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

CSA Week 6

Greetings everyone! So we've missed a few weeks of the CSA Newsletter. Unfortunately, one of our employees left and with that we have been very short handed on the farm. The CSA Newsletter slipped by the wayside, but no longer! Katie, our wonderful assistant farm manager, has taken on the task of writing it and giving you all an update on farm happenings. Check back here weekly (on Fridays or Saturdays) for the post about this week's produce.

Thanks, Lindsay, Scott, Ella & Murphy

 Ella samples the first ripe husk cherry

Ella samples the first ripe husk cherry

 

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Hi All,

Hope the week has treated you well! What a lovely few days of sunshine.

We have a few exciting additions to both the farm and CSA share this week. A family of WWOOF volunteers (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) joined us all the way from the Lone Star State to help with the busy harvesting schedule that is quickly approaching. If you have any suggestions as to what these kind folks should do and see while here, please stop in and pass along some suggestions. They will be in and out of the market booth this month.

Now for those exciting new vegetable options…

In addition to last week’s selection of greens, micros, scallions, squash, zucchini, cabbage, kohlrabi, and herb bunches, we will have a limited number of fresh garlic before the larger harvest, bunches of carrots, bunches of basil, cucumbers, and peppers (a few sweet and hot varieties).

 Lettuces, beet & chard greens, and herbs

Lettuces, beet & chard greens, and herbs

Recipe idea (and it only takes 30 minutes!):

Spiralzed Zucchini Casserole

1 cup ricotta cheese

½ cup finely shredded parmesan cheese

¼ cup chopped fresh basil

1 clove garlic (minced)

½ teaspoon ground pepper

3-4zucchini (6 cups spiralized or peeled)

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

1.    Position a rack in the top of the oven, and preheat boiler to high

2.    Combine ricotta, Parmesan, basil, garlic, and ¼ tsp pepper in medium bowl. Set aside

3.    Using spiral vegetable slicer or a vegetable peeler, cut zucchini lengthwise into long thin strands or strips. You’ll need 6 cups of “noodles.” Place them on a cutting board and shape into an even 20” square. Cut the square into eighths and transfer to a broiler-safe pan.

4.    Drizzle each of the now eight squares with oil, salt, and remaining pepper. Make a well in the center of each square and spoon in about 2 Tablespoons of the filling.

5.    Broil until browned in spots, 6-8 minutes.

All for now, and happy cooking!

-Katie

 Ella and Murphy survey the potatoes, growing nicely

Ella and Murphy survey the potatoes, growing nicely

CSA Week 2

Purple kohlrabi. Red radishes. GREENS. herbs.

This week we still have an abundance of leafy greens with some colorful bursts as well:

  • Head Lettuce (NEW!)
  • Lettuce mix
  • Kale bunches
  • Kale mix
  • Micro greens Mix
  • Micro Basil
  • Pea Shoots
  • Purple Kohlrabi (NEW!)
  • Radishes
  • Scallions
  • Cilantro
  • Dill (NEW!)

Today we enjoyed a couple big salads as part of our meals--first, delicious and crunchy butterhead lettuce for lunch. Then, lots of lettuce mix for dinner. 

Sometimes we have customers who come and tell us their bag of lettuce mix lasted over two weeks. It is great that our produce keeps that long, being nutrient dense and picked fresh. But, what I would like to tell these customers is how I eat a whole bag of lettuce mix in a sitting. Why did they wait two weeks to finish theirs? We have these conversations with our farmer friends as well, and all of us are eating bags and bags of greens each week. It is not out of the question for Scott and I to go through 2-3 bags of greens for one meal.

One of my favorite things to do is to make each of us a big salad with whatever veggies we have, like some chopped carrots and kohlrabi, apple, toasted sunflower seeds and walnuts, cheddar, avocado, pea shoots, and lots of micro greens. I find that when I eat salads like this, I start to crave them. 

