Eggplant Dip (Babaganoush)

Great alternative to dairy-based dips – delicious with bread, pita or vegetables. Or make it into a salad by adding a handful of cherry tomatoes and some chopped cucumber!

1 large eggplant (or 2 small)

1/3 C tahini

2 Tbsp water

1-2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 garlic clove, crushed (or more if you like)

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

First you need to blacken the eggplant- leave it whole and you can do it in the oven at 450˚, on the grill, or even on a gas burner on top of the stove. Blackening the skin on the outside really imparts a lovely smoky flavor to the dish, so don’t be afraid to really go for it. Another key element is getting the flesh inside the eggplant totally cooked and collapsed. So if you blacken the outside and it still seems as though the inside is raw, throw it in the oven to completely cook it. When the eggplant is totally soft and collapsed, cut a slit in the skin and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh. Mix it with the rest of the ingredients. If it seems too lumpy and goopy for your tastes, put it in a food processor and give it a blitz.

Options –

  • Add 3 Tbsp chopped parsley or cilantro (or both!)
  • substitute yogurt or sour cream for the tahini
  • add 1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses (sweet-sour flavor)

IMG_9963If I’m being honest, I know that it’s August if I’ve had ratatouille and a good cry. Most of my resilience is used up by August and I don’t have much in reserve. I’m ready for a season change. It’s time to harvest so many things – which I love – no one who cooks or preserves can say that they don’t love a good bounty. But at the same time – it’s hot, everything needs to be picked and pickled, plucked and preserved all at the same time, and you’re trying to make sure that you have enough of everything else still growing to get through till frost. Oh, and there’s usually irrigation pipe to move, hay to cut (do I want it to rain or not to rain?) and 2 or 3 years of your life and fields to plan and prep for cover crops. So I usually have a good cry and get it all done and then in February look at photos and think how beautiful it all is!

However – there are so many wonderful things that I love about this time of year – the peppers (the red ones are just coming on now), eggplant, melons and tomatoes! Hot days and cool nights. Lots of pasture for the animals. Starting to clean the slate by taking out crops that are done and tucking in cover crops to grow before the end of the sunlight – keeping roots in the soil so that all the microbes will be happy and help us produce beautiful veg next year. Also – so many events!!

FRESH FEST – This Thursday, Seed Confections in St Thomas (a one woman shop, really gorgeous and tasty chocolates and macarons) will be using our beets, sumac and raspberries in her offering for Fresh Fest, the local food event in St Thomas – get tickets ahead or at the door, and then sample from local food vendors (and the farms behind them!).

VEGAN FARM DINNER AT WILDFLOWERS – On Saturday, September 16th, Wildflowers Farm (just down the road on Fruit Ridge – the owners of the bee hives on our farm) will be having a plant-based dinner on their farm – $50 per ticket. I will be making the soup course, and Seth of La Houlette de Vie will be supplying bread. There will also be wine and live music!

ORCHARD HILL FARM DINNER – Our farm dinner will be on Saturday, September 23rd 5:30-8 – four courses and wine pairing by Quai du Vin for $75 per ticket. We will be featuring lots of vegetables from the farm and pastured duck from Three Ridges Farm. There are only a few tickets left, and I will be publishing a menu soon.

RECIPES – There’s a wealth of recipes in the archives of this blog, and most of them are well labelled, so if you search ‘zucchini’ you’ll come up with a bunch of recipes! Here are a few of the hits for this season:

Kale Chips
Ok – so it’s not very seasonal (there are so many other things to eat this time of year, anyway), but I heard someone talking about them last week and they’re so good!
Flavour Paste:
1 red bell pepper, roasted and skin removed.

1 cup unsalted cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour

1 lemon, juiced

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 cloves garlic

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp sea salt or to taste.

Blend until consistency of yogurt. Massage onto kale leaves that have had the stem removed and ripped into chip-sized pieces.  It should be covered like a light salad dressing.  Bake at 175 degrees for approx 3 hours, until crispy.

When cool, keep in an airtight container for up to a few days.

The paste recipe is easily doubled, and can keep in the fridge for a few days. It also freezes well. It is a great idea to double the batch and freeze the leftovers so that the next time you have kale, you have the paste easily available – just defrost and spread.

