2016.20

So, you are the best. Honestly. I have spent so many hours pondering how to express the emotions that have run through my mind in the days and weeks since our barn fire. I think it really all comes down to this. You are the best. For a long time I have been moderately suspicious of the mainstream system in which we live and operate. It seems like there are so many fine folks that fall through the cracks of the conventional educational model or the traditional medical establishment. It was decades ago as a young college student on my study abroad semester that I first caught whiff of another way. I took part in an international educational exchange that placed 18 of us coming from 11 different nations on an intentional community in Denmark. For three weeks we weeded carrots and built fence and sang songs in languages from our homelands. I fell in love there and those weeks changed the course of my life. I returned home to finish my degree and made a commitment to myself: I would forge a new path for myself, one that incorporates open borders and freedom to pursue a life rich in meaning. In my senior year of college I knew only NOT to take part in the on campus interviews that so many of my friends were using as their step towards an already defined future. It was scarey. I hopped on a plane to Tokyo shortly after graduation. I chose teaching English as a second language as my vehicle to explore the world and her cultures and religions and nooks and crannies. In the ten years between getting on that Japan Air Lines flight and landing in rural Kentucky, I hiked the Himalayas and paddled the Mekong. I laid with my mother as she died of cancer and met my husband to be on an organic farm in Illinois. I surrounded myself in places of unspeakable beauty and made friends with people who spoke languages unknown to me. When I landed on this farm I was confident in only one thing: there was no blueprint for the future.
I have spent the past 18 years here raising my babies and cultivating these fields now so familiar. I have invested my energy in creating a community that would support us in this radical vision.
In the days following the fire, I realized how blessed I am. It has been two months since the tragedy and I am still in a battle with my insurance company. Within two days of the fire however, you , my community, had raised thousands of dollars for our rebuild. It is so clear to me now that my life choices are all right. My suspicion of the system has sadly grown to include some major questions about the insurance industry. My affirmation of the community that we have created around our farm and our family has simultaneously increased. It is with deepest gratitude that I write this to you. Your financial support, your emotional comfort and your unwavering commitment to us during these most difficult weeks sustained our family and carried us to this final week of the main season. We are well on our way to a recovery that will embody a vision for the future of our evolving farm and family. We will see many of you on October 1st for the Fall Season. To those of you that will not join us for the Fall, I can’t thank you enough. It is my life’s pleasure to grow food that nourishes you and your families Thank you for offering us that opportunity. To each and every one of you, I hope you enjoy this week’s basket, the merging of summer and fall that I always find so perfect!!

Grandma’s Pear Preserves
the pears in your basket this week are from our farm’s super old pear tree. Planted long before we arrived here, this is an old time variety of pear totally suitable to pear preserves or any baked item with pears. Madeline made a stunning pear gallette from martha stewart which also highlighted this type of pear.
6 cups peeled, cored, and sliced pears
1 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 (2 ounce) package powdered fruit pectin
8 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1/2 cup brown sugar
Sterilize jars and lids in boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Let simmer while making jam. In a large saucepan, combine pears, water, and lemon juice. Cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in pectin, and bring to a full boil. Stir in the white sugar, and continue boiling and stirring uncovered for 1 minute, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, and stir in brown sugar, allspice, and nutmeg. Quickly fill jars to within 1/2 inch of the top. Wipe rims clean, and top with lids. Process jars in boiling water for 10 minutes to seal.

week twenty in your basket:
eggplant
sweet peppers
hot peppers
tomatoes/green tomatoes
arugula
pears
garlic
an option

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2016.19

Part of our recovery process has definitely been planting for Fall. When the barn burned down on July 13th, there was certainly a “I can’t go on” kinda vibe here on the farm. Obviously, that didn’t last for very long, but it’s there hovering around us, still. We have pulled ourselves up and out, and slowly but surely we are re-energizing ourselves. We planted for fall, all of our favorite crops, but making that commitment to announcing the fall season was the final affirmation for us that we will rise again and raise food and continue farming. Putting up hay was another big recovery hurdle. It was the stores of hay that burned our barn down: green hay fermenting can cause it to heat up so high that it can and will cause a fire. I never thought I would see it happen, but I did. Clearly we needed more hay to feed our livestock over the winter months. This was a difficult process. The week just passed has been one of huge milestones for us. We put up hundreds of bales of hay over the course of two days in the early part of the week. Taking extreme care to stack with plenty of air flow, we felt so grateful to have the work weary muscles that are the tell tale sign of moving all that material from the field to the wagon to it’s final destination in the hay loft. I am not sure if y’all doubted us as much as we doubted ourselves, but I am proud and happy to say we have hundreds of bales of hay stored safely and the great fall season is just around the corner. Happy. Jubilant. Proud. Next week will be the final week of our main season for 2016. I will save the tear jerking reflections for next week’s newsletter, until then, please let me know if you plan to extend the season with us and carry on eating locally and organically from the family that loves to grow for you!! Have a great week, the weather is going to shift again to cooler days and brisk nights, I thought you might just love the first taste of the winter squash harvest to enjoy the autumnal time.

