Eating Well on Farmstays

march 2017 Eating well farmstay We were profiled as the Farm, Farmstay in Eating Well Magazine’s Travel Issue this year.

“See the operation behind the Farmer’s Market stand.  Laura Olsen and Mari Omland grow organic vegetables and raise pastured poultry, pigs and goats on their 40 acre farm in Northfield, VT.  Collect eggs, feed sows Ramona Quimby and Amelia Bedelia and harvest fresh veggies. At day’s end retreat to the rustic barn guesthouse or farmhouse inn.”

Spring Abundance

abundant farmstand greens

Yes, it is that time.  Late Spring Abundance.  Now, it isn’t the late summer abundance with colors across the rainbow, but the diversity is great, the colors are magnificent and yes, it is time to “Eat Your Greens.”  We hope you enjoy them..the campaign is on!

And yes, we are forever grateful for the inspiring art of Anna Svagzdys.

Eat Your Greens by Anna

 

Caesar Salad Substitute

tokyo bekana cesar salad greens

So…many of us love that crunch and creaminess of a Caesar Salad, so we love to shift around some ingredients to what we have in season.  This week – you can do it with either the versatile Tokyo Bekana or with some small Romaine heads.  And you can go for the true Caesar dressing, or this quick, tangy lovely Feta Buttermilk dressing — it fits the bill.

 

Salad

Plenty of Tokyo Bekana: it is truly in the cabbage family, but mild, crisp and lovely.  It can also be stir fried or makes a good substitute for Napa Cabbage.

Edible flowers (optional)

Croutons, technically optional, but what a treat!

 

Dressing:  Zesty Feta Buttermilk (inspired by Moosewood Daily Specials)

3/4 cup crumbled Feta

2/3 cup Buttermilk (Mountain Home’s Buttermilk is local, grass fed and so good!)

2 Garlic cloves

2-3 Tablespoons Apple Cider or Artesano’s Honey Mead Vinegar

1/2 cup Olive or sunflower oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

2 teaspoons dill or other herb of choice (optional)

In a blender, immersion blender or food processor combine all ingredients except buttermilk, salt & pepper and puree until smooth.  Gradually pour in buttermilk and process until creamy.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Dressing keeps well for a week or more in the fridge.  We often double the recipe and make this dressing of choice for the week!

 

At the Farmstand: May 16-22

tokyo-bekana-tatsoi-greens-hoophouseBig harvest before the pending heat wave…and to make room for Tomatoes to be transplanted.  Fun new options for salad and cooking greens.  LOTS of lettuce for salad!

This week at our Farmstand you can find:


our-eggs-whole-and-in-fry-pan-with-our-schmaltz

• Eggs

 

Fresh/Stored Veggies & Herbsspring salad mix greens farmstand

• Arugula
• Bok Choy
• Broccoli, Frozen
• Carrots
• Chard, Fresh & Frozen
• Chives
• Cilantro
Claytonia/Miner’s Lettuce heads* (last week)

• Edible Flowers for salads*
• Ginger, Baby (frozen)
• Kale, Fresh & Frozen
• Lovage (celery substitute)
• Mint

• Onions
• Romaine Small Lettuce heads*
• Scallions*
• Spicy Salad Mix*
• Spinach
• Spring Salad Mix*
• Stir Fry/Braising Mix
• Tatsoi
• Tokyo Bekana* (great for Cesar Salads)

• Tomatoes, Frozen

 

Meats      Ham

 

• Bacon, Maple Smoked
• Maple Breakfast Sausage, Farmhouse bulk
• Bones, Pork & Goat
• Chicken, Roasting
• Chicken, Stewing Hens
• Chorizo
• Fat, Pork Leaf
• Fat, Pork Back
• Goat Shoulder Chops, bone -in
• Ham Roasts & Steaks
• Italian Pork Sausage, bulk
• Pork Jowl*
• Kielbasa, unsmoked
• Leg of Goat Roasts*
• Loin Roasts, Goat*(small)
• Offals – Trotters, hearts, liver, kidneys, necks, etc.
• Shanks, Goat
• Turkey, Whole
• Turkey Wings

 

