Wednesday, September 28, 2011

CSA Week 16

1 bunch kale

1 bunch carrots

1 bunch purple top turnips

1/2 pound salad mix

1 pound onion

2 pounds Kennebec potatoes

sweet peppers, eggplant, delicata squash

The go-to CSA mantra is Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food, right? Well, there’s the flip side to this way groovy thought. Have you ever put yourself in my New Balance Classic running sneakers and thought about what it’s like to feed over a hundred people for 5 months? There are a lot of taste buds and belly tendencies in the mix and over the weeks I get to know what it is that you all fancy and what it is that you could do with out. I try to mix it up, keep it colorful, interesting, nutritious and delicious, with a balance of stables and bursts of wild cards. It all gets factored in as each share gets planned for the week, while I still keep in mind what is going nuts in the field, what sells well at market, what restaurants feature on their menus, and what we actually have time to harvest. Be that as it may, chefs and market customers can come and go, but CSA members are VIP’s in the Kettle world, therefore I take your feedback into consideration every time I plan your share, bunch a beet or snip a green.

As a window into the world of a CSA farmer, I have been know to think about the fact that Andy can’t stand chard, but Amanda is obsessed with it. The Snyder’s and the Van Oosterums can never, ever have enough potatoes, but Anita and Jackie don’t touch ‘em. Amy T., was way over cucumbers pretty early on, but Haven was ready to munch away on them in the car ride home. Jen H got full on lettuce, while Christine L. was psyched when she got the box that was accidentally packed with 3 heads. Nate doesn’t like collards and Terry is a recent convert (an now addict) to kale and bok choi. Lauren N, isn’t ready for fall root crops yet, but just posted an article on her blog, featuring BKF autumnal chow. Cindy loves her some eggplant, while Arunima tosses it on the trade table every time it shows up. The Hungarian Hot wax peppers hurt Shannon’s belly and although sweet to most, Rachel finds the purple Islander peppers spicy. Sarah B, says that BKF has the best garlic on the planet, and Darren and Skylar just do not ever have a taste for anything in the onion family. Then there’s the fearless, hardcore veggie power couples contingent of the Simpson/Riegel, O’Connell/Marks, Simpson/Korbet, Riegel/McEdward Dean/Henry and Hudson/Smith’s that know it all and eat it all, no matter what, no matter where. Linda H., is all sparkle, all the time. Some members chip away at the share and others plow through it in a few days. Folks get sick of tomatoes, but no one has never, not ever, traded a bunch of carrots in all my days as a Black Kettle farmer. Lots of crops, lots of opinions, nothing gets by me. If it’s not bugs, weeds or broken equipment, it’s your dinner menu, food allergies and cravings that put that hustle in this CSA bustle! Enjoy it y’all, because I sure do! So much love and bold italics…..

Moroccan Carrot Soup

Bon Appétit | April 2010

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter

1 1 cup chopped white onion

1 pound large carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 2 2/3 cups)

2 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 cup plain yogurt, stirred to loosen

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 2 minutes. Mix in carrots. Add broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes.

Stir cumin seeds in small skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes; cool. Finely grind in spice mill.

Remove soup from heat. Puree in batches in blender until smooth. Return to same pan. Whisk in honey, lemon juice, and allspice. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle yogurt over; sprinkle generously with cumin.

All Roots Roast, You Can Do No Wrong

No Frills Veggie Splendor by Laura Higgins Neale

Set the oven to 375 degrees.

Drizzle olive oil onto a baking sheet.

Chop anything chunky that you have, including, but not limited to :






Roll them around on a dish towel to absorb some of the excess water resulting in crispy veg.

Toss the veggies in the pan and move it all around with a wooden spoon.

Include whole cloves of garlic or chunks of onions, toss with salt and pepper and any herbs that may strike you, like oregano, thyme or rosemary. Sweet peppers roast nicely as well.

Pop in the oven and go along your merry way. Let roast for at least 30 minutes before checking, then poke your head in the oven, shake the pan, sample a turnip and give them some more time for the desired roasty and crispy effect.

Serve in a huge bowl and munch cold as leftovers.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

CSA Week 15

today’s harvest

1 bunch collards

1 head lettuce

1 bunch carrots

1/4 pound arugula

1 pound rutabaga

1 pound sweet peppers

2 garlic

1 head savoy cabbage

delicata winter squash

Meadow Muses from Assistant Manager Shannon Gilpatrick….

