Sweet and Bitter
Winter arrived suddenly and looks like it's here to stay! Our fields are covered in snow, and the temperatures are forecasted to drop to the single digets over the next week. The good news is that we still have plenty of delicious food to fill our CSA boxes and market table. Join us at the Farmers' Market this Saturday at Tracy Hall in Norwich from 10am-2pm. (Note extended hours for the holiday market).
Have you ever wondered why vegetables are so sweet this time of year? When temperatures drop and frost hits, only the heartiest of plants are equipped to survive. The adaptation that keeps them from dying in the cold also makes them sweet and delicious. Some hardy vegetables have the abiltiy to convert some of their starch stores into sugar, and this keeps the water in their cells from freezing. So, relish their survival skills and enjoy the sweet taste of our winter carrots, cabbage, kale, spinach, swiss chard, kohlrabi, broccolini, and even parsley! You can pick up these vegetables at our market table on Saturday!
Check out this remarkable radicchio! We harvested them this morning from underneath the snow! Radicchio can survive uncovered in the field even when it's 20 degrees outside. This member of the chicory genus is loved for it's bitterness and incredibly fresh, bright flavor during this cold, dark, and snowy time of year. One of the best and easiest ways to explore the taste of bitter is through chicories. Pick up some raddichio at the market and try one of these recipes from NYTimes Cooking this week.
Our CSA Shares are still going strong with two more weeks left to go! This week you may have been uncertain about the mysterious, big, round green vegetable in your box. If you're not familiar with kohlrabi, don't be afraid! Simply peel the skin off and slice a piece to try a taste. It's incredibly sweet and crispy, and it's very versitile in the kitchen. You can eat it raw, saute, or roast. Learn more about kohlrabi on our website.
We're excited to have a new batch of kimchi ready for market this weekend! Our kimchi is a truly a labor of love, we grow each of the ingredients- cabbage, carrots, scallions, onions, garlic, ginger, and hot peppers- and we hand chop, mix, and ferment the vegetables in small batches. Our favorite way to eat kimchi is right out of the container! Pick some up at the market this weekend!
Recipes for High Summer
This week we'd like to introduce Ali Price, a Root 5 Farm CSA member and local food educator. Ali provides group and private cooking lessons to folks in the Upper Valley. She's also an aspiring Health Coach and born and raised vegetable lover.
This season Ali is creating a series of weekly recipes that work with the ingredients in her CSA box. Her recipes are clear and easy to read, with lots of step-by-step photos. We're excited to share these fantastic recipes with you on our website. Look for links in our weekly newsletter, or just check out Seasonal Recipes under the 'info' tab on our website.
Many people find that being a CSA member or shopping at the farmers' market and working with seasonal ingredients fosters a new approach to cooking. You can enjoy delicious meals and save time and money by adapting recipes to use what's freshly harvested and what else is on hand. Many recipes can be made successfully with substitutions or omissions, and vegetables are especially suited to this approach.
When you're looking for a substitute, think about plant families. For example, main courses often call for at least one member of the onion family (scallion, onion, garlic, leek, chive, etc). Alliums can usually be substituted for each other with excellent results. Members of the diverse brassica family can often stand in for each other. Kohlrabi, for example, could fill in for broccoli or cabbage in a variety of situations, because their flavors and crunchy textures are similar.
Ali is working on a series of master recipes that use some basic staples and flexible combinations of vegetables and spices, rather than a fixed set of ingredients. Check out these delectable examples- Grilled Summer Vegetables and Simple Summer Bites.
If you want to learn more about keeping your produce fresh once you get it to your kitchen, check out the storage tips on our website. Not all vegetables should be stored in the same way. For example, did you know that the best way to keep basil fresh is in a glass of water on your counter top, not in the fridge? Or that if you take the tops off your fresh carrot, beet, and radish bunches and store the roots in a plastic bag in your fridge, they will stay crispy and keep for months? Or that tomatoes should never be stored in the refrigerator? Learn more about the ideal temperature, humidity, and expected storage time for different vegetables on our website.
