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Kitchen Garden Journal

Refer a Friend!

Do you love your Kitchen Garden farm share? Share the love! If you get a friend to sign up for a 2013 Summer CSA with us, we’ll give you a free t-shirt at the first June pick-up. Make sure they have your email address when they sign up. 

tshirts

Tags: CSA

Taco Dinner with The Connotations

connotations-may2013

Love music and tacos? Do we even have to ask? If you do (and we really hope you do), we can’t wait to see you at A Feast for Your Senses – a night of music, food, and local beer on Saturday, May 4th. Jarret’s wife, Katie, is a member of the headlining act, a capella group The Connotations, and we will be serving a taco dinner. Tickets for the whole evening are only $20! Other special events include beer tastings from three local brewers: the People’s Pint, Brewmaster Jack and the Abandoned Building Brewery.

The concert will be held at a space familiar to our Hadley CSA members – The Kitchen Garden’s Blue Barn at 81 Rocky Hill Rd, Hadley MA.

Reserve your tickets now! This will be a great party and is sure to sell out soon. 

Farm Dinner Photos

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What a blast! This Sunday at Williams Farm Sugarhouse we gathered a full house of farmers, friends and food lovers to feast on pancakes - scallion pancakes, that is!

Thanks to everyone who shared in the fun with us and to Chip and Alissa Williams from Williams Farm for hosting us all. Thanks to our amazing crew of cooks and servers: Tim, Tara, Toni, John, JP, Anna and Susanna. And a special thanks to Toni Young, our fellow food nerd, friend, bartender extraordinaire and CSA member, who captured some of our favorite memories from the evening in these amazing Instagram shots.

Williams Farm SugarhouseWilliams Farm Sugarhouse

evaporatorThe new energy-efficient evaporator. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup.

Menu

RoomThe Williams Farm space was a really nice, cozy venue

cucumber-cilantro ginCucumber and cilantro-infused gin for our "farmhouse fizz" cocktail

lime jarsCocktail garnishes: lime, cucumber, cilantro, mint

scallion pancakeRolling the scallion pancakes

sausageTim made these sausages with hot chilies and lime leaf and grilled them over a wood fire

lettuce platesLettuce wrap fixings

sno cone machineThe sno cone machine that we borrowed from Town Farm

Season Premier!

As we wait out the last few days of winter, watching the snow melt and the fields come back into view, we're eager to get out there and get to work. We've got some big plans for this season and we can't wait to start turning these ideas into action. For 2013, we've got more land, more equipment and more people, which translates into one simple thing: MORE FOOD!

But first, a little recap on 2012. Last winter, The Kitchen Garden threw its chips in with Stone Soup Farm and expanded its land base significantly by leasing a neighboring farm. It was a pretty fantastic year; the weather was good, the crops were bumping, and sales were way higher than the two farms combined in 2011. There were some growing pains, to be sure, but we're all pretty pleased with how the partnership has strengthened the business while bringing some measure of sanity into our personal lives.

With one full season as a new, bigger farm under our belts, the first investment we made was in our staff. We turned 4 of our seasonal workers into year-round salaried professionals--making more than Caroline and I made together in any of the first 4 years of the farm. It makes me proud that this farm can give our valued managers a feeling of stability and security.

We're finally done hiring all the new people and we've got a great crew this year. Next week, 3 new apprentices will start work, and in May we'll bring on 7 more crew members for the summer crazy time. It's going to be a full house. 18 of us! Unbelievable.

We bought a big sexy new (used) tractor and a couple key pieces of equipment that will help us work more efficiently: a mechanical transplanter and a root crop digger. We also bought a chisel plow that will allow us to till our land in a way that improves the health of the soil.

And we can thank our lucky stars for getting the lease to 15 acres of riverfront Hadley land at the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum on rt. 47. We feel really fortunate to be able to farm in such a magnificent place.

This field is going to be a game-changer for us. It’s going to really make it possible to supply a lot more food to our CSA and our community year round. We’ll use the additional land to grow more winter crops so we can double the number of winter shares while providing work for our crew through the quieter times of year.

And now that we got our greenhouse fixed, we’re actually planning to build another one. Our propagation house where we grow our seedlings is already full to bursting! The demand for our fresh winter greens is simply way beyond what we can currently grow.

Caroline and our kitchen manager Tara have been baking up a storm all winter creating the delectable treats we've been selling at markets. There's much more prepared foods in the works, so stay tuned. (Can anyone say "all-local bacon-egg-and-cheese on a homemade english muffin"?) Plus we've started to take on a few catering jobs and we've got an exciting farm dinner coming up.

The new season kicks off April 20, opening day at the Saturday Amherst Farmers Market (we got in!), followed by Northampton and Greenfield April 27, and Springfield and Wednesday Amherst the first week of May. That makes five markets per week this season!

2013 CSA Share enrollment is underway and we've added two exciting new distributions. Cooley Dickinson Hospital is offering our farm shares as a benefit to hospital employees, offering payroll deduction to spread out the cost. Clover Food Lab is a network of hip food trucks and restaurants in Cambridge and we're thrilled to be one of the partner farms offering shares through this innovative crew of food lovers.

Of course, we'd be doing none of this without our amazing staff. Dave, Anna, Danielle, Sus and Tara, we love you guys. Our crew is our family.

