Sure can feel spring in the late afternoon sun and spring is happening on the farm. After a year of rebuilding and the need to focus on infrastructure we are diving back into being the best farm we can be. This means precise and thoughtful execution. Doing the right things at the right time for the right reasons. I've reimmersed into farming and growing plants and am excited about the transition.
We are adding alot more greenhouse space this spring. These are alternative and innovative structures that can be erected cheaply. We have already started hundreds of trays of crops such as head lettuce, napa, scallions, early onions, beets, pac choi, kale and chard that will be transplanted into our existing greenhouse in mid March and our new greenhouses beginning April 1. It will be great to have essentially a late June supply of produce in middle of May. This new greenhouse space will allow us to grow more hot weather crops such as sweet potatoes and sauce tomatoes indoors, increasing yields and reliability of production.
We're also building the cultivating tractor of our dreams. It is a complicated project with too many details to share here, but the gist of it is that we'll be able to control weeds much better than in the past and it will take less time. Weed control is our single biggest challenge and it is worth investing in this piece of equipment. It is a cool looking rig, check out the photo. We hope you can join us for the Spring share which begins next week.
Best ~ Pete
Thanks for supporting NOFA-VTs Farm Share program!
CSA members, Thanks for your generosity in support of NOFA-VT's Farm Share Program in 2011. This program helps low income households purchase CSA shares for their families. Just in 2011 alone, 86 of you gave donations ranging from $10 to $105, and totaling $2,410. Fourteen other CSA's participated and $10,000 was raised in total so Pete's Greens members raised nearly 25% of the total funds. In 2011, your donations allowed 20 families to join our CSA. In 2012, for the spring share, you have already pooled together enough funds for 6 familes to join. Great work, thanks a lot! ~Pete
Farm Share assists limited-income Vermonters in obtaining fresh, local produce directly from family farms. In partnership with NOFA-VT, we offer subsidized CSA shares to qualifying individuals and families within our delivery area. If you, or someone you know, may be in need of this program, please checkout NOFA's Website, as well the Pete's Green Farm Share web page. Farm Share relies on donations from CSA members to help fund those who might not otherwise be able to afford a CSA share. Please consider making a donation to the program when you fill out your Spring application.
Salad Greens this week are a mix of sunflower shoots and radish shoots.
We had such great feedback on our last round of Coleslaw Mix we decided to do it again. This time we are putting in a traditional mix of green cabbage, savoy cabbage and shredded orange carrots. Thanks to all who gave us such wonderful feedback! It seems like you can use this mix for just about anything and folks out there are having a lot of fun with it. I have included some recipes that were submitted below in the recipes section.
This week we included something a little extra in the share. You may think it is a parsnip or sugar beet or just a plain ugly carrot but it is actually Parsley Root. Once you take a bite of this flavorful root you will be able to recognize it immediately in any setting. It has a sweet, fresh flavor reminiscent of parsley. We only grew a little bit this year, just for kicks, and had just a small amount to go round. Some of you may have a few small roots and some may receive a portion of one large root. Parsley Root is great for shredding on top of salads or in coleslaw, gives soups a sweet, rich flavor or chop up and roast alongside your favorite roots crops. Store as you would parsnip in a sealed bag in the crisper drawer.
Maplehurst Farm has been owned and operated by the Gebbie family for five generations. They have approx 5000 taps and produce more than 1000 gallons of syrup.Maple Cream is made by taking the fanciest syrup (color, flavor, testing for quantity and type of invert sugars) and boiling it up to 22 degrees above boiling water and then cooling rapidly without disturbing it until it reaches room temperature. If you agitate it at all before it is cooled, it will form larger crystals. The goal is to have a light and creamy consistency....not grainy. When it reaches room temp, you stir it until it changes from a dark mahogany color to light sand, looses its glossy sheen and starts to "set up." At this point you package it and refrigerate until sold. You can keep maple cream for ages in the freezer or refrigerator. If you find some maple liquid on top of the cream, it is a natural settling process and can be stirred back into the cream. It's really important to test for invert sugars as not all maple syrup is able to be turned into maple cream. You can't tell by looking at it or tasting it. Maple Cream is great spread on toast, mix with cream cheese for a yummy spread or topping for sweet breads or spoon into your favorite cup of tea.