Panzanella (aka Bread Salad)

1 baguette, a dense artisan style loaf works best – Seth’s would be great

1/2 cup olive oil

3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tsp sugar

salt and pepper to taste

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 cucumber, peeled, halved (seeded if necessary) and cut into bite sized pieces.

3 cups tomato, chopped

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped.

Whisk oil, vinegar, sugar salt and pepper together in a large salad bowl.

Add onion to dressing and let sit while you prepare the rest of the salad. … it softens the bite of onion and adds a nice taste to the dressing.

Slice baguette lengthwise into quarters (you should have 4 long pieces), brush with oil an grill until toasted on all sides.  Remove, cool, cut into bite-sized chunks.

Add tomato, cucumber, basil and bread.  Toss and serve.

* can be served with grilled boneless skinless chicken breast that have marinated for about 2 hours  in …. 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 white wine, 2 Tbsp each fresh rosemary and thyme, 1 minced clove of garlic, 2 tsp mustard, 2 tsp sugar.

Baby Zucchini Pasta

This is a light, fragrant and very quickly made pasta dish using very firm baby zucchini, which hardly needs to be cooked at all.  The idea is to slice them as thinly as possible in an irregular fashion.  The big fat zucchini that are fluffy inside, won’t do for this recipe.

Serves 4

1/4 cup olive oil

1 clove finely chopped garlic

8-10 small very firm zucchini

juice of 1 lemon

1 good handful of fresh basil leaves, torn

1 pound of pasta

salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 1/2 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated.

Put the olive oil and garlic into a thick bottomed pan and set over medium-high heat and fry for about 30 seconds without colouring, then add your baby zucchini and toss gently.  After about 2 minutes squeeze in the juice of the lemon, add the basil and cook a little longer.

Meanwhile cook the past in boiling salted water until al dente.  Toss it with the zucchini to mix the flavours, season to taste and add the Parmesan to round all the flavours together- you may need a little extra olive oil to loosen it.  Serve with some torn basil and a sprinkling of Parmesan on top.IMG_0002


0P5A9289-edit When I was a kid I thought everyone knew that the first line of defense for a toad is to pee. Toad pee was a part of my life, because I loved to catch toads. Just like I knew that you can’t eat rhubarb leaves because they’re poisonous (but toads love the moist mulch and cool shade of their leaves), and that if you had a bee sting and were out in the field, you could chew the leaf of a plantain and put the pulp on the welt to take the sting away. These are the lessons that I see my children learning on the farm, from people and from nature – the same lessons that I learned as a child here. I tried to explain to my husband recently that although I was open to talk of moving to another place, or to travel, and although we lived together in Portland, Oregon for 12 years – there would never be another place that was home because this land – the taste of the last tiny ripe strawberry, the smell of hay drying, the weight of the wind in August, the itch of peach fuzz – it has been such a tangible part of me that I can’t imagine having that relationship with any other place in the world.

For two years, I’ve been anticipating having a farm dinner – a semi formal affair, hosted on a part of the farm that’s romantic, relatively fly-free, away from the barn, slightly tarnished mostly matching vintage silver plated flatware (I feel like it’s an analogy for the farm), and extremely localized food. The kind of food, that as a chef, I think about making when I’m harvesting at 8am – it’s the most inspiring thing, to walk around a garden, thinking about what I could make with these tiny perfect leeks that you can never buy in the store because they’re usually harvested 2 months later. Or how much more elegant I could make a plate of pasta with this purple basil.

But I’m a farmer! We have a 100 member CSA, which means that we’re growing the vegetables for 100 families. They come to the farm to pick up the vegetables, and we have relationships with all of these people that are passionate enough about farm life, or fresh food, or organic vegetables, that they drive sometimes 45 minutes once a week to see us. So I have crops to plant and harvest and weed – and not a lot of time to plan a party. But I designed the CSA pick ups and schedule this year so that I would have time to have 2 dinners – one in July, and one in September (one before and one after the flies). I collected vintage silver plated flatware. I scoured the local Bibles for Missions for vintage stemware. I made a light fixture out of wild grape wines to hang in the tree above the single long table. I borrowed 3 tablecloths from my grandmother and 3 from my mother.

