Thursday, October 30, 2008

Harvest time!

Hello everyone,
As most of you should know, there's NO pick up this week because Grand Finale, the final harvest of the year, is Saturday. However, I didn't want to leave everyone hanging with no post, so here I am. Besides, I have all these adorable pictures of Napa cabbage from last Friday that I thought I should share.
It's been a very busy week out at the Farm as we prepare for Saturday's distribution. We've been harvesting everything that will keep for a few days. On Monday they brought in the leeks--though I missed it, leek harvest holds a special place in my heart because it was two years ago during the leek harvest that, in conversation, we came up with the idea that eventually became the Community Farm Kitchen. On Tuesday we got incredibly cold while harvesting root vegetables. It's a wonderful harvest of rutabagas, which are one of my favorites, so I'm looking forward to making some delicious dishes with these sweet roots. We also got some gorgeous beets and plenty of monster daikon radishes! After pulling the roots we have to chop off the leaves and bag and weigh the roots and box up the leaves to be fed to the cows and goats. Rebecca developed a game where we each try to guess what the final share amount of a given vegetable is going to be. 5 pounds of rutabaga each, anyone? We'll know the winners on Saturday. Yesterday was another cold day at the Farm, but we kept warm with a lunch of hot soup and a busy job of picking Brussels sprouts (and yes, chopping off the leaves--a favorite treat for the goats and cows!). Anne says this might be the best Brussels sprouts harvest ever--we have a lot to look forward to in these sweet treats. Other tasks at the Farm this week have been tidying up and putting things away for the winter. We got to wrestle with hoses, put away chairs, and mulch the garlic we planted. Soon the Farm will be resting quietly for another season.
In the mean time, I'm off to pickle last week's daikons and clean out the refridgerator at the kitchen, ready for a huge influx of vegetables on Saturday. Hope you're as excited as I am!
Photo notes: 1. Chopping up the lovely napa cabbage. 2. The inside of a napa 3. Cynthia looks undaunted by the amount of cabbage she has to chop.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Week twenty: Dancing with the Frost King!

Well, there is no doubt it is the end of the season. This Wednesday morning was very frosty: I found ice in the chicken's water bucket and the hose was so frozen we had to leave it in the sun for a few hours before we could use it to rinse the veggies. Despite starting harvest much later than we have through the season, frost was still visible on the ground and the collards were essentially frozen as we harvested them. It was beautiful, of course, with each leaf and blade of grass beautifully outlined with delicate white. I'm sorry to say I didn't have my camera out at the farm, but I'll try to get some good frost photos in the next weeks. It was also cold, but the farm workers put on plenty of layers. I pulled off my usual winter look of a cross between Ronald McDonald and the Abominable Snowman in my bright yellow winter coat, bright yellow rain trousers, red wool hat, and black wellies. Farm Angel Karen brought us hot coffee cake and a thermos of hot chai to keep us going through the chilly morning. Farm cat Bob was spotted belly-up in a sunny spot trying to gather some warmth and succeeding in looking very silly. :-)
These pictures show some of the food from last week. Here are before and after photos of your "Tennessee Sweet Potato" pie pumpkins and the squash that went into that Carribbean curried vegetable dish. They are so beautiful! (Amanda is trying to look gleeful about cutting them up).
So, this is the penultimate harvest --
choice of Broccoli or Cauliflower - 1 head
Bok choi - 1
Collards - 1 plant
Mei qing choi - 1
Turnips - 1
Napa (Chinese) cabbage - 1 beautiful head
Assorted oriental greens - 1 bunch
Cilantro - 1 bunch
(positively the last) Eggplant - 1
choice of root vegetables (daikon radishes or rutabagas) - 2

This week's menu:
Millet-Cauliflower-Broccoli Soup from Diet for a Small Planet p. 290
Swede (Rutabaga) with Greens and Coriander from The Boxing Clever Cookbook p. 70
Napa cabbage with Ginger and Cilantro from Greens, Glorious Greens p. 107
Sweet and Sour Bok Choi and Eggplant from Diet for a Small Planet p. 262
Frost King's Salad Mix with Arugula, Mizuna, and Tatsoi

and we're going to make pickled daikon for making Kim Chee in a few weeks' time. I got the recipe from Anne--it comes from Paul's time in Korea. I'm excited to try Kim Chee again this year, this time with a little help from a real expert. Sound good?

Enjoy the autumn weather!

Photo explanations: 1. Amanda gleefully prepares to chop up these lovely winter squash and pie pumpkins. 2. Beautiful pumpkin pie filling 3. Choi Salad not yet tossed, looking crisp and bright. 4. Michelle and Becky tossing the Choi Salad--up to their elbows in veggies!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Week Nineteen: Flavors of Fall

Hello everyone!
What a lovely week. We're enjoying the unseasonably warm weather, even as the shorter days and rains let us know that we're firmly into fall. At the Farm this week we had a field trip from the 3rd graders at the Detroit Waldorf School. These kids were live wires, bringing a lot of energy and laughter to the Farm as they helped out with chores, met the animals, and went for a hay ride on the solar-powered tractor. In the afternoon we began the garlic planting. There's something very satisfying about the garlic--it's a connection from one year to the next. It gets planted and mulched at the very end of the season in preparation for the following year. In the spring, we enjoy the garlic flowers and in the summer we dig the bulbs. Then it seems like no time before we're dividing bulbs into cloves to plant for the next year. On Wednesday the rain kindly held off until we'd finished the harvest and were sitting down to enjoy our lunch.
So, without getting TOO wet and cold, the workers were able to bring in this bounty for you:
Turnips (with yummy tops!) - 2
Hot peppers - 3
Small eggplant - 1
Mei qing choi - 1
Bok choi - 1
Big eggplant - 1
Garlic - 1
Broccoli OR Cauliflower - 1
Mizuna OR Arugula - 1 bunch
Cilantro - 1 bunch
Parsley - 1 plant
Winter squash - 1

