Thursday, October 13, 2011

Garden to Bed and Seeking Feedback

This past weekend of glorious, sunny days helped dry out the fields enough to get the tiller in, and so: goodnight, garden! Most everything has been cleared out, composted, and seeded in winter rye to tide over for next year. Next step is planting and mulching in garlic (four new varieties plus elephant garlic and a shareable seed stock of Green Peak Farm's HOME garlic!) and dismembering the hoophouse for the year, though I am still reluctant to say goodbye to the tomatoes, peppers and basil mellowing out under plastic.

Left in the garden is still a good spread of veggies, happily thriving in the cooler season: daikon, large storage radish, turnips (one of my new favorites, bright and tiny, crisp marbles of sweetness,) mustard greens, some beets, kale, of course, romanesca cauliflower, broc, radish, parsley and cilantro. We'll see how long they last under reemay; it's hard to believe it's mid-October already.

Just in case you haven't gotten around to the end of year CSA survey, here is the link again. As always, I deeply appreciate member feedback, and hope to impress the importance of your opinion on how the shares happen. Your CSA share is and should be custom-tailored to what works for you and what works for the farm, so please do speak up! Thank you!

It has been a beautiful fall in Vermont, and no one says it quite so well as Robert Frost...


A scent of ripeness from over a wall.
And come to leave the routine road
And look for what had made me stall,
There sure enough was an apple tree
That had eased itself of its summer load,
And of all but its trivial foliage free,
Now breathed as light as a lady's fan.
For there had been an apple fall
As complete as the apple had given man.
The ground was one circle of solid red.

May something always go unharvested!
May much stay out of our stated plan,
Apples or something forgotten and left,
So smelling their sweetness would be no theft.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Congratulations, Jane and John!

It's official: the Pig Roast was actually A Wedding, and Jane and John are married! In true Jane and John form, the wedding celebrated the bounty of local talent, participation, and delicious eats. John says a few well-chosen words, with his brother officiating

Headgear and associated supplies provided by Green Peak Farm

Portable pig roaster, prepped and served by The Barn Restaurant in Pawlet

Three-layer cake: vanilla/raspberry, carrot cake, and chocolate ganache with apricots -- plus, Happy Birthday, Conor!-- from Ali of H.N. Williams Store

Mark at work/Angle of Repose for the swine

Uncle Fred and Aunt Amelia, from Portland, OR with Mom Bev

Check out Amelia's work with the James Beard Public Market, coming to Portland soon:

Amelia helped establish a network between professional chefs and the Oregon Food Bank, helping to educate the public about healthful, delicious ways to prepare food and to use the seasons' bounty as it comes, in addition to being a restauranteur and advocate for good food culture in Portland. Be sure to check out the Public Market in the coming year!

Dancing to the sweet tunes of local bluegrass band, Goldtown.

Congrats on the new album, boys!

Big thanks and congratulations to the newlyweds and their families! XO

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

CSA 2011 - Week 12 - Last Share for the Year!

Hard to believe it, but we're already at our last CSA pickup for the year. In your share this week:

Delicata squash
Pie pumpkin
Soup pumpkin
Butternut squash
red and yellow onions
green peppers
green and purple beans
slicing radishes, daikon radish

Herbs: basil, lemon basil, thai basil, thyme, savory, dill umbels,
flowers: gomphrena and celosia

A few notes about winter squash. Winter squash will keep in a warm, dry place for 3-5 months. The best way to store it is in the pantry or on the countertop-- if you're in for the long haul, most winter squash is stored by letting it "cure" in the sun to let the skin thicken up, increasing its longevity.

If you notice any spots or wounds on the squash, trim those away, store the good parts in the fridge, and eat them first. Only try to store unblemished fruits, as the saying goes: "one rotten apple spoils the whole barrel."

Another technique is to wipe down squash with a very mild bleach solution if you're planning to store and eat pumpkins/squash later on in the year.

