Hermit Creek Farm 65554 Spring Brook Rd High Bridge, WI 54846 Google Map 715-492-5969
Banner
banner

Notes from the Farm Kitchen

A Hermit Creek Farm User Group dedicated to helping our CSA customers make the most of their CSA share.

Greetings, welcome to Notes From the Farm Kitchen, a mostly weekly gathering of news, tidbits, recipes, and other good stuff from Hermit Creek Farm. The format is informal, we'll add as we go, just scroll and enjoy!

Welcome to 2017 CSA Season

 

2017 Week 4, First Summer Share

The first day of summer might technically fall in June, but for me the season doesn't really begin until the zucchini come in. And I mean in earnest. And by earnest, I don't mean a few little ones to be thinly sliced on a salad. No, earnest means a dizzying profusion of zucchini, cucumbers and tomatoes......Just not yet. We're almost there with the first zucchini in the whole diet shares this week. This is the bridge season, one step away from true, honest to goodness summer. This is the season where zucchini shake hands with spring turnips and greens.

Mae, Allissa and Alex harvest almost three days per week now. They count bags, boxes and rubber bands. They cut, bunch and wash. They share stories and songs as they wish through the work. Water splashes their sleeves. Mud smears their knees. Dirt graces their hands. They weed. They trellis tomatoes and cucumbers. They squish bugs. They seed, then transplant four weeks later. They come in hungrily for lunch. Their muscles gleam.

 

What's in the Box This Week

  • Leaf Lettuce Big bold heads are perfect for a big chef salad
  • Napa Cabbage Think spring rolls, Asian cole slaw or even as a filler in sandwiches. Recipe here
  • Green onion scallions Use the entire thing! From the tip to the bulb in soups, salads, tacos
  • Kohlrabi The goofy looking vegetable. May need to peel but not always. Slice in to chips to use as dippers for hummous or chop or grate into your salad. Don't forget the greens make an excellent cooking green. Recipe
  • Green Kale A recipe for you to try
  • Spinach
  • Red Radishes
  • Spring Turnips
  • Bok Choi The wide stems are juicy and crisp, mild and more like celery than cabbage. Dark green leaves have a mild cabbage flavor and cook very quickly. Nice braised or stir-fried. Or toss the tender leaves and crunchy stalks with a little sesame oil, rice vinegar and green onions for a quick salad.

2017 Week 2, Spring Share

Much of farming, by virtue of its nature, rests on a foundation of relative inexperience. In terms of the number of twist ties I've twisted and the number of onions I've cultivated, I can certainly count myself as an old pro. But even a lifetime of farming yields relatively few opportunities to decide when the soil has finally dried out or warmed up to plant the peas, or whether to harrow the soil one more time or leave the ground settled to conserve the spring moisture. Add to this the seasonal nature of our direct marketing efforts, so that every year - at least some days - feels like the first. 

As the years flow one into the other, we find it all too easy to let what we did last year become what we do tomorrow. One of the blessings of the farm comes from the opportunity to make a fresh start each year, to use our inexperience to ask ourselves, what will I do to make this year different? To work with the baggage of the past and the reality of the present and then to make it something better than it has been before? No doubt, it will involve a bit of flexibility and acceptance of the cards dealt us. 

What's in the Box This Week

  • Leaf Lettuce, always handle salad greens gently and drying is important. Give these greens a quick spin in a salad spinner or in a clean kitchen towel before storing in the crisper of your refrigerator 
  • Rhubarb, cooks quickly so use only a tiny bit of water or orange juice
  • Scallions
  • Mustard Greens, these greens have a hot mustardy punch. Rinse, chop, and simmer or sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Great as a side dish, delicious in soups, and good combined with neutral foods such as potatoes or pasta. Recipe here
  • Barese Chard, a European favorite 
  • Potatoes, from the root cellar 
  • Greentop Red Radishes, don't forget the tops make a nice cooking green. Try radish chips as croutons for a salad
  • Spinach
  • Herb: oregano

 

2017 Week 1, First Spring Share

I wake to the sound of wind and rain scolding at the window. I can see from my bed puddles, sodden fields and an angry sky. Thus, another wet spring day putting us yet further behind in our necessary field work. 

They say there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes. I'm not convinced. I have a sinking feeling that now, at 6am, this is the warmest and driest I will be all day. Sigh.

There is little joy in working in the sodden wet days of spring. Except that is, when I walk into a Hoop House. There it is like fast forwarding to summer. Warm, moist air that smells of newly turned earth and greenery. I breathe deeply, feel my hunched shoulders relax and muscles soften. 

