The bittersweet final harvest. The wind is blowing, the sun is shining, the temperature hot although according to all predictions tomorrow at this time it will be 40 degrees cooler. Golly this year has been a rough ride. July 13th, mid summer, we awoke to our barn in flames. At that moment I said “ I can not do this”. I had no idea where I could gather the energy to recover from such loss Now, 4 months later, here I am looking back on a season that proved to me many, many things. First and beyond a doubt the most important is the importance of community. There are no words that can duly express my gratitude to each and every one of you for the support you offered. It came in many forms: homemade soup and bread, legal advice, tools, plants, baskets, emotional support and the most basic and necessary cold, hard, cash. There is absolutely no way we could have done it without you.
I hope you share in our pride at this moment of completion. I hope you are as proud as I am of the company you keep. The market stand is the heart of the hill and hollow community and as I watch each of you interact week after week and come together over our basic human needs of nourishment, I am so proud that you can find that sustenance with us and each other in those morning hours each Saturday.
Next, I learned we are resilient. we can actually handle just about anything that life sends our way. It isn’t always easy. There were many a moment over the past months when I wanted to throw in the towel, when I lost faith in humankind (thanks for that Kentucky Farm Bureau!). Then would soon come the moment of reflection. The thoughtful email arriving, the package of old photos in the mail from a long lost friend. Faith restored. Phew.
I celebrated a half century of this great life in September. It all became abundantly clear. As I pondered this homespun often crazy life of mine I realized I wouldn’t change a thing. I am blessed. I have an amazing family and a community so dear that I could cry thinking of you all. I am so lucky to be the steward of these amazing hills and hollows and to have the honor to feed you and your families.
I am still in a legal battle with my insurance company. If and when we receive a settlement remains anyone’s guess. Lately, it doesn’t hurt so much because all that truly matters is well within my reach.
Our nation is in a great struggle right now. I hope the lessons I have learned in the past months can give me the strength and courage to proceed with hope into the unknown future.
My deepest gratitude to each of you for all that you offer me and my family. Your hugs, your smiles, your recipes, your unending enthusiasm for fresh food makes my day….every single one of them. I will miss you and am already looking forward to Spring.
Gingery Sauteed Tat-Soi with Tofu Steaks
I rarely feature recipes with tofu, but this sounded so good, I also figure a nice fish would offer the same taste!
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 ounces extra firm tofu, cut into “steaks”
1 tablespoon sesame oil, divided
2 bunches of tat-soi
1-2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
In a small bowl whisk all ingredients from soy sauce through cayenne pepper.
In a large skillet over medium high heat, add 2 teaspoons sesame oil. Add tofu steaks; cook for 5-7 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Remove from skillet. Add remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil to skillet; add tat soi; once wilted, add sauce. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook just until sauce slightly thickens.
Divide greens on plates. Top with half of the tofu. Drizzle with remaining sauce, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
fall week 7 in your basket:
misato rose radish
There is just so much to write about!! As you know I am a chatty type so a full week off of tale telling and I don’t know where to start! Clearly the Hill and Hollow Family trip to North Carolina tops the list of stories to share so I will start there…if space allows I will also tell of an amazing homecoming.
I suppose I have to back track to last year at this time, I made the journey to North Carolina for our region’s largest fiber event with two kids and two apprentices in tow. I was the solo parent, the farmer mentor, the tour guide, the meal planner, the first time vendor at a huge fiber festival and one stressed out woman. This year things had to look different and they did: we made a family trip out of it. We were long overdue for an adventure. Everyone had a desire to go and I took advantage of the familial motivation and planned a great get away. Sasha, a budding photographer, had his new Canon T3I in hand and was ready to explore and capture the beauty of the North Caroling mountains. Paul and William had their fishing gear and were more than pleased to check out the rivers of the Pigsah National Forest. Madeline was happy to be my fiber assistant and was scheduled for a half day workshop on needle felting. I booked us a campsite at the edge of the forest, bought some tents and sleeping bags, and prepared the fiber and family for a great trip to Asheville. There are so many details of those days and nights in the Appalachian Mountains. Our home away from home was perfect, my drive to “work” at the fiber show was 8 short miles with one stoplight and a Starbuck’s conveniently located just mid way. Paul handled all of the cooking. What our dear children did not know is that their Dad and I spent months living and camping and touring our region’s national parks as we searched for the farm we all now call home. Albeit a little rusty, we are professional campers. Paul had a constant fire raging, an amazing array of meals, and hot chai on the ready each morning! The campground was cozy with a friendly management and great showers and to top it all off, the weather was PERFECT. Needless to say we came home refreshed and reconnected as a family. I couldn’t think of a better way to usher in our winter season.
