Thursday, October 27, 2011

It's Time to Talk Turkey!

Turkey Talk!

At the farm we are now taking pre-orders for Elmwood Stock Farm's organic specialty breed turkeys. We take orders by phone or email prior to the holidays, and payment is made at pickup. Turkeys can be picked up the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving (Nov. 19th) at the downtown Lexington farmers market, or make arrangements to pickup at the farm on Friday or Monday (Nov. 18th or 21st). Shipping is also available within the Continental US. All of our turkeys are processed under USDA inspection and will be freshly frozen for food safety.

As one of only a few farms in the US to raise organic certified heritage breed turkeys, we are proud to have these special turkeys to offer. We appreciate your interest in serving a locally produced, organic turkey – you can taste the difference and you will know you are serving the best!

ALL TURKEYS at Elmwood Stock Farm in Scott County outside of Georgetown are Organic Certified free ranging turkeys that are raised outdoors on grass pasture. They are raised the old-fashioned way, on fresh green grass and clover pastures with wholesome grains, resulting in moist, flavorful turkey. Not only are Elmwood turkeys raised naturally, free from any synthetic inputs, flavor additives, or stimulants, but everything that every turkey eats is organically raised grain or grass pasture.

Pasture-based grass farming has recognizable
health benefits resulting in a product with good saturated fats and high omega-3 fatty acids. The use of certified organic grain means our turkeys are more expensive to produce, but you can take comfort knowing no GMO grain and no synthetic chemicals are used in your food. Organic Certification ensures third party verification of our production practices and ultimately results in better health for you and your family this Thanksgiving season.

HERITAGE Breed -- A heritage turkey is not one particular breed, but made up of a group of breeds. At Elmwood, we care year-round for our own breeding flock in order to raise Bourbon Red (named after Bourbon County KY), Narragansett (the oldest known American turkey breed), and the Slate turkeys (also found on Slow Food’s Ark of Taste that promotes the survival of near-extinct foods).

Some characteristics that distinguish these very rare Heritage turkeys from the standard broad breasted variety are slower growth, more proportionate breasts to legs, and the ability to naturally breed. There is a better balance between the dark meat and white meat, which means roasting a bird to perfection is much easier, and the meat has a richer flavor. Heritage turkeys will never be as large as broad breasted turkeys though they eat certified organic grain for 28 to 30 weeks resulting in the healthiest, most flavorful, best turkey you will ever taste.

Heritage Breed Organic Turkey
Expected dressed weight: under 7 pounds - $69.00
Expected dressed weight: 7 – 8.9 pounds - $109.00
Expected dressed weight: 9 – 10.9 pounds - $129.00
Expected dressed weight: 11-13.9 pounds - $149.00
Expected dressed weight: 14-16.9 pounds - $169.00
Expected dressed weight: 17-18.9 pounds - $189.00

STANDARD Broad Breasted Breed – These broad breasted bronze turkeys are similar in size and shape to a supermarket purchased turkey, but the similarities end right there! Our turkeys are raised outdoors in our pastured system that provides a diet enriched by grasses, fresh air, adequate exercise, and sunlight. Our bronze feathered turkeys free-range on fresh green grass or clover pastures supplemented with wholesome organic grains, resulting in moist, flavorful turkey.

Standard Broad Breasted Bronze Organic Turkey
Expected dressed weight: 12 – 15 pounds - $109.00
Expected dressed weight: 17 - 20 pounds - $119.00
Expected dressed weight: 21 + pounds - $139.00

The costs of cheap food are hidden in healthcare, environmental cleanup, and dependence on pharmaceuticals. You might have heard the phrase “Visit the farm, not the (f)pharmacy,” to establish a personal path between good nutrition and good health. The many months to care for heritage turkeys and the use of certified organic grains for better animal health results in high production costs. The resulting high purchase price for specialty turkeys reflects the true costs of safe and wholesome food.

When Slow Food USA added American heritage turkeys to its Ark of Taste, it tremendously helped to spread the knowledge that eating these turkeys is necessary in order to support the maintaining of breeding birds and moving the breeds to lesser degrees of endangerment.

To learn more about Heritage Turkeys visit the website for the American Livestock Breeds Conservatory. As more is known about vanishing breeds of heritage livestock, efforts are underway to promote awareness and prevent the extinction of animals like Bourbon Red, Slate and Narragansett turkeys.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Week 22, Final Week of Summer CSA

From the Farm

We want to give you our whole-hearted thanks for your commitment to Elmwood Stock Farm this year through the CSA program. Your partnership with the farm allows us to plan in advance of the season – and that plays out in so many different ways. Financially we are able to purchase seed, heat the greenhouses to grow the transplants, hire employees, and begin growing. During the season, we get to meet and talk with some of you, or exchange emails – many farmers never have the opportunity to interact with the people that eat the food they grow. On those very challenging days, it helps to know we are growing good food for real people that want and appreciate it.

We survey our membership each season to help us improve our CSA program. We know how it works from the growing side – it is your turn to tell us how it works from the eating side. The survey was sent by email already – if you need a paper copy, please let us know. We thank you in advance for your time and thoughts.

Elmwood Stock Farm will continue to attend the Saturday farmers market in downtown Lexington, outdoors in Cheapside Park, through Thanksgiving and we hope to see you there. We also attend the indoor market inside Victorian Square, downtown Lexington, each Saturday morning of the winter months (Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar). We will have some winter vegetables, pantry items like dried beans or garlic powder, jarred salsa and tomatoes, fresh eggs, and organic beef, chicken and turkey. We are also available if you want to place an order and then come by the farm to pickup. Contact us by email or phone.

We continue taking pre-orders for our Heritage breed and Broad Breasted breed Certified Organic Turkeys – contact us by email for oodles of information to help you decide if one of these special turkeys is the perfect fit for your holiday gathering or celebration.

Finally, as a current member of Elmwood’s CSA program, you will get first option for renewal for our 2012 season. We hope to finalize details for next season (dates, pickup sites, pricing) by the end of this year and we will alert you by email. Often people look to a CSA share as a holiday gift idea.

Thank you for the work on your part to pick up your share each week, make time to prepare healthy dishes from whole foods, and for sharing news about our program with friends and neighbors. Eat well!

In Your Share
Items in shares may vary depending on your share size and harvest day. Each share many not contain every item listed below.

Butternut Squash

Garlic – organic

Fresh Herbs - organic

Kale Greens –organic

Peppers - organic

Spaghetti Squash

Sweet Potatoes – organic

Tomatoes - organic

Cabbage - organic

Okra - organic

Recipes to Enjoy

Pasta with Autumn Squash, Prosciutto, Celery Leaves and Parmesan
recipe from Janet Fletcher’s Fresh From the Farmers’ Market, serves 4.

2 T unsalted butter
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 ounces prosciutto, minced
1 pound hard-shelled squash, peeled and diced in 1/3 inch cubes
½ pound tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ C coarsely chopped green celery leaves
1 pound dried orecciette, cavatelli or favorite pasta
2/3 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Melt butter with oil in a 12 inch skillet over moderate heat. Add onion and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. Add prosciutto and sauté 2 minutes. Add squash and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat seasonings. Add ½ C water. Cover and simmer gently until squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in celery leaves.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain pasta and return it to pot. Add sauce and cheese. Toss well, and then serve.

Sweet Potato Burritos
Thanks to a CSA member for sharing a recipe she adapted from Though the original called for kidney beans, but she believes any bean will yield good results. For extra flavor, she suggests substituting salsa for the water when making the bean mixture. Yummy!

1 T vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 C cooked or canned black beans, drained
½ to 2 C water
3 T chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
4 tsp prepared mustard
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
Juice of one lime
4 C cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
12 (10 inch) flour tortillas, warmed
8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a medium skillet, and sauté onion and garlic until soft. Stir in beans, and mash.

Gradually stir in water to desired consistency, and heat until warm. Remove from heat, and stir in the chili powder, cumin, mustard, and cayenne pepper. Stir limejuice into sweet potatoes. Divide bean mixture and mashed sweet potatoes evenly between the warm flour tortillas. Top with cheese. Fold up tortillas burrito style, and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven, and serve with salsa and sour cream.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Week 21, CSA

Seasonal Update

For some crops this has been one of the best growing seasons, and for others, one of the worst. We cannot complain about the rain, rain, rain we have had the last several weeks as drought conditions are so devastating, long-lasting, and costly in several ways. This has been one of the more wet spring and summer seasons, and October (one of the driest months of the year) will be starting off rainy as well. It is good for the groundwater to be recharged and ponds and streams to replenish going into winter.

Our mid season tomatoes produced well and there was an abundance during peak season. Lettuces and bell peppers were prolific after the late start, and early season summer squash was in the shares for 6 weeks. This is one of the farm’s best garlic crops ever!