It has been a pleasure growing produce for you this year, and I hope that you have been pleased with your share. I will be emailing around a survey in the coming week; if you happen to have a free minute and could respond and return it to me, via email or in hard copy, I'd appreciate it very much. Your feedback is important to me and it really helps the business to grow-- this is always a work in progress. Thanks kindly in advance. Happy Fall!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

CSA 2011 - Week 11

In your share this week:
1 lb green and purple beans
2-3 Delicata winter squash
1 small pie pumpkin (New England Pie)
2 lbs potatoes (yukons and ADK reds)
1 head garlic
handfull of shallots
1 large hunk (5-7lbs) of soup pumpkin (Rouge Vif d'Etampes)
yellow and orange carrots
lettuce and baby chard mix
1 large crown broccoli
1/4 lb genovese basil
red and cippolini onions
cukes - slicers and picklers

Flowers: red and copper amaranth, multi-colored celosia, gomphrena, a few crooked zinnias
Herbs: thyme, sage, dill umbels (flowers), thai and lemon basil.

Please be sure to give your produce an extra rinse this week. With all of the recent rain and wind, many plants were knocked over and subjected to a thorough coating of mud-- thank goodness that's about the extent of the damage from T.S. Irene.

PUMPKINS! Fall is here! I broke into the wool hat collection tonight, not going to lie. Some notes about the different winter squash:

Pumpkins are indeed winter squash, and members of the enormous Cucurbita "family" (really a genus.) The different squash-family veggies that GPF offers are from a variety of the 6 cucurbita species-- and I'm of the mind that knowing the species (each species can embrace up to a few hundred different varieties) helps us to know how to cook them better. Mmm. It all comes back to eating, doesn't it?

Of the squash offered here at the farm, here are the Genus species (Genus species, variety name):
Cucurbita moschata: Butternut
Cucurbita pepo: Delicata, Yellow Crookneck [Summer squash] and New England Pie (also in this family: Acorn]
Cucurbita maxima: Rouge Vif d'Etampes (also in this family: Hubbard, buttercup/Turk's Turban-types)
And of course, the trusty old cukes: Cucurbita sativus.

Because your squash have not been "cured" for long (left in the sun to let the skins thicken and harden) I'd encourage you to save a step of potentially hazardous knife wielding and just eat the skins. They cook down easily, and I have not found that they deter from the silky smooth flesh.
Here's a rough recipe for a delicious, creamy treat good for these cool nights:

Slow and Easy Cindella Pumpkin Risotto
4-5 lbs Rouge Vif d'Etampes/Cinderella Pumpkin cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2-3 tbsp olive oil
2 cups short-grain rice (arborio is ideal, I used brown)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
2 shallots, chopped finely
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup dry red wine
Salt, pepper, chopped sage, thyme, rosemary to taste

In a large skillet, heat olive oil to medium-high. Add cubed squash and cover, stirring often. Let cook for approx. 10 mins.

In a medium to large-sized pot, melt butter and gently fry rice in melted butter until the rice becomes fragrant and begins to turn (about 5 mins.) Add stock, onions, garlic and bring to low boil; cover and let cook. As stock begins to cook off, reduce heat and simmer low, adding cream. Be careful not to let boil. As rice softens and liquids cook off, add wine, S&P, and chopped herbs. When rice is al-dente, add pan-roasted squash. Serve hot. Total cooking time: approx 45 min-1hr.

This stands up very well to re-heating, gently fried the next day as a patty, or with grated parm and a simple greens salad. Feels like fall!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A few notes about Tropical Storm Irene

Here are a few photos from an afternoon spent on Day 6 of cleanup in Wilmington, VT. There was an outpouring of volunteers from the Stratton Mountain School community-- over 80 parents, students and staff members came out to help. The damage in Wilmington was extensive. The entire downtown areas were severely flooded, and the force of the water is hard to believe.Which way is up? Shovelling debris and sludge from the basement of a bar on Main Street The red line demarcates the flood line

Our crew of workers from school, plus Senator Bernie Sanders, who was visiting and checking out the damage

It is hard to convey how much damage had been done in this community-- it's truly a disaster zone. The disparity between having been so lucky on the flank of Green Peak and the damage done in Wilmington and Jamaica makes those towns feels strangely distant. In case you have not already checked out the outpouring of response from Vermonters helping out their neighbors, browse around this website to see what's been going on:

Donations for the town of Jamaica can be directed toward:

Donations to the town of Wilmington can be directed toward a number of allocated funds-- see their website at:

My heart goes out to these, and so many other small communities and individual families in Vermont who were hit by this storm.

