Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Good Eats Newsletter - January 27, 2010

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains:
2 lbs Banana Fingerling Potatoes; 2 lbs Sugarsnax and Chanteney Carrots; 2 lbs Parsnips; 2 lbs Yellow Onions plus.....

Shoot/Claytonia Mix
1 Bag Frozen Zucchini

Localvore Offerings Include:
Elmore Mountain Country French Bread
1 Dozen Pa Pa Doodles or Gopher Broke Farm Eggs
Vt Soy Tofu Scramble
2 lbs Frozen Elderberries

Pete's Farm Update
What a wild and windy January day! We lost almost all our snow - don't worry we'll probably be buried in April. Two springs ago our fields were not clear of snow until April 18. I expect them to be clear most years right around April 1 and plan accordingly. I just about went crazy that snowy spring as I have so much pent up energy that time of year and it was really hard to know that every day we were getting further behind. But like most things, it turned out fine.

Things on the farm are great! Our soil grown sprouts are doing better than ever - this is a tricky crop that is fast paced and prone to problems. Meg has learned alot and worked out a lot of kinks the past couple years. Claytonia (the spade shaped mild green in the mix) is being harvested from unheated greenhouses. This plant continues to amaze with its ability to not only survive but actually grow in January. On Feb. 1 we start tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, billions of onions, and other greenery such as napa cabbage, scallions, and chard. These plants will be started in the heated greenhouse on a warm concrete slab. They'll grow rapidly and be transplanted in a month or more to their final growing spot somewhere in the greenhouses.

Steve is just about wrapped up getting equipment prepared for the new season and I'm just about finished buying stuff for the new season. Large amounts of seeds and other supplies have been ordered and are arriving daily. Yesterday I finished making the years supply of potting mix. I mix very nice well aged compost, peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, and several organic fertilizers with the manure spreader, running it through a couple times until it it thoroughly blended. It feels good to have a huge pile waiting to receive seeds.

Later this week Meg and I are traveling to Syracuse to speak at a conference and then on to Guelph, Ontario to speak at another conference. We are driving a pickup pulling a huge trailer full of equipment. We're trading some greens washing equipment that we don't use and a couple other items for a root sizing machine that will make us a lot more efficient in the washhouse. We're excited to visit Willsie Equipment, a true vegetable equipment dealership. Wish us luck getting across the border and back. ~Pete


Harvesting Claytonia Jan 25, 2009
In an unheated greemhouse Deb and Danika pull the layers of row cover off of the Claytonia and then harvest by hand using harvest knives. The greens are carried back to the wash-house in totes where they are washed and bagged with the sprouts and shoots for share members.

Spring Share Sign-up Forms due by February 10th
There's only two weeks left to get your sign up sheet in before the start of the Spring share. To ensure delivery the first week, February 17th, I need to have your forms and payment by February 10th.

Don't miss out on weekly deliveries of fresh, organic Vermont grown goodness and the wide variety of localvore staples and artisan products that the share brings. We will continue to grow shoots and sprouts and some winter salad greens through the early months of the share but by April you can expect a wide variety of fresh spring greens, from mesclun and baby spinach and arugula to pac choi, chard and a variety of Asian greens. Also in April, winter storage crops give way to fresh spring onions, baby beets, scallions, spring turnips and by May and June, many more vegetables are added to the list. As always, we will continue to bring you a variety of localvore items. This share we'll be able to supply eggs every other week, bread most weeks, local flours and grains regularly, and we'll continue to bring a selection of new cheeses, sweeteners, cooking oils and vinegars, and other local staples each week.

Sign-up for the Spring Localvore Share (Feb 17th - Jun 9th)
Sign-up for the Spring Meat Share (4 Deliveries: Mar 3, Apr 7, May 5, June 2)

Job Openings at Pete's Greens
We are looking for two people with unique skills to fill important positions on the farm. Complete job descriptions for these positions may be found on on our site on our job postings page.

Interested applicants should email cover letter and resume to me:
Please put the job title in the subject line of the email.

