End of the CSA Season

On the Farm

BRR! It’s starting to feel like winter. I’ve been loving all these snow showers we’ve gotten over the past week. The first time I visited Tracie’s Farm was in January of 2016. There wasn’t much snow cover at the time, just frozen ground with a light dusting. It was colder, though. I met Kristen–one of the former farm managers–at the barn and we hoed spinach for a couple hours. I’ll never forget that day, it’s the image that comes to mind when I think about Tracie’s Farm. I was reminded of it while I walked out to the greenhouses first thing this morning, frozen ground with a light dusting of snow.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! We have reached the last week of CSA shares for the 2022 season. WOW! We’ve been packing shares every Wednesday for the last 35 weeks. For the last week we’ll be packing shares tomorrow, TUESDAY NOV. 21.

I had to count on my fingers to make sure that I had actually been at Tracie’s for the last seven years. It’s been a wonderful time here, and I don’t have any plans for moving on in the future. Tracie’s has been my home for the bulk of my adult life. I’ve lived in the house by the barn year round since 2017. In 2019 I planted fruit trees behind the house as part of a USDA grant, and this year was the first time I got to eat a peach from one of them. I’d love to see them grow to maturity. I’ve been lucky to work for both Tracie and Tom and Mary, and have worked alongside some of my closest friends over the years.

I always get introspective towards the end of the season. It’s hard not to when the changes are so glaring. I look back through old photos and journals from the year that feel like they were from another time. I was just reading about our unseasonably warm weather we had in late April/early May. I remember it being warm for about a week around that time, but I neglected to actually write down the temperature! I’ll give myself a few more weeks of reflection on the season, then it’s time to start focusing on 2023. We open CSA share signups in late December, and have to have the foundation of our yearly planning set by then.

I’ll be in touch periodically through the winter. It won’t be every week, but there is always news to share from the farm, even once we have shut down for the winter.

Thank you to all of our CSA members this year. I say it every year, and corny as it sounds, none of this is possible without you. The CSA is the heart of our farm, it’s what allows us to purchase all of our supplies in the winter to prepare for the following season. Our members take a risk with us as we prepare to plant, and share in the reward when the fields start to produce. We have had members come out to the farm and lend a hand on bigger projects, you send me articles you’ve read and ask questions about why we do things certain ways. I love the CSA. It’s what makes me feel connected to our customers in a business that can be hard to find time outside of. Thank you all for sharing the harvest with us this year. I look forward to hearing from you over the winter. Happy Thanksgiving and the rest of the end of the year holidays to all. See you again in 2023!

FALL SHARES WEEK 8!

FINAL WEEK OF SHARES. PICKUP TUESDAY 11/22

That’s it for the greens this year. The freeze last night was a killing frost, so shares this week will be all roots–except for some leeks. We’ll be wearing hand warmers and gloves tomorrow as we pick for shares.

Carrots, Onions, Garlic, Potatoes, and Sweet Potatoes are the weekly regulars in shares. Beets are coming back into shares for Thanksgiving. Leeks will be in shares for the first time since early on in the season. Parsnips are a first timer! I will be including a recipe below. Rutabaga is the other new variety! It will also have a recipe below. They will have some marking on the outer skin, but I haven’t noticed anything affecting the root itself. The Rutabaga apple mash below is one of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes. I save the “odder” veggies for thanksgiving week because there is a great opportunity to use em up them for the big meal!

Check for recipes below!

Shares Week 8:
Beets
Carrots
Garlic
Leeks
Onions
Parsnips
Potatoes
Rutabaga
Sweet Potatoes

Egg Share: CHECK LIST FOR NAME
Bread Share: Roasted Potato CHECK LIST FOR NAME

Monadnock Farm and Community Coalition Appeal

As regular readers know, I am a board member of the Mondanock Farm and Community Coalition, an organization that promotes local agriculture as a form of community building in our region. We are making our annual appeal in the hopes of reaching a fundraising goal of $5,600 by December 31st. Usually I try to keep my board self separate from my farmer self to avoid any conflicts of interest, but in this case, I think it is fitting to speak from both experiences. The MFCC has had a direct impact on our farm and many other farms in the Monadock Region.

This year we saw the roll out of a Mobile Food Pantry that has so far visited three towns in the Monadnock Region. One of those towns was Fitzwilliam, where the Mobile Pantry worked with the fantastic group that organizes the Fitwilliam District Nursing Association to organize a pickup at Emerson School. The MFCC helped fund raise for the mobile pantry so that they could purchase fresh produce from local farms, and when the mobile pantry came to Fitzwilliam, they reached out to Tracie’s to provide fresh produce.

If you visit our store, you will see a poster and stickers featuring a “Monadnock Grown” logo that indicates a product was produced locally to our region. This is the MFCC’s latest project to promote local agriculture, and will continue to be rolled out over the winter and into next year. I have been a strong supporter of this project as I love to see producers gather together to make a truly local product. Adjacent to this project has been what is called the Harvest Bridge program, which the MFCC has lent assistance for. Harvest Bridge is taking aim at finding out how to get farmer’s crops to last through the winter by preserving them in a value added form. Through the MFCC, I met Jacob Sherwood of Harvest Bridge, and we have been working on making pesto using only local ingredients, as well as minced garlic. Jacob and I are still working everything out, but we hope to have Tracie’s pesto in our store at some point in 2023!

These are only a couple of the projects that the MFCC works on in any given year, but they are real stories of how the organization supports local farms. We are one of many that have stories like these with the MFCC, and I believe it is an organization worth supporting in our region. If you would like to help us reach our goal of $5,600 by December 31st, please follow THIS LINK . Your commitment to our local agriculture is greatly appreciated!

Jack

LINK: OVEN ROASTED PARSNIP

Ingredients
* 1 1/2 pounds parsnips
* ▢2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
* ▢2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
* ▢1 clove garlic, minced
* ▢Kosher salt and pepper

Instructions
* Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
* Peel the parsnips. Cut parsnips down the center, lengthwise. Then cut each half into 3 to 4 pieces, about 1/2 inch to 1-inch wide and about 4 inches long. You can cut away the woody core, if desired.
* On a rimmed baking sheet, toss parsnips with oil, rosemary and garlic, then season with salt and pepper.
* Roast until tender and golden, about 25 to 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through. You should be able to easily pierce them with a fork.

LINK: RUTABAGA AND APPLE MASH

Ingredients

1 large rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 apple, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper Preparation

Preparing For Winter

On the Farm

And just like that, it is late fall in New England again. Stick season has arrived, and I am welcoming it with open arms. Bring on the cold weather!

We were forecasted for a low of 16 degrees last night, so I spent the day picking all the greens for shares on Wednesday. Temps in the teens will start to kill off some of the less hardy veggies, or at least damage leaves. My main concern was getting the brussel sprouts, lettuce mix, and napa cabbage out of the field before the freeze. According to my home weather station, we only hit 20 last night, it’s hard to say how those veggies would have fared, but better safe than sorry.

Being outside in the cold all day yesterday wiped me out, so I figured I’d do the newsletter this morning while waiting for the ground to thaw. Then I got distracted reading about and researching tomatoes with the best disease resistance… So I could be outside by now, but I also have a few options for which tomatoes to plant in 2023.

Our outdoor tomatoes have to be hybrids because of disease pressure. For the last 6 or so years we have been growing a variety called “Defiant,” which has a broad disease resistance package, but I think we need to switch up our variety because we have grown the same one for so long. Tomatoes in the field this year were hit pretty hard with disease, and I need to do some more research, but my hunch is that since we have been growing the same variety year after year, pathogens in the soil are acclimated to the tomatoes resistance and working around it. I changed up a couple of varieties in other veggies this year that had struggled with disease, and the new cultivars seemed to perform well.

Just to be clear, because hybrids sometimes cause a little confusion–a hybrid variety is NOT a GMO variety. GMO means that the DNA of the vegetable was genetically altered, most often in order to make it resistant to disease, pests, or pesticides. Hybrid varieties are bred for resistance to disease. It’s a complicated process that I don’t fully understand, but essentially two varieties of vegetables are bred together for their desired qualities, and the outcome is a new variety with the desired traits from both parents.

Probably 90% of the veggies we grow are a hybrid, with the exception being heirloom tomatoes and a few well performing heirlooms of other veggies. We do not grow GMO crops on the farm, but for the sake of conversation, I’ll include a Michael Pollan article from 1998 on a GMO potato variety that really altered my perspective on GMO’s. This particular variety was called the “New Leaf Potato,” and it was genetically altered to defend itself against the Colorado Potato Beetle. The modification all but eliminated the need for chemical pesticides to control the pest, which is a fascinating trade off. On the one hand heavy pesticide use, on the other playing with the DNA of our food. I highly recommend the article. Personally, as with many things, I find myself in the middle. There could be a time and place where GMO crops are the best option compared to the alternatives. I try to avoid taking hard stances wherever possible. Michael Pollan is one of the reasons I got into organic farming, and if you read the article and want to continue the conversation, feel free to send me an email.