CSA 2011 - Week 10


Missed one in there, with the start of meetings for school, and subsequently the first week of classes plus Irene. I deeply appreciate everyone's flexibility in pickup times/dates, and now that we're through with the madness of the first week plus wedding in the eye of the tropical storm, things are back on track for our last two weeks of pickups.

To expect for this week (Week 11: Tues. the 6th/Thurs. the 8th)

Green and purple beans


2-3 delicata winter squash

pie pumpkin

1/2 a large Cinderella-type soup pumpkin

2 lbs potatoes (last week for potatoes)

big bag of basil

garlic and shallots

a few cukes each

a few tomatoes and peppers

mustard greens, lettuce, baby kale mix

potentially: carrots, radish

Thanks, and we will see you Tues. and Thurs. Shares should be ready by 5:30-- and the door is always open if you need to come later.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ode to Summer Squash

Powdery Mildew

I know, I know, I just got done posting zucchini bread recipes. But, with the warm days and cool, dewy nights, powdery mildew is really making its move on the summer and squash plants. It's amazing how quickly the right conditions can spread the fungus. We'll continue having squash for at least another week in CSA shares, but expect a rapid tapering down of squash.

Fortunately, the winter squash is ripening happily away, and we should get a good harvest in despite the early-seeming arrival of PM. (Maybe I'm just not ready to give summer up yet.) Winter squash varieties to look forward to: Delicata, Butternut, Rouge vif d'Etamps/Cinderella pumpkin, and New England Pie pumpkin.

Fresh Ideas

Sue and her Week 8 ShareIt's that time of season-- the nights are dipping cooler, and the days provide just about everything you could want from summer--and everyone is trying to hone in on the Perfect Zucchini Bread Recipe. It's a journey, not a destination... or at least that's what I'm telling myself as I eat zucchini-ed souffle mush in my haphazard, substitution-riddled approach to recipes. Thanks to CSA member Sue, who always has great recipe ideas for our farm produce, I think we're getting closer. She even mentioned that these puppies hold a tight, high muffin top, just like they're supposed to-- no sinking pits of porridge here-- and they come in at 145 calories each. And so, for your testing pleasure (and adapted very slightly...)
Sue's Kathie's Zucchini Muffins - makes a dozen muffins.
1 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups shredded zukes
1/2 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 large egg
to sprinkle on top:
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 taspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine whole wheat flour and next 6 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; whisk together. Combine zucchini, milk, oil, honey, and egg in a small bowl; stir until blended. Make a well in center of flour mixture; add milk mixture, stirring just until moist. Spoon batter into 12 greased muffin cups. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over tops of muffins.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden. Remove from pans immediately and cool on a wire rack.

Hoummous among us.

My favorite part of fresh summer produce is... eating it fresh. Don't get me wrong, I live for multi-course extravaganzas (this is an understatement. This weekend: buttermilk and habanero/herb paste-soaked, deep-fried chicken with red potato salad (olive oil base, lemon basil, dill and a touch of fennel), mustard greens with a splash of rice wine vinegar, OJ and honey, steamed haricot verts and cherry clafoutis for dessert!) but not every day is Saturday, sadly. So the rest of the time, I avoid cooking as much as possible and graze while out in the field, or sometimes collect the grazings on a plate. hard-boiled eggs with a dab of sweet-hot mustard and lemon basil on a bed of mustard greens = two minute lunch. Fresh produce can stand up, and out, on its own!

John shows off his lovely bouquet this week. And, The Dog Days of Summer...

