Wednesday, July 18, 2012

CSA Week 6

1 head lettuce
 salad mix
1 bunch red russian kale
cippolini onions
summer squash
asian eggplant
2 bunches herbs

Who says farming is a lonely, isolating endeavor, wrought with toiling, hardship and general pain???  No doubt, there is that element and sometimes it rears it’s “woe is me” head more then others, but not these days at Black Kettle Farm.  Bumpkins we are not, farmers that move and shake with amazing connections and community we  most certainly are!
The farm has been host to an ever evolving and revolving slew of guests, volunteers and family members this past week.  Kicking off this major buzzzzz of activity has been the arrival of two bee hives stationed in the apple orchard.  There are beautiful, healthy, super active and industrious honey bees absolutely every where working their magic from the perennial herbs to the flowers to the veggie fields.  Great to have them hard at work as members of the Kettle team.
The first volunteer day on the farm last Thursday was a great success!  Alfred natives Amy Titcomb and two month old baby girl Nyanna gave the weeds in the onions the what for and really cleaned up shop out there.  Who knew that weeding in the hot, hot sun was such an infant friendly activity? Lucky for us, when the tasks seems to be increasing and the work week accelerating, the right folks always seem to show up at the right time.  Case in point, Carmen, a good friend of Kettle crew member Samantha, and expert weeder and carrot thinner, came outta no where and got us over the hump with a few projects that just wouldn’t seem to quit.
So, have you been enjoying the unique, refreshing and utterly fabulous flavor of your heirloom Boothby’s Blonde cucumbers?  Jake Smith, the head chef at The Black Birch, a new restaurant in Kittery, and another visitor to the farm this week, sure does too.  Black Kettle was paired with his restaurant and Beach Pea Bakery, also in Kittery, for the first annual Farm-A-Q put on by Slow Food Seacoast and the Heirloom Harvest Project which links local growers and chefs to promote the use of heirloom vegetables and regional sustainability.  Because we sometimes like to pencil in just a little bit of fun, the Black Kettle Farm crew got all sorts of gussied up and journeyed down to Lee, NH this past Sunday for said Farm-A-Q, a truly, splendid afternoon of sampling some of the best food on the Seacoast.  We were thrilled to see so much our our produce, heirlooms and others, put to good use by such skilled chefs at such a beautiful and collaborative event.  You are all coming next year.
If this weren’t all enough to prove how interwoven the Kettle is with it’s web of supporters, from CSA members, to local chefs, to happy buzzing pollinators, my wonderful family has descended on the farm!  Older brother from California and parents from NY, we’ve been cooking, recreating, doing projects and enjoying the sweaty fun that summer time in Maine has to offer.  
As for the pigs, all they can seem to do is lolly gag kiddy pool side and wait for the sun to go down so they can get back to rooting, snorting and running in circles.
We can always use more help!  Skip Zumba class and tap a toe for a rain dance! 

Kettle Ka-Bobs!!!!
Laura Neale, Black Kettle Farm, Lyman, Maine
Asian Eggplant
Cippolini Onions
Summer Squash and Zucchini
Fire up the grill and find your skewers.
Cube vegetables into nice sized chunks.  Arrange vegetable pieces on the skewers in a decorative and enjoyable way.  Place veggie skewers in a baking dish and generously brush with olive oil.  Shake on salt and pepper to taste and a savory dried herb like oregano, thyme, or parsley.  Place on the grill at medium heat with the cover on and cook until slightly brown, turning as needed.  Truly delicious!!!
Kale and White Bean Ragout
From the book Farm to Fork by Emeril Lagasse

Tbsp. olive oil

bay leaf

garlic cloves, smashed and roughly chopped

tsp. crushed red pepper

small onion, sliced

lb. kale, rinsed, patted dry, and cut crosswise into 1-inch-wide slices

tsp. kosher salt, plus more if needed

tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more if needed

cups cooked white beans, or two 15-ounce cans cannellini beans or white beans, drained and rinsed

cup canned diced tomatoes, with their juices

cup vegetable or chicken stock, or canned low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the bay leaf, garlic, crushed red pepper, and red onion. Cook until the onion begins to wilt and the garlic begins to turn golden around the edges, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the kale, salt, and pepper, and cook for another 2 minutes. Then add the white beans, tomatoes, and stock. Cover, and cook until the kale is wilted and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary.Transfer the ragout to a serving dish, and drizzle it with the extra-virgin olive oil to taste. Serve hot.

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