News and updates from Abraham's Table Farm

our blog

Continuing (written a few weeks ago)

Farming

There's a different feel around here now. Farmers say that harvesting takes about 1/3 of their time. We surely verify that stat. With harvesting gone for us, it seems like we can get so much done around the farm! We have divided our focus and taken different jobs for the year's end. Corinne is mostly at the garden. She harvests, cures, and stores the last of the root crops. She pulls out the stubborn kale stalks that just. wont. be. mowed. down. She clears out the plant debris so that the garden is ready for Joel to put into cover crop. Joel plugs away at our bike-powered thresher. He prepares the house for winter, putting up  wood skirtwalls around the trailer house so that the gap between the house and the ground is closed. This allows us a sort of insulative layer, trapping in the warm(ish) air from the ground to give us protection from the cold of winter.  Joel then puts three layers of straw bales around the house for additional insulation. He chainsaws our 8 foot oak logs into 15 inch segments for me to split. I split our wood.  I've always been athletic and though I love farming and how it softens my too often aggressive personality, sometimes I just crave the release a good aggressive athletic sport gives. Especially after days in the house with snotty kids, heh. So I split. It's good that I like it too, because we have a hell of a lot of wood to split. Though our wood is dry, it comes in long logs, and some of the moisture is contained in the log and needs to be split and dried for it to burn efficiently. Joel and I make a good team. We listen to soul music outside while we work and crank out stacks of wood. However, I am learning to pace myself. Too much splitting in a day makes me unable to properly function the next day.  I also am putting food up. Yesterday I made 12 quarts of sourkraut and 12 quarts of cortido, a mexican fermented cabbage condiment.  Today I'm making applesauce. I dry herbs. I process the last of the tomatoes. I sneak in some reading and finally don't feel guilty about it (!) Yes, that time is approaching. We all have book lists which we are waiting to give our full attention. The days are warm and nights cool, perfect for getting stuff done.


Included are some photos of the thresher in progress...



WEEK 20

Farming

Welcome to Week 20. The last week of the season. Frost fell heavy last night. Most of Monday was spent busily harvesting the last of the summer produce in the garden before it fell prey to the black death of frost. Though I am mostly tired of zucchini, the thought that I wouldn't have any more until next year motivated me to gather up the last armfuls and wedge them into my fridge along with the other summer produce I couldn't bear to let go of. It's always when you can't have something you want it most. 


Last year we were motivated to extend the season and we did so, well into the late fall, by various methods. For some reason, this year is different. Though we had plans to extend the season in similar ways, our actions did not follow through with our plans. We are tired. We are ready to be done. There is so much garden winter tie up that extending the season doesn't seem realistic. For the last two years Joel has taught English part time in a local private school, and that takes his mind and body away from the garden. Last year we had Daniel the intern helping us during Joel's transition from farmer to teacher.  This year it's just Corinne, myself, and the girls. This is ok, I guess. I do mourn the last of the lettuce mix, but we can only do so much. We have learned the value of saying no, of pacing ourselves, of letting go of things. 


Thank you to you members for your support this year.  You guys are the backbone of the farm, and without you we could not be doing what we do. You enable us to live our dreams. We hope you stay connected with us via our blog or emails (there might be still some produce or eggs or meat that we will try to sell) and are around to support us next season!



In your share:

Onions

Pumpkins

Carrots

Dill

Radish

Watermelon

Arugula

Romaine Lettuce

Broccoli Raab

Peppers

Flowers

Eggs


Recipes:

Broccoli Raab

More Broccoli Raab

Pumpkin Muffins (tip for getting the easiest pumpkin puree: pierce your pumpkins a few times, pop them in a 400 degree oven on a pan, and roast for about an hour until soft. When cool, scoop out the flesh and whiz it with an immersion blender)


Enjoy the Share!


ATF Crew


Week 18

Farming

Week 19!


For some of you half shares, this is your last week! Crazy. Thanks for supporting us through the ups and downs of this season. 


This year, as a personal side project, we planted 1/10 of an acre of wheat. I bake bread regularily, and will for the rest of my life, so it made sense for us to begin learning about the process of growing, harvesting, threshing, storing, and milling wheat. It is surely a process. Traditionally, only the wealthiest and developed civilizations could afford wheat,  because of what it required from the soil, the bodies, and the minds. We have a book called The Organic Grain Grower by Jack Lazor, and reading it makes me appreciate the high quality wheat that we have access to today. It also overwhelms me with the knowledge and experience required to grow a good crop of wheat. But you have to start somewhere, so we did. Overall, the wheat seemed to grow well, but since this project was a side project, and not an income generating venture, it was not always on the top priority and often was neglected. There was definitely a war on weeds waging in the wheat, which ended up as a stale mate: half the patch got weeded well, and half the patch got weeded poorly. Anyways, last week we harvested the wheat. We used a combination of sickle and scythe to cut it, then we raked it into bundles and stored it in bulk feed totes to dry in our pole barn. Joel is building a bike-powered thresher to process the wheat. We are anxious to see the outcome of the crop and and how it bakes up, and are hoping to be able to supply our baking needs with our own grown wheat! 


Sending along to the dropsites the MN COOKS calendars that feature us in the month of October (also that's Joel holding our carrots on the cover). Feel free to take as many as you need-we have a lot. Enjoy!



Leeks

Potatoes

Radish

Lettuce Mix

Large Arugula

Carrots

Winter Squash

Cilantro

Tomatoes

Bay Leaves


Recipes:

Potato Leek Soup

Chicken and Winter Squash Curry

All Things Arugula!


1 Comment

Week 18

Farming

Welcome to week 18. 

All the talk of an early fall is gone. It's weirdly warm up here. We went swimming at Grindstone Lake on the first day of fall, which is just absurd. This means in the garden that even if you might be in the mood for pumpkins and winter squash, you'll be getting more summer produce, at least for another week. 