Old Fashion Organic Cream Cheese is made at Champlain Valley Creamery using traditional methods without stabilizers or preservatives from cultured fresh organic cow’s milk and cream; it’s very unlike that ubiquitous foil-wrapped gummy brick! Old Fashion Organic Cream Cheese has the perfect balance of creaminess and tanginess that is unlike any other cream cheese you’ve ever tasted. It’s great on a bagel, on sandwiches, baked in your favorite dessert or simply on its own. Cream cheese is great for bagels but also works great for a sandwich spread, whip up with herbs and minced veggies for veggie cream cheese, or with salmon lox.
Put vinegar, apple cider, maple cream, onion, sea salt and pepper into a small blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and cream until smooth and emulsified.
Kate's Favorite Slaw Dressing
Submitted by Kate Gavin this is a recipe a friend recommended to her and she has changed over time to create her favorite dressing. Hope you like it too!
Combine all dressing in a jar and shake well. Add one bag of coleslaw mix. Stir to coat. Eat immediately.
This is a very versatile recipe and I've frequently added lots of other ingredients depending on what I have in the house like:
- blanched pea pods
- chopped green onions or chives
- sliced radishes
- pine nuts
- 2 or 3 c of diced or shredded cooked chicken
Asian Coleslaw Dressing
1 bag Pete’s slaw mix
½ head Napa cabbage, sliced thinly
1 onion or 2-3 scallions, thinly sliced
½ bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
¼ cup tamari
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup vegetable oil
3 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
3 tbsp. white vinegar
2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
2 tsp. sesame oil
3 tbsp. sesame seeds, optional
Place all ingredients in large bowl and whisk until well incorporated. Add slaw mix, onion and Napa cabbage and toss until well coated. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. This slaw is best served within 15 minutes of making.
Potato Griddle Scones
A great way to cook potatoes for breakfast or dinner. We took this recipe right from Martha Stewart and added our own localvore twist to it. These 'scones' have a texture similar to that of mashed potatoes. In Scotland, they are cooked on a griddle and served with breakfast.
3-4 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 Tbs (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus 2 teaspoons for skillet
1/2 c parley root, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 lb cheddar cheese, diced small (about 1/3")
Bring potatoes to a boil in a pot of lightly salted water. Reduce heat, and simmer until fork tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain well.
While still warm, push potatoes through the large holes of a ricer, or use a potato masher to mash them until smooth (you should have 2 1/2 cups). Stir butter into warm potatoes until combined well. Add grated Parley Root and garlic to mashed potatoes. Stir together flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, then stir into potato mixture with a wooden spoon until just combined. Form dough into a ball on a lightly floured work surface. Cover with a dish towel, and let cool for 20 minutes.
Dust rolling pin and work surface with flour, and roll out dough to an 8-by-10-inch rectangle. Sprinkle half with cheese, and fold to create a 4-by-10-inch rectangle. Gently roll out. With a floured knife, cut dough into four 2 1/2-by-4-inch rectangles, then cut each in half diagonally.
Heat a griddle or a large cast-iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat, and add 1 teaspoon butter. When it has completely melted and is sizzling, cook 4 scones until golden brown and cheese melts, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Keep scones warm in a 200-degree oven while you cook the remaining dough.
Winter Squash Pots de Creme
A delectable treat with a localvore twist. Sweet and creamy squash custard is a perfect way to soothe a long winter's day. Enjoy these heated up with a cup of your favorite herbal tea or a glass of a buttery Chardonnay or light Riesling.
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup pure maple cream
1/2 cup squash puree
7 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
Special equipment: 10 (2- to 3-oz) custard cups* or ramekins
Preheat oven to 325°F. Whisk together cream, milk, syrup, and pumpkin in a heavy saucepan and bring just to a simmer over moderate heat. Whisk together yolks, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl.
Add hot squash mixture to yolks in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a large measuring cup, then divide among custard cups (you may have some custard left over, depending on size of cups). Bake custards in a hot water bath, pan covered tightly with foil, in middle of oven until a knife inserted in center of a custard comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer custards to a rack to cool completely. Chill, covered, until cold, at least 2 hours. Serve garnished with whipped cream cheese sweetened with maple cream.