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Author: bloomingglenfarm

Well folks, it has been 24 weeks, and that’s a wrap for season 2012- that’s 24 weeks and 48 share harvests for this farm crew! We started early due to that wonderful spring weather (anyone remember spring and those delicious strawberries?!) so that brings week 24 in October instead of later into November. No complaints here, since that means we avoid those cold mornings waiting for the crops to thaw, no tortuous frosty hands or ice water washings. A few of our crops that we’d hoped to have for you by now are still puttering along- brussel sprouts and cauliflower specifically. You’ll have to visit us at the farmers markets this winter (Wrightstown has a mini-market the second and fourth Saturday of the month starting in December, from 10-11am, and Easton has a new weekly indoor winter market starting the Saturday after Thanksgiving at the Nature Nurture Center, from 10-1pm). We will also offer a limited number of Thanksgiving boxes for sale with some special goodies available- keep an eye out in your emails for ordering information and other details. We will be emailing a link for CSA registration information for 2013 in mid to late November. We do not anticipate any major changes from 2012.

CSA share, week 24, 10/23/12

Despite the pace slowing down a bit, there are still many jobs to be done at the farm in preparation for the colder months. Fields are continuously being cleaned out, of irrigation tubing and stakes for example, then tilled and sown with cover crops for the winter. This week the crew was busy planting all the greenhouses with crops like kale, spinach and scallions. All our garlic seed is broken up and ready to go in- the goal is to have it planted before next week’s predicted rainstorms. We will also be battening down the greenhouses in case of high winds.

Leaves being delivered from Perkasie boro; Greenhouses being planted.

This week is like Christmas for Farmer Tom. Perkasie Borough  and Hilltown Township have begun its leaf collection- you may see the big trucks vacuuming up the leaves from the sides of the streets. Instead of those leaves ending up in the landfill, they bring them here to the farm, truckload after truckload. Using a big windrow turner, Tom will mix the leaves with cow manure and straw bedding from Tussock Sedge Farm. After a few weeks of steadily turning the piles, with temperatures reaching between 130 and 170 degrees, we are left with a beautiful rich compost.

Photos and text by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.

I am a pretty indiscriminate veggie lover; however, every once and awhile a root or shoot passes my path that I just can’t wrap my head around liking. Turnips have always been that way for me. I never hated them, but they generally fall under the “why bother” category in my book. That is, until I realized I’ve never actually given turnips a fair go of it.

Determined to change my relationship with the lowly purple-top turnip, I devised this recipe. It would be perfectly delicious with any combination of root vegetables, but it is particularly suited to the turnip. Maple syrup contrasts the bitterness that is associated with turnips (although, upon closer inspection, ours are quite sweet right now). Cardamom enhances the spicy and earthy taste of the oft-maligned root. Roasting brings out the sweetness in everything.

Maple and Cardamom Glazed Root Veggies

Serves 2-3 as a side dish.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Start with 2 pounds of root vegetables–I used half purple-top turnips and half carrots. Peel veggies if need-be (definitely recommended for turnips, not so much with carrots). Dice all veggies into similar sizes, about 1/2 inch cubes. In a mixing bowl, toss veggies with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil of choice (I chose coconut). Spread the veggies in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the preheated oven.

While the vegetables are roasting, make the maple glaze. In a small sauce pan on medium heat, whisk together 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1 pinch red pepper flakes1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 more tablespoon of oil. Heat for just 30 seconds to 1 minute, and remove from heat.

After about 20 minutes in the oven, flip the veggies with a big spatula so that the bottom sides won’t burn. Reduce heat to 400 degrees and continue roasting for another 10 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown.

Toss roasted vegetables with the maple glaze, the juice of half a lemon or lime, and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley, and voilà, you’ve just made turnips delicious!

Note: After I served up the veggies, I had a ton of leftover glaze, which I couldn’t bear to pour down the drain. Instead, I combined it with more lime juice and used it for yummy dressing on a simple kale salad.

