Winter on the Farm…
After the busy spring, summer, and fall seasons on the farm, winter is often a welcomed change of pace and chance to rest. For the staff at Penn’s Corner it is a chance to re-connect and check in with all our farmers as they plan for another season and order seeds. Despite the change of pace and activities in the winter, many farms are still busteling with life and some are even harvesting products from their greenhouses for us, like the turmeric roots the Crighton’s have put in the CSA this week. Chris Crighton was kind enough to share a bit about what it is like on their farm in the winter, and how this winter has been different than winters past…
“We have memories of a series of paths in the snow that needed opened daily – from our house to the barn and the greenhouses and the mailbox. But not this year! – not yet. Every morning first thing we have to put coal in our auger fed furnaces in the greenhouses, and feed the animals twice daily. Perhaps the hardest thing about winter is dealing with the short days and lack of sunshine. Germination is a week longer and plant growth is about half speed. Surprisingly, egg production is up this winter and none of our farmer friends know why. We are wondering if it is because the hens actually go outside when we open the door. Normally when there is snow on the ground they just look and turn back and won’t venture out, but this winter I know they are at least getting grass bits and for sure some sunflower seeds under the bird feeder.” -Chris Crighton
Check out this great (very short) video that demonstrates the growth of the CSA movement in the US over the last few decades!!!
THIS WEEK’S HARVEST
~3# red potatoes, Weeping Willow Farm
~1# carrots, Clarion River Organics, OG
~ red tomato puree, Clarion River Organics, OG
~1 dozen free range eggs, Clarion River Organics
~puffed spelt, Clarion River Organics, OG
~3 oz. turmeric, Crighton’s Farm
~ head bibb lettuce, Milestone
~ 2 oz. microgreens, Crighton’s Farm
~ 1/2 gallon apple cider, Kistaco Farm
~ 1/2# goat milk feta cheese, River View Dairy
~ 2 small garlic heads, Clubhouse Gardens
OG- Certified Organic CNG- Certified Natural Grown
Harvest List Change
We had to substitute tomato puree for the bread this week. Hopefully we can get it back next week!
(Taken from helpwithcooking.com…Check out the link for even more info!)
As saffron is the most expensive spice available, turmeric is often substituted in its place due to its bright colour, although there are no similarities in the two tastes. Fresh turmeric is slightly spicy, peppery and zesty with a hint of ginger and orange and it is one of the main components of a curry. When the spice is ground to a powder, it is a vital element of the curry powder spice. Ground turmeric has a much milder flavour than fresh turmeric and is not as strong flavoured as it looks.
As well as being a much-loved spice in Indian and other Asian cuisines, turmeric has amazing medicinal properties, many of which have been known for thousands of years in Ancient Chinese and Indian styles of medicine.”
Buying, storing and preparing turmeric
“If you are lucky enough to find some fresh turmeric, it is easy to prepare but precaution must be taken when handling the fresh spice, as it stains the skin very easily and may take several days to wash off. It is probably best to use rubber gloves when handling this spice. When preparing fresh turmeric, you must always peel it first. Fresh turmeric has a thick brown protective skin that is not usually eaten. If using fresh turmeric, you can grind it into a powder before adding to other ingredients by using a pestle and mortar or you can just as easily finely chop it, mince it, grate it or thinly slice it with a sharp knife. To store fresh turmeric, make sure that the rhizome is dry, wrap it in a paper towel before placing it in a plastic bag and then store in the refrigerator. It should keep for several weeks maybe longer.
Culinary uses of turmeric
Turmeric is a favourite in Indian, Thai and other Asian cuisines. It is always found in a curry and in all types of curry powder. Turmeric is often added to rice or sweet Indian dishes for its colour and not always for its flavour. It gives food a bright yellow shade, which may be more pleasing to the eye and more enticing to the palate.
Below are number of ideas for how to use turmeric in the kitchen:
- Add to all curries.
- Add to savoury rice dishes to colour the rice.
- Add to lentils, as the flavours blend well together.
- Add to chutneys, pickles and relishes.
- Turmeric is often found in fish soups or stews.
- Turmeric can be added to potato dishes.
- Add to mayonnaise for a bold colour and hint of spice.
- Use in Middle Eastern styled meat marinades, particularly for lamb.
- Turmeric can be added to savoury soups to give them a deeper colour.
- Turmeric is often partnered with shellfish or fish particularly when fried.
- You can also add turmeric to spicy chicken and rice dishes.
- Add turmeric to spicy casseroles and stews.
- You can use turmeric to flavour and colour couscous.
Moroccan Vegetable Soup (Chorba)
From EatingWell: September/October 2008
6 servings, about 2 cups each // Active Time: 35 minutes // Total Time: 1 1/2 hours
* feel free to skip the out of season items like zucchini and cilantro! You can even use your tomato puree.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric (fresh is even better and has a stronger flavor!)
- 1 pound beef stew meat, (such as chuck) or lamb stew meat (shoulder or leg), trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 6 cups reduced-sodium beef broth, or water
- 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 2 small turnips, peeled and diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 stalks celery, leaves included, thinly sliced
- Pinch of saffron threads, (feel free to skip)
- 12 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, plus more leaves for garnish
- 8 sprigs fresh cilantro, plus more leaves for garnish
- 1 large zucchini, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 2 ounces angel hair pasta, (capellini), broken into small pieces (about 1/2 cup), or orzo, preferably whole-wheat
- 1-2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and turmeric; stir to coat. Add meat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add broth (or water), tomatoes and their juice, turnips, carrots, celery and saffron. Tie parsley and cilantro sprigs together with kitchen string and add to the pot. Bring the soup to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook until the meat is tender, 45 to 50 minutes.
- Stir in zucchini and cook, covered, until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add pasta and cook until soft, 4 to 10 minutes, depending on the type of pasta. Discard the parsley and cilantro sprigs. Season with salt (start with 1 teaspoon if you’re using beef broth; add more if you’re using water) and pepper. Serve sprinkled with parsley and/or cilantro leaves, if desired.
You can enjoy your puffed spelt like cereal in milk, add it to the top of a bibb lettuce and micro green salad or even add it to a trail mix or granola!
Our 2012 CSA sign up is open! Click here to reserve your share today.
We have 8 week, 24 week, and 32 week shares available. This year members that pay in full by check by the end of February receive an early sign up discount. Also, we have finally gotten a lovely Penn’s Corner grocery tote printed. These large totes are perfect to pack your CSA items in upon pickup, and then you won’t have to remember to take your empty box back the following week! CSA members can purchase the $12 bag at the discounted rate of $10. If you would like one just email karlin at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can deliver them to CSA pick up locations.
Want more local food?
Penn’s Corner pre-order, online Farm Stands have many of the same great products that appear in your CSA each, plus more! With pickup locations in Squirrel Hill, Mt. Lebanon and Lawrenceville, anyone is welcome to place an order. There is no obligation to order or order fee, or order minimum. Our Farm Stands run year round and offer a variety of farm-fresh items including produce, meats, eggs, milk, cheeses, bread, mushrooms, pasta and more. Check out our Farm Stands here!