Thankfully, we have lots of greens to fill CSA shares this week. These bountiful CSA boxes packed full of glorious green leaves can elicit a hint of anxiety in even the most seasoned member. Fortunately for cooks, for all their differences, their are two basic principles that apply to most leaf greens. First, nearly any young, tender leaf can be eaten raw so think salads. Second, nearly any mature, sturdy leaf can be cooked, even lettuce. Mature greens are generally dense, savory, and pleasantly bitter; they are at their best when cooked with garlic (right, yeh?) in quick sautéed shredded and stirred into soups, or braised to melting tenderness.

What's in the Box this Week

  • Leaf Lettuce
  • Spinach, two bunches one for now and perhaps one to freeze
  • Carrots, from our root cellar. Peel before using
  • Mustard greens A nice recipe to try
  • MicroGreens
  • Choi SumTry this recipe!
  • Potatoes, from our root cellar. Use soon before they sprout
  • Chives
  • Maple syrup 

 

2017 Week 27, Winter Share

Just when the cold and overcast weather were about to get me down the other day, a herd of chickadees swarmed the pine trees I was standing next to. They always approach in such a cheerful rush that to me, they are a herd, very much like my friendly sheep.

This is the stretch where you gotta hunker down. December's winter is a greeting card winter. We'd be disappointed if it wasn't cold and snowy. January, on the other hand, is a long slow stretch of just plain winter. This is not a season, this is a character test.

Still though, we can find moments to take hold of this thing and wrest it from the claws of resentment and settle it back among the things that are mine. Maybe the resentment of winter should be allowed to swell to contemptible proportions, just like other disproportionately terrible annoyances. Like a temper tantrum, it will shrink back to reasonableness when just ignored.

I've been distracting myself from winter learning how to work with our border collie, Tilia, herding our sheep. Most days, its the blind leading the blind, but we do progress. I forget winter when I find six freshly laid eggs in the chicken coop, so warm they are my handwarmers during the rest of chores. Herds of chickadees always help lighten the mood and of course cooking hearty meals straight from the root cellar can settle me down like nothing else. 

So if you find yourself at this corner post of the year, not too happy about winter, look for a back door to come inside, to fall in love with it again. If I could do that for you I would. 

What's in the Box This Week

  • Red cabbage, if I could help you fall in love with cabbage I would. So versatile, so nutritious. Seriously, find a way to include cabbage in your daily meals. Here is one reason to get you started
  • Orange carrots
  • Yellow and Red onions
  • Cranberries, The final fruit of the season its flavor is intense yet balanced. 
  • Red potatoes 
  • Kossak kohlrabi
  • Red beets
  • Butterkin or carnival winter squash, a recipe for you to try
  • Black Turtle dried beans, so easy to use. These are fresh dried beans so they cook up quick. A good reason to make more meals using beans.

 

2016 Week 24, Fall Share

Farmers often tinker with their lineup of equipment, trying to find a way to make life easier. A rule of thumb for equipment purchases requires a multi-use function. The transplanter can not only plant transplants in soil, it lays out handseeded rows, creates divets for seed potato placement, and plants through plastic. Our old quack digger is now a potato hiller. It takes a bit of adjustment, but works like a charm. And so too, is our pickup truck. I’ve been appreciating our pickup truck a lot these fall days. Its quite handy and versatile. Most obviously in load. Because of that big open space in back, you can carry almost anything. Nine weiner pigs. Thirty bags of plastic mulch. Three super-sacks of potting soil. All the apples in a small orchard. With the tailgate down, the entire framework of a sheep loafing barn. A full cord of firewood (provided it’s dry). Twenty-four crates of fresh dug potatoes. It’s possible to get a little drunk with power, just thinking what a pickup can do. It is also possible to look at the above list and realize why I sleep so good at night this time of year.

 

Finally, we got our first killing frost! In response, our fall crops build up their sugars to prepare for winter, which means fantastic flavor for us. Beets, carrots, spinach and brussels sprouts taste amazingly sweet and our appetites quicken.

        Brussels sprouts pooling the morning dew.

What's in the Box This Week

  • Leaf lettuce
  • spinach, a yummy salad for you
  • beets
  • carrots
  • brussels sprouts, a main dish using the sprouts and scallions
  • scallions
  • red & yellow onions
  • potatoes
  • Napa cabbage, substitute napa or any cabbage in this recipe
  • Winter squash, Acorn and Butterkin and another recipe if you still have a squash or two left from last week's share
  • Thyme

                      Week 24 share

2016 Week 21, Fall Share

It comes to be a ritual joke: as summer turns to fall and the rush of harvest intensifies, we tell our friends and customers that we pray for frost to deliver us from our burdens. Of course, it is only half true, since many crops come into their prime in the cool days of fall. Not only that but we always work hard to protect tender crops against those first few frosts. We usually get a nice warm spell after that first frost and can enjoy a few more meals of peppers and tomatoes if we've covered.

