Wednesday, October 19, 2011

CSA Week 19

October 18 & 19

today’s harvest

1/2 pound lettuce mix

1 bunch beets

1 head cabbage

2 pounds potatoes

1 pound onions

2 pounds mixed fall roots

2 garlic

1 bunch greens

October, completing the 19 week CSA and feeding forty households, filling and then emptying the field, none of this was anything thing that I could really even picture way back in March when I fired up the greenhouse and started the storage onions, officially embarking on the 2011 growing season. But here we are, and as proof of it all, the onions that kicked it all off are now rattling around in your shares, making appearances on your dinner plates and holding space as staples for meals to come. There is no denying it, the veggie season has come, raged and gone. Our bellies are full, we are way blessed.

Honestly, it is pretty scary to be a CSA farmer. All you guys trust me to grow your vegetables for the season, give me money and I have to deliver. Not to over-dramatize the whole deal, but bugs, disease, weather and general weirdness are not always on our sides and things can very easily get very freaky. It brings me great, great pleasure to let you all know that the Black Kettle Farm 2011 CSA exceed the value of share value by a hefty 10+ percent, fulfilling a major facet of CSA philosophy, that members help out the farmer before the season and the farmer hooks up the members when all is said and done. You got more then you paid for and I really like that. From insane amounts of cucumbers, to carrots galore. Greens, greens, greens, garlic, tomatoes, potatoes, tasty herbs and random roots, we have all eaten well, and have shared in the abundance of this great season.

I am thrilled with the way that the vegetables produced on this new piece of land. Not to mention the other awesome things that have gone down in these past month, like raising 3 gorgeous and uber cosmic swine, building an on-farm pick area in the barn, procuring a super styling and only slightly sketchy white van, working alongside, bumping lots of tunes and developing a specific and unique vocabulary with rock star Assistant Manager Shannon Gilpatrick and developing relationships and connections from all CSA members from the close by neighbors to the hipster Portland crew.

After many prayers, a few misfires and some major successes I am looking forward to seasons and seasons and seasons to come here on the Kettle bluffs. This sense of permanence and potential for long term evolution on a piece of land are elements that I have never felt before as a farmer and it is both calming to know that I am not going anywhere for a minute, and extremely exhilarating to imagine how it is all going to continue to unfold. Sure, no doubt, farming is really, really hard, but I absolutely love it and all of y’all are key players in what keeps me coming back for more. Let’s do it all again next year.


Please, please, please fill out a survey. It really helps me to hear your feedback, don’t be shy!

BKF is growing, please spread the word, more friends is more fun, no??

Potato & Greens Frittata

Nourished Kitchen

* 3 tablespoons butter

* 2 shallots, peeled and sliced thin

* 1 bunch Swiss chard, kale or collards stem removed and chopped coarsely

* 4 small potatoes (about 1 lb), sliced thin

* 1 dozen eggs

* 3 tablespoons heavy cream, not ultrapasteurized

* sea salt, to taste

* black pepper, to taste

1. Melt three tablespoons clarified butter in a skillet over a medium flame. Toss peeled and thinly sliced shallots into the skillet and fry in butter until fragrant. Add coarsely chopped Swiss chard and thinly sliced potatoes into the skillet and continue to cook until the Swiss chard wilts and the potatoes are tender when pierced by a fork.

2. Beat one dozen pastured eggs with three tablespoons heavy cream until the mixture becomes uniform. Season the eggs to your liking with salt and black pepper. Reduce the flame to medium-low then pour the beaten eggs and cream into the skillet, over the vegetables. Cook over medium-low until barely set, about six minutes or so.

3. Place the frittata in your oven, under the broiler for about six minutes until it is cooked through. Serve warm.

Potato and Turnip Gratin

Bon Appétit | December 2005

* 4 cups heavy whipping cream

* 2 cups low-salt chicken broth

* 6 large fresh thyme sprigs

* 4 large fresh sage sprigs

* 2 large fresh rosemary sprigs

* 2 large garlic cloves, pressed

* 1 Turkish bay leaf

* 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt

* 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

* 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

* 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

* 3 1/2 pounds potatoes

* 2 pounds turnips

· 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Position rack in top third of oven and preheat to 350°F. Bring first 11 ingredients to boil in large saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture is reduced to 33/4 cups, about 35 minutes. Strain cream mixture into large bowl.

Peel potatoes; cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds, adding immediately to cream mixture to prevent discoloration. Peel turnips; cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds. Add to potato mixture; stir to coat.

Pour vegetable mixture into 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish and press to even layer. Cover dish with foil. Bake 1 hour. Uncover; sprinkle with cheese. Bake until top is golden brown, potatoes are tender, and most of cream mixture is absorbed, about 25 minutes longer.

