Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - June 25, 2008

Important Share Information
Thank you to all for a great first week of the share! We made it through the first pick-up of the share period with only a couple of hiccups. Those of you who informed me of missing share contents last week should look for a bag or box with your name on it this week. You'll want to grab your labeled items along with this week's share when you pick-up.

Please bring back your empty plastic bags and egg cartons when you pick-up. You'll see spots for collecting both. Thank you for helping with our recycling effort!

Pick-Up Reminders
Tim is replacing any missing clipboards at the pick-up sites this week. Look for the member list on the clipboard. The pick-up instructions will be behind the name list on the same clipboard. (Except for Concept2, which is on a bulletin board).

  • Please cross of your share name before moving on to this week's instructions.
  • If you don't see your name (or your sharemate's), please contact us immediately.
  • Please follow the instructions for the type of share we have listed for you. If you think that there has been a mistake, please call or email Nancy right away.
  • Please coordinate with your sharemate to make sure you only pick-up once. #1 above helps with this a lot!

We are always looking for feedback as we move through the share period. Please send any positive and not-so-positive comments to Nancy. If there are any issues, we would really like to hear about them as soon as they arise! You can email or call 586.2882 x2.

Newsletter Archives on Our Blog
As many of you may already know, we archive our previous newsletters at We usually post the newsletter on the blog the same day as the share delivery. Going back to August of 2007, it's a great place to look for past recipes. There are also some interesting local food related articles posted there. You can subscribe to the blog as an RSS feed. If you're using My Yahoo!, for example, you can set it up so that the newsletter feed automatically updates to your homepage.

Open House July 13th
I feel like a broken record here, always promising details of the Open House and never quite delivering. I have been purposely dragging my feet, hoping to arrange for music at the farm. And today, we were finally able to confirm that we'll have Katie Trautz (of Mayfly and Knotty Pine fame), along with Kathleen Turner to play for us at the Open House. We are sure that you will love their music. They will be playing from 11:30 to 1:30. The Open House itself goes from 11am to 3pm, with the last hour reserved for a CSA Member meeting with Pete and crew. I really will be sending out an invitation with all the particulars tomorrow. I promise.

This Week's Share Contains
Parsnips; French Breakfast Radishes; Bunched Beets; Sweet Salad Turnips -or- Beet Greens; Bunch Mizuna -or- Mibuna; Head Napa Cabbage; Parsley; Bunch Scallions; Head Lettuce; Braising Greens; Blueledge Farm Chevre*; Champlain Orchards Sweet Red Cherries*; and Les Fermes Longpres Sunflower Oil*.

*Localvore share only.

Storage and Use Tips
Greens, Greens & Greens - Even though we pine for our greens all winter, when they come in full-force it can sometimes be overwhelming. This is especially true, when you include all the bonus greens that come attached to beets, turnips and radishes. It's a shame to let any go to waste! When you receive your share, don't forget to separate all the greens from any attached roots for storage. Now, take a quick inventory of all of the greens and try to realistically estimate what you'll be able to eat this week. Those that you plan to eat, store unwashed, loosely wrapped in plastic bags in your crisper.

If there are extra greens that you don't think that you'll get to, think about freezing them for the winter, and do it now while they're at their freshest and most nutritious. I don't worry about mixing greens when freezing, as most will go into a winter lasagna, soup, quiche, pasta dish, etc. I just freeze them in portions that are easy to use.

To save your greens: First, roughly chop the greens, removing any tough stems. Give them a good wash by soaking in plenty of cold water in your sink or a large bowl or tub. Lift the greens out of the water, leaving the dirt behind. If there is excessive dirt left in the water, change the water and repeat. Put greens in a large pot of boiling water. Boil just until the leaves wilt and begin to turn dark green. Immediately remove greens from hot water and plunge into an ice-water bath. Remove from the water bath, drain, package in freezer-safe plastic bags or containers, and freeze. If you have a pasta or other wire basket, this is ideal to carry the greens in and out of boiling water and water bath.

Localvore 'Lore from Heather
We had some great responses from the Spring Share survey that I’d like to share with you. These surveys are a great way for me to learn what works and which items not to include again. From the feedback, some things are very clear winners. More eggs, more lowfat dairy options such as yogurt, cheese every week, more fruit and a meat/vegetarian protein option. Grains and flour were also well received, with just a few folks saying they were overwhelmed by volume. Honey and butter were the number one rated products! I am working to incorporate all of these suggestions and more.

We received mixed feedback for miso, buttermilk, seaweed and fermented vegetables. That said, a majority of folks still rated them as 5. Right now my plan is to not include buttermilk again, as it seemed to have some quality issues. Mostly when items were rated fewer than 3, it was due to personal preference and not quality. My goal is to please most of the people all of the time! There will inevitably be something in the share that a couple of members do not typically purchase or enjoy. Quality issues I take responsibility for and work to constantly improve.

We heard a wide range of opinions on bread, some loving it every week, others preferring to choose their own fresh bread at the co-op. A few thought we should offer bread even if made with non-locally grown flour. Many folks asked for whole grain bread, while some found the breads too tough. One way we can improve the bread would be to bag it in plastic when it comes in on Tuesday afternoon. This is what we’ll be doing when we have bread from Good Companion. Hopefully this keeps it soft and tender. As for using non-local flour, we are still working with Elmore Mountain and Patchwork bakeries to make a Localvore loaf. We’ll keep you informed.