You are aware of the cold, wet spring and the delay is some crops being planted – now we are seeing some residual effects. The eggplant and hot peppers were later going into the field and never seemed to latch onto their favorite growing conditions. Other long-growing-season crops such as Brussels sprouts and celeriac were affected early in their life cycle and only now do we see the effects in little or no production.

The recent change from hot to cold temperature came at least 4 weeks early this season putting the brakes on tomato and berry ripening. The later summer squash and zucchini plants were in stand-ing water after the big summer storm, cooked in 98° days, and the plants still surviving are now trying to produce squashes, it is just too cold for them to grow very fast with nights in the 40’s for the last couple of weeks.

Though several growers report it one of their worst years due to climatic challenges, at the farm we worked hard to balance the good results with the disappointing harvests and provide you a well-balanced share each week.

We survey our membership each season to help us improve our CSA program. We always appreciate your time in sharing your comments. A link to the online survey is being sent by email this week – if you need a paper copy mailed, just give us a call.

Finally, our Heritage breed and broad-breasted breed Certified Organic turkeys are sizing up nicely. Elmwood is one of just a few farms in the US that grow heritage breed turkeys that are also Certified Organic, making these holiday turkeys a very special item.

We keep the breeding stock hens and toms here year-round. The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy recognizes some of our breeds as in danger of extinction. Most farms cannot afford the costs and upkeep of keeping heritage breed animals without a supporting source of income to offset the expenses, so Slow Food USA is helping to spread the word and promote heritage breed products as a food source. By creating demand for heritage foods, then farms can work to produce and maintain heritage breeds.

We take pre-orders for Elmwood turkeys either in person or though email. They are processed at a USDA inspected facility and will be ready for pickup the weekend prior to Thanksgiving or for December holidays. Just contact the farm and we’ll share more details with you on expected available sizes, the differences in taste and appearance dependent on heritage or broad-breasted breeds, and pricing.

In Your Share
Items in shares may vary depending on harvest day and share size. Each share may not contain every item listed below.

Swiss Chard – organic

Celery – organic

Onion – organic

Sweet Peppers – organic

Spaghetti Squash

Sweet Potatoes – organic

Tomatoes - organic

Garlic - organic

Potatoes - organic

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Swiss Chard and Sweet Potato Gratin
Thanks to a CSA member for sharing this recipe from the popular blog, smitten kitchen .com. She substituted skim milk and Swiss cheese and reports that it is a fabulous recipe used as an entrée. As written, serves 12.

¼ C (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 pounds Swiss chard, leaves and stems separated and both cut into 1-inch pieces
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 C heavy cream or whole milk
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 T flour
2 pounds medium red-skinned sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch thick rounds
1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 ¼ C (about 5 ounces) coarsely grated Gruyére cheese

Prep greens: Cook onion in 2 T butter in a wide 8-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Add chard stems, pinch of nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring, until vegetables are tender but not browned, about 8 minutes. Increase heat to moderately high and add chard leaves by large handfuls, stirring, until all greens are wilted. Season with salt and pepper then transfer greens to a colander to drain well and press out liquid with back of a large spoon.

Make sauce: Combine cream or milk and garlic in small saucepan; bring to simmer; keep warm. Melt 2 T butter in a medium heavy saucepan over moderate heat and stir in flour. Cook roux, whisking, one minute, then slowly whisk in warm cream/milk and boil, whisking, one minute. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Assemble gratin: Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter deep 9×13 baking dish. Spread half of sweet potatoes in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, a quarter of the herbs and a ¼ C of the cheese. Distribute half of the greens mixture over the cheese, then sprinkle salt, pepper, a quarter of the herbs and ¼ C of the cheese over it. Pour half of béchamel sauce over the first two layers then continue with the remaining sweet potatoes, more salt, pepper, herbs and cheese and then the remaining greens, salt, pepper and herbs. Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the gratin, pressing the vegetables slightly to ensure that they are as submerged as possible. Sprinkle with the last ¼ C of cheese.

Bake gratin for about 1 hour until golden and bubbly, and most of the liquid is absorbed. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Do ahead: You can make the entire gratin but not bake it up to a day in advance and keep it in the fridge. You can also make and bake the gratin and reheat it. Gratins reheat well, but they take almost as much time to gently heat through as they do to bake in the first place, especially deep ones like this.

Smoky Sweet Potato Soup
Martha Stewart recipe, serves 10.

3 T extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small leek, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced and rinsed well
1 tart green apple, peeled, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 celery stalk thinly sliced
1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 in cubes
6 C chicken stock
1 medium canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ C salted pepitas (green hulled pumpkin seeds) you can substitute roasted seeds from your winter squashes; see recipe below

Heat oil in a large pot over medum heat. Cook garlic and leek until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add apple, celery, and ginger, and cook for 3 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and stock, and simmer until sweet potatoes are trender, about 15 minutes. Add chipotle chile.

Working in batches, transfer mixture to a blender, and puree until smooth, transfering soup to a large bowl as you work. You might also use a hand held soup blender. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with pepitas before serving.

Curry Roasted Pumpkin Seedsthis recipe can be used for any pumpkin or winter squash seeds.

Separate seeds from pulp.

For every 2 C of seeds, combine 3-4 T curry powder, 1 ½ C warm water, 1 T lemon juice, and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil to dissolve curry; add seeds. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Drain, place seeds on an oiled cookie sheet and bake in 250° F oven for 60-75 minutes or until dried out.

Monday, September 19, 2011

CSA News, Week 20

What ARE you gonna eat?

As the 2011 CSA summer share season winds down, we wanted to take this opportunity to help you make good food choices for this fall and winter. (We have 2 more pickups for summer CSA after this one!)

Many of you have signed up for the Fall Shares, so we don’t have to worry about you all. The rest of you will be searching the shelves for produce to prepare the same great recipes that you enjoyed this summer. Some may even backslide into “store bought” eggs! Horrors! And who knows anything about those meats?

So we are here to help. At Elmwood we preserved some of the abundance in our freezer for consumption at the end of the season. Hopefully you did as well, either from your box or larger lot purchase at the farmers market. We will continue to have root crops, cooking greens, lettuce fixings, well into the fall, depending on when the frost or freezing temperatures arrive. Surely we will see you at the farmers market for these!

New this year, we have diced heirloom tomatoes in glass jars, processed one week when we had one of those flushes of growth talked about in last week’s newsletter. We had them professionally packed for you to enjoy in the off-season. And, no BPAs to worry about that is found some of the canned stuff, as we chose to use glass 32 oz jars. Plus, Elmwood salsa is back – both mild and hot in 16 oz jars. We can make a meal out of it, as nachos are quick and easy to prepare.

Take some time to think about the kind of cooking and types of recipes you like to use in shorter day seasons. Make the soups and stews with the best local organic ingredients we have. Relish in the diversity of those roasted root veggies.

Our commitment to you does not end with your last CSA pickup the first week of October. Your commitment to us does not have to end then either, as we will be at the Saturday morning farmers market in downtown Lexington all fall and winter. We strive to eat well-balanced meals year-round with products we grow on the farm. We want you to be able to do the same thing, which is one reason we started the Fall CSA and are still planting for end-of-year harvesting.

We really do worry about those of you that we don’t see for awhile. What are you eating? We will make every effort to be sure you have access all year. After all, we are partners with you in this operation, not just fair weather friends.

In Your Share

Half-Runner Green Beans - organic

Savoy Cabbage - organic

Garlic – organic

Leeks - organic

Okra - organic

Onion – organic

Pepper - organic

Raspberries - organic

Fresh Rosemary, Sage – organic

Sweet Potatoes – organic

Tomato – organic

Swiss Chard – organic

Radishes – organic

Acorn Squash

Recipes to Enjoy

Smoked Chile Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

A Bobby Flay recipe adapted and shared by a CSA member last fall. She suggested finding chipotle pepper puree in the Mexican food aisle of your local store, or you can puree whole chipotle peppers. Though thinly slicing the potatoes may take a little time, she said the result is well worth it!

2 C heavy cream

1 heaping T chipotle pepper puree

3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (about 1/8” thick)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375°. Whisk together cream and chipotle puree until smooth. In a 9 x 9 inch casserole dish, arrange a layer of potatoes, drizzle with about 3 tablespoons of the cream mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Continue layering potatoes, cream, salt and pepper (you will have many layers). Cover and bake for 30 minutes; remove cover and continue baking 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until cream has been absorbed, potatoes are cooked through, and the top is browned. Makes 4-6 servings.