Or send cover letter and resume by mail to:
Job Openings
Pete's Greens
266 S. Craftsbury Rd
Craftsbury, VT 05826

Wash-House Manager
The wash house manager is a key position at Pete's Greens as this person oversees all handling of produce on the farm and communicates with all other members of our team. The wash house manager is involved in the harvest of vegetables from the fields, and oversees the cleaning, grading and packing of our produce. The wash house manager oversees 2-6 people working at different stations ensuring that a high level of quality control is maintained by all and processing is handled in an efficient manner. This is a physically and mentally demanding job requiring great organizational skills, ample energy, attention to detail, ability to manage and motivate people, clear written and verbal communication skills, and a positive attitude. This is a year round position with a 4 day work week. Benefits include produce and partial health insurance. Pay is commensurate with abilities with potential for excellent pay.

Kitchen Manager
We are looking for an energetic and highly motivated individual to manage our commercial kitchen. The kitchen manager is responsible for preserving a portion of the farm's harvest by means of freezing, canning, or incorporation into lacto-fermented products. The kitchen manager will help bring value added products to our growing Good Eats CSA, a year round farmers' market in Montpelier and our popular farmstand in Craftsbury Village. The position requires an individual who is creative, focused and organized; is able to work independently and efficiently; can work well in a team environment; and can train and supervise kitchen staff. Knowledge of food, food preservation techniques, food safety is critical with proven ability to create and standardize large volume recipes a plus. Full time flexible hours. Longer hours may be required during the harvest months with fewer hours in the winter months. Pay is dependent on experience.

Pete's Pastured Chicken
Our chickens live(d) a fabulous life roaming around the fields in the good company of their friends the pigs. From an early age they dined on our sprouts and shoots before they were able to move out onto organic pasture land. It is a documented fact that the meat of pastured poultry is packed with a higher vitamin content and is lower in fat than birds raised in the standard barn environment. Most free range birds aren't pastured and may never eat grass, they just have more room to roam in their barns and yards than factory birds. Pastured meats are the healthiest for you and for the environment.

Get your birds now! We deliver orders weekly to pick up sites. Click here to go directly to the chicken page where you can download an order form.

Localvore Lore
This week Andrew and Blair have baked Elmore Mountain Country French loaves. This is made with Milanaise organic winter wheat flour, Ben Gleason's organic whole wheat flour, Milanaise whole rye flour, sea salt, and Elmore's sourdough yeast. This bread is one of my favorite loaves.

Late last Summer, Todd Hardie of Honey Gardens Apiaries worked hard to pick and bag enough elderberries to include in the share. It was not an easy task to accumulate the quantity we needed but we were both determined to make it happen. A number of years ago, I tried Todd's Elderberry Syrup plant medicine and discovered how incredibly well it kept a sore throat from turning into a cold. Time and again, I am able to avert getting sick if I start with the elderberries as soon as I feel a cold coming on. I keep a bag in my freezer now and I regularly add elderberries to smoothies, yogurt, and bowls of granola and oatmeal. The berries do have small seeds but I don't mind. A recipe below gives a simple method for extracting this special juice from the berries so you can have your own plant medicine on hand plus I have included a recipe for elderberry muffins. More elderberry recipes can be found at Honey Gardens website on the recipe page. From Todd:

Elderberries have long been used for healing by Native peoples and in the Vermont farm kitchen. Elderberries are rich in vitamin C and traditionally have been used to treat colds and the flu. Modern research has found that elderberries are extremely high in anthocyanins which give the elderberry its distinct purple color. These specific anthocyanins are thought to be responsible for the elderberries potent antiviral and anti-inflammatory actions. This in turn helps the body build up the immune system and fight off some viruses that chemical medicines do not work on.

Honey Gardens Apiaries’ relationship with elderberries began with Lewis Hill in Greensboro, Vermont. His commitment to elderberries included breeding a stock that was winter hardy and the production of a larger berry. We raise organic berries at our honey house on Route 7 in Ferrisburgh from this stock of Lewis Hill and also get them from our partner organic farm nearby.
The elderberry has been helpful in support of the prevention and cure of the virus in swine flu virus and the common cold.

The berries in your CSA share may be used in warm or cold cereal (with raw honey, yum !), made into a syrup and frozen into ice trays and then made into “cocktails” to mix throughout the winter and year with orange juice (thank you, Lewis), used in pies, or topping for ice cream.

The folks at Vermont Soy have been working on a new product and we are among the first to be able to try it. Tofu Scramble is made with Vermont Soy tofu, garlic, ginger, turmeric for flavor and color. It is great in a breakfast burrito or served as an alternative to egg salad. Also great in a stir fry of course, and a recipe from VT Soy is included below. They are very interested to hear responses from you all on how you enjoy this new product, so please email your comments.