Hello friends! At this point I’ve had a chance to meet and chat it up with almost everyone involved with the farm, but I’m sure you all still have questions about how exactly I ended up in the meadow and what I’m doing out there. Today I’ll put your minds at ease. I met Laura last year through some friends of hers that I had been working for at their farm in Kennebunk. I started as a working member of Black Kettle farm in June of 2010 and later took on a bit of hourly work. While out in the blazing sun that over the months transitioned into bitter cold, Laura and I talked at length about her travels, and to say the least I was inspired. I decided I was going to go on a four or so month trip through Central America and have a journey of my own. So in January away I went to Nicaragua, where I lived with a family and volunteered on a small organic farm for a month. During that time I took Spanish classes and really kicked it with the locals. I continued to travel through Nicaragua for another month and a half and at one point on the island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua, I ran into the farmer friend who suggested I go work for Laura! I had a heads up she might be there, but I certainly wasn’t expecting to see her at pizza night. After Nicaragua I traveled in Guatemala and Mexico, ending at Mazunte on the Pacific coast, where I stayed on the beach for my last few weeks. Of course thoughts were pretty in the moment while on my trip, but I couldn’t help thinking once in a while about where I was going to call home when I returned to Maine, all I knew was that my dad had a little camper he said I could use. I was a bit concerned because the last thing I wanted to do was come home and spend all the money I was earning just to park the camper in a campground, when the real goal was to be able to go travel again the following winter. And that’s about the time Laura offered for me to work for her full time and live in the back meadow. Sure there isn’t running water or electricity, but I have a meadow all to myself. In all honesty, just having a room of my own that includes a fridge, stove and toilet is like ten steps up from the majority of places I stayed on my trip. Long story short, 2011 has been a great year! Filled with food, fireflies, farm work and the best experiences of my life.

Lamb Cabbage Rolls

Mix the Seasonings:

1/2 teaspoon ground celery seed

1/2 teaspoon ground dill or fennel seed

1 teaspoon dill weed

1 teaspoon savory (optional)

2 teaspoons dried mint

1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika

1 teaspoon salt

Make the Cabbage Rolls:

8 -12 large outer Savoy cabbage leaves

1 pound ground lamb

1 cup cooked and cooled rice, barley or other grain

1 large onion

1 medium-large carrot (2 cups when grated)

1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil

2 cups tomato sauce

1 to 2 teaspoons sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Heat the oil in a large skillet and cook the onions until quite soft, stirring frequently to prevent them from browning. Set them aside to cool.

Blanch cabbage leaves in the boiling water (use tongs!) until just softened, then put them in the sink to drain. Once the cooked vegetables are cool enough to handle, they can go into a mixing bowl with the meat, rice and seasonings. Mix well.

Shake each leaf dry and lay it out flat. Divide the meat mixture into 8 equal portions, and roll one portion into a rough tube. Put it in the middle of the cabbage leaf, then fold up the bottom (stem end). Fold in the sides, then roll up the leaf to finish. Put the cabbage roll in a large (9" x 13") lasagna pan. Do the same with the remaining cabbage leaves.

Drizzle the tomato sauce over the cabbage rolls, sprinkle them with the sugar, and cover them with foil. Bake for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Roasted Red Peppers with Garlic

Bon Appétit | January 200

6-8 Sweet red peppers

1/4 cup olive oil

6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced crosswise

1/4 cup Sherry wine vinegar

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss peppers with 1/4 cup olive oil in bowl. Transfer peppers to large rimmed baking sheet. Roast peppers until partially charred, turning every 10 minutes, about 50 minutes.

Transfer peppers to reserved bowl; cover tightly with plastic wrap. Cool 15 minutes. Peel and seed peppers over bowl. Tear each pepper lengthwise into 6 strips. Transfer pepper strips to heavy large skillet. Strain liquid from bowl into skillet. Add garlic, vinegar, and 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil to skillet. Simmer over medium heat until liquid becomes syrupy, stirring frequently, about 25 minutes. Cool.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

CSA Week 14

today’s harvest

1 head baby romaine lettuce

1 head savoy cabbage

1 bunch carrots

1 pound heirloom turnip

2 pounds Kennebec potato

2 heads garlic

sweet peppers



CSA is all about KNOW YOUR FOOD, KNOW YOUR FARMER, right? Well at this point you all seem pretty familiar with kale and you have no doubt made acquaintance with good ol’ carrots, lettuce, and onions. But, just who is this Laura person? It’s week 14, we have come a long way together, at this point I am ready to over share.

