Thanks for joining us this share period. It's been one of the most challenging springs weather wise in my farming career. Late start because of snow, followed by weeks of dry sunny weather, a couple very cold nights, and more recently 10 inches of rain in a couple weeks and more coming. Vegetables are fairly resilient but they don't thrive in wildly varying conditions such as this. We're giving them some extra fertility and care and hoping for some average weather. Average doesn't mean much when you talk about weather in Vermont!
We've nearly got all our land prepped for the year, and we're experimenting with some interesting cover crops on new land that we've recently acquired. We're using alfalfa, red clover, sorghum, buckwheat, rye and vetch in various combinations in order to reduce weeds and build soil fertility for 2 years before we plant vegetables. It's really impressive how much better crops do when the time is taken to cover crop for a year or two before vegetables. It takes alot more land but soil and plant health is much higher.
A couple months ago we began an interesting partnership with Pete and Gerry's eggs of Monroe N.H. Pete and Gerry's is a family operation that raises organic and free range eggs. They make alot of manure and we've been in talks with them for several months about sending the manure to organic farms in Vermont. They agreed that it would further their mission for their manure to be used on organic farms so we began directing it to various farms on the eastern side of Vermont. It's working great and we're supplying fertility to many farms from small vegetable farms to large organic dairies. The fertility is much appreciated.
We're looking forward to a bountiful summer and hope you'll join us for the summer share.
Best ~ Pete
June 19th - October 9th, 2013
17 weeks of Vermont's finest eating!
The Spring Share will be over in one more week!
Have you signed up for Summer?
Right now you're just beginning to experience an action packed season of great food. In just a few more weeks we will begin to see a lot of summer favorites like tomatoes, peas, herbs, and cucumbers. Right behind them come carrots, sweet peppers, heirloom tomatoes, sweet peppers, eggplant, sweet corn and much more! During the summer growing season we'll provide you with over seventy varieties of our organic vegetables.
The localvore share (or pantry share add on) rounds out your pantry with the selection of local pantry staples that our members have come to love and depend on.
Five Share Types for Summer:
Veggie Only - delivers a weekly delivery of fresh, organic veggies from the farm
Small Veggie - similar to the veggie only share in a smaller quantity
Localvore Share - delivers the same fresh vegetables, wonderful local staples and artisan products to fill your pantry
Pete's Pantry Share - just the localvore products, no veggies
Meat Share - delivers a monthly selection of local, pastured meats
Join nowand be rewarded with another healthy, local and delicious season of Good Eats!
We Need Your Feedback!
We have packed roots in a separate bag this week in response to feedback from some of our members who have told us there's too much water in their CSA bags. Spring time brings freshly harvested greens and bunches from the field. We wash these before packing your bags. We dry these bunches in the cooler overnight and then they go into the bag with the dry potatoes, carrots, onions and other roots. We have been doing this for years, and it has served us well. There is some water in the CSA bags upon delivery but we assume that most people unpack these bags when they get them home.
But this year, it seems that there may be more water in the bags, or at least a couple more people who have commented than in the past. So, this week we are trying something new and we have bagged the roots separately to keep them dry. This is more labor on our end and results in the use of the extra bag for each share but your happiness is important.
Storage and Use Tips
Eat more Kale! We have two different varieties of Kale - ripbor, which has a very curly leaf, and italian, which has a smooth leaf. They are both equally sweet and full of nutrients. It's tasty and an easy addition to so many dishes. Keep kale loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer. Strip the leaves from the stems and wash them well before chopping and cooking. Saute with a little lemon juice, olive oil, and salt, throw it into any soup, or blend it into a (very healthy) smoothie. This is very tender spring kale and would also make a delightful salad. My new favorite salad is a kale Caesar, made exactly as you'd expect - just with the kale! Photo at right of Annie and Socorro picking for you this week.
We have a mixture of beets for everyone this week! Large share is getting red beets, and the small is getting chioggia. If you're getting red but love chioggia don't worry - we'll flip flop this next week so you get to try both! Both types of beets have a smooth round shape and a deep red color; the chioggia beets are red and white striped. The red beets will bleed when cooked so if preparing with other veggies be mindful of that fact that you will end up with a uniformly technicolor dish. Beets may be eaten cooked or raw. Grated beets make a fabulous addition to salads and slaws. Grate some early in the week and place them in a tupperware and then sprinkle them into salads all week. Roasted beets are extra delicious, roasting carmelizes the sugar in the beets. Cube beets and roast them in the oven with a drizzle of oil at 400F until they are tender and just browning at the edges. If you don't eat them all right away, cool and toss into a container and add these to salads.