And I made hay and honey panna cotta – to capture for the diners that intoxicating aroma of a freshly cut field of hay. I steeped together alfalfa, clover and pineapple weed with milk, sweetened with honey (from hives beside the hay field), and served it with wild mulberries, blackcaps, raspberries and whipped cream. Because I want people to taste this place like I do.


One of the first things we have this year is Hakurei (HACK-er-eye), a Japanese salad turnip. It’s crunchy and sweet, and best fresh or barely cooked. You can sauté it briefly, or add it to a soup, but really it’s best eaten the way it is, or with some hummus or your favourite dip. IMG_9201Don’t throw out those greens, either! They’re highly nutritious and really lovely added to a soup at the last moment – they have a peppery flavour that really livens up a root vegetable soup, or a chicken noodle soup.   The greens are an excellent source of antioxidants such as vitamin-A, vitamin-C, carotenoid, xanthin, vitamin-K and lutein.

Rhubarb Lemonade

Sometimes it’s overwhelming to have a pile of rhubarb if you’re not a big baker – but it’s really easy to make rhubarb lemonade – just roughly chop the rhubarb and throw it in a pot with just an inch of water in the bottom. Put a lid on it and cook it over medium heat until the rhubarb has collapsed. Use a colander over a bowl to strain the rhubarb from the juice. Toss the rhubarb out, and put the juice back in the pot. Add a healthy handful of sugar and heat to dissolve the sugar. Taste and add more sugar until it’s as sweet as you like! Depending on how much rhubarb you start with, it may be very concentrated – keep it as a concentrate in the fridge (it will keep for a couple of weeks), and add water (or sparkling water!) to taste. Also good with vodka 😉


I love pick up day! It’s so fun to harvest and watch people take home vegetables. I’m happy that it’s that time again – rather than early spring, when you don’t know when you’re going to be able to plant things, or if everything is going to get eaten by slugs, flea beetles or voles…phew! We are getting ready to plant a few rounds of corn – sweet and polenta varieties, and some squash and melons. Hopefully it doesn’t rain too much this week and we can get them in the ground. It was nice to get some moisture this weekend though – to encourage the plants that are out there to keep growing!

We have a great team on the farm this year, so I thought I’d tell you a little bit about them – here are their faces – Yoan and Maike are married and have already worked together on other farms in Australia and Germany. Connor is the one in the front.


Yoan is an Electrical Engineer who believes that there is more in life than Ohm’s law. He started learning about permaculture, herbal medicine and gardening many years ago volunteering on farms on three different continents and is now in his third full time season of working at organic market garden farms. He really likes picking vegetables straight from the field and eating them when they are still sun-warm, fixing and improving tools on the farm in creative ways, and working the soil with his hands rather than a computer keyboard.

Maike is a trained anthropologist, but rather than starting a research project on young professionals who decide to move from the city to the country, she decided to give it a go herself. After a first year of interning on horse-powered CSA farms in Germany, she is very happy to keep learning about market gardening, driving horses, and managing a CSA farm at Orchard Hill. She particularly likes entering the stable early in the morning and being greeted by horses whinnying, helping to grow vegetable from seed to harvest, and finishing the day with a delicious homegrown, home cooked meal.

Connor came to Orchard Hill with high recommendation from a restaurant in Guelph called ‘Artisanale’, where he worked for 2 years. He’s 23, and grew up in Hamilton and Port Coburn, Ontario. He loves dogs, making desserts and rolling his eyes at the political ‘admin’ in the States.

I’m so grateful for their enthusiasm and hard work!

As promised, here is Maike’s mother’s rhubarb cake recipe…

Regina’s Rhubarb Cake

This is what Maike describes as her mother’s ‘best’ rhubarb cake. Recently she made the cake a little soft in the center and I thought it was even better – kind of like a cake batter custard!


