Tuesday, August 27, 2013

CSA Newsletter #12

Week 12
August 27 and 28

2 bunches greens
1 bunch carrots
green beans
sweet peppers
hot peppers

Hold up!  I can’t go any further without shouting it loud and proud.....Black Kettle Farm passed inspection, we are officially certified organic!  With all the excitement of babies being born, vehicles passing inspection, and the pending annual party at the farm, this fun fact keeps falling through the cracks of the ol’ newsletter.  So now you know!  Always an organic farm in it’s core, it took the Kettle 5 years to get to this official status, due to not having a permanent home and then having to wait for the obligatory three years to certify land that was once conventionally farmed.  It feels like a great milestone and a feather in our collective farm cap to wave the OG flag.  Yahoo!

That is the big news, but honestly, every day there is something amazing and astonishing going on at the farm.  Just yesterday we broke the season record and harvested almost 200 pints of cherry tomatoes in one session!  The weed whacker is finally working again, the cats are on mice killing rampages and the new rounds of greens for the fall are flourishing even in this intense heat.  Victories and huge events happen all the time in the very site specific world of the Kettle.  Right this very second, the storage onions and shallots are finally being pulled from the field and transported to the greenhouse to dry out and cure, to strengthen their storage capacity and develop their delicious flavor.  These beauties have been a real chore this season, but as the first crop we planted this season, they hold a special place in our Kettle heart.  Remember that rainy stretch in July???  Well, we are just getting on top of the weeds generated from that soggy time.  The onions were major victims of that bountiful weed season and it took many rounds of intense hand weeding, with help from eager and able bodied volunteers, to sort of keep the weeds at bay.  This huge chunk of the field is vacant and the greenhouse is now packed with oniony goodness, calling for a flavorful fall.

In other gossip generating farm news directly from the pig pen, after the highly scientific, and no doubt extremely accurate, belly measuring tape method of weight guestimation, Girl seems to be way head of the pack with the heftiest girth, with Paco in second and Mr.Wendall and Cecily third and fourth.  No surprise here, Girl is certainly not wasting away and has mastered the art of knocking over the food dish and laying in the chow to get the most of her meal.  The pigs don’t seem to mind the heat and still find time in their busy schedules of eating split tomatoes and taking belly flops into their mud pit, to run around in circles, blurt out a noise which is a definite cross between a bark and an oink and generally act real freaky.

Having just a little sprinkle of rain the other evening felt like major news in these parts.  This deep heat of the last month has been utterly thrilling for the beans, sweet peppers and tomatoes, great for tans, tough on the delicate lettuce.
Even with all this excitement of certification, onion harvest and pig antics, we still give thanks every single day for the simple fact that this August has been a truly miraculous one here on the farm.  From the food that has been flowing out of the ground, to the great markets, to the cohesion of the crew, to the clear nights and the blue, blue skies.  We’ve been saying it for a month now, but it is news that never, ever gets old........
August is Awesome, Abundant, Awe inspiring and AH-MAY-ZING!

Kale and Walnut Pesto

1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 garlic cloves
1/2 lb kale, without stems
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Toast walnuts over high heat until fragrant. Set aside.
Bring 2 cups water to boil. Add kale and 1T salt. Cook about 15 minutes, or until tender.
Drain kale. Add to food processor with garlic and walnuts.
While processing, slowly add olive oil until smoothly pureed.
Add Parmesan.
Serve with pasta, rice, bean, on toast or over potatoes.

Pasta Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Green Olivada
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 cups coarsely chopped pitted green olives (from about 6 ounces unpitted whole olives), divided
3 tablespoons capers, drained
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound gemelli, fusilli, or rotelle pasta
2 pints cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved
1 8-ounce package small (cherry-size) fresh mozzarella balls in water
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
With machine running, add garlic clove to processor through feed tube and process until finely chopped; turn off machine. Add 1 cup chopped olives, capers, red wine vinegar, anchovy paste, mustard, and crushed red pepper. Using 6 on/off turns, process to chop coarsely. With machine running, gradually add 1/2 cup olive oil, forming coarse puree. Transfer to bowl; stir in remaining 1 cup olives. Season olivada to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Olivada can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.
Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain well. Transfer drained pasta to large bowl. Drizzle remaining 1 tablespoon oil over pasta; toss to coat. Cool, stirring occasionally.
Add olivada, halved tomatoes, mozzarella, and oregano to pasta; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

