Fill your freezer with real, whole food meals! Perfect to pair with the great fall produce from our Veggie Lovers red bags. Welcome to your fall challenge – read below and follow the link to access your free challenge guide and recipes.
This fall, as a passionate Culinary Nutrition guide, I am focused on three ways to increase real, health supporting foods in our kitchens.
Meal planning and prep with largely whole and natural foods
Converting your pantry to feature more real and nutritious foods that you use often
A well-stocked freezer for easy meals when life requires it.
Enter the 5 Week, 5 Freezer Meal Fall Challenge.
I have hand selected five of my favourite freezer-friendly meals that feature amazing, health and happiness supporting ingredients. These recipes are seasonally focused and highlight local ingredients. You’ll use a range of techniques in order to sharpen your own scratch cooking skills.
How It Works Over the next five weeks, simply make one freezer recipe per week. You might double a recipe and eat one the day or week you make it and freeze another for later, or simply make it directly for the freezer.
The time commitment isn’t a lot. I’ve selected recipes that are so simple, you’ll only need 15-30 minutes of active prep time.
The challenge officially begins October 15, but you are welcome to starting cookin’ anytime! Keep us posted on Instagram by tagging @livingsimplykitchen and @brownsugarproduce, and the challenge hashtag #fallfreezermealchallenge
Schedule your weekly time to cook and stick to your plan. (like right now… stop and make your plan).
Check your pantry for the ingredients – this will save you time and money when you head to the grocery store.
Buy the groceries you need for the week’s recipe ahead of time so you have everything on hand when you go to cook.
I’m so glad you’re joining the challenge. Get ready to fill your freezer with REAL FOOD!
If you would like to place an optional pre-order for additional veggies to come with your red bag next week, please use THIS LINK.
*There are a TON of wasps in certain crops, celery is one of them. We carefully harvested it and Jon also washed it, so we hope that you don’t encounter any. That sting I incurred last week kinda ruined my week! (But I’m all better now!).
This week’s share should not contribute too much to your fridge-over-stuffed-ness (I made leftovers pie last night and mine is now back to reasonable). The Winter Sweet Kabocha Squash can be stored in your house until you’re ready to eat it (warm not cool!), you’ll make good use of the Celery in your turkey soup, some nutritious Broccoli Shoots in case your weekend was carb-heavy, some exciting Radishes (highly recommend sauteeing the tops in butter!), and a big portion of our beautiful Roma Tomatoes. If you’re not ready to deal with the tomatoes, you can stick them in the fridge to hold them. Or they can be washed and put directly in the freezer for use in the winter. The skins slide off when you run frozen tomatoes under cool water!
Check out the Squash Guide I made last year for lots of tips on storing and eating squash!
We celebrated this weekend by eating a huge turkey that has been in my freezer for nearly 2 years now, with my Auntie Joan from The Netherlands. She just arrived Friday and it’s the first time we’ve seen her in 26 months, so it was a pretty exciting Thanksgiving for us!
We’re looking forward to (finally!) having some extra time this week now that the 14-week program is done to finish bringing in the harvest. We’ve been intentionally waiting on some things: Potatoes, for the soil to cool so the skins set and they store properly (mostly just our own storage), carrots & parsnips, for there to be some frost to help sweeten them. We’ll keep waiting on those, but we can now tackle getting all the drip tape out of the fields, taking the poly off the tunnel, getting land prepared for the spring, and putting things away for winter.
We still have a good solid month of outdoor work, and as always, it will conclude with frozen fingers at the very last second! Contrary to what you may think, this extended fall without frost has just kept us engaged with tasks that would normally be done already, like picking zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, etc. It’s great to have had more harvest from those crops, but we are officially done with them (even if mother nature isn’t yet)!
