It has been such a lovely week here, we feel super energized. We didn’t get a whole lot of rain, which admittedly is quite a bummer, but we got the cool, crisp aftermath of the storm system that moved through. It offered such relief from the heat (to both humans and plants) that we didn’t complain too badly about the actual lack of precipitation. We entered the week comfortable, enthused from a great market day, and alone.
Paul and I have taken a leap of faith this season, perhaps best described as a metal health tonic. For years and years we have hosted short and long term apprentices here in the hollow. Many, in fact most, of those guests have had an overall positive impact on the farm and our family. In recent years we have had a series of less positive experiences. Nothing truly bad, just aggravating, irritating stuff that grew to be a heavy emotional burden. It was clear to us we needed to take a step away. This year we don’t have a crew. We are going it semi solo. GASP.
Lest any of you freak out, let me say right now, we are so happy.
We are not actually alone. We are collaborating with a young local family who come to the farm twice a week. We have a second year apprentice returning in June for the season and we have our super hard working selves. Both Paul and I are thriving without the extra emotional demands that come with hosting. It is proving to be such a great opportunity to reflect on our mentoring. We needed to step back and re envision our system. I know we will continue to host and educate here, it is one of the pillars of Hill and Hollow Farm, but it is a great relief to take time off and imagine a sustainable emotional future for ourselves. So far, so good.
Now, today as the light shifts into the late afternoon golden glory, the harvest is complete, a salad of buttercrunch lettuce topped with feta cheese awaits. I baked some fresh bread which will be adorned with garlic scape pesto rounding out the perfect late spring meal. The house is quiet right now, my tasks complete and it feels so right. I know chaos looms. I know amidst these moments lie times of great distress, for that is life. Now, just right now, it is all so good. I wish the very same for each of you. A calm, healthy long weekend. Stay safe. Eat well.

Browned Butter Pasta with Tatsoi an all time favorite, lots of variations out there
The original recipe on Apetite for china

1 pound pasta shells
1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
Salt and pepper, to taste
3-4 cups tatsoi leaves, lightly packed
1/2 cup fresh sage, chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Bring a pot of water to boil and cook pasta as directed on the package. Drain and return to pot. When pasta almost done, melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir the butter in the pan as it foams. When butter begins to brown, add it to the pasta, turn the heat to medium, and mix to coat with butter. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add tatsoi and sage and cook until slightly wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes. Toss with parmesan and serve immediately.
Garlic Scape Pesto
1 c. chopped garlic scapes
½ cup olive oil
1 cup toasted pecans
1 cup parmesan, romano or asiago cheese
Salt and black pepper to taste

Place garlic scapes and oil in food processor and blend until pretty smooth. add nuts and salt and blend until a thick paste forms. Add cheese and pulse until blended. Serve with pasta, on bread, crackers. Remember friends, this is a once a season treat, enjoy every morsel! Freeze if you have extra, but you probably won’t!

Week three in your basket:
tat soi
swiss chard
pac choi
garlic scapes

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I think these recipes sum up where I am in my culinary life right now: raw salads. That is it. After a winter of soups and stews and roasted vegetables and all those dishes that feel so darn satisfying when the weather is cold, around here we have made the complete shift to summer salads. When the weather is steamy the very last thing I want to do is cook. I definitely don’t want to eat hot foods either. So I know you are all eating salads along with me, but thought I would remind you that these spring vegetables are so good eaten raw, tossed with a fresh dressing, perhaps served with a hard boiled egg and freshly baked bread.
Here we are, only week 2, and I am already obsessing about the weather. Sorry. I know you thought you could wait until June or even July to hear it. We have had such a hot dry streak we are already crying out for rain. The dry spell has enabled us to do all sorts of planting and transplanting, this is a good thing, but now we are hanging out for the deluge to water in all of our hard work. Hard to believe, mid May, but we already have over 300 tomatoes in the ground, mulched, staked and caged! Today’s harvest will clear out a couple of beds in our high tunnels and this very afternoon we will be setting peppers and eggplant in the salad turnips’ wake. Transition, timely transition, is what makes a CSA farm flow and we are always working to perfect those shifts.
We have had a short term WWOOFer here for the past month. (WWOOF or willing workers on organic farms is a world wide organization that pairs organic farms with folks wanting to travel and learn about sustainable farming practices. WWOOFers tend to be shorter term than apprentices often using farms in certain areas as hubs for exploration) Colleen, a California native, began her 6 month long personal search for a farming home in the South East here at Hill and Hollow. We worked and schemed with her for these past 4 weeks and are very sorry to see her depart this weekend. It was super fun to have someone here who knew her plants, worked hard and enjoyed all we had to offer.
I look out now at the lightning bugs doing their evening show. William is fast asleep and there is still a van to load and a long list of preparations for market tomorrow. I best hit print and be done here. I hope you all enjoy these spring greens as much as I do, it is just what our bellies crave on these hot days.

