batches in food processor or blender and return to the pot. You may prepare the soup in advance up to this point. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days and reheat before proceeding.) Adjust the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper as needed. Reheat the soup in the saucepan and stir in the cream if you are using it, garnish with celery leaves and serve.

Maple Walnut Pie Squares
These squares are like little hand held pieces of maple walnut pie. Yum. From the Cooking with Shelburne Farms cook book.

The crust
1.25 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup walnuts

The filling
2 TB butter
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
3 TB packed light brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

Preat the oven to 375 degrees F. Generously grease a 9 x 9 pan.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt. Cream together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Gradually add the flour mixture in thirds, beating to blend between additions. Mix in walnuts until just distributed. Pat crust firmly into the pan and bake for 8-10 minutes until golden.

While crust is baking, make the topping. Melt the butter, then whisk in the maple syrup, brown sugar, salt and egg. Stir in the walnuts.

Pour the hot topping over the baked crust. Return the pan to the oven for 13-15 minutes until the topping is deep brown and set. Cool completely on a rack before cutting.

Napa Cabbage Ramen Salad (is this salad or dessert?)
I have thought of including this one before but somehow, with the ramen noodles (reminding me of bad food college days) crisped in butter and topped with sugar, I thought perhaps I should look for something more wholesome. But each time we have Napa cabbage I can't help but think "mmmm ramen noodles crisped in butter and topped with sugar...". And well, we all probably share some weaknesses and this recipe gets rave reviews otherwise, so here it is!

1 head napa cabbage
1 bunch minced green onions
1/3 cup butter
1 (3 ounce) package ramen noodles, broken
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons tamari

1. Finely shred the head of cabbage; do not chop. Combine the green onions and cabbage in a large bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

3. Make the crunchies: Melt the butter in a pot. Mix the ramen noodles, sesame seeds and almonds into the pot with the melted butter. Spoon the mixture onto a baking sheet and bake the crunchies in the preheated 350 degrees F oven, turning often to make sure they do not burn. When they are browned remove them from the oven.

4. Make the dressing: In a small saucepan, heat vinegar, oil, sugar, and soy sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil, let boil for 1 minute. Remove the pan from heat and let cool.
5. Combine dressing, crunchies, and cabbage immediately before serving. Serve right away or the crunchies will get soggy.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Good Eats Newsletter - July 22, 2009

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains
2.5 lb Red Norland Potatoes; 1 lb Tomatoes; Mesclun Greens; 1.5 lb Zucchini; 1 Bunch of Red Bore Kale; 1 Bunch of Cilantro; 1 lb Walla Walla Onions; 1 Bunch Sweet Basil and 1 European Cucumber** plus....

Broccoli ~or~ Cauliflower

Localvore Share Members Also Receive
Elmore Mountain Honey Oat Bread
Bonnieview Farm Mossend Blue Cheese
Butterworks Farm Yogurt
Applesauce*

*Grove Street and Sweet Clover will Receive Frozen Strawberries instead of Applesauce
**Adams Court will not receive cucumbers this week but will get replacements next week!


Please bring your empty plastic bags, berry boxes, plastic containers or anything you think we might be able to re-use and leave them at your pick up site on Wednesdays. Thank you for helping with our recycling effort!

Pete's Musings
Its been a rainy and cool first half of the summer. What does this mean for Pete's Greens? Crops have been slow to come in but all in all we've fared ok. Our baby greens look as nice as ever for mid July-a time when they are usually suffering from heat, humidity, and frequent thunderstorms. Other cool season crops like broccoli, cauliflower, scallions, and potatoes are looking great. Garlic is sizing nicely and you will see it in your share soon. Greenhouse tomatoes are suffering from leaf mold and slow ripening due to the lack of sun and high humidity-but fortunately no late blight. For leaf mold we prune heavily, ventilate, and hope for sun. Our euro cukes have caught a second wind and are absolutely cranking-some of you will see them again this week. Winter squash looks like a real bust. Fortunately High Mowing seeds is growing some for us and we have a couple friend farmers we can get more from. Melons look iffy-just not melon weather. In general root and storage crops are looking great. We have many batches of corn coming down the pipeline and hope to include sweet corn often later in August and Sept. Our awesome onion fields are looking good and just starting to size up. Daunting to consider how large that crop could be. We are making plans for providing you with lots of green goodies through the fall and into the winter. Hoping we have a long, dry fall like last year. ~ Pete

Kale Forest
I took this photo yesterday from the ground while looking up a row of tall kale.
It reminds me of a prehistoric forest.

Summer Share Still Open
We are still signing people up for the summer share. We are prorating remaining weeks so if you know anyone who wants to join us, please direct them to the website or to amy@petesgreens.com.
Summer Share
Meat Share

Chicken Update
I took a walk around yesterday, it was a beautiful day and I wanted to check in on the chickens down in the field. Having raised lots of chickens myself, I fully appreciate a clean chicken field and Pete's chickens have it good, real good.

The term "free range" comes with a set of requirements, the big one being that the chickens have access to the outdoors. In reality most free range chickens are raised in large barns with a couple doors leading to overused chicken paddocks with very little to peck or graze. The chickens at Pete's are living in chicken paradise in comparison, with endless grazing and very, very clean fields and move-able shelters.























Lately their idyllic life has been disturbed by occasional predators. Keeping enough charge in the electric fencing has been a challenge with the wet weather as puddles and wet grass short out the low lying fencing. We have lost a few birds but have discovered by accident some synergy with the pigs. The same fencing has failed to keep the 6 little pigs on their own side of the fence, and Nick has repeatedly herded them back to their own side at chow time. Except he has come to realize that on the nights that pigs spend with the chickens, we don't lose any! The chickens and pigs seem completely relaxed together. I snuck out midday to snap this photo of amicable snoozing.


The chickens we have right now are a special heritage breed of chicken. They look like the classic Cornish x Rocks type meat bird and are similar, but they are a slower growing breed that are more inclined to graze than their cousins. They fill out like their cousins do, given the extra weeks, but because they do so much grazing their meat is really rich (and vitamin packed). We are loving the flavor of these birds.

