Tuesday, July 26, 2011

week 7

july 26 & 27

today’s harvest

2 heads lettuce

1 bunch chard

1 bunch cippolini onions

1 bunch herbs

1 pound green beans


zukes and summer squash

Week Seven and We are in Veggie Heaven!

Black Kettle Farm is afloat in a gorgeous sea of green with bees buzzing, seeds popping and plants cranking in the absolutely endless sunshine. Last week certainly gave us a run for our rupees with sticky, sweaty mornings and afternoons that literally baked our skin and fried our brains. Things are shifting on the farm and yet again we will take on a new rhythm. We completed the last transplanting session of the season by getting the final round of lettuce that will fill our salad bowls in the fall into the ground just before the rain finally came yesterday. The greenhouse is vacant and the fans, that have been on continuously since I sowed the first onion and leek seeds in March, have been turned off. It’s silent and empty in there, the only plants left are random chard and bok choi volunteers growing out of the ground, so much different then the completely packed tables and glorious vibrancy of the last five months in there. With pretty much everything in the ground, we now change gears and spend a huge part of our days harvesting. Beans, squash, cukes, they just don’t stop. The there’s, the garlic crop, from whence the scapes came, that was planted with shivering fingers and serious nervous anticipation way, way, way back in November when I first moved to the ridge in Lyman and the next phase of Black Kettle really started to unfold. It all needs to be pulled, bunched and hung in the loft of the barn to cure after going in the ground last fall, and making it through the snowy winter, the wet and gross spring and the hot, hot, hot summer. It never ceases to amaze. The plants so know what to do, we are just here to love and support their experience.

Susan's Swiss Chard Tuna Salad


1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (I like white balsamic)

1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives (about 10 olives)

2 teaspoons brine from the olives (or more balsamic vinegar)

2 6-ounce cans tuna (oil or water packed), drained

3/4 cups chopped Swiss chard stems

2 to 3 cups chopped Swiss chard leaves

1/4 cup loosely packed chopped fresh parsley, preferably Italian flat leaf

1 cup (or more) chopped scallions (green onions), white and green parts (about 10 small)

Salt & pepper to taste


Few handfuls of canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Combine mayonnaise, dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar and olive brine in a medium bowl and mix well. Stir in olives, tuna, chopped Swiss chard stems and leaves, parsley, and scallions. Add salt and pepper to taste and more mayonnaise and/or vinegar if desired. Stir in kidney beans if using. Tuna salad will keep for three days in the refrigerator.

Garden Zucchini Ginger Cookies

Brookfield Farm CSA recipes

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar or honey (add 1/3 cup more flour if using honey)

1 egg, beaten

1 tsp or more grated lemon peel

1 cup shredded zucchini (packed)

Optional frosting:

1 cup powdered sugar

1 1/2 tsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Cream butter and sugar or honey. Add egg and lemon peel and mix. Add dry ingredients; mix until smooth. Add zucchini. Drop by tablespoons onto cookie sheet and bake 15 - 20 minutes, until lightly browned. If desired, glaze cookies with frosting while still warm.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

community supported agriculture

week 6

july 19 & 20

today’s harvest

2 heads lettuce

1 bunch chard

1 bunch kale

1 bunch herbs

asian eggplant


zukes and summer squash

Black Kettle Farm…let’s do the numbers!

The Black Kettle Farm property is 12 acres. Vegetables are grown on 2 acres, with another 2 acres in soil building cover crops and the remaining 8 acres are meadows and woods.

Black Kettle Farm has been in existence for 3 years, but this is year number 1 on the current (and permanent!) property.

There is work to be done! So we have 2 tractors, 1 greenhouse, 1 barn, 2 ever cranking wells, 1 cute farm house and 1 crumbling garage.

The farm hosts 3 beautiful pigs, 3 old, but pumping pear trees, 7 brand new, but spry apple trees and 1 sassy peach tree.

