Oh, what a great growing season we are having. We hear stories of drought all around us and while its a little dry here we'll take it anyday over what happened in Vermont a year ago today. Looks like a great stretch of cooler, dry weather coming up as well.
Onions are all in under cover-looking great. We have been loaned a really cool potato harvester from a farmer friend in NH that we will start to bring in the main crop of spuds with tomorrow. It's a machine that is perfectly scaled to our 7 acres, made in Denmark, and really hard to find in the U.S. We're grateful for the loan and traded the use of one of our small cultivating tractors all next season.
We're farming land at Bonnieview Farm in S. Albany that I first farmed 10 years ago. The owner Neil Urie is one of my good buddies and 10 years ago when Pete's Greens was bursting out of my parents land he was gracious enough to rent me his best 10 acre field. We used if for several years until we bought the Craftsbury farm and now we're back. That land is supercharged! It's growing some of the nicest crops I've ever seen with no irrigation. It's a high open piece with good air circulation and none of the fog that we have every morning at the home farm leading to little foliar disease and beautiful crops.
We had a nice tour with 40 Quebecios on Sunday. They are mostly young farmers who are part of the Quebec CSA farming association. Some of them are very near neighbors to us, no more than 45 minutes away. Others were from near Quebec City. Really nice group of folks and we will be going up to visit them and attend their conference in December. One fellow has a really interesting farming system. He grows on one acre and never tills his soil. Instead when he has harvested the crops in an area he covers it with a sheet of black plastic. In 3 weeks the crop residue is broken down and the beds are ready to be replanted. Tilling is hard on soil and we are always looking for ways to till less. We'll be experimenting with his system.
Hope you join us for our fall Good Eats season. It's sure to be popular so get your signup in. We have enormous quantities of all sorts of great food coming down the pipeline. Get ready to feast. ~ Pete
Pete at Neil Urie's farm about to begin his crop walk
The Vermont Farm Fund - One Year After Irene
Last year in the wake of the fire at the farm, Pete sought a way to repay the kindness and generosity demonstrated by so many who donated money to us to help rebuild. With the help of Monty Fischer and Elena Gustavson at the Center for an Agricultural Economy and board members Vern Grubinger, Bruce Urie, and Robin McDermott, the Vermont Farm Fund was created.
It was conceived that the Vermont Farm Fund would have two distinct missions. One, to assist Vermont farmers who had suffered agricultural loss and damage because of weather related damage and fire by offering quick, zero-interest loans. And two, to provide funding to farmers and other food producers who were innovating to increase the diversity of local foods produced in Vermont. These innovation loans would be quick and low interest. The Fund would give loans instead of grants because a low interest loan can be incredibly helpful, and easy to repay if the terms are favorable. And with loans, the money would come back to VFF to be loaned again and again to continue to help Vermont farms and producers.
The Vermont Farm Fund had only just been conceived, set up, and funded with some of the money Pete was paying back from donations he'd received when Irene came blowing through. With immediate outreach by CAE, more money flowed into the fund and through the Emergency Loan Program was immediately loaned to farms who applied for assistance, often the first help these farms received in the wake of the flood.
Thanks to many of you who gave, either to Pete's Greens or to the Vermont Farm Fund directly, the VFF gave out over a dozen loans to Vermont farmers in 2011, totaling $125,000!
Farms that were helped by the Vermont Farm Fund in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene:
Kingsbury Market Garden
Evening Song Farm
Joe’s Brook Garden
Jersey Girls Farm
Crystal Springs Farm
Jericho Settlers Farm
Little Village Farm
Sweet Rowen Farmstead
Each farm was approved for a zero percent interest Emergency Loan of either $5,000 or $10,000 and with the exception of Evening Song Farm who is still seeking land, all are back on their feet and farming again!
Sweet Rowen Farmstead, after losing their processing facility last summer, had a grand “re-opening” in Albany on Mother’s Day this year and is selling their gently pasteurized, grass fed milk to local retail outlets including the Capitol City Farmers’ Market in Montpelier.
Kingsbury Market Garden, a two year old farm in Warren, Vermont, lost a good portion of their soil and crop to the storm waters of Irene last August. After receiving the Vermont Farm Fund Emergency loan, Suzanne and Aaron are back in business, streamlining their operations and enjoying great demand for their products.
