Mini Road Trip

Last week Native Offerings Farm sent out an email letting all csa members know that they harvested another bunch of greens from the greenhouse.  We were all invited to go down to the farm on Saturday to pick up one final share.   With visions of  arugula, tatsoi, and vitamin greens dancing in our heads, Erika and I packed Aksel up and headed down to the town of Otto where the farm is situated in a long valley in Cattaraugus County. It was a gray, rainy day, but the drive was beautiful because all the new green growth of Spring glistened as it bathed in the light that filtered through the fog.

Native Offerings Farm

The town of Ellicottville is 9 miles northwest of the farm, so after we picked up our greens, we continued the drive and had lunch at the Elicottville Brewing Co.  I picked up a growler of their American-style Pale Ale which is “Copper in color, mildly malty, and packed with citrusy Cascade hop flavor and aroma.” A quiet, peaceful day well spent.  (Check out My CSA Adventure Blog)

Ellicottville Brewing Co.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

This is one of my favorite times of year when it comes to seasonal cooking, and Native Offerings Farm has hooked us up in the squash department.  I definitely see more of this dish in our Thanksgiving Day future.

This recipe is from the NY Times and it goes really well with a good old fashioned grilled cheese sandwich.

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds butternut squash
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Chopped red onion for garnish
  • Chervil leaves for garnish

Preparation

1.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Using a large, heavy knife, split the squash in half and scrape out the seeds and discard them. Place the squash halves on a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper and roast until very tender, about 1 hour. Use a spoon to scrape out the flesh; set aside, discarding the skin.
2.
In a large pot set over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion just turns golden, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the stock and squash and cook, uncovered, for 25 minutes. Allow to cool.
3.
Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor and return it to the pot. Stir in the milk and cream and reheat. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve garnished with red onion and chervil.
YIELD
4 to 6 servings

Erika Reporting

This is Erika’s write-up as mentioned in my previous post…

My husband Scott, son Aksel, and I enjoyed an afternoon visit to the farm for their annual CSA Shareholder Open House event.  We had a tour of the farm’s barn, cleaning/sorting area, greenhouses, and fields, as well as a fabulous potluck meal and boot-tapping entertainment by 1-man band blues guy Ben Prestage. And last night, our 9-month old baby Aksel slept through the night for the first time ever. Guess all that farm fresh air does a baby good.

Eating locally has many benefits, both for the individual/family as well as for the community.  Rather than traveling an average of 1,500, as is the case with food at the grocery store, our CSA vegetables travel less than 50 miles. They are grown on a certified organic farm that has the soil tested annually, and Native Offerings invests in remineralizing of the soil to compensate for the nutrients lost by past crops. The farm also employs people locally with a living wage, which supports local families. The food is rich, wholesome, and as nutritionally dense as you can possibly find anywhere; everything has been harvested within 24 hours of us picking up our weekly share.

An organic farm faces many challenges that are easily “solved” by conventional farmers with sprays, but must be more creatively and naturally solved by the organic farmer. Crop rotation as well as planting of crops to attract pests away from food crops are all a part of the solution, as well as resting of certain fields and electric fencing to keep the deer at bay. We learned so much about the food we have been eating, as well as about the challenges and rewards of organic farming in general. Anyone with an interest in changing their family’s eating habits and being part of a solution to the food crisis this country is facing should look into joining a CSA.

It’s Thursday: Our CSA Stroll

Below are some candid pictures of our walk to our CSA.  We always start at my place.  I live above Sweet_ness 7 Cafe.  There are lots of churches in the area, and the old Lafayette High School is a formidable sight on our path!   We pass lots of old houses on the west side, many of which have been fixed up quite nicely.  We cross the circle at Lafayette and Richmond and enter the Elmwood Village area where we pick up our share at the Lafayette Presbyterian Church.  Check out the mutant squash Erika found!

 

NOF Update: What’s Coming July 12 – 14, 2011

We would appreciate any rain dances done on our behalf by shareholders…

The buckets of sour cherries will not be offered this year. Sorry.

The Vegetable Share: Greens–choice of: Dino Kale, Green Curly Kale, Red Curly Kale, Arugula, Collards; Head Lettuces, including Endive and Frisée; Japanese Turnips with their Greens; Baby Carrots; Herbs–choice of: Cilantro, Dill, Basil, Parsley (Flat Leaf and Curly), Sage; Subs–Green Peppers, Celeriac.