So, I am Laura Higgins Neale, I was born on January 21st 1977 during a raging blizzard in NYC and I am a triple Aquarius. I grew up in suburban New York and went to public high school and graduated in 1995. Even in my haze of being an 18 year old, I had some sense of clarity and came to college in Maine. I had my first farming apprenticeship in the summer of 1996 on a farm in Woolwich and graduated from Colby in 1995. Degree in Anthropology, random, yes. During college I worked on farms in the northeast, studied abroad in Bolivia, had good times with good friends (a few current CSA members in fact) and wore a whole lot of corduroy. Post college lent itself to many globe trots and traveling tendencies. I lived in Wyoming, Portland, Puerto Rico, and New Mexico and traveled in Central America and Cuba, when that got old I touched down in good ol’ San Francisco and had my time to shine. The Bay Area lead me to nothing but goodness. I worked for a few urban gardening, food justice based non-profit organizations, rode my bike a lot, fought the power, and met the most wonderful proactive, creative and inspiring people. Then when that got old, I hightailed it to Southeast Asia and on to India where I volunteered on an aloe and date farm, drank an insane amount of chai and bopped about until I found myself in Nepal where I trekked, ate an insane amount of lentils and bopped about until it was time to come on back to California where I had been accepted in the UC Santa Cruz Agro-Ecology Apprenticeship program. Six months of living on the farm at the University and receiving a formal training in agriculture, honed the skills acquired after being a lackey on several farms across the globe and made me realize that for sure, no doubt, let’s do this - growing food is my absolute passion. From then on, all I can do is farm the veggies without any interruption. Two great friends and I started Sol Food Farm in Sonoma County, California. After two years the over abundance of grapes and the lack of water and farmland in general there started to get to me, so I headed east and worked on a huge 400 member CSA in Connecticut. One thing lead to another, the universe stepped in, Maine took hold yet again and I got a job managing a farm (Wolf Pine) in Alfred. It only took one season to know that although I am still whole heartedly bi-coastal, my travelin’ days are over and Black Kettle Farm, an entity that had been with me over time, if only as just a twinkle in eye,has emerged. Three seasons deep and the tale continues to progress, transform and evolve. To be continued....

My favorite color is blue (but also sometimes brown and purple) I only listen to reggae music, I am a total beach person and I am obsessed with Mexican food.

Cabbage with Indian Spices

Farmer John’s Cookbook, The Real Dirt on Vegetables

3 TBLS vegetable oil or ghee

2 cups minced onions

1 1/2 tsps minced ginger

1 hot pepper (optional) or red pepper flakes

1 pound cabbage, shredded

1 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

pinch tumeric

3 TBLS water

1/2 tsp salt

Heat the oil or ghee in a skillet over medium heat and add the onions, ginger, hot pepper and sauté until the onion is soft, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the cabbage, add coriander, cayenne and tumeric and mix well. Add the water and salt and reduce the heat to simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Adjust spices to taste.

Skillet Turnips and Potatoes with Bacon

Bon Appétit | October 2010

* 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

* 1 tablespoon sugar

* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

* 8 ounces thick-cut bacon slices, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces – if you’re vegetarian, just skip this or substitute with tempeh

* 1 medium onion, thinly sliced

* 4 large garlic cloves, peeled, crushed

* 1 1/2 pounds turnips, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks

* 1 1/2 pounds white-skinned potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks

* 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley

Mix 1/4 cup water, vinegar, and sugar in small bowl. Combine oil and bacon in heavy large skillet; sauté over medium-high heat until fat is rendered, 3 to 4 minutes. Add onion and garlic; sauté until onion is golden, about 5 minutes. Add turnips and potatoes; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sea salt and toss 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium/low, cover, and cook until vegetables are almost tender, stirring and turning vegetables occasionally, about 15 minutes.

