Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Good Eats Newsletter - February 17, 2010

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains:

2 lbs Nicola Potatoes; 2 lbs Celeriac; 2 lbs Parsnips; 2 lbs Red Onions; 1-2 Heads of Garlic; plus...

Frozen Sweet Mixed Peppers
Bag of Shoots/Claytonia Salad Mix

Localvore Offerings Include:
Red Hen Cyrus Pringle Bread
Champlain Orchards Empire Apples
Butterworks Whole Wheat Flour
Vt Butter and Cheese Creme Fraiche

Welcome to the Spring Share!
Your first pick-up is tomorrow (Wednesday).

Picking Up Your Share
If you are unsure of your pick-up times or site location, please visit our website's Pick-Up page. If you have any questions about your pick-up please email Amy Skelton. Though you may leave a message on voice mail at 802.586.2882 x2, email will get a quicker response.

When Picking Up Your Share Please:
Clipboard #1 - Check off your name on the pick-up list. The first clipboard contains a list of all share members at your site. Note that only one name is listed for each share. If you can't find your name on the list, look for your share partners name. Checking off your name lets us know who has picked up and is extremely helpful in solving any mysteries at the end of the day.

Check your share type on the list. Share types are Localvore, and Localvore Vegetarian. If you are listed incorrectly, let Amy know via email.

Clipboard #2 - Select your items following the Pick Up Instructions. These are posted on the second clipcoard. Follow the specific item list/instructions for the share you have selected to assemble your share. (Localvore Vegetarian or Localvore)
If you are sharing a share with someone - coordinate with your share-mate to make sure that you DON'T take double the amount of any items. All shares at the sites are whole shares.
Please note that the first Meat Share pick up is not this week, it is March 3rd.

What To Do If You Have a Problem at Pick Up

Though we do our best to make sure that every delivery and pick-up goes smoothly, there are the occasional shortages and disappointments. Should you arrive at your pick-up spot to find that one or more of your items are missing or that some of your produce is in unsatisfactory condition, please let us know right away! Our goal is 100% satisfaction. If you can call or email Amy as soon as you discover the problem, we may be able to resolve it the same day or the following day. If you would like to receive an item that you missed at pick-up, you must contact Amy by Thursday morning.

If we have not heard from anyone, by Thursday afternoon our site hosts are instructed to donate leftover food, assuring that they don't end up with bad food on their hands.

If we can't resolve your issue right away, contact Amy via email to arrange a replacement or substitution the following week.

Pete's Musings
Welcome to a new share period! The members who join for this period are the true die-hards, the hard core local eaters. Thanks for your commitment and I think that you'll find this share will be better than in the past. We have an earlier start on fresh greenhouse vegetables (pac choi, napa cabbage, chard and head lettuce and tomatoes are all an inch tall and growing fast), and lots of goodies remain in our walk in freezer. The farm is clicking along-hiring new crew members, putting the finishing touches on a new equipment shed, making orders to add minimal heat to a few more greenhouses, starting seeds almost daily, seeding greens in unheated greenhouses. We couldn't ask for nicer winter weather with perfect snow for afternoon skiing but not enough snow or cold to be a real hassle.

Hope some of you attended the NOFA conference last weekend at UVM. It was great. Excellent energy and great to have our whole congressional delegation and the U.S. Secretary of Ag. Tom Vilsack speak to a packed house in Ira Allen chapel. Vilsack mentioned Pete's Greens in his speech which was exciting. While most of our national ag policy still favors mega farms and non local production it is clear that Vilsack and the Obama administration are interested in fostering and supporting small local producers in unprecedented ways. It feels really good that small and local is moving beyond a fringe element and becoming a political force. ~ Pete

Newsletter Intro

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

If you have any feedback on the newsletter, recipe contributions or just general questions about the CSA, feel free to email me. 
We also post each newsletter on our blog. It generally gets posted sometime on Wednesday. There's a good history there for recipes, farm stories and share contents. 

Add amy@petesgreens.com to your address book to limit the possibility of having newsletters filtered as spam.

Spring Meat Share Still Open
The Spring Localvore share is full, but we are continuing to accept members for the meat share. Once a month, the meat share delivers a selection of sustainably farmed, grass fed meats from Pete's and from other nearby farms that we know and love. All animals grown for the share are grown without use of hormones or chemical dewormers etc. All are raised on pasture (except the trout!) and many raised organically. This is meat grown in a way that is actually good for our environment, providing the needed fertility to compliment other crops grown on these farms. Grass fed meats contain a much higher vitamin concentration and much lower fat content than other meats. These meats are good for body and soul.