Yesterday I set aside and drafted up the contents for the remaining CSA bags. It doesn’t leave us with a ton of extra produce, but it’s more than last year thank goodness! We’ve sold out of onions and some of the squash varieties, but most everything else is still available (and by “sold out” of onions, I mean the remaining onions are reserved for CSA members, you’ll receive another 4 – 5 lbs over the coming 8 weeks).
We’re thankful for people who value quality food grown with love, like you!
Pickups are on for: Brandon: Tuesday from 4:00 – 6:00 pm at Stanley Park, 14th Street between Lorne and Princess Ave.
Rivers: Wednesday from 5:00 – 7:00 pm in the WESTOBA Credit Union parking lot, directly North of the Rink parking lot. (I believe the Rink lot is finished now, but as it was rather busy last week we’ll stick with Westoba for the final pickup!)
This is Week 14/14 or Week 16/24. This is the final week of pickup for Rivers and 14-Week members.
Coming in your Red Bag: Carrots, 2 lbs Pie Pumpkin, 1 large Onions, 1 lb Thanksgiving Herbs Bundle OR Baby Dill bundle Pea Shoots Potatoes, 2 lbs White Warba or Yukon Gold, Grown by Marlin Peters, Virden Plus 1 optional item, lots of choices!
If you are in our CSA and would like to place an optional pre-order for additional veggies to come with your red bag next week, please use THIS LINK.
If you are in our 14 week program in Brandon and would like to extend your subscription another 8 weeks (to November 30th, $200), please send me an email!
Moving forward, we will be able to keep our weekly order form open for 14 week members to place orders for now. (Rivers members, you are welcome to participate if you can pick up at the farm!).
About your Veggies: We typically do a special “Thanksgiving” allotment for the final week of 14 week shares! This week’s includes a pie pumpkin, the staples onions-carrots-potatoes, and a herb bundle with sage, thyme, oregano and parsley. (Or dill, if you prefer that!)
This week’s share doesn’t include parsnips, as they’re not ready yet. They taste best after a frost so we’re waiting to dig them.
To make up for that disappointment, we are including “an item of your choice” from a well-stocked mini-market that we were able to get ready yesterday! All of the items are between $4-$6 and you can choose any one item to go with your red bag today! There are even fresh radishes, the nicest Jon’s ever grown thanks to this extended fall nice weather, and spinach, and bunched carrots, beets, potatoes, onions, kale, tomatoes, squash, etc. I’m certain everyone will find something to take home that they are happy with!
(And yes, the Mini-Market is open for shopping as well, if you want anything above and beyond your one choice!)
Farm Update: Miss Vachon is now Mrs. Lach! Janelle and Eric’s wedding was beautiful and the weather was perfect. We had a great time, especially Myrah! Right before it was her turn to go down the aisle (after the ring bearer and before the bride) she whispered to me, “Mommy, I’m scared!”. But she was able to do it, though she didn’t look up once and only scattered 5 petals very precisely… And followed me when I was attempting to fade into the crowd and let her go on her own! In other words, exactly perfect flower girl behaviour for a 4 year old! I’ll share the professional photos once they’re available, as most of mine are terrible.
How special to be included in this day! After a season on the farm part-time in 2016, I let Janelle know that we would love to have her back. In April 2017 she decided to work for us full time that season. Her first day of work that year, May 8th, was the day I was induced! We had lunch together at Mom’s before Jon and I headed to the hospital. Janelle was within the first handful of people to meet Myrah, and though like me she’s not a huge fan of kids, the kids you get to know are always great! Myrah, and all of us, think of Janelle as family.
(If anyone is getting married or knows someone who is, and is interested in this size 5 flower girl dress with shoes, headband, and leggings, let me know, we would be happy to pass it on to someone who can use it!)
We just found out yesterday that my aunt Joan (Dad’s sister) in The Netherlands booked a flight home! So we are picking her up at the airport this weekend and very excited to see her. Jon and I are both very close to Auntie Joan, we have lots in common and connect almost daily. We haven’t seen her in person since August 2019! Did not expect such excitement for Thanksgiving, but here we are!