Text and photography by Kate Darlington – Blooming Glen Farm second year intern, fresh food enthusiast, and budding food blogger. She also writes for the Digging Deep Campaign as well as for her personal blog, Growing Things.

It is truly in the fall that I appreciate the opportunity to eat local more then any other time. Why? Because that same frosty white coating on the fields in the morning that has me pulling out my favorite scarves and sweaters, also signals exciting changes that are happening within many of our crops. The resemblance to a dusting of sugar gives a clue to what will be reflected at the dinner table. (You know when your family is fighting over the last scrap of kale in the skillet that something’s going on).

CSA share, week 23, 10/16/12

The first frost came October 12th. Every autumn we know it’s coming- last year it was the 28th (followed by that crazy October snowstorm), the year before, the 13th. The cold brought an end to the last of the beautiful field flowers- the dahlias that were still blooming profusely- and the bumper sweet pepper crop of 2012. Even though the frost signals the end of many things, both good and bad (adios, galansoga weeds- see you next season!), it also means sweeter tasting veggies.

The leafy greens taste substantially different. The kale is divine; all trace of bitterness is gone. Cabbage family crops- kales, brussel sprouts, collards, actually increase the amount of sugars in their cells- which acts like an antifreeze. In the same act of self-defense, our root crops are converting stored starches to sugars. The sharp edge to the turnips and radishes has mellowed, but the difference is most pronounced in the carrots – they are pure vegetable candy.

To buy produce trucked in from California this time of year would be a shame. Now more then in any other season, you can directly taste the weather’s effects on your food, in a positive way!

Purple-top Turnips and Carrots

The harvest festival was a great success! Thanks to everyone who volunteered, contributed, or attended. It was a gorgeous day and a rocking community event. In the next few days we will be posting in the blog the recipes for the top three winning pies from the third annual pie bake-off contest. Over 90 people tasted and voted!

Just a reminder that next week is the last week of the CSA distribution! Registration information for 2013 will be posted online sometime in mid to late November. We will send out a few reminder emails when that happens. Thanks for a great season!

Photos and text by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner. Additional photos at the harvest festival by Elizabeth Lombardi (thank you, Liz!).

Butternut Squash & Leek CasseroleNothing says autumn harvest like a butternut squash, right? Like its buddy, the delicata squash, butternut is low in calories, carbs, and fat, and high in vitamins A and C. Butternut squash also provides a very healthy dose of the minerals, potassium and manganese, and is a good source of vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, and magnesium. Additionally, the carotenoids that provide its gorgeous color also deliver antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. As if that weren’t enough, butternut squash also lives up to its silky, delicious, buttery name. Beauty and brains — you just can’t beat it!

Butternut squash tastes divine after roasting, which really brings out its sweetness. It also makes a great soup, where you can add savory elements for a great depth of flavor — a loaf of Bakers on Broad bread completes this tasty meal! Finally, pair butternut squash with whole grains; the smooth texture of the squash makes an excellent partner to hardy whole grains. The cool weather inspired the butternut squash casserole recipe below, which also uses in-season leeks. Let the oven warm up the house and serve this comfort food with a side of green’s from this week’s share.

References and recommended links:

Butternut Squash & Leek CasseroleButternut Squash & Leek Casserole
Ingredients
1 tbs grapeseed oil
3 leeks, sliced into half-moons
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 can coconut milk
1/4+ tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tbs chopped herbs (rosemary, sage, and/or thyme work great)
1 box (13.25oz) dried whole wheat elbow macaroni
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

Method
Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Lightly spray a 9- x 13-inch casserole dish with grapeseed oil.

Heat oil in a heavy-bottom pot over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add squash, coconut milk, cayenne, salt, and pepper and turn up heat to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until squash is tender, about 15-20 minutes. Stir in herbs and simmer another minute.

