Farm News (10/20/15)


Important Reminders & Announcements:

  • This is a vegetable week for full and half-share members. We are also delivering fall dairy, meat and egg shares this week.
  • Next week we will be delivering fall vegetables for full share members only.
  • It's time to think about registering for winter deliveries! We've still got dairy and meat shares available. Winter deliveries occur once a month from December to March. More info here.
  • Thanksgiving turkeys from Riemer Family Farms will be available for pickup on Thursday, November 19th at our farm in Grayslake during regular CSA pickup hours (3:30 to 7:00). Please visit the Riemers' website to place an order and select Sandhill Family Farms as your pickup site, or contact Jen Riemer at

This Week's Vegetable Share (full & half shares):
  • Green Onions
  • Baking Potatoes
  • Parsnips
  • Mixed Herbs (Sage, Thyme & Oregano)
  • Arugula
  • Spinach
  • Rutabaga
  • Lettuce
  • Fennel
  • Shallots

This Week's Dairy Share:
  • 'Pastures' Cheddar from Saxon Creamery
  • 'Chandoka' a mixed cow and goat milk cheese from La Clare Farms
  • Lowfat Vanilla Yogurt from Sugar River Dairy
  • 'Harvest' Butter from Nordic Creamery

 This friendly critter is one of LaClare Farms' milk goats. LaClare's Chandoka cheese is made using a mix of cow and goat milk. Chandoka bears some similarity to cheddar, but it's a little creamery and the goat milk gives it a nice twist.

  Peg was recently at the farm to pick up cheese and was captivated by the antics of these week-old goat kids. They had jumped out of their pens and were using the milking parlor as their own private playground. They were testing out their springy little legs by jumping up and down the concrete step. This is a perfect example of why farmers rarely sit down to watch TV. Even if we had the time to do so, life on the farm is much more entertaining than anything we could watch on a screen!

Notes from the Farm Kitchen

At the Brodhead farm, the focus of our energy this week will be digging the rest of our potato crop. 

There are still three potato varieties in the ground. Yesterday Matt and the crew dug 'Kennebec', a variety that stands out as a great baking potato.

While Kennebec is a nice baker, it can also be used for mashing and roasting. Try using your Kennebecs in combination with this week's rutabaga or parsnips. If you are unfamiliar with either of these vegetables, here are a few tips:
Parsnips are closely related to carrots. In fact, they sort of look like big white carrots. Although they can be eaten raw, their fibrous texture means that they are definitely best when cooked. They are slightly sweet and nutty and are particularly well suited to roasting and mashing. Smaller parsnips don't need to be cored, but you'll want to cut out the center part of the larger ones. One last thought about parsnips is that we love their sweet, nutty flavor in baked goods. We highly recommend using them in place of carrots in your favorite carrot cake or muffin recipes.

Rutabagas are also a great partner for potatoes. We like them for vegetable soups, beef stew, shepherd's pie, and potato-rutabaga hash. Remember to store your parsnips and rutabagas in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

This Week's Featured Recipes

Cheesy Potato & Rutabaga Casserole
3 cups cubed rutabaga
3 cups cubed potatoes
4 ounces butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheese
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 pinch paprika for garnish

Bring rutabaga and potatoes to a boil into a large pot of salted water over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until golden, about 5 minutes. Whisk flour into garlic mixture until smooth. Slowly whisk milk into flour mixture until thickened and creamy, about 5 minutes.
Stir cheese into milk sauce until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 3 minutes. Stir in herbs, salt, and black pepper. Transfer rutabagas and potatoes to the prepared baking dish. Pour cheese sauce over vegetables. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top.
Bake in preheated oven until sauce is thickened and bubbly, 20 to 25 minutes.

Oven-Baked Potato & Rutabaga Fries
2 large baking potatoes
1 medium rutabaga
4 teaspoons plain breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon chopped fresh herbs
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 egg whites
Olive oil cooking spray
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise; cut each half into 1/2-inch-thick fries; pat dry with a paper towel. Do the same with the rutabaga. In a bowl, combine breadcrumbs with herbs, salt and pepper.
In another bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy, about 1 minute; add fries to coat. Toss fries in bread crumbs until evenly coated. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray; arrange fries on sheet with space in between; spritz fries with cooking spray. Bake, turning once, until fries are golden and crispy, about 20 minutes.

Herbed Buttered Parsnips
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 pounds parsnips, peeled and sliced into circles
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Herb Butter:
8 ounces butter, softened
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the olive oil and butter into a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper. Add 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the herb butter by combining the soft butter and herbs together; season with some salt and pepper.

To serve, spread some herb butter in the bottom of a bowl. Add the hot vegetables and dot with more herb butter. Moisten with some of the cooking liquid and serve.

Shrimp Linguine with Fennel & Spinach
1 pound linguine
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup thinly sliced fennel bulb
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 cups fresh chopped spinach
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind 
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add shrimp, fennel, and shallots; sauté 3 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add spinach; cook 2 minutes or until spinach wilts. Stir in rind and next 3 ingredients (through salt). Stir in reserved cooking liquid; cook 1 minute or until slightly thickened.
Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)... butternut squash, cabbage, onions, garlic, carrots, salad turnips, celeriac and red potatoes.

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  • Margaret Sheaffer