cold weather

beets, cold weather, greenhouse, soup

Beets are back!


No Comments

Hello all!

The cold snap finally let up and we’re hoping the past 10 days were the coldest we’ll see this winter. We may still see some snow but it’s the cold we don’t like. The crops were damaged some but nothing catastrophic. Some lettuce in the hoophouses got cold burned leaf tips and some stems on the kale have skin damage but that’s about it. The turnips got knocked out completely but they were on their way out anyhow.

We have had an exciting week which is why it’s taken so long to post. We finalized our rental agreement of a greenhouse in Fuquay-Varina and planted crops! We planted seeds of lettuce mesclun, endive, beets, turnips and swiss chard in raised beds. We should start harvesting at the end of February and it will be available through our online store. We will be planting a few more items such as radishes and broccoli raab as well.

Don’t forget to sign up for our CSA. We have many spaces open, please send us your sign up forms and deposits!

Our online store is still operating and will continue to operate until the end of March at the soonest. Next Tuesday, January 19th, we plan to have produce pickup at our house, 604 Sasser St., between 4pm to 7:30pm. The next NCSU delivery will be Wednesday, January 20th. Remember to have your orders placed by Monday evening.

During these cold winter months, please be aware the weather may postpone our harvest of your produce. In response to this, we may postpone pickups by a day or two. We will provide primary notice of pickup changes via email (especially for those of you who place orders) as well as via blog and online store. Thank you for being flexible with us!

Purchase of vegetables is made through our online store www.vendio.com/stores/bensproduce.

Current vegetable availability includes:

baby beets

bok choy

brussels sprout

cabbage

carrots

collards

green onions

kale

lettuce

sweet potatoes

tatsoi

No longer offered:

broccoli

chinese cabbage

mixed greens

mustard greens

radishes

spinach

swiss chard

turnips

Future winter vegetables may include:

arugula

broccoli raab

mixed baby lettuce & greens

turnips

swiss chard

Baby beets have returned to our store and we also added a couple more varieties of lettuce. This is peak winter salad season…the lettuce tastes buttery with very little bitterness, the carrots taste out of this world and the cold is doing wonders for everything else. The cold transforms starches into sugars which translates into sweeter vegetables.

Here is a recipe for beet soup. Patrica made it this week with our fresh baby beets, it was amazing!

This recipe comes from The Complete Book of 400 Soups (ed. Anne Sheasby: p. 163)

Sweet and Sour Cabbage, Beetroot and Tomato Borscht

There are many variations to this classic Jewish soup, which may be served hot or cold. This version includes plentiful amounts of cabbage, tomatoes and potatoes.

Serves 6.

INGREDIENTS

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

4-6 raw or vacuum packed (cooked, not pickled) beetroot (beets), 3-4 diced and 1-2 coarsely grated

400g/14oz can tomatoes

4-6 new potatoes, cut into bite size pieces

1 small cabbage, thinly sliced

1 litre/1 ¾ pints/4 cups vegetable stock

45ml/3 tbsp sugar

30-45 ml/2-3 tbsp white wine, cider vinegar or sour salt (citric acid)

45ml/3 tbsp chopped fresh dill, plus extra to garnish

salt and ground black pepper

sour cream, to garnish

buttered rye bread, to serve

  1. Put the onion, carrot, diced beetroot, tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage and stock in a large pan. Bring to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
  2. Add the grated beetroot, sugar and wine, vinegar or sour salt to the soup and cook for 10 minutes. Taste for a good sweet-sour balance and add more sugar and/or vinegar if necessary. Season.
  3. Stir the chopped dill into the soup and ladle into warmed bowl with a generous spoonful of sour cream and more dill and serve with buttered rye bread.

