Farm News (10/1/13)

The Vegetable Share:
  • Head Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms (from River Valley Ranch, Burlington, WI)
  • Arugula
  • Scarlet or White Turnips
  • Carrots
  • Yellow Onions
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Fresh Dill
  • Green Cabbage
The Fruit Share:
  • Honey Crisp Apples
  • Neptune Grapes
  • Bosch Pears
The Dairy Share:
  • 'Van Gogh Vintage', an aged Gouda from Roth Kase
  • Harvest Butter from Nordic Creamery
  • Lowfat Vanilla Yogurt from Sugar River Dairy
Al and Sarah Bekkum make the butter we've all been enjoying this summer.

2014 Shares Available CSA Share for 2014 are now available. Register today and receive a 10% early bird discount on 3-Season Vegetable Shares and Fruit Shares. The discount applies for the first 50 members who register.

Farm Journal

As an organic farmer, I am sometimes asked to discuss the federal regulations that govern organic certification. These kinds of conversations help me to see that many people view organic certification as a willingness to comply with a long set of prohibitions on substances and practices that aren't allowed by USDA. I guess "don't do this and don't do that" is an easy way to understand a subject that's considerably more complex.

I prefer to define organic farming in terms of what we do rather than what we don't do. The way we farm is not simply a matter of abstaining from the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Rather, it's about a set of proactive practices such as cover cropping to reduce soil erosion, planting beneficial habitat to encourage bird and insect biodiversity, and applying compost in order to enhance the microflora and fauna in our soils.

We see our role as a calling to enhance the health and vitality of all biological systems on our farms. Here in Brodhead our farm is comprised of vegetable fields, hay fields, pastures and natural areas including, woods, oak savannah and prairie. Being a steward of this place means many different things depending on the time of year. Autumn is the time when a visitor might catch us working on the prairie remnant that sits atop the hill at the back of the farm. One of the more pleasant jobs that prairie restoration involves is collecting seeds from native plants and spreading them in areas where you'd like to encourage more prairie plants to grow. This week we've been collecting the seeds of big bluestem, little bluestem, indiangrass, shooting star, compass plant and purple prairie clover. It's a fun job and it's satisfying to see this place and all of it's ecological niches thriving.
Have a great week! -Peg

Peg collecting seeds of big bluestem.


In this family you're never too young to work on the prairie. Ruby and Grandpa Larry collect the seeds of Compass Plant.

The seeds of Indiangrass slide right off the stalk and into the palm of the hand.


This Week's Featured Recipes

Savory Vegetable Pot Pie with Turnips and Mushrooms

6 cups vegetable broth
2 large carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large parsnips, peeled, quartered lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
3 turnips, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons butter
3 cups chopped onions
8 ounces mushrooms, roughly chopped
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

for the topping: 2 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons chilled butter, diced
1 1/3 cups (or more) chilled buttermilk

For filling: Simmer carrots, parsnips and turnips in broth until just tender. Drain; reserve vegetables and broth. Preheat oven to 400. Melt butter in same pot  over medium heat. Add onions; sauté until beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.  Add mushrooms, garlic and thyme. Cook 5 minutes. Add flour; stir 1 minute. Gradually  whisk in reserved broth, then cream. Cook until sauce is thick and  reduced to 4 cups, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Mix in reserved vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer filling to buttered  13x9x2-inch baking dish and bake, covered, until bubbling, about 50 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare  biscuits.            
For biscuits: Stir  first 3 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Add butter. Using fingertips, rub in  butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually add 1 1/3 cups buttermilk,  tossing with fork until dough is evenly moistened and adding more buttermilk by  tablespoonfuls if dry. Drop biscuit dough on top of  hot filling by heaping tablespoonfuls; sprinkle with pepper. Bake uncovered  until tester inserted into center of biscuits comes out clean, about 35 minutes. 
Pickled Carrots and Turnips with Fresh Dill
3 cups water
1/3 cup coarse kosher salt
1 bay leaf
1 cup white vinegar
1 lb turnips, peeled
1 lb carrots, peeled
3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
3-4 dill sprigs, about 3 inches long
Cut the turnips and carrots into pieces about the size of french fries or your ring finger. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Drop the turnips and carrots in and simmer for 1 minute. Pour into a colander and rinse under cold water. Place the turnips, carrots, garlic and dill in a large glass jar.
In the same pot, heat 1 cup of the water. Add the salt and bay leaf, stirring until the salt is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool. Once cool, add the vinegar and the rest of the water. Pour the salted brine, including the bay leaf, over the vegetables in the jar. These pickles will taste best if you let them sit in the refrigerator for a few days before eating. They will last for a month in the refrigerator.
Cider-Poached Pears
Zest of 1 lemon, cut into thin strips
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
2 cups apple cider
6 bosc pears, peeled and cored from bottom
In a large saucepan combine lemon zest, cinnamon stick, allspice, pepper, cider and 3/4 cup of water. Add pears and simmer until pears are easily pierced with the tip of a fork, 15-20 minutes. Remove pears from liquid and transfer to a bowl.
Raise heat to high and boil until liquid is reduced to a syrup, about 15 minutes. Discard cinnamon stick. To serve, slice off a sliver from the bottoms of the pears so they stand upright, and pour syrup over them.

Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)... radishes, lettuce, butternut squash, potatoes, leeks, sage, apple cider and more!

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  • Margaret Sheaffer