Click Here to Download an Order Form for Chicken Delivery!






Localvore Lore
Neil Urie of Bonnieview Farm has brought us some of his sheep's milk Mossend Blue cheese this week. Neil makes several award winning cheeses, Mossend Blue among them. This is a washed-rind blue with a rich, creamy texture. It's a beautiful blue in color, with flavor reminiscent of a Stilton, but with more earthy and barnyardy notes and a lingering finish. This is great on it's own

Blair and Andrew at Elmore Mtn Bread, ever committed to using local ingredients in their breads have something new for us to try this week.

The bread that we are baking today is a Honey Oat. My new favorite on the roster of breads we make! We used Milanaise Winter Wheat Flour, Milanaise Whole Wheat Flour, Quebec Rolled Oats from Milanaise, Vermont Honey from Butternut Mountain Farms, sea salt and yeast. Dave Marvin the owner of Butternut Mountain Farm is my uncle, and I am always really excited and inspired to incorporate his products into our breads. Our business relationship began several years ago when he gave me a pound of his maple sugar to experiment with. That experiment resulted in our Maple Cinnamon Raisin Bread which is without a doubt one of our most popular offerings. We're really pleased with the Honey Oat and hope to soon add it to our regular list of breads.

We have a selection of yogurts from Butterworks Farm this week. We like to include this yogurt 2 -3 times a share because we think it is just that good. We include a mix of fat and flavors to each pick up site. Butterworks Farm is a completely self sufficient organic farm with a closed herd of their own cows (they are all born on the farm) from which they make their yogurt (and other products). Butterworks also grows quite a variety of grains and beans both for animals and for human consumption. We like to support the work that they do. The cornmeal from the first week of the share came from Butterworks and there are other products ahead that we'll be bringing you too that they produce.

Lastly, we have our very own applesauce this week straight from the Pete's Greens kitchen. The applesauce is made from a mix of apple varieties from Champlain Orchards. This is pure and simple applesauce made with ... apples! That's it. It's delicious stuff and can be frozen if you aren't going to use it this week. Grove Street and Sweet Clover will get frozen strawberries instead of the applesauce (our apples didn't quite make the amount we had predicted). So maybe it's a smoothie week for you folks (or maybe strawberry margaritas...)!

Recipes

Tomato, Cucumber, Sweet Onion Salad
I never get enough of this salad in summer when tomatoes are so fantastic and cukes abundant. I often add feta or goat cheese if I have it. It's like eating dessert. Good balsamic is an important pantry ingredient. I have a couple that are just fantastic and I save them for recipes where their flavor makes a dish special, and I save the lesser grades for cooking with.

2 Tomatoes chopped
1 Cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1-2 sweet onions peeled and sliced thinly
a small handful of basil leaves
drizzle of olive oil
drizzle of good balsamic vinegar

Fresh Salsa
Fresh salsa is quick and easy and so delicious and it's the perfect time of year to make lots of it. There are a million recipes for salsa because everyone's preferences are different. Experiment! You can't really go wrong gradually adding ingredients. I've given a very basic recipe here with some ideas for variation.

2 ripe tomatoes, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
1/2 cup walla walla sweet onions, diced
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, for garnish
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 jalapeno chile pepper, diced

Variations
use 2 tsp of lime juice instead of the lemon juice
add a little salt (up to 3/4 tsp)
use other hot peppers like serranos (or omit the heat altogether if perhaps there are kids involved in the eating)
add 1-s cloves of minced garlic
add 1/2 cups chopped garlic scapes
add 1 tsp of sugar or honey
add some cumin or some toasted cumin seed
chop up a fresh local peach and toss that in
add some fresh corn off the cob


Lebneh
A simple yogurt dip or spread that's fantastic with fresh pitas or other fresh breads. This is another staple in our house. It comes and goes. We make some, can't get enough (the kids love it). Then we make it three more times in a row and binge on it. And then it gets shelved for a while only to make another overzealous return. It's worth it though and only good high quality yogurt will do.

1 quart plain yogurt (low fat OK but full fat best)
3/4 tsp salt
3 TB olive oil
1.5 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp dried mint
3/4 tsp dried thyme

Line a collander with a single layer of paper towels and place above a bowl that fits the collander nicely. Stir the salt into the yogurt and then dump the yogurt into the paper lines collander and let it drain, ideally overnight, but minimum 6-8 hours. The yogurt will be quite thick. Usually you can kind of tip the yogurt over into a fresh bowl and peel the paper towel from it.

In a cast iron skillet over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds until golden brown and fragrant. Then put them into a small container with the olive oil and dried mint and thyme.

Portion out the yogurt as you intend to use it, with a drizzle of the oil, seeds, herb mixture on top. Serve with fresh breads or pitas. Rich and delicious.

Pasta with Caramelized Onions and Kale in Blue Cheese Sauce
This recipe came from the blog Blazing Hot Wok. Serves 3

1 large onion, sliced
1 bunch kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
2/3 cup cream
4 oz of blue cheese, plus some for crumbling on top
a little milk, if necessary
½ lbs pasta like spaghetti, linguine or fettuccine
Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup pecans or walnuts , toasted on a pan or under a broiler for about 5 minutes and lightly crushed (optional, but will add another delicious layer to the dish)

Start by caramelizing the onions in a large pan with a little olive oil. When they are just about done (about 20 minutes or so), add the kale and sauté until wilted. Remove to a bowl and keep warm.

Once your onions are going, put on your pasta water. You’ll want to cook the pasta at least 2 to 3 minutes less than the package directions, since they will get additional time in the sauce.

In the same pan you used for the onions, add the cream and cheese. Once the cheese is melted, add the onions and kale back in and mix well. Turn off the heat until the pasta is ready. Don’t worry if the sauce seems thin. It will thicken up once you turn the pasta in it.

Once you are ready to dump the drained pasta in, put the pan back on the heat and mix everything together. The pasta will finish cooking and absorb some of the liquid and at the same time, the sauce will thicken. If it gets too thick or dry, add a little milk to loosen it. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, topping each serving with some of the crushed pecans and crumbled blue cheese.