There will be another survey for your feedback on Localvore and ingredient preferences. In the meantime, please do email us with your thoughts. We will make it right if there is a problem and always value your opinion.

This weeks Localvore items are Sweet Red Cherries from Champlain Orchards in Shoreham, goat Chevre from Blueledge Farm, and Sunflower oil from Quebec. We have partnered with Bill Suhr at Champlain Orchard all along and it’s great to have another new product from him. I’m always impressed with the diversity of the orchard. They have several varieties of cherries for pie and fresh eating. In the future they will be harvesting plums, berries, and a wide variety of vegetable crops. All this on top of the extensive apple orchards. I plan to keep ordering fruit through the summer!

The Blueledge cheese is a perfectly creamy treat, not at all “goaty”. Hannah and Greg farm in Leicester, Vermont, with their two children and about 75 goats. Leicester is down Route 7 near Lake Dunmore. They have been farming this land since 2000 and making cheese for the past 6 years.

Organic sunflower oil from Loic at les Fermes Longpres in Quebec is one of the best you will try. The flavor is very nutty, and Loic was proud of the quality when he was pressing the seed. The oleic content is quite high, making for quality oil on par with olive oil. They produce some 10,000 litres a year, pressing about 35 tons of sunflower seeds!

Cabbage and Beet Slaw
This makes a beautiful presentation, something that can't be said for every slaw out there. Adapted from Serves 4.

4-6 small beets, trimmed
4 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage
2 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
3 shredded salad turnips, optional
2 TB + 1 tsp cider vinegar
3 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tsp grated orange peel
1 tsp honey
6 TB sunflower oil
Chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 375°F. Wrap beets in foil. Bake until tender when pierced with knife, about 1 hour. Cool. Peel if necessary. Cut into 2 x 1/4 x 1/4-inch strips. Place in medium bowl.

Toss together cabbage, scallions and turnips (if using), in large bowl. Combine cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, grated orange peel and honey in small bowl. Gradually beat in oil. Pour enough dressing over beets to coat. Pour remaining dressing over cabbage and mix. Season both salads with salt and pepper.

Arrange cabbage around edge of platter. Mound beets in center. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Spring Radish Salad
Serves 2.

radishes from one bunch, thinly sliced
1 parsnip, shredded
1 bunch greens (or lettuce)
salt & pepper
2Tbsp sunflower oil
1 Tbsp vinegar or lemon juice
some “crumbles” of chevre

Cut a bunch of greens, such as the mizuna, into bite sized pieces. Arrange greens on 2 plates, sprinkling with grated parsnips and sliced radishes. Season with salt, pepper, oil, lemon, and sprinkle with the chevre.

Parsnip Puree
This makes a great stand-in for mashed potatoes. It's lighter, sweeter and would go perfectly paired with the Grilled Chicken and Braised Greens below. Serves 4.

2 lbs. parsnips, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
1 TB salt
1/2 cup milk or cream
3 TB butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
salt & pepper to taste
chopped fresh parsley

Place parsnips in a large pot of cold, salted water. Bring to boil over high-heat. Partially cover, reduce heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes, or until parsnips are very tender but not yet mushy. While parsnips are cooking, heat milk and butter together until butter melts. Add vanilla and keep warm. Drain parsnips, return to pan, and add heated milk mixture, salt and pepper. Mash until smooth. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary. Remove puree to bowl and garnish with chopped parsley.

Grilled Chicken on Sauted Greens
Heather enjoys grilling as much as possible so that she can avoid too many pans to wash in the kitchen! She also loves sweet and savory combinations, especially with the bitter greens. Enjoy! Serves 4.

4 boneless chicken breasts
2 tbsp sunflower oil
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp white wine
1 tbsp cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
salt & pepper to taste

2 tbsp oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bag braising greens, or other bunch of greens roughly chopped
1 additional bunch of greens (beet is good) or ½ head of Napa, cut into shreds
vinegar or juice of 1 lemon

½ cup cherry halves
minced scallions

Brush chicken with 1 tbsp oil. Whisk together the honey, wine, cumin, garlic, salt and pepper. Grill the chicken, basting with the honey spice mixture, until cooked through. Lightly sauté the greens with the oil and garlic; season with lemon juice or vinegar. Arrange plates with the cooked greens and a piece of chicken garnish with cherries and scallions.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - June 18, 2008

Important Share Information
Welcome to the new Summer Share! Your first pick-up is tomorrow (Wednesday). If you are unsure of your pick-up times, please visit our website's Pick-Up page. If you have any questions with your pick-up please email Nancy Baron or call 802.586.2882 x2.

When Picking Up Your Share Please:

  • Cross your name off of the pick-up list. Then flip the page to find the pick-up instructions.
  • Follow the specific item list/instructions for the share you have selected to assemble your share. (The type of share you've signed up for is next to your name.)
  • When splitting your share, coordinate with your share-mate to make sure that you DON'T take double the amount of any items.
Newsletter Intro
Every Tuesday evening, we send out the Good Eats newsletter with helpful information, farm updates, the week's share contents, storage and use tips, localvore information and recipes. Though we do 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.