Speaking of frost covers, we have a pair that literally weigh 300lbs each. It is quite a feat to wrestle them over the peppers - always done at dusk. Neighbors driving home past our farm have hit their brakes, peering across the fields wondering "what the heck….?"

As nights turn cooler and days grow shorter a subtle shift in our foods and eating habits begin. We start thinking of roasting, soups and stews, and creamy gratins. In the fall, many crops thicken and sweeten with the cooler nights and our appetites increase. Nows the time to let your inner chef shine.

What's in the Box This Week

  • Red or Green Leaf Lettuce
  • Napa Cabbage, very tender and juicy. Great in slaws, stir-fries or in egg rolls
  • Kohlrabi, makes great gluten free dippers!
  • Scallions
  • Carrots
  • White Cauliflower, make a fancy side dish
  • Red & yellow onions
  • Potatoes, substitute quartered potatoes for the baby ones in this recipe
  • Bell & Frying Peppers, here's what you do for a quick dinner
  • Butterkin Winter Squash, A variety of butternut only with a denser, sweeter flesh. We try to grow all the major types to give you a nice sampling of them. Store at cool room temperature. Try this recipe
  • Romanesco Cauliflower, the crazy green spirally thing. Crunchy, nutty flavored cauliflower. Use raw in salads or try it in a curry.
  • Parsley

 

                   Romanesco cauliflower in all its spiral craziness!

 

2016 Week 19, Summer Share

If I had a healthier respect for symbols, I would hang a pair of those big fuzzy dice in the pickup truck to help stay focused on the obvious folly of what we're doing. Weather is such a wild card. Hardly a day passes in the market gardens without a risk of some kind being taken. Fortunately, by sticking to the mantra of diversity, diversity, diversity (better known as "don't put all your eggs in one basket") the winning average is better than the risks taken. 

This week we see steady rain, again. We wait and wait to cut the last crop of hay. The dried beans are definitely wet and the potatoes are getting spotty in the low areas where water settles. The cauliflower, carrots and cabbages flourish.

How little we really know and understand the power and force of Nature. I find I am continually learning new things about this land and the plants that grow on it. Maybe its the learning and not the gamble that keeps us at this occupation.

     Steven showing off his big "catch". Onions seem to like this weather.

What's in the Box This Week

  • Leaf lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Bok Choi
  • Green Snap Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Fennel
  • Kohlrabi
  • Yellow all-purpose onions
  • Gold potatoes
  • A mix of bell and specialty peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Winter squash, Carnival

Take good care of yourselves. Until next week--

2016 Week 18, Summer Share

Time is no more invisible than a deer drinking at the river; it sends ripples across the water, carves footprints in the mud, leaves rings at the heart of a tree. And though time has been a blur for me this summer, nature offers sundials and calendars at every turn. In a variety of subtle ways a change of seasons has been announced.

The scent of a new season is in the air. That means, summer vegetables, coveted as they may be, must step aside for the crops that thrive in September and October-the months when the farm seems to explode in a final frenzy of lushness and plenitude.

There's a hint of color on the farm this week! Mae and Tyler picking beans from the last planting for this weeks CSA share.

What's in the Box This Week

  • Leaf Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Green Snap Beans
  • Carrots
  • Red Potatoes
  • Muskmelons
  • Acorn winter squash
  • Bok Hoi
  • Saute Bouquets
  • Tomatoes
  • Bell Peppers
  • Sweet Onion

We hope your kitchens will be imbued with the smells of home cooked meals fresh from your CSA garden. Now that is a scent of the season!

2016 Week 15, Summer Share

Abundance! Color! This is when the glamour crops, as we like to call them, waltz off our fields and into the boxes. The height of summer on our farm is dominated by these luscious, juicy fruiting crops. 

         This week's share. It will be easy to eat your colors!

Most of the weeding, seeding, transplanting and mulching work is done. That is a good thing since now we start planning the major harvests of fall crops. We pick, lift, carry, and sort thousands of vegetables until our heads swim.

