Well friends, it’s been a pleasure growing food for you this year. Of course the season has flown by, as all busy (and fun) times do. I remember how slowly time seemed to pass during my first couple weeks here. After just two weeks I felt like I’d been working for two months! But looking back on it now, it all came and went rather quickly. The seasons changed, the fields changed. From rainy spring days to blistering summer heat to frosty fall mornings, we’ve seen and felt the progression of the seasons. Last week brought temperatures dipping below freezing at night, that chill still lingering in the morning hours but warming up to clear, sunny afternoons. The cold temperatures made for a different routine of tasks throughout the week. Time was spent securing row covers, closing up the greenhouse and high tunnel, and draining water out of hoses and irrigation lines to prevent pipes from freezing. Our morning harvests had to be pushed back a few hours to allow the air to warm up and the plants to thaw. But most everything seems to have survived pretty well. The wrapping up of the Serenbe Market last weekend opened up time for our crew to dive into other projects as well. We spent a day doing brush clean-up, clearing weeds and dead limbs and more thorn bushes than we really cared to get tangled in. We were also able to start in on a construction project of sorts, installing shelves in the various storage sheds on the farm. Now as your CSA comes to a close this week, it feels as though the whole season is coming to a close. But then we look out onto the fields of broccoli and kale and cabbage and carrots and so many veggies just beginning! So here’s a plug for our Winter CSA: Five weeks of farm fresh veggies for $150! Sign up and you don’t have to say goodbye just yet! But alas, though the farm season is not coming to a close, my season as an intern is. Jess and I will be finishing up our internships over the next week, and though we’re both sad to say goodbye to all the friends we’ve made and the time and work and emotion we’ve invested in this place, we’re also excited about all the possibilities the future has in store for us. I speak for both of us when I say thank you–for welcoming us into your community, for inviting us into your lives, and for supporting our work here on the farm. You have helped make this year memorable in so many ways, and we’ll leave here better for it. To end, here’s a look back at some of my favorite moments of the year.
My first day on the farm, and another day in late summer:
First broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage of the spring, a beautiful asparagus harvest, and digging potatoes:
Tomatoes first planted out in the field, first ripe cherry tomatoes, and giant tomato plants in the high tunnel:
And lastly, this fine crew:
And lastly lastly, recipes!
1) Cabbage and Noodles–If this recipe looks familiar, it’s because I included it in the newsletter when we had cabbage in the spring. But it’s one of my favorite dishes, so I had to throw it out there again! If you haven’t tried it yet, now you have no excuses. First boil your noodles–spiral egg noodles or fettuccine noodles work great, or go all out and make your own pasta (recipe follows)! Cut rounds of cabbage and then slice each round in half to create long, skinny strips. Sauté in butter over medium heat until cabbage is tender and slightly transparent. Add in about 1/4 cup sugar (yes, sugar–you won’t regret it!) and a little salt and pepper to taste. Drain noodles and toss them in the skillet with the cabbage. That’s it! So simple, but so delicious.
Homemade Pasta–Mix together equal parts semolina flour and all-purpose flour, a touch of salt, and just enough hot water to form a stiff dough (to make a fair amount of noodles for the above dish, I’d use about 1 c each semolina and all-purpose flour and about 1/2 c hot water). Knead dough–it will be crumbly at first but will come together as you knead–until smooth. Cover and let rest 30 min or so, then slice off about 1/4 of the dough at a time and shape into desired pastas. I like to make strozzapreti, which involves rolling out the dough, cutting it into strips about 1/2 inch wide and 3-4 inches long, and twisting it into a spiral. Place pasta on floured surface or wire rack until ready to cook (can be made hours or days ahead of time and left to sit and dry). Definitely worth the extra time! Store-bought pasta just doesn’t compare after making your own.
2) Kil’t Greens with Bacon Jam (from http://gardenandgun.com/article/cast-iron-recipe-kilt-greens-bacon-jam)
2 lbs. mixed young greens, such as mustard, chard, kale, and spinach
¼ cup bacon jam (recipe follows)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Optional garnishes: hot pepper vinegar, red onion, sliced boiled egg
Submerge greens in standing water, remove any large stems, and rip leaves into bite-size pieces if necessary. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high, add bacon jam, and melt. Add greens, turn heat to high, and toss until wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish as desired and serve immediately.
Holly Hill Inn’s Bacon Jam
Makes about 2 cups
1 lb. good-quality bacon, diced
1½ cups diced onion
¹⁄³ cup bourbon
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup whole-grain mustard
Cook bacon in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until a good amount of fat has rendered and bacon just starts to turn golden, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add diced onion, turn the heat down to low, and cook together until onion is tender. Add bourbon, vinegar, brown sugar, and mustard, and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to use.
3) Baked Ziti in a Mornay Sauce with Italian Sausage and Fennel (from http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/baked-ziti-in-a-mornay-sauce-with-italian-sausage-and-fennel-recipe.html)
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups milk
Freshly ground white pepper
6 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds hot Italian sausage links, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound ziti pasta, cooked al dente
1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffonaded
In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk, 1/2 cup at a time. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cook, stirring constantly for 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in 1/2 cup of the grated cheese. Set aside and keep warm.
In a large saute pan, over medium heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the fennel. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes or until soft. Add the sausage and continue to saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the pasta, sausage mixture and Mornay sauce. Mix well. Pour into a greased 2-quart oval baking dish. Sprinkle the top with cheese and place in the oven on the top rack. Bake until the top is golden brown and bubbly, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Spoon onto serving plates and garnish with fresh basil.