Sweet Potato Wedges with Rosemary
from, Lorna Sass, 2008

2 pounds sweet potatoes, scrubbed
2 T olive oil
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp soy sauce
salt and freshly ground black pepper
¾ T chopped fresh rosemary

Set two racks in middle section of oven. Line two lipped baking sheets or large, shallow roasting pans with foil. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Halve potatoes crosswise (no need to peel). Cut each piece in half lengthwise. Then cut each piece into wedges about 1/2-inch thick. Spread out on baking sheets.

In a small bowl, blend oil, chili powder, and soy sauce. Dribble half of oil mixture over each batch of sweet potatoes and toss to coat. Arrange wedges in one layer with a little space between them. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 12 minutes. Turn slices over. Reverse shelves for baking sheets. Continue roasting until potatoes are tender, 8 to 12 minutes more. Sprinkle with additional salt, if needed. To serve: Transfer potatoes to a platter and toss in rosemary. Serve hot.

Warm Roasted-Garlic Dressing
A Martha Stewart recipe that can be used on salads, but is wonderful tossed with oven roasted vegetables, makes about 1 Cup.

1 garlic head
1/3 C white wine vinegar
1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
2/3 C extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap garlic in foil. Roast until tender, about 1½ hours. Let cool slightly. Can be refrigerated in an airtight container overnight. Cut the head in half crosswise. Squeeze pulp into a small saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Whisk in vinegar and rosemary. Gradually add oil, whisking constantly. Use right away.

Monday, September 12, 2011

CSA News, Week 19

What Is a Normal

Growing Season?

Did you notice the big change in the weather this past week? The plants sure did! Remembering the extended cool wet April and May that led to a hot and wet (for us) June, July, August, and now an abrupt cool wet Labor Day week, we know there is a dramatic effect on the plants that supply your food.

Every year it is “something” as is to be expected when growing over 60 kinds of vegetables each year (over 200 different varieties). Each has its own internal clock and growth habit. Often different varieties of the same crop behave differently to the same environmental condition. So, we have our target dates to plant and the subsequent predicted harvest dates. As you are probably are aware by now, this year’s big swings in weather has altered the plan.

Your boxes were a little light early in the season simply because we could not get into the fields to plant due to the rain and mud. Once we were able to work the ground the “early stuff” went out the same time as the “mid season stuff.” We packed the shares more fully because it all came ready together and we wanted to make sure you shared in the doubled-up harvesting.

Then the hot temperatures told the plants to grow like crazy. That caused the tomatoes to flush their growth and the fruits to ripen at the same time, rather than the normal first fruit first, and later fruit set later. Some cooler natured plants just bolted into flower, never fruiting, because they were so unhappy they just wanted it all to be over.

Now, the welcome cooler weather has settled in rather suddenly telling the same summer plants that their season is over. The cool season crops for fall are planted and should do well; depending on how much sun they see this month. So, hopefully you put some of those greens or tomatoes in the freezer to enjoy this winter. The boxes always look different each week, as it is the plants’ way of showing you that it is in fact “always something.”

We appreciate your interest in eating seasonally, and going with the flow as we all work through this particular growing season. Sometimes even we still wonder, what is an average growing season?

In Your Share
Items in shares may vary depending on your share size and harvest day. Every share may not contain each item listed below.

Swiss Chard – organic


Popcorn – organic
Find a deep yellow colored ear of popcorn, ready to shell off the cob and pop up for a family treat. Store at room temperature or in your pantry – the more dry your popcorn, the easier it will PoP! To prepare freshly grown corn, heat the oil in a covered pan at medium high. Then carefully add a few corn kernels to the oil, using care to not splash oil, and top with the lid. Listen for the kernels to begin popping. After a couple of minutes, shake the pan slightly across the burner to prevent any kernels from burning. When the popping stops, remove and enjoy.

Potatoes – organic

Raspberries - organic

Fresh Sage – organic

Stripetti Squash
Store this hard skin squash in your pantry until ready to use, as this item will keep for you for weeks with no need to refrigerate. Boil whole; or halve and bake with flesh side down in a little water until done; remove seeds. Fleck out strands with a fork. Not sure how to flavor or season? Try using your faavorite pasta recipe and substitute the stripetti squash for the angel hair or spaghetti or linguine. It has lower calories than pasta, and is a super-veggie for those who watch their gluten intake.

Tomato – organic

Garlic – organic

Leeks – organic

Pepper –organic

Recipes to Enjoy

Asian Chicken Salad Wraps
Our thanks to a CSA member for sharing this favorite recipe. She substituted Swiss chard for the greens! She mentioned that this recipe is heavenly, but also a little labor intensive.

1 T Soy Sauce
3 T Red Wine Vinegar
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 T Honey
1 scant T sesame oil
½ tsp red pepper flakes (less if you don't like spicy)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 ½ C cooked chicken, chopped
3 C torn romaine
1 C torn spinach
2 green onions, chopped
1 large carrot, shredded
2 Roma tomato, chopped
½ C red pepper, chopped
2 T cilantro, minced
6-8 tortillas

Combine dressing ingredients. Combine chopped chicken and rest of ingredients. Toss with dressing. Warm tortillas in sauté pan, spoon filling into tortilla. Serve immediately

Recipe from Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert’s Simply in Season

3-4 T butter
4 C potatoes, shredded
½ tsp salt or more to taste
1-1½ C Colby or cheddar cheese

Melt butter in large frypan. Sauté potatoes with salt until cooked and slightly browned, stirring occasionally. Press potatoes into pan, allow to cook another minute, then flip and fry the other side. While bottom gets crisp, top with cheese. When melted, cut into wedges and serve. Serves 4.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Week 18, CSA

Poultry on Pasture

At Elmwood Stock Farm we employ several different production systems to supply you with the best eggs and meats for your nourishment. Each type of poultry has unique inherent capabilities and housing needs for the birds to prosper, be safe, and happy.

The “egg mobiles” look like a small A-frame structure, attached to a four-wheel wagon. There are many features within this structure specific for egg laying chickens. Along the sides, under the eve, are a series of boxes the hens can access to lay their eggs in a bed of wood shavings. A group of 300 hens share about 30 nest boxes, with some boxes filled with 15 or 20 eggs each day, while others are empty. We gather the eggs twice daily. The egg mobile also has a series of roosts under the roof where the birds go each evening to rest away from the watchful eye of the owls.

We use small flexible irrigation tubing, which snakes along the pasture behind the house from the nearby hose outlet to keep a reservoir of water full that is inside the egg mobile. The drinkers are gravity fed systems that have a trough of water for the birds to drink. As they drink the water from the trough it becomes lighter in weight, which causes the spring to raise it up slightly, which opens the valve to allow more water to flow into the trough.

Once per week or so, our 1950 International Harvester tractor pulls the egg mobile to a fresh location, and the electrified net fencing is replaced around the birds and their house to protect them from ground predators. This new area provides excellent grazing of clover, grass and small weeds, along with any unsuspecting insects that cannot fly away. The house provides protection from rain, shade from the sun, and a safe zone when a hawk comes to check out the chickens. In the winter, we have plastic sidewalls that drop down to ground level for additional weather protection.

The turkeys, when small, must also have lightweight flight netting over their heads, not to keep them in, but to keep aerial predators out. One year when we experienced a lot of predator pressure, we had to add fishing line in a spider web type pattern over the laying hens to protect them as well.

Organic feed is taken to the birds twice daily so the poultry can consumer it. We don’t leave feed grain out all the time or the beautiful songbirds will learn to come in and eat it!

As you can see, caring for poultry takes a lot of planning, twice daily “chores”, and special attention at critical times. At Elmwood we raise the meat and eggs with the natural behavior and characteristics of the birds in mind. We make sure they are safe, have plenty of wholesome pasture and grains to eat, and a secure place to lay their eggs. All this, without harming any wildlife that also wants to enjoy poultry or hen fruit for breakfast!

In Your Share

Items in shares may vary depending on your share size and harvest day. Each share may not contain every item listed below.

Celery – organic
Refrigerate as soon as possible to keep fresh. Wrap in a damp towel or place in a plastic bag and store in the hydrator drawer for up to 2 weeks. Like we advise on many of your veggies, use the freezer for long-term storage. Slice, then spread on a cookie sheet and place into the freezer. When all the chunks are frozen, pack them into any airtight container and return to the freezer. Celery pieces will be soft when thawed and best used in soups and stews, less so in salads.

Swiss Chard - organic


Garlic – organic

Kale Greens –organic

Fresh Thyme – organic


Okra – organic

Potatoes – organic
Our first harvest of the season for gold potatoes is always a cheerful time, as everyone loves potatoes, right? Oven roast, bake, mash, boil, or panfry, this variety performs well prepared many different ways. We have rinsed field dirt and suggest refrigerating until ready to prepare. You may want to consider the kale and potato soup this week, a recipe included.

