Thursday, October 29, 2009

Another Sunchoke Recipe

Hi Folks, just in case you still have a few sunchokes rolling around in your refrigerator, I thought you might enjoy this recent recipe from one of my favorite food blogs Chocolate and Zucchini.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Final Share--Roots for Roasting

All the root vegetables in this final share lend themselves well to roasting. Click here for Roasted Medley of Winter Roots-- you could replace the parsnips with either daikon radish or sweet potatoes. Roasted root vegetables are the perfect compliment to roast chicken--also available at the farm.
Click here to read CCDwell's blog post about roasting up one our chickens.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

This Week's Share--Sunchokes and the World Series

I apologize for the late posting but the beautiful weather and this baseball watching has been a bit of a distraction, not to mention much shorter days. Anyway, way to go Phillies!!!! Maybe its all those organic vegetables they have been eating, click here to watch MVP Ryan Howard's visit to the White House Garden.

This week's share includes a tuber you might not be familiar with--the sunchoke, otherwise known as the jerusalem artichoke. Click here to read a great blog posting on this curious little carbohydrate, just a warning sunchokes have the unfortunately side effect of making one a little gaseous. From the website eat the seasons the low down on Sunchokes:

Sunchoke (Jersualem artichoke) look a bit like a knobbly pink-skinned ginger root and have a sweet, nutty flavor, reminiscent of water chestnuts. Although not widely used (perhaps because of its awkward appearance or anti-social effects - see NUTRITION), they are an inexpensive and versatile food that can be used both raw and cooked and make a delicious soup.

The sunchoke is native to North America. The French explorer Samuel de Champlain introduced them to Europe after coming across them at Cape Cod in 1605.

The sunchoke plant (Helianthus tuberosus) is related to the sunflower and produces edible tubers. It is hardy and grows readily in cold climates.

Sunchokes are very rich in inulin, a carbohydrate linked with good intestinal health due to its prebiotic (bacteria promoting) properties. These health benefits come at a price; the food can have a potent wind-producing effect.

Sunchokes also contain vitamin C, phosphorus and potassium and are a very good source of iron.

Roots should be free from soft spots, wrinkles or sprouting. Knobbles and uneveness are unavoidable (and not indicative of quality), but smoother, rounder artichokes are easier to prepare.

Sunchokes will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge.

Like potatoes, sunchoke can be served with or without the skin - scrub clean and leave it on for maximum nutritional benefit.

Cook as you would potatoes - roast, sauté, bake, boil or steam. If peeling or cutting, drop pieces into water with a squeeze of lemon juice to prevent discoloration. Unlike potatoes, sunchokes can also be used raw (e.g. in salads) or lightly stir-fried.

Sunchokes are used in the industrial production of fructose, which is derived from the inulin content of the vegetable. Click here for a fingerling and sunchoke warm salad, yum!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Adventures in Fermentation

Wow, what a difference a week can make. Its hard to believe that last weekend I was enjoying the warm weather, basking in the rosy glow of fall sunshine and the ferments featured at both the Kennett Brew Fest and the Fermentation Festival. Inspired by the buzz of community surrounding the fermentation extravaganza that took place in Kennett Square last weekend(click here to see lots of wonderful pictures of the fermentation festival), I have spent these past few rainy days experimenting with the fermentation process here at the farm. I turned the left over CSA share produce into sauerkraut and kimchi. I am hardening cider (glenn willow sells unpasteurized cider if you are interested) and have started my own ginger bug (to mix with new favorite Root). With the exception of the rather strong sulfurous odor that escapes from the newly capped jars of kimchi and sauerkraut each time a check the fizzy brew of cabbage, radish, ginger, and daikon--its been a fun process. The "cultivation" of good bacteria and fungus in the process of making these very live and delicious foods is the perfect indoor activity for one who likes to be doing the very same thing in the garden soil. A most appropriate rainy day activity for a farmer.

So what's the big deal about fermented food? I think both the cultural and health benefits are summed up quite well on the website of Zukay Live Foods, a participant and sponsor of the Fermentation Festival. Fermenting food has long been a way to both preserve food and make the nutrients more readily available to the body. My field guides to the fermentation process have been both Sallon Fallon's Nourishing Traditions and the essential Wild Fermentation by fermentation guru Sandor Katz (both of these great books are available at Harvest Market Natural Foods in Hockessin, a co-sponsor of the Fermentation Festival). Wild Fermentation is also a great website, if you are interested in fermentation its is an amazing resource. To quote Sandor from the intro to his book "This book is my song of praise and devotion to fermentation. For me, fermentation is a health regimen, a gourmet art, a multicultural adventure, a form of activism, and a spiritual path, all rolled into one."

