Tuesday, November 19, 2013

This Week's Harvest (11/18/13)

Reminder: This week we are distributing vegetable shares, lamb orders and turkey orders. This is the final week of the CSA season.

The Vegetable Share:
  • Spinach
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Scarlet Turnips
  • Crimini Mushrooms (from River Valley Ranch)
  • Beets
  • Sweet Potatoes (from Harmony Valley Farm)
  • Parsnips

Jeff, Jen, Matt and I just returned from our annual fall planning weekend. This is a time when we discuss all of the ups and downs of the farming season. It's an opportunity to use what we've learned to help us plan for the next season. We like to do it in the fall, as opposed to the deep of winter, while everything is still fresh in our minds. This year's planning weekend was special because it marked the 1-year anniversary of the partnership between our 2 families (the Sheaffers and the Millers). Matt and I couldn't be happier to be working together with Jeff and Jen (pictured with their boys, above). Their hard work has made everything possible this year. Congratulations to Jen and Jeff on a job well done, and thank you to all of our members for sharing in the experience this year. Have a great winter!  --Peg

Registration for 2014 CSA Shares
Information for next year's CSA shares is available at our website. You can register online and pay for your 2014 shares in up to 5 installments throughout the course of the season. If you are planning to register for next year, we would encourage you to do so relatively soon. Spring vegetable shares are almost sold out, and more than half of the summer vegetable shares have already been reserved. Please contact us with any questions.

In the Farm Kitchen: Making the Most of your CSA Share
This week's share contains some beautiful scarlet turnips. (By the way, to help you figure what's what, we have bagged the beets his week and left the scarlet turnips unbagged.) I know some of you may not have made friends with turnips yet. If you are currently among the unconverted, start by pairing them with potatoes. When I first starting cooking with turnips, I found that bringing along an old friend (the familiar and comforting potato) was a great way to start building a good relationship with this slightly intimidating new vegetable. Try mashing them together or pairing them in a gratin or a hash. You should also know that scarlet turnips have a mild radish flavor and an inherant sweetness that can be played up in dishes that call for apples, apple juice or honey. Try grating a chunk of scarlet turnip into a salad (leave the skin on for maximum visual effect) and tossing with toasted walnuts, diced apple and a honey-dijon dressing. Enjoy!

Mushrooms & Turnips with Garlic Butter and Creamy Polenta
1 cup cornmeal
3 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup parmesan or other cheese
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 cups crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 medium unpeeled scarlet turnips, cut in half and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup white wine

To make the polenta, bring the broth to a simmer in a medium pot and add the cornmeal. Simmer on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cream and Parmesan. Season with salt to taste.
Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Sauté the mushrooms and turnips for 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme and white wine. Continue to cook, stirring, until the wine has reduced by at least two thirds. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, and swirl in the rest of the butter. Season with salt to taste. Serve mushrooms and turnips over polenta.
Skillet Turnips & Potatoes with Bacon
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
1 shallot, thinly sliced
4 large garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
1 1/2 pounds turnips, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 cup fresh spinach, very thinly sliced
Mix 1/4 cup water, vinegar, and sugar in small bowl. Combine oil and bacon in heavy large skillet; sauté over medium-high heat 3 to 4 minutes. Add shallot and garlic; sauté about 5 minutes. Add turnips and potatoes; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sea salt and toss 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until vegetables are almost tender, stirring and turning vegetables occasionally, about 15 minutes.
Push vegetables to 1 side of skillet. Pour vinegar mixture into cleared space. Toss vegetables with vinegar mixture. Spread vegetables in even layer in skillet; cook until golden and slightly crisp on bottom, about 4 minutes. Turn vegetables over; spread in even layer and cook until browned and slightly crisp on bottom, about 4 minutes. Continue to turn, spread, and cook vegetables until tender, golden, and crisp around edges, 7 to 8 minutes longer. Season with more sea salt and black pepper. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with spinach. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

This Week's CSA Harvest (11/11/13)

Reminder: This week we are distributing vegetables, eggs, dairy, meat and trout. Next week is the final week of the CSA season. In addition to vegetables, we will be distributing lamb and turkey orders next week.

