Well, after looking at the weather on Sunday Morning and seeing a 70 percent chance of strong thunderstorms we made the decision to postpone the Strawberry festival which was scheduled for last Sunday. It turned out those storms never arrived and the weather would have been perfect for a gathering so we were a little disappointed to miss the chance to spend a perfect afternoon with all of you, but we were not disappointed about having another dry day for the fields. Those leggy winter squash that I was fretting over last week have made it into the ground, and as I type, my dad is blissfully prepping fields with the tractor for plantings of leeks, more winter squash, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower which will all be moving to the fields in the next week or two. The earliest tomatoes in the greenhouse are starting to ripen, and the eggplants and peppers (green bell and hot peppers) are just a few weeks away from consideration for you shares! The season is marching at a fast clip and we are running to keep up!
First of the year:
Red Beets- The beets are just starting to size up and some planted a little too densely so there is some size variations in the beets today- some full sized and some smaller. The smaller beets have been removed in a thinning process to allow the rest of the beets remaining in the rows to grow bigger so hopefully the next bunches will be a little more uniform.
Disappointing peas: Despite a pretty successful spring/early summer so far, we are disappointed with our pea crop. While peas are a lot of work in both trellising and picking, they are so delicious, and a real crowd pleaser so we typically try to grow enough to give folks at least a few times in the spring. Well our crop this year is not measuring up- poor germination, under-planting, and some issues with rabbits/ground hogs, have left us with too few peas to give out in an equitable way to share-holders. We will make the ones we were able to harvest available as an extra item (for purchase). I just ordered more seed to try a fall planting which will hopefully let us all enjoy the wonderful freshness of a snap pea at some point this year. Thanks for your understanding! It is added to our list to do better next year!
Beets in Vinaigrette Gourmet | January 2008
Yield: Makes 4 servings
Active Time: 15 min
Total Time: 1 hr
1 1/2 pounds medium beets (about 4; 2 1/2 pounds with greens), trimmed, leaving 1 inch of stems attached
2 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Cover beets generously with water in a heavy medium saucepan and simmer until tender when pierced in center with a knife, 30 to 45 minutes. Drain in a colander and cool to warm, then slip off skins. Cut beets into 1/4-inch slices.
Meanwhile, whisk together vinegar, onion, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking, then add warm beets and parsley and toss. Season with additional sugar and salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.
After a relatively dry spring, the rains have come. Of course multiple full days of showers quickly saturate these heavy clay soils and start making me panicky. Will if ever dry off in time to get these Winter Squash plants out before they are too lanky? And rainy Mondays’ are extra challenging as one rarely wants to suit up in full rain gear and head to the fields to harvest for CSA and when we are forced to inevitably it seems like all the rain gear has suddenly developed gaping holes. Today we dashed in and out of the rain harvesting what we could from the fields before the next downpour. Luckily we also have a lot of harvesting and other work in the greenhouses to keep us busy all day long. We are hoping the morning brings some respite from the rain so we can get the last greens and strawberries before packing all the boxes! All hands will be needed so I’m making sure to get this newsletter put together early!
Despite my belly aching, we are grateful for the rain- with it, the first planting of beets and carrots are swelling, and sweet corn, beans, and parsnips are germinating. Our rain barrels (rather tankers) which we use for watering in the greenhouses are filling, and the cover crops are building soil building biomass at rapid speeds. After 7 years of farming in the desert Southwest, I have learned to not take rain for granted so I will take a deep breath and know that eventually those winter squash (even if leggier than ideal) will find a good home in some dry soil and the rains will come to water them in and I will once again be grateful.
Note on (some of) the vegetables:
Strawberries- This week’s strawberries are smaller and perhaps not as beautiful as last weeks, but hopefully just as tasty. This week’s rain may be tough on the strawberries, but we should still have a good number around for the Strawberry Festival on Sunday (and perhaps for one more week if all goes well.)
Scallions- We have a bunch of scallions in your share, as well as extra’s to grab. These are the last from our field tunnel, and they are beginning to show signs of heat stress, and there neighbors the tomatoes really wanted them out so we are hoping you take more if you are able to use more!