So I too have been singing the praises of fermented food--imagine a life without beer, wine, cheese, cured meats, bread, yogurt, and yes sauerkraut, kombucha, and kimchi--and beyond these essentials to our diet and health, what has been become very apparent in this fermentation journey of mine--is the connection between the culture of foods and culture of community. As I said before I am still basking in the buzz and bubble of this new group of enthusiastic fermenters and their contribution to our community, a process that is already making me healthier, happier, and ready for the winter.

Read all about the amazing community in the links below:

Recap of the Fermentation Festival from Flow of Love blog and Earth Mama blog

Great article from CCDwell along with a Fermented Carrot Recipe.

Pickle recipe from the Farmers' Daughter

Finally a very interesting article(and some good recipes) about the "economics" of fermentation.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Soups On--Start with a Fresh Chicken

With this cold and rainy weather, nothing could be better than a nice bowl of homemade soup. Lucky for you all, fresh chickens will be available this weekend--Saturday and Sunday from 9AM-6PM in the distribution shed (feel free to e-mail if you need further instructions). CSA members will be able to pick up chickens next week, but are welcome to stop by this weekend. After roasting your chicken for the first great meal, you can use the left overs as a base for delicious tasting stock, or click here to read author of the Grass Fed Gourmet, Shannon Hayes' essay on getting the most out of one chicken. Really one of my most favorite attributes of our pasture-raised chickens is the incredibly delicious stock they make. Trust me any chicken stock based soup you than make will be a hit. See links below for two great stock recipes.

Sally Fallon's Nourishing Tradition article on broth

Gourmet Magazine's simple chicken broth recipe

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

This Week's Share-The Daikon Radish

The long white icicle shaped radish present in your share this week might be a new vegetable for you. Also know as Oriental radish, some form of daikon, either cooked, raw or pickled is an integral part in Asain cooking. Below is an excerpt taken from the Rolling Prairie Cookbook by Nancy O'Connor.

Handling: Daikon radishes are not as hardy as you might think. They lose their moisture over time and can become limp--store them in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic, especially if you want to use them raw and crisp. If you'll be cooking your radishes you can store daikon for up to a week.

Simple Preparation: A simple scrubbing is enough for daikon radishes. Unless they are extremely large or a little more mature, the skin is thin and tender and doesn't require peeling. If you're going to use your radish raw in a salad or as a condiment, just grate and toss with oil and vinegar, salt, and a touch of sweetener, and other veggies if you'd like. Daikon slices can be sauteed in a bit of oil and lightly seasoned with salt and fresh herbs. Cooking disarms daikon's slight bite, creating a dish with a taste like mild turnips.

Here's an attractive relish that's easy to make. Enjoy the simplicity of the white, green (or purple), and red veggies in the fresh and light condiment. Create a rich and creamy taste with the addition of lowfat yogurt or light sour cream--delicious served with Indian cuisine or to embellish a meal of beans and rice.

Daikon Relish
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped green or purple bell pepper
1/2 cup coarsely grated daikon radish
1/4 teaspoon of salt
cayenne pepper to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup lowfat yogurt or light sour cream (optional)

Combine all ingredients. Allow flavors to blend for several hours in the refrigerator before serving. Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups.

And for a more traditional Daikon recipe click here--a good use of the other regular radishes also included in this week's share.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A sense of place-recent blog postings

Sometimes I spend way too long searching the internet for recipe inspirations, photos, and folklore about the produce I feature in a particular week's share. Well I have yet to find the perfect daikon radish link, however I found this wonderful posting on about Apples and a sense of place. I love the sentiment, and as a farmer so enjoy the opportunity to explore a deeper connection to history, culture, and what it means to create community, not to mention the fact that I am a total sucker for any Wendell Berry reference, also one of my life's inspirations, my person guru so to speak.

Speaking of a sense of place, check out Happy Cat's lastest posting (I will add a little warning about Punk Rock Farmer's language, not for the young or sensitive reader). Nothing like foraging for your seed source!

The Apple Tree
by Wendell Berry for Ann and Dick O’Hanlon

In the essential prose
of things, the apple tree
stands up, emphatic
among the accidents
of the afternoon, solvent,
not to be denied.
The grass has been cut
down, carefully
to leave the orange
poppies still in bloom;
the tree stands up
in the odor of the grass
drying. The forked
trunk and branches are
also a kind of necessary
prose—shingled with leaves,
pigment and song
imposed on the blunt
lineaments of fact, a foliage
of small birds among them.
The tree lifts itself up
in the garden, the
clutter of its green
leaves halving the light,
stating the unalterable
congruity and form
of its casual growth;
the crimson finches appear
and disappear, singing
among the design.

