There is still time to enter drawing for a Magic Bullet Blender!

Think of all the great things you can make with your Vollmecke CSA share and this Magic Bullet blender! There is still (a little) time to get in on the drawing–the first 50 folks to sign up for a 2014 CSA share will have their name placed in a hat to win this great prize.  (Sorry workshare members you aren’t eligible for the drawing–you will have to settle for enjoying some smoothies at the farm).

magic bullet

 

Another recipe for butternut squash, and 1 for tomatillos!

On Friday during pickup, I felt bad for one of our butternut squashes. No one was picking it. Maybe it was because of its size and people were intimidated. I don’t know, but I felt bad, and decided I would choose it and bring it home it so it could fulfill its destiny as a squash.big squash  This photo doesn’t do it justice–that cutting board is at least 15″ wide.

Anyway, I know about roasting, but wanted to do something a little different. Then I remembered a recipe I had found in Martha Stewart’s Every Day Food a few years ago. Perfect! First you roast the squash with some garlic, EVOO, and sage, and then you puree it with half-and-half to make a delicious pasta sauce. AND, with the size of this thing, I would certainly have enough sauce leftover to freeze and serve later in the season. Click here for printable version.

chopped squash

Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

Serves 8
This recipe makes about 4 cups of sauce; enough for 3 lbs of ravioli, or 1.5 lbs of short pasta. For 4 servings, use half the sauce (about 2 cups). Freeze the rest for later (see below)

  • 1 medium (1.5 lb) butternut squash
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • ½ TB dried rubbed sage (or 1 TB fresh, minced sage)
  • Course salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 5 garlic cloves, peel on
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • Pasta (such as cheese ravioli, or any short pasta) for serving

Preheat oven to 375°. Using a large sharp knife, trim ends then halve squash crosswise to separate the bulb from the neck. Peel with a vegetable peeler. Cut both pieces in half lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out seeds. Discard.

Cut squash into 2-inch chunks; transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Toss with oil and sage; season generously with salt and pepper. Scatter garlic around squash. Roast until squash is very tender, about 40 minutes, tossing once halfway through. Remove and discard skin from garlic.

Transfer squash and garlic to a food processor or blender; purée. With motor running, add half-and-half through the feed tube; process until smooth. Add 1 to 2 cups water; continue to process until smooth, adding water to thin if necessary. Season again with salt and pepper, to taste.

Cook pasta according to directions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain pasta and return to pot. Pour sauce over pasta, toss to coat. Add pasta water to thin sauce if necessary.

To Freeze: Cool sauce to room temperature. Transfer to airtight containers, leaving 1 inch of space. Freeze up to 3 months. When ready to use, place plastic containers upside down under hot tap water to help release frozen blocks of sauce. Place blocks in large saucepan; cover and reheat over medium low, adding water to thin if necessary.

I am sure for that some of you the “tomatillo season” may have dragged on just a little too long…I mean salsa verde is delicious, but really, how much can one family eat? I am sorry it took me so long to try this recipe, because now that tomatillos are officially gone, I have found another great way to use them. Or, like me, maybe you have few still tucked away in your fridge…just waiting… . If so, you are in luck. This is delicious and hearty and EASY. It could be eaten as a stew, as a dip, or as I served it—as slightly messy tacos. Give it a shot, it may change the way you look at tomatillos! Click here for printable version.

Tomatillo Chicken

Serves 8
Serve hot with tortilla chips, guacamole or avocado slices. Also makes a great filling for tacos. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream.

  • 6 free-range skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 – 3 dried hot peppers (to taste)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 – 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 lb. whole tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sour cream for garnish

In a large Dutch oven bring chicken, broth, onion, peppers, garlic, and bay leaf to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool 15 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and set aside to cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, add tomatillos to the pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil uncovered for 10 minutes, or until soft. With a slotted spoon, transfer tomatillos, peppers, and garlic to a blender; add cilantro and purée.

Pour the mixture back into the stock and mix will. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pull chicken breasts apart into large chunks and add back into tomatillo mixture. Simmer until slightly thick, about 10 minutes.

Is Tomorrow the Day?

We’re hoping tomorrow is the big day when we finally get our “blessed forklift” back on the job!  It decided to go on strike sometime in Dec and we have been fiddling with it ever since [thankfully, not non-stop]. I have to admit we had additional names for it during all the frustrating hours spent working on it. It’s clearly a “vintage” piece of machinery but enough for our needs if it would only be reliable  We need it functioning to acess all the wonderful pallet shelving that we’ve installed in the barn so as to maximize  storage capabilities. It’s amazing how much stuff is utilized in our farming operation! Sometimes things are only needed for a month or two out of the year and then we’d like to move them up onto the shelving to make room for the next project. In the background of this photo are some of the various pieces of the new cooler we’re constructing. The forklift would be mighty handy with this project! Let’s see if new ignition parts gets it purring again.

Special tools of the trade

Over the years we have begun groOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwing more and more seedlings in the greenhouse.It gives us a nice jump on the season and allows us to provide a greater diversity of produce from the get go in Spring. If we did all this by hand it would be a rather daunting task to crank out the quantities of seedlings we need.

Here’s a picture of some of the tools we use in the greenhouse to help speed up the seeding process. Notice the board with the dowel pegs sticking out of it. This is called a dibble board [leave it to the Brits to name such a thing] it is used to establish the holes in the soil mix in which the seeds will be placed. Every time we switch to a different size of seed flat we need to use a different dibble board. So we have standardized the process as much as possible. This special tool keeps us from having to poke individual holes in the soil mix with your finger-big time savings! The other box -like tool is our wonderful vacuum seeder. A hose connects the suction box to a shop vac. The seeder has exchangeable plates that have specific hole sizes punched in each one. The idea is to use just the right plate size so  that the seeds will not get stuck in the holes when the suction is turned on. A seed will be held to the outside of each hole when the vacuum is turned on and will release when the device is turned upside down over top the seed flat and the vacuum is then turned off. Each seed falls into a hole that was created with the dibble board. A number of different plates are needed for the device since seeds vary so much in size and shape. Each plate costs more then $100.00.  Yikes- and we have to have how many plates?  Not exactly cheep but what a brilliant time saver and definitely money well spent!

Reason to celebrate!

IMG_20130215_121121_278(1)We like to save the big Summer Rambo apple trees till last. After two months of pruning it’s good to celebrate when the last tree is pruned. We’ll take a bit of a break from pruning to do some other chores and then it’s to the peach orchard sometime in March.

It’s CSA sign-up time!

It’s time to sign up for the 2013 CSA season! We look forward to welcoming returning members and greeting and meeting new members too this year. We’re always experimenting with new things and working to improve on others.Winter time on the farm is a time for reflection, planing for the future and working on projects in the now. Needless to say – we’ve been busy. We’re all about good food and community! Good healthy food and communities drive us in our daily lives. We’re passionate about healthy food and enjoy sharing what this wonderful slice of earth produces for us( with a little help from our friends). We encourage people to check out the frequently asked questions section of our website to find out more about our growing practices and to read about some of the new things we’re doing this year. Feel free to email us if you have questions. To sign up for either a weekly or bi-weekly share please go to vollmeckeorchards.csasignup.com