I traveled to DC a couple weeks back to sit on a panel at the Feeding the Planet summit put on by Frank Sesno's Planet Forward group. It was an interesting event full of industry experts and attended by groups of college students from all over the country. I was one of a couple "organic" folks presenting, most of the rest of the "experts" represented biotech, large agribusinesses such as Land 'o Lakes, or conventional farmers. The most common theme was that by 2050 there will be 9 billion mouths to feed, and we will need 70% more food production than we have now because as the developing world develops more of us will be eating a higher protein and fat diet than we do now. And worldwide there isn't much arable land that isn't currently being farmed unless we cut forest which is not desirable from a carbon perspective. So the focus is on increasing yields.
Julie Borlaug the granddaughter of Norman Borlaug (the father of the green revolution, amazing life, look him up), led my panel on Innovations in Agriculture. Also on the panel was a fellow who runs an agricultural drone company and some folks who who milk 15,000 cows in Indiana (yes 15,000!). The theme of the conference was that technology, GMO's, precision ag will allow us to produce enough to feed the world and several comments were made that indicated that organic production is considered no more than a very small niche by those who are concerned with feeding the world.
In Vermont we tend to think alike to a large degree. The college students I'm mostly exposed to are interested in local food, organic production, small scale farming. Sometimes they think Pete's Greens is too big, that is doesn't fit their idealized vision of what food production should be. At this conference I was exposed to college students who are just as passionate about GMO's saving the world from mass starvation. Our tiny farm reality isn't of interest to them because it doesn't scale, the food isn't very transportable, and they consider it to be not at all superior to conventional food either nutritionally or any other way-and our food costs more. It was a good reminder to not get too comfortable in the bubble we all exist in and to realize that there are folks who are just as well intentioned who have very different beliefs. ~Pete
The future generation of farming on this "tiny farm", Pete's daughter, Bee.
Keeping an eye on the seed potatoes and sampling Vermont's finest dirt.
Join the Summer CSA!
June 17th through October 7th
Summer is a tantalizing time to be a CSA member! Each week seems even richer than the last as the season progresses. June will start us off with greenhouse favorites such as European cucumbers, Asian greens, zucchini, herbs, radishes, scallions, and lots of other early season favorites.
By July we'll be into the best of VT's summer goodies - tomatoes, peas, beans, broccoli, eggplant, sweet peppers, carrots, cucumbers and TONS more will be in season. August and September will bring us new cabbage, beans, tomatoes, corn, hot peppers, tomatillos, squash, and lots of greens to name just a few.
Our pantry members will be treated to not only the VT staples you've come to know and love but the best of our local seasonal fruits. Strawberries, blueberries, rhubarb, raspberries, black currants, apples, and pears may all grace your summer shares, along with the freshest of our kitchen products such as basil and arugula pesto, chimichurri, baba ganoush, and kimchi to name just a few.
Sign up now to get in on a summer filled with the best fresh, organic
Vermont grown goodness!
Storage and Use Tips
All veggie members are getting a lovely bag of greens this week. It contains some beautiful tender claytonia as well as spinach. This mix is a gorgeous taste of spring!
Keuka potatoes are very similar to Yukon Golds with yellow flesh and skin. Their rich flavor makes them great mashed and roasted. Cornell University developed these potatoes, along with about a dozen others, to grow well in our areas' temperature swings, short growing season, divergent soils and uneven rainfall.
We have either goldball OR gilfeather turnips for large members this week. Goldball turnips are yellow turnips that tend to have a long tail rather than a round shape and are creamy yellow on the inside. Gilfeathers look more like a rutabaga than a turnip, but the flesh is white and makes a beautiful sweet-flavored puree. I like to peel, chop, and saute either type with some carrots and onions for a veggie stir fry, or they're also great cooked and added to mashed potatoes.
Everyone is getting basil again this week. This delicious herb in the mint family is delicious added whole in salads or made into dressings or pesto (see the recipe below for a killer dressing). The basil will be inside your bag of greens.
Shallots have a distinct, delicate shallot flavor. They are great for seasoning sauces, salad dressings, and also roasted whole. Peeled and roasted they have a talent for absorbing butter, oil, or pan drippings and are a great garnish to surround a roast. You can also bake them unpeeled, the way you would garlic, and squeeze out the paste within. Delicious!
