Tuesday, August 30, 2011

CSA Week 12

August 30 & 31

today’s harvest

1 bunch kale

1 head lettuce

1 pound beets

1 head broccoli

fresh onions


sungold cherry tomatoes



basil bouquet

Lucky Number Twelve is really more like it. Here we are, about to turn the corner of Labor Day weekend. It is the quintessential summer and fall cross over moment. We have all been energetically sharing food and giving thanks together for the last 3 months and come whipping winds and black skies, the bounty just won’t quit! There is absolutely no reason to eat outside of the box this week. With the last of the season’s basil, to the first cutting of the fall broccoli, yet another fresh salad, a mountain of tomatoes and a watermelon for dessert.

Yes, Irene smacked us pretty had, but every thing was put away and strapped down tight. The fourteen foot sunflowers held on and road out the winds, as did the rock solid greenhouse, the barn roof and the deer fence. Even the freshly seeded arugula managed to keep it’s head above water. What could have been an epic washout, proved to not be all that bad, howsoever, a good ol’ bout of farmer weather anxiety and notions of pending doom did take hold for a moment there, but yet again, we have learned that “worry is not lucrative” and the Kettle and it’s bubble of safety and goodness continues to prevail. And because every thing always, always works out, the power juiced up again right before CSA harvest so we had flowing water, a working walk in cooler and bumping tunes to get us through the morning push.

As for the field, the veggies could not look better. A little Irene, and a whole lotta sunshine is really working for the fall crops. Look forward to gorgeous cabbage, carrots galore, roots, and baby greens. The most notable change that Irene did lay in her wake was the impact on the tomatoes. The creeping blight that gets invigorated by moisture is raging and the extremely strong winds that unleashed up on our bluff really rattled our girls hard. This huge burst will most likely lend itself to a dramatic shut off in tomato action, so enjoy them while you can!

Here’s to blue skies, crispy nights, fall fashions, good autumnal times and great, great veggie splendor! How much do we love September in Maine??

Kale and Walnut Pesto

Farmers John’s Cookbook – The Real Dirt on Vegetables

Farmer John Peterson and Angelic Organics

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1 TBLS plus 1/2 tsp salt, divided

1/2 pound kale, coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

fresh ground pepper

Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet over high heat, stirring constantly, until they start to brown. Transfer to a dish to cool.

Boil 2 quarts of water and add 1 TBLS salt and kale. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes.

Put garlic, kale and walnuts in blender and pulse to combine. With the machine running, pour in the olive oil.

Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cheese and remaining oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Great warm with pasta, or cold on crackers. Pop it in the freezer and enjoy in February!

Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Tried and True Veggie Goodness the Easy Breezy Way

Laura Higgins Neale and Black Kettle Farm

Set the oven to 250 degrees.

Locate a flat cookie sheet or baking tin. Pour olive oil to cover the bottom and then just a touch more.

Slice up all the tomatoes that you feel like using.

Crush garlic, but keep the cloves whole and toss it on the tray with the toms.

Place in the oven and go about your business for the next two to three hours. Check back every now and again and shake the pan or move all gloppiness around with a wooden spoon.

Add to any thing or just eat with a spoon. Tomatoes this way are an absolute show stopper and could not be easier. The roasted garlic and the sweetness of the tomatoes will knock your socks right off!

manga, Mainers, manga!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

CSA Week 11

1 bunch swiss chard

1 bunch collard greens

1 bunch carrots

2 pounds new potatoes

fresh onions

sweet Islander peppers


sungold cherry tomatoes

asian eggplant


We are deep into August and even though the Things to Do List is not as long as it was back in June, our bodies and souls are feeling the residual effects of work, work and more veggie work. It’s been lots of sun and lots of lugging cucumbers. A sign of the times presented itself this morning when I reached for a harvest tool and pulled out a bottle of ibuprofen. It’s lookin’ like late August in these parts. Howsoever, the current weather could absolutely not be better for growing and there is food and goodness coming out of every inch of this farm. Even though Sunday was stormy and swirly, we had a great CSA and Friends of the Farm Mixer. We held it down in the barn, shared great food and drink, bounced lots of babies and even caught a double rainbow. Thanks to all those that braved the storm and kicked it old school (as well as the keg) in the Kettle barn. It was such a treat to have you all here.