There are several of us who work on the newsletter each week. Heather writes the Localvore Lore section, giving everybody a good sense of where the localvore products are coming from as well as contributing recipes using the week's localvore items. Pete will often chime in with farm updates, thoughts and pleas for feedback. Nancy puts it all together and writes the rest, including the vegetable recipes.

Pete's Musings
Hi Everybody - Thanks for joining our Summer Share. We are very excited about the season ahead and are appreciative of your willingness to join us on a local eating adventure. In general our crops are looking very good. Ample rain and warmth has caused them to grow very fast the past 10 days and we are excited for the bounty of summer.

One exception is our strawberry crop. I completely goofed about 3 weeks ago and forgot to cover them with row cover on a frosty night. Strawberry blossoms are killed by temps. below 32 degrees and we lost about half our blossoms that night. The next morning I was so irritated with myself, as we had been nurturing that crop for a year and it was looking great. We may have our own berries next week or the week after but in the meantime we are bringing some in from Bob and Kim Gray at Four Corners Farm.

Bob and Kim run an exceptional farm in Newbury and Bob is known as the best berry grower in the State. They have been very free with their advice over the years and I have learned a lot from them. Their farm is particularly well rounded as they milk cows as well as growing vegetables and berries. They are able to rotate their veggie and berry crops with hay for the herd. This helps to increase soil structure and organic matter and to control weeds.

One drawback is that their berries are not organic. This is the first time that Good Eats has offered non-organic produce. We offer many localvore items that are not organic but offering non-organic produce is different from what we advertised. Please let us know if you think this is a bad idea. Some of you may be opposed to eating any produce that is not organic. If so, I encourage you to give the berries away. We have included them as an addition to the normal share, so essentially you have not paid for them. I'd really like feedback about this issue because I'm sure that in the future there will be times when we have a crop failure and our only local option is not organic. If you feel strongly one way or the other, please email us. - Pete

Montpelier Site Update
Some of you may have already heard that Nutty Steph is packing up her stuff and moving to a new location in Middlesex. Her last day in the store for pick-up is this Wednesday. She has been a great site host and we wish her all the best. Pick-up tomorrow will coincide with a moving sale. It will be your last chance to get outlet priced 5-pound bags of Vermont Granola and all her chocolate will be 30% OFF. She will be re-opening in the old Camp Meade quarters, next to Red Hen Baking Company, in September.

The good news is that our location will remain the same. Kelly McMahon will be taking the space from Steph to open her new May Day Studio. She will be moving in on the 25th and we are very happy to welcome her as a new site host. For now, it looks like pick-up hours will remain the same, 8am to 7pm on Wednesdays.

July 13th Open House
Please mark your calendars for our open house next month. We are hoping that everyone can make it to the farm from 11am to 3pm on Sunday, the 13th, with a CSA member meeting beginning at 2pm. There will be time to meet Pete and the crew, farm tours, games for the kids, hay rides, a potluck lunch, and more to be nailed down. We hope that you'll join us for the day. I'll be sending out a formal Open House announcement very soon with more specifics!

Localvore/Vegetable Share and Vegetable Only Share
This share period we have a couple of share options that people are participating in. The newsletter will be covering both. All members will always be receiving the same vegetable portions in their share. Localvore members will have additional items. Though we aim to make every share come out to 1/18 of your value for both veggie and localvore, in actuality each week may fluctuate a bit. Some weeks you may get a little more, some weeks a little less. This week for example, is heavy on the produce and light on the localvore items. Rest assured that we track your values very closely and everything will balance out over the course of the share. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me.

This Week's Share Contains
Russet Potatoes; French Breakfast Radishes; Bunch Dill; Pac Choi; Green Kale -or- Bunch Mibuna; Head Lettuce -or- Head Napa Cabbage; Purple Kohlrabi -or- Bunched Small Red Beets; Bunch of Scallions -or- Leeks -or- Garlic Scapes; Mesclun; Strawberries; Jasper Hill Constant Bliss Cheese*; Gleason Grains Whole-Wheat Bread Flour*; and Pete's Eggs*.

*Localvore share only.

Storage and Use Tips
Potatoes - Keep these in a cool, dark, dry place, like a drawer or cabinet. I like to keep mine in a paper bag that protects them from light and allows them to breathe. As the weather is warm, use these in the next week or two.
French Breakfast Radishes - These beautiful radishes have a crisp texture and a mild to delicately sweet flavor. They are best eaten raw. Slice them in a salad or serve them with coarse salt, fresh butter and a baguette for a French treat. Radishes should always be stored separate from the greens. Try adding the greens to a salad or mix in with other cooking greens in soups, sautes or stir-frys. Keep greens and radish ends loosely wrapped in their own plastic bags, in your crisper drawer.
Mesclun - We pre-wash our mesclun before it goes in your bags. Most of us at the farm are fine with this single wash and serve the greens in a salad straightaway. Store the greens in a loose plastic bag in your crisper drawer. If the greens seem damp, throw a cloth napkin or dishtowel in the bag with the greens to absorb any excess moisture.
Bunched Greens - Depending on the bag you grab, you may find the small beets with greens or a bunch of mibuna (Japanese green, similar to a mild mustard green). As with any of our bunched greens, you will want to remove them from their rubber band and give a quick soak in cold water. Lifting the greens from their cold-water bath should leave any extra dirt sinking to the bottom. Give them a ride in the salad-spinner or wrap with a towel before using in a saute.
Garlic Scapes - These are the tall, curly seed stalks pulled from growing garlic plants. Pulling them actually helps the garlic in the ground to grow, as energy from the plant is not diverted to the maturing of the seedpod. The scapes have a nice garlic flavor, without the bite of garlic cloves. These scapes are young and tender. You could chop them fine and add them raw to a salad, toss into a stir-fry, include in your favorite meatloaf or meatball recipe, or like me, stuff a roasting chicken with a few.

