CSA Week 4

Wow! Today feels downright cold compared to the days before. It was a scorcher of a week, and we were glad there was a holiday because the whole crew took most of the 4th to go swimming and stay cool. Crops in the garden are growing beautifully, though we have had some groundhog damage in a patch of lettuce. When Scott went out for an evening field walk with Murph-dog, he heard Murphy going after something and then witnessed Murph getting the groundhog in his mouth, but due to some confusion called Murphy off and the groundhog got away. So now Murph is on high alert and is such a good farm dog for us. 

I wish I had some better photos of the farm from this week, but I do have some that document the hot weather! Today I will head to the field in West Rutland to prune tomatoes with Scott, and will get some pics of our upcoming peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and melons. So soon!

We have our very first cucumbers..many more in the weeks ahead, and zucchini, cabbage, and garlic scapes. The scapes are not here for long. They are the part of the garlic that would turn into a flower. Anyone growing garlic should cut the scales off so that the plant will direct its energy into making a big, fat garlic bulb. The scales are delicious sautéed or cooked whole on the grill, or try this recipe for garlic scape pesto. I whipped some up the other day, just guessing on the amounts, and it came out great. I used scapes, raw cashews, parmesan, olive oil, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. YUM.

-Lindsay

GARLIC SCAPE PESTO, from the New York Times

  • 1 cup garlic scapes, sliced crosswise (about 10 to 12 scapes)
  •  ¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
  •  ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  •  ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  •  ½ cup basil leaves
  •  Juice of one lemon

PREPARATION

  1. Place the garlic scapes in a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the sunflower seeds and pulse for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add the olive oil and process on high for 15 seconds.
  4. Add the Parmesan cheese and pulse until the ingredients are combined.
  5. Add the basil and lemon juice, and process until reaching the desired consistency.
  6. Add salt to taste and serve immediately.

CSA Week 3

Hello! Lindsay here. Well I have finally spent some time out in the field, both planting and harvesting, and I can report that things are growing beautifully. The rain we got was much needed and is helping our summer crops like zucchini and cucumbers to start sizing up.

Our apprentices this season, Nick and Danielle, are working hard and learning quickly. Having come from Texas most recently, they were wondering if they would ever see hot weather, but our forecast ahead looks to be that way!

Here are some pics from the field:

Ella was a big helper this morning in the field, putting our cut heads of lettuce into the bins for us, and breaking up leaves of kale and chard for the fairies to eat. She tried to lift the full lettuce bins herself, but they were a little bit too heavy :)

I've been busy lately and have been grabbing a snack that is worth sharing: a box of sunflower shoots with some toasted almonds thrown in. I eat it right out of the box with my fingers, no dressing or anything. It has become something that I crave, and if I eat it as a morning snack, I've already gotten one serving of greens in for the day!

Here's a recipe using Rainbow Chard, another one of my favorite greens. This is from the New York Times, and could probably be simplified to work for you! The simplest way to enjoy Rainbow Chard is to slice up thinly and wilt/saute with garlic and coconut oil. This is a perfect side dish for breakfast or dinner.

  • 1 ½ to 2 pounds chard
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • ½ cup raisins, soaked in warm water for about 10 minutes, drained
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • ½ cup dry (fino) sherry or a flavorful white wine
  • Chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish

Cut chard stems into 1- to 2-inch lengths, and coarsely chop leaves. Gently boil stems until almost tender. Add chopped leaves. Cook until soft, another couple of minutes. Drain well, pressing out water.

Put 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium-low heat and add garlic; cook until garlic begins to color, a couple of minutes. Add pine nuts and cook another minute, stirring, then add chard, raisins and salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. (Stuffing can be refrigerated for two days.)

Put each thigh between plastic wrap and pound thin, without tearing. Sprinkle with salt. Put spoonful of stuffing on one end and roll. Skewer closed with a toothpick or two.

Put remaining oil in large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add thighs, browning on one side for about 5 minutes and adjusting heat if needed, then turn. Cook a minute or two, then turn heat to medium-low and add sherry. Let bubble for about 30 seconds, cover, and cook about 5 minutes, or until chicken thighs are quite firm and cooked through.

Remove to a platter. Reduce liquid in pan over high heat, if needed, and spoon over chicken. Garnish with parsley, and serve.