Last Monday evening we had a severe windstorm which ripped the heavy poly from the greenhouse attatched to our house. In the moment it was disastrous, but ultimately, providential. The greenhouse, three years old now, was due for repair and of all times to be destroyed, this was ideal.  It was not occupied by seedlings nor covered with snow. So we spent last week shuffleing our tasks and priorities around to accommdate this repair. Having the roof of the greenhouse in a state of dysfunction made me appreciate its existence when functional. I know I've spoken of the blessings of this space, but allow me to wax further. We use that greenhouse for so much more than starting our seedlings in the spring. The protection from the elements allows it to become a playspace on wet days, or a space to dry clothes. It is that crucial middle space between inside and out in which you can transition from work into home. We drop coats, shoes, boots, scarves, and hats here. Dropping the physical baggage helps us drop the emotional baggage as well-the anxiety, stress, or weariness from the day. This greenhouse is crucial for our farm, and the house we someday design and build will most definately have a similar space. (hopefully with a glass roof instead of a plastic one)


Happening in the garden: fall/winter preparation. Harvesting the squash, potatoes and onions. Curing the vegetables that need it. Storing them. Tolerating the last days of canning projects. Drying vegetables, fruits and herbs. Erecting our "quick hoops", the shallow hoops that straddle our rows which then get covered with two layers of protection for wintering over crops such as carrots, spinach, onions, and lettuce. Pulling up old vines. Tilling in dead crops. Planting cover crops.  Getting our chickens to their winter airbnb. Chopping firewood.


In the share:

Pumpkin

L. mix

Pepper

Sage

Dill

Melon

Onion

Radish

Cabbage

Carrots


Enjoy!

Week 16

Farming

Week 16

Uh, can we just take a quick break from vegetables and talk about some of our junk food indulgences? We all have them. 


Joel likes potato chips. So much that he's tried to propose getting a potato chip maker for himself. Does that exist? He could eat bags and bags. In fact, on the last farm we managed, when we were without kids, structure, or morals, after a long day working we would share a big bag of potato chips for dinner. No flavors for Joel though, just salt. 


Corinne is not one to indulge, but she enjoys icecream. And if Western movies count in our catagory of indulgence, a few weeks ago she brought home 14 of them from the library. 


Megan: Queen of gastronomical hedonism, my list is vast and blends the lowest and highest class. Here's one that I start thinking about as it gets colder:  those no-bake cookies that surface around Christmas at your grandma's house. Two ritz crackers with peanutbutter between them, dipped in white chocolate with red sprinkles on top. Or this: Sourdough bread, sharp grainy white cheddar, fermented pickles and mayonnaise.  


Glad that's out. 


Thanks all who showed up to our potluck! Thanks for making the long trek out to our place,  many of you with young children. We really appreciate the multi-faceted support you guys give us and could not be doing this farm without you. 


Enjoy the share!


Lettuce Mix

Melon

Arugula

Radish

Cukes

Onions

Delicata Winter Squash

Tomatoes

Mint

Lemon Balm

Eggs

Flowers


You are not getting beets in your share this week, but at our potluck on Saturady I made these brownies and a few of you requested the recipe. Here it is:


Beet Brownies (gluten free)


About 2 med sized beets (3/4 cup pureed)

4 oz dark chocolate

1/4 cup coconut oil, plus more for greasing pan

1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup plus 2 TB gluten free flour 

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp. baking soda

3/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350. Fill up a pot with water, place the beets in, and bring to a boil. Turn down and let simmer until the beets are tender, easily pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. Run under cold water, then, with the water still running, slip the skins off the beets with your fingers. They should remove very easily. Puree the beets in a processor or immersion blender until very smooth. 

2. In top of a double boiler, melt the 4 oz chocolate with the coconut oil until completely melted. Stir in the sugar. Remove from boiler and set aside.

3. Grease a 8x8 inch pan with coconut oil.

4.Whisk together the eggs and vanilla in a small bowl. Add the chocolate mixture and whisk until incorporated.

5. In med bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in the pureed beets. Add the chocolate chips and stir to combine.

6. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes until a tester comes out clean. Don't be tempted to overbake these. Or any brownies. Allow to cool in pan at least 30 minutes. 


Week 16

Farming

Week 16: A book review.

Recently I have been trying to challange myself to resist succumbing to creative arridity in the  kitchen. It happens, and it happens usually at the end of the summer, before the fall harvest arrives and the summer harvest is becoming very very very familiar. As in, death by zucchini. I have recipe staples, ones easy for me to prepare, and they show up a lot. A few: My mother-in-law's famous quiche with a grated potato crust, zucchini noodles with homemade tomato meat sauce, burgers and roast potatoes, and some kind of braised chicken over rice. These are all solid meals and they taste good, especially because our vegetables, meat, and eggs are so fresh. But they can get boring. 


Enter a cookbook I checked out from the library. Six Seasons, by Joshus McFadden. The title grabbed me and seemed to understand  the realities of agriculture because, in a way, every day on the farm is a different season. Also in the foreward, the chef says he's trying to make every dish taste like a "potato chip-so tasty and savory that you can't help but take one more bite". Consider me converted. Turns out that this guy, after working at Blue Hill Stone Barns in New York (Dan Barber's restaurant),  went to Four Season Farm (Eliot Coleman's farm. If you don't know about Eliot Coleman, you should get yourself to a library and check out the New Organic Grower. Everything we know we learned from the master EC.). There his understanding of food connected to the land and the seasons and his cooking improved. In his book, he highlights vegetables and presents them in ways that allows their personalities to come forth. He also does it in a pedestrian way, making it likely for the average busy person to be able to pull off one of his dishes. I appreciate that he's cooking with vegetables as an omnivore and he is not afraid to use a dash of animal product if he thinks his dishes need it.  He has sneaky little condiments that he makes-little zings of flavor-that he uses interchangeably throughout the book and they make the recipes impressive and seemingly fancy, but they all are so simple. He writes his recipes with clarity as well, and that's important for me. I love when I can go to a book and trust that any recipe I make will taste good, and this book fits that catagory. I reccommend it.  