Summer Squash- Some of these are still a little misshapen. This is either do to cold stress, dryness stress, or lack of pollination. It seems like the yellow squash are emerging from the condition, and we hope the green zucchini will soon as well.
Chard- We have a very healthy crop of chard this summer. I’m sorry if you are getting tired of it. I will try to include some recipe ideas so as provide a way utilize the abundance!
Collards- These have been the miracle plants this spring. I planted some for our Winter Shares and they just keep producing. We finally needed the space in the greenhouse so they are in your box today, giving the Kale a week to grow back more fully.
Lettuce Heads: These heads are a little smaller than normal. We planted the lettuce on white plastic which is helpful for keeping it from bolting in the heat, but with the cool spring, the early plantings were slow to grow and now the other plantings are about at the same stage so we are going to harvest some smaller to try and make sure we aren’t all of a sudden overwhelmed!
Garlic Scapes- One of my favorites- if you are unfamiliar, the garlic scape is the seed head of garlic that shoots up from the plant at this time of year. It is advised to pull or cut the scape off the plant to direct the plant’s energy towards the bulb. It just so happens that the scape makes a great addition for a spring CSA box! Chop it and use for a mild garlic favor. See attached recipe for garlic scape pesto.
Garlic Scape Pesto
Yield: Serves 6 to 8 (makes 1 1/2 cups pesto)
10 large garlic scapes
1/3 cup unsalted pistachios (I use almonds)
1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Preparation: Puree the garlic scapes, pistachios, Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a food processor until very finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly pour the oil through the opening. Season the pesto with salt and pepper to taste. (The pesto keeps in the fridge, covered, for 1 week or frozen for a month.)
Roasted Garbanzo Beans and Garlic with Swiss Chard Bon Appétit | January 2008
Yield: Makes 6 servings
2 15.5-ounce cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained (about 3 cups)
10 garlic cloves, peeled
2 large shallots
3 small bay leaves, preferably fresh
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 1/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
3 small bay leaves, preferably fresh
2 shallots, sliced
2 bunches Swiss chard, center stems cut out, leaves coarsely torn
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine first 5 ingredients in 8x8x2-inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour oil over; cover dish with foil. Roast until garlic is tender, about 45 minutes. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly, cover, and chill.
Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic, bay leaves, and shallots. Cover; cook until shallots are tender, about 2 minutes. Uncover; add half of chard. Toss until chard wilts and volume is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add remaining chard. Toss until chard wilts, about 2 minutes. Add broth. Cover and cook until chard is tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Season chard with salt and pepper. Transfer chard mixture to large sieve set over bowl and drain. DO AHEAD: Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
Drain garbanzos and reserve oil; discard bay leaves. Combine garbanzos and chard in large skillet. Add 2 tablespoons oil reserved from garbanzos. Toss over medium heat until warmed through, moistening with more oil by tablespoonfuls if needed, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
It’s been a hot dry week- perfect weather for bringing on the summer crops and (despite the sweat) getting work done. We now have to make time in our day for the daily harvesting of cucumbers, zucchini, asparagus, and strawberries, while still keeping up with weeding, bed prepping and seeding for late summer/fall crops. Of course, there’s also the perpetual trellising of tomatoes and cucumbers! Sunday I walked into the greenhouse and realized that the tomatoes had grown 2 feet since earlier in the week when Adam had trellised them. And the cucumbers, despite our best efforts to convince them otherwise, truly still abide by the law of gravity. Fall crops are being seeded: parsnips (which my parents tediously pre-sprouted and then planted 5000 of by hand over the weekend); winter squash; and, members of the brassica family (cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower). There are so many points to focus on, it soon becomes dizzying. Thankfully we have a team of diligent folks all working together. I’m pleased with how things look right now and hope to keep it that way!
Note on the vegetables:
- We have the first strawberries for you today- our yields are lower than expected due to several late frosts that claimed some of the blossoms, but we are happy to have what we have!
