Turn your oven on to 350 degrees, grab your slippers and your softest sweater, find some relaxing tunes and tasty tea and start chopping! This week’s share is all about keeping the home fires burning and going with the warming, soothing effects of roasting and toasting your veggies to sink into that deep nostalgia that is fall time in Maine. Every thing can just go right into a pan and right into your oven, no questions asked. Warm up your house and feed your soul with the last blast of this season’s bumper veggie haul. As the leaves reach their peak and as the days shorten and the temps lower, the flavors sink in and get sweeter and sweeter all the time. It is true! Close your eyes and slowly chew a carrot with no distractions, and you will know exactly what I am referring to.
And while you have your eyes closed and are chewing on that tasty carrot, take a moment to look back on these 19 weeks of fresh vegetables and herbs from ol’ Black Kettle Farm. Remember the early days of bok choi and that veritable satchel of garlic scapes you received one week in July? How about the repeated mother loads of sungold cherry tomatoes, the bursts of green beans, the piles of sweet peppers and the ever present heads of lettuce and salad fixings? We’ve rolled through the season, going from cucumbers to eggplant to broccoli to sweet potatoes. We’ve been able to sink deep into our roots with radishes, turnips, beets and carrots, carrots, carrots!!! We’ve eaten glorious, healthy and delicious greens every single week and we’ve had onions on top of garlic on top of a crazy, unprecedented 10 week run of tomatoes.
Remember all the veggie concoctions you’ve made, from the amazing recipes that you’ve researched and tried,down to the random, but oh so delicious whacky goo-lash, throw every thing in a pan with olive oil and salt and pepper and scramble to perfection. Remember all the unreal colors of the produce that you would get on any given week and the unique flavors that come out in the freshness of it all. Remember all the sweet interactions you’ve had at a pick-up, like bumping into an old friend and realizing that you are both a part of the same farm, and the hilarious conversations, recipe exchanges and sound bite moments shared among folks that have never met before. For local members, those times on crazy hot summer days when the barn felt so cool, calm and welcoming, the air at the farm so nice. And for Portland members, perching up over the Bay, feeling the breeze and watching the sail boats pass us on by.
Dearest of friends, this has really been a fantastic season. Team Black Kettle, with it’s insanely hard working crew, it’s biggest and most enthusiastic CSA membership yet, and it’s ever giving soil, has been able to overcome obstacles of bugs, weeds, too much rain and the general weirdness of trying to grow veggies to achieve bounty, beauty and super positive connections. Thank you all so much for making this such a glorious season, it has been nothing but a pleasure to grow food for you! Much love and so many blessings of health, vitality and ever-present abundance! Stay in touch and see you in 2014! Big hug!
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons chopped sage
Cover sweet potatoes with water in a 2-quart heavy saucepan and add salt. Cook, covered, over moderately high heat until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking liquid, then drain sweet potatoes in a colander. Transfer sweet potatoes and reserved cooking liquid to a bowl and mash with a potato masher.
Mash together butter, sage, and salt and pepper to taste, then stir half of sage butter into sweet potatoes. Serve potatoes topped with remaining sage butter.
First put on your grain of choice and cook it up the way you always do.
Coat the bottom of a large stock pot with oil. Cook up the onions over a nice low heat. Once tender, add the garlic and jalapeno. Add the sweet potato chunks and veggie broth - turn up the heat until the pot is boiling, then lower and simmer until the sweet potatoes are tender (about 15 minutes) About half-way through that cooking time, add the kale so that it can wilt up nicely. Right at the end add the coconut milk.
Serve this incredible soup with a big mound of grain in the middle of your soup bowl, and then the soup ladled around the grain. Enjoy!
CSA is a major leap of faith for all involved. Maybe you heard about Black Kettle Farm from a friend, or did a quick internet search and chose to be a member because the pick-up time and location worked for your busy schedule, maybe saw a flyer on a a bulletin board, maybe you met me for a quick second at a CSA fair in the dead of winter, or maybe you just joined on a complete and total whim.