Maple Pop-Up Dinner

If you’re anything like me, you spend the month of March trying to drown your late winter blues in a puddle of maple syrup (among other liquids). You head out onto the back roads and into the hills, to visit the region’s many maple sugar houses. You eat pancakes and corn fritters and watch the roaring wood fire boil the sap away.

Eating pancakes at a sugar shack is one of our finest local traditions. What better way to interact with a local farm than to go there and enjoy a meal of its products?

And yet, most sugar shacks open just five or six weeks a year when the sap’s running and sit idle the rest of the year. For years we’ve fantasized about doing a farm dinner at one of these maple sugar restaurants.

This year, we’re incredibly lucky to partner with our friends Chip and Alissa Williams of Williams Farm in Deerfield to bring you a maple-themed pop-up dinner on Sunday April 7, their last day of sugaring season.

One small problem, though. What do you eat with maple sugar besides pancakes, waffles and french toast?

And then it dawned on me: I go through pounds of palm sugar every year cooking Thai food. A sauce made of fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar, garlic and chilies is one of the essential ingredients of my life, and I evangelize these flavors to everyone who’ll listen.

Palm sugar is very similar to maple sugar in that it’s made by tapping a tree, collecting the sap, and boiling it down to a caramel-like consistency before cooling it in molds. In the picture, the round lumps on the right are nuggets of palm sugar made on a farm southeast of Bangkok. On the left are chunks of maple sugar made at Gould’s in Shelburne.

I enlisted the help of my daughter Lily, the most fiendish sweet tooth I know (and lifelong sugar house pancake enthusiast), to help me do a side by side taste test. She picked the maple sugar hands down. The maple has a more crystalline texture and rich caramel flavor, plus that unmistakably mapley essence.

On April 7 we'll throw off maple syrup’s leaden pancake shackles, and bring it into a lighter, brighter context where the sweetness is balanced by hot, sour and salty flavors. I’ve had this world class natural sweetener languishing in my fridge all along and I’ve finally found a way to pair it with my favorite foods: fresh vegetables, grilled meats, and fresh herbs!

Yes, I’m a completely obsessed food geek, but I’m not ashamed. I’m actually pretty excited to have found a way to share my passion for food from halfway around the world, and bring it into a local context. I hope that reading about the menu makes you want to come to the dinner, and if so you should act quickly. There’s very limited seating. To register, click here.

Maple Dinner Menu

Scallion Pancakes (I couldn’t resist the irony)
A savory breakfast food par excellence (my passion for dim-sum showing here), that also translates readily as an appetizer. I was inspired by my favorite food writer Kenji from Serious Eats, who wrote a lengthy investigative piece a couple years ago about how to make them extra flaky and crisp. We’ll serve them with a maple-ginger-black vinegar-chili oil dipping sauce.

Thai Sausage Lettuce Wraps
Wrapping grilled meat is my favorite use of lettuce, and I’ve been making this lime leaf and fresh chili spiked northern Thai sausage since Caroline and I travelled to Chiang Mai in 2007. (Thanks, uncle David, for buying the sausage stuffer off our wedding registry!) Made with butts and cheeks from Mockingbird Farm.

Maple Sno Cones
The perfect palate cleanser. Thanks to Ben James and Oona Coy of Town Farm for lending us their ice shaver.

Khao Soi
This is one of the most perfect one-dish meals ever created. It’s basically chicken noodle soup, but the Chinese Muslim immigrants who settled in Northern Thailand who originally created it had a trick or two up their sleeves. They took the basic chinese noodle soup, doused it with a rich coconut curry sauce and dressed it with raw and pickled vegetables, fresh herbs, and deep fried noodles (the same noodles as in the soup). The sheer brilliance of this combination is hard to overstate. It’s got all these flavor and textural contrasts that make it a lot of fun to eat, but ultimately it’s a comfort food.

Maple Coconut Panna Cotta
Tara Tulley is our secret weapon in the farm kitchen and this is her fabulous recipe.

Maple Cotton Candy
Just because we can.

Maple- and Asian-Inspired Cocktail Tasting

All-Inclusive: $50/person

To register, click here.

Spark! Art Share

Jarrett's wife Katie Richardson is a talented metal and glass sculptor who operates her welding studio out of the barn at the Hadley farm. She has put together an innovative art share Spark! that offers art lovers an opportunity to support local artists and collect an incredible array of handmade art and craft objects. Choose your favorite pieces at the quarterly Spark! Art Party. More on their website http://sparkartshare.com and in the brochure below.

spark brochure 2013 front

Back to Life!

gh reconstructionMost of the megatunnel frame is standing proud again and we hope to be able to pull the plastic over next week and seed another crop of greens for harvest in April. 

Spinach takes longer to germinate so we fired up the propagation house a week early and seeded it in trays so it will be well on its way by the time we're able to transplant it into the ground in there. 

We still haven't heard back about insurance and we're not counting on it.

Is it crude of us to mention that now would be a really good time to sign up for a 2013 CSA share?

spring growthThe days are getting longer and the crops in the covered rear half of the megatunnel are coming back to life!

This week's Winter Harvest Share has fresh salad greens, turnip greens, kale and our sweet, slender winter carrots - all from our greenhouses - plus roots and winter squash from some of our neighbors.

The sap is running, the world smells like dirt and spring is in the air! Thanks to all of you for your encouragement and support.