Pantry & Prepared Foodsroasted carrot soup packed in farmstand

Beet puree
• Heirloom Tomato Bloody Mary Mix
• Bone Broth, Chicken, Pork and Turkey
• 
Bread & Butter Squash Pickles
Dilly Beans
• Lard (Leaf)
• Lemon Pickles
• Pâté, Turkey Sage
• Pepperoncini
• Pesto, Arugula, Basil & Garlicky Kale
• Heirloom Tomato Salsa
• Soup, Roasted Carrot Ginger, Creamy Spinach, Broccoli-Spinach & Cream of Spinach
• Tomolives (pickled green cherry tomatoes)
• Dried Hot Peppers
Dried Tomatoes

From our Farm Friends field stone pizza pea pesto our bacon in bag with label   

• Blueberries, Frozen from Spotted Dog Farm
• Pizza from Field Stone Farm: Fresh San Marzano with Mushrooms; Garlic Lovers with Sweet Rowen Cheese; Arugula Pesto with Prosciutto and Peas, Spinach & Artichoke
• Honey, Brookfield Bees
• Maple Syrup, Brookfield Bees
• BEANS! – Black Beans from Morningstar Meadows Farm
• Cider Syrup, Brookfield Bees

This Week’s Member Special

All of the above is available for members and retail shoppers, but we also offer some specials for our members.  To learn more about our flexible, free Choice Farm Share memberships, see the details on our website.

• Claytonia/Miner’s Lettuce Heads,  Beautiful, tasty and very cold-hardy salad green with succulent texture and fresh flavor

 Lettuce, Romaine Heads & Salad Mixes

 Scallions

Leg of Goat Roasts, Great for slow roast

• Goat Loin Roasts Chops, bone-in & quick (see recipe)

Dancing with Nature

kildeer dance display

 

Our ecological approach to farming has its benefits and its drawbacks.  This week we found some of both.  Happily our farm seems to be great habitat for birds and with Spring migration, we are seeing the return of many.

Unfortunately, one of the pairs of kildeer chose a nesting spot right where the onions want to be transplanted, in almost the same spot as our first production year. (Note a lot has changed, no more tractoring at dusk at solstice and much less soil disturbance overall!)

kildeer eggs 4

Not even in the path where we’ll have to dance around them, but smack in the middle of a row that would like to have its biochar incorporated (to feed & house our friendly soil microbes) and where we’d like to run the paper pot transplanter with the onions & shallot seedlings if the rain and snow will ever stop.

Perhaps if we’d had some drier weather earlier, they would have chosen a different spot as we’d have been in those fields.  But alas, the eggs are gorgeous, their distraction displays quite amazing, the chicks will be adorable running around and we just have to dance with them.

2017 kildeer dance video image link to vimeo

image for killdeer video

At the Farmstand: May 10-16

spring hoophouse lettuce greensPlentiful, gorgeous lettuce as we make room to transplant the tomatoes. And lovely soups as well given these cold days.

This week at our Farmstand you can find:


our-eggs-whole-and-in-fry-pan-with-our-schmaltz

• Eggs

 

Fresh/Stored Veggies & Herbsspring salad mix greens farmstand

• Arugula
• Broccoli, Frozen
• Carrots
• Chard, Fresh & Frozen
• Chives
• Cilantro
Claytonia/Miner’s Lettuce heads*

• Edible Flowers for salads*
• Ginger, Baby (frozen)
• Kale, Fresh & Frozen
• Leaf Lettuce*
• Lovage (celery substitute)
• Mint

• Onions
• Parsley
• Scallions*
• Spicy Salad Mix
• Spring Salad Mix

• Tomatoes, Frozen

 

Meats      Ham

 

• Bacon, Maple Smoked
• Maple Breakfast Sausage, Farmhouse bulk
• Bones, Pork & Goat
• Chicken, Roasting
• Chicken, Stewing Hens
• Chorizo
• Fat, Pork Leaf
• Fat, Pork Back
• Goat Shoulder Chops, bone -in* (good for stew)
• Ham Hock Ends
• Ham Roasts & Steaks
• Italian Pork Sausage, bulk
• Pork Jowl
• Kielbasa, unsmoked
• Leg of Goat Roasts*
• Loin Roasts, Goat (small)
• Offals – Trotters, hearts, liver, kidneys, necks, etc.
• Ribs/Rack, Goat*
• Shanks, Goat
• Turkey, Whole
• Turkey Drumettes & Drumsticks
• Turkey Thighs
• Turkey Wings

 