LINK: Michael Pollan “Playing God in the Garden”

There are only two weeks left in our 2022 CSA season! Once the CSA is up, the farm all but shuts down. We have a crew for harvest tomorrow, some last bits of cleanup on Friday, and then for the final share day on Tuesday of next week. After that it’s mostly Finn, Gurdy, and I poking around the farm until February when we start to seed for 2023! A lot of folks ask what I do in the winter when the CSA isn’t running. For the most part I work full time, year round on the farm, although the work changes in December and January. Following the end of shares I usually spend about two weeks finishing up everything I needed to do outdoors before the ground completely freezes. Once winter sets in, I move indoors and spend maybe 15hrs/week maintaining the greenhouses for spring shares. December and January are the two months I have “off” from the physical aspect of farming, and I use my time collecting inventory, planning the fields for next year, ordering supplies, attending conferences, and reading up on farm practices. I also get to spend time focusing on farm adjacent personal projects. I get more involved with the Monadnock Farm and Community Coalition and other organizations that are ask for a farmer’s perspective. One of my favorite parts of farming is that in the winter I get to switch it up and pursue other farming related ventures. I am passionate about advancing local agriculture, and the winter time is when I get to focus on that aspect.

Monadnock Farm and Community Coalition Appeal

As regular readers know, I am a board member of the Mondanock Farm and Community Coalition, an organization that promotes local agriculture as a form of community building in our region. We are making our annual appeal in the hopes of reaching a fundraising goal of $5,600 by December 31st. Usually I try to keep my board self separate from my farmer self to avoid any conflicts of interest, but in this case, I think it is fitting to speak from both experiences. The MFCC has had a direct impact on our farm and many other farms in the Monadock Region.

This year we saw the roll out of a Mobile Food Pantry that has so far visited three towns in the Monadnock Region. One of those towns was Fitzwilliam, where the Mobile Pantry worked with the fantastic group that organizes the Fitwilliam District Nursing Association to organize a pickup at Emerson School. The MFCC helped fund raise for the mobile pantry so that they could purchase fresh produce from local farms, and when the mobile pantry came to Fitzwilliam, they reached out to Tracie’s to provide fresh produce.

If you visit our store, you will see a poster and stickers featuring a “Monadnock Grown” logo that indicates a product was produced locally to our region. This is the MFCC’s latest project to promote local agriculture, and will continue to be rolled out over the winter and into next year. I have been a strong supporter of this project as I love to see producers gather together to make a truly local product. Adjacent to this project has been what is called the Harvest Bridge program, which the MFCC has lent assistance for. Harvest Bridge is taking aim at finding out how to get farmer’s crops to last through the winter by preserving them in a value added form. Through the MFCC, I met Jacob Sherwood of Harvest Bridge, and we have been working on making pesto using only local ingredients, as well as minced garlic. Jacob and I are still working everything out, but we hope to have Tracie’s pesto in our store at some point in 2023!

These are only a couple of the projects that the MFCC works on in any given year, but they are real stories of how the organization supports local farms. We are one of many that have stories like these with the MFCC, and I believe it is an organization worth supporting in our region. If you would like to help us reach our goal of $5,600 by December 31st, please follow THIS LINK . Your commitment to our local agriculture is greatly appreciated!

Jack

FALL SHARES WEEK 7!

Fall shares go out every Wednesday from October 5th until the week of Thanksgiving. On November 22nd shares will be packed on Tuesday.

Carrots, Onions, Garlic, Potatoes, and Sweet Potatoes are the weekly regulars in shares. Brussel Sprouts will be in shares this week and we should have enough this week to give everyone an extra pints worth. They’ll be bagged this week since they won’t fit in the pint. Celeriac is back in shares. Celeriac lasts forever, or at least until the following year when you can swap it out for a new root. I use it as a substitution for celery in soup bases all winter long. Lettuce Mix will be in shares. This will be a salad mix with some Raddichio mixed in as well. Raddichio is a bitter green, but I love it. It goes well with a vinegar or lemon based salad dressing. Napa Cabbage will be in shares as mini heads. Watermelon Radishes are absolutely stunning and will be in shares this week. They are sweet radishes with a little spiciness at the end, but most notably they are a speckled reddish pink inside that looks gorgeous when you slice them.

Check for recipes below!

Shares Week 7:
Brussel Sprouts
Carrots
Celeriac
Garlic
Lettuce Mix
Napa Cabbage
Onions
Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes
Watermelon Radishes

Egg Share: CHECK LIST FOR NAME
Bread Share: Red Pepper Cheddar CHECK LIST FOR NAME

LINK: MAPLE ROASTED BRUSSEL SPROUTS

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce (or tamari or coconut aminos)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. (To get them perfectly crispy, make sure this is the only pan in the oven and you’re not roasting anything else at the same time.)
Slice off any hard ends of the Brussels sprouts, as needed. Slice them in half lengthwise and place them in a large bowl.
Mix the sprouts with the olive oil, kosher salt, and lots of fresh ground black pepper.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper*, then pour the spouts onto the sheet. Turn them all cut side down.
Roast for 25 minutes until very browned and tender (don’t stir!).
While the sprouts are roasting, place the maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce in a small saucepan. Simmer 3 to 5 minutes on medium low heat until thickened slightly and reduced (this should result in about 2 to 2 ½ tablespoons glaze).
When the sprouts are done, pour over the maple balsamic glaze. Serve immediately.

LINK: RADICCHIO SALAD WITH CHOPPED LEMON DRESSING

Ingredients

1 head radicchio (10 ounces), broken into individual leaves
1 small lemon
1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup packed fresh mint leaves

Preparation

Using a sharp knife, remove peel and pith from lemon. Quarter lemon lengthwise and discard center membrane and seeds; finely chop. Place in a large bowl, and stir in mustard,sugar, and oil to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Toss radicchio and mint with dressing, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Waiting on Cold Weather

On the Farm

The past few days a few people have commented about how this weather is better than snow and ice, so this might be an unpopular opinion, but I don’t need 70 degree days at the beginning of August. I don’t think the plants care for it too much, either. I’ve noticed quite a bit of yellowing on the leaves of our brassicas that wasn’t there at the end of October. Some pests have come back out of dormancy, as well. Flea beetles were hopping around, and a nemesis weed has even started making late appearance.

Galinsoga is probably my least favorite weed on the farm. It’s nicknamed “Quickweed” because it can flower and set seed within 10 days, which makes it extremely difficult to control because it can have multiple generations in a season. My least favorite part, though, is that its roots create a mat around the base of the plant, and when you weed it, it pulls out a ton of soil at a time and often any smaller seedlings being cultivated in the bed. It is extremely frost sensitive, and prefers warmer soil for germination, so usually by November it is killed off for the season, but I’ve been seeing it all germinate now that we’ve had a few warm days! This one I’m a little upset about, though, because a hard frost tomorrow night will kill em all off, and that is one less generation of weed seeds to deal with next year.

Back to unpopular opinions, but I am crossing my fingers for a cold and snowy winter this year. For the sake of farming in New England, a cold winter helps disrupt pest and disease cycles in the fields and kind of makes New England a haven for organic growing. We don’t have to deal with nearly as many pests and diseases as places that have mild winters without a deep freeze. Snow cover is basically an effortless cover crop as it tucks the fields in and protects bare soil. Plus I think we can all get behind freezing out some ticks, right?

I’m not opposed to a warm fall, but days in the high 50’s is fine by me. It’s amazing the late autumn growth we’ve seen in the fields. We’re coming to the time of year known as the “Persephone Period” among farmers. It is the time of year when daylight falls below 10 hours per day, and growth all but comes to a halt. The rule of thumb for winter growing is about 3/4 maturity by the start of the Persephone Period. This gives crops enough growth to produce modestly through the winter, and not too mature that a hard freeze would kill them. I’m still finding my rhythm with winter growing, over-wintering crops and early spring growing are my strongest seasons in the green house, but it’s a fun adventure. We don’t expect to sell produce after Thanksiving, so it’s fairly risk free to experiment until I get a better hang of the timing for the winter.

Monadnock Farm and Community Coalition Appeal

As regular readers know, I am a board member of the Mondanock Farm and Community Coalition, an organization that promotes local agriculture as a form of community building in our region. We are making our annual appeal in the hopes of reaching a fundraising goal of $5600 by December 31st. Usually I try to keep my board self separate from my farmer self to avoid any conflicts of interest, but in this case, I think it is fitting to speak from both experiences. The MFCC has had a direct impact on our farm and many other farms in the Monadock Region.

This year we saw the roll out of a Mobile Food Pantry that has so far visited three towns in the Monadnock Region. One of those towns was Fitzwilliam, where the Mobile Pantry worked with the fantastic group that organizes the Fitwilliam District Nursing Association to organize a pickup at Emerson School. The MFCC helped fund raise for the mobile pantry so that they could purchase fresh produce from local farms, and when the mobile pantry came to Fitzwilliam, they reached out to Tracie’s to provide fresh produce.

