May update

Hello friends and members!

Greetings from the farm!

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We’ve been fortunate to have great weather over the past few weeks. It’s allowed us to start our field work and keep close to being on schedule (spring weather is usually a wild card to plan around). On top of that we’ve been able to take some great walks in the area, and have discovered several mysterious burrows:

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Perhaps they belong to a fisher or a badger? Heather and Maybelle spotted two different brownish furry animals recently, and they’re definitely not weasels! There has been an incredible explosion of gophers over the past two seasons, so we’re not surprised that someone higher up the food chain is taking an interest. That’s ok with us, too-gophers can cause quite a bit of damage to our crops.

Critters are not the only busy ones around the farm. We’ve seeded 5 beds of peas and a bunch of cilantro.  Napa Cabbage and the first three successions of broccoli were transplanted yesterday, and the first round of the lettuce, kale and collards will go in tomorrow. Here’s some cool photos of the transplanting process and results:

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How exciting! The first transplanting day really feels like the official start of the season.

We’d also like to welcome our employees to the farm and introduce them to you. We’ve got four fantastic people this year: Michele (who saved our hides last season when we suddenly lost our main employee) Maria (a super sharp high school student who lives on a farm down the street from us) her sister Elizabeth (who will join us as soon as college is done for the year), and our friend Erin who will spend two days a week with us and the rest of the time working other jobs in St. Paul where she lives. It looks like a fabulous crew this year!

Have you signed up for your CSA share this year? If you are a returning member, welcome back and thank you for letting us grow your food! Continued support from year to year not only provides stability for our farm but also helps to build this community which we value so highly. Nothing is more rewarding to us than relationships with members that last for years and years. We love hearing about births, job changes, new degrees, and everything else that comes with having an adopted family of local-food-loving vegetable enthusiasts! We’d really love to get about 40 more members, so if you would like to join us and haven’t, it’s not too late. If you would like to tell your friends and co-workers about why they’d enjoy being a member of Sleepy Root Farm, we encourage you to do so!

In other exciting news, we’ve added two new sites for picking up boxes: Mother Earth Gardens in south Minneapolis, which fills a really big gap in our delivery area, and the Norman Pointe II office building in Bloomington. Many thanks to both host sites! Help us spread the word that the freshest, cleanest, tastiest local produce is now available in two new areas of the Twin Cities.

One of the coolest improvements to our farm this season is on our website! Heather has put her 15 years of culinary experience to work and has created a great recipe section that includes her own recipes, submissions from members, and a collection of favorites from some of her most-loved sources. We will still continue to include recipes in every newsletter. Check out this new feature and tell us what you think!

We’ll keep in touch, and are so excited that the first CSA box goes out in about a month and a half!

All the best from all of us,

Heather, Brandon, Maybelle and Frank

 

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Early Spring Round Up!

Hello friends and members!

IMG_0225Brandon teaching Maybelle how to drive the tractor

It’s already time for our late winter/early spring round-up. We’ve had some REALLY exciting developments over the past month and are excited to share them with you.

WE BOUGHT A FARM!!!!!!!!!!!

We are beyond excited to finally have our very own permanent home. No more leasing, no more uncertainty about whether we’ll have a home or farm land each season, no more making long term investments in soil that we will not be working long term, and best of all a place to put down roots and raise our little Maybelle.

Farm House

The farm is a beautiful 20 acre piece on the eastern side of Amery. It’s even closer to town than our current place, and maybe only another 10 minutes away from the twin cities. There’s a truly charming old farmhouse with a great big kitchen for canning and baking, plenty of guest rooms, and amazing original bird’s eye maple floors. There’s also lots of outbuildings for a pack shed, equipment storage, and more.

Barn and Silos

 

The fields are flat and square! There’s a lovely wall of trees on two sides of the property, and a trail behind the woods that goes all to way into Amery to the southwest, and up to the town of Almena some 18 miles away.

Fields

 

Land ownership is definitely the hardest thing for organic family farms to achieve. Land is expensive, banks are loath to lend to small family farms these days, and there has to be qualities to a property to support both a family lifestyle and a business. We have been blessed to have had the support of our CSA members and the generous folks who have rented us land, equipment and housing over the last four years under favorable arrangements making it possible for us to get to the point where we can purchase our own farm.  We have also been lucky enough work with our local FSA office and local branch of Bremer Bank to secure a low-interest loan to make this possible. And of course many thanks are due to friends and family who have been with us along the way, from our amazing real estate agent who helped us with our year-long search, to our family who supported us when we thought we’d never find a spot, to dear friends who have advised us on the pros and cons of everything from soil to infrastructure on multiple properties.