Acorn Squash
Search this blog for many recipes. Week 22, Oct 2009 is the most popular acorn squash recipe. Apricots, yummy!

Tomatoes – organic

Peppers – organic

Recipes to Enjoy

Chard Utopia
Recipe from Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert’s Simply in Season.

2 C onion, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp salt
1 T olive oil
2 ½ pounds Swiss chard, stemmed, finely chopped
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 T flour
2 C feta cheese, crumbled
1 C cottage cheese
pepper, to taste
1 pound frozen phyllo pastry sheets, thawed
olive oil

In a large frypan, sauté onion, basil, oregano, and salt in olive oil for 5 minutes. Add chard and cook until wilted, 5-8 minutes. Sprinkle in garlic and flour, stir and cook over medium heat, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in cheeses and pepper.
Place a sheet of phyllo in an oiled 9 x 13 inch pan. Brush or lightly spray sheet with olive oil. Repeat 7 times. Spread half the filling evenly on top. Add 8 more sheets of oiled phyllo. Cover with the rest of the filling and follow with remaining sheets of phyllo, oiling each, including the top sheet. Tuck in the edges and bake uncovered in preheated oven at 375° until golden and crispy, 45 minutes. Serves 8-10.

Greens with Potatoes, a Deborah Madison recipe
4 boiling potatoes, about 1 pound
1 to 2 pounds greens, trimmed and coarsely chopped
2 T extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
½ tsp red pepper flakes
2 tomatoes, if in season, peeled and diced

Cover the potatoes with cold water, add salt to taste, and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain, then peel and coarsely chop. Simmer the greens in a large skillet, until tender, then drain. You may need to do this in two batches. Return the skillet to the stove, add the oil, and heat with the garlic and pepper flakes. When you can smell the garlic, add the greens, potatoes, and tomatoes. Cook over medium heat, breaking up the potatoes with a fork and mashing them into the greens to make a kind of rough hash. Taste for salt and serve drizzled with olive oil over the top.

Portuguese Kale Soup
Thanks to a CSA member for this Rachel Ray recipe utilizing almost all CSA ingredients. She often doubles it and likes to freeze it for the winter (though it may be suitable for our weather this week).

1 T olive oil

1 T finely chopped garlic
½ C diced onions
½ diced turnip
½ C diced carrots
1 bunch kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
6 ounces chopped spicy Portuguese sausage, or chorizo
bay leaves
2 T chopped fresh
parsley leaves (try using your celery leaf, very good substitute!)
2 T chopped fresh thyme leaves
6 C beef stock
1 C
kidney beans
6 ounces diced
10 ounces diced

In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onions, turnips and carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Add the kale, sausage, bay leaves, parsley and thyme and mix well.

Add the
beef stock, beans and tomatoes. Bring the soup to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium
saucepan, bring salted water to a boil and add the diced potatoes. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes and add them to the soup.

Remove the bay leaves, serve hot. Serves 4.

Caramelized Onion and Apple Tart
Did you know that apples are ready at the markets and the orchards? Use your fresh onions and local apples for this savory dish, from Bravetart. com

1 favorite flaky pastry dough, ready to roll out (Bravetart has a recipe for homemade)
1 large onion
splash of oil or butter
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
a small handful of a salty cheese; Gruyere or a blue work quite well
1 apple

Halve and peel the onion, then cut it into thin slices. Use a splash of oil or butter and saute the onion slices on medium low heat until quite caramelized, thirty minutes or so. If you see the edges of the onion blackening before they’ve taken on much overall color, turn the heat down. When the onions have a rich caramel color, stir in the balsamic and shut off the heat. Season with salt and pepper and cool to room temperature. You can facilitate this process by transferring the onions to a plate and spreading them out to cool.

While the onions cool, roll the dough to about a 1/4” thickness in the shape of your choice. It’s a rustic sort of tart, so don’t worry about trimming the edges or making sure the shape is too precise. Roll. Transfer the dough to an ungreased sheet pan.
Refrigerate the rolled dough, no need to wrap, at least 15 minutes to give the gluten ample time to relax so it won’t shrink. Definitely chill the dough until the onions have cooled. Seriously. Putting hot or even warm onions on something made of butter can only lead to disaster. Wait.

When the onions have cooled, scatter them over the tart. Next, slice a whole apple as thinly as you can manage. You don’t need a mandolin or anything, just take your time and you’ll be able to get some pretty seriously thin slices. No need to core the apples, just slice straight through. You can easily pick the seeds out of the slices and keep the pretty starburst shape intact. Arrange as many or few apple slices on the tart as you like; I use six, but don’t hesitate to do more if you want!

Now sprinkle whatever cheese you’re using over the tart. Listen: this isn’t a pizza. It’s not even a flat quiche. Easy on the cheese, okay? You’re just wanting to add a few salty bites, the tart dough is incredibly rich and buttery, and big gobs of cheese will really make this a greasy, inelegant snack.

Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Check on the tart from time to time, if you notice any out of control air bubbles, pull the tart partway out of the oven and poke the bubble with a toothpick or a knife to release the steam. Put it back in the oven and carry on. Cool the tart for at least 5 minutes before cutting and serving. The tart will remain wonderfully flakey even at room temperature several hours later so you can prepare ahead if needed. Enjoy!

Kale Winter Pasta, Heidi Swanson recipe
Thanks to a CSA member for sharing this kale recipe for those who don’t like cooked kale – it makes a delicious pesto-like sauce for pasta!

4 cloves of garlic, peeled

4 small shallots, peeled

1 small bunch of kale - 1/2 lb, stalks removed, washed well

1/3 C extra virgin olive oil

1/3 C goat cheese (or Parmesan), plus more for topping

2 T + hot pasta water

fine grain sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

fresh lemon juice - optional

12 oz dried penne pasta

fresh thyme - and thyme flowers

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the boiling water generously, and add the garlic and shallots. Boil for 2-3 minutes, stir in the kale and cook for another ten seconds. Don't overcook. Working quickly, use a slotted spoon or strainer to fish the greens, garlic, and shallots from the water. Use a food processor to puree the ingredients along with the olive oil and goat cheese. Add a couple tablespoons of hot pasta water if needed to thin things out. Then season with a touch of salt and plenty of black pepper. Taste. Depending on your goat cheese, you might need a little extra acidic oomph if your sauce is a bit flat. If so, add fresh lemon juice a bit at a time until you're happy with it the sauce. Set aside.

Reheat the pot of water and boil the pasta per package instructions. Drain and toss immediately with the green sauce. Serve topped with a few pinches of fresh thyme, and more crumbled cheese. Serves 4-6.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Week 17, CSA News

Certified Organic . . . The Best of the Best

We try to be clear in our newsletter each week of what is organic, and the few items that are not. Though we grow 5 vegetables that do not yet meet the criteria for certification, we do employ lots of the same earth friendly techniques. Let’s look at what we must do and who determines if we fulfill our obligations to achieve organic certification and use the word “organic” in referencing products.

Each year we submit our farm plan to Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association (OEFFA) which is accredited to administer the USDA Organic Certification production and labeling program. OEFFA staff evaluates our plan to verify we document the purchases of inputs that will not contaminate our fields or products, maintain and enhance the environment and farm ecosystems, and harvest and deliver items to you with assuredness they meet standards. An inspector is sent at least once a year to visually inspect the farm, look at records, and document we are following the plan submitted.

The farm plan is based upon “The Rule.” The rule is a comprehensive Federal regulation agreed upon in the mid 1990’s and fully implemented in 2002. The rule addresses everything from GMO exclusions, environmental stewardship, animal welfare, food processing, packaging, and labeling. The volume of record keeping, auditable activity logs, and worker training is a tremendous burden, especially since we produce such a wide variety of crops and livestock. But we feel that the benchmark of organic certification is worth the hours of time and extra effort.

Mac administers the Kentucky Dept. of Agriculture Organic Certification Program for KY farmers, which is why we use an out-of-state agency to prevent any conflict of interest. Earlier this year, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack appointed Mac to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), a 15-member board that oversees “The Rule” and makes recom-mendations to the Secretary and the administrative branch of the USDA National Organic Program. This board deals with international compatibility issues, new products being requested to be allowed, and general guidelines that give the 53 accreditation agencies (like OEFFA and KDA) the tools they need to effectively monitor the operations they certify as organic. Members of the board range from chemists to food manufacturing professionals, consumer advocates, livestock and crop professionals and certified organic farmers.

So rest assured when you see the logo, there is a tremendous degree of scrutiny from thoughtful caring individuals that you are consuming the best of the best!

In Your Share
Items in shares may vary depending on share size and harevst day. Each share may not contain every items listed below.

