Thursday, September 26, 2013

CSA Week #16

Week 16
Sept. 24 and 25

1 bunch greens
1 bunch beets
1 bunch watermelon radish
1 pound onions
salad mix
sweet peppers
hot peppers
tomatoes - last of the season!
butternut squash from Alma Farm
Porter, Maine

BKF Announcements, Info, Classifieds and Connected Connections!

Welcome Everett Comer Stabler!  Beautiful Baby Boy to long time CSA members and major veggie enthusiasts Hank and Becca Stabler of Portland!  The stork dropped our little Everett off on September 8th, just in time for his parents first wedding anniversary.  Yay and hurray!  So much to celebrate these days! Another Kettle mouth to fed!  

Exciting News!  This week’s Butternut Squash is brought to you by Alma Farm of Porter, Maine.  Unfortunately, yet again, the Kettle has had a real challenging time growing any sort of winter squash this season.  Picture flooded field, water logged plants, bug infestation and all sorts of rot, a generally sad situation all the way around.  We sadly accepted it, chalked the winter squash field up as a failure, hung our heads and threw some nasty, squished pumpkins to the pigs, which they loved.  Then just as the squash morning period was over, as wonderful luck would have it, I got wind from Geof Hancock, a farmer buddy and owner of Alma Farm with wife Gina, that they were absolutely swimming in literal tons of butternut squash.  They had a crazy bumper crop that yielded way too much for them to move in their typical outlets.  A perfect match for your farms was made and we fostered a really smooth collaboration to share their food and abundance and fill in a hole in our farm’s fall time harvest.  Check out to learn more about Geof and Gina’s impressive and inspiring operation.  It makes me so happy to join forces with friends to feed other friends like you, revealing that there is always more then enough to go around and sharing is the absolute best.

Donate your love seat/small couch or comfy chair to the Black Kettle Farm Yurt!
The temps are dropping and it’s time to gather ‘round the newly installed wood burning stove in the Kettle crew’s yurt.  We will come and pick up that piece of furniture that is no longer of use to you and it will live on in glory at the farm!  Donate a love seat and you will get major creds and praise AND you just might be able to poach from the trade table for the rest of the season...just sayin’.

So it has been four (16 weeks, that’s FOUR, right?) months of seeing you all every week at CSA veggie pick-ups.  That tomato fueled spring in your step, that kale based sparkle in your eye, that carrot generated sense of wisdom and that peppery air of spirit and fabulousness are just too much to let go unnoticed!  As we rock on in to full on fall, it is high time to give thanks and deeply acknowledge the gorgeous people, the veggie eaters and the amazing farm supporters of the BKF CSA!  This connection is not missed, it has only grown stronger and we have been nailing it all season!  We are a unit, a posse and a crew  of well over a 100 households and souls who, even with our diverse and different lives, vibrate on the same frequency because we all eat from the same source, filling our bellies, cells and molecules with all that the Kettle provides!  Here’s to our veg-tastic interconnections!  Hoard your food!  We’ve got 3 weeks left!

Kale Salad with Quick-Pickled Watermelon Radish
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
Kosher salt
1 (6-ounce) watermelon radish (can substitute regular radishes)
1 (8-ounce) bunch kale
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon toasted pumpkin seed oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
In a medium bowl, combine vinegar, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt. Thinly slice the radish using a mandoline or chef's knife, add to the bowl, and stir to combine, making sure the slices are well coated. Let stand at least 30 minutes or refrigerate up to a day before serving.
Wash the kale and pat off excess water. If the center stems are tender enough to eat, simply trim the bottom inch or two. If the center stems are thick or tough, cut or tear them out and discard or save for another dish. Slice the leaves crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide ribbons.
In a large bowl, combine olive oil, pumpkin seed oil, lemon juice, thyme, a generous grind of black pepper, and a little salt. Add the kale and use your hands to massage the dressing into the leaves until they soften and wilt.
Drain the radishes. Toss with the kale - OR - arrange the slices on individual plates and place the kale on top. Garnish with pumpkin seeds and serve.