The Vegetable Share:

  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Rutabaga
  • Spinach
  • Yellow Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Bok Choy
  • White Salad Turnips
  • Tomato Puree

The Dairy Share:

  • Garlic & Basil Butter from Nordic Creamery
  • Lowfat Vanilla Yogurt from Sugar River Dairy
  • Saxony, an Alpine-style cheese from Saxon Creamery

The Meat Share:

  • Bacon
  • Italian Sausage
  • Whole Chicken
  • Breakfast Sausage

Fun Farm Photo: Snow Day!

The intrepid SFF harvest crew takes everything, including a little snow, in stride! Picture, from left are Scott, Donna, Nadia, Adam, Tyler and Jeff.

2014 Registration Information

Information regarding 2014 CSA shares is available at our website. The deadline for early bird CSA pricing is this Friday, the 15th. Order by Friday and automatically receive a 5% discount on 3-Season Vegetable Shares and Fruit Shares. As always, you can pay for your shares in 5 installments throughout the season.

Ordering Thanksgiving Turkeys

Friday is also the deadline for ordering pasture-raised certified organic turkeys for Thanksgiving. Rich Lange raises these turkeys on his farm near Platteville. Turkeys will be available in two sizes: small (13-14 lbs ) and large (15-16 lbs). The price is $4.79/lb. Orders may be placed through our website. There is a $40 deposit for turkeys. Once you've placed your order online, please mail a check for your deposit to Sandhill Family Farms, 16228 Skinner Road, Brodhead, WI, 53520. Turkeys will be available for pickup next week (Nov 19-21) at the following sites:
Tuesday, Nov 19th
Glenview, 3:00-6:30
Lake Forest 4:00-7:00
Grayslake Farm, 4:00-7:00
Wednesday, Nov 20th
Barrington 4:00-7:00
Thursday, Nov 21st
Oak Park, 4:30-7:00
Grayslake Farm, 4:00-7:00

In the Farm Kitchen: Making the Most of your CSA Share

With their purple tops, rutabagas look a bit like turnips. The difference is that rutabagas are slightly more elongated than turnips and the flesh is a little more yellow. They're also sweeter than turnips and less peppery. They are thought to be a cross between a wild cabbage and a turnip. Rutabagas are creamy and starchy and work well for mashing, roasting and braising. To make roasted rutabaga, cut it up into 3/4″ dice, tossed it with olive oil, the herbs of your choice, a bit of salt and pepper, and a spoonful of sugar (to encourage browning). Then spread the cubes out on a baking sheet and cook at 350F until the cubes are tender. Store rutabagas in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Easy Autumn Pot Roast
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3-pound beef round roast or chuck roast
2 cups tomato puree
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 large rutabaga, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large leek, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium celeriac, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Heat the oil in a 6-quart saucepot over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until it's well browned on all sides. Pour off any fat. Add 1 ¾ cups tomato puree, garlic powder and black pepper to the saucepot and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 1 hour 45 minutes.

Add the rutabaga, carrots, leek and celeriac. Cover and cook for 45 minutes or until the beef is fork-tender. Remove the beef and vegetables to a platter. Stir the flour and remaining puree in a small bowl until the mixture is smooth. Stir the flour mixture into the juices in the saucepot. Increase the heat to medium-high. Cook and stir until the mixture boils and thickens. Serve with the beef and vegetables.

Farmhouse Chowder
1 whole chicken
8 to 10 cups water
1 large leek, chopped
2 carrots, 1 halved lengthwise, 1 cut into 1/2-inch dice
4 stems fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
10 whole black peppercorns
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 medium shallot, chopped
2 tablespoons flour
1 medium or 2 small rutabaga, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
Coarse salt
1/2 cup heavy cream

Place chicken in a large pot. Add enough water to just cover chicken. Add leek, carrot halves, parsley, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, partially covered. Reduce heat, and simmer gently for 1 hour. Remove chicken, and let cool. Strain broth through a fine sieve lined with cheesecloth into another pot, and bring to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes to reduce and intensify flavor. Shred chicken into bite-size pieces, discarding bones and skin.

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped shallot and diced carrot, and cook until shallot is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk in reserved chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Add rutabaga and potatoes and 2 1/2 teaspoons salt. Reduce heat, and simmer until root vegetables are tender, 6 to 8 minutes.

Stir in reserved chicken and the cream, and heat until warmed through, about 1 minute. Season with salt, and garnish with fresh parsley or dill.