In your share:

Melon (of the french cantaloupe variety)

Tomatoes

Arugula

Zucchini

Cucumber

Potatoes (roast these. they are sublime cooked this way)

Onion

Lettuce Mix

Beets

Thyme

Basil

Flowers

Eggs


Recipes:

My Mother-in-law's quiche:

Serves 4-5

Preheat oven to 425. In a 9x9 square baking dish/pan, stir together 

3 TB oil or butter

3 cups grated raw potato

Press evenly into the pan. Bake 15 minutes until just beginning to brown. While it's cooking, saute in a pan with a glug of oil/butter:

1 med onion, chopped

Vegetables and herbs-kale, peppers, garlic, tomatoes, zucchini, carrots-throw it all in with the onions until softened.

Remove quiche pan from oven. Keep oven on.

Layer on:

1 cup grated cheese

3/4 cup cooked diced meat (I never add meat bc I cram so many veggies in but it's def an option)

The cooked onion and vegetables and herbs

In a bowl, beat together:

1 cup milk, or cream, or half and half, or sour cream (whatever dairy product you have on hand that's semi-liquid)

4 eggs (guideline, sometimes I use 8, sometimes 2.)

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

Pour egg mixture over other ingredients in the pan. Return to oven, bake about 30 min, until lightly browned. Serve with a green salad.


Enjoy!





1 Comment

Week 15

Farming

Welcome to Week 15. Five weeks left! Not that anyone is counting....


This has been a strange end of season. I remember last year it being hot from when Rose was born (mid July) until late into september. This year however, the trees are changing rapidly and the nights have an edge to them. Geese are abandoning us too. It seems like we are due for a "real" northern winter this year and seeing signs of it already.  We're waiting for a lot of crops to ripen: the second planting of tomatoes, the watermelon, the winter squash, and the peppers. These all need daylength and heat to become as they should. We keep cracking open watermelon with anticipation only to glimpse into their interiors to find pale pink tasteless watery flesh. Quite disappointing.


Last Saturday we butchered our last batch of broilers. It went well, mostly because we borrowed some shiny processing equipment from a friend. We also had our dream team-folks who had butchered with us in the past and were familiar with our process (thanks, everyone who helped!). As much as a drudgery it is to butcher 130 birds every month, there are things about the day that are good. Its unifying, as we work the same job with the same goal for the day. I also enjoy feeding all our workers a good meal after the slaughter is done. It makes me feel like a bygone farm woman during harvest who prepares a huge spread for the workers helping to get the crops in. It was a good day. 


In your share:


Potatoes

Garlic

Onion

Carrots

Lettuce mix

Zucchini

Cucumbers

Radishes

Cilantro

Dill

Flowers


Radishes


And Potatoes


Enjoy!


ATF





Week 14

Farming

Welcome to Week 14.

A lot of the pictures we share make our lives look pretty good. Covetable, even. Look on our facebook page and you'll see a happy little farming family doing their thing in northern MN. In reality, our lives are not always pretty good. Sometimes those pictures are posted by us to help us remember the beauty of our lives. But we think its also worthwhile to show people some of the ugliness of our lives. The ugliness exists too. 


There's always a tension here, and it's held taut by two opposing, but equally valid perspectives:


One is that our lives here ARE beautiful. We work and live and rest and play together as a family. When my Una tolerance is used up, I kick her out to Joel and she works outside with him until I find grace again to be the mom I should be. We eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner together every day. We eat like royalty. We are living out our dreams and ideals. We are healthy. We are not in debt. We are detached from a lot of the negative distractions of our culture. Each realm of our lives informs, connects, and enhances the others. 


The other perspective is this: We live in a trailer house. We don't own the land use and don't feel comfortable investing much in it. In some ways we feel to be pioneers without much support because the knowledge and skill it takes to run a small successful farm have been forgotten and lost in the past few generations. Government subsidies keep the price of food down, making it difficult for us to charge a true price for food. Making it difficult for us to make money to grow our business and support our family. Sometimes we're crushed by the smallness of what we're doing. The farm seems chaotic and unmanageable, in a constant state of disrepair. We yell at each other. Our crops fail. We're exhausted. 


It's a struggle to hold this tension. Lingering on the positive side leaves us less critical of flaws and not motivated to work to fix them. Lingering on the negative would throw us into a overwhelming depression and petrify us to change anything. Indulging either one excessively is not productive. 


One thing that helps us is to recognize that the farm is a place of both beauty and terror, of life and death, of peace and chaos, and holding these truths together as well as stepping outside of ourselves to submit to the everyday needs of the farm (whether we like it or not) is ultimately the most activating thing. 


Cheers to trying to hold paradoxes together.



In the share:

Celery

Napa

Carrots

Arugula

Zucchini

Cucumber

Sage

Mountain Mint

Potatoes

Flowers

Eggs


Here are some things I've been doing with veggies. On Monday, I boil up a lot of potatoes. Keep them whole, skin on and boil them until fork tender. Drain and refrigerate. Throughout the week, for lunches, I'll grate the potatoes on a box grater, heat up some butter in a pan, throw in some herbs (in this case you should throw sage in, since it's in your share) and add the potatoes. Fry until golden, flipping as needed to get a crunchy top and bottom. Easy hash! And the options are endless. Last week I mixed homemade ketchup with mayonnaise and garlic and served it as a sauce for the hashbrowns. Add eggs if you want, or cheese!


Another, plan Z way to cook vegetables (and though its plan Z, its still good if your vegetables are high quality and fresh!)

Chop up an onion. Saute in oil/butter with salt until very soft almost caramelized. Add whatever vegetable you don't have energy to cook any other way. I like grated carrots, chopped zucchini, or cabbage. Saute for a while, until the vegetables caramelize and make you want to eat them from the pan. 


It's starting to be broth/soup time.....use the carrots and celery for that. 


Mountain Mint is awesome. Taste it, smell it. It's different than regular mint, complex and sweet, almost. It's good in cool water with cucumbers, or in hot water with honey as tea!


Enjoy the share,


THe ATF Crew




Week 13

Farming

In your share:


Potatoes

Eggplant

Lettuce Mix

Cucumbers

Carrots

Parsley

Basil

Peppers

Garlic

Kale

Flowers

Eggs


Eggplant Parmesan. This is our favorite EPP recipe. It's definitely a labor of love to make, and we usually make it on Sunday when we have more time. You have to make it.


