2016.22

It has been a wonderful week here on the farm as we begin in earnest our final push of the season. The transition from summer to fall to winter is a complicated dance. The summer fruit crops are still producing, but they need to be moved out of the way to make room for our late season plantings. It is hard to rip out a plant still loaded with eggplant or sweet peppers or tomatoes, but it has to be done to make room for beets and carrots and cabbage and berries!! Last year we grew strawberries in the high tunnel for the first time. We planted in fall and were able to harvest amazing fruits the following spring. (sadly they ripened before we started our market season so you all tasted the fruits of our labor in the form of strawberry jam which I hope you loved!) We made a pinky promise to ourselves to not only do the crop again but to plan to be marketing at the time they ripen so you can taste the sweetness. Two different local growers offered us strawberry plants and honestly we said yes to both of them. Four hundred plants went immediately into the old tomato bed in a high tunnel and the next thousand will go into the field for hopefully a slightly later crop. I figure you all can bid farewell to the tomatoes with the hope of a fresh berry next spring, right?
Fast forward, hours later, those thousand berry plants are safely in the ground, we have welcomed a lovely couple of WWOOFers to the farm for a week, the sun is setting and I am cooking the biggest bunch of kale EVER for dinner. These Fridays are long days indeed but now, this one feels just perfect. The cool evening air is soothing, the new friends are rather entertained by William’s detailed description of everything, and I can honestly say it has been a lovely week gone by. I look ahead to a work week with these guests from North Carolina, perhaps our last big one of the season. For now, I am happy to eat kale and look at a long bed of strawberry plants safely in the ground. I hope you all have a wonderful week. Remember, eat your greens……

Fall week 2 in your basket:
kale
turnip greens
tat soi
arugula
basil
eggplant
peppers
garlic

Browned “Butter” Pasta with Tatsoi
An old favorite, almost always the first thing to do with tatsoi!!
1 pound pasta of choice, preferable curved or with ridges.
½ stick unsalted butter.
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
Leaves of a large bunch of Tatsoi, rinsed
½ cup of chopped fresh sage
Freshly grated Parmesan.
Lemon wedges
Cook pasta to al dente in salted water. Drain well.
While the pasta drains, melt butter in a skillet. Swirl the butter in the pan as it foams. When the butter begins to brown, toss in pasta & mix to coat with butter. Salt & pepper to taste.
Add Tatsoi & sage & cook until lightly wilted, about 1 – 2 minutes. Plate & serve immediately with grated Parmesan & lemon wedges on the side.
Gina’s Turnip Greens
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 pounds turnip greens, washed, stemmed, and chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Heat olive oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add shallot, garlic and red pepper flakes and saute until tender and fragrant. Add the washed and cleaned turnip greens. Mix together. Cook until they have wilted down, about 3 minutes. Add pepper to taste.In a small bowl, whisk the Dijon mustard with the chicken stock. Add to the wilted greens and cook until the liquid has all but evaporated. Add the toasted pecans and serve immediately.

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2016.21

I am so darn happy right now, I could burst. I’m listening to an amazing treat my sister sent me to celebrate my 50th birthday: Playing for Change Ripple. Musicians of the world coming together performing virtually. The beauty of this was not lost on me and an old Grateful Dead classic tugged at my hippie chick heart strings. I have had the most amazing birthday week, ever. Truly. I have posted my shenanigans all over the world wide web, so I won’t fill this space with details. Let it suffice to say I have had a week packed with the company of fine friends, perfectly sculpted cakes, live music, dancing into the wee hours, cool nights, and plenty of joy. I was so full of love and gratitude, I was even able to watch the first presidential debate from start to finish without any great personal suffering!! chuckle. I will try my very best to keep any politics out of the newsletter as we approach the November election, but since the debate aired on my 50th birthday, I figured I could sneak in one comment.
Yes, folks, so far, fifty is just fine.
Now, the farm and your farmers are very much looking ahead to the exciting Fall that awaits. Energized by the change in temperature, we seem to have our energy back and are excited by all that will unfold in the coming weeks. So friends, welcome, welcome to the Fall Extension, my favorite part of the year without a doubt. This first basket of the Fall is such a treat, final tastes of summer paired with the first of the fall greens. Use these sweet and hot peppers to sizzle up your greens, perfect. The basil bunches are perfect if you want to freeze one last batch of pesto. Winter really is right around the corner, a time when the fragrance of basil seems a treat from a long ago season. I hope you are all as excited to welcome October as I am.