              Onion harvest has begun this week

What's in the Box This Week

  • Carrots
  • Green or Yellow Snap beans
  • New Red Potatoes
  • Red Cabbage,
  • Red Beets
  • Summer Squash
  • Sweet onion
  • Tomatoes
  • Bell peppers
  • Sweet corn
  • Jalapeño 
  • Cilantro
  • Muskmelons, either a Sun Jewel, (a korean specialty. Flesh is white, crisp and moderately sweet) or Ananas, (aromatic, pear-like sweet flavor)

                         These are the Sun Jewels

 

2016 Week 14, Summer Share

These, my friends, are the days of salsa and spaghetti, the days of pesto and juicy-fresh foods. The peak of the season is upon us ad the eating is so fine. So dig in and don't miss a single veggie treat.

                        The many colors of summer

And speaking of your veggies, I recently heard on the People's Pharmacy, Dr Barry Sears speak about the importance of eating your veggies. He recommends for a healthy diet, eating 2 lbs of vegetables a day! Living on a vegetable farm, we don't find that hard to do but can you reach this goal? Here is the link to the episode and article.

What's in the Box This Week

  • Leaf Lettuce, Summer lettuce has many challenges and these show it. Not our best but we wanted you to have all the makings for a BLT!
  • Red Cabbage
  • Broccoli, make sure you soak your heads in salted or vinegar water to release any bugs that have hitched a ride

  • Green Snap Beans, we love to eat big handfuls of raw beans at every turn and throw the beans into just about anything we are making (not pancakes!). Just make certain to remove the stem first.
  • New Red Potatoes, these are truly "new" potatoes, which means their skins are very fragile. Please keep in the refrigerator and use soon since new potatoes "green up" and soften very quickly. Boiled and buttered new potatoes are a daily portion on our dinner plates this time of year.
  • Eggplant or cherry tomatoes
  • Ailsa Craig Sweet Onion, so mild and sweet
  • Zucchini
  • Fennel, with a sweet, delicate anise flavor all its own, fennel can be used much like celery in soups, stir-fries, and many other dishes. A small bowl of raw fennel set out with bowls of olives makes a fine appetizer. Roasting brings out the most flavor. For a grown-up take on macaroni-and-chees, slice a fennel bulb and sauté with garlic in the butter you use to make the cheese sauce.
  • Carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes
  • Basil, a big bunch to make a batch of pesto

2016 Week 12, Summer Share

I've been as busy as a short-tailed cow in a yard full of flies. The work seems to go on forever and the plants keep on producing in spite of the chaotic weather. It's the time of abundance in the market farm and its downright hard to keep up with the farm work.

In balance, there is so much to appreciate. All the winter and spring plans are realized with many crops looking spectacular. We have a solid and fun loving work-crew that keep us entertained all the while pumping out production. The resident wolf pack has pups, practicing each evening howling out wolf songs. And dinners are so easy to prepare: so many fresh and favorite foods to choose from all of which can be eaten with little preparation. A busy persons dream! Hope you are having a great week.

A field of well tended winter squash. It makes my heart Sing!

What's in the Box This Week

  • Leaf Lettuce
  • Green Cabbage
  • Cauliflower, handle gently to avoid bruising. Soak in water mixed with a little lemon juice or vinegar to release any bugs.
  • Sweet Corn, if you are not planning to eat these right away, corn should be refrigerated in its husks, in a plastic bag. Use as soon as possible
  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes, the secret to eating tomatoes all summer long lies in making space for them someplace cool near the kitchen counter, checking them daily, eating the ones that need eating, and continuously making plans for the ones that are getting there. Even tomatoes that are picked ripe need a little time out at room temperature to reach their peak flavor.

Summer dinners are easy to decide on and prepare!

  • Green Snap Beans
  • Summer Squash
  • Broccoli, also soak in a bit of vinegared water to release any bugs
  • Scallions
  • Carrots
  • Mint, Mint goes into salads and vegetable dishes more often than you might guess, and, of course, it makes a wonderful tea and fine mint julep.

Braised Carrots with Mint and Cider Vinegar

1 lb carrots, scrubbed

1 T olive oil

6 mint leaves, plus extra for garnish

¼ teaspoon celery seeds

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Slice the carrots into ovals or into rounds about third-inch thick. Warm the oil in a medium skillet with the mint and celery seeds to bring out their fragrance, then add the carrots, ½ teaspoon salt, the vinegar, and water to barely cover. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the carrots are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the lid and reduce any remaining liquid so the carrots are nicely glazed. Taste for salt, season with pepper, and garnish with a bit of chopped mint.

2016 Week 11, Summer Share

Mid-summer, for me, is a time of focus. A time where details and the minutia are evident for I am on my knees again. After we finish the major planting, then the major cultivations, we fall to our knees, pulling weeds, laying mulch, and picking beans or tomatoes. 