If you visit our store, you will see a poster and stickers featuring a “Monadnock Grown” logo that indicates a product was produced locally to our region. This is the MFCC’s latest project to promote local agriculture, and will continue to be rolled out over the winter and into next year. I have been a strong supporter of this project as I love to see producers gather together to make a truly local product. Adjacent to this project has been what is called the Harvest Bridge program, which the MFCC has lent assistance for. Harvest Bridge is taking aim at finding out how to get farmer’s crops to last through the winter by preserving them in a value added form. Through the MFCC, I met Jacob Sherwood of Harvest Bridge, and we have been working on making pesto using only local ingredients, as well as minced garlic. Jacob and I are still working everything out, but we hope to have Tracie’s pesto in our store at some point in 2023!

These are only a couple of the projects that the MFCC works on in any given year, but they are real stories of how the organization supports local farms. We are one of many that have stories like these with the MFCC, and I believe it is an organization worth supporting in our region. If you would like to help us reach our goal of $5,600 by December 31st, please follow THIS LINK . Your commitment to our local agriculture is greatly appreciated!

Jack

FALL SHARES WEEK 6!

Fall shares go out every Wednesday from October 5th until the week of Thanksgiving. On November 22nd shares will be packed on Tuesday.

Carrots, Onions, Garlic, and Potatoes are weekly regulars in shares. We’re going to take a break for a week on sweet potatoes to save for the last two weeks and give a little extra before Thanksgiving. Beets are back on the menu. Brussel Sprouts! Woo! We gave up on brussels my second year on the farm after having trouble with them for years. The past couple of years I have been trying to work them back into our plans, and although we still have some trouble, this is looking like an improvement over last year. Plenty of the sprouts are small, but they are tender, sweet, and delicious. Chard will be in shares this week. Lettuce is a regular. Turnips are going back out in shares. I don’t think they will have tops on them this week, but can’t say for certain.

Check for recipes below!

Shares Week 6:
Beets
Brussel Sprouts
Carrots
Chard
Garlic
Lettuce
Onions
Potatoes
Hakurei Turnips

Egg Share: CHECK LIST FOR NAME
Bread Share: Red Pepper Cheddar CHECK LIST FOR NAME

LINK: MAPLE ROASTED BRUSSEL SPROUTS

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce (or tamari or coconut aminos)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. (To get them perfectly crispy, make sure this is the only pan in the oven and you’re not roasting anything else at the same time.)
Slice off any hard ends of the Brussels sprouts, as needed. Slice them in half lengthwise and place them in a large bowl.
Mix the sprouts with the olive oil, kosher salt, and lots of fresh ground black pepper.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper*, then pour the spouts onto the sheet. Turn them all cut side down.
Roast for 25 minutes until very browned and tender (don’t stir!).
While the sprouts are roasting, place the maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce in a small saucepan. Simmer 3 to 5 minutes on medium low heat until thickened slightly and reduced (this should result in about 2 to 2 ½ tablespoons glaze).
When the sprouts are done, pour over the maple balsamic glaze. Serve immediately.

LINK: BEET SALAD WITH GOAT CHEESE AND BALSAMIC

Ingredients

4 to 5 medium beets
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
2 cups salad greens, arugula or spring mix
½ shallot, thinly sliced
½ green apple, thinly sliced
¼ cup toasted walnuts
2 ounces goat cheese, torn
Microgreens, optional
Balsamic Vinaigrette
Flaky sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Wrap each beet in a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle generously with olive oil and pinches of salt and pepper. Place the beets on a baking sheet and roast for 40 to 90 minutes, or until soft and fork-tender. The time will depend on the size and freshness of the beets. Remove the beets from the oven, remove the foil, and set aside to cool. When they are cool to the touch, peel the skins. I like to hold them under running water and slide the skins off with my hands.
Let the beets cool and chill them in the fridge until ready to use.
Assemble the salad with the greens, shallots, apples, walnuts, cheese, and microgreens, if using. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette. Season with flaky sea salt and pepper and serve.

Happy Halloween!

On the Farm

Happy Halloween, everyone! We had a costume party on the farm Saturday night and got to see a lot of past and present farmers over the weekend. It was nice to get back together with everyone.

We’ve got a gorgeous week of weather in the forecast. All the crops still in the field have been soaking up the sun are are showing good signs of growth this late into the year. I was worried that some beds wouldn’t have enough time to mature, but with nights in the 40’s and 50’s, those worries have been put to bed. Carrots for the last few weeks of the season won’t be as big, this last bed we’ve been harvesting has been beautiful, but there are plenty of carrots to keep em in shares for the rest of fall.

One thing I have been meaning to include was that week 3 of fall shares was the first time since June that we weren’t able to include an herb in shares. We had a pretty good run on the herbs this year, something that I wanted to prioritize getting into shares on a weekly basis, and will try to replicate that again next year. I’d like to figure out how to get some of the perennial herbs to last longer into the fall. Sage, thyme, and oregano are perfect matches for fall veggies. I’m thinking of growing them as annuals in the rows rather than growing less in our limited perennial bed space.

We didn’t get the garlic planted last week. First time in 5 years it hasn’t been planted by Halloween! It was a little too wet in the fields to be walking all around them getting the garlic in, so decided to put it off until this Friday. Shouldn’t be an issue, especially with the warm weather we have had. We don’t want it to sprout until spring!

Looking like another nice week of shares this week. More below

FALL SHARES WEEK 5!

Fall shares go out every Wednesday from October 5th until the week of Thanksgiving. On November 22nd shares will be packed on Tuesday.

Carrots, Onions, Garlic, Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes are weekly regulars in shares. Celeriac is back in shares this week. Soups on! Escarole is going into shares trying to save it from the deer. They have been vicious this fall. Lettuce is still looking good in the field. Hakurei Turnips, my favorite veggie, will be in shares this week. Winter Squash will go in shares. Baskets will either have Delicata or Butternut Winter Squash was a bummer for us this year. It didn’t get enough water when establishing and never really caught up. We’ll keep passing out what we have and I plan on buying some in for the end of the season.

Check for recipes below!

Shares Week 5:
Carrots
Celeriac
Escarole
Garlic
Lettuce
Onions
Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes
Hakurei Turnips
Winter Squash

Egg Share: CHECK LIST FOR NAME
Bread Share: Cinnamon Raisin CHECK LIST FOR NAME

LINK: SAUTEED ESCAROLE

Ingredients

1 head escarole fresh, cleaned, trimmed and chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic sliced
pinch crushed chili flakes or more-according to taste
salt to taste
lemon juice optional

Instructions

Set a large pot of salted water to boil.
Once the water has started boiling, add the chopped escarole, and simmer for about 5 minutes. The total time will vary based on how tough the leaves are.
Meanwhile, over medium heat, drizzle 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat.
Lower the heat to medium, add the sliced garlic (3-4 cloves) and sauté for 1-2 minutes or until the garlic is fragrant and just beginning to turn golden. Take care not to let the garlic brown.
If desired, add a pinch or two of chili flakes.
Remove from heat.
By this time, the parboiled escarole should be tender. Remove with a slotted spoon, allowing the excess water to drain off and place in a bowl. There will be a little bit of liquid that accumulates at the bottom of the bowl.
Next, add the drained escarole to the pan of sauteed garlic along with a couple of tablespoons of the drained liquid.
The oil might splatter a little so be careful.
Return the pan back to medium heat and simmer for about 5-10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. If there is still a bit of liquid left, raise the heat to cook it off.
Finally, season with salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer to a serving dish and if desired serve with lemon wedges.

LINK: CELERIAC AND GARLIC MASHED POTATOES

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 head of garlic
3 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large dice
1 large celeriac (celery root) bulb, peeled and cubed
½ to ¾ cup homemade aioli (link under photo)
Garnish: snipped fresh chives, fresh sage leaves, and celery leaves

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Slice ¼ inch off the top of a head of garlic, exposing the tops of the cloves inside. Drizzle cut garlic with 1 tablespoon evoo, and wrap in foil. Roast in a 375°F oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the cloves are soft and lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
Place potatoes and celery root in a large pot. Cover with cold water, until it reaches 2 inches over the vegetables. Set to boil over medium high heat. Once water comes to a boil, cook for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft but not breaking apart.
Drain vegetables, and return them back to the pot. Place over low heat to gently dry out vegetables in the warm pot for 3 to 5 minutes.
Transfer vegetables to large mixing bowl. Squeeze garlic from the bulb. Rice or mash vegetables and roasted garlic through a potato ricer, or use a potato masher. Do not use a mixer as the potatoes will become too starchy.
Add homemade aioli to vegetable-garlic mixture. Stir to combine. Add additional aioli until you have the texture and fluffiness you like. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Garnish with chopped chives, celery leaves, and fried sage.

