Farm Vocabulary Lesson #1

Working on our seed order, Cameron and I came across the words determinate and indeterminate.  The basic definitions are - indeterminate seeds continue to produce fruit throughout the season, whereas determinate seeds grow to a certain size and produce all of their fruit in one go.  

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We grow indeterminate type tomatoes, needing to produce fruit throughout our very long tomato season.  The description of the physical attributes of these plants is long and gangly, needing to be staked.  Several years ago, Nigel made the decision to no longer stake our tomatoes because it requires so much labor during a time when labor is in high demand, lavender harvest, potato harvest, etc. I believe he compensated for loss by over-planting, to ensure we have plenty of fruit to choose from.  

Determinate tomatoes are what they grow at the farm next door, for Campbell’s tomato soup.  These plants are described as short and bushy. Now that I have learned this aspect of tomatoes, I can clearly see the difference. And yes, the fruit comes in all at one time. When the soup tomatoes fields are ready, their harvesters come in and the clear out the field in about 24 hours.  It is pretty incredible.

 

Laying A Green Carpet, Article from December 1998 by Frances

Going through the file box of old newsletters, I found this little gem Frances wrote, I think in 1998.  It is hard to imagine our farm without our beautiful orchard, but in this article Frances is telling us about the first steps taken creating it!

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“During October and early November Nigel ad Martin worked on our new 10 acre orchard at the Sievers ranch.  They loosened the soil to 24” depth where the tree rows will be then made berms for the trees.  Planting trees on high berms, 2’6” keeps the tree roots out of wet soil and away from root rotting disease.  It also helps the soil around the roots warm up faster in the spring.  

Next, in the spaces between the berms they hired a seeding machine called a Brillion Seeder.  This works well for small seeds such as clovers and alfalfa.  The mix they used was New Zealand White Clover, Trefoil, perennial Rye grass, Fescue, Alfalfa, Assylum and Triticale.  The seeder is 14’ wide, one pass between berms was enough.  Now we have had some rains our ‘Green Carpet’ is emerging and looking very good.” — Frances

This Week's Box: January 8th - January 14th

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CONTENTS:

  1. In the box - and how to store it

  2. This Week's Recipes

  3. Shopping List

  4. Link to Digital Copy of Newsletter

1. IN THE BOX (IN ORDER OF WHAT TO EAT FIRST):

*Items in Box for 2

Spinach- Store in the bag, unwashed, in the crisper. Take out what you plan on using and wash as you go. Will last 3-5 days

Arugula- Wash and dry well. Wrap with a damp paper towel and store in a glass container in the fridge. Lasts up to 5 days.

*Fennel- If used within a couple days, fennel can be left out on the counter, upright in a cup or bowl of water (like celery). If wanting to keep longer than a few days, place in the fridge in a closed container with a little water. 

Bok Choy-  This crunchy and tasty bok choy is amazingly sautéed and adds a little something special to a soup or stir-fry. Store in a plastic bag in the fridge up to one week. Don’t forget to use the ribs!

*Radish- Remove the greens (store separately) so they don't draw out excess moisture from the roots. Place them in an open container in the fridge with a wet towel placed on top. Lasts up to one week.  

*Lettuce- Keep damp in an airtight container in the fridge. Keeps for one week.

Cabbage- Wrap cabbage in plastic wrap and keep it chilled in the refrigerator. An alternative to plastic would be placing it in a tightly-locking container that limits air flow. Properly stored, cabbage should last about a week. 

Cauliflower or Broccoli- Will last a while in a closed container in the fridge but some say cauliflower has the best flavor the day it's brought home. 

*Leeks- These large alliums are rather mild in flavor and simply melt to perfection when sautéed. Use in soups, stir-fries, or in place of onions in other dishes for a delicious and more subtle flavor. Save the dark green tops for making vegetable stock! Leave in an open container in the crisper wrapped in a damp cloth or in a shallow cup of water on the counter (just so the very bottom of the stem has water).  Will last at least a week.

