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November 5, 2017
Curried Crockpot Collards and Kale
A Note from the Farmer's Wife
Photo by Marta Reis on Unsplash
I am always looking for new flavors to incorporate with bitter greens, making them more interesting and easy to consume. If bunches of greens are accumulating in your fridge, try this recipe. It reheats easily if you want to double the recipe for leftovers during the week.
- 1 bunch of hardy greens: 1/2 bunch of collards and 1/2 bunch kale - or any greens can be used - judge cooking time by the toughness of the greens used.
- 1/4 cup olive oil or ghee
- 1TBS curry powder
- 2 tsp garam masala (optional but fantastic)
- 2-4 cloves garlic crushed
- 1-2 tsp grated fresh ginger (optional, may substitute 1/2 tsp dry ginger)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 can (16 oz) crushed or diced tomatoes (season if salt free) - or 4-5 fresh tomatoes, dicedOptional: 1/2 cup, more or less, cubed cheese such as sharp cheddar, Swiss or feta.
Chop greens into bite sized pieces, removing the tough center ribs from each leaf. Season with a little salt and a splash of olive oil and massage to help break down the toughness - this is an optional step if you are in a hurry. Dump tomatoes in bottom of crock and place greens on top. Cover and set on high.
Place a medium skillet on medium heat with oil and/or ghee - grass-fed ghee
is marvelous in this recipe. When sizzling add spices, garlic, ginger and saute quickly to coat everything in the oil. Cook for a minute or two, keeping a careful eye so the garlic does not burn. Remove from heat and quickly scrape contents on top of greens in crock. Leave pan with some oil and spice remnants for later use.
If time permits, turn crackpot to low and let simmer until everything is cooked down, tender and saucey. You may need to add a little boiling water during cooking time if the tomatoes aren’t super juicy. Keep an eye on it so the greens do not burn. 3 hours is usually adequate, but you could make this dish faster on the stove top, using more water and monitoring more carefully.
If including cheese: just before serving reheat the skillet containing the remnants of the oil and spices on medium high. Toss cubes of cheese into skillet and quickly work with your spatula to coat with the fragrant oil. The softer the cheese the more it will melt. I like to use a cold, hard cheese so it doesn’t completely melt before I can get it out of the pan. If it does, don’t worry, it is still fantastic. This step takes less than a minute. Quickly toss coated cheese onto greens and give one or two big stirs.
This is practically a meal in itself, but makes a great side to lamb or beef stew.
Let me know how you like it!
October 29, 2017
Final Week of the Main Season!
By Charis Lindrooth
Just for fun, the Farmer and his daughter set up a tent on a sunny afternoon - a perfect way to savor the last few warm days.
These October days have been downright balmy. In fact, this is the longest pepper season on record for the farm. For those of you keeping tabs on the First Frost Bet between the Farmer and the Farmer’s Wife, it might end up as a tie. That’s because we have had a tiny bit of frost, but not a hard frost. The only thing damaged so far is the dahlias, which do not tolerate it a bit. Of course, I plan to make the Farmer his chicken and dumplings regardless - he has earned a favorite meal!
As I sit here writing this post, the sky is grey and a gentle Sunday rain only makes the blue-green stripes of kale, cabbage and broccoli in the fields below more striking. The autumn leaves are more muted this season, perhaps due to the warmer temperatures. Crickets are still chirping at night and we are enjoying many migratory bird sightings, as the farm is positioned right under their journey path.
The Main Season flew by as quickly as these birds in flight. One more box, and then we turn to the Fall Share. We are grateful to all who have joined the Fall Share; your participation makes all the difference to us as we wind up our year. We couldn’t do it without you.
September 4, 2017
The Geese are Flying
A Note from the Farmer's Wife
Okay, these are vultures, not geese, aren't they cool?
The geese are flying, a sure autumn on the farm. Other clues include chilly toes in the dewy mornings, the groan of school buses passing in the lane, the grumpy teenager dealing with early school mornings and and the murmuration of starlings. Friday afternoon I walked through fields newly planted with fall crops and startled a small flock of bluebirds. What a treat!
