Archives for the month of: September, 2012

It is the second last week of the CSA! 

For many bi-weekly customers this here is your final loot of the season:

Winter Squash – Several to choose from!
Onions
Eggplant
Tomatoes
Carrots
Kale
Parsnip
1 Kohlrabi
Pac Choi
Leek pair
1 Garlic
Herb – choice of Basil, Parsley and Thyme

CSA Shares for week 15

A new squash: Red Kuri
This odd shaped red winter squash has a very rich, sweet flavour that has almost a spiciness to its taste. This squash is excellent baked sliced in half and it also makes an excellent soup.

Pac Choi – we saw bok choy earlier in the spring, which is very similar to the pac choi. These are a Chinese leafy vegetable related to cabbage. You can use it best in stir fries or soups or refer to our spring posts for recipe ideas. This particular variety is quite mild and can also be eaten raw.

Parsnip – this may look like a white carrot, but in fact it is a parsnip… these will taste even sweeter than carrots when cooked. My mother always boiled parsnips with carrots and then made a mash with butter, salt and pepper. These are also an excellent add into a roasted root fruit bake.

Lorraine’s Potato Leek Soup – a CSA member contribution!
2 large, or 3-5 small leeks, chopped
4-5 small potatoes, chopped
1 whole small garlic bulb, chopped fine
1 celery stalk

Heat some oil or butter in a sauce pan – just enough to cover the bottom of the pot.
Sautee all the ingredients listed above for about 5 minutes.
Add boiling water to cover and season with salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash or any other seasoning (i.e. fresh thyme).
Add 1 bouillon to the pot.
You can then add a variety of other veggies you may have on hand: carrots, peppers, parsnip, kale, parsley, etc.
Top up with water to cover.
Cook uncovered another 10 minutes until the root veggies are tender to your liking.
At this point, you may wish to add milk/cream/parmesan or even some crumbled bacon.

Comforting potato leek soup by Lorraine 🙂

Eggplant on Pasta – Mathias and I made this last night and it turned out wonderful. 

1. Cut your eggplant into large chunks.
2. Prepare 3 small bowls: 1 with flour, 1 with an egg, 1 with some Panko or bread crumbs
3. As if you were making Eggplant Parmesan, take your eggplant and coat it with flour, then plunge it into the egg, then coat it with the bread crumbs. Lay the pieces on a tray until you are ready to fry them.
4. Heat some oil in a pan and fry up all the eggplant chunks.
5. Meanwhile, heat a pot of water and prepare your pasta.
6. When the pasta is done, strain it and then put it back in the pot and throw on your tomato sauce. We used some homemade sauce we did up last week. Toss and coat your pasta, thereby heating up the sauce.
7. Place some of the saucy pasta on a plate and add the eggplant chunks on top. Sprinkle with some parmesan cheese.

 

Eggplant on pasta – you don’t need to bread the eggplant, but I was influenced by Eggplant Parmesan!

Winter Squash Dip – we haven’t made this yet, but Martha Stewart says it’s good!
1 winter squash (~2lbs), peeled, seeds removed, cut into 3” piece
olive oil
coarse salt and pepper
2 heads of garlic, top cut off to expose cloves
10 Tbsp. unsalted butter at room temperature
8 scallions – only white and pale green parts, cut into 1” pieces
2 cups sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/4 cup. grated Parmesan cheese
4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
paprika for sprinkling
roasted seeds for garnish
bread sticks, etc. for dipping

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place squash on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss. Spread squash in a single layer. Place garlic on a piece of parchment-lined foil. Drizzle with oil, and wrap loosely. Place on baking sheet with squash. Bake until squash is soft and golden brown, about 50 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add scallions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes.
  3. Scoop flesh from squash, and transfer to a food processor. Squeeze garlic from skins, and add to squash. Add scallions and pulse until smooth. Add remaining 6 tablespoons butter, the sour cream, cream cheese, Parmesan, and lemon juice, and pulse until just combined but not smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Pour into a hollowed-out squash or a serving bowl. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Sprinkle with paprika, and garnish with pepitas. Serve with breadsticks.