Please take a moment to fill out the 2011 CSA survey. Drop it in the mail : BKF, 1391 S.Waterboro Rd, Lyman, 04002 or respond via email. You thoughts and opinions are very valuable to the farm!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

CSA Week 18

October 11 & 12

today’s harvest

1 bunch carrots

1 red cabbage

2 pounds potatoes

1 pound onions

2 pounds mixed fall roots

1 stalk Brussels sprouts

1 bunch dried sage

It’s sunny, the full moon is raging and there is just so much goodness in the air!

Love, blessings and big congrats to Clare and Andy Pritchard of Portland on the birth of their daughter Elena Noreen. Our girl rolled into town on, right on time, but in fact 18 days after the doc said so, on September 18th at 12:06 pm, weighing in at 7 pounds, 7 ounces and stretching 20 inches long. Yay and Hurray! Elena joins BKF CSA babies Priya, Jonah, Charlie and Calder, self-professed in utero kale addicts and salad fiends! We love them and cannot wait for them to take over the world.

The abundance just keeps on comin’ so love and blessings to Vanessa Greco of Portland and her twin baby girls that will make their appearance this winter.

Speaking of fertility and next year’s crop, starting this week I will be attending a series of workshops facilitated by MOFGA (Maine Organic Farmer’s and Gardener’s Association) and lead by the Real Food Campaign, to learn more about building healthy soil to sustainabley produce even healthier vegetables, a major, fundamental and truly essential mission of Black Kettle Farm. The course will focus on enhancing soil life and vitality to ensure that the food produced from it provides the maximum health benefits for those that consume it. The catch phrase is “nutrient dense food”, which the Kettle is all about. Looking forward to letting my farm dork flag fly and getting in deep about particles, minerals, good bacteria, and the juicy goodness of healthy, cranking soil. Can’t wait see what next year’s carrot crop is like after this new info! Check it out at

The Kettle belief that there the earth is abundant and that there is always so much to go around reigns supreme these days, where as at last count the Farm has donated over 1300 pounds of fresh produce to the York County Shelter. Yes, that is in fact well over half a ton of veggies shared with the members of our immediate community, all initiated, calculated and executed by Assistant Manager Shannon Gilpatrick. Knobby turnips, cracked carrots, and less then perfect lettuce fills somebody’s belly and that makes us happy.

Thanks dear, wonderful CSA community for chiming in with thoughts about this year in veggies.

Here’s what you got to say about it…

…the health, the lovely people, the effort for a community of kindred souls… it's having good local food grown by a good friend. It's a tight circle. …When I think of the Kettle, I think of carrots…I am blessed to be part of this year’s crop and feel that all of the food was grown with positive energy and love…my first CSA – What an experience! BKF rocks!….If Albert Einstein (a vegetarian) were alive today I am sure he would be a member here!…nice van…

Next week is the last pick up for the 2011 season!

Eating local in the fall means mostly storage crops and every thing is this week’s share is designed to stick around for quite some time.

Pop your dried sage in a sealed jar or a plastic bag and store with the rest of your spices in a cool, dry place.

Onions and garlic can be unrefrigerated and will last for months, the cabbage will last until Thanksgiving in your fridge and all the roots, potatoes and carrots do best sealed in a plastic bag in your fridge. If you have any greens like kale or collards still kicking around, freeze them. Just chop, blanch in boiling water for about a minute, run under the tap to cool down and place in a freezer bag to enjoy in soup or sautéed later.

Mashed Rutabaga Potato Supreme!!

The Real Dirt on Vegetables

A few pinches of salt

1 pound rutabaga cut into chucks

1/2 pound potatoes cut into chunks

1 medium carrot chopped

1/4 cup milk

3 TBSP melted butter

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 ground nutmeg

black pepper

Boil a large pot of water, add a few pinches of salt and the rutabaga and cook for 10 minutes. Add the potato and carrot and cook until every thing is tender. 15-20 minutes. Drain. Heat the milk in a saucepan, but do not boil.

Mashed the vegetables with the butter until smooth, adding a bit of warmed milk as you go until it reaches the consistency that you like. Stir in salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Potato, Sage and Rosemary Pizza

Bon Appétit | March 2007

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

12 ounces potatoes, sliced into very thin rounds

1 (13.8-ounce) tube refrigerated pizza dough

2 teaspoons chopped rosemary

2 teaspoons sage

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

1 cup (packed) grated whole-milk mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)

1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add potato slices in single layer. sauté until just tender, about 5 minutes. Cool briefly.

Unroll dough on rimmed baking sheet. Scatter potato slices over dough, leaving 3/4-inch plain border. Sprinkle with rosemary, sage, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Sprinkle with cheeses to cover.

Bake pizza until crust is crisp and cheeses melt, about 20 minutes. Using metal spatula, loosen crust from sheet. Slide out onto platter or board and serve.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

CSA Week 17

October 4 & 5

today’s harvest

1 bunch chard

1 bunch carrots

1 savoy cabbage

1/2 pound baby lettuce mix

1/3 pound arugula

2 stalks Brussels sprouts (!!!!!)