Sweet Basil–organic
This week find a little fresh basil to use in your favorite dishes, not enough to make pesto for the freezer. Basil can be stored in your refrigerator as long as there is an extra cushion of air to protect from below 40°. Keep in the bag and put into another container. If the leaves do dry, remove from the stems and use as dried basil all year long.

Swiss Chard–organic


Edamame – organic

Leeks - organic

We have enough of the small French cantaloupe type melons today for all shares. They are picked ripe and have a thin skin, so go ahead and cut up into a container for your refrigerator now. We like the size, taste, & growth habits of this variety, so probably will grow again next season. As you know we continue to try out melons looking for non-GMO varieties that grow well for us in Kentucky.



Tomatoes – organic
We have at least 4 different recipes for Tomato Pie on our web blog (also a Chard Pie recipe), just enter Pie in the search spot at the top of the screen. Scroll down. You can enjoy these like quiche, served hot or cold, for dinner or breakfast, or pack for your lunch!

Garlic – organic

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

African Pineapple Peanut Stew
Our thanks to a CSA member for sharing this recipe she adapted from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home.

1 cup chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T vegetable or olive oil
1 bunch chard
2 cups undrained canned crushed pineapple
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 T Tabasco or hot pepper sauce
1/2 cup cilantro
chopped salt

Sauté onions and garlic in a saucepan in oil for 10 minutes until lightly browned. Slice greens into 1-inch thick slices. Add pineapple and its juice to onions and bring to a simmer. Stir in greens and simmer for 5 more minutes. Mix in peanut butter, Tabasco, cilantro and salt and simmer for 5 more minutes. Serve over couscous.

Tomato and Bread Salad

¼ lb Italian bread, torn into chunks (4 cups)
¼ cup olive oil
½ small red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 large tomatoes (1 ½ lbs), diced
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar ½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and sliced
¼ cup thinly sliced basil leaves

1. Toast bread on baking sheet in 350-degree oven for 5 minutes.
2. Heat olive oil in large skillet. Cool onion and garlic over medium-high heat, 2 minutes.
3. Remove from heat, then stir in tomatoes, vinegar, slat, and pepper.
4. Place bread in large bowl and toss with tomato mixture, cucumber, and basil.

Steamed Leeks with Ginger Sauce
Recipe from the editors of Cook’s Illustrated who researched and tested all the best recipes for leeks prior to recommending this one.

3 to 4 small to medium leeks
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
3 T soy sauce
1 T sugar

1. Trim the leeks about 2 inches beyond the point where the leaves start to darken. Trim the root end, keeping the base intact. (Did you know that the root ends can be dropped into oil and pan-fried similar to tiny French fries or okra? Very trendy these days.) Slit each leek lengthwise upward through the leaves, leaving the base intact. Rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of dirt.

2. Fill a large pot with enough water to come to a depth of 1 inch. Cover and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Arrange the leeks in a single layer in a steamer basket. When the water comes to a boil, carefully place the steamer basket with the leeks into the pot. Cover and steam until the leeks are tender and the tip of a knife inserted into the thickest part of a leek meets no resistance, 10 to 12 minutes.

3. While the leeks are steaming, whisk the ginger, soy sauce, and sugar together in a small bowl.

4. Place the leeks on a serving platter, drizzle the ginger sauce over the leeks, and serve hot or warm.

Cool Cucumber Spaghetti,
a Bert Greene recipe, serves 4

4 cucumbers, each about 7 inches long
½ C plus 1 T red wine vinegar
½ tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 large shallot, minced
2 T water
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 T chopped fresh dill

Peel the cucumbers, then scrape the flesh with a vegetable zester lengthwise to form long spaghetti-like strands. Place the strands in a colander; sprinkle them with 1 T vinegar, the salt, and ½ tsp sugar. Let stand 30 minutes.

Shake the colander to remove any excess liquid. Do not squeeze the cucumber strands. Transfer them to a bowl and add the shallot.

Combine the remaining 1/3 C vinegar, 1 ½ tsp sugar, and the water.

Pour the dressing over the cucumbers; add the pepper and 2 T dill. Toss lightly with two forks. Refrigerate, covered, 30 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 T dill.

Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Recipe from Sunny Season Flavors, serves 6

6 vine-ripened tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 T brown sugar
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T olive oil
1 T torn basil leaves, to serve

Preheat the oven to 300°. Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Halve the tomatoes horizontally and place, skin-side down, on the prepared tray. Add a piece of garlic to each half, sprinkle with the sugar and drizzle the vinegar and oil over the top. Season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 1 hour or until softened and lightly charred. Set aside to cool. Serve tomatoes at room temperature garnished with the torn basil.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

CSA Week 16

Thinking About Fall?

A few years ago, several CSA members asked Elmwood Stock Farm to consider offering a fall and winter CSA program. After discussion and evaluation of several factors including field rotation schedules for summer crops, expenses of production in winter months, and our own experiences in growing crops during fall and winter, we arrived at the decision to offer a Fall Season CSA. We do not expect all members to be interested in fall crops. But, for those folks who want to continue eating locally grown, healthy and nutritious vegetables, we are pleased to offer a seasonal eating option.

We grow items outside in our regular crop fields and in the ground inside the unheated high tunnel, and we have items in our cooler grown for storage into winter. With cold weather and much shorter day lengths, each vegetable will be slower to grow and cannot be harvested as often as we do in the summer. We offer one size share for the fall season that contains at least seven up to a dozen different types of vegetables – enough for two weeks of eating including some items to store for later in the winter. Items could be lettuce, cooking greens, crops like broccoli or cabbage, potatoes, winter squash, and other items such as root crops, herbs, or specialty greens. If we have a late freeze this fall, some warm weather summer vegetables will also be in the early shares.

During the Fall Season, we offer distribution in Lexington on Thursday afternoon or Saturday morning and at the farm on Friday afternoon, every two weeks, a total of five pickups over 10 weeks. The first pickup this fall is October 20-22. Visit the CSA page of our website to review a signup form – though it indicates the price good through August 1 ($275), shares are still available now in late August at that price – just print out and send in to the farm. Meat shares and Egg shares can also be added.

Which brings us to another fall food event, the Thanksgiving meal. One of the Fall CSA distributions is the weekend prior to Thanksgiving so you will be well stocked for your holiday cooking. The last outdoor farmers market is the Saturday before the holiday with seasonal veggies, eggs for your baking or puddings, and organic meats. It is also known as Turkey Pickup Day. We raise Heritage Breed Certified Organic Turkeys outdoors, and make them available for the holiday season. We’ll write more next week with details on breeds, sizes, pricing and how to pre-order.

In the meantime, pop any extra veggies in your freezer for later this fall or winter. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the fresh flavor on a dreary December day, and proud of yourself for the extra effort now.

In Your Share
Items in your share may vary depending on your share size and harvest day. Each item listed below may not be in every share.

Fresh Berries – organic

Savoy Cabbage – organic

Sweet Corn-organic


Garlic – organic


Bell Pepper-organic

Stripetti Squash

Tomatoes – organic


Watermelon Radish – organic

Recipes to Enjoy

Our recipes this week are created by culinary experts who live and cook right here in the Bluegrass area. You can enjoy a little local flavor by reading more online, as most have a website with much to offer!

Tiny Tomato and Orzo Salad
Local celebrity chef, Brigitte Nguyen, appears regularly on television with Wellness Cooking to inspire and teach healthier eating. Her blog, Counting the Beans and Cooking the Books, includes lots of recipes, a simple tomato salad. Visit brigittenguyen dot com.

1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1 tbsp olive oil, plus additional if desired
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup red grape tomatoes
1 cup yellow pear tomatoes
½ cup or 5 oz fresh mozzarella, diced (or purchase the small pearls)
¼ cup chopped or chiffonade basil

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook orzo to your desired doneness, 8-10 minutes for al dente. Drain in a colander and immediately transfer to a large bowl. Toss with olive oil while still warm and season with salt and pepper.
Any time you’re dressing a pasta salad, do so while the pasta is still warm, which will allow it to soak up the most flavor. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, cut grape and pear tomatoes in half or quarters, depending on size. Toss tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil with the cooled orzo, adding extra olive oil if desired. Season heavily with salt and pepper and serve.

Spicy Thai Vegetable Slaw
This is a farm favorite recipe created by Vanessa Oliver. To get more of Vanessa’s culinary talents, you either have to signup for a cooking class at The Wholesome Chef dot come, or stop by Elmwood’s booth at the Saturday morning farmers market in downtown Lexington and visit with her.