*Pomelos- Pomelos are the largest citrus fruit. Pomelos can be stored at room temperature for a couple of weeks or refrigerated for up to several weeks. Keep away from direct sunlight and heat.

Apples- Apples last much longer if they are placed loosely in the bin of your refrigerator. Wrapping them in brown paper from grocery sacks will also help to keep in the moisture of the apple. Keep apples slightly apart from each other. Lasts up to 2 months.  

*Butternut Squash- Store in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place. Many growers say winter squash gets sweeter if they're stored for a week or so before eaten. Will last several weeks.

2. THIS WEEK'S RECIPES

Leeks with Greens

Poulet a la Normande

Speedy Spinach Curry

3. SHOPPING LIST FOR ALL RECIPES (ASSUMES YOU HAVE SALT, PEPPER, AND WATER):

Shopping list for Leeks with Greens

1 TB Unsalted Butter

Shopping list for Poulet a la Normande

 3 to 4 lb Chicken, cut into 8 bone-in pieces

3 TB Olive Oil, duck fat or chicken fat

1/2 cup Calvado or Cognac

1 1/4 cups hard Cider, preferably a yeasty French one

15 Pearl Onions, peeled (frozen is fine)

2 TB Cornstarch

5 TB Creme Fraiche

Shopping list for Speedy Spinach Curry

 

1 oz Cashews

1 Onion

2 tsp Rogan Josh Curry paste

1/4 lb Paneer Cheese

1 TB Red Wine Vinegar

4. CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE NEWSLETTERS PAGE AT WWW.EATWELL.COM. CLICK ON THE DATE OF THE NEWSLETTER TO DOWNLOAD A PDF COPY OF THIS WEEK'S NEWSLETTER IN COLOR.

Leeks with Greens

Recipe from River Cottage Every Day by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

About 1 lb Leeks, white part only

1 TB Unsalted Butter

1 head Green Cabbage

1 bunch lettuce

Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

Slice the leeks finely and give them a good rincse to get rid of any grit.  Heat the butter in a large frying pan or Wie saucepan and add the leeks with a pinch of salt.  Let them cook gently for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring or shaking the pan occasionally, until wilted and tender.  Meanwhile, trim and coarsely shred the cabbage and chard.  Cook lightly - in either a steamer or large saucepan of salted water- 3 to 4 minutes, until wilted and tender but not too soft.  Remove from the heat immediately, drain well and let the excess moisture steam off for a minute or so.  Then add to the pan of buttery leeks, along with some more seasoning, and stir over a low heat for about a minute until thoroughly combined.  Serve right away.

Poulet a la Normande

Recipe by Francis Lam from NYT 

As we were just in neighboring Brittany, where Cider rules, I thought this was a perfect recipe for this week.  

1 3 to 4 lb Chicken, cut into 8 bone-in pieces

Salt and Black Pepper

3 TB Olive Oil, duck fat or chicken fat

1/2 cup Calvado or Cognac

1 1/4 cups hard Cider, preferably a yeasty French one

15 Pearl Onions, peeled (frozen is fine)

1 1/2 lb Apples

2 TB Cornstarch

5 TB Creme Fraiche

Pat the chicken very dry with paper towels, and season well with salt and pepper. Heat the fat in a large Dutch oven or deep skillet over medium-high until shimmering.  Brown the chicken, in batches, if necessary, skin side down until deep golden, 6 to 8 minutes, then flip, and seas the other side until golden, another 3 minutes.

If flambeing: Make sure there is nothing flammable near or above your stove.  Gently warm the Calvado in a saucepan over medium heat. When the chicken is well browned, protect your hand, and use a long kitchen match to light the liquor on fire, then carefully pour it into the chicken pan. The flame can shoot over 2 feet high, so be careful. Cook until the flame subsides. 

If not flambeing: Once the chicken is browned, turn off the heat, and add the Calvado. When the sizzling subsides, turn the heat on to medium-low, bring the liquid to a simmer and cook for 4 minutes to evaporate the alcohol.  Add the cider and onions, and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Turn the heat down to a very gentle simmer. 