Localvore 'Lore from Heather
I am excited about the new share and possibilities for localvore food to include. I've been working on sourcing a few new products, such as a new cheese from Ploughgate Creamery and a goat cheese spread from Crooked Mile Goat Cheese. Also this share, I plan to include a meat/vegetarian protein item about once a month. We'll start with Summer Sausage from Maplewind Farm.

Bread for this share is still up in the air as our friends at Elmore Mt. Bread and Patchwork Bakery continue to work on a new flour source. Another bakery we hope to work with is Good Companion, where they grow, mill and bake all in one operation!

In this first share you'll find whole-wheat bread flour from Gleason Grains in Bridport, VT. Ben Gleason grows and mills bread and pastry flour. This is a light textured, finely milled whole-wheat flour. He does not sift the flour to remove any of the germ or bran.

From Jasper Hill we have Constant Bliss cheese. Andrew and Mateo Kehler, herdsman and cheese maker respectively, run this picturesque farm in Greensboro with their wives. This is a mold ripened semi-soft cheese, with a slightly firm, cake like center. Interestingly, the milk for this cheese is pumped directly to the cheese making room at milking time, and is never stored in the bulk tank. From one milking of their 40 Ayrshire cows, they make 300 pieces of Constant Bliss. It is a living cultured food, made from raw milk and aged 60 days. It is at it's best served at room temperature, so take it out of the fridge one hour before serving. The shelf life is about 10 days.

Lastly, in this share you'll find our own eggs. I am the chicken chicken-lady too here at Pete's. We have close to 125 layers and 2 big beautiful black and green roosters. Enjoy your localvore share!

Dilled Potatoes Vinaigrette
Adapted from Serves 4.

1 pound russet potatoes, peeled
1/2 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider or white-wine vinegar
2 1/2 teaspoons dry vermouth or dry white wine
3 tablespoons sunflower or olive oil
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
2 scallions, chopped
lettuce for serving

Place whole potatoes in a steamer set over boiling water. Steam them, covered, for 15-20 minutes, or until they are just tender. When cool enough to handle, slice crosswise into 1/3" thick rounds. In a bowl whisk together the mustard, the vinegar, the vermouth, and salt to taste, add the oil in a stream, whisking, and whisk the dressing until it is emulsified. Add the potatoes while they are still warm to the dressing and toss them gently with the dressing, dill, scallions and pepper to taste until they are coated well.

Let the potato mixture stand, tossing it occasionally, for 30 minutes and serve it at room temperature a top mesclun or lettuce leaves torn into pieces. The potato mixture may be made 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled. Let the potato mixture return to room temperature before serving.

Stir-Fried Greens with Garlic
Feel free to substitute any tender green in this recipe. Serves 4.

1 head pac choi, roughly chopped with bottom end removed
1 bunch kale, mibuna, or radish greens chopped into 2" pieces
3 tablespoons cooking oil, such as sunflower or peanut
4 garlic scapes chopped fine, or 4 cloves garlic minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, optional

Wash greens and spin dry, or wrap in towel to blot excess moisture. Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed skillet or wok over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add garlic and salt, saute about 1 minute. Add greens and red pepper flakes, if using, and toss all to coat well. Increase the heat slightly and continue to toss the greens while they cook. Cook just until the leaves begin to wilt, but there is still strong green color in the leaves. Remove from heat, adjust seasonings and serve.

Easy No-Knead Whole Wheat Bread
'Think making homemade bread is too time consuming? Think again with this recipe from King Arthur Flour! A food processor or stand mixer with a sturdy paddle will make it even simpler.

2 cups warm water
1/4 cups maple syrup or honey
1 tbsp or packet dry yeast
4 cups whole-wheat flour
2 tsp salt

Dissolve the yeast and syrup or honey in the water in a large mixing bowl or food processor. When it's foamy, stir in the flour and salt. Beat vigorously for 5 minutes. Divide batter into 2 well-greased bread pans. Let dough rise 45 minutes to an hour.

Put the dough in a cold oven and turn on to 400F and bake 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake another 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from pans to cool on a rack.

100% Whole-Wheat Bread
Here's how Heather makes her typical every-day loaf of bread. She often makes 1 loaf into a free form oval on a baking sheet, and uses the other 1/2 of the dough for rolls or cinnamon raisin bread. Making a sponge at the beginning helps develop the gluten. Using a stand mixer or food processor makes it quick.