CSA Week #11

1 head lettuce
1 bunch kale
2 bunches herbs
green beans
sweet peppers

Hallelujah, give thanks and praises, deep breath of gratitude, we have made it to late August!  We are eating broccoli and tomatoes.  The sun has done nothing but shine, the evenings are gorgeous and tranquil and the veggies are flowing.  August is always the best time of the summer, spilling into the best time of year, golden, crispy autumn, but let’s go ahead, totally own it and make a major definitive statement, this has been the best August EVER!  

Deep in the time of Leo and under this strong, strong Blue Moon, Black Kettle Farm cruises along, every day different, bouncing from one drama (the wheel finally fell off the truck!) to the next, coinciding with victories (record breaking market days!) taking pride in our work, loving our farm friends and neighbors and having hilarious, fun times.
So at this point, everyone gets it, right?  It’s just 4 chicks running this farm and making this 100 member CSA, farmer’s market and restaurant sales thing happen.  So what do we really, really do???  Well..........
The farm crew meets every day at 7:00 AM in the barn.  Monday is huge.  After a super quick run down of our weekends, the awesomeness of the past market, how early we went to bed the night before, what the farm cats are up, how glorious the last sunset was etc. we get right down to business and gather ‘round the Things to Do List.  We prioritize what needs to happen in the field and then do a major scheduling session for the week.  Who’s on pig chores, who is doing deliveries and most importantly, who is cooking farm lunch on Thursday.  After that, we head directly to the field and look at the plants, reviewing, and usually adding to, the Things to Do List with a visual of it all.  Then it is GO time: divide and conquer.  Carmen hits the irrigation and fixes all the that is out of whack.   Abi is a champion on the wheel hoe and cleans up aisles in a flash.  Carly regulates the root crops and thins and weeds in record time.  L.Neale puts around on tractors,leaves tools, hoodies and water bottles in random places and plans what the likes of you all will be eating for the week.  
CSA harvest starts Monday afternoon and continues into Tuesday morning.  That afternoon is a time of major activity on the farm, as 40 members breeze through the barn to get their produce and 9 members receive their shares at the Riverbend Wellness Center in Kennebunk.  Wednesday morning rolls around and we go it all again, this time for the 51 folks in Portland and restaurant accounts.  Boxes packed, the huge white van blasts outta the farm and hits the road to the big city.  On Thursday we reel it all in and take stock of it all.  Always a quality day where no one leaves the farm and we all feel happy inside, accomplishing another fabulous and veggie filled week of the CSA, complete with a big farm lunch on the porch. It’s no rest for the wicked, or the BKF farm crew, as the harvest bell rings early on Friday.  We hit the field hard in the AM in anticipation of a rocking Saturday market in Portsmouth the next day.  The walk-in cooler full of gorgeous produce and the van full of market gear, I set my alarm for 4:45 for the AMand the crew heads out for summer fun and adventures and/or a weenie roast in the back meadow.  Somehow, in collaboration with the sun and the rain and the soil and the plants, we get it all done, the veggies happen and the weeks just fly on by.

Warm Green Bean and Potato Salad

  • 1 pound new potatoes
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
In a large saucepan, cover potatoes with 2 inches salted water. Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are just tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain thoroughly. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high; add potatoes and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, mashing potatoes slightly, until golden brown in spots, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish and keep warm.  Add bacon to skillet. Cook until bacon is browned, about 3 minutes. Add green beans and cook, stirring occasionally, until bright green and crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Add to potatoes along with lemon juice to taste. Season with salt and pepper and toss gently to combine.
Parsley Hummus - www.nytimes.com
2 cups cooked chickpeas
2 large garlic cloves, peeled, cut in half, green shoots removed
1/2 cup parsley leaves
Salt to taste
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for drizzling if desired
3 tablespoons sesame tahini, stirred well if the oil has separated
Plain low-fat yogurt as needed

Turn on a food processor fitted with the steel blade and drop in the garlic. Process until the garlic adheres
to the sides of the bowl. Turn off the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the chickpeas, parsley
and salt to taste and process to a coarse purée. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Turn on the machine and add the lemon juice and olive oil with the machine running. Add the tahini and process 
until the hummus is smooth. It should not be too thick or dry. If it is, thin out as desired with yogurt or water, or 
with the broth from the chickpeas if you cooked them. Season to taste with salt. Scrape out into a bowl or mound on 
a platter. Run a fork over the surface and drizzle with olive oil if desired. Serve with crudités or pita bread.