1 head Savoy cabbage
4 medium radishes
1 cucumber
1 jalapeno
2 T spicy sesame oil
4 T cider vinegar
1 T honey
3 T smooth peanut butter
½ tsp chili paste
2 tsp grated ginger zest
juice from one lime
handful of peanuts

Cut the cabbage into shreds, cut the rest of the veggies intro strips. In a large bowl, mix dressing ingredients without the peanuts. Add the vegetables and peanuts, and let sit for about a half hour. Good cold or at room temperature. You can control the spiciness of this slaw by using just regular sesame oil, not adding the jalapeno and putting in a regular bell pepper instead, not adding chili paste. It’s a very flexible recipe, so experiment.

Probably Almost Mother’s Homemade Ketchup
Continuing our salute to local blogger friends and CSA members, we suggest you visit Savoring Kentucky dot com where there is way more information about using your tomatoes, onions, and peppers to make homemade ketchup. She has links to other recipes you may want to review, step-by-step photos of the process, tips on handy gadgets to make the process easy, and lots more!

Please note that this recipe has quite a few steps, none of them hard, but still – there are steps and processes. It may help to read all the way through before launching in.

In a large, heavy-bottomed stock pot, begin simmering:
8 quarts fresh tomato juice

Note the level of the juice as you begin. Simmer until reduced by half.including this one for As the tomato juice reduces, in a non-reactive heavy-bottomed saucepan, over medium-low heat, add a little bit of neutral oil (grapeseed, for example). Sauté these ingredients until soft:
2 small onions, chopped
1/2 of a sweet pepper, chopped

Add to the following ingredients to the onion-pepper mixture, and cook gently until reduced by half:
2 Tablespoons pickling spice
1 Tablespoon whole celery seed
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 cups vinegar (I used cider vinegar; distilled may work, too)
When both the tomato juice and the cider-spice-onion mixture are reduced by half, set a colander over a large bowl, and line the colander with heavy cheesecloth or a very clean piece of old tee shirt or other soft fabric, about 10 inches square. Gather up the spices inside the cloth, and tie the corner together to make a packet. Note the level of the reduced tomato juice in its stock pot, and add both the cider and the spice packet to the reduced tomato juice. Continue simmering until the combined mixture reduced to the level noted — the level of half the tomato juice.
Now add sugar to taste. You add the sugar last, according to the recipe, “to prevent scorching and ruining your day’s work.” If the tomatoes are highly acid, you may want the higher amounts of sugar. For regular acid-y garden tomatoes, this recipe suggest the following:
1 pound brown sugar (2 cups, more or less)
Up to 2 cups white sugar

Cook again until well integrated and as thick as you want. Homemade ketchup will be like a thin sauce, not a thick paste. Keep tasting and adjusting, particularly checking for salt, until the ketchup tastes just as you want. Remember that cold foods, as your ketchup will be when you use it, need a touch more sweetness than you think when you are tasting them warm.
This amount of juice and add-ins will make about 7 pints of ketchup.

Berry Reduction for Favorite Berry Ice Cream
This recipe is borrowed from the blog of one of our favorite local pastry chefs. Enjoy her writing, recipes and learn where to go when you want to skip the work and just enjoy her tasty creations visit Bravetart dot com.

To make the creamiest fruit ice cream, don’t use raw fruit. Fresh fruit contains a good deal of water, which will freeze into icy crystals. By using a homemade berry reduction, that water is gently removed, leaving behind a concentrated fresh-berry flavor. This means no pesky ice crystals in the ice cream.

18 oz blueberries, blackberries, raspberries (frozen work well too)
8 ½ ounces sugar
the zest of 1 lemon or 1 small orange (optional)
a few drops of orange or rose flower water (also optional)
¼ tsp salt

Blitz the berries and sugar together in the bowl of a food processor, or do it by hand by smashing them together with a fork/potato masher. Cover and macerate for one hour. After the hour has passed, place the berries and juice in a medium sauce pot and turn the heat to medium low. When the mixture begins to bubble, turn the heat down to low. Maintain the barest simmer, you should only see very occasional bubbles. Simmer until the mixture reduces by about half. Reducing the mixture on low heat helps preserve the fresh berry taste. When the liquid has sufficiently reduced, whisk in the citrus zest, flower water, and salt. Store refrigerated for about a week, or freeze indefinitely.

Monday, August 15, 2011

CSA Newsletter, Week 15

Communing with Mother Nature

Our relationship with Mother Nature is the compelling motivation to care for this land and produce food for you. In past weeks, we have briefly described the intricacies of soil microbes, fungi, and minerals. We have briefly discussed the fascinating diversity of the insect world, and the wildlife that call the farm home. We have portrayed the frustration of relentless rain and the death of drought. Planning and preparing for the range of environmental conditions Mother Nature may send our way is the job of farming. Manipulating the ecosystem to efficiently harvest healthy food is the work of farming. Being in a position to see, feel, touch, smell and taste the bounty is the joy of farming.

This past Saturday Mother Nature came calling. She unleashed a torrential storm so violent that it laid over two 150-year-old trees, dozens of younger trees, and twisted limbs and branches off of countless others. Crops that stood tall and proud, now are bent or broken, lying on the ground. Some are resilient and will continue growing and producing, others compromised enough to be economically considered a total loss. Shorter plants like sweet potatoes are just disturbed for a few days, other taller plants like sweet corn, peppers, and tomatoes are blown over or the leaves stripped off that will cause sunburn on any existing fruit. Some of these we will just have to wait and see if they can bounce back as it is too late in the season to replant. One of the greenhouses suffered damage and electrical power was knocked out to the entire farm for about 30 hours.

The cattle and sheep, laying hens and broiler chickens are a little wind-blown, but happy to have cooler temperatures the weather front brought in. The turkey trailer flipped over and the young turkeys freaked out, but we found them safe and sound huddled together in the corner of the field. Several fences are down from fallen trees, but are shored up temporarily until we have more time to properly repair. Several electric fences are already running off battery systems, so the loss of power did not affect those areas helping to keep livestock safely where we want them.

In spite of the adjustment to our workload and schedule, the livestock are secure and thriving. Most of the crops will weather the storm and your boxes will show the stamina of the plants.

Last Thursday and Friday nights we saw one of the brightest fullest moons in awhile; it was so large and orange just before dawn on Friday it could have been mistaken for the rising sun. Just a day later, Mother Nature spoke loudly in a different voice reminding us to pay attention to her more subtle message of providing our nourishment while enjoying the beauty of her artistry.

In Your Share

Items in shares may vary depending on share size and harvest day. Every share may not contain each item listed below.

Fresh Berries – organic

Sweet Corn-organic


Edamame – organic
These fresh soybeans are podding up and ready to eat! Do not use the shell beans raw. Rinse the pods and put into boiling, salted water. Cook 5-8 minutes. After draining water, you may salt or season as desired. Pop beans out of the pod into your mouth for a healthy snack. Refrigerate.

Okra- organic

Yellow Onion – organic

Bell Pepper-organic

Acorn Squash
Find your first fall season squash of the year, no need to refrigerate, it stays fresh in the pantry or basement for several months if desired.

Tomatoes – organic
Depending on your situation, you may find yourself with too many tomatoes, or possibly wanting more. If you take the time to put some in the freezer now, you may find them useful for sauce or soup this winter. For best results, put whole tomatoes in boiling water, remove with slotted spoon and put into ice water to stop the cooking. When cool, remove the skin and pop whole or chopped tomatoes into a freezer bag.

If you find yourself wanting more, we have #2 tomatoes by the boxful at a very discounted price – just call or email the farm to arrange for an order.

Garlic – organic

Recipes to Enjoy

Fresh Summer Salsa
Our thanks to a CSA member for sharing her recipe, she reports, “My kids and husband eat my fresh summer salsa as fast as I can make it! Too yummy not to share the recipe! “ Serve with a bag of tortilla chips.

Dice the following and add to a medium size bowl:
4-5 ripe medium to large tomatoes
½ onion
1/3 large green pepper

Stir in:
1 spoonful minced garlic
2 spoonfuls of diced jalapeno peppers & juice (pickled) (more of less depending how spicy you like it)
Splash of white vinegar
1 T extra virgin olive oil
Sea Salt to taste

Corn and Tomato Salad Recipe
Our thanks to another CSA member for sharing one of her favorite summer recipes!

4 ears fresh corn husked and removed from the cob or one bag of frozen organic corn, thawed
1 pint baby tomatoes, cut in half
3 T fresh chopped basil leaves
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

Mix tomato halves with corn kernels in a bowl. Add the basil and remaining ingredients, mix gently until well combined and let sit to marinate for a few minutes at room temperature.

Okra Fritters

We are sharing a recipe from a few years back as it became a favorite. Originally given to us be a CSA member, she even brought a sample for us straight from her kitchen. You owe it to yourself to try fried okra at least once this summer, it has an original flavor that is satisfying and can’t be duplicated.

