Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

My first pickup is Friday and I'm so excited to be able to eat locally in the dead of winter. Here's the note from the farm (Red Fire Farm in Danby, MA):
"We are getting ready for the first ever Deep Winter CSA distribution! Please see the side bar with This Week's Harvest for the contents of the share:

Winter Produce:
Sweet Potatoes
Spinach or Salad Mix
Baby Bok Choy

Local Products:
Apple Cider from Clarkdale Orchard

Sauerkraut from Real Pickles

Clarkdale Orchards in Deerfield makes some amazing cider, which they mainly sell at their own stand, but we were able to convince Ben to hook us up with some for the shares this week. They press the cider from their own apples and light-treat it which preserves the flavor better than pasteurization.
We work with Real Pickles throughout the season. Every year we provide them with cabbage, carrots, tomatillos, leeks, and other ingredients for their raw lacto-fermented products. This week we're giving out their classic Sauerkraut. Having a little sauerkraut with meals, on top of salad, in sandwiches, gives your digestion a boost of beneficial bacteria. And is very tasty as well. Read more about how they make it on the web. Lacto-fermentation is a cool way to preserve some of the summer harvest.
The greens in our greenhouses are looking really beautiful right now. We're sending some out to you.
From storage, we're bringing out turnips, carrots, sweet potatoes and onions. Chop some of these up together and make a Root Bake! For winter recipes, please visit our Recipes page."

Whoo hoo! What's in your CSA share these days? What are you growing yourself?

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The shop I work at is a drop point for Tierra Miguel foundation's CSA and we got our first boxes of the winter season yesterday. It had:

yellow onions
green onions
yukon gold potatoes
purple russian kale
green cabbage
rainbow chard
green chard
purple kohlrabi
orange cauliflower
yellow grape tomatoes ( what a treat! its been a mild winter for sure)

at home I have lettuce, mesclun, joi choi, swiss chard, sugar snap peas and parsley going strong. My 'winter' tomatoes and thriving, but its been too cool for the tomatoes to ripen, so I picked most of the green ones to experiment making pickles, and now the plants are flowering again. Last frost date here is Jan 20th, so I planted some green beans last week, but its expected to rain cats and dogs next week ( a rare event here in southern California) so I'm thinking those beans may end up rotting and I'll have to replant, but thats ok, I'm happy to have the rain. :)
Johnson's Backyard Garden

They just celebrated their 5th year and are now the largest organic CSA in Texas. Great story about their beginnings here (literally a backyard garden):

Great food last week (YEAH ORANGES!!!):

Carrots - Big Bunches!
Tangerines! (Orange Blossom Farm)
Oranges (G and S Groves)
Grapefruit (G and S Groves)
Mixed Lettuce
Bok Choy
Brussels Greens
Broccoli Florets
Green Garlic
had to share:
CSA Pickup 1/20/2010

michael said:
Johnson's Backyard Garden

They just celebrated their 5th year and are now the largest organic CSA in Texas. Great story about their beginnings here (literally a backyard garden):

Great food last week (YEAH ORANGES!!!):

Carrots - Big Bunches!
Tangerines! (Orange Blossom Farm)
Oranges (G and S Groves)
Grapefruit (G and S Groves)
Mixed Lettuce
Bok Choy
Brussels Greens
Broccoli Florets
Green Garlic

The latest email from my deep winter CSA farm - Redfire Farm in Granby, MA - has me so excited for the pickup! Thought I'd share the farmers' generous words:

Dear Cornelia,

    It's getting into the thinner part of the winter in the local food department. So we're breaking out the popcorn!

   Popcorn is such a delight. Ryan and I make it pretty much weekly, if not more than once a week. Our most usual topping is olive oil, salt, and nutritional yeast (great flaky stuff you can get at food co-ops, tastes like a powdered cheese). Please see the Notes on the Harvest for popping instructions and seasonings.
    I was an exchange student in Ecuador and my family there served popcorn as a garnish on top of soup! So you can make your cream of rutabaga soup, and top it with popcorn, and then have more in a bowl to eat on the side :).
   Dried cayenne peppers are also coming in this share. If you don't normally use spicy peppers whole in cooking, you can grind these guys up whole (cut off stem first) in a blender or food processor to make organic red pepper flakes to use a little at a time, on pizza or anything. Perhaps a topping for popcorn!