Keep the recipe ideas rolling in, and have a great weekend!

From Blossoms

One of my favorite poems, especially at this point in the year, read aloud for its musicality and rhythm. By Li-Young Lee, from the collection Rose.

From Blossoms

From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.

From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.

There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

Summer harvest bounty, friends, rivers, fishing, love, deep-fried chicken feasts, out-of-town farm visits, back to school kickoff, singing and the marriage of friends in a field... Joy to joy to joy. Thanks for being a part of it!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

One more to add for this week...

Gomphrena. Can't forget these little beauties. Red is "Strawberry Fields" with nice, big round globes.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

CSA 2011 - Week 8

In your share this week... 2 lb Kennebec potatoes
garlic head
green onions
1.5 lbs green and purple beans
bag mustard greens
bunch swiss chard
bunch beet greens
1 head green cabbage
2 carrots - mixed colors
summer squash and zukes
picklers and slicing cukes
broccoli side shoots/raab
big bag of basil (1/4 lb)
and FINALLY! the first tiny handfull of tomatoes
Herbs: thai basil, lemon basil, LOTS of dill, parsley seeds, coriander seeds
Flowers: LOTS of sunflowers, celosia, copper amaranth, scabiosa (pincushion flower). Too wet Tuesday to get into the zinnias, but they'll likely be back for Thursday's shares.

Thankfully, after two days of steady, soaking rain the sun emerged this afternoon to dry out the beans to get in for harvest. Beans are one crop in particular that do not like being handled while wet, as it makes them extremely susceptible to spreading disease. You can expect 1.5-2 lbs of green and purple beans weekly for the next several weeks. If it's too many beans for your liking all at once, you can always blanche them and freeze them for a winter day. They hold beautifully in the freezer-- or make a bean casserole and freeze it up, too!

Cukes and zukes are just beginning to taper down from their summer frenzy as the cooler nights help foster the season-ending, somewhat inevitable powdery mildew. You'll likely see them through to the end of your shares, just in lesser quantities.

The first long-anticipated tomatoes are finally coming in after a series of false starts and some ferocious tobacco hornworms. Interestingly, tomato and tobacco (Simpsons, anyone? Tomaco plants...?) are closely related, and on big tomato farms smoking is distinctly prohibited. Disease spreads easily from the smoke and residual oils from tobacco on smokers' hands, and it somehow foils tomato growth.

Anyway, these tobacco hornworms (manduca sexta, which unfortunately is not as fun to write or say as their close relatives, tomato hornworms, or manduca quinquemaculata) are simply put, gross. Anyone who knows me can attest that I am not a squeamish person. However, these suckers make my guts churn, and to me, killing them is gory, nasty business. And the gore is a deep, deep green. The worms themselves are huge, roughly the diameter of a man's pointer finger when mature, and their path of destruction is terrific. They maintain fantastic camouflage and are somewhat hard to spot save two tell-tale signs; they are equally identifiable for the destruction they wreak on the plants and their large, segmented fecal excretions. When the wind stops blowing in the hoophouse, they're large enough that you can HEAR their mandibles chewing tomato plants.

Hornworms are fairly avoidable in that the pupae overwinter in soils, and are often killed during annual tillage-- unless, of course, you're hand-building beds with a bedfork inside a makeshift hoophouse... It's a good lesson to me that next year, yes, I'll wreck the tiller around inside the house a bit before transplanting in the tomatoes, carbon monoxide poisoning be damned. After all, carbon monoxide poisoning is a plant's dream come true; the whole time I was tilling inside the greenhouse, anyway, I was laughing about the passed trend of "oxygen bars". Whatever happened to them, anyway?

And so, tomatoes this week. It's been a bit of a saga, in an ongoing struggle for tomatoes at GPF; I'd like to think I'm getting smarter, but. Bell peppers will be in your share next week.