- We have not washed any of the greens and the lettuce mix was from the field (rather than the greenhouse), so although it looks pretty clean at first glance, please do wash it in order to avoid some gritty bites. Same goes with the other greens. The arugula does also have some small holes in the leaves from the ever present flea beetle, but the leaves are still very tasty for a spicier salad.
Quinoa and Asparagus Salad with Mimosa Vinaigrette Gourmet Live | April 2012
by Melissa Roberts
2 large eggs
Put eggs in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then cover pan, and remove from heat. Let eggs stand, covered, 15 minutes, then drain, and transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool completely. Remove shells and finely grate eggs with a Microplane or the fine holes of box grater into a small bowl. Set aside.
Rinse quinoa well in a large fine-mesh sieve under cold running water. Set sieve over a bowl and let quinoa drain well for at least 5 minutes. Bring 2 1/2 cups water to a boil with 1/2 teaspoon salt (kosher or fine) in a 3-quart saucepan. Add quinoa and simmer, covered, until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender, 16 to 20 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let quinoa stand, covered, 5 minutes. Spoon quinoa onto a large rimmed baking sheet, spreading it in a single layer, and let it cool to room temperature.
Cut scallions into 2-inch pieces. Halve each piece lengthwise, then slice lengthwise into thin strips (julienne). Transfer to a large bowl.
Using vegetable peeler, peel lengthwise strips from asparagus, beginning at bottom end, and add to scallion. Once you can't peel any more slices from a stalk, break off the thick end (reserving it for another use, such as soup) and add the remaining thin strip to bowl with scallions.
Whisk together lemon juice with honey and 3/4 teaspoon kosher (1/2 teaspoon fine) salt until smooth. Add oil in a steady stream, whisking until combined. Taste and adjust seasoning, if desired, then whisk in grated eggs.
Transfer quinoa to another large bowl and toss with herbs and 1/2 cup vinaigrette, or to taste. Toss asparagus with 3 tablespoons vinaigrette and salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon quinoa onto salad plates, and top with a tangle of asparagus and scallion. Serve remaining vinaigrette on the side, or save, chilled, for another salad.
Welcome to the first week of our 2013 Summer CSA. We’re excited for the start of a new season and are happy to have a community like all of you to share in all the bounty and (hopefully limited) challenges that are ahead of us. Those days of seeding onions in the cold month of January don’t seem all that long ago but those onion plant are already a foot tall and starting to bulb out in the field, and we starting to seed the fall cabbage and broccoli. The strawberries are right on the brink of ripening (and are really eager for those 90 degree days predicted for the end of the week) and cucumbers are swelling in the greenhouses and zucchini in the field. The weeds have decided it’s their turn to grow and the blackberries are starting to blossom. So just as mother mallard duck has taken to the creek along with her newly hatched ducklings so we too are jumping into the course of the summer stream hoping for a smooth and steady float!
I welcome all your questions, comments, and suggestions over the season and hope the Village Acres CSA experience proves to be a positive one for everyone.
IN THE SHARE TODAY: Asparagus, Rhubarb, Scallions, Radishes, Chard, Kale, Spinach/Arugula (choice), Herbs (Basil, Parsley, Oregano, and Rosemary)
Today’s box includes many of our spring favorites. Periennal crops like Asparagus and Rhubarb are important to us as they help round out the early spring boxes without needing to work the soil in early spring. Much of the asparagus in your box today is coming from asparagus plants we planted nearly 20 years ago! Many of the early boxes will been very green and leafy as these crops are the types of crops that produce will even with temperature fluctuations. Enjoy the kales/chards/spinach while they are here because they don’t like the heat as much later in the summer!
Rhubarb Pie Recipe (From Simply in Season Cookbook)
2 eggs (separate yolk from egg whites. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Beat yolks separately.
1 cups sugar
3 tbsp flour
¼ tsp. salt
Mix with egg yolks
3 cups chopped Rhubarb. Add to the egg mixture. Fold in beaten egg whites.
9 inch pastry shell unbaked. Pour mixture into shell and bake in preheated oven at 425F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F and continue baking for 30 minutes or until set.