 

 

CSA Week 2

Week 2 CSA! Things are still feeling so super busy on the farm but with all the major plantings done there have been several sighs of relief.

Here's a couple recipes using our available veggies:

Grain and Sunflower Shoot Salad

- 1/3 cup farro or brown rice, cooked and cooled
- 2 boxes sunflower shoots and/or microgreens
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1 avocado, diced

FOR THE DRESSING
- 3 tablespoons chopped mint
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
- sea salt flakes
- freshly ground black pepper

Combine all salad ingredients and combine dressing ingredients separately. Then pour dressing over the salad and mix gently.

Massaged Kale Salad

1 lb. Kale Mix (3 bags)
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar (try Yoder Farm’s)
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. maple syrup
1-2 cloves garlic

Cut kale into thin strips. Dice garlic. Mix vinegar, oil and maple syrup. Add garlic and pour onto greens.

Using your hands, “massage” dressing into the greens until they look slightly wilted. Dressing quantities can be altered depending on preferences. Save any leftover dressing for next salad. Top salad with toasted sunflower seeds or radish slices if desired.

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CSA Week 1

 Greetings CSA Members!   Welcome to the start of our CSA Shares!  As we approach the Summer Solstice, the plants have kicked into high gear and are growing beautifully. Melons, tomatoes, and other summer crops will be here before we know it and baby zucchinis and patty pans are peeking out of the squash plants.  I (Lindsay) have been in Kansas for the last week visiting my parents and my place of birth, and showing Ella the wheat fields as they are being harvested. The combines are enormous, taking up the width of a two-lane road. I have a lot of respect for anyone who is spending their days in a field, whether they are in a huge, air-conditioned piece of equipment on a flat Kansas farm, growing wheat with chemicals we would never use, or farming small-scale vegetables organically like we are. All of us are up against time and the weather, which make profitability of a small scale farm a challenging prospect. And hopefully all of us realize the gifts of Mother Nature which we are so grateful to have as nourishment for our bodies.

Greetings CSA Members! 

Welcome to the start of our CSA Shares!

As we approach the Summer Solstice, the plants have kicked into high gear and are growing beautifully. Melons, tomatoes, and other summer crops will be here before we know it and baby zucchinis and patty pans are peeking out of the squash plants.

I (Lindsay) have been in Kansas for the last week visiting my parents and my place of birth, and showing Ella the wheat fields as they are being harvested. The combines are enormous, taking up the width of a two-lane road. I have a lot of respect for anyone who is spending their days in a field, whether they are in a huge, air-conditioned piece of equipment on a flat Kansas farm, growing wheat with chemicals we would never use, or farming small-scale vegetables organically like we are. All of us are up against time and the weather, which make profitability of a small scale farm a challenging prospect. And hopefully all of us realize the gifts of Mother Nature which we are so grateful to have as nourishment for our bodies.

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Here's a "recipe" for my favorite type of salad this time of year: 

Sunflower Shoot Salad with Carrots (Serves 1 hungry veggie lover)

  • 1 container Sunflower Shoots
  • 1 container Microgreens Mix or Micro Basil
  • 3-4 carrots, chopped
  • Sunflower seeds, toasted
  • Walnuts or almonds, toasted
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped
  • 1 scoop fermented vegetables like kimchi

Mix all together and top with your favorite dressing. This is my regular lunch this time of year and I actually crave it! 

And here's a recipe for a salad dressing I am planning to make this week!

Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing

  • 2 cups cilantro leaves, stems removed
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (from 2 limes)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a food processor, combine cilantro, yogurt, garlic, lime juice, and salt. Blend until smooth.

With the motor running, slowly add olive oil through the feed-tube. Season to taste with salt and pepper (I like 1/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper). Chill at least 10 minutes to blend flavors.

The Love of Local Food

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A version of this article was printed in the Rutland Herald on March 8, 2016.

By Lindsay Courcelle

When you live in a place like Rutland, you become accustomed to hearing a lot of buzz about food. With the biggest year-round farmers market in the state, Rutland boasts a strong agricultural community making local food readily available for our region’s citizens and visitors.

But why buy local food? For me, it has to do with the people, the place and the flavors. The stories behind each harvested ear of corn or strawberry or green bean.

