Farm News (09/23/14)


Reminders & Announcements:

  • This week we are delivering vegetables, fruit, eggs, dairy and meat.
  • Next week we will be delivering vegetables and fruit.
  • We will make our final Summer Share deliveries the week of Oct 6th.
  • The Fall Share starts the week of October 13th and runs through the week of Nov 17th.
  • This week at the Northfield site, pickup hours will be from 2-4 p.m. at the request of our site hosts. Most Northfield members are already aware of this change. If you cannot make it to the pickup site between 2 and 4 p.m. please let us know as soon as possible.

The Vegetable Share:

  • Broccoli
  • White Salad Turnips
  • Crimini Mushrooms (from River Valley Mushrooms)
  • Sage
  • Carrots
  • Dill
  • Baking Potatoes
  • Rutabaga
  • Lettuce
  • Shallots

The Fruit Share:

  • Honey Crisp Apples
  • Asian Pears
  • Raspberries
  • Italian Plums

The Dairy Share:

  • Mascarpone from Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, Waterloo, WI
  • Ciliegine (small fresh mozzarella balls) from Crave Brothers
  • Brick Cheese from Silver Lewis Cheese Co-op, Monticello, WI
  • Lowfat Vanilla Yogurt from Sugar River Dairy, Albany, WI

    The Meat Share:

    • Whole Chicken
    • Pork Chops or Beef Roast
    • Italian Sausage
    • Ground Beef or Ground Pork
    • Beef Fajita or Stew Meat

    Rich Lange farms with his family near Platteville, WI. The Langes raise organic chickens for our meat share. The beef and pork were raised by Jen and Bryce Riemer who farm near Brodhead.

    Field Report

    Cool, wet conditions continued to dominate the weather report this past week. The damp weather has not done our tomato crop any favors, but it has done wonders for just about every other crop on both the Brodhead and Grayslake farms. Lettuce, broccoli, cabbage and other greens are all going gangbusters, but vegetable crops aren't the only ones that are thriving. Cover crops, too, are growing thick and lush. Cover crops are things like oats, rye and vetch that we plant as a way to prevent wind erosion, enrich our soils and suppress weeds. Typically, cover crops are plowed back in to the soil rather than being harvested. We've been using cover crops in this way for years, but we have also recently begun experimenting with ways to rotate our flock of sheep through some of our cover-cropped fields. In the photo above, one of the Sheaffer girls is seen enjoying some quiet time in a cover crop of oats, turnips and tillage radish. She's keeping an eye on a small group of ewe lambs. The lambs have recently been turned out into a temporary paddock that allows them access to this nutritious forage. The ewes love it, and it gives us a little extra return on the investment we've made in the seed. I guess you'd call that a real win-win!

    In the Farm Kitchen: Tips for Making the Most of your Share

    We love white Japanese turnips for their mild, sweet taste and their soft texture. They can be sliced, grated or chopped for use in raw salads. They're also delicious when cooked in a little butter and then lightly salted.

    Rutabagas are creamy and starchy with a pale yellow flesh. They work well for mashing, roasting and braising. To make roasted rutabaga, cut it up into 3/4″ dice, tossed it with olive oil, the herbs of your choice, a bit of salt and pepper, and a spoon full of sugar (to encourage browning). Then spread the cubes out on a baking sheet and cook at 350 degrees until the cubes are tender.

    Our friend Eric Rose has been growing mushrooms on his farm in Burlington, WI farm since 1976. The mushrooms are grown in pasteurized compost without the use of chemicals or pesticides. Almost twenty years ago Eric built a commercial kitchen so he could use his mushrooms to make sauces, dips, salsas and pickled mushrooms. River Valley products are sold at many farmers markets in the Chicago area, including the Oak Park market where we have been selling our produce for the past 10 years. Stop by sometime to say hello and to pick up a jar of Eric's world-famous pickled 'shrooms!

    This Week's Featured Recipes

    Plum Küchen
    1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    8 tablespoons butter, room temperature
    2/3 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar
    2 large eggs
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1/2 teaspoon almond extract
    1/2 cup mascarpone or sour cream
    6-8 Italian plums, quartered

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. Sift flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and salt into small bowl. Using electric mixer, beat 6 tablespoons butter with 2/3 cup sugar in large bowl until well blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then extracts. Beat in dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with mascarpone in 2 additions. Spread batter in pan.

