Farm News (10/28/14)


Reminders & Announcements

  • This week we are delivering fall vegetables.
  • Next week we will deliver fall dairy, egg and vegetable shares.
  • Register for winter shares and enjoy local foods from December to March! Pickup dates for winter shares are 12/11, 1/8, 2/5 and 3/5 at the Grayslake farm.
  • Riemer Family Farm still has Thanksgiving turkeys available. Email to reserve yours today.
This Week’s Vegetable Share
  • Carrots
  • Salad Mix (lettuce, arugula & baby spinach)
  • Head Lettuce
  • Butternut or Acorn Squash
  • Curly Parsley
  • Beauty Heart Radishes
  • Scarlet Turnips
  • Shallots
Field Report
We've been pretty lucky weather-wise these past couple of weeks.  While we did have our share of cold and cloudy days this month, they were interspersed with enough warm and sunny days to keep plants, animals and humans happy and productive! On Saturday our stand at the Oak Park farmers market hummed with activity all morning long as customers took advantage of the opportunity to stock up on local produce before the end of the season.

As farmers, we too have begun to take stock of what we've done to get ready for winter and to  prioritize and strategize for the tasks that remain on the to-do list. In the coming days we will be planting garlic, digging the last of the potatoes, sending lambs to market, cleaning and putting away equipment and rolling out the fabric covers that protect the cold-hardy crops still in the fields. This October (in contrast to many Octobers we can recall) finds us feeling less worn out and less ready for the long winter sleep. Maybe it's because there were so few scorching hot days this summer that we don't feel quite so "fried" (literally and figuratively). Whatever the reason, we're not quite ready to take a break. If you feel the same about your relationship with the farm, please consider participating in one of our winter share options. In addition to the egg, meat and dairy shares that start in December, we are also growing some winter vegetable crops in the hoophouses. As we get closer to harvesting these crops we'll let you know how to place an order. In the meantime, enjoy the last 4 weeks of the fall share!

Alannah and Kelsy work on another end-of-season project at the Brodhead farm--collecting seeds from big blue stem and other prairie plants that grow around our vegetable fields.

In the Farm Kitchen: Tips for Making the Most of your Share
This week's share contains some beautiful scarlet turnips. If you are unfamiliar with cooking with turnips, we recommend that you start by pairing them with potatoes. Bringing along an old friend (the familiar and comforting potato) is a great way to start building a good relationship with this slightly intimidating new vegetable. Try mashing them together or pairing them in a gratin or a hash. You should also know that scarlet turnips have a mild radish flavor and an inherant sweetness that can be played up in dishes that call for apples, apple juice or honey. Try grating a chunk of scarlet turnip into a salad (leave the skin on for maximum visual effect) and tossing with toasted walnuts, diced apple and a honey-dijon dressing. Enjoy!

Beauty Heart radishes, also known as watermelon radishes, are rather plain on the outside but beautiful on the inside. They get their name from the brilliant pink color of the interior. Beauty hearts are in a class of radishes called storage radishes. They are meant to grow to a much larger size than spring radishes. When stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator they will keep for months. We use beauty heart radishes much like traditional spring radishes. They can be peeled and grated or sliced for use on sandwiches, in salads and on crudité platters.

Red Lentil & Squash Curry Soup
12 ounces red lentils
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 shallots, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 large or 2 small butternut squash peeled, seeded, and cut in 1/2-inch pieces
1 quart chicken stock
2 cups water

Rinse lentils; set aside. Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add curry powder; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add shallot, garlic, and ginger; cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add squash; cook until just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add stock. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cook until squash is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in lentils; cook until soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.

Pickled Carrots, Turnips & Beauty Heart Radishes
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 cup rice vinegar
2 3/4 cups water
2/3 cup sugar
8 slices of peeled fresh gingerroot, each the size of a quarter, crushed lightly with the flat side of a knife
2 garlic cloves, crushed lightly
1 tablespoon dill seeds
1 tablespoon celery seeds
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
8 black peppercorns
6 medium carrots, cut into 3 1/2-by 1/3-inch sticks
2 turnips (about 3/4 pound), peeled and cut into 3 1/2 by 1/3-inch sticks
2 beauty heart radishes, peeled and cut into sticks

In a saucepan bring the vinegars and the water to a boil with the sugar, the gingerroot, the garlic, the dill seeds, the celery seeds, the salt, the mustard, and the peppercorns and simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes, or until the sugar is dissolved. Put the carrots, the turnips, and the radishes into glass jars, pour the vinegar mixture over them, covering them completely, and chill, covered, overnight. The vegetables will keep for up to 2 weeks.
Skillet Turnips and Potatoes with Bacon

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces thick-cut bacon slices, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds turnips, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Mix 1/4 cup water, vinegar, and sugar in small bowl. Combine oil and bacon in heavy large skillet; sauté over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add shallot and garlic; sauté about 5 minutes. Add turnips and potatoes; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sea salt and toss 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and cook until vegetables are almost tender, stirring and turning vegetables occasionally, about 15 minutes.

Push vegetables to 1 side of skillet. Pour vinegar mixture into cleared space. Toss vegetables with vinegar mixture. Spread vegetables in even layer in skillet; cook until golden and slightly crisp on bottom, about 4 minutes. Turn vegetables over; spread in even layer and cook until browned and slightly crisp on bottom, about 4 minutes. Continue to turn, spread, and cook vegetables until tender, golden, and crisp around edges, 7 to 8 minutes longer. Season with more sea salt and black pepper. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with parsley.

Glazed Scarlet Turnips
2 lbs medium turnips
About 1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
chopped parsley for garnish

Peel turnips, then halve horizontally and quarter halves. Arrange turnips in 1 layer in a 12-inch heavy skillet and add enough water (about 1 1/2 cups) to reach halfway up turnips. Add butter, sugar, and salt and boil over moderately high heat, covered, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Boil turnips, uncovered, stirring, until tender and water has evaporated, about 8 minutes.

Sauté turnips over moderately high heat, stirring, until golden brown,about 5 minutes more. Add 3 tablespoons water and stir to coat turnips with glaze.

Next week's harvest (our best guess)... potatoes, lettuce, beets, spinach, fennel, mushrooms, onions, celeriac, rutabaga and more!

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  • Margaret Sheaffer