Life has been pretty full lately so I haven’t gotten around to sending out the end of season CSA survey yet, but I will, probably later this week! We’ve been taking advantage of the nice fall weather and I’ve been shuffing off all my computer jobs.
On that note, a few of you have asked if I found winter employment, and I wanted to share that yes, I have! I’ll be working for Crystal Johnston at Wildflower Business Solutions in Rivers. Crystal is a 2-season CSA member in Rivers and we have always gotten along really well. She has some data entry and bookkeeping tasks that she thinks I can help with, and is currently pregnant with her 4th kid which clearly makes her a superhero. I think the opportunity will provide me a chance to get better at using QuickBooks Online software, and better overall at doing/understanding the bookkeeping I do for our business. Plus it’s a local business whose values I appreciate. It also fits with some other criteria I was hoping for, ie not physical work and close by home with like-minded people.
Newly launched last week is Wildflower Business Solutions‘ “Back Pocket Bookkeeper” which is a monthly subscription that allows you unlimited access to professional bookkeeping solutions at a fraction of the cost. As someone who has had many different bookkeeping & accounting teachers, accountants and bookkeeping helpers, I can totally see the value in this!
Brown Sugar Produce is having an ok year, but this winter employment will take some of the pressure off having to pay our salaries all winter so that we can start 2022 in a good place. We will be doing less crop production next year, trying to stay within the capacity of land that we can realistically support, which unfortunately is below the level of what will support us as exclusively farmers. But who says we can only be veggie farmers, anyway? I really look forward to working off the farm this winter, and to what this direction may mean for us moving forward. (Don’t worry, we aren’t decreasing the size of our CSA next year!). More to come in future newsletters!
Well, I guess this is farewell for another year if you’re in our 14 week program! I’ll continue to send out via email a link to the order form while we have some additional produce available this fall.
Please feel welcome to let us know how this year was for you, and reach out if you have any suggestions or comments! Watch for the end of season survey in your email soon, please provide your feedback if possible, and I’ll write a season summary near the end of the CSA which will include the survey results.
Delicata Squash is a favourite of ours and seems to be a favourite for many of you as well! I really like it roasted in the oven, cut like this. You don’t need to peel it, which makes it really easy to use!
A big portion of beets to keep you in beets for a while! We are taking advantage of the nice weather and washing our root crop harvests in nicer conditions than usual!
Don’t forget that awesome salad Buffy posted earlier, which uses spiralized beets. If you don’t have a spiralizer, they are also great grated raw on salads. As not-a-beet-lover, that’s one of the ways I enjoy them the most!
Mom’s Refrigerator Pickles need to be kept in the fridge! They are not canned (sealed) which is why they’re extra crispy tasting. Of all the pickles she makes I think these ones are my top favourite!
Buckwheat shoots are the lettuce of the shoots world! They truly do taste like lettuce, so are a great addition to salads and wraps. They don’t hold well so eat em up quickly!
Farm Update: This has been an uncommonly warm fall and we are enjoying an extended harvest window, where we can still comfortably wash veggies outside and haven’t had a killing frost yet (just enough to zap the squash leaves last Friday morning). Which means we’re still picking cucumbers and tomatoes and zucchini and peppers! (and eggplant. And basil. And pumpkins. Frankly, I’m a little done with most of it!).
Myrah has been LOVING preschool! It’s a great addition to her life.
Jon has been enjoying getting back into the Shoots routine this fall. We’ve been talking a lot about how we want to manage things moving forward, considering we could be in for a dry year again next season. This year proved that the level of production we have can’t be sustained with hauling water, nor does it work for the team. So, we’re going to be doing less next year, and managing things a bit differently. But rest assured, the Veggie Lovers’ Club is our favourite part of what we do and will continue!