    Arrange plum wedges on their sides in 4 long rows atop batter. Mix 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 cup sugar in small bowl. Sprinkle over plums. Melt 2 tablespoons butter. Drizzle over kuchen.

    Bake kuchen until tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer pan to rack. Cool until just warm, about 30 minutes, or to room temperature. Cut into 4 lengthwise strips. Cut each strip crosswise into thirds.

    Creamy Mushroom Risotto
    2 tablespoons butter
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 pound crimini mushrooms
    1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
    1 1/2 cups arborio rice
    1/2 cup dry white wine
    5 cups beef or vegetable broth, heated
    Salt & Pepper
    1/2 cup mascarpone

    Heat the butter and oil in a heavy cast iron saucepan.
    Cook the mushrooms until golden brown over medium heat, stirring often, about 7 to 8 minutes. Remove 1/3 cup of mushrooms and set aside for serving.

    Add the shallots to the remaining mushrooms in the pan and cook until they are translucent. Add the rice and stir until it is well coated with the butter mixture.
    Add the wine, and stir continually over medium heat until it is absorbed. Add 4 1/2 cups of hot broth to the pan and reduce the heat to medium low.

    Cook the rice for 16 to 18 minutes, stirring twice during this period, or until the risotto is "al dente".
    Season with salt and pepper. Add an additional 1/2 cup of broth and stir constantly for about 3 to 4 minutes until creamy. Add the mascarpone cheese and stir until well mixed. Remove from the heat and serve in individual bowls topped with some of the reserved mushrooms and additional cracked black pepper.

    Hearty Carrot, Rutabaga & Potato Soup
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    2 shallots, chopped
    1 garlic clove, minced
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
    2 cups 1/2-inch pieces carrots
    3 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled rutabagas
    3 cups 1/2-inch pieces potatoes
    1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
    4 14 1/2-ounce cans vegetable or chicken broth

    Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-low heat. Add shallots, garlic and sage and sauté until shallots begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add carrots, rutabagas, potatoes, tomatoes with juices and 2 cans broth. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 45 minutes.

    Transfer 4 cups soup to processor. Puree until almost smooth. Return puree to pot. Add remaining 2 cans broth; bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and serve.

    Rustic Pizza with Balsamic Glazed Shallots
    3 large shallots, thinly sliced
    3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    1 homemade or refrigerated pizza dough
    4 ounces mascarpone cheese
    8 ounces small fresh mozzarella balls, cut in half

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place shallots in a medium sauté pan. Add vinegar and cook over medium high heat. Stir often and cook until shallots are tender and the balsamic vinegar has reduced by half. Let cool and set aside.

    Coat the pizza pan with olive oil. Spread the pizza dough evenly to all edges of the pizza pan. Spread mascarpone over the pizza dough. Top with fresh mozzarella and shallots. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.

    Lemon-Dill Twice Baked Potatoes
    4 large baking potatoes
    1/4 cup butter, melted 
    1/4 cup mascarpone
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
    4 teaspoons lemon juice
    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    Bake potatoes at 425 degrees until tender, approx 30-45 minutes depending on potato size. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out each potato half, leaving a thin shell.

    In a large bowl mix potato pulp and 3 tablespoons butter. Add the rest of the ingredients except the remaining butter. Beat until smooth.

    Place potato shells in a buttered baking dish and fill with mascarpone mixture. Brush tops with remaining butter. Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

    Fettucine with Brown Butter, Carrots and Sage
    8 oz fettuccine pasta
    3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
    4 tablespoons butter
    10 fresh sage leaves, stemmed
    1/4 cup beef broth or vegetable broth
    5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving

    Cook pasta and carrots together in large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender and carrots are al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-low heat. Add sage leaves and cook until edges curl and butter is dark amber (do not burn), stirring and turning leaves occasionally, about 6 minutes. Transfer sage to paper towels. Add broth to brown butter.

    Add pasta, carrots, and 5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese to brown butter mixture in skillet; toss to coat, adding reserved cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls if dry. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among bowls. Garnish with fried sage leaves, passing cheese alongside.

    Next week's harvest (our best guess)... spinach, beets, broccoli, pears, apple cider, leeks, butternut squash, lettuce, parsley and more!

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    • Margaret Sheaffer