It brings me great pleasure to announce the arrival of another community member…

Welcome Jonah Mose Nilson, son to Rachel Gitelson and Doug Nilson, and brother to Eli of Yarmouth. Congrats! We love you!

This community is fertile and abundant indeed! On that note, I will shout it loud and proud that BKF just keeps on shattering all records at the Portsmouth Farmer’s market. Way to go Team Fabulous! For all those that are interested, this week’s share of produce would cost about $37.00 at a local farmer’s market.

And, because it is back to school time, I am assigning some required reading to inspire you as you unpack your veggie haul over the remainder of the season. Please check out this article from the Dana Farber Institute http://www.dana-farber.org/Newsroom/News-Releases/Summer-foods-that-may-fight-cancer.aspx. It’s all about how specifically fresh, local vegetables have the most nutritional and anti-cancer benefits around.

Stephanie Meyers, RD, LDN, CNSD, a nutritionist at Dana-Farber, says “we really want people to minimize the time between the field and the plate to get the most anti-cancer benefit," stresses Meyers. The author states that dark leafy greens, cooked tomatoes, anything orange, like carrots and squash (which is on the way) and locally raised, fresh garlic are the key steps to fighting cancer. Hurray! What great news, we are all doing sooo well! Much love and many blessings.

White Beans with Roasted Tomatoes

Gourmet | June 2004

For beans

* 1 lb dried cannellini beans (2 cups), picked over and rinsed

* 1 lb small onions (left unpeeled)

* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (preferably sea salt), or to taste

For tomatoes

2 lb large tomatoes, cored and halved crosswise

* 1 pint cherry tomatoes

* 1 teaspoon salt (preferably sea salt)

* 1 teaspoon sugar

* 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

* 1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves

Cook beans:

Cover beans with cold water by 2 inches in a bowl and soak at room temperature at least 8 hours. Drain well in a colander.

Blanch onions in boiling salted water , 1 minute, then drain and peel.

Cover beans with cold water by about 1 inch in a 5- to 6-quart pot and bring to a boil. Add onions and simmer, partially covered, skimming froth as necessary, until beans and onions are tender, 40 minutes to 1 hour. Stir in salt and let stand (in cooking liquid), uncovered.

Roast tomatoes while beans are cooking:

Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 500°F.

Toss tomato halves and cherry tomatoes with salt, sugar, and oil in a shallow 3-quart baking dish, then arrange tomato halves cut sides up. Roast tomatoes, uncovered, until large tomatoes are very tender with brown patches and cherry tomatoes are falling apart, 35 to 50 minutes.

Assemble dish:

Transfer warm beans and onions with a slotted spoon to a deep large platter. Arrange tomatoes decoratively on top of beans and pour tomato juices on top. Sprinkle with basil leaves.

Swiss Chard with Raisins and Pine Nuts

Farmer John’s Cookbook, The Real Dirt on Vegetables

1/4 cup olive oil, divided

1/2 cup thinly sliced onion

1 clove minced garlic

1 1/2 pounds swiss chard

1/3 cup raisins

1/4 cup pine nuts

1 tablespoon lemon juice

salt and pepper

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet and add onion and garlic. Cook until golden.

Add the chard in batches, adding more as the leaves wilt. Cover the pan between batches. Once the chard is wilted, add the raisins, pine nuts, lemon juice and remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

August 16 & 17

today’s harvest

1 head lettuce

1 bunch kale

1 bunch carrots

2 pounds new potatoes

1 bunch basil

fresh onions


sweet Islander peppers


asian eggplant

1 hungarian hot wax pepper

It is truly amazing what a little bit of rain can do for the temperament and perspective. I do not know if I could ask for a better timed two day stretch of gray skies and pleasant and steady precipitation. It feels like the farm is really and truly stabilizing after the absolute freak out that was this past July. These last few gray days have allowed for a much needed slower pace. We just may actually have a handle on things. The weeds aren’t as scary as they used to be, things that we have been waiting for all season, like tomatoes and carrots are flowing, and the groundhog in the fall crops doesn’t appear to be as hungry as he used to be.

