Today for the first time we ran the greens washline that we found second hand in CA last fall. It was a huge success. We have a few things to tweak but we think you'll find our greens are cleaner, less bruised, and last longer. The washline is a long flume (think the log ride at Santa's Village) that the greens flow down while being sprayed and swirled. There are several spots for dirt to settle out along the way and the really cool part is that partway through the greens are conveyed out of the first flume and into a second. This means another nice swirly rinse in fresh clean water. At the end of the flume there is a shaker table that shakes alot of the water out of the greens. This helps keeps them from bruising as they fall into the drying basket and we've also found that they dry with much less spinning than they used to. It's always fun to find a piece of equipment that makes work faster, easier, and improves the finished product. ~ Pete
Storage and Use Tips
Fiddleheads - (Veggie Only members). This time of year we try to gather foraged food for members to mix it up. We are dependent on our foragers and whatever they bring us we pass along to you, but it's not always enough for all members. We have just enough fiddleheads this week to put in the small veggie only share bags. Fiddleheads are the tightly coiled tips of ferns, usually the ostrich fern. Fiddleheads have a grassy, spring-like flavor with a hint of nuttiness. Many people agree that they taste like a cross between asparagus and young spinach. Some detect an artichoke flavor as well, and even a bit of mushroom. Prepare your fiddleheads for cooking by running them under cold water and rinsing free the brown soft skin around the heads. To cook them, bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and toss in the fiddleheads for one minute. Then remove them and run cool water over them to stop the cooking. This blanching step will tenderize them uniformly, and you can now toss them into any other dish you are making, pastas, alongside rice, sauteed with garlic and crushed red pepper as a side, etc.
Ramps - aka Wild Onions, Wild Garlic, Wild Leeks (Localvore members) This is another wild foraged crop, brought to us by a friend who harvested them in E. Montpelier. As with the fiddleheads, when we get foraged products, we get what we get. We have enough ramps for localvore members this week. Use them raw or cooked in any recipe calling for scallions or leeks, or cook them in a more traditional way, scrambled with eggs or fried with potatoes. Since ramps aren't cultivated in the way leeks are, they're much easier to clean. Just cut off roots, rinse thoroughly, and scrub off any excess dirt on the bulbs. You can use both the white bulb and the leaves. The leaves are much milder in flavor but make a nice green addition.
Head Lettuce - (Veggie Only Members) Veggie only members will also get a head of Red Butterhead lettuce this week.
Mustard Greens/Mizuna- (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 Mizuna or Red Giant Mustard. Mizuna is a Japanese mustard green with dandelion-like jagged edge green leaves with a mild, sweet earthy flavor. It has long been cultivated in Japan, but most likely originated in China. Mizuna makes an excellent salad green, and is frequently found in Mesclun. Ruby Streaks Mustard has a delicate texture and mild, sweet yet mildly pungent mustard flavor. Both greens are tender enough to liven up salads, and stout enough to stand on their own in steamed or stir-fried dishes.
Maruba Santoh (Asian Lettuce) - (Veggie Only members) A new green for us this year, Maruba Santoh is an Asian cabbage really but doubles as both a lettuce or a cooking green. When you look at the round stems and the way they are joined at the base you will immediately recognize their family resemblance to pac choi or tatsoi. You can chop the leaves for salad, or toss chopped leaves and stems into a stir fry or saute. The vibrant green leaves provide a mild piquant mustardy flavor while the flat white stems impart a juicy crisp pac choy taste.
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.
Frozen Tomatoes -(Localvore members) We freeze tomatoes in the peak of summer when they are sweet and abundant. They freeze very well, but keep frozen til ready to use. Best to use when they are frozen or just off frozen, easier to handle this way. If you run a frozen tomato under warmish water in your hand the skin will separate and come right off and you can pinch the top and bit of core out at the same time. And then toss the fleshy tomato into the pan you are cooking in. If you are looking for chopped tomatoes, just let them thaw a bit and chop away before they completely thaw and are to soft to handle.
June 20th - October 10th, 2012
Summer share begins in just FIVE weeks.
If you haven't signed up yet, it's time!
Our Summer Share spans three seasons of vegetable production on the farm. In June we will start out with tender salad greens, fresh basil, European cucumbers, tomatoes, fresh picked zucchini, spring salad turnips, Napa Cabbage, Asian greens, chard and lots more spring vegetables. And then come all your summer favorites like peas, beans, carrots, sweet peppers, heirloom tomatoes, eggplant, sweet corn and much more! During the summer growing season we'll provide you with over seventy varieties of locally grown vegetables with unique flavors, colors and shapes as well as all the summer staples you are familiar with.
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 a healthy, local and delicious season of Good Eats!