Martha Stewart’s winter squash dip

It has been a very yurty week.

We’ve had a big crew on the farm working steady at getting the yurt connected with water, heat, and electricity. The plan was to connect the yurt to the existing well and also connect it to the existing outdoor furnace on the farm. Naturally the cold water pipe needs to be below the frost line, so Rick (a long time family friend and BIG help around the farm) and my father were very busy digging a 230ft trench, 6ft deep! Don’t worry, there was a backhoe involved, but still – what a pile of work. As of today, we have the cold water pipe in, as well as the hot water pipe. Central Boiler will be back to do our radiant heat hookups in a few days. If you notice the yard looks like it was flipped upside down, this is why!

230ft trench, running right beside the cool room!

We had a fairly hard frost Monday night, so this week is likely be the last field tomatoes we will see for a while. We harvested the final eggplant as well. I still find it amazing how plentiful September is. Before I started this business, I always made the false assumption that July and August were the most plentiful, but check out the colour and variety that September brings! Incomparable. With everything we still have in the garden, it’s hard to believe that Fall is here and plenty more frosty nights are right around the corner…

September’s Rainbow – another shot from last week’s CSA pick up.

In your veggie share this week, we have nothing but beauty and wholesomeness in the forms of:

Winter Squash – 5 choices!
Eggplant – mixed varieties
Onions
Cherry Tomatoes
Pattypan Squash
Larger Heirloom Tomatoes
Mesclun (Salad Mix)
Colourful Carrots
Kale
Garlic
Herb Choice

Roasted Pattypan Squash and Chickpeas
2 cups canned chickpeas, rinsed (or 3/4 dry chickpeas – need to be soaked etc.)
750 g. pattypan squash, halved
olive oil
salt
chives – a dozen stems
cilantro – a small handful
mint – 8 leaves
cayenne pepper
lemon peel
lemon juice
cracked pepper

You can substitute many of the herbs in this recipe for an herb you may have, i.e. thyme, basil, oregano, for a slightly different flavour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lay your halved pattypans on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper. Coat them lightly. Roast for 30 minutes, then let cool.
While the pattypans roast, combine the herbs, cayenne, lemon peel, lemon juice and pepper. Drizzle with some oil and blend until almost smooth.
Toss the chickpeas with the herb dressing and set in the fridge to rest.
When the pattypans are cool, arrange them on top of the dressed chickpeas and serve.


Breaded Summer Squash
I prepared these with zucchini, but you can certainly do the same with your pattypans.
Simply slice your pattypans into a reasonably thin slice. Coat with egg and then coat with a mixture of bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Fry in some butter!

Carrots with Orange, Garlic and Thyme – (from Jamie Oliver)
Cut your carrots to the desired size. I often leave them nearly whole.
Boil the carrots in salted water with a bit of sugar and a knob of butter and a little cluster of herb (Just one, or a cluster of: thyme, rosemary, savoury, parsley, etc.).
Cut an orange into eights and add them to the water, along with a few garlic cloves in their skin.
Once the carrots are cooked (I like them tender crisp),  drain them. Discard the herbs and throw the carrots on a baking sheet with the chopped up orange and garlic cloves and bake them at 400 degrees F for 6-10 minutes.

You may notice the beautiful fall squash/pumpkin decorations outside the cool room this week. Since my own pumpkins were devastated by the cucumber beetle infestation this spring and then drought all summer long, I have turned to another local farmer for some awesome pumpkins and gourds: the Vandersleens on Sawmill Rd. at Hwy. 17. There is an incredible assortment of squashes available in front of the big black barn. 

Marlo loves fall decorations…

Little busy this fine Tuesday morning as the abattoir is on its way to process the chickens. All 145 of them are looking good and quite healthy, so I’m happy about it. Shame for the rain – that always makes for a kind of messy day, but I’ll be glad when everyone gets their chickens 🙂

Chicken sale booth

This past week has involved a lot of garden cleanup. Not just squash vines and finished plants but also equipment (stakes, rocks, tools, etc.) and lots of bed prep for winter. I’ve been spending time in the asparagus patch, which was somewhat left on the back burner this summer during the drought. Due to necessary neglect, lots of weeds have infiltrated my 700-asparagus patch and it is in dire need of some attention. I will post some before and after shots of the bed prep later. Hoping this holds off the thistle infestation for next year….