Kohlrabi may be a new item for some of you. It is delicious raw and eaten plain or in salad, but can also be roasted or cooked in a soup or stir-fry.

Here's a recipe I haven't tried, but it's going on my list: 

KOHLRABI CARROT FRITTERS WITH AVOCADO CILANTRO CREAM SAUCE

  • 2 kohlrabi
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ cup sunflower or vegetable oil (enough for ¼-inch depth in a large skillet)
  • ½ avocado
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • ½ lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • handful of cilantro, chopped
  • Green onions (for garnish)

Cut the leaves off the kohlrabi and peel the bulb (may not be necessary for this recipe). Shred the vegetables in a food processor, or by hand using a grater. Squeeze the shredded vegetables in a tea cloth (or with your hands) to remove moisture, then add to a medium bowl with 1 egg, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and ¼ teaspoon cayenne. Mix to combine.

Place ½ cup oil in a large skillet (enough for ¼-inch depth). Heat the oil over medium high heat, then place small patties of the fritter mixture into the oil. Fry on one side until browned, then fry on the other side. Remove and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain excess oil.

In a small bowl, mix ½ avocado, ¼ cup plain yogurt, juice from ½ lemon, cilantro, and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt to make the avocado cilantro cream (or blend the ingredients together in a food processor).

Serve fritters with avocado cilantro cream and sliced scallions.

And a few photos from the farm...

 our lettuce mix is cut and double washed for quality and your convenience. zucchini and patty pan squash behind.

our lettuce mix is cut and double washed for quality and your convenience. zucchini and patty pan squash behind.

 baby patty pan squash, our favorite summer squash variety

baby patty pan squash, our favorite summer squash variety

 tractor and sky

tractor and sky

 

 

 

CSA Week 1

Greetings CSA members! We are excited for the CSA season to begin. Crops are growing well in the field, and despite a rainy start, the plants look beautiful and healthy. 

For the first week, you will be able to choose from:

  • Spinach

  • Kale bunches

  • Kale Mix

  • Lettuce Mix

  • Microgreens Mix

  • Micro Basil

  • Sunflower Shoots

  • Pea Shoots

  • Cilantro

  • Radishes

  • Carrots

  • Scallions

  • Any plant starts for your home garden- veggies, culinary herbs, medicinal herbs, and flowers

 

We wanted to highlight our sunflower shoots for this first week. Sunflower shoots are the first green growth of sunflower plants. We grow them in trays of soil, thickly sown, and cut, wash, and spin them so they are ready to eat. 

Sunflower greens offer one of the most balanced forms of a complete plant protein by providing all of the essential amino acids our bodies need. They are full of folate (folic acid), and B complex, vital nutrients for pregnant women and developing babies. High levels of antioxidants in sunflower greens can aid in heart health and slow aging. High levels of vitamins C, E, and selenium can even reduce high blood pressure and improve arterial health. They also contain vitamins A, D, and E as well as important minerals including zinc, calcium, copper, iron, phosphorous, magnesium and potassium.

We find them incredibly delicious eaten straight out of the bag, on top of salads, or in sandwiches or wraps. In salads, they are especially tasty paired with toasted sunflower seeds. (We often toast nuts and seeds in our toaster oven or a dry skillet before adding to our salads). Enjoy this recipe!

Quinoa Salad with Sunflower Shoots and Carrots

1 cup dry quinoa

1 3/4 cup water

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 cup carrots, chopped

1/3 cup cilantro, minced

1/4 cup sunflower seeds (toasted, if you like)

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1-2 T. tamari (soy sauce)

1 bag sunflower shoots

Rinse quinoa with warm water and drain through a fine strainer. Place quinoa, salt and water in a pot. Bring water to boil, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until all the water is absorbed. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes uncovered, then fluff with a fork.

Place cooled quinoa in a large bowl. Add carrots, sunflower seeds, sunflower shoots, and cilantro to quinoa. Mix thoroughly. Combine garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and tamari; pour over quinoa and toss well. Serve at room temperature or chilled.