2 C vegetable oil

½ C all-purpose flour

coarse salt and ground pepper

2 C okra, coarsely chopped (can use frozen, sliced)

½ C yellow onion, diced (about ½ small onion)

1 large egg

¼ C butter

In a large, heavy skillet, heat oil over medium. In a medium bowl, combine flour, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add okra and onion and toss to coat.

In a small bowl, whisk together egg and buttermilk. Add to okra mixture and stir just until combined.

In two batches, drop batter in 2 tablespoonful mounds into oil. With a small spatula or butter knife, gently flatten each mound and fry until golden, about 4 minutes per side, flipping once (adjust heat if browning too quickly). Drain on paper towels. Season with salt and serve warm. Makes about 10.

Benedictine Finger Sandwiches
Though we have shared recipes for Benedictine before, this one comes from Entertaining with Bluegrass Winners. Recipe as written makes 24 small sandwiches.

1 ½ large cucumbers, seeded and chopped
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 green onions, white part only, finely chopped
a drop of green food coloring (optional)
2-3 T mayonnaise
6-7 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
salt and pepper to taste
2 loaves of very thin white or wheat bread

Using a paper towel, squeeze most of the water from cucumber pieces. Combine cucumbers, cream cheese, onions, food color, and mayonnaise with electric mixer. Add bacon and salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare slices of very thin bread by removing crusts. Spread Benedictine mixture on brad. Cover with second slice and cut diagonally to make two triangular sandwiches. Store in airtight container in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Roasted Corn Pudding in Acorn Squash
Recipe from 101 Cookbooks dot com

1 small (2 lb.) acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded

1 T clarified butter or olive oil

1 C milk

1 egg plus 2 egg whites

½ C fresh corn kernels (or more if you like)

¼ tsp anise seed, chopped

¼ C chopped scallions (or use regular onion)

a tiny pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

¼ tsp fine grain sea salt

1/3 C grated white cheddar cheese
another ¼ C chopped scallions for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees with a rack in the middle.

Rub the orange flesh of the squash with the butter/oil. Place cut side up on a baking sheet. You will want it to sit flat (and not tip), if you are having trouble just level out the bottom using a knife. If the squash is tilting on the pan, the filling will run out - bad news. Cover the squash with foil and bake for 40 minutes or until the squash starts to get tender.

In a bowl combine the milk, eggs, corn, anise seed, scallions, nutmeg, and salt. Fill each of the squash bowls 3/4 full (you may have extra filling which you can put in a buttered ramekin and bake alongside your squash). Carefully transfer the squash back to the oven without spilling (tricky!). Continue baking uncovered for another 30 - 50 minutes, or until the squash is fully cooked through, and the pudding has set. The amount of time it takes can vary wildly depending on the squash and oven.

At the last minute sprinkle with cheese and finish with a flash under the broiler to brown the cheese. Keep an eye on things, you can go from melted cheese to burnt and inedible in a flash. Serve hot sprinkled with the remaining scallions.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Week 14, CSA

Good Stuff Behind the Local Food Movement

Most of you know that our farm is not open to the public, as we don’t have an on-farm store. We are not organized to offer tours of the farm, don’t have adequate parking lots & restrooms for school groups and u-pick. Maybe one day in the future, but not right now as all of our efforts are needed in growing good organic food in a sustainable manner.

However, this past week, we hosted a tour for university researchers and educators from around the country. As part of the Sustainable Agriculture Educators Association annual meeting held at the University of Kentucky, we opened the gate for about 1 hour to share our sustainability philosophy with many of them. We barely finished loading that day’s CSA boxes on the truck for delivery before they arrived, then we could take a few minutes to tell our story. These brief encounters with knowledgeable professionals are one of our ways of giving back for all the help we have received over the years to develop the sustainable organic system of farming we employ.

Kentucky has much to offer as a vibrant organic and sustainable agriculture community. UK, Kentucky State University in Frankfort, and Berea College all have certified organic acreage for research and demonstration purposes. Each of them has strong student programs as part of their mission. Diversification dollars available to producers through the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the Governor’s Office of Agriculture Policy have spurred not only infrastructure growth for farmers, but expanded the conversation about sustainable development of the local food movement.

At the researcher/educator’s dinner program last week, it was obvious that Kentucky has something special going on as local chefs prepared a Kentucky Proud meal with food stations bursting with dishes of local flavor. Guests saw the leadership from the universities, state government, & non-profit groups sharing the podium declaring continued commitment of resources to further the cause of consuming locally grown foods.

What really got their attention was the reading of a short story by Wendell Berry. He graciously stayed at the podium fielding questions from the audience about specific aspects of developing local food economies. One guest at the dinner said it best, “Guess you folks got to get it right when you know you have to answer face to face with Wendell Berry!”

We thank you, our CSA members, for your support of the local food movement. Your partnership with the farm is an important piece that allows us to provide this food for you, your family and friends.

In Your Share

Items in shares may vary depending on your harvest day and share size. Each share may not contain every item listed below.

Fresh Berries – organic

Cabbage – organic
Prepare cabbage by cutting the head first into quarters, then diagonally across the wedge. Cut into thin slices for tossing raw into salads, or cut into thicker slices for steaming or boiling. Steam cabbage for 5-7 minutes, top with butter, a pinch of salt and pepper and some grated cheese. Over cooking will result in too strong of an odor and flavor. Cabbage is great sautéed and stir-fried with other veggies.

Sweet Corn – organic

Garlic – organic

Leeks - organic

Related to onions, leeks can be cooked whole on the grill, steamed, braised, or baked. They have a mild flavor and sweeten when cooked. Store refrigerated, leeks will keep for two weeks; can be substituted for onions in recipes for a different flavor.

Yellow Onions – organic

Red Bell Pepper – organic

Tomatoes – organic

Collard Greens – organic

Fennel - organic

Fennel is known to aid in digestion, cure poor eyesight, help a nervous condition, and even repel insects. Refrigerate realizing that the anise aroma will spread throughout your fridge, store in closed containers. Fennel is quite popular as a fresh herb seasoning for fish along with lemon. Visit our online blog, entering fennel in the search space to see several recipes.

Recipes to Enjoy

Fresh Tomato Pie
“The New Southern Garden Cookbook: Enjoying the Best From Homegrown Gardens, Farmers’ Markets, Roadside Stands, and CSA Farm Boxes,” by Sheri Castle. Makes: 1 pie, or 8 servings.

One 9-inch deep-dish pie shell
1 ½ pounds large sun-ripened tomatoes (peeling is optional)
½ tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
¼ C lightly packed basil leaves, coarsely chopped
½ C crisp bacon pieces (optional)
¼ tsp celery salt or celery seed
¾ C high-quality mayonnaise
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 ¼ C grated Asiago cheese, divided
½ tsp ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/3 C crushed Saltine cracker crumbs

1. Bake and cool the pie shell.

2. When ready to bake the pie, heat oven to 350 degrees.

3. Use a serrated knife to cut the tomatoes into ¼ -inch-thick slices. Cover a wire rack with several layers of paper towels and set the rack over the sink to catch the drips. Arrange the tomatoes in a single layer on the rack. Sprinkle them with the salt and let drain for at least 10 minutes. Pat the tomatoes dry with fresh paper towels.

4. Arrange half of the tomatoes over the bottom of the pie shell. Scatter the basil and bacon, if using, over the first layer of tomatoes, and arrange the rest of the tomatoes on top.

5. Stir together the celery salt, mayonnaise, lemon zest and lemon juice in a small bowl. Stir in ¾ C of the cheese, and season with salt and pepper. Spread the mayonnaise mixture over the tomatoes.

6. Toss together the remaining ½ C of cheese and the cracker crumbs in a small bowl; sprinkle over the top of the pie.

7. Bake until the top of the pie is nicely browned, 30 to 35 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool to room temperature before serving.

Scalloped Tomatoes
Here is an easy-to-prepare Southern recipe for those of you craving the flavors you grew up eating before we were told not to eat our fats. Nutritionists now say that not all fats are the same and your body actually needs good fats for true health. Use organic, pasture raised pork bacon if you can find it, and your favorite tomatoes.

4 slices bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 small onion, chopped
¼ cup seasoned dry bread crumbs

3 medium tomatoes, sliced ¼-inch thick

1. In small bowl in the microwave, cook bacon, covered, on High 3 to 4 minutes until crisp. Remove bacon; set aside.

2. Discard all but 1 tbsp fat. To fat remaining, in bowl, add onion. Cook, covered, 1 minute.

3. Stir in breadcrumbs. Cook 2 ½ to 3 ½ minutes until brown and crisp, stirring often during cooking.

4. Around edge of 9-inch pie plate, arrange tomato slices overlapping. Sprinkle crumbs and bacon on tomatoes. Cook on High 3 to 4 minutes until heated through.

