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CSA Pick-Up: September 24-28

Wednesday September 26th, Friday September 28th, and Monday October 1st will be the last distribution days for shareholders for the 2018 season. We want to thank all of you for another terrific year!

On the list for pick-up is:

  • Kale
  • Beans
  • Winter squash varieties
  • Acorn Squash Varieties
  • Butternut Squash
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Corn Stalks
  • Popcorn

Important: Make sure to bring sturdy bags to pick-up that can handle a lot of weight. We will have a lot of heavier items such as sweet potatoes and winter squash.

Also: keep an eye out for our end of year survey. Your input on this helps us to improve the program every year.

See you at the Farm!

Undone Stuffed Pepper Casserole

If you love stuffed peppers but are short on time, this is a great, tasty, and easy recipe that I have been using for years. Here’s how it’s done..

Ingredients:

– 3 large green peppers, coarsely chopped
– 1 lb ground beef
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 2 cups cooked long grain brown or white rice
– 24 oz. pasta sauce
– 1 and 1/2 cups of shredded Italian cheese

Directions:

– Heat oven to 350 degrees
– Brown meat with garlic and peppers in a large skillet; drain.
– Return meat mixture to skillet; stir in rice, pasta sauce, and 3/4 cup cheese. (vegan cheese also works great with this recipe!)
– spoon in to 2 quart casserole sprayed with cooking spray.
– top with remaining 3/4 cup of cheese.
– Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Buy-a-Bucket and Vegetables Coming Soon

Buy-a-Bucket: offered to shareholders on their distribution night and to general visitors, or shareholders, during Farm Stand hours on Saturday/Sunday (11 am-3pm). Please be aware that the orange buckets that are given to harvest with are not meant to be taken home, but are the guide for pricing ($6/harvested bucket for shareholders; $12/harvested bucket for non-shareholders). As always, we suggest that you bring an extra bag to transfer your food in to after picking. If you wish to take the bucket home, it will be an additional $4. For our shareholders – with the variety of pick-your-own and the buy-a-bucket option, you may spend more time in the field, please remember to plan accordingly for arrival at distribution considering the extra time.

Speaking of extra bags – shareholders, we are always in need of a few extra bags for people who forget theirs when they come to distribution. We appreciate everyone who has brought in  bags so far this season!

Upcoming crops:

  • Here now: Melons, Tomatoes
  • Coming soon: Potatoes, Arugula
  • On the horizon: Leeks, Sweet potatoes, winter squash.

Curious about what happens with food that is unpicked in the fields? Since there is so much ground to cover in both the lower and upper field, it is impossible to harvest every last thing. For example, some things like squash and zucchini overgrow when left in the field, but can still be used for things like zucchini bread. Boston Area Gleaners (B.A.G.) is a non-profit organization we will be inviting to our fields to get these left overs. They are dedicated to delivering surplus farm crops to those in need. We are happy to have found an organization that can help us to help others!

Gift Shop Changes

You may have noticed some changes afoot in our Gift Shop at the Nature Center. We are in the middle of a complete revamp so the selections have been a little on the leaner side but that is all soon going to change! We have plans for a grand re-opening in the fall that we will be announcing soon.

The first major change that we are making involves bottled water. Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary will no longer be selling bottled water in order to continue Mass Audubon’s efforts in lowering our carbon footprint. We will instead have an assortment of Mass Audubon and Moose Hill water bottles that you can easily fill at our filtered bottle filling station next to the public bathrooms in the Nature Center. We will have a few different styles and sizes to fit everyone’s needs.

Next, in addition to the Moose Hill honey and maple syrup that we offer seasonally, you will soon start seeing a lot more Moose Hill branded hats, shirts, pins, and other smaller gifts. Our book selection will also be expanding with more options for young and old alike. We will be a great stop come this gift giving season with plenty of novelty options that your friends and family will enjoy for years to come. As we are building up our inventory over these next couple of months, drop in and let us know if there is anything you want to see us selling in the shop. We have a suggestion box next to the cooler in our shop and appreciate hearing your recommendations.

