Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December 6: The first snow fell today. It is amazing how the accumulation of so many tiny white flakes can transform the landscape. Suddenly the photos in my last post here look out-dated; was that really only two weeks ago? Ruth was the first to explore our new surroundings, joyously running out onto the deck barefoot to watch her footprints, then back in to warm the little toes. First her Spanish class was canceled, then Jeff deemed the roads too slick for us to venture out for fiddle lesson, so we stayed home and drew snails, and more snails.... Thank you snow for a slow day. But Jeff, Andy, and Ben put on an extra layer and headed out. First chores to do, animals to feed and water, then more of the root crop harvest to wash. At lunch they contemplated the afternoon, stalling over a cup of tea; are we really going to go out there and dig out greens to harvest? Yup. In an attempt to provide our CSA members with one last fresh-from-the-field harvest, they headed out. The beets were tucked under the shelter of a plastic row cover, and easily pulled once Ben and Andy peeled back the cover. The carrots and collards had to be coaxed out of the snow and frosty ground; the mustard greens too delicate under the snow to harvest. The fall harvest is complete, and just in time. Now the basement is brimming with food for the winter. Last week we harvested and cleaned all of the storage rutabagas, turnips, carrots, kohlrabi, cabbage, and leeks. Pictured below is on of our new favorites, golden turnips, on the washing table.
The horses dutifully pulled a load of straw to the field, with our apprentices on board, to blanket the carrots for winter harvesting and the strawberries for re-growth next summer. How quickly our minds must already shift to next season!

The seed catalogs are filling our mailbox, and we are working on clearing an area near our house for a hoop-house, to be used as a barn this winter and for veggies in the spring. As the days continue to shorten, the kitchen lures, the wood cook-stove asks for soups to be cooked on its continuous heat, and I oblige. I have been having a wonderful time turning our farm bounty into family meals. And you? What are you creating in your kitchen these days? I was just about to set into mixing up a batch of potato latkes for Hanukkah this past week, when the pigs (all 13 of them) busted out. Jeff had just driven off. So, Ben, Andy, Ari, Ruth and I set to getting them back in. It took hours. Luckily, Leah had just fallen asleep in her stroller, and when she woke was amused enough with the chaos, and running through the woods, to watch quietly from the pack on my back. No, never a dull moment. By the time Jeff returned, the pigs were confined, and I left him, Ben, and Andy to finish setting up their new are while I headed to the kitchen. The potato latkes were great. The table happily crowded.

This week's Winter Pantry CSA share includes:
bunched carrots
daikon radish
collard greens
kim chi
beets with greens
sweet potatoes
delicata squash

Potato Latkes
- from Love and Knishes, adaptations by Amy’s mother, Thyle Shartar
2 Cups grated raw potatoes (measure after draining out the liquid)
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. salt
1 small onion, grated
1 heaping Tbs. flour (mom uses whole wheat pastry) or matzo meal
1 pinch baking baking powder (mom never uses)

Mix all ingredients. Scoop into pan using a ladle or measuring cup and flatten to fry like pancakes. Use a high heat oil, such as sunflower, and cook on medium high heat until browned on each side. You can keep them warm in the oven until serving by laying them flat on a cookie sheet. If you stack them they will become soggy. The texture of the latkes is best when the onions and potatoes are hand-grated; using a cuisinart for the grating leaves the latkes a little mushy. Serve with applesauce and sour cream.