Push vegetables to 1 side of skillet. Pour vinegar mixture into cleared space. Toss vegetables with vinegar mixture. Spread vegetables in even layer in skillet; cook until golden and slightly crisp on bottom, about 4 minutes. Turn vegetables over; spread in even layer and cook until browned and slightly crisp on bottom, about 4 minutes. Continue to turn, spread, and cook vegetables until tender, golden, and crisp around edges, 7 to 8 minutes longer. Season with more sea salt and black pepper. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with parsley.

ALERT : Shannon Gilpatrick, farm assistant manager, is in the market for a reliable, and inexpensive automobile. Any input is greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

CSA week 13

1 bunch kale

1 head lettuce

1 bunch carrots

3 heads broccoli

1 bunch leeks


sungold cherry tomatoes


sweet peppers

hot pepper

As we trot on into September, Black Kettle Farm is living the truth, that the more things change, the more things just straight up stay the same. Things are constantly in motion on the farm. All of you certainly know this, as you never get the same produce from one week to the next. We no doubt keep you guessing and keep your taste buds on their toes. Tomatoes are on the way out, but the fall roots are pretty much jumping out of the ground. Cucumbers seem like a distant memory, but the winter squash is rising to the surface. Haven’t thought about a scallion in months, but the storage onions are curing in the green house. Change is absolutely every where, from the veggies and beyond. Steve, the cosmic feline, is feeling much better and is back to his way freaky self after his brush with death and chart topping temperature of 105 degrees a few weeks back. The pig pen is empty, if you catch my drift, and the absence of the girls is apparent. Many a pause has been taken in regards to animals, meat consumption and the way of the world, it’s really no picnic to “know your food” and it first it feels weird to do so, but then it feels even weirder and scarier not to. (Might I recommend a period of reflection?) On a way lighter note, a super duper positive change has been the record breaking farmer’s markets that we just keep on having. After making the command decision to step it up and go HUGE for the Labor Day market, we cruised on down to Portsmouth on in nothing less then a U-Haul truck and as a result, the farm absolutely blew it up and sold more produce and made more cash then ever before. As all of this is happening, and the days are getting ever so slightly shorter, some things just never, ever change. We still are blown away by the unrelenting abundance of this land, we are still constantly grateful for all the support and positivity bestowed upon the farm by friends, neighbors and real random strangers, we are still way obsessed with chard and even after 13 weeks we still cannot stop marveling at the kind, fun, whacky, and whole heartedly good times crew of CSA members that have found their way to the farm this season. Yay and hurray! Y’all are great, don’t change a thing!

Cook a lot and enjoy this food. We only have 6 weeks left of the fresh, fresh goodness!

Double Broccoli Quinoa

3 cups cooked quinoa

5 cups raw broccoli, cut into small florets and stems

3 medium garlic cloves

2/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan

2 big pinches salt

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup heavy cream

Cook quinoa (1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water, bring to a boil and lower the heat and cook for about 20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed).

Now barely cook the broccoli by pouring 3/4 cup water into a large pot and bringing it to a simmer. Add a big pinch of salt and stir in the broccoli. Cover and cook for a minute, just long enough to take the raw edge off. Transfer the broccoli to a strainer and run under cold water until it stops cooking. Set aside.

To make the broccoli pesto puree two cups of the cooked broccoli, the garlic, 1/2 cup of the almonds, Parmesan, salt, and lemon juice in a food processor. Drizzle in the olive oil and cream and pulse until smooth.

Just before serving, toss the quinoa and remaining broccoli florets with about 1/2 of the broccoli pesto, top with the remaining almonds

Carrots and Rutabagas with Lemon and Honey

Bon Appétit | November 2001

* 1 1/4 pounds rutabagas, peeled, cut into matchstick-size strips

* 1 pound carrots, peeled, cut into matchstick-size strips

* 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

* 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

* 3 tablespoons honey

* 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

* 1/2 cup chopped fresh chives

Cook rutabagas in large pot of boiling salted water 2 minutes. Add carrots and cook until vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Drain.

Melt butter in large pot over medium-high heat. Add lemon juice, honey, and peel. Bring to boil. Add vegetables; cook until glazed, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Mix in fresh chives.