Quickly peel and core the apples, and cut them into 1 1/2” chunks, and place them on top of the chicken.  Cover the pan, and cook, checking occasionally to ensure the liquid is maintaining a gentle simmer, not boiling until the chicken is just cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the chicken, onions, and apples to a platter, and cover. Make a slurry with the cornstarch and 3 TB of cold water. Stir this into the braising liquid, and bring to a simmer for 1 minute, until thickened.  Stir in the creme fraiche, and season the sauce with salt to taste, replace the chicken, onions and apples in the sauce and serve with crusty bread and a salad of arugula, with shaved radishes and fennel.

 

Speedy Spinach Curry

Recipe from Jamie  Oliver’s 5 Ingredients, Quick and Easy Food

I picked up this book in England.  It caught my eye because I know making fast, simple dishes sometimes is a lifesaver. 

1 oz Cashews

1 Onion

2 tsp Rogan Josh Curry paste

1/4 lb Paneer Cheese

1/2 lb Spinach

1 TB Red Wine Vinegar

Toast cashews in a frying pan over medium-high heat, shaking occasionally, until the nuts are golden.  Tip the cashews into a mortar and pestle, returning the pan to the heat.  Peel and finely slice the onion and place in the hot pan with 1 TB of olive oil and the curry paste.  Cook and stir for 8 minutes, then add the red wine vinegar.  Let the vinegar cook away for 30 seconds, dice and add the paneer, then the spinach.  Stir until the spinach wilts and all the liquid evaporates, then taste and season to perfection with sea salt and black pepper.  Crush the cashew nuts and sprinkle over the top before serving.  

 

Strawberries and Chickens, Written By Nigel

This time last year, Nigel wrote a story about Strawberries and Chickens. This is something I have been wondering about recently.  Perhaps Nigel and I talked about this, and that’s why it was rolling around in my brain? After last year’s rain, I am reluctant to move the chickens onto an area we would absolutely have to move them out of quickly. But perhaps the solution is to run the gees through? The more I look at the weeds all around the farm, the more I come to realize we need more geese.   — Lorraine

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“The strawberry plants are dormant, taking a break for the winter and getting ready for the spring. This is last years crop which we will harvest again this spring then plant a new crop to replace it on another part of the farm. Last year, we put the chickens on some old strawberry beds to scratch away the leaf debris so that we could remove the woven plastic mulch. As we moved them down the field where they had been the week previously, the strawberry crowns regrew. So I am thinking that I will try that for a very short period on this years crop. It will make the berries easier to pick and increase airflow around the plants reducing the risk of disease. My concern is that it rains heavily we cannot move the house and they damage the plants and future crop. Farming is a gamble, I have no need to go to Vegas, I gamble every day on the farm…” — Nigel 

Harvesting by Hand

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On a farm like ours there is a tremendously us amount of hand work. Nigel did an amazing job finding equipment that was appropriate for a farm like Eatwell, not big, but also too small, and one that grows a tremendous variety of crops on this one farm.  The job of researching has fallen through us.  Cameron has already found a handheld lettuce harvester that Jose is interested in. The problem we have to sort out will be weed control. Realistically, that is a problem we have to deal with regardless. In the meantime, getting veggies to you every week still requires a dedicated crew, hands-on in the field.

This Week's Box: January 1st- January 7th

CONTENTS:

  1. In the box - and how to store it

  2. This Week's Recipes

  3. Shopping List

  4. Link to Digital Copy of Newsletter

1. IN THE BOX (IN ORDER OF WHAT TO EAT FIRST):

*Items in Box for 2

*Spinach- Store in the bag, unwashed, in the crisper. Take out what you plan on using and wash as you go. Will last 3-5 days.

Oranges- They will keep a day or two at room temperature and up to a week in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.