Caramelized Onion and Blue Cheese Tart with Whole Wheat Crust
Adapted from a recipe in Food & Wine. Serves 4 to 6.

You can make the dough for the crust up to one day ahead and leave it in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic. Then, roll it out and pre-bake the shell while the onions caramelize. You can make the whole tart up to four hours ahead and serve it at room temperature or reheat in a 350 degree oven. Leftovers are good cold.

1 ½ c. whole wheat flour
½ tsp. salt, plus additional to taste
1 stick (4 oz.) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch dice
¼ c. water chilled with ice

2-3 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
4 medium onions (about 1 ½ lbs), sliced into half moons
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves (or 1scant tsp dry)
freshly ground pepper
3 oz. blue cheese, crumbled

In a food processor, pulse the flour and ½ tsp. salt to combine. Add the cold, diced butter and pulse until you have a coarse mixture roughly the size of small peas. Sprinkle the ice water over the flour mixture, then pulse again until the dough just starts to come together. It will still look a little scraggly.

Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and quickly pat it into a disk. Wrap it up and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook stirring occasionally until soft and lightly golden, about 20 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook until lightly browned, soft and sweet, about 10-15 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper, stir in the thyme and remove from heat.

Meanwhile, roll the chilled dough out on a lightly floured surface to a large, 12-13 inch circle. You will have to use some muscle to roll it out, and do not worry about getting a perfect circle. The dough should be about 1/8 inch thick and as even as possible. Roll the dough over the pin and lay it into a nonstick (9, 10 or 11-inch) fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough into the sides of the pan with your knuckles and peel off the pieces that hang over the pan and use them to patch any holes. Your crust may not look pretty now, but it will when the tart is done. Prick the base of the crust all over with a fork and bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. I place my tart pan on a large baking sheet to make it easier to handle.

Fill the pre-baked tart shell with the caramelized onions. Strew the crumbled blue cheese all over the onions. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes or until the cheese is lightly melted. Cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack, remove from tart pan and serve immediately. Can also be served at room temperature.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Good Eats Newsletter - July 15, 2009

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains
Mesclun Greens; 2lbs Carrots; 1 lb Mixed Sweet Peppers; 1 lb Snap Peas; Zucchini; 1 Bunch Garlic Scapes; 1 Bunch Pearl Onions; 1 Bunch Purple or White Scallions plus...

1 Bunch Basil

Localvore Share Members Also Receive
Elmore Mountain Pain Au Levain
Pa Pa Doodles Farm Eggs
5 lbs Oats
Vermont Soy Sesame Soy Dressing


Please bring your empty plastic bags, berry boxes, plastic containers or anything you think we might be able to re-use and leave them at your pick up site on Wednesdays. Thank you for helping with our recycling effort!


Pete's Musings
Nutsedge. A word that strikes terror in the hearts of farmers everywhere. It is a sedge, basically a shiny grass like plant that forms little nuts underground. It is very difficult to control once you have it and it was here when we arrived at this farm five years ago. The little nuts grow new plants and can lie dormant for months or years.

Our problem has increased over the time we have farmed here as we did not understand the plant and have a good control plan. Apparently there is no satisfactory herbicide control for nutsedge so it can be a real problem for conventional farmers as well. This year we are making progress. Our new cultivation plan is disrupting it at all stages of growth and we are seeing excellent control in some areas. In other places because of the crops that are growing there we are not able to use the best nutsedge killing cultivators and we are having some problems.
The real solution is to not grow crops on infested fields for a year and through a combination of cover crops and frequent turning of the soil starve the nutsedge to death. It can only survive so long without photosynthesizing. We are planning to plow 10 acres of land up the road a couple miles in order to take a chunk of ours out of production next year. Hopefully this will allow us to clean up the nutsedge once and for all.

We hope you like the share this week. We think it's a good one. ~Pete

Localvore News

We have eggs from Pa Pa Doodles Farm again today (you can expect them just about every other week throughout the share). This past weekend Deb and some folks from the farm were having a cook-out behind her house and suddenly, hearing the voices and merriment, all 300 hens rounded the corner of the house and joined the party looking for treats.

Elmore Mtn Bread has baked us their Pain au Levain this week. This is a sourdough loaf made with bread flour, rye flour and whole wheat flour from La Meunerie Milanaise in Quebec, spring water and sea salt. It is a universal bread that makes delicious sandwiches and toast, is good with strong
cheeses, dunked in soup, or enjoyed on its own.

The Sesame Soy dressing included in the share is a new product that Vermont Soy is trying out. The is the second time they have made it for Good Eats and they and we are very interested to
hear your feedback. This light and creamy dressing is made using fresh mint, Baked Maple Ginger Tofu, garlic, tamari, toasted sesame oil, sunflower oil, apple cider vinegar and water. Drizzle it onto a salad or into a sandwich or wrap, set it out as a veggie and cracker dip, or apply it as a sauce over pasta or rice. All of the ingredients are organic. If you have feedback, please email Vermont Soy, they'd love to hear it.

Last Friday morning I hopped into the Pete's Greens truck and drove North from the farm across the Canadian border and into some beautiful Quebec countryside. North of Rt 91 the Quebec landscape is a continuation of the rolling hills and intermittent green fields of the NEK. But where farms in the NEK open up between patches of forest to maybe a few hundred acres of open tillable land, the QC side has larger tracts of more than 1000 acres of open land, more conducive to growing grains. I rumbled through the last small town and then turned up the dirt road to the farm and The Golden Crops grain mill of Michele Gaudreau set amidst fields of spelt and soybeans.

Michele and his family (Michele and his daughter pictured here) have 300 acres planted to various organic grains but his mill supports the efforts of many other organic grain growers in the area. Oats, barley, flax, wheat, rye, spelt, soy are some of the grains that are milled and bagged on site, and these are sold to organic retailers and producers in our region. Barley was being milled when I arrived, whole grains in one end and barley kernels out the other. After taking a mill tour, checking out the various grains, and sampling some roasted soy flakes Michele helped me load up the truck with oats (in the share today!), pearled barley and flax seed, and I was back out on the road. Stay tuned for stop #2 - Les Aliments Massawippi.