The world is a different place, on my knees. It is smaller and slower. My vista is all of twelve inches as I look hard to distinguish an orangish tomato from a red-ripe tomato crawling down narrow rows. Tomatoes ripen from the bottom of the vine so there's no getting around the hands-n-knees excursion. 

On my knees I meet the tiny green grasshopper who will be brown and angular by fall. The small sweat bee tickles the hair on my wrist. I see baby toads spread out thru the foliage, getting all the moisture they need from a dew drop.

As I inch my way down the row, I can feel how the earth changes every ten feet or so. It is soft and loamy here and my knees are grateful. But gravel is over there and my knees get a bit bruised. Occasionally I find a "pocket stone" that I had to my collection. And once in a great while, I find a shard of pottery or, like just last week, a very rusted hammer from the settlers who lived here years before us.

It is a different world down here on hands and knees. If I went any faster. I would miss the toad and overlook the ripe tomato. I want to be reassured that the world I care for is alive and well. I want to keep in touch with the ground I walk, er, crawl on.

 

Mae, Tyler and Quinton picking beans in the early morning light

What's in the Box This Week

  • Leaf Lettuce
  • Chard
  • Red or Gold Beets
  • Green Cabbage

  • Kohlrabi
  • Green & Yellow Snap Beans
  • Broccoli or Eggplant
  • Tomatoes, never refrigerate your tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Zucchini
  • Summer Squash mix
  • Dill and Basil, place herb bunch stems in a glass of cool water (like a bouquet) and keep in a cool, not cold spot. Basil should be used soon and not refrigerated.

Besides weeding, we are making hay, too!

2016 Week 10, Summer Share

I don't mind Colorado Potato beetles having sex on the potatoes, I just wish they wouldn't eat at the same time. There are few things guaranteed to stop a gardener's heart faster than finding a new emergence of potato beetles devouring potato leaves while laying eggs at a steady pace. At midsummer, we have a large population of beetles-from first instar larvae to old adults and everything in between. I spent a good part of a Sunday squishing, squashing and spraying organically approved potions to combat these pretty monsters.

What's in the Box This Week

  • Lettuce
  • Red Beets
  • Napa Cabbage
  • Broccoli or Green Snap Beans
  • Scallions
  • Kale
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomato or Eggplant
  • Summer Squash
  • Kohlrabi
  • Dill and Flat-leaf Parsley

2016 Week 9, Summer Share

Farming life is indeed rife with obstacles and frustrations and last week was a doosey! As you may know by now the farm was hit with a flood, about 9" of rain in a short 6 hours! Fields were washed and pounded. Many roads obliterated. We were stranded for several days but now have a patch job through to passible roads. The challenge is we have about an 8 mile detour to some of our fields creating a serious headache of logistics. Ah well, we continue on. 

          One of the many spots washed out on Springbrook Road.

What's in the Box this Week

  • Leaf Lettuce
  • Napa Cabbage, is juicy, tender, and much more mild than regular head cabbage-so much so that you may even be able to convince a hesitant cabbage-eater to enjoy. Keep the cabbage stored in a sealed plastic bag. Wonderful raw in salads or dippers or lightly stir-fry.
  • Scallions
  • Broccoli, Broccoli does need to be washed carefully-it is sometimes home to well-camouflaged green cabbage worms. Fill a basin or bowl with cool water with a ¼ cup of vinegar added to it and immerse the whole head. Swish around then separate the stalks into florets, either with a knife or by breaking them apart. Drain and rinse under cool water, checking the heads where the little critters will be living. Pat dry and store in a loose-fitting plastic bag. Broccoli stalks are delicious and should not be thrown out.
  • Summer Squash
  • Cucumber
  • Kohlrabi

  • Sugar Snap Peas, snap the stem end and pull down along the pod, removing the strings on both sides of the pod. Snap peas are delicious and sweet eaten raw. Add them to salads or serve as part of a vegetable platter.
  • Kale
  • Blueberries, certified organic from our friends at Bashaw Valley Farm
  • Flat-leaf Parsley

My favorite time of the day during summer is just before dark when the dew and temperatures fall, cooling me down after a hot day working. I find it hard to go inside so I walk the fields. Here's what I saw last evening:

 

2016 Week 7, Summer Share

On an afternoon mowing session, when the sun blazes and I seem to hit that "zone", I was stunned to come across not 3 but 4 nests in amongst the heaviest weeds.

Around and around they cruised, chirping furiously and very agitated. It wasn't until I saw a smaller version scurry across my path did anything really dawn on me. Then it was on hands and knees before each mower sweep to locate other nests and homes.