If you’re a fan of parsnips, bad news– they won’t be hitting the bags this Thanksgiving as is traditional for us. We haven’t had frost and so taste tested them last night and we were disappointed as expected. Parsnips need a good frost to develop the sweetness that is such an important part of their flavour. Otherwise they taste like bland, starchy carrots. It’s a helluva lot of work to dig parsnips (with a fork, usually inserted at least twice for each section of row, they are very deeply rooted), and I’m not prepared to do it for sub-par flavour. So we will wait. (If you’re deeply disappointed and in our 14 week program, I can make sure you get some when they become available! Send me an email or talk to me at the pickup!)
Janelle gets married this weekend, so we look forward to attending with Myrah as the flower girl! What a nice way to end the season.
About your Veggies: -Potatoes are unwashed as we ran out of time. There was a frost warning last night so we picked tomatoes instead! Kennebec are white skin, white flesh, and similar texture to Russet. I made Dill Pickle & Bacon Potato Salad on Sunday with them and it turned out great!
-Our leeks had a host of issues this year and never sized up. They got disease in the trays, suffered without rain, and then got grasshoppered. We harvested the entire row yesterday and ended up with only 98 pounds. (In a good year each leek weighs a pound!) It is a heck of a lot more work to clean up 2,000 tiny leeks. I’m sure they still taste good though!!
-It’s Tomato time! You might get a bit more than predicted today, depending on supply.
-We’re happy with the Red Cabbage this year. Funny thing, red/purple veggies are never as vigorous as their green counterparts. Our Red Cabbage sized up pretty well this year despite!
-Jon grew some Radish Shoots for you this week! You can also connect with our mixed clamshells of shoots in Chez Angela, restocked today!
Farm Update: We spend lots of time harvesting this time in the season. Yesterday extra so as there was a frost warning. I don’t think we got any and if we did it will be very light, enough to zap the squash leaves so we can find them all. Just in case we picked another 1000 lbs of Roma tomatoes yesterday. Then I moved some things in the shed to make way for Tomato-geddon, as those ‘maters will be ripening over the next few months and have to be sorted every week. Not a crate in sight on the farm now, they are all full!
So if you want some for canning feel welcome to book some or order some on an upcoming order form! This weekend I made Salsa. Jon helped with the hateful task of peeling the tomatoes, because last year I didn’t peel them at all but we found in fact, it does matter, and we didn’t like the huge chunks of skin in the jars. Salsa is one of the only preserves I make because it’s something we eat a lot of. If I can do it, you can totally do it too! We have a Salsa Pack which comes with everything you need. Once you see how much work it is, you’ll never take salsa for granted again! At the same time, it’s nice work. Chopping veggies, boiling stuff, putting stuff in jars… It is satisfying and feels like you’re getting ready for winter for reals.
We’ve got a pickup at The Green Spot this Friday if you need anything else this week, or a project for the weekend! (Farm pickup is available for Rivers members!). Click here for the order form for Friday (deadline Thursday at noon).
Thanks for loving our food with your whole heart! We love you back. Our days spent on the farm are lovely, productive, and joyful.
If you are in our CSA and would like to place an optional pre-order for additional veggies to come with your red bag next week, please use THIS LINK.
We are hosting a market Friday September 17th in front of Lady of the Lake from 4 – 7 pm.
About your Veggies:
Shoots are back! We didn’t have good luck with late seeded crops this year, so we decided to start the shoots room back a month or so early. The grasshoppers are ridiculous out there. Fortunately, they cannot get into the shed! So we’ve got some pea shoots for you this week, and some other varieties growing for coming weeks. They’re also available in Chez Angela during their open hours (currently 7-7 weekdays and 8-7 Saturdays).
Our onion yield was low this year, they are small. But they are firm and flavourful! Jon and I finished the harvest Saturday, we’ve got 3 tables curing (normally would have 6 or more). Grasshoppers seem to really like the tops, which is possibly a contributing factor to their small size.