**Large share members will get either Chard OR Kale OR Pac Choi.The chard and kale are loose leaf and will be in a SEPARATE bag, inside your large bag. The pac choi will be a bunch inside your large bag. **
Chard is an extremely versatile veggie. The leaves are salad worthy, sliced into thin ribbons and combined with another softer green such as mesclun. The leaves are also wonderful steamed. For a quick side dish, try braising it one of two ways. Put a little olive oil or butter, 2 cloves of minced garlic & hald od a minced onion in a saute pan and allow the garlic to cook a bit and soften. Put in the chopped chard and cover tightly and let cook until wilted (if there's not enough moisture add a TB or so of water). Once chard has just wilted, add a sprinkle of red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar or balsamic and black pepper and serve. Or, add a bit of vegetable oil to the pan. Add the clove of minced garlic. Then add the chopped chard and cover and let cook until wilted. Then sprinkle with rice vinegar and a few drops of toasted sesame oil and maybe a teeny bit of soy if you want stronger flavor.
This kale is full of nutrients, tasty and an easy addition to so many dishes. Keep kale loosely wrapped in the 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.
Pac choi is a member of the brassicas family along with cabbage and kale that originated in China, where it has been grown for over 1500 years. As 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). 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. 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.
Frozen Italian Veggie Saute - we had a great eggplant crop last summer and could not bear to waste it. We made all the babaganouj we needed and still had more so we tried something new for you. This is basically a ratatouille made with our own organic eggplant, tomatoes, onion and peppers, as well as basil, thyme, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Thaw this mix out, toss in a saute pan until heated through, and enjoy on a bed of rice, pasta or greens.It is coming to you in a container, not bagged as most of our other frozen veggies are.We thought it was mighty tasty and hope you like it. Love to have feedback on this so let us know what you think!
Frozen chard, just like last week's 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.
Scott at Slowfire Bakery made us a polenta sourdough bread. This bread is made with VT-grown corn and whole wheat from Green Mountain Flour, white flour from Moulins de Soulanges in Quebec, sourdough culture, sea salt. This bread would be amazing with the cheese and some chimichurri. If you're not a pantry member and want to try out some of Slowfire's bread you can find it at the Burlington Farmers' Market, plus the general store in Jeffersonville, Cambridge, Underhill/Jericho and Fairfax.
Bonnieview's Ayersdale cheese is a wonderful cheese from Bonnieview Farm. This cheese is made with milk from the farms' 15 grass-fed cows. Neil and Kristen Urie are our neighbors who run a 470 acre farm with 170 milking ewes. This cheese is buttery and smooth with a slight tang.
Our chimichurri was made in our kitchen last fall with fresh parsley, cilantro, cider vinegar, jalapenos, garlic, olive oil, and salt. This very flavorful condiment is an Argentinian staple usually served alongside meats, but it can also liven up a sandwich, go along with grilled potatoes, or liven up a plate of eggs and toast. It's packed with flavor and will be delicious slathered on the bread with some cheese. It will be a perfect accompaniment to the Mcknight sandwich steak this week (or any other steak or burger you are grilling). It's coming to you frozen. You can use it right away or freeze for a few months before thawing out to enjoy. It's also wonderful added to potatoes for a nice salad.
This month we have a Pete's Greens chicken for all meat members. Your bird will be on the larger size so you can make multiple meals out of it. The first night I would roast it with carrots, potatoes, and onions for a nice meal. Or break it down into parts, and grill outside in this beautiful weather! Either way you can use any meat leftovers for another meal the next day - chicken pot pie, chicken salad, etc. After you've cleaned all the meat off you can boil the carcass down to make some broth for soup. This is a time when your bags of veggie scraps can come in handy to flavor your broth! Or, use the veggie scraps from your roast chicken the other night. I also like to add lemon and ginger to my broth during cooking to give it a nice flavor and some extra nutrition.
Our very own ham steaks are also in this months' share. This ham is cut from the hind leg of the pig. It is is leaner and a bit tougher than the meat from the shoulder of the pig (called the picnic ham or the boston butt). The ham steak you will receive is naturally cured with celery juice powder, maple syrup, and salt. Though ham steaks are partially cooked, they should be brought back up to 160F before serving. This ham is extremely popular with my kids!
Maplewind FarmAndouille Sausage - this slightly spicy Cajun flavored sausage is made with Maplewind's pork and salt spices, dehydrated minced garlic, corn syrup solids, sugar, and parsley. It's a classic in jambalaya and in gumbo recipes, and as such I have included a Gumbo recipe that uses a small whole chicken and this sausage. But it is also a classic in Po' Boy Sausage sandwiches so just grill it and throw it in a bun for a quick tasty lunch.
