Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Journal Post for the week of October 17, 2011

OCTOBER 17, 2011
Week 18- WOW- hard to believe we are on the last day of CSA season! At the end of this topsy-turvy season of extremes, we feel grateful for all of the wonderful folks who made this season possible and enjoyed the bounty! Even though the farm is totally saturated with water, and our time is being soaked up with kids, animals, and off-farm jobs (Adam's), we are excited about the growing life of this little family farm! You all are a big part this.

Even though the CSA is "officially" ending this week, we'll still have a bunch of greens such as kale, lettuce mix, and arugula, winter squash, bok choy, celery, ground cherries, eggs, yarn, and potatoes (if they don't rot in the ground!) available into the winter months. You can ALWAYS give us a call or come by the farmstand to see what's available. We will also likely have "call back" to pick up some luscious English peas that are starting to get plump. but were not yet ready for harvest- so watch your email for a note about this for next week!! We want to make sure you all get some. We are experimenting this year with growing greens in our newest, biggest hoop house (where the tomatoes and crazy basil were), so the good stuff will keep growing well into December, and possibly will start to grow again (if they survive) when they days start getting longer again. We hope it works out.

We have a few exciting last pick-up treats this week, all crops that waited for the weeds to die and for cooler weather to flourish! "Grand Isle" celery- sweet and flavorful for your favorite soups and stews. Also, we have carrots that have held out and grown and now taste wonderful. The potatoes were simply too muddy to mess with - like river going down the paths...and the green onions are taking an extended bath in the field.

ANNOUNCING: FALL HOEDOWN/FARM WORK PARTY October 29 from 8am - 12noon then a potluck lunch, pickup some potatoes and english peas and music

Meeting at the farmstand at 8am - we have various tasks to complete and would love all of your help putting parts of the farm to "bed" for the season. We will have all sorts of tasks available. From shoveling barns and chicken coops to picking peas and potatoes to cleaning stakes out of the field to planting in the hoophouses to whatever needs to be done.

We will have a list and folks that will lead each task. When you arrive at 8 (or when you can get there) you can join a "crew" and get dirty(to work). AT noon we will break for a yummy potluck lunch and music and maybe some other treats. You will all go home with farm produce including potatoes, english peas and beans and more. Families are welcome - young and old - no matter what your ability - there is a job for you. Bring work gloves, sturdy shoes, water bottle. Early next week we will be posting some of the jobs that are available to do that day. Bring the whole family - work'em, feed'em, and then nap :)

If you could, please RSVP- so we know how much desert to make:) and how many jobs we can get done. A crob mob - Blue Heron Style:) Look forward to seeing you all -

Oh and if you are on facebook - look for us. we are there - and we are posting a few times a week..

Oh yes one more thing - we are part of the Grand Isle - - check it out - pickups are on Fridays.

Thanks for reading - see you all soon. Have a great week! Thanks for listening and your support. Peace, your farmers, Christine, Adam, Sadie and Delia

PS Please also check out our story at the Vermont Land Trust Website:


Yarn for Sale
Yarn is available in our natural color "Island Oatmeal." Worsted Weight, double twist, soft, 220 yds, 4 ounces, Greenspun (no petroleum products used in cleaning the wool) by Green Mountain Spinnery here in Vermont. Yarn is in the farmstand. 17.00 skein. Also available wool roving, white, brown, oatmeal - $9 for 4 ounces.

Recipes, Etc...
Celery: Celery contains phytochemicals called phthalides, which some studies have shown reduce stress hormones and work to relax the muscle walls in arteries, increasing blood flow. As a result, it has long been used in Chinese medicine to help control high blood pressure. Celery is an excellent source of vitamins K and C, and a very good source of potassium, folate, dietary fiber, molybdenum, manganese, and vitamin B6. --Martha Rose Shulman
Celery and Potato Soup
This light puree is more celery than potato. The potato thickens the soup, a simple potage that is brought to life by the tiny amount of walnut oil that’s drizzled onto each serving.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 large or 2 medium leeks, white and light green part only, cleaned and sliced
6 celery stalks, sliced (about 3/4 pound)
Kosher salt
1 medium-size russet potato, about 10 ounces, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved, green shoots removed
A bouquet garni made a bay leaf and a couple of sprigs each parsley and thyme, tied together
7 cups water or chicken stock
Freshly ground pepper
For garnish:
2 teaspoons walnut oil
1/4 cup very thinly sliced celery
chopped chives or chervil (optional)

Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat, add the onion, leek, and celery, and cook gently, stirring often, for about 10 minutes, until very tender. Add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt after the first 5 minutes. Make sure that the vegetables do not color.Add the potatoes, garlic, and bouquet garni. Stir together and add the water or stock. Bring to a simmer, add salt to taste, cover and simmer 30 to 40 minutes, until the vegetables are very tender and the broth fragrant. Remove from the heat.Remove the bouquet garni from the soup. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup (or you can put it through the fine blade of a food mill or use a regular blender, working in batches and placing a kitchen towel over the top to avoid splashing). Then strain through a medium strainer (this step is important; otherwise the soup will be stringy), using a pestle or the bottom of a ladle to push the soup through. Make sure to scrape the outside of the strainer so that all of the puree goes back into the soup. Return to the pot, stir with a whisk to even out the texture, heat through and season well with salt and pepper.. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish each bowl with a few thin slices of celery and about 1/4 teaspoon walnut oil. Sprinkle with minced chives or chervil if you wish, and serve.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Journal Post for the week of October 10, 2011

OCTOBER 10, 2011

Just when we all thought that fall was really closing in on us, the sun came back out and warmed up the fields! This meant that the green beans, eggplant, and peppers all got a boost and are still producing wonderfully, and the soil has dried up enough to walk through the fields without sinking. Hopefully we'll be able to hold on to this lovely warmth for a couple more weeks.
We were able to begin planting our winter greens in the tomato hoophouse this weekend. We have kale and pac choi, and soon the broccoli and cabbage will join them! The hoophouses mean that we can really extend our season, which is so important when you think about how short the Vermont growing season can be, especially this year. Our thoughts and best wishes go out to all the farmers in southern Vermont and the Intervale in Burlington who had to cut their season short due to floods and damaged produce. Despite all the complications of this summer, we are so proud to be able to see you through another two CSA weeks.
In other farm news, Texi the baby cow (who is really not much of a baby anymore) found his way into the barn with the little boy sheep on Sunday. It seems that he just wanted to play with some animals his own age, but the sheep weren't exactly interested in playing "headbutt the new guy" as much as Texi was. Luckily Ashlyn got Texi back to his mom, and he was soon distracted by all the lush grass in the pasture. The sheep seem to have forgotten it ever happened.
Once again, many thanks to all of you who have continued to support Blue Heron Farm this year, whether through your CSA share, donations, or volunteer time. We couldn't do it without you! The harvest always tastes sweetest when shared with those you love. We hope you can share this week's bounty with your loved ones! Peace from your farmers, Adam, Christine, Sadie, Delia, Ashlyn and Sophie

Yarn for Sale
Yarn is available in our natural color "Island Oatmeal." Worsted Weight, double twist, soft, 220 yds, 4 ounces, Greenspun (no petroleum products used in cleaning the wool) by Green Mountain Spinnery here in Vermont. Yarn is in the farmstand. $17.00 skein. Also available: wool roving, white, brown, oatmeal - $9 for 4 ounces.

Lori's Skillet Smashed Potatoes
(from 101 Cookbooks, a wonderful website to peruse when looking for seasonal ideas for your CSA produce!

one bag of small potatoes
salt & pepper
1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil

Start by placing the potatoes in a large saucepan. Add a teaspoon of salt and cover with water. Don't peel the potatoes, because the skin helps keep the potatoes together. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and cook at a low boil until they are tender enough to slide a knife in easily. It is important not to over-boil them, for golf ball size potatoes about 10 minutes or less. Drain the potatoes and refrigerate until you are ready to brown them in a large skillet.
Heat the olive in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Keep in mind it needs to be big enough to hold the potatoes, which double in size when they are smashed. Smash each potato with a masher or the bottom of a heavy glass. Season with salt and pepper and cook until crisp, and then turn and cook the other side. Sprinkle with chives, fresh herbs, whatever and serve.
Blue Heron Tip: Try adding some chopped hot peppers, onion and garlic to the pan before adding cooked potatoes. Chop up some arugula and green onions and add to the pan after everything is fully cooked. Top off with some Vermont cheddar and you've got the perfect meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Roasted Eggplant Soup