New Year News
We're very proud to announce, after a 3 year process, we've conserved our 28 acre farm with the Vermont Land Trust! The conservation of the farmland will ensure it's always available and affordable for farmers, and the productive soils will forever be protected from development. Learn more about the Vermont Land Trust conservation process here.
Stop by the Norwich Winter Farmers' Market this Saturday, January 9th, from 10-1pm. We'll have a selection of delicious winter greens available- kale, spinach, collards, bok choy, and Belgian endive! We'll also have four varieties of Powerkraut- original, carrot cabbage, purple cabbage, and kimchi. You can stock up on carrots, beets, radishes, winter squash, onions, shallots, garlic, and heirloom dry beans.
We're especially excited about our first crop of Belgian endive, which we'll have available at the market on Saturday! Endives are crisp and bitter when raw, making them a great addition to brighten up salads this time of year. When cooked, endive's bright flavor softens into a mellow sweetness. Whether raw, steamed, grilled or braised, they're a versatile ingredient for your winter kitchen.
Our CSA season finished off strong at the end of December with a wide variety of winter foods. We're so grateful to our CSA members for their commitment to Root 5 Farm and for joining us in the adventures of seasonal cooking and eating. We're already busy working out the details of the new season. Our 2016 CSA sign-ups will begin in February, so please stay tuned!
It's market time! We'll be at the Norwich Farmers' Market on Saturday 12/12 from 10-2pm. Note extended hours for the holiday market. There will be over 40 vendors selling fresh vegetables, meats, baked goods and unique crafts so you can feed your family, fill the pantry, and find gifts for the upcoming holiday season. Don't miss it!
In preparation for the market we're busy packing heirloom dry beans, sauerkraut, kimchi, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, acorn, butternut, honey nut, kabocha, and delicata squashes. We're also harvesting radishes, spinach, kale, collards, thyme and winter savory.
Winter is when spinach is really at it's best. We grow ours in unheated, high-tunnel greenhouses where it undergoes a freeze-thaw cycle almost every night. This concentrates its sweetness and creates a flavor that is complex and rich with minerals. Check out these recipes for two simple and delicious ways to enjoy sweet winter spinach: Leek and Spinach Soup, Spinach and Parmesan Egg Drop Soup.
Our truck is packed with 120 CSA shares for Tuesday delivery and John double checks the list just before he heads out. In November and December, we use one of our greenhouses as a warm space to pack shares on freezing days.
CSA shares are still going strong. Check out this week's selection: blue potatoes, baby carrots, winter sweet kabocha squash, garlic, sweet potatoes, spinach, and yellow onions. Here's a few of our current favorite winter vegetable recipes: Lime Cilantro Sweet Potatoes, Kabocha Squash Soup, Tri-Colored Roasted Potatoes.
The harvest continues...
The unusually warm weather this week was such a pleasant surprise. Our shitake mushroom logs are now covered in beautiful mushrooms, a final spurt of growth before the real cold sets in. We're bringing them with us to the Norwich market on Saturday to share with you!
We move indoors on Saturday for the start of the Winter Farmers' Market. Stop by between 10am-1pm at Tracy Hall at 300 Main Street in Norwich. We'll have a full table of fresh herbs, carrots, beets, turnips, kale, spinach, arugula, lettuce, brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions, garlic, leeks, radishes, winter squash, sweet potatoes, plus the last of our ginger and turmeric!
Fall CSA Shares are going strong, full of a wide variety of vegetables and herbs. This week we harvested leeks, Red Russian kale, napa cabbage, lettuce mix, and rosemary. We also packed red beets and sweet potatoes.
Our high tunnels are full of beautiful greens that will be ready to harvest for December CSA and markets. We have row cover ready to pull over the beds to protect them on cold nights.
