The past week has felt like a whirlwind going by, not unlike a windy little snow squall passing quickly over the bare farm fields. So much has happened and so quickly, all of the little odds and ends to get ready for winter.
Sunday night’s threat of snow and the most recent cold snap have kept us out after dark pulling trellises, fences and leeks up, and digging a trench to take power to the barn before the ground is frozen solid. The barnyard and fields have been scoured for anything that needs to be cleaned up and put away before snow obscures it from view—hoses, buckets, lumber, dry beans, even the laying hens have been returned to their winter dwelling.
The daily lists have been long but we’re closing in on our goals, almost to the time we can take a deep breath and enjoy the long winter nights and a warm fire without thinking of all that’s still undone.
Our CSA Structure
We had a great meeting last Sunday with our farm advisory committee largely discussing the structure of the farm and specifically our csa model. We talked about ideas for increasing the window to pick-up shares and how to serve folks in the community who are not interested in the all-you-can-eat, full range of veggies and grains offered in the vegetable share. Lots of interesting and exciting ideas were floated around the table. We’re mulling over and working out details that will be implemented for next year’s summer share—more on that to come.
One of the biggest hits of the meeting was the butternut squash soup. A really quick and easy meal with an unusual combination of flavors. I included the recipe below.
In the Farm Shares
In the veggie share: kale, brussel sprouts, parsnips, winter squash, leeks, potatoes, cabbage, onions, garlic, carrots, beets, sage, wheat flour and wheat berries. Coming soon: turnips, kohlrabi and radishes.
In the meat share: All cuts of pork and beef, half and whole broiler chickens in the freezer. We have four varieties of sausage made up now: Sweet Italian, Spicy Italian, Ginger Sage and Bourbon Fennel. Next week: Fresh bacon.
Winter Squash and Cumin Soup—serves 6
This comes from a great cookbook called In Season, which organizes recipes by the month based on the vegetable ingredients.
- 3 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp caraway seeds
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 winter squash (approx 2 lbs), butternut works well in this recipe
- olive oil to drizzle
- 3 medium-sized onions
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup of butter
- 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup creme fraiche
- Preheat the oven to 375.
- Toast the seeds in a dry frying pan for a couple of minutes (they should be fragrant but not too dark). Grind to a powder with the cayenne.
- Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds, drizzle with olive oil, and bake in oven for 45 min or so until it is completely soft.
- Cool enough to scrape the flesh from the skin and put aside.
- Finely chop the onions and garlic and sweat them gently in a soup pot with the butter for about 10 minutes, until they are soft but not browned.
- Add the spices, squash and stock and simmer gently for a few minutes.
- Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and whisk in the creme fraiche.
In full disclosure I skipped the step of grinding the spices, and did not mix in creme fraiche at the end. I served it with yogurt and sour cream for people to add on their own. I also wanted to make it vegetarian and did not have any stock handy so I used water and added a couple slugs of tamari for flavor.
- Full and By Farm: Rejoicing in Light (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Full and By Farm: Getting Ready for Thanksgiving (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Full and By Farm: Barn Building Continues (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Essex Farm: Arithmetic Variables (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Essex Farm: Calving (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)