Annie's Field Notes
From now until about October, my work on the farm revolves around what we simply call "bunches." Much of the produce that we harvest in the spring is picked leaf by leaf, stem by stem, radish by radish, and bunched together in one rubber band. Keeping an eye and a hand in the numbers, sizes, quality, transportation from the field, washing, prepping, and cooling of those bunches leads to an increasingly busy world of spring harvesting, with plants growing exponentially over the course of a sunny Sunday, leaves that want to wilt as fast as we can pick them, and a crew just getting back into summertime shape. Bunching at Pete's is new to several of my buddies in the field, and it's fun to have a few experienced pickers and a few who have continuous questions, who are learning the names of each kale and mustard, radish and head lettuce, and learning to see the differences in how each new vegetable grows and smells and feels and tastes. Not to mention how certain ones are easier to pick, quicker to wilt, or faster to clean. We're still harvesting mostly in the greenhouses, but we picked our first true outdoor bunches (easter egg and french breakfast radishes) from the field last week, and the early outdoor plantings are coming in fast. I have a bowl of rubber bands in my kitchen - they start to collect when you have a dozen to pull off your wrists every night - and I come home these days with hands smelling of basil and cilantro. Twice a week, I go out with a fresh list of bunches to harvest, and it only gets longer from here! ~ Annie
On Monday and Tuesday morning this week, Annie and crew will hand pick, assemble, wash, cool and pack 1500 bunches of various crops for Good Eats, and many additional for area restaurants and stores.
The Summer Share is fast approaching...
It's time to sign up!
June 20th - October 10th, 2012 (17 weeks of Vermont's finest eating)
You are experiencing just the beginning of an action packed season of great food. Lots of greens just now, but in just a few more weeks we will begin to see a lot of summer favorites filling Good Eats share bags like fresh basil, spring salad turnips, tomatoes, new beets, fresh picked zucchini, peas etc. And 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.
Four Share Types for Summer:
Veggie Only- delivers a weekly delivery of fresh, organic veggies from the farm.
Localvore Share - delivers the same fresh vegetables and 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
and be rewarded with another healthy, local and delicious season of Good Eats!
Storage and Use Tips
Mustard Greens - (Veggie Only & Localvore Members) Related to kale, cabbage, and collard greens, mustard greens are the peppery leafy greens of the mustard plant. This week everyone will receive either Green Wave or Green Frills. Both greens are delicious in steamed or stir-fried dishes.
Napa Cabbage - I love having Napa back and I just had my favorite Napa cabbage salad for lunch today. The flavor of Napa cabbage is somewhat milder and a bit sweeter than that of regular green cabbage. It is delicious raw or cooked, and can be substituted for regular cabbage in most recipes. It is extremely popular in China partly because of its versatility. In Korea it is pickled, salted, and flavored with ginger and chili peppers to make Korea's national dish kim chi. Store in a sealed plastic bag in your refrigerator.
Beet Greens - The beet greens in your share today are best eaten cooked (though they are totally fine to eat raw of course, and I often do in my smoothies). They are related to Swiss chard and may be used exactly the same way. I love them saueed with a bit of oil and vinegar (balsamic or apple cider) and salt & pepper. Or with a little garlic, tamari and a couple drops of sesame oil. You can also toss them into most recipes that call for other greens (mustard greens, spinach etc). They are milder in flavor than mustard greens, but a bit stronger than spinach. They are delicious.
Pac Choi - A member of the brassicas family along with cabbage and kale, pac choi (aka bok choy or Chinese cabbage) originated in China, where it has been grown for over 1500 years. It was introduced into the US during the late 19th century by Chinese immigrants. Part of the cabbage family, it packs in nutrition with high scores for vitamins A and C and calcium. 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 and sautes and in asian soups (and other soups too). As leaves become more mature they are more often served cooked. 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. We grow both purple and green varieties. My favorite way to cook it is to halve or quarter it lengthwise (depending on the size), brush it with olive or sunflower oil and throw it on the grill. Prepared this way, it makes an excellent and easy side. Store pac choi loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.
A note about our Potatoes - It's the end of the storage season for crops that were harvested in the Fall of 2011. At this time of year we are culling a higher percentage of each crop as we pull it from storage, wash it, and sort for you. Our potatoes seem to have experienced some cold in our new cooler that we built last Fall, and in particular, the Nicola's (the yellow potatoes) suffered. We work hard to sort the potatoes each week and hope we are doing a good job for you all. I had an email from a member last week whose potatoes weren't good when she cut into them. If you experience this, please do let me know.
Pete's Greens Farmstand is Open for the Season!
Every day from now into October you can depend on the Pete's Greens Farmstand being open and filled with every kind of produce that we are harvesting at the farm. The veggies are ultra fresh and beautiful.
Way beyond just vegetables, you can fill your pantry with a pretty diverse array of local food.
Here's just a sampling of what you will find: local milk, eggs, cheeses, yogurts and other dairy products, Vermont Soy products, our own chicken and pork, beef cuts and a variety of sausages from other farms, local flours, local grains, preserved items, coffee, pastries, popcorn, maple syrup, honey. Everything in our farmstand is produced locally from mostly local ingredients supporting many other farms in the process.
Open Daily from 8 to 6 pm.
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.
At Elmore Mountain Bread this week Andrew and Blair are baking their Honey Oat bread for us. This bread is made with Milanaise Winter Blend, Gleason's Snake River, Quebec Oats, Butternut Mountain Farm Honey, Sea Salt, Yeast.