Recipes


Granola
In honor of the oats this week I thought I'd share this recipe. I make this granola practically every week because everyone in my family eats it nearly every morning. One of my kids likes it dry, another with milk, and another with yogurt. I like to mix it with other cereals or fruit. We eat it for dessert on maple syrup sweetened yogurt. It's a solid, simple granola recipe. You can add as much as another three cups of various nuts or dried fruit without having to change the amounts of oil and sweetener. You can swap honey for maple syrup interchangeably and use other mild favored oils. Though the amounts given of sweetener and oil are what my family enjoys, you can reduce the oil to 3/4 cup and the sweetener to 1 cup.

Mix everything together well. If your honey is solid, put the oil and honey in a small saucepan first and warm on the stove until it becomes liquid enough to mix with the other ingredients. Put all of this in two 9" x 13" pans or a large roasting pan. Put in a preheated 250 degree oven and bake for a total of 70-80 minutes, stirring the granola at 30 mins, 50 mins, 60 mins, and 70 mins taking care to rotate the granola that is on the sides and bottom to somewhere in the middle. It is done when it is golden brown. After it cools completely, store in a tightly sealed container.

10 cups oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup sesame seeds
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sunflower oil
1 cup honey
1/2 cup maple syrup


Basil Cream Pasta
A very rich and decadent creamed pesto adapted from the Horn of the Moon cookbook. This will probably work just as well with half the cream of you are counting calories. I have a hard time sticking to recipes and I would have to add some sauteed peppers and zucchini from this week's share to this recipe.

1/2 cup olive oil
4 large cloves garlic (or a bunch or garlic scapes!)
3 cups basil leaves
2 cups cream
1.25 cups Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt
dash of black pepper
1 lb fresh fettuccini

Start your pasta water boiling and prepare your pasta, cooking to al dente.

Meanwhile, put 1/4 cup of oil with the garlic in a blender. Run on low speed , slowly adding the basil leaves and the rest of the oil alternately until you have a fine basil paste. Set a small saucepan over low heat. Add the cream, basil paste, and 3/4 cup Parmesan along with salt and pepper. Heat until the sauce is just hot.

After draining the freshly cooked pasta, pour sauce over the pasta, toss well and serve garnished with the remaining parmesan.

Coconut Vegetable Curry
This is one of those recipes which you can swap vegetables in and out of with reckless abandon. It will all taste good. Serve with a side of rice and double it for leftovers!

2 small onions cut into 3/4 inch cubes

2 colored peppers - cut into strips or 1" chunks

1 potato, scrubbed and in 1" cubes

1 cup snap peas

1 cup thinly sliced carrots


Coconut-Curry Sauce

1/2 cup canned coconut milk

2 teaspoons tamari

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1 1/2 TB brown sugar

2 teaspoons rice vinegar or cider vinegar

2 teaspoons sunflower oil

2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 
1 1/2 teaspoon cold water
sesame oil

Directions:
Blanch the snap peas, carrots and potatoes until tender-crisp in plain boiling water. Drain and rush under cold water to stop the cooking. Drain again. 

Combine the Coconut-Curry Sauce ingredients. Taste and adjust the sugar to your liking. 

Heat a wok or wide skillet over high heat until hot. Add the oil, swirl to glaze the pan. Then add the onions and bell pepper and stir fry for 3-4 mins until tender-crisp. Add the blanched vegetables and toss to mix. 

Stir the sauce and add it to the pan. Bring it to a simmer, tossing to combine. Stir the cornstarch mixture to recombine and add it to the pan. Stir until the sauce turns glossy, about 10 seconds (a bit longer if you are doubling the sauce). 

Add a drizzle of sesame oil and toss to mix, then serve alongside rice.

Scallion Pesto
Try making some scallion pesto and using it with different dishes this week. It could be used as a pasta sauce (blend in some tasty hard crumbled cheese), but would also be nice on fish, or mixed with mayo for a sandwich spread. Using less oil will result in a thicker pesto, one that can be formed as a garnish. Using more oil will result in a more sauce like pesto. I had some this week mixed with blue cheese on pasta. It was pretty darn good.

One big bunch of scallions – trimmed to remove the white bottoms (you only want the less assertive greens here)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
juice of 1-2 limes
1 clove of garlic
¼ - 1 cup of sunflower oil (or any mild tasting oil)
Salt to taste

Chop the green onions roughly and toss into the blender along with the nuts, the garlic and the lime juice. Turn on the motor and drizzle in the oil until the desired consistency is reached. Season to taste with salt

Variations
try it with olive oil and lemon
try it with different nuts
mix it with sour cream for veggie dip
toss it on hot pasta
keep it thick and spread on toasted crusty bread sandwiches
toss it with simply steamed new potatoes
use it for a 10 minute dinner as a coating for simply broiled white fish fillets

Roasted Summer Vegetables
This is a great simple dish to serve on it's own or alongside meat or with bread or rice or couscous. Other vegetables work well too - fennel, young beets, salad turnips, garlic, etc.

8 Baby carrots - cut in half lengthwise and then cut into 2" lengths
10 pearl onions, peeled
3-4 new potatoes - scrubbed and cut into 1" chunks
3 small zucchini - quartered or halved and cut into 2" lengths
a few sweet peppers cut into 1'2 to 1" wide strips
3-4 TB olive oil
sea salt and black pepper

15 Cherry tomatoes or tomato wedges

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Put the squash, onions, potatoes, and carrots in a roasting pan and toss gently with the oil, coating all vegetables well. Season with salt and pepper. Put the pan in the oven and bake for 4-5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and stir ingredients. Return pan to the oven and continue this process until the vegetables are fork tender, 15-20 minutes. Approximately 5 minutes before the vegetables are done, add the tomatoes. 