BKF Super Slow Roasted Tomatoes.......do this, it rules.

Heat the oven to 250 degrees.
Drizzle oil on a cookie sheet.  Slice or cube tomatoes.  Place on the cookie sheet in a single layer, sprinkle with salt 
and pepper and toss on a few Sungold cherries for good measure.
Peel garlic and add whole cloves to the tomatoes.  Place in the oven and let roast for hours, I think that 3-4 is ideal. 
Return and enjoy the most delicious, sweet, carmelized, decadent tomatoes on the planet.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

CSA Newsletter #10

Week 10
August 13 and 14

1 head lettuce
1 bunch carrots
2 bunches greens
1 pound sweet onions
sweet peppers
hot pepper

Crisp air, blue skies, puffy clouds, glorious sunshine, pretty much the perfect temperature at all times, brilliant colors abound, coupled with lots of recreating, fun with friends and fams, romping outside as much as possible and of course lots and lots of insanely delicious, extremely veggie heavy meals.  
Abundant August continues to deliver and confirm, underline and exclamation point in super duper bold why we live in Maine!  It is all seems to be a big, huge energetic celebration of positivity and vitality with the weather these days, no?

With that in mind, let’s all chime in and welcome the newest Kettle family member...Miss Luna June Stinson, bouncing baby girl to Shannon Gilpatrick, long time Kettle employee and major rock star, and Zac Stinson, Blue Spoon chef extraordinaire!  Luna has been with us all season, harvesting turnips, seeding lettuce and planting tomatoes,we are so happy to finally meet her for real!
We are no doubt a fertile crew with lots more babies on board and more Kettle mouths to feed......Hurray and congrats to members Becca and Hank Stabler who are expecting a baby boy at the end of the month.  Much love to Amy Simpson and Greg Korbet when baby makes three in the fall.  Yahoo for  Molly O’Connell, Julian Marks and big brother Calder and Jed and Arunima Bloom, and big sister Pryia who will both add a new veggie lover to their families in January.  And of course, Miss Zoe Rose Nilson, who showed up just before the kick-off of the season, whose parents Doug and Rachel, were the very first committed BKF CSA members way back when and are now raising 3 veggie positive Kettle kids.

Beautiful babies aside, there is oh so much to celebrate!  Cherry tomatoes, the return of kale and the fact that the delivery van just passed inspection and will make it another year as  a part of the Kettle fleet of jalopies!  

Get out your pens and mark your calendars NOW, Black Kettle Farm will officially celebrate the season:
Sunday, September 8th at 4:00 PM
BKF CSA Appreciation and Friends of the Farm
Good Times Gathering!

Veggie Pot Luck, lawn games, pig and veggie field viewing, picnicking, and fire as the sun goes down.
Bring a vegetarian dish to share, your own plate and utensils and BKF provides the epic sunset, a cold brews and fun farmy times.
Check out where your food comes from, meet the whole Kettle crew and hang with other wonderful CSA members! Attendance is REQUIRED.

Love the Kettle?  Shout it Loud and Proud with Kettle Gear!
Limited addition Trucker Hats  - $12.00
Canvas Tote Bags - $10.00
........Like us on Facebook and hashtag #blackkettlefarm on Instagram!
Let’s celebrate and let the good times roll!!!