Pantry & Prepared Foodsroasted carrot soup packed in farmstand

Beet puree
• Heirloom Tomato Bloody Mary Mix
• Bone Broth, Chicken, Pork and Turkey
• 
Bread & Butter Squash Pickles
Dilly Beans
• Lard (Leaf & Regular)
• Lemon Pickles
• Pâté, Turkey Sage
• Pepperoncini
• Pesto, Arugula & Garlicky Kale
• Heirloom Tomato Salsa
• Soup, Roasted Carrot Ginger, Creamy Spinach, Broccoli-Spinach & Cream of Spinach
• Tomolives (pickled green cherry tomatoes)
• Dried Hot Peppers
Dried Tomatoes

From our Farm Friends field stone pizza pea pesto our bacon in bag with label   

• Blueberries, Frozen from Spotted Dog Farm
• Pizza from Field Stone Farm: Fresh San Marzano with Mushrooms; Garlic Lovers with Sweet Rowen Cheese; Arugula Pesto with Prosciutto and Peas plus a few other frozen varieties.
• Honey, Brookfield Bees
• Maple Syrup, Brookfield Bees
• BEANS! – Black Beans from Morningstar Meadows Farm
• Cider Syrup, Brookfield Bees

This Week’s Member Special

All of the above is available for members and retail shoppers, but we also offer some specials for our members.  To learn more about our flexible, free Choice Farm Share memberships, see the details on our website.

Edible Flowers

• Claytonia/Miner’s Lettuce,  Beautiful, tasty and very cold-hardy salad green with succulent texture and fresh flavor

 Lettuce

 Scallions

Leg of Goat Roasts, not holiday lamb, but delicious!

• Goat Shoulder Chops, bone-in, really great for goat stews

French Roasted Onion Soup

These grey, wet, cold May days have us turning back to some cold weather soups.  There are lots of onions that want to get sliced up and caramelized….perhaps into soup? And don’t those French know how to do it right!

And I bet some fresh scallions on top would be lovely though distinctly not traditional!

Adapted from Moosewood Daily Specials

We love the warmth of French Onion Soup.  We have definitely used red or yellow onions and enjoyed this simply delicious treat.

4 or 5 large onions, cut lengthwise into thin slices (about 8 cups)

4-5 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

1 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons oil – olive, poultry fat or lard

4 bay leaves

1 teaspoon dried thyme

3/4 to 1 cup dry white wine (or whatever you have)

8 cups dark stock (any will do, but this is key to the tasty soup – goat, chicken, turkey,  pork,  beef or dark veggie)

salt & pepper to taste

Croutons or crisp bread

grated Gruyere, Swiss or Parmesan

Preheat oven to 375

In two shallow, non reactive baking pans large enough to accommodate all of the onions in a single layer, combine the onions, garlic, salt, oil, bay leaves and thyme.  Roast for 45 to 50 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until the onions have softened and lightly browned.  Remove from the oven, add the wine to the baking pans and stir well with a wooden spoon to deglaze.

Transfer the roasted mixture to a soup pot.  Add the stock, cover and bring to a boil; then lower the heat and gently simmer for 30 minutes.  Find and discard the bay leaves; add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with croutons and grated cheese, and maybe some fresh scallions.  [We can’t miss putting it in a crock and back into the oven to melt and brown the cheese a bit]

At the Farmstand: May 4-10

spring radishesSome new additions to our Spring Salad mixes this week and they are PLENTIFUL!  Plus radishes and fresh chard.  And we have discovered that the Claytonia stems are a bit like bean sprouts and delightfully crisp and juicy chopped into a salad.

This week at our Farmstand you can find:


our-eggs-whole-and-in-fry-pan-with-our-schmaltz

• Eggs

 

Fresh/Stored Veggies & Herbsspring salad mix greens farmstand

 

• Broccoli, Frozen
• Carrots
• Chard, Fresh & Frozen
• Cilantro
Claytonia/Miner’s Lettuce heads*

• Edible Flowers for salads*
• Ginger, Baby (frozen)
• Kale, Fresh & Frozen
• Leaf Lettuce*

• Onions
• Parsley
• Potatoes
• Radishes
• Scallions*
• Spicy Salad Mix*
• Spring Salad Mix*

• Tomatoes, Frozen

 

Meats      Ham

 