Kale and Collards are coming your way. These guys are so tasty in the winter, but they aren't as space efficient as spinach or salad mix, so they're expensive to grow, comparably. We do a little bit for winter farmers' markets, but mainly grow them for you guys as a treat. Winter bunches are not nearly as big as summer bunches! They are very sweet and tender from the cold, and because they've been raised in protection from wind. Quite good used raw, as in a massaged kale salad or topping.

We might not have enough Braising Mix to go around, so we'll likely supplement with an option of frozen tomatoes (which we only made a limited quantity of this year).

Wealth of carrots, rutabagas, and gilfeather turnips continues! There are many recipes for turnips and rutabagas below, so don't be shy about taking and eating these healthful vegetables!
    Bit of beets this week too. I've been eating a big batch of chunky borsht (soup) with beets and rutabaga, onions, cabbage, and dried dill and thyme, bay leaf and a bit of lemon juice, salt and honey. Topped with some yogurt, mmm.
    Soup is a savior. So easy and fast and delicious.

   We have fresh local cheese by pickup location this week! Granby folks get cheese made by Trinity Farm in Enfield, CT. Somerville folks get cheese made by Fiore Di Nonno in Somerville, MA with Shy Brothers Farm milk.

Trinity Farm Cheese
Trinity Farm, in a bid to save their dairy farm financially, has started to make more value-added products, including cheese!
trinity farm cowsTheir fresh curd cheese, which will be in the share this week in Granby, is made from milk from their cows. Their cheese is a crumbly fresh cheese that they say people love on salads, for pizza, and any other use you can think of. They pasture their cows in season, and the milk has no antibiotics or hormones. Their farm is in Enfield, CT and we see them often at our Springfield Farmers' Market. We also sell their yogurt at the farmstand in Granby from May through October.
Fiore Di Nonno Cheese
Another fresh cheese selection for folks in Somerville, Fiore Di Nonno mozarella is made by Lourdes Smith in Somerville with milk from Shy Brothers Farm in Westport, MA.

Here's what Lourdes has to say about the milk she uses:
braid of cheese"The shy Santos brothers milk 120 cows, which they have carefully bred for three generations in Westport, MA.  The herd is a mix of Holstein and Ayrshire, with a few Jersey.  Since Karl Santos started making his cheeses four years ago, they've been breeding back more Ayrshire.  Karl likes the way Ayrshire milk behaves for cheesemaking, both for Shy Brothers and especially for Fiore di Nonno mozzarella. 

Westport is located on the south coast of Massachusetts, closer to the moderating influence of the Gulf Stream than other New England farms.  This means the cows can stay at pasture longer each year.  The grass is a mixture of native herbs and grasses that thrive in the ocean air and fog.  These include fescues, clovers, thistle, and alfalfa.
The cows are exceptionally healthy, which is reflected in the quality and flavor of the milk.  The milk is rBST and antibiotic-free.  If a cow becomes ill, it is isolated from the herd until it is well.  All of the milk from the day is used that day so it is never blended, always pure daily. Because of this practice, you can taste delicious seasonal variations in the milk reflected in the cheese. It is simply natural and fresh."
 -Lourdes Smith

We've been waiting for Fiore Di Nonno to source their milk locally to offer it for the CSA, and now they are, so the cheese is coming your way!

Sauerkraut, of mixed varieties, made by Dan the Pickle Man at Real Pickles in Greenfield, MA, will also be on the table. Get your probiotics in this tasty local form!

BULK ORDERS for storage or parties. You can order  for bulk orders for pickup with your CSA on Feb 25th. Please order by Feb 23rd, Wednesday morning, and earlier if you can. Details about how to store different crops on our website
 See what's available for Bulk Order and Find Out How to Order.

Some items on the bulk list: Carrots for Juicing or Storage, Daikon Radish, Rutabaga, Beets. See what else we have.
Recipes for the share in Notes on the Harvest below.

Deep Winter CSA Locations and Times on our website.


     Any of the links to recipes will take you to the recipe section of our website to peruse.

How to Use Popcorn from the Farm

Popping Popcorn:
popcornTo pop popcorn, rub the kernels off the cob, if they come on the cob. Heat a tablespoon or so of high-temperature oil, like canola or corn oil, on high in the bottom of a saucepan (enough to coat bottom of pan). Put in your kernels and cover (usually a layer of kernels on the bottom of the pan is a good amount per batch). It's okay if a little chaff gets in too. When they start to pop, start shaking the pan a bit on the heat to keep popped kernels from burning on the bottom. When popping slows, remove the pan from heat and transfer popcorn to a big bowl or paper bag.