Kale Salad with Butternut Squash and Almonds
Bon Appetit

8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 small onion, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups 1/2-inch cubed butternut squash
1 bunch kale, stems removed, cut into 1/2-inch wide ribbons (about 5 cups)
3/4 cup whole almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped
Parmesan (for shaving)
  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with foil. Whisk 5 Tbsp. oil, vinegar, onion, and Dijon mustard in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside. Combine squash and 2 Tbsp. oil in a medium bowl and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper. Transfer squash to prepared baking sheet and roast, turning occasionally, until squash is tender and lightly golden, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly. 
  2. Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add kale and cook, tossing frequently, until bright green and slightly wilted, 1–2 minutes. Remove from heat; add 3–4 Tbsp. dressing and toss to coat. Transfer kale to a baking sheet and cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add reserved squash and almonds to kale; toss well and season with pepper. Divide among bowls; drizzle with more dressing, if desired. Using a vegetable peeler, shave Parmesan over.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

CSA Week #15

Week 15
Sept. 17 and 18

2 bunches greens
1 bunch carrots
1 bunch turnips
1 pound onions
sweet peppers

The farm is in full blown technicolor right now.  Every thing is perfect, crisp and striking, as though all objects are outlined and are operating in another dimension.   No superficial effect or feature could ever possibly simulate the brilliance of the natural colors, from the blue, blue clear sky, to the dark green kale, to the white tops of the turnips peeking out of the ground, to the rainbow ribs of the chard.  Then there’s the leaves that rustle ever so, the warmth of the sun that never gets as high as it used to, and the rich quality that the soil has taken on since those few days of soaking rain to complete this breath taking full body sensory experience that currently is the farm. 

These colors, this glorious air, all make perfect sense as we rock on into week #15 of the CSA, major elements are colliding.  The full moon is about to take over the night sky, the Autumnal Equinox, the first day of official fall and the International Day of Peace, a moment that is highly celebrated at Black Kettle Farm, take place this weekend.  Elements are heightened, the pigs romp at dusk in affirmation and the cats chow mice and generally regulate in celebration of the shift of the season.  We’ve had a legit frost, and after an epic run, the cherry tomatoes have been deemed done for, the eggplant is not far behind.

At this point in the season, all our hard work hand weeding and toiling with the heel hoe has paid off, we live in a gorgeous land free of weeds and full of vivacious food.  All we’ve got is what is left in the field.  There is no more planting or seeding.  The frost hit us last night must hold off a bit longer, the soil that nurtures and supports the plants must continue to give just a tad bit more, the deer that no doubt gaze at this glorious oasis need to just keep on foraging in the forest for a few more weeks.  The once completely overflowing field is slowly, but constantly starting to transform, once crops are done, eaten and shared, the spent plants go right back to the earth.  Every week the farm gets more tidy as we chip away at the food out in the field, and after months of months of seeding, planting, weeding, weeding, weeding, beating off bugs, either loathing rain or praying for it, now all we do is harvest, bring it all in and make sure that every last scrap is eaten, savored, enjoyed and hoarded because what is out there now is all we got.  Truth.  

Good thing the sun shines down on the broccoli,  good thing that the carrots only get sweeter as the temperatures drop, good thing that we’ve got hundred and hundreds of pounds of onions and garlic cleaned, bagged and stored in the barn, good thing that we still have the sweet potatoes to harvest and good thing that the little arugula is pumped up and going strong.  Fear not dear friends, we’ll make it.

Blessings for a gorgeous and profound full moon!  
Much love for a deep and powerful International Day of Peace on Saturday!  Happy Fall Equinox and a beautiful, crispy kick-off to Autumn on Sunday!
Celebrate Organic Farming and check out the Common Ground Fair this weekend in Unity. Visit for more info.  Not to be missed!

VEGETABLE MASAMBA  - The Kripalu Cookbook
2 TBS unsalted butter
1 cup diced onions (red or yellow)
1 cup diced sweet pepperPinch ground nutmeg
1/2 cup diced fresh tomatoes 
Pinch ground cinnamon Pinch ground cloves
Pinch ground paprika1 tps ground corianderPinch black pepper3/4 tps ground cumin1/2 tps saltPinch ground nutmeg2/3 cup unsalted peanuts9 cups washed, dried, and
chopped fresh kale (10-12 ounces of kale)
In a large skillet, melt the butter and sauté the onions for 3-5 minutes or until translucent. Add peppers and saute for 3 minutes or until they are soft.  Stir in the next seven ingredients and sauté for 1 minute. Add the kale, stirring to coat thoroughly with the spices. Add the salt and fold into the mixture.
Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes. Turn off heat. Add the tomatoes and peanuts, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Preparation time: 30 minutes Serves 4

BKF Stuffed Bell Peppers.......From the Kettle Test Kitchen
Veggies: Sweet Peppers, Onions, Garlic, Greens
Additions: Rice, Quinoa, Ground Beef/Pork/Turkey, Cooked Beans (Chick Pea or Black Beans)
In a large skillet, heat olive oil, add diced onions and garlic and saute until soft.  Add chopped sweet pepper of any variety.  Let this cook at a medium heat.  
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Select big and beautiful Bell Peppers of any color. Cut of the stem top and remove the inner seeds.
Chop any greens, like Kale, Collards or Chard and add to the veggie mix.  Saute until the greens wilt.  Add salt and black pepper, red pepper flakes or cumin.
Mix the veggies with any of the aforementioned additions, like rice, meat, beans or even a bit of bread crumbs.  Scoop veggie mixture into Bell Peppers.  Cover with tin foil (or don’t) and BAKE for at least 30 minutes, or until the bell peppers are soft and the flavors combine.  So delicious!  If you do cheese, add a little feta or shredded cheddar.  