Black Kettle grows 40 different vegetable crops. This produce feeds our 40 member CSA that reaches 46 households, and 5 restaurants on a consistent weekly basis. The farm also makes it to 1 farmer’s market, every single Saturday in Portsmouth, NH. There are 19 weeks in the CSA season, which means fresh, local veggies for 5 months, and over 1,000 bunches, pounds, and heads of all that Kettle love!

Cucumber Salad

Gourmet | December 2008

2 slicing cucumbers (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds total)

* 1 tablespoon sugar

* 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

* 2 teaspoons grainy mustard

* 1 head crisp lettuce

* 2 tablespoons mild extra-virgin olive oil

Cut cucumbers into thin (1/16-inch) rounds. Toss with 2 teaspoons salt in a colander, then drain 30 minutes. Squeeze excess liquid from cucumbers.

Whisk together sugar, vinegar, and mustard in a large bowl, then stir in cucumbers. Marinate, chilled, at least 2 hours.

Drain cucumbers, reserving marinade, and mound on lettuce. Whisk oil into reserved marinade and drizzle over salad.

******Jazz up this super simple, tasty pleaser with lentils for protein, scallions for some zing or parsley just because.

Thai Eggplant Dip

Asparagus to Zucchini

Makes ~2 cups

1 eggplant 1 Tbs. sesame oil

3-4 cloves garlic

1 Tbs. minced fresh cilantro

1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

2 Tbs. soy sauce

salt to taste

2 Tbs. rice vinegar

pita bread

Cut off eggplant stems. Pierce eggplant several times with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and cook in a 350o oven until very soft, about 1 hour. When cool enough to handle, remove skin. With the motor running on a food processor, add garlic and ginger and mince. Add eggplant and whirl until smooth. Add remaining ingredients except bread. Refrigerate up to 4 days or freeze. Serve with warm pita bread triangles.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

week 5

july 12 & 13

today’s harvest

1 bunch greens – chard, collards or kale

1 head lettuce

1 bunch cippolini onions

1 bunch scallions

1 bunch basil

zukes and summer squash

News flash, it’s July, it’s really hot and things are pretty nutty on the farm. I am scrambling, running late, no time to write a newsletter and let you all know about the comings and goings and wonderful accomplishments at Black Kettle Farm.

The theme of the week seems to be “sharing is caring”. I just jumped off the tractor after helping my friend Jordan of Two Toad Farm load a piece of my equipment onto his trailer to borrow for a bit because I am done using it for the season. I bumped into my friend Maggie of Willow Pond Farm the other day and a groundhog had eaten all of her fall crops like kale, broccoli and Brussels sprouts in the greenhouse. Such a jerk! I had just planted all of mine so when I see her at market this Saturday I will bring her my extras. Instead of composting them, I will share them with my friend. This morning I got word that neighboring farmer Luke of Groundwork Farm was on the look out for irrigation gear. I had some spare so he will swing up in a bit to use what is only taking up space in my barn.

That is just how we do it. So many farmers, neighbors, mentors and angels have supported Black Kettle Farm along the way, that it brings me such pleasure to share the love and contribute to the rotation of resources and support that exists in this community. It is truly inspiring to be amongst a crew of folks that are only looking to help. From my neighbor Rodney who helped me move a pig that went AWOL to my buddy Greg who not only lets me use some of his land, but also diligently waters the whole onion crop planted there. Without him there would be no cippolinis this week.

We live in abundance at every level. There is always enough materials, resources, and knowledge to go around. Thanks to all those that have helped the Kettle, what’s mine is yours.

One love.