Filling variation: Instead of separating the eggwhites and yolks, add the whole eggs to the flour, sugar, and salt. Flavor with 1 teaspoon vanilla and/or ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg or the grated rind of one orange. Mix well. Fold in rhubarb. Pour mixture in pie shell.
Upcoming Events at the Farm:
1st Saturday Breakfast June 1st: 8-11AM: Come by the first Saturday of every month from May through November for Delicious Breakfast/Brunch featuring farm produced food. While you’re here spend some time walking around the farm too!
Live Music at the FoodShed:
Saturday June 1st:
Erica Shellenburger- Folky Bluesy Singer and some excellent food from our Kitchen! Café opens at 6:00pm, Music Starts around 7ish.
It was a bit of an anxious pre-dawn this morning. I stepped outside at 5AM and the thermometer read 28 degrees which was even colder that the weather forecasters had warned me. As I set off on a walk around the farm, I saw that my ever vigilant father had already turned on the overhead irrigation on our one patch of strawberries that was not under a cover. As it was still dark, it was hard to see whether the plants were frozen or not, but touching the crispy leaves of chard, and ice encrusted strawberries confirmed that it was indeed cold. Needless to say, we were very happy to see that warming sun emerge over the crest of the hill. It is difficult to know for sure at this point whether the covers and irrigation were able to protect everything entirely, but it does look like most plants will make it, even if they have some frost damage on the top leaves. This morning was a reminder that farming is truly risky business, but the rewards of observing first hand day in and day out the wonders of the natural world make it perhaps the most satisfying business for me.
This distribution is the last distribution for our Winter/Spring Season. Thanks to all of you for supporting us, and sharing in the risk and satisfaction of growing and eating from our own back yard (so to speak). We look forward to having many of you in our Summer CSA or hope to see many of you again in the fall.
With gratitude, Deb
IN THE BOX:
Red Russian Kale, Collards, Asparagus, Tatsoi, Rhubarb, Kohlrabi, Carrots, Herbs (Cilantro, Thyme, Parsley)
1st Saturday Breakfast June 1st: 8-11AM: Come by the first Saturday of every month from May through November for Delicious Breakfast/Brunch featuring farm produced food. While you’re here spend some time walking around the farm too!
Winter Share Survey!- We’d love more feedback on our Winter CSA. To complete the survey visit this link: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dDVzNDhjeXExMTRQZEhrTjI2LXRXcUE6MA
Savory Rhubarb Lentil Curry with Spinach and Red Peppers Recipe (vegan)
serves 2 as an entree or 4 as a side
1 large sweet potato
1 cup French lentils
3 cups of water
1 bay leaf
1 stalk (or 2) of rhubarb (diced into small pieces)
1/2 of 1 red bell pepper (diced into small pieces)
2 cups frozen spinach or 2 cups cooked spinach, chopped finely
1 TB olive oil
1/2 TB of mustard seeds
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1 TB minced ginger
1 TB cumin powder
1 TB brown sugar
salt to taste
Pour 3 cups of water in a saucepan. Add lentils and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes or until lentils are soft, but not falling apart. Drain excess water.
Cook sweet potato. My favorite method is baking: Wrap sweet potato in foil and bake at 425 for about 20 minutes or until the skin pulls away from the flesh and the potato is soft. Baking caramelizes the sugar and brings a nice deep flavor to the potato. You can also just peel and cube the sweet potato and steam it.
While lentils are simmering, cut your vegetables.
In a large sauté pan, heat oil and then stir in mustard seeds. Once they start popping, add red pepper flakes and fennel. Add ginger (careful here, this may lead to a minor explosion. Have a lid handy just in case or you will have mustard seeds all over your floor.) Add cumin.
Add red peppers and rhubarb to the pan. Sauté for a few minutes. Add spinach and sautée until fully cooked. Add cooked lentils, cooked sweet potato and brown sugar and stir. Add salt to taste.
Serve alone or with a grain like rice or quinoa.