Joe’s Brook Farm, located in St. Johnsbury experienced near total losses of their fall crop to Tropical Storm Irene. The timeliness of the VFF Emergency loan allowed them to take advantage of the good spring weather and put the devastating losses of last summer behind them.
On June 1st this year, we launched the second phase of our Vermont Farm Fund, the Innovative Loan Program. This program had been put on the back burner in August 2011, so we could respond swiftly to the needs of our agricultural community after Tropical Storm Irene. With your overwhelmingly generous response, we were able to do exactly that and now, we are excited to begin building a revolving loan fund that will move our food system forward. Now, we will continue to receive donations for the Emergency Loan program alongside the Innovative Loan program.
Click here to learn more about the Vermont Farm Fund or to donate to the fund.
Many thanks to Elena, Monty, Vern, Robin and Bruce who have worked tirelessly together help create and launch the Vermont Farm Fund.
Storage and Use Tips
The Purple Viking Potato - is a strikingly beautiful potato, with deep purple skins dappled with pink splashes and stripes. Bright white and creamy-good, the flesh bakes or mashes perfectly but can be considered an all purpose potato too. It has a slightly sweet flavor and a buttery finish. I like to chop into 1/2" pieces with the skins on, drench in a little olive oil, salt and pepper throw in some leeks and dill if you like, roast in the oven at 375F or until soft on the inside and crusted on the outside and there you have it. The potatoes get their purple tint from the anthocyanins they contain, the same antioxidant found in blueberries. Store loosely wrapped in plastic in the fridge or in a cool dry spot.
Edamame - The edamame (soy beans) in your bag are still attached to the stalks. They are most tender right after harvest and lose quality as the days pass and they sit in the fridge. So eat these right up (or freeze). To prepare, remove the pods from the stalks. Steam the edamame for about 10 minutes, pod and all, drain well, toss with coarse sea salt and serve. Pop the beans right out of their pods right into your mouth, they will be tender and delicious. Compost the leftover pods. You can also shell the beans before cooking and then add them to other dishes you ate making. Or they freeze beautifully for later use. To freeze, simply blanch for 2 minutes in boiling water, , plunge into cold water to cool them and stop the cooking, then drain and pack into bags.
Dill -The freshly harvested dill in the share today can be used right away or preserved for later use. There are numerous methods for preserving dill. The easiest is to simply hang the dill for several days in a warm dry place (attic perhaps). You can dry it in your oven if your oven can operate at a low temp of 100°F. You can also freeze in a plastic bag. Dill perks up soups, salads, casseroles. It pairs really well with cucumbers, potatoes, eggs, beets, fish, salads and salad dressings, tomatoes, yogurt.
Pete's Greens Harvest Celebration &
Anais Mitchell Concert at the Farm!
Saturday September 29th
Please, please join us in the afternoon and/or evening of September 29th and learn about what we do, how we grow, where we process and store vegetables.
We'll be giving tours of the farm and you can even head out to the field for a bit of harvesting with Pete and crew. All are welcome in the afternoon for this very family friendly event!
In the evening we have two ticketed events - a farm to table dinner prepared by Chef Jon Flis and a very special benefit concert with Anais Mitchell!
Schedule of Events
1:00 PM Field Harvest w/ Pete
1:30 Farm Tour (folks can choose one or the other)
3:30 PM Farm Tour
5:00 PM Join us for a localvore Harvest Dinner w/ Chef Jon
7:30 PM - Anais Concert
Anais Mitchell in Concert
Part of her Barnstorming Tour and a benefit for VT Farms
Anais is returning to Vermont for her first state-wide tour since the acclaimed Hadestown appearances. Special guest and long-time collaborator Michael Chorney will accompany Mitchell for these uniquely Vermont concerts.
Anais grew up on a farm in Addison County and with this tour shows her commitment to Vermont Farmers. A portion of the ticket proceeds from each of these shows will go to benefit the Vermont Local Food & Farms Fund, an extension of the Vermont Community Foundation. The Fund’s mission is to support both the immediate needs and long-term strategies of nonprofits that are working to build a creative, sustainable food system in Vermont.
