I hope everyone had a great holiday week! We are pumped to be back to delivering Shares this week.

I have been really appreciative of everyone in the past weeks who has sent me recipes and such.  Keep them coming. It it awesome to have a catalog to pull from when something pops back into the Share again.  Another great way to share what you are up to in the kitchen is on the farm’s Facebook page.

This week’s Produce Share is the epitome of the start of real summer food.  Tomatoes and basil are in the Produce Share and in the Cheese Share you will find some fresh mozzarella. If that did not make you feel like summer enough, I worked with Fifer Orchards this week to provide blueberries and peaches in the Share!

More than in past years you will continue to see us working with other local sustainable partner farms to fill out and diversify the Shares.  We are hoping this means that (within the confines of eating locally and seasonally) you will not tire too much of any one crop.  And it means we can offer you awesome items that we don’t grow on our farm, like the fruit this week.

We are also super pumped to be adding to the egg supply by working with a couple other farmers.  Anticipating that we would have a gap in supply coming up, we reached out to some other local farms.  Our grass-fed beef and lamb supplier (Valentine’s Country Meats) also raises pastured laying hens.  I also connected with Wholesome Living Acres in Pennsylvania. Between these sources we will have an ample supply of pasture-raised eggs. Now that we are working with a couple other farms we will even start to have a few extra again for those of you who prefer to buy eggs every once in a while from the store. We will still be collecting egg cartons for ourselves and for Valentine’s Country Meats if we get more back than we need.

Happy Cooking!

Kohlrabi and Carrot Slaw

Serves 4-6
1 large kohlrabi, peeled, stems trimmed off, grated
1/4 head purple cabbage, shredded
2 medium carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 red onion, grated
4 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1/4 cup golden raisins (optional)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Combine the kohlrabi, cabbage, carrots, onion, cilantro, and raisins (if using) in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, cider vinegar, sugar, and salt. Pour the dressing over the slaw, and mix until fully coated. Chill for several hours before serving.

Kale Quinoa Salad

1 bunch kale cut in bite size pieces

1 cup cooked quinoa

½ cup chopped almonds

1 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp tamari

1 garlic scape finely chopped

juice of 1 lemon

2 tsp agave or honey

ground black or red pepper

 

Combine ingredients from olive oil to pepper. Pour over kale and massage wet mixture into kale. Combine quinoa and almonds into kale mixture. Increase quinoa content for heavier meal.

Copied from The Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without by Mollie Katzen

Grinding flavorful green leaves into a delicious paste provides a great opportunity for packing a full serving of vegetables into a few exquisite bites.  This arugula version is truly revelatory! The peppery, slightly bitter flavor is enriched by the pecans and softened by the light, sweet (and hardly discernible) presence of golden raisins.

Notes:

  • The Pecans do not need to be toasted, but you can experiment with toasting them lightly to see if you prefer the slightly enhanced flavor.
  • The pesto will keep for up to a week in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator.  a thin layer of olive oil over the top surface will help preserve it.

4 packed cups arugula (about 8 ounces)

1 small clove garlic

1 cup chopped pecans (toasting optional)

1/4 tsp salt (or more)

1-2 tsp lemon juice (or to taste)

1-2 tbsp (packed measure) golden raisins (or more)

5-6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (possibly more)

  1. Place the arugula, garlic, pecans, and salt in a food processor fitted with the steel blade.  Pulse until pulverized, adding the lemon juice and raisins as you go.
  2. Run the food processor again, drizzling in the olive oil in a steady stream.  When it reaches the consistency that looks right to you, stop the machine.  Transfer the pesto to a small container with a tight fitting lid.  Taste to adjust the lemon juice and salt.
  3. Smooth the top of the pesto with the back of a spoon, add a thin layer of olive oil to cover the top.  Cover and chill.  Serve as desired.

Yields 1 1/3 cups

 

Arugula

 

We are proud to announce our Memorial Day Membership Drive. Here is how it works–

Our goal is to sign up 50 new Shares from NOW TILL the end of MAY.  This is 50 individual Shares which means that a Whole Farm Share counts for 5 Shares: 1 Produce, 1 Egg, 1 Chicken, 1 Meat and 1 Cheese Share.