Another sure sign of fall is the sudden disappearance of half of our crew. This strains those left behind, as the demands of the field, while less, are still significant. It is true, the crew is tired after the long summer push. Soon, however, the weed pressure will drop dramatically and the fall planting will be finished. Beautiful September days will remind us that what we do here is worth it.
Many of you might be thinking that the season must be winding down, but actually we are only a tad past the half way point of the Main Season. With 9 weeks still ahead, an array of fall goodies will start to appear on the list. We apologize that eggplant did not land on the proper list this week, for those of you who noticed, and hope to have it available next week. We are also sorrowful that the tomato crop, while not a total failure, struggled with blight and we will not be able to make our signature pasta sauce this year - boo hoo for the Farmer's Wife! And basil too, in case you didn't notice, failed utterly. I hear local gardeners complaining of the same problem. An entire field of it just up and kicked the bucket before I even had a chance to think pesto. When eating from a small farm, you must adopt the motto, "There's always next year!" Of course, for most of us you could also say, "There's always Whole Foods." Not quite the same as fresh from the farm, but at least there are options.
Of course, we are hoping that you will jump into the fall season which starts the week of November 6 (the final week of the Main Season is the week of October 30). Prorated Main Season and/or Fall Shares are available to any and all. We have LOCAL FOOD for you!
August 20, 2017
Singing the August Blues
A Note from the Farmer's Wife
The morning arrived fresh and inviting today, restoring hope to the Farmer's heart. It's been a rough couple of weeks. Everyone knows that farming is hard work, long hours in all types of weather, and physically demanding. Actually that is the part of farming that appeals most to our Farmer, and to many who dream of trading their desk job for a life out of doors. The physical work is the easy part. The challenge lies in the unexpected, be it weather issues, employee drama or equipment breakdown. Any of these can pitch a twist in our daily routine, or tip the delicate scale of our economy and amount to a significant load of stress. August always presents a challenge for us. Although it still feels like summer, the power of the sun is shifting towards the equinox while the insect and disease pressure is burgeoning.
We have learned to expect the unexpected. We expect too much rain to insult our tomatoes. We expect the crew to get over-tired and less enthusiastic by now. We expect equipment, which is used hard all season, to falter. It's all part of the deal, part of being a working farm. But these past few weeks have held a run of out-of the-ordinary unexpecteds, such as a significant theft and an accident with the delivery truck that demolished an entire delivery on Tuesday and left the truck in the repair shop indefinitely. Many of our Tuesday members, who were disappointed to miss their Tuesday box, reached out with kind words and even donations, all of which touched and inspired us to pick up and keep going. No one was hurt with either incident, thank goodness.
Two things help us put it all in perspective. First is the beauty of the day before us, the cicadas singing staccato, the indigo bunting flashing blue among the foxtail, the cool dew-bedazzled mornings and the lullaby of the crickets and katydids as we drift into sleep at night. Second, is the people around us: the crew pulling together for the push of the second half of the season, our friends and family reaching out with support, and you, our CSA members, many of whom have stood by us for over a decade of Augusts. We read every note, every email, whether a brief thank you, or a lengthy story of how our vegetables have impacted your life, and every single word goes to heart. You are the reason we do this.
The concept of CSA was born from a passion for supporting small farms and for a grass-roots endeavor to reconnect with where and how our food is grown. I maintain this blog with the primary intention of helping our customers know us and our farm. I write with my heart on my sleeve, because I believe that our customers care about the welfare of their farming family as much as about the convenience of having their local food arrive in one box. I want our customers to know without a shadow of a doubt their dollars are supporting the livelihood of a small Pennsylvania farm and their support makes this farm a better provider of fresh, high quality, safe food for people throughout our region.
Many of you ask how you can help:
1. If you are not a current member, please join
today! Our CSA is the only one in the region offering weekly online ordering. Our produce has never been as lush and abundant as this year. We are GAP certified and offer a prorated price to jump in for the second half of the Main Season.
2. If you are a member, refer a friend. Tell them about our farm - share this post.
. Sign up for our Fall Share
. We are extending our season by 6 weeks this year and are opening our fall share at almost all sites. Your Fall Share commitment is a HUGE help to us this year
. In addition to fall veggies this year, we are offering Egg, Apple, Bread and Cheese shares. We also have listed some local artisan crafted gifts which help support the farm as well as small-time crafts persons.