Roasted Garbanzo Beans and Garlic with Swiss Chard

Bon App├ętit | January 2008

Garbanzo Beans:

* 2 15.5-ounce cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained (about 3 cups)

* 10 garlic cloves, peeled

* 2 large shallots

* 3 small bay leaves, preferably fresh

* 1 teaspoon fennel seeds

* 1 1/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil


* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

* 6 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed

* 3 small bay leaves, preferably fresh

* 2 shallots, sliced

* 2 bunches Swiss chard, center stems cut out, leaves coarsely torn

* 2 cups low-salt chicken broth

Garbanzo beans:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine first 5 ingredients in 8x8x2-inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour oil over; cover dish with foil. Roast until garlic is tender, about 45 minutes. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly, cover, and chill.


Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic, bay leaves, and shallots. Cover; cook until shallots are tender, about 2 minutes. Uncover; add half of chard. Toss until chard wilts and volume is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add remaining chard. Toss until chard wilts, about 2 minutes. Add broth. Cover and cook until chard is tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Season chard with salt and pepper. Transfer chard mixture to large sieve set over bowl and drain. DO AHEAD: Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Drain garbanzos and reserve oil; discard bay leaves. Combine garbanzos and chard in large skillet. Add 2 tablespoons oil reserved from garbanzos. Toss over medium heat until warmed through, moistening with more oil by tablespoonfuls if needed, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

No need for a recipe – chop your squash and zukes and onions, a little salt and pepper, find a kebob stick and toss ‘em on the grill. Easy and yummy!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


week 4

july 5 & 6

today’s harvest

1 bunch swiss chard

1 bunch collard greens

2 heads lettuce

1 bunch salad turnips

1 bunch scallions

1 bunch parsley

garlic scapes

This July 4th we are actively celebrating our interdependence here at Black Kettle Farm. It’s that time of year when things are starting to flow and we are thankful that the major early season push is behind us and we can now settle into the rhythm of the season, with long days where food grows before our eyes and weeds pop up in places we didn’t even actually know existed.

Who is this “we” in which I speak? Well, it is none other then the all star, super VIP crew and community that is the farm and who make it happen with positivity and spring in their step to get food in your tote bags every week.

Heading up this crew is Assistant Manager Shannon Gilpatrick, a Sanford born and raised rock star and major hustler in the field. Shannon, a resident of the back meadow at BKF, is hot off the swingin’ traveler circuit in Central America. When not planning for her next globe trot, Shannon can be found organizing something unsightly, honing her tractor skills, making bracelets or doing a killer cannonball into Bunganut Lake.

Other key players at the farm are local working share CSA members Su, Katie and Josh. These guys show up once a week, plug right into whatever task is at hand and always make a major contribution to the upkeep of the farm. Their enthusiasm and fabulousness spices up our week and we love them dearly.

Additional behind the scenes support and general gusto comes from our gorgeous pig posse of Ramona, Clementina and Weezey. These girls are going to town on a back field, rooting and fluffing the soil, munching invasive grasses and fertilizing with their goodness in preparation for next season. These fine ladies can also be found tipping over their water bowls, sleeping in a pile, scratching, scratching, scratching and generally being awesome.

Finally, there is Steve, the gray cat, however there is way too much to tell about this cosmic being. Just trust that, like every one in our interdependent farm community, he has got your back! Enjoy your veggies! Yay summer!

Excerpts :

Tender, Crunchy, Sturdy, Bold

Mark Bittman

New York Times Magazine, June 16, 2011

This is an excellent resource and should be held on to for the rest of the season. All these salads can be varied to match what ever you have in a share. Use scapes for garlic or shallot, use baby greens for lettuce and as things come in, like cukes or green beans, throw ‘em in or add cooked beans or a hard boiled egg for protein. With all these great ingredients, you can do no wrong!

Green Salad With Thai Flavors

Toss lettuce with 2 sliced Thai chilies, 1/2 cup torn mint leaves, 1/2 cup torn basil leaves, 1 cup sliced radishes and Thai vinaigrette: 1/3 cup peanut oil, 2 tablespoons lime juice and 2 teaspoons fish sauce.

use parsley instead of basil and use turnips instead of radish

Salad With Hazelnuts and Grapes

Toss with 2 cups halved grapes, 3/4 cup toasted, crushed hazelnuts and hazelnut vinaigrette: 1/3 cup hazelnut oil and 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar.

