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The First Winter Shares & Farm Goings-On



 

 

Farm News for the week of December 5   

Announcements & Reminders

  • All Winter Produce and Winter Egg Shares will pick-up this week.
    • Today/Tuesday: Deerfield, Evanston, Northbrook/Highland Park, Lake Forest
    • ThursdayAllstate, Libertyville, Vernon Hills, Oak Park, At the Farm
  • Next month's Winter Share delivery will be Tuesday, January 9 and Thursday, January 11, 2018.

  This Month's Produce Harvest

  • Arugula 
  • Leeks
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Russet Potatoes
  • Salad Mix
  • Green Cabbage
  • White Salad Turnips
  • 'Bosc' Pears - from Mick Klug Farm, St. Joseph, Michigan
  • 'Cameo' Apples - from Mick Klug Farm, St. Joseph, Michigan

  Farm Journal 

 

Good morning from the farm!

The past two weeks of unseasonably warm temperatures quickened the pace of farmers here at the Prairie Crossing Farm! Jeff drove tractors from sun up to sun down tilling fields to prepare for better drainage from the winter snow and to spread and incorporate additional compost throughout the fields. Beginning farmers moved their building projects up in the winter schedule to build outdoors rather than indoors. The boys and I enjoyed the sunshine-filled days as we tended to our field crops and laying hens. 

 

In late fall, Jeff and Tyler seeded several field crops which were "tests" to see what would happen with the low, southern winter sunshine and the potential of milder winter days. We covered those crops with protective, warming row cover, and continued to check on them. Those tests were successful and which means you, our CSA members, benefit!

This week's winter share includes stored crops as well as many fresh crops harvested from the farm field just this early December. While Tyler and Charlotte helped to bring in portions of the harvest this week, our weekend field crew consists of our hard working boys. This past Sunday, we enjoyed a sunny salad turnip harvest with our boys while making jokes and laughing in the process. We could think of no better way to enjoy the beautiful day! 

 

Our boys were also a great help to load, transport, set up and staff our market booth at this weekend's first Winter Farmers' Market at the Evanston Ecology Center. We'll be at this market next Saturday, Dec 9th as well, so please tell your Evanston friends and neighbors to come on down! 

 

Leia, the goat, offers rooster rides in the sunshine. We were not the only ones enjoying the warm weather. Winston, the farm dog, kept a watchful eye on animals large and small searching the farm fields and forests for winter food. Winston also used remaining kale stalks to conduct the orchestra of music created by our roosters. Our roosters often enjoy riding on the backs of the goats to make sure their crows heard far and wide. We captured a video of their morning musical ritual. Enjoy the farm show! 

 

Finally, we wished our good friend and longtime Prairie Crossing farm employee, Luis, a heartfelt goodbye as he returns to Mexico for his retirement. Luis has worked at the Prairie Crossing Farm and within the Prairie Crossing community for over 20 years. We've always wondered if Luis' time on this land provided him with a sixth sense as what was going on across the farm. Luis was known to call Jeff on Saturday mornings to share a Mexican pastry while talking about family and discussing things he'd noticed in the fields. From building projects to field work to sharing dinner over a summer bonfire, Luis' warmth, hard work and friendship will be missed by our family. We wish him our best for a restful retirement. We plan to keep his garden plot ready and waiting for a return visit! 

From all of us here on the farm, we hope you'll enjoy your winter shares!
~The Miller Family & farm crew   

Making the most of your share 

 

The Cameo apple was discovered in Washington State in 1987 and it's quickly grown in popularity. Juicy, crisp, and sweet with just a touch of tart, this apple is thought to come from both the Red and the Yellow Delicious. The skin is yellow-red, with a slightly thicker skin than Goldens and each apple looks slightly different. Try substituting Cameos for Goldens in baking and cooking recipes, and they are especially delicious when eaten raw.

  

This week's share includes both carrots and salad turnips, root crops that we traditionally harvest and provide with their green tops. With winter growing, the root crops maintain themselves in our "outdoor refrigerator" (aka cool soil) while their green tops are generally damaged by frost, wind burn and low sunlight. We've provided these crops without their tops which will allow them to store for longer in your indoor refrigerator. Simply leave them closed up in their plastic bag, and they should store for weeks.   

Farm Kitchen Recipes

Baked Cinnamon Apples
6-­7 medium to cameo apples and/or bosc pears
2 Tbsp lemon juice
optional: 1 Tbsp (15 ml) coconut oil
2/3 cup (128 g) coconut sugar 
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp fresh grated ginger or 1/2 tsp ground ginger
Pinch nutmeg
3 Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot starch (for thickening the sauce)
3 Tbsp fresh apple juice or water
Pinch sea salt
 
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and set out a 9x13­inch baking dish. 2. Peel and core apples, quarter, and use a paring knife to thinly slice lengthwise. The thinner the better! Just try to be consistent so they cook evenly. 3. Add to baking dish and top with lemon juice, coconut oil (optional), coconut sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cornstarch (or arrowroot), apple juice (or water), and a healthy pinch of salt. Toss to combine. Then loosely cover with foil. 4. Bake for 45 minutes (covered). Then carefully remove foil and bake for an additional 10­-15 minutes or until the apples are very fork tender (especially in the center of the dish) and slightly caramelized.
5. Enjoy as is or with Coconut Ice Cream!  Serves 4-6.
(adapted from minimalistbaker)

Kale, White Bean and Tomato Soup
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped (optional)
Salt to taste
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 14­ounce can chopped tomatoes, with juice
6 cups water
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon oregano
1 medium Russet potato (about 6 ounces), diced
A bouquet garni made with a bay leaf, a couple of sprigs each parsley and thyme, and a Parmesan rind (optional – but it does add flavor; use what you have for this)
1 bunch kale, stemmed, washed thoroughly, and chopped or cut in slivers (4 cups chopped)
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
Freshly ground pepper
Grated Parmesan for serving
 
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot and add the onion, carrot, and celery and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes and juice from the can, add another pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, for 5 to 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have cooked down slightly. Add the water, tomato paste, oregano, potato, and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, add the bouquet garni, cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are just about tender. Add the kale and simmer another 10 minutes, until the kale and potatoes are tender and the soup is fragrant. Taste, adjust salt, and add pepper. Stir in the beans and heat through for 5 minutes. Serve, sprinkling some Parmesan over each bowl. The soup tastes even better on the second day, and will keep for 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator. Serves 4 to 6.

Carrot Pancakes with Arugula & Yogurt
4 large eggs, beaten to blend
1 pound carrots (about 8 medium), peeled, coarsely grated
⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup chickpea flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons (or more) olive oil, divided
1 cup plain whole yogurt
1 cup arugula (larger leaves and stems)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Flaky sea salt
 
Mix eggs, carrots, cilantro, and chickpea flour in a large bowl (mixture will be loose); season with kosher salt and pepper. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat. Scoop two ½-cupfuls of carrot mixture into skillet, pressing each to ½” thickness. Cook, rotating skillet occasionally for even browning, until pancakes are golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Repeat to make 2 more pancakes, adding more oil to skillet if needed. Meanwhile, season yogurt with kosher salt and pepper. Toss greens with lemon juice and remaining 1 Tbsp. oil; season with kosher salt and pepper. Serve carrot pancakes with salad and salted yogurt, seasoned with sea salt and more pepper. Serves 4.   

Next Month's Harvest (our best guess)... spinach, honeycrisp apples, onions, carrots and more!



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