These song sparrows, with hungry mouths to feed, were vacuuming pestiferous bugs from this corner of the market garden. It's a matter of awe to watch this display of nature once again negotiating an ecological detente without the help of humans.

What's in the Box this week

  • Lettuce, crunchy and juicy with flavor to boot! Don't over dress it so you really can taste it. If your head is still wet from our rinse, stick a dry paper towel in the bag with the lettuce to absorb any excess moisture.
  • Chard
  • Cabbage, we plant these close together to control the size. That way you get a head of cabbage you can use up all in one meal.
  • Beets
  • Cucumbers, surge into production on the farm this week. Very small to no seeds and very tender skin so no need to peel. Just slice and use with o preparation at all. Its hard to beat these cucumbers for summer time simplicity and flavor
  • Zucchini

  • Scallions, Try them on the grill! Just trim the tops then brush with oil, salt and pepper. So delicious
  • Fennel
  • Spring or Salad Turnips, If you're used to thinking of turnips as "cooking vegetables", you are in for a delightful discovery. Our tender spring turnips have a mild flavor and a delectable, juicy crispness that can be enjoyed raw much like a radish. Here is a simple recipe for you to try.
  • Bok Choi
  • Carrots
  • Cilantro, is used in many ethnic cuisines including Asian, Indian, and Mexican. It has flat, delicate, lacy-edge leaves and a bold, almost citrus aroma. Since it doesn't stand up to much heat, it is usually added to a dish right before serving. Cilantro's delicate leaves can be sensitive to moisture, so be sure to keep the bunch upright with the stems in a jar partially filled with water. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to a week.

Here is a simple and delicious recipe from CSA member Mary. Thanks Mary, this is great!

Yummy Bok Choi Salad

½ c. olive oil

¼ c. white vinegar

� c. white sugar

3 T. soy sauce

1 big bunch of Bok Choi, cleaned and thinly sliced

1 bunch scallions, chopped

� c. slivered almonds, toasted

½ c. show mein noodles

Mix olive oil, vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce. Whisk until well mixed. Combine Bok Choi, scallions, almonds and chow main noodles in a salad bowl. Toss with dressing and serve

2016 Week 6, Summer Share

Steven and I have started calling this farm the "Walk-about Farm". That's because if the tractor is in the north field, the wrench is in the south toolshed. And if you start trellising the tomatoes in the lower hoop house, the extra twine is up the hill in the packing shed. And, most aggravating of all, if you sit down to dinner, then the pump runs out of gas, which means a walk to the sugar house and then down to the pond. I wish I had a pedometer some days….

"Sir David Thompson" in all its glory outside our front door

What's in the Box this week

  • Leaf lettuce
  • Beets with their tops
  • Scallions
  • Green Cabbage
  • Bok Choi
  • Zucchini a staple vegetable in the summer kitchen. Brief cooking preserves its texture, but longer cooking brings out more of its good squash flavor. Try it grilled for a quintessential summer dinner side.
  • Red Radishes, with their tops
  • Carrots, with their tops

  • Kohlrabi
  • Fennel
  • Strawberries or Cucumbers
  • Herb: summer savory

Grated vegetables - carrots, beets, radish, kohlrabi - make refreshing salads that have all the virtues we want these days. They're bright, quick and easy to make, they keep well, and require little dressing. An assortment of colorful vegetables mounded on a plate and garnished with a few shiny olives makes and ideal first course. Add a bit of chefs, hard-boiled eggs, or meat and you have a warm weather dinner. 

2016 Week 4, Summer Share (First of the Season!)

Hermit Creek Farm throbs with activity. A great surge of manual labor occurs almost daily in the fields. Hoes are sharpened, weeds are slayed, seedlings planted, tomatoes trellised, tractors whir and roar. Flowers color the farmstead and in the orchard, apples hold the promise of a bountiful harvest. Pigs and lambs frolic in the field while bees zoom, zoom, zoom.

Monday morning in hoophouse "I"

What's in the Box this week

  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Green curly Kale
  • Napa Cabbage
  • Tokyo Bekana mustard greens Mustard greens are amazing powerhouses of nutrients. But they can be a challenge to those who haven't discovered them. We think you have to find the perfect recipe that can turn you around from hater to lover of all things green. We'll keep offering you suggestions over the next few weeks such as this: Here is a fun blog and recipe for you to try.

