Early Queen Corn
Iceberg Sweet Onions
Flat Leaf Italian Parsley
Mini Bell Peppers
Notes from the Farm
Just like Climate Change doesn't always mean that it's getting evenly hotter at all times, it's been easier
for me to understand Climate Change as Climate Weirding, things are just weirder, typically not in
good ways... In farming Season Extension doesn't mean that the season is evenly stretched out over the
year, Season Extension is more like Season Weirding.
Folks have been trying to stretch out the growing season for hundreds, if not thousands of years...
irrigation is ultimately a season extension technology, the French started using the Cloche (worth a
quick image search) as mini-individual greenhouses hundreds of years ago, the frst true greenhouses
have histories that trace back 2000 years to Rome and the frst modern greenhouses started popping up
in the 1800s. These are all mechanical season extension techniques... but they're not the only ones.
People have been trying to stretch out the growing season with genetic techniques too... plant breeding
is one of the oldest jobs turned hobbies turned political frestorm turned art-forms. Folks have been
honing varietal diversity since the beginning of agriculture... carefully selecting plants (seeds) that have
desired genes, whether they be color, favor, size, disease resistance, storage abilities or season length.
The next step was hybridizing, or mixing two different parent plants to form one desired plant... give it
that hybrid vigor... and on and on to the modern cultural conversation about genetically modifying
crops in labs. The point being, we've tooled with crops enough over time to open up the possibility of
non-historic season presentation... or more simply put, an unfamiliar growing yearly timeline.
We can get anything we want at the grocery store, any day of the year... but that wasn't always the
way... when I was a boy...
But the understanding of New England home garden seasons, of which, parenthetically, we at the HFF
essentially are a large version there of, is fairly conservative... First radishes, then (sort of in order) peas,
lettuce, carrots, beets, green beans, summer squash, cucumbers, green peppers, tomatoes, on to
cabbage, broccoli, potatoes, corn, then winter squash and so on and on...
With Season Extension techniques, mechanical and genetic, the growing season has been shaken up...
we can get eggplant before radishes, Brussels sprouts in mid-August, tomatoes well into October,
broccoli before peas, peas after tomatoes...
The point being, season extension techniques have changed our garden culture, our agriculture. They
haven't changed us as severely as the advent of the computer phone or reality TV, but they have
changed us, and signifcantly, because food, raw food is as close to non-human nature as most of us get
most days... vegetables are one of our closest connections to the natural world, and it's signifcant, and
it's changing, and it's worth noting... and it defnitely is weird, as a Mainer, to consider eating Brussels
sprouts when it's 90 and I haven't unpacked the sweaters yet... it's not bad, but it is weird...
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for baking dish
3 green cardamom pods
3 dried red chiles (optional)
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1 head cauliflower (2 1/2 to 3 pounds), cored and cut into medium florets
1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or other large gratin dish with olive oil
and set aside.
In a coffee grinder or small food processor, grind together cardamom pods, chiles, coriander, cumin,
and whole peppercorns until fine. Mix the spices with oil in a large bowl. Add cauliflower and onion;
toss to coat.
Transfer vegetables to prepared baking dish and roast until tender, about 1 hour, stirring every 20
minutes. Season with salt and serve immediately.
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Lemon
12 ounces Brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise, or quartered if large
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges, for serving
In a skillet, combine sprouts and 1/2 cup water; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over
medium heat. Cover; cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the water has evaporated and sprouts are
crisp-tender, 5 to 8 minutes (add 1/4 cup more water if skillet becomes dry before sprouts are done).
Increase heat to medium-high; add oil to skillet. Continue to cook, uncovered, without stirring, until
sprouts are golden brown on underside, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice; season
with salt and pepper. Serve with lemon wedges.
Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
1 pound brussels sprouts
3 slices bacon
1 cup water
Coarse salt and ground pepper
Cider vinegar, optional
Trim brussels sprouts; shred in a food processor fitted with a slicing blade. Set aside.
In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp, 4 to 5 minutes; transfer to paper
towels to drain.
Discard all but 1 tablespoon rendered fat from skillet. Add brussels sprouts and water; season with
coarse salt and ground pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover; cook, stirring occasionally, until
sprouts are tender, 20 to 25 minutes (add more water if pan becomes dry).
To serve, crumble bacon over sprouts; drizzle with cider vinegar, if desired.