So, what does this mean for our dear members? Not a whole lot right away.  Over time members will see perennial crops show up in their boxes as we can now invest in permanent plantings of asparagus, berries and fruit trees.  Most of these take between 2-5 years to establish for production. This growing season will still take place on our current leased land, and proceed as usual. We will be working extra hard this season to put up a new greenhouse on the new farm, installing a well, slowly moving over household and farm materials, and prepare the soil and buildings for farming in 2016. We’ll probably have a few member work parties at the new place to help us install things like the greenhouse, an orchard, a berry patch, and maybe a couple thousand asparagus plants. Exciting, isn’t it, to think of the things we can add now that we’re landowners?!?!

The main thing is, we need our member sign-ups now more than ever! We’ve got two farms to set up this spring, essentially, and the more capital we have at the beginning of the season, the better. What can you do? If you are planning on re-joining us, please do. If you like us and what we do, spread the word to friends, family, and co-workers. Most of our new members come via word of mouth, and it’s our happy members that do the best sales for us! If you’d like to, and are able, you can print off CSA_flyer_2015 to post in your work break room, your church bulletin board, your yoga class, your local library, anywhere you can think of that would be well received. We appreciate your help and support as we grow and take on this fantastic new phase of our farming careers and lives.

Thanks so much!

Heather, Brandon and Maybelle!

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Late winter update

Greetings, friends and members!

Look who’s here:
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We welcomed our sweet little Maybelle Lee into the world on November 11, and have been loving our time with her this winter. She’s amazing, and fantastic, and we can’t believe she’s almost three months old now.
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We are somehow managing to get our crop plans worked out, seed catalogs looked at, and otherwise preparing for what looks to be an awesome 2015 growing season. We are going to pick up our new tractor this week, (a John Deere 5103) and are excited to be slowly adding important mechanization to our farm’s inventory. We are looking for employees for the season, so if you or anyone you know who is interested, they can go here to learn more and to apply.
Heather has been busy working on a new recipe section of the website, and hopes to have it go live soon.  All of you parents out there will probably laugh out loud to hear her say that she had NO IDEA how little time you have for anything else when you’ve got a baby in the house! We welcome any member submissions for the recipe section, too.
Brandon continues to spend a lot of time serving as the President of the board of the Hungry Turtle Farmers Co-op, and it looks like cooperative CSA delivery services will be offered again this year.
We are going to raise our prices a little bit for the 2015 season, in our continuing attempt to keep up with the cost of living and in an attempt to make a living wage for ourselves and our employees. Anyone who signs up prior to March 1st can get in on the old prices.
Our best wishes to you all, please call or email us if you have any questions or comments or concerns. We’d love to talk to you! Otherwise, we look forward to seeing your sign ups roll in. As usual, you can simply visit our website and click on the CSA sign up link to join in support of fresh, local, tasty vegetables and the farmers who grow them!

All the best from all of us,
Brandon, Heather, Maybelle and Frank
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Week 18

IMG_2540Full Share (above)
 
 
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Medium Share (above)
 
 
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Small Share (above)
 
 

The last box of the season is here! What a year 2014 turned out to be. As we typically find upon reflection, we saw lots of changes on the farm this year. We got married during the biggest snowstorm of the year. We lost a beloved father. We built a fantastic greenhouse. We’re moments away from welcoming our first child. We grew from 100 members to 150. We saw the longest, wettest spring in the history of Polk County. We enjoyed a mild and not too dry summer. We witnessed the rapid arrival of a beautiful fall. We had many improvements and successes in our gardening, and a few disappointments as well. Most importantly, we had the honor of farming for all of you. Now that we’re here, it’s incredible to feel how long and how short 18 weeks can be.

We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being a part of the Sleepy Root family for the year. We hope you enjoyed being a part of our CSA. We may enjoy growing vegetables but what really satisfies us is growing our community. It’s our sincerest hope that your boxes provided you not only with nourishment but with a sense of place, not only food for the dinner table but conversation to have around the dinner table. We hope that our boxes gave you some new vegetables to learn about, some old favorites, and a good reason to get in the kitchen and share and celebrate the fantastic world of good, healthy, responsibly raised produce. Thank you for being a part of our CSA for 18 delicious weeks!

unnamed-15 Ben and Michele bunching carrots
 
 

 

unnamed-13 A very bad photo of the moon during the eclipse…yes, some of us were talked out of bed at 5:45 am to do this! It was lovely, actually.

 

 
unnamed-12That tiny little speck in the photo? If you look really closely, you can see the red shading on the moon caused by the sun being directly behind Earth. Earth’s shadow causes the moon to turn red!
 
 
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The frosty morning revealed by the sunrise.
 