The shop will be closed for the first week of September in preparation for the grand re-opening, so we apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause. But once we get everything all cleaned, painted, and organized, we will be having sales every weekend in October on different select items such as bird feeders and books so be sure to stop by!

Some Challenges

As most of you know by now, farming always has its speed bumps. Sometimes crops don’t develop the way we hope because of weather conditions or other factors such as infections. Unfortunately, the norland red potatoes we are growing have developed a fungal infection. To combat this we are detaching the potatoes from the actual plant and storing them so as to not have them prone to the contagion. Not to worry – the potatoes will not lose any of their quality – they are still very tasty! and you will be getting them earlier!

Also, the broccoli in our uphill field was really slow to come on this year. We waited and waited, and got about a week out of broccoli before we came to the realization that it was not producing like we wanted, so we worked hard to get a second planting in the downhill field. We are hoping our hard work pays off and it turns up great! In the meantime, we still have an array of delicious and nutritious veggies on their way so we certainly won’t be lacking in variety!

A few recipes

Green Bean Casserole Bundle

Ingredients:

1 c. cream of mushroom soup

1/2 c. milk

1/2 tsp. soy sauce

1/4 tsp. Freshly ground black pepper

2/3 c. French fried onions

3 1/2 c. cooked cut green beans

1 package bacon or Prosciutto

Directions:

– Preheat oven to 350° and grease a 9″-x-13″ baking dish.
– In a large mixing bowl, stir together soup, milk, soy sauce, pepper, and French fried onions. Add green beans and toss to combine.
– Grab small bundles of green beans and wrap with a strip of bacon, placing each in the baking dish snugly. (The edges of the bacon should be pressed against the pan, so they don’t unravel while baking.)
– Cover with foil and bake until the bacon is fully cooked, 37 to 40 minutes.

Arugula Pesto

Ingredients:
4 cups packed fresh arugula
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup pure olive oil
2 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted, plus 1 tablespoon
1/8 teaspoon vitamin C (optional)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Directions:

Prepare an ice water bath in a large bowl, and bring a large pot of water to a boil. Put the
arugula in a large sieve and plunge it into the boiling water. Immediately immerse all the arugula and stir so that it blanches evenly. Blanch for about 15 seconds. Remove, shake off the excess water, then plunge the arugula into the ice water bath and stir again so it cools as fast as possible. Drain well.

Squeeze the water out of the arugula with your hands until very dry. Roughly chop the arugula and put in a blender. Add the garlic, salt and pepper to taste, olive oil, 2 tablespoons of the pine nuts, and the vitamin C, if using. Blend for at least 30 seconds. In this way the green of the arugula will thoroughly color the oil. Add the cheese and pulse to combine. The pesto will keep several days in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.

Pull out before dinner to get to room temperature. Before serving, add the remaining 1 tablespoon toasted pinenuts.

 

Farm Lunch: June 18th

In a previous occupation, I was employed at a fairly prestigious donut shop based out of Somerville. One of the shop’s signature donuts is a raised donut covered in a brown butter glaze, which is then tossed in toasted hazelnuts. The result being one of the most edifying eating experiences available to mortals. With that said, I feel responsible for carrying on the brown butter tradition wherever I go. On this occasion, the tradition manifested itself in Strawberry Brown Butter Bars.

Now before one dismisses brown butter as overly complicated hipster necromancy, checkout this link that nicely demonstrates the process of browning butter. It is fairly straightforward; as long as you keep an eye on the butter so it doesn’t burn, keep in mind that it is brown butter, not blackened butter. The end result can add deep toffee and nutty qualities to baked goods and other dishes.

For the most part, I did not alter the original recipe very much. Instead of cherries, I used our amazing strawberries and for the crust, I threw in some sage from our raised beds while I was browning the butter. Overall, I was pleased with how the recipe turned out. I expected the strawberries to be on the juicy side, but I could not resist using them. Albeit, the end result wasn’t the prettiest, it sure was tasty.

The finished product hot from the oven.

Pouring the brown butter batter over the berries.