2 cups warm water
1/4 cups maple syrup or honey
1 tbsp yeast
5 to 6 cups whole-wheat flour
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp salt

Mix together 3 cups of flour, water, syrup and yeast. Beat well and set aside to bubble away for at least an hour. Mix in the oil, salt and enough of the remaining flour to make a kneadable dough. Knead 10 minutes by hand or mixer, or 45 seconds in a food processor.
Place in a bowl and cover with a damp towel or plastic bag. Allow to rise until double in volume, about an hour.

Grease 2 loaf pans or dust a large baking sheet with cornmeal.

Turn out dough onto a floured counter and knead briefly. Divide into two equal pieces. Flatten each into an oval and roll up into a log the length of your loaf pan or place on a cornmeal dusted baking sheet. Cover and set aside to rise about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375F. Bake proofed loaves about 35 minutes.

Similar to a whole wheat tortilla, these are a classic Indian flat bread. The trick for tender breads is to mix the dough early and let it rest several hours. Get a friend or family member to help roll and cook them on the griddle.

2 1/4 cups sifted whole-wheat flour
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup warm water

Stir all ingredients together to make a kneadable dough. Knead 8 minutes. Again, a food processor (for 1 minute) or mixer makes this easier. The dough should form a smooth ball of dough. Set aside covered in a bowl for 3 hours.

Divide dough into 12 balls. Roll each into a thin 6" circle. A tapered wooden rolling pin works well for this.

Heat a griddle over medium heat and as the chapatis are rolled out, cook them a minute on each side, until lightly flecked with brown spots.

Yogurt Variation:
Substitute 1/3 cup of yogurt for 1/3 cup of the water. Proceed as above.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - June 11, 2008

Pete's Musings
Thanks very much for being part of this Good Eats share. Your support has helped Pete's Greens to make big changes this winter that will allow us to produce more local food. I hope you enjoyed your share and that if there are things about it that we could have done better that you communicate that on our survey or by e-mailing Nancy or me. Many of you are sticking with us for the summer share (thanks for your signups, your $ this time of year on a vegetable farm are like a much needed rain). Others of you are avid gardeners and we hope to see you again in October.

Many thanks to all who have made this share a success. First the Pete's Greens Good Eats crew: Nancy has done a great job running Good Eats; Heather is forging excellent relationships with localvore providers and writing interesting localvore pieces for the newsletter; Meg is running a spotlessly tidy washhhouse, designing shares, and managing harvests; Steve keeps our equipment in good repair and does most of the farm's tractor work; Tim is your ace Good Eats delivery man; Jeffrey is our new kitchen manager who will be making prepared foods for the summer share and is currently working as a field manager; Deborah is packing shares and helping with harvest; and last, but certainly not least, the Reyes sisters (Elena, Sabina, and Succoro) and Berto our Mexican field hands who are fast, efficient, tireless and a pleasure to live and work with. Every person listed is often asked for extra effort or to take on something that they were not expecting and all respond with good humor and energy. Pete's Greens has received alot of press coverage in the past few months and often that coverage has focused on me. None of what we do here would be possible without the effort of everyone listed above.

Another big thanks to our localvore providers. Who would have guessed that such an interesting selection of top quality food is available right here where we live? I'm constantly impressed by the interesting ideas of our localvore providers and can't wait to see what the future holds. - Pete

If you haven't had a chance to take the survey we sent out last Friday, please do it now, before your memory of this share period fades. If you need the survey sent out to you again, just let me know. We really do appreciate all of your feedback, positive and negative. We want to make Good Eats an ever improving experience. Please note that the survey is anonymous. So, if there is something that you would like a response to, please email us at the farm.

As long as we're asking for feedback, how did you find the basil in your share last week? We are working on keeping it in the best possible condition for your delivery. If there were any issues with it, please shoot me an email with the details. Thanks!

Open House July 13th
As was mentioned in a previous newsletter, we'll be holding an open house at the farm next month. It will be from 11am to 3pm on Sunday, the 13th, with a CSA member meeting beginning at 2pm. The day will include farm tours, games for the kids, hay rides, a potluck lunch, time to meet Pete and the crew, and more to be nailed down. We hope that you'll join us for the day. I'll be sending out a formal Open House announcement in the next week, but please mark your calendars now!

This Week's Share Contains
Spring Dug Parsnips; Small Red Beets; Bright Lights Chard; Pac Choi -or- Sweet Salad Turnips; Head Lettuce; Bunch Cilantro; Frozen Tomatoes; Mesclun; Gingerbrook Farm Organic Apple Cider Vinegar; Champlain Orchards Cranberry Apple Cider Vinegar; and Maine Sea Salt.

Storage and Use Tips
Parsnips - Spring dug parsnips overwinter in the ground and are only dug up once their greens re-emerge from the ground. They are sweeter than their fall dug counterparts, as their carbohydrates turn to sugar during the cold winter. Store loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in the fridge. Use within the next week or two.
Cilantro - Very popular in Asian, Indian and Mexican cuisines, cilantro is best stored upright with its stems submerged in a glass of water and covered with a plastic bag.
Swiss Chard - This week we have the colorful bright lights variety of swiss chard for you. It is milder than some of the other varieties out there, and certainly more beautiful. Plant stems can be yellow, gold, orange, pink, violet or striped, in addition to the standard red or white. As with all bunched greens that you receive from the farm, it is best to unbundle the greens and give them a good washing before proceeding with your recipe.
Frozen Tomatoes - You can use these in cooking recipes much as you would whole fresh or canned tomatoes. While still frozen, run the tomatoes under cold water. The skins will slip right off. If you wait a few minutes, you can chop them and use like canned chopped tomatoes.