 
 
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Our three popcorn varieties, from left to right: Dakota Black, Pennsylvania Dutch Butter Flavored Popcorn (what a name!) and Calico
 
 
 
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Close up shot of the gorgeous colors in Calico
 

And now for the last time of 2014, here’s what’s in the box:

Kuri, Buttercup or Butternut Squash-one or two per share, depending on size
Delicata Squash-one for small and  medium shares, two for full shares
Popcorn-3 to 6 ears per share, depending on size
Celeriac- approximately 2 1/2# for small and medium shares, 3# for full shares
Carrots-2# bunches for all size shares
Kale- small bunches for small shares, regular bunches for medium and full shares
Romanesco or Cauliflower-small and full shares
Fennel fronds-medium and full shares
Beets or Romanesco-medium shares
Shallots-1/4# for medium shares
Pearl Onions-1# for full shares
Thyme-1 bunch for full shares
 

Kuri, Buttercup, or Butternut Squash-since the goal of the last box is to get everything we can out to our members, we decided to use a medley of the larger remaining winter squash. The kuri is a bright orange beauty, the buttercup is a charming turban-shaped squash with a dark green-grey exterior, and the butternut is that familiar pale orange, bell-shaped squash. All are great keepers and great eaters!

Delicata-This tubular, pale orange with green stripes squash is quickly becoming Heather’s favorite. The taste is truly sensational, rich, and creamy. It’s also fantastic to cook with since the skin is entirely edible. Split in half, scoop out the seeds, and roast cut side down. When the outer shell is tender to the touch, it’s done! Eat the whole thing, trust us, it’s so soft and delicate you’ll be amazed.

Popcorn-We had a lot of fun with this crop this year. Many of the members who came to the harvest party worked on pulling these out of the field. These ears of corn are designed to be popcorn.They still need to dry for a few more weeks before they’re ready to pop, though. When you take them out of your box, pull the husk and silks away from the cob. If you’d like to use them as decoration while they’re drying, tie the pulled back husks together and hang or place somewhere dry in your home. Otherwise you can remove the husks and silks entirely and again, place in a dry place indoors. In a few weeks’ time, shell off the kernels. You’ll know they’re ready when the kernels easily come off the cob. You can try popping them right away, or store them like you’d store any store-bought popcorn until you’re ready to eat! We’ve included a helpful video on how to shell the kernels.

Carrots-These might be the tastiest, sweetest carrots of the year, thanks to the multiple frosts we’ve had over the past few weeks. A combination of Purple Haze and Scarlet Nantes, we’re really proud of how beautiful they are!

Romanesco-Probably Brandon’s favorite brassica, these super-funky looking green spaceship broccoli can be treated just like any other broccoli! They tend to have a sweeter and nuttier taste than their more boring green cousins.

Fennel Fronds-The fennel didn’t have time to size up, but we were able to harvest lots of fronds! Think of these lacy fronds as you would dill or tarragon-they have a hint of anise, go great with seafood, and are best used fresh. They are a great addition to the vegetable stock pot, they’re really refreshing tossed into greens for a salad, and make into a pesto to use now or freeze for later. Pesto recipe below!

Beets-Definitely, absolutely, the most difficult crop of the year! The first three plantings got washed out entirely in our monsoon spring, and these are the only beets that made it to anywhere near normal size. Some bunches are baby beets, so they’d be great roasted whole or turned into gorgeous pickled beets. Some bunches are larger and can be diced or wedged before or after cooking. We’re shy on numbers for all the mediums, so some of you may find a romanesco in your box instead.  We’ve got big plans for you, beets, next year, so watch out!

Pearl Onions-Full shares get a real treat this box with a full pound of pearl onions. Ridiculously expensive to buy in grocery stores, these little cuties come in both red and yellow varieties. Best used alone to show off their sweet and mild taste. We’d recommend a creamed version  for your holiday table.

Shallots-Another special treat from the allium family! Medium shares get a quarter pound of this treasure of French cuisine, and we think you’ll love their richer, sweeter and fuller taste. There’s countless recipes out there that feature shallots, and you can always substitute for onions by using half as much shallot as you would onion.

 

Recipes

 

Fennel Frond Pesto

Yield 2/3 cup

Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup roughly chopped fennel fronds
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoon pine nuts or slivered almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Method
  1. Combine the fennel fronds, garlic, nuts and salt in a food processor or blender and pulse until the mixture is chopped up.
  2. Add oil and process/blend until the mixture becomes paste-like. (You may have to scrape down the sides of the bowl.) Serve pesto at once, refrigerate for up to a week, or freeze for up to a month.

Source: The New York Times

 

Winter Greens Pesto

Makes 1 1/2 cups, enough for 6-8 servings of pasta

1/2 cup chopped walnuts
8 ounces kale, trimmed, rinsed and chopped
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the nuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast them in the oven until they are golden and fragrant, about 10 minutes

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Have a large bowl of cold water ready. Drop the chopped kale into the boiling water. When the water returns to a boil, swirl the kale around a few times until it becomes limp.

Drain the kale and plunge it into the cold water. Drain again, then place the kale on a clean dishtowel and blot away the moisture.

Place the nuts, kale, Parmesan, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a blender and puree until uniformly smooth. You may need to add more olive oil to reach desired consistency.