Meanwhile, cook macaroni al dente, about 7 minutes. Rinse in cold water, drain, and put into a large bowl. Transfer squash mixture to bowl with macaroni. Add salt and pepper and toss to combine. Transfer to casserole dish and top with bread crumbs. Bake until it begins to brown and is cooked throughout, about 25 minutes.

Post and photos by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder and -owner of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!

This week at the farm we are gearing up for our harvest festival. We are very excited that local bluegrass band Goose Creek Pioneers will be joining us this year. They will be performing on and off from 2-5 pm this Saturday October 13th. We will also have a drum circle with Valerie Hopkins, Professional Musician and Rhythm Facilitator, of Drum Circles Heal. Join us for crafts, relay races, garlic seed splitting, a wagon ride and more! The Coffee Scoop, Bucks County Cookie Company and Owowcow Creamery will be selling their treats and hot coffee. And, drumroll, you asked and they’re here! Blooming Glen Farm t-shirts, printed by Green Changes on gorgeous organic cotton, and designed by CSA member Chris Caruso, will be for sale!!

For $1 you can participate in tasting (and voting on) all the fabulous pies in our pie bake-off contest. During dinner the winner will be presented with the “pie” trophy (a beautiful piece of ceramic artwork by tile artist Katia McGuirk), to be kept for one year, then passed on to next year’s winner! It’s not too late to enter a pie- just shoot us an email! Potluck dinner will be around 5 pm (bring a dish to share, and your own place settings and beverage). CSA members and musicians Cliff Cole and Brian Pearson will entertain us with their musical talents during dinner. See you this Saturday at 2pm!

CSA share, week 22, 10/9/12

Fall radishes are here, in the share and at our market stands. The long white daikon radish is an Asian staple: its name is Japanese for “great root”, and it’s no wonder when they can reach lengths up to 3 feet long. Daikons are said to aid the digestion of fatty foods and can be eaten raw- grated or in fine matchsticks. The daikon radish can also be used as you would a turnip, in stews and soups where they provide a bright, refreshing note. They can also be stir-fried, pickled, baked or simmered.

Watermelon Radishes on the left; Daikon Radish growing in the field

The watermelon radish is round and and could easily be mistaken for a turnip, but when sliced open it looks just like a watermelon with a green rind and a bright rosy-pink interior.  It’s a bit milder and sweeter than regular radishes, and much larger. Though they can be braised, roasted or mashed, I think they are best enjoyed raw, for in its natural state you can trully appreciate it’s stunning pink color and flavor. Slice them up and enjoy with your favorite dip, or grate them into a salad (peel off the tough outer skin first).

Photos and text by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.

Cabbage and apples are a classic combination–and it’s no coincidence since they are both staples of the fall and winter diet. This week, the Blooming Glen Farm cabbage of choice is the crinkly-leafed savoy. Savoy cabbage comes from Northern Italy, where it is known as cavolo verza.

The inspiration for this recipe came from one of my favorite food blogs, Nourished Kitchen. I took some liberties, though, replacing onions with leeks and green cabbage with savoy. Because savoy is sweeter and more tender than other cabbages, I eliminated one apple and some cooking time from the original recipe.

Cider-Braised Cabbage and Apples

Cut the roots and most of the greens off 3 leeks, slice lengthwise, and rinse any grit from between the layers. Slice crosswise thinly and fry in a hot skillet with 2 tablespoons of butter. When the leeks begin to brown, add 1 medium apple, cored and thinly sliced. Cook for another 5 minutes until apples start to soften.

Reduce heat to medium. To the skillet, add 1 savoy cabbage, cored and thickly sliced and 1 bay leaf. Stir to bring apples and leeks to the top. As the cabbage begins to wilt down, pour 1-1/2 cups apple cider into the skillet. Simmer for about 15 minutes until apples and cabbage are soft and most of the liquid is evaporated. Sprinkle on 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, toss to combine, and remove from heat.