Attached to your lovely beets are beet greens. Cut these off about an inch from the beet and enjoy! The greens are best eaten cooked. They are related to Swiss chard and may be used exactly the same way. I love them sauteed with a bit of oil and vinegar (balsamic or apple cider) and salt & pepper. You can also toss them into most recipes that call for other greens (mustard greens, spinach). Some of the greens are a bit mottled but they are just fine and will be great!
Euro Cucumbers - hard to believe these are already here! These are Pete's favorite snack on the farm. In an ideal world they like to be kept at about 50 degrees or they may go soft in a couple days. I keep mine bagged and toss them in the crisper drawer and they keep a few days longer than that. But this time of year, they get eaten too fast and storage isn't an issue.
Curly Parsley - Much more than a garnish, parsley has lots to offer. Chopped parsley can be sprinkled on a host of different recipes, including salads, vegetable sautés and grilled fish. Combine chopped parsley, garlic and lemon zest, and use it as a rub for chicken, lamb and beef. Add it to soups and tomato sauces. Parsley is one of those vegetables with huge nutritional benefits, even when using just a couple tablespoons of the minced green. The vitamin content is very high (particularly vitas A, C, K, and folic acid). And what's more, the activity of parsley's volatile oils qualifies it as a "chemoprotective" food, a food that can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens. Store the parsley bunch with stems in a glass of water, like flowers in a vase. Cover loosely with a plastic bag and keep in the fridge.
These Baby Leeks are a precious commodity at the farm. These are wintered-over from last year, seeded in the fall and therefore up and ready so early in the year. Leeks are a relative of the onion. They look like large scallions, and have a more subtle, mild flavor than our yellow onions. They are often used in soups but they can be served as a dish on their own, or sliced raw into salads. Store leeks dry and loosely wrapped in plastic in the refridgerator, but use them within a week or so.
Zucchini is another vegetable I'm amazed we have to share with you already. It has a delicate flavor and requires little more than quick cooking with butter or olive oil, with or without fresh herbs. The skin is left in place. Quick cooking of barely wet zucchini in oil or butter allows the fruit to partially boil and steam. Zucchini can also be eaten raw, sliced or shredded in a cold salad, as well as lightly cooked in hot salads, as in Thai or Vietnamese recipes.
Frozen Squash Puree - 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.
I had the privilege of picking up the Rhapsody Natural Foods Tempeh yesterday in Cabot. Their farm and production facility is located on a beautiful hill over the small town of Cabot. Check out a picture of their office! They are a small family run operation that prides themselves on making geniunely traditional Japanese foods. Besides the tempeh, theymake other traditional Japanese products - miso, amazake (a fermented rice drink), rice milk, koji (a starter culture for tempeh, amazake, sake and rice vinegar), rice bran, and vegan eggrolls. They also grow Hayayuki Rice, a cold weather, short season variety from Hokkaido, Japan.
This tempeh comes to you ready to eat - if you're hungry when you pick up you can eat it on your way home! Otherwise throw it in a frying pan to heat up for a few minutes. It's wonderful cubed in salads, sliced in a sandwich, great in stir fries, or mashed in sauces or gravies.
In North Hatley, Suzanne and Gilbert, owners of Les Aliments Massawippi, make very fine miso and miso-damari (aka tamari). Tamari literally means liquid pressed from soybeans, and for centuries it meant the thick brown liquid that pooled in casks of fermenting soybean miso. This tamari was a rare delicacy reserved for special occasions. The tamari in the share today was made by this slow natural process. It is an unpredictable process in terms of flavor and yield.
Eventually producers learned to brew tamari-like liquid soy sauce that had similar characteristics as the original by-product of miso. Most high end tamari is brewed from whole soybeans, sea salt, water, and koji (Aspergillus hacho) rather than pressed from naturally fermented miso. The newer method is a fast way to turn out a fairly consistent product that is similar to but not nearly the quality of the real thing. Commercial soy sauces (even some labeled as shoyu or tamari) are another step down and are usually made from soybeans that have been defatted with hexane, a petroleum derivative. Other common shortcuts are artificial fermentation methods including genetically engineered enzymes. Most soy sauce is actually caramel colored water with lots of salt, hydrochloric acid treated soy isolate, and sugar added.
This Soy Oats Barley Tamari is pretty special and rare. It is a live food and has never been pasteurized, with a fuller richer flavor than soy sauce. One of our vegetarian share members, who received the tamari in a prior share, commented that she hoarded it, only using it a teaspoonful at a time. It really is that much better than soy sauce. You can use it to flavor stirfries, sauces, salad dressings, soups, grains and more. Please transfer to a small glass jar for best quality and store in your fridge. It will last a very long time.