If we reach our goal, Groundworks Farm will make a donation of 5% of the gross sales of all Shares added during the drive to Got Your 6. Got Your 6 is an organization that directly supports veterans through charitable partnerships and aims to bridge the gap between military service members and civilians.

We chose this organization because they are the primary giving partner of  Sword and Plough, founded and run by college friends of Kevin’s. Their mission is to empower veteran employment, reduce waste and strengthen shared civilian-military understanding.  They re-purpose surplus military materials into stylish goods, working with veteran owned, operated and staffed manufacturers and donating 10% of their profits to Got Your 6 and other veteran focused organizations.

Do you already have a Share and have been thinking about adding on an Egg or Meat Share? Already have a Meat Share and have been thinking those vegetables look pretty delicious? This is the time to do it! If we reach our goal, we will make our 5% donation for as many Shares as we can sign up in the duration of the drive. Our goal is 50 Shares!

So NOW is the time to tell your friends and neighbors about the farm! We hope to inspire you to spend time with family this weekend and perhaps make your own donation to an organization that supports our military service members.  Being a part of Community Supported Agriculture, like Groundworks Farm, is a way to build and strengthen community ties and eat healthy in the process.

We will be posting the progress of the drive on Facebook, so make sure you follow us there to see how we are doing!

Your Farmers,
Margaret and Kevin Brown

The shift has taken place in the air around us and I can feel the summer season creeping up. There are plants pretty much everywhere I look. There are plants in the heated greenhouse, small tomatoes and peppers popping up above the soil and starting to form into larger plants. There are heads of lettuce and bok choy, now in trays germinating, in a few weeks they will go in the fields and then before we know it the first week of June will be upon us and those lettuce and bok choy heads will make their way from the fields to your kitchens.

When the sun is shining the greenhouse fans are running, keeping the plants from getting to warm. Our germination room changes daily. It is a heated room but there is no light so we check the plants multiple times a day and if they have germinated we move them to the greenhouse. It is like a giant heated mat. The fields are drying out and begging to be tilled in. We have to be patient this time of year. We don’t want to plant to early and have everything ready the last week of May, before we begin our Summer CSA and after the Winter CSA ends.

The piglets that we have had in the woods all winter are finally starting to run around and grow. The ground is no longer frozen and they are rooting around like crazy. The chickens are starting to venture out further from their shelters to where the grass is green and lush. The farm is coming to life.

Thank you to everyone who has already signed up for our Summer CSA. We still have space, especially for more Produce Share members so if you have not yet signed up or think you know someone who may be interested please feel free to pass us along. Word of mouth is a big part of how people find out about us.

Have a wonderful spring weekend everyone!

This post was written by the amazing Elizabeth Evans, farm member and in full disclosure, my sister.  Part of our goal with this post was to document one person using up a CSA Share.  Success! Thank you to Elizabeth for taking the time to write this up! One observation I have to share from reading Elizabeth’s post is that we are all very different and our tastes reflect that.  While she found the hardest thing to use up was the greens, I usually find I use them right away at the start of the week.

Hello! Margaret asked me to spend some time documenting how I use my farm share. So here I am, fulfilling my food blogger fantasies. I hope this documentation provides some good ideas, but more than that I hope it sparks other, even better ideas that you will share with other farm members!

So, first thing’s first. Here’s the share for this 2 week period:

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In the veggie share this week there we have: Spinach, Kale, Upland Cress, Napa Cabbage, Black Radishes, Carrots, Butternut Squash, Turnips, Potatoes, and Sweet Potatoes.

For my 17 points of meat this month I have: Pork Steaks, Ground Beef, Soup Bones, Ground Lamb, Lamb Chops, Hot Italian Sausage and Breakfast Sausage.