½ C butter

½ C + 2 Tbsp sugar

3 eggs

1 ½ tsp vanilla

¼ tsp of salt

¼ tsp lemon zest

2 tsp. baking powder

1 ½ C all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp milk

3-4 stems of rhubarb

1 tbsp. brown sugar


2 egg whites

½ C sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F

To make the dough:

  • Whisk together butter, sugar, and 3 eggs until smooth and creamy
  • Add vanilla, salt, lemon zest, and milk to the mixture
  • Combine baking powder and flour and add to the mixture
  • Pour dough into a buttered 9” springform pan

For the rhubarb filling:

  • Cut rhubarb stems into 3-4cm long chunks (pealing the rhubarb is not necessary)
  • Place rhubarb unto the dough in the baking tin
  • Sprinkle brown sugar over the rhubarb
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes

For the meringue topping:

  • While the cake is baking, beat 2 egg whites until frothy.
  • While whisking, add ½ C sugar slowly and continue to beat to stiff peaks.
  • Spread on cake
  • Bake cake with meringue for an additional 15-20 minutes

Bunkhouse Construction  ~  Seeds Ordered  ~  Farm Dinners ~

It finally feels like winter here on the farm. It’s been nice to have some snow stick around for a few days and give us a break from the never-ending mud! I’ve been enjoying seeing familiar names roll in for the CSA, and a few new ones – there is still room to sign up if you haven’t.

Winter Fun
Winter Fun

We are keeping busier than normal this winter with the slow and steady construction on the bunkhouse (Martha’s been wondering if we should call it something different, but Ken’s happy to keep calling it the bunkhouse). We have installed the rest of the second floor, which involved cutting down trees in the woodlot and sawing them, making them into beams and installing them in the timberframe already standing, and then laying the floorboards. The floorboards were dried in the woodkiln that you CSA members last year may remembered being constructed in August. Now we have electricians running the wire to install the electricity, and when that is finished, we are going to get busy with insulation, vapor barrier, drywall, taping, mudding and painting! Martha and Ken are hoping to have an operational kitchen and bathroom by April, when the interns arrive.

Mulching strawberries in a onesie!
Mulching strawberries in a onesie!

In January, we mulched the strawberries – it’s always one of the last outdoor jobs of the season – we got to it a little bit late this year, but they’re pretty forgiving. We use our own organic straw for the mulching, which is nice because sometimes it’s hard to find organic straw to buy for that sort of thing. The straw is from the oats, wheat, spelt or rye that we use on the farm to feed to the animals, and for Seth’s bread at La Houlette de Vie. The strawberries like to be protected from the wind and from the freeze/thaw cycles that often accompany the warm up in the spring. When it warms and the plants start to grow again in the spring, we rake the straw from the top of the rows into the aisles and it helps to insulate the soil, prevent erosion, keep the strawberries clean and provides a nice soft place for us to kneel while we pick the berries in June.

We have hired three new interns for this season – a couple with quite a bit of farming experience in Quebec and Germany, and a fellow from Guelph with a culinary background. It’s always interesting to get to know a new crew of people and see what they have to bring to the table. They will arrive April 2nd and stay until October.


Frannie garden planning
Frannie garden planning

I’ve been planning the garden – what will go where, what seeds we have, what we need to order. I ordered seeds this year from Tourne Sol, which is a co-operative organic farm in Quebec, founded by one of our past apprentices. Here are some of the new things that I’ve ordered this year – fava and edamame beans, ground cherries, flint corn – a relatively rare variety called Roy Calais – that has both red and yellow kernels and a really lovely corn-y flavor to the cornmeal…the dry corn is a test and you’ll probably only get a small portion of cornmeal, but it will be fun to try and may show up in some farm dinners in the future. We also have poblano peppers (when they’re red and dried we call them ‘ancho’ peppers – same pepper though) in the order, and some ‘snow leopard’ melons that are white with green markings on the outside, with a fragrant orange flesh. I also went a little nuts with the flower order – as long as I can get them to grow into plants, you should expect a new and different variety of flowers in the garden for picking this year! I love architectural plants and so I’ve ordered some that I will use the foliage or seeds as décor, and some more flowers suitable for drying. I love love love having flowers in the pick up room and in the house in the summer. It’s got to be one of my top 10 favorite things about living on the farm, which I think is a little silly sometimes, but the heart wants what the wants!