Slowing down for the fall

On the Farm

The “G” key on my computer isn’t working well lately so if I’m writing a lot of things like “Farmin,” or “plantin,” or “weedin,” I haven’t suddenly picked up a country drawl.

Pretty day out today in spite of the rain. We had the crew in in the morning for the last Monday of the year. We picked and packed for the Cheshire Medical Center market we do on Tuesdays, and then let everyone go to enjoy the rainy day.

We’ll still have crew in on Wednesdays for harvest and Fridays with our workshares to knock out the last few big projects left before we fully shut down for the winter. The other days I’ll spend finishing up the littler tasks that all need to be finished by winter.

This Friday will be our garlic planting day! Woo! Regular readers will know how much I love all things garlic on the farm. This year we had a few members give us a hand pulling, sorting, and curing garlic, and now we’re gonna take about 8,000 of the biggest cloves we got and put em back in the ground! One of my sayings is that farming is just an elaborate process of moving things back and forth, and garlic is no exception. We picked it from the field, held it in the barn for a couple months, and are now putting it back in the field. It’s indicative of the circular nature of the farm, and one of my favorite parts of farming. Everything is transient, and every year it repeats itself.

So as we do every year on the last Friday of October, we’ll be out spreading compost and hay mulch over the beds of newly planted garlic and wait for next summer when we can start the whole process again.

FALL SHARES WEEK 4!

Fall shares go out every Wednesday from October 5th until the week of Thanksgiving. On November 22nd shares will be packed on Tuesday.

Beets will be back in baskets this week, this time with tops attached! The tops can be used the same way you would use swiss chard, and have a similar flavor. My favorite way is lightly steamed and dressed with salt, lemon juice, and shredded parmesan. Carrots are still in shares and should be a weekly occurrence. Garlic, Onions, Potatoes, and Sweet Potatoes will continue to be in baskets on a weekly basis. Kale will be in baskets as we start to top the plants before winter. Lettuce Heads ought to be in shares weekly as we move through our beds. Some beds are taking their time to mature, and we’re running out of time, so we’ll see how far into November the lettuce can go. Napa Cabbage is getting its first week in fall shares. I think we’ll have it more than once this fall. We grow a smaller variety of napa called “Minuet” that fits better in our share baskets.

Check for recipes below!

Shares Week 4:
Beets w/ tops
Carrots
Garlic
Kale
Lettuce
Napa Cabbage
Onions
Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes

Egg Share: CHECK LIST FOR NAME
Bread Share: Onion Pepper Parmesan CHECK LIST FOR NAME

LINK: GRILLED SWEET POTATO AND NAPA CABBAGE SALAD

Ingredients

3 medium sweet potatoes (2 pounds)
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
½ teaspoon black pepper, divided
¼ cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons warm water
2 teaspoons honey
Dash of hot sauce (optional)
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
3 cups shredded Napa cabbage
1 cup sliced red onion
⅓ cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
¼ cup chopped green onions
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions

Step 1

Prepare grill for indirect grilling, heating one side to medium-high and leaving one side with no heat.
Step 2

Peel potatoes, and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Combine potatoes, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; toss.
Step 3

Place potatoes on grill rack over unheated side; close lid. Cook 12 minutes on each side or until tender. Move potatoes to heated side; grill 2 minutes on each side or until charred.
Step 4

Combine 1/4 cup oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, juice, and next 4 ingredients (through jalapeño) in a large bowl. Slice potato slices into strips. Add potatoes, cabbage, and remaining ingredients to bowl; toss.

LINK: KALE AND ROASTED BEET SALAD

Edamame is a great side dish for any meal. Similar to shishito peppers, it is easy to prepare and delicious!

Ingredients

5-6 small roasted beets (red and/or golden)
1/2 cup pecans
1/3 cup real maple syrup, divided
Dash cayenne
1 bunch curly kale
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (good quality)
1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese

Directions

Peel your roasted beets, then slice them into wedges. Set aside.
Roasted, peeled, diced beets on a cutting board.
Place the pecans in a small skillet and toast over medium heat for 4-5 minutes till fragrant.
Dry toasting pecan halves in a skillet.
Pour 1/4 cup maple syrup over the pecans and bring to a boil over medium. Sprinkle the pecans evenly with a dash of cayenne. Let the syrup boil for 1-2 minutes over medium, stirring frequently. till most of the liquid evaporates.
Maple syrup over pecans in a skillet.
Pour the pecans immediately onto a piece of parchment or wax paper. Spread them out with a spoon into a single layer. Let them cool and dry out.
Candied pecans on wax paper to dry.
Meanwhile, clean your kale, pat dry, and cut the leaves from the tough stalks. Discard stalks. Cut the leaves into small pieces and place in a salad bowl. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt. Massage the kale with clean hands for 2-3 minutes till it wilts and loses its bitter flavor.
Washed and torn kale in a large salad bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp maple syrup, and lemon juice. Whisking briskly and constantly, drizzle the olive oil very slowly into the mixture till the dressing is emulsified and thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Balsamic dressing in a small bowl.
Add the roasted beet wedges and crumbled feta or goat cheese to the salad.
Beets and feta added to kale salad.
Break apart the candied pecans into small pieces.
Breaking candied pecans into pieces.
Sprinkle the pecans over the top of the salad.
Kale and Roasted Beet Salad with Maple Balsamic Dressing 10
Serve each portion of salad drizzled with a bit of dressing (about 1 tbsp per serving).

Enjoying The Fall Foliage

On the Farm

Beautiful weather we have been having so far in October! Warm falls make farm cleanup 1000x easier. It helps when you can feel your fingers 😉

Sorry for the short newsletter last week. I was in MD for the weekend and coming back to the farm after a couple days away always means a pile of tasks to catch up on.

It’s been a beautiful fall to work outside. The foliage this year was spectacular. I was worried about what effect the drought would have, but the maples seem unfazed. My notes from last year say that we were in peak foliage the first week of October last year and past peak by the second week. Right on for this year. I made a not about the oaks giving a beautiful display until early November, so hopefully we can look forward to some lasting color before winter sets in. I didn’t realize it, but we didn’t get our first frost until November last year. We were picking peppers throughout October in 2022 and this year we got our first frost on the 9th. It’s too bad because the Carmen peppers really start to come on in October, and if we get an early frost we miss out on the bulk of the red peppers. I will look into strategies for getting them to turn earlier for next year.

We’re pretty close to being cleaned up here on the farm. The rest of the full timers are on a part time schedule now that the fields are coming to rest. There are still a few larger projects to get done. The asparagus needs weeding and cutting back, peppers and beans have to be removed from the field, garlic has to be planted, probably a few more that I’m not recalling off the top of my head.

What is left in the fields is looking good. We’ve got a lot of veggies right on the verge of maturity. Beets, cabbage, napa cabbage, brussel sprouts and more radishes. New items will be in shares for a solid few weeks and this week we’ll have escarole and hakurei turnips gracing baskets for the first time this fall. More on shares below.

FALL SHARES WEEK 3!

Fall shares go out every Wednesday from October 5th until the week of Thanksgiving. On November 22nd shares will be packed on Tuesday.

Ought to have some nice looking baskets going out this week. Carrots, Garlic, Onions, Potatoes, and Sweet Potatoes will be going out on a weekly basis so you can always expect those items in your share. Escarole is a classic green that we include in fall shares. I call it bitter lettuce and you can cook with it! Click Here for a link to 18 different recipes for escarole. I will include my favorite recipe below. Lettuce will be in shares while we have it in the field. I will band the escarole to differentiate it from lettuce heads. They can look similar. Spicy Salad Mix is back in shares this week. I’ve been loving it with a creamy dressing. Hakurei Turnips are in shares! This is the consensus favorite veggie on the farm. Disregard everything you know about turnips, this ain’t that. Hakureis are super sweet and go perfectly sliced up raw in a salad made with their own greens. Or make the recipe below and lightly glaze the turnips and the greens in the same pan. Winter Squash is going to start going out to shares. We’ll have butternut later in the fall, but for now members will get either Acorn or Delicata squash. They are shaped similarly, so the way to differentiate is acorn is green with mottled yellow and delicata is cream colored with some mottled green.

Check for recipes below!