Pair this dish with pork, and you’ve got yourself a time-honored flavor combination that can’t be beat (I chose a juicy bratwurst). If pork isn’t your style, it would also go very nicely with a roast chicken and/or savory white cannellini beans.

Text and photography by Kate Darlington – Blooming Glen Farm second year intern, fresh food enthusiast, and budding food blogger. She also writes for the Digging Deep Campaign as well as for her personal blog, Growing Things.

Coming up next week, Saturday Oct. 13th, is Blooming Glen Farm’s annual harvest festival. With fall festivals springing up everywhere you look this time of year, I needed to take a few moments to remind myself why our farm values this season-end celebration.

Harvest festivals and agriculture traditionally go hand in hand. From the ancient Greeks and Romans to modern times, numerous communities and religions honor a tradition of thankfulness at harvest time. The holiday of Jewish religion called Sukkot or “Festival of Ingathering’, is both historical and agricultural. A celebration of family, community and culture, the word “Kwanzaa” comes from the African language Swahili and means “First Fruits of the Harvest.” In Great Britain, until the 20th century, farmers celebrated the end of the harvest with a big meal called the harvest or “mell-supper”, named after the last patch of corn or wheat standing in the fields. Cutting it signified the end of the work of harvest and the beginning of the feast.

Harvest festivals are typically held around the Harvest Moon -the full moon closest to the Autumn Equinox (this year’s harvest moon was Saturday, Sept. 29th, so we’re not too far off). Ancient harvest festivals were celebrated to give thanks for an abundant crop. In our world of seeming overabundance, where our every food whim can be satisfied by a quick stop at the local grocery store, it can be easy to forget to honor this connection between the health of our farms and the health of our families.  

In ancient times, an abundant crop was crucial to sustain the community through the lean winter months. But abundant crop or not, giving thanks was ritualized into the fabric of these ancient communities. Whether it be the labor of the farmers and volunteers, the support of the eaters, or the benevolence of a greater life source (whatever name you may choose to call it)- all these factors and hands contribute to the thriving organism that is a farm. Thanks-giving truly happens best through collaboration and shared experience, taking time out of our busy lives for joyfulness and sharing, with the ultimate result being a healthy, strong, and unified community. And ultimately a community that is thankful for healthy food will always have healthy farms.

Please consider joining us next Saturday from 2pm until dark for our Harvest Festival and Harvest Supper– bring a potluck dish to share as we all sit down to a meal together made from the fruits of the season. Dance, feast, socialize, drum, craft, collaborate, and reflect on the bounty that the land has given us these past six months. Volunteers are still needed to help make this celebration possible- sign-up sheets can be found at the farm. All are welcome!

Speaking of bountiful harvest, the farm crew is particularly thankful for the broccoli crop this week. It’s the first week of October- the leaves are changing, cooler temperatures at night means sweeter veggies, and kinder weather for crops like broccoli. Broccoli is something we plant every two weeks in the fall. But due to unforeseen elements like weather and insects, there are no guarantees that each sucession will bring a bumper crop. This week’s harvest is the third planting, and by far the most beautiful so far. Less bugs and minimal disease made for large broccoli crowns, and a very enjoyable and speedy harvest, even in the rain on Tuesday.

Photos and text by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.

The knobby warty exterior of celeriac, also called celery root, hides a delightful interior. Peel away the rough skin and inside is the smooth ivory flesh, a wonderful aromatic alternative to starchy potatoes. Celeriac is one of those vegetables that can seem intimidating, but after some experimentation it will quickly become a versatile favorite in your kitchen.

Though celeriac will keep for many months in your refrigerator, and up to 6 months in the right root cellar conditions, hopefully you will be inspired to use it sooner. This first idea, because it really is more an idea than a recipe, utilizes celeriac in its raw state. Thanks to nutrition coach Patti Lombardi, who taught a class here at the farm All About Greens, this is quickly on its way to becoming a lunchtime staple in our house!