Easiest August Meal Ever from the BKF Test Kitchen
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Find a baking pan and add coat with olive oil.
Cube eggplant, sweet onions, carrots.  Dice lots of garlic.
Add to pan and toss veggies with olive oil, add salt and pepper and maybe drizzle a bit more oil on top.
Bake until veggies are soft and onions start to brown.  30-45 minutes.
Cube tomatoes and add to the mix.  Let it roast!...about 10 minutes, or when it has all mixed and carmelized.
Possible additions are balsamic vinegar, or fresh oregano or basil.  Pump it up with chick peas, serve over rice or with foccacia or just spoon it up and ENJOY!
Kale Caesar Slaw
Bon Appétit  | July 2011
by The Bon Appétit Test Kitchen

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 8 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, peeled
  • 1 bunch kale 
Combine the first 4 ingredients in a blender; purée until smooth. With machine running, slowly add oil, drop by drop, to make a creamy dressing. Transfer dressing to a bowl and stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and chill. DO AHEAD: Dressing can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.
Separate egg white from yolk. Place egg white in a coarse-mesh strainer set over a bowl. Press egg white through strainer with the back of a spoon; scrape egg white from bottom of strainer. Repeat with egg yolk, using a clean strainer and bowl. DO AHEAD: Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover bowls separately and chill.
Toss kale and dressing in a large bowl to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan and sieved eggs.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

CSA Newsletter #9

August 6 and 7

chard or lettuce
1 bunch carrots
1 bunch sweet onions
1 bunch herbs
sweet peppers
green beans
salad mix

August  = Abundance

After a sweaty, wet, buggy, making the best of it sort of July, we are deeply basking in the glory, beauty and super veggie positive moments of August up here on the Kettle bluffs.  
The field is rapidly changing, with all early crops either eaten and enjoyed or mowed and put back into the soil.  All the fall crops are basking in the sunshine during the day and appreciating the cool nights.  The return of kale and the onslaught of cabbage and broccoli are rapidly approaching.  The brussels are sprouting,  the fall roots are seeded, and looking good and we haven’t even touched the shallots or red onions.  Then there is the, no joke, thousands of feet of lettuce and carrots that are little now, but are proof we are just barely half way through the season and there are still tons of fresh veggies and yummy meals to come.  
As farmers, we always have to look forward and into the future.  We have to plan, execute, anticipate and keep up with it all or, well, no one eats.  For example, we seed storage onions in March so they can grow and thrive over the entire season and we can eat them in the fall and into the winter.  If we don’t do that when the snow flies, it just doesn’t happen.  Especially with the short growing season in Maine, we have small windows of opportunity and we have to be on top of things and always looking forward to achieve bountiful results.  Right now, even though it is still early in August, the focus on the farm is loving up the fall crops, keeping them happy, healthy and weed free, so we can live large in the months of come.  Not to mention, I pretty much start planning for the next growing season from the second I start the current one, because there are always elements of the farm to improve upon, evolve or straight up scrap.
Be that as it may, this whole farming thing aside, I think we can all appreciate the need to be more present in our lives.  To take a moment, take a few breathes, slow down, trust in the process, enjoy the blue sky, give thanks and focus in on all the wonderful things that are happening right now!  So with that in mind, and even though it has been more then brisk these past evenings, put those autumnal thoughts aside and be present with this week’s meaty, deep summer, heart of it all veggie share! 
The names of all the varieties of vegetable we are enjoying this week really bring it home and emphasize this time of strength, beauty, bright colors and abundance we feel these days on the farm.  Check it out.....

We are pumping it up with Provider Beans and Hercules Carrots.  Yeah!
We are grooving with Islander Peppers and Bright Lights Rainbow Chard.  Nice!
We are large and in charge with Big Beef Tomatoes and we are chugging along on the Orient Express Eggplant train.  Yahoo!
.........and we got the epic blessing of a double rainbow over the farm the other day to sweeten the whole deal.  So it’s pretty much decided at this point - 
August is Awesome and Fall will be Fabulous!
Carrot Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup real maple syrup, room temperature
1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil, warmed until just melted or butter
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
Preheat oven to 375F degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and oats. Add the nuts and carrots. In a separate smaller bowl use a whisk to combine the maple syrup, coconut oil, and ginger. Add this to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
Drop onto prepared baking sheets, one level tablespoonful at a time.  Bake in the top 1/3 of the oven for 10 - 12 minutes or until the cookies are golden on top and bottom.
Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin
1/4 cup olive oil
2 TBS red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
Liberal seasoning of freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 lb. green beans, cut into 2 in. lengths 1 1/2 cups lentils
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Combine all ingredients for dressing in a screw top jar and shake vigorously. Set aside. Cook lentils by adding them to boiling water and cook for 20 minutes, partially covered.
Stir occasionally. The lentils are done when they are tender but still a bit crunchy. Don’t let them get mushy. Drain in colander and transfer to large serving bowl. Heat tsp of oil in skillet. Put in the red onions and sauté 2 minutes. To set the color, sprinkle the vinegar over the onions and toss well. Sauté 1 more minute. Add green beans and cook until green beans are tender and bright green. Then add beans and onions to lentils and add dressing. Serve with fresh tomatoes and rice.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