Slow-Cooked White Beans with Tomato & Herbs
1 cup dried navy beans
6 cups water
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 small rutabaga, chopped
1 large leek, white and light green parts chopped
3 (3-inch) thyme sprigs
1 (3-inch) rosemary sprig
1 (3-inch) sage sprig
1 teaspoon kosher salt

For tomato sauce:
3 bacon slices, chopped (optional)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, chopped
1/4 cup minced garlic (from 1 to 2 heads)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 jar tomato purée
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Soak beans overnight in enough water to cover by 2 inches, then drain. Bring beans, water (6 cups), carrot, rutabaga, leek, and herb sprigs to a simmer in a 4-quart heavy pot, then simmer, partially covered, until beans are al dente, about 45 minutes. Add kosher salt, then continue to simmer until beans are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour more.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. (This step may be omitted for a vegetarian version.) Add oil and shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is softened, about 2 minutes. Add tomato purée and thyme and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened, about 30 minutes.

Discard herb sprigs and drain beans in a sieve set over a bowl, reserving cooking liquid, and return beans and vegetables to pot. Add tomato sauce and 1 1/2 cups bean-cooking liquid and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 45 minutes.

Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)... sweet potatoes, beets, spinach, garlic, parsley, shallots, parsnips, popcorn and more!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

This Week's CSA Harvest (11/04/13)

Reminder: This week we are distributing vegetable shares. Next week we will be distributing vegetables, eggs, dairy, meat and trout.

The Vegetable Share:
  • Carrots
  • Napa Cabbage
  • Squash (Acorn, Butternut or Buttercup)
  • Parsley
  • Shallots
  • Kale
  • Tokyo Bekana (use like lettuce in green salads)
  • Fennel
  • Garlic

Farm Journal
What a lovely fall it's been here on the farm. October is always a beautiful time of year, but this October seemed somehow more beautiful than most. The entire month appeared to pass in a series of picturesque vignettes, scenes that looked as though they'd been composed for one of those inspirational calendars they give out down at the feed mill. Local farmers have finished combining their corn, and cattle have been turned into the fields to glean what they can from the remaining corn stubble. A neighbor's big, wooly Dorset sheep make quick work of a pile of leftover Halloween pumpkins. Another farmer friend stops by on her way to the butcher to show off the ten fat geese honking noisily in the back of her pickup truck. After school our kids pick apples in the rapidly diminishing autumn light and then run to the fence to share a few with the an appreciative old mare. These ordinary, everyday scenes make all of the hard parts of farm life worth it. Here's hoping that November is just as wonderful!

Have a good week.  --Peg

Ordering Lamb and Thanksgiving Turkeys

In addition to vegetables, we also raise sheep here at our farm in Brodhead. Each fall we sell a limited quantity of lamb by the half. A half consists of approximately 20 to 22 pounds of meat and includes an assortment of loin chops, shoulder roasts, shanks, leg, gyro-spiced lamb brats and ground lamb (sorry, no substitutions). Our sheep are rotationally grazed on grass pastures. Their diet consists of pasture grass, hay, and a small amount of barley. The price for a half is $195.
We will also have pasture-raised certified organic turkeys just in time for Thanksgiving! Rich Lange raises these turkeys on his farm near Platteville. Turkeys will be available in two sizes: small (13-14 lbs ) and large (15-16 lbs). The price is $4.79/lb.

Orders may be placed through our website. There is a $100 deposit for half lamb orders and a $40 deposit for turkeys. Once you've placed your order online, please mail a check for your deposit to Sandhill Family Farms, 16228 Skinner Road, Brodhead, WI, 53520. Lamb and turkey orders will be available for pickup the week of November 18th at the following sites:

Tuesday, Nov 19th
Glenview, 3:00-6:30
Lake Forest 4:00-7:00
Grayslake Farm, 4:00-7:00

Wednesday, Nov 20th
Barrington 4:00-7:00
Thursday, Nov 21st
Oak Park, 4:30-7:00
Grayslake Farm, 4:00-7:00

This Week's Featured Recipes

Carmelized Fennel and Apple Tart
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pie crust (refrigerated or homemade)
3 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
2 ounces fresh goat cheese
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
chopped fennel fronds and chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Heat oil over medium heat in large saucepot. Add fennel, shallots and sugar; cook 20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Season with salt.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°. Press crust into tart pan; cut off excess dough hanging over edge. Use a fork to poke some holes in the bottom of the crust. Bake 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Reduce oven temperature to 350°.
In medium bowl, whisk eggs and cream. Spread fennel in bottom of crust. Arrange apple slices on top of fennel. Pour egg mixture over fennel and apples. Sprinkle with chèvre and walnuts. Bake tart for 30 minutes or until eggs are set. Let stand at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with fennel fronds and parsley.

