Getting the beet right

This week my kitchen looked like I butchered a chicken indoors, novice that I am, and that I lost hold of the bird. Oh my goodness! The mess! Only beets can make for a gruesome show but they are tasty plain, pickled, in a soup, roasted, on pizza, or as a salad.

I had extra cooked beets from making pickles and the following salad was a hit for supper:

Beets Vinaigrette – 2 Cups sliced cooked beets, 1/4 C chopped leeks, 1 clove minced garlic, salt, 2 Tbsp wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 Tbsp walnut oil, black pepper

Here is Esther’s Beet Salad with Caramelized Ginger & Citrus that she made to sample for market several weeks ago: Mix together 2 raw grated beets, 1 orange, 2 green onions (or leeks)  Caramelize the following until they are brown: 3 Tbsp grated ginger, 1-5 Tbsp butter, 2 Tbsp sugar. Then add 3 Tbsp soy sauce and 3 Tbsp lemon juice. Serve cold.

This Wednesday is Sunflower Day in Mountain Lake and we will have some entertainment – you! The person who can spit their knack zoat (sunny seeds) the furthest gets a loaf of Sunny Bread or something else of equal value.

Produce should include: beans (wax, purple, green), leeks, beets, tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, onions, melons, sweet peppers, carrots, kale, kohlrabi, herbs and maybe raspberries. CSA members may need to take turns and some get berries one week and not the next. We harvest berries everyday but I freeze everything up to two days before market. Raspberries will also be for sale: fresh and frozen.

Tilting sunnyside

The dawn’s painting of sunrise is always a glorious beginning for another day of life! I am noticing light sliding in around my curtains earlier and encouraging me to start the day at a reasonable hour. I have a most difficult time believing it is “day” when I can’t tell if my eyes are open or closed! I blame it on my internal clock from childhood when day was from 6 to 6 year around and night filled the other hours.

With lengthening days come plans for the new year’s harvests. We have a few more seeds to order. Soon, we begin making soil blocks for seeding leeks. Kenebec potatoes are available for sale; our 2012 seed stock will come from the spuds remaining.

Fresh salad greens continue to bring gusto to our meals! Imagine! Winter squash, carrots and sweet potatoes add the fragrant interlude when brought out of storage and prepared for a meal. I tried out a baked winter vegetable dish last night topped by a cornmeal and sunflower seed crust with a hint of rosemary. It was tasty but a little tweaking should make it into a recipe worth sharing.

A new plant this year, will be sunflowers, the variety Tarahumara, which came over with the Russian Mennonites. Mountain Lake’s history is intertwined with “knack zoat” or sunflower seeds. I can see a field of golden yellow sentinels facing sunward, creating an “a-ha” moment in passing.

Spring CSA shares begin in May, as a new addition to the calendar, and should be paid for before the end of January, if possible. The harvest selection is noted on the registration form. There are also Sweet Fields bread shares to be chosen from our new cafe/bakery in town.

We three farmers continue to meld our farming ideas, organize the accounting into a logical system, study the seeds and plants we hope to get nose to nose with and repair and prepare all things for the start of the season. Hope you can join us!