To refrigerate, cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pesto. Will stay fresh for up to 3 days. To freeze, place desired portions in small containers with plastic directly on the surface of the pesto, or place in plastic freezer bags, and freeze for up to two months.

Stuffed Delicata Squash

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 small delicata squash (about 12 ounces each), halved and seeded
  • 6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 cup bulgur
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces lean ground beef (90% or leaner)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 cup nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt
  • 4 teaspoons toasted pepitas (see Tip)

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Brush the cut sides of the squash with 2 teaspoons oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place facedown on a large baking sheet. Bake until tender and browned on the edges, 25 to 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, bring bulgur and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Drain well.
  4. Heat the remaining 4 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add beef, chili powder and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring and breaking up with a spoon, until the meat is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bulgur and cook 1 minute. Stir in yogurt.
  5. Spoon about 3/4 cup filling into each squash half. Serve sprinkled with pepitas.

TIPS & NOTES

  • Tip: For the best flavor, toast chopped nuts or seeds: Heat a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Add nuts or seeds and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes.
 

Delicata Squash with Orange and Pistachio

READER’S COMMENT:
“Made this exactly as written and it was fantastic! Even my squash-hating husband loved it. Can’t believe how tender the skin of the delicata got – I was skeptical that it would soften enough, but it wasn’t at all noticeable while eating…
Recipe
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Delicata Squash with Orange & Pistachios
Makes: 4 servings

Active Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

NUTRITION PROFILE
Diabetes appropriate | Low calorie | Low carbohydrate | Low cholesterol | Low saturated fat | Low sodium | Healthy weight | Heart healthy | High fiber | Gluten free |

View Our Nutrition Guidelines » INGREDIENTS
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, halved and sliced
1 large delicata squash, halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
1 teaspoon orange zest
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped salted pistachios
MORE HEALTHY RECIPE IDEAS
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PREPARATION
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring, until softened and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add squash, orange zest and juice, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook, stirring once, until the squash is almost tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed and the squash is tender and beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes more. Garnish with pistachios.
NUTRITION

Squash with Orange & Pistachios

From EatingWell:  November/December 2009,November/December 2010

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Delicata Squash with Orange & Pistachios

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, halved and sliced
  • 1 large delicata squash, halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped salted pistachios

PREPARATION

  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring, until softened and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add squash, orange zest and juice, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook, stirring once, until the squash is almost tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed and the squash is tender and beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes more. Garnish with pistachios.

NUTRITION

 
 
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Week 17

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Full Share (above)
 
 
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Medium Share (above)
 
 
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Small Share (above)

Hello members, and welcome to week 17!

We are in awe of how quickly we’ve gotten to this point! We’ve got just one week to go and have really been enjoying how full and vibrant the fall boxes are.

Since there’s only two more weeks left, it’s really really important that members return all the boxes you’ve been hoarding in your garage, car trunk, hallway, etc. We’re getting down there in supply, so please bring your boxes to your drop site when you go pick up today or Thursday. Thanks so much for your help!

We had a fabulous Harvest and Member Party on Sunday! About 25 or 30 members came out and we had a great time outside. We picked all the popcorn, harvested and topped most of a bed of carrots, hauled about 300 pounds of rutabaga out of the field, and more importantly got to spend real time with some of you folks that honor us with their support over the course of the season. The food was fantastic, as CSA potlucks tend to be (you CSA types are always such good cooks!) and we can’t thank everyone enough for the major clean-up help too. We look forward to having next year’s party already, and look forward to seeing more of all of you throughout the course of the season next year. Don’t forget, you can always come out to see the farm, member party or not. We love visitors!

It’s such a strange feeling to be looking at the year’s box plan which details 18 weeks and realizing we have to divvy up everything left in the field and in storage between only two boxes! We’re really cramming the bounty in there, and the good news is that most of the produce you’ll be getting is intended to store well. Below are some general storage tips for the types of produce you’re likely to find this week and next:

Storage tips:

Roots: All root vegetables like carrots, beets, and rutabaga will keep best if  stored in a closed plastic bag in the refrigerator.   Root vegetables benefit from cold environments that have a high humidity.  Keeping them in a bag creates a humid microclimate which slows their respiration of water, keeping them crisp.   Removing any greens that may come with carrots or beets will slow down the loss of water as well since greens transpire water from the roots as well as themselves.

Potatoes and Squash: Potatoes are different than the other root crops (technically they are not really a root either, they are a tuber). They, as well as winter squash, want to be in a dry cool place–but not too cold!  Potato’s ideal temperature is between 45-50 degrees. Much colder than this and the texture of the potato will be compromised.   Remove your potatoes from the plastic bag they came in and put them in a dry bag with holes or a paper bag.  If potatoes or squash are in a damp or humid environment they will quickly rot.  We usually keep our potatoes in a basket in our pantry and leave our squash on display on our counter tops, never putting either in the fridge unless they’ve been cut open.  If you have a room in your house that is kept cooler during the winter but doesn’t freeze, this would also be an ideal place.