Creamy Cannellini and Kale Soup
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Scant 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
12 ounces cannellini beans (2 cups), picked through and soaked overnight
6 cups water
1 dried bay leaf
1 bunch kale, stems and center ribs removed, leaves sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook shallots and carrots until shallots are just softened, about 5 minutes. Season with 2 1/2 teaspoons salt. Stir in minced garlic, thyme, and red-pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute.
Drain and rinse cannellini beans. Add to pot with water and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, until beans are tender, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly. Discard bay leaf.

Working in batches, puree soup in a blender until smooth, transferring it to a clean pot as you work. Bring soup to a simmer. Stir in kale and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Simmer until kale is tender, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.


Next week's harvest (our best guess)... lettuce, rutabaga, parsnips, carrots, leeks, potatoes, cabbage and more!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

This Week's CSA Harvest (10/29/13)

Reminder: This week we are distributing vegetables, eggs, and dairy.

The Vegetable Share

  • Radishes
  • German Butterball Potatoes
  • Celeriac
  • Head Lettuce
  • Kohlrabi
  • Spinach
  • Arugula
  • Tomato Puree
  • Shallots

A sneak peak into this week's vegetable box--On the top you see gorgeous head lettuce, spinach, radishes, and shallots.

The Dairy Share:

  • Fresh Goat Milk Chevre from LaClare Farms
  • "Peace of Pasture" Cheese from Pastureland Co-op
  • Strawberry Yogurt from Sugar River Dairy
  • Harvest Butter from Nordic Creamery

One of LaClare Farms' beautiful milk goats

Announcements and Reminders

  • The next dairy, meat and trout deliveries will be the week of November 12-14. Weekly distribution of the vegetables will continue through the week of November 19th. 
  • CSA Shares for 2014 are now available. Register by November 15th and receive early bird pricing on 3-Season Vegetable Shares and Fruit Shares. Registering online is easy and you can pay for your shares in up to 5 installments throughout the season.

Farm Journal

After a couple of weeks of steadily falling temperatures, this week has brought slightly warmer weather. This is not a bad thing since, here at the Brodhead farm, we still have a fair amount of potatoes and sweet potatoes yet to harvest. Kids across the state were out of school last Thursday and Friday, so our kids (and their cousins) found themselves roped into the potato harvest Friday afternoon. They were surprisingly efficient helpers and even admitted to having some fun along the way. It's a great thing to be able to work together as a family, especially when we get to sit down to a meal and enjoy the fruits of our labor! I hope you enjoy your German Butterball potatoes this week and all the other vegetables that our families and our employees have worked so hard to produce.

Have a good week! --Peg




In the Farm Kitchen: Tips and Recipes for Making the Most of your Share

Tomato Puree
Each fall a small food-processing company in East Troy, Wisconsin turns our less-than-perfect tomatoes into tomato puree. As it says on the jar, our tomato puree makes a great soup by itself or with the addition of a little cream. You can also use it as a base for heartier soups, chili and pasta sauce. I like to use it as a basting liquid when roasting meats, as a replacement for water or broth when I'm making risotto, or in the crockpot when I'm slow-cooking fall vegetables. The puree is shelf-stable, but should be refrigerated after opening.


Vegetarian Black Bean Chili
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large shallots, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 15- to 16-ounce cans black beans, drained, 1/2 cup liquid reserved
1 bunch spinach, chopped
1  jar Sandhill Family Farms tomato puree
chopped fresh cilantro, sour cream and grated cheese for garnish
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic; sauté until shallots soften, about 10 minutes. Mix in chili powder, oregano, cumin, and cayenne; stir 2 minutes. Mix in beans, 1/2 cup reserved bean liquid, spinach and tomato puree. Bring chili to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until flavors blend and chili thickens, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle chili into bowls. Pass chopped cilantro, sour cream, and grated cheese separately. 

Kohlrabi, like broccoli and cabbage, is a member of the Brassica family. The word kohlrabi is a German word that translates as cabbage-turnip, and that's pretty much how it tastes--sweet like cabbage and peppery like a turnip. It has a wonderful crisp and juicy texture that is comparable to jicama. Because of its crisp texture and mild flavor, we like to peel it and eat it raw, sliced on its own or combined with other fresh vegetables in salads.

