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December 14, 2015

Another balmy week has passed which makes the winter share harvest wonderfully pleasant even if it is a little weird. Hard to believe Christmas and the New year are quickly approaching. However, please note there is a two week break over the holidays . The next winter share pick up will be January 8.

Still need a gift for a carnivorous friend or family member? How about our own locally raised 100% grassfed beef? Need a Christmas roast? We have those too!

Just in...we have plenty of grassfed beef from our very own herd.  All cuts are available. Our beef can be purchased during the winter share or by appointment.

This Week's Share

Having a farm means we don't really get to travel too much, especially across our boarders, and every once in a while my travel bug starts itching. So this week, we're taking a winter vegetable culinary trip around the world in the comfort of our own kitchen.

One of my very favorite meals is the traditional El Salvadorian papusa con curtido. These cheese stuffed corn tortillas are traditionally eaten with a pickled cabbage slaw. The tortillas can be stuffed with a mild cheese and whatever else you want-jalapenos, sausage, beans. I usually make papusas with a pot of beans to round out the meal.

Moving across the Pacific, check out the featured recipe of the week, Tofu Bahn Mi. Easy to make but with a diverse array of flavors. Its so good!

I spent a considerable amount of time in West Africa, and this peanut stew is reminiscent of many meals I've eaten there.

We'll end our trip in the middle east with these Lebanese pickled turnips. These delicious pickles make a wonderful addition to a hummus or falafal sandwich. Or just munch on them straight out of the jar.

Recipe of the Week: 

Tofu Bahn Mi

Ingredients: 
  • Ingredients
  • 1 14oz. pkg. extra firm tofu (see notes)
  • olive oil, for the pan
  • fresh baguette, sliced into sandwich sized portions
  • 3 tbs.mayo
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • a few sprigs of cilantro per sandwich
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sriracha
  • thin slices of cucumber

pickled veggies:

  • 1 small winter radish sliced into matchsticks
  • 2 small carrots, sliced into matchsticks
  • ½ jalapeño, thinly sliced
  • ¼ (or more) cup white wine vinegar
  • ¼ (or more) cup rice vinegar
  • a few pinches of sugar
  • a few pinches of salt

tofu marinade:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)
  • juice of ½ lime + a little zest
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon minced ginger
  • generous amounts of freshly cracked pepper
Directions: 

Make ahead: Place thinly sliced radish, carrot, and jalapeños in a medium jar with white wine vinegar, rice vinegar, sugar and salt. If the liquids don’t cover the veggies, add about 2 tablespoons of water and more vinegar if necessary (the amount you need will depend on the size of your jar). Let chill for at least an hour, or store in the fridge for at least a week.
Drain tofu, slice it into approx. ½ inch slices. Place on a towel and gently pat dry to remove excess water.
In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, tamari, lime, zest, garlic, ginger, and freshly cracked pepper.
Place tofu in a shallow pan and pour the marinade on top. Flip the tofu so that it coats (if it doesn’t coat fully in your pan, add a bit more tamari until all tofu is coated). Let the tofu marinate for at least 15 minutes.
Heat a nonstick skillet to medium-high heat. Add a little oil to the pan and place tofu pieces with enough space between each so that they’re not too crowded (you can cook them in batches). Let the tofu cook (without moving it around too much) for a few minutes per side until they’re deeply golden brown and caramelized (almost blackened) around the edges. Remove from heat. Taste a little piece and add more salt & pepper if necessary.
Make siracha mayo by combing mayo with siracha and sesame oil. Assemble sandwiches with siracha mayo, tofu slices, pickled veggies, cucumber slices, and cilantro.

Credit: 
loveandlemons.com

Its warm out there!

Velcro and Jackpot trying out the hay.
Velcro and Jackpot trying out the hay.

Dear Friends,

Two weeks deeper into December  and I think it might actually be warmer this week than it was for the first winter share. Weird. While the ground might not be frozen, we’re certainly in winter mode on the farm. Since the last winter share, we’ve been busy picking up deer fencing and row cover out of the fields, mowing the last bits of crop still in the field and putting equipment away for the winter. Getting the last loose ends of the season tied up well is very important in order for us to have a smooth and efficient spring. There is nothing worse than having hundreds of feet of row cover out in the field in December, only to have it snowed on and frozen to the ground. At that point, there’s nothing we can do but wait till spring and hope the deer don’t rip our precious covers to shreds searching for food in our fields.

As the vegetable production slows down, we finally have a bit of time and attention to spend elsewhere. Our cows ensure that we never really stop working in the winter and that we are never bored. We are right in the middle of our calving season. With two babies born two weeks ago and two more due any day now, we are keeping a watchful eye on our herd. All of our cows that are calving this year have had calves before so we don’t really need to do to much or be too concerned. Usually if a mama cow has calved easily once, they will calve quickly and easily again. Often times we don’t even realize it’s happening until we go out to feed or check them and notice a new furry little ball, drinking milk and struggling to stand up. It’s amazing how quickly they grow up. Velcro and Jackpot the calves born two weeks ago are already running around, tasting hay, and causing trouble.

This may seem like an odd time for our cows to calve. Mostly you think of babies being born in the spring. It is true that this is a bit of an unusual schedule to be on but it is what works best for us. We use artificial insemination(AI) to breed our cows instead of bringing a bull in. This way we don’t have to deal with finding a bull, nor do we have to manage said bull or make sure he stays in our fences. Any time a new animal comes into the herd, there is the potential for bringing in disease too. We’re also able to select really stellar parent material using AI instead of settling for whatever bull we can find locally. However, the down side to this is we need to monitor our cattle and call the AI technician when they go into heat.

Since our cows are out on pasture all spring and summer and we are busy growing vegetables at that time, it’s much harder for us to keep a close enough eye on them for breeding. Just like human babies, calves take 9 months to develop so if we wanted to have our cows calve in May we would have to breed them in July. Both May and July are extremely busy times for the vegetable side of things. Initially we attempted to stick to a spring calving schedule but we found that we weren’t getting cows bred on time and things weren’t really working. By switching to winter calving everything seems to work much better. The cows are already in the barn for the winter so it’s easy to handle them and keep an eye on the newborn babies.

As we finish wrapping up the remains of 2015 we are able to begin turning our attention towards 2016. This is an exciting time of year. The seed catalogs have just begun arriving in the mail box. We are in the middle of making our crop plan. The field maps are still blank and the possibilities seem endless. The brightly colored pictures of new peppers and lettuce have our imaginations spinning. And new life is coming our way as we approach the solstice.

We wish you all a wonderful holiday season and we'll see you in the new year!

Your farmers,
Max and Kerry

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