Notes on Life at Pete's Greens
A new perspective from our Waterbury Farm Market manager, Mark
Have you ever been driving down a stretch of highway lost in thought or a classic Van Morrison album and lost track of the last 10 miles? You know, when you literally can’t account for the details of the journey? You know you drove it because you got here from there but all else is a blur. That is how I am feeling about the Farm Market journey to this point. We are 6 blurry months in. Yep. Six months of my life that I can barely account for.
When we opened Pete’s Greens Waterbury Farm Market on a blistering July day this past summer, I had no idea what to expect. I can remember unlocking the front door that first day. No trumpets sounded. There was nobody waiting at the door. The market was assembled in just a couple of days with a flash of energy utilizing salvage from several old barns, some birch trees, a bunch of hay bales, and some old apple crates. It looked tidy and clean but slick it was not. Farm-chic is how we describe it.
Still I had flats of spectacular heirloom tomatoes, watermelons, and the best greens anywhere… all organic… all delicious. I remember the first folks who walked through the door. They stood in front of the vast island of tomatoes just gawking with amazement.
“Are you Pete” they asked.
“No, I am Mark. Pete is at the farm in Craftsbury doing the hard work with a cast of amazing farmers. I have the easy job”. I replied.
They introduced themselves as John and Sally- our first customers from down the road a piece. They went about their shopping filling several baskets with a kaleidoscope of veg and brought it to the counter. I rang them up using my hand held calculator with a 7 that stuck randomly. I announced the total, and pulled out my cigar box to gather the cash.
“You don’t take credit cards?” they inquired.
“Not yet” I replied sheepishly.
“I’m afraid we have no cash”
I thought about the dilemma for a moment and offered to accept an IOU. John’s eyebrows rose as the total was appreciable. I assured them it was no problem. They agreed to the terms with many thanks as they had company coming and really wanted to make a Caprese salad with our tomatoes.
The next day they came back in to settle the deal. They told me that they were shocked that in this day and age that I would offer credit to complete strangers. “That wouldn’t have happened at the large market down the street. Clearly, you are doing things different here.”
“We are trying to do many things different here” I added.
I thanked them for honoring their end of the deal. John and Sally come in regularly. We are friends. We have made many friends.
When I was asked about contributing to this newsletter, I was initially unsure of what tone to take or how to help tell the story of Pete’s Greens. What I have decided on is to talk about the people, the interactions, and the experiences as they happen here at the Farm Market in Waterbury and on the farm itself in Craftsbury. After all, the Pete’s Greens family is full of amazing people and the folks who walk through our doors here every day are fascinating. My job will be easy.
And so it will be… “Notes on Life at Pete’s Greens” is born. Stay tuned. ~Mark
Below: Mark holding up his favorite veggie of the week, red cabbage
The Spring Share starts in just 3 weeks!
Share Period: February 18th thru June 10th, 2015
Important Dates to keep in mind:
In order to get the first share on 2/18 you must be signed up by Friday, February 13th.
Payment must be received at the farm by Monday, February 16th
Join now!Start off your spring right with weekly deliveries of winter greens from our greenhouses and shoots house, lots of staples like potatoes, carrots, onions, beets and cabbage, plus frozen summer goodies like corn, sweet peppers, spinach and winter squash that round out the diversity. We provided greens every single week of the year last year, and this spring will be no exception.
As we head into the end of March and into early April crops begin to vigorously grow with increased daylight - winter greens and flavorful herbs are in abundance. Mesclun, baby spinach and arugula, chard, pac choi and various varieties of Asian greens begin to appear in shares. From late April into May you can expect a wide variety of these greens plus spring vegetables like salad turnips, baby beets, scallions and hardy herbs like dill and parsley.
In late May and into June warm season vegetables like European cucumbers, basil, and spring onions make their way into the share along with tender greens harvested from the field. Throughout the spring months we will continue to include preserved and frozen items to keep things interesting.
Storage and Use Tips
We have shoots again to fulfill your salad needs. I hope you're enjoying the shoots and finding lots of ways to use them. Last week I make up my own version of bibimbap and it was excellent! See below for this weeks' featured shoots recipe.