2 garlic

sweet pepper

Not a drop of rain in July and barely a sprinkle during Hurricane Irene. We seem to be making up for lost time here on the Kettle bluffs and these dreary days and super water logged fields are reminiscent of the sloppy spring we had. I really have to dig deep to remember those early days. I associate this ever cranking growing season with nothing but sunshine, sparkle, blue skies and goodness.

As for our always abundant field, the wetness and warmth have been a treat for all of the greens, young and old. From rock solid chard to crispy arugula, we got it goin’ on. The soil fertility building swath of oats and clover is the lushest of the lush right now, a huge blanket both allowing the ground to rest and pumping it up for seasons to come. The biggest news of the week, is that Woolever Farm, an Icelandic Sheep farm in Alfred, run by super close friend, old neighbor and yoga buddy Heidi Woolever Daly is bringing her ram flock over to graze the greenness and goodness of the Kettle pastures. The spunky, young fellows will fertilize next year’s fields and munch clover, allowing me to skip another pass with the mower, decreasing soil compaction and keeping us from taking another sip of fossil fuels. Not to mention, it feels great to cooperate with another local farmer and mutually diversify and improve our operations. If you haven’t done it yet, “friend” BKF on Facebook, I guarantee that there will be plenty of sheep shots in the weeks to come.

There has been plenty of horn hooting and tooting, along the lines of “we’re awesome, you’re awesome, the veggies are a rockin!!! Yay, Yay, Yay!’” in this season’s newsletters. Howsoever because we are always evolving and ever humbled by life experience and the craziness of attempting to squeeze food out of the earth, it comes with a heavy heart to declare that the winter squash crop, a New England staple for sure, is all sorts of said and done. There are many reasons why it just didn’t line up this year and the few delicata that you got in your shares where the only ones that left the farm. I repeat, no one got them but YOU. There has been no mountain of butternut and sweet dumplings on display at farmer’s market and none of my faithful restaurants will chop even one this season. Fear not, this is a perfect opportunity to visit your local farmer’s market. Everyone else has more then they can handle, so test drive a few and let me know which varieties you like. Missing the mark this year, just fuels the fire to make the winter squash haul better then ever in 2012. Have faith, we’ll pull through this together! In fact, we’ll pull through this with BRUSSELLS SPROUTS. I pretty much binge on vegetables and eat nothing else,(ok fine, peanut butter) but the ol’ b.sprout is really just something special to me. They take a long, long time to grow, they look way cool and are like health inducing, delectable candy. YUM! The fall fabulousness continues. Squash or not, we will no doubt Hoot and/or Toot and high kick into the last weeks of the season, it’s just how we do!

Linguine with Pecan Arugula Pesto

Gourmet | November 2002

3/4 cup pecans (3 oz), toasted

1 large garlic clove

1/2 teaspoon salt

10 oz arugula, coarse stems discarded

1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 1/2 oz)

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 lb dried linguine

Finely chop 1/4 cup pecans.

Mash garlic to a paste with salt using a mortar and pestle (or mince and mash with a large heavy knife). Blend remaining 1/2cup pecans, arugula, cheese, oil, pepper, and garlic paste in a food processor until smooth, about 1 minute.

Cook pasta in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Ladle out and reserve 1 1/2 cups cooking water. Drain pasta in a colander, then return to pot and toss with pesto, 1/2 cup cooking water, and chopped pecans, adding more cooking water as necessary if pasta seems dry.

Freeze this pesto, you’ll love it in February!

Teriyaki Portobello "Burgers" with Cabbage Slaw

Gourmet, April 2006

1/3 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons mirin* (sweet Japanese rice wine) or medium-dry Sherry

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh gingerroot

2 tablespoons sugar

4 fresh Portobello mushrooms (about 1/4 pound each), stems trimmed flush with caps and save

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 teaspoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoons Asian sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon honey

2 cups finely shredded cabbage

1/2 cup finely shredded carrot

2 scallions, chopped fine

vegetable oil for brushing mushroom caps

4 sesame-seed hamburger buns, split and toasted lightly

In a small saucepan simmer marinade ingredients, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Continue simmering marinade until reduced to about 1/2 cup and cool to room temperature.

Put mushroom caps and marinade in a large sealable plastic bag, arranging caps in one layer, and seal bag, pressing out excess air. Marinate mushrooms at room temperature, turning bag over several times, 1 hour.

In a bowl whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, oil, and honey and add cabbage, carrot, and scallions. Toss vegetables well to coat and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat broiler.

Drain mushrooms and arrange, stemmed sides up, on lightly oiled rack of a broiler pan. Broil mushrooms 2 inches from heat and turn over. Brush mushrooms lightly with oil and broil 3 minutes, or until tender. Transfer mushrooms with a slotted spatula to hamburger bun bottoms. Top mushrooms with slaw and bun tops.