Spicy Skillet Turnip Greens Recipe
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
1 pound turnip greens, cleaned and chopped
¼ cup water
pinch brown sugar
⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to preference)

Drizzle olive oil into skillet over medium heat.
Add onion and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. Then add ½ of turnip greens. Allow to cook down and add the remainder of the greens.
Add water, brown sugar and red pepper flakes. Adjust the amount of red pepper to your personal taste..

Sweet Pepper Pasta Toss with Kale
1 (8 ounce) package uncooked farfalle (bow tie) pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 cup roughly chopped kale
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pinch dried basil ( definitely substitute fresh basil here!!)
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper (and substiture fresh chopped hot peppers here!!)
8 ounces feta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in red pepper, yellow pepper, kale and garlic. Season with basil, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender. In a large bowl, toss cooked pasta with skillet mixture. Sprinkle with feta cheese to serve.

fall week 1 in your basket:
kale
arugula
turnip greens
basil
peppers
eggplant
garlic

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2016.20

So, you are the best. Honestly. I have spent so many hours pondering how to express the emotions that have run through my mind in the days and weeks since our barn fire. I think it really all comes down to this. You are the best. For a long time I have been moderately suspicious of the mainstream system in which we live and operate. It seems like there are so many fine folks that fall through the cracks of the conventional educational model or the traditional medical establishment. It was decades ago as a young college student on my study abroad semester that I first caught whiff of another way. I took part in an international educational exchange that placed 18 of us coming from 11 different nations on an intentional community in Denmark. For three weeks we weeded carrots and built fence and sang songs in languages from our homelands. I fell in love there and those weeks changed the course of my life. I returned home to finish my degree and made a commitment to myself: I would forge a new path for myself, one that incorporates open borders and freedom to pursue a life rich in meaning. In my senior year of college I knew only NOT to take part in the on campus interviews that so many of my friends were using as their step towards an already defined future. It was scarey. I hopped on a plane to Tokyo shortly after graduation. I chose teaching English as a second language as my vehicle to explore the world and her cultures and religions and nooks and crannies. In the ten years between getting on that Japan Air Lines flight and landing in rural Kentucky, I hiked the Himalayas and paddled the Mekong. I laid with my mother as she died of cancer and met my husband to be on an organic farm in Illinois. I surrounded myself in places of unspeakable beauty and made friends with people who spoke languages unknown to me. When I landed on this farm I was confident in only one thing: there was no blueprint for the future.
I have spent the past 18 years here raising my babies and cultivating these fields now so familiar. I have invested my energy in creating a community that would support us in this radical vision.
In the days following the fire, I realized how blessed I am. It has been two months since the tragedy and I am still in a battle with my insurance company. Within two days of the fire however, you , my community, had raised thousands of dollars for our rebuild. It is so clear to me now that my life choices are all right. My suspicion of the system has sadly grown to include some major questions about the insurance industry. My affirmation of the community that we have created around our farm and our family has simultaneously increased. It is with deepest gratitude that I write this to you. Your financial support, your emotional comfort and your unwavering commitment to us during these most difficult weeks sustained our family and carried us to this final week of the main season. We are well on our way to a recovery that will embody a vision for the future of our evolving farm and family. We will see many of you on October 1st for the Fall Season. To those of you that will not join us for the Fall, I can’t thank you enough. It is my life’s pleasure to grow food that nourishes you and your families Thank you for offering us that opportunity. To each and every one of you, I hope you enjoy this week’s basket, the merging of summer and fall that I always find so perfect!!

Grandma’s Pear Preserves
the pears in your basket this week are from our farm’s super old pear tree. Planted long before we arrived here, this is an old time variety of pear totally suitable to pear preserves or any baked item with pears. Madeline made a stunning pear gallette from martha stewart which also highlighted this type of pear.
6 cups peeled, cored, and sliced pears
1 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 (2 ounce) package powdered fruit pectin
8 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1/2 cup brown sugar
Sterilize jars and lids in boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Let simmer while making jam. In a large saucepan, combine pears, water, and lemon juice. Cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in pectin, and bring to a full boil. Stir in the white sugar, and continue boiling and stirring uncovered for 1 minute, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, and stir in brown sugar, allspice, and nutmeg. Quickly fill jars to within 1/2 inch of the top. Wipe rims clean, and top with lids. Process jars in boiling water for 10 minutes to seal.

week twenty in your basket:
eggplant
sweet peppers
hot peppers
tomatoes/green tomatoes
arugula
pears
garlic
an option

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