Maple Wind Farm Needs Our Support After Barn Fire Yesterday
Beth Whiting and Bruce Hennessey of Maple Wind Farm lost their iconic Richmond barn on Rte 2 early Monday morning.
Bruce & Beth, good friends and great farmers, have been farming their land in Huntington since 1999. They had just purchased the Richmond property June 2013 from the Vermont Land Trust.
They have lost all their storage crops, most of their newly purchased poultry processing and brooding equipment, all of their vegetable handling and washing equipment, irrigation pump and hoses, tools, chainsaws, and a small office for staff with computer. Not to mention the other items they haven't yet discovered they've lost. Thankfully, no animals or people were present in the barn at the time. As with many farm barns, it was insured, but the cost of a building a new structure and replacing what was lost is far higher than the insurance amount. They are going to need support to rebuild.
Photo Top:Firemen inspect what little is left of the structure
Middle: Bruce Hennessey and Beth Whiting with son David and daughter Bryn.
Bottom: The big Andrews Farm barn, before the fire.
Sunday was the third year anniversary of our barn burning. It's been an interesting,
strenuous but fun ride the last 3 years (not so different from the previous 12 years of Pete's Greens really!). Our physical recovery from the fire, rebuilding a facility, went remarkably well thanks to tremendous support from our customers and community, but it took a little longer to recover financially and organizationally. Last fall we finally began to feel that we'd recovered and we're ready to move forward on all fronts.
2014 is going to be the best year ever at Pete's Greens. We made some key hires last fall. Our crew is a talented group with real capacity for growth and development, and they are cheerful and excited to be here. Those of us who have been here awhile are working hard to help the new folks quickly get up to speed and to imagine what they could be doing at Pete's in 1-3 years. My job is shifting some from being the chief grower to spending more time building the team.
Photos above: lush red clover planted to enrich soil that will grow veggies on in 2015. A field of buckwheat just about to be tilled under for 2014 crops.
Land is another piece of our puzzle and we've been making gains on that front as well. We have a 2 year goal of having at least twice as much land as we grow vegetables on. This will allow us to grow vegetables for 2 years and then grow alfalfa, clover (photo) or another cover crop or hay crop on the same land for 2 years. Vegetables tend to attract insects, diseases, and weeds, the rotation helps to break those cycles. And nitrogen fixing crops such as alfalfa and clover actually add nitrogen to the soil, reducing or eliminating the need to import expensive off farm nitrogen inputs. It's a great system and we're grateful to our friends and neighbors who are helping us to increase our land base by leasing us land.
Once the infrastructure, people, and land are in place we're free to do what we do best at Pete's. Innovate and grow the best and most diverse selection of produce for as much of the season as possible. We've had a creativity surge in the past few months with the introduction of our Clean and fresh cut roots line of products and we're working on some new concepts for how to grow, minimally process, and supply food to our customers in the best way possible. It's hard to describe how exciting it is for me to be part of a business that is never satisfied with the status quo, that always wants to find a better or more interesting way to grow and supply food. Thanks for supporting us in these efforts!
Please consider supporting Beth and Bruce at Maple Wind Farm in their time of need.
Staff Bios - meet Molly
If you have been a member of Good Eats awhile you may recognize Molly - she was with us from May 2012 through February 2013. She left Pete's Greens last February to work at Sunrise Farm in New Hampshire for the spring and summer, then returned to Pete's in November.
What's your position? Harvest Manager. I organize the wash house crew and make sure everything gets done. I also plan what's going in the CSA shares each week.
What's your background? I graduated from the University of Michigan in May 2012 and the next day got in my car to drive to VT to start working at Pete's Greens.
Why do you like farming? I love the physical nature of the job and getting outside with fabulous people. I love my job here because it's challenging and I get to utilize many skills - I have to be a business person, biologist, and a people person.
Why do you work at Pete's Greens? Pete's Greens is making local organic food a reality for so many people. It's great that Pete's is a large enough scale operation that it is actually creating change and really feeding people. So many farms are large but not sustainable, or the really small farms are sustainable but they're not producing as much food. Pete's Greens isn't just an idea - we're really doing it!
What do you like to do in your spare time? I play broomball here in the winter with Pete and crew and also I like to can, quilt and cook.
What's your favorite vegetable? Baked potatoes!
Storage and Use Tips
We wanted to spice things up for you a bit this winter so this week's greens is a mix of sunflower, pea, and radish shoots. They're heavier on the radish shoots so the mix will be a bit spicy. These shoots are awesome as a salad, added to sandwiches (especially grilled cheese!), or on top of a pizza.
Red Norland Potatoes have a red outer skin and crisp white flesh inside. They are commonly sold in the summertime as "new" potatoes but store quite well too. The best way to cook a Red Norland is to boil, steam or roast them. They make a great red potato salad with skin on, or toss with olive oil, garlic and herbs or go for it and smother them with good old butter (yum).