Shares Week 3:
Carrots
Escarole
Garlic
Lettuce
Onions
Potatoes
Salad Mix
Sweet Potatoes
Turnips — With Tops!
Winter Squash

Egg Share: CHECK LIST FOR NAME
Bread Share: Onion Pepper Parmesan CHECK LIST FOR NAME

LINK: LEMON CHICKEN WITH POTATOES AND ESCAROLE

Ingredients

1 pound small Dutch or baby Yukon Gold potatoes, halved
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lemon, scrubbed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (6 to 8)
1 small or medium red onion, cut into 1-inch wedges
6 ounces escarole, torn into bite-size pieces (5 to 6 cups)
Dijon mustard, for serving

Instructions

Step 1

Preheat oven to 450°F, with a rack in upper third. Place potatoes in a pot; cover with 2 inches generously salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until almost tender, 3 to 5 minutes; drain. Remove zest from lemon in long strips with a peeler, then use a sharp knife to slice strips into a fine julienne. Squeeze 3 tablespoons lemon juice into a bowl, whisk in oil and capers, and season with salt and pepper.
Step 2

Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper; arrange in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet with onion and potatoes. Pour caper mixture over everything; toss to coat. Roast until chicken is golden brown and cooked through, 45 to 50 minutes; transfer to a plate.
Step 3

Switch oven to broil and cook vegetables, stirring once, until juices have reduced slightly and vegetables are charred in places, about 5 minutes. Stir in julienned lemon zest and escarole; broil another 30 seconds. Serve with chicken and mustard.

LINK: GLAZED HAKUREI TURNIPS

Edamame is a great side dish for any meal. Similar to shishito peppers, it is easy to prepare and delicious!

Ingredients

3 bunches baby hakurei turnips, baby turnips, or red radishes (about 2 pounds), trimmed, greens reserved

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

3 tablespoons sugar

Kosher salt

Directions

Step 1

Place turnips in a large skillet; add water to cover turnips halfway. Add butter, sugar, and a large pinch of salt; bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is syrupy and turnips are tender, about 15 minutes. (If turnips are tender before liquid has reduced, use a slotted spoon to transfer turnips to a plate and reduce liquid until syrupy. Return turnips to pan and stir to coat well.) DO AHEAD: Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm before continuing.
Step 2

Add turnip greens to skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until just wilted, 2–3 minutes. Season with salt.
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Start of Fall CSA Shares!

Fall Shares Start Tomorrow!!

I sent out an email to all members last night with pickup instructions. That email is below. If you did not receive my email, please let me know and I will investigate.

Hello Fall CSA Share members!

Fall share start up this Wednesday, October 5th and will be available in our barn or at one of our four pickup locations in the afternoon.

All Members will receive a basket every Wednesday until the week of Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving week, shares will be packed on Tuesday to accommodate the holiday. We’re looking forward to a bountiful fall, and shares this week should be chock full of veggies and herbs. Most of what we pass out during the fall can be stored for the winter. Typically, storage veggies that do not need to be refrigerated (potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, winter squash) should be stored in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Veggies like carrots, beets, and cabbage store well in a bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Root veggies that are bunched by their tops store longer when the tops are removed before putting them in the refrigerator.

Like I said, we are expecting a full basket this week for shares. All members will receive: Bok Choy, Carrots, Fennel, Garlic, Fresh Ginger, Kale, Leeks, Potatoes, Spicy Salad Mix, Thyme. Monday night or Tuesday morning of each week, I send out a newsletter covering what is in baskets, what’s happening on the farm, and recipes for how to use your produce. If you do not receive our newsletter, please let me know and I will look into why that may be the case. Please check your spam, junk, promotions, social, and bulk mail folders before reaching out.

I always miss something in this email. After 5 years, I’ve come to accept that reality. I’ll be sending out the newsletter tomorrow morning and will cover anything I didn’t get to here. I’m looking forward to shares this week! and for the rest of the fall! Please read on for more details regarding pickup.

ON FARM PICKUP is available anytime after 3:30pm. Baskets are on racks in the barn. All baskets are the same, and members can select whichever basket the like. There is a checklist in alphabetical order for members to check off you received your share. If you are a bread or egg share recipient, please check the small table between the racks for your bread and eggs. There is a check list for those items, as well. When you pick up your share basket, please bring your empty basket with you from the previous week. You can place baskets on the rack where you collected your basket, or in any of the stacks around the barn. The barn is left unlocked on Wednesday night for members than need to come after dark. You are also welcome to pick up your share on Thursday, but greens may be wilted and veggies will not be as fresh. Shares run the risk of freezing later on in the fall if left in the barn overnight. All shares are donated to the Fitzwilliam District Nursing Association on Friday.

OFF FARM PICKUP LOCATIONS
Shares must be picked up day of shares, and all pickup location members must give advanced notice if you are not be able to collect your share in time. We can still send a share if need be, but need to know if you are picking up a day late. When you pick up your share basket, please bring your empty basket with you from the previous week. You can leave it in the location you picked up your share. Drivers will return these baskets to be refilled.

Please note the pickup times for your location. We use members homes, and they request that you follow the times so that they are not disturbed late in the evening. There is a checklist in alphabetical order for members to check off you received your share. If you are a bread or egg share recipient, please check the accompanying basket for bread and eggs. There is a check list for those items, as well.

Swanzey Pickup Location will be at 154 Forest Avenue. Pickup is between 5:30 and 8:00pm. Shares are on a table under the deck.

Peterborough Pickup Location will be at 4 Laurel St. Pickup is between 4:30 and 8:00pm. Shares are in the garage.

Keene Pickup Location will be at 60 Russell St. Pickup is between 5:30 and 8:00pm. Shares are on the 3-season porch.

Nelson/Harrisville Pickup Location 221 Murdough Hill Rd. Pickup is between 5:30 and 8:30pm. Shares will be either on the porch on the right side of the house or just inside the kitchen door on the table, depending on conditions.

On the Farm

Well I planned on writing the newsletter this morning, but pressure to get some cover cropping done before potential rain took priority. It’s late to be putting a cover crop in, but with a little luck and a continuation of the warm weather we’ve had, we could get some growth out of it before the end of the year. The alternative isn’t any better, so might as well since I had the opportunity.

We’re slowing down pretty well on the farm. After the work today, most of the farm is either in production or seeded with a cover crop. That feels pretty good to me. If you’re driving past the farm and see the bright green patches of grass across our fields, that’s the cover crop coming up nicely. It is a mix of annual ryegrass, oats, and crimson clover.

The leaves are turning just in time for the beginning of fall shares. The farm is a dream to work on this time of year surrounded by red and sugar maples. My favorite tree on the farm is in the middle of its annual show. It’s an old, haggard sugar maple, and every year it turns a bright, vibrant red. You’ll notice it on the left hand side of the road at the entrance to one of the fields across the street if you’re coming from the direction of route 12. Last year during an intense downpour it lost a limb in the road. It was a massive limb that held up traffic to the farm on a share day of all days. The timeline of trees is astounding. Nolan, my go to tree encyclopedia, believes that even if it was on its way out, there is still plenty of life in that tree for another couple of decades. Losing that limb was devastating, but the tree still seems happy and the crown may be a little smaller, but the color is on full display.

Fall Shares are below:

FALL SHARES WEEK 1!

Fall shares go out every Wednesday from October 5th until the week of Thanksgiving. On November 22nd shares will be packed on Tuesday.

Woo! More shares are coming! Summer may be done, but the roots are just getting started, and the greens appreciate some cool weather!

Bok Choy is in shares this week. See recipe below. Carrots are super sweet because of the cool weather. Fennel is looking good in the field. Garlic will be a weekly occurrence. GINGER I have been so excited about being able to pass ginger out to shares. We grew it as a trial last year and this year grew enough to pass out to the CSA. It is fresh ginger, so best to keep it in the fridge as it is perishable. We will be including leaves and stems that you can use to make tea! Kale will be in and out of shares throughout the fall. Leeks are typically on an every other week schedule with onions. Peppers narrowly escaped the frost the last few nights, but we’ll see if they have any cold damage on them before definitively saying I can pass them out. Potatoes are going to be a staple throughout the fall. They will switch in and out with sweet potatoes. Salad Greens are looking lush in the field. It will be a spicy salad mix this week. The fresh herb is Thyme, perfect for pairing with potatoes.

Check for recipes below!

Shares Week 1:
Bok Choy
Carrots
Fennel
Garlic
Ginger (!)
Kale
Leeks
Peppers?
Potatoes
Spicy Salad Mix
Thyme

Egg Share: CHECK LIST FOR NAME
Bread Share: Honey Multigrain CHECK LIST FOR NAME

LINK: BABY BOK CHOY SALAD WITH RAMEN

Ingredients

For the sesame dressing:

▢ 1/4 cup light brown sugar

▢ 1/4 cup olive oil

▢ 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

▢ 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (see note 1)

▢ 1 tablespoon soy sauce

For the salad:

▢ 2 tablespoons olive oil

▢ 1 package ramen noodles crumbled, seasoning packet discarded (see note 2)

▢ 1/4 cup sliced almonds (see note 3)

▢ 1 bunch baby bok choy sliced (5 – 6 bulbs, see note 4)

▢ 5 scallions chopped

Instructions
* To make the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, olive oil, vinegar, sesame seeds, and soy sauce. Allow flavors to blend at room temperature while preparing the rest of the salad.
* In a large sauce pan over medium heat, heat olive oil until shimmering. Reduce heat to low. Add ramen noodles and almonds; sauté until toasted, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid scorching.
* In a large bowl, combine baby bok choy, scallions, and crunchy mix. Drizzle salad dressing over the top and toss until uniformly combined. Serve at room temperature.