Enjoy!





CSA Week 12

Farming

Recycling a letter from last year written by Joel:



Week eight is here. It is hard for us to believe. Everything has gone so fast this season. In the last few weeks a new mood has begun to creep up in me (Joel). I knew it would arrive around the beginning of August and I even told Daniel to watch out for it. It first settles on my shoulders. As the pasture begins to take on a golden tone and all the growth and energy of the season begins to weaken in its upward surge I feel myself following the call down into the earth. I always notice it first on some afternoon in late July when I don't want to stand back up. Inevitably, I sit down at the washstand after finishing some task, look up at the To-Do list on our marker board, glance out at the sky, and then, nothing happens. I  don't pick something new to do. I don't grab the necessary tool. The cry of the To-do list has lost it's power and I know that August is nearby. It feels like earth's gravitational pull is stronger then it was the day before. I guess some people would call it tiredness. The bears recognize it as the call of winter. No flocks of geese have Veed their way south. No leaves are turned. But a month and a half after the summer solstice you can feel the earth's energy subsiding. Our mood shifts with it. Plans become less important. My gaze turns backwards--to surveying our work and assessing the season's progress. Last week I spent several hours taking detailed notes on all the crops in the garden. These reflections will be essential to our planning for next year. 

The change is welcome. The growth in our garden is sustained by the decomposition in our compost pile. The seed must fall to the ground and die if is too put forth new life. We too  must give up our plans and step back from our work.  Straining must be balanced with rest. Planning must balance with reflection. There is a sweetness in releasing the season. The uphill climb is over and while there is still much work to be done, we know that we are in harvest season now and there is a rest ahead! 

The change is necessary too. In order to progress ultimately and improve next spring, we must leave off from our spring time enthusiasm and the strain of summer. The reflection of fall and the rest of winter are just as important for our progress and continual improvement. We need every season.




Joel will be delivering your shares this week so make sure you tell him all the wonderful things about our share that you've been telling Corinne and myself! He also manages a ridiculous amount of information in his brain concerning our business, which makes him a tad forgetful, so help remind him about the details of your share, if you get extra eggs, or meat, ect. Thanks!

In the Share:


Dill

Peppers

Lettuce Mix

Carrots

Celery

Cabbage

Mexican Mint Marigold

Cucumbers

Zucchini

Tomatoes

Flowers

Eggs




Recipes:

Borscht is really good. We've been making it a lot. You can eat it hot or cold too!


Mexican Mint Marigold!



Enjoy!

The ATF Crew















































Week 11

Farming

Welcome to Week 11. Joel, Una, Rosemary and myself returned home well rested and re-energized from our weekend up North. However, while we were away, Corinne and my mother (who came up to help) had an adventurous few days tracking our cows, who escaped after realizing someone else other than Joel was caring for them. Corinne thoughtfully shielded all details of her crazy weekend from us until we got home. The cows eventually came back, and thank God for the help of kind neighbors, and all's well that ends well, but this event inevitably put some anxiety into our minds. It made us think of the irreplaceability of Joel on our farm and its systems, and how tenuous this state is. If joel were to be injured, and unable to put either physical or mental work toward the farm, Corinne and I would have a rough time surviving. I guess this is why farmers have children....


I read a book while on vacation. It was called Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies, by Seth Holmes. The author, an anthropologist and physician, desired to shed light on and document the lives of immigrant migrant workers in America. To do so, he became friends with a group of indigenous people from Oaxaca, Mexico. Holmes not only crossed the border (illegally) with these people, but went on to live and work with them for a year and a half as they followed the great fruit harvests on the west coast. The author said he wanted to "experience how the poor suffer". Suffering is definitely the word to use for the lives of these people, not only in America but also in their own land, whose economy has been destroyed in part because the US government drastically increased subsidies for its own farmers, leaving the land-based industries of neighboring countries unable to compete with food prices. This book filled me with grief, and left me pretty activated and wondering what I can do or not do to help this situation. In a teeny fraction of a way, as small small farmers growing without government subsidies and charging a price that more accurately reflects the value of our product, we feel the similar oppression of a deteriorating economy and the difficulties it is to make a living as farmers competing with government subsidized prices. But we in no way suffer as extremely as these people, who more often than not are regarded as less than human. 


Sufjan Stevens has a line in a recent album that I think about when I become aware of injustices like this: "Lord I pray for us. Alleluia." 


I would recommend reading this book and becoming aware of this huge and tangled issue. There are a significant amount of migrant workers in Minnesota, and I think there is a lot we could and should do with our privilege as educated wealthy us citizens to help value and improve the humanity of these people. 


In your share:

Onion

Cucumber

Zucchini

TOmatoes

Carrots

Salad Mix

Savory

Oregano

Kale

Beets

Flowers

Eggs


Recipes:

Make this. It's so good.


Cool as a. 


What is Savory?  Here are some options...


Enjoy the share!


Megan for all of us at ATF



Week 10

Farming

Welcome to week 10. We are exactly halfway through the season! Now is the time when we stop caring about the garden. Well, not really, but it's definitely easier to check out in late July. After the push of May and June, after plants are in the ground and the weed growth slows down a bit, it's a real temptation to lapse into a more lenient and relaxed  state of mind and body. If we give into that temptation, we lose our vigilence, and things get bad in the garden. This is the time we usually schedule our little vacation to give us a rest and recharge for the last ten weeks of the season. On Wednesday, we're headed to Grand Marais to our family's cabin on Lake Superior for a long weekend. We don't do much during our stays there. We listen to the water slap on the rocks, read, write, and pull our family together again. We try not to think about the farm. I look forward to these trips because I have a lot more freedom and time to play around with food in the kitchen. I'll be bringing up a big cooler full of summer produce. Some items on the menu: five hour ribs with cilantro slaw, my favorite summer pasta(recipe below), and home made ice cream sandwiches (a birthday treat for Joel, turning 28, whose favorite foods are sandwiches and icecream). 


