2011 blog stats in review

I admit, I haven’t visited the blog since the last post in November (this is Tiffany writing).  I am pleasantly surprised that is not a true statement for everyone, however!  I took a quick look at the stats, and every day people are visiting and checking-out old posts, newsletters, about us, etc.  If you want a look at the full report, the WordPress.com helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual stats report that can be accessed via the link below.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,300 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Oh, and if you’re interested about joining the 2012 CSA, you’re not too late.  The registration set-up isn’t complete yet.  We’ll let you know here on this blog and through the email list when its available.  If you’re not on our email list, you can subscribe by clicking the link on the right of our main page. Happy 2012!

Faith Feeds, a great partner.

As mentioned in the Thanksgiving-Order Box email, we have been partners with Faith Feeds this year by donating any extra produce we have to their efforts.  Faith Feeds is a cooperative association of individuals and faith communities that glean fresh food and donate the food to emergency food agencies in Lexington or to churches that feed those in need. I recently emailed Faith Feeds and they told me 7,825 pounds of produce were donated from the UK Horticulture Farm this year…most of that coming from the CSA section.  Read a recent article about them here or find them on Facebook at “Faith Feeds of Kentucky, Inc.”

This ‘extra’ produce comes from leftovers after the CSA drop (when members go on vacation, for example), greens off of radishes and turnips that we give to members as just roots, and bumper crops of things we either have too much of or not quite enough of to give in the share.  Most farmers will have multiple markets for their produce to utilize their ‘excess’ efficiently; operating a CSA, attending farmer’s markets, and selling wholesale.  We, however, only operate a CSA and so we are thankful that our ‘excess’ doesn’t go to waste through our partnership with Faith Feeds.

Turnip Greens donated by us...

Emergency food agencies that Faith Feeds delivers to are: Men’s Hope Center, George Privett Recovery Center, Women’s Hope Center, Lighthouse Ministries, Lexington Rescue Mission, Catholic Action Center, Chrysalis House, Embrace, Maxwell Street Presbyterian Church, The Nest, Kid’s Café, Florence Crittenden Home, Moveable Feast, God’s Pantry and the Women’s Domestic Violence Shelter.  In addition, Faith Feeds delivered pumpkins to Providence Montessori and Seedleaf who cooked pumpkin pie filling for hunger agencies in time for Thanksgiving.

I want to make sure to say THANK YOU to Shannon Baker, a Sustainable Agriculture major, a former student apprentice here at the farm, and our main volunteer contact for Faith Feeds.  She was often the volunteer to pick-up produce from us, deliver it, and promptly return our harvest bins.  Thanks Shannon!

IN ADDITION: we were able to donate 2-3 shares worth of produce every week (depending on availability) to Ashland Terrace Retirement Home where three meals are cooked daily for about 30 elderly residents.  Every week we got to hear stories of how much they enjoyed the fresh addition to their meals.

Thanksgiving Boxes

Many of you came to pick-up your preordered Thanksgiving Boxes yesterday.  With two types of boxes available, Winter Storage and Fall Greens, we were able to offer our CSA members a few of the extra items that we still had in storage and in the fields.  I hope you’ve enjoyed opening them.  “It was like Christmas” one member wrote to me.  I thought I’d highlight a few items that could be found in the boxes that could have been surprises for a few of you.

In the Fall Greens box we were able to include both purple cauliflower and romanesco cauliflower, both cultivars of the traditional white Brassica-family vegetable.  The purple cauliflower is caused by “the presence of the antioxidant group ‘anthocyanins’ which can also be found in red cabbage and red wine”.  The romanesco cauliflower is a type of green cauliflower that exhibits a logarithmic spiral, “which is considered to be an example of phyllotaxis, or the fractal patterning found in nature”.
While packing boxes yesterday, we refered to it as the “Cool Alien Vegetable”  It truly is beautiful and mesmerizing.  I think I’ll use it as a centerpiece before eating.

And in the Winter Storage boxes, mixed and loose we included both rutabagas and purple-top turnips.  If you’re having trouble telling the two apart: the turnips are more round, have less root-hairs and exhibit a purple-shoulder; the rutabagas have a bit more root-hairs, irregular shape and a more yellow flesh.  You may have to just taste teste to tell the difference!

Throughout the season we gave out the more popular “Hakurei Turnips” which are more tender and sweet.  These purple-top turnips are the more traditional turnip that is good for storing.  Try using it roasted, boiled, mashed, or stewed.  The rutabagas can be used similarly, in fact interchangeably.  It is also known as a Swedish turnip and this recipes calls for “Swedes”, a term used to refer to the rutabaga.  http://www.food.com/recipe/swede-casserole-235175

We look forward to next year!

Beets again!!! 2 recipes:

GOLDEN BEET AND BUTTERMILK SOUP

From “Eating Locally”: This is one of the easiest soups imaginable and so inviting on a hot day.  Made with golden beets, it is the color of lemon custard.  Made with red beets, it is shocking pink, like borscht.  The soup can be made up to a couple of days ahead.

1 pound golden beets (about 3 medium beets)

1 large clove garlic, sliced

3 cups buttermilk

¼ cup chopped fresh chives, or 2 Tbs chopped fresh dill, pluse more finely chopped for garnish

1 Tbs sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar, or more to taste

Kosher or sea salt

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.  If the beet greens are attached, remove all but ½ inch of the stem.  Reserve the greens and stems for another use.  Put the beets in a baking dish, and add water to a depth of ¼ inch.  Cover tightly and bake until a knife pierces them easily, 45-55 minutes.  When cool enough to handle, peel the beets.

