Spring finally, that was a doozie of a winter. I can't remember anywhere near so many nights in the 20s below zero. Snow is clearing off the fields and they are drying fast (or were until today's rain). It's a great year to have a bunch of greenhouses and we are busy in them. Seeding, potting up, transplanting, trellising tomatoes and cukes. I don't think farming in this climate would be very fun or profitable without greenhouses.
We had a winter full of planning exciting new projects that will take us another step towards being a truly great farm. A 150 kW solar array on the south roof of our processing barn is in the works. This will cover most of our electrical needs and we're excited we can make all that energy on an existing roof. We're going to add onto our cooler to store more crops for winter consumption, we were jammed up beyond capacity last fall. Yesterday the boys installed a new-to-us barrel washer. This is the machine that spins slowly while spraying water that we wash all our root crops in. Isaac and I made a trip to CA a couple months back and brought 4 used tractors home. Specialized vegetable tractors are almost not available in the east, but in central CA you can find them on Craigslist! And we're looking into some new greenhouses that will allow us to do a better job growing tomatoes and cukes, conserve energy, and grow more greens in the winter.
Things are humming here. Winter crew has been great and has kept good spirits working inside all winter. Now they are getting a little stir crazy so we're getting them out in the greenhouses. Some amigos have arrived from Mexico and Puerto Rico and are bringing some needed energy to projects. Our two Puerto Rican guys had never walked on ice before arriving a few weeks back, it was fun watching them give broomball a try. We're hoping for a great summer with lots of heat. We hope you consider joining us for summer Good Eats, it's going to be great! ~Pete
Our Growing Pete's Greens Team
Front Row (kinda scattered but): Jonathan holding the greens, Amy, Albert, Isaac with daughter Iris, Molly, Roberto
Main Row: Brittany, Emilie, Juanchi, Adan, Christopher, Adan (red hat), Kristin, Tim C (with carrot bin), Sara, Pete, and Juan Carlos
Back Row: Niles in the white T (your faithful CSA driver), Melissa in stripes, Derek, Steve, Brian, Tim F.
Scenes from around the farm
The head house coming along nicely with cucumbers and tomatoes, basil, pac choi, lots of Asian greens.
Was nice to hear the rumble of a tractor and find Isaac prepping a field.
It was gorgeous yesterday and for a time he had the best seat in the house.
Endless rows of seedlings. Endless hours of seeding (Derek & Melissa with help from some others) have got us to this point with seemingly endless hours to go. Seeding flats is a full time job from mid to late January right into May. And for some of those months it's full time for at least two or more people to keep on top of seedlings needed for planting date schedule.
Changes to Your Delivery?
If you will be away some upcoming week, and need to make changes to your share delivery, let us know at least 1 week before the change. You can have your share donated to the Food Pantry, or you can skip your share delivery and you will retain a credit on your account toward the purchase of your next share.
Storage and Use Tips
Our shoots are a mixture of pea, radish, and sunflower shoots. These are wonderful added to a sandwich (on top of egg salad is really tasty), on top of a stew, or in a salad.
The potatoes this week are a mix of red potatoes. Large share is getting Adirondack Reds and the half share is getting Red Golds. Adirondack Reds have dark pink skin and dark pink insides. The pigments in this variety offer higher levels of antioxidants than traditional white or yellow potatoes. The Adirondack Red is quite versatile being great for boiling, roasting and baking. Red Golds are a waxy variety with a thin skin - low in starch, high in sugar and moisture. They're a great choice for roasting, sautéing and boiling, as their low starch content helps them maintain their shape after they’re cooked.
Rutabaga, also known as swede, is thought to have evolved as a cross between a wild cabbage and a turnip. Rutabaga grows particularly well in colder climates, and is especially popular in Sweden (where it earned it's second name). Roast it, mash it with butter, season with salt and pepper, you can't go wrong.
We are excited to have upland cress for you this week! It's just one of the greens that are coming up in our greenhouses these days. Similar in appearance to its better-known cousin, watercress, upland cress has a deeper pungency with a unique twist between arugula and horseradish, pledging its allegience to the mustard family. Below the Mason Dixon line, upland cress is known as "creasy greens" and when stewed with ham hocks, is as loved a dish as black-eyed peas or cornbread. Traditionally gathered by foragers in the Appalachian Mountains who started looking out for the hearty winter leaves while there was still snow on the ground, the leaves were believed to have medicinal benefits and used in many folk recipes to help heal wounds. Those claims may not be entirely far-fetched as the cress is indeed rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, and calcium.
