From the Land 10.31

announcements

Check out our CSA Soup Share! Made by Cottonwood-based farmer and caterer JoJo Brashears, utilizing all local ingredients, you can now supplement your CSA produce share with 2 lbs of soup each week for only $10/wk! The soup will be distributed each Wednesday November through mid-May, and you can sign up for any weeks you want, no commitment necessary. Pre-select vegan/vegetarian, omnivore, or “other” option. I’ll have sign-up sheets/calendars out today – please ask for more info!

*FYI: if we don’t have enough members sign up, we’ll decrease the distribution to every other week.

Beef shares will be distributed November 14. If you haven’t already signed up, just let us know and we can update your contract. $100/share for 16-18 pounds of free-range beef, delivered frozen and all at once.

Where will you get your Thanksgiving turkey? Ridgeview Farms in Paulden raises GMO-free, grass-fed turkeys and has reserved several for us! The birds will be on the large side – 18-20 pounds – and are $3.75/lb. Notice the sign-up sheet next to the CSA sign-in sheet at distribution today, and let us know if you’re interested. You can reserve your bird for $25 deposit.

On that note – CSA distribution will happen on Tuesday the week of Thanksgiving! Mark your calendars, as the Bookstore/CSA will not be open from Wednesday November 21 through the next Monday.

food for thought
full share: tomatoes, jerusalem artichokes, sweet potatoes, carrots, leeks, rutabagas, braising mix, and roasted peppers!

partial share: tomatoes, jerusalem artichokes, sweet potatoes, and carrots!

veg of the week

Jerusalem artichokes: Helianthus tuberosus

Also known as “sunchokes”, Jerusalem artichokes are related to sunflowers, with the tuber the most commonly eaten part. The tubers look similar to ginger root and vary in color from light brown, red, purple, and white. Despite its name, Jerusalem artichokes did not originate in Jerusalem (actually are native to North America and were first cultivated by Native Americans) and are not related to artichokes (though apparently the French discoverer Champlain sent them back home and wrote that their taste was similar).

Uses: Jerusalem artichokes have a potato-like texture when cooked and can be substituted for potatoes in any recipe, but can also be eaten raw to enjoy their sweet, nutty flavor.  Scrub with a vegetable brush, grate onto salads or slice and serve with dip, marinate in oil and vinegar, substitute for water chestnuts, add to the blender with raw soups, or substitute for potatoes in cooked dishes, stir fry, bake whole, steam or boil and mash like mashed potatoes. Or toss them with olive oil and roast them with your other root vegetables!

NutritionThe carbohydrate in jerusalem artichokes is called inulin, which can cause gassiness in some (best to try a little bit at a time!), but is better digested when cooked. Interestingly, the inulin also makes this root very low in the glycemic index, and are therefore a great alternative to potatoes for diabetics. Inulin also supports digestive properties and increases calcium absorption. Sunchokes are very high in potassium and iron.

To store: Keep wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator. They will last up to 2 weeks, but eat them as soon as possible for optimal nutrition and freshness. Sweetness increases with refrigeration, so when harvesting your own, refrigerate for a couple days before eating.

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Small-scale Farming
by Alex Deck

Small-scale farming struggles to be financially practical in today’s economy. For a small-family-run farm to be more economically productive, the entire food industry would need to be reconstructed. According to the USDA 27% of the food consumed in the US is produced by “small family farms”. I am forced to assume, however, that most of these small farms sell to larger distributors, since about 90% of the food I see sold in the average grocery store does not appear to be produced from anything less than a multi-million dollar company; and is certainly not grown within the state.

Large scale agriculture really hit it off in the early 1900s with the discovery of the Haber-Bosch method for synthesizing ammonium nitrate into synthetic fertilizer. Small farms have been on the decline ever since. Ever since recently, actually. In the past few decades the Organic food movement has been bringing back the old methods of farming. The only drawback is that these farms must charge a premium for their products to compete with the massive farms.

For posterity, here is a description of a small farm in 1900 taken from A Revolution in the Heartland by Rex R. Campbell. A single family owning or leasing land could always grow enough for them to eat. Normal crops included corn, wheat, barley, oats, and hay. For livestock farms generally had five to ten milking cows, a few sheep, three to seven horses and mules, a large flock of chickens for eggs and meat, and sometimes a few turkeys, ducks, geese or guinea fowl. Insects, hail storms and soil erosion were among the many issues farmers faced. Few effective methods were known to protect crops. Sometimes a horse was used to drag a beam or log around the periphery of a field to discourage insects from getting into the fields. However, in smaller gardens chickens and fowl had free range and ate many parasitic insects and plants. Manure from cows and horses was redistributed, by hand, on fields as fertilizer. The most essential element of the farm was the garden, where men and women worked, which provided sustenance year round.

Missouri farmstead

Cited

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_agriculture

http://web.missouri.edu/~campbellr/Book/Chapter05.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Corn_(film)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earl_Butz

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_farm#Viability_of_the_family_farm

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jerusalem artichoke soup
adapted from simply recipes
serves 4

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 pounds jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 quart chicken stock (use vegetable stock for vegetarian option, and gluten-free stock if cooking gluten-free)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Heat the butter in a soup pot over medium-high heat and cook the onions and celery until soft, about 5 minutes. Do not brown them. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Sprinkle with salt.

Add the jerusalem artichokes and the chicken stock to the pot and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer, covered, until the jerusalem artichokes begin to break down, 45 minutes to an hour.

Using an immersion blender or upright blender, purée the soup. If using an upright blender, fill the blender bowl up only to a third of capacity at a time, if the soup is hot, and hold down the lid while blending. Alternately, you can push the soup through the finest grate on a food mill, or push it through a sturdy sieve. Add salt to taste.

Sprinkle with freshly grated black pepper to serve.

sunchoke pecan sandwich
adapted from vegetarians in paradise
serves 3-4

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Dash cayenne
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup organic olive oil
  • 2 cups coarsely shredded sunchokes
  • 1/2 cup raw or toasted pecans, coarsely chopped or coarsely ground
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 6 to 8 slices whole grain bread
  • 12 to 16 large basil leaves
  • 3 ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • 3 to 4 butter lettuce leaves

To make the avocado sauce, cut it in half, scoop out the flesh, and place it in the blender. Add the lemon juice, salt, and cayenne and blend briefly. With the machine running, slowly add the canola oil, using just enough to create a thick, creamy sauce. Stop the machine occasionally to scrape down the sides of the blender jar and stir the mixture.

To make the sunchoke filling, combine the sunchokes, pecans, and red bell pepper in a medium bowl. Add enough of the avocado sauce to moisten and hold the mixture together. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
Spread a thin coating of the avocado sauce over one side of each of the bread slices. Spread the sunchoke mixture over half the bread slices and top with the basil leaves, tomato slices, and lettuce. Place the remaining bread slices over the filling and cut the sandwiches in half.

sweet potato and sunchoke hash with garlic and braised kale
adapted from fresh picks
serves 3-4

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into thirds
  • 1 lb sunchokes, peeled
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 tablespoon sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil

Put your sweet potatoes and sunchokes in a large pot and cover with water and a pinch of salt. Boil over medium-high heat until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and let them cool. Dice the sunchokes and potatoes and set aside. Boil your kale in a pan with water for about 3 minutes, or until just wilted. Drain and cool. Squeeze the kale dry and coarsely chop. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Saute the garlic.  In a separate smaller pan, brown the sunchokes and sweet potatoes over high heat on both sides. Add the garlic and season with a little salt and pepper. Add in the kale and continue to cook for another 5-7 minutes before serving.

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