While the daytime temperatures are still above freezing, we're out in the fields harvesting the last of our cold hardy salad greens, leeks, brussel sprouts, kale and cabbages.
We're grateful for a beautiful summer that's resulted in a bountiful harvest, and we're on track to keep delivering a diverse supply of our fresh, organic produce through December.
We're growing over 140 varieties of organic vegetables to satisfy every taste and introduce new ones. Right now we're harvesting five different varieties of tasty tender beans- green, yellow, burgundy, purple, and Italian broad beans.
The market table is full of color and variety with mountains of rainbow root vegetables getting taller, and summer squash, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants and tomatoes are all in great supply.
Our fall crops are starting to size up nicely. We've been keeping the irrigation running through hot and dry spells to cool off our fall plantings of broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, beets, lettuces, and herbs.
We're jumping with joy about our winter squash this season! Our field looks great, and we've got so many varieties that will be ready to harvest for Fall CSA Shares.
If you haven't already, sign up now for a Root 5 Farm Fall CSA Share. It's a great way to eat fresh, eat local, and eat healthy. Visit www.root5farm.com to sign up today! Fall Shares start on September 7th!
This is by far the busiest time of the year on the farm as we're simultaneously planting, seeding, irrigating, harvesting, working farmers' markets, packing and distributing CSA shares, repairing and improving equipment, and doing our best to keep up with the incredibly fast growth of weeds. The weather throughout May and early June is so variable and unpredictable which makes our work even more challenging.
Overall our crops are growing well this season. Danielle is especially proud of our cabbage patch, with 10 different varieties of cabbages, broccoli, collards, and kale planted side by side. Last year we planted a very successful cover crop of clover and rye in this field. We were able to build our soil fertility and organic matter and the brassicas are really looking great right now.
Rhya has been doing a great job at our farm stand at the Norwich Farmers' Market every Saturday. Our table has been full with fresh greens, carrots, sauerkraut, and a mountain of gorgeous radishes and turnips. We hope you'll stop by one of our weekly market locations:
Tuesdays 3-5pm, VA Hospital Farm Stand, gazebo in front of hospital
Fridays 3-6pm, Fairlee Farm Stand, in front of Chapman's Store
Saturdays 9am-1pm, Norwich Farmers' Market, two red tents
Micah is carrying an armload of Hakurei Salad Turnips. Have you tried these delicious roots yet? For more information about this unique variety, check out our culinary tips and recipe pages.
Ben Blais harvesting scallions for our CSA shares this week. We've grown our best scallions ever this spring- big, tall, and dark green. They seem to be happy growing alongside our trellised cucumbers in the high tunnel.
Our June 3rd CSA harvest was a colorful mix of bok choy, green butterhead lettuce, broccoli rabe, storage carrots, cherriette radishes, fresh dill, and asparagus. We're on our fourth week of CSA shares, and it's not too late to sign up for your own delicious share of the harvest.
Ben Dana hoeing garlic, which is starting to size up nicely. In the field behind him, we have a healthy cover crop of rye and vetch growing 5 feet tall.
This was a beautiful foggy morning harvesting salad greens after the big rain last night.
In full swing
Asparagus, radishes, salad turnips, bok choy, spring herbs, and salad greens are now filling our farmers' market tables. We also have plenty of fresh eggs, black beans, and our very own sauerkraut to round out a delicious meal.
This week we begin our full market schedule, we hope you'll stop by:
Tuesdays 3-5pm VA Hospital Farm Stand, in front of the main hospital at the gazebo
Fridays 3-6pm Fairlee Farm Stand, in front of Chapmans Store
Saturdays 9am-1pm Norwich Farmers' Market, look for our two red tents at the entrance
Our CSA shares are off to a great start this week with a beautiful mix of salad greens, spinach, radishes, asparagus, bok choy, gold potatoes, and chives. It's salad season! This time of year, we eat greens with breakfast too! Check out the recipe section of our website for some ideas on how to make your own homemade salad dressings. It's a simple way to pull together a delicious salad in a variety of flavors for any meal of the day.
