Tuesday, July 23, 2013

CSA Newsletter #7

Week 7
July 23 and 24

1 head lettuce
1 bunch carrots
1 bunch Joi Choi
1 pound new red potatoes
cippolini onions
cilantro or dill

I whole heartedly love this week’s share.  There, I said it. I love the variety, the gorgeous colors, and all the potential meals and flavor combinations that can happen from this harvest.  We are getting into the heart of the season and it has not been an easy one, with the options of sweat pouring down your face and heat based confusion or rain pants pulled up to your arms pits and a big ol’ muddy slosh fest in the field.  I know the ins and outs of all the BKF veggies and it is a major ordeal to make it all happen, but with bumping harvests like these and a hustling crew in real challenging conditions, I am oh so proud of the farm. Here’s some back story on your food......
Cippolini Onions! These are my absolute favorites, they are so special, delicious and fleeting.  These babies were seeded way back in March(that is 4 months ago people, 4 of ‘em) and have been trimmed,nurtured, hand weeded and scrubbed up to make it onto your plates.
Carrots!  Nothing makes we happier then a big ‘ol carrot haul.  Everybody loves a sweet, fresh carrot.  They are never in the trade basket and I never have to explain to any one what to do with them.  Lots of thinning, lots of weeding, lots of waiting, lots of rain during today’s harvest to make these bunches happen.
New Potatoes!  Make the exception to your carb free, paleo diet and boil these babies super briefly to perfection, roll ‘em around with salt, your favorite herb, some fresh onions, a shot of vinegar and call it good!  Maine may be potato country, but the soil at BKF always struggles to pump out a bumper crop of them.  We do our best; hill, ward off disease, give positive feedback and squish tons of bugs to get theses spuds to you.  Enjoy these summer classics.
Tomatoes!  Think back to those frumpy, pale days in February and give thanks for the fact that the earth moves ‘round the sun and we make it this time of year.  I know that you are all local food savvy, so you are just as thrilled as I am to have tomatoes right now.  Newsflash!  This is really early in the season to have tomatoes in Maine.  It is all thanks to our buddies at the National Resource and Conservation Services (NRCS) who partially funded the farm’s 30 by 100 foot unheated greenhouse structure called a high tunnel.  The thought of eating tomatoes right now, during such a rainy July would have been unheard this time last year.  Back then, the farm was granted the funding, but had to front the money for the project to get paid back upon completion, as well as build it, while still farming and dealing and running around.  So, during the fading light of the fall of 2012, the high tunnel was built by Shannon, Samantha and I.  It weathered the many storms of this past winter, and was a pristine open canvas for experimenting with the agricultural art of manipulating the growing environment and tinkering with the plants to extend the season, and increase yields, but never compromise flavor or beauty.  No small feat.  Report back from the tunnel, is after all the pruning and trellising and monitoring and loving it is a straight up Tomato Jungle in there!  Plants above our heads, fruit bending branches, happy, healthy plants galore!  Total reality, without the tunnel and all this rainy weather, we would not be eating tomatoes for weeks and weeks.
Stay tuned for beans and sweet peppers on the harvest horizon!  Yahoo!

Sour Cream, Cucumber Salad with Mustard Seeds
3 Cucumbers, washed and unpeeled
Fine table salt
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
4 large shallots, peeled and sliced
2/3 cup sour cream
1 small handful fresh dill, chopped fine
Freshly ground black pepper

Chop the cucumbers in half longwise, then into thin half-moons. Layer in a medium-sized bowl, sprinkling each layer lightly with salt. Put two small plates on top then cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight.
Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mustard seeds and cook, shaking the pan, until the mustard seeds pop just a bit. This should take no more than a minute or two. Take the skillet off the heat and 
Put the cucumbers into a large colander and drain any excess water. Pat lightly with a kitchen towel to remove as much moisture as you can.
pour the seeds into a plate to cool.

Toss the cucumber slices with the shallots, sour cream, and chopped dill. Mix in the cooled mustard seeds. Taste and season with black pepper. You can serve this immediately, or refrigerate it for up to a day before serving.