2.  Cut the beets into quarters.  Put the beets, garlic, and 1 ½ cups of the buttermilk in a blender and pureé until smooth.  (You can use a food processor but the results will not be as smooth.)  Add the remaining 1 ½ cups buttermilk, the dill, and the vinegar and pureé again.  Season to taste with salt.  Transfer to a covered container and chill well.

3. Taste before serving and adjust the seasoning.  Serve in cups or bowls, garnishing each portion with a sprinkle of the chives.

CREAMY BEET AND TAHINI DIP

From “Eating Locally”: Anissa Helou, a Lebanese-born food writer living in London, makes this luscious dip for dinner parties.  You can make it a day ahead, although you will probably need to adjust the lemon and salt before serving.

1 pound red beets (about 3 medium beets)

1 clove garlic, sliced

¼ cup tahini, stirred well to blend

3-4 Tbs fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Kosher or sea salt

Toasted pita wedges, Belgian endive spears, fennel wedges, or romaine hearts for dipping

1. Preheat the oven to 375°.  If the beet greens are attached, remove all but ½ inch of the stem.  Reserve the greens and stems for another use.  Put the beets in a baking dish, and add water to a depth of ¼ inch.  Cover tightly and bake until a knife pierces them easily, 45-55 minutes.  When cool enough to handle, peel the beets and cut into quarters.

2. Put the beets and garlic in a food processor and pureé until smooth.  Transfer to a bowl and stir in the tahini.  Add the lemon juice gradually.  You may not need it all, or you may want a little more.  The tahini requires a lot of lemon for balance.  Season with salt.

3.  Serve the dip with pita wedges or vegetables for dipping.  It will keep, refrigerated, for up to one week.

Crispy Kale Chips and Arugula Citrus Salad

There was an excess of good recipes this week. So I’m posting two here on the blog.

Here is a popular CSA recipe “Crispy Kale Chips” that turns those greens into something crunchy.  I tried them recently and they turned out great, tasting almost like popcorn and melting on my tongue.  With a sprinkle of your favorite seasoning salt and/or some chopped-up roasted garlic alongside, you could almost disguise them entirely of their leafy green origin.

There is also an excellent blog-post with pictures here from SmittenKitchen.

CRISPY KALE CHIPS

from “Eating Locally” by Janet Fletcher

CSA Farmers who grow kale say that many of their shareholders lack recipes for this highly nutritious leafy green.  Kale chips to the rescue.  Roasted in the oven, the leaves crackle when you eat them and dissolve like snowflakes on the tongue.  No matter how many batches you make, they will disappear in an instant.  The DeLaney Community Farm blog credits Bon Appétit magazine for the idea.

½ pound Tuscan kale or curly kale
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
Kosher or sea salt

1. Preheat the oven to 250°F.  With a knife, separate the kale leaves from their tough  central rib and discard the ribs.  Wash and thoroughly dry the kale leaves.  Put them in a large bowl, drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and toss to coat them evenly with the oil.  Arrange them on baking sheets in a single layer.
2.  Bake, in batches if necessary, until the leaves become fully crisp, 25-30 minutes.  You can serve them immediately or let them cool.  They will stay crisp for at least a couple of hours.

WINTER CITRUS SALAD WITH ARUGULA

from “The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook” by Maggie Green
Although this salad calls for oranges, which are never grown in Kentucky, Maggie says the citrus pairs nicely with the peppery bite of arugula.  Try it with some Florida fresh oranges!

4 oz. baby arugula (about 4 cups)
6 oranges, peeled and sliced into rounds
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
2 oz. Parmesan shreds

2 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Arrange the arugula on a large platter or in a large, shallow salad bowl.  In another bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, oil, salt, and pepper.  Drizzle half the dressing on the greens and toss.  Arrange the orange slices on top of the arugula.  Scatter the red onion on top of the oranges.  Drizzle with more dressing, and top with Parmesan shreds.  Season with additional freshly ground black pepper.

Black Spanish Radishes…a primer

I finished writing the newsletter, and didn’t mention the black radishes!  I figured they deserved some recognition, so here’s a tidbit about these spicy winter radishes.

Popular in Europe, the “Nero Tondo” black Spanish radishes are white on the inside and quite spicy.  The skin is tough, so it is recommended to peel it before eating.  They can get up to 4″ in diameter without being pithy.  Treat it like you would a turnip, roasting or baking it to reduce the spice and bring out the flavor.  Traditionally, these were grown to be stored over the winter, their spiciness reducing as the months passed and eaten when everything else from the root cellar was gone.

Here’s a couple of recipes I found to help you answer the question: “How do I eat it?”

Chips de Radis Noir

from http://chocolateandzucchini.com/archives/2004/02/black_radish_chips.php

– 2 large black radishes
– olive oil
– balsamic vinegar
– salt, pepper
– piment d’espelette (optional, substitute red pepper flakes)

(Serves 4.)

Preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F). Grease a baking dish (unless it is non-stick).

Wash and scrub the radishes. Peel them with a vegetable peeler, leaving half of the peel in stripes if desired. Slice the radishes thinly – very thin slices will be more chip-like, slightly thicker slices will be moister – and put the slices in the baking dish.

Pour a little olive oil, a little vinegar, sprinkle salt, pepper and piment d’espelette. Toss with a wooden spoon to coat. Pour and sprinkle more if necessary, until all the slices look comfortably dressed – but not drenched.

Put in the oven to bake for about 40 minutes, until the chips are golden and their edges start to crisp up. Serve warm, as an appetizer or a side.

And more at this website:

http://www.mariquita.com/recipes/black%20spanish%20radish.htm