Mesclun Salad Mix
Kale or Collard Greens
Radicchio, Escarole, or Frisee
Hickory King Cornmeal
Red Maria Potatoes
What a busy time of year it is for us at Tomten Farm, made even busier with the ever-shortening days. We are spending our final work share day planting garlic, the annual end of one season and beginning of another. As a farm that grows food year around, November and December are often very busy at our market stand, as other farms enter into their own off seasons; but you all still need the food so it is busy busy for us. Having diversity through the Winter means a lot of planning and organization on our part and every year we make mistakes and learn alot, hoping to improve for the coming years. Many things, such as roots, chicories, fennel, cabbage, & kohlrabi are bulk harvested when they are ready (and before it gets too cold for that particular crop), then washed and stored in our walk-in for 2-3 months. These bulk harvests happen throughout November and December. Other crops, such as greens, spinach, tender salad radishes & turnips, herbs, and salad crops are grown in our high tunnels, where they have some protection from the elements. Lastly we have a few crops that can handle our cold and stay in the ground until they are ready; such as cauliflower, purple sprouting broccoli (ready in February & March), fava beans, and chicories like tardive, grumolo, and orchieada. We may cover these crops with row cover or low tunnels (hoops and greenhouse plastic over individual beds) to protect from chilling.
This year due to many reasons previously discussed, some winter crops, especially a lot of the chicories & roots, are very behind schedule. If the weather is temperate, as it looks like it will be for the next two weeks, these crops will grow just fine; but it means we have a shorter window to get all of our bulk harvests done and that adds a bit more pressure to our November and December schedule, with less daylight and farm hand help. As the year winds down, we naturally are tired and looking forward to some rest as well as future planning and infrastructure projects for farm improvements. It can take some serious energy to want to harvest and wash thousands of pounds of vegetables in frigid temperatures; but we will. We do because we want you to have that frost kissed turnip and vibrant Treviso radicchio when it is at its best. So even though it is the last week of your 2021 CSA share, we will continue to have food for you. Feel free to head to our market stand throughout the winter. We thank you so much for committing to our farm this past season and hope you found some deliciousness every single week. Perhaps you even learned to love something you didn’t think you liked. We like it when that happens.
This week you will receive some very special crops: cornmeal, radicchio (or chicories), and Seminole pumpkin, along with some delicious frost sweetened greens and roots. The Hickory King cornmeal is a particular love for Autumn, as it makes amazing corn pancakes, spoonbread, cornbread, and if you want to nixtamalize (cook in wood ash) and wet grind, the most delicious tortillas. We grow a very small amount, only 600 row feet, so we have very little and we cherish it. The Seminole pumpkin is a wonderful heirloom pumpkin; small with a tiny cavity and a lot of meat, it will store if put in a cool pantry or root cellar space for up to 6 months. It is a fabulous color, with a smooth texture, and subtle sweetness. And then there is the chicories, if you have been a CSA member or customer for long you know how much we love this crop. We are on a mission to spread that love and get you all hooked. frisee, puntarelle, radicchio, and escarole all do well paired with anchovies, salty cheese, fruit, bacon, need I say more? The bitterness will improve with a punch of acidity from either lemon or vinegar; but never forget the salt as they need it to achieve balance. There are a number of salad recipes below; but they can also be halved, grilled or seared and chopped into a creamy risotto.
Enjoy the share…Autumn & Brian
Escarole and Rice Soup – The Classic Italian Cookbook by Marcella Hazan
1 head escarole (3/4-1 lb)
2 TBL finely chopped yellow onion
¼ cup butter
3 ½ homemade meat broth or 1 cup canned chicken soup mixed with 2 ½ cups water
½ cup rice preferably Arborio
3 TBL fresh grated parmesan
Detach escarole leaves discard any that are bruised and wash the rest in multiple waters until clean. Cut into ½ inch wide stripes In stockpot sauté onion in butter over medium heat until nicely browned. Add escarole and a light sprinkling of salt. Briefly sauté the escarole, stirring once to twice. Add ½ cup of broth and cook over very low heat until escarole is tender (25-45 depending on freshness and tenderness). When escarole is tender add rest of broth, raise heat and bring to a boil. Add rice and cover. Cook rice 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until just al dente, firm to the bite. Off the heat, mix in the Parmesan cheese. Taste and correct for salt, spoon onto plates and enjoy.