CSA Week 8

Week #8
July 30 and 31

1 bunch chard
1 bunch carrots
1 pound new potatoes
asian eggplant
sweet peppers
green beans
fresh garlic

The Black Kettle Farm EPIC garlic harvest of 2013 is going on right NOW! The crew is out there is this glorious sunshine, pulling, piling, and bunching.  Then filing the farm truck, puttering out of the field to the barn, hoisting the huge harvest tubs up the rickety weird ladder into the loft and hanging the bundles with care.  In the big open, high ceiling-ed loft that held round the round hay bales of farmer’s past, this season’s garlic will cure and dry out for a few weeks and will later be trimmed and cleaned and ready for the BKF community to enjoy through the fall.
Savor the wonderful flavor and give thanks for this amazing crop that takes almost an entire year to grow!  Chew on that for a moment!  In October 2012, we planted this very garlic exclusively from seed saved on the farm in nice, fluffy compost rich soil, clove, by clove, by clove.  After a heavy mulching of straw, we tucked it in for the winter, wishing it well.  After the major snow dumps of last winter, this hearty garlic popped right up in the spring, the first green anything in the field.  Since then, we have eaten the gorgeous green garlic in the very early season of the CSA, the zesty scapes a few weeks ago, now the fresh garlic, and are only waiting on the bulk of the crop to cure and be ready for fall storage.
Is it me,or does garlic go with absolutely everything?  Can’t start any kind of veggie sauté without it and pesto with tomatoes pretty much signifies summer.  Garlic keeps the vampires at bay, boosts your immunity, and enhances the flavor of absolutely every thing.  The smell of garlic alone can take you places, conjure up memories of travels or amazing feasts with fabulous friends.  
A garlic harvest on a whacky little veggie farm like this one also stands as a milestone for the season.  Clearing the garlic crop from the field removes a mainstay of the general landscape.  We have been walking by the big ol’ chunk of field dedicated to the garlic since April, giving it a wave, pulling a bulb every now and then to check-in, but generally just allowing it to do it’s thing.  Garlic harvest always means deep summer, big sunshine, and heavy lifting.  It also lends itself to a tiny bit of nostalgia, knowing the fall is around the corner.  
But, hey, no need to go there yet!  August is all about being present, living in sunshine and abundance and absolutely going for it!  Let’s all have a big, huge BKF group manifestation for long days of clear blue skies, for hungry, relentless  bugs to find other places to hang out and chow down, and for yummy nutrients in the soil to do their best and share all their goodness with our crops.   

Whilst you take your first bites of this week’s share, take a moment and visualize our plants reaching towards the sunshine and extending their roots toward the core of the earth........Then exhale a deep breathe of gratitude and dig on in!
This is a HUGE month on the farm and your energetic support and positive vibrations only take us higher......

Permission to Go For It!  
Share the BKF summer love!  Smooch your sweetie with some glorious farm fresh garlic breath and live it up!  Hurray for August!
Ginger Garlic Green Beans
Gourmet  | September 2009
by Gina Marie Miraglia Eriquez

1/2 pound green beans, trimmed
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon grated peeled ginger
2 teaspoons rice vinegar (not seasoned)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted
Cook beans in a 6-quart pot of boiling well-salted water, uncovered, until just tender, 6 to 7 minutes. Drain in a colander, then plunge into an ice bath to stop cooking. Drain beans and pat dry.
While beans cook, mince and mash garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt, then stir together with soy sauce, ginger, vinegar, and oils in a large bowl.
Add beans and toss. Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Basic Basil Pesto

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.
Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Curried Eggplant with Tomatoes and Basil
kosher salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 cup fresh basil
Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, eggplant, curry powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Cook, stirring, about 2 minutes.
Add 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until eggplant is tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
Stir in the chickpeas and cook just until heated through, about 3 minutes.
Remove the vegetables from heat and stir in the basil.  Serve the vegetables over rice with yogurt, if using.