I have been checking up on my rutabaga, which I have tried growing again worm-free. Unfortunately, even with a late planting and using a row cover, the rutabaga are still suffering from wormies. They aren’t quite ready yet, so I’ll give them another week or two and we can see where they are at. Rutabaga is a very tricky veggie to grow organically, so if anyone out there has any tips for me, please pass them along.

Other things are doing better in the garden these days. The carrots are finally maturing and getting to a nice size. We have a beautiful variety of bok choy in the wings as well as a new variety of kale. We hope for more leek in the CSA and some new varieties of winter squashes are on their way too!

Still lots to look forward to in the final 4 weeks of my season!

Here is your share from the amazing garden of plenty!

Onions
Potatoes
Winter Squash – Choice of Delicata, Festival, Turk’s Turban and Spaghetti
Pattypan Squash
Salad Mix
Mixed Cherry Tomatoes
Leek
Kale
Beets
Beans
Colourful Carrots
Garlic
Herb Choice – Parsley, Thyme, Oregano or Purple Basil
A winter squash is called a winter squash because you can keep it through winter. More specifically, these winter squashes may keep for at least 3 months. Customers last year managed to keep some winter squashes of mine until the spring! You can use these to decorate your home until you decide to eat them one day.

The Delicata squash is a neat one – it is actually a bit sweeter and nuttier than a butternut and the best part is that you can easily eat the skin when you roast it. Normally you would need to peel the skin.

The Festival squash tastes like the Delicata but is in the interesting shape of an Acorn squash.

Spaghetti Squash is one many know for it’s stringy flesh.

Turk’s Turban, as one CSA member noted, reminds us of that black covered Harrowsmith Cookbook! It has that bizarre shape and is often used for decorative purposes, but can be baked or roasted the same as any winter squash.

Roasted Delicata Squash
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Take your squash and slice it in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and perhaps save them for roasting. Next slice the halved pieces like half moons. Put on a cookie sheet and brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast squash slices for about 25 minutes, flipping them every 10 minutes or so until nice and tender and browned. Eat the skins… these things are like candy. You can do the same thing with the Festival Squash…

Roasted Delicata Squash

Roasted Winter Squash Seeds
Remove seeds from the winter squash. Soak them briefly in water, and try to get the squash flesh off. Dry them on paper towel. Toss seeds in olive oil and season with salt and pepper and perhaps some hot sauce/cayenne. Bake in oven at 350 degrees F until crispy. I burnt mine a bit, but they tasted delicious anyway… check out these Delicata seeds…

Roasted Delicata Seeds

Roasted Root Vegetables
I don’t have my own photo of this, but an easy and very tasty side dish is a simple roasted “root-fruit” mix. You simple cube up things like winter squash, beets, potatoes, potatoes, onions, (and parsnip and rutabaga, when they are ready!) and toss them in a bowl. Drizzle and mix with some olive oil, coarse salt and cracked pepper. Lay the cubes out on a pan thin * if you lay them thick, they get mushy instead of crispy. Bake on a fairly high heat – 400 degrees F for about 25 minutes, depending on your cube size. Roast until golden and crispy. This recipe is so easy and tasty that my 84 year old grandmother added it recently to her repertoire.

What your roasted root veggies may look like…

One thing I’ve learned in the last couple years with this farming thing is that you never ever have time to do everything you would like to do or even should do. There is always more that one could do on a farm especially when you are in your start up years and the sky is the limit!

Well, I suppose the most exciting event this past week has been learning about one more thing that needs to be done on a regular basis: tightening the automatic chicken waterers.  Now, it’s something that I certainly know needs to be done but this summer has been quite hectic with the weather conditions, new business and learning curve. Anyway, I haven’t really been tightening the waterers.

