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:
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.