week nineteen in your basket:
sweet peppers
hot peppers
eggplant
tomatoes
Paydon winter squash
basil
garlic

Roasted Squash with Sesame Seeds and Cumin
From martha stewart
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 small acorn squashes (about 1 pound each), halved, seeded, and cut into 1-inch wedges
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toast sesame seeds in a small skillet over medium-high, shaking pan frequently, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add cumin seeds and toast until fragrant, about 30 seconds more. Transfer seeds to a small bowl; let cool.
Toss squashes with coriander, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Spread in a single layer; roast 15 minutes. Add sesame mixture and toss to coat, then flip slices. Roast until squashes are tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes more; serve.

Pasta with Italian Sausage and Peppers
So many of you have fresh Hill and Hollow Italian Sausage in your freezers, thought this would be perfect!
1 pound Italian sausage, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 green bell peppers, chopped
8 ounces farfalle pasta
1/2 cup beef broth
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
While pasta is cooking, cook sausage and peppers in large skillet over medium heat until sausage is brown and juices run clear. Drain sausage mixture and return it to the pan. Pour in the broth, season with black pepper and bring to a boil.
Toss pasta with sausage sauce and serve.

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2016.18

You know what? Right now, the wind is blowing cool, crisp, air. If ever there were an autumn that I wanted to arrive, it would be this one. I am not sure if it is just me getting older (yes, my big 50 is just weeks away) but this summer has been super hot and sticky for me. I slept like a babe last night with temperatures dropping into the 60’s, windows wide open welcoming the fall that seems within reach. Yes. When we ventured out this morning for our first harvest without helping hands, both Paul and I were visibly energized and totally refreshed. Weather is so critical not only for our farming livelihood, but in our very being. I can not overstate how darn happy I am right now to feel the cooler air blowing, offering a glimpse into the fine fall that is just around the corner. Wow. The week past has been a good one. We had a delightful pair of helpers on the farm and we did a great amount of fall planting, setting kale and parsley, cabbage and broccoli. We also tended to our earlier fall plantings of turnips and arugula, kale and tat soi. Paths were mulched, rows of fall greens cultivated, all with great optimism for the season ahead. We also began the process of butchering our farm’s meats. Fall is a time for wrapping up and readying the farm and ourselves for winter. Part of that process is always a seasonal slaughter and this year is no different. We brought our 2 pigs to the local butcher early in the week and picked up a great array of GMO-free pork towards week’s end. I will send an email to you all this week for you to place orders on our farm’s pork, we have sampled the cuts over the past couple of days and are super pleased. If any of you is not receiving my emails, please reach out to me and let me know if you are interested in pork ( or lamb which is next on the agenda) and I will be sure to get you on our mailing list, my email address is on this newsletter above the recipe. I have mentioned the fall extension, but not sure how many of you actually read my emails or this newsletter, so I will be a bit redundant here. (for those of you that read both, sorry, sorry!) we are doing a Fall Extension this year. I have to admit there have been some moments since the barn fire where we felt rather overwhelmed and contemplated ending after the main season. Alas, the good food doesn’t want to stop! Our transition to the late season is well underway here on the farm and it will be an honor and a pleasure to continue growing for you as the season’s change. Details in an email later this week or in the next newsletter. Wishing you all a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend.

week eighteeen in your basket:
peppers
eggplant
cucumbers or summer squash
sweet basil or thai basil
garlic
tomatoes
leeks
potatoes

Potato Leek Soup just to be classy, this is adapted from
Julia Child’s version!
Ushering in the fall season with this delight!!
2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed oil
4 to 5 medium potatoes (1 pound), peeled and roughly chopped
3 large leeks (1 pound), cleaned and thinly sliced
6 cups vegetable stock (or light chicken stock)
Kosher salt, to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup crème fraiche
1/3 cup minced parsley or chives
Heat the oil in a large (6-plus quart) stockpot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leek and potato. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have begun to soften and brown slightly, about 8 to 12 minutes (this time will vary greatly depending on the surface area of the bottom of your pot).
Add the vegetable stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
Blend until smooth, either using an immersion blender or by carefully transferring to a blender in batches.
Add the cream, and season to taste with salt (I start with 1 teaspoon and go from there, tasting frequently) and lemon juice.
Ladle into bowls, and garnish with a dollop of crème fraiche and a healthy sprinkling of minced parsley.
Thai Basil Pesto
2 c Thai basil leaves (some stems are fine too)
3 Tbs plain roasted peanuts
1 Tbs your favorite sweetener (I like agave and coconut sugar)
1 Tbs rice wine vinegar (or another white vinegar if you prefer)
2 Tbs sesame oil
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp low sodium soy sauce Combine all ingredients in food processor and puree to consistency you like.

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