Around the Farm
This week, we're working hard to finish covering our gutter-connect greenhouses with plastic for the winter months ahead. We have already planted into the 14,000 square feet of soil below them, with lettuces and claytonia that will be protected through the winter. The connectivity of these greenhouses means less surface area for heat loss. Meanwhile, Molly harvests from beautiful beds of claytonia for this week's share.
What's Up at the Fund
Those who have been with us for a while know that we are big supporters of the not-for-profit Vermont Farm Fund (VFF). A place where Vermont farmers and food producers can go to borrow money at zero or 3 percent with a minimum of hassle and time, the fund has done a lot to help many of our neighbors recover, grow and expand their businesses.
Pete helped found the fund and plays a key role on its advisory board. It’s a fitting place for him to spend his time, since he believes strongly in investing in the Vermont food economy. Only through investment will farmers increase their efficiency, improve their production and ultimately make a good living to support their families.
Since making its first loans just over 4 years ago, the fund has seen loans made to recover from Irene, loans paid back and lent out again to other farmers. While the first loans were focused on emergencies, now most loans are for helping farmers improve and/or expand their operations.
Tangletown Farm, whose eggs are in your share this week (or next week), is one of a handful of repeat VFF borrowers. Dave and Lila’s first loan a couple of years ago helped them start their egg laying business. The new loan that they took out last month will help them increase their flock of layers, improve their management of the birds and even make the retired gals available as ground pet food. Even dogs can eat local!
What Tangletown is doing exemplifies much of what the VFF tries to support with their loans—family farms investing smartly to expand the quantity, quality and diversity of what they produce. This all rolls up to create a growing and sustainable Vermont ag economy.
Storage and Use Tips
Claytonia - This is a tender green with a pointed, heart-shaped leaf. It has a mild, fresh taste. Great standing alone as a salad, or tossed on top of a variety of warm dishes as a liberal garnish. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Potatoes - Your share will contain Nicola potatoes this week. These slightly waxy potatoes are golden skinned and golden fleshed and are truly all purpose. They are great for boiling, mashing or roasting and are plenty waxy enough to make excellent potato salad. Nicola potatoes have a very special attribute among potatoes - they are low on the glycemic index compared to all other varieties. This means they do not cause blood sugar spike the way that other varieties may, if you are sensitive to blood sugar ups and down then you know this is an issue that can wreak havoc with people with insulin resistance. They also have a yummy slightly nutty flavor. Store in a cool dry place away from onions.
Carrots- Colorful, mixed carrots will be in your shares this week! Carrots should be stored loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer, where they will keep for a couple of weeks.
Kale - As always, this kale was picked fresh for you this week. Our outdoor kale has sustained some heavy frosts here in the Kingdom, and as a result has a slightly paler green or yellowish hue. But it is still as fresh, nutritious, and delicious as ever!
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 also highly nutrtitious, packed with vitamins and nutrients.
Brussel Sprouts - This week you will have a brussel sprout stalk in your share! Yes, this is how your dear brussels grow! You can store the whole stem in your fridge, or have your kids help snap off the sprouts before storage. There may be some harmless brown spots on the sprouts; these parts can still be eaten. If you don't like the look, roasting is a great camoflauge.
Butternut Squash - Such a versatile squash; great roasted, in soups, or pureed as a substitute for tomato sauce in pasta dishes. Sweet enough to use in pumpkin pie! Store at about 50 degrees for up to a month.
Onions - These onions should be kept in a cool, dry spot, such as a cupboard or a drawer. Great starter for almost any skillet meal.
Fennel - Fennel, a bulb-like veggie, is crunchy and slightly sweet with the flavor of anise. It is delicious and slightly sweet served raw but is just as often served cooked on its own or in other dishes. Though most often associated with Italian cooking, it has an uncanny ability to blend with other flavors adding a light and fresh note. If you're stumped on how to use it in your meals this week, try it in this simple side-dish - a great way to get to know the wonderful mild flavor.
Veggie Storage and Use Tips are on our website too, so please bookmark the recipe and storage tip section. I am sure you will find it useful.
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.
Amir Hebib grows Shiitake and Oyster Mushrooms in Colchester, in a mushroom house that consists of three main rooms. He can grow 150 pounds of shiitake and oyster mushrooms a week! Amir is passionate about mushrooms, and sells them to local markets and restaurants. It’s a pleasure to have these gems in the share again this week. Keep them in the refrigerator in a loose paper bag for up to one week.
Harbison Cheese from Jasper Hill Farm has consistently taken home top honors in national and international competitions over the last four years. This cheese is named for Anne Harbison, affectionately known as the grandmother of Greensboro. Along with breathtaking views, traditions and people are part of what makes Vermont's working landscape special; they're proud to honor Ms. Harbison's contribution with this cheese. Harbison is a soft-ripened cheese with a rustic, bloomy rind. Young cheeses are wrapped in strips of spruce cambium, the tree's inner bark layer, harvested from the woodlands of Jasper Hill. The spoonable texture begins to develop in our vaults, though the paste continues to soften on the way to market. Harbison is woodsy and sweet, balanced with lemon, mustard, and vegetal flavors. If the bark has fused with the outer rind, leave the bark intact and spoon out portions from the top. Don't be afraid of the greenish bluish mold on the outside- this is normal and can be peeled off or eaten around. Enjoy!