Fennel- If used within a couple days, fennel can be left out on the counter, upright in a cup or bowl of water (like celery). If wanting to keep longer than a few days, place in the fridge in a closed container with a little water. 

Bok Choy-  This crunchy and tasty bok choy is amazing sautéed and adds a little something special to a soup or stir-fry. Store in a plastic bag in the fridge up to one week. Don’t forget to use the ribs!

*Cabbage- Wrap cabbage in plastic wrap and keep it chilled in the refrigerator. An alternative to plastic would be placing it in a tightly-locking container that limits air flow. Properly stored, cabbage should last about a week. 

*Cauliflower or Romanesco- Will last a while in a closed container in the fridge but some say cauliflower has the best flavor the day it's brought home. 

*Leeks- These large alliums are rather mild in flavor and simply melt to perfection when sautéed. Use in soups, stir-fries, or in place of onions in other dishes for a delicious and more subtle flavor. Save the dark green tops for making vegetable stock! Leave in an open container in the crisper wrapped in a damp cloth or in a shallow cup of water on the counter (just so the very bottom of the stem has water).  Will last at least a week.

Turnips- If the turnips came with tops (the leaves still on), and you plan on using the tops, cut off the leaves, bag them separately, and refrigerate the roots unwashed in a plastic bag. They should keep anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Eat the leaves within 3 days.

*Broccoli- Place in an open container in the fridge or wrap in a damp towel before placing in the fridge. Lasts 1-2 weeks. 

*Pomelos- Pomelos are the largest citrus fruit. Pomelos can be stored at room temperature for a couple of weeks or refrigerated for up to several weeks. Keep away from direct sunlight and heat.

*Raisins- Store in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Refrigeration is recommended in hot environments. Should last several weeks.

2. THIS WEEK'S RECIPES

Fennel Stew

Risotto with Cabbage, Lemon, and Parsley

Radishes and Nori Butter

3. SHOPPING LIST FOR ALL RECIPES (ASSUMES YOU HAVE SALT, PEPPER, AND WATER):

Shopping list for Fennel Stew

1 generous pinch of saffron

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 small yellow onions,  cut into ¼ in slices

3 small garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 pound cooked corona beans or other white beans

⅓ cup dry white wine

Feta or goat cheese

Chopped oily black olives

Lemon wedges

Shopping list for Risotto with Cabbage, Lemon, and Parsley

 

2 tbsp unsalted butter

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

4 ½ cups chicken or veggie broth OR 2 cups broth and 2 cups water

1 ½ cups arborio rice

½ cup dry white wine

¼ tsp grated lemon zest, or more to taste (if you don’t have lemons, try a tiny bit of orange zest)

2 tbsp minced italian parsley

¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

 

Shopping list for Radishes and Nori Butter

1 sheet of nori

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temp

 

1/4 tsp lemon zest 

4 tsp toasted sesame seeds

¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper

½ tsp ground toasted cumin

 

4. CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE NEWSLETTERS PAGE AT WWW.EATWELL.COM. CLICK ON THE DATE OF THE NEWSLETTER TO DOWNLOAD A PDF COPY OF THIS WEEK'S NEWSLETTER IN COLOR.

Radishes and Nori Butter

Adapted from Heidi Swanson’s Near and Far

1 bunch radishes, sliced (if small french breakfast type, leave whole)

1 sheet of nori

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temp

¼ tsp fine-grain sea salt

1/4 tsp lemon zest 

4 tsp toasted sesame seeds

¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper

½ tsp ground toasted cumin

Wash and trim the greens from the radishes , dry well, slice and arrange on a plate.  

To make the compound butter, start by toasting the nori.  If you have a gas burner, you can carefully wave it across the flame until it brightens and crisps up.  Alternately, you can toast it in the oven  at 350 on a baking sheet or on a skillet.  Let cool, then crumble and chop into the smallest flecks you can manage.  Set aside.  

In a bowl, cream the butter using a spoon until light, then add the nori, salt , lemon zest, sesame seeds, cayenne, and cumin.  Stir until all of the ingredients are evenly distributed.  Serve with the radishes. 