• Bacon, Maple Smoked
• Maple Breakfast Sausage, Farmhouse bulk
• Bones, Pork & Goat
• Chicken, Roasting
• Chicken, Stewing Hens
• Chorizo
• Fat, Pork Leaf
• Fat, Pork Back
• Goat Shoulder Chops, bone -in* (good for stew)
• Ham Hock Ends
• Ham Roasts & Steaks
• Italian Pork Sausage, bulk
• Pork Jowl
• Kielbasa, unsmoked
• Leg of Goat Roasts*
• Loin Roasts, Goat (small)
• Offals – Trotters, hearts, liver, kidneys, necks, etc.
• Ribs/Rack, Goat*
• Shanks, Goat
• Turkey, Whole
• Turkey Drumettes & Drumsticks
• Turkey Thighs
• Turkey Wings

 

Pantry & Prepared Foodsroasted carrot soup packed in farmstand

Beet puree
• Heirloom Tomato Bloody Mary Mix
• Bone Broth, Chicken, Pork and Turkey
• 
Bread & Butter Squash Pickles
Dilly Beans
• Lard (Leaf & Regular)
• Lemon Pickles
• Pâté, Turkey Sage
• Pepperoncini
• Pesto, Arugula, Basil & Garlicky Kale
• Asian Style Plum Sauce
• Heirloom Tomato Salsa
• Soup, Roasted Carrot Ginger, Creamy Spinach, Broccoli-Spinach & Cream of Spinach
• Tomolives (pickled green cherry tomatoes)
• Dried Hot Peppers
Dried Tomatoes

From our Farm Friends field stone pizza pea pesto our bacon in bag with label   

• Blueberries, Frozen from Spotted Dog Farm
• Pizza from Field Stone Farm: Rustic Potato Gorgonzola & Spinach bechamel with artichoke & Roasted Red Peppers
• Honey, Brookfield Bees
• Maple Syrup, Brookfield Bees
• BEANS! – Black Beans from Morningstar Meadows Farm
• Cider Syrup, Brookfield Bees

This Week’s Member Special

All of the above is available for members and retail shoppers, but we also offer some specials for our members.  To learn more about our flexible, free Choice Farm Share memberships, see the details on our website.

Edible Flowers

• Claytonia/Miner’s Lettuce,  Beautiful, tasty and very cold-hardy salad green with succulent texture and fresh flavor

 Salad Mixes

 Scallions

Leg of Goat Roasts, not holiday lamb, but delicious!

• Goat Shoulder Chops, bone-in, really great for goat stews

Scallion Pancakes

Photo from ChewOutLoud.com, a food/cooking blog

Photo from ChewOutLoud.com, a food/cooking blog

The scallions are crisp, luscious and ok, a bit prolific.  The reaction from several folks that have seen them is, “time for Scallion Pancakes”.   Yes, what a great idea.  Darienne like the Serious Eats recipe, I have done a bit of merging of that recipe along with one from Bon Appetit, Chew Out Loud and How to Cook Everything for a slightly more reasonable approach.  The article with the Serious Eats recipe is a fantastic explanation of how it all works with some great photos and some inspiration for the ultimately flakey version.

And if the idea sounds good, but too much work, you can always try Mark Bittman’s Fast Scallion Pancakes, which are more like a cross between quick pancakes and veggie fritters, but still delicious!

Ingredients

2 cups of all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup of Boiling Water (see Serious Eats article for why)

2 cups chopped scallions

1/2 -3/4 cup lard or chicken fat, melted or at least room temperature

 

Directions

Place flour and salt in food processor bowl, turn on machine and add the boiling water slowly while running until dough forms a ball. If doesn’t form a ball within 30 seconds add a touch more water.   You can also do this in a bowl with a wooden spoon.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes until smooth.  Put dough in covered bowl and let rest for about an hour at room temperature or up to overnight in the fridge.

Divide dough into 4 parts (or more if you want the circles to be smaller), roll one out on a lightly floured surface into about a 1/4 inch thick circle. Brush lightly with lard or poultry fat (or sesame oil) and sprinkle with 1/4 of the chopped scallions.

Roll the scallions up in the dough, creating a long cylinder. Then coil the cylinder into a spiral, so you end up with a circle.   Set aside, can cover them while repeating with the rest of the dough.

Take the spiral roll back onto floured surface and press gently to flatten it a bit, then roll it out into a disk.