And the menu will be:
- Turnips with Greens and Raisins from From Asparagus to Zucchini p. 159 - Had this for dinner last night and I think the recipe's a keeper! ;-)
- Choi salad with Fruit and Creamy Poppyseed Dressing from Farmer John's Cookbook p. 78 - Look! I found something other than a stir fry to do with the choi!
- Baba ganouj from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks for a Crowd p. 71
- Caribbean Curried Vegetables (Colombo de Giromon) from Sundays at Moosewood p. 131
- Baked Pumpkin - suitable for making into a pumpkin pie. We got these gorgeous "Tennessee Sweet Potato" Pumpkins in the share this week (I'll take a pic before we bake them up). Anne says they make excellent pumpkin pie, so I'm going to send home the pulp in quantities suitable for making into a pie (along with a favorite recipe). The pumpkin will keep for ages in the freezer and can be used in pies, breads, and soups all winter long!
- Snappy Fall Salad Mix

Sound good?? See you Friday!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Week Eighteen: Rainy Harvest Morning

I've been saying that Fall is coming/here for about a month now, but there can really be no doubt this week. The Frost King has arrived, putting an end to basil, eggplants, peppers, and turning weeds and tomato plants brown in the fields. Karen and I spent a lot of time on Wednesday pulling the irrigation tape from the field where these summer crops grew in preparation for ploughing the field under for the winter. The morning was wet but not too cold--good harvest weather. We cleared the Swiss chard field, bringing in a bounty of FOUR PLANTS per share. We're planning to make a delicious green soup to capture the sunshine in the Swiss chard for the cold winter days ahead. Tuesday was a bright day at the farm. We did the last of the clean up from the Fall Festival and headed to the "hay field" to harvest diakon radishes and bok choi and mei qing choi. Going back to the weekend, the Fall Festival was really fabulous--I was thrilled to see many CFK members and families at the farm enjoying the potluck, bonfire, solar-powered hay rides, and music.
Also, here's a picture of the lovely birthday cake the CFK workers brought me in the Kitchen on Friday--thanks, ladies!
Anyhow: this week's share:
Sweet potatoes - 2 lbs
Hot peppers - 2
Swiss chard - 4 plants (!!)
Bok choi - 1 plant
Stevia - 1 sprig
Mei qing choi (baby bok choi) - 1 plant
Broccoli - 1 head
Radish - 1
Choice - 1 broccoli OR 1 cauliflower
Eggplant - 1
Sweet peppers - 20 small ones (!)

And the menu:
New Favorite Green Soup from Laurel's Kitchen p. 156
Chinese Peppers and Choi from Laurel's Kitchen p. 204
Helen's Polenta with Eggplant from Laurel's Kitchen p. 287 (guess which cookbook I had open today?)
Oriental Broccoli and Cauliflower from The Community Farm of Ann Arbor Cookbook p. 46
Mashed Sweet Potatoes from Serving the Harvest p. 293

That's all! See you Friday!

Photo explanations: 1. Pans of Biryani--so colorful--on their way into the oven. 2. Claire stirs up the dressing for last week's Asian slaw 3. Birthday cake (from Big City/Small World bakery--yum!!) in the thick of the action at the CFK 4. The bottoms of the bok choi look like flowers on the window sill!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Week Seventeen: Fall Festival this Weekend!

Well, Fall's been creeping up on us for weeks, but it really seems to be upon us now. Suddenly. Tuesday at the Farm was pleasantly warm for the most part. We got a little chilly when it started raining later in the day, but nothing putting a raincoat on didn't fix. Wednesday was another story! As soon as I arrived at the farm I realized it was a day for two sweatshirts, my rain pants and my rain coat. Being dry helped a lot as Karen and I waded into the wet kale field to harvest. Even so our fingers were frozen by the time we were done. However, cheerful conversation and singing with our visitor Moira kept us happy. We celebrated the arrival of fall by singing a very cute fall song: "Hurry hurry hurry hurry, we must all get fat and furry! Not a moment to be lost, I can see old Jackie Frost!" Each verse describes a different woodland animal hurrying off to prepare for winter. Wednesday was also my birthday, so we had lots of delicious breakfast treats during the harvest time. At lunch time we warmed up with hot tea. It was a good way to start my birthday!
Everyone at the farm is looking forward to the Fall Festival this weekend--farm members should plan to come for music and dancing and potluck fare.
This week's huge harvest:
Sweet potatoes - 2 lbs
Choice of broccoli or cabbage - 1
large eggplant - 1
Oriental greens - 1 bunch
Kale - 3/4 lb
Hot peppers - 1 branch
small eggplant - 1
Sweet peppers - 6
Bok choi - 1
Swiss chard - 1 plant
Radish - 1
Hubbard squash - 1
Basil - 1 plant

And the menu:
Pesto (again!) from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks for a Crowd p. 267. Everyone seems to be enjoying this and Cynthia's becoming quite the pesto-making expert!!
Blue Hubbard soup from Farmer John's Cookbook p. 315
Chard (and Kale) with Sweet and Savory Spices from Greens Glorious Greens p. 81
Eggplant Biryani from Sundays at Moosewood p. 306 and The Best-ever Vegetarian Cookbook p. 170
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with summer savory- house recipe
Crazy Spicy Asian Cabbage and Greens Salad - I'm going to make this up taking clues from various recipes. Should be delicious!

See you Friday!