Around the Farm
So much sun! Everything is growing so quickly I can almost see it growing in front of me. Greenhouses are planted and all of the big transplant seedings have been done. On these hot sunny days the remaining trays require a lot of watering as do all the greenhouses. It is almost a full time job in itself. Every time that I head out to move a sprinkler, Iris (my 1 ½ year old) insists on checking on the “cluckies” (or chickens). The chicks are just a couple weeks old and also growing before our eyes.
Most of the seeding work that I have left to do is smaller successions of crops that get planted throughout the season such as sweet corn, broccoli, and head lettuce. These crops are planted every 2 weeks all spring and into the summer in order to maintain a consistent supply. One of the major challenges that we have is making sure everyone involved gets the right info throughout the life of those plants so that they can efficiently make it to your plates. I know the varieties just by looking at them (I dream about seedlings). But the transplant crew needs to keep all those varieties separate and planted at the right spacing and in the right order. Then the harvest crew needs to know where the crops are planted, when they will be maturing. And everyone needs to contribute notes of how everything performs. And hopefully these notes make their way back into our field notes so that we know if we liked a variety, if it had disease problems or whether the spacing was right. Your input also often goes into the field notes. If the purple carrots you ate are the sweetest you have ever had it is probably a variety that we want to keep growing.
The Pete’s Greens Farm Stand will be opening May 16th!
In just a week and a half, we will have a display brimming with tender spring veggies, chard, lettuce, spinach, mustards, herbs, and maybe even some cucumbers by then. We will be carrying some new localvore products, Mountain Foot Brown Trout, Vt Bean Crafters bean burgers, and more. I am always looking for more interesting items that we can offer, let me know if you have some suggestions. We will also be selling hanging baskets, annuals, potted herbs and veggie starts for your gardens provided by Still Meadow Gardens from Albany, VT. We have put on a beautiful little addition to the front of the stand and added some picnic tables so you can relax and enjoy all the fresh food right here at the entrance to the farm. See you in Craftsbury! -Melissa
Storage and Use Tips
The crew this week with gorgeous Panisse heads, Spinach and Mustards
Adan & Soccoro in front
Andrew, Dan, Annie, Alejandra, Todd, Katt, Juan, Cori and Hector in back
Panisse Lettuce is as beautiful as it is tasty. This very tender buttery lettuce is perfect for sandwiches and salads.
Spinach - this is some good looking spinach! Enjoy as a salad alone or with the other greens this week. Your basil will be in the same bag as the spinach - the basil has a rubber band around it so it can be easily separated.
Green Frill Mustard Greens - (at right) Related to kale, cabbage, and collard greens, mustard greens are the peppery leafy greens of the mustard plant. This week large share members will receive Green Frills which are nice and spicy. They are delicious in steamed or stir-fried dishes or even added raw to a pizza!
Basil- this marvelous herb is a member of the mint family. It is a staple in Mediterranean cooking as well as Thai, Vietnamese, and Laotian. The herb is highly aromatic, or put another way, the oils in basil are highly volatile. Thus, it is best to add the herb near the end of the cooking process, so it will retain its maximum essence and flavor. Basil should be kept in a plastic bag or kept stems down in a glass of water with plastic over the leaves for about a week with regular water changing.
In addition to being just plain delicious, basil has numerous health benefits. The essential oils have proven to be an effective antibiotic for a number of antibiotic resistant bacteria strains. The oils in basil also have some amount of anti-inflammatory ability which is being researched at present.
Shallots are in the onion family. They look like a small, elongated onion with copper, reddish or gray skin. Once you peel it it separates into cloves like garlic. They are well known for their ability to be caramelized or cooked down to where the sugars are reduced or concentrated. When eaten raw, they are much sweeter and milder than even sweet onions. You can slice them thin and saute them in recipes that benefit from a sweet, mild onion flavor. When minced, they are fantastic in homemade vinaigrette and pan sauces. Store them in a cool, dark place.