Cold Sesame Noodles with Summer Vegetables
Bon Appétit  | July 2012
by The Bon Appétit Test Kitchen

1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Sriracha (hot chili sauce)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
8 cups matchstick-size pieces mixed summer vegetables (such as carrots, radishes, cucumbers)
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
8 ounces buckwheat soba (Japanese-style noodles) or vermicelli noodles
1 cup (loosely packed) cilantro leaves with tender stems
1 onion, thinly sliced 
1 tablespoon black or white sesame seeds
Whisk first four ingredients in a large bowl. Add vegetables; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente; drain. Run noodles under cold water to cool them; drain well and add to bowl with vegetables. Add cilantro and onions season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle sesame seeds over and serve.
********This is so yummy!  Customize it........add tamari,miso,tahini,  peanut butter, a bit of maple syrup or lemon juice to the sauce!  You can do no wrong with fresh veggies, herbs and noodles!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

CSA Newsletter #6

Week 6
July 16 and 17

1 bunch greens
1head lettuce
summer squash
purplette salad onions
2 bunches herbs

CSA membership means getting in there deep with the local food scene.  Those who know, KNOW and its all about garlic scape and kale pesto, kohlrabi slaw, heirloom cukes and fennel, parsley salad (see the recipes and make it happen).  

So now that you are officially and most certainly a BKF CSA member, how much do you really know about your veggie food source?  

BKF Fun Facts!
Wow your friends and family with your localvore-tastic knowledge!

The Farm: 5 seasons going strong.  The first two seasons where in Alfred, in an old forgotten hay field behind the rambling house that I lived in, until one thing lead to many others and I bought the current, and permanent BKF, up on the glorious bluffs in Lyman.  The farm is 12 acres in total, with 4 acres in veggies, 2 greenhouse, 2 tractors, 2 wells, 1 yurt, 4 pigs, some ancient pear trees, some baby apple trees, 2 big ol’ bee hives, a perennial flower and herb garden, 2 currently very hot and lethargic cats, 4 full time farmers, good bugs, bad bugs, tons of birds, a few deer, and an infinite number of super good vibrations.

The veggies: The farm grows over 40 different crops and hundreds of varieties of this, that and the other.  In addition to the CSA, which is 98 shares that go to well over 100 households from Lyman to Portland, BKF food can also be found at:

The Portsmouth, NH Farmer’s Market, every Saturday, rain or shine, 8:00 AM-1:00 PM at City Hall.  
Go on an adventure south of the border and come and see the Kettle in action!  The market is super fun times, lots of good food, crafts and live  music.

Check out your favorite Kettle veggies all gussied up and on the menus at:
Bar Lola, Portland, Maine
Black Birch, Kittery,Maine
Black Trumpet, Portsmouth, NH
Blue Spoon, Portland, Maine
Flat Bread Pizza Company, Portsmouth, NH
Fore Street, Portland, Maine
.........and starting next week, through Partners for a Hunger Free York County and the United Way, BKF will feed 40 local seniors through a short (but super sweet) CSA program.  Our grannies will get their lettuce, cukes and squash for sure!
......after 3 years of patiently waiting and lots of paperwork, BKF will take the final step towards organic certification; farm inspection this coming Monday.  Yahoo!  Looking forward to officially making it official!

The field went from underwater to scarily scorched in about a day.  The bugs are hungry, the weeds are fierce, and the harvests are gettin’ heavy!
We got hustle in this veggie bustle, so here’s to you and your salads galore!  Happy July Kettlers! Much Love!

Cucumber Fennel Salad
3 large cucumbers, sliced
1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon dill (fresh or dry)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel
In a large bowl, combine the cucumber, onion and fennel. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the remaining ingredients; shake well. Pour over cucumber mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate until chilled. 
Bean, Red Onion and Parsley Salad
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup packed fresh parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 small red onions, thinly sliced
In a bowl, combine beans, onion, parsley, extra-virgin olive oil, and red-wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
Fennel, Red Onion and Parsley Salad
1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced
2 small red onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced into half-moons
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper  - Combine all ingredients and toss!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