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Stir Fry

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What I used from the share:

  • 1 pork steak
  • Pea greens (from the previous week’s share! Is that cheating for the purpose of this project? Oh well! I intended to use spinach, but wanted to use the older greens while they were still good…)
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 black radishes
  • 1 egg

What else I used:

I made a sauce with…

  • Soy sauce (about 1/3 cup, but I didn’t use all of it)
  • Minced garlic (about a teaspoon…more would have been ok)
  • Brown sugar, a couple of pinches
  • Red pepper flakes (a few good shakes)

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What I did:

  1. Peel the carrots and radishes and then slice thinly on a mandolin.   (I usually “clean” the root veggies by putting them in a bowl of cold water just to get the worst of the dirt off and then peel them…that seems faster to me than actually cleaning them.)
  2. Slice pork thinly, sprinkle with salt and pepper and throw for a very short amount of time into a hot pan that has a little bit of hot oil.
  3. Remove pork from the pan, add a small amount of oil if needed and put sliced carrots and radishes in the pan. Salt and pepper them. Let them cook for a while…they should be nice and brown/charred on the edges.
  4. Add the washed and dried greens to the pan and put the pork back in. Throw some of the sauce and some more red pepper flakes and cook for not very long at all, until greens are just wilted.
  5. Take all that stuff out of the pan and put it somewhere. Put some more oil in the pan and fry an egg, because it is not a lie that everything is better with a fried egg on top.
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Yum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ahhh, I just realized: Sriracha. Sriracha AND an egg. I totally dropped the ball. You should do it the right way.

 

Sheppard’s Pie

So on some Buzzfeed list of healthy things to eat I came across a vegetarian Sheppard’s Pie that used premade lentil soup, which led to my attempt at Sheppard’s Pie.

What I used from the share:

  1. 2 turnips
  2. 6 carrots
  3. 2 black radishes
  4. ½ bag of kale

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What else I used:

  1. Lentils
  2. An onion (small chop)
  3. Salt and pepper
  4. Minced garlic
  5. Mozzarella cheese

lentils

 

 

 

 

 

What I did:

  1. Peel and chop turnips and radishes. Boil until soft.
  2. Cook lentils. I cooked 1 dried cup which was way too much, but I did have enough lentils for about three meals…more on that later.
  3. Clean and slice the carrots and sauté with onion and some garlic.
  4. Clean kale. Once the carrots are as soft as you want them, add the lentils and mix everything together. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. If you are me, at this point you remove about a third of the lentil and carrot mixture because you realize this is way more than you need for the smallish corning ware you decided to use.
  6. Add the kale to the lentils and carrots and keep heat on until the kale cooks down a bit.
  7. Drain the turnips and radishes and using a food processor or electric hand mixer, mash them. Salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Put the lentil mixture into your baking dish and cover with the mashed turnip/radish stuff. Sprinkle mozzarella on top and broil to melt/brown.

Here’s how it turned out.   I got distracted for a minute and the cheese got very browned…but still delicious.

caserole

 

So learned a couple things from this…like, I have no idea how much lentils increase when you cook them. I also learned that boiled radishes don’t have much taste (this I was actually counting on) but DO have a strange-ish texture that I didn’t love. If I did this again—and I would, with some other refinements, like chopping the greens up—I would use just turnips, or turnips and potatoes, rather than getting all ambitious with the radishes.

Lentil and Kale Salad

 lenitls greens

Like I said, I had a lot of lentils left over. For lunch a couple days later, I cooked the remaining kale with red pepper flakes and garlic (olive oil in pan, and heat up with the pepper and garlic before adding anything else) and mixed that with the lentils. I dressed it with a generous amount of lemon juice and ate it cold—it was very good.

 

Baked Sweet Potato Chips

sweet potato chips

What I used: 1 large sweet potato, very little olive oil, salt and pepper, parmesan cheese

What I did: Slice sweet potatoes on a mandolin. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20ish minutes, turning over half way through. Make sure they don’t touch.