Celery! Again, think “soup flavour” rather than “celery sticks”. I cut some of this up and added it to my fish en papillote (pickerel in a parchment bag) Sunday, it really complimented the fish nicely (also used carrots, zucchini, red pepper, dill, garlic, lemon, dragon tongue beans).
Celebration Acorn Squash is now the only Acorn Squash we grow. Those green ones just don’t pass the flavour test! These are much better in my opinion. Acorn Squash don’t require curing before eating so they are ready to go. I recommend eating this one up before Christmas as they are a short keeper. (For some reason, people love to show & tell me their really really old squash. I am honestly more impressed if you eat it within the window when it still tastes good! Hoarding is better directed to dry goods. :P)
Rounding out your bag this week is baby dill and carrots. Our late carrots are getting grasshoppered before they can size up, so we did bunches this week and will need to dig the whole works soon. I’ll have a better idea of available quantity then if you’re looking for some for winter (until then I thought I listed them at a high enough price to be cost prohibitive, but they keep going out the door).
The dill is BEAUTIFUL! Jen and I did it in bunches which was faster for us, and you’ll need to put it in a plastic bag, container, or stand it up in a glass of water in your fridge.
I’ve been getting creative with salads and including lot of herbs, chopped veggies like celery, fennel, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and some kind of beans (usually chickpeas) with a lemony, garlicky dressing. It wasn’t a good year for lettuce, but I actually prefer a chunky salad and they keep better over the week, too. Silver linings, always! Here’s a link to that awesome salad Buffy posted recently!
Pre-school was a hit last week, and Myrah returns today. She LOVES it and didn’t want to leave the second day. I had left some space for it this month (one of many reasons we’re not doing markets most of Sept), but hadn’t really thought about what it would look like in our lives. It sure adds a lot of driving! (An hour each day she goes, for a 2-1/2 hour afternoon – we are 10 mins from town. Mostly I feel for parents with multiple kids going in different directions!) But it is great for Myrah and so it’s very worth it. Over the winter especially, as it’s harder to connect with people then and she needs the peer social interaction.
What a beautiful late summer we’ve had! It *almost* makes up for that sun trying to murder me all summer. This was a hard season for us. The summer conditions frequently made it difficult or impossible to work as we’d like to or need to. So, to have a beautiful late summer without an early frost is such a gift! We’re making good progress on harvest, and have been able to arrange it more efficiently because of the conditions this year. AND we haven’t needed to haul water for at least a couple weeks.
I dug this photo up from the blog archives – it is our nephew Caeden’s 7th birthday today! This photo is from Sept 2, 2019, the last time he visited the farm. I always see so much Jenkins’ family resemblance between Jon, Myrah, and this fella!
The tomato crop is decent, not great, this year, but we expect to get lots to you in coming weeks, and we’ll have bulk boxes available starting today (I’m bringing a few 10 lb boxes to Brandon, they’re $25) and on the order form for next week. Leave them on the counter and they’ll ripen over the week, if they get too ripe you can stick them somewhere cool to slow them down.
Your Spaghetti squash is our first of the squash harvest for the season! It is not cured yet and so it’s best if you let it sit in your house (NOT your fridge) for a week or two before you eat it. We’ll be working at getting the squash harvested and into the greenhouse to cure over the coming weeks… Not my favourite job of the season, that’s for sure!
The spaghetti squash split in the late season rain. The cracks *usually* heal over, but if yours rots just let me know and we can get you another one!
The shallots are small and not as nice as I’d hoped. Grasshoppers have decimated the tops of the other shallots (grown from seed, these are from sets) and so they are small as well. If I don’t get out there and harvest the leeks soon, they’ll get those too! I really didn’t realize grasshoppers ate onions so much. They’re getting into our late carrots now, too. Caramelized shallots is one of my favourite flavours in the whole world! These ones may require some additional cleaning up before you use them. We noticed some rot when cleaning them, and it was a slog for both Jen and I to get them ready.