Heat rest of lard or poultry fat in a skillet over medium heat.  Cook 1 or 2 at a time depending on size of pancake and size of skillet.  Cook until lightly browned about 3-5 minutes the turn and brown the other side. Put on rack or paper towel while cooking the others.   Season with salt, cut into wedges and serve warm, ideally with dipping sauce and possibly cilantro on top.

 

Dipping Sauce 

A starting point….adjust based on your taste and what you have on hand

Whisk together…

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 scallion, chopped finely
  • 1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar (or apple cider or another mild vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh (or frozen) ginger
  • Pinch red pepper flakes  or hot sauce (optional)

 

Peas, Louise and her vole relatives

Six years ago, before we had given up growing snap peas for sale, vole activity (read eating of pea seeds) triggered the creation of one of our favorite farm Limericks by Liva Coe.

 There once was a vole named Louise

Who had quite a penchant for peas

I planted them thrice

Louise said, “How nice!”

As she gobbled them up with great ease

Louise gobbling up peas - art by Liva Coe

Louise gobbling up peas – art by Liva Coe

Well after a few years of no peas, Mari and Darienne decided perhaps we could try a small batch of early season peas in our hoophouse….

Yep, there is a good story here. (Full disclosure, some plants and rodents meet their end in this story)

One early March day Darienne planted some rows of peas and fava beans where spinach had just come out.  In just days, we suspected those seeds weren’t turning into pea plants, at least not in that location for us as there were holes matching the planting location.  Mari wondered if it was from Darienne’s seeding, but no, it became clear when only a few sprouts came up that indeed some vole or a whole pack of them had come in and taken all the seeds.

Liva, in her limerick, had assumed the voles gobbled them right up.  But last fall when we were harvesting sweet potatoes, we found a huge stash of pea and oat seeds in the hoophouse.  The voles had been taking seeds from the pea cover crop that we let go to seed behind the hoophouse and they carved out an underground bunker for more than a gallon’s worth of pea seeds…storing for a winter market? sprouting and fermenting them? preparing for armegeddon? who knows.

pea and oat seeds stashed underground by voles seed and bunker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We suspect this Spring’s seeds are similarly stashed in some bunker, we just don’t know where.

Knowing peas aren’t that easy for us, especially in the transition season, Darienne also seeded several trays in the greenhouse. They’d get transplanted into the hoophouse and get to even provide a bit of cover when we plant the sweet potatoes.  And then, there’d be no seeds for the voles to steal…right?

Apparently in Maslow’s hierarchy of vole needs, Peas…the seeds and the plants, top the list.

2nd pile of peas harvested by voles B pea tendrils harvested and stacked by voles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One morning as Mari was checking on things, she found two fairly tidy piles of 8-10 inch pea tendrils.  And then looking down the row where the pea seedlings had been growing, they were gone.  Systematically clearcut from the base, every plant for about a 1/3 of the way down the row.

clearcut pea shoots by voles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apparently either the perpetrator was overly zealous in the cutting and didn’t have the time or energy left to transport all the plants to the bunker, vole market, nest or wherever they were headed or perhaps the harvest team showed up for work that Saturday night, but not the hauling team.

row of peas growing and harvested by voles

Ok, seeds are one thing, but the plants too?  Didn’t they want some of the abundant lettuce?  Nope.

We have always been diligent about keeping on top of our little rodent population/pests around the farm and hoophouse zone in particular.  But clearly we needed to up our game.  Darienne had tried to lure and trap with pea seeds.  Seeds kept disappearing with none of the traps tripped. We even employed a game camera, but couldn’t get the action on film.  After the clear cut, we tried lights, camera and a mass of traps around the remaining plants.  1st night nothing, except some of the pea tendrils that had already been harvested were taken.

But now it seems we may have caught the ringleader.  A big, fat vole mysteriously dead next to a nicely chewed to the ground pea vine, some traps tripped but not a mark on the vole.  And so far, no others seem to have taken over the mission, but I suspect it is just a matter of time.

Farming is a humbling affair.  And we have learned not to underestimate the persistence, cleverness, and abilities of the various plants and animals in our orbit.

We may get some peas yet, but safe to say, seems they won’t be a crop we add back to our main list.  So pea lovers, message is the same as six years ago, “enjoy when you have them and plan to plant some at home as well because we may not be able to fulfill your desire.  That, and have a chat with Louise.”

vole caught taking peas