 

Makes ½ cup Butter

 

Risotto with Cabbage, Lemon, and Parsley

Adapted from Janet Fletcher’s Fresh from the Farmer’s Market

This is one of my favorite cabbage dishes to make in the winter.  It is so warming and creamy and a definite crowd pleasure in my house. I llike to reserve veggie waste each week from cooking (ie..the peeled discards from carrots, onion ends and skins, green tops of leeks, leafy celery tops, turnip tops, etc..) and add it to a bag I keep in the freezer as my “veggie-stock-in-the-making”.  When the bag fills, I dump the frozen bits in a stock pot, cover with water and add bay leaf and some coursely ground peppercorns and simmer 1-2 hours before straining.  I like to use homemade veggie stock in this dish instead of the suggested chicken broth, but of course both are delicious.  Also good, with sauteed fresh mushrooms on top.

 

2 tbsp unsalted butter

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 onion chopped (or 2 small leeks, chopped)

1 green cabbage, thinly sliced (the thinner the better!)

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

4 ½ cups chicken or veggie broth OR 2 cups broth and 2 cups water

1 ½ cups arborio rice

½ cup dry white wine

¼ tsp grated lemon zest, or more to taste (if you don’t have lemons, try a tiny bit of orange zest)

2 tbsp minced italian parsley

¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Heat butter and 2 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan over moderate heat.  Add onion and saute until soft and sweet about 10 mins (if using leeks instead, lower heat and stir, making sure not to burn).  Add cabbage, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.  Cover and cook until cabbage is tender, about 15 mins.  Check occasionally to make sure it is not burning and adjust heat accordingly.

Bring broth water mixture to a simmer in a saucepan and adjust heat to keep it barely simmering.  Uncover pot with cabbage and raise heat to moderately high.  Add rice and cook, stirring until wine is absorbed.  Begin adding hot broth ½ cup at a time, stirring frequently and waiting until each addition has been absorbed before adding more.  Adjust heat so that mixture simmers gently, not vigorously.  It should take 20 to 25 minutes for the rice to become al dente-firm to the tooth without a hard core.  The mix should be neither soupy nor stiff.  You may not need all of the liquid or you may need more, if so, use boiling water. 

When rice is done, add remaining tbsp olive oil, ¼ tsp lemon zest, the parsley and the cheese.  Stir vigorously, then taste and adjust seasonings.  You may want more zest, but the taste should be subtle.

 

Serves 4

Fennel Stew

Adapted from Heidi Swanson’s Near and Far

2 small or 1 large fennel bulb, cut into thin wedges (reserve the fronds)

1 generous pinch of saffron

Fine grain sea salt

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 small yellow onions,  cut into ¼ in slices

2 medium leeks, washed and trimmed into ¼ in slices

3 small garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 pound cooked corona beans or other white beans

⅓ cup dry white wine

2 cups warm water (or bean broth from cooking)

To serve:  

Feta or goat cheese

Chopped oily black olives

Lemon wedges

A handful of well-washed spinach leaves

Bring a small pot of well- salted water to simmer, cooking the fennel wedges until tender, a couple of minutes.  Place in ice bath to stop cooking, drain well and set aside.

Meanwhile, use a mortar and pestle to grind the saffron with a ¼ tsp sea salt.

In a large, heavy pot over medium heat, combine the olive oil with the saffron salt and heat until fragrant, just a minute or so.  Add the onions and cooking, stirring regularly, 10 minutes or so, until tender and silky-you don’t want browning here. Stir in leeks and garlic, cook for another few mins, until leeks soften.  Stir in beans and wine.  Add water or broth to cover beans and bring to a gentle simmer for a few mins.  Just before serving, stir in fennel wedges and a pinch of the reserved fronds.  Top each bowl with any or all of the remaining suggested serving additions.

