2015:: fall 9

Ok. there are a handful of you that have read my year end CSA newsletter 16 times. That is amazing in and of itself. For those of you that are savoring the last basket of our market season today, I will quickly mention that I normally use this space on this day to offer my deepest, most sincere thanks. Over the years I have been jubilant or weepy depending on the year. Most often, it is a special mix of both. There is nothing quite like wrapping up a CSA season. We celebrate and mourn and feel a sense of accomplishment and fatigue that is only defined by the plant, cultivate, harvest, deliver, cycle that has defined our days since early Spring. We look ahead to winter, a time of reflection and planning.
This year, I am going to be bold and offer a vision of the future of Hill and Hollow CSA. With deepest appreciation for those of you now eating your 29th basket of produce we raised, harvested and delivered to you I offer a glimpse into the thoughts of your farmers. We have been inspired for a while now by a vision of offering a year round, whole diet CSA. I know you must think me nuts now for suggesting this, but in our vision, we would actually distribute the workload more evenly over the course of the year. Mediating the intensity of summer by offering fewer summer only shares and balancing out our farm’s income by continuing delivery during the winter months. Fewer families, more deliveries. We would invite these year round shareholders to partake of more farm products: freshly ground corn meal and the sweetest Kentucky maple syrup will fill the baskets alongside the seasonal vegetables you have grown so used to eating. Meat and dairy for those who partake, golly, we would even raise thanksgiving turkeys again! This fall extension Paul and I have had such fun. The food has been abundant, the harvests smooth. Each week we think, gosh it would be fun to grow food for 40 people ALL YEAR LONG.
The details remain vague. We have envisioned and re envisioned what this might look like more times than I can recall. This year, this moment, we needed a place to start. We have found that place. In an all out effort to execute our vision, we are committing to making as many bi weekly deliveries in the winter months that lie ahead. We need to try.
Friends, you will be hearing from me. We are doing this. We will start by offering winter shares on December 5th and December 19th. I hope many of you will join us as we switch our deliveries away from the Farmer’s Market to cozy homes on either side of town.
Finally, for the thankfulness. It has been an amazing year, one that has had highs and lows like any other. The smiles of gratitude on your faces each Saturday offer us deep satisfaction in our work. Knowing our food nourishes your families is about the most gratifying feeling ever. It is with deepest thanks and inspired excitement for the winter ahead and the future beyond. As we welcome our relatives to the farm table for our thanksgiving celebration next week , we will hold each of you and your families in our hearts and our thoughts of gratitude. We are truly, truly blessed. Thank you.

fall week 9 in your basket:
swiss chard
bok choy
hakurei salad turnips
winter squash

Ginger Sesame Bok Choy from martha stewart
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
5 thin slices peeled fresh ginger
4 to 5 heads baby bok choy, (1 pound), each halved lengthwise
In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Set aside.
In a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid, bring 1 cup water and ginger to a boil.
Add the bok choy; reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until leaves are vibrant green and stems are fork-tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain well; discard ginger.
Transfer bok choy to a serving platter; drizzle with the vinegar-soy mixture, and serve immediately.

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2015::fall 8

Harvest complete, but then again, this isn’t saying much because it is well past dark! Yes, this was our first harvest solo, just ma, pa and the reluctant kids. Luckily, the weather was brisk but lovely and we smiled and picked the whole day through, not a bad way to spend a crisp fall friday, not bad at all.
We enjoyed a week “off” these past days, relaxing a bit after a series of big pushes to get us through a fiber show in north carolina, a wood working show at the farmer’s market and all the other tasks it takes to hold together a family and crew through a long growing season. With Deanna’s departure last weekend and all our extracurricular activities complete, we played personal catch up this week: phone calls returned, laundry done, you know the list.
It is hard to believe but next week is actually the final week of our fall extension, thanksgiving is just around the corner and with the cooler weather blowing outside, it really is time to think of the holiday season rapidly approaching. I won’t get sentimental, not yet, I like to save that for the final newsletter. For now, I will head off to help Paul bake his famous survival cookies: for those of you that have not yet partaken, I have to urge you to do so, they are truly a hit. I hope you all have had a great week past and a wonderful weekend ahead, this basket is one that makes us truly proud and I hope you each enjoy every morsel. I know I will

fall week 8 in your basket:
swiss chard
red turnips
green choice

Kale Sesame and Ginger Salad from wake the wolves

1 bunch of kale, washed and chopped into 2″ pieces (ribs left on)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