Last Wednesday evening, my mom headed out to tuck the laying hens into bed and she heard some “water running” in my broiler chicken barn. I would say that in general the sound of running water on a farm is more than often a bad sound – especially in a what is supposed to be dry and cozy chicken barn. I was already in my pajamas and about to do one final check on the birds before bed…. when we really discovered that the barn had flooded. Luckily I had last checked the barn 2 hours previous so we knew the water had not been running long but still… at 10pm, in the dark, shoveling liquid chicken sh*t in my pajamas is not high on my bucket list!!

Well it became a family event – dad with the shovel, mom collecting dry shavings from the mill, me taking loads of the manure to the pile… it was a classic flooded barn clean out. Dad recounted many stories of when our dairy barn flooded. I had my own recollections of coming home from school on a rainy day and heading straight out the barn to bail liquid cow sh*t out of the gutter for a few hours. Try getting that smell off you before school the next day. Good times!

Within 45 minutes we had the barn emptied and re-bedded with fresh dry shavings, the waterer – which had come loose from the hose – was reattached and safely providing water again while the chickens settled in.

So like I said, one more thing for my routine – check and tighten waterers every couple weeks!

Share #12?? Already? That’s only 4 in total left. Talk about a speedy summer. Well, this is what is in your share this week:

Red Potatoes
Box of Pattypan Squashes
A single larger summer squash (for stuffing, baking, grilling, etc.)
Garlic (2)
Red Wing Onions
Kale
Head Lettuce
Carrots
Grapes OR Melon
Tomatoes
Leek
Herb Choice – Lemon Balm, Thyme, Summer Savoury, Oregano
Special Choice – Cauliflower Florets, Peppers, Beet Tops, Beets, or Spaghetti Squash

Freshly Picked Herbs
Lemon Balm – make a tea or add to a pesto.
Thyme – extremely versatile herb. Add to potatoes, meats, on veggies (i.e. carrots), add to a dip, or just dry it for winter use.
Summer Savoury – a sharp and versatile herb. Use as a rub, add to summer soups, great with chicken dishes, or you can dry it as well.
Oregano – classic herb great for Italian dishes. You can also dry it.

Fresh herbs for CSA

The leek is the exciting new ingredient this week… there is the usual leek and potato soup, which would be delicious with the cooler evenings we’ve been having, but you can maybe also try one of these ideas…

Leek and Apples
This is a delicious side dish that Mathias and I have made several times when back in Denmark.

2 small leek – halved and then cut cross wise into 1/2 inch pieces
2 gala apples – cored and cut into 1/4 inch slices and halved
1 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds

In a skillet, heat 1 tsp. olive oil. Add leek and fennel seeds and cook until leek are tender – about 6 minutes. Add apples and toss until they become slightly tender – about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in honey and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

Leek and apples – shown here with a pork tenderloin recipe.

Fettuccine with Leeks and White Beans
Serves 3

1 tsp. olive oil
3 small leeks – sliced and cleaned
coarse salt and pepper
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 3/4 cup. of chicken broth
1/4 tsp. dried sage
170g. fettuccine
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup. heavy cream
1/4 cup. parmesan, finely grated for serving
1/4 cup. coarsely chopped parsley

In a large skillet, heat oil and add the leeks, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often until soft – about 10 minutes.
Add the beans, broth and sage. With a potato masher, mash about 1/3 of the beans. Bring to boil and then reduce to simmer. Cook until sauce is thickened, but still soupy – about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 2 minutes less than recommended. When done, rinse under cold water to stop the cooking.
In a saucepan, bring the bean sauce and lemon juice to a simmer and add the cream and parmesan. Add pasta and cook for 2 minutes.
Serve with the parmesan and parsley.

Well, the main event this past week has been building our yurt! Next time you all come by, you will find a colourful 30ft yurt in the middle of the field. We had a great crew of volunteer yurt builders and enjoyed the long weekend building this interesting structure!

Derek attaching the beams to the centre ring.

Basic structure ready for coverings.

Roof liner is on!

Roof is on and walls going up.

Our yurt crew – Chris, Mathias, myself, and Derek.

Applying a clear finish to the floor.

View from the inside.

Labour Day Monday evening shot with some of the fam. Happy to have the yurt finally built.