2016.3

It has been a cool and wet harvest. If it weren’t harvest day I would probably call it dreary, but since the lack of sun actually eases the pressure on harvesting greens, it has been a pretty flawless Friday. I have to admit it is hard to keep morale up in the pounding rain and honestly we really try not to work outside in such conditions. On a rainy Monday you might find us weeding the carrots in a high tunnel. On a rainy Wednesday, maybe working with plants in the greenhouse. On a rainy Friday, well, there is only one place to go and that is out there to pick and band and dip and pack your weekly shares. Paul and I are almost always thrilled with a wet harvest. Absent of the pressure of the rising sun, we just enjoy the pace and seem not to notice the increased dampening of our gear. The crew, well, you never quite know how they might respond. Tears have been shed and curses uttered in the past. Today, it was lovely. Camille sang Spanish love songs to the arugula. I noticed Ryan talking more and more often about a hot shower, but that was well within reason. It all went surprisingly well. We shared a fine harvest day meal of fresh scape pesto with pasta and a huge salad. Then, just at this moment when I was about to be thrilled, I got the dreaded call from my mechanic
You know, that call.
Yep, the van was broken and due to be repaired and returned just in the nick of time this evening. Sadly, a critical part is still missing and as the sun sets on this lovely wet day we have to figure out how to get ourselves and our produce to you. The Chevy Silverado farm truck remains the best option. Instead of settling in to a post harvest happy place, I will go and transform a farm truck to a delivery truck. The truck can’t hold as many humans as the van, so I might not get to see your smiling faces tomorrow. It will be rock, scissors, paper with farmer Paul in the wee hours to see who gets the lucky trip. I hope you enjoy this wonderful Spring share and smile with those scapes, it only happens once a year!

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!
Pickled Garlic Scapes
2 bunches garlic scapes (washed and trimmed of any withered or brown areas)
1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar
1 ½ cups water
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons raw sugar (can substitute granulated white sugar if necessary)
Additional ingredients PER PINT:
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
½ teaspoon mustard seed (not ground mustard)
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (can omit if you’re sensitive to heat)
¼ teaspoon coriander seeds (not ground coriander)
Coil each garlic scape and insert into a sterilized mason or ball jar. When you have filled the jar to within ¼ –inch of the top of the jar, coil or break any extra scapes and stuff them down into the center of the jar. When the jars are full of scapes, add the spices to each pint jar. Set aside. Bring the apple cider vinegar, water, salt, and sugar to a boil, stirring until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Carefully pour the boiling brine over the garlic scapes. The garlic scapes will probably pop up and look like they are trying to get out of the jar. Use a sterile chopstick to push it back into the jar. Wipe the rims of the jars, then fix the lid tightly into place. Let the jars come to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator for 6 weeks before opening.

Week three in your basket:
carrots
beets
lettuce
kale
arugula
garlic scapes

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2016.2

OK, it was simply an absolutely perfect harvest day. Truly. In the wake of some ferocious storms that moved through the area in the past days, Friday dawned clear and bright. That crisp, cool air that totally lacks moisture which usually follows such storms brings a smile to my face each and every time. Really, the harvest was the topper to a perfect week gone by on the farm.
Last Sunday while all of my mama friends were treated to breakfast in bed (does that ever really happen, I ask?) I rolled down the road to assist at my neighbor’s annual alpaca shearing They hired a professional shearing team and I was interested enough in watching the pros that I eagerly arrived at 8:30. The process was already underway and the shearers not at all what I expected. This was a pair of young, utterly cool, well traveled, fiber loving guys. When I first noticed the hand shears tattooed on the forearm of the shearer I knew it was going to be an interesting morning.
For those of you that don’t know this about me, I spent my twenties traveling the world teaching ESL. The modern version of a semi nomadic subculture is one of which I was once a part of and still remains highly interesting to me. Clearly when I met a pair of guys who were working their way around the world by shearing alpacas, I had to know more. They met in the Peruvian Andes these two, one was hand shearing alpacas in the high mountains with a women’s fiber cooperative, the other making micro brew at lower altitudes. The morning passed quickly and I was so moved by the experience. Firstly, these guys were fabulous with the fiber animals. The shearing was quick and calm and truly impressive. Secondly, it was fun to tell stories of my traveling twenties, merging dialogue of fiber and exploration made for a great exchange. The week was off to a good start.
Storms rolled through on and off for most of this week, between high winds, thunder, lightning and some significant rain, we were able to get most of the field crops cultivated and all of our greenhouse work complete. Aside for some soggy fields, we made it thought totally unscathed. I hope you enjoy this fresh spring basket, the color of these root vegetables is such a sight to behold, and such a tasty treat. Enjoy.