My family is so grateful and lucky to eat as well as we do, day in and day out. There are days when our dinner table boasts only food whose stories we know fully. We know that the pork chop came from a pig who had black spots and was raised in an abandoned orchard. We know the story of the potatoes: grown from tubers we’d saved from the previous year, in a productive patch at the north end of the garden, next to the late fall carrots. And the applesauce, from wild apples we picked and cooked down on a cool October day.

Something about knowing these stories makes the food so much more satisfying than a plate from a chain restaurant, filled with reheated, processed food that hardly resembles its raw starting point and whose story we’ll never know. In these places, the French fries are made in a factory from potatoes grown in massive monoculture fields, locations unknown, and harvested by machines. Who knows if a human hand touched the potatoes at any point in the process from field to plate.

To some people this doesn’t matter. But to me, this is everything. Of course, my diet is not entirely local and I’ve eaten plenty of processed foods in my day. But when I know the farmer who toiled to get food onto my plate, I can appreciate it more. I can nearly taste the love of land and beast that some food was grown with.

The goat’s milk that my friends squeeze by hand and bottle in glass jars is brimming with the love and care they give to their herd, even when that means late-night trips to the barn during kidding season. The melons that survived a summer hail storm are full of the essence of a farmer’s devotion and prayers that the weather gods not wreak too much havoc. The intention that the farmer puts into their work is absorbed into each molecule of milk or melon. The sunlight that shines down on Rutland County, Vermont, USA, Earth, is contained in that food, and eating that food just feels…right.

For many people, buying local means keeping dollars in the community, ensuring that a local farmer can buy winter coats or boots for their kids. It also means that the food is fresh, rather than trucked across the country in refrigerated trucks. And, of course, people enjoy the thriving working landscape we have in Vermont, with well used barns dotting the land instead of housing developments.

No matter your reason, buying locally grown feels good. Try it and you’ll see.

CSA Week 13

Hi All,

 

Though I keep telling myself summer is a state of mind, Fall appears to be rapidly approaching. As if to affirm my suspicion, we had our first frost September 1st. Ground cherries, cherry tomatoes, and our second plantings of cucumbers and beans faced the brunt of it. Hopefully, with a cutting of the damaged foliage and a strong nutritional foundation, they will bounce back.

On a positive note, we harvested the entirety of our first succession of storage carrots. Our second planting of cabbage is coming along beautifully as are the broccoli and beets. Additionally, we harvested the first couple bushels of potatoes! We will have Purple Viking, Nicola, German Butterball, and Chieftain to share. Melons and both hot/sweet peppers are in abundance. We have been cutting and freezing the Carmen Peppers as a treat in the colder weather to combat the winter blues. Ask about bulk deals this Saturday.

Wishing you a great week, and see you at market!

-Katie

 

 

 

CSA Week 10

Hi All,

Hope the week has treated you well! Conditions have been ideal for our greens. Lots of beautiful head lettuce and mix to share in addition to more tomatoes, both slicing and cherries. Shishito peppers and rainbow carrot bunches will also be in attendance.

A few farm happenings:

Earlier this week we planted gilfeather turnip (our state vegetable), a couple varieties of rutabaga and our last succession of lettuce mix. Our second succession of cucumbers are taking off, while our beans have begun to slow before the later planting will be ready for harvest. Buckwheat is starting to emerge in beds that were tilled and seeded earlier last week.

In other news, Alchemy hosted this month’s CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) program. CRAFT works to educate farm apprentices and employees that are interested in becoming farmers themselves. Throughout the season, courses are held on area farms with each session focused on a specific topic. Past gatherings have included discussions on cover cropping, greenhouse construction, and marketing. This week, Scott shared his knowledge of crop planning and provided a tour of the garden to a crowd of about 20 apprentices.

 

 

Recipes:

Simple & delicious tomato nectarine salad

 

Pick up  a bag of our beet/chard mix this week for a chard salad with garlic breadcrumbs

 

You’ll need:

-1 bunch/bag swiss chard

-1 lemon

-½ cup extra virgin olive oil

-salt

-1 ½ cups breadcrumbs

-1 clove garlic, minced

-¾ cup grated parmesan

 

  1. Zest (about 1 tsp) and juice lemon (about 2 ½ tbsps)

  2. Combine with a few generous pinches of salt and whisk in ¼ cup olive oil. Set aside

  3. Warm remaining olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and stir frequently until crisp and golden brown (about 5 minutes). Stir in garlic and toast for another minute and set aside.