Serves 3-4

 

Nigel's Birthday

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Nigel’s birthday is Christmas Eve. I can’t believe we will be celebrating without him. On that day we will sprinkle some of his ashes in a park near his parents’ home. It will be good to have us all together, especially during such an emotional time.  The rest of Nigel’s ashes will stay here on the farm. I plan to distribute some around the farm and buried under an oak tree at a memorial we are planning for next summer, to which you will all be invited. Nigel’s passing came so fast. Even though we had been battling his cancer for 5 1/2 years, he was doing so well just days before I rushed him into hospital. 

I still can’t believe this is my life. When you are in fight mode, it is really hard to stop, and I just wasn’t prepared for this as our ending. Never the less, here I am, a farmer and a woman faced with decades without her soulmate. 

The bright side is, this farm definitely carries Nigel’s spirit.  And the man I fell in love with is infused in every aspect of this farm, and our home, so here is where I will stay. It is a blessing to find your place in this world. I am very grateful to have found mine. Eatwell encompasses every passion I have, food, cooking, community, family, children, teaching children and bringing people together around a sustainable way to produce food. Thank you all for helping me fulfill my passions. 

And thank you, Nigel, for giving me this love. I love you forever.

 

Super Wind

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It’s my last day home before our trip, and we woke up to a power outage. The wind started howling sometime during the night and caused all kind of problems. Cameron and I were planning on doing our final farm walk this morning but took off to Davis in search of coffee and breakfast (an all-electric house means no food or coffee when the power is out!). On our way back to the farm, we did a farm drive to get a quick scan of how everything is looking, and I can tell you the poor plants are NOT happy.  

This wind just sucks the life out of everything. What was a field of incredibly tall, vibrant chard last week was just defeated. The beautiful lettuces that stand up to the frost, definitely not happy.  We could see the sprinklers going and the water was blowing away, but it was better than nothing.  One tractor was out today, and the chicken guys were doing only what needed to be done, beyond that the farm was quiet. Having to work in these conditions is horrible, so I don’t blame the guys for not.

It is a good day for the crew to take off since nothing needs to be harvested today. However, when we need to fill the CSA  boxes, they are out there no matter what the weather brings. So once again, I ask that we all remember the amazing work our crew does all year to bring us this amazing food!

This Week's Box: December 18th - December 24th

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CONTENTS:

  1. In the box - and how to store it

  2. This Week's Recipes

  3. Shopping List

  4. Link to Digital Copy of Newsletter

1. IN THE BOX (IN ORDER OF WHAT TO EAT FIRST):

*Items in Box for 2

Spinach- Store in the bag, unwashed, in the crisper. Take out what you plan on using and wash as you go. Will last 3-5 days.

Fennel- If used within a couple days, fennel can be left out on the counter, upright in a cup or bowl of water (like celery). If wanting to keep longer than a few days, place in the fridge in a closed container with a little water.

Mandarins- They will keep a day or two at room temperature and up to a week in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.

Arugula- Wash and dry well. Wrap with a damp paper towel and store in a glass container in the fridge. Lasts up to 5 days.

Bok Choy-  This crunchy and tasty bok choy is amazing sautéed and adds a little something special to a soup or stir-fry. Store in a plastic bag in the fridge up to one week. Don’t forget to use the ribs!

Carrots- Cut the tops off to keep them fresh longer. Place them in a closed container with plenty of moisture, either wrapped in a damp towel or dunk them in cold water every couple of days if they’re stored that long. Should last about a week.

Leeks- These large alliums are rather mild in flavor and simply melt to perfection when sautéed. Use in soups, stir-fries, or in place of onions in other dishes for a delicious and more subtle flavor. Save the dark green tops for making vegetable stock! Leave in an open container in the crisper wrapped in a damp cloth or in a shallow cup of water on the counter (just so the very bottom of the stem has water).  Will last at least a week.

Turnips- If the turnips came with tops (the leaves still on), and you plan on using the tops, cut off the leaves, bag them separately, and refrigerate the roots unwashed in a plastic bag. They should keep anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Eat the leaves within 3 days.