Here's Jen with some of our purple kohlrabi. She's been working hard to prepare this week's vegetable boxes despite a fractured ankle. (The chickens laid a trap for her, but if you want to know the whole story you'll have to ask her!)

Kohlrabi-Radish Slaw with Citrus Dressing
2 medium kohlrabi, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 bunch radishes, cut into matchsticks 
1 small shallot, sliced thinly
orange zest from one orange 
lime zest from one lime 
1 cup arugula, sliced thinly

for the dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil 
1/4 cup fresh orange juice ( juice form one orange) 
1/8 cup lime juice plus 1 T ( juice from one large lime) 
1/4 cup honey 
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar 

Place kohlrabi and radish matchsticks in a large bowl with shallot, lime zest and orange zest. Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Toss with matchsticks. Just prior to serving, mix in the arugula so it stays crisp.

Celeriac has a wonderful mild celery flavor with a hit of nuttiness. The flavor of celeriac is preferred over regular stalk celery in many dishes because of its smooth flavor. It has no sharpness or bitterness like stalk celery sometimes has. It is prized in Europe, especially in France, where it features prominently in the classic Celeriac Remoulade, a dish composed of shredded celeriac, mayonniase and Dijon mustard. Use a sharp kitchen knife to trim the outside layer from the celeriac bulb before chopping it.

Mashed Potatoes and Celeriac
1 pound German butterball potatoes, sliced 1 1/2 inches thick      
1 pound celeriac, peeled and sliced 1 1/2 inches thick      
Coarse salt
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper
Place potatoes and celeriac in a medium saucepan, and fill with enough cold water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat; add salt generously. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until vegetables are tender when pierced with a knife, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain in a colander.
Mash potatoes and celeriac. Add sour cream and butter, and stir until combined. Stir in nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)...butternut squash, spinach, Napa cabbage, parsley, carrots, kale, fennel, broccoli and more!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

CSA News for the Week of October 21st

Reminder: This week we are distributing vegetables. Next week we'll be distributing vegetables, eggs and dairy.

This Week's Vegetable Share:
  • Lettuce Heads
  • Acorn Squash (grown by our neighbor, Brad Paulson, and harvested by us)
  • Red Cabbage
  • Beets
  • Dill
  • Leeks
  • White Salad Turnips 

Farm Journal
Late October is the time of year when we talk about "putting the farm to bed". This is how we refer to the many tasks that must be completed before winter sets in. These tasks include shutting down the irrigation system and draining all the pipes, removing plastic mulch from the eggplant and pepper fields, pulling up and stacking tomato stakes, turning crops under, spreading compost for next year's crops, sowing rye as a cover crop on late-harvested fields, planting garlic, winterizing tractors, covering lettuce and other greens with protective frost fabric, and harvesting potatoes, sweet potatoes and squash for storage. On Friday, in anticipation of a freeze, the Grayslake crew spent the afternoon covering sensitive crops with frost fabric, while, up in Brodhead, Matt and I spent the afternoon harvesting acorn squash. These days it seems we don't often have a chance to work together just the two of us. But on Friday it was kind of like the old days, the two of us working side by side to bring in the harvest. As we worked, we talked about how much we are looking forward to the quiet and the rest that winter will bring. But we also talked about how much we will miss working outside, feeling the sun on our faces and the dirt on our hands. It's a bittersweet time of year, and we're determined to savor every moment.

Have a great week!  --Peg

Some of the Grayslake crew members return from the fields after an afternoon spent covering crops with frost fabric. from left: Donna, Adam, Jeff, Nadia and Scott.

Meanwhile, in Brodhead, I take a break from harvesting squash to wander over to the cow pasture and have a quick chat with the mama cows and their calves. Matt catches me in the act and snaps a picture to use as more proof that I really do need to get out more!

In the Farm Kitchen: Tips for Making the Most of your Share

Like most of the other crops we harvest throughout October and November, the flavor of beets continues to improves with each frosty night. Beets are at their sweetest right now so it doesn't take much to enhance their flavor. In my opinion, beets are best enjoyed in simple dishes rather than fussy ones. One of the easiest ways to prepare beets is to drizzle them with olive oil and roast them, wrapped in foil, in a 400 degree oven until they're tender. Pair roasted beets with any of the following flavors and you're likely to have a winner: dill, mint, parsley, greens, goat cheese, blue cheese, lemon, cumin, wine vinegar, orange juice, lemon juice, horseradish, smoked fish, sour cream, hazelnuts, walnuts, and pinenuts. Another easy and delicious way to enjoy beets is to grate them raw (and unpeeled) into a salad. Use 2 cups of grated beets, 1 teaspoon of fresh dill, and 2 teaspoons finely chopped onion or shallot. Season with your favorite vinaigrette.