We're glad this isn't snow! This white sea of remay covers our early cabbages, kale, broccoli, and cauliflower. We use row cover to protect all of our brassicas from flea beetle damage.
In our high tunnels, scallions and basil are interplanted with trellised cucumbers. In the background, bok choy and spinach are ready to harvest for CSA shares. Vegetables galore!
Our patchwork of fields is changing every day as we prepare the soil, plant more crops, and cover crops of rye and clover grow taller every minute. We finished planting our onions and leeks last week. Radishes, turnips, and spring successions of salad greens and brassicas are all starting to size up in the field. This week on the list to plant we have potatoes, parsley, radicchio, and the first of our field tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and zucchinis will go under row cover to protect them from possible frost.
Ben has been working hard and looking super stylish in his fire-proof snail pattern welding hat. He's been designing and building a new cultivation system that's appropriate for the scale of our small farm. We're really excited to finally have this basket weeder set up on our Tuff-bilt cultivating tractor.
With his new set up, Ben whizzed through the garlic weeding at high speed! The rear mounted engine of the Tuff-bilt allows for excellent visibility of the crop below. This little machine will be a big time saver for us.
The weather shifted at warp speed from frosty spring to hot, dry summer last week and all of our hoophouse greens doubled in size! Just in time- CSA Shares begin next week! We'll start the season with tender asparagus, crisp radishes, fresh herbs and salad greens, gold potatoes, sweet carrots, and heirloom black turtle beans. We still have a few CSA shares available so if you're not already a member, don't delay, sign up today! Learn more about our CSA options and sign up online for your weekly CSA delivery.
This week we'd like to highlight our partnerships with Niko Horster at Shire Farm, and Jake Torrey at Honey Locust Farm. We've collaborated to bring you the highest quality local grass-fed beef, pastured poultry, and heritage breed pork conveniently delivered at a savings over retail.
We've chosen to work with Niko and Jake because of the incredible knowledge and care they have for their animals, and the attention to detail that goes into raising their cows, chickens, and pigs on pasture. Their products have the highest level of nutrition and superior flavor.
Did you know we've improved our delivery system for CSA Meat Shares for the upcoming season? Members will receive two bulk distributions during the summer season to have a better selection when planning weekly meals. Learn more about our Meat Shares and sign up online today! If you've already signed up for a Vegetable CSA share, you can simply log-in to your account and select from our add-on share options. You can get the highest quality local foods delivered at no extra distribution charge. We pass all the savings directly on to our CSA members.
This sudden hot, dry weather has us working overtime to keep up with irrigation as we plant out our fields. We were able to pause for a moment yesterday to check out the magical dew lined up on the edge of the bok choy. Amazing!
And so it begins...
This Friday, May 1st, marks the halfway point between spring equinox and the summer solstice. May Day, also known as Beltane, is an ancient spring festival celebrated by many cultures in the Northern Hemisphere. Here in central Vermont, Beltane marks the beginning of "summer", but perhaps more distinctly for us, it's the real beginning of our field planting season.
Every table in our greenhouse is full and every bed is planted in our two hoop houses, every indoor growing space is bursting at the seams. We've been working hard to prepare the soil for planting and we have thousands of seedlings that are ready to head out to the fields. We're eagerly awaiting warmer, sunnier weather to kickstart new growth.
This Saturday May 2nd, 9am-1pm
Norwich Farmers' Market
(outdoors on Route 5!)
We hope you'll join us on Saturday to celebrate our first outdoor farmer's market of the season! We'll be offering the first tender spring greens and radishes, plus our sweet overwintered carrots, our handmade sauerkraut, fresh eggs, and the first hardy plants to get started in your own garden. There will be over 50 vendors and live entertainment! Don't miss it!