Lettuce- Keep damp in an airtight container in the fridge. Keeps for one week.

Broccoli- Place in an open container in the fridge or wrap in a damp towel before placing in the fridge. Lasts 1-2 weeks. 

Apples- Apples last much longer if they are placed loosely in the bin of your refrigerator. Wrapping them in brown paper from grocery sacks will also help to keep in the moisture of the apple. Keep apples slightly apart from each other. Lasts up to 2 months.  

Butternut Squash- Store in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place. Many growers say winter squash gets sweeter if they're stored for a week or so before eaten. Will last several weeks.

2. THIS WEEK'S RECIPES

Carrots and Leeks

Mac N Cheese with Turnip Tops and Arugula

Spiced Winter Squash With Fennel

3. SHOPPING LIST FOR ALL RECIPES (ASSUMES YOU HAVE SALT, PEPPER, AND WATER):

Shopping list for Carrots and Leeks

1 T Butter

 A sprinkle of Eatwell Farm's Cooking Salt

Shopping list for Mac N Cheese with Turnip Tops and Arugula

1 LB  Conchiglie Pasta or another large shell shape

2 1/2 cups Whole Milk

1/4 tsp fresh ground Nutmeg

4 TB unsalted Butter

1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour

8 oz grated Gruyère cheese

4 oz grated sharp Cheddar

4 oz Parmesan, divided

Shopping list for Spiced Winter Squash With Fennel

1 large Onion, root end left intact, then cut lengthwise into 1/2” wedges

3 TB Olive Oil

1 tsp ground Cumin 

1 tsp ground Cinnamon

1 tsp Chili powder

1/2 tsp Turmeric

 

4. CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE NEWSLETTERS PAGE AT WWW.EATWELL.COM. CLICK ON THE DATE OF THE NEWSLETTER TO DOWNLOAD A PDF COPY OF THIS WEEK'S NEWSLETTER IN COLOR.

Carrots and Leeks

I love simply sauteeing carrots in a bit of butter along with some leeks.  I sprinkle on my favorite Eatwell Farm Salt and enjoy a yummy side!  You can do this in advance and just keep it in the fridge to have ready whenever you want to eat it.

Mac N Cheese with Turnip Tops and Arugula

I was at Liz and Jan’s house last week, and Liz had made this for dinner the night before, which I ate as leftovers.  Delicious!  And what a great way to use turnip tops. This would be quite tasty contrasted by the sweetness of sauteed carrots, or the acid and crunch of a salad with vinaigrette. Either way, who doesn’t enjoy a good Mac’n Cheese? 

1 LB  Conchiglie Pasta or another large shell shape

2 1/2 cups Whole Milk

2 Shallots, sliced thin (I bet you could use the white portion of the leeks and that would taste fantastic!)

1/2 tsp fresh ground Pepper

1/4 tsp fresh ground Nutmeg

2 bunches radish or turnips Greens or dark, leafy greens of choice. So the arugula, or spinach, and do just one bunch of turnip greens

4 TB unsalted Butter

1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour

8 oz grated Gruyère cheese

4 oz grated sharp Cheddar

4 oz Parmesan, divided

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Boil a large pot of salted water and cook the pasta according to instructions for al dente. Strain and place cooked pasta in a buttered 9 x 13” baking dish.  Set aside. Meanwhile, set a large saucepan over medium heat, add milk, shallots, and nutmeg.  The mixture should be hot and steamy, but not bubbling at all - adjust heat as needed.  Once the mixture is hot, add the greens a few handfuls at a time and blanch until nicely wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.  Remove with tongs, allowing milk to drip off greens.  Set aside in a bowl.  When all the greens have been cooked, set in strainer used for the pasta, and strain milk to collect all the shallots and greens.  Press remaining liquid back into the milk mixture.  Pour warm milk into a bowl or measuring cup.  When greens are cool enough to handle, chop. Set aside.  Set the same saucepan used for the milk over medium heat.  Add the butter,  and when melted, whisk in the flour.  Stirring constantly, add warm milk a little at a time, allowing mixture to re-thicken as you go.  Once all the milk has been added, cook for 4 minutes, stirring often.  Remove from heat and add all the Gruyere, Cheddar and half the Parmesan; stir until smooth.  Fold cheese mixture and chopped greens in with the cooked pasta making sure greens are evenly distributed.  Top with remaining Parmesan, and several twists of black pepper.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and edges on the top is golden brown.  Cool briefly, then serve.