LINK: ROASTED FENNEL WITH GARLIC AND HERBS

Edamame is a great side dish for any meal. Similar to shishito peppers, it is easy to prepare and delicious!

Ingredients

Roasted Fennel Beet Salad

2 large bulbs fennel
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic minced
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp thyme
1/4 cup parmesan (omit if Dairy Free/Paleo/Vegan)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (205 degrees Celsius)
Remove any of the stalks from the fennel bulbs and then cut them in half lengthwise. Cut each halved fennel bulb into 1/2 inch thick slices and arrange the slices on a parchment paper lined baking sheet ensuring that they are all laid out evenly and do not overlap.
In a bowl combine the olive oil and minced garlic and brush it over the sliced fennel and then sprinkle the thyme, salt and pepper overtop to ensure they are all well seasoned.
Roast the fennel in the oven for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes if using parmesan, sprinkle it over the fennel and then return the tray to the oven to bake for another 10 minutes.
After 35 minutes of baking the fennel should be tender and caramelized on the edges (cook for another 5-8 minutes if its not yet tender). Serve warm.

LINK: STUFFED CABBAGE

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 tablespoon mustard
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 head green cabbage
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (16-ounce) can tomato puree
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

Gather the ingredients.
In a large saucepan, combine the ground beef with the onion and 2 cloves of the garlic; cook and stir to break up the meat until the beef is browned and the onion and garlic are tender; drain well and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the beef mixture, the cooked rice, mustard, egg, and salt and pepper until combined.
Cut out the core end of the cabbage and remove and discard some of the exterior leaves. Then carefully remove 8 whole perfect leaves. Soak the leaves in hot water in a large bowl until they are limp and pliable.
Chop half of the remaining cabbage and add this to the beef and rice mixture. Roll up about 1/4 cup of the meat mixture in each cabbage leaf. Reserve any remaining meat mixture. At this point, preheat the oven to 350 F.
Then, in the same large skillet, sauté 2 cloves of garlic in the olive oil until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the tomato puree, diced tomatoes, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Simmer this sauce for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Then remove and discard the bay leaves.
Place the stuffed cabbage rolls in a Dutch oven or large casserole. Top the rolls with any remaining meat mixture. Pour the tomato sauce mixture over all.
Cover the casserole and bake for 80 to 90 minutes or until the cabbage rolls are tender.
Serve the stuffed cabbage with the sauce. Enjoy.

End of the summer

Time to Sign Up for Fall CSA Shares!

We are under a month out from the beginning of our Fall CSA share! I call the fall share the “Farmer’s Favorite Share.” It is loaded with all the storage veggies we grow on the farm–carrots, beets, onions, garlic, winter squash–as well as potatoes and sweet potatoes that we buy in. Plus all the super sweet fall veggies like broccoli, spinach, chard, and cabbage. I love this share and so do our longtime fall members.

Off farm pickup locations available in Peterborough, Keene, Swanzey, and Nelson.

Shares run for eight weeks between October 5th and the week of Thanksgiving.

FALL SHARES START NEXT WEEK. FIRST PICKUP 10/5

Even though summer shares are coming to an end, plenty of members will keep receiving weekly veggies until Thanksgiving!

Fall CSA shares will begin the week immediately following the end of summer shares, Wednesday, October 5th. I will be in touch with all members via email regarding pickup locations and times.

There are still some CSA shares left, if anyone wants to join before its too late! We have some nice looking crops of beets, carrots, cabbage, greens, winter squash, and herbs maturing in the fields. Most crops store well through the winter, so members can keep eating Tracie’s produce into the new year.

On the Farm

We’ve reached the end of summer shares :/ Every year I talk about the bittersweet end of the summer season. On the one hand, I’m exhausted. Always am. I think I always will be at this time of the year? I know I’m not alone. Our farm meets up monthly with a group of other farmers in the Monadnock Region. One afternoon a month we meet at someones farm and help out for the afternoon. A few weeks ago we traveled to Hungry Bear Farm and helped Farmer Gene pull dry beans for his spring CSA next year–it gave me some ideas… The work is usually light, and we get a chance to talk shop. It’s hard to get together with farmers to have a conversation. Most times I see a farmer I know, we chat briefly and then both declare we gotta run off somewhere. We’re always being tugged in a hundred directions. These meetings give us a chance to sit down and get to know one another, ask about our farms, see new practices, and check in how the season is going. It’s around this time of year that we’re all counting down the weeks til share season ends. Not because we don’t love growing food for our community, but because its the end of a long summer. The light started to change, the wind picked up, and when you work outside every day, these things signal that it is almost time for rest.

So it is bittersweet. I am ready for rest, but I will miss the summer. The farm doesn’t feel alive like it does in the throes of August. It is already quieter on the farm. We see less CSA members each week as we move into fall CSA shares, and we have a little more time at the end of packing shares, so the barn isn’t a bustling scene every Wednesday as we greet delivery drivers and CSA members while putting the last bit of produce in the baskets. I’ll miss our crew. We have started to drop down on farmers as fall doesn’t demand the same degree of labor. It was a close group this summer. We are currently in a hacky sack faze, and have spent most breaks and lunches hollering over trying to pass the little ball between us.

It’s only the end of summer, though, and there is plenty of excitement left for fall. Digging roots is all farmers favorite activity. What is more exciting than pulling a bright orange carrot out of the dark soil like it’s Excalibur? It’s not an exaggeration, sometimes it tests the will of the farmer to remove carrots from the dense, cold earth. I’m looking forward to fall shares. We’ve got some beautiful greens that are thriving in the cool weather. We’ll be passing out ginger for the first time ever! We trialed it last year, and this year grew enough that share members will get some. Beets are looking healthy, brussel sprouts are “brusseling,” and winter squash is just about ready to be pulled from the field.

Thank you to everyone that participated in our Summer CSA this year. It was a pleasure to serve you, and I hope you leave feeling a little closer to your food and community. I will be in touch in the coming weeks asking for feedback. It was another challenging growing season, the third in the last few years that we have seen record setting weather events. Climate change impacts the way we have to farm, and adjusting to it takes the whole community. I will be looking for advice on how we can improve our CSA shares while keeping in mind limitations due to the changing climate. Growing efficiently will be key to dealing with instability, and we grow for our members, so I would like to hear what you think. Thanks to all. I hope to hear from you soon!

SUMMER SHARES WEEK 16!

A reminder that we are on the even week schedule for half shares. FULL SHARES receive a basket every week. HALF SHARES receive a basket every other week.

EVEN WEEKS

Week 2 – 6/22 Week 10 – 8/17
Week 4 – 7/6 Week 12 – 8/31
Week 6 – 7/20 Week 14 – 9/14
Week 8 – 8/3 Week 16 – 9/28

ODD WEEKS

Week 1 – 6/15 Week 9 – 8/10
Week 3 – 6/29 Week 11 – 8/24
Week 5 – 7/13 Week 13 – 9/7
Week 7 – 7/27 Week 15 – 9/21

We attempted to put shares in paper bags last week and realized we can’t do it with the quality bags we have in the barn. In previous years we’ve had real sturdy bags that could hold up to a little moisture from the produce, but the stock we have this year disintegrates with just a drop. If all members could please drop off your last basket at the farm when convenient, we would appreciate it. Delivery members can reach out to me about dropping at one of our fall CSA pickup locations to be collected and brought back to the farm. If you are unable to make it to a pickup location or the farm, please contact me and I will make arrangements.

Bok Choy will be making its appearance in shares for the first time since the beginning of the summer. I will include a recipe for Tracie’s favorite bok choy salad below. Cabbage is cycling back into shares. Chard is the green this week. More lettuce woes… I went to harvest for an order from the beds I was planning to use for shares this week, and every single head was munched on by a deer. There was not one head left that I could use for the order, let alone shares this week. Dill is the fresh herb for this week. Fennel is back in shares. Garlic is a staple. Onions we’ll be passing out some of our smaller onions. I’m driving down to Atlas Farm in MA tomorrow to pick up our fall Potato order. We don’t grow our fall potatoes on the farm for space and labor reasons, and Atlas Farm does a great job producing organic potatoes. Peppers we’ll keep passing em out as long as we have them. Tomatoes are the same.

Check for recipes below!

Shares Week 16:
Bok Choy
Cabbage
Chard
Dill
Fennel
Garlic
Onions
Potatoes
Peppers
Tomatoes — Cherries, Romas, or Slicing Toms

Egg Share: CHECK LIST FOR NAME
Bread Share: Cornmeal Pumpkin CHECK LIST FOR NAME

LINK: ROASTED FENNEL WITH GARLIC AND HERBS

Edamame is a great side dish for any meal. Similar to shishito peppers, it is easy to prepare and delicious!