There is a lot of basil. It is so incredibly happy inside the hoophouse-- the vigor is really incredible. If you've got any big plans for thai or lemon basil, please let me know and I'd be happy to harvest pounds of it for you (pounds is roughly a garbage bag full!)
Please be sure, especially Tuesday folks, to give your produce an extra rinse this week. Because of all that rain, there was quite a bit of mud during harvest. Your mustard greens in particular would benefit from one extra run through the salad spinner.

Beet greens are the equivalent of swiss chard. Did you know that the Chenopod family, which includes beets, chard, and spinach also includes the miracle grain, Quinoa? Fun fact.

Looking ahead: expect more cabbage, fresh onions, more mustard greens, lettuce, and some fresh shelling beans for next week. Also, more toms and a pepper or two. I will be back to school starting Tuesday, so there's a slim chance I may be a bit late in getting the shares organized in the coming weeks. I will do my best to let you know in advance, and I deeply appreciate your patience. Thank you and have a great week!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

CSA 2011 - Week 7

In your share this week...
purple, green, and purple-green streaked filet beans (1.25 lbs)
slicing and pickling cukes
2 lbs potatoes - Kennebec
zukes and summer squash
bag o' basil
garlic heads
green onions
bunch chard
broccoli shoots/raab
Herbs: thai basil, lemon basil, coriander, dill
Flowers: LOTS of sunflowers, celosia, amaranth, zinnia

Kennebec potatoes are a different variety from the previous weeks. This is a new variety to me, so keep me posted if you have any comments about preferred cooking methods! They're said to be the best french frying potatoes around...

Filet beans are skinny beans, harvested small to stay tender. There are three varieties in your share mixed together. Spoiler alert: purple beans turn green when cooked. My favorites of the varieties are a pole bean called Rattlesnake, which has superior flavor and stays tender even when they get larger. You can tell Rattlesnake apart by its green flesh that's streaked through with purple.

Your green onions are strong in flavor, and I would recommend cooking them like you would a regular onion.

All of a sudden, the bouquets are looking awfully atumnal... August 9th, already? I guess the big round bales in the background don't help.

This bouquet has some flowers to look ahead to for next week, including agrostemma and scabiosa (pincushion flower)

We can also look ahead next week to cabbage, lots of filet beans, basil, mustard greens, salad mix, and a few cippolini onions. Squash and zukes will begin to taper off, so get your zuke bread baked before it's too late! Also, please be sure to grab your chickens from the freezer if you haven't already, and thanks!

Trading Work

...a good friendship makes.

Chickens are done for the season at Green Peak Farm, which is a pleasant relief. Most all of you requested to pickup your birds with your CSA share this week-- and so please be sure to grab your two birds out of the freezer when you come. This set is larger than the last, dressing out around 5.5 lb. Some of the larger birds come closer to 6.5-7 lbs-- big daddies-- and I am pleased to say that I think these are some of the finest-looking birds to come through the farm. It would not be possible without the help of friends: BIG thanks to Jane, Liz, and Gus for their willingness to learn, help, and get right in there.
A little pre-chicken stretch session

I feel so fortunate to be able to trade work with friends, and even just to have friends who are taking on exciting new projects that hone tangible, valuable skills. I'm lucky to have gotten the opportunity to learn a lot this summer-- Jane and Jimmy and their plucker project literally got the motor running in thinking about machines; Liz is an all-around rockstar, feeding me (YUM!), cutting my hair, and sparking good conversation; Anna Lea, my flower queen, rivals any arrangement I could put together in beauty, generosity, and practicality; Gus and family are FULL of good information, tools, and perspicacity to take on fun construction projects, laughing merrily throughout.

And so GPF chickens are done... and now it's on to the next set! Jane's chickens will go in two sets this week and next, and it will be nice to help her use her OWN plucker on her OWN birds. Talk about self-sufficiency! Last year it was Tim's birds-- and it all makes me think of the old barn-raising and haying parties. It's community built the old-fashioned way, through work: through time, problem-solving, and then sharing in food after work is done. In drawing the line between work and rest, and being at ease while resting. And taking turns: my birds for your birds, my birds for your woodpile, my birds for your... haircut? And new garden in Michigan?

