It all began in 2004, it was the heyday of on farm apprenticeships and I organized our regional CRAFT (collaborative regional alliance for farmer training) group. We were a group of friends and mentor farmers. we met monthly for educational workshops. These events grounded us firmly in the work we were doing, allowed us to socialize with our peers in an otherwise fairly unsocial busy season and supported all of our apprentices in their journey towards a sustainable life. It was a good long run, it lasted and morphed until 2011. And then folks started dropping out. Hosting ain’t easy, training young farmers can be difficult, living with folks and working with them can be downright awful sometimes and well, the number of mentor farms in our area dwindled and sadly, for the last 2 years, we haven’t even had a CRAFT program. As the founder and coordinator, I just couldn’t muster up the enthusiasm to redefine this group and these events. And you know what? I missed it. So, this year, I went for it, I re envisioned the group, I hustled and harassed the mentor farmers still at it and last week we welcomed CRAFT back into our life at a grand affair here at hill and hollow farm. We greeted over 30 people here. We toured and shared and learned and dined in camaraderie to celebrate the joys of sustainable living and learning. It was a great day. I watched as old friends met again, as young farmers forged friendships that I know will carry to the next generation. Pregnancies and engagements were announced and as I poured over the details with our apprentices the next morning, tears did gather in my eyes. Friends, everyone needs community, none of us should ever operate in a vacuum. We all need the support of like minded folks: professionally, personally, spiritually, all of the above. So all of us here had a full dose of it and needless to say, we feel great. Add that to a near perfect agricultural week and you have one happy hollow! We finished planting the farm this past week, something that is a defining moment for us and one that is not always achieved. Sometimes, the combination of uncooperative weather, unfavorable timing, and sheer bad luck can leave things undone. Planting windows can be short and well, sometimes they close right before our eyes. This year, not so. For now anyway, everything is going our way! Each field is full of food for us, nothing lies undone. Field corn, pumpkins, melons, and sweet potatoes rounded out the list in the early days of the week and as we gathered on Wednesday with friends old and new from all over the state, the rain poured. Nothing like a good and timely rain to make a group of farmers happy. Wow. What a week.
Glazed Carrots and Green Beans
6 cups water
1/2 pound fresh carrots, cut into match stick pieces
1/2 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add carrots; cover and cook for 1 minute. Add beans; cover and cook 2 minutes longer. Drain and immediately place vegetables in ice water. Drain and pat dry. Place the vegetables in a large skillet; add broth and butter. Bring to a boil; cook, uncovered, for 2-3 minutes or until liquid is
reduced to about 2 teaspoons. Add the sugar, salt and pepper; cook and stir for 1 minute.
Moroccan Roasted Carrot Salad with Chard
1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled, cut into 3-inch chunks
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup olive oil (divided)
1bunch Swiss chard, stems removed, roughly chopped
1 bunch Italian (flat-leaf) parsley roughly chopped
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
1 teaspoon honey
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the carrots on a baking sheet and sprinkle with cumin, paprika, a pinch of salt and 1/8 cup of the olive oil (add more if necessary to coat the carrots well). Toss to coat. Roast, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are soft and caramelizing on the edges. Remove from the oven and place the carrots on a serving dish. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt generously. Place a large bowl of ice water in the sink. Add the chard to the boiling water and cook until tender but still bright green, about 3 to 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chard to the ice water to stop the cooking (this step is optional, but locks in the bright green color). Drain the chard and pile it on top of the carrots. Top with the parsley. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil, lemon zest and juice, garlic and honey. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over the salad, toss to coat, and let sit at room temperature to allow flavors to integrate before serving.
week six in your basket: