Farm News (10/27/15)

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Important Reminders & Announcements:
 

  • This is a pickup week for full share members only.
  • Next week we will be delivering vegetables for full and half share members, as well as eggs and dairy.
This Week's Vegetable Share (full shares only):
  • Garlic Bulbs
  • White Salad Turnips
  • 'Superior' Potatoes
  • Green Cabbage
  • Celery Root
  • Carrots
  • Beauty Heart Radishes
  • Mix of Baby Swiss Chard & Spinach
  • Yellow Onions
  • Fresh Dill
Farm Journal
Fall is an interesting season on the farm. It's a time of year when many activities are coming to an end, but it's also a time for new beginnings. And so it is this week as we welcome a batch of chicks that will quickly grow up to become our new flock of egg-laying hens.  
 
 
On Monday Peg made the short one-hour drive to Sunnyside Hatchery where she picked up 500 of these day-old fuzzballs, all of whom had been tucked safely into 6 large cardboard boxes. The cheeping of a single chick is not so loud, but the cheeping of 500 chicks in a Toyota Camry is definitely impressive, making the hour drive seem somewhat longer than an hour!

Back at the farm, the thirsty chicks were carefully unloaded into the pen where they were introduced to their first taste of food and water.
 
The chicks will spend the winter indoors, where they will stay warm and dry. In early spring they will begin to lay eggs, at which point they will be ready to move outside onto green grass for the rest of the season. In the meantime, we will enjoy watching them grow!
 

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

Beauty Heart Radishes, also known as Watermelon Radishes, are rather plain on the outside but beautiful on the inside. They are named for the brilliant pink color of their 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. Beauty hearts are a little sweeter and less spicy than traditional radishes, but they can be used in similar ways. They can be peeled and grated or sliced for use on sandwiches, in salads and on crudité platters. When stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator they will keep for months.

Celery root, also know as celeriac, is another vegetable with a not-so-beautiful exterior. It has a wonderful mild celery flavor with a hit of nuttiness. The flavor of celeriac is preferred over regular stalk celery in many dishes because of its smooth flavor. It has no sharpness or bitterness like stalk celery sometimes has. 

 

Celery root is prized in Europe, especially in France, where it features prominently in the classic Celeriac Remoulade, a dish composed of shredded celeriac, mayonniase and Dijon mustard. Use a sharp kitchen knife to trim the outside layer from the celeriac bulb before chopping it.  Here are some ways to use it:
 
  • Roast with carrots and potatoes and serve with roast chicken or pork.
  • Boil celeriac pieces and mash them with an equal amount of boiled potatoes. Season with salt, pepper and butter. (This is heavenly!)
  • Combine with grated apples, cabbage, carrots or other root vegetables to make flavorful autumn slaws.
This Week's Featured Recipes
 
Mashed Potatoes and Celeriac
2 pounds potatoes, sliced 1 1/2 inches thick
1 celeriac bulb, peeled and sliced 1 1/2 inches thick
Coarse salt
1/2 cup sour cream or greek yogurt
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper
Place potatoes and celeriac in a medium saucepan, and fill with enough cold water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat; add salt generously. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until vegetables are tender when pierced with a knife, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain in a colander. Mash potatoes and celeriac. Add sour cream and butter, and stir until combined. Stir in nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Glazed Turnips and Carrots
1 bunch white salad turnips, trimmed, greens reserved
2 large carrots, sliced into thin rounds
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons sugar
Kosher salt

Place turnips and carrots in a large skillet; add water to cover vegetables halfway. Add butter, sugar, and a large pinch of salt; bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is syrupy and vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

(If vegetables are tender before liquid has reduced, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a plate and reduce liquid until syrupy. Return vegetables to pan and stir to coat well.)

Add turnip greens to skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until just wilted, 2-3 minutes. Season with salt.

Easy Autumn Pot Roast
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3-pound beef round roast, chuck roast or arm roast
2 cups tomato juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 large rutabaga, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 medium onions, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium celeriac, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Heat the oil in a 6-quart saucepot over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until it's well browned on all sides. Pour off any fat. Add 1 ¾ cups tomato juice, garlic and black pepper to the saucepot and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 1 hour 45 minutes.

Add the rutabaga, carrots, onion and celeriac. Cover and cook for 45 minutes or until the beef is fork-tender. Remove the beef and vegetables to a platter. Stir the flour and remaining puree in a small bowl until the mixture is smooth. Stir the flour mixture into the juices in the saucepot. Increase the heat to medium-high. Cook and stir until the mixture boils and thickens. Serve with the beef and vegetables.
  
Results of This Year's Gleaning Project
Sometimes we find that after the week's CSA harvest is complete, there is still produce left in the field that has pest or wind damage, is too big or too small, or takes more time to harvest, wash and pack than it is worth in the cost of labor. As farmers, we know exactly how much time, effort and attention goes into growing this food, and we know that it has value to those who wouldn't otherwise have access to fresh, local organic produce.
 

This year we partnered with the Liberty Prairie Foundation to create a weekly gleaning program to make use of this "extra" produce. With the help of countless volunteers, more than 5,000 pounds of produce were harvested from our fields! Harvests included lettuce, scallions, spinach, kohlrabi, beets, broccoli, cabbage, Swiss chard, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, green beans, radishes, tomatoes, and turnips. The food was donated to local food pantries in Park City, Waukegan, Grayslake, Avon Township, and other surrounding communities.

Before the program began, this produce was oftentimes tilled back into our fields to serve as additional nutrients for the soil. Even with these gleanings, we're still able to till in leftover plant material and feed members of our community at the same time-- it's really a win-win for all of us!

One volunteer mentioned, "It was very rewarding to be part of a concrete solution to food waste and hunger in the community. It was surprising how a small amount of labor from a group of people could yield so many pounds of fresh food that then gets delivered in the programs for distribution. It seems such a simple solution to a complex problem."

If you would like to volunteer for the gleaning program next year, please contact Erin Cummisford at erin@libertyprairie.org.

 
Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)... sweet potatoes, carrots, leeks, butternut squash, kale, scarlet turnips and more!

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  • Margaret Sheaffer