This Week's Featured Recipes

German Sweet-and-Sour Red Cabbage
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 leek, white and light green parts sliced thinly
1 apple, peeled, cored, chopped
4 cups thinly sliced red cabbage (about 3/4 pound)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add leek and apple and sauté until soft, about 7 minutes. Add cabbage, vinegar, sugar and celery seed and cook until cabbage is crisp-tender and liquid is reduced to glaze, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Beet and Turnip Greens with Bacon
1 bunch beet greens, coarsely chopped
1 bunch turnip greens, coarsely chopped
6-8 slices bacon, chopped
1 leek, white and light green parts sliced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
Cook bacon in a large skillet. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate; pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet. Add leek and cook until softened. In three batches, add beet and turnip greens and cook until tender. Season with salt and pepper and stir in bacon.
Borscht with Beets, Red Cabbage and Dill
1 1/2 pounds beets, unpeeled
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 leeks (white and light green parts only), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 head red cabbage shredded
1 bay leaf
One 16-ounce can whole, peeled tomatoes (with liquid), roughly chopped
9 cups beef or vegetable broth
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/3 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
In a large saucepan, cover the beets with cold water by l inch. Stir in 1/4 cup of the vinegar and 2 tablespoons salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, covered, until very tender, about 30 minutes. Drain, cool, and peel the beets. Dice the beets and set aside.

Heat the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the leeks, garlic, and caraway seeds and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the bay leaf, beets, tomatoes, and broth to the pot. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons vinegar and the remaining 2 teaspoons salt. Season with pepper to taste. To serve, divide among soup bowls, top with dollops of the sour cream and sprinkle with the dill.

Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)... potatoes, Swiss chard, celeriac, lettuce, arugula, radishes, shallots, and more!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The First Week of the Fall Share (10/14/13)

The Vegetable Share
  • Spinach
  • Adirondak Red Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Lettuce
  • Asian Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Garlic
  • Red Onion
  • Sage

The Meat Share
  • Whole Chicken from Lange Farms, Platteville, WI
  • Ground Beef from Riemer Family Farm, Brodhead, WI
  • German-Style Bratwurst from Byers Family Farm, Brodhead, WI
  • Beef Stew Meat from the Riemer Family or Porkchops from the Byers Family

The Dairy Share
  • Pastures, a farmhouse cheddar from Saxon Creamery in Cleveland, WI
  • Parmesan Cheese from Nordic Creamery, Westby, WI
  • Handmade Butter Flavored with Maple Syrup from Nordic Creamery
  • Plain Lowfat Yogurt from Sugar River Dairy, Albany, WI

    The Klessig and Heimerl families are fifth-generation dairy farmers and cheesemakers.

    Reminder Regarding Lake Forest and Barrington Pickup Sites
    The new Barrington site is St. Paul United Church of Christ at 401 E. Main Street. The new Lake Forest site is at 994 Meadow Lane. Pickup times remain the same.

    Farm Journal
    This fall marks the one-year anniversary of some pretty big events here at Sandhill Family Farms. It was one year ago that the Sheaffer family moved from the Grayslake farm to the Brodhead farm and the Miller family moved into the farmhouse in Grayslake. By its very nature, the process of moving out of one house and into another can create a fair amount of upheaval in the life of a family, but our kids seem to have taken it all in stride. The Miller boys are thrilled to finally have space for their very own goats and chickens, while the Sheaffer kids are equally pleased to have a barn large enough to accommodate a small flock of sheep. I guess the lesson that Matt, Jeff, Jen and I have learned is that if you are looking to ease the pain of a major life transition for your small children, forget about buying them a new puppy and think about getting a goat instead!

    Have a good week.

      In the Farm Kitchen: Tips for Making the Most of your CSA Share

      Of the thousands of different potato varieties grown throughout the world, we typically grow 6 to 8 different kinds each season. Potatoes come in many sizes and shapes and in many colors--red, pink, white, yellow, beige, brown, purple, and blue. Over the years we've tried a number of very pretty pink types, but Adirondack Red is by far the most visually stunning. It has a dark pink skin as well as a deep pink flesh that stays pink when cooked. In terms of starchiness, it falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, so it's a good choice for roasting, mashing and for making potato salad. Always store potatoes in a cool place out of the light.