4. Come to our Garlic Planting Picnic or VIP Farm to Table Dinner - both super delicious and a fun way to experience the farm. Anyone is welcome to these events, even in they are not a member. Inquire for details.
As always, we are grateful every day for the opportunity to feed you and your families. Thank you for your continued support.
November 4, 2016
A Note from the Farmer's Wife
Fall color is spectacular on Hawk Mountain, just a few miles from the farm.
The Main Season now over, the time has come for the Farmer and his Wife to kick back their heels, and act like bumps on a log. Oh wait, we are still feeding half of you through November! Okay, okay, we will keep at it until the Winter Solstice. After that? We will take a breather over the holidays. If you have any suggestions for good Farmer/Farmer's Wife movies, pass them along. I am planning a good snuggle-movie fest once the Farmer sits down.
The crew popped the cork on a jug of apple cider after the final big Main Season pack yesterday (one small West Chester pack today). The final day of the Main Season always feels like a moment of accomplishment. The summer pace tends to be grueling and can wear on the most idealistic and optimistic crew member. The satisfaction of reaching the finish line is unbeatable. The extended Fall Share will keep many hands busy, but the atmosphere changes as seeding, planting and weeding pressures fade into summer memories. Sweltering harvests transform into invigorating chilly ones and sunscreen is traded for woolen hats.
We are thrilled that 50% of our membership is participating in the extended Fall Season - our best enrollment ever. For those of you that joined the Spring share, your plate will have been full of Red Earth goodies for 33 weeks of the year by the end of the Fall share. If you would still like to join, now's the time as we will be closing membership Sunday, 5pm.
We are always grateful for our loyal veggie eaters. Stay tuned for updates about the 2017 season. Early registration will open in December. And we have gift certificates of any amount available for gift-givers who want to share the next season's bounty.
Stay healthy and happy this winter...and keep eating those veggies!
September 3, 2016
A Note from the Farmer's Wife
It never fails. The first week of September, even if the days are hot, the first hints of fall appear. A solitary bright red leaf, fallen on the dirt roadway between the rows of kale, or a flurry of monarch butterflies wending their way southward, and the classic honk of a “v” of geese as if we lived in a story book. At the farm signs of fall show up in my kitchen. Even after all these years, the Farmer still romantically leaves little surprises in my kitchen, heralds of the next season’s bounty. This week a pumpkin and a few sweet potatoes appeared mysteriously on the counter top. This turns my head from looking back at zucchini and beans lost to summer, and ahead to broccoli, sweet greens, butternut and the rest of the fall bounty, some of the best vegetable eating of the year, still ahead of us.
Our Fall Share
starts the week of November 8, directly following the close of the Main Season, and extends for 7 weeks. For the first time we are offering specialty shares in addition to the Apple Share: Artisan Bread, Farm Fromage Artisan Cheese and even Eggs from The Nesting Box.
We have reached almost 30% of our enrollment goal
and your participation is greatly appreciated. If you have not yet registered for the Fall Share, simply log in
and follow the steps on the upper left margin. New members are welcome to register here
October 11, 2015
It Just Gets Sweeter
A Note from the Farmer's Wife
While I am still mourning the departure of the tomatoes, I have to tell you that in some ways the best of the harvest is yet to come. Often by now we have had our first frost, and Jack will probably make his arrival in the coming week. The colder nights and sunny days signal many crops to store sugar. Carrots, cabbage and kale become sweeter, while radishes and spicy greens develop a more complex flavor without abusing the palate. Bitter departs and sweetness follows. I'm sure I could wax philosophical about this natural phenomenon, perhaps somehow comparing it to Farmers in the winter, but I will refrain, in case one reads this.
Our main season ends the final week of October. If you haven't signed on yet for November, please consider doing so. Not only do the veggies get sweeter, but they also get larger - more bang for your buck. We depend on our fall share enrollment to help us purchase fall amendments for our fields. To enroll simply login and follow the link at the upper left of your home page. www.RedEarthFarm.org