This week's potatoes are Red Norlands. These potatoes have a dark red skin and creamy white flesh inside. They're excellent boiled, steamed or roasted. They're particularly yummy in a warm potato salad with the skis left on!
Red beets have so many health benefits. They contain betaine, the same substance that is used in certain treatments of depression. They also contain trytophan, which relaxes the mind and creates a sense of well-being, similar to chocolate. Beets can also lower your blood pressure. They also contain potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron; vitamins A, B & C; beta-carotene, beta-cyanine; and folic acid. Beets are particularly beneficial to women who are pregnant, as the vitamin B and iron are very beneficial to new growth cells during pregnancy and replenishing iron in the woman’s body. Beets cleanse the body- they're a wonderful tonic for the liver, works as a purifier for the blood, and can prevent various forms of cancer. Try shredding your beets and adding to your salads, juice them, boil or roast them. Store your beets in the fruit and vegetable drawer of your refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Large share members are getting rutabagas this week. These rutabagas may not look like the prettiest 'bagas aruond, but they are as tasty as can be. 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.
We're proud to send out our shallots this week - they're one of the few onion varities that cured successfully this year. If you are a fan of onions the shallot will become one of your favorite treats. Shallots are related to onions and garlic having a head composed of multiple cloves, each covered with a pink, papery, onion-like skin. They have a mild taste that combines the flavor of a sweet onion with a touch of garlic. They are more delicate than onions, having a faster cooking time and can be used in many of the same dishes where garlic and onions are used (and do not cause stinky breath!). You can sautee or caramelize and then combined with wine, butter or cream in sauces. They are also quite good in dressings. You can chop fresh into salads and on sandwiches or it is also very easy to roast shallots while leaving the skins on and then peel and mash them before using. Thyme, chervil and tarragon are savory accompaniments to the shallot. Store in a cool, dry place for up to a month.
We're coming up to the end of the Napa cabbage and this week will have enough for all half share members and many large share members. Some large share members will get savoy cabbage. Napa is delicious raw or cooked and can be substituted for regular cabbage in most recipes. A head of Napa Cabbage in the fridge lends itself to a wide variety of meal options, from salads and slaws, to sandwich greens, stir fries, soup additions, and more. Nearly all of the head can be used, just not the tough center core. If your Napa sits a while in the fridge and some leaves are limp, you can refresh it with a good soak in cold water. Napa cabbage should be stored unwashed in your crisper drawer, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag.
Savoy cabbage has loosely wrapped, savoyed or crumpled leaves. These cabbages have a thick wrapper leaf which enables them to store well but are not as well suited to stir fry or egg rolls as Chinese types of cabbages with their thin skins and sweet flavor. They are also not so high in dry matter like your slaw or kraut cabbages which are perfect for retaining structure during processing and fermenting. The savoy cabbage is perfect for cooking however, especially in soups that can tenderize its thick kale-like leaves. I also prefer savoy cabbages to stuff with rice, tomato sauce and sausages. Saute with a little butter and a splash of milk or cream to quickly soften the leaves and bring out its sweet flavors on the stove top. Store cabbage in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer for a few weeks.
Our frozen corn is a favorite! Frozen at the peak of freshness, it is still tender and sweet and really fantastic. This corn is the best frozen corn I have ever tasted!
Frozen jalapenos are going to large share members this week.They should warm you up a little! To use your peppers thaw in the fridge overnight, remove from package and rinse. Or if you just need a pepper to spice up a dish, just take a single frozen pepper from the bag and chop it while just off frozen and add in to whatever you are making. The seeds and the inner ribs where the seed attaches are the hottest part of the pepper. For a rich and earthy jalapeno flavor without intense heat simply cut peppers open and remove inner ribs and seeds with a pairing knife. This may still give you a bit of spice but not nearly as much as before.
This week brings you Butterworks Farm Black Turtle Beans, the result of prevailing over the elements here in Vermont where dry beans can be extremely hard to grow in our wet summers. This heirloom bean originates from Southern Mexico and Central America. Its history can be traced to over 7,000 years ago. The black turtle bean has a dense, meaty texture and is very high in protein, which makes it popular in vegetarian dishes. It is an excellent choice for making into soups and chilis as it broth cooks down to a paste like consistency. You can also cook and add to salads, rice or use in my favorite dish huevos rancheros (see recipe below). It is common to keep the boiled water of these beans and consume it as a soup with other ingredients for seasoning (known as sopa negra, black soup), as a broth (caldo de frijol, bean broth) or to season or color other dishes.
