Louisa Enright's Blog

Mainely Tipping Points

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Interesting Information: CSA Time

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Interesting Information:  March 8, 2012

CSA Time

 Two of my nieces are well into finding and eating local foods.

Here’s a recent message from niece Lauren Howser Black about buying into a local CSA, or Community Shared Agriculture:

We are pretty sure we’re going to join our friend’s CSA this summer. They are Mennonite and farm a pretty big piece of land. We met them through our local farmer’s market where they sell wonderful, organic produce. It runs from June-October and we can get a box each week. I really like the idea of trying to eat what’s currently in season, as I have never done that before. They grow everything from greens, varieties of herbs, peas, beans, squash, tomatoes, melons, raspberries, root vegetables, etc. I also love the idea of supporting local farmer’s. When I pick up our basket this summer from them at the farmer’s market, I can also purchase local eggs, cheese, and meats. Our goal is to find ways to cook and enjoy whatever we get in our weekly basket, even if we’ve never had it before. We’re excited to try this out. 

Lauren’s sister Nancy Howser Gardner is also doing some sort of CSA.  She put a picture of a gorgeous basket of food on Facebook the other day.

Our CSA is Hope’s Edge, which starts up here in Maine in mid-June.  We’ve belonged for about 7 years now, and I can’t imagine summer without going out to the farm each week and collecting our beautiful, healthy, organic, fresh food.  Hope’s Edge has never failed us, no matter the weather conditions.  Farmer Tom is a member of our greater family!

A Community Shared Agriculture program asks you to give them a set amount of money yearly.  We give Farmer Tom a little of our half-share costs in the fall, so he can buy seeds, supplies, and so forth.  We give him the rest in the early spring.  And we get a bounteous amount of food in return.  The only risk is if the weather or some other growing condition affects some of the crops, you don’t get that piece of the harvest for that year.  It’s always worked out for us.

This year we’re also doing a local cheese CSA, which will be picked up at Hope’s Edge on our pick-up day–Appleton Creamery.

And, we’re continuing with Cheryl Wixson’s CSA, which contains ready-to-use organic products that are so fun to have in the kitchen.  You can see blog entries on Wixson’s kitchen elsewhere here.

My wish for you today is that you find and support a local CSA or a local farmer’s market this year. 

Written by louisaenright

March 8, 2012 at 10:30 am

Turkey Tracks: Pie Pumpkins and Pie

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Turkey Tracks:  November 13, 2011

Pie Pumpkins and Pie

The best pie pumpkins are long–like a huge salami.  They’re dark green that starts to turn orange in patches–they turn orange when you cook them.

I usually get one from our CSA, Hope’s Edge.  And I buy a few more, roast them, and freeze the meat–for winter pies.  Organic, of course.

Just slice the pumpkins in half, scoop out the seeds, put them on a shallow pan that has some sides–the roasting pumpkins can give off juice–and roast them for at least an hour at 350 degrees.  You’ll know when they are done–they’ll smell delicious and will fork easily.  Let them cool, scoop out the meat, and freeze or make a pie.

It takes about 2 cups of pumpkin to make a 9 or 10-inch pie.  Each of these halves makes about two cups.  Convenient, huh?

My favorite recipe comes from NOURISHING TRADITIONS, by Sally Fallon and Dr. Mary Enig.

Start with a flakey pie crust of your choice.  (Use butter or really good lard–not any of those fake fats like vegetable lards or margarine.)

2 cups pumpkin

3 eggs–if small, use 4 eggs

3/4 cups rapadura–which is dried cane juice.  I also use organic sugar.  The rapadura has a stronger taste, but the pumpkin can take it.

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon each salt, powdered cloves, nutmeg

grated rind of lemon

1 cup piima cream, or creme fraiche–piima is a cultured cream.  You could also use sour cream.

2 tablespoons brandy

Mix everything together well, pour into your pie shell, and bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes.  The time will depend on the size of your eggs and the liquid in your pumpkin.  I used 3 small eggs, and the pie took more like an hour to puff in the middle.  If it takes longer, cover the  pie with some parchment paper to prevent burning.  (Don’t use aluminum foil!  For anything!!)

 This pie is as light as a feather and absolutely delicious.

Serve with REAL whipped cream.

Turkey Tracks: Hope’s Edge, Our Community Shared Agriculture Farm

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Turkey Tracks:  August 14, 2010  

Hope’s Edge:   Our CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) Farm  

We’ve belonged to Hope’s Edge, our CSA farm, for at least five years now.  Our pick-up this year is on Friday, and I look forward all week to driving out to the farm.  It’s a beautiful, serene space.   

What’s cool about Hope’s Edge is that Farmer Tom does not own it.  The owner and her daughter live in the farmhouse, and they have allowed Tom to build a CSA and his own house on it.  There are horses, some rescue ponies, a milk cow and a new calf, and chickens.  Sometimes there are some sheep as well.     

Hills circle the fields, barns, farmhouse, the CSA sheds, and Farmer Tom’s house.   A pond nestles down the hill from the barn, providing a cooling off place for hot CSA workers.  This is a view of the barn and stables from the CSA shed.  Look at how blue the sky can be in Maine.  The old farmhouse is on the far side of the barn.  In the foreground are some garden beds and the first of a line of apple trees.  

  

Here’s the CSA shed where we pick up our food.  Inside are refrigerators, some cooking equipment, tables, and LOTS of food.  Behind the shed are more garden beds, a huge oak with a tire swing, and a frog pond that drove our grandchildren quite crazy.  To the right there is another small barn and the entry road.  Across that road are planted crops, including a strawberry bed that gets bigger each year.   

  

Here’s a bigger picture of the mural.     

  

We picked up over 12 pounds of food this past Friday.  I could not resist putting it in my garden/mushroom basket and taking a picture:  

  

Cukes, zukes, tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, two kinds of beans (regular and Romano flat), lettuce, herbs, potatoes, an eggplant, a cabbage, carrots, and garlic.  I could have cut a flower arrangement as well, but we were tired after a morning in Augusta, and we have lots of flowers in our own garden.  

It doesn’t get better than this kind of food, does it?  It nourishes our bodies and our spirits.  

Ratatouille, I think.  But with some of the mint I brought from Maine.  And, some basil from our herb garden.

Written by louisaenright

August 14, 2010 at 10:51 pm