We are sending out Pete's pesto this week. Pete, Deb and I made this pesto with our basil in the height of summer last season, with Stateline Farm's sunflower oil, and with garlic, salt and a bit of lemon juice. We left out the nuts and cheese to accommodate as many diets as possible. If you like nuts and cheese in your pesto, there's no reason you can't add them. 1/4 to 1/3 cup aged cheese with a similar amount of toasted and chopped pine nuts, walnuts, or sunflower seeds would be delicious.
I have had a wedge of Blythedale Grana in my fridge and have been grating a little regularly on pastas, and barley risottos, and all sorts of dishes I have been making with the recent explosion of greens on the farm. I thought it would be the perfect accompaniement this week for you all, particularly with the pesto.
Asian Cabbage No Mayo Salad
This salad/slaw blend will keep well in the fridge for several days. You can even dress it and put leftovers in fridge. But I tend to make a lot of the undressed veggie blend and bag it, and make the dressing. And then I dress enough for each meal.
Combine in a bowl:
1 small head green or savoy cabbage, cored and shredded
1/2 head napa cabbage, shredded
6 stalks kale, stems removed, leaves shredded
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and thinly sliced (if you have handy, otherwise, just leave out)
8 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
Asian vinaigrette, combine in a bowl:
2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons mirin*
1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon grated ginger root
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon hot chili sauce or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
1/4 cup minced cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon minced lemon grass*, optional
Macaroni and Cheese with Butternut Squash
Good Eats member Patty Pasley sent this recipe along the other day. Said her kids approved it and many other solid reviews on line. Adapted slightly from MarthaStewart.com
About 3 cups of pureed butternut squash (from 1 small Butternut squash)
1 cup chicken stock, skimmed of fat
1 1/2 cups milk (non fat just fine here)
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne pepper (more for more punch)
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound elbow macaroni
4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated (about 1 cup)
4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, finely grated (1 ounce)
2 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese or cottage cheese
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles; cook until al dente according to package instructions, about 8 minutes. Drain, and transfer to a large bowl.
While the water is boiling mix the squash puree with nutmeg, cayenne, and salt, and season with black pepper. Stir to combine. Taste to adjust seasonings.
Stir the squash mixture, cheddar, ricotta, and 2 tablespoons Parmesan into the bowl of cooked elbow noodles.
Lightly coat a 9-inch square baking dish (4 inches deep) with cooking spray. Transfer noodle mixture to dish. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan, and oil; sprinkle evenly over noodle mixture.
Cover with foil, and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil, and continue baking until lightly browned and crisp on top, 30 to 40 minutes more. Serve immediately.
Spanish Tortilla with Potatoes and Greens
This is like a frittata, but with a potato base. This makes this quick dish for supper and with great leftovers for breakfast. Serve it with fresh minced cilantro and salsa. Serves 6.
1 lb. potatoes, cut into 1/4 slices
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion or 4 scallions, chopped
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 lb. greens
1 cup milk
minced fresh cilantro
Butter or oil a deep dish pie plate. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Cook potatoes in a couple of batches until nearly tender and browning, using more oil as needed. Layer into to pie plate. Heat remaining oil and saute onion. Add greens and briefly saute, seasoned with a bit of salt. Spread on top of potatoes.
Beat the eggs with milk, season with salt and pepper. Pour over the potatoes and greens. Sprinkle with cheese if desired. Bake until just set in the center, about 30 minutes.
Alternately, you can cook this on top of the stove by cooking the greens first and removing. Then cook the potatoes, top with the greens and pour in the eggs. Reduce heat and cover. When nearly set, run it under the broiler until golden and eggs are cooked through.
Swiss Chard Gratin
?This is not a low fat recipe, nor is it a quick one. But it is extremely well reviewed and uses a large quantity of greens. This time of year that is sometimes just what you need. So if you are seeking to pack in the greens this week while also treating yourself to some decadence, this recipe is for you. Adapted from an October 2000 recipe in Gourmet. Serves 6.??
5 tablespoons unsalted butter?
1 cup fresh white bread crumbs?
3 oz Grana cheese, Gruyere, parm or another hard aged cheese, grated (1 cup)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped?
1 tablespoon finely chopped mixed fresh herbs (preferably chives, tarragon, and flat-leaf parsley)
?1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg?
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth?
1/2 cup heavy cream
?1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
?1 medium onion, finely chopped? (or baby leeks!)
3 lb Swiss chard, Beet Greens, Mustard Greens, Pac Choi, or even Kale, leaves and stems separated and cut into 1-inch pieces?(if using kale though, don't use stems, just leaves, and don't use bottom ends of the mustard greens).
??Melt 2 tablespoons butter and toss with bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, herbs, half of nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.
??Boil broth in a small saucepan until reduced by half. Add cream and keep warm.?
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a small heavy saucepan over moderate heat and stir in flour. Cook roux, whisking, 1 minute, then whisk in broth mixture and boil, whisking, 1 minute. Season sauce with salt and pepper.??Preheat oven to 400°F.??Cook onion in remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a wide 8-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Add chard and other greens stems, remaining nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring, until vegetables are tender but not browned, about 8 minutes.??Increase heat to moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Add greens stems, remaining nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring, until vegetables are tender but not browned, about 8 minutes. ??Increase heat to moderately high and add greens leaves by large handfuls, stirring, until all greens are wilted. Season with salt and pepper.??Transfer vegetables to a colander to drain well and press out liquid with back of a large spoon (be sure to press out as much liquid as possible!).
Toss vegetables with cream sauce and transfer to a buttered 12-inch oval gratin or 2-quart shallow baking dish, spreading evenly.??Top vegetables with bread crumbs and bake in middle of oven until bubbling and topping is golden, about 20 minutes.