Sharing food with our community is at the heart of our farm. Your membership and support makes this possible. We look forward to sharing the 2019 harvest with you!
Farm Photo Journal
Welcome to fall! We're happy to welcome back continuing members and new fall members for the autumn season harvest.
Like spring, fall is a time of change and fluctuation. Arlet, Karina and Ophelie harvested the bright white fennel set against moody, changing fall skies. We are also working hard to harvest the remaining field crops and/or give them the protection that they need during these cold nights.
The farm crew also stays busy in hoophouses making sure spinach, salad mix and onions are planted, weeded and healthy before the day-lengths shorten further and temperatures turn colder.
Tyler and Jeff continue to plan, reconstruct and prepare the chicken's winter home as we'll soon be moving the flock from the field to the hen house near the farmstead. The chickens will enjoy a warmer home, more organic vegetable scraps and a closer view of friendly visitors, too.
We have two weekends remaining at the Oak Park Farmers' Market. Our last market (October 27th) features the combined harvests from all the vegetable vendors at the market to make a delicious stone soup. Come down and join us for a taste, and don't forget to try the special donuts too!
My niece joined us at market this past weekend to add creativity to our sign, while my mother-in-law shared her cooking tips and ideas for ways to use the farm veggies. We're lucky to have willing helpers in the family!
Speaking of events, we have one more Pizza Night on the Farm event remaining (Sunday, October 28th, 4-7pm, weather permitting). This is an outdoor event so we hope the weather will be kind, and we can all enjoy a nice fall evening together. Keep an eye out on Facebook, Instagram and email for updates.
In the meantime, enjoy this week's fall harvest!
Jeff, Jen and the farm crew
Notes from the Farm Kitchen
Acorn Squash are a great storage vegetable, as they will last several months in a cool (50 degrees) spot like a basement or garage. To prepare, cut the squash in half with a sharp knife and scoop out the seeds. You can stuff or cut the squash into slices to roast or sauté. Although the skin is not edible, the seeds are delicious when roasted and lightly salted. Here are someideasfor how to use this fall treat.
Started in the greenhouse this summer, we're now harvesting fall fennel from the field. Raw fennelhas a distinct anise flavor, which may be off putting to some however the flavor is made more subtle by cooking the fennel. Sauteed or braised fennel is excellent paired with baked fish and a touch of butter and lemon. I also love combining fennel with other root vegetables, as in the recipe below where I find the distinct fennel flavor makes the carrots taste sweeter.
This week's shares include one of the lasttomatoharvests from our hoophouse tomatoes. Although these fruit survived this past weekend's frost (unlike those in the field), the cooler temperatures are slowing their ripening and growth progress. The tomatoes may needs a day or two on your kitchen counter to fully ripen.
Farm Kitchen Recipes
Roasted Fennel and Carrots - This makes a great side dish for roasted chicken.
7 carrots, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces 1 large fennel bulb, stalks discarded and bulbs cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges 3 tablespoons olive oil 3 tablespoons water 1 teaspoon fennel seeds 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 450°F and put oven rack in middle position. Toss carrots and fennel with olive oil, water, fennel seeds, salt, and pepper and arrange in 1 layer in a 17- by 11-inch shallow baking pan. Cover pan with foil and roast vegetables in lower third of oven 10 minutes, then uncover and roast, turning occasionally, 10 minutes more. Switch pan to upper third of oven and roast until vegetables are tender and browned, about 10 minutes more. Serves 6.
Lentils with Italian Sausage & Fennel 8 ounces dried lentils 4 1/2 cups cold water 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1 medium fennel bulb, stalks discarded, reserving fronds 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil 1 medium onion or 2 shallots, finely chopped 3 small carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds 1 lb Italian sausage 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar, or to taste Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
Bring lentils, water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are just tender but not falling apart, 12 to 25 minutes. While lentils simmer, cut fennel bulb into 1/4-inch dice and chop enough fennel fronds to measure 3 tablespoons. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then stir in onion, carrot, fennel bulb, fennel seeds, and remaining teaspoon salt. Cover pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook sausage in remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil in a small nonstick skillet over moderately high heat, until cooked through.
Drain cooked lentils in a sieve set over a bowl and reserve cooking water. Stir lentils into vegetables with enough cooking water to moisten (1/4 to 1/2 cup) and cook over moderate heat until heated through. Stir in sausage, pepper, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and 1 tablespoon fennel fronds. Season with vinegar and salt. Sprinkle with remaining tablespoon fennel fronds. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.
Next Week's Harvest(our best guess)...beets, dill, celery root, salad turnips, onions and more!