Lastly there is sandwich steak from McKnight Farm. This organic sandwich steak is 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 you can skip your share delivery and you will retain a credit on your account toward the purchase of your next share.
Lemon Pesto Dressing
This is a lighter, less intense version of traditional pesto, more liquid than pastelike. Use it to dress salads, sometimes adding finely grated Parmesan while tossing. It's also good for basting meat or fish. I'm going to boil some potatoes and use this dressing!
1/2 cup firmly packed fresh basil leaves
1 small clove garlic
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
Place the basil, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste in a blender or food processor.
Turn the processor on and graduallypour in the olive oil. Process just long enough to make a coarse puree, about 20 seconds. Don't over blend as that will oxidize the basil.
This dressing will keep, covered, in the regrigerator for several days. Makes 1 scant cup.
Baby Greens with Roasted Carrots and Potatoes
This is a wonderful early spring salad.
1/2 tablespoons tarragon white-wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium carrots
1 lb small new potatoes (about 1 inch in diameter) or fingerlings (1 to 1 1/2 inches long), scrubbed well
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 bag shoots mesclun mix
1/3 cup fresh basil, chives or other fresh herbs
Whisk together vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified. Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 425°F.
Chop potatoes and carrots into 1" chunks. Toss carrots and potatoes with oil and salt in a small baking pan and roast in lower third of oven, shaking pan occasionally, until veggies are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Add potatoes and carrots to all greens and herbs. Add vinaigrette and toss gently to coat.
Sesame Pac Choi
Add a taste of the Orient with this tempting side dish.
1 bunch pac choi
1 tbsp groundnut oil
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 large garlic clove, crushed and finely chopped
1/2 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.
Ginger-Glazed Turnips, Carrots, and Chestnuts
I tried something new last week with this recipe- maybe you're ready for a new skill as well? This classic technique of covering simmering vegetables with a parchment-paper round (known as a cartouche) yeilds perfectly moist, evenly cooked pieces. The glaze takes some of the "bite" away from the turnip.
1 1/2 pounds turnips, peeled, cut into 1x1 inch strips
1 pound carrots, peeled, thinly sliced on a diagnoal
12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces, divided
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled, very thinly sliced
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 cup shelled roasted chestnuts from a jar
2 tbsp minced assorted herbs (such as flat-leaf parsley, tarragon, and chives)
Cut a 12 inch round of parchment paper; snip a hole about the size of a quarter in the center of round.
Combine turnips, carrots, 8 tbsp butter, brown sugar, and ginger in a 12 inch skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Rest parchment paper on top of vegetables (don't cover with lid).
Simmer over medium-high heat until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Discard parchment; add remaining 4 tbsp butter and chestnuts. Simmer, swirling pan often, until a glaze forms, 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large bowl. Serve, garnished with herbs.
Gumbo Ya Ya
I'm pulling this recipe out of the vault from a 2oo9 newsletter. It's a four star recipe that had lots of reviews to back it up. It uses both chicken and andouille sausage, and the broth that will result from cooking down the chicken carcass. The recipe calls for Creole seasoning and I found a make your own recipe for that online. If it were me, I would cook the chicken one day and take the meat off the bone. Then the next morning cook the carcass to make stock and then proceed with the recipe. Epicurious February 2000. Makes 6 quarts.
2 cups unsalted butter (can use oil)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 red bell peppers, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
2 medium yellow onions, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
5 quarts chicken stock, heated
2 tablespoons Creole Seasoning
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 whole 4-pound chicken, roasted and deboned, cut into 2-inch pieces
1. First you make a roux. Melt the butter in a 12-quart stockpot. Whisk in the flour and cook until foaming. Cook, stirring often, until dark mahogany, about 1 hour.
2. Add the peppers, onion, and celery. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the chicken stock (make sure it’s hot), and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer. Stir in Creole Seasoning, black pepper, crushed red pepper, chili powder, thyme, chopped garlic, bay leaves, and kosher salt. Cook, skimming fat as necessary, an additional 45 minutes.
3. Add the andouille and chicken and cook for approximately 15 minutes. Taste, and adjust for seasoning.
Simplest Steak Sandwich
This recipe is also a classic and one that is usually included in the newsletter when sandwich steak goes out. Don't fix what isn't broken, right? There are lots of variations possibly with this simple sandwich. Saute grilled 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. ??Or, include your Veggie Saute on this - it would be awesome.
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!