CSA Newsletter #5

1 bunch chard
1 head lettuce
1 bunch beets
1 head cabbage
1 bulb fennel
1 bunch chives
1 bunch herbs
squash and zucchini
I could talk about the rain, I could talk about the mud, I could bore you with how lame it is to squeeze into rain pants day after day.  I could over share about the bugs flying directly into my eye balls repeatedly and for no apparent reason during the beet harvest this morning and I could really go on and on about how hot, muggy and gross it has been in the times that it hasn’t been raining.  
What would be the point of all that???  Let’s keep the vibration super, duper Black Kettle style high, with lots of exclamation points and shout outs about how fab it is to eat yummy, fresh food in the summer time!!!
It’s true, the hardworking and ever fashionable BKF crew makes it happen out there in the field, but they are not the only souls that inhabit and energetically uplift and contribute to the tiny whirling and swirling universe of the farm.
Although we are super veggie focused in these parts, BKF also hosts a small herd of pasture raised pigs.  Nooked back in the trees in a quiet corner behind the winter squash field, these not so little guys are major lovers of mud and afternoon naps and like any truly committed BKF community member, the pigs are addicted to chard, lettuce and cabbage.  When things get hectic in the field and it seems like absolutely every thing is weedy and bug infested, the pigs remind us the take it all a tad less seriously.  By simply being true to themselves, the pigs teach us a great deal about how to live.  A visit to the pig pen demonstrates that to achieve authentic happiness, it is always worth it to splash around and take a cool dip when the sun is high in the sky, that it is really, really fun and exciting to kick up your heels and romp around with your friends, and that it is the absolute best to just go for it and binge, binge, binge on the freshest of the fresh veggies when given the opportunity.  Big thanks to Paco, Mr.Wendall, Girl and Cecily for always keeping us grounded and true!
Because BKF always likes a good gathering, the farm is the current home of multiple bee hives that belong to a neighboring bee keeper.  The bees grace all our flowering plants like cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, potatoes and eggplants with their pollinating presence and especially love to hang out in the big time blooming perriannual garden.  They quietly hold it down in the young apple orchard in a low traffic area of the farm,  but they really strut their stuff one afternoon a few weeks back and demonstrated just what a “swarm” looks like!  Talk about getting a bee in your bonnet!  It was a serious National Geographic moment in ol’ Lyman, I’ll tell you that much.  BKF feels honored to host this essential element in the creation of a whole farm system with productive crop fields and a healthy natural environment and habitat.
Finally, you really all want to eat local and know your farmer?  Well, here’s the deal....I am a cat lady.  It was all out of my control, some how the stars crossed, the planets aligned and the universe provided BKF with the numero uno, most best feline collaborators ever.  Steve, super complex, busy with a variety of missions, overnight adventures and organizing his multiple thumbs, Pindy Wong, understatedly elegant, super effectionate and prone to communicating through chirping and Mean Kitty, a roaming soul who is at minimum 475 years old.
So many friends, so many fun times!  Love to all BKF community members! Black Kettle Farm Summer Tabouli Salad
Cook quinoa or couscous, set aside.
Chop bulb of fennel, Dice chives, Slice cucumbers
Add all veggies to your cooled grain of choice, toss with a simple dressing of:
olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a dash of lemon juice, a bit of dijon mustard, minced garlic scapes and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve on a bed of lettuce or cabbage.  Possible additions:  Chick peas, dry roasted sunflower seeds, diced salad turnips, parsley or shredded kohlrabi.
BKF Power Breaky - Keep the motor running all day long and eat like a Black Kettle Farmer!
Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet, add minced garlic scapes and sauté with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
Dice squash or zucchini and add.  Cook until starting to soften and brown.  Chop rainbow chard and add, cook until 
leaves wilt.  Crack 2 eggs, whisk with a fork, add to veggies and scramble.  Eat, enjoy and feel big, strong and healthy!

Beet and Beet Green Fritters - New York Times, Fitness and Nutrition
1 bunch beets, with greens, peeled and grated, Greens from 1 bunch beets, stemmed and washed in 2 changes of water
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs, like as fennel, dill, mint, parsley
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground caraway
1 cup fresh or dry bread crumbs (more as necessary)
Freshly ground pepper
2 ounces feta, crumbled (1/2 cup)
All-purpose flour as needed and for dredging 
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Plain Greek-style yogurt or aioli for serving
  1. Salt the beets generously and leave them to drain in a colander placed in the sink or in a bowl.
  2. Heat a large pot of water over high heat and stem and wash the beet greens in 2 changes of water. When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the beet greens. Cook for about 1 minute, until tender, and transfer to a bowl of ice water. Let sit for a few minutes, then drain, squeeze dry and chop fine. 
3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and add the grated beets, herbs, cumin, caraway, beet greens, bread crumbs, salt and pepper to taste, and feta. Mix together well. Take up a small handful (one to 2 tablespoons) of the mixture, and if it presses neatly into a patty, it is the right consistency. If it seems wet, add more bread crumbs or a few tablespoons of all-purpose flour. When the mixture has the right consistency, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour or longer.
  1. Combine the oils in a large frying pan and heat until rippling, about 275 degrees. Meanwhile, take up heaped tablespoons of the beet mixture and form patties. Lightly dredge in flour. Carefully transfer to the pan, taking care to fry them in batches so you don’t crowd the pan, and fry until patties are golden brown on both sides. Use tongs, a slotted spatula or a spider to turn the fritters over. Remove from the oil and drain briefly on a rack, then serve, with yogurt or aioli if desired.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