Cooked Chard Salad With Lemon-Caper Vinaigrette

Cook 1 to 1 1/2 pounds trimmed chard in boiling salted water until tender, 2 to 3 minutes, then drain, rinse, squeeze dry and chop. Drizzle with lemon-caper vinaigrette: 1/3 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon capers with a drop of their brine and 1 tablespoon chopped parsley.

Kale Salad With Raisins and Blue Cheese

Use kale, not chard; instead of cooking, chop and drizzle kale with 1 teaspoon each olive oil and sherry vinegar; knead until tender. Toss with 2 grated carrots, 1/2 cup raisins, 1/2 cup blue cheese and honey-garlic vinaigrette: 1/3 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, 1 garlic clove and 2 teaspoons honey.

Cooked Collard Salad With Peanut Vinaigrette

Use collards instead of chard (it will take longer to cook). Drizzle with peanut vinaigrette: 1/3 cup peanut oil, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 3 tablespoons dry-roasted peanuts and 1 garlic clove. Garnish with 1/4 cup chopped scallions.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Black Kettle barn is an epic work in progress. It was built in 1947 after the original, along with the house, burned in the fire that took out most of Lyman, as well as other dry spots in Maine that summer. The "new" barn has many unique features; a huge hay loft complete with a really burly hay hook for moving round bales, an old school pencil sharpener with a manual crank (who's really seen one since their second grade classroom?), and a totally random and nonspecific pump that I choose not to touch or think about.

Back in the fun times forties when the barn was constructed there were way different codes and standards. Apparently the folks that built this beauty were in major "get 'er done" mode and decided to skip over the foundation portion of the program. Thus, these days we have a real, real wavy floor after years and years of frost heaves and shifts and rattles from our mama earth. The concept of "level" in the barn is majorly open to interpretation. Judge not.
So it has been out with the old and in with the new over the last few months. The first round of deconstruction involved the removal of a huge work bench, a sort of rickety set of make shift shelves and an animal stall that read "Flicka" "Baby Doll" and "JR" on the door (fear not, I kept it). After some spring cleaning and musing we pumped it up and got serious about making the barn a functioning space for a rocking veggie operation like BKF. In a corner that used to house yet another work bench, an 8 X 10 walk in cooler was built. After years of dealing with plastic coolers better suited for six packs and salsa then tender veggies, on top of the stress of hustling produce around to find a corner of shade, I am humbled by my love, admiration and general astonishment of refrigeration. I had no idea it would be this good.

The 2011 veggie season has welcomed many changes and evolutions. One major example of this is the incorporation of the on-farm pick up option for the CSA. For 2 weeks we cuted-up a section of the barn with the classic BKF look of tables clothes, baskets and produce piled high for the local picker-uppers to get their veggies and feel the love. This all changed for week 3 when my super handy Uncle Dan Higgins and trusty cousin Cameron rolled into town ready to rock any project I threw at them. With the dimming feature in my kitchen light installed (first things first) they tackled the new and improved and about to be uber fabulous CSA pick up area. The custom made design features a counter space for members to place their tote bags as they gather their produce, a place for newsletters in the beginning of the line and the trademark BKF tilt of baskets that make it appear as though the chard is actually leaping out at the consumer. It's all truly amazing. Dan kept the authentic feel of the barn and used a lot of old lumber, as well as a small door for a portion of the project. Tres groovy, no? Not only that, but with a remaining half an hour in the work day, Dan and Cam literally banged out a new work bench in a place that actually makes sense and will give me the opportunity to go to my happy place and organize and re-organize my screw drivers.
Now it is all about function and action in these parts.........if we could just figure out a way to get less sea sick from the ebbs and flows of the barn floor.

Move over Baby Doll! Saddle up and ride Flicka!

The barn is the veggie focused mother ship from now on!