The other thing in the works is some loose planning of the farm dinners for 2017! I’ve got a 50 seat dinners planned for Saturdays June 17th, July 8th and September 23rd. I expect tickets will go fast, and CSA members will get first dibs. Stayed tuned for more details!

Two Potato Vindaloo
Two Potato Vindaloo

What have you been cooking this winter? A few members have said that they’re just working through the last of their squash, or root vegetables. We have been eating well here on the farm, with a lot of vegetables in the root cellar and cooler. Last week I made root vegetable latkes – like potato pancakes, but with potato, celeriac, rutabaga and onion, bound with egg and cornstarch. We have been eating corn and peas from the freezer and just unearthed a motherlode of strawberries, so we’ve been making smoothies and ‘strawberry shakes’ – a staple of my childhood – growing up on a strawberry farm had its perks! We have also been enjoying the ‘fruits’ of our preserving labor – tomato soup made from tomato sauce that we canned, jams and jellies and juices, that eggplant pickle that I wouldn’t shut up about in August – so delicious! I also find a lot more time to ferment in the winter – seems like the wrong season, but we still have so many root vegetables that are perfect for fermenting into pickles and krauts.

Take care and stay warm.



As I sit at my computer, the wind is blustering outside and the occasional sheet of rain blows against the window. But the fire is warm and I’m getting hungry typing up the Pumpkin Breakfast Cake recipe. And I’m so surprised/appalled/relieved that Trump is the president of the United States and my little family has moved to Canada. You can guess which emotions are riding on which facts…it’s hard to concentrate on harvesting vegetables or which photo to put on the blog. However, there will be a lot of vegetables to pick up on Saturday and I want you to feel secure and confident that you have a plan for those vegetables! So here are a few recipes to get you excited.Martha 'profile' for documentary

Some of you noticed (or couldn’t help but notice) the film crew here last pick-up. They have been here a number of times, filming a documentary about working horses – people like us that use them for farming, as well as people that use horses for logging, or heavy horse pulling and shows. Ken, a seeming introvert, loves to spread the good word on horse farming and isn’t camera shy at all! Thanks for your patience with the filming – they won’t be here on pick-up day again.

We have been making (slow) steady progress on the bunkhouse renovation – you will notice on Saturday that all of the outside walls have been removed and replaced with stud walls. We have begun to replace the windows, and are awaiting the delivery of the new windows that we have ordered. Martha is planning the kitchen now. Next a mason is going to install a short stone wall around the bottom of the outside.

Finally, I would like to give a little shout out to Kelsey! She’s the remaining intern – she’s worked so hard this season, and she’s been putting up with the shoulder season odd ball work schedule. When she got into this, she didn’t even know she was signing up to drive horses, let alone plow! Lately she’s been the number one teamster and is taking care of all the chores. Also she might have to be the only intern (reluctantly) interviewed by the documentary team because she’s the only one left! If you see her, give her a fist bump of thanks and tell her she’s the best.Kelsey


Roasted Squash with Sweet Spices and Lime

Another recipe from Plenty – the lime and cilantro are a nice way to play down the sweetness of the squash. If you’re not into the idea of cardamom, just do the squash slices plain, or with a little cumin and coriander (2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp coriander). The lime, though, is critical and so delicious. Serves 4-6.

2 limes, skin cut off, quartered and thinly sliced


1 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp green cardamom pods (or sub 1 ½ tsp ground cardamom)

1 tsp allspice

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium butternut squash

½ C whole milk yogurt

2 ½ Tbsp tahini

big pinch salt

1 Tbsp lime juice

2 Tbsp water

1 green chile, thinly sliced (optional)

2/3 cup cilantro leaves, picked from the stems

Toss together the little peeled lime slices with a good pinch of salt and the olive oil. Set aside.

Pound the cardamom pods in a mortar and pestle until the pods split open. Remove the little black seeds and pound or grind in a spice grinder until finely ground. Place in a bowl with the allspice and 3 Tbsp olive oil.