Remove and sprinkle with parmesan. Or chipotle? Or whatever else you like…

Roasted Carrots and Radishes, with Hot Italian Sausage

Oops, I forgot to take any pictures of this, but you know what roasted vegetables look like, you have a CSA share. I chopped up some radishes and carrots and roasted them at 400 degrees for about half an hour (longer for the radishes). While they were cooking I seared an Italian sausage in a pan on the stove and then covered it and let it cook at a medium low heat while the veggies roasted. Then I put an over easy egg on it. Obviously.

Orange Pork with Pan Roasted Carrots and Radishes; Mashed Potatoes

mashed potatoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I used from the share: A pork steak, a couple of carrots, a radish, all of the white potatoes from the share.

What else I used: Orange juice, olive oil, garlic, soy sauce, honey, salt and pepper; whole milk from the farm store

What I did:

Pork:

  1. Mixed the non-share ingredients (not the milk) together to make a marinade. Removed some of the marinade to use later, and put the pork in with the rest in a container to marinate.
  2. Broiled the pork on low for about 15 minutes per side.

Mashed Potatoes:

  1. Boiled the potatoes.
  2. Mash the potatoes with some whole milk from the farm store, salt and plenty of pepper.

Pan Roasted Vegetables:

  1. Chopped the vegetables and put in a non-stick pan with a small amount of olive oil.
  2. Roast them.
  3. When they are mostly done, add some of the reserved marinade that was used for the pork. So good.

plate

Leftover Breakfast

What I used from the farm: An egg (fried), leftover pork from previous meal, curry-kraut from the farm store

What else I used: ¼ of an avocado, whole wheat bread

sandwich

 

End of Week Reflection

I learned a lot from my (almost successful!) attempt to use the entire share this week—like, I do not have the patience to clean leafy greens (I never used the spinach, and the upland cress went south before I got to it), and that I will never use 3 lbs of white potatoes in a week unless I have a sick person at home who needs soft foods to eat. Also, that sprouts container was so small in my refrigerator that I both forgot to include it in the initial picture and to use it all week—the good news is that they have held up in the fridge all week, and I used some of them on a breakfast sandwich with a piece of lox and cream cheese this morning—super yummy.

Every week Margaret writes on the board to take what you’ll use up to the listed limits. I learned that I basically CAN use an entire share, mostly on my own, but that to do so requires great time and dedication.   The results, though, were very much worth the efforts.

 

This week’s Farm Note was written by Molly Rich.  We have been so lucky to have Molly as part of our team since she started. Here is a reflection from Molly on her first year of farming full time.

The close of the month of January marked my first year of farming full-time. I remember last February, at the end of a long day of harvesting spinach in the high tunnel, Margaret came in to check on my progress. Before leaving, she left me with words of comfort, “Things will pick up again soon.” I didn’t completely understand what that meant at the time. For one thing, I was perfectly content spending the day in its entirety harvesting spinach in the warm high tunnel. I can’t say that about everything, but spinach, yes. Secondly, I hadn’t experienced the Farm in its most lively state by that point. I had just missed the summer craze, joining the team that September, and I had only been working part time then.

As the work changed with the season and the farm team grew, I started to understand what Margaret had said. Still not to its fullest meaning. In the spring, once the high tunnels were depleted of their greens, the air warmed, and the ground softened enough to welcome the new plants, we were harvesting outside again. There were more hands in the field, more tracks in the dirt, and more green in the rows. The springtime held an invigorating balance of the release of a heavy winter and the anticipation of the heat of summer. Of course, that balance was abruptly thrown as summer crashed in full-force, as it does.

Looking back at those 7 short months ago, it’s already a blur. Summer craze is an understatement. I was lost in a whirlwind of tomatoes, and squash. I felt whiplash from the drastic changes in weather. My wardrobe of dry dusty dirt, when the heat was at its strongest, was replaced by a coating of mud after a dose of summer storms. The days were long, but were never long enough for the work to be done. But that is summer. It’s extreme, and dramatic, and pushes everything to its limits. And then, one day, it’s a little bit cooler in the evening when the sun isn’t there to warm the sky. The tomatoes and squash became less threatening, and a balance was achieved again. Different than that of spring, but no less crucial.

