Wednesday, November 12, 2014

All's quiet on the farm

All's quiet on the farm. (Except for those baby chicks who think it's funny when we chase them each evening in the dark to get them back in their coop, safe and sound.)

Seriously, there is a void on the farm. Our pigs are gone, and the sounds of them frolicking in the woods, eating their feed, moving around in their hut, running up to Jason each morning... all gone. I felt this void last year, too, after we shipped our pigs off to a slaughterhouse to come back as delicious, packaged protein that we thoroughly enjoyed and shared all year long.

But this year's feeling is different, because this year's slaughter was different. There was no shipping off. There were intense, intimate moments with our three pigs up until their slaughter and even just after. With the help of a skilled friend, we took the lives of "the brown one," "Brigitte" and "the other one," as I so affectionately called them. Images from that morning are, thankfully, now ingrained in me. I will never be the same. Which sounds dramatic. But I only wish people could still have such real experiences with life and nature and death in order to grow and situate themselves appropriately in the world and in existence.

When the three of them were dead - when there was silence - I felt so conflicted. I felt respect, joy, sadness, relief, guilt... but mostly I felt love (again, dramatic - but true). I wanted so badly to hug my kid right after the deeds were done (only after I hugged those pigs, of course).

I can't express how thankful I am to have had this experience.

Now 5 days later, after we butchered the pigs under the tutelage of a master butcher right in our very own garage, after we vacuum sealed all of our precise cuts until midnight that evening, and after I cooked up a delicious country-style pork chop for dinner the next day, I'm expecting the cold weather to set in for a winter of rest and reflection.


Monday, October 20, 2014

2015 season begins

Seneca and I started our 2015 planting season last week, planting garlic into some newly prepared beds. Garlic has a long growing season, so the cloves are put in the ground in October in these parts, where they start to grow enough to have a head start in the spring, but not so much that they are damaged by the cold winter to come.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Recipe w/ winter squash

Miso-butternut squash soup w/ black beans and cilantro salsa

Ingredients: onion, olive oil, ginger, cumin, cayenne, butternut squash, miso broth*, cream, cooked black beans, yellow tomatoes, cilantro, shallot, sherry vinegar, salt and pepper

Preparing: Dice your onion and cook gently in olive oil. Add grated fresh ginger, 1-2 tsp cumin, a splash of cayenne pepper and stir for 1 minute. Next add cubed butternut squash, salt and pepper, and miso stock (about 4 cups of stock to one medium squash). Cook until squash is tender. Puree soup until very smooth. Put back on heat and stir in heavy cream (about 1/2-1 cup, to taste), cooked black beans, and chopped yellow tomatoes. Heat through.

Eating: Serve hot soup with this garnish/salsa: cilantro leaves, sliced shallot, 1-2 Tbsp sherry vinegar and salt.

Dish history: Leftover miso-squash soup (original adaptation from here) with some freshy-harvested black beans and end-of-season yellow brandywines... delicious. If you don't like cilantro (shame on you), at least stir in some sherry vinegar to the soup before eating.

* To make miso broth: I suppose everyone has their own method... I heat 1 cup of water for each Tbsp of miso paste. But the key is stirring the miso paste in a small amount of that water until it forms a paste, and then stirring it into the rest of the hot water. Never let miso stock boil.

Recipe w/ parsnips



Parsnips w/ ginger

Ingredients: parsnips, butter, ginger, sour cream, salt + pepper

Preparing: Cut your parsnips into matchstick-thin strips. Blanch them in boiling water for 2 minutes. Cook grated fresh ginger in some melted butter for 2-3 minutes. Then add the parsnips, s+p. Next, add sour cream and toss to coat. At this point you can either continue to cook until hot on the stovetop, or pop it in the oven at 375F for about 15 minutes (the latter will result in a drier dish).

Eating: A good side dish to some stewed or braised red meat.

Dish history: Another adaptation from Classic Home Cooking.

October 2014 Workation

Thank you to all who joined our fall workation on Saturday. We had about 60 people join us here for some work in the garden - clearing beds and preparing them for the long winter and even weeding our fruit trees. It really means a lot to us and our farm to see so many friends, family and neighbors come together for a community day.

Enjoy some photos and the recipe for the corn chowder...



























Recipe w/ corn

Corn chowder

Ingredients: onions, carrots, celery, olive oil, tarragon, potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, chicken stock, corn, heavy cream, salt and pepper (serves 6-8)

Preparing: Dice your onions, carrots and celery and sweat in a pot with some olive oil. Meanwhile, chop potatoes (we don't peel ours), sweet potatoes and winter squash (we use butternut squash and delicata) to desired size, about 1/2 inch chunks. Once onions are translucent, add tarragon and salt and pepper and stir for 1 minute. Next add potatoes, squash and 4 cups of chicken broth and 4 cups of water. Simmer, partially covered, until potatoes and squash are tender. Then add corn kernels from about 4 ears of corn (if frozen, be sure to thaw them beforehand) and 2 cups heavy cream. Heat to hot and taste for salt.

Eating: Add grated cheddar cheese to each soup bowl and ladle the hot chowder on top.

Dish history: Made this for our 2014 October workation - a nice, hot soup on a cold, rainy day.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Final CSA basket

Baby chicks have arrived!
We have reached the end of our CSA season - thanks to you all for being a part of it!

Expect the following in this final basket:
Potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, peppers, eggplant, beets, radishes, kale, braising mix, arugula, lettuce, parsley, leeks

Monday, September 29, 2014

Week 19 CSA basket

Expect the following in this next-to-last basket:

Butternut squash, pie pumpkins, potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, leeks, greens (a variety of them), parsley, scallions, peppers, eggplant.

~~~
These baby pam pumpkins we're giving you (courtesy of PJD's growing) are meant to be eaten! Their flesh is sweet and smooth. Nothing beats a pumpkin pie or some pumpkin tacos.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Week 18 CSA basket

This is the last of the corn - and likely last of the tomatoes, too. But we still have a lot of squash for you and plenty of greens.

Speaking of greens, our turkeys seemed to take a liking to them. When I went out this morning to harvest our perfect-looking bok choy, I found them in there helping themselves to some for breakfast. Sadly, that means that those flawless leaves now have a few nibbles in them. Still delicious, though.

Still on greens... we've lopped off the tops of our Brussels sprouts plants. This encourages the sprouts to grow rather than the plant to grow taller. So we're giving out B. sprouts tops this week (Friday members got them last week). We eat them like cabbage or make them in the style of kale chips.

Expect the following this week:
Tomatoes, corn, peppers, leeks, potatoes, arugula, bok choy, chard or kale, scallions, parsley, cilantro, spaghetti squash, delicata squash, butternut squash.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Week 17 CSA basket

All that squash and corn you've been receiving has come from the fields of Boscobel, farmed by one of your fellow neighbors and CSA members. Many thanks! And this week we've harvested the remaining winter squash there: spaghetti squash, butternut squash and pie pumpkins. There's a break in sweet corn this week, but more to come next week. And all those fall greens we planted in August should start being ready then, too.

Expect the following this week:
Tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, peppers, spaghetti squash, lettuce, arugula, braising mix, parsley, cilantro, basil.