This week's frozen item is Frozen Peppers. These peppers were grown on our farm, come in from the field and go straight into the freezer. They are washed, chopped, bagged and frozen within hours of harvest. To use vegetables let the package thaw in the fridge till soft, or submerge bag in warm water till usable. Remove from plastic bag before heating. Frozen peppers tend to not have the same rigidity as fresh peppers but retain all the flavors and yummy summer goodness.
Randy is baking us some special Multi-Grain Bread at Red Hen Bakery this week.
Applesauce - Nothing more than cooked down Champlain Orchards apples, our sauce is all natural sweetness. In addition to an easy and delicious side, applesauce can be used as a substitute for sugar in baked goods or take the staring role in an applesauce cake. The applesauce will come to you frozen for easier delivery. Thaw in the fridge overnight and enjoy, or keep frozen for later use.
Vermont Soy'sArtisan Tofu is produced right down the road from us in Hardwick, Vermont. Tofu is a fermented soy product, high in protein and rich in calcium. They try to use as much locally grown soybeans as possibly for production and use traditional fermentation methods when processing their product. Although tofu can be eaten raw, it is best used with seasonings and marinades as it soaks up flavor. Before using, wrap tofu block in a very clean cotton or linen kitchen towel and squeeze the excess moisture out. It also freezes well so toss it in the freezer if you won't use it soon.
Owners of Les Aliments Massawippi Gilbert and Suzanne made the superb Soy Barley Miso in the share. The two are big supporters of local growers. Their oats come from Michel Gaudreau. Their soy beans come from a grower within 60 kilometers of their facility, and their Quebec barley is processed on the south shore of Montreal. To make this miso, Suzanne and Gilbert begin by introducing their own lactobacilli culture to washed barley. After culturing for 45 hours, they have what is called, "koji," the basis for making their miso. At this point, they will mix in soy that has been soaked and then slowly cooked for 20 hours. This part of the process takes around 4 days. The next phase of miso production is fermentation. Gilbert and Suzanne ferment their miso very carefully controlling the temperature, humidity and oxygen levels. Their fermentation chamber is on premises, and is held at a continuous 60F. The flavor is fresh and soft, almost sweet on the finish with some saltiness. As miso is a living food, it is best not to cook it. Instead, stir miso into a dish after it is removed from the heat to maintain it's nutritional benefits. Kept refrigerated, it will last several years.
Miso is a fermented product which enhances the effect of the lactic intestinal flora and as such it is easy on the body. The enzymes it contains further aids digestion. Commercial packaged miso has been pasteurized and is no longer a living food so always choose unpasteurized miso.
Keep this miso in your fridge and it will be good for many months or even years. You can add it to soups for more flavor, or use it as a base for making sauces, or add it to prepared foods. It is a delicious and nutritious way to flavor foods. A bowl of miso soup a day goes a long way toward a healthful diet.
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.
Simple and Delicious Miso Broth
Adapted from Miso: More than Food, Life. Suzanne Dionne. Makes 1 cup.
1 tsp miso
1 cup hot water or stock
1 tsp shredded black Spanish radish (optional)
1 oz cubed tofu (optional)
Dilute the miso in some of the hot water or stock then fill the cup with the remaining liquid. Garnish with daikon and tofu if desired.
Miso Roasted Root Vegetables
Mark Bittman's book, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, has a lot of good information about miso, as well as suggested recipes. Although he extols the health benefits of uncooked miso, his book also includes a few recipes where the miso gets some heat. The recipe for the Miso glaze below is adapted from one of them. You can also use the glaze when grilling vegetables or tofu. The roasted vegetables would make a great side dish for the tofu recipe below. Leftovers can be brought to room temperature and tossed with mesclun and Asian dressing and garnished with chopped dulse for a light salad supper.
1/2 cup miso
1/4 cup honey
1 clove minced garlic
1 hot pepper minced, or 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
2 TB sunflower oil
4 lbs mixed root vegetables, such as turnips, rutabagas and beets
salt to taste
Preheat oven to 375F.