We have so many vegetables available! I've been slacking on meal planning and winging it, throwing together several simple vegetable dishes and calling it dinner. I'm not sorry. Someone has to eat all the vegetables. We have a zoodler and I have been making noodles with the excess zucchinis. Salted and drained for an hour, lightly fried, then tossed with a garlic peanut sauce, they appeal to the whole family. Throw in chopped radish, tender herbs(mint, cilantro, basil), onion tops, carrots, and cucumbers and you have a fresh and satisfying meal. A jammy egg would make the dish pretty stellar. 


Oh. Also, everyone is getting a half dozen eggs this week because 1. Our chickens are not laying as much in the heat, but also 2. Joel dropped the whole bucket of eggs (5 dozen) on the ground on Saturday night. In his defense, Una was with him "helping" with chores, and you know how helpful a three year old can be. I take this as a further indication that we need a vacation. APologies about the egg shortage. We hope to make it up as soon as we can.


In your share:

Carrots

Zucchini

Cucumbers

Tomatoes

Lettuce Mix

Beets

Leeks

Radishes

Cilantro

Basil


Recipes:

Summer Pasta(so simple, so "duh", so good! This  has a nostalgic quality for me because my mom would make this for me as a child growing up in Italy. I think she learned how to make it while we were living there):

1 lb pasta ( I think spaghetti works the best here but feel free to use whatever you have

3- 4 tomatoes, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

handful of fresh basil, chopped

8 oz feta cheese, cubed 

some generous glugs of high quality olive oil

salt to taste


Cook your pasta in salted water. While its cooking, toss remaining ingredients in a bowl and let marinate. When the pasta is done, drain and rinse under cold water for a bit, then add to the bowl with the dressing in it. Toss everything together, taste, and adjust seasoning to your liking. I serve this dish lukewarm with a side of balsamic beets. It would be good with some grilled brats or Italian sausages too. 




Enjoy the Share!


The ATF Crew

Week 9

Farming

Week 9


In the Share:


Zucchini

Cucumber

Tomatoes

Arugula

Cilantro

Parsley

Kale

Lettuce Mix

Beets

Carrots

Eggs

Flowers


Recipes:

Grilled Summer Squash Rollatini with Herbed Goat Cheese and Tomato Vinaigrette. 

I made this for Rosemary's birthday party and it was really good. People liked it even more than the tenderloin steak I served.  It sounds kind of snooty, but it's really not hard to make, and all the parts can be made in advance. And it presents really well. 


Tomato Vinaigrette:

2 cups small diced tomatoes

5 TB olive oil

1 TB balsamic vinegar

2 TB minced garlic

2 TB minced chives

2 TB minced basil

1 TB minced parsley

1TB minced onion

salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together


Herbed Goat Cheese:

1/2 cup soft goat cheese

1 tsp minced fresh thyme

1 tsp minced parsley

1 tsp minced chives

1 tsp minced onions

Mix all ingredients together


Grilled Squash:

12 1/8 inch thick slices summer squash or zucchini

olive oil

salt and pepper

Brush squash with oil, season with salt and pepper and grill until tender but not falling apart. Let cool.


To assemble dish:

Roll each slice of squash with 2 tsp. of goat cheese. Place the rolls on a plate and spoon the vinaigrette around the plate and a little on the top.


Chocolate Beet cake. You have to make this. 


Week 8

Farming

Welcome to Week 8. 


This is really summer. Big colorful summer produce is growing in the garden, growing so fast, growing overnight. It's beautiful. The frosty purple of cabbage, feathery green of cilantro, the bulging white onion bulbs. And tomatoes! Sometimes I wish there were more meals in a day so that I can use more vegetables in different ways. Sometimes. 


My favorite vegetable, the eggplant (we call it the Meggplant) is taking some hard hits this year. Poor seedling germination led to less field plantings, and when you live and grow food in the North and miss or screw up a planting, thats it. Too bad. The window of growing is too short for very many successful re-do's. The eggplant that did make it to the field are renting their leaves out to the potato beetle, that hard shelled, crop destroying fiend that resembles something from the imagination of Tim Burton. No one else in the garden has as much urgency as me concerning this infestation, so I take it upon myself to attempt to eradicate it. In theory its not hard to do: The adult bugs lay teeny neon orange eggs on the underside of the leaves of plants. Consistent inspection of leaves and manual squishing of the eggs for a week or so does the job. But if you don't get the eggs, you then deal with an army of young potato beetles. That's the situation we're dealing with here at ATF. And let me tell you, squishing young potato beetles is so gross. After spending way too much time bending over the plants with a sleeping baby on my back picking bugs and trying to make Una squish all of them for me (don't kids like to squish bugs? or are we raising a kid with too much empathy?), I came up with a better way. Here's what I do: I shake the plants over plastic high sided trays. The bugs fall right off into the trays. I then dump the trays into our chicken coop. Every time I am in the garden, I do this. Each round takes less and less time. It's a workable solution benefitting all involved. More protein for the laying ladies, no squishing for Megan, and the eggplants are relieved. Hopefully we can get some eggplants to you all this season, and share our famous Eggplant Parmesan recipe. If I don't eat all of them, that is. 


Often the vegetables we eat here are the extra ones that come leftover from CSA harvest. This is fine, but this year, due to tighter management and more CSA members, we have less excess after harvest. Which means I can pick and choose the vegetables I want for dinner the day I make the dinner. I have been enjoying this so much this year! I never feel more wealthy than when I can just walk into the garden and harvest any vegetable I desire, and less than two hours later, eat it for dinner. It's something I hope to never take for granted. 