CSA Week #4

July 2nd and 3rd

2 bunches greens
1 head lettuce
1 bunch salad turnips
1/2 pound garlic scapes
1 bunch parsley
summer squash
Tuesday means CSA harvest, whether the sun shines or the rain dumps, the veggies need to get out of the field every week and into your tote bags, salad bowls and lunch boxes.  With boots and rain pants that haven’t dried out for days we sloshed and slogged through it this morning.  It was a head down, snip the chard and keep going kind of silent harvest meditation amongst the crew.  But as we all know, everything is constantly in motion and this wet stretch soon shall pass.  The temps will rise, the skies will clear and the sloppy, gross, utterly saturated field will drain........we hope.  
In all honesty, this rain has given the Kettle a much needed breath from all that has happened in perhaps the most rockin’, action and farming packed June in the history of super rockin’ Junes.  As we finished out the month last week the farm participated in two major events that highlighted our strong community ties and fun connections in the ever dynamic world of agriculture in Maine.  The farm hosted a tour and pot luck dinner as a part of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) Farmer Training Project where apprentices and farm enthusiasts from all over Southern Maine visited the farm and participated in a discussion lead by MOFGA crop specialist, Eric Sideman, on the topic of pest management.  We talked bugs, looked at plants and made new friends.  It was such a pleasure to host a gathering where so much information was shared with the tangible backdrop of the farm and our very own pests to reference!  And of course, as always at farmer gatherings, the folks were real cute and the pot luck dishes were delicious and heavy on the leafy greens and garlic scapes! 
After having a fab time hosting, the BKF crew got to gussy itself up and attend the second annual Farm-A-Que put on by Slow Food Seacoast and the Heirloom Harvest Project held at Brandmoor Farm in Rollingsford, NH.  The Farm-A-Que is a collaboration between local growers and chefs highlighting the glorious flavors of the region and encouraging community and farm fun for all.  Black Kettle produce was featured with four of the participating chefs and it was great to sample the fancy concoctions that the pros came up with.  Pass the kohlrabi slaw with slow cooked medallions of rabbit loin!  Yum!  The event was a huge success, with over 300 attendees and it was super fun to hang with other farmers, get high fives from chefs praising our fantastic veggies and eat lots of fancy food.  Perhaps the highlight of the sweaty, smoldering day, was coming home to ol’ Lyman, grabbing our swimming togs and taking a much needed dip in non-other then the best lake, with the funnest name to say....Bunganut!  
So there is pretty much no denying it, summer is on.  It’s July, we are 4 weeks deep into the rhythm of CSA, the heavy hitting month of June is behind us, we all survived and are tougher, tanner and more kale infused for it.  It feels great to cruise on into real deal summer and look up from the weedy onion patch and the never ending things to do list and participate with our wonderful farm and food community.  It may be Independence Day for some, but here at BKF we celebrate our collaborations and interdependent connections that stretch out to all CSA members, farmer buddies, local yocals and veggie lovers every which where!
Happy Fourth, we love you!

Use garlic scapes just like you use garlic.  Chop off the flower end and discard and the sky is the limit with scapes!
Dice scapes, heat olive oil and sauté and add your favorite green, like kale, chard or collards.
Make a yummy vinaigrette with scapes, olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper.
Roast your scapes on a cookie sheet with olive oil and salt/pepper in the oven at 425 for 25 minutes for a fabulous pizza topping or easy addition to pasta.  
Eat scapes raw to boost your immunity!
Scapes will keep!  Our garlic is still out there growing in the field, and we won’t be eating it until August or so.  Scapes are special and delicious and will keep in a plastic bag in your fridge until then.


15 ounces cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup garlic scapes, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground

Add the beans to the bowl of the food processor and pulse 3 or 4 times. Add the garlic scapes and olive oil and process for about 30 seconds.
Add the lemon juice, sea salt, and black pepper and process until the dip is thick and creamy. If the dip is a little dry, add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of olive oil and process. Serve with whole grain crackers or sliced baguette. Optional:Add flat leaf parsley to balance the flavor.

Chard and Garlic Scape Pesto
adopted from many recipes on the internet and tested in the BKF kitchen
2 cups chopped garlic scapes
1 cup nuts - walnuts, pine nuts, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
1 cup olive oil
The juice of one lemon
1/2 a bunch of chard, stems and all
Salt to taste

In a food processor:
Start with the the garlic scapes and finely chop, then add your nut of choice, next the olive oil and the lemon, this will make a nice paste.  
Coarsely chop the chard leaves and stems and add to the garlic mixture.  Process at a high speed until all ingredients are blended and smooth.  Add salt to taste and adjust flavors to your liking.  If mixture is thick, add 1/4 cup of water and process.  Optional : Add 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
Swirl into cooked pasta, use as a pizza topping or as a dip for raw vegetables.  YUM!