As the leaves transformed into new creatures of burgundy and orange, and the sun became friend instead of foe again, fall emerged.  Once again, the work changed. The fields were quieter, the vegetables were heavier, and the days lost patience for our work habits. The sun goes down whether we’re ready or not, naturally slowing us down. It’s appreciated on some level. Then, in the midst of bulk harvesting and winter preparation, the holidays appeared. By the forces of nature, winter arrived.

Now, here we are in February, harvesting spinach in the greenhouse again. Everything has come full circle, because that is how this works. Winter leads to spring, spring to summer, and summer to fall. Every time. This may sound arbitrary, but this piece of fundamental knowledge has never held so much meaning to me.

To understand this cycle is vital in farming, and to accept it is to accept everything that comes with it. Seasons change, people come and go, plants and animals grow and die. As farmers, we are facilitating this natural ebb and flow, and providing all we can to help it flourish at its peak, and maintain what’s left at its low. Now, with that experience, I find comfort in Margaret’s words once more knowing, “Things will pick up again soon.”

Your Farmer,
Molly

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For the past couple weeks my cousin Hannah has been at the farm helping out. She had come to stay and work for a couple weeks in the summer as well and I asked her to give you all a change in perspective from mine for this week’s farm news. A big Thank You to Hannah for all her help this month!

Hi! My name is Hannah and I’m living and working here at Groundworks Farm for three weeks this January. My college gives students the month of January to pick an independent project to work on throughout the month, and I decided to come back to Groundworks after being here for a few weeks this past summer.

Margaret and I are cousins, and I jumped at the prospect this past summer of working outside on her and Kevin’s farm. My motivation to come work at Groundworks in the summer stemmed from a curiosity as to what organic farming entailed. I had heard a lot about its benefits, such as how organic farming is more environmentally sustainable than big, pesticide-using farms, and that organic food is healthier to eat because it is not covered in chemicals. However I had no idea what went in to growing these organic vegetables.

During the summer, I loved working outside and getting acquainted with “farm life,” and I did not want to leave after just two weeks. When I had the opportunity to come back in January, I was excited because Groundworks gives me the chance to, so to speak, practice what I (and others) preach. Working here allows me to be in the midst of the local food and sustainable farming movements, both of which I think are extremely important movements but I do not always have the chance to participate in them. Although the work here in the summer is very different than in the winter, I had the opportunity both times to experience the hard work and dedication it takes to raise and grow organic food and manage a farm business.

Summer at Groundworks Farm is extremely physically demanding and eventful. There are onions, squash, and tons of other vegetables to be harvested, CSA shares to be sorted, fields to be weeded, rows of crops to be hoed, and eggs to be collected. There is an abundance of sun, sweat, and activity. When I came back to Groundworks this January for a few weeks, I was not quite sure what to expect because I had no idea what farmers did when it was cold outside. One thing is for sure: they definitely keep busy. Snow, wind, and other January weather do not prevent some varieties of crops from growing, while other vegetables are grown in warm, humid greenhouses. Work here in the winter still requires hours of harvesting and packaging vegetable shares, just as it did in the summer. However, instead of rows upon rows of onions and zucchini, there are fields of purple kale and broccoli greens. The chickens, of course, still lay eggs, so there are buckets of eggs to be collected from the coops and washed each week.

This January, apart from the outside vegetable and animal related labor, I got a snapshot of the office paperwork that comes along with managing a farm business. There were a few days during a lull between CSA pickups when it was too freezing and snowy to do anything outside, so we spent the days in the office. There were letters to be written, addressed, and stamped, orders to be made, receipts to be organized, and accounts to be looked over and arranged. I had no idea how much “behind-the-scenes” office work had to be done to keep the business side of the Farm running.

Even though my time here at Groundworks Farm this January differed from July in the lack of heat, the amount of work that had to be done stayed the same.