Use upland cress the same way you would watercress. Left raw, the leaves can be chopped and mixed into a salad, tucked into a sandwich, or tossed over broiled fish as a garnish. Use a food processor to blend a handful of upland cress with a cup of creme fraiche or sour cream and a few garlic cloves for a zesty side to grilled meats or blend into soups. Store in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer for 1-2 weeks.
We have more cole slaw mix for the large share members. It's our cabbage and carrots all shredded up and ready to go - all you need to do is add your favorite dressing! I don't think there's much better than a batch of slaw in the fridge. I add it to everything- sandwiches, salads, and even add other ingredients to it to make it a meal. I just added some cooked chicken, peanuts, and blue cheese to slaw and it made an outstanding lunch!
Frozen spinach is great for casseroles, lasagnas, quiches etc. Thaw it, squeeze out the excess liquid and add it in. Or let it thaw on counter til it softens up enough to saw with a knife, and saw off section to use a lesser amount in a dish. You can put the remainder back in freezer. This is really great in pasta or even added to smoothies.
Our broccoli was frozen at the height of freshness so all the nutrients are still present. This broccoli works great in stews, quiche, or even as a veggie on the side. Just boil until tender and it's ready to go!
The pizza dough was made at the farm and frozen for delivery. The dough is made with Milanaise organic flour, Gleason Grain Snake Mountain Sifted whole wheat flour, local Sunflower Oil, salt and yeast. Use within four to five hours of thawing (ready to go the night you pick up share or store in freezer for later use).
Here's Amy's favorite way of cooking the dough: coat a smooth surface with flour and cornmeal (just flour is ok) so that the dough does not stick to the surface. Line a cookie sheet or pizza pan with parchment. Form dough into ball and flatten with heels of palms. Stretch dough with hands or use a rolling pin to form shape of baking pan (I use a cookie sheet so I form it into a square). Once dough is slightly stretched on surface you can stretch dough in the air with hands by making two fists held together with dough on top. Move each hand up, down and out turning the dough clockwise. Each dough can be stretched to a 16" round, for thicker crust make smaller. If you like light fluffy crust I put my baking sheet on the top of my oven while preheating and let rise. Otherwise set aside in neutral area till oven is ready at 425F. If you have a pizza stone, it's great to slide the pizza and parchment off onto the stone. Otherwise, bake on the parchment on the pan. After around the first 5 mins, if dough has started to bake/firm up, you can carefully ease the parchment out from under the pizza, sliding the pizza onto the stone or onto the oven rack itself. Allowing the pizza to bake on the stone or rack will help crisp the crust. Just be certain it's firm enough to move it before you go for it! Overall you are going to bake your pizza 12-14 minutes until crust is golden brown and cheese bubbles.
Pete's Greens Tomato Sauce was also made right at the farm. It's made with our own organic tomatoes, onions, plus garlic, organic sunflower oil, oregano, basil, salt, black pepper, and citric acid. This sauce is awesome for pizzas, pasta, or dipping.
Jasper Hill Bayley Hazen Blue Cheese is a favorite at the farm. And lately the batches from Jasper Hill have been heavenly, you are in for a real treat. It's a natural rinded blue cheese that receives regular rave reviews like this one from Cynthia Zarin who described Bayley Hazen Blue for the New Yorker Magazine this way “It was tangy, sweet, creamy, velvet on the tongue, the mo
st delicious blue cheese I’d ever tasted." Bayley Hazen Blue is named after a road running through the Northeast Kingdom. The road was built and named after two Revolutionary War generals Bayley and Hazen, who were stationed along the Canadian Front. Jasper Hill summarizes this delicious cheese as follows. "The paste of a Bayley Hazen is drier than most blues and the penicillium roqueforti takes a back seat to an array of flavors that hint at nuts and grasses and in the odd batch, licorice. Though drier and crumblier than most blues, its texture reminds one of chocolate and butter."
Carrots and Rutabaga Mash
This is a very simple and basic recipe, but so good.
