This is the last week of the regular season CSA deliveries for 2020. We are incredibly grateful to the farm team for all of their hard work and dedication, to the site coordinators & site hosts for making this season possible, and to all of you for your support. It goes without saying that it has been a crazy, unpredictable, and difficult year for all of us. Getting all of the crops harvested, distributed, and into your kitchens was a team effort. Thank you.
Root crop harvesting this time of year is a group activity. Although different this season as we are spread out farther in the field, it is still an all hands on deck job. Conversation often turns to questions about the next season: what do we want to do differently, how can we improve our farming practices, how can we make the work a bit easier or more efficient, if we have funds left at the end of the year do we need a new piece of equipment or tool? Part of what makes farming exciting is that there is always room for improvement, we can always get better, our learning is never finished.
This year the conversation feels more daunting than it has in the past. Adding in how do we keep the farm crew safe and all of you safe is weighty and of utmost importance – really the most important thing. And we are grateful to have the opportunity to plan for another year, that we get to continue to do what we love, that despite the difficulties we had a successful season. But the 2021 season is not an easy thing to plan for.
On Thursday, we were out in the chilly weather working on our root crop harvest list and talking about the 2021 season. We finished the carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, and watermelon radishes. As we filled up the last bucket of radishes we were all feeling tired and cold and to be honest worried about 2021. Then the light around us turned yellow. The sky was a bright pink and purple – a true golden hour. As we loaded up the wagon with the roots to head back to the barn, the sky lit up, glowing. We all stood still for a moment, taking in a spectacular sunset. I don’t think we have seen one quite as amazing before. (A big perk of farming is that we get to catch a lot of sunrises and sunsets.)
The golden sky lit our way back to the barn. It warmed our hearts, reminded us of why farming is what we choose to do, gave us a break from the worries, and marked the ending of our root crop harvest season. The farm, the natural world, have a way of showing up when we need it most. And we will continue to show up and be here for all of you in 2021, growing your food, caring for this land, and each other.
2 large carrots, peeled, cut on a diagonal into 2” pieces
2 large leeks, white and light-green parts only, cut on a diagonal into 2” pieces
2 large or 3 medium parsnips, peeled, halved lengthwise if large (remove woody center, if needed), cut on a diagonal into 2” pieces
1/2 medium head of green cabbage, cut into 4 wedges, each with some core attached
2 flat-leaf parsley sprigs plus 1 tablespoon chopped for garnish
5 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place carrots, leeks, parsnips, cabbage, parsley sprigs, and stock in large heavy pot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until vegetables are tender but not falling apart, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped parsley. http://www.bonappetit.com
WINTER VEGETABLE RED CURRY
2 tablespoons safflower oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup red curry paste (from a 4-ounce can)
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 5 cups)
8 medium carrots or parsnips, or a combination of both, peeled and cut on the bias into 1/4-inch pieces (about 5 cups)
1 can (13.5 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
1 can (13.5 ounces) unsweetened light coconut milk
8 mini sweet peppers, seeded and sliced (about 2 cups)
Cooked rice and fresh basil leaves, for serving
Heat a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat; swirl in oil. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in curry paste, squash, and carrots; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
Add coconut milks. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are fork-tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Add peppers and cook until just beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Season with salt. Reserve half of curry for next day; serve remainder over rice with basil. http://www.marthastewart.com
ROASTED SQUAH AND PARSNIP SOUP
1 butternut or butterkin winter squash
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for frying and drizzling
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound parsnips (4 to 5 medium), peeled and halved lengthwise
2 pounds leeks (3 medium), white and light-green parts only, halved lengthwise and thoroughly washed and drained
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves, plus whole leaves for frying
2 Granny Smith apples (1 pound), halved and cored
1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
1 stick unsalted butter
Toasted pepitas, toasted sesame seeds, and poppy seeds, for serving
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Scoop seeds and pulp from squash; discard. (Or lightly coat seeds in oil, season with salt, and roast on a rimmed baking sheet until crisp and darkened slightly, about 20 minutes; let cool and reserve for garnish.) On a rimmed baking sheet, rub squash halves with 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt; turn cut-sides down. On another rimmed baking sheet, toss parsnips and leeks with remaining 1 tablespoon oil, season with salt, and sprinkle evenly with thyme and chopped sage; spread in a single layer.
Roast 30 minutes. Add apples to sheet with squash, cut-sides up. Continue roasting until vegetables turn golden brown in places and are easily pierced with the tip of a knife, 15 to 20 minutes more. When cool enough to handle, scoop flesh from squash; transfer half to a blender with half of other vegetables and apples, 2 cups broth, and 1 cup water. Puree until smooth, adding more water as needed if too thick to self-level. Pour through a sieve into a pot. Repeat process with remaining vegetables, apples, broth, and 1 more cup water.
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling occasionally, until fragrant and golden brown and dark-brown sediment particles form in bottom of pan, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir brown butter into soup; season with salt and pepper. Rewarm soup over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally and adding more water as necessary until it reaches desired consistency.
Wipe pan clean. Heat 1/4 inch of oil over medium-high. When it shimmers, add a handful of sage leaves; cook, stirring a few times, until darkened slightly, 20 to 30 seconds. Transfer to paper towels, season with salt, and let stand until cool and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Fry more sage as desired. Serve soup topped with crisped sage, pepitas, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and a drizzle of oil. http://www.marthastewart.com