week two in your basket:
pac choi
salad turnips
roots or leaves

Salad Turnip Salad
8- 10 medium sized salad turnips
1 – 2 tsp. Fresh lemon juice (how about hill and hollow’s own meyer lemons? Oh yeah!)
olive oil for drizzling
Salt and Freshly ground black pepper
Trim stem end and any scraggly roots off the turnips.
Scrub turnips clean. Slice turnips very thinly, ideally with a mandoline, but a sharp paring knife will work as well. Get the slices as thin as you can. Put sliced turnips in a medium bowl and toss with the lemon juice. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and a twist of freshly ground black pepper.

The Best Spinach Salad http://www.kristinschell.com/

4-6 cups fresh spinach
1⁄4 cup toasted pine nuts
2 tbs fresh lemon juice (again how about those hill and hollow lemons?)
4 – 5 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1⁄2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste

Squeeze the lemon into the bottom of a large serving bowl. Add olive oil and whisk until emulsified. Taste and add more lemon or olive oil to taste. Add salt and pepper. Gently tear spinach and add to the bowl. Top with toasted pine nuts and grated parmesan cheese. Toss and serve.

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It is nearing 10:00 pm on this first harvest of the 2015 season. It is the eve of our first delivery, the night before Madeline’s dance recital and the final hours before Sasha turns 16. There is so much going on right now: birthday cakes in the oven, sequined outfits and tutus hanging from door knobs, market equipment coming back out of their winter nooks, golly, I would be fibbing if I didn’t admit to being a bit scattered.
Now that you all have a glimpse into this Friday night on the farm, let me offer you the heartiest welcome to the 2015 season, one that is surely going to be wonderful. It has been a swift spring, one that went from the deepest, coldest winter we can recall through a typically soggy spell right into the heat of summer that has defined the past couple of weeks. We have been working like crazy to catch up on all the spring work we weren’t able to do in the wet, wet early April while simultaneously planting the first wave of the heat loving summer crops. There is a healthy group of nearly 20 spring lambs and one newborn calf bouncing around on the lush green grass and over 20 duck eggs in an incubator due to hatch next week. Life is definitely bursting at the seams all around us! Because I know you are all going to ask, I will go ahead and say the Farm Stay project, while still far from complete, is progressing so wonderfully, we are pretty overjoyed. With steady progress all winter long, we are now simply waiting for the final plans to be approved (it is a certified facility after all…..) and the plumber will work his magic. the newly erected walls will be sealed up and we can rest easy with phase one complete. Paul has devoted an unbelievable amount of energy to the renovation and clearly, simply, loves the space. It is shocking to me that I won’t get to see you all as you get your first basket and begin the season’s journey with us. I will be watching Madeline dance and looking forward to seeing you all next week. It is with such excitement that we welcome you all, friends old and new, to Hill and Hollow CSA’s sweet 16th year. Wow. Enjoy these first tastes of spring friends, they are wonderful indeed.

week one in your basket:
swiss chard
pac choi
Hakurei salad turnips

Sauteed Swiss Chard with Garlic and Lemon Bon Appétit
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 large bunches Swiss chard, ribs and stems removed and reserved, leaves torn into 2” pieces (about 12 cups)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and half of Swiss chard, season with salt and pepper, and cook, tossing often, until wilted, about 4 minutes. Add lemon juice and remaining chard and cook, tossing, just until all chard is wilted, about 1 minute; season with salt and pepper.
Pasta with Sausage, Swiss Chard and Pine Nuts from Martha Stewart with this amazing and quite large swiss chard, I thought two recipe ideas might be worthwhile!
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 pound mild Italian sausage, casings removed
1 pound Swiss chard, tough stems removed, leaves cut into thin strips
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
1 pound gemelli, or other short pasta
3/4 cup raisins, plumped in boiling water and drained
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
In a large skillet, toast pine nuts over medium-high heat, shaking the pan to toast evenly, 3 to 4
minutes. Remove from skillet. In the same skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add sausage, and cook, breaking it up with a fork, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add chard, garlic, and pepper; cook, tossing, until chard wilts, 2 to 3 minutes. Cover to keep warm. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions, about 12 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup cooking water. Return pasta to pot. Add sausage mixture to pasta with 1/2 cup reserved cooking water, raisins, toasted pine nuts, and Parmesan; toss to combine. Add more cooking water if pasta seems dry. Serve with more Parmesan

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