Regardless, you joined, and to do so you gave me money. I promised to grow you vegetables and our relationship of farmer and consumer was formed. That was all well and good, way back before the abundant sun was shining and the veggies were flowing out of the earth. Before you had even eaten any BKF kale, stuffed pints of cherry tomatoes in to your mouth, tried (and LOVED) kohlrabi for the first time, chowed a whole bunch of carrots on the car ride home from pick-up or realized that green beans are actually insanely delicious and not frumpy at all. Before you ate anything, you trusted me and employed me to grow your veggies, and therefore I was in debt to you. As a farmer, it is super scary, as well as super exciting to create this relationship, and because of this, I make fulfilling my obligation to you of the highest of priorities of the farm.
With that pretty much always on my mind, I am thrilled to say that at this point in the season, BKF has exceeded the $500 value of the CSA share that you paid for. I track the weekly value of the shares with the same prices that I use at farmer’s market to insure that you get what you pay for and always shoot to supply members with 10% more in produce when all is said and done. This additional $50.00 in veggies is a nod to you folks who trusted me, joined the BKF team and got on board for whatever twists and turns that the always whacky and unpredictable, Maine-tastic, fast and furious growing season serves up. So that’t where we are, these last two shares are freebies, yummy gifts from the farm!
Let’s bring it on home and give credit where credit is due, CSA members are the best! You provide the farm with income in the off-season and a consistent and stead fast market for the veggies that it grows. Beyond that, you provide the farm with the ever necessary “C” in CSA - COMMUNITY! We know and love you all and yes, we talk about you at farm lunch. We grow certain things and plan diverse weekly shares with you in mind. We take pride in our veggies at BKF because our relationship with you, our members, who trusted us and believed in us to grow their food, really, really matters. Even though it’s kind of hip these days, farming can be really isolating, frustrating and mentally, physically and spiritually taxing. Just because you see me smiling at pick-up, certainly doesn’t mean that I wasn’t feeling down in the dumps a few hours earlier, loathing bugs, or rain, wishing that I was more organized or just some kind of semi-normal, non-farming person in general. But, hey, I gotta say, the interactions over weekly CSA shares, the exchanges and blending of members’ personalities at pick-up and the beautiful joy that you all express to me in regards to the produce always proves to turn the beet around and the business aspect and exchange of money aside, it makes me love and value the relationship of CSA beyond compare.
I am so happy to share the abundance of the farm and this beautiful, although not easy, graceful or super smooth, growing season. And good for you! You have eaten, chopped and shared over $500 worth of fresh, health enhancing, glow inducing, spring in the step provoking, super gorgeous veggies! Who’s hip now? Yahoo!
Brussels Sprouts & Kale Salad With Toasted Almonds & Parmesan
* 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
* 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
* 1 Tbsp minced shallot
* 1 small clove garlic, finely grated
* Sea salt and pepper
* 1/2 cup olive oil
* 1 bunch kale, center stem discarded, leaves sliced thinly
* 12 oz. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and shredded
* 1/3 cup almonds with skins, toasted and coarsely chopped
* 1/ cup grated Pecorino, Parmesan or Romano cheese
1. Combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a pinch of pepper in a small bowl. Stir to blend; set aside to let flavors meld. Mix the thinly sliced kale and shredded Brussels sprouts in a large bowl.
Slowly whisk remaining olive oil in cup into lemon-juice mixture. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Add the dressing, cheese and almonds to the Brussels sprouts and kale mixture and toss to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper and serve.
By Debra Kam. HUGE BKF supporter at Portsmouth Farmer’s Market of author of food blog Diary of a Tomato
4 cloves garlic
6 cups broccoli, florets and peeled stems, chopped and blanched
2 cups fresh basil leaves
2/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup good olive oil
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Place garlic cloves in a food processor and pulse until chopped. Add broccoli, basil, pine nuts, lemon juice, sea salt and olive oil, and pulse until finely chopped. Add cheese at end, and pulse to mix. Adjust seasoning.