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 accepting applications for the the positions of wash-house manager and kitchen manager at the farm. These are two key positions for us. Complete job descriptions for these positions may be found on our site on our job postings page.

Wash-house Manager
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.
Kitchen Manager
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 CSA, a year round farmers' market in Montpelier and our 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.

Help Protect Our Community’s Farmland!

Applecheek Farm:
A Community Asset
For over 40 years, the Clark family has owned Applecheek Farm producing organic milk and pasture-raised meat. They sell their meats at the Stowe and Montpelier farmers’ markets, and to area restaurants and stores. A year-round localvore store was recently opened on the farm.

In addition to providing local food, the farm serves as a valuable educational and recreational resource for the region and its visitors. The Clark family offers the community horse-drawn hay and sleigh rides, walks on their farm trails, picnics, and fabulous food prepared by Chef Jason Clark in their community hall. The Clarks also host field trips for area students. The farm has 125 acres of hay meadows and rotational pasture, all containing high-quality agricultural soil. Managed forestland covers the remaining 118 acres, which have a network of trails used in the farm’s popular sleigh rides and llama treks. Applecheek Farm offers majestic views of Elmore Mountain, the Worcester Range, and Mt. Mansfield. It is also on the road that leads to Green River Reservoir.
The Vermont Land Trust, together with the Clark Family are working to permanently protect Applecheek Farm. The Clark family would like to conserve their land to help transition the farm to the next generation and to offset the costs of diversifying the farm’s products. Nearly 90 percent of the money needed has been raised—there is just $33,000 to raise before the March 1 deadline. Your contribution will help secure this local food and educational resource for the community.

Tax-deductible gifts or pledges can be mailed by March 1, 2010 to:
Vermont Land Trust 8 Bailey Avenue Montpelier, VT 05602

Please make checks payable to the Vermont Land Trust and write “Applecheek Farm” in the memo line. For more information, contact: Tracy Zschau, Vermont Land Trust (802) 748-6089; tracy@vlt.org

Storage and Use Tips

Nicola Potatoes - These slightly waxy potatoes have a smooth yellow exterior and white and are creamy within. Nicolas are excellent for boiling, roasting and using in salads. Store in a cool dry place away from onions.

Celeriac - The gnarly looking thing in your bag is celeriac aka celery root. Celeriac is in the celery family but is grown for it's root instead of its stalk. It has a hint of celery taste and smell. Do your best to peel the exterior of the celery root (or cut off with a knife) without loosing too much of its cream colored flesh. Celeriac makes a tasty raw salad, though it should be mixed in with a bit of acid like vinegar or lemon juice to keep it from turning brown. It is also delicious in soups, casseroles, gratins, or boiled and mashed with potatoes. Celeriac should be stored unwashed, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your refrigerator.

Parsnips - Parsnips are usually eaten cooked, they can also be eaten raw like their relatives, the carrots. They have a sweet nutty flavor and lend themselves well to cooking with honey or maple syrup and butter and nutmeg, curries with ginger and garlic, and stews with sage and thyme. They are also quite aromatic. They are a very flexible starch. Try them sauteed, baked, roasted and mashed, as well as in soups and stews. Store parsnips as you would carrots, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.

Frozen Sweet Mixed Peppers - At the height of the season this summer, we stowed away lots of fresh peppers for Good Eats. In most bags, you will receive a mix of pepper varieties, some sweet green peppers, some sweet red peppers and there may very well be some mildly spicy peppers as well (If you are concerned with that, taking the seeds out of your peppers will go a long way toward minimizing the spiciness in your dish.) Leave peppers in the freezer til you are ready to use them. Then take out the peppers you will use for the dish you are making, and cut them as required for your recipe while they are still frozen. As they thaw they will soften and become harder to chop. These peppers can be used in any recipe that calls for cooking peppers. Chop them and toss them onto a pizza, or into a pasta dish, in a casserole, or alongside onions when grilling your meats.

Shoots/Salad Mix - The salad mix today contains sunflower shoots, Claytonia greens (the spade shaped mild green), and chickweed (the larger leaf in the bag). There may be an occasional sunflower hull in your bags. Though we try to get each one, invariably we miss a few here and there!

Onions - PLEASE READ! - We are doing our absolute best to find the flawed ones but a percentage of our onions have a layer deep inside that is spoiled. This was caused by the excessively wet summer and the problem is that we usually cannot tell the bad ones from the outside. We are valuing the onions at half price and the rest of the onion is perfectly good. Just remove the spoiled scale and use the rest of the onion as you normally would. Thanks for your understanding-this is one of the challenges of farming in a variable climate.