And finally, we have eggs for you all again, fresh from Pa Pa Doodles Farm and from Gopher Broke Farm.

Storage and Use Tips
Cornmeal - There is not cornmeal in this week's share. We sent it out last week and I wanted to mention that what you received was freshly ground cornmeal and as such it will oxidize over time as it sits unrefrigerated. If you don't use cornmeal often and if your bag will last you a couple of months or more, it's best to store in either the fridge or the freezer to maintain freshness. I keep mine in a container in the freezer.

Frozen Zucchini! - How nice is it to have a little zucchini this week? Ubiquitous in summer, when the zucchini and summer squash go away in the fall it's always a bit sad. I have been comforted to know that a pile of our harvest was squirreled away in the freezer. When you thaw the zucchini, it will lose a lot of water. This is perfect for baking actually and for many other recipes as well. Let it thaw, and then squeeze out all the excess water and then add the zucchini to your recipe.

David and Renee Wahler's meal plan for the week

David and Renee Wahler live in nearby Wolcott and joined the CSA in 2008. I have heard David mention that he plans his week around the share ingredients and he and Pete had a chat about this last week when he stopped by the farm. I asked if they would be willing to share their strategy and meal plan with all of you. I'll be interested to hear how all of you enjoy this segment. If any of you would like to share your meal planning for future shares, please email me to let me know.

For the past two years, we have subscribed to Pete’s Greens localvore CSA Shares. This most recent year included also the meat share program. By trial and error, we arrived at a workable process for ourselves that has helped us to make full use of the shares each week, with no waste or spoilage. As a result of proactively planning our menus, we have saved money along with eating great, healthy food being produced mainly by our neighbors. We compliment our CSA shares with other necessary food shopping done, primarily, at the Buffalo Mountain Co-op. We no longer do compulsive food purchasing, as each week we receive, with interest and enthusiasm, our new allotment of shares along with many great recipes included in the newsletter. Not only has the program introduced us to such varied recipes, it has stimulated our interest in researching others on the internet, adding to our enjoyment of the CSA program.

Generally, we start out each week by trying to prepare a base meal, usually on Wednesdays, often using a slow cooker. This meal may be a whole chicken, a pot of chili, or meat loaf. It becomes the base for several meals during the week to which we, in turn, add the vegetable shares and other localvore products we receive.

Another helpful tool we use is to keep a running log of the staples we get from the shares, such as flour, grains, honey, frozen fruits and vegetables (i.e., frozen tomatoes). We don’t lose track of what we have and we’ve become quite inventive in using the products before we receive another round of staples! ~ Dave and Renee


Mama's Potato Soup
I made a pot of this soup last night and savored every bite, again. I have been making this soup for 12 years or more and it never lets me down. It's a simple Mexican style soup that uses a pretty basic assortment of vegetables, but they come together beautifully and it's delicious. And spicy! The recipe comes from the Garlic Lovers Cookbook put out by Gilroy Garlic Festival Association. (Gilroy, CA is the self proclaimed garlic capitol of the world). Makes 4-6 servings.

2 TB sunflower oil
4 cloves garlic
1 cup finely chopped onion
3 medium sized tomatoes (perfect place to use your frozen tomatoes - I used 2 cups of tomatoes I had canned)
1/2 cup green chilies (or just 2 jalapenos or chili peppers or what have you - see below!)
1 TB flour
2 Quarts chicken broth (I used turkey this time and veggie broth is great too)
2.5 cups peeled raw potatoes, cut into small cubes
2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 tsp black pepper
2 medium-sized carrorts, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium zucchini (or half a bag frozen)

Garnish with handful of grated cheddar for each bowl of soup.
*Optional - a dollop of sour cream in the bowls
*Optional - Cilantro - if you have fresh or frozen cilantro, toss it in!

*Hot peppers - I once actually put the amount of peppers specified in the recipe, using jalapenos and served it at a party. Holy Moly. I would come across people who'd been sitting for half an hour or more at the table, teary eyed and sweating, trying to get through a bowl of soup, having downed a couple beers in the process just to cool it down. I find that just a couple peppers is plenty spice. In the summer I can hot peppers so I have them around to use in winter. I used 2 canned green chile peppers in my most recent batch.