The sprint portion is over and now we move into the endurance phase of the ol’ farming experience. The harvests are heavy and there is just so much food coming out of this little place, it’s almost staggering. We now have the glorious cross over of tender fall kale with new potatoes, and garlic that was planted last October alongside basil, cherry tomatoes and fresh lettuce. Crops that were planted in the beginning of the season, have been turned back into the soil and new rounds of greens and roots are coming on strong. After focusing on getting it all out there and growing, now we shift into getting it all in.

And for the record, the farm had its highest grossing farmer’s market EVER last Saturday and we are more then over half way through the CSA season. Things are moving along for sure as we cruise together into the best and most flavorful part of the year. A little rain, a whole lotta heat, a full moon, a bountiful harvest…such a time for celebration. Cannot wait to have you all down to the farm this Sunday!

Be sure to keep up with the Kettle!

Be a fan on Facebook!

Check on the article in the August 5, 2011 New York Times Magazine by Mark Bittmen on using tomatoes. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/08/07/magazine/mag-07eat-recipes.html. It is a fantastic resource and will give you great ideas about how to make the most of your tomato haul. These days the shares have most (if not all) of the ingredients in these recipes. Here are some highlights from the article, but check it out in it’s entirety for some major inspiration.

Moroccan Style Tomato Soup With Chickpeas


1 onion, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon ginger

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons coriander

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 pounds tomatoes, chopped

2 cups of stock

1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas

Parsley or cilantro for garnish

1. Cook onion and garlic and ginger in olive oil for 5 minutes. 2. Add 2 teaspoons each cumin, coriander and cinnamon; cook for 1 minute. 3. Add tomatoes, stock and cooked chickpeas. 3. Simmer until saucy. 4. Garnish with parsley or cilantro.

Garlicky Pappa al Pomodoro


1 onion, chopped

3-4 tablespoons minced garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

2 pounds of tomatoes, chopped

2 cups vegetable or chicken stock

2 cups day-old bread, torn


  1. Cook onion and minced garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes. 2. Add tomatoes and vegetable or chicken stock. 3. Simmer until the tomatoes break up. 4. Stir in torn day-old bread, cover and let sit off the heat for 10 minutes. 5.. Garnish with shredded basil.

See you this Sunday! 3:00 Farm is Open! 4:00 Tour! 5:00 Veggie Pot Luck and Groovy Good Times Black Kettle Style!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

CSA Week 9

August 9 & 10

today’s harvest

1 head lettuce

1/2 pound braising mix

1 bunch beets

1 bunch carrots

sweet Islander peppers


zukes and summer squash


2 pounds new potatoes

1 bunch herbs

Although Black Kettle is most identified with growing veggies and slingin’ them from Portland to Portsmouth, the farm also has a few hidden projects aside from all the chard that is bunched and the potatoes that are a dug and the lettuce that is rinsed for market, CSA and restaurants. There is always a lot going on here and there are plenty of elements in addition to the veggies that are a part of the daily rituals, challenges and super duper fun times that is good ol’ Black Kettle Farm.

Hands down, no doubt and for absolutely sure the most notable of the non-veggie projects in this place are our three beautiful, nosey and ever growing pigs, Ramona, Clementina and Miss Weezey. These girls came into my world on a dreary, gross day in late April when I arrived at a muddy farm in Durham after responding to an ad on Craigslist about piglets. They were the last ones left, after the farmer (known as Boss Hog, and I am fully not making this up) sold off all of his multiple liters and instead of breeding these girls, as he had originally intended to do, he sold them to me. I can certainly see why he wanted to breed them and keep their lines around. They are the most good natured, rugged, active, inquisitive animals around, not to mention hysterical, smart and stunningly attractive. They have been through it all. From snow in the early season, when they completely submerged themselves and burrowed in the straw in their funky shack, to blistering heat in July when all they could bring themselves to do was roll around in the mud. They root in the soil, walk through their grain bowls, toss haggard lettuce leaves in the air and take laps around their pen fueled by sheer bliss as the tractor cruises by.

Each with their own personality, style and inclination, Ramona, Clementina and Weezey collectively are major contributors to the success and positivity of the 2011 season on the farm. When the time comes for them to move on, they will certainly be deeply missed, but also deeply appreciated, respected and loved.