However tiring the work or cold the weather is outside, the work ethic here remains strong. Kevin and Margaret’s commitment to Groundworks is inspirational and my time working here in both summer and winter has shown me the intense but rewarding labor it takes to grow, raise, and deliver organic food.

Your Farmer this month,
Hannah

 

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Molly, Kevin and Hannah Harvest Greens for a January pick up

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Hannah and Teresa warm up by the fire at the Alexandria pick up

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harvesting and bagging greens for a January pick up

So it is rare that I find myself writing a newsletter this late at night the day before the pick up but some days that is just how things work out.  All the produce for the Wednesday deliveries is harvested and as I write this Kevin and Molly are getting the trucks ready to load.  And yes, we did all three stop for dinner in there somewhere as well.  Yesterday was such an exciting day for me.  As I walked around the farm trying to figure out what was going to be in the share this week I found myself discovering little gems here and there. Things I was sure had gone by the wayside in the few nights that it got down in the teens in the past few weeks.  But to my surprise there was much to be found.  It was warm outside and I felt really excited and hopeful.  As if a sign that the winter season had really arrived I received my first 2015 seed catalog in the mail yesterday.  And though I have not had a chance to look through it, I can’t wait to start dreaming about what the months ahead will hold in store.

 

And since it is the first pick up I just want to give a little rundown of what to expect.

 

In the produce share you will be getting lots of unwashed produce.  This is not anything new for those of you who have been with us for a while but for others it can take some getting used to.  We do this for a reason.  Carrots may look nicer with the dirt washed off but they will go by faster than one that is harvested and immediately placed in a cooler.  So that is how we harvest most of our produce.  It goes straight from the field to a cooler, then from a cooler straight to you!  This also means less waste in the winter.  Carrots that have gone through a root washer would dry out fast and go limp more quickly in your refrigerator.  Leftovers from the pick up would need to be trashed too.  Also greens that get wet and don’t get dried out will turn slimy much faster then those that are kept in their original state in the field.  One important tip when it comes to washing greens.  Submerge your greens in water a couple times before drying them in a salad spinner.  If you just rinse them and spin them you will not allow for the dirt to come off.  Submerge them in water and repeat a few times and you will start to see that the water will get less dirty which each rinse.  Greens keep well if wrapped in a damp paper towel and kept in the fridge.  Scallions will keep very will with their roots in a glass of water. Sweet Potatoes, unlike all the other roots, like to be dry and cool while being stored so while your carrots would do great in a plastic bag in the fridge, don’t suffocate your sweet potatoes like that.

 

The egg share consists of 2 dozen eggs per pick up. If you ordered a cheese share you will be getting a pound of cheese each month from different local cheese makers.

 

If you have a meat share you will receive 17 points (exact poundage with vary based on your choices but we find people seem to take an average of 10 lbs) to use to go through and pick out what you will use.  Keep in mind that we are a small farm and we deal with whole animals at a time so while we always aim to have a wide variety of cuts available, we do not always have every single cut.

 

The chicken share consists of two whole frozen chickens.   If you have not gotten our chicken before it is important to know that most grocery store chicken is injected with a saline solution to prevent the meat from drying out.  Our meat does not have this so make sure if you are roasting a chicken to keep moisture on the breast meat.  Also, I highly suggest using the carcass for soup.  It makes a great chicken soup and some people tell me they feel like they eat the chicken happily but mostly look forward to the soup.

 

The first pick up can be a little overwhelming so please try to give yourself enough time to pick out your shares.  If you can arrive at the pick up at least 15 minutes before the end of it that should help you to not feel too rushed in picking out your shares and it will help your farmers make it back to the farm to start over again the next day with more work!

 

We also have a small farm store at each pick up.  In the store we work to stock local products that we do not produce ourselves.  We have milk, butter, apple cider, apples, sauerkraut, granola, and more!  You can purchase items from the store by check or cash.

 

Please bring a few bags and boxes to put your share in.  If you get a meat share you probably want to bring a cooler.

 

We are so excited to be feeding you this season!

 

Your Farmers,

Margaret and Kevin Brown

 

winter csa week 1

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