Backyard Chicken Workshop

Backyard Chickens!

Wednesday, Oct. 21st 6-7:15pm
Willows Cottage
490 Darby-Paoli Rd. Wayne, PA 19087

Presented by Amy Johnson, Greener Partners with
The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA)

Have you wanted to raise chickens but not sure how or where to start? Come learn the wonderful benefits of keeping a small-scale backyard chicken coop for your all-natural fresh egg supply throughout the year! Join us for an informative talk about how fun and simple it is for the whole family to raise chickens in your own backyard. Workshop will include slide show, coop designs, breed selection and chicken care basics.

Amy Johnson and Chris McNichol have raised backyard chickens on their own urban homestead for over 5 years in the Borough of Media.

Payment of $10 for PASA members and $15 for all others is due Oct. 16th.

Please mail check payable to PASA, 737 Constitution Dr. Exton, PA 19341.

RSVP by 10/16 to Kendra: /610-458-5700 x317.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fermentation Festival this Friday

As I mentioned in the last post, I am very excited for the First Annual East Coast Fermentation Festival, taking place during the Kennett Square Farmers Market this Friday, October 9th from 2-6PM (rain or shine). The festival will be composed of two areas of special displays, tastings, and information along with all the great regular and first Friday market vendors. The first area of note--is the "Drinkable Garden" located between the parking garage and the entrance to the Genesis Health Ventures. For a mere $3 (and an id proving you are 21 years of age or older) you will be able to sample from a great line up of local beer, wine and spirits-- including Victory, Twin Lakes, Stargazers Winery, and the extremely interesting and fairly new Root (and root beer tasting liquor). Also in the area will be tastings from Talulas and a fun interactive display from Rolling Barrel events.

Moving down the side walk you will be able to enjoy the music of Hezekiah Jones from 3-4PM and then Spinning Leaves from 5-6PM located directly across from the Genesis Health Ventures entrance.

The remainder of alley and then all of State Street will be filled with regular farmers market vendors, the perfect place to stock up on fall treats like pumpkins, apples, cabbage, some of which you might be inspired to ferment--perhaps your own hard cider brew or the perfect sauerkraut for an octoberfest celebration.

The final area of note will be located across the street in the area between Newtons and Bedbugzz--the extension of the brick alley way we have appropriately named "Fermentation Alley". This area will be filled demonstrations, tastings, and the opportunity to learn more about home fermentation with on hand experts from Harvest Market Natural Foods, April Coburn Herbwyfe, Zukay live foods, and Home Sweet Home Brew. We will even have ceramic mug makers Tom Hitner and Lyla Kaplan on hand to provide the perfect receptacle for your homemade brew. So bring your check book and your questions and get ready to learn everything there is to know about the magical, delicious, and healthful world of fermentation.

For a listing of the demonstration schedule stay tuned to the Farmers Market Blog.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Fall Events--A celebration of the season's bounty

Happy October everyone! The month of October ushers in a myriad of fall harvest celebrations including the Unionville Community Fair, Chadds Ford Days, and the Kennett Brew Fest. Before the month gets away from me, I want to take this time to highlight some events that you might not be familiar with.

The first is the Camphill Village Kimberton Hills Hoedown. Organized by a good friend--this family friendly event starts at 3PM and includes great music, food, and people, all in an breathtakingly bucolic setting. For a complete line up click here.

For those looking to continue the spirit of farm fresh food and bucolic settings this year's PASA Harvest Dinner will take place at Longwood Gardens on Saturday, October 10th. If the fundraising dinner is a too little rich for your blood (although I cannot say enough about the good work of pasa), check out the Guided Walk of Sustainable Longwood on that same Saturday afternoon. Get a behind the scenes tour from CSA member and longwood employee Tom Brightman!

If you are feeling very gourmet and very generous, Historic Kennett Square is hosting its Enchanted Evening on Friday, October 9th at 7PM in the Genesis Health Ventures Building. It too is for a great cause--Historic Kennett Square is the fiscal agent for the farmers market and includes food from Talula's Table, local beer, not so local wine, and the music of local favorites the Sin City Band.

Last, but certainly not least is the Kennett Square Fermentation Festival also happening Friday, October 9th at the Kennett Square Farmers Market. I cannot tell you how excited I am about this informative festival--I am a big fan of fermentation--from beer to sauerkraut, from kombucha to cheese--its a magical and healthful process that I will blogging about next stay tuned. In the meantime clear your friday, october 9th, we have been working hard to put together a great afternoon of events. The perfect way to celebrate the Fall!