Spiced Winter Squash With Fennel

Recipe from Bon Appetit

I love roasted veg.  To this dish I would add in the turnips, peeled quartered or just halved depending on their size.

1 1/2 lb Butternut Squash, peeled, halved, seeded, then cut into 3/4” wedges

1 Fennel Bulb, trimmed,cut lengthwise into 1” wedges

1 large Onion, root end left intact, then cut lengthwise into 1/2” wedges

3 TB Olive Oil

1 tsp ground Cumin 

1 tsp ground Cinnamon

1 tsp Chili powder

1/2 tsp Turmeric

Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 450 F.  Combine squash, fennel, and onion (and turnips if you are adding them in) on a heavy large rimmed baking sheet.  Add oil and toss to coat.  Mix all spices in small bowl to blend.  Sprinkle spice mixture over vegetables and toss to coat.  Sprinkle with salt and generous amount of pepper.  Roast until vegetables are tender and browned, turning once, about 45 minutes.  Transfer to shallow dish and serve.

Rows of 3 or Rows of 12?

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Our transplanter is setup to put 3 plants in the ground, our seeder, can seed 12 rows. One of the things Cameron and I are looking at is how density effects weed growth. We need  to get a better understanding of how and when the finger weeder comes into play and when does the brush hoe. Looking at the setups of these two styles of growing, I am sure we can only use the finger weeder on the transplants since there is a lot more space between the rows.  

For years I’ve listened to Nigel talk about both of these tools, but never thought about how differently they would work, or when they would work. The little bits of information I have sometimes are so incomplete. But walking around and looking, observing what is going on, we are starting to understand the systems. 

With that understanding comes the knowledge to know what questions to ask. I am hoping in the next couple of weeks we will have time to get out in the fields with Roberto and Ramon to learn when we brush hoe and when we finger weed. In the mean time, it is fascinating observing how certain plantings seem to crowd out weeds, and others almost invite them in.  Another factor I have observed is the weeds on our land are far worse than on the 40 acres we lease.  The difference there is the chickens have been on the 40 acres for the past couple of years.  This year we are moving them over to our side. I am hoping, after a year of chickens, we will see great improvement with fertility and a reduction of weeds of on our side of the farm.

Planning Ahead- Words From Nigel December 8th, 1998

As each speck finds its place in my life, I can open my eyes and see more clearly. To say that my life is becoming emotionally easier, would not be accurate. It is more that the sorrow and grief is finding its place in my life. And now I can slowly move on by looking at old stories Nigel has written, old newsletters, old FB posts. I hope someday I will be able to listen to some of the interviews he has done, but I’m not quite there yet. For the time being, I am planning on going through old newsletters and incorporating some articles he wrote for the current season, so that his words can continue to speak to us. It occurred to me that from this summer on, most of our new members will not have had the chance to meet him, and so I would like his words to continue to be a part of the work we do at Eatwell.

I chose this article because it is incredibly appropriate to the work Cameron and I have been doing these past few weeks. And to be clear, it is really almost 100% Cameron doing the work.

“To assure a constant supply and quality of tomatoes through the summer next year, we will be making 6 plantings. And that is just for Tomatoes. Cucumbers and squash need to be sown every 3 weeks; basil almost every week. Needless to say, this can become a planning nightmare. Some years we do better than others in getting it together. Years like the last El Nino do not help as adverse weather messes up even the best-laid plans.”  — Nigel

 

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