3 medium tomatoes, halved
about 1 1/2 pounds eggplant, halved lengthwise
1 small onion, halved
6 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme/ 1 tsp dried
4 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth
1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
3/4 cup (about 3 1/2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange tomatoes, eggplant, onion and garlic on a large baking sheet, or two smaller ones if you, like me, have a tiny oven. Brush or drizzle vegetables with oil then roast them for 20 minutes, pausing only to remove the garlic cloves, and returning the pans to the oven for another 25 minutes, until the remaining vegetables are tender and brown in spots. Remove from oven and scoop eggplant from skin into a heavy, large saucepan or soup pot. Add the rest of the vegetables, the thyme and the chicken or vegetable stock and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until onion is very tender, about 45 minutes. Cool slightly.
Working in batches, puree soup in blender until it is as smooth as you’d like it to be. (Or, if you have an immersion blender, you can do this in the pot.) Back in the pot, add the cream and bring the soup back to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Serve in four bowls, sprinkled with goat cheese. Play around with spiciness if you want (try adding some Blue Heron Farm peppers!)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Journal Post for the week of Ocotber 3, 2011

OCTOBER 3, 2011
Week 16- There are TWO more pickups after this one. With a possible surprise event at the last pickup. Stay tuned.
So with the change of weather, we have all gotten the sniffles. This farmer mama woke up from a nap yesterday (you know when this mama is sick - real sick- when she takes to a nap with her girls) and couldn't breathe. Very scary experience - I was having a cold induced asthma attack - I was all crinkly in my chest. Luckily, good friends (Donna Sue and Michael and Ashlyn) came over to watch the girls and Adam took me into the ER - where I got a nebulizer treatment, chest xray and inhaler. I was released with strict orders of laying low for a few days. How do you tell a mama farmers that? And how do you do it? Well with some balancing and a very patient husband, hardworking intern Ashlyn and Aimee, Charlie and Daniel to play with the girls - I was able to nap in this morning and take it easy. Thanks to all who have helped out.
It rained real well here over the weekend. Our soil can't take anymore up - its making puddles. We were hoping to pull up potatoes for you today but - um - I think we would sink into our knees and wreak havoc on the soil. We think next week - if we get sun you will get beans, celery and potatoes and more.
Thanks go out to our die hard volunteer Diantha, Gail, Cordelia, Fiona, Benjamin and our Intern Ashlyn. I don't know where we would be without all of you. On Friday last, Cordelia and Ashlyn, single handedly cleaned out the large hoophouse. This is no small feat. All out hoophouse tomatoes (days are too short for them and they started to get some diseases - don't worry we are ripening them in the barn for you), all the sweet peppers, and basil. With that being said - this is the week to make PESTO - make loads of it! We have literally buckets of basil in front of the farmstand waiting to go home with you and be turned into pesto. I have included a pesto recipe - you do not need to use pinenuts - heck you do not need to use any nuts - I usually use no nuts or use walnuts or pecans. I also freeze it with the cheese in it - I know I know the foodies in the world say put the cheese in afterwards - um...I think it tastes grand with it - knowing it is one last step I have to balance while I am cooking with two on my hip. I also freeze it in a log like shape wrapped in parchment paper and then plastic wrap then into a plastic freezer bag and slice as much as I need. Have fun with it. The more work you put in it now - true yummy convenience food come January.
Thanks for reading - see you all soon. Have a great week! Thanks for listening and your support. Peace, your farmers, Christine, Adam, Sadie and Delia and our Intern Ashlyn

WHAT’S IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: BASIL, CILANTRO, LETTUCE MIX, ARUGULA, GARLIC, Eggplant, sweet peppers, hot peppers, Green Onions, TOMATOES, Winter Squash, PYO Ground Cherries, and a few other things - Best guess for the week.

Yarn for Sale
Yarn is available in our natural color "Island Oatmeal." Worsted Weight, double twist, soft, 220 yds, 4 ounces, Greenspun (no petroleum products used in cleaning the wool) by Green Mountain Spinnery here in Vermont. Yarn is in the farmstand. 17.00 skein. Also available wool roving, white, brown, oatmeal - $9 for 4 ounces.