I'm thankful for the help. Speaking of help, Rachel has been a fantastic helper and friend in the garden, and here's wishing her an exciting new start as she heads to Burlington this week. Rachel has been helping harvest and take on garden projects throughout the summer, and her sunny nature has been a wonderful addition to the farm crew. Don't get me wrong, Burt is a solid helper, too, but his stories don't nearly compare to Rachel's! Thanks, Rachel!

It's August, we're rolling, and there is a lot to be thankful for. Hope everyone has a great week!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Link to "Julia Child's Grated Zucchini Sauteed in Butter and Shallots"

One more quick post, because really, how can you go wrong here?? Salt, butter, garlic... The poor zuke is just a vessel. Yum.


CSA 2011 - Week 6

Hello! Week six, and suddenly, it's August and we've hit the half-way point in the CSA! Whew! Where does the time go? In your share this week:

summer squash/zukes
slicer and pickling cukes
bunch chard
bunch carrots
2 lbs potatoes - Yukon Golds
broccoli side shoots
sugar snap peas
snow peas
bunch mustard greens
garlic heads
bag o' basil
Thursday only: green and purple filet beans a.k.a. haricot verts a.k.a skinny-whinny green beans.

flowers: sunflowers, celosia, zinnia
herbs: dill, coriander, lemon basil, thai basil, sage

Mustard greens are sweet and have a tiny bit of tangy heat-- they're great fresh additions to salad or tossed with swiss chard for a cool side. You can also cook them quickly on low heat to get a bit more flavor-- toss some garlic, sesame oil and sesame seeds, and done! Mustard is in the brassica family (cole crops), so we're thinking broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, turnips in terms of the flavor profile.

Your filet beans (which is a fancy way of saying young, super tender green beans) are JUST starting up. I tried for a Tuesday harvest, and they only yielded one serving... which I know that in two weeks, when I'm up to my armpits in picking the some 100 bedfeet of beans spaced at 3", will be a sweet reminder of the importance of timing. They are just coming on-- so Tuesday shares, I'll get you caught up, fear ye not.

Looking ahead, we will start having more green beans, cabbage as the broccoli tapers off, and peppers are about a week-to-two off; tomatoes are still about two weeks off. We will have some green onions next week, as well. The fall crop of broccoli, kale and romanesca cauliflower is looking good, and will get us into September, as well as some later onions and green onions. Later lettuce, bulbing fennel, chard, and beets are all being transplanted today. Herb-wise, expect some parsley, cilantro, and more thyme to start appearing.

You may have noticed that there are some larger pickling cukes and zukes in your shares. What on earth am I supposed to do with THOSE, you may be asking yourselves... And here are some ideas:

+ Scrub and then diagonally slice big cukes to infuse in a jar of cold water in the refridge-- and voila! Cucumber water! Add some lemon basil, and a sprig of mint, and you're set.

+ Big cukes are great for icebox pickles when you peel them, then slice longitudinally (in half, long-wise), scrape out the seeds with a spoon, and let soak in brine in the fridge. No cooking required, they're cheap, and they'll hold for a week in the fridge. You can keep the same brine and just add more cukes as they come in, too.

To make the brine, mix together: 1 cup white vinegar, 1/2 cup veg oil, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp white sugar, and 1 thinly-sliced shallot. It's that simple--no shopping required.

You can also add seasonings to flavor as appropriate:

-- I like the classic: 1 tsp celery seed with 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seed
-- Or, take them down the spice route and swap soy sauce for salt, add another tsp sugar, and add 1 tsp curry powder
-- Or make it Japanese Sunomono and swap in rice wine vinegar and soy

+ One more recipe: Green Peak Farm Fresh Veggie Ragout
Okay. So this is not technically a Ragout, as there is no meat, nor heat (typically they're hearty, seasoned meat stews.) I just don't know what else to call it. And, when you look up the etymology of Ragout, like you may do when you're a nerd farmer inside for an early lunch, you will find that the word is "A derivative of the French verb ragoƻter , meaning 'to stimulate the appetite'"(Read More This is definitely an appetite stimulant, and can dress up its paler pantry cousins.