HUG YOUR FARMER - FRIDAY MAY 18th at Higher Ground
Will we see you at the show on Friday?
With all proceeds going into a disaster fund for Vermont farmers, the musicians are hoping for a sold out show. Please show your support and join us for a great night out.
Many of the fantastic musicians who banded together for the Hug Your Farmer concert last year, the benefit concert that helped raise money for our farm after our fire, will perform together again on Friday. This time the show will be in tribute to Levon Helm and 100% of the proceeds will benefit NOFA VT's Farmer Emergency Fund. This fund helps farms in Vermont when they have suffered a disaster like fire, flood, or barn collapse.
An all-star house band (Bob Wagner, Ray Paczkowski, Clint Bierman, Peter Day, Steve Hadeka, Ron Rost) with guests that include (once again) Jon Fishman (Phish), Will Evans (Barefoot Truth), The Sweet Remains, Stephen Kellogg, Ryan Miller (Guster), Josh Panda and more.
This show was a blast last year. The mix of musicicans was amazing and the show energy was awesome. We hope to see many of you there. Will be a really fun night for a great cause.
Hug Your Farmer: A Tribute to Levon Helm and Benefit for Vermont Farmers
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.
Deb makes our Pizza Dough in our farm kitchen with Aurora Farm's organic unbleached VT white flour, Gleason Grains Snake Mountain Sifted whole wheat flour, local Sunflower Oil, Maine sea salt and yeast. Use within four to five hours of thawing (ready to go the night you pick up share or store in freezer for later use). Coat a smooth surface with flour and cornmeal (just flour ok) so that the dough does not stick to the surface. Form dough into ball and flatten with heels of palms. Stretch dough with hands or use a rolling pin to form shape of baking pan (I use a cookie sheet so I form it into a square). Once dough is slightly stretched on surface you can stretch dough in the air with hands by making two fists held together with dough on top. Move each hand up, down and out turning the dough clockwise. Give it some practice and you will be throwing doughs like the professionals. Each dough can be stretched to a 16" round, for thicker crust make smaller. If you like light fluffy crust I put my baking sheet on the top of my oven while preheating and let rise. Otherwise set aside in neutral area till oven is ready at 425 - 450F. Cook 12-14 minutes until crust is golden brown and cheese bubbles.
I get pretty excited when we have the opportunity to putJasper Hill's Bayley Hazen Blue in the share. This cheese receives regular rave reviews like this one from Cynthia Zarin who described Bayley Hazen Blue for the New Yorker Magazine this way “It was tangy, sweet, creamy, velvet on the tongue, the most delicious blue cheese I’d ever tasted." Bayley Hazen Blue is named after a road running through the Northeast Kingdom. The road was built and named after two Revolutionary War generals Bayley and Hazen, who were stationed along the Canadian Front. Jasper Hill summarizes this delicious cheese as follows. "The paste of a Bayley Hazen is drier than most blues and the penicillium roqueforti takes a back seat to an array of flavors that hint at nuts and grasses and in the odd batch, licorice. Though drier and crumblier than most blues, its texture reminds one of chocolate and butter."
The mushrooms you receive this week are grown by Amir Hebib in Colchester, VT. Amir grows his mushrooms in a mushroom house behind his home. He has 20 years experience growing them, having been a mushroom producer in Bosnia before immigrating to VT in 1996. He started growing mushrooms here in 2005. He grows shiitakes and oysters (little clusters of trumpet shaped mushrooms) and sells them to restaurants and markets in our area as well as at the Burlington Farmers Market. You can eat the whole mushroom stems and all. Many people discard the stems of shiitakes because they are tougher and take longer to cook. But the shiitakes you are receiving are so fresh that they are tender enough to add to most dishes though you may want to allow longer cooking time for the stems. Shiitakes have a deep flavor, and are very hearty, enough so that they can be used in place of ground beef in some recipes while oyster mushrooms have a more delicate flavor with a hint of anise and are often used to flavor soups and stir fry dishes.
And to take this share right over the top, you will also receive a dozen of Deb's eggs. Happy cooking!
Pizza This Week
Localvores won't have to strain very hard to figure out what to put on pizza. Here a few options along with a quick tomato sauce you can make with frozen tomatoes.
Swiss Chard or Mustard Greens
Potatoes (cooked and sliced)
Bayley Hazen Blue Cheese
Simple Tomato Garlic Sauce
5 large frozen tomatoes
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp oil
Optional - oregano, basil, or black pepper to taste
Run frozen tomatoes under warm water to remove skins. Set aside in a bowl. Saute the garlic in oil until just turning golden. Add the tomatoes and crush them as they thaw. Add a bit a of salt and cook until the tomatoes are saucy and not too watery. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Here's a simple recipe for fiddleheads. If you don't have fiddleheads, you can toss mustard greens or chard ingo the saute instead. Different dish, still delish. If using fiddleheads, use angel hair pasta or orzo, or israeli couscous or some other light pasta that isn't too thick and heavy.