Recipes:

Every year I give out this one, because its what I always make for lunches in the summer. It's a stellar recipe, and its not even a recipe, its a guideline. What makes it stellar is its versatility. What vegetable do you have on hand? Zucchini? Great. Shred it. Carrots? Great. Shred them. Winter squash? Great. Shred it. Herbs. Whatever you have, throw them into the mix. Eggs. You get a dozen a week, you have them on hand too. Dipping sauce (a personal weakness): garlic peanut, spicy mayo, cilantro sour cream. They all work. And this dish, paired with a green salad comes together nicely for a meal. Here are the guidelines:

Recipes:

Every year I give out this one, because its what I always make for lunches in the summer. It's a stellar recipe, and its not even a recipe, its a guideline. What makes it stellar is its versatility. What vegetable do you have on hand? Zucchini? Great. Shred it. Carrots? Great. Shred them. Winter squash? Great. Shred it. Herbs. Whatever you have, throw them into the mix. Eggs. You get a dozen a week, you have them on hand too. Dipping sauce (a personal weakness): garlic peanut, spicy mayo, cilantro sour cream. They all work. And this dish, paired with a green salad comes together nicely for a meal. Here are the guidelines:


Mix together:

3 cups of a shredded vegetable (good ones are beets, potatoes, carrots, zucchini, or winter squash)

1/2 medium onion, also shredded

Handful of herbs, chopped

1/2-1 tsp salt, depending on your taste preference

4 eggs

1/4 cup flour(i use any flour-potato, chickpea, cup4cup gluten free, regular wheat-whatever you have on hand)


Thin or thicken the batter with more flour or milk until it becomes the consistency of pancake batter. Heat some oil or butter in a cast iron skillet until hot. Drop the batter onto the skillet and fry the pancakes until cooked through. Serve with dipping sauce of choice. 


Cucumber Tomato Salad (this is really basic, but really really good, especially when made with fresh peak produce. It's a cooling dish for a hot day as well-good for picnics)

3 tomatoes, chopped

3 cucumbers, chopped

1/2 onion, chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

A few glugs of olive oil

Salt, to taste

Mix all together in a bowl and adjust seasonings. 


In your share:

Carrots

Head Lettuce

Lettuce Mix

Cucumbers

Zucchini

Scapes

Cilantro

Sage

Kale

Tomatoes

Eggs

Flowers


Week 7

Farming

Week 7. 

Lets talk about flowers. Through farming and mothering I am slowly recovering from a personality that favors efficiency, speed and practicality. These traits can be strengths, but not when one forgets about the things that enhance life that are not efficient or practical. Like flowers. I have been noticing and appreciating them a lot this year. It helps that Corinne does wonderful work growing and arranging them. I've been observing the way they come in different colors, textures and shapes. When arranged and set in a space, they provide a living presence, a mood, a feel. They enhance the corners they are placed in, pulling color from a rug here, or complimenting the picture on the wall. One can hardly capture their beauty and depth of color in a photo. I've tried capturing the deep purple-blue of our just blooming delphiniums but in the picture the flower never looks as full of life and depth as when viewed with the eye. And they are so ephemeral! They last a week, once cut, and no two bouquets will be the same! This is the season of the flowers, the season of the sun, of the bloom. And flowers bring so much joy to the soul!


Chickens: They are going fast. If you want any for the winter, reserve them now. Details: Fed organic, non-soy, non gmo feed, pastured on new grass every day. They range in weight from 3-5 pounds and cost .50/pound. They come whole and frozen. First come first serve until they run out. Y'all are gonna want broth once the weather turns cold, so put your orders in now!


In your share:

Kale

Onions

Basil

Dill

Zucchini

Cucumber

Cabbage

Lettuce Mix

Head Lettuce

Scapes

Beets

Flowers

Eggs


Recipes:

More things to do with garlic scapes! I'm making pesto this week. 

Cabbage and cilantro slaw

And my favorite way to make beets: 

Balsamic Beets: 

Boil the beets in water until tender. Drain and run under cool water. Using your hands, slip the skins off. Cut the beets into bite sized pieces. Toss with a glug of nice balsamic vinegar and olive oil, salt, and fresh thyme. (or dill)


Enjoy the share!





CSA Week 6

Farming

CSA shenanigans that happened last week:


June 27. Tuesday. It seems the easiest CSA day to date, yet we have less labor and and more members this year. We are organized, we are managed, and there is even a sense of calm. The three of us all know what jobs match our strengths and capacities. By now, living and working together for a few years we have typecast ourselves.  Unfortunately its inevitable, its what humans do, we name. We are so typecast that we become mockable caricatures of ourselves. Corinne: thorough, organized, methodical, slow. Joel: committed to quality, forgetful, thoughtful, funny. Megan: urgent, energy, aggressive, careless. A trifecta. 

The reality is that as you submit to the farm, the imbalances that you carry tend become less extreme. 

Yesterday we harvested the tender salad greens. This job consumes most of our time on CSA day. Why? We crouch close to the ground and hand cut the greens, with little serrated red knives. Fifteen or twenty pounds of lettuce mix is harvested this way, then it gets washed and spun out so it arrives in the consumer's hand ready to eat. This year we've made the decision to harvest these greens the night before our delivery day, and it has helped immensely to distribute the work as we prepare. One sleepover in our fridge still gets the greens to our members fresher than any other green one can buy in the store.  

Today we wake early and drink coffee. It will be an hour until the oats finish cooking, and in that time the coffee will trickle through and fortify us until our bodies discover its guise.  Joel and I sit together as the sun's rays begin to penetrate between the trees and enter through our windows. It's been a hard month. June is always a hard month. We forgot why we were farming, and that can change everything. 

Just a moment of stillness, speaking together before the girls are up, this Tuesday morning. Our conversation brings up Allen Chadwick,  a British horticulturist whose writing's on the garden we admire.  He gives a lot of reverence to plants and says that they can be thought of as small incarnations of the sun. 

 After breakfast, Corinne and Joel leave for the farm to finish harvesting the more ephemeral vegetables. I stay at home, 1/4 of a mile down the road. Someone always needs to stay home and accomplish the last minute details in preparation to ensure a smooth delivery day. I finish washing eggs and pack them up, pack up the meat shares, milk Alice, wash diapers, pack Corinne's lunch, write out all CSA notes/details, pick remaining herbs, and bag up the salad mix that was in the fridge. The girls feel important to be involved (underfoot) in the CSA prep process. They seem to be able to feel the sense of solidarity, and this makes them content.  They help bag the greens, munching on renegade leaves that fall from the bags. After we finish, the kitchen table is covered with different shades of green lettuce and it looks like the outside is taking over the inside, making me think of that scene in Max's room from Where the Wild Things Are. 