  • Barese chard
  • Scallions, always receive a reaction when we bring them into the packing house: " mmm-mm-mm! I'm hungry". 
  • red Beets with their tops
  • thyme
  • cilantro

One Simple Recipe

Spring Onions and Honey Balsamic

1 Bunch of scallions

2 Tablespoons olive oil

¼ teaspoon minced thyme

coarse sea salt 

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar, more for serving

1-2 teaspoons honey

Trim the scallions, including the hairy bottoms, but leave the root ends intact; remove the outer layer. Cut the onions in half or quarters. In a large sauté pan, heat 2 Tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add the onions and thyme and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until almost tender, about 3 minutes. Uncover the pan, carefully turn the onions, and continue to cook until they caramelize, about 3 minutes more. Add 2 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and the honey to the pan, let cook for 20 seconds, then immediately transfer the onions to a bowl. Drizzle with additional vinegar if desired and sprinkle with salt. These are wonderful on fish and divine with almost any other protein including layered with fresh mozzarella and feisty greens on a ciabatta sandwich.

Cheerily Yours, Landis and Steven

2016 Week 3, Spring Share

Some of you, perhaps, did not fully grasp what you were getting into when you signed up to receive a box of vegetables each week. You did not realize that you were signing on to have your week's meal plan monopolized by fresh vegetables demanding to be cooked and eaten before they pass their prime and the next round of produce arrives. That you wouldn't have as much room for dessert after a big dish of, say, Pasta Primavera made with your abundance of fresh, organic veggies. That a grocery store tomato would never satisfy you once you've grown accustom to our freshly picked, vine-ripened gems.

But did you stop to think about the further implications of belonging to a CSA? In supporting Hermit Creek Farm you are not just buying a commodity. You are supporting a dwindling way of life, the education of future farmers who learn here, a sense even, of a mission which regards farmland as worth something more than its real estate value.

Sure, the money you pay goes towards the production costs of organic vegetable raising. But your money also enables relationships. It backs our relationship to this land that our family grows on. It continues our relationship within the farming community allowing a viable example of certified organic farming for disbelievers that organic farming can be successful. it enables our relationships with those that work for us and those who buy from us. It gives access to local food to all of us that choose it. 

So, when you open up your box each week, look inside for fresh healthy produce and discover that feeling of community. It really is working thanks to you!

Hon Tsai Tai in the hoophouse

What's in the Box This Week

  • Loveland Crisp Lettuce
  • Green Curly Kale
  • Scallions, a milder almost sweet onion. Try them grilled ( bit of sesame oil, salt & pepper) for something different
  • Red radishes with their green tops The tops can be used in any recipe calling for a sturdy green. See recipe below
  • Barese swiss chard &/or spinach
  • Southern Curled mustard greens
  • Hon Tsai TaiA Chinese specialty also known as Kailaan. Prized for its long, pencil-thin, red-purple, budded flower stems. Pleasing, mild mustard taste for use raw in salads or lightly cooked in stir-fries or soups. 
  • Carola potatoes
  • mint and oregano

Varieties of cooking greens are basically interchangeable in the kitchen, just be aware some might have a bit different cooking times (judge by the thickness of the leaf). Saute, blanch, or simmer in a béchamel sauce. Use in lasagna, enchiladas, crepes, or macaroni and cheese. Many greens are excellent in soups or stews. Add during the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking time.

Here's a quick recipe for the radish tops (or use the mustard greens):

Chickpea Pancakes with Radish Top & Herb Yogurt Sauce

The Sauce

1 garlic, minced

2 T oregano or mint or dill, minced

½ cup radish tops, roughly chopped

1 ½ cups whole plain yogurt

1 T olive oil

1 t lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

Process garlic, herb, radish tops until well chopped. Add yogurt, oil, and juice. Continue to process until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

The Pancakes

2 ½ cups chickpea flour

2 T olive oil

2 cups water

¼ t salt

Whisk together flour, oil, water, and salt. Heat a bit of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Spoon ¼ cup spoonful of batter into skillet and cook for about 3 minutes. Carefully flip pancake and cook for about 1 minute longer. Repeat with the rest of the batter. 

The Toppings

Hardboiled eggs, sliced

fried bacon

sliced radishes

Transfer pancakes to a large platter with a bowl of the sauce and toppings. Assemble as you please.

With kind regards, Landis and Steven

2016 Week 2, Spring Share

Peek into early season boxes and the color green will burst forth. Green lettuce, spinach, kale, and chard dominate the harvest at this time of year. Experiment with salad building. You can top greens with fruit, nuts, seeds or top sautéed greens on pasta or whole grains. It was once written that "You can put everything, and the more things the better, into a salad, as into a conversation; but everything depends on the skill of the mixing." 

What's in the Box

Leaf lettuce

Spinach, large leaf and very tender

Choy Sum, grown for its thick-stemmed shoots and flower tips that are crisp and flavorful. It is often served in salads, Asian soups or stir-fried dishes containing meat and vegetables, providing a crisp textured vegetable with a delicate, slightly mustard-like flavor.