At our show, a portion of the proceeds from our dinner will go to benefit the Vermont Farm Fund which offers 0% loans money to farms who have suffered disasters, and quick low interest loans to farms and food producers who are innovating to increase the diversity of local foods in Vermont.
To take advantage of your CSA ticket discount, use the code: goodeats
Anais Concert Tickets - $20 per person
Pre-Show Dinner Tickets - $20 per person, kids 5 and under $5.
Join us for a beautiful dinner in the Field...
Outstanding in the Field at Pete's Greens
Wednesday September 5th - Tickets on Sale now
For the last two years our farm has provided the scenic backdrop for an exquisitely beautiful, memorable meal prepared by Chef Eric Warnstedt of Hen of the Wood Restaurant. Each year, the touring team at Outstanding in the Field make their way across North America, bringing their signature long community table to fields, gardens and vineyards near and far. The mission of the organization is to re-connect diners to the land and the origins of their food, and to honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it. Outstanding in the Field connects a passionate chef with a farm and then provides all the infrastructure to make a picture perfect meal happen in very rural or remote places.?
One week from today the OITF staff will step off their bus at the farm and start setting up this special meal here at the farm, once again with Eric preparing the meal. A place at the table includes a five course meal with wine pairings, all gratuities, producer discussions, cocktails before dinner and a tour of our farm with Pete. Hope you can join us.
Tickets still available.
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.
The Les Aliments Massawippi Tamari in the share this week is Part 2 of a story I shared part of our June 27th newsletter. The tamari is made from miso and in the newsletter I shared how the miso is made. To continue on with this story, as the miso sits and ferments in an anaerobic environment for weeks or years in its second fermentation, a thick brown liquid pools in the casks. This is the tamari. Tamari literally means liquid pressed from soybeans and for centuries 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. Each time I call owners Gilbert & Suzanne for tamari, I have to wait for confirmation from Gilbert that he can press enough from their miso.
Over the years commercial producers have learned to brew tamari-like liquid soy sauce that have similar characteristics as the original by-product of miso. Even 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 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 tamari is pretty special and rare stuff, and it's a live food and has never been pasteurized. Please transfer to a small glass jar and for best quality store in your fridge. It will last a very long time.
Localvores will also receive a 5 lb bag of Organic Rolled Oats from another Quebec producer Michel Gaudreau of Golden Crops Mill. Michel grows quite a few different grains on his farm and mills grains for organic growers in his area. He has a great operation just an hour and a half's drive from the farm in a beautiful setting surrounded by his fields. Michel's Golden Crops Mill makes many organic grains available locally that we might not otherwise have local access to and we are grateful for his commitment. These are beautiful, clean organic rolled oats ideal for oatmeal, granola, cookies, streusel toppings etc. See below for the solid granola recipe that I eat literally every single day for breakfast.
From Bill Suhr and Champlain Orchards, we have the first of the 2012 apple harvest! These are Gingergolds, one of several early varieties that started coming off the trees a few weeks ago. These are a tasty treat, sweet and crisp. Be grateful for our local growers and the apples they harvest this year. Bill tells me that supply in our region is down significantly this year due to Spring freezes. In Michigan, western NY and the Hudson Valley, some orchards are looking at 10% of a normal crop.
Wilted Spinach Salad with Radishes and Asian Dressing
1/8 cup rice vinegar (not seasoned)
1.5 tablespoons tamari
1.25 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
4 cups spinach, tatsoi, mizuna etc
1/2 bunch of radishes sliced thin
1/4 red onion sliced thin
Bring a little salted water to a boil in a pan and add the radishes. Let simmer a minute or two until tender.
Add 1/4 red onion sliced very thin and simmer just a minute more. Remove from heat and drain water and add the veggies to the bowl of waiting greens. Now, to the now empty pot add the dressing ingredients. Heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved (do not let boil). Pour hot dressing over greens in a large bowl and toss well. Serve immediately.