It is important to note that like miso, sauerkraut, kimchi and other fermented foods, tamari is alive with lactobacilli. These microscopic bacteria are good for your digestive system, but can be easily killed with too much heat. If at all possible, try to use your tamari at the end of the cooking process, stirring it in at the very end, once the pan has come off of the heat.
The organic pearled barley was grown in Quebec and milled at Golden Crops owned by Michel Gaudreau. Pearled barley has been de-hulled, with some or all of the bran removed. It makes a great substitute in recipes calling for brown rice, is wonderful cooked, cooled and used in cold salads, and adds a nice texture to soups and stews. It also cooks down into a really nice risotto, without all of the attention and stirring required with Arborio rice. One cup of dry barley makes about 3 to 3 1/2 cups cooked. If you soak the grains for 6+ hours in cold water before use, you can reduce your cooking time by at least half. Without soaking, you'll want to let them simmer in water for a good hour. You can also cook barley like pasta, using lots of water (4-5 cups of water to 1 cup barley), then drain what's left over.
We have Country Style Pork Ribs this week, one of my favorite cuts. Country Style Ribs are coming to you from pastured pigs raised either at Jasper Hill Farm or Tangletown farm. These are pork ribs cut from the loin end of the rib and they are the meatiest "ribs" although they are not really ribs they are from the loin. Country-style ribs are more like pork chops, more meaty and less fatty than real ribs. This is a cut that needs slow cooking, see recipe below for a suggestion.
Our smoked Ham Steaks (also from the Jasper Hill piggies) have been cured and thus they are partially cooked, but you still must cook these steaks. The advantage of the smoked ham steaks is that you just throw them into the skillet and cook them both sides and in 10 minutes (160F) or so you have a flavorful piece of meat for the table. Maple sugar, maple syrup or honey are nice to add, particularly if you have children who like a sweeter flavor. Braising (cooking in liquid) works well so as not to dry out the meat, I add a few millimeters of water to the pan while the meat is coming to temp, and then pour it out to let the steaks brown a bit in the last couple minutes.
The organic sandwich steak came from McKnight Farms in East Montpelier. It's a thinly cut piece of sirloin, and is the cut that Philly cheese steaks are made from. This meat takes only about 2 mins in a hot pan to cook. Add peppers, onions and tuck into a sandwich with your favorite cheddar. Or fry up with eggs for a traditional steak and eggs breakfast to keep you trucking through the morning. Also fantastic for asian dishes that call for thin pieces of quick cooking beef and for steak salads. We love this cut and have to stockpile it from each animal until we have enough for the share.
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 I can stop your share delivery and you will retain a credit on your account toward the purchase of your next share.
Tahini Tamari Lemon Dressing
This is yummy dressing. You can swap the olive oil for sunflower oil. You can skip the nutritional yeast though it does add depth to the flavor. The dressing is great on green salads and also great as a fresh veggie dip and with falafel.
2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup tahini
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/4 cup tamari
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste
In a blender, combine olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, nutritional yeast, tamari, honey, oregano, mayonnaise and salt and pepper. Process until smooth and serve over salad.
Leek, Potato and Zucchini Pancakes
Serve these savory pancakes alongside a lightly dressed green salad.
½ lb potatoes
1-2 large leek, sliced crosswise into 1/8-inch-wide pieces (to make about 4 cups), and thoroughly rinsed
1 cup shredded zucchini
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place potato on a small pan and bake until tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour. Let cool. Peel, discarding the skin, and shred the potato on the large holes of a box grater. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add leeks and cook until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Strain. Place the leeks in a dishtowel and twist firmly and repeatedly to remove excess moisture; the leeks will shrink greatly. Set aside.
Place zucchini in a bowl and sprinkle lightly with salt. Let sit for 10 minutes. Place the zucchini in a dishtowel and twist firmly and repeatedly to remove excess moisture. The zucchini will shrink greatly. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the potato, leeks, zucchini, egg, flour, cheese and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix well. In a large skillet over medium heat, add oil and heat until shimmering. Measure 1/4 cup of the leek and potato mixture and form into a patty about 2/3 of an inch thick. Repeat with the remainder of the mixture.
Working in batches, if necessary, fry the cakes, flattening them with a spatula, until they are golden brown on each side, 4 to 5 minutes a side. Serve with green salad and enjoy!
Squash and Kale Risotto?
This dish from the cookbook Moosewood Restaurant Low Fat Favorites is a great way to use kale and squash together for a very healthy and delicious meal. The original recipe called for 4.5 to 5 cups broth and 2 cups cubed squash. I made changes to accommodate the squash puree, reducing the liquids a bit. Though you won't get chunks of squash, you will get the great flavor throughout the dish. ?