Cukes and zukes perked up after that rain. I’ll have as much zucchini as I can fit in the van along today (Tuesday) and a good portion along Wednesday, too!
The cilantro was BEAUTIFUL and needs to be cut weekly to stay nice, so we are bringing it as an optional item as well.
Farm Update: Well, last year we got frost on this day, so we made it longer than that at least! We’re working away at the pre-frost harvest and have brought in a good chunk of the tomatoes. The next full moon is the 12th so we will watch the forecast closely around then, and may get lucky and have a few more frost free weeks.
Our days begin a little later in this season. It’s not light enough to work outside until about 6:45, so sometimes we linger in the kitchen over coffee and our books. It’s a nice change after that hot summer which demanded we be outdoors as soon as dawn cracked to beat the heat. It’s also dark sooner, which means the chickens go to bed earlier and so can we! I love living close to nature and observing the seasons and incorporating that into my life.
Myrah starts preschool today! She’s going 3 afternoons a week and we are so excited for her. This summer we were fortunate to connect with her teacher Miss Jacquie, who came several afternoons to the farm to get to know Myrah. The other preschool teacher, Stacy, is a CSA member in Rivers already– so I warned Myrah, ‘Watch out, I know both your teachers!’ I also told her ‘Miss Jacquie and Miss Stacy are going to be jealous of these carrots in your snack’, and then she told me not to pack them! Last week, Myrah decided she was going to be vegan. She decided this while eating a hot dog, which I pointed out was unquestionably, not vegan. Then I pointed out that neither was the butter on her corn, and there was definitely gelatin in that marshmallow planned for dessert. She concluded that she’d better go with her strength, considering butter is her favourite food.
I hope you’re having a good back to school week! Remember today (Tuesday) is a fake Monday, perhaps the trickiest fake Monday of the entire year because it’s also back to school time!
I just had to share this vibrant, nutrient dense salad that you can enjoy making with all kinds of colourful veggies of this season, plus a sweet splash of antioxidant power from B.C. blueberries and an important, satisfying dose of healthy fats from pumpkin seeds and olive oil. With a simple dressing, this salad is perfect for meal prep as the crunchy components will stay fresh in the fridge for a few days if you keep the dressing on the side.
Note: I add about 1 tsp of honey to my dressing mixture.
This salad is broadly nutritious. It’s especially great for you if you are trying to support your mood balance, blood sugar, nervous system, stress resilience and immune system right now.
This Blueberry Beet and Greens Salad is the ultimate late summer powerhouse when it comes to a variety of raw nutrients, not to mention flavour! Pumpkin seeds alone pack major punch, and so do the other fresh veggies along with a very simple yet nutritious dressing. Use what you have for veggies – carrot is wonderful; red onion works well; you can substitute kale with spinach, swiss chard, arugula, lettuce or a custom blend. And you could add roasted corn or thinly sliced cabbage from our Red Bag this week.
Kale: Prebiotic nutrients that nourish desirable gut flora; support for natural detoxification; antioxidant and anti-inflammatory; excellent source of Vit K, A, C, B6, manganese, and copper – just to name a few.
Celery: Protects against inflammation in the digestive tract; excellent antioxidant; and a wide array of phytonutrients.
Cucumber: Blood sugar regulation, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
Beets: I love beets for their rich and uncommon colour in the food world – this is how we know they have unique phytonutrients that we can enjoy! In this case, the colour in beets comes from betalains that support the body’s natural detoxification, as well as combatting inflammation. They are also supportive to our nervous system health.
Blueberries: Rich in phytonutrients and antioxidant properties… and so dang delicious!
Source: World’s Healthiest Foods, whfoods.org
Try These Boosts!
You can add cooked quinoa or lentils for more plant based protein & fiber or a salmon filet, or serve this salad with a local roast chicken for a beautiful fall meal. Another boost would be adding a lacto-fermented food like sauerkraut or sour pickles.
Serving size: this recipe “serves 1” as a meal salad so 2x or 4x up to suit your meal prep!
