Toensmeier Cliffside Kale
New Red Fire Head Lettuce
Notes from the Farm
I'm a big fan of referencing the unintended consequence of a situation... I do it all the time... usually to prove a point... it's not a very likable trait, ask my wife. Almost always I think about the concept of an unintended consequence as some kind of negative aftershock of a seemingly benign event... but, as it turns out, there are positive unintended consequences too...
The real blessing in farming, one I could have never guessed, came years after we started and really only set in when we moved the farm to Casco. There is no way to express the crushing joy I feel every day being with my girls... it is crushing, and it makes me cry... and I am so grateful for it.
Free-time with my girls in the summer is a tough tradeoff I haven't been able to navigate just yet. I'd like to take them fishing, swimming, hiking... all the normal summer stuff... but right now, the way our farm is situated, it's not always possible...
So, we don't get to do the normal stuff, but what we do get to do is farm, together, as a family... and it's the best. We don't force the farm on the girls, we don't make them do it, but we always include them the best we can. It is not uncommon to find them reading the harvest list and heading out to the kale to pick bunches for the CSA... or picking flowers to sell, tomatoes for the stand, or some cukes for a snack. And they are starting to understand the larger picture, seeing the wholeness of the farm, much more clearly and quickly than I could have ever anticipated.
The girls grow watermelons... about 600 feet of them. They start the seeds, transplant on the back of the tractor, weed them, harvest and sell them... we help tell them what to do, but they do it all themselves... and in so, they get to keep the money from the sales.
This morning, on the way to the bus, I asked if I could buy some watermelons off of them to put in the share, and god bless them, they both said no... no I couldn't buy them, they wanted to contribute to the CSA. I pushed back a bit, but they very clearly articulated that they are a part of this farm, and the CSA supports us as a whole, and they should do their part to support the CSA... it was so sweet, totally uncoordinated, and showed me how deeply they love what we are doing, as a family, with our lives.
I'd never have guessed my favorite part of farming would be raising a family... but it is, and it's not perfect, I don't need it to be, it's an unintended consequence, beautifully unplanned, perfectly imperfect.
Leek and Brie Bruschetta2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 large leek, whites and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise, cleaned
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
4 large slices (1/2 inch thick) hearty country bread
8 ounces Brie cheese, thinly sliced
2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced crosswise
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until leeks are very tender and just beginning to brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat broiler with rack set 4 inches from heat. Arrange bread on a broilerproof baking sheet. Dividing evenly, layer bread with Brie, cooked leeks, and sliced tomatoes; drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
Broil until cheese has melted and tomatoes start to brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Serve immediately.
Ginger Broccoli 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 head broccoli, florets separated, stalks trimmed, peeled, and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 piece fresh ginger (1 inch long), peeled and slivered
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
coarse salt and ground pepper
In a large skillet with a lid, heat oil over medium; add broccoli, garlic, and ginger. Cook until broccoli is bright green and ginger is fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup water; cover, and cook until broccoli is crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat; add lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper; toss to combine. Serve.
Eggplant Spread3 pounds eggplants (about 3 medium)
1/2 cup tahini (well stirred)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 to 3 garlic cloves, chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving (optional)
Chopped fresh parsley, for serving (optional)
Kalamata (or other) olives, for serving (optional)
Heat grill to high. Pierce eggplants several times with a sharp knife. Place on grill. Cover; cook, turning occasionally, until blackened all over and flesh is very soft, 20 to 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, halve lengthwise. Scrape flesh into a colander (discard skins); let drain.
Process tahini, lemon juice, garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a food processor until smooth. Add eggplant; process until smooth.
Transfer mixture to a serving dish. If desired, drizzle with oil, and garnish with parsley or olives.