Early Queen Sweet Corn
Ride The Red Bull Onions
Notes from the Farm
I don't even know what a farm season is anymore...
It's not uncommon for folks to ask about the season, and I give honest answers... or at least I thought they were honest, or think they are honest, but they're not about the season, they are answers of how we are doing at the moment.
It would seem, that nothing is as seasonal as the farm year... but honestly, everything is so blurred together, the year, the years, the weeks, that putting an upper case letter or period anywhere seems mindbogglingly arbitrary.
The part you see, the cap of the mushroom, is barely a quarter of the yearly work that goes into the farm. We start in January and work till New Year... during the winter we may only do 15 or 20 hours of work a week, and in the summer it's closer to 80 to 100 hours per week, but there is always something to do, to plan, to plant, to account for, to harvest.
And as years have turned into decades, the thought of the farm in a 12 month cycle just doesn't fit, it's unusably reductionist for looking to the future.
I don't think about each inhale and exhale breathing cycle as a complete whole, because there has to be another, and the starting and stopping point are a matter of perspective, or simply don't exist at all. I started farming in a June (kind of a lot of years ago now), during the fruiting phase, and I haven't stopped... so from one point of view, my farm cycle begins after planting, and ends with the spring plantout.
And my farm years don't exist linearly, they are rhythmic, and repetitive, existing in a flat circle, reliving similar experiences, changing parameters... kind of like the way the brain processes information through dreams, rerunning situations each time changing little parameters, over and over again, until you wake up and think about how, in your dream, your loved one was a seal in a world where the sky was yellow and earth was covered in shag carpeting... a flat circle.
Mid-August is all the mid-Augusts, melded together, weirder with every passing cycle, but to get to this place, I don't have to pass through the time since the last mid-August, or the mid-August before that, I'm already here... I guess I'm always here... and really, farming has not been a bad cosmic equilibrium to fall into...
Roasted Carrots with Honey
1 1/2 pounds carrots, cut on the diagonal into 2-inch lengths and halved lengthwise if thick
1 tablespoon olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 tablespoon honey
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss carrots with oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing once, until tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven, and toss with honey.
Romanesco and Parmesan Puree
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Head Romanesco, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for sprinkling
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add Romanesco and garlic, and cook until brightly colored and beginning to turn golden brown, about 8 minutes. Remove and reserve a few pieces for garnish. Add water and 1 teaspoon salt to skillet. Cover, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain any remaining liquid from skillet.
Puree half the Romanesco in a food processor, and then transfer to a large bowl. Puree remaining Romanesco. Bring milk and cream to a gentle simmer in a saucepan. Add milk-cream mixture to food processor with puree, and pulse to combine. Stir mixture into first batch of puree.
Stir in Parmigiano-Reggiano, and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with reserved Romanesco and more cheese. Serve immediately.
Roasted Peppers with Spaghetti Stuffing
4 bell peppers
8 ounces thin spaghetti
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 anchovy fillets
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
Fresh oregano leaves, for serving
Place bell peppers directly over the flame of a gas-stove burner and roast, turning with tongs, until blackened all over. (Or roast peppers under the broiler.) Transfer to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand 15 minutes. Peel off skins, slice off tops, and remove ribs and seeds.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt. Cook pasta 2 minutes less than instructed on package. Drain.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high. Swirl in oil to coat, then add anchovies, breaking them up with the back of a spoon until dissolved. Add onion and capers and cook, stirring occasionally, just until onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Pour in vinegar and cook, stirring frequently, until almost evaporated. Add pasta and toss to coat.
Generously season cavity of each pepper with salt, then fill with a heaping 1/2 cup pasta mixture, twirling pasta with a fork to fit snugly. Place peppers side by side in a 2-quart oval baking dish. Bake until pasta starts to brown in a few spots, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving, topped with oregano.