NUTRITION NOTES about peppers (from The Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition, Sheldon Margen, M.D.): Perhaps the most surprising feature of peppers is their nutritiousness: They are excellent sources of many essential nutrients, especially vitamin C - by weight, green bell peppers have twice as much as citrus fruits (red bells have three times as much.) Hot peppers contain even more vitamin C, 357 percent more than an orange. Moreover, red peppers are quite a good source of beta carotene. Red peppers are higher in beta carotene than green peppers: A sweet red pepper provides nearly 11 times as much beta carotene as a sweet green one; hot red peppers contain nearly 14 times as much as their green counterparts. Furthermore, sweet red peppers have one and a half times as much Vitamin C as sweet green peppers; the vitamin C content of red and green hot peppers is the same.
About Basil: Researchers report that basil contains antibacterial compounds, which make the essential oil great for treating skin conditions. In India it is used in a kind of aroma therapy and is said to give people sattva, enlightenment and harmony. In Arabian countries it has long been used to alleviate menstrual cramps.
Fresh Basil Pesto
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts or pecans or none
3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve with pasta, or over baked potatoes, or spread over toasted baguette slices. Makes 1 cup.
Real Basil Cheesecake from the Madison Herb Society Cookbook

2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup basil leaves, destemmed
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
2 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup crushed graham crackers or vanilla wafers

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In food processor or mixer, lightly beat eggs. Add sour cream, sugar, basil, cornstarch, lemon juice, and vanilla. Process until smooth. Add cream cheese, 1/2 pound at a time, and process to incorporate. Spread softened butter on bottom and halfway up sides of a 9- or 10-inch springform pan. Cover buttered area with cookie crumbs, pressing to be sure they stick. Pour in cheesecake batter and bake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Run a knife around edges of cake as soon as it comes out of oven. Cool on wire rack 5 minutes then remove the side of pan. Finish cooling. Cut with dental floss into thin wedges. Ten servings.
Tomato and Sweet Pepper Salad adapted from The Vegetable Market Cookbook by Robert Budwig

3 sweet peppers
4 ripe tomatoes
1/4 preserved lemon (or 2 teaspoons grated zest with some of the lemon's juice)
2 cloves garlic peeled and crushed pinch sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 t black pepper

Grill or roast peppers, remove skins, cut into small cubes and set aside. Blanch tomatoes for 15-20 seconds in boiling water. Drain and remove skins and stems. Cut in half and remove seeds. Cut into small cubes. Rinse the preserved lemon under running water and remove the pulp. Cut the rind into fine dice. Arrange peppers, tomatoes and lemon in a dish. Mix remaining ingredients to make a dressing and pour over the salad. Mix well.
Multi Pepper Salad with Fontina adapted from From the Cook's Garden by Ellen Ogden

1.5 pounds Sweet peppers, roasted and cut into 1/4 inch strips
12 black olives, such as kalamata, pitted and coarsely chopped
6 ounces Fontina cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 1.5 cups)
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon finely chopped cutting celery OR tarragon OR parsley
1/4 cup best extra virgin olive oil
S & P to taste

Combine the peppers, olives, and cheese. Mix the cream, lemon juice, mustard, and herb in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil. Season with the S & P. Pour over the peppers and mix. Serve immediately.
Romesco Sauce for Crostini, Pasta, or as a vegetable dipper

4 large roasted yellow, orange, and or red peppers
1/2 cup toasted almonds
2 cloves garlic
1 ripe tomato
1 tsp salt
2 thick slices from a baguette
1 tsp paprika
½ cup or less olive oil
Fresh basil leaves if available
2-4 Tablespoons sherry vinegar

Whirl everything in a food processor.
Sweet Pepper and Lentil Soup
inspired by a recipe in Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook by Hensperger and Kaufmann
2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, or 2 leeks, chopped
3-5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon freshly purchased paprika or smoked paprika
1-3 sweet peppers, depending on their size, seeded and finely chopped
1 cup dried brown or black lentils, picked over and rinsed
5 cups broth or water
S & P to taste (at least an entire teaspoon of salt for this one)
1-2 Tablespoons champagne or sherry or rice vinegar to finish the soup

Cook the onion in 1 Tablespoon oil over medium heat in a skillet until the onion/leeks begin to soften. Stir in paprika and allow it to cook for about a minute more. Add the chopped sweet pepper and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until everything begins to soften. Scrape all this into a slow cooker. Add the lentils and broth (or water) and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low until the lentils are completely soft, 7-9 hours. Season the soup with S & P (more salt if you used water, less if you used purchased broth), and last Tablespoon olive oil. Stir in 1 Tablespoon of one of the vinegars, adding more if needed. Serve hot.