Farm News (11/10/15)


Important Reminders & Announcements:

  • This is a vegetable week for full share members only.
  • Next week is the final week of the fall season. We will be delivering vegetables for full and half share members, as well as eggs, meat and dairy.
  • We're now taking orders for cheese gift boxes! This year's cheese boxes feature new cheeses and new packaging. Order bythis Sunday for delivery to your pickup site next week. Other delivery and shipping options are available. Scroll down to learn more.
  • It's not too late to register 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.

This Week's Vegetable Share (full shares only):

  • Carrots
  • Crimini Mushrooms
  • Red & Gold Beets
  • Yellow Potatoes
  • Fresh Dill
  • White Salad Turnips
  • Yellow Onions
  • Radishes
  • Leafy Asian Cabbage

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


This week's share contains a mix of red and gold beets. Gold beets are similar in taste to red beets, but they don't stain everything they touch like their traditional cousins do. No matter the color, beets are among the most nutritious vegetables you can eat. They are high in potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron and vitamins A, B & C. They are a wonderful tonic for the liver and they work as a purifier for the blood too! In addition to all that, they are delicious and versatile. They can be roasted, baked, boiled and even grated or sliced raw. Here are some foods they pair especially well with: mint, yogurt, sour cream, blue cheese, goat cheese, parsley, orange, dill, walnuts, hazelnuts, cumin, horseradish, apple cider vinegar and hard boiled eggs. 

As you probably know, carrots are loaded with beta carotene, an antioxidant that protects our bodies from harmful free radicals. In addition to the traditional orange color, there are also white, yellow, red and purple cultivars. We've tried growing some of these, but so far we haven't found any that taste as good as orange carrots. Food that go well with carrots include apples, cilantro, cheddar cheese, ginger, lemon juice, cinnamon, maple syrup, curry powder, parmesan cheese, shallots, thyme, almonds, radishes, fennel, miso and lentils.  

This Week's Featured Recipes

Scalloped Potatoes and Carrots
2-1/2 pounds potatoes (about 9 medium), peeled and sliced
5 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1-1/2 cups sliced yellow onions
2 cups boiling water
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1-1/2 cups milk
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated cheese, divided

In a large pot, combine potatoes, carrots, onions, water and salt. Add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, melt butter. Remove from the heat; stir in flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup cheese. Reduce heat; stir until cheese is melted.

Red & Gold Beet Salad with Toasted Walnuts
3-4 medium beets, about 2 lbs total
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, plus more as 
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 garlic clove, minced
Sea salt, to taste
1/3 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
4 cups chopped lettuce or leafy asian cabbage
Preheat an oven to 375°F. Place the beets in a baking dish and cover with water by about 1/4 inch. Cover the dish tightly and bake until the beets can be easily pierced with a knife, about 45 minutes or more, depending on the size of the beets. 

When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel and cut into thin slices. Place the beets in a medium bowl, add the vinegar and toss together gently. Let stand for 30 minutes. Add the olive oil, dill, garlic and salt, stirring gently so the slices don't break. Taste and add more vinegar, if needed, and stir in the walnuts. Serve on a bed of lettuce or leafy Asian cabbage.

Chipotle Chicken Tacos with Radish Salad
3 tablespoons finely chopped chipotles in adobo
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 small chicken, cut into pieces
1 bunch sliced radishes and chopped radish greens
1 small yellow onion, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
8 toasted flour tortillas
Smashed avocado

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together chipotles with cumin and salt. Add chicken pieces and toss to coat. Arrange chicken, skin side up, in a roasting pan. Roast until chicken is cooked through, basting occasionally with pan juices, about 50 minutes. Remove chicken from oven and let rest 10 minutes.

In another bowl, toss together sliced radishes and onions. Dress with olive oil and lime juice; season with salt and pepper.

Remove chicken from bones, discarding skin. Roughly chop the chicken and serve on tortillas, topped with avocado and radish salad. Garnish with radish greens.
Creamy Mushroom "Caviar"
1 pound crimini mushrooms, finely chopped
1 small onion, very small dice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Chopped dill

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; set aside. 

Heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil in the skillet then add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid released by mushrooms has evaporated and mushrooms are tender. Stir in reserved onion and lemon juice and set aside to let cool slightly; transfer to a bowl. Add sour cream, salt, pepper and cayenne and stir well. Just before serving, stir in a bit of dill, then sprinkle some over the top as a garnish. Serve at room temperature.

Artisan Cheese Gift Boxes for the Holidays

We're now taking orders for holiday gift boxes! This year's cheese gift boxes feature new cheeses and packaging. They highlight the work of Wisconsin dairy farmers and cheesemakers located in the beautiful countryside surrounding our Brodhead farm. Your purchase of a gift box supports family-scale dairy farms and small creameries. Each box contains an artfully-packaged assortment of four 8-ounce cheeses along with a lovely card containing information about each of the farms.

The price is $32. Gift boxes can be picked up at Sandhill Family Farms or at any of our pickup sites the week of November 16th or the week of December 14th. You can also choose to have your gift box shipped directly to the recipient in December. Please visit our website for more information and to place your order.

Update on Proposed Factory Farm

In late September I sent a brief update on the status of a proposed 5,800-cow confinement dairy operation that would be located near our Brodhead farm. I told you how we joined forces with other local family farmers and concerned residents to convince the Sylvester town board to pass a temporary moratorium on the licensing of any new large confinement farms (CAFOs) in the township. Local citizens have had some time to examine current environmental protections. At our urging, the town board has passed additional ordinances regulating the methods that any new confinement farms would use to handle and dispose of animal waste.

At the same time that we are working with our attorneys to create stronger legal protections, we are also working hard to educate our community about what's happening. We're learning a lot about how to be effective at public outreach and education. We've been writing letters for publication in local newspapers, attending township and county board meetings, calling elected representatives and organizing public meetings.

Last week we organized a community meeting that drew a crowd of almost 300 concerned citizens. Speakers included John Ikerd, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural & Applied Economics at the University of Missouri, who urged citizens to support family farms by rejecting industrial farming models that pose a threat to clean water and diminish quality of life in rural areas. You can listen to a short radio piece about the event here.  

...And there's nothing like a good-old-fashioned protest, complete with costumes, to draw a little attention to the cause. On Saturday, residents from around the state traveled to the capitol building to protest the state government's lack of environmental protections as the number of CAFOs continues to grow.

What I find really interesting is that it's family farmers, many of them CSA and other direct-market farmers, who are leading this fight. (That's Kriss Marion, my good friend and fellow CSA farmer, in the cow suit!) I know there are ways we farmers can work more closely with our customers and our CSA members to bring about the changes we want to see in agriculture. Those of us who care about this issue need to work harder to identify opportunities for collaboration among rural folks and urban dwellers. We have much in common, after all. We all want to eat healthy food grown in a way that enhances, rather than degrades, our natural resources. If you have thoughts or ideas, please send them my way.

Have a great week,

Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)... garlic, cranberries, spinach, leeks, celeriac, red cabbage, carrots, shallots, parsnips and more!

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  • Margaret Sheaffer