Monday, July 13, 2009

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains
2.5 lbs Potatoes; 2lbs carrots; 1 Head of Lettuce; 1.5 Lbs Broccoli; 1 Bunch of Swiss Chard; 1 Bunch of Red or Green Kale; 2 Medium Kohlrabi; 1 Head of Napa Cabbage; 1 Large Bunch of Scallions; 1 Bunch of Cilantro; 1 Medium Bulb of Fennel

Localvore Share Members Also Receive
Red Hen Potato Rye Bread
5 lbs Milanaise Unbleached White Flour
1 Quart Sunflower Oil

Storage and Use Tips


Kohlrabi - The name means cabbage turnip in German and that is a pretty accurate description. It is a member of the cabbage family and its outer skin would attest to that. The greens look more like turnip greens however and the inner bulb can be a bit fibrous, like turnip. Raw, it is crisp, sweet, and clean, strikingly reminiscent of raw broccoli stalks. Cooked, it touts a mild, nutty, cabbage-like flavor that adapts beautifully to many cooking styles. It can be eaten raw and is great in salads and slaws. I can also be boiled, steamed, baked, roasted, etc. The greens may be eaten cooked like turnip greens or any other cooked greens. To prepare the bulb, cut off the leaves and stems. Use a vegetable peeler to pare off the tough outer layer. Or use a chefs knife to slice it off. Dice or shave up the inner bulb according to your recipe. Store loosely wrapped in plastic in the fridge.

Fennel - Fennel is crunchy and slightly sweet with the flavor of anise. It is delicious and slightly sweet served raw but is just as often served cooked on its own or in other dishes. Though most often associated with Italian cooking, it has an uncanny ability to blend with other flavors adding a light and fresh note. It is delightful in many dishes, and in soups and stews and sauces. Fennel is composed of a white or pale green bulb from which closely superimposed stalks are arranged. The stalks are topped with feathery green leaves near which flowers grow and produce fennel seeds. The bulb, stalk, leaves and seeds are all edible. To prepare, trim off the fronds and stalks and reserve them for garnish or seasoning. Cut off the hard bottom and slice vertically or into quarters. Or cut the bulb in half lengthwise, cut out the core, and cut into strips. Add it raw to salads or try some thinly sliced fennel on your sandwich. Top thinly sliced fennel with plain yogurt and mint leaves. Or braise, roast or saute' it. It is done when tender enough to pierce easily with a skewer.

Pete's Musings
Guess what, it's raining! And it's 3 in the afternoon on July 7th and about 58 degrees. Not the finest growing weather. The past couple weeks have been demoralizing. Crops not doing much as generally too wet and too cold. Field work has been tricky as we haven't had a lot of time between the wet spells to get it done. We had one field flood two weeks ago. It's actually recovered nicely and fortunately the chickens and pigs that were in the area were on high enough ground.

Rain is tough on plants but it's also tough on people. It gets tiresome slogging around in the mud and it's hard for the boss to survey the fields and see all the work that needs to be done and isn't getting done. But hopefully tomorrow is the last wet day for awhile and we can get rolling again.

I was in Yuma, Arizona a few years back visiting farms that grow thousands of acres of salad greens in the winter. I spent a day driving around with a farmer who personally grew 10,000 acres. He said that once a year they receive enough rain to affect field operations and it totally screws everything up. They are so used to irrigating and doing everything else necessary for growing in a desert and rain is nothing but a nuisance. I'm glad to farm in a region that has abundant water, it is a blessing. But I really hope that this wet spell and last summers extended period of excessive rain are not the beginnings of predicted greater moisture in the Northeast due to global warming. ~ Pete


Summer Share Info
Yes, there are still just a few more Summer Shares still available. Please direct interested friends or family to me or to the website. We will prorate the cost of the remaining share weeks.
Summer Share
Meat Share


Chicken Orders
Good Eats Members may order chickens and have them delivered to their CSA sites. 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

Localvore Potluck - Sunday, July 12 at Noon

Invite your friends, whip up a dish with local ingredients, and join us for lunch! On Sunday, July 12th, at 12pm, the Inn at Lareau Farms - home of American Flatbread - is hosting a summer potluck. The Inn is located one mile south of Waitsfield on Route 100. Live music will be provided by local band Phineas Gage, and a kids' table will be set up to keep the little ones entertained. Pete's Greens of Craftsbury, the Mad River Valley Localvore Project, the Vermont Yak Company, Cabot Cheese, American Flatbread, the Inn at Lareau Farms, and other terrific producers and companies have partnered on this terrific event. We look forward to seeing you there!
Email Elizabeth Metraux for more details.

Localvore Lore
We have something new this week from Red Hen Baking Co. Randy has (once again) dreamed up something special for us.

We’re making a potato rye bread. It features the same Yukon Gold potatoes (from Foote Brook Farm) that we use in our standard potato bread, but in this one, we are using the rye sourdough starter that we use in our rye breads. This gives it an earthiness and an enhanced sourness that you don’t find in the potato bread we normally offer. The whole rye flour and the unbleached wheat flour both come from Quebec.

I am excited for localvores to try a new flour this week. This is an unbleached all purpose flour that I have used for everything from breads to cookies, cakes, pancakes and pie crusts. At the moment I believe this flour to be the only organic unbleached white flour that we can buy that uses locally grown wheat. We will be providing you with other types of local flours in coming weeks. We'd be very interested to hear feedback on the flours you most enjoy using!

Just over the border in Compton, Quebec, Lily Vallières and Robert Beauchemin, owners of La Meunerie Milanaise began producing organic cereal grains on their farm in Quebec's Eastern Township area in 1977. In 1982, they opened their first flour mill grinding flour with pink granite stones. With that first mill they were able to mill and then sell the 4o tons of grains from their farm. But their market grew and they expanded to a second mill and then a third and a fourth and simultaneously they encouraged the development of a network of farmers to produce the grains. They are committed to sourcing their flours locally. To that end in 2000 they started a research project, growing and testing wheat flour cultivars for suitablility to Eastern climate & soils and stone grinding. Their partner farms have moved to growing the most successful tested varieties of wheat. As a result, Meunerie Milanaise is now able to purchase 80% of the wheat they need from Eastern farms. Their research has been important to bakeries in our region who wish to purchase local organic flours appropriate for the artisan bread trade.