4 to 4.5 c. vegetable stock or garlic broth
1 cup minced onions?
2-3 TB olive oil
?1.5 cups arborio rice (or pearled barley!)?
1/2 cup dry white wine?
1.5 to 2 cups winter squash puree?
3 cups stemmed and chopped kale, packed?
1/8-1/4 t. nutmeg
?1 tsp fresh lemon peel
?1/4 c. grated parmesan?
salt & black pepper to taste
??Bring stock to boil, reduce to simmer. Meanwhile, in heavy saucepan sauté onions in 2 TB of oil for 5 minutes. Using wooden spoon, add rice and stir until well coated with oil. Add wine. When absorbed, ladle in 2 1/2 c. of stock, 1/2 c. at a time, stirring frequently for 2-3 min. each time until rice has absorbed the liquid. Add squash and kale and stir. Continue adding 1/2 c. of broth every few minutes for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until all of stock has been added and rice is tender but firm. Add nutmeg, peel, and salt and pepper to taste. Remove risotto from heat, stir in cheese, and stir immediately.
?Roasted Beet and Barley Salad
Beets are a wondeful addition to any salad, but this barley salad is just over the top. I had some leftover barley the other day and I added pickled beets and spinach to it along with some dressing. Good stuff!
1 cup dry pearl barley
4 medium beets, tops removed (or 5-7 small)
1/2 large red onion, minced and soaked in cold water for about half an hour
1/2 block feta (about 4 ounces), cut into small squares or crumbled
4-5 scallions, sliced into rounds
1 1/2 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
extra sliced scallions for garnish
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Loosely wrap the beets in tin foil and roast in the oven until they are just fork tender, about 30-45 minutes. Peel and dice the beets into small cubes.
Meanwhile, bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add the barley and 1/2 tsp of salt. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the barley is just al dente, about 30 minutes. If there is extra liquid in the pan drain the water. Cover the pan until ready to use.
Drain the red onion. Combine barley, beets, feta, and scallions in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the lemon juice and olive oil over the top and toss to coat. Taste the salad and add salt and pepper as needed.
Simplest Steak Sandwich
Lots of variations possibly with this simple sandwich. Saute griilled onions or peppers, and toss those on. Or skip the dijon and add to the basic sandwich tomato, pesto and fresh mozz or another melted cheese. ??
1 ciabatta loaf or baguette?
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper?
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked (or thyme, or parsley)?
olive oil or sunflower oil?
juice of 1 lemon?
1 -2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
?thinly sliced onions?
1 handful of mesclun
??Place your ciabatta just to warm in the oven for a few minutes at 100C/225F/gas 1/4.
??Season your steak and then sprinkle it with herbs. If any of the slices are thick, place them in a plastic bag and then bash the bag with a kitchen mallet or cleaver or back side of a heavy pot to thin the meat to 1cm thick or less. Rub with a little olive oil, place on a very hot griddle or frying pan and sear each side for a minute. This will cook the meat pink, but you can cook it less or more to your liking. Remove to a plate, squeeze over the lemon juice and allow to rest.??
Cut your ciabatta in half lengthways and drizzle the cut sides with a little e.v. olive oil. Smear a massive dollop of Dijon mustard over the bread, put your steak and onions and mesclun on top, then drizzle over any juice from the meat. Squeeze together and eat!
BBQ Country Style Ribs
?Country style ribs require long slow cooking and deserve to be cooked til the meat is nearly falling from the bone. You can do this in a slow cooker in about 6-8 hours, or you can go the oven route and get there in a shorter amount of time. Either way, the results should be delicious. This recipe was reviewed by over 200 users of allrecipes.com, most giving it 5 stars. Not surprising as the method is perfect for this cut of meat and the lemon slices on top help tenderize the meat while it cooks. You could use any BBQ sauce for this, or just serve the ribs plain if you have picky kids in the house. They'll be yummy regardless. Some reviewers covered the ribs with foil for the first 2 hours to keep the more moist. ??
10 country style pork ribs
?2 teaspoons minced garlic
?1 lemon, thinly sliced?
1 (18 ounce) bottle barbeque sauce?? (a great one to try is Annie's Naturals Organic BBQ Smoky Maple Sauce)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C).?
In a shallow baking pan or roaster, place ribs in a single layer; salt if desired. Spread the garlic on the ribs, then place the lemon slices on top. Bake in a preheated oven for 2 hours - the ribs should be tender. Drain any grease and liquid. Pour BBQ sauce over the ribs. Return to oven and bake one more hour at 200 to 250 degrees F.