You may occasionally notice sap from your winter squash coming from the stem or a small cut on its body.  This is just sugars of the squash leaving from an open wound, much like maple syrup from a maple tree.  If your squash is doing this, it’s best to eat it sooner than later, as the sugars are likely to attract mold and is indicative of a wound, which are prone to expediate the spoiling of the squash. .  If you can’t get to eating it soon, at least periodically wipe off the sap to prevent molding.

Cabbage and Cauliflower: Both like similar conditions to root vegetables: cold and humid.  Use the plastic bag your potatoes came in or any other produce bag you have around to wrap up your cauliflower and cabbage and put in the crisper in your fridge.  The same principles of respiration apply: if they are not wrapped up they will soon become soft and spongy.  Your cabbage should keep at least until January (if not longer) if kept properly.  If you are delaying your cabbage gratification until early spring, check on it every now and then to cut off any damage or spoiling parts.

Herbs: Herbs like thyme and parsley can be kept in the fridge or on the counter. They have a tendency to dry well if they are kept on the counter or hung and can then be used later in the year.  After they are fully dry you can put them in a bag or bottle, or simply leave them out and use when needed.  Oregano, if wanted to be used fresh, should be kept in a bag in the fridge.  Its leaves are more prone to wilting while drying, making it not as usable in the stages between fresh and dried.  You can hang your bundle if you wish to dry it, or spread the individual stems out on the counter or on a ventilated surface (screen or cookie cooling rack).  Once dry, crumble the dried leaves into a container and discard the stems.

Without further ado, here’s what’s in the box this week:

Pumpkin (one or two per member, with the goal of everybody getting at leasat 4-5 pounds. Enough for pie!)
Cabbage (one per member)
Rutabaga (about 2 1/2# for small shares, about 3# or more for medium and full shares)
Pac Choi (3/4# for all members)
Carrots (1 1/2# for medium shares, 2# for full shares)
Oregano or Parsley (medium and full shares)
Cauliflower (full shares)
Leeks (full shares)
 

Pumpkin-Heather fell in love with a pumpkin last year by the name of Minnesota Sweet. It was maybe the best pie pumpkin she’d ever baked with. Alas, this year the seed was unavailable and we selected the New England Pie Pumpkin as a substitute. Guess what?! It’s great! It tastes wonderful and produces a good amount of silky pumpkin puree, enough for two pies, on average.

Cabbage-This dense, beautiful purple cabbage is called Ruby Perfection. If you place it in a plastic bag in the crisper of your fridge it will last for MONTHS! That is, if you can keep from eating it for that long. Our Monday savior helper, Ben, told us he roasts his chickens on a bed of shredded cabbage and that it gets tender and flavored with all the yummy chicken fat. Sounds good to us!

Rutabaga-These lovely golden nuggets will also keep for months in a plastic bag in your fridge. We really like to eat them at Thanksgiving, mashed with lots of butter, cream, and black pepper.

Pac Choi-There are a few holes in some of the leaves but the fall harvest of pac choi turned out really well, we think. We love being able to offer something green, crisp, and crunchy, even after a few frosts and one hard freeze. This is one of those veggies that just doesn’t get 100% clean until it gets cut up, so when you’re ready to cook it, cut it up and then give it a good rinse.

Herb bunches-Medium shares and Full shares will get a bunch of either oregano or parsley this week.

Cauliflower-The Purple of Sicily is still going pretty strong, although the production has decreased.

Leeks-Leeks are one of our favorite vegetables to cook with, and they take absolutely forever to grow. These are on the skinny side so we bunched them together-you should have plenty for a soup, cassoulet, or roast.

Farm happenings this week:

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In the popcorn field

 

 

 

 

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Carrot harvest!
 
 
 
 
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Rutabaga harvest!
 
 
 
 
 
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Rutabaga in the field, prior to trimming and cleaning
 
 
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One of our member families brought us this awesome fall bouquet!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Look at the tiny pumpkin-like fruits. Aren’t they adorable?
 
 
 
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Pumpkins and squash in the barn, waiting to get sorted by size
 
 

Recipes

Favorite Pumpkin Pie

My dad’s favorite pie in the world was pumpkin, so this one’s for him:

Pie dough: a.k.a. Pate Brisee

1 1/4 cups All Purpose Flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 T. sugar

1/2 cup butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, chilled

1/8-1/4 cup ice water

Sift the dry ingredients together. Place in food processor and add butter, pulse until the mix resembles coarse cornmeal. Add water, a few Tablespoons at a time, using as little as possible, until the dough comes together. Press into a disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

Pie Filling:

2 cups pumpkin puree

3 eggs

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1 1/4 tsp. ginger

1/4 tsp. cloves

1/2 tsp. salt

Lightly beat the eggs. Mix the spices with the brown sugar, and add the spiced sugar mix to the heavy cream. Pour this over the pumpkin filling, add the eggs, and stir until just combined.