- Pack into freezer containers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Makes 6 half-pint jars.
The times, they sure are a changin’! Fall has fallen and it is all about out with the old, in with the new and exciting these days as we have clearly made the shift from from end of summer cruise control mode to autumn action. BKF is in major transition, keeping us in motion and on our tippy, tippy farm toes.
Last week was major! We bid a fond farewell the well to our beloved tomatoes. After 10 rock solid wee ks of harvesting and enjoying them, the entire crazy greenhouse packed full of plants that were still reaching towards the sky and almost grazing the ceiling, was dismantled. This being the first season that we grew our tomatoes under cover, we are pleased to mark the experience up as a major success! With the intense mid-season rains, tomatoes grown outside did not fair very well, so our consistent and tasty fruit was certainly a testament to growing them as we did this season. Summer bounty out, dare I say, WINTER, (yuck, gross!) bounty in! With the tomatoes pulled, the big greenhouse is now an open canvas for the next experiment in season extension at BKF, winter greens! By the end of the week, kale, collards, arugula and salad mix will fill the space to be sold at indoor farmer’s market this winter. Who knows, if all goes well, perhaps an all greens BKF Winter CSA is on the horizon for 2014!
Something else that is new, exciting and finally up and out of the ground, a crop that has never, ever been grown on BKF ground and one that yours truly has never, ever grown after years of toiling on farms from Maine to Cali to India and beyond, the ever powerful, the ever fabulous, the ever beautiful, delicious and general happiness inducing sweet, sweet, sweet potato!!!!! We had no idea what we were in for when we started to harvest these babies last week, but as I am incredibly happy to report that we have a bumper, bumping yield! The soil stayed warm enough, the field mice went else where and those little, whacky looking plants that came in a box from Tennessee way back in June proved to be major survivors and glorious producers! After the let down of the winter squash, pulling the sweet potatoes out of the ground and filling bucket after overflowing bucket, was a major victory for the farm. Beginners’s Luck? Hey, we’ll take it! Nothin’ says styling and profiling this fall like enjoying a fresh, roasted sweet potato in your fave cable knit sweater! Lookin’ good, y’all! Here’s to ya!
Not only did we say good bye to the tomatoes, but rockstar/wild card apprentice, Carly, packed up her sweatpants and knee socks and hit the road back to D.C. last week. A volunteer who was supposed to stay for two weeks, but meshed so superbly with the crew and the vibe of the farm, our girl stuck around for the majority of the the season and was second to none in salad mix harvesting, pig documenting and allergenic awareness. She is already missed at farm lunch!
Embracing change is the BKF thing these days, after 4 seasons of delivering to Portland’s Fort Allen Park, the park is officially closed for renovations and the pick-up has shifted to the first parking lot heading down to the boat launch on the Eastern Prom. Portland Crew make it happen, sink your teeth in the theme of seasonal transition and make that change! Need more info? Be in touch!
Even with all these changes, shifts and inevitable evolutions, we still have our awesome base of bounty, beauty and community connections!
Much love and savor this extra-special, sparkling October sunshine!
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Coat two baking sheets with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Drop by quarter-cupfuls onto the baking sheets. Flatten with a spatula.
3. Bake for 25 minutes. Flip and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
Roasted Watermelon Radish
1 pound watermelon radishes, trimmed
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Preheat oven to 375°. Cut radishes into wedges. Mix with 2 tbsp. oil and put in a 2-qt. baking dish. Roast radishes, stirring occasionally, until fork tender, about 1 hour. Drizzle with remaining 1 tbsp. oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1 garlic clove, minced
Preheat oven to 500°F. Spray large baking sheet with vegetable oil spray. Toss sweet potatoes with oil in large bowl. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Spread sweet potatoes in single layer on prepared baking sheet. Bake until sweet potatoes are tender and golden brown, turning occasionally, about 30 minutes. Transfer sweet potatoes to platter.
Mix parsley, thyme and garlic in small bowl. Sprinkle over sweet potatoes.