Bok Choi

Baresse Chard, known for its tenderness 

Carrots, from the cellar

Potatoes, from the cellar

Asparagus

Green Kale

Oregano

Spring Kale is very different from summer, fall or imported (non-local) kale. It is very tender, juicy and takes very little time to cook and can certainly be served raw. If you are a fan of crispy kale, this is not the kale to use. That's for another season, to be relished then but not now. Seasonal eating is all about the right time for the in-season food, at its freshest and tastiest.

Here is THE kale salad recipe:

Kale Salad

1 bunch kale

¼ cup good bread crumbs

½ garlic clove

¼ t salt

¼ cup finely grated pecorino cheese (or parmesan)

3 T olive oil

fresh squeezed juice of 1 lemon, plus some zest

red pepper flakes to taste

freshly ground black pepper to taste

Finely chop the kale stems. Slice the leaves into ¼-inch ribbons. You should have 4 to 5 cups. Place the kale in a large bowl.

Using a heavy knife, pound or mince the garlic and ¼ teaspoon salt into a paste. Transfer the garlic to a small bowl. add ¼ cup cheese, 3 Tablespoons oil, lemon juice, pinch of slat, pepper flakes, and black pepper and whisk to combine. Pour the dressing over the kale and toss very well to combine thoroughly (the dressing will be thick and needs lots of tossing to coat the leaves). Let the salad sit for 5 minutes then serve topped with bread crumbs, additional cheese and a drizzle of oil. Leftovers of this salad make a wonderful sandwich topping!

Finally, here is a great video showing the simplicity and ease of processing veggies when first bringing them home.

Have a great week.

 

2016 Week 1, Spring Share

Let the 2016 Spring Season begin! We are so happy and appreciative of all your support. Our Spring shares have been months in the making and we look forward to the season beginning. It always feels celebratory to us, you know?

Over the next few weeks we will all begin to get into the flow of pick ups, harvests, seasons, you name it. Spring is a great time to learn new habits, to eat seasonally (sorry no tomatoes in May), to eat fresh. We remind you to be patient, for the weather is our master, to be excited, try new things, and most importantly, enjoy the ride!

What's in the box this week 

Bok Choi (we think it should be America's #1 vegetable!)

Southern Curled Mustard Greens

Amara Ethiopian Kale

Carrots, from the root cellar

Potatoes, from the cellar - eat soon or they will sprout (a sign of spring for sure)

Panisse or Rouixi Leaf Lettuce

Rainbow Swiss Chard

Chives

Maple Syrup

Enjoy the leafy greens and cool weather brassica crops that you will find in the first few weeks of the CSA. Its a natural "cleanse" after a winter full of root crops and heavier foods. The greens are especially tender and mild being untouched by summer heat and insects. Try a taste of them to get a sense of how you might like to prepare them. Some are excellent quickly stir-fried or flash sautéed with garlic. Others might just be the touch you need in a lettuce salad. Packed full of nutrients we feel vital and strong after a few weeks of eating our greens!

Finally, here is a link to help you with managing all your veggies 

If you are a bit curious about Ethiopian Kale, here is an good article to get you started.

Thank you again for all you support!

With kind regards, Landis and Steven

 

Notes from the Farm KitchenJune 20th, 2017

Greetings, welcome to Notes From the Farm Kitchen, a mostly weekly gathering of news, tidbits, recipes, and other good stuff from Hermit Creek Farm. The format is informal, we'll add as we go, just sc

Sheep on PastureJanuary 3rd, 2017

Way back in the mid-1980's, when Hermit Creek Farm was a far off dream and we were looking for land, we planned on raising sheep. It seemed a natural fit. Landis spun wool and knitted. Steven grew up

Certified OrganicJanuary 3rd, 2017

When we bought Hermit Creek farm back in 1989, we made an important decision for ourselves and for the people who would come to rely on us for their food to farm using organic methods. We made an equa

What's up at Hermit Creek?

Summer time, and the farm is a-growin'!

We have been busy with field prep, planting, and crop care. Harvests have begun and CSA shares are finding their way to folks across the western Lake Superior region. Life is good!

We still have a few limited share options available, why not join us.

Check out our options and get started today! 

 

 Our awesome crew hamming it up in an awesome field of winter rye!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We believe in the old adage, "you are what you eat!" and besides our belief in organic food being healthier for you, it's also healthier for your farmer and the land.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Hermit Creek, we're serious about how we farm, we're serious about our health, and we're serious about your health as well. Certified organic, it's simply plain old common sense.