Sweet Corn, 1/2 Dozen – Paul & Stephanie Dillon, Brandon Green Cabbage, 1 Potatoes, All Reds and All Blues (Amarosa and Russian Blue) 1.5 lb Red Onion, 1 Colored Beets, bunch with tops (ran out of colored so there are some just red bunches too) Jalapeno Peppers, Optional (will be self-serve at pickup spot)
If you are in our CSA and would like to place an optional pre-order for additional veggies to come with your red bag next week, please use THIS LINK.
This is the first of our storage cabbage harvest, and Jon was quite happy overall with them.
My Dad grew an acre of corn and it’s ready so we went over Sunday to help pick it for you. I’ll have some extra along at the pickup this week and next!
The potatoes are a mixture of all reds, all blues, and a favourite “Prince of Orange” which has very yellow flesh. Our potato yields were disappointing this year, but I have secured another 500 lbs for the fall from Marlin Peters (Peter’s Market Garden, Virden). And we’ve got Maria’s (Sandy Soil Gardens) for sale on the pre-order form and at the pickup right now! Ours are all done except for a few for storage for ourselves: I’m not going to run out this year like last year!!
Red Onions sized up better than the other onions, which is the opposite of usual. (That’s a good description of our entire 2021 season, actually: “the opposite of usual”!!). Overall, I’m finding our entire onion crop very strong flavoured this year, which reflects the stress it endured growing in the heat, smoke, and drought.
If you haven’t noticed, beets are one crop that did consistently well for us this year! Most of the bunches are colored, but we did run out of big enough colored ones so there are some just red bunches too.
Optional Jalapenoes! If you’re not into hot things, feel welcome to skip them. They will be optional and self-serve beside the pickup.
The zucchini has really slowed down lately so we won’t have that along this week, though I do expect to again in the future.
Funny story, on Friday after market I put together a quick Thai stirfry. Wanted some heat to it so I added a sliced raw jalapeno with the frying pork and onions. Then I coughed. And coughed. And Jon came in the kitchen and he coughed too. Then we turned on the hood fan and still kept coughing: Turns out, frying hot peppers release capsaisin (the thing that gives peppers their heat) into the air! Who knew. I remember years ago when Mom learned the lesson not to food process dried hot peppers. I guess I’ve always added my peppers to liquid or at the end of cooking. Anyway, if you plan to saute them, maybe open a window!
The Opposite of Usual
Our last regular market was Friday, and it feels SO GOOD to be done markets and have a Friday off this week! I’m super grateful for last year shaking things up for us. There’s no way I would’ve ever been able to give myself permission to not do markets in September, but it’s totally the right choice for us! Markets tend to slow down in September, it’s cold, we have more to do on the farm because it’s time to bring the fall crops in before frost (last year happened Sept 7). Not to mention, Janelle is getting married in a month, Myrah starts preschool next week, and we’re tired. The kind of tired that has me reaching for endless cups of coffee that will only make it worse, dozing off during reading bedtime stories (or driving, oops!), sleeping in past 6 am.
We’ll have some optional Friday pickups on Friday Sept. 10th and 24th (in front of The Green Spot). You’ll get first dibs on the order form which will be in this newsletter (next week).
That’s another thing we didn’t think would work as well as it does for us. I thought custom pickup orders sounded like a terrible idea before we tried it, but it actually goes really smoothly and takes EXPONENTIALLY less energy than markets. It’s probably the new way: I don’t enjoy markets anymore. Pickups only require one delivery person to leave the farm, and then I come home and unload a van full of empty crates in 5 minutes. When we get home from market, by contrast, we spend up to 2 hours putting everything away and cleaning the trailer. Market is a 14+ hour day, with the added exhaustion of dealing with the public. I really just want to grow veggies for my friends. Thanks for being my friend!