Note: I didn’t use tomatoes. Instead, I opted for adding the beet greens near the end of the process (step 2 above). I love the taste of baby beet greens in my salad. Older beet greens are not as tender, but they are yummy in soup. I also did not use sugar. The beets and carrots from the farm are sweet enough for my taste to add the sugars to this soup. Finally, we did not have fresh dill, so I used dried dill. While fresh dill is always tastier than dried, the dried dill was a nice substitute.


See you soon,

Ben & Patricia


Advertisements
cabbage, carrots, cold weather, CSA, kale, recipe ideas, winter

Cold Snaps & Sweet, Sweet Kale…


No Comments

Hey Folks,

Hope you’re staying warm through this cold snap. It sure is a cold one. This ain’t nothing for me though. I come from the hills of the north where it’s like this for 7 months a year! On a serious note, it is much warmer down here and the winters are shorter, both aspect of the warmer South that I love. I’m torn because I love yet am averse to the cold, snow, ice, slush, darkness, etc. northern winters. I must admit, southern winters are better suited to winter vegetables. We saw a little bit of snow on our way to Tennessee for the holidays when we drove through the mountains. I am sentimental about snow at this moment. Ahh, the crunch underfoot is satisfying. Perhaps we’ll see the white stuff yet!

We postponed the online store pick up today until Wednesday this week because the high temperature today was about 34 with a fair breeze on the farm. Such conditions have adverse effects on produce post-harvest by accelerated transpiration of moisture. The produce goes limp and shows signs of drying out, especially the skin on carrots. The temperatures look better tomorrow with a high around 40 F mid-afternoon. We hope you all understand we want to provide the best local produce by working with the weather, not against it.

We announced the CSA this past Sunday. See our post from January 3rd for information on our Summer 2010 CSA. We received our first deposit today and we are very excited! Woo-hoo! We’re in business! Plenty of spaces are open, so please consider our CSA for your spring and summer veggies & fruit.

Patricia made us an amazing meal tonight by using fresh red cabbage, carrots and Toscano kale from the farm. It was fried catfish on a bed of red cabbage and carrot coleslaw with mixed southern greens and butter beans on the side. Writing about it is making me salivate. Here’s the run down.

– Battered and pan-fried catfish
– Thinly cut red cabbage and shredded carrots dressed with Italian herb vinegrette & salt.
– Mixed Southern Greens & Bean – (First, Patricia cooked a few bacon strips for the dish. Then she sauteed chopped onion & garlic in the bacon fat, then added 1 bunch of torn Toscano kale, 1 can of drained butter beans, cut cooked bacon, a splash of Texas Pete’s Pepper Vinegar and a splash of water, then simmered until kale was tender.)

I cannot express how sweet the kale was and what a delight it was to eat. The Toscano kale is proof the cold weather helps converts starches to sugars in cold hardy greens. It was unlike any other green I have ever had. It might match our winter carrots in terms of sweetness. Wow! That’s about all I can say. Try them yourself. It might help you see kale in a different light!

Our online store is still operating and will continue to operate until the end of March at the soonest. Next Tuesday, January 12th, we plan to have produce pickup at our house, 604 Sasser St., between 4pm to 7:30pm.

During these cold winter months, please be aware the weather may postpone our harvest of your produce. In response to this, we may postpone pickups by a day or two. We will provide primary notice of pickup changes via email (especially for those of you who place orders) as well as via blog and online store. Thank you for being flexible with us!

Purchase of vegetables is made through our online store www.vendio.com/stores/bensproduce.

Current vegetable availability includes:
baby beets
bok choy
brussels sprout
cabbage
carrots
collards
green onions
kale
lettuce
sweet potatoes
tatsoi

No longer offered:
broccoli
chinese cabbage
mixed greens
mustard greens
radishes
spinach
swiss chard
turnips

Future winter vegetables may include:
arugula
broccoli raab
mixed baby lettuce & greens

We hope y’all had a good holiday season and a happy New Year! We’re thankful for a new year and this opportunity to follow our dream of starting a CSA.

See you soon,
Ben & Patricia