Slice the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and then slice into ½ inch thick slices. Leave the skin on (it’s easier to remove, if you wish, after it’s roasted – or just leave it on). Brush with all of the spiced olive oil mixture and sprinkle with salt. Place the slices on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Roast at 400˚ for about 15 minutes, until the squash is tender.

While it’s roasting, mix together the yogurt drizzle. Mix in a bowl the yogurt, tahini, lime juice, salt and water. It should be a pourable consistency.

When the squash is done, move it to a large platter. Sprinkle with the lime slices, the yogurt drizzle and then garnish with the green chile slices and the sprigs of cilantro. It’s very pretty.


Pumpkin and Orange Breakfast Cake

My favorite sweet pumpkin treat! I don’t know why it’s called ‘Breakfast Cake’ except to give you an excuse to eat it for breakfast. From ‘In the Sweet Kitchen’ by Regan Daley.

You can use any squash or pumpkin for this recipe, just bake it and scoop the flesh (no seeds or skin). My favorite lazy way to prepare squash or pumpkin is to stab it a few times and throw it in the oven on a cookie sheet (about 375˚) until it’s soft. It’s much easier to remove the seeds after it’s cooked because you don’t have to cut it open.

1 C butter, room temp

1 C sugar

2 Tbsp grated orange zest

3 eggs, room temp

1 C pumpkin or squash puree

1 ½ C all purpose flour

½ C pastry flour

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350˚

Butter a 9 inch fluted tube pan (or a few small loaf pans) and set aside.

Cream the butter, sugar and orange zest together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and scrape the sides of the bowl. Beat in the pumpkin puree.

Sift together the flours, baking powder and salt. Add to the pumpkin batter in 3 or 4 stages, blending gently but thoroughly after each addition.

Scrape into the prepared pan(s).

Bake for 50-60 minutes (for a large pan), or 30ish minutes for smaller pans. The sides of the cake should be pulling away from the pan and a wooden skewer poked into the center should come out clean.

Orange Syrup (optional! It’s really good without it)

Juice of 1 large orange

½ C sugar

Combine the juice and the sugar in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat, bringing the syrup to a boil. Boil without stirring for 2 minutes, then use immediately, or allow to cool and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Spoon warm over individual slices of cake.


Baked Root Fries with Rosemary and Garlic

Why have potato fries when you could use rutabaga or parsnip? Rutabagas are a high source of zinc and just a half cup of parsnips provide us with 3 grams of fiber – and a high percentage of that is soluble fiber.

2 ½ Lb parsnip, rutabaga or carrot

3 tbsp. olive oil

½ – 1 tsp. sea salt

½ tsp. black pepper

4 cloves of garlic [minced]

4 sprigs of fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 425º and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Wash and peel the root, then cut into french fry-sized pieces, about ¼” by ¼”.

In a large bowl, toss chopped root veg with minced garlic, olive oil, rosemary, ½ tsp salt, and pepper. Mix together using hands under the fries are lightly coated.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, removing once or twice to stir fries around on baking sheet.

Taste and sprinkle with additional salt if desired.


Dipping Sauce Ideas


Chipotle-Mayo Dip

¼ C veganaise or mayonnaise

2 Tbsp lemon juice

½ tsp chipotle pd (or 1 tsp minced canned chipotle)

½ tsp chile powder

¼ tsp sea salt

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl


Sriracha Ketchup Dip

2 Tbsp sriracha hot sauce

2 Tbsp ketchup


Tahini-Yogurt Dip

½ C yogurt

2 Tbsp tahini

1 tsp minced garlic

1 Tbsp lemon juice

½ tsp salt




unspecified-4Every farmer knows the secret (how is it a secret?!!) that fall is the best season. There are no bugs. Let’s just start there – the flies are pretty much gone, same with the mosquitos. We also don’t have to cover everything with row cover to keep the flea beetles off. And then there’s the produce! Some of the summer things are still hanging on (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, green onions), all the root crops are bumping and the greens – all of them – love this time of year. Give a few crops (brussels sprouts, parsnips and kale) a little bit of frost and they get sweeter! It is also (not to flog the tired horse of gratitude) – the time when it’s easiest to feel grateful. We made it through the summer. There’s tons of food. The freaking flies are just a memory. And maybe it’s the chef in me, but I also get very excited for fall because it’s cooking time again! Not the throw-it-together-with-some-olive-oil-and-vinegar kind of cooking that’s the hallmark of summer, but the roast it, braise it, layer it and bake it in the oven kind of cooking that’s so warm and inviting.