      Fresh sage adds wonderful flavor to roasted meats and vegetables as well as bean dishes and stews. You can also use it to make a nice tea to sooth colds and coughs. Simply steep it in hot water and add a squeeze of lemon and honey to taste. Sage can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or dried in a paper bag in a warm, dry location.


      This Week's Featured Recipes

      Fettucine with Brown Butter, Carrots and Sage
      8 oz fettuccine pasta
      2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
      4 tablespoons butter
      10 fresh sage leaves, stemmed
      1/4 cup beef broth or vegetable broth
      5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
      Cook pasta and carrots together in large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender and carrots are al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-low heat. Add sage leaves and cook until edges curl and butter is dark amber (do not burn), stirring and turning leaves occasionally, about 6 minutes. Transfer sage to paper towels. Add broth to brown butter.            
      Add pasta, carrots, and 5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese to brown butter mixture in skillet; toss to coat, adding reserved cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls if dry. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among bowls. Garnish with fried sage leaves, passing cheese alongside.

      Pommes de Terre Boulangère
      adapted from a recipe in The New York Times, October 13, 2009

      2 pounds (about 7 medium) Adirondack Red potatoes
      6 to 8 cups beef or chicken broth, or as needed
      Salt and freshly ground black pepper
      1 large red onion, thinly sliced
      4 tablespoons butter
      6 fresh sage leaves
      1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

      Place whole potatoes in a saucepan and add broth to cover by about 1 inch. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper, or to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer until just tender but not falling apart, about 20 minutes. Remove potatoes from broth (reserve broth for another use) and allow to cool to room temperature.

      Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, saute onion in 2 tablespoons butter until translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add 6 sage leaves. Reduce heat to low, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and caramelized, about 10 more minutes. Add vinegar, cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat, and discard sage leaves.

      Slice cooled potatoes into rounds 1/3 inch thick. Place a large cast-iron skillet over high heat, and add remaining 2 tablespoons butter. When butter is hot, add potatoes and allow to sit without stirring or shaking until browned and crispy. Turn potatoes and brown and crisp other sides. When well-browned, add caramelized onions, salt and pepper to taste, and stir to mix.

      Broccoli and Garlic Quiche
      1 round of refrigerated pie dough for a 9-inch pieflorets from 1 head of broccoli (leave 2 inches of stem attached)
      2 large garlic cloves
      6 large eggs
      1 cup half-and-half
      1/2 cup milk
      1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
      1/4 teaspoon cayenne
      1/2 cup grated cheddar
      1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

      Prebake pie dough in pie plate according to package instructions, then remove from oven and reduce temperature to 350°F. While shell bakes, cook broccoli in a 3-quart pot of boiling salted water 4 minutes. Drain broccoli and rinse under cold water to stop cooking, then pat dry.             

      Mince and mash garlic to a paste with a generous pinch of salt. Whisk together garlic paste, eggs, half-and-half, milk, nutmeg, cayenne, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl until smooth. Pour filling into pie shell and add broccoli, then sprinkle with cheeses. Bake quiche until center is just set, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool at least 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

      Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)... acorn squash, salad mix, celeriac, radishes, arugula, beets, leeks and more!

      Tuesday, October 8, 2013

      CSA News for the Final Week of the Summer Share

      Reminder: This is the final week of the Fruit Season and the Summer Vegetable Season. Next week will be the first week for fall vegetables, eggs, dairy, meat and trout.

      The Vegetable Share:
      • Broccoli
      • Radishes
      • Head Lettuce
      • Leeks
      • Cilantro
      • Poblano Peppers
      • Butternut Squash (grown by our neighbor, Brad Paulsen)
      • Kale
      The Fruit Share:
      • Apple Cider
      • Jonagold Apples
      • Honey Crisp Apples
      • Asian Pears

      Registration for 2014
      CSA Shares for 2014 are now available. The 5% early bird discount will be available until November 15th for 3-Season Vegetable Shares and Fruit Shares. Reserve your 2014 shares by registering at our website. As always, you can pay for your shares in up to 5 installments throughout the course of the season.