I have a wee bit of space left so I’ll describe our homecoming. About a month ago Addie, our family milk cow, dried herself up (stopped producing milk suddenly). She had sprained her ankle and we figured she needed all of her energy to heal. We started to suspect something might be strange in the days prior to our departure, but we had many other things to think about. We pulled into the driveway after a long trip home on Monday evening. In the shadowy light of dusk we went to check on our dear Addie only to discover her cleaning off her freshly born calf. What a welcome home gift. Mama and calf are both thriving, I am a bit embarrassed about not recognizing what was happening and we are all pleased to welcome a new life to the farm. A free quart of cream to anyone that can come up with the perfect name for a calf born on Halloween!!
Bok Choy Recipe from Steamy Kitchen
1 1/2 pounds bok choy or baby bok choy
1 1/2 tablespoons canola, vegetable or peanut oil
1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
3 tablespoons broth/water (or 2 tablespoons broth/water + 1 tablespoon wine)
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1. Start by trimming the stem off – don’t trim too much – just the end. Cutting the thick stem off will ensure that the bok choy cooks evenly. Separate out the leaves, keep the tender center intact and clean under running water. Drain.
2. Finely mince garlic and grate fresh ginger with a microplane grater. Grating the ginger helps break up the tough fibers! (and yeah, sometimes when the ginger is nice and fresh, I don’t even bother peeling off the paper-thin skin)
3. Place wok or frying pan on your stove and pour in the cooking oil. Add the garlic and ginger. Turn the heat to medium-high. Let the ginger and garlic gently sizzle in the oil. When the aromatics become fragrant and light golden brown, add the bok choy leaves. Toss very well to coat each leaf with the garlicky, gingery oil for 15 seconds. Pour in broth, water or wine. Immediately cover and let cook for 1 minute. Season with salt and drizzle a bit of sesame oil on top.
fall week 5 in your basket:
hakurei salad turnips
sweet and hot peppers
The weather right now is windy and drizzly, but up until this very day we have had a series of incredible fall days. I suppose if you thought about it, the temperatures have been a bit on the warm side, but nothing stopped ole Farmer Paul and I from planting our garlic crop this week! It is always a celebration when the garlic is in, and this year was no different. Our last big field task of the season is getting the 6000 cloves planted. It is early on harvest morning as I write this we are readying ourselves for the first brisk harvest of the season. We don another layer, wear our rubber boots, start with a good hot tea and off we head into the dawn. I have spent the evening hours over the past week preparing for back to back fiber festivals. The first one, where I will be as you read this, is in Murfreesobro. A new to me show, everyone claims it is really the best local show, so we shall see. I have tagged and twisted and packed all of our yarn, roving, lambskins and weaving over the past days in an effort to create a fabulous display of Hill and Hollow Farm’s Wool Products. Next week we will take the show on the road to Asheville for a huge regional fiber show, SAFF. This is the first of many reminders that there will be no CSA share next week as we take the days off to travel as a family to North Carolina . I hope you are all cozyng up to this first cool weather and find the time to roast some of these radishes, make a heart soup from the winter squash and in general enjoy this transition to cooler temperatures. I feel so lucky that I can actually wear my hand made woolen items to this fiber show, perfect!! with thanks, enjoy.
Watermelon Radish, you are so beautiful!!
Watermelon Radish Salad with Citrus and Goat Cheese
1 shallot or half of a small red onion
2 to 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 to 3 watermelon radishes
2 to 3 oranges, clementines, grapefruit, etc.
a handful of walnuts, toasted and chopped
goat cheese to taste
chives, minced, optional, but they add some nice color
olive oil to taste
Mince shallot. Place in small bowl. Cover with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the vinegar depending on how big of a salad you are making. Add a pinch of salt. Set aside.
Cut off one end of the radish. Leave the other intact so you have a handle when you run the radish down your mandoline. Peel the radishes if you wish, though it is by no means necessary. Thinly slice on a mandoline. Arrange radish slices on a platter. Season all over with salt.
Cut off each end of each orange. Squeeze each end over the radishes, then discard. Use a sharp knife to remove the skin from the orange. Cut in between membranes to remove each slice. Squeeze remaining membrane all over the radishes to extract any juice. Scatter oranges over the radishes.
Scatter walnuts and goat cheese to taste over the radishes and oranges. Pour macerated shallots and vinegar over top. Drizzle olive oil to taste (one to two tablespoons) over top. Scatter chives over top if using.
Let sit a few minutes (or longer — it benefits from a brief rest) before serving.
Roasted Watermelon Radishes
1 pound watermelon radishes, trimmed
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Preheat oven to 375°. Cut radishes into wedges. Mix with 2 tbsp. oil and put in a 2-qt. baking dish. Roast radishes, stirring occasionally, until fork tender, about 1 hour. Drizzle with remaining 1 tbsp. oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
fall week 4 in your basket:
misato rose radish
peppers sweet and hot