Also, this is an almost entirely farm- recipe, save the sundried tomatoes. And oil. And pepper... you know what I mean.

1/5 lb (about 8-9 slices) sundried tomatoes, sliced thin
1 large zucchini, grated
3 green onions or 2 shallots, sliced thin
3 large cukes, unpeeled and halved with seeds scooped out then grated

1/2 cup good olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons dry/cooking red wine
no salt, as the sundried tomatoes are often salty enough
lots of freshly chopped thyme, dill, lemon basil, basil (to taste)
10-12 turns of black peppercorns
(I'd bet that a light squeeze of anchovy paste would be a delicious addition, if that's the sort of thing you happen to keep in your kitchen...)

In a large bowl, combine grated/sliced veggies with brine and stir well to combine and thoroughly soak veggies. Be amazed as you watch what was once a monster zucchini shrink down to turn into a manageable, delectable garnish.

I'm serving this tonight with pan-fried polenta... and plan on using it tomorrow as a base for a cold bean salad. I'll let you know how it all turns out!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Second set of chickens

Hello, CSA Members,

We'll be harvesting chickens again this Friday, August 5. You will each get your final two chickens for the season-- yum, yum!

Please let me know if you're able to come Friday, starting anytime after noon through the weekend to pick up your chickens fresh-- otherwise, I will store them in the freezer for you to pick up with your regular share next week.

A recipe idea from our farm potluck... Herb Brined Chicken

Defrost chicken in fridge.

Feather with scissors and combine generous handfuls of:
fresh thyme
fresh sage
fresh savory

1 chopped cayenne pepper
2-3 cloves chopped garlicn or shallots
3 tablespooons olive oil
3 tablespoons coarse salt
8 grinds of pepper
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/3 cup dry red wine

Stir to combine and then mortar and pestle to form a paste. Make small cuts to pierce the skin of the bird, and gently separate the skin from the meat. Smash herb paste under skin, distributing well. Cover tightly and let sit overnight.

Grill chicken at 350 for approximately 50 minutes, or until done. YUM!

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Big Day for Kate and Matt!

Here are some photos of the flowers from the gorgeous celebration of Kate and Matt! Somehow my camera got lost in the car after setup was done, but thanks to Jamie for letting me borrow one of her photos of the bride and groom.
Table setups. Loved the little honeypots for the guests!! Left: the groomsmen's bouts, Right: the groom's bout

One of the ladies' corsages

The roundup of the ladies' pin-on corsages

Two matching arrangements, birch rounds from Kate's dad, and votives for the place card table

This little buddy had the pleasure of gracing the bathroom with its color!

A fun and productive Friday night of prep with the ladies' bouquets all lined up and ready to go!

HUGE thanks to the one and only Miss Anna Lea, the best helper (and best looking model!) a friend could could ask for.

Congratulations, Kate and Matt!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Fun with Flowers

It is a deep honor and pleasure to be growing and arranging the flowers for Kate and Matt's wedding. Everything is in, cleaned up, and ready for the final arrangements tomorrow morning. The bride's and her ladies' bouquets are done-- it has been SO fun playing with the designs and having access to high quality flowers grown in our local southern Vermont region. Playland for flowers. Ah! The colors! Textures! Shapes!

Big thanks to Anna Blooms (E. Dorset) and Wheeler Farm (Danby) for growing some stellar flowers and greens.

The lovely Anna in the workshop-turned-jungle of flowers

Playing with size, scale, and balance

Alternate designs, and a gorgeous model

Heavy rain this afternoon/evening is not so great for harvest, but lends itself to some killer light for photos!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sneak Peak

at some designs for bouts and corsages for Kate and Matt's this Saturday....

What fun!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cucumber Peanut Salad

Also adapted from Moosewood's New Classics. Serves 4. Prep time: 20 mins, Marinating time: 20 mins.