Derek, Brittany and Greg working on carrots yesterday.
Rutabaga- also known as swede, rutabaga 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.
**Large share members will get either fennel or pac choi.**
Fennel - Fennel is crunchy and slightly sweet with the flavor of anise. It is delicious and slightly sweet served raw but is just as often served cooked on its own or in other dishes. Though most often associated with Italian cooking, it has an uncanny ability to blend with other flavors adding a light and fresh note. It is delightful in many dishes, and in soups and stews and sauces. Fennel is composed of a white or pale green bulb from which closely superimposed stalks are arranged. The stalks are topped with feathery green leaves near which flowers grow and produce fennel seeds. The bulb, stalk, leaves and seeds are all edible. To prepare, trim off the fronds and stalks and reserve them for garnish or seasoning. Cut off the hard bottom and slice vertically or into quarters. Or cut the bulb in half lengthwise, cut out the core, and cut into strips. Add it raw to salads or try some thinly sliced fennel on your sandwich. Top thinly sliced fennel with plain yogurt and mint leaves. Or braise, roast or saute' it. It is done when tender enough to pierce easily with a skewer.
Pac choi has a mild flavor. The leaves taste similar to Swiss chard and the stems (called ribs) are deliciously crispy and can be substituted for celery in recipes. Pac Choi is mild enough to be chopped up for a salad, particularly if you give it a quick wilt in a hot pan. It's also great in stir-fries. Store pac choi loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.
***If you get pac choi it will be in your mesclun bag.***
Frozen Winter Squash Puree - We thought you might enjoy some more diversity and are sending out frozen winter squash puree this week. This is just pure frozen winter squash goodness. Use this in recipes calling for pureed winter squash or pumpkin - particularly soups, pie, baked items like pumpkin bread, muffins or cookies, or for casseroles or rice dishes. Also fantastic just on its own sweetened with a bit of maple syrup, enriched with some cream and served as a side. The puree is coming to you frozen. If it is has thawed a bit when you receive it, no worries. Just pop it back in freezer til you are ready to use.
This week we also have frozen beans for our large share members. Our beans were picked, washed, blanched, bagged and frozen all in a few hours. They simply need to be heated up. Remove from plastic bag and heat in water or mix into a dish as you would fresh produce, or try out the "Speedy Beans" recipe below.
Using Your Frozen Veggies - I have been using our frozen veggies for a couple years now and I love having access to great organically grown local vegetables in winter. I have kids and often I do not need a whole bag of vegetables. Here's what I do: I take a bag of frozen veggies out of the freezer, grab a serrated bread knife, and saw off a hunk of frozen veggies and toss it into the waiting pot of boiling water for a quick warm up. Then I twist tie the remaining veggies into their bag and toss them back into the freezer. I use a lot of our frozen vegetables in the same way beans, corn, broccoli, red peppers etc. I throw sawed off hunks in pasta sauces, saute pans, etc. It may be a bit of a crude method, but it's a time saver and a great option if you don't need a whole bag.
Elmore Mountain Bread made honey oat bread this week. It's made with 100% fresh milled, sifted wheat flour, vermont honey, quebec oats, sea salt and yeast. They were featured in a Burlington Free Press article and video last week that focused on the mill. Check out this link to read the article and see the video.
This past summer we saved our surplus eggplant, roasted it and made Baba Ganoush to share with you this winter. It's made with our own eggplant plus cumin, garlic, tahini, lemon juice and salt. This is often eaten as a dip with crackers, veggies, or used a spread on bread. It's coming to you frozen so you can stick back in the freezer to enjoy at a later date, or you can thaw out and enjoy right away (use within the week). I just had a fab sandwich with Elmore Mtn bread, slathered with Baba Ganoush, Cabot Clothbound cheddar and shoots.
Cabot Clothbound Cheddar is a multi-award winning cheese, including American Cheese Society’s Best in Show award in 2006 and first place in it's category at last year's ACS Conference in Madison, Wisconsin.
The cheese is made at Cabot Creamery using Kempton Farm milk. The cheese is pressed in individual molds lined with muslin at Cabot Creamery and transferred at a later date for final aging at the Cellars at Jasper Hill. For the next 10-14 months they remain at Cellars, lovingly tended. During the aging process a bloomy rind is allowed to develop which flavors the cheese. The cave environment is carefully monitored to age the cheese perfectly. The result is a traditional English type cheddar, with a slightly craggly texture, and flavors that are both sweet and nutty. The developer of the cheese says "It is the expertise of our cheesemakers and the affinage at Jasper Hill that makes this cheese so good."
This is the oh so simple classic recipe. If you have never met up with a rutabaga before... From the Sep 2004 Bon Appétit.
3 pounds rutabagas, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 tablespoons butter
Cook rutabagas in large pot of boiling salted water until very tender, about 45 minutes. Drain well. Transfer to processor; puree until smooth. Return to pot. Stir over medium heat until any excess liquid evaporates. Add butter; stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand uncovered at room temperature. Rewarm over medium heat, stirring often.)