The Fruit Share: Sweet Cherries; Sour Cherries.

Recipes: Kale with Herbs; Arugula and Egg Tartine; Collard and (Green) Olive Pesto; Japanese Turnip and Carrot Salad; Blue Cheese Dressing; Raw Cherry Soup.

NOF Update: What’s coming June 7-9, 2011

The Share for June 7, 8, and 9, 2011

Welcome to the start of the 2011/12 season! It was a tough Spring for agricultural pursuits, but Stew and his already very hardworking crew have managed to harness the weather enough to begin providing us with incredible naturally grown vegetables.

The share listing for this week is deliberately open-ended and variable. On the whole, weekly shares are fairly consistent, but the unpredictable weather has made for some unpredictable harvesting. That’s farming…

The Share: Beets (storage); Celeriac (storage); Leeks; Radishes with their Greens; choice of assorted greens (such as, but not limited to: Mustard Greens, Rapini, Choi); choice of assorted herbs (such as, but not limited to: Oregano, Basil, Sage, Thyme, Tarragon, Rosemary, Nettles).

The Recipes: Celeriac and Radish Salad; Beet Latkes; Herbed Radish Salad; Celeriac and Leek Soup; Pasta with Wilted Greens; Beet and Rhubarb Soup.

Enjoy!

Keeping up with Native Offerings Farm

In anticipation of the CSA summer season starting and the beginning of our adventure, Erika and I “liked” Native Offerings Farm on facebook so we could receive their updates.  Here are a few updates leading up to our first pick up which was late because of some serious weather issues in the region.  I’m learning just how weather can affect how things turn out for a farmers crops.  The May 23 update is particularly eye opening!!!

– May 7, 2011 – We have transplants in the ground! We were able to plant spinach and the first and second plantings of lettuce yesterday. We planted into hard soil because the ground was still too wet to work up. It was great to finish and look back to see over 5000 lettuce plants. STEW

– May 9, 2011 – Transplanted beets, chard, scallions and parsley were planted today. Beets, chard, carrots, dandelion and cilantro were also direct seeded. If the weather keeps dry we will be back on schedule soon. STEW

– May 12, 2011 – Hot and dry and loving it. This week was the big push. Time to empty the greenhouse of seedlings and work up the fields. Sometimes there is not enough time in the day to finish what you want to do. You are forced to focus on what is essential. The most important word on the farm is vegetable. This is probably why I feel like a vegetable at the moment. STEW

– May 14, 2011 – I would like to give thanks for a week of dry weather. I would like to give thanks that the clouds went away and let the sun shine. I would like to give thanks that we were able work up the fields and plant crops. Now I feel good about the rain because the transplants needed water. STEW

– May 23, 2011 – The river washes away the sand and into the river our field falls. Heavy rains cause erosion and Mansfield Creek is eating the land. Cattaraugus Soil and Water is preparing a permit so we can repair the bank and stop the destruction. The cost is estimated to be between 15 and 20 thousand dollars. So much for the new barn roof. STEW

– May 24, 2011 – IT’S LIKELY THAT WE WILL BE STARTING THE FOUR SEASONS AND SUMMER VEGETABLE SHARES BY THE SECOND OR EVEN THE THIRD WEEK OF JUNE INSTEAD OF THE FIRST WEEK AS PLANNED.  We expect fruit shares to start by the second or third week of June.  July start share will begin the first week of July. Deb

– May 25, 2011 – Potatoes are planted. Spuds in the ground. Soon they will sprout and spread their love through the earth. STEW

– June 2, 2011 – This will be only the second time in 14 years we will not start the CSA on the first week of June. We will try to start next Thursday. The good news is that we have a lot of crops in the ground. It has been a crazy season. We planted Tomatoes yesterday and now there is a frost warning! STEW

– June 4, 2011 – There was no frost and we planted the rest of the tomatoes and all of the peppers on Friday. On Monday we will transplant lettuce and scallions.  STEW

– June 6, 2011 – The CSA starts this week. We will have a pick-up in Orchard Park on Tuesday the 7th (on schedule!), the farm on Wednesday the 8th, and Buffalo and Williamsville on Thursday the 9th. Expect greens, beets, celery root and herbs. STEW

YAY!!  The adventure begins…