There are a few challenges in the fall, from a CSA garden member perspective, because there are some vegetables that might be unfamiliar and you’re not used to cooking. I’ve gathered some recipes that feature some of the more unusual vegetables.

Radishes – all of them (watermelon, green meat, Spanish black and daikon) can be eaten raw and fresh. Try throwing them in with some other roasted vegetables, or into a stir fry. The ‘bite’ of the radish is softened by cooking. I think they taste great fresh with fish, or in a sandwich. They also go really well in almost any coleslaw. They’re also delicious ‘butter poached’ – cook them slowly in a shallow layer in a combo of half water and half butter with a healthy sprinkle of salt, cover the pot, til tender – and pretend that someone else cooked them and you don’t know you just ate a ¼ cup of butter!

Kohlrabi – so delicious fresh. I mean, you can cook it (think of it like a potato) – it’s great roasted or steamed. But really, the crunch and the sweetness is fantastic fresh. Throw it on a veggie tray, in a coleslaw or just sliced in a salad.

Hakurei turnip – almost all the same notes as for kohlrabi – it looks boring (white), but it has great texture fresh(can something be crisp and custard-y at the same time?). Or make a soup with 2 parts onion, a clove or two of garlic (sweat them slowly with butter and salt), then add 1 part turnip. Cover just barely with water, add a big pinch of salt and cook til tender. Puree and taste. Add a little cream (2 Tbsp-1/4 cup) if you like.

Here are a few recipes that deal with some of the odd Fall vegetables. Sorry about the formatting, I’m trying to find something easier (and legible) than hand typing each recipe….

These recipes are from two excellent cookbooks – ‘Roots’ by Diane Morgan and ‘Plenty’ by Yotam Ottolenghi.

Happy cooking!

daikon-apple-slaw black-radish-tuna sweet-potato-fries two-potato-vindaloosweet-pickled-diakoncabbage-kohlrabi-salad


Beautiful Fall Flowers
Beautiful Fall Flowers

It is a sure sign that fall is progressing when the flowers in the garden take on their rich fall colours. It is hard to believe that we only have three weeks left after this until the end of our main season CSA. The last Main Season Pick-up days are Tuesday, October 4th and Saturday, October 8th.

One Selection from our Organic Potato Trial
One Selection from our Organic Potato Trial

This season we took part in a trial for trying out new crosses for organic potato production. The potatoes were dug last week and we selected the varieties that performed the best, both in terms of yield and leaf hopper resistance. We have a number of selections to keep and grow out again next year to see how they perform. At the end of the month researchers are coming for a field day and we will cook some for a taste test. Ken is looking forward to continuing to work on this project in the years to come.

Bunkhouse with Plaster Damage
Bunkhouse with Plaster Damage

As we make room for the next generation on the farm, Ken and Martha are looking to move into what has been the bunkhouse. It is a timber frame with straw bale walls. Unfortunately, the lime sand plaster layer which covers the straw bales, particularly on the east wall, developed cracks. They were patched, but re-cracked and  water got in and the lime sand outer layer separated from the clay under layer. Apparently, we should have added lime to the clay layers to help bind the lime sand layer. It would also have been better to have a larger overhang and perhaps not taken the straw bale wall so high on the east side. An added problem is that there is also some serious air leaks, making it challenging to heat in the winter months. As a result, we have decided to remove the straw bale walls and replace them with stud wall construction.

Solar Wood Drying Kiln under Construction
Solar Wood Drying Kiln under Construction

We need to dry some of our lumber to use in the renovations. Aaron and Heidi have been building a solar wood kiln to speed up the drying process.

Draft Horses Seeding No-Till Cover Crop
Draft Horses Seeding No-Till Cover Crop

Ken is continuing with is no till drill and has planted a series of cover crops and is expecting to plant fall grain later this month both for the horses and for Seth to mill and make into his delicious bread.