Variation: add some carrots and or squash chunks and puree together sprinkling with maple sugar.
Rutabaga, Potato and Apple Gratin
Adapted from Jame's Peterson's book, "Vegetables." Serves 6-8.
1 small garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
3/4 cup milk combined with 1 cup heavy cream, or 1 3/4 cups half-and-half
2 medium (about 1 and one-half pounds total) waxy potatoes
1 rutabaga (2 pounds), peeled
3 medium apples, cored, peeled and sliced thin
1 cup (about 3 ounces) grated/crumbled Bourree cheese (cheddar works too)
salt and freshly groound black pepper
One-quarter teaspoon grated nutmeg
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Rub the inside of a large, oval gratin dish or square or rectangular baking dish with butter. Crush the garlic clove into a fine paste with the side of a chef's knife and combine it in a saucepan with the milk and cream.
Peel the potatoes -- keep them under cold water if you're not using them right away -- and slice them into three-sixteenth-inch-thick rounds with a mandolin, vegetable slicer, or by hand. Peel the rutabaga into rounds the same thickness as the potatoes. Cut the rutabaga in half to make the slicing easier. Bring the milk and cream mixture to a simmer.
Arrange the potato, rutabaga and apple slices in alternating layers in the gratin dish, sprinkling each layer with cheese, the milk and cream mixture, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Save a fourth of the grated cheese for sprinkling over the top of the gratin. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the top of the gratin is golden brown and the vegetables are easily penetrated with a paring knife.
Braised Fennel and Potatoes
In this dish the potatoes are perked up with fennel. The fennel becomes very tender and lends loads of moisture to the dish. Gourmet February 2006.
1 large fennel bulb with fronds
1 large onion, halved lengthwise, then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (2 cups)
?1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt?3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb potatoes
1/2 cup water
Quarter bulb lengthwise and core, then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Cook fennel, onion, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.Meanwhile, cut potatoes crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Add potatoes and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt to fennel mixture and cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, 3 minutes. Add water and cook, covered, stirring once, until potatoes are tender, 10 to 12 minutes more.
1 bunch pak choi
1 tbsp sunflower, peanut, or canola oil
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 large garlic clove, crushed and finely chopped
1 mild green chilli, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 tbsp Thai fish sauce (optional)
Cut a thick slice from the pak choi root to separate the leaves. Rinse and drain.
Heat the groundnut oil in a large wok over a medium heat and add 1 tbsp sesame oil, the garlic, chilli, fish sauce (if using) and pak choi. Toss until coated and clamp a pan lid over them. Reduce the heat and cook for 3-6 minutes, tossing occasionally, just until the leaves have wilted (the stalks should be tender-crisp).
Add the rest of the sesame oil and salt. Toss the leaves and serve immediately.
Carrot Fennel Soup
I thought this looked like a great recipe. Feel free to add in extra garlic or even some balsamic vinegar at the end to kick up the flavor a bit. From Gourmet, November 2008.
1 medium fennel bulbs with fronds
1 pound carrots, quartered lengthwise
1 medium onion, quartered
1 garlic clove
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in lowest position.
Slice fennel bulb 1/4 inch thick and toss with carrots, onion, garlic, 3 tablespoons oil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread in a 4-sided sheet pan and roast, stirring occasionally, until browned and tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
Blend half of vegetables in a blender with broth until very smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan. Repeat with remaining vegetables and water. Thin to desired consistency with extra water and simmer 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, finely grind fennel seeds in grinder and stir into remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Serve soup drizzled with fennel oil.
Butternut Squash Bread
?Here's a delicious way to use your squash puree. This bread freezes beautifully and the recipe makes 2 loaves. So make one for your family, and save one for later. If you can.??
3 cups sugar
?1 cup butter (or oil)?
3 large eggs
?2 cups squash puree
?3 cups 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. Beat sugar and butter in large bowl to blend. Mix in eggs and squash puree. Sift flour, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt and baking powder into another large bowl. Stir into squash mixture in 2 additions. 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.
Asian Speedy Beans
This is a quick and easy way to cook your frozen beans while adding some gourmet flavors. The recipe is intended to be an alternative method to steaming the beans, and can be made with just cooking oil, salt and pepper or any kind of seasoning you like. Use a chili seasoning for Mexican beans or curry for curried beans. The options are limitless.
1 lb bag of frozen green beans
1 tbs cooking oil
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbs ginger root, grated
2 cloves garlic, pressed and minced
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the cooking oil in a non-stick pan over high heat. When the oil begins to pop, about 3 minutes, add the frozen beans. Cook the beans, stirring every 30 seconds, until all of the ice has melted and most of the water in the pan has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger root, garlic and salt. Continue to saute in sauce for another 3-5 minutes, until about half the beans begin to brown. Remove the pan from heat and serve.