It’s a hectic morning this morning. We just got word that our box truck won’t be repaired by this afternoon as scheduled so we are quickly putting the cover on the pickup and rigging up a trailer in addition to doing last minute harvesting, packing shares, arranging chickens in coolers, and trying to make sure all other details are in line. Days like this don’t allow for much creativity in the newsletter and for that I apologize. Instead of lots of words, I will once again direct you to a recently posted album of photos of the farm landscape. I am so grateful for a wonderful crew who is working diligently to stay in step with all there is to do this time of year. The greenhouses are looking in great shape, the onions and early tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant are already out and growing in the fields, and we have been busy mulching as many areas as possible to save ourselves for battling as many weeds later this summer. All this said- we are off to a good start and feeling optimistic about the season!
IN THE BOX:
Red Russian Kale, Collards, Romaine Lettuce, Spinach, Potatoes*, Rhubarb, Red Beets, Spring Radishes, Herbs (Cilantro, Oregano, Thyme, Chives, and Basil!)
*not certified but no spray/synthetic fertilizers
Recipe: Rhubarb Chutney
Bon Appétit | April 2003
Yield: Makes about 4 cups
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cinnamon sticks
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon (scant) ground cardamom
4 1/2 cups coarsely chopped rhubarb (from 1 3/4 pounds rhubarb)
3/4 cup dried currants
4 green onions, chopped
Stir first 6 ingredients in heavy large saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture boils. Add rhubarb, currants, and green onions; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until rhubarb is tender but not falling apart, about 4 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Discard cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate chutney until cold, at least 1 hour. (Can be made up to 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.) Bring to room temperature before serving.
1st Saturday Breakfast Resume May 4th (this Saturday)- 8-11AM: Come by the first Saturday of every month from May through November for Delicious Breakfast/Brunch featuring farm produced food. While you’re here spend some time walking around the farm too!
Winter Share Survey Coming Soon!- Today is the second to last winter distribution. We are in the process of putting together our end of season survey and will be emailing it out shortly. Your feedback is appreciated as we hope to continue to improve our CSA.
The excitement of spring is coursing through the farm. There is a battle over the greenhouse vent controls between the lettuces, spinach, and other cool loving plants and the recently planted tomatoes and cucumbers. We farmers have been trying as best as possible to keep them all coexisting as long as possible. When temperature reached the upper 70’s outside last week and greenhouse temperatures were in the 90’s, we accepted that the greens had to go. Hence, we have a very green box for you this week. We still have some head lettuce in the greenhouse which we hope to harvest for next distribution and we are eagerly watching the soil surface for the first emerging asparagus of the season (normally arriving around the 20th of April here). We are working tirelessly to get carrots, beets, potatoes, herbs, lettuces, and other greens planted on a regular schedule to ensure good supply over the course of the spring and summer. We also have our first batches of broilers moving across our pastures and will be restocked with chicken to sell (beyond our chicken shares) by next distribution! We hope you all are enjoying the change of season as well. If you ever get the urge for an afternoon drive, come visit us! It’s a beautiful time of year on the farm! ~Deb
IN THE BOX:
Lettuce Mix, Spinach, Potatoes*, Carrots, Kale, Bok Choi, Spring Radishes, Chives, and Thyme
*not certied but grown according to organic practices.
1st Saturday Breakfasts Resume May 4th- 8-11AM: Come by the first Saturday of every month from May through November for Delicious Breakfast/Brunch featuring farm produced food. While you’re here spend some time walking around the farm too!
Village Acres Farm and FoodShed in the News: Village Acres Farm’s succession process was featured in Philadelphia’s GRID magazines Farmbook edition this spring. Just visit http://www.gridphilly.com/magazine/ for the whole article. Cover is page 25.
Roasted Radishes with Brown Butter, Lemon, and Radish Tops
Bon Appétit | April 2011
Brief high-heat roasting mellows a radish's peppery flavor and turns it into a whole new root vegetable. Using the green radish tops adds color and amps up the radish flavor. Be sure to rinse the green tops thoroughly before using them. This would be a great side dish for roasted pork loin or leg of lamb.