Fresh Tomato Sauce for Pasta
Our thanks to Wash House Herb Farm in Scott County for sharing this tasty recipe – special since it does not require cooking. Serves 2.

4 ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped, use more if you like it
¼ C fresh basil, chopped
¼ C extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients, cover and let set for about an hour. Do not cook. Serve over hot pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Enjoy.

Cherry Tomatoes in Oil & Vinegar

Wash House Herb Farm

Mix together and marinate overnight:
¼ C olive oil
2-3 T balsamic vinegar
1 T minced garlic
1 T chopped fresh basil or other favorite herb
salt and pepper to taste
2 pounds cherry type tomatoes

Fresh Cabbage Slaw
Recipe from Barbara Boltjes. We’ve tried this with both savoy cabbage and green cabbage, interchanging the radishes for kohlrabi, or whatever we have on hand that day. It is very versatile.

2 C shredded cabbage
½ C shredded carrot
½ C sliced green onion
1/3 C sliced radishes
¼ C chopped fresh cilantro
¼ C coarsely chopped peanuts (optional)
¼ C rice vinegar

Add vinegar to all other ingredients; toss.

Monday, August 1, 2011

CSA, Week 13

Yes, these are Yummy Beet Cupcakes!

What Does it Take?

Wow! Haven’t the veggies been out of this world this year! One of the main reasons we hear about why you all like the CSA program is you have tried to grow it yourself. Between the bugs, weeds, and watering, it is hard to grow this stuff. So, let’s look at the equipment we use to make it happen.

Seeds come in all sizes from tiny turnips to big beans. For starting seeds in the greenhouse, we can use our vacuum seeder. It sucks the seeds into a small hole, in a pattern the same as the tray holding the soil mix. We push a button, releasing the vacuum, allowing the seeds to drop into one of 220 or 253 1” by 1” squares in the tray. Unfortunately, long skinny seeds like lettuce or chard (which looks like asteroids) won’t work with the vacuum and must be carefully placed individually into those little squares by hand.

John also has several planters that can plant rows of seeds directly into the soil. In order for this to work, the plant cover and soil must be strategically prepared to accept the seeds and provide nutrients and water for it to grow. A different machine allows the crew to ride behind the tractor dropping the transplants from the greenhouse into a cup, which then opens at the precise time to place the roots into the soil at the proper spacing. This can be done through strips of mulch, previously laid out, to control weeds and conserve moisture, or directly into bare soil.

That is the easy part – other than working around the rains, maintaining the equipment in sound condition, providing water, and keeping the crop charts accurate.

Those little seeds or transplants are placed in soil containing tens of millions of weed seeds, left from years gone by. The ones that are awakened by movement in tillage and warming temperatures are also competing for space to grow. To manage this competition, John has implements for tillage along the rows to carefully unearth the weeds between the rows. Those implements are designed to “work” very closely to the tiny vegetable rows without damaging them. This equipment is set specifically to match the row width and bed shaping capabilities of each planter or transplanter. There is often a fair bit of old fashioned hoeing between the individual vegetable plants.

All of this must be choreographed around the weather, size of the produce plants, irrigation schedules, and available daylight hours to get it done. Those of you that grow a garden will know how good it feels when you get it all right.

In Your Share

Items in shares may vary depending on your share size and harvest day. Every share may not have each items listed below.

Beets – organic

Fresh Berries – organic

Celery – organic

We get mixed reviews on the celery each season, so our goal this year is to provide a super great description so your usage will meet expectations. This is nothing like celery purchased in the supermarket! Think of it as an herb. You want to use the leaves, you want to use the stalks also (but first they must be finely chopped). It is very flavorful, not bland and watery, and a little goes a long way.

Commodity celery is hilled up with sandy soil to blanch the stalks & crown white, most in the US is grown in California where the soil is conducive to this. Here, the sunshine gives color to the stalks and causes it to be much more fibrous. Chop finely or use a processor if eating fresh in egg, tuna or chicken salad. Wrap to store in the refrigerator. Like many members, you just might find that fresh celery is a favorite!

Swiss Chard – organic

Sweet Corn – organic

Oregano & Thyme – organic

Green Onions – organic

Green Bell Pepper – organic

Summer Squash

Tomatoes – organic
Your shares have included red slicing tomatoes (both heirloom and hybrid) along with black, pink, striped, and gold heirloom tomatoes. They are known to be uglier, tastier, more sweet due to less acid, ripen quickly, have thinner skins, are prone to cracking and can make the most delicious dishes! To speed up ripening, close tomatoes up in a bag where the natural ethylene will be trapped (you have heard this for peaches). To slow ripening, refrigerate, but know that flavor may be affected by refrigeration.

Recipes to Enjoy

Very Versatile Creole Squash
Our thanks to Chef Lisa for sharing one of her special recipes offered just for this week’s CSA harvest. Lisa has been the Sous Chef at Holly Hill Inn in Midway since Ouita and Chris Michel opened the restaurant. Lisa also has been an Elmwood CSA member since we started the program, and we always enjoy her tasty original recipes!

1 medium onion or large green onions, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
3-4 cloves garlic
4 C peeled, seeded, chopped tomatoes
¾ T fresh thyme, chopped
¾ T fresh oregano, chopped
1 ½ tsp Worstershire sauce
hot sauce, as much as desired
salt/black pepper
1 bay leaf, if desired
3-4 C summer squash, chopped

Options: Can include cabbage, eggplant, cooked chicken or sausage, blanched kohlrabi; any combination of favorite vegetables or meats.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, sauté onion until it turns translucent. Add celery and pepper and cook until soft. Add garlic, tomatoes, herbs, and sauces. Add squash or any other optional items.

Cook 15 minutes. Serve.

Black Bean and Chard Enchiladas
Our thanks to a CSA member who adapted this recipe from one found in Weight Watchers magazine. She says it is pretty spicy as written, but can be made milder by using another cheese, reducing or eliminating the cumin, and choosing a milder salsa.

3 C chard (about ½ pound or 1 bunch)
¼ C chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 C black beans
½ C pepper jack cheese, grated
1 tsp ground cumin, or to taste
8 corn tortillas
¾ jar salsa verde, or your favorite salsa

Wash chard, trim stems, and cut into ribbons. Place in skillet over medium heat and wilt with water clinging to leaves. When wilted, remove to plate and set aside.

Spray pan with cooking spray or coat with a little oil. Add onions and garlic to pan and cook until softened. If desired, dice chard stems and add to pan with onions; this adds a little extra crunch and nutrition, and eliminates waste. Stir in beans, cumin, half of cheese and salt to taste. Remove to plate with chard. Pour salsa in pan and bring to simmer. Dip a tortilla in salsa, turning to coat. Place on another plate or work surface, fill with about 1/8 of chard and bean mixture being careful not to overfill, roll up, and set aside. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Return enchiladas to pan, spoon additional salsa over top and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover and simmer until cheese melts. Let stand about 5 minutes. Yummy!

Beet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Many Beet Cake recipes can be found online, some use cooked beets, some raw like this one. This recipe originally in New York Times Magazine, adapted from Kathryn “Katzie” Guy-Hamilton at the Breslin.


12 ounces butter

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 cups sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoon baking soda

1 ½ teaspoon salt

4 eggs at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups shredded red or purple beets (in season try yellow for a corn-like flavor)

½ cup orange juice

½ cup toasted chopped hazelnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, spices and sugar on high speed for six minutes until fluffy and pale.

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer running on medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, stopping to scrape down after each egg. Add the vanilla extract.

3. In a separate bowl, stir the orange juice into the shredded beets that have been squeezed of most of their juice. (Save the juice for sorbet, a cocktail, what have you.) Mix until combined, then stir in the nuts. Using a spatula, fold in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

4. Scoop into paper-lined cupcake tins, or spray muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray and scoop batter directly into tins.

5. Bake for 20 minutes until brown and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool before frosting and adorn with toasted hazelnuts. (Toast your nuts slowly at a low temperature for even toasting from inside out.) Makes 12 cupcakes.

Cream-Cheese Frosting:

12 ounces cream cheese at room temperature

8 ounces butter, softened

8 ounces confectioner’s sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Zest of a quarter orange

1. To keep it smooth and dense, paddle your cream cheese in the bowl of standing mixer on medium speed until smooth.

2. Put the cream cheese in a separate bowl. Add the butter to the mixer and mix on medium speed until smooth. Now add the cream cheese back into the butter, being sure to avoid “whipping” the mixture. Add the confectioner’s sugar, salt, vanilla and orange. Paddle until smooth.