Heat oil in a 3-Quart saucepan and add garlic, onions, tomatoes and green chilies; saute for 3 mins. Stir in flour and cook for 2 more. Continue stirring as you pour in the hot broth. Add potatoes, salt and pepper. Cover pan and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Add carrots and zucchini and cook for 15 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender. Top dress with a handful of grated cheddar and add a dollop of sour cream if it suits you.

Elderberry Juice
This is a simple method for juice extraction allowing you to store the elderberry juice in a way that may make it easier for you to incorporate into your daily diet.

Prepare the berries as for jelly, by removing large stems from ripe elderberries. Crush them in a saucepan and place over low heat until the juice begins to flow. Simmer gently for about 15 minutes. (Add a small amount of water if you want a less concentrated juice.) Strain it through a jelly bag. If you wish, add honey to taste, and perhaps a bit of lemon juice. Chill, and either use right away or squirrel into the freezer. Freezing into ice cube trays and then transferring to a bag makes for easy retrieval.

Elderberry Muffins
Todd supplied this recipe. It's one that Nancy & Lewis Hill developed. Lewis had a lifetime relationship with elderberries and patiently waited for Todd to catch on to their benefits for health.

2/3 cup honey

2.5 tablespoons shortening

3 cups flour

2 tsp. baking powder

pinch of salt

1 egg
1 cup milk
1 cup elderberries

Cream together shortening and honey. Sift together flour and baking powder and salt and set aside. Add egg to creamed mixture. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture in 3 parts alternating with milk mixture in 2 parts. Fold in elderberries. Pour into greased muffin tins (yield 12 muffins), and bake in 350 degree oven approximately 20 minutes.

Zucchini-Potato Frittata
Frittatas are so adaptable and this one would be happy to have the addition of some of the peppers from a couple weeks ago if you still have them left. The addition of herbs can change the tune of a frittata as will the type of cheese used so lots of room to be creative. This one is perfect for the share this week. The recipe has been adapted from Andrea Chessman's Serving up the Harvest. Serves 4-6.

1 medium zucchini (or half a bag of frozen)
4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or sunflower)
1.5 lbs potatoes
1 large onion
1/4 lb bacon or some ham, diced
6 eggs
1 cup grated cheddar

Thaw zucchini. Squeeze out extra juice and set aside.

Heat 3 TB oil over medium-high heat in a large well-seasoned cast iron skillet or ovenproof nonstick skillet. Add the potatoes and onion, reduce the heat to med-low, and cook, flipping and stirring occasionally until the potatoes are soft, about 20 mins (you can cover to speed the process and hold in moisture). Increase the heat to medium-high and continue cooking, tossing occasionally, until potatoes are brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon but keep the skillet on the burner.

Add the zucchini and bacon to the skillet and saute over medium high heat, until the bacon/ham is cooked. Remove zucchini and bacon. Keep the skillet over the heat.

Beat the eggs and pepper to taste in a medium bowl until well blended. Fold in the potatoes, zucchini and bacon, and cheese.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Add 1-2 TB oil to the skillet as needed to lightly coat the bottom. Pour in the egg mixture, reduce heat to med-low, and cook without stirring until the bottom is set about 10 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the top is set, 5 to 15 minutes, checking every 5 mins.

Place a serving plate on top of the skillet and carefully invert. The frittata should fall out of the pan. Cut into wedges and serve.

Vermont Soy Tofu Scramble Stir Fry
This recipe is adapted from a large one created by Connor Graham for Vermont Soy. Connor is a 2009 NECI grad and has recently joined the team at Vermont Soy.

1 TB oil
1 small red onion
thumb sized piece of ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 oz frozen zucchini (or cabbage!)
1 medium carrot
1 10-14 oz package tofu scramble
2 oz OJ
2 TB tamari
2 TB rice wine vinegar

Heat a large skillet on medium high w/ oil and add sliced red onions. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally for about 2-3 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic to the onions and stir until evenly distributed. After about 1 minute, add the shredded carrots and zucchini to the stir fry mixture. Cook and stir for a several minutes. Add the tofu scramble to the veggies and stir until the mixture is well blended. Increase your heat slightly just before adding the OJ, tamari, and rice wine vinegar. Allow the juices to reduce slightly until nearly all liquid is incorprated into the stir fry. Remove from heat and serve.

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