Flour Primer
Whole wheat flour is made from the entire grain - bran, endosperm and germ are all present. "White" all pupose flour flours are made from the endosperm only and are actually yellow when freshly milled. It is also somewhat unstable and must be conditioned to help the glutens strengthen and for keeping quality. Unbleached flour is matured and bleached naturally by oxygen present in the air (rather than by using various chemical bleaching agents that are used in commercial bleached white flours).

There's more to it... Wheat is categorized as hard and soft. Hard wheats have a higher protein content which makes stronger gluten and results in a better rise and more elastic quality in breads. Soft wheats are better for delicate pastries and cakes. Therefore "bread flour" contains a mixture of hard wheat varieties. All purpose flours contain hard and soft wheat. Pastry flours are made from soft wheat varieities

The organic sunflower oil in the share today comes from John Williamson's State Line Farm in Shaftsbury, VT. This is a good all purpose mild flavored oil that you can use wherever a recipe calls for vegetable oil. It has a high smoke point and is great for frying as well. It will come to you in a plastic quart container, but we recommend transferring it to a glass container. If you will not use the oil quickly in your household, it's best to store it in the fridge. This is an unrefined product and can spoil. In the fridge it will last indefinitely. It may get a little cloudy in your fridge but this is normal and the cloudiness will disipate as it warms up.

John Williamson and Steve Plummer have built Vermont's first on farm biodiesel facility using oilseeds grown on site. John and Steve are testing different oilseed crops, learning how best to grow and harvest and make biodiesel. They have also tackled learning how to make ethanol from sorghum and lye from wood ash, two products necessary in the production iof biodiesel. This is great research. Other interesting developments are coming from their work. Recently, a local organic farmer discovered that the spicy mash left from pressing mustard seeds was working as a means of pest control on his farm. Click here for more on the biodiesel project.


Recipes

Kohlrabi & Carrots
A very simple recipe with excellent ratings from the website Recipezaar. Serves 4.
1 medium kohlrabi, chopped into 3/4 " cubes (about 2 cups)
4 large carrots, cut into chunks to match the size of the kohlrabi
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon butter (optional)
salt and pepper

Cover the Kohlrabi and carrots with lightly salted water and boil until quite tender (about 15-20 minutes). Drain. Lightly mash, leave a lot of texture don't try to make them smooth like mashed potatoes. Add nutmeg and butter. Serve.

Napa Cabbage, Kohlrabi, Carrot Slaw
Adapted from a recipe in Bon Appétit July 1998

3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
2.5 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1.5 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1.5 tablespoons (packed) brown sugar
1 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoons minced garlic

1 Napa Cabbage chopped
2 kohlrabi peeled and cut into matchstick size strips
1 large red or yellow bell peppers, cut into matchstick-size strips
2 medium carrots, peeled, cut into matchstick-size strips
4 scallions, cut into matchstick-size strips
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Whisk first 7 ingredients in small bowl to blend. (Dressing can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before continuing.)

If you have a food processor you can use it to grate the carrots, kohlrabi and cabbage and peppers. Otherwise hand chop and mix together in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Braised Fennel and Potatoes
In this dish the potatoes are perked up with fennel. The fennel becomes very tender and lends loads of moisture to the dish. Makes 4 to 6 side-dish serving. Gourmet February 2006.

1 large fennel bulb with fronds
1 large onion, halved lengthwise, then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (2 cups)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb red boiling potatoes
1/2 cup water

Chop enough fennel fronds to measure 2 tablespoons, then cut off and discard stalks from bulb. Quarter bulb lengthwise and core, then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Cook fennel, onion, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut potatoes crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Add potatoes and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt to fennel mixture and cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, 3 minutes. Add water and cook, covered, stirring once, until potatoes are tender, 10 to 12 minutes more. Stir in fennel fronds before serving.

Fennel And Kale Pasta
Sweet fennel and bitter greens work beautifully together. Swiss Chard or other cooking green will work great as well.

1⁄2 c olive oil
1 onion, minced
1 medium fennel bulb fronds removed, halved and thinly sliced
salt and pepper
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 lb spaghetti
up to 3 lb kale or other cooking green washed and chopped
1 c grated parmesan

1. Heat oil in a large braising pan or skillet with a cover. Add onion; sauté over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in fennel; sauté until golden, about 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until fennel is tender, about 8 minutes longer. Stir in vinegar; simmer to blend flavors, 1 minute longer. Adjust seasonings.

2. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta; return to boil. Add kale; continue to cook until pasta is al dente, about 7 minutes.

3. Drain pasta and greens; toss with fennel mixture and cheese. Transfer portions to warm pasta bowls. Garnish with reserved minced fennel fronds. Serve immediately with more cheese passed separately.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Good Eats Newsletter - July 1, 2009

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains
1.5 lbs Tomatoes; 1 Bunch of Basil; 1 Bunch of Red Bore Kale; 1 Bunch of Carrots; 1 Bunch of Parsley; 1 Bunch of Garlic Scapes; 1 Head of Napa Cabbage; 1 Bunch of Scallions; 1 Bunch of Easter Egg Radishes; 1 Bunch of Dill; plus... some sites will receive Broccoli and others will get Zucchini

Localvore Share Members Also Receive
Elmore Mountain Bread
1 Dozen Deborah's Eggs
Dancing Cow Minuet Cheese
Castleton Crackers

Storage and Use Tips

Napa Cabbage - The flavor of Napa cabbage is somewhat milder and a bit sweeter than that of regular green cabbage. It is delicious raw or cooked, and can be substituted for regular cabbage in most recipes. It is extremely popular in China partly because of its versatility. In Korea it is pickled, salted, and flavored with ginger and chili peppers to make Korea's national dish kim chi. Store in a sealed plastic bag in your refrigerator.

Pete's Greens Video at Seven Days
Last week Seven Days' Eva Sollberger published a video for Seven Days website. Eva visited with Pete and Meg at the farm and talked lots about the local food movement and feeding Vermont. This is a really fun video that also gives a great glimpse of life on the farm. Check it out!