When ready to make pie, turn the oven on to 375 degrees, and when the oven is ready, pull your dough from the fridge. As soon as the dough is workable roll out and place in pie pan. Keep the edges plain, flute with a fork, or use any other decorative method you wish. Pour the pie filling in the unbaked shell, and bake 35-40 minutes or until the filling is just set. Don’t over-bake, or the the filling may crack. Allow to cool to room temperature, and if you like, serve with whipped cream sweetened with maple syrup.

 

 

 

 

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Week 16

IMG_2531Full Share (above)
 
 
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Medium Share (above)
 
 
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Small Share (above)
 
 

Happy Fall, members!

After a strange warm spell, it seems to be fall around here for sure! Yesterday’s harvest weather was cool and cloudy and felt like a late fall day, without a doubt. The boxes are quintessentially fall-like as well. They’re loaded with great beautiful and nutritious veggies-lots of oranges, purples, and greens for good health.

 

As the year is winding down we want to take another chance to thank all of our members, friends and family for their support this season! It’s been a long and at times very difficult one, but knowing we have you to work for and knowing we’ve had your support makes all the difference in the world. Thank you, members, we appreciate you! If you haven’t yet RSVP’d for the Member Harvest Party and Potluck, please do! If you’re on the fence and haven’t RSVP’d, go ahead and swing by. We’d love to see you, show you around the farm you’ve invested in for the season, and thank you in person. The party is Sunday October 5th. Harvest begins around 10 am, with the Potluck starting at 1:30. Feel free to come for just the potluck, just the harvest, some or all of the day.

We’ve got a special treat this week of the freshest potatoes you’ll ever eat. We spent the day on Sunday digging a few thousand pounds of potatoes at Threshing Table Farm, owned and operated by our friends Mike and Jody Lenz. They are expert potato growers, and have great equipment for planting and harvesting, so it made good sense to us to have them grow our potatoes this year. They turned out great, and we can’t wait for everyone to enjoy spuds that just came out of the ground!

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Mike driving his tractor with the super-awesome digger implement. It cuts underneath the potatoes, shakes them loose, and deposits them on top of the earth. SO MUCH BETTER than the hand-harvesting we did last year!
 

What’s in the box this week?

Squash-about 4# of acorn-either carnival or jester-for small and medium shares, about 8# of chiriman for full shares
Potatoes-2 1/2# for small shares, 3# for medium and full shares
Carrots-topped this week, 1# for small shares, 1 1/4# for medium shares, and 1 1/2# for full shares
Mustard Bunches-one bunch per share
Thyme-1 bunch per share
Cauliflower-Purple of Sicily, one head for small shares (to even out last week) and one head for full shares
Collards-one bunch each for medium and full shares
Celeriac-3# each for full shares
 

Squash-Small and medium shares will get a squash from the acorn family this week. Your beauties may include Jester, which is creamy with green in the grooves, Carnival which has awesome spots and freckles of green, orange, and black, or the odd bright orange one with green spots-a spontaneous hybrid that showed up this season. Full shares get to enjoy Chiriman, a neat Japanese heirloom. Chiriman has been around since the Edo period, (1603-1867 A.D.) and is an increasingly rare heirloom. Since we really like to keep the old, special, and at-risk varieties of fruits and vegetables going, we decided to grow this squash every year. The flesh is quite sweet, and it stores well in a cool, dry space.

Potatoes-either Russet or Satina. Both varieties are delicious and can be enjoyed in all your favorite potato recipes.

Carrots-as the carrots spend more time in the field, growing, the tops become less attractive and more tattered, so we decided to top them this week.

Mustard Bunches-a tasty bunch of mixed mustard greens, full sized. Enjoy them in a stir fry, saute, or try this interesting, gluten-free and vegetarian Indian recipe from Food and Wine.

Collards-These giant beauties are back! Collards are incredibly good for you, boasting tons of soluble fiber and lots of Vitamins C, K, and A. Store in a plastic bag in your crisper.

Celeriac-Full shares get celeriac this week, and as the bulbs continue to size up all other shares will see them as well. This ugly duckling of the veggie world has a lovely, sweet celery-parsley flavor. You’ll notice how rooty and knobby they are, so peel them and give them another good rinse before cooking. Definitely try them in last week’s root vegetable roast recipe. They should keep for several weeks in a bag in the fridge.

Farm happenings this week:

IMG_1361Celeriac field. Note the leaves changing color in the background!
 
 
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Celeriac bulb, before trimming
 
 
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Chiriman squash after harvest, waiting to be cleaned
 
 
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Michelle with piles of carrots to sort and bag!
 