1 pound peeled and chopped carrots
1 pound peeled and chopped rutabaga
1/2 stick, 4 tablespoons, butter
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Boil carrots and rutabaga together until just soft. Drain and add butter. Smash together using either a potato masher or food processor until it looks like a puree. Season with lots of pepper and a little salt. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with fresh parsley.
Roasting rutabagas brings out their natural sweetness. You could easily bulk up this recipe by adding chopped potatoes, carrots, and any other root veggies you've got.
Apple cider vinegar
Toss 1 large peeled and cubed rutabaga with 3 tablespoons olive oil, and salt and pepper on a baking sheet. Roast at 425 degrees F until golden and soft, 40 minutes. Toss with 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar and chopped parsley.
Whiskey Glazed Carrots
These fancy carrots would be a nice addition to an Easter dinner or other special occasion.
2-3 lbs carrots, peeled and cut into thick slices
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup Jack Daniels, or other whiskey
2/3 to 1 cup sugar
1/2 to 1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
In a large skillet or pot with a lid, heat the butter over medium high heat until melted. Add half of the carrots to the pan and cook briefly just to sear, 60-90 seconds. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining carrots. Set aside.
Very carefully add the whiskey to the pan and allow to evaporate for about 30 seconds. Reduce the heat to medium. Sprinkle the brown sugar into the pan and stir. Mix in the carrots, stir well, and cover. Cook for 5 minutes.
Remove the lid and season with the salt and pepper. Cover once more and continue cooking until the carrots are fork tender and the glaze has thickened, about 5-10 minutes more. Transfer to a serving platter and top with minced fresh herbs, if desired, for extra color. Serve immediately.
Honey Roasted Onion Tart
This looks amazing! It would be an excellent addition to your dinner table on Easter, or any other night.
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
3 bacon slices, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 large sweet yellow onions (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
3/4 cup crème fraîche
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Position rack in top third of oven and preheat to 375°F. Using lightly floured rolling pin, roll out puff pastry on lightly floured surface to 14x10-inch rectangle. Fold 1/2 inch of pastry edges in toward center on all sides, forming 13 x 9-inch rectangle. Transfer pastry to large rimmed baking sheet. Press firmly on pastry edges with fork to form rim. Chill crust.
Cook bacon in small skillet over medium heat until brown and crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Reserve 1 tablespoon bacon drippings from skillet.
Whisk honey, wine, and reserved 1 tablespoon bacon drippings in large bowl. Add onions; toss to coat. Coat another large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Spread onion mixture in even layer on sheet. Roast 30 minutes. Turn onions over, allowing rings to separate. Roast until onions are caramelized, turning often for even browning, 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven; cool onions slightly.
Increase oven temperature to 400°F. Mix crème fraîche, sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and nutmeg in small bowl. Using offset spatula, spread crème fraîche over crust to folded edge. Arrange onions atop crème fraîche. Sprinkle with bacon. bake tart until crust is light golden brown and topping is bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle with thyme and serve.
Grilled Chive Potatoes
Don't over boil the potatoes as they need to be a bit firm for the grill. The chive butter is the best part of this recipe so make sure you include it.
2 pounds red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
6 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain. Cut potatoes in half; place cut side up on rimmed baking sheet. Press each gently with fork to flatten slightly.
Stir butter, chives, and lemon peel in medium saucepan over medium heat until butter melts. Season with salt and pepper. Brush some chive butter over potatoes.
Coat grill rack with nonstick spray. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill potatoes, cut side down, until cut side is crisp and brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Rewarm remaining chive butter. Transfer potatoes, cut side up, to platter. Drizzle with warm chive butter.
Potato and Blue Cheese Gratin
This recipe would work well with any other cheese - cheddar, feta, parmesan, so feel free to experiment.
1 1/2 lb medium yellow-fleshed potatoes
1 cup heavy cream
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese (1 oz)
Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 425°F.
Peel potatoes and slice 1/8 inch thick, then toss with cream, garlic, salt, and pepper in skillet. Cover with foil and roast until potatoes are very tender, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and preheat broiler. Remove foil and sprinkle potatoes with cheese. Broil until top is browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
Watercress and Potato soup
This is a simplified version of the French classic. The fresh bite of watercress adds interest to velvety smooth potato. Submitted by Jill Dupleix to The Times Aug 2007. Serves 4.