Grated Carrot, Apple and Turnip Salad -

2/3 cup carrot, grated
2/3 cup apple, grated (peel is optional)
2/3 cup raw turnip, peeled and grated

Dressing:2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice1 tablespoon olive oil1 teaspoon honey or agave (optional)
Several full lettuce leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
  • Combine grated carrot, apple, and turnip in a medium-sized bowl.
  • Mix dressing ingredients well, or use your own favorite salad dressing.
  • Drizzle bowl contents with enough dressing to lightly coat, and chill.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

CSA Newsletter #14

Week #14
September 10 and 11
2 bunches greens
1 bunch parsley
salad mix
1 pound potatoes
1 pound onions
sweet peppers
hot peppers

In regards to weather, it is pretty to safe to say that this season has been all about the extremes.  It was extremely dry in June, into extremely wet and hot and gross in July, to extremely gorgeous in absolutely every way in August, to extremely whacky and all over the place in ol’ September.  We’ve already had some legitimately frosty mornings, where it is necessary to reactivate the hands in order to function and harvest and bunch things and we’ve had some real humid, thick air kind of episodes, when we start to feel all set with the whole summer and sweating and being fried by the sun thing.  Who knows what the next stretch will hold, but as we roll into fall, we feel extremely blessed for all the food that has come out of the ground, with all the interesting weather twists and turns, resulting in veggie successes, bounty and wonderful goodness, alongside the inevitable misfires, snafus and humbling moments.  

Farmer weather obsession need to over share met, let’s move on to how extremely wonderful it was to host the BKF CSA Appreciation and Friends of the Farm Veggie Pot Luck last Sunday!  Beautiful blue sky, crispy clean air, a breeze on the Kettle bluffs and a great mix of folks.  There were representatives from so many aspects of the farm, from local members, to Portland buddies, to newbie members from the Kennebunk delivery, to one of our favorite chefs, to friends from the Portsmouth farmer’s market and even a former employee.  The extended Kettle family is truly an amazing bunch.  I rush around this farm all the time just seeing weeds and work to be done, things that could be better, but when the good people of the CSA and beyond come to the farm, kick back, breath the beautiful clean air, gaze at the actual kale that they eat, see what we mean by our tomato jungle, or gawk at the freaky pigs, it just straight up warms the farmer heart of mine.  The afternoon of celebration allows me to stop making mental lists and allows me to appreciate the Kettle for it’s beauty and unique, fun spirit and connect with the deeply quality people that orbit this place and energetically contribute to the farm. 

As the farm evolves, the annual party evolves, this year we incorporated a farm photo booth where people really let their freak flag’s fly, posing on the farm’s classic red tractor, the Cub, and finding the prop that best expressed their identity, be it a skate boarding helmet, a gigantic string of pearls, or a jump suit.  The competition was high as party goers also tried their hand at being a Black Kettle farmer by packing the perfect CSA box and guessing the weights of veggies from our harvests, like salad mix, onions and cherry tomatoes.  Although we are all winners at Black Kettle Farm, there were some that were more then others, scoring fabulous prizes like BKF merchandise and garlic to store for the winter.  Lots of good veggie pot luck items were shared and  plaid heavy fall fashions were represented.  As the sun went down, the temps lowered and the remainder of the party people head to the meadow for a yurt side fire and star gazing.  Farm Mom that I am, I did a lot of ssshhhhhhuushing and was pretty much the first one to bed, these things happen, once I was cool.  An extremely successful and fun celebration it was!  Thanks to all those that made it out to the farm, YOUR farm!!!!  Shout it loud and proud!  Hurray for CSA!’s time to panic, we have 5 weeks left of the season!  If you don’t eat your kale, freeze it!  Boil water, chop kale, submerge in said water for 30 seconds, run under cold water, squeeze out excess, put in plastic bag, freeze, enjoy in February when you are sad.