 

Recipes

Collard Greens with Bacon, a classic!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 bunches collard greens, stemmed
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 3 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 cup homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock

DIRECTIONS

  1. STEP 1

    Working in batches, stack greens; cut crosswise into 2-inch-thick strips. Gather strips; cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces. Transfer to a large bowl of cold water; swish to remove grit. Transfer greens to a colander using a slotted spoon; let drain. Repeat until greens are free of grit.

  2. STEP 2

    Heat oil in a very large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and bacon; cook until onions are translucent, about 4 minutes. Add greens; cook, stirring, until greens begin to wilt and are reduced in volume.

  3. STEP 3

    Raise heat to high; add vinegar. Cook, scraping up brown bits from bottom of skillet, until vinegar has evaporated, about 1 minute.

  4. STEP 4

    Add stock; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, until greens are just tender, 12 to 14 minutes. If making ahead, refrigerate, covered; reheat over low heat.

SOURCE

Martha Stewart Living, May 2005

 

Sautéed Collard Greens with Raisins

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds (about 2 bunches) collard greens, stalks removed, leaves thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar

DIRECTIONS

  1. STEP 1

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread almonds on a rimmed baking sheet, and toast until golden, about 8 minutes. Set aside.

  2. STEP 2

    In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add collard greens and raisins; cook, tossing occasionally, until collards are tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in vinegar. Serve sprinkled with toasted almonds.

SOURCE

Everyday Food, October 2007

 

All the best from all of us at Sleepy Root,

Brandon, Heather, Baby Root (only 6 more weeks!), Ben, Michelle and Frank!

 

 

 

 

 

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Week 15

IMG_2521Full Share (above)
 
 
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Medium Share (above)
 
 
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Small Share (above)

Hello Sleepy Root Members!

Where has the season gone? It seems like just yesterday that we were harvesting spring lettuces and radishes, seeding beans every other day, and scrambling to fight the rain and the weeds. Now we’re facing only three more boxes after this week is over! We’re seeing a steady progression into fall now-there’s some type of winter squash scheduled into every box from now on, we’ve taken down all the dead tomato plants, the greenhouse is getting closed up for the winter, and we find true fall and winter root vegetable crops like rutabaga and carrots in the boxes.

Brandon’s parents came out for a quick weekend visit from South Dakota again, and we couldn’t have enjoyed them more. Lois showed up with a home-made apple pie, (always a good idea!) they helped us harvest and pack boxes on Monday, and they even got our temporary greenhouse torn down. Thanks so much, Richard and Lois, we couldn’t have gotten through some of these weeks without you!

We’ve been having a big gopher attack this month, and it turns out that our fabulous new employee Michelle counts gopher-trapping among her many talents. Hopefully this will help reduce some of the damage that some of the squash and root crops are experiencing. It hasn’t been too serious of a problem yet, but we’d love it if the gophers would move over to the DNR land next door and leave the veggies to you guys!

A word about the boxes this week and next: We’re doing a bit of a shuffle with small share box contents for this week and next. Despite planting over 300 cauliflower for this fall, they are maturing in small spurts instead of all at once. This gradual maturation is a common characteristic of heirloom varieties and is a major reason why many larger commercial growers have turned to hybrids-they really need dependable harvest dates. Since we enjoy the ability to customize our boxes on a weekly basis according to what’s actually ready, tasty, and beautiful, we often choose to grow the heirlooms which can be superior in taste and appearance.

To make sure our small share members get the best chance of getting one in their box this season, we are including them on Thursday of this week and Tuesday of next week. The bottom line? Between this week and next small shares should all see a beautiful Purple of Sicily cauliflower in their boxes!

Another note-we were planning on putting the butternut squash in a later box, but the light frost we experienced last week caused a little bit of damage to them, as they have the most delicate skins of the squash we grow. What you might notice is a little bit of discoloration in the skin color, which often appears as if it’s wet. There is absolutely no damage to the squash’s flavor, but we wanted to get them out to you sooner rather than later since they’ll be more likely to soften sooner. If you keep them in a cool, dry place and eat them within a week or two they should be just fine. Butternut is one of the most beloved of all squash for their sweet flavor and abundance of meat, so we’d be surprised if yours sticks around that long! All the other winter squashes should keep like usual, so depending on storage conditions you’ve got months to enjoy them.

What’s in the box this week:

Kale-Redbor, Vates, or a combination of the two (1 regular bunch for small and medium shares, 1 large bunch for full shares)
***Note-Tuesday small shares get kale this week, and Thursday small shares get kale next week. Thursday shares this week will see Cauliflower (maybe broccoli depending on what’s mature) and then Tuesday shares NEXT WEEK will see the same***
Butternut Squash- 1 squash per member!
Rutabaga-roughly a 2# rutabaga for small and medium shares, 2 1/2# or larger for full shares
Radishes-1 bunch per medium and full shares
Carrots-1 1/2# bunches for all members!
Cabbage-1 head for medium shares
Baby Pac Choi-1/2# for full shares
Broccoli-1 1/4# for full shares
Peppers-2# for full shares
 

Kale-these frilly beauties are from our second succession, and will continue to produce throughout the winter. We’ve included Redbor which is a deep purple (go phytonutrients!), Vates which is a deep green, or a combination of both.