Corinne and Joel return, an hour before the CSA car has to leave. This is the earliest we've ever finished. We have time to check fluid levels in the car, and for Corinne to change into a presentable outfit.  She drives away towing the trailer and we can hear it squeaking and bumping long after it leaves our sight.


In your share:

Onions

Snap Peas

Cucumbers

Lettuce Mix

Head Lettuce

Broccoli

Scapes

Cilantro 

Parsley

Radish

Flowers

Eggs


Recipes:

This is a good week to do grilled vegetables. We do this often and it's always a welcome side dish. It's elegant and easy, too. Take all your grillable vegetables, in this case, broccoli, scapes, zucchini, onions, snap peas. Cut them up so they grill faster but don't fall between the grill grates. Grill until browned/charred. Place them all in a bowl and while they are still warm toss them with olive oil, chopped garlic, parsley and salt. Balsamic vinegar would be a good addition to the dressing too. Serve with burgers or brats! 




Look, the tomatoes are almost ready!










1 Comment

Week 5

Farming

CSA WEEK 5


Head Lettuce

Lettuce Mix

Arugula

Snap Peas

Broccoli

Kale

Parsley

Mexican Mint Marigold

Onions

Eggs

Flowers



Herbs all the time: 


Chimmichurri sauce. I'm serving this along side a grilled beef tenderloin this week. Everything tastes better with a kicky herb sauce. 


Parsley as a salad? It works. 


All about Mexican Mint Marigold.  A Tarragon substitute. We like with  roasted chicken or snipped into a lettuce salad. 


Enough kale recipes to ensure you don't get sick of it. 


Enjoy the share!





WEEK 4

Farming

CSA WEEk 4

Welcome to Week 4. Already? May and June were spent frantically weeding, and the garden finally is looking like the humans have the upper hand. For now. Last week we also had some gentle soaking rain which made all green things become greener. I am always surprised at the lovely varying shades of green that appear in the garden at this time of the year. The garden looks good. The tomatoes have fruit and are steadily climbing their strings, potatoes are flowering and most plants have been tucked into the ground. Morale improves too as we settle into a new summer with new challenges, learning again how important it is to firmly etablish boundaries of work and rest. Lately we've been taking picnic dinners to the lake down the road. We all jump in and let the cool lake wash away the dirt, heat, stress, and baggage of the day. The girls love it too and they can be entertained there forever. The horizen view that the lake offers gives us peace and reminds us that we are small. And we rest in that. 


A look in your share (more greens! yes please):


Snap Peas

Lettuce Mix

Radish

Pac Choi

Head Lettuce

Arugula

Kale

Green Onions

Mountain Mint

Oregano

Flowers

Eggs


Recipes:

Here is a cooking blog run by a CSA farmer. I get a lot of vegetable ideas from her. You should too!


Two radish recipes shared by one of our members. 


Enjoy the share!


THa ATF Crew





CSA WEEK 3

Farming

Welcome to Week 3. We're just trying to hold on until July., when the plants (and weeds) stop growing up and start growing down. It's busy here! A look in your share:


Pac Choi

Kale

Radish/turnip medley

Lettuce mix

Arugula

Spinach

Parsley

Sage

Spring Onions

Flowers

Eggs


Cold Noodle/Rice Salad Bowls (stole this idea from a recent Bon Appetit. Its barely a recipe and can accomodate so many different vegetable from all seasons)


Choose one from each catagory and combine in bowl:

1. Base: Cooked rice (jasmine, basmati, short grain brown=all good), soba noodles, udon noodles, ramen noodles or rice noodles

2. Protein: Shredded chicken, sliced soft boiled egg

3. Raw Vegetable/Herbs: Thinly sliced radish, kale, spinach, pac choi, spring onions, snap peas, tender herbs such as mint, cilantro, parsley, dill.

4. Crunchies: Toasted sesame seeds, crushed peanuts or cashews, toasted nori (seaweed) sheets, crumbled up

5. Dressings (an immersion blender works great here to emulsify these)

Sesame Ginger:                                 

3 TB lemon juice

2 TB soy sauce

2 TB tahini

1 tsp grated ginger

1 grated garlic clove

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 tsp sesame oil


Miso Mustard:

3 TB  lemon juice

3 TB miso

1 TB dijon mustard

1 tsp. maple syrup

1 grated garlic clove

1/2 cup olive oil


Coconut LIme:

6 TB coconut milk

3 TB lime juice

5 tsp. fish sauce

1 TB brown sugar

1 TB chopped onion

1/4 cup vegetble oil


Garlic Peanut:

1/4 cup peanutbutter

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 TB honey

1 grated garlic clove

1/4 cup vegetable oil


Enjoy!


CSA WEEK 2

Farming

WEEK 2

Here's what's going on this week: Chicken Processing. Our members last year received this letter but I think the system we use is notable and useful for the new members to read. It's also advantageous to have it on our blog for the public to see. So I'm recycling it. 


This week will be a busy one for us. After our usual CSA shenanigans on Tuesday, we roll straight into Wednesday, bright and early, to process our first batch of 140 broilers (meat birds). We do all the processing on the farm and by now have a pretty efficient set up with everyone settled into specific roles. For those interested, the process is this: in the morning the birds get crated up out of their pasture pens and brought to the "killing zone", our designated place on the farm. We load them, head down, into inverted suspended traffic cones, which constrict their bodies and make them feel safe. (making animals feel safe as they both live and die is very important to us)With the heads sticking out the bottom of the cones, we take a very sharp knife and make two small cuts on either side of the chicken's neck. Within a few minutes the blood runs clean out of their bodies and they die with minimal trauma. The cones come in handy here as well, keeping the birds constricted until the end. Once the birds are still, we take them by their feet and immerse them in 145 degree water for two minutes. This precise temperature and time allows the feathers to loosen but keeps the birds from cooking. After the scald, they go into our plucker, which is the great time saver of modern farmers. You thought we plucked all our chickens by hand, right? Nope. The birds go into a big barrel with spinning rubber fingers which strips them all of their feathers and produces perfectly pink naked birds in only a few seconds.  At the next station we remove their heads and feet. They then go to the eviscerating station to have their insides removed. We usually save the livers, hearts and gizzards for our own consumption. Some of Una's first food was liver! After the bird are eviscerated, they get rinsed out and thrown into a big tank of ice water to bring their temperature down as fast as possible. Once cooled, they are drained, given a final inspection and vacuum packed into plastic bags. We write the weight of each bird on its bag,  then immediately the birds go into our freezers. That's it, that's the process! It's surprisingly clean and calm, despite what you might envision in your head. It's also a bonding time for all of us, because everyone is working together. Often the nature of the farm requires one person to be working on a different task than the other, and its rare when a task joins us all.