Potato Hash with Bell Peppers and Onions
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into ½” cubes
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 tsp. fresh parsley, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oil and butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes, toss to coat with oil, and place a lid on the pan. Allow the potatoes to cook covered for 10 minutes.
Remove the lid and increase the heat to medium high. Add onion and bell pepper. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes and vegetables turn golden brown.
Add the parsley and garlic; cook for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve immediately.
Spicy Garlic Kale With Sauteed Peppers
2 bunches kale
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced (or extruded through garlic press)
2-3 peppers, cut into short strips
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
white pepper
Wash kale. Pull greens away from the stalks, discarding stalks. Shred by hand into small pieces.
Place kale in steamer basket, and steam until tender (approximately 10 minutes). Remove immediately from heat.
Heat olive oil in heavy pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add onions. Saute until onions are translucent. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, saute for 1-2 more minutes. Add pepper slices, and saute until tender (approximately 4-5 minutes). Remove from heat.
Add kale to pan, and toss ingredients together thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot or room temperature.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

CSA Newsletter Week #13

Week 13
Sept. 3 and 4

1 head lettuce
1 bunch greens
1/2# salad mix
sweet peppers
hot peppers

As far as subjects for newsletters go, this one is a major no brainer.
It’s September, we have made it over the huge energetic hump that is Labor Day, we finely got some much needed rain, the CSA appreciation celebration is this weekend and our harvest this week is literally overflowing with tons of veggies from the insanely nutritious and delicious Brassica family.  
Friends, we are oh so lucky these days and it just so happens to be 
Week Lucky 13 of the season!  
Yes!  Once again, Black Kettle Farm proves to be in alignment.
So about these Brassicas......who and what are they?? Sometimes called Cole Crops, the brassica family includes broccoli, kale,collards, arugula, cabbage, asian greens, brussels sprouts, radish, turnip and mustard greens.  Any of those sound familiar?  We have no doubt had at least one crop from the Brassica family amongst our BKF harvest for the last 13 weeks.  They pack the most nutritional punch of any veggie family and it is recommended that they are consumed at least 3 times a week.  With a Brassica heavy share like this one, including that 1/2 pound bag o’ baby greens, you can eat them every day and pump up that that highly notable and undeniable, 13 weeks of fresh veggie fueled , Black Kettle Farm CSA member gorgeous glow, emanating health, vitality and fabulosity!
So here’s the deal....Brassicas are all loaded with vitamins and calcium and actively fight cancer, specifically lung, colon, prostate and breast.  They also hinder heart disease and offer tons of anti-oxidants and dietary fiber to your system.  For all you vegans and carnivores alike, get a big, HUGE dose of much needed iron and eat your broccoli and dark leafy greens! And, as luck would have this 13th week of the season, the other veggie family that is majorly represented are the solanums, those illusive hot weather lovers, tomatoes and peppers.  When cooked with the likes of broccoli or kale, they bring out the best in each other.  The vitamin C in the tomatoes does some sort of magic when cooked with any member of the Brassica family and presents the optimum environment for the all that iron to be absorbed into the body.  Harmony and collaboration, love and support, forget about anemia and fatigue, we can access iron like nobody’s business!  Our luck is profound this week, as we are at the time of overlap, the crossroads between summer and fall and we get it al! 
Brassica Fun Facts.....Who knew???
Kale has more then twice the Vitamin C then an Orange!
Although low in calories, Broccoli is full of the good kind of fats, Omega 3.
Mustard Greens (representing in this week’s salad mix) detox the system, thus aiding in cancer prevention. 
Collard Greens have more absorbable calcium then a glass of milk.

BKF goes big on Brassicas!  Eat any way you want, raw, stem, in a smoothy, in chip form, hey, cook in a mound of butter!  Just get ‘em in there and you are totally winning!  
Here’s to 13 weeks of health benefits and let’s wallow around in our great luck and good fortune for all that this funky little farm provides!  

Italian Broccoli with Peppers

6 cups water
2 cups fresh broccoli florets
1 medium sweet red pepper, julienned
1 medium sweet yellow pepper, julienned
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 medium ripe tomato, cut into wedges and seeded 
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add broccoli; cover and boil for 3 minutes. Drain and immediately place broccoli in ice water. Drain and pat dry.
In a large nonstick skillet, saute peppers in oil for 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add the broccoli, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper; cook 2 minutes longer. Add the tomato; heat through. Sprinkle with cheese. Yield: 6 servings.
Swiss Chard and Black Bean Quesadilla -
olive oil
2 whole tortillas (we used spelt flour tortillas)
1/2  bunch of swiss chard -
1 hot pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 cup of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 yellow onion, diced
1/3 cup of shredded cheese (we used sharp cheddar)
hot sauce
In a large skillet saute’ your onion and hot pepper in a little olive oil for 2-3 minutes. Add black beans and chard. Cook for about 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and place mixture into a bowl. Add a little more oil to the same pan and add one of the tortillas. Add some shredded cheese, half the bean mixture, some hot sauce, followed by a little more cheese. Place the other tortilla on top and fry for about 3-5 minutes per side. Enjoy!
****Use any green for this, kale, collards etc and add sweet peppers and tomato to the saute!