Yield: Makes 2 side-dish servings
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
1 bunches medium radishes (such as red, pink, and purple; about 10)
¾-1 tablespoon olive oil
Coarse kosher salt
1 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 450°F. Brush large heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with olive oil. Cut off all but 1/2 inch of green radish tops; reserve trimmed tops and rinse them well, checking for grit. Coarsely chop radish tops and set aside. Cut radishes lengthwise in half and place in medium bowl. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and toss thoroughly to coat. Place radishes, cut side down, on prepared baking sheet; sprinkle lightly with coarse salt. Roast until radishes are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally, about 18 minutes. Season to taste with more coarse kosher salt, if desired.
medium-high heat. Add pinch of coarse kosher salt to skillet and cook until butter browns, swirling skillet frequently to keep butter solids from burning, about 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and stir in fresh lemon juice.
Transfer roasted radishes to warmed shallow serving bowl and drizzle brown butter over. Sprinkle with chopped radish tops and serve
While operating a year round CSA does not allow the typical winter recess for us as farmers, the slower growth rates, and bi-weekly distributions do allow for us to squeeze in moments of thinking of things other than what need to be planted/weeded/harvested. Over the past months, I have used these moments to step off the farm and into rooms of other farmers either gathering to learn new growing techniques or developments on policies on the state and federal level that have effect on our farms and communities. I thought for this newsletter, I would also take a step away from the daily happening of the farm (and weekly weather report) to fill you in on policy that is certain to effect farms and food in this country.
Last month I attended the annual convention of the Pennsylvania Farmer’s Union, a member organization that works to provide a voice for small family farms. Part of the day was devoted to learning about the recent FDA’s Proposed Food Safety Rules that were released in January and are currently open for comment. These rules are a response to the Food Safety Modernization Act that Congress and President Obama passed as a result to the increasing numbers of food related illness outbreaks over the recent years. These serious cases warranted evaluation of our food handling practices and regulations surrounding them, but as a small farmer the potential of more regulation and costly inspections were anxiety causing. What would be expected of us if some blanket rule was made for all food producers? Could we afford to stay in business if we had more inspection costs? Fortunately, as a small farm, we had folks speaking for us at the rule making table (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture and The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition to name a few). The proposed rule rejects a “one size fits all” approach to food safety regulation and ensures that scale-appropriate regulations include the option for small, mid, and direct-market agricultural operations to comply with equivalent state regulations or modified, scale-appropriate federal regulation. Of course these allowances are very comforting to us here at Village Acres. If adopted as proposed, these rules will not require us to have more inspections or practices beyond our current practices to ensure that the food we deliver to your tables in not only safe, but also healthy and our farming practices contribute to the health of the environment as well.
Of course, the reason I’m writing about this in the newsletter is that we are not guaranteed that these rules will be implemented as written. There will most definitely be folks from the agribusiness community that oppose the protections for small and medium sized operations and the power of these groups is intimidating. So I’m asking all of you to add your voice to the discussion and work alongside our farm and farms like ours to work for rules that both protect the safety of our consumers as well as the viability of many of our nation’s small and medium sized farms and processors. For more information on the evolution of the Food Safety Modernization Act, and the proposed rule, please visit and follow Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture’s (PASA) executive director’s Write to Farm blog.
This week’s Share: Lettuce Mix, Spinach, Potatoes, Carrots, Turnips, Celeriac, Onions, and Thyme
White Root Vegetable Soup with Thyme Butter (Serves 4)
Bon Apetit, Dec 2001
1/3 stick butter, room temperature
1 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), sliced
1 garlic cloves, minced
3 1/2 cups (or more) canned low-salt chicken broth
2/3 pounds celery root (celeriac), peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pounds turnips, peeled, each cut into 8 wedges
1 pound parsnips, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup whipping cream
Mix 6 tablespoons butter and thyme in small bowl to blend well. Season thyme butter to taste with salt and pepper.
Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add leeks and garlic and sauté until leeks are tender but not brown, about 10 minutes. Add 10 cups broth, celery root, turnips, and parsnips; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 50 minutes. Cool slightly. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return soup to pot. Stir in cream. Season with salt and pepper. (Thyme butter and soup can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap butter in plastic wrap. Cool soup slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Rewarm soup over medium heat, adding more broth, if desired, to thin.)