  4. Stack a few leaves of chard/beet on top of each other and roll like a cigar and cut into thin ⅛” ribbons. Place into large bowl and toss with parmesan and lemon dressing. Toss in toasted breadcrumbs and serve immediately.

All for now, and see you tomorrow.

 

 

Katie

 

 Beet & Chard mix! So tasty in recipe above or sautéed with coconut oil (or any oil) and garlic

Beet & Chard mix! So tasty in recipe above or sautéed with coconut oil (or any oil) and garlic

 Our beautiful, crunchy red butterhead lettuce and rainbow carrots

Our beautiful, crunchy red butterhead lettuce and rainbow carrots

 Lindsay likes to eat red peppers like apples. This one was for breakfast one morning!

Lindsay likes to eat red peppers like apples. This one was for breakfast one morning!

CSA Week 8

Greetings!

Well, summer is officially upon us. We are finding a need to irrigate in the field, which hadn’t been the case thus far. Harvesting is in full swing. We are currently picking beans, cucumbers, zucchini, and squash two-to-three times per week. To help us with this busy part of the season, a group of kids from VYCC (Vermont Youth Conservation Corps) lend a hand once a week.

The group varies in size but consists of students, ages 16-18. They work on a number of different farms throughout the work week. Most recently, they helped us move our silage tarp to another piece of the garden. This is the first time Alchemy has utilized this tool. It’s a polyethylene tarp that has been covering a portion of our newest beds for over a month, in order to clear any unwanted weeds and grasses. It requires quite a few hands to move, but the results are rather incredible. Beneath the cover, was a beautiful, fluffy soil prime for planting a second succession of kohlrabi.

 

I have been writing this while a storm passes over. Sun is shining once more, so onward to seeding micro greens!

New additions this week include our first Tomatoes (Cherry & Slicing) and ESCAROLE- a bitter green used in Italian cooking. We also have a more plentiful stock of the summer vegetables that were offered last Saturday. See you at market!

 

-Katie


Recipe:

 

I have been on the prowl for delicious one-pot recipes that can be used for camping. My most recent obsession is with dutch oven pizza. It is a crowd pleaser for sure. Link is included that describes the method. This weekend my toppings included sliced mozzarella, whole garlic cloves, sliced tomato, chopped fennel, basil, and one of our purple peppers for a pop of color. Hope you enjoy!

https://freshoffthegrid.com/dutch-oven-pizza/

 

 Peppers turning red, melons ripening, and lots of eggplant this week!

Peppers turning red, melons ripening, and lots of eggplant this week!

CSA Week 7

Happy Saturday! This week, we'll be bringing even more summer veggies: sweet and hot peppers, eggplant, carrots, basil bunches, parsley, green beans, and some really big, beautiful heads of garlic! The first tomatoes are ripening, and in the next few weeks we will have enough for market. It seems that in the last week or two, crops have REALLY started growing quickly and the garden is finally lush with foliage.

 Sweet peppers on the left, Dancer eggplant and first ripe Taxi tomatoes on right   

Sweet peppers on the left, Dancer eggplant and first ripe Taxi tomatoes on right

 

So, a few weeks ago we began delivering to the Health Care Shares program, a program of the Vermont Farmers Food Center in partnership with Vermont Youth Conservation Corps. In this program, families who need access to healthy food are given prescriptions for CSA shares by their physicians. Along with several other farms, we deliver produce every week to go into a multiple farm CSA. Our crops for this program are cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, green beans, tomatoes, and lettuce. 

Speaking of lettuce, the deer had until recently been having quite a "field day" with our lettuce. In the past, we've used an organic-approved spray that has kept the deer from eating too many crops, but this year it didn't seem to work for us. We've lost thousands of dollars worth of head lettuce--the deer like to come and take a bite right out of the middle as they near maturity. Scott has now installed a three line electric deer fence, and we are watching closely to be sure that the deer are staying out!

Here's a link to one of Scott's favorite summer recipes: Grilled Eggplant Salad with Walnuts, a recipe from the republic of Georgia that we came across years ago and absolutely crave once eggplant season arrives!

Enjoy!

 a "twin" eggplant

a "twin" eggplant