ShopTalk - Winter Share
a home-base for shareholders
January 2017 - DisTRIBUTION MONTH #2
(you can still get the newsletter the usual way - just scroll below for our .pdf archive)
January Distribution HourS
Jan 1 - Jan 7 (Mon-Sun) - 8am - 7pm
Jan 15 - Jan 21 (Mon-Sun) - 8am - 7pm
Loaded and Looking Great!
The cellar is now 32F and 95% humidity. Here's the current view of our storage crops:
Carrot, Beet, Parsnip, Celeriac, Rutabaga, Gilfeather Turnip, Storage Radish (Black, Watermelon, Daikon): These roots are holding well, and continue to be in good supply. They are the multi-purpose backbone of our winter eating, sweet and delicious. Use the bigger roots chopped up in stew; take some of the smaller roots to peel and roast whole.
Potatoes: Many of the sweet potatoes are a study in extremes: sizes XXL and XS - get out your big knives and dig in! Or, wash the "fingerling" sweet potatoes and bake with oil for a healthy "french fry." These don’t want to be wet, frozen, or subjected to light. They will do well in a paper bag in a cool dry spot.
Cabbage: You may notice the root cellar is more crowded! Usually we keep the cabbages and onions upstairs because they prefer less humidity. But with the plummeting temperatures, we moved them down to keep them warmer. Given the weather, this is the best option for them, and they are great quality right now, so hopefully they will withstand the humidity well. If you get a cabbage with a bad outer leaf, simply peel it off until the good cabbage underneath is exposed.
Leeks, Onions: We will have one more week of leeks, and then it's onions til March!
Winter Squash: This will be the last distribution of our Butternut for the year. It's been a sweet squash season. I'll be eating my last one roasted with tahini-dressing; how will you savor yours?
Kale & Collards: The kale and the collards are buried in snow and ice - our own deep-freeze. If you adventure down to dig them out, you can certainly still sautee them or add them to soup. Take as much as you like.
REcipe of The MONTH
SHOPTALK - back issues
(you can still get the newsletter the usual way - just click on the week for a .pdf to print)
What's happening at the farm
Pic of the Month
WINTER volunteer opportunities
We love having volunteers and are grateful for the help! Winter is a slow time and but we still welcome people with time to volunteer.
We have volunteer opportunities for all ages and abilities. What we ask of volunteers is that you be up for any type of task within your ability. If you are interested in helping us with a specific project, or on a regular basis, send us an e-mail so we can discuss your interests!
WINTER SHARE GENERAL INFO
If you are new to the winter share (or just want a refresher), please read on for some answers to frequently asked questions.
Welcome to our root cellar! This space was created in 2004 to be an environmentally sustainable food storage space for a large amount of local produce. It uses minimal electricity to keep cold. The cooling power of the earth (and one single fan to keep, powered by photovoltaics, to keep air circulating) keeps over 40,000 lbs of organic / biodynamic vegetables stored safely for at least four months. There's a few things you'll need to get used to (cleaning dirty veggies, coming down to the cellar, picking through lugs of unsorted veggies), but for the most part, people have found this experience easy to navigate, economical, and delicious all winter long.
After thirteen winters we have learned how to use our cellar and are very confident that we will have great food for you all the way through March. Here's a few things you might be wondering which may help make your winter share a fantastic way to stay fed all winter long....
How do I get my share?
Just like in our regular share, we will post the amounts of each crop to take on one chalkboard in the cellar. All amounts will be either by volume (bags provided or please your own re-usable bag of a similar size), by the piece, or by weight (use the hanging scale next to the table). Each crop is marked with a sign, in case it's difficult to identify and there is a map on the other chalk board to help you find everything. We will stock the cellar every couple of hours. If you find the lugs looking a little low, feel free to open the bags behind the lugs and help yourself. We will try to keep the lugs filled. In addition, we will have locally produced items for sale (yogurt, eggs, syrup, greens, etc) on the tables in the cellar. You can pay for these items by dropping cash into the black "how-we-doing!?" box, or by sending a check to Brookfield Farm (address above).
When can I pick up my share?
The root cellar will be open every other week (from Mon - Sun) to pick up your share. The first share week starts Monday, December 4 and ends on Sunday, December 10. The distribution calendar is posted on our website. All posted share amounts are for a single share. If you only want to come to the cellar once a month (every other distribution) feel free to take double the posted amount. Please check off your name on the clipboard (on the table). If you take a month's worth of produce, please mark down for two distributions. Using this check-off sheet will help us keep track of our vegetable stocks and make sure that we have plenty of food for the entire winter.
What do I do with all of this food?
If you feel like you get more than will fit in your fridge, don't worry! In general everything in this root cellar will keep best if it's kept around 34F and 95% humidity. The closest place to approximate this in your home besides your fridge, is in your garage or an unheated part of your basement. A little insulation (foam, sand, blankets) is all you need to make sure that your crops won’t freeze. If you have a couple of buckets or boxes to drop the produce in and then a wool blanket to cover them, in a cold spot (garage, etc) they should be just fine. These crops are HARDY – that’s why they store well. We have lots of recipes on the website to help make your winter cooking interesting and delicious.
This stuff is dirty!
We don’t wash the roots because they keep better that way and we don't have the facilities to wash them in the winter without freezing our pipes and/or our hands! Put them into the fridge (without washing). When you are ready to use them, scrub them with a veggie brush, and they'll be all set. If you are going to eat the carrots raw, and want them bright shiny orange, you will need to peel them. Yes, that will take some of the nutrients away (with the skin), but we consider that a small price to pay for organic carrots, stored with no refrigeration, for sweet eating into March!
How is this working for you?
If you ever have a question or comment, don't hesitate to call, email, or leave a note in our "How We Doing?" black box on the table in the cellar. One of our goals for the winter is to get some rest after a long season of farm work so you might not see us around all that often. Still, we will probably be around the office during the day, and certainly every morning at 8am during our distribution weeks. We want you to let us know how things are going as we are very committed to making this winter share work for you and your family.
Please reach out if you have any questions! We're looking forward to a great winter together.