News from the Farm
A Little Help From our Friends
When people ask us how our farm operates they are always surprised that most of the labor is done by two adults, with occasional forced child labor (sorry Rye!). But there are many people on whom we rely to make our operation run. In the following weeks you will see some of these folks highlighted in our newsletter.
Jerry hails from Conrad, Montana and has a substantial role in our farming operation. He supplies us with organic grain for the pigs, hay for our cows and sheep and straw for animal bedding and mulching. Jerry grew up farming and has farmed most of his adult life. His certified 900 acre farm is in an area of Montana where organic is definitely not the norm. Over the years Jerry has made innovative revisions to his farm including an ingenious composting program. He works diligently to enrich his soil, and manage weeds without chemical usage. He experiments with unique combinations of crop rotation and cover cropping to retain moisture and suppress weed growth. Jerry hauls his wares from east of the divide to our farm every couple of months, and has become a close friend of our family. Much gratitude to Jerry!
This Week’s Veggie Feast
Parsley rocks in the “good for you” department. It boosts high percentages of Vitamins A, C, K, and folate, and kicks in a healthy amount of iron. This herb is more than a mere garnish, or palette cleanser. Use in soups, sauces, pesto, or raw in salads, see recipes below. Stores well in the refrigerator.
Chard is also high in Vitamins A, C, and K. Dr. Axe reports that Swiss chard is useful for countering inflammation, free radical damage and diabetes. “Swiss chard nutrition is especially well known for having special chemical properties that make it extremely useful for preventing and treating diabetes. Swiss chard helps the blood sugar-regulating system within the body by helping to regulate activity of the enzyme called alpha-glucosidase, aiding in the slow release of glucose (sugar) into the blood stream.”
Hurrah! It is the beginning of garlic season! Fresh garlic, which is the immature plant, has not been cured for winter storage so it needs to be stored in the refrigerator. It should last for up to two weeks stored in a crisper. The green tops should be cut off the fresh garlic before storage. Fresh garlic is milder than mature cloves so feel free to use a healthy dose in cooking. Fresh garlic is also easy to peel. Cut off the dried core end of the clove and using the tip of a knife, lift up the skin to remove.
Yum. These do not last long in the fridge, so go ahead and eat them right away. Unlike strawberries found in most grocery stores they are super flavorful, but delicate.
First of the season baby beets are so tender. Steam them, sautee them, throw them in your vitamix blender. Don’t forget to use the greens, which are more nutritious than the root. Treat the leaves as you would Swiss chard or spinach.
I hope you have some good salad dressing.
Beet Risotto with Greens
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
This recipe from Deborah Madison is delicious on its own or served with grilled salmon, lamb, or pork.
5 ½ to 6 ½ cups vegetable or chicken stock
3 tablespoons butter
½ cup finely diced onion
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped basil
2 to 3 medium beets, peeled and grated,
about 2 cups 2 to 3 cups greens (beet, kale, chard, spinach) stems removed and finely chopped
Salt and freshly milled pepper
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
Have the stock simmering on the stove. Heat the butter in a wide, heavy bottom pot, add the onion and cook over medium heat until soft, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the rice, stir to coat it well, and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and simmer until it’s absorbed, then stir in half the parsley, the basil, grated beets, and the chard or kale. Add 2 cups stock, cover, and cook at a simmer until the stock is absorbed. Begin adding the remaining stock in ½ cup increments, stirring constantly until each addition is absorbed before adding the next. When you have 1 cup left, add the beet greens or spinach. Taste for salt, season with pepper, then stir in the lemon zest and juice. Serve dusted with the cheese and remaining parsley.
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cups packed, stemmed Italian parsley
- Course salt
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper
In a food processor place the garlic, parsley, pinch salt, walnuts, and cheese. Process until they form a paste. Gradually blend in olive oil, taste adjust your seasoning if necessary. Great with pasta, poultry, vegetables and rice.
Source: Food Network