1 quart water
1 tsp sea salt
1.5 lb all-purpose potatoes
1/4 lb watercress leaves, eg, 2 bunches
2/3 cup milk
2 tbsp double cream
A little grated nutmeg
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring the water and salt to the boil. Peel the potatoes and cut into quarters. Cook the potatoes for 20 to 25 minutes until tender. Pick the watercress leaves from the stalks and discard the stalks. When the potatoes are cooked, fish them out of the water (reserving the water) and mash them or put them through a potato ricer. Set aside. Add the watercress to the potato water and simmer gently for five minutes. Fish out the watercress and whizz it, with a little of the liquid, in a blender or liquidiser. Return the watercress and the mashed potatoes to the potato water in the pan, stirring well. Add the milk and reheat gently, stirring. Add the cream, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste, and simmer gently, without boiling, for five minutes. Serve in bowls, with a little extra swirl of cream on top.
Upland Cress Pesto Crostini
Many people think that pesto is only for basil, but in fact, there are countless herbs like arugula, sage, and cilantro for example that also make excellent pestos. The idea is all the same, blend flavorful herbs with oil, garlic, cheese and nuts and voila you have a delicious spread, sauce or dip! This would also be amazing on a pizza.
2 c upland cress, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/4 c nuts (pine nuts are traditional but you may want to use walnuts, cashews or almonds or leave out nuts all together)
2/3 c olive oil, extra virgin if you have it
1/2 c parmesian cheese, grated (you can use romano or any other hard Italian)
1 Tbs lemon juice
salt and pepper
Landaff Cheese (or other tasty cheese that melts nicely), shredded thinly
Using a food processor chop garlic first, then nuts, then basil. Slowly add oil until mixture seem thick, then continue to add till used up. Next add grated parmasian and lastly stir in lemon juice.
Preheat oven to 425F. Slice bread into 1/2" slices. Brush oil onto bread and season with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven until bread is hard like croutons about 15-20 minutes. Cool. Store extra crostini in a sealed zip lock bag for next time.
Spread pesto onto crostini and top with shredded cheese, place in broiler to melt cheese.
Blue cheese Cole Slaw
Here's another slaw variation- the blue cheese takes it right over the top.
1 bag cole slaw mix
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup prepared Dijon-style mustard
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, cheese, sugar and vinegar. Add the coleslaw mix and stir until evenly coated. Chill until serving.
Bacon, Potato and Caramelized Onion Pizza
This pizza is simply to die for. How can you go wrong with bacon, potatoes, and blue cheese?!??
About ¾ cup thinly sliced small potatoes, such as fingerling or red potatoes
4 tsp. olive oil, divided, plus more for brushing
Salt and pepper
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
Pinch of sugar
Pizza dough for 1 large pizza (regular or whole grain)
3 oz. shredded mozzarella
3 oz. crumbled blue cheese
4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
Minced fresh chives, for serving
Minced fresh thyme, for serving
Preheat the oven to 400? F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. In a bowl, combine the sliced potatoes with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil and season with coarsely ground salt and pepper. Lay in an single layer on the baking sheet. Bake, flipping the slices over once, until the potatoes are just beginning to brown, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Meanwhile, make the caramelized onions. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced onions to the pan with the sugar, salt and pepper. Stir well. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and fully caramelized, about 15-20 minutes. Set aside.
To make the pizza, place a pizza stone in the oven and increase the temperature to 500? F. Preheat for at least 30 minutes. Roll out the pizza dough into a 12-14 inch round on a piece of parchment paper. Lightly brush the perimeter of the dough with olive oil. Sprinkle about two thirds of the shredded cheeses over the dough. Layer evenly with the caramelized onions, potato slices, and crumbled bacon. Sprinkle with the remaining shredded cheese.
Transfer the pizza to the preheated pizza stone by sliding the parchment with the assembled pizza onto the stone, and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the crust is lightly browned, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the herbs over the top of the pizza. Let cool slightly before slicing and serving.
Shoots Salad with VT Vinaigrette
Here's another member submitted recipe for the shoots contest. Laura always keeps this vinaigrette around - it's great on everything!
3 parts canola oil or oil of your choice
2 parts apple cider vinegar
1 part maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste
garlic (minced or powder to taste)
I like putting some VT Vinaigrette on the coarsely chopped shoots about an hour before serving as a side salad - toss in a few sliced almonds, maybe some croutons, maybe some feta cheese...or serve with some nice fresh bread.