We are distributing Tangletown Eggs to Thursday pickup sites this week, and the same eggs to Wednesday pickup sites next week. Those hens are doing their best, and it takes time to produce all of the eggs we need for a CSA distribution. At Tangletown Farm in West Glover, Lila Bennett, David Robb, and their kids raise pasture-based hens on their land, and feed them Vermont grains and vegetables. These chickens have mobile coops to keep the pastures and their diets lush and healthy. And as you know, they are return borrowers from VFF!
Squash Hash with Kale and Baked Eggs
This recipe is good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. You can sub parsley for the cilantro to change things up.
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small onion, minced (1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced (1 tablespoon)
1/2 medium butternut squash or 1 whole acorn squash (1 1/4 pounds), halved, seeded, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (3 1/2 cups)
10 ounces carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (1 1/2 cups)
2 cups packed coarsely chopped kale (from 1 small bunch)
4 large eggs
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons oil, lemon juice, and cilantro, then season with salt and pepper.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large straight-sided ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes.
Add squash and carrots, season with salt and pepper, and transfer to oven. Roast, stirring once, until golden and tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
Stir kale into squash mixture, along with 1/4 cup cilantro mixture. Return to oven 7 minutes. Make 4 wells in vegetables and crack an egg into each. Season eggs with salt. Return to oven and bake until whites are set but yolks are still runny, 4 to 6 minutes. Serve, drizzled with more cilantro dressing.
Kale Caesar Salad
I can't wait to try this recipe- it’s a hearty, healthy take on Caesar salad, from scratch! I think this would make the perfect simple meal when paired with a cut of meat or fish. The dressing is made right in a large bowl before adding the other ingredients.
For the croutons:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
1 (1/2 pound) loaf brioche bread, crusts removed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 teaspoon coarse salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
For the salad:
2 cloves garlic
4 anchovy fillets, preferably salt-cured, soaked if salted; or 2 teaspoons anchovy paste
1/3 teaspoon coarse salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for garnish, if desired
3 heads Tuscan kale, washed, dried, stems removed, leaves cut into 1/4-inch strips
Croutons: In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 teaspoon butter over medium heat. Working in batches, add one-third of the bread cubes, one-third of the salt, and one-third of the pepper; toss to coat. Cook until golden. Remove from skillet and set aside. Repeat process twice with remaining oil, butter, bread, salt, and pepper.
Salad: Place the garlic, anchovy fillets, salt, and pepper in a large wooden salad bowl. Using two dinner forks or a muddler, mash to form a paste. Using one fork, whisk in lemon juice, mustard, and egg yolk. While whisking, drizzle in olive oil and continue to whisk until emulsified. Add 1/2 cup grated cheese; set aside.
Add kale to bowl along with croutons and toss well. If desired, garnish with additional cheese. Serve immediately.
I came across this recipe on a beautiful blog and had to share it. It’s a great take on taboulleh that’s winter-veggie friendly.
Fresh winter tabbouleh salad recipe featuring butternut squash instead of tomatoes and some dried cranberries for good measure! This recipe yields enough for two medium salads (shown) or four small side salads. Feel free to double it; you'll probably need to cook the butternut longer than indicated below.
1 small butternut squash (about 1½ pounds), sliced into little ¼-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup bulgur
1 cup water
1 cup chopped fresh parsley (about ½ bunch of parsley, chopped)
½ cup chopped fresh mint (1 small bunch of mint, chopped)
1 shallot, minced (about ? cup minced)
¼ cup dried cranberries
1 lemon, juiced
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
Optional garnish: crumbled feta cheese
To cook the butternut, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the cubed butternut and 1 teaspoon salt. Toss to coat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, then uncover and continue cooking until the butternut is tender and the edges are nice and caramelized, about 7 minutes. Transfer the butternut to a medium-sized serving bowl to cool.
While the butternut is cooking, combine the bulgur and water in a pot. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let the bulgur rest for 5 minutes in the covered pot. Fluff the bulgur with a fork and season to taste with salt. Let the bulgur cool.
Once the butternut and bulgur have cooled down, toss them together in your serving bowl. Add the chopped parsley, mint and shallot, as well as the dried cranberries. Squeeze the juice of one lemon into the bowl and drizzle in 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil, to taste. Toss and serve with crumbled feta on top, if you’d like.
Miner’s Lettuce Salad
Claytonia, also called “miner’s lettuce,” is a versatile little green. If you need some salad inspiration this week, try this salad recipe. You can substitute baked beets with roasted carrots, sautéed brussels, or anything else that inspires you.
4-5 cups Miners lettuce with stems, rinsed & trimmed
2-3 tablespoons fresh spearmint, finely chopped
6 small baked beets, peeled & sliced
2 tablespoons onion finely sliced
4 teaspoons walnut oil
1 tablespoon red wine or sherry vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
1/3 to 1/2 cup cup walnut pieces or halves (toasted)
1 teaspoon salad oil
½ teaspoon sugar/maple syrup
2 to 4 oz. crumbled feta or goat cheese
To avoid tossing the delicate miner’s lettuce make this a layered salad. Spread out the greens on a serving dish and sprinkle with fresh spearmint. Combine beets, red onion, walnut oil, vinegar, salt & pepper. Spread beet mixture over the greens. Toast walnuts in a small skillet set on medium heat with oil and sugar. They’ll become fragrant and ready to use in 3-4 minutes, watch carefully as they can quickly go from perfect to scorched. Sprinkle cooled nuts over beets and last drizzle with cheese.