Spicy Green Wraps

First take one large flour tortilla– I used the biggest ones I could find at Whole Foods- “All Natural Roll-Ups made with whole wheat flour“. Next, decide what you want to use as the “glue”. Patti suggested organic refried pinto beans– spread evenly over the tortilla, and for a little added flavor and spice, a bit of spicy black bean dip (or salsa if you prefer). Hummus would be another idea.

After painting on the “glue”, roughly chop 1/2 a bunch of arugula and pile it down the middle of the tortilla. (You can also experiment with lettuce or kale, always putting the softer greens down first onto the tortilla).

Next comes the crunch- add some finely chopped cabbage. Grate 1/3  of a celeriac, spread on top of the cabbage. Add three grated french breakfast radishes on top of that, and some thinly slivered fennel. I happened to have some ripe avocado, so that went into the mix. Lightly season with sea salt and squeeze a bit of lemon wedge on top.

Then it’s time to wrap it up. Lift the side of the tortilla closest to you (the edge at the bottom of the photo on the top right). Roll away from you into a big tube, using your fingers to press the greens under the wrap and your thumbs to keep the wrap rolling, pressing down tightly as you roll. Don’t worry if you rip it on your first try (I did), but my second one came out perfect. Cut in half (serves 2).

*In the class Patti held here at the farm, her version contained sweet peppers and grated carrot (no radishes), which was a bit sweeter. The great thing about these wraps is you can adjust to your taste, and use whatever happens to be in the share that week. You could also add chicken or turkey if you desire.

Simple Celeriac Saute

A lot of recipes with celeriac have you partnering it with potatoes in a mash, roasting it with other assorted root vegetables, or adding it to a soup. In this simple stove-top dish, celeriac plays the starring role. Lightly seasoned, the flavor of the celeriac shines through, making for a wonderful side dish. I also imagine it would be great on top of lentils.

Using a paring knife carefully off the rough exterior of one celeriac. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Over high heat, put a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the cubed celeriac, a handful of thyme leaves, and 2 cloves finely chopped garlic. Season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Stir to coat and fry for about 5 minutes. Turn down to a simmer and add 3-4 tablespoons water or stock– I used 3 cubes homemade chicken stock I’d frozen in ice cube trays.  Place a lid on top and cook for around 25 minutes, until tender. You can leave in the celeriac in cubes or smash it a little (somewhere in between a cube and a mash). (*Recipe courtesy of JamieOliver.com)

Celeriac Gratin

So far we’ve done celeriac raw and a simple seasoned stove-top celeriac saute. Now let’s do an indulgent comfort dish, sure to please any picky eaters in your family.

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 1 1/2 quart gratin dish, or large deep dish pie plate. Scatter 4 thinly sliced shallots over the bottom of the dish. Take two large peeled celeriacs, cut in half, then cut each half into 1/4-inch thick slices, and julienne. Arrange evenly in gratin dish. Sprinkle 2 sprigs thyme leaves over celeriac.

In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup heavy cream, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, dash of nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Pour over celeriac. Sprinkle on top 3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese and 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until top is brown and bubbly and cream is thickened and reduced, about 20-30 more minutes. Let cool 10 minutes and serve. (*Recipe from MarthaStewart.com)

Photos and text by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.

It’s not too late to come to a tasting and cooking demonstration class tonight at the farm- it’s All About Greens, with nutrition counselor Patti Lombardi. Not sure how to store, prep and use the greens (cabbage, kale, beet greens, collards, tatsoi and more) coming from the farm this time of year? Take advantage of this opportunity to learn how to include incredibly healthy and delicious greens in every meal. Cost is $20 and walk-ins are welcome. Class is from 7-8:30 pm in the distribution room at Blooming Glen Farm.

This week’s share has lots of varieties of greens, roots and more. Fall beets are here, the pick-your-own beans are plentiful and spicy arugula is back!

