Provider Farm

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February 1, 2016

It is hard to believe there are just two more winter shares left: this Friday (2/5) and 2/19! Time flies when you're having fun!

This Week's Share

Sometimes I am a real slacker when it comes to cooking with our more unusual roots. I tend to stick with the common: carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes. Despite my constant trolling of cooking websites and blogs, even I sometimes am uninspired and have a hard time coming up with things to do with our more unusual parsnips, rutabagas, and turnips. I have no doubt many of you can relate.  I'll chalk it up to our modern food age of refrigeration, prepared foods and cross continental food trucking. Most of us we're not raised with what were in the past, important foods for winter time living.

My old stand by is of course a classic root roast. This is a fantastic quick versatile dish. But one can only make so many root roasts. Try out this potato, celeriac and parsnip soup to change it up. We don't have celeriac in the share this year, so you could just omit it or use a little chopped celery to get that flavour. A new recipe for rutabags for me is this Brown Sugar Coconut Glazed Rutabaga salad.

End your root meal with the featured recipe of the week, a lovely, sort of fancy recipe I was just introduced to by shareholder Joan Ryan that even packs rooty goodness into dessert. Any other good recipes out there?

Recipe of the Week: 

Parsnip-Cardamon Custard

Ingredients: 
  • 1.2 lbs parsnips
  • sea salt
  • 1 1/2 c. buttermilk, milk or half and half
  • 1/2 c. maple sugar or loosely packed dark brwon sugar
  • 2 whole eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cardamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves or star anise
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
Directions: 

Heat oven to 325.
Peel parsnips and remove any tough cores, if necessary. Chop the parnsips and measure 3 cups. Put them in a saucepan and add water to cover and a few pinches of salt. Bring parsnips to boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the parsnips are soft enough to mash, 15-20 minutes.
Drain the parsnips and return to pot to dry in residual heat for a few minutes. Place parsnips in food processor, add buttermilk, sugar, whole eggs and egg yolk, 1/2 tsp. of the cardamom, cloves and vanilla. Blend until very smooth.
Divide the mixture among 6 1/2 c. ramekins. Place ramekins in a baking pan and pour near boiling water into pan until it reaches half way up the sides of the cups. Bake until set, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and remove ramekins from water bath. Custard can be served immediately or chilled before serving. Whip heavy cream and add remaining 1/4 tsp. cardamon and sweeten, if desired. Serve custard with a dollop of whipped cream.

Credit: 
Vegetabl Literacy by Deboerah Madison via shreholder Joan Ryan

On the horizon

The snow was sure pretty while it lasted.
The snow was sure pretty while it lasted.

Dear Friends,

These past few days it has sure felt like spring is here, unfortunately I am pretty sure it isn't. As we venture forth, into February it is hard to know exactly how much more winter we have heading our way but we can be sure we're not out of the woods yet. As always, we will take an respite from the cold we can get. The less frozen hoses, dead batteries and treacherous conditions, the absolute better. Of course, we're not alone in enjoying the unseasonable warmth. Instead of spending their days huddled up in the barn, the cows have been out basking in the sunshine, eyes half open, heads stretched low, chewing their cud, a look of utter contentedness. The spinach and kale are less demonstrative with their emotions than the cows  but every time we check the tunnels it's easy to tell that our winter greens are also benefiting from the warmth.

We have reached the penultimate winter share and spring is certainly on our minds. We are less than two months away from firing up the greenhouse and seeding the first plants of 2016. No matter what the season on the farm, we're thinking about what's to come next. In the spring we lay the foundation for a bountiful summer and in the summer we have to plant the bulk of the crops that will end up being our fall and winter crops. While we always have to have an eye on the horizon there is no season where we plan, strategize and plan more than the winter. At the beginning of the winter, around the holidays it feels like we have all the time in the world to plan out the following year. Now that we're in February, there is a growing sense of urgency on the farm. Seeds must be ordered, and plans must be finalized. The more we can do to get our ducks in a row now the easier the spring promises to go.

When we start up the greenhouse it's the hungriest time of year on the farm. We have virtually nothing left in storage and nothing is coming from the fields yet. While it could dump 2 feet of snow at any moment, we still have the benefit of a robust variety of storage crops. Our winter shares are rolling along just as strong as ever and we are delighted. The proposition of doing the Winter Share is always a bit nerve racking to us. Are these carrots and beets we're harvesting in October really going to be there the first week of February? Are we sure? Like really, really sure? There is a component to the CSA that is unique amongst the other ways that we market our produce. It involves a mutual commitment and promise. We haven't reached the end just yet but it is certainly in sight and it looks like those crops we wished and hoped would store till the end are going to make it just fine.

It's amazing how the seasons blend and flow into each other. It keeps us on our toes and sure keeps things interesting around here.

Your farmers,
Kerry, Max and Hannah

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