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.