Ingredients

Roasted Fennel Beet Salad

2 large bulbs fennel
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic minced
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp thyme
1/4 cup parmesan (omit if Dairy Free/Paleo/Vegan)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (205 degrees Celsius)
Remove any of the stalks from the fennel bulbs and then cut them in half lengthwise. Cut each halved fennel bulb into 1/2 inch thick slices and arrange the slices on a parchment paper lined baking sheet ensuring that they are all laid out evenly and do not overlap.
In a bowl combine the olive oil and minced garlic and brush it over the sliced fennel and then sprinkle the thyme, salt and pepper overtop to ensure they are all well seasoned.
Roast the fennel in the oven for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes if using parmesan, sprinkle it over the fennel and then return the tray to the oven to bake for another 10 minutes.
After 35 minutes of baking the fennel should be tender and caramelized on the edges (cook for another 5-8 minutes if its not yet tender). Serve warm.

LINK: STUFFED CABBAGE

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 tablespoon mustard
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 head green cabbage
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (16-ounce) can tomato puree
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

Gather the ingredients.
In a large saucepan, combine the ground beef with the onion and 2 cloves of the garlic; cook and stir to break up the meat until the beef is browned and the onion and garlic are tender; drain well and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the beef mixture, the cooked rice, mustard, egg, and salt and pepper until combined.
Cut out the core end of the cabbage and remove and discard some of the exterior leaves. Then carefully remove 8 whole perfect leaves. Soak the leaves in hot water in a large bowl until they are limp and pliable.
Chop half of the remaining cabbage and add this to the beef and rice mixture. Roll up about 1/4 cup of the meat mixture in each cabbage leaf. Reserve any remaining meat mixture. At this point, preheat the oven to 350 F.
Then, in the same large skillet, sauté 2 cloves of garlic in the olive oil until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the tomato puree, diced tomatoes, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Simmer this sauce for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Then remove and discard the bay leaves.
Place the stuffed cabbage rolls in a Dutch oven or large casserole. Top the rolls with any remaining meat mixture. Pour the tomato sauce mixture over all.
Cover the casserole and bake for 80 to 90 minutes or until the cabbage rolls are tender.
Serve the stuffed cabbage with the sauce. Enjoy.

Weekly Newsletter 9/20

Time to Sign Up for Fall CSA Shares!

We are under a month out from the beginning of our Fall CSA share! I call the fall share the “Farmer’s Favorite Share.” It is loaded with all the storage veggies we grow on the farm–carrots, beets, onions, garlic, winter squash–as well as potatoes and sweet potatoes that we buy in. Plus all the super sweet fall veggies like broccoli, spinach, chard, and cabbage. I love this share and so do our longtime fall members.

Off farm pickup locations available in Peterborough, Keene, Swanzey, and Nelson.

Shares run for eight weeks between October 5th and the week of Thanksgiving.

On the Farm

Good morning, all! Sending the newsletter in the morning because I am always wiped after a gray, rainy day. The ground has been soaking up all this rain we”ve been getting. It’s kind of amazing to me how fast it gets absorbed. During the July deluge last year, the ground was so saturated that water pooled on the surface for a day or two after a heavy rain. Now it is so dry that even a couple inches of rain gets soaked up in a day or two.

The cover crops that I seeded last week have all germinated and are starting to take root in the soil. I said a couple weeks ago in the newsletter that one of the reasons August is a difficult month is because the rapid growth we see in the spring time is behind us. Not as much for cool loving cover crops. They have been growing steadily every day. I drove the van the long way around the farm yesterday to show the crew the bright green patches of cover crop/

We’re winding down our summer CSA. With just two weeks left, I’ve had the chance to reflect a little more on the season and reach out to some members about their opinions. Overall I would say it has been a slow year for us. We had a few stretches of weeks with bountiful harvests, but the dry weather meant shortened harvest windows and lower yields. Late summer was a real difficulty for us. But there were also plenty of successes, as well. It was the first year that we grew potatoes for summer shares, celery was a new addition, as well, and our summer squash and zucchini was extremely productive for longer than expected. Roots have fared well, and carrots were a staple in baskets for a good chunk of the season. Our garlic looks great through storage so far, and with a little rain, our fall crops are thriving. I would love to hear what members think of shares this year. We will be making some changes to our farm over the winter, and any feedback is appreciated. I will also be reaching out to members directly for feedback and opinions once we slow down a little bit. Until then, we’ll be packing baskets as full as we can each week!

SUMMER SHARES WEEK 15!

A reminder that we are on the even week schedule for half shares. FULL SHARES receive a basket every week. HALF SHARES receive a basket every other week.

EVEN WEEKS

Week 2 – 6/22 Week 10 – 8/17
Week 4 – 7/6 Week 12 – 8/31
Week 6 – 7/20 Week 14 – 9/14
Week 8 – 8/3 Week 16 – 9/28

ODD WEEKS

Week 1 – 6/15 Week 9 – 8/10
Week 3 – 6/29 Week 11 – 8/24
Week 5 – 7/13 Week 13 – 9/7
Week 7 – 7/27 Week 15 – 9/21

It is the second to last week of summer shares! Crazy how the time flies by. Delivery share baskets will receive paper bags this week as we try to collect all of our baskets.

Beets will be in shares this week, and the greens will be attached! Use them! They are basically a smaller stemmed chard. Perfect for sauteing, I will leave a recipe below. Fennel is making its way back into shares. Garlic is a staple and we’ll be spending all day today cleaning it. Leeks are back in shares. Unfortunately they are on the smaller side. Lettuce is finally back. We are picking them a little early, so they won’t be totally filled out yet, but we have been missing them in baskets and have enough to harvest some this week while we wait for the rest to size up for next week. Parsley is our herb of the week. Peppers should remain in shares through the end of summer. Shallots are going out to shares. Tomatoes should make it to everyone.

Check for recipes below!

Shares Week 15:
Beets w greens
Fennel
Garlic
Leeks
Lettuce
Parsley
Peppers — Sweet Red & Green
Shallots
Tomatoes — Cherries, Romas, or Slicing Toms

Egg Share: CHECK LIST FOR NAME
Bread Share: Red Pepper Cheddar CHECK LIST FOR NAME

LINK: ROASTED FENNEL BEET SALAD

Edamame is a great side dish for any meal. Similar to shishito peppers, it is easy to prepare and delicious!

Ingredients

Roasted Fennel Beet Salad

4 whole beets, red and golden
2 whole fennel bulbs, trimmed, cored, and sliced
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pinch sea salt
4 cups mixed greens
1 whole shallot, thinly sliced

Homemade Honey Mustard Vinaigrette with Maille Mustard

¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
¼ cup orange juice, from one whole orange
1 Pinch salt and pepper

Directions

Prep oven: Preheat oven to 400 F.
To roast beets: Wash beets and place in a large glass baking dish filled with a small layer of water. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until soft and a fork can easily spear through, about 40 minutes. Let cool and sliced into cubes.
To roast fennel: Toss trimmed and cored fennel with olive oil and sea salt, then bake in a glass baking dish until soft and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool.
To build salad: Arrange mixed greens, cooled beets and fennel, and shallot slices on a plate. Toss with Homemade Honey Mustard Vinaigrette (see recipe below).

Homemade Honey Mustard Dressing

Combine + whisk ingredients: Combine olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, Maille Old Style Mustard, juice of one orange, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a small glass mixing bowl. Whisk until well combined and toss with salad.

Cover Cropping!

Time to Sign Up for Fall CSA Shares!

We are under a month out from the beginning of our Fall CSA share! I call the fall share the “Farmer’s Favorite Share.” It is loaded with all the storage veggies we grow on the farm–carrots, beets, onions, garlic, winter squash–as well as potatoes and sweet potatoes that we buy in. Plus all the super sweet fall veggies like broccoli, spinach, chard, and cabbage. I love this share and so do our longtime fall members.

Shares run for eight weeks between October 5th and the week of Thanksgiving.

 
Fall VEggies Time to Sign Up for Fall CSA Shares! We are under a month out from the beginning of our Fall CSA share! I call the fall share the “Farmer’s Favorite Share.” It is loaded with all the storage veggies we grow on the farm–carrots, beets, onions, garlic, winter squash–as well as potatoes and sweet potatoes that we buy in. Plus all the super sweet fall veggies like broccoli, spinach, chard, and cabbage. I love this share and so do our longtime fall members. Shares run for eight weeks between October 5th and the week of Thanksgiving.
FALL SHARE SIGNUPS
HARRISVILLE/NELSON FALL PICKUP SITE AND DELIVERY DRIVER NEEDED We are looking for a pickup site in the Harrisville/Nelson area to receive shares on Wednesday evenings. We usually do this at someones house that has a covered deck, porch, or garage that members can easily pick up their share from. We are also looking for a driver to bring shares to the pickup location. Pickup location hosts receive 50% off their fall share, and drivers also receive 50%, so if you are able to do both, you can get a free fall share in exchange. Please email Jack at farmers@traciesfarm.com if you think you have a suitable site to use!