Click here to watch the video!







Summer Share Info
Yes, there are still just a few more Summer Shares still available. Please direct interested friends or family to me or to the website. We will prorate the cost of the remaining share weeks.
Summer Share
Meat Share



Chicken Orders
Good Eats Members may order chickens and have them delivered to their CSA sites. 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


Good Eats Members may order chickens and have them delivered to their CSA sites. 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




The Good Egg
By Julia Shipley
It’s a Friday in June in the washhouse at Pete’s Greens, and Deborah Rosewolf has just realized she needs to return to the fields and harvest 46 more pounds of spinach. She shoves the last four totes of lettuce, chevril, and kress across the concrete toward the gleaming stainless steel pool filled with water and the first mesclun of the season. As she dumps a tote of golden endive in, the brilliant yellowy lacy leaves brighten the sea of greens. With one hand she nabs imperfect leaves and throws them at the floor, with the other arm she churns through the watery mix. After she gives several swift ballet-like sweeps, assistants begin to lift the washed greens out with pool skimmers and tip them into tall tubs. Deb and Socorro bring in carrots.


When Deborah answered Pete Johnson’s ad for washhouse help, she was only looking for a stop-gap job. She had been working construction jobs for 34 years, driving graders and dozers, and the traveling, sometimes as far as Pennsylvania, was beginning to wear on her. “I wanted something closer to home, ” she says with a grin. But working at Pete’s wasn’t what she would have called her dream job - she wanted to work outside, not in the washhouse, but that was what he needed. So they gave each other a try. “He tested me—he gave me some crappy jobs.” She remembers spending a whole week pressure washing the side of the voluminous barn in the rain. But after showing her perseverance, Pete began to give her more responsibilities, “and I’ve learned a ton!” she says.

One year later, she’s lost 30 pounds keeping up with the brisk pace at Pete’s Greens, her watch dangles from her wrist like a bracelet, and she has gained two titles: Washhouse Manager and the “Egg Lady”
“Pete said if he didn’t find a new home for the chickens he was going to kill them,” Deborah explains. She’s referring to the 100 Rhode Island red hens that Pete purchased as a starter flock to supply eggs for Good Eats, but, dissatisfied with the process of raising hens, decided to de-accession last August. “So I said I’d take em.”

The hens made the move to Deborah’s. When egg production continued to decline as the hens got older, Pete nagged her about committing to a 500 hen replacement flock. “500!…I said, ‘how about two hundred?’” Deborah recalls. Six months later, on a foggy Sunday morning, she introduces me to the three hundred Rhode Island Red- Leg Horn crosses. Some hens prowl the yard outside, some are visiting in clusters, others have just gone in to lay. Inside their long cedar board palace tidy egg laying boxes line the back wall like school lockers. Almost all the materials for the building was recycled, salvaged, or homegrown. They buy chicken grain by the ton, and stack it in the ante room of the hen house where Phillip is polishing this morning’s eggs. They’re getting 170 dozen per week.

In addition to supplying the CSA members, Deb is selling eggs to the local health food stores and restaurants. “You have to pay for yourselves, don’t you girls?” Deb said to the cooing, croaking rusty colored hens pecking and strutting in their yard. When asked, “How long will they lay?” Deb looks away from the flock and states that after two years their production declines so sharply as to make keeping them unprofitable. So when the time comes, these birds will make great stews and pot pies. In the meantime they eat clover and grain, wander in and out of their mansion, and socialize with their sisters. Reflecting on the great changes in her life over the past year, changes begun by applying for a “temporary” job, she grins, “ I always wanted chickens.”

Julia Shipley, who has a whopping flock of ten hens, is a freelance writer and faculty in Sustainable Agriculture at Sterling College.

Localvore Lore
We have eggs again this week from "The Girls". Deborah had her Coming Out Party last weekend to celebrate her entire flock beginning to lay. You'll notice that the eggs are getting a bit more size to them as the hens mature. To go along with your breakfast eggs, Elmore Mountain is baking a flax seed bread this week.

We have a brand new item for the share this week. Castleton Crackers are the creation of Whitney Lamy who has been rolling out and hand cracking crackers in her Castleton, VT kitchen for family and friends for years. Witnessing the evolution of the artisan cheese movement in Vermont, it seemed natural to Whitney to market her artisan crackers to compliment these outstanding cheeses. These are hearty, flavorful, earthy crackers serve as a perfect vehicle for nice cheeses. They are great on their own, but won't overpower a selected cheese. Castleton Crackers come in three flavors: Middlebury Maple, Rutland Rye and Windham Wheat. An avid cook and baker, Whitney has taught cooking classes for years in Massachusetts and Vermont. A past winner of the King Arthur Flour Winterbake cooking contest, Whitney has also been featured in Bon Appetit magazine and is the host of the new cooking show, “What’s Cookin’ Rutland” airing monthly on PEG TV.

And to go along with your crackers, we have a tasty cheese from Dancing Cow. From the Dancing Cow website:

All of our cheese is handmade on the farm from raw cow's milk, un-cooled, that flows directly from the cows in the milking parlor into the cheese vat. Milk, fresh from the cows, arrives at the vat at the perfect temperature to begin the process of making our style of cheese. We make cheese seven days a week during the milking season, roughly from March to December. This rigorous and unique method of crafting cheese using milk exclusively from a single milking and never chilling, storing or heat treating the milk helps us to capture the true flavors of our "Terroir", the taste of this place. Carefully un molded and hand salted, our cheese is prepared for its affinage in the cave, either on our farm or at the Cellars at Jasper Hill. During its time in the cave the cheese is gently turned, brushed or washed until it emerges precisely when its creamy texture and flavor profiles are at their peak.

Menuet is "a tome style cheese that is sweet and nutty with a creamy texture and long, clean, lingering finish. It reminds you that contented cows make great milk and thus great cheese."


