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.

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