Whisk together glaze ingredients, miso through sunflower oil. Heat slightly if your honey has crystallized and the mixture is too thick. Peel, slice and chop vegetables into 1/2" pieces. Toss veggies with glaze on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Roast in the oven for 45 to 60 minutes, tossing every 15 minutes, until vegetables are caramelized on the outside and soft on the inside. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Panfried Tofu with Mustard Greens
Here's a terrific sounding tofu and mustard greens recipe adapted from the Gourmet Cookbook edited by Ruth Reichl. Serves 2 as a main course, easily doubles.
1 TB sesame seeds
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 glove garlic minced
1/4 c orange juice
2 TB soy sauce
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 block tofu
2 1/2 TB oil
1 bunch mustard greens, coarsely chopped
2 tsp honey
Toast sesame seeds in a dry skillet until golden brown. Set aside.
Combine ginger, garlic, orange juice, soy sauce and sesame oil in a sauce pan. Simmer gently for 1 minute.
Place tofu on a clean towel, cover with another, and press gently but firmly to remove excess moisture. Cut into 1/2 inch thick slices along the short end. Heat 1 TB oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Brown tofu on both sides, about 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Heat remaining 1 1/2 TB oil in same skillet add mustard greens and honey, saute until crisp tender, tossing frequently.
Transfer mustard greens to plates, arrange tofu slices on top, drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
Stove-Top Potatoes with Basil, Shallots and Garlic
This is a wonderful sounding dish using many of this weeks' share ingredients!
1 1/2 lbs potatoes cut up into 2" cubes
2 tbsp butter
4 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
2 large shallots, minced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until the potatoes are almost tender, shaking skillet occasionally, about 20 minutes. Add 2 tbsp basil , shallots and garlic. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook until potatoes are golden brown and very tender, about 10 minutes longer. Season with additional salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with remaining 2 tbsp of basil.
Baked Tofu in a Sweet Ginger Marinade
I used the basics to a favorite Korean marinade, added some local ingredients and found this to be a really yummy way to eat tofu with rice, sauteed vegetables or even as a cold snack out of the fridge.
1 lb firm tofu, sliced in eight even slabs
2 - 3 T apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar
2 - 3 T Tamari soy sauce
1/2 T fresh, grated ginger
1 tsp sesame oil
2 T honey (or more if you like a sweet flavor)
1/2 tsp sesame seeds
1 clove of garlic, minced
fresh ground black pepper
Marinating and Baking the Tofu:
Make the marinade by shaking in a lidded jar
Arrange the tofu slices in an oiled flat baking pan
Cover with the marinade - add more vinegar and soy sauce if needed
Cover and marinate 4 - 8 hours in the fridge
Turn over once if possible
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Bake 30 minutes in the marinade, uncovered
Turn over halfway through the baking
Broil for a few minutes if the tofu isn't golden on both sides.
Lettuce Greens and Vinaigrette
This basic vinaigrette recipe will work well on all your greens this week!
1 shallot (optional)
2 tbsp Red Wine vinegar
5 to 6 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Assorted lettuce greens, amount to taste
Peel the shallot and cut into very thin slices. Put in a small bowl with a pinch of salt and the vinegar. Let the shallot soak in the vinegar for 15 to 20 minutes, then stir in the olive oil and mix well. Taste to see if the balance of vinegar and oil is right — you might need to add more of one or the other.
To prepare the lettuces: Remove any damaged leaves on the outside. Separate the heads into individual leaves. Tear large leaves into smaller pieces. Wash them and gently in a bowl in plenty of cold water. Lift the lettuces out and drain.
Spin dry in a salad spinner or lettuce drier. Only fill it half full at a time. The most important thing is to have dry lettuce or the dressing won't coat the leaves. As they are dried spread them out on a towel. Roll the towel up loosely, put in an airtight bag, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Toss the salad in the vinaigrette dressing just before serving.