.5 pound angel hair pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon truffle oil (OK to skip if you don't have)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Grated Parmesan, for garnish (or bayley hazen blue cheese for a twist)
Essence, recipe follows, for garnish
In a large pot of boiling salted water, blanch the fiddleheads until they are crisp-tender, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the fiddleheads from the water and shock them in a bowl of ice water (unless you are going to use them immediately).Drop pasta into the same pot of boiling water used for fiddleheads. Boil for 3 to 5 minutes or until al dente (depending on kind of pasta you have available).
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil. Saute fiddlehead ferns (or fresh greens), green onions, and red pepper flakes for 2 minutes. Drain pasta and add to skillet. Toss with truffle oil (or olive oil) and salt and pepper. Divide pasta among 4 plates and garnish with grated cheese and black pepper.
Spicy Greens with Chicken or Tofu
Here's a general all purpose recipe that calls for greens, lots of greens. Use whatever you have on hand, and don't be shy about grating some green cabbage and tossing that in too. You really can't go wrong. Serves 4, or two with leftovers. This dish is very good left over.
1/4 C soy sauce
1/4 C dry Sherry (or cider or rice vinegar/cider combo, or even white wine)
1 Tbs sugar or honey
2 Tbs chili sauce or Surachi (or to taste)
1 tsp sesame oil
1 1/4 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast halves, cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-wide strips, or 1 package tofu
3 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
4 green onions, white parts and green parts chopped separately
1 Tbs garlic and 1 Tbs ginger
2 teaspoons hot pepper relish or chopped seeded serrano chiles (or more to taste)
a lot of greens: chard, mustard greens, mizuna, kale, maruba santoh or broccoli rabe; about 1 pound, thick stems removed, spinach left whole, other greens cut into 1-inch strips (about 10 cups packed)
Whisk the soy sauce, Sherry, and sugar and sesame oil in medium bowl, divide in half. Use half of the mixture to marinate chicken or tofu; marinate 20 to 30 minutes and reserve the rest.
Heat 2 tablespoons peanut oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add white parts of onions, garlic, ginger and relish or chiles; stir 30 seconds. Add chicken; stir-fry just until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer chicken mixture to bowl. If you’re using tofu you can skip this step. Just quickly stirfry the first four ingredients, go right to adding the greens, and drop in the marinated tofu at the end just long enough to heat through.
Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil to same skillet; heat over high heat. Add greens by large handfuls; stir just until beginning to wilt before adding more. You can put a large pot lid over the heap of greens to steam them briefly if you like. Sauté just until tender, 1 to 6 minutes, depending on type of greens. Return chicken to skillet. Add reserved soy sauce mixture; stir until heated through, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowl; sprinkle with green parts of onions. Serve with rice or soba.
Soba Noodle Soup
This one goes with so many of this shares offerings this week. Lots of subsitition opportunities - ramps for garlic, a choice of greens, and you could even sub fiddleheads in place of mushrooms (won't be the same but so many other flavors going on it would be fine).
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
12 ounces shiitake mushrooms (stems removed), caps thinly sliced
4 scallions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 quart chicken broth or tasty veg broth
1/2 package (4.4 ounces) soba (Japanese buckwheat noodles)
1 bunch mizuna, or red giant mustard, or maruba santoh, torn
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add mushrooms, scallion whites, garlic, and ginger; season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender, 6 minutes.
Add broth and 3 cups water; bring to a boil. Add soba; reduce to a simmer, and cook 5 minutes. Add greens; cook just until tender, about 1 minute. Add lime juice and soy sauce. Serve topped with scallion greens.
Cabbage, blue cheese and walnut salad
1/4 green cabbage - sliced THIN
1 apple (any eating apple)
Lemon juice to taste (1-2 tbsp)
Bayley Hazen Blue cheese
A few walnuts, chopped and toasted aminute ort two in a skillet til aromatic (but not burned)
1 or 2 ribs of celery (if you have them)
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
?2 tsp dijon mustard
4 tbsp oil
Finely slice the cabbage. Peel and finely slice the apple, and toss it in the lemon juice. Grate the carrot. Toast the walnuts. Thinly slice the celery, if you are using. Put all the ingredients in a bowl.
Mix the vinegar, oil and mustard (with salt and pepper, and maybe a pinch of sugar), and shake it all up in a jam jar.Pour the dressing over the salad, and mix it together. Crumble some blue cheese on top and stir again. Serve.