In your share:

Lettuce Mix

Arugula

Kale

Radish

Head Lettuce

Spinach

Spring Onions! (grill them, dip them in romesco sauce and drink rose wine)

Lemon Balm (all about)

Thyme

Eggs

Flowers


Recipes:

By now, I'm pretty good at all things chicken. I can eviscerate, I can piece, I can brine, I can stuff, I can spatchcock, I can roast.  I'm really picky about my chicken, and I can be because we eat it so much. I hate tough chicken, I hate undercooked chicken, I hate dry chicken, I hate bland chicken.  If I make chicken, it has to be exceptional. Or close to it. I'm still looking for exceptional chicken recipes, so send them my way if you have one. Here are some of my favorite ways to cook chicken. And also some of my I-have-no-time ways to cook chicken (hello, crockpot). 


Fauxtisserie Chicken (low and slow):

2 tsp. fennel seeds

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

2 TB finely chopped fresh oregano

2 TB finely chopped fresh thyme

1 TB salt

1 tsp. black pepper

6 TB olive oil

1 3-4 lb chicken

1 lemon, quartered

1 head of garlic, halved crosswise

2 lb yellow potatoes, quartered

Preheat oven to 300. Grind fennel seeds and pepper flakes in a mortar and pestle. Combine this mix, chopped oregano and thyme, salt and pepper and 3 TB oil in a bowl. Rub chicken inside and out with this mixture. Stuff the chicken with the lemon and the garlic. If you have kitchen twine, tie the chicken legs together. Toss potatoes with remaining 3 TB oil, season with salt and pepper and put on rimmed baking sheet. Push potatoes to the edges of the baking sheet and place the chicken in the center. Roast, turning potatoes once and basting chicken every hour until skin is browned, meat is extremely tender, and potatoes are golden brown and very soft, about 3 hours. Let chicken rest 10 minutes before serving. Serve with a huge green salad, probably the one you got in your share this week. 


Crispy Skin Chicken (high and fast)

1 3-4 lb chicken, spatchcocked (or butterflied)

2 TB flavored butter (endless possibilties here, the following is my go-to. Mix together: 1 minced garlic clove, 1 TB each chopped rosemary, sage, oregano and thyme, 2 tsp. salt, 2 TB butter)

2 1/2 lbs yellow potatoes, quartered

1 1/2 TB olive oil

more salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 500 degrees. To spatchcock, or butterfly a chicken, you remove the backbone with a kitchen scissors, then spread the bird out with some force (might have to break some bones) until its flattened. If you need help figuring out the details of this, google it. Martha Stewart would love to help you figure it out. This procedure helps ensure both the white and dark meat get cooked evenly. 

Apply the flavored butter by slipping your fingers underneath the skin of the chicken and smoothing it all over between the meat and the skin. Put chicken, skin side up on a metal cookie cooling rack in a roasting pan. THe idea here is that you want the juices from the chicken to drip down and flavor the potatoes. Toss potatoes with oil, salt and pepper. SPread them on an even layer underneath the cookie rack. Rub the chicken with some more olive oil and sprinkle with more salt and pepper to taste. 

Roast the chicken until spotty brown, about 20 minutes. Rotate the pan and continue to roast until skin has crisped and turned deep brown and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 160, 20- 25 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to cutting board to rest for 10 minutes. Serve with potatoes. And a green salad.


Cheater Cheater Chicken Dinners:

Take a crockpot, throw your chicken in, fill it half full with water and cook on low until the meat is very tender and falling off the bone, about 4 hours. Remove chicken from crockpot, let it cool, then pick all the meat off the bones. Now is a good time to freeze that chicken for later meals. If not, here are some easy recipes using crocked chicken:

-Chicken Salad: chicken, onion, pickle relish, mustard, mayo, salt. serve rolled in a huge leaf of butterhead lettuce. 

-Chicken Stir Fry: chicken, shredded carrots, kale/spinach/cabbage, onions, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, fish sauce, soy sauce, hot sauce. serve over rice with chopped peanuts.

-Chicken Tacos: chicken sauteed with spices (oregano, cumin, chili powder, garlic, onion), a cilantro cabbage slaw, pickled onions, sour cream. 


Oh, did I mention we're selling our chicken? 


-Megan, for the ATF Crew





Login

Title of your posts.
By Author's Name

January 1, 2030

Category: Category Name

This is where the post content will show up. The font color, font size, line-height, and other styles related to the font, as well as stroke, corner radius and backgroung color / image can be styled. Simply use the text / color / stroke panel to style any of these elements! You can also change the spacing by clicking on the top right arrow near this field. Again this is a sample text and will be replaced with the content of each post.

Tags: Tag Link

100 Comments

Comments

John Smith

 

January 1, 2030

 

This is the comment text. It can be long and break into several lines.

Abrahamstablefarm@gmail.com

15995 Grindstone Lake Rd. Sandstone, MN 55072

 

 

© 2016 Abraham's Table Farm. All rights reserved.

Our Story

Our Practices

Blog

Sign up for Deliveries

One-Time Order Form

Testimonials

Abrahamstablefarm@gmail.com

15995 Grindstone Lake Rd. Sandstone, MN 55072

 

 

© 2016 Abraham's Table Farm. All rights reserved.

Our Story

Our Practices

Blog

Sign up for Deliveries

One-Time Order Form

Testimonials

Abrahamstablefarm@gmail.com

15995 Grindstone Lake Rd. Sandstone, MN 55072

 

 

© 2016 Abraham's Table Farm. All rights reserved.