Meat Share

I was thinking about summer grilling when I put the share together for this week. Burgers, chops, ribs, and chicken!
Pete's Pastured Chicken - A whole bird for your roasting or grilling pleasure. Pete's chickens are just fantastic. These birds get all the greens they want throughout most of their life. The result is richly flavored, highly nutritious meat. For a really delicious bird, try this... Mince 3-6 cloves of garlic and place in a small bowl. Add 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp black pepper, 1-2 tsp dried rosemary minced, 1 tsp dried thyme. Mix this together. Lift the skin of the bird at the base of the breast bone and separate from the meat so that you can slide your hand under the skin. Then stuff this mixture on top of the breast meat under the skin.
Greenfield Highland Beef Ground Beef Grass-fed and grass-finished, Janet and Ray's Highland cattle produce a more nutritious beef. Less fat and fewer calories, yet richer in vitamin E, Omega 3's, beta-carotene and more. Highland beef are bred for their ability to thrive on grass and meats from Greenfields live up to this promise. Great burgers!
Country Style Ribs from North Hollow Farm - We sent out country style ribs in the Spring share to rave reviews from members. Located in Randolph, North Hollow farm raises its pigs with access to an outside area. They are working on their "humanely raised" certification. Country style ribs are great, marinated and slow cooked, finishing them off on the grill or under the broiler. You can also cut them up and use them to make chili, stews, or a rustic pasta sauce. Click here to check out a recipe for the ribs in the March 11, newsletter.
Maplewind Farm Pork Chops - Beth Whiting and Bruce Hennessey's farm is in Huntington. Using management intensive grazing they pasture 90 head of cattle, 100 sheep, 40-60 pigs, 400 broiler chickens, 100 layer hens, 50 turkeys, and 9 horses rotated over 80 acres. Wow. They really do an exemplary job of raising all of their animals. ON top of this Beth has several acres of vegetables (that she tills with horses) and is running her own CSA. Their pigs are raised on pasture and supplemented with grain.

Recipes


Stir Fried Napa Cabbage and Carrots
Here's a simple quick recipe that you could serve with brown rice. This is a basic stir fry into which you could sub in broccoli, garlic scapes, some cooked chicken or pork or beef, and garnish with scallions too. From the 75th Anniversary Edition of the Joy of Cooking.

Combine in small bowl:
2.5 TB tamari
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

1 TB canola oil (or sunflower)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 TB fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 cups shredded carrots
1 medium Napa Cabbage, thinly sliced
Minced parsley or cilantro

Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add and stir fry the garlic and ginger for a few seconds taking care not to allow the garlic to brown. Add the carrots and stir fry for 3 minutes. Add the cabbage and stir fry until tender, about 3 more minutes. Add the tamari mixture and heat through, stiring to coat the vegetables. Serve garnished with minced parsley or cilantro.

Tuscan White Bean Soup with Rosemary and Kale
This is a classic Northern Italian Dish, simple, flavourful, wholesome, and healthy. Navy beans make a nice substitute if you don't have cannelini. You can also add 1/2 cup of small dried pasta like orzo tp this soup. Serve with a nice crusty bread.
From the Rebar Modern Food Cookbook by Audrey Austerberg & Wanda Urbanowicz

2 cups dried cannellini beans soaked overnight (or 3 cans cooked)
10 cups water
4 Bay leaves
2 tsp + 1 tsp salt
1 TB minced rosemary
1 TB olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
8 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2-3 medium tomatoes
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 TB balsamic vinegar
1 small bunch of kale
parsley

Drain and rinse the soaked beans and place them in a large pot with Bay leaves, 2 tsp rosemary, and cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until the beans are tender. In the last 15 mins, add 2 tsp salt to the beans.

When beans are tender, heat olive oil in a soup pot and add onion, remaining 1 tsp salt and chile flakes. Saute until onions are lightly golden, then add the garlic and remaining rosemary. Cook several minutes, then add the cooked beans and their cooking liquid (or the canned beans). Bring to a simmer, add the tomatoes and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

Remove the stems from the kale, tear or roughly chop the leaves and rinse well. Add the leaves to the soup and cook until wilted. Season the soup to taste with balsamic vinegar, cracked pepper, and more salt. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Pasta at My House
This is my kind of veggie week. I really never tire of fresh veggies and pasta and fortunately, neither does my family.

4 cloves garlic minced
1 bunch garlic scapes - chopped
2-3 tomatoes chopped
1 zucchini sliced or 1 head and stem of broccoli - stem sliced and florets broken off
1 bunch basil
Olive Oil - 2 TB
salt and pepper
1 lb pasta

Bring pot of salted water to boil on the stove for pasta. Meanwhile prepare the vegetables. When the water comes to a boil add the pasta and cook to al dente according to directions.

Heat Olive oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and garlic scapes the pan and cook for just a minute or two without browning garlic. Add the tomatoes, and simmer a few minutes more. Add the zucchini or broccoli and anything else you'd like to toss in (greens? olives?). Simmer some more until tomatoes have thickened and vegetables are crisp tender. Taste sauce and add salt or pepper to taste.

Drain pasta and mix in the veggie/tomato sauce with the pasta. Add a glug of olive oil if you need to moisten a bit more. Then add chopped basil. Serve with some grated parm and even feta if you'd like.

Herbed Roast Chicken
For a really delicious roasted bird, try this method of flavoring your roast chicken. I have given herb quantities but you can add lots more to even more flavor effect. Leftover chicken sandwiches from birds cooked this way are amazingly good.

3-6 cloves garlic
dried rosemary
dried thyme
salt
black pepper

Rinse your bird well under cold water. After rinsing, salt the skin of the bird and the cavity. Then, mince 3-6 cloves of garlic and place in a small bowl. Add 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp black pepper, 1-2 tsp dried rosemary minced, 1 tsp dried thyme. Mix this together. Crushed red pepper is great too, but maybe not for the kids. Lift the skin of the bird at the base of the breast bone and separate from the meat so that you can slide your hand under the skin. Then stuff this mixture on top of the breast meat under the skin. Finally brush olive oil onto the skin of the bird and roast in 400 degree oven until done. The herbs add loads of flavor to the already delicious meat!