Here are some of my tricks and instructions for cooking these little black nuggets. Number one, some sort of pre-soak is required to cook beans and will significantly reduce cooking time. Cover with 2 inches of water and soak overnight or for 6-8 hours. Drain and cover with fresh water and simmer until beans are soft, about an hour. In warm conditions, refrigerate black beans while they soak to prevent fermentation. A quick-soak method involves covering beans with water, bring to a boil for 2 minutes and then remove from heat and let sit for 2 hours. Drain, cover with fresh water and simmer until soft, about an hour. The beans may prematurely break up with a quick-soak method. Use the overnight method for dishes where it is essential the beans stay whole, such as salads and relishes. Important! Do not add salt or acidic ingredients such as lemon, vinegar, wine, and tomatoes until the beans are finished or nearly done cooking. Adding earlier can cause the beans to toughen. If additional water is needed during the cooking process, use boiling water rather than cold water. Addition of the herbs known as summer savory and epazote can help reduce the flatulence suffered by many who eat beans.
Not sold on dried beans yet? There are many good reasons to ditch the cans and cook with dried beans. One of the biggest motivators is to reduce packaging waste. Also, dried beans are certainly more economical than canned. You're paying a lot for the added water in a can of beans which you will most likely drain anyway. Finally, canned beans often contain a significant amount of sodium. Preparing your own beans allows you to control the amount of salt you want to use. So, more environmentally friendly, wallet friendly, and heart friendly. What’s not to love? (from the Annies Eats blog)
Pete's kitchen tomatillo salsa is a yummy reminder of summer. It's made with our organic tomatillos, onions, roasted jalapenos, plus cider vinegar, lime juice, garlic, cilantro and salt. It has good flavor and some nice zip. This salsa is wonderful with chips or as a sauce for meats, steamed veggies, or beans. It will also be amazing on a pizza! It will come to you frozen so you can thaw it out and enjoy right away (it's good for one week) or stick back in the freezer for up to a year.
Moses Sleeper Cheese is a Jasper Hill Creamery original, the culmination of years of experimentation in the cheese house at Jasper Hill Farm. This pasteurized cow's milk cheese was created to rival the best Normandy Camembert and was named after a Revolutionary War-era scout who was cut down on the Northeast Kingdom's legendary Bayley Hazen Military Road. This cheese has a bloomy rind with a milky, gooey core. The finish is bright and acidic and is aged 4-6 weeks.
Moses is perfect for a festive cheese board or for baking en croute for an elegant dessert. At room temperature, this cheese is pliant and decadent without being runny. Seek out a farmhouse saison, country pâte, pickled carrots, and a crusty baguette to bring together a satisfying ploughman’s lunch.
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.
Braised Napa Cabbage
Napa cabbage, also known as Chinese cabbage, has crunchy leaves that pair well with a light sauce. Similar to bok choy, but more delicate (use either in this recipe). Napa cabbage is more elegant than regular firm-headed green cabbage and sautees beautifully. The high heat carmelizes the cabbage leaving a sweet subtle flavor. Go wild and add some shredded carrots to the mix!
3 tsps vegetable oil
1 small head (about 1 pound) Napa cabbage, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 piece fresh ginger ( 1/2 inch), cut into matchsticks
1/4 c water
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 c soy sauce
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 tsp of the vegetable oil . When it is very hot, add half the cabbage. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes or until leaves begin to brown. Remove them from pan. Use 1 teaspoon of the remaining vegetable oil to cook the remaining cabbage in the same way; remove from the pan. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon vegetable oil to pan. Cook the garlic and ginger, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
In a small bowl, stir together the water and cornstarch. Stir the soy sauce into the pan. Add the cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil. Return all the cabbage to pan, stirring well to coat it all over. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until the cabbage is tender. Remove from the heat. Stir in the scallions and vinegar.