Rutabaga-the giant, ugly, misunderstood member of the root vegetable family.  They look like a lumpy turnip, but peel them, roast or mash them, and enjoy them with seasoning like butter, cream, thyme or rosemary and you’ll fall in love with these giant misfits! They have a taste that’s like a cross between a carrot and a potato, with a texture like a carrot or turnip. They’re also rather rudely known as Swedes as they were long a staple crop for poor Swedish farmers. When Heather and Brandon go to her adopted Larson family’s home for Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, mashed rutabaga is one of the most anticipated dishes on the table!

Cabbage-we continue to be in awe of the cabbage this year. The variety you’re getting is called Deadon. Terrible name, gorgeous vegetable. They have grown well, sized up nicely, and are stunningly colored with green and purple.

Baby Pac Choi-full shares will enjoy this delicate Asian vegetable this week. Some shares saw pac choi this spring, too. They enjoy the cooler weather of spring and fall, and are a welcome addition to the boxes this week.

Peppers-Full shares also get to enjoy the very last of the bell peppers this week. Goodbye, summer!

On the farm:

unnamedWatch out! Heather learned to drive the John Deere about 5 minutes before this photo was taken. What a trusting family! Richard and Lois are helping bring in the squash harvest.
 
 
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Frank on the prowl for discarded radishes, one of his favorite treats.
 
 
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Picking kale bunches
 
 
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Boxes loaded up and ready to go to the warehouse of the Hungry Turtle Farmer’s Cooperative in downtown Amery. The co-op is who we and several other farmers hire to deliver our boxes in the Twin Cities twice a week.
 

Recipes

Both of these recipes are from Nigel Slater’s famous vegetable cookery book, Tender. If you don’t have it, it’s probably the most valuable CSA member cookbook I can think of!

Perfect Mashed Rutabaga

Peel the rutabaga. Cut the flesh into large chunks and pile into a steamer basket or metal colander. Place over a pan of boiling water and steam for 12-15 minutes, or until tender. (Rutabaga will always have a certain amount of firmness to their consistency, but it should taste done). Put into a bowl and crush with a potato masher. Fold in some butter, salt and black pepper and beat hard with a wooden spoon.

A Slow Roast of Roots

This roast is one of the most pleasant ways to enjoy the goodies that are in your boxes this week and in the coming weeks. You will see celeriac, beets, rutabaga, and carrots in your futures, so keep this recipe around for the duration of the season!

Peel and chop an assortment of rutabaga, pumpkin or squash, carrots, beets celery root or turnips. Any root will do. Bring a large pan of water to a boil, add all the vegetables except the beets, and let them simmer for ten minutes. They should just take the tip of a knife. Drain.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Warm up plenty of butter (5 tablespoons for every 4 pounds of veggies) in a roasting pan with a good glug of olive oil to stop it burning. Add the drained vegetables and beets, if using, turn them in the butter, and scatter with any herb you like (probably thyme or rosemary) and a few squashed cloves of garlic. Roast 45 minutes to an hour, until the vegetables are soft inside, crisp and golden without.

Spicy Reuben Chowder with Rye Croutons

YIELD: Serves 6

PREP TIME: 20 Minutes

COOK TIME: 30 minutes

ingredients:

for the chowder:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cups andouille sausage, sliced (optional, tastes pretty great without meat, too!)

1 1/2 cups ham, diced

1 yellow onion, diced

3-4 cups shredded cabbage

1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 cups chicken stock (*add more if needed, use veg stock if you’d like)

1/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream

1/4 cup chives, green onions, or any other herb you like, garnish

Tabasco, garnish

for the rye croutons:

4 slices rye bread cut into cubes

2 tablespoons olive oil

pinch of salt and pepper

directions:

for the chowder:
In a large dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and let it cook for a couple of minutes until softened. Add the cabbage and cook until tender. Then add the andouille sausage and ham and brown for a few more minutes. Add the flour along with a little salt & pepper and stir. Let the flour cook out for a few minutes. Add the chicken stock to pot and bring everything to a boil, stirring constantly. Then reduce the heat to a low simmer and let cook gently for about 20 minutes. When you are about ready to serve, stir in herbs and creme fraiche. Serve in bowls and top with fresh herbs, Tabasco, and brown butter rye croutons!!!

for the brown butter rye croutons:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Place rye cubes on baking sheet. Pour olive oil over bread along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside to cool.

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