Swiss Chard with Garbanzo Beans and Fresh Tomatoes
A wonderfully healthy and delicious dish, and easy to prepare.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion and 2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 green onions, chopped (if you have them)
1/2 cup garbanzo beans, drained (use a whole can if you like)
1/2 - 1 tsp or more crushed red pepper (can omit, but the spice is nice)
salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch red or rainbow Swiss chard, rinsed and chopped
1 tomato, sliced
1/2 lemon, juiced
Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Stir in onions; cook and stir for 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft and fragrant adding the crushed red pepper and garlic at the end. Stir in garbanzo beans, and season with salt and pepper; heat through. Place chard in pan, and cook until wilted. Add tomato slices, squeeze lemon juice over greens, and heat through. Plate, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Smashed Garlic & Dill Potatoes
1.5 lb bag of purple viking potatoes, washed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons butter
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp chopped dill
Freshly ground black pepper
Bring salted water to a boil in a large pasta pot. Add the potatoes and cook until fork tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and transfer to a medium sized bowl. Using a potato masher or a whisk, firmly press down on each potato, smashing them. In a saute pan, add a small amount of the butter and the minced garlic over medium heat. Cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add garlic butter mixture to the potatoes. Stir in the milk, remaining butter and dill. Pour in the milk a little bit at a time, just enough to give good moisture. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Soba With Green Garlic, Spinach, Edamame and Crispy Tofu
OK, so we are not providing you with the complete list of ingredients needed for this recipe, but I just came across this and it is so exactly what I wish I was about to make for dinner that I thought I'd share. From Martha Rose Shulman in the NYT.
1/2 pound firm tofu, cut in dominoes
2 bulbs green garlic, trimmed of stalk (or use leeks and some garlic cloves minced fine)
3/4 cup fresh or frozen edamame
1 tablespoon rice bran oil, grapeseed oil or canola oil
tamari to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
6 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems cut away, sliced
2 generous bunches (about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds) spinach, stems trimmed, washed in 2 changes of water
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/2 pound soba
Blot the tofu dry on paper towels. If the garlic has formed cloves, separate them and remove the thick shells from the tender cloves. If it has not formed cloves, just remove the outside layers and mince. If using leeks, mince a leek or two, white part and tender green only, and mince a clove or two of garlic for good measure and flavor.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt to taste and add the edamame. Cook 4 minutes, then remove from the water with a slotted spoon and set aside. Save the big pot of water for cooking the noodles.
Meanwhile, heat a wok or a wide skillet over medium-high heat until a drop of water evaporates upon contact. Swirl in the rice bran, grapeseed or canola oil and add the tofu. Stir-fry until golden brown, and remove from the pan. Season to taste with soy sauce and set aside.
Turn the heat down to medium and add the olive oil and the shiitakes. Cook until they begin to soften, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, and add the green garlic along with a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until it is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until it wilts. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in the tofu and edamame. Turn the heat to low and keep warm while you cook the noodles.
Bring the water back to a boil in the large pot, and add the noodles gradually, so that the water remains at a boil. Stir once with a long-handled spoon or pasta fork so that the noodles don’t stick together. Wait for the water to come back up to a rolling boil – it will bubble up, so don’t fill the pot all the way – and add 1 cup of cold water. Allow the water to come back to a rolling boil and add another cup of cold water. Allow the water to come to a boil one more time and add a third cup of water. When the water comes to a boil again, the noodles should be cooked through. Allow them to boil for a few minutes if they are not. Drain in a colander. Place in a large bowl, top with the vegetables and tofu, and serve.
I make this granola practically every week because we go though so much of it. One of my kids likes it dry, another with milk, and another with yogurt. I have mine with fruits and Butterworks yogurt. It's a solid, simple granola recipe. You can add as much as another three cups of various nuts or dried fruit without having to change the amounts of oil and sweetener. You can swap honey for maple syrup interchangeably and use other mild favored oils. Though the amounts given of sweetener and oil are what my family enjoys, you can reduce the oil to 3/4 cup and the sweetener to 3/4 to 1 cup.
Mix everything together well. If your honey is solid, put the oil and honey in a small saucepan first and warm on the stove until it becomes liquid enough to mix with the other ingredients. Put all of this in two 9" x 13" pans or a large roasting pan. Put in a preheated 250 degree oven and bake for a total of 70-90 minutes, stirring the granola at 30 mins, 50 mins, 60 mins, 70 mins and 80 mins taking care to rotate the granola that is on the sides and bottom to somewhere in the middle. It is done when it is golden brown. After it cools completely, store in a tightly sealed container.
10 cups oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup sesame seeds
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sunflower oil
1 cup honey
1/2 cup maple syrup