Ladle soup into 12 bowls. Top each with small piece of thyme butter; swirl into soup and serve
Well we have been rather suddenly reminded that we in the middle of mercurial month of March this week. After a couple of weeks of feeling like spring was taking off, the numb hands syndrome returned yesterday as we harvested spinach. We have a good blanket of snow this morning. The one person who seems to be enjoying the snow this morning is my father, who is happily riding around on the tractor clearing all the neighborhood driveways-perhaps he knows it will be the last of the season. While my dad is on his joy ride, my mother, newly retired from her nursing career, has shown up to work in the packing to help pack CSA shares today. It’s a new age here at Village Acres, and I’m very happy to be working alongside my mother again on a daily basis on this farm. It brings back vivid memories of transplanting tomatoes with her in the basement of our house (before the time of our propagation greenhouse.) I’m looking forward to creating many more memories and am grateful to have her back on the farm full time as she has a way of making this farm a more beautiful place- through her stunning flower beds and her ever gracious spirit ~Deb
This week’s box reflects a transition week. You will likely notice that there is no mesclun mix for the first time this winter. Up until last distribution we have been harvesting from plants seeded before the winter solstice, and with the lengthening day, these plants have now decided it is time to set seed (bolt) so they are no longer of harvestable quality. We do have a new planting that will be ready in a few weeks. Also next distribution will include the first lettuce mix which will add some variety to your salads.
This week in your box, you will have the final harvest of our winter chard/beet plantings and also Kohlrabi which was also planted last November into the greenhouse. For those of you not familiar with Kohlrabi (cabbage turnip), it is a beautiful vegetable that is in the same family as broccoli and cabbage. The bulb can be sliced and eaten raw, or chopped and cooked. It tastes very similar to the stem of broccoli, and can be used similarly. The leaves can also be used like other greens. Unfortunately the voles (small rodents) seem to love the sweet stem of the kohlrabi and ate about half our planting as a winter snack, so each share will only get a small sampling of this crop.
With these crops now out of the greenhouse, we are busily adding compost to beds, and planning the best design of the greenhouse to inter crop one more spring planting of lettuce heads, other greens, or summer herbs, with our early tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and eggplant. It’s exciting and makes for an exciting patchwork design in the greenhouses. I will try to keep you updated with photos.
Don’t forget to sign up for our Summer/Fall CSA-
Asparagus, Rhubarb, and Strawberries are just around the corner!
In the Box this week…
*from neighbor farmer- no spray/but non-certified
The sun is shining, the spinach growth rate has doubled, and the mesclun mix planted in December has decided that it is time to bolt. Eggplant, pepper, basil, and tomatoes are sprouting in the greenhouse, and our mouths are watering as we talk about tomato, basil, and mozzarella sandwiches. I’ve been doing a lot of math lately as I try to hone in on the proper amount of cucumbers to seed to ensure that I have at least 3-4 cucumber per summer share member from the end of June through September. It’s a complicated formula, full of multiple variables which in the end makes the formula really a definition of the artistic process of farming rather than the cut and dry scientific tool that we would maybe like it to be. Either way, it gets applied to every crop and at least provides a starting point for the season. We are strategizing how to get one more planting of short season lettuce mix, radishes, and greens in and out of the greenhouse without postponing planting tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. All of it is an exciting puzzle; one we hope will come together for the creation of some beautifully delicious spring boxes! We hope you all have a wonderful couple of weeks and enjoy both the snow and 50 degree days expected in the next week.
Signups for our Summer CSA are picking up- We hope many of you will consider joining us for the coming season. Visit our website, the extra’s table (staffed distributions), or email CSA@villageacresfarm.com to get more information and sign up! Also word of mouth is our strongest marketing method- please help us spread the word!
Today in your box you have the last of our sweet potatoes and Napa cabbage for the year. As we start clearing out the last of our fall storage crops, the boxes will start to be filled with more greenery. Savor that caramelly sweetness of those potatoes- I know I will be!