Localvore 'Lore from Heather
The apple cider vinegar in the share this week comes from Bob and Joanne Machin of Gingerbrook Farm in Washington, VT. I had called them last fall to find out about their vinegar and they had already sold out. The next batch wouldn't be ready until April. So here we are, at the end of the share, and I'm so happy to have this vinegar to include. It's perfect for all those summer salads and salad dressings you'll be whipping up!

When we were setting up the delivery, I had a chance to talk with Bob about the vinegar. They started out producing it from their own apples on their farmstead about 25 or 30 years ago. Originally, they made apple cider and vinegar just for themselves and their friends. Then, people started asking for it, so they began making more. They now buy apples to supplement their own crop. Currently they have 4 wooden aging tanks with a total capacity of 1600 gallons. The vinegar ages for 2 years in these tanks. They rotate through, with a new tank being filled as an old one is drained off. Then it goes into smaller barrels for a few months of finishing off. They currently produce over 500 gallons a year, up to 1000 gallons in a good year. The raw vinegar is filter only through a cloth at bottling. It's a living fermented food and still contains live "mother." As it develops, this looks like brown strands floating in the vinegar.

Bob was especially keen for you all to understand about the raw nature of the vinegar. The vinegar is clear when first bottled, but as it ages further in the bottle, the mother will make it cloudy. He considers the cloudier vinegar to be superior in flavor, as it has mellowed even further. If you prefer, you can filter the vinegar through a cheese cloth again to clarify it and remove the stands of mother. He also told me they don't do anything fancy to test the acidity or determine when it's ready. He just tastes it!

Sea Salt
Another one-of-a-kind item this week is the Maine sea salt. Located way Down East in Marshfield, they are the only sea salt company in Maine since over 200 years ago! Check out their website, where you can learn all about how they evaporate the salt water in solar hoop houses. The owner, Stephen Cook, is a member of the Cook family, that has operated a lobster restaurant and pound on Bailey Island since the 50's. I've eaten there many times; wow, is it good. He started packaging salt as a lobster cooking salt, so people could duplicate their sea water cooking method at home. You can also take a tour of the saltworks, which is what I plan to do when we go to Maine this summer.

As some of you may remember, the Cranberry Apple Cider is a Good Eats exclusive. Enjoy it on these hot days, knowing that it's only available to our share holders! I'm going to try mine in a wine spritzer with a bit of mint.

Lamb Shanks Braised with Swiss Chard
Adapted from The Sultan's Kitchen; A Turkish Cookbook. I made this for my family on Sunday, the lamb was meltingly delicious and the chard soaked up all of tomato and lamb flavors. Serve this with some cooked pearled barley that has been seasoned with salt and pepper and tossed with fresh cilantro, parsley or chives. Serves 4.

4 lamb shanks, total weight about 4 pounds
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup sunflower or olive oil
3 TB unsalted butter
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped, including some green parts
4 tsp tomato paste
3 medium frozen tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 tsp dried crumbled thyme
1 quart water, chicken stock or lamb stock
3 parsnips, diced
1 pound swiss chard, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

Mix the flour with the salt and pepper. Dust the shanks with the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. In a large, deep, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil over high heat, and sear the lamb shanks for about 5 minutes, until they're lightly browned on all sides. Pour off any excess oil. Melt the butter in the same pan and cook the garlic and scallions for 1 minutes, stirring them with a wooden spoon, until they're softened but not brown. Add the tomato paste, tomatoes and thyme.

Pour the water, or stock, over the lamb shanks and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and continue to simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the lamb is tender. Skim the surface to remove any scum and excess fat from time to time. Thirty minutes before the end of cooking, add the parsnips. 15 minutes later, add the chopped chard.

After 15 minutes, remove the chard and parsnips with a slotted spoon and arrnge them in the center of a warmed platter. Place the lamb shanks over the vegetables. Bring the cooking liquid to a rapid boil, and reduce until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir cilantro or parsley into gravy and sprinkle over platter. Serve immediately with cooked barley on the side.

Roasted Spring Vegetable Salad with Cranberry Apple Cider Vinaigrette
If you have any of those Vermont Cranberry Company dried cranberries left that you received earlier in the share, they would make a wonderful garnish for this spring salad. The vinaigrette recipe is inspired by a Cider Vinaigrette in Cooking with Shelburne Farms. Serves 4.

1 lb red beets, scrubbed and cut in 1" dice
1 bunch pac choi, quartered length-wise
sunflower oil
salt and pepper to taste

6 cups mesclun or washed and torn head lettuce
cooked barley or wheat berries

1/2 cup cranberry apple cider
2 TB cider vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup
2 TB minced chives
1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup sunflower oil

Preheat oven to 400F. Toss beets with oil, salt and pepper and wrap in aluminum foil. Place foil package on cookie sheet and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until beets are tender when poked with a paring knife. Remove beets from oven and cool slightly. Using a paring knife, remove the beet skins.