In a large bowl, prepare an ice bath (about 12 ice cubes and cold water). Set aside. In a medium pot, boil 4 cups of water. Using tongs, blanche the kale in hot water (for about 30 seconds) and immediately drop into the
cold, ice bath to stop the cooking process. The leaves should turn bright green. Set aside to cool.
Prepare your dressing in a small bowl by whisking the minced ginger, sesame oil, apple cider
vinegar and salt. Strain the kale to remove all of the water. Toss with toasted sesame seeds and dressing

Spicy chard with Ginger from martha stewart

1 bunch Swiss chard
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 sliced jalapenos
Coarse salt and ground pepper

Separate stems and leaves from Swiss chard. Chop leaves and dice stems small. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high. Add chard stems, minced peeled fresh ginger, and jalapeno slices; cook until stems soften, 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add chard leaves, cover, and cook until wilted, 3 minutes. Uncover and cook until tender, 4 minutes.

Freezing fresh baby ginger:
The ginger can be stored in the freezer for use later, but not pickling or candying. If a recipe calls for fresh grated ginger, take the rhizome out of the freezer, grate what you need, return the ginger to the freezer.

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fall week 7

What a time I have had since last I shared tales with you here, to Asheville and back with my littles and a minivan packed TO THE BRIM with our farm’s wool products. The adventure was grand and the learning curve steep. I placed myself and our farm’s product smack dab in the middle of 163 other fiber vendors and spent 3 long days in a whirlwind of knitters, spinners, weavers, felters, crocheters and fiber artists of all types. I learned so very much about every nuance of fiber, got one lesson after the next about all things wool and met some wonderful, welcoming folks. Whew.
I came back to a farm and husband knee deep in wood shavings. Yep, paul as we speak is setting up his woodworking at the nashville scene’s 2nd annual crafts and drafts event. He will display the items that you all have grown used to seeing: baskets and vases. Also appearing will be some items less familiar: stools, toys, blocks. Everything is of course hand crafted from reclaimed wood: cherry, sassafrass, pine, spruce, poplar, and even some treasures made from the now extinct American Chestnut. Needless to say it has been exceptionally fun to venture into these new spheres, professionally challenging to achieve the level of perfection we wanted to and just plain crazy to wrap up the season with so much NEW. We are not bored.
We will bid our dear apprentice Deanna a farewell this evening. She returned to the hollow in June for a second year of education. Unexpectedly pregnant she arrived, her future quite uncertain. We welcomed her despite the unknowns and the moments we shared as her first child grew in her belly and her farm skills were perfected will remain a treasure for each of us. I know we all bid her a huge Hill and Hollow blessing as she moves into her motherhood.
It has been a week of completion and transition and love and learning, a fine farm week indeed.
With such a series of days of course the harvest and delivery was perfect. Cool, rainy delightful plucking of greens. Top that off with the first in a series of ginger harvests and I really don’t know if things could get better. Have a great week friends, I know I am going to breathe a huge sigh of relief as I wrap up this series of events, might just linger a little longer over my sunday coffee!

fall week 7 in your basket:
pac choi
misato rose radish
buttercup squash

Squash Soup with Ginger
3 to 3 1/2 pounds winter squash, seeded and quartered
Unsalted butter, melted, for brushing
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus 1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, plus 1/2 teaspoon
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the quartered squash onto a half sheet pan, brush the flesh of the squash with a little butter and season with 1 tablespoon of the salt and 1 teaspoon of the white pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 30 to 35 minutes or until the flesh is soft and tender.
Scoop the flesh from the skin into a 6-quart pot. Add the broth, honey and ginger. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Using a stick blender, puree the mixture until smooth*. Stir in the heavy cream and return to a low simmer. Season with the remaining salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.
Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown, 2003

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