CSA share, week 20, 9/25/12

This past week on the farm we began to clean out the greenhouses, removing the summer crops and looking ahead to planting hardy greens for the winter. We will be attending winter farmer’s markets held at both Easton and Wrightstown. We continue to put fields to bed for the winter, sowing assorted mixes of cover crop seeds. Before the next round of rain, our crew cultivated the aisles of our new strawberry field, then mulched them with straw.

By far, the most exciting part of our week was participating in the Outstanding In the Field dinner on Sunday. Last year you may remember in late summer and fall we were experiencing heavy rains and soggy fields, so the long table ended up in our equipment barn. This year we couldn’t have asked for better weather, or a better setting amidst our vibrant fall crops, under the bright crescent moon. We were honored to be chosen again as a host farm on their 100 farm coast-to-coast tour, and to have the opportunity this year to meet artist and founder, Jim Denevan.

I was struck by the similarity between Jim’s artwork- he makes temporary drawings on sand, earth and ice that are eventually erased by waves and weather- and the “artwork” of the long farm table. In less then 24 hours a beautiful table is set in the field, over 150 guests arrive, and an elaborate dinner is cooked and served. The photo is all that remains the next morning as proof of the experience.

Photo credit: Jim Denevan

As farmers, we too operate in this temporary realm- crops are sown, grown, harvested and consumed over a period of days, weeks, and months, all encompased in one fleeting season. The fields start fallow and end fallow, and in between, there is color and beauty, patterns and life, roots and leaves and fruit, to be captured in photos, but eventually to be returned to the earth. The farm dinner was a celebration of many things- chefs, farmers, visionaries, foodies, and food artisans. To me, it was a reminder of the art that is farming, and of the joy that is found in the creation and the visual display of vegetables in the field and on our collective tables, the sensory and temporary experience of it all, from growing crops to eating dinner. Thank you Outstanding In the Field!

Photos (unless otherwise noted) and text by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.

This week marks the official beginning of fall, and both the weather and veggies seem to agree with the calendar. This is a perfect soup for the transitioning season. It is rich and creamy without being too heavy. When roasted, fennel becomes deeply sweet (totally different from the crisp and refreshing taste of raw fennel) and leeks develop a wonderful caramelized flavor. Celeriac lends body and depth to this creamy soup. A touch of tangy blue cheese and crunchy chickpea crackers make it complete.

Roasted Fennel and Leek Soup

Cut off most of the green parts of 2 fennel bulbs and 3 leeks (save a few of the fennel fronds for garnish). Slice the leeks in half long-ways and run the layers under water to remove grit. Chop fennel bulbs and leeks into 1-inch chunks.

Cut away the ugly outside of  1 celeriac and chop into 1/2-inch chunks. Combine with fennel and leeks and toss with a sprinkle of salt and enough olive oil to coat. Spread veggies in a single layer on a cookie sheet and roast in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes (stirring once or twice) until they begin to brown and caramelize.

When the veggies are done roasting, combine them with 4 cups of milk, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard powder. Heat until milk is hot, but do not boil. When heated through, use an immersion blender or food processor to puree until smooth. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with chickpea crackers (recipe below), crumbled blue cheese, and a sprinkle of chopped fennel frond for an added touch of the gourmet.

Gluten-Free Chickpea Flour Crackers

Combine 1 cup chickpea flour, 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon fennel seeds2 teaspoons olive oil, and 1 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Slowly stir in 1/4 cup water until a thick dough is formed. Roll dough out into a thin layer (1/8 inch or so) on a cutting board and cut into cracker-sized pieces. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees until golden brown and crisp (I did this at the same time I was roasting the veggies).

This recipe is easily adaptable–replace fennel seeds with chopped herbs, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, etc. Cut into thinner strips for a salad garnish, or into wedges for dipping into hummus or spinach dip.

Text and photography by Kate Darlington – Blooming Glen Farm second year intern, fresh food enthusiast, and budding food blogger. She also writes for the Digging Deep Campaign as well as for her personal blog, Growing Things.