See you at the pickup spot! Thanks to everyone for making pickups fun. I really appreciate those who take the time to chat and get to know each other! That’s what this is all about for me. Special thanks to the friends in Rivers who help me fill that 2 hour window (longer than necessary, but I love having extra time to visit with you and there have been so many amazing conversations this year!).
It’s been another week full of happy food, cooking and processing in my kitchen! Every time I turn around, there is another BIG bucket/bag/box of produce to work with. I try to remember to have fun with it and not worry on the days when I don’t knock everything off the list (read: every single day, haha). Because I’m committed to advocating for joy & ease in the kitchen as a foundation for wellbeing, I try to keep a close eye on my mindset as I work through my lists and ideas. I hope you do, too.
Finding joy and health in the kitchen has a lot to do with creating the time and skills to enjoy it. If you find meal times crazy, I recommend trying to find a more suitable and enjoyable scenario for cooking and meal prep. If this feels really impossible, try it once. Decide the time and place in the next week and tell whoever needs to know. Problem solve childcare or any other barriers, and make your plan. This is not a day for grocery shopping, so you’ll want to plan in advance for when you will get ingredients (or who will shop) and what you plan to accomplish. Make a list of no more than 5 things (some dishes and some simple prep) as not to get overwhelmed.
This Week’s Recipes
This week, I’ve got two great recipes for you – a from scratch Caesar salad dressing with great ingredients and a simple Indian Palya that fragrant, nutritious and great for a weeknight.
Carrot & Dragon Tongue Bean Palya with Coconut
Takes 20 minutes. Serves 2.
Overdoing screen time? Carrots are said to have a cooling and relaxing effect on the eyes and may bring you relief if you’ve been spending a lot of time on your phone or computer. Aren’t we all……..
Palya is a dish of southern Indian origin referring to a quick fry of bite-sized veggies with fragrant seasoning. You can make this using a single veggie or a multitude! Beans, carrots, beets, potatoes and even some kale – many vegetables are fair game, and best if cut into bite-sized pieces. It makes a great weekday meal especially if you prepare the veggies ahead of time (ie. the night before or 1-2 days in advance) to serve with rice or roti or your favourite flatbread.
1 Tbsp ghee or coconut oil 1 tsp mustard seed 1 tsp each lime zest and lime juice 1 cup dragon tongue beans, trimmed and cut into half-inch pieces 1.5 cups grated or diced carrots (3 peeled carrots) ¼ cup shredded, unsweetened coconut 1 tsp cinnamon and/or garam masala 1/2 tsp salt or to taste ¼ cup water
Add the ghee or coconut oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and saute with a lid on for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the lime zest and set aside the lime juice.
After 1 minute, add the beans, carrot, and coconut and cook for a few seconds more, stirring to distribute the oil and the spices throughout. Lightly season with the cinnamon and salt, then add the lime juice and water. Stir, reduce the heat to low and cover to simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and serve warm with rice, roti or a flatbread of your choice. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and cooling yogurt raita. Bonus: raita uses cucumbers and a few other simple ingredients like probiotic plain yogurt (referred to as ‘curd’ in the recipe I linked), cilantro, salt and cumin or paprika.
Real Caesar Salad Dressing (Dairy Free)
This Caesar salad dressing is made from great, whole ingredients. I made this dairy free with the addition of nutritional yeast*, but kept the eggs and anchovy paste for their healthy fats, Vitamin D, Vitamin A and beta-carotene. Did you know pastured, local eggs are significantly higher in these nutrients than conventional eggs and have a better ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids? Free-range local eggs are a fabulous swap to start making.
Try this dressing with kale sliced approximately 1 inch wide or use a 50/50 blend of kale and lettuce. If I am using some or all kale, I first toss it in dressing for a few minutes to tenderize before adding the lettuce and a bit more dressing to serve.
This recipe makes a good batch of dressing for about 8 side servings or 4 meal salads. It will stay well in the fridge for 2-3 days.
*you can substitute parmesan cheese for nutritional yeast.