"This simple snappy salad with fennel seeds and roasted peanuts can be made as spicy as you like by adding a few more chiles.

3 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and sliced into 1/4"-thick crescents (about 4 cups)
2 tsp salt
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 to 2 tsp seeded, minced fresh chile (or more to taste)
1/2 cup crushed roasted peanuts, or more to taste (crush peanuts using a food processor, or put them in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin. About 2/3 cup whole peanuts will yield 1/2 cup crushed.)

Stir together the cukes and salt, place in colander, and drain for 10-15 minutes. Rinse the cukes well and drain again.

Meanwhile, in a small jar, mix together the brown sugar, lemon juice, and vinegar until the sugar has dissolved.

When the cukes have drained, heat the oil in a small saucepan. When it's hot, add the fennel seeds and the chile. Lift the pan off the heat to avoid scorching, and swirl the pan for about 30 seconds. Continue to cook on low heat for another minute, stirring continuously. Remove from heat and set aside.

Transfer the drained cukes to a large shallow serving bowl and pour the hot seasoned oil over them, tossing well. Stir in the vinegar mixture. Set aside at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before serving. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Top with the crushed peanuts just before serving.

Cucumber Salad with Sushi Dressing

This is a favorite of Jane's and mine. Serves 4-6, total time: 20 mins. Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant's New Classics.

3 cups cucumber crescents: peel 3 medium cukes, halve them lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Slice crosswise in to 1/2 inch-thick crescents.

Sushi Dressing:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tsp wasabi powder
2 tsp sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2-3 teaspoons minced pickled ginger
1/2 sheet toasted nori (toast it by waving briefly over a flame until the color deepens to a bright sheen-- also available pre-toasted.)

Place the sliced cucumbers in a large bowl.
In a small jar with a lid, stir together the vinegar, wasabi powder, sugar, and soy sauce. Add the pickled ginger. Using scissors, cut the nori into long 1-inch wide ribbons. Bundle the ribbons of nori and hold them over the bowl. Snip them into tiny squares and stir into the dressing. Pour the dressing over the cukes and serve immediately. Yum!

CSA 2011 - Week 5

In your share this week:
summer squash & zukes
slicing and pickling cukes
bunch chard
small bunch carrots
green beans
lemon basil
2 lbs new potatoes - Adirondack Red
1 head garlic
2-3 shallots
sugar snap peas
snow peas
lettuce mix
Herbs (l-r): coriander, sage, chamomile, dill, thyme. Lemon basil is included in your share.

Flowers: zinnias and calendula

The bushel baskets are almost full! A few notes about your share...

lemon basil has a nice citrus scent to it, and can be used any way you'd use basil... I've been adding lots to egg salad for a nice changeup. Try it for pesto, or as a garnish with hummus!

The green beans in your share are really shelling beans moonlighting as filet beans this week. Next week you will have true haricot verts-- the small, super tender, crisp beans that you'll be tempted to eat fresh. These in your share, a variety called Jacob's Cattle, will take a little extra steaming as they are slightly tougher.

Be prepared for the continuation of a steady flow of cukes and zukes/summer squash. I'll post recipes here for more ideas to help inspire you to deal with the bounty-- stay tuned!

Tomatoes and peppers are behind schedule,and we are looking at about two-three weeks before they are ready. The plants are healthy and cranking away in the hoophouse, but got a slower start as the first set of seedlings fried in the early, early heat of the spring. These are the second wave.

Snow and snap peas are tapering off despite being eight feet tall and having doubled over on their trellis! You should see another week-two from them, but if you're sick of eating them fresh by this point, blanche and freeze them for December!

Flowers tapered off in your share a bit this week as the farm is doing the growing and arranging for CSA members, Kate and Matt, this Saturday to help celebrate their wedding. BIG congratulations to them! We'll be back to usual next week, and you can expect lots and lots of sunflowers to grace your homes soon. As always, please pass along any recipes or inspirations that you've got, and thanks for reading!