On the Farm

I was late getting in from the field last night, apologies for the late newsletter.

I got to spend the afternoon and evening doing my favorite duty on the farm, cover cropping! A rule of thumb for cover crops is that they should be in the ground by September 15th. With rain in the forecast, yesterday was our chance to get more fields seeded before the “deadline”. This was the second cover crop seeding of the year so far. The first was about a 1/2acre on September 1st. Last night I covered another acre or so.

It is notoriously difficult to seed cover crops on mixed vegetable farms. Most of our beds are “double cropped,” meaning we plant or seed into the same bed two times over the course of the season, and the ones that aren’t double cropped are usually used for long season crops. Because we crop our fields so intensively, it is difficult to get the final crop out in time to get a good stand of cover, it is also the reason why covering is so important on the farm.

Cover crops provide countless benefits to the soil. They can add nitrogen for plant growth, condition the soil for planting, smother weeds, break up compaction, contribute organic matter, retain moisture, soak up excess moisture and more and more and more. I’m reading a book on cover crop strategies as we speak. We don’t get to see the benefits until the following year, or for many years, but it is a top priority for me to keep figuring out how to get more of the farm covered and covered early. Over the years I have gotten better at it, and this year was the earliest I have ever been able to seed a cover crop! When I plan fields in the winter, I keep that September 15th deadline in mind for getting a cover down. In my mind, cover cropping has the same priority level as any of our marketable crops. Vegetable farming asks a lot of the soil. It is intensive production compared to a field of wheat or corn. We use fertilizer to help replenish the nutrients in the soil, but a cover crop will replenish nutrients while repairing the soil structure.

I could go on and on about cover crops. I mean it when I say that it is my favorite job on the farm, and I see it as a marker for my duty as a land steward. This year we’re using two different types of cover crops. One is a rye/oat/clover mix that will overwinter and keep growing in the spring until we terminate it to plant into. The other is a six species mix that was made to “winter kill” for early planting into in the spring. This is where a solid crop rotation is so important when it comes to cover cropping. Something like onions, which we aim to have planted by the first week of May, needs a cover crop that will be successfully terminated by the time we’re ready to plant. For those early beds I use the winter kill mix. Tomatoes, on the other hand, don’t get planted until the first week of June. For those we want a cover crop that will keep growing through the spring until we are ready to plant. But in order to plan what cover to use where, I need to know now where crops will be next year. I have been working on solidifying our crop rotation over the past couple of years, and a big part of my motivation was to figure out how to cover crop more effectively. Crop rotation has its own benefits, which I’ll get into in another newsletter, but suffice to say soil conservation requires a multi faceted approach that combines crop rotation and cover cropping, along with many other cultural practices.

I wrote the beginning of the newsletter this morning before the crew arrived, and am finishing up now before we take lunch. We sure got a soaking first thing! Abigail, Joe, and I pulled beets for shares tomorrow and started in on our edamame harvest.

We are still in a little bit of a lull that is carrying over from last week. There are a few crops teetering on the edge of maturity. Lettuce heads need one more week, same with bok choy and broccoli. Believe it or not, our weekly harvest is based off a schedule I set in the winter. Almost all of our crops are on a schedule by date of harvest, it’s the only way to make sure that we are planting in time to fill baskets for any given week. Obviously that schedule fluctuates throughout the season, and right now we are behind by a couple of weeks. The lack of rain in July and August set back planting times, but also days to maturity for a lot of crops. Without much water to drink, the plants don’t grow as fast as their potential. Lettuce, broccoli, and bok choy were all supposed to be ready for last week, but we’re still waiting on them. Other crops that are usually safe bets this time of year haven’t performed as expected. Our eggplant set out an initial fruit set, but the second flowering never really occurred, and beans have been decimated by deer and are only producing marginally. That wouldn’t be such a problem except that the other fall veg is lagging behind, which means I am scrambling to figure out what will fill baskets this week. Last week I thought we’d have a lull, but were able to put together a pretty decent basket regardless. We’ll see what we are able to do this week. If it is a lull week, rest assured that the final two weeks should have some very full baskets.

SUMMER SHARES WEEK 14!

A reminder that we are on the even week schedule for half shares. FULL SHARES receive a basket every week. HALF SHARES receive a basket every other week.

EVEN WEEKS

Week 2 – 6/22 Week 10 – 8/17
Week 4 – 7/6 Week 12 – 8/31
Week 6 – 7/20 Week 14 – 9/14
Week 8 – 8/3 Week 16 – 9/28

ODD WEEKS

Week 1 – 6/15 Week 9 – 8/10
Week 3 – 6/29 Week 11 – 8/24
Week 5 – 7/13 Week 13 – 9/7
Week 7 – 7/27 Week 15 – 9/21

I was please with what we were able to put together in shares last week, and this week I’ll be checking in on items that can make it into shares as the week progresses. We have a few beds about a week out of maturity, so if we have a lean week this week, it will be made up for over the last two weeks. Greens in particular. Our Lettuce, Bok Choy, and Salad Mix are all a week away from going into baskets. Squash is off of the harvest list after production fell off a cliff following some cool nights. Beets will be in shares this week. They are Chiogga beets and a more pink hue of red. They almost look like a radish. Beets will be a mix of large and small. Edamame will be in shares this week! My favorite side dish. We’re gonna harvest a big bag for folks, and I’ll include a recipe below. Garlic is a staple. We’ll include some small Kale bunches just to have a green in shares. Leeks are the allium this week. Peppers might have another week or so left in them. Sage is the herb this week. I like to pair it with beets. Tomatoes of some variety will make it into shares.

Check for recipes below!

Shares Week 14:
Beets
Edamame
Garlic
Kale
Leeks
Peppers — Sweet Red & Green
Sage
Tomatoes — Cherries, Romas, or Slicing Toms

Egg Share: CHECK LIST FOR NAME
Bread Share: Cinnamon Raisin CHECK LIST FOR NAME

EDAMAME

Edamame is a great side dish for any meal. Similar to shishito peppers, it is easy to prepare and delicious!

Ingredients

Edamame
water
Salt

Directions

Bring water and salt to a boil. Add edamame and cook for 5 minutes until edamame are tender and easily release from their pod.
Drain thoroughly and toss generously with a coarse finishing salt like kosher salt or fleur de sel. Serve warm or cold.

LINK: ROASTED BEETS WITH BACON, SAGE, AND BROWN BUTTER

Ingredients

2lb beets
olive oil, as needed
4 strips bacon
1 red onion, julienned
2 oz. unsalted butter
½ cup walnuts
1 oz.honey
1 oz. lemon juice
1 oz. apple cider vinegar
6 Fresh sage leaves
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley

Directions

Heat a convection oven to 375 degrees. Coat the beets lightly with the olive oil. Wrap them in aluminum foil, place on a sheet pan and bake for about 45 minutes. Remove the beets from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
Peel, cut them in half horizontally and slice them into wedges. While the beets are cooking, slice the bacon into small pieces. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and cook the bacon until most of the fat is rendered and the pieces are crisp.
Remove the bacon from the pan and reserve pan with the bacon fat for later use. In a 14-inch pan over medium heat, add the butter and cook until just before it starts to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the roasted gold beets to the pan and sauté for 2 minutes.
Add the julienned red onion and cook for 3 minutes longer. Add walnuts, honey, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar and cook for 5 minutes longer. Once the pan sauce has started to thicken, add in the sage and bacon and cook for 2 minutes longer.
Reheat the pan with bacon fat to medium heat. Add the roasted red beets and get a nice sear. Cook for about 5 minutes, then remove from the heat. Add the red beets to the gold beet pan, finish with fresh parsley and serve.

LINK: CREAMY KALE AND LEEKS

Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large leeks, halved and thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
4 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of a knife
Sea salt
1 teaspoon chile flakes
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Black pepper
1½ cups heavy cream
2 bunches lacinato kale, thick stems trimmed, leaves chopped in quarters

Directions

In a large sauté pan with a cover, warm the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and garlic cloves, season with salt, and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until the leeks are fully softened (if they look like they might start to brown, turn down the heat). Add the chile flakes, lemon juice and zest and loads of black pepper, stir well, and add the cream.

Let the cream come to a simmer (you want some gentle bubbles here) and then add as much kale as the pan can hold in a single layer. Cover the pan, lower the heat to medium, let the kale wilt for a minute or so, then give it a thorough stir to coat it with the cream. Add a splash of water (2-3 tablespoons) and another sprinkle of salt; cover again, and let cook for another minute or two, stirring it occasionally, until the kale is wilted enough to make room for more.

Repeat as many times as needed (but don’t add water unless your cream has cooked away too quickly) until all the kale is fully wilted in the cream. Lower the heat even more and let it cook a bit longer. You want it to cook way down, until it’s dark, soft, and creamy. Before serving, check for seasoning: You may want a bit more black pepper, a bit more salt and a final sprinkle of chile flakes.