While beets are roasting, brush choi with oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast on a hot, oiled, indoor our outdoor grill until grill marks appear and choi begins to get tender.

In a blender or mini food processor, blend together the cider, cider vinegar, maple syrup, chives, salt and pepper. Gradually add the oil and blend to emulsify. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Arrange lettuce or mesclun on a platter. Arrange roasted beets and choi on top and sprinkle with cooked grains, and dried cranberries if you have them. Dress the salad, season with salt and pepper and serve.

Quick Pickled Beets
These pickled beets are ready in a snap after you have cooked the beets. Heather prefers to pressure cook hers, but roasted will also be delicious. This is one of the first things Heather learned to make as a little girl! Now she often cooks a lot of beets at once, and then pickles some. They'll keep in the fridge for a week.

2# beets, cooked, peeled, and cut into wedges
1/4 c minced scallions

1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp oil
3 Tbsp vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
fresh black pepper

Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat gently. Toss with the warm beets and the scallions. Chill before serving. Even better the next day.

Pretty Pickled Eggs
Here's a fun pickled eggs and vegetables recipe from the Sundays at Moosewood cookbook. Yields one quart jar, doubles easily.

1 beet, trimmed and cut in half
1 parsnip or carrot, peeled and sliced diagonally

1/3 cup vinegar
2 tbsp maple sugar
1 tsp fresh dill

4 hard boiled eggs, peeled

Cook beet halves in a small sauce pan or pressure cooker until tender. Remove and set aside to cool. In the same cooking water, simmer parsnip or carrot slices until tender. Combine vinegar, sugar, dill with cooking water and bring to a boil. Add the vegetables and simmer for 2 minutes.

Layer the eggs and vegetables in a quart mason jar. Pour over the brine to cover. Add more boiling water, if needed to cover. Seal the jar tightly and place in refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours before serving.

These will keep for a week in the fridge. The eggs will be bright pink on the outside and white and yellow on the inside! Serve eggs cut into wedges and arranged with the vegetables on a bed of Pete's Greens.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - June 4, 2008

Pete's Musings
A week ago a father and son crew from Chazy, NY, finished a 40 acre tile drainage project on the farm. For those of you who are uninitiated, tile drainage is perforated drain pipe that is buried in the soil-usually 4-5 ft. deep. The tile covers the southern half of our main field that has always been too wet for ideal vegetable conditions. A map of the drain pipe lays like a huge fish skeleton across the field. The pipes are every 30 ft, the highest density drainage commonly installed. They laid the pipe with a huge bulldozer with a massive arm on the rear that drags behind the dozer at a depth of 5 ft. The pipe is on a huge coil that unwinds as the dozer drives. It is a great system because unlike drainage that is performed with an excavator or backhoe there is little soil disturbance. The depth control on the arm on the rear of the dozer is controlled with a laser. In one section of the field the pipe only drops 1/2 in. every hundred ft. We are very excited to have completed this project, and while expensive, it will dramatically increase the productive capacity of our farm. - Pete

Summer CSA Sign-Up
Next week is the final Spring Share delivery. The Summer Share starts on the 18th. If you would like to stay with us, please get your enrollment to us as soon as possible. Time is running out to make sure that we order enough Localvore share items for any last minute folks who want to sign-up. We will do a final count on Monday. You can still sign-up after the 9th, we just can't guarantee we'll be able to deliver the localvore items for you on the 18th. We would have to either catch you up or refund a portion of your payment to compensate you for any missing items.

To enroll, please print off the sign-up form from our Website and mail it in with your check(s). It's the best and fastest way to make sure that your share gets recorded.

Pew Commission Releases Report on Industrial Farm Animal Production
The Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production recently released a comprehensive, 100 page report on the state of farm animal production in the United States. Its conclusions were not surprising. The current methods of animal farming are harming the environment, public health and rural communities as well as the animals themselves. The Pew Commission went on to develop recommendations to protect what is best about American agriculture and to help to ensure its sustainability for the future. You can read the full report on the Pew Website. They also have a press release that summarizes the findings. Though followers of industrial agriculture may not find anything new in this report, it is heartening to see that larger institutions, including the Pew Foundation and John Hopkins, are starting to take notice and recommend change in spite of the roadblocks put up by industrial ag.

Pete's Greens Farmstand
We are very excited to be opening our farmstand for the season on Saturday, June 7th. Chris has been working hard to get all of the renovations completed. And, Heather is eager to stock it up and get open for business. The farmstand will be open 10am to 7pm, 7 days a week. Please stop by if you are in the area.

This Week's Share Contains
A Mix of Chioggia and Forona Beets, Gilfeather and Goldball Turnips, and Rutabagas; Bunch Scallions; Ruby Streaks Mustard Greens; Bunch Beets; Head of Green Cabbage; Head of Lettuce -or- Bunch Radishes; Bunch Basil; Braising Greens; Blythdale Farms Brie; Champlain Orchards Northern Spy Apples; and Champlain Orchards Squash Puree.