      Peg's Farm Journal
      As the summer season draws to a close I want to take the opportunity to thank our members for your encouragement and support. It's been a great summer and we hope it shows in the quality of the foods you've received. Your membership is important not only to us, the Sheaffers and the Millers, but also to the Riemers, Klugs, Bekkums, Byers, Parises and Langes. Along with these families, we are  working hard to bring you the best produce, dairy and meat we can. We all know that purchasing food from family farms helps make sustainable family-scale farming a viable economic enterprise, but what we don't always think about is the way that it contributes to healthy rural communities. Where rural economies are strong, rural culture is strong and vibrant. Small towns become places where people, young and old, want to live. This past weekend we traveled north to visit the town of Reedsburg, where Wisconsin's 3rd annual Fermentation Fest was taking place. Fermentation Fest is a celebration of cultured foods and of rural culture. We enjoyed delicious food, great music, and amazing art, including some pretty cool temporary art installations right in the middle of farm fields. These pictures represent a small sampling of what we saw on Saturday. It was a truly inspiring example a what a vibrant rural community looks like. Thanks again for all you do to make small farms and small towns strong!

      Have a good week! --Peg

      Avery gives an impromptu pasture performance.
      Stained glass combine

      Our kids contemplate a heavy metal sculpture.

      The back of this truck says it all.

      At the end of the day we leave with a trunk full of  pickles, pies and preserves. Farmer Matt has a big grin on his face the whole way home!

      This Week's Featured Recipes

      Butternut Squash and Roasted Poblano Casserole
      2 poblano peppers, roasted and cut into thin strips
      1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and sliced 1/2-inch thick
      4-5 tablespoons olive oil
      1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
      salt and pepper
      1 leek, thinly sliced (white and light-green parts only)
      1-2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
      1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
      1/4 cup heavy cream
      1/3 cup sour cream
      4 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
      4 oz farmer cheese
      chopped cilantro for garnish
      toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish (optional)

      Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush the butternut squash with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and spread it on a large rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with half of the thyme and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 25 minutes, until the squash is tender. Increase the oven temperature to 425°.

      Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the sliced leek, garlic, oregano and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of thyme and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the leek is softened and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Add the poblano strips and cook until they are very tender, about 5 minutes. Add the heavy cream and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the sour cream and season the poblano mixture with salt and pepper.

      Spoon half of the poblano mixture into a medium baking dish and top with half of the butternut squash and half of the Monterey Jack and farmer cheeses. Repeat with the remaining poblano mixture, butternut squash and both cheeses. Bake in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes, until the gratin is golden and bubbling. Let the gratin rest for 10 minutes. Garnish with the cilantro and pumpkin seeds and serve.

      Chicken Chile with Kale and Poblanos
      1 leek, white and light green parts chopped
      1 large clove of garlic, minced
      1 bunch kale, stems and ribs removed, leaves chopped
      1 can black beans
      1 can kidney beans
      1 large can diced tomatoes
      1 poblano pepper, skin removed and chopped
      1 teaspoon cumin
      2 tablespoons chili powder
      3 cups shredded cooked chicken
      2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
      salt and pepper to taste
      In a medium skillet sauté leek and garlic until soft. Add kale and water and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes, adding more water if necessary.
      Meanwhile, pour beans, tomatoes, poblano pepper, cumin and chili powder into a crockpot set on high. When the kale mixure is ready, add it to the crockpot along with 2 cups of water. Cook on high for 3 hours and then add the shredded chicken breast and cilantro. Cook for another hour. Garnish with more fresh chopped cilantro

      Gnocchi with Butternut Squash and Kale
      2 tablespoons unsalted butter
      1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
      3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
      1 teaspoon dried sage
      1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
      Kosher salt
      1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
      1 bunch kale, stemmed and roughly chopped (about 8 cups)
      1 17.5-ounce package potato gnocchi
      3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
      Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the squash and cook, stirring, until slightly soft and golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, sage, red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon salt; cook until the garlic is soft, about 2 more minutes.
      Preheat the broiler. Add the chicken broth to the skillet. When it starts to simmer, stir in the kale and cook until it wilts slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the gnocchi, stirring to coat. Cover and cook until the gnocchi are just tender, about 5 minutes. Uncover and stir in 1/4 cup parmesan and the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup parmesan; transfer to the broiler and cook until golden and bubbly, about 3 minutes.

      Next Week's Share (our best guess)... spinach, red potatoes, sage, carrots, Napa cabbage, lettuce, onions and more!