Potato Salad with Olives, Tomatoes, and Capers

Bon Appétit | May 2002

2 pounds medium red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, cubed

2 large tomatoes, quartered

1 red onion, very thinly sliced

24 black oil-cured olives, pitted, halved

1/4 cup very thinly sliced fresh basil

2 tablespoons drained capers

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, quartered

Cook potatoes in boiling salted water until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain; cool. Peel potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces and place in bowl. Add oil; toss to coat. Add cucumber, tomatoes, onion, olives, basil, and capers. Whisk vinegar and oregano in bowl; mix into salad. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with eggs and serve.

Beet Burgers

Brookfield Farm CSA

2 cups grated beets

2 cups grated carrots

1/2 cup grated onions

1 cup cooked rice

1 cup toasted sunflower seeds

1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds

2 eggs, beaten

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

3 tbsp flour

1/4 cup oil

minced fresh/dried garlic, cayenne, & dried parsley to taste

Toast sunflower and sesame seeds in dry skillet or hot oven several minutes, tossing often. Mix ingredients, form into patties, and bake at 350 degrees. Unless patties are very large, it should not be necessary to turn them. Makes 6-8 burgers.

Serve with all your favorite burger fixin’s!

Do you know what you are bringing to the farm vegetarian pot luck and sunset picnic extravaganza????

Sunday August 21st, come any time and stay until you’re full!

3:00 farm is open

4:00 farm tour

5:00 veggie chow down

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

week 8

August 2 & 3

today’s harvest

1 head lettuce

1 bunch chard

1 bunch beets

1 bunch herbs

1 pound green beans

asian eggplant


zukes and summer squash

1 tomato

1 hungarian hot wax pepper

The sun has been cranking and we have been working hard to beat the weeds and keep up with the food that is flowing out of the ground. The veggies are growing, the bugs are munching. It’s August, the field is absolutely packed. It’s been bok choi to beets, beans and basil, the tomatoes are bending over with almost ripe fruit these days and the fall crops like cabbage, broccoli and squash are cruising right along. We have eaten a lot, but there is so much more to come.

As members of the CSA, you are all such a huge part of the collective energy of the farm. Your positive feedback, enthusiasm, spirit and sparkle fuel the Kettle fire when it needs a good stoking.

It has been such a pleasure to feed such fantastic folks like yourselves. It’s about time we all get together, and raise our forks to the bounty of this glorious season.

Come on down to the farm, it is time to party!

Sunday August 21st is Black Kettle CSA and Friends of the Farm Potluck Good Times Gathering!

4:00 Farm Tour

See the source of all the flavors of the season.

5:30 Picnic and Vegetarian Pot Luck

Please bring a vegetarian dish to share, a blanket for kickin’ back on, a plate and utensils, and the beverage of your choice. Please keep your dogs at home.

Swiss Chard Quesadilla

From Crystal Spring Farm CSA

* 2 tablespoons oil

* 1 small onion, chopped (3/4 C)

* 2 garlic cloves, minced (2 tsp)

* 1 hot pepper, minced (optional)

* 1/4 teaspoon cumin seed

* 1/8 teaspoon oregano

* 1 bunch swiss chard, trimmed

* 8 (6 inch) corn tortillas

* 1 cup monterey jack cheese, grated

Heat oil in pot over medium heat; add onion and saute 5 minutes, until golden.

Stir in garlic, chile, cumin and oregano, and saute.

Add in chard; cover; reduce heat to medium low, and cook until chard wilts.

In a second skillet place 1 tortilla in skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle with 1/4 C cheese; top with chard mixture and second tortilla.

Cook 2 minutes per side, or until browned. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Slice into wedges and serve.

****add summer squash or zukes to this sauté and a diced herb and it will be a major hit!!******

Quick Cucumber Pickles with Rye Bread and Cheese

Gourmet April 2002

2 large cucumbers

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon dry mustard

2 teaspoons drained bottled horseradish

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

1 loaf rye bread (1 pound)

2 (6- to 8-ounce) pieces semisoft cheese (preferably German, such as Cambozola or Mirabo)

Cut cucumbers crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices, then toss with kosher salt in a bowl and let stand 15 minutes. Rinse and drain cucumbers and pat dry with paper towels.

Whisk together vinegar, sugar, mustard, horseradish, and dill until sugar is dissolved. Stir in cucumber and let stand at least 5 minutes.

Slice bread and serve with pickles and cheese.