week two in your basket:
carrots
beets
radishes
tatsoi
lettuce

Roasted Beet& Carrot Salad w/Sherry Walnut Vinaigrette
adapted from the Food Network
1 bunch beets, without the tops, peeled
1 bunch carrots, without the tops, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup walnut oil
One head spring lettuce washed and spun dry
1/2 cup lightly toasted walnut pieces
3 ounces mild soft goat cheese, crumbled
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a small ovenproof casserole or roasting pan place the beets with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Toss to coat well and push to 1 side of the pan. In a piece of foil, place the carrots with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Toss to coat well. Wrap the foil tightly and place alongside the beets in the roasting pan. Transfer to the oven and bake, stirring occasionally, until the beets are crisp-tender, about 45 minutes. The carrots may be done earlier, so check occasionally. Remove the beets from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Toss with the tarragon and chives and set aside to cool to room temperature. In a mixing bowl combine the sherry vinegar, honey, remaining salt, and remaining pepper and whisk to combine. While continuing to whisk, add the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil and the walnut oil in a thin, steady stream, until smooth and emulsified. Place the lettuce in a salad bowl and add the beets, walnuts, and crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle some of the vinaigrette over the salad, to taste, and toss to thoroughly combine. Serve immediately, drizzled with additional vinaigrette, if desired.

 

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2016.1

I have to admit my writing skills have faltered over the winter months, in the absence of weekly deliveries my motivation for creative writing waned and I chose instead to knit. I knit a sweater and another sweater and a hat and a vest and another hat. My fingers are nimble but my ability to match words with ideas, hmmmm, we shall see how it goes. I think I might need some practice, be warned, not the most eloquent newsletter lies ahead.
Welcome friends old and new to the 2016 season, Hill and Hollow’s 17th. Wow. The year on the farm is off to a stellar start. Really, I can’t remember a year that has begun with such success and excitement. We have had a lively and effective team on the farm since early in March. Ryan was the first to arrive. With his military training he does often compare Hill and Hollow Farm to boot camp and I am trying to take that as a compliment! No really, he is an Army veteran who is seeking a future in sustainable agriculture and we are thrilled to be able to train him and encourage him on the path towards the good life! Next to arrive in the hollow was Killian, a Chicago native transplanted to Indiana, who arrived with loads of experience with both plants and fiber. It was clear that her anticipated short term stay was going to be extended. Her 6 week initial tenure ended today with the first harvest but she will return to the farm in late June for which we are so excited and thankful. A pair of back to back international guests arrived next. First Alice from Liverpool who amused and entranced us with her British accent and tales of life in the UK. She was with us for 2 “bril” weeks and we still miss her sorely. Next Camille from Normandy. Brushing up on the French I never knew and learning about European politics makes for fascinating days here on the farm. Absolutely. Paul and I keep pondering that it feels “just like the old days”. We had some years in the past where our crew swelled to 5 or more and while I think I might be a little too old for that….. we are really enjoying the diversity of our interns this season.
This wouldn’t be a newsletter without at least one mention of he weather. A long, dry spell had us in great shape in the early Spring, now things are a bit soggy, but today it is crisp and clear. With the harvest complete and my tale drawing to a close, I am going to cultivate the spring filed crops in the last of today’s sunlight. The farm, as of now, is in good order. Your farmers, as of now, are quite optimistic. We are thrilled to anticipate seeing you all weekly as the season, finally, officially, begins. Welcome. Enjoy. Thank you. Here we go.

week one in your basket:
swiss chard
beets
radishes
lettuce
sweet surprise

Roasted Radishes with Greens from Food and Wine

3 bunches small radishes with greens attached (this week’s half share is equivalent)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1. Preheat the oven to 500°. Trim the radishes and wash the greens; pat dry.
2. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the oil until shimmering.
Add the radishes, season with salt and pepper and cook
over high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned in
spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and
roast the radishes for 15 minutes, until crisp-tender.
3. Return the skillet to the burner and stir in the butter to coat
the radishes. Add the radish greens and cook over moderate
heat until they are wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the lemon
juice and season with salt. Serve the radishes right away.

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