Sir Wasano's Infamous Indonesian Rice Salad - FEATURED SHOOTS RECIPE
This recipe came to us from a share member who adapted the recipe from the Moosewood cookbook. The original called for Mung Bean sprouts which she replaced with our shoots. They are perfect for this type of salad. Enjoy!
Serves 4 to 6
2 cups cooked, cooled brown rice*
½ cup raisins
2 chopped scallions
¼ cup toasted sesame seeds
½ cup thinly sliced water chestnuts
1 cup fresh shoots
¼ cup toasted cashews
1 large, chopped green pepper
1 stalk chopped celery (it looks nice if you slice it on the diagonal)
¾ cup orange juice
½ cup safflower oil
1 Tbs. sesame oil
3-4 Tbs. Tamari sauce
2 Tbs. dry sherry
juice of one lemon
1-2 cloves minced garlic
½-1 tsp. freshly grated ginger root
salt + pepper
Combine all ingredients & serve chilled on greens. Top with dressing.
Baked Honeyed Rutabaga Discs
One of your fellow shareholders contributed this recipe as a family favorite a few years back. It's adapted from “The Victory Garden Cookbook” by Marian Morash. Excellent for turnips too.
2 medium rutabagas or large turnips (2 lbs total)
4 TB butter
1/4 c honey
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel rutabagas/turnips. Slice across width of vegetable to make ½ inch disks. Melt butter and brush onto baking sheet. Place disks on sheet and brush with butter. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn and coat with honey, bake another 15 minutes. Turn once more and coat with melted butter and honey. Bake another 15 minutes. You may have to adjust final time for size and thickness of the discs.
Russian Beet Salad
This is a sweet and tangy recipe that really accents the sweetness of the beet. Warm up and eat atop a bed of braised kale, or keep cool on a cold chopped bed of mesclun with walnuts and goat cheese with basalmic vinaigrette.
4-6 medium sized beets
3 Tbs apple cider vinegar
4 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs orange juice
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tsp caraway seeds
pinch of cloves
pinch of cinnamon
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon peel
1/2 tsp finely grated orange peel
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350F. Bake beets 1 hour or until soft. Cool and peel beets. Finely chop roasted beets. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl, toss with beets and refrigerate several hours. Serve on your choice of greens.
Huevos Rancheros Tacos
What could be better than huevos rancheros folded into a taco? This is more of a knife and fork taco. I would also throw in some thawed jalapeno peppers, salsa, and corn. From Cooking Light, May 2013.
4 6-inch corn tortillas
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1/2 cup cooked black beans
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup pico de gallo or salsa
2 tbsp Mexican crema
1/2 ripe peeled avocado, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro
4 lime wedges
Preheat broiler to high. Arange tortillas on a baking sheet; lightly coat with cooking spray. Broil 2 minutes; remove pan from oven. Turn tortillas over and top each with 2 tbsp cheese and 2 tbsp beans. Broil 1 minute or until cheese melts. Remove from oven.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Crack eggs into pan and cook for 2 minutes. Cover and cook 2 more minutes or until whites are set. Place 1 egg in center of each tortilla and sprinkle with pepper. Top tacos evenly with pico de gallo, crema, avocado, and cilantro. Serve with lime.
Spicy Citrus Black Beans
Topped with some sour cream, salsa and of course a little shredded cheese, these could be a meal on their own!Recipe from Annies Eats.
3 cups cooked black beans, or 2 15oz cans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
pepper, chopped or minced (bell, Anaheim or jalapeno depending on your taste)
½-1 cup reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1½ tsp. dried oregano
2 bay leaves
½ tsp. salt
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tsp. pureed chipotles in adobo
1½ tsp. ground cumin
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
Juice of 2 limes (added lime zest – optional)
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
Chopped fresh cilantro, to taste, plus more for garnish
Place the beans in a colander and rinse throughly. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion and pepper until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the beans. Mix in broth (more or less depending on how much liquid you would like) and bring to a simmer. Mix in the oregano, bay leaves, salt, chipotle puree, cumin, orange juice, lime juice and vinegar. Once simmering, reduce to medium-low or low and let simmer, covered, 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, stir in chopped fresh cilantro to taste and serve.