It’s fall…..whew. It’s rained for pretty much the last week straight, and it has been amazing. The ground is swollen and satisfied and I have had my fill of pleasant coffee shop experiences. The fall crops are huge and pretty, except, sadly, for the collard greens that fell to the havoc of the harlequin beetle. Our customer year is winding down (finished October 29th) and I feel very good about our first year in cultivation. Before I get too deep in reflection, I need to put a plug in for our open house happening October 25th. Come anytime between 10 am and 1pm. We’ll have coffee from K-Brew, cider for the kiddos, local pastries around a fire and string picking by the Check Engine Band. We’ll also have a very simple self guided walking tour that will take you through our plans for the next few years. It’s going to be fun way to finish the season and I’m looking forward to celebrating with everyone.
Mad props to Elias Attea, not only for his awesome hair, but also for this sweet flier.
Beets and carrots. Maybe my two favorite things of all time, and they are in fine form here at the Abbey Fields. This morning I was harvesting carrots for our Saturday morning pick-up, delicately grazing the base section of the carrot tops, trying to find the more mature plants for distribution. There are no words to describe the satisfaction of finding the perfect one, pulling a meaty vegetable from beneath the ground, holding it up to the morning sun and knowing that carrots do not get any better than this.
And beets, well, they’re just pretty, at every stage, from seedling to table. A friend of mine used beet water to color easter eggs, he said it was amazing, and worked better than any of the dyes that could have been bought. I love it when food is beautiful.
So everything but the fall plot has been mowed down and tilled over for the season. This next week we’ll spread leaf mulch and manure and then begin building the beds to our Spring lot. The former summer lot we’ll cover crop with a rye grass and allow to lie fallow until sometime next year. The thing about working from season to season is that the days seem so long but the weeks and months fly by. I remember thinking in April, if we could just get to May and have actual veggies to hand out I’d be over the moon. October, fall, football, cool weather, that all seemed like a dream world from another planet, as well as an indescribably impossible timeline to imagine. But somehow, we’ve had veggies every week, enough veggies, sometimes even a bounty of veggies. It has been so much fun to do this, to watch everything we plant grow a little better than what was planted the previous season. As winter approaches and we sit down to evaluate our plan for next year and all the new challenges we hope to take on, I can’t help but go back. To the wooded, trash filled lot. To the bobcat buckets of rubble scooped from the cold ground and put into piles along the perimeter. To the brambles and bold kill deer who set up their nest in the middle of our barren lot in March. Remembering all the encouragement, and smiling at those who doubted what this soil could do. I am so thankful for where we are, and am humbled at the great responsibility to continue this place onto something better.
Love and peace,
P.S. For those share holders that are wondering what the heck to do with all of the greens, I found this recipe in the special Thanksgiving addition of Southern Living (unashamed:). It goes like this:
Wild rice and greens casserole:
(we prefer chopped kale in this casserole, but use your favorite green. For heartier greens like collards, cook them five minutes longer in Step 1. If you want to prepare the dish ahead, cover and chill dup to three days before baking. Uncover and bake just before serving.)
1/2 lb fresh kale or other
hearty greens, trimmed
and coarsley chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4 1/2 tsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup 2% reduced fat milk
1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
3 cups cooked wild rice
1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese, divided*
vegetable cooking spray
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1. Preheat oven to 375*. Cook kale in 1 cup boiling salted water in a Dutch oven over high heat, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes; drain.
2. Cook onion in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often, 20 minutes or until golden. Add garlic, thyme, and nutmeg, and cook 1 minute. Stir in flour and cooked kale. Gradually stir in milk and broth, and cook, stirring often, 4 minutes or until thickened. Stir in rice, tomatoes, and 1/2 cup cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Transfer mixture to a lightly greased (with cooking spray) 2 1/2 qt. baking dish. Sprinkle almonds and remaining 1/2 cup cheese over mixture.
4. Bake at 375* for 18 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned.
* Swiss cheese maybe substituted.