Localvore Lore
At Red Hen Baking Co today, Randy is preparing to bake his Cyrus Pringle loaves for Good Eats. This bread is made with all Vermont-grown wheat - 15% is Ben Gleason’s whole wheat and 85% is roller-milled white flour grown on Aurora Farms in Charlotte. Cyrus Pringle is a mild, versatile bread with a thin, crisp crust. It’s plenty chewy, so it stands up well to spreading things like butter or cream cheese or dipping in soups.

From Champlain Orchards we have Empire Apples. We had this apple variety somewhat recently in the share but they remain so crisp & juicy, and we had such good feedback on them that I decided to put them in again this week.

From Butterworks Farm, Jack Lazor brought us some of his bread flour. This is certified organic, whole wheat bread flour. The flour was ground fresh last week at the farm for the share this week. This flour is made from the whole grain and should be stored in a cool, dry place. If you think you will use it slowly, the fridge or the freezer is really the best place to keep it.

The Crème Fraîche from Vermont Butter and Cheese Co is wonderful. Crème Fraîche is a thickened cultured cream with a slightly tangy, nutty flavor and velvety, rich texture most similar to sour cream. It is perfect for thickening sauces and soups because it can be boiled without curdling. It is also delicious spooned over fresh fruit desserts. A dairy buyer is quoted as saying "It's one of the most extraordinary substances in the world of dairy, of gastronomy. To compare it to American sour cream is to compare spam to foie gras". Vermont Crème Fraîche is exquisitely rich, with a cultured, nutty flavor and creamy texture It was awarded 2nd Place in the American Cheese Society 2007 Awards in the Cow's Milk Creme Fraiche category.


Cream of Parsnip Soup
This recipe came to me by way of long time member Margi Swett who said it was wonderful. This one has been modified from a Canyon Ranch recipe created for Epicurious. Serves 8.

2 teaspoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup minced onion, plus 1-2 cloves garlic

3/4 cup white wine

3 1/2 cups peeled, chopped parsnips (about 9 small)

5 cups chicken stock
3/4 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar

3/4 teaspoon salt

Pinch pepper

3/4 cup half-and-half (or half milk, half Creme Fraiche)

In wide saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add onion and garlic and sauté, stirring, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add wine, stir well, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until wine is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
Add parsnips, chicken stock, vinegar, salt, and pepper and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently, uncovered, until parsnips are completely tender, about 45 minutes. Remove pan from heat and use immersion blender to purée the soup (or cool slightly and purée in batches in standing blender, transferring purée to clean saucepan). Whisk in half-and-half (or milk/creme fraiche). Set over low heat and rewarm until steaming. Serve 3/4 cup portions in soup bowls.

Apple, Parsnip and Potato Puree
A perfect recipe for this share, this one is from EatingWell September/October 1996. Sweet apples and earthy parsnips add depth to potato puree. Serves 4.

2 sweet fragrant apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (about 4 potatoes)
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
Freshly ground white pepper, to taste

Combine apples, parsnips, potatoes and garlic in a large saucepan. Pour in cold water to cover, add salt and bring to a boil. Partially cover the pan and simmer over medium-low heat until the vegetables are very tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and mash with a potato masher until smooth. Stir in sour cream. Season with salt and pepper.
Winter Creme Fraiche Baked Potato Soup
The recipe was supplied by Vt Butter and Cheese. Serves 8.

5 baked potatoes
4 slices of bacon, chopped
1 small onion, diced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups 1% milk
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
8 oz creme fraiche
1 tsp black pepper
3/4 cup scallions

In the oven, bake the potatoes at 400°F for one hour, then peel and mash coarsely. In a large casserole, cook the bacon and onions over medium heat until onions are translucent. Sprinkle flour over bacon and onions and stir until the mixture. Lower the heat and gradually whisk in the milk til blended. Turn heat back to medium and allow the milk mixture to thicken and come to a slow boil while stirring. Add mashed potatoes and cheese stirring until the cheese is melted. Lower the heat and add the creme fraiche, black pepper, and half the scallions. Cover and lower the heat for about 10 minutes, until hot (do not boil). Place soup in bowls and garnish with remaining scallions (and more grated cheese if you would like).
Whole Wheat Apple Muffins

These dark, moist muffins will keep well for several days, and the brown sugar on top, should you not skimp on it, adds a crunchy touch. Adapted from King Arthur Flour. Yield: 12-18 muffins

1 cup (4 ounces) whole wheat flour

1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar

1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk or yogurt

2 large apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Grease and flour 18 muffin cups and set aside.

Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and add the granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well; stop once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.Mix in the buttermilk gently. (If you over-mix, the buttermilk will cause the mixture to curdle.) Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the apple chunks.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar on top.

Bake for 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 400°F, and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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