Storage and Use Tips
Basil - So missed over the cold months, no other herb heralds the arrival of warm weather like basil does. Enjoy these first stems! Stand upright in a glass of cold water in the fridge and cover loosely with a plastic bag.
Mixed Roots - Store loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in the fridge. Use within the next week or two.
Brie - Once brie is opened, store tightly wrapped in the refrigerator and use within a few days. Bring to room temperature before serving. If the cheese becomes too runny or smells of ammonia, it indicates the cheese has been aged too long.
Squash Puree - As the puree has bee previously frozen, store it thawed in the fridge. Use within the week.

Localvore 'Lore from Heather
Bread News
We should have had bread with this week's Brie, but it just didn't work out that way. I have always known that the Pete's Greens localvore CSA model is cutting edge, and was reminded of that again last week. We are in the unique position of creating demand in a market before the supply is consistent. Last week I had a call from Blair and Andrew of Elmore Mountain Bread. Their local flour source was suddenly unavailable. And this not only affects Elmore Mountain, but also Patchwork Bakery and Red Hen, who would be baking for us this summer.

These bakeries have been purchasing Quebec grown flour to make the localvore loaves. Meunerie Milanaise ( is a grain farm and mill in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. They mill their own grains and also grain from other farms. The local grain supply has run out and now they are milling wheat from Saskatchewan. They will not be milling locally grown wheat again until the fall harvest. There are potentially a couple of other options that are being explored. Blair and Andrew have a baker and miller friend in Crown Point and they are connecting with him. We also have Ben Gleason's whole wheat flour and the bakers are going to test recipes with his flour as well. So, there is hope!

It remains to be seen how often they will continue to bake localvore loaves for Good Eats. After discussion with Pete and other staff, we decided to stick with our mission of providing truly local products. We want to provide bread made with locally grown flour. While this may mean less frequent bread, it seems the right thing to do. We are committed to sourcing hard to find and unique localvore goods, even when they prove very hard to find!

In any case, you can still purchase other breads from Patchwork and Elmore Mountain, so don't despair. Support these terrific local bakers by visiting them at a Farmers Market near you. Elmore Mountain sells at the Stowe Farmers Market on Sundays. Patchwork is at the Hardwick Market on Fridays from 3-6 pm. Red Hen sells at the Montpelier Market on Saturday mornings. All of these breads are also available at local Co-ops, general stores, and even Hannaford's in Morrisville!

Champlain Orchards Squash Puree
Now some of you may be wondering why I have included the squash puree as we gear up our harvest of fresh produce. I planned this delivery weeks ago when our greenhouse production was still uncertain. But that's not the only reason. It is a nice change from all the greens, and it provides a pleasant contrast to cook something sweet and rich tasting. We are also excited to support Champlain Orchard's endeavor to grow and process this squash. I heard Bill Surh in a workshop early this spring where he talked about this project. They were cooking butternut squash and pureeing it before packing into quart containers for the freezer. It's a great convenience localvore product I hope you will enjoy. It makes the soup recipe in this newsletter a snap to make, with no peeling, chopping, etc for you to struggle with!

Raw Beet and Apple Tabbouleh
Adapted from Serves 4 as an appetizer.

2 cups cooked barley or mixed cracked grains
2 small red beets
1 apple
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil or sunflower oil
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Peel beets. Using a mandoline or very sharp knife separately cut beets and apple into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Separately cut beet and apple slices into 1-inch-long julienne strips. In a blender or food processor puree basil with oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste until smooth.

Toss beets, apple, and about 1/4 cup dressing with barley or grains to combine. Serve tabbouleh with remaining dressing on the side.

Warm Mixed Greens
You can make this recipe with the loose braising greens in your bag, or chop the red streaks and/or beet greens. Adapted from Food and Wine. Serves 4.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sunflower or extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds braising greens
2 tablespoons water
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter in the oil. Add the greens and water and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over high heat until wilted and tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and serve.

Chilean Bean Stew
From the Moosewood New Classics cookbook. Here's a recipe for a traditional summertime stew from Chile. According to the Moosewood cookbook it's traditionally made with fresh corn and fresh shelled red or white beans.

2 tbsp oil
2 c chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
black pepper
red pepper flakes
1 quart squash puree
vegetable broth or chicken broth as needed.
3 c corn kernels
3 c pinto beans, cooked
1/2 c chopped basil
grated cheddar cheese

Heat oil in a soup pot and saute onion and garlic. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper to taste. Saute until onion is golden and fragrant. Stir in the squash and thin to desired consistency with broth. Add in the beans and corn and bring to a simmer. Taste for salt & pepper. Mix in the basil and serve with a sprinkle of grated cheddar.

Squash Bread
Without bread in the share this week, it seemed natural to include a homemade version, even if it is a quick bread. Serve a piece of this pumpkin-inspired bread alongside sliced apples and a wedge of brie.

2 1/2 cups maple or white sugar
2 sticks butter, melted and cooled
3 large eggs
2 cups squash puree
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Whisk sugar and melted butter in large bowl to blend. Mix in eggs and pumpkin. Whisk together flour, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt and baking powder into another large bowl. Stir into pumpkin mixture. Mix in walnuts, if desired.

Divide batter equally between prepared pans. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool 10 minutes. Using sharp knife, cut around edge of loaves. Turn loaves out onto racks and cool completely.