If you like butter on your popcorn, you can drop it into the still-hot saucepan to melt.

A Couple Seasoning Options:
We like a dash of olive oil, and then nutritional yeast, salt and pepper.

Curry powder, salt and dried dill is also great.

Maple syrup, salt and sunflower seeds is yummy too.

There are many ways to season a popcorn.

   This flavorful mix of greens is great for steaming, quick sauteing and soups. You can also rip them up and eat them raw in salads, or do a warm salad. Braising mix likely contains some of the following: a mix of brassica greens like mizuna, kale, mustards, as well as other greens like swiss chard, beet greens, spinach, and possibly others.

beetsYou might see some Red beets and a little bit of gold in the mix this week.

Tasty Home-made Beet Burgers
Easy Beets
Beets and Carrots in a Lime Vinaigrette


Gomen - Ethiopian Collards
Southern Style Collard Greens

Dried cayennes can be used whole in a soup or sauce to add spice. You can cut them up, seeds and red part and add to anything you're making for more spice. Cayenne is gra
  If you don't normally use spicy peppers whole in cooking, you can grind these guys up whole (cut off stem first) in a blender or food processor to make organic red pepper flakes to use a little at a time, on pizza or anything.

gilfeather turnip
Gilfeather Turnip is part of the Ark of Taste
The rutabaga is a root vegetable that looks very much like a turnip, with a creamy skin and its own flavor. We grow two kinds, the classic type of rutabaga with cream colored flesh and purple blush on the skin; and Gilfeather Turnip (actually a rutabaga) a selection on the Slow Food Ark of Taste, developed by Mr. John Gilfeather in Vermont, which has whiter flesh and is without the purple blush on the skin.

We grow a selection of turnip varieties, including Scarlet, Purple Top, Hakurei, and Gold turnips. All these guys are great roasted. Hakurei turnips are usually more tender raw than the other varieties, but all can be used raw. Roasted turnips can be great in a salad like roasted beets, with feta cheese and greens.
    Rutabagas and the various turnips all store very well and can last up to a month or more in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
    Both rutabagas and turnips can be eaten raw, roasted, boiled, steamed, stir-fried, mashed, or stewed. High in vitamins A and C, and some minerals, especially calcium.

Gilfeather Turnip Puree
Roasted Turnips with Cilantro Peanut Sauce
Turnip Puff
Hearty Autumn Stew
Braised Kale and Turnips in Red Fire Reader
Butternut Squash and Rutabaga Puree - you can use other squash or pumpkin, and other turnips
Roasted Winter Root Bake


   When I was in college, I had what someone called a "root bake" for the first time, and it was so good! The general idea is chop up all kinds of roots into similar sized chunks, coat/toss with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake in the oven at about 400 until all items are soft to the tines of a fork. Stir after about a half hour. Herbs generally do better added part way in to cooking.
    Things you can include:
Parsnips, Rutabagas, Beets, Turnips, Daikon, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Onions, Garlic, Carrots, Herbs, Celeriac, Kohlrabi, and anything else I'm forgetting.
  Variations could include adding any of the following: soy sauce, sesame oil and sesame seeds, honey mustard, hot pepper flakes, making a parsley or cilantro dressing to pour over them, serving with ketchup, and who knows what else.

carrotsWe have traditional orange carrots, as well as the wild and crazy rainbow carrots and purple carrots coming in now.
   The rainbow mix contains all the colors of carrots we grow, with a baseline of a rainbow seed mix of whites, yellows, oranges and reds.

Easy and Refreshing Carrot Salad
Yellow Springs Carrot Cake

Well, my dears, that wraps up the mail! Cheerio!

                                      -- Sarah and the Red Fire Crew 

We've been getting a organic veg box delivered for about a month and a half now, and so far everything has been great. The only thing that I struggle with finishing has been Chinese cabbage. It is the vegetable that keeps on giving.. Any particularly tasty recipes you guys enjoy? We've done some stir frys, casseroles, regular ol' salads...

That looks so yummy! Wish we had that here near where I live!

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