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Sweet Potato Oven Fries

Oct 25, 2018 | No Comments

This recipe makes nice tender baked sweet potato fries with good browning. We grow three types of sweet potatoes most years, Japanese Murasaki with purple skins and white interior, Bonita with white skin and white flesh, and Orleans Orange, the classic deep orange inside and out. You can find them at the farm stores or markets to get a sampler of them to bake up and taste side by side. Oven fries are especially good for making a tasting, as the ingredients are so simple and you can taste each flavor.

Ingredients:
Sweet Potatoes
Olive Oil
Coconut oil (optional)

Salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice up however many sweet potatoes you want to eat into big chunky fries, all of similar thickness, for even cooking. Toss in a bowl, with enough olive oil to coat, and a little salt.

If you have coconut oil, I like to put a tablespoon or two on a baking sheet and set it in the oven for a minute to melt. Then spread the oil around the pan for a good coating. You could oil the pan with another high heat oil. I think the oil on the bottom gets them to brown better.

Spread the sweet potatoes across the pan so none are piled on top of each other, and each has good contact with the pan. Cover the pan with tin foil. Put in the oven and bake until sweet potatoes are tender, about a 1/2 hr.

Then remove the foil, and put the pan back in the oven to brown. Don’t stir, as this will mess up the browning. Scope the fries out periodically as they bake until you get the level of browning you want.

Serve with ketchup or dipped in a spicy mayo spiked with RFF hot sauce ;).

Eminently Adjustable Spicy Garlic Basil Lo Mein

Jul 31, 2018 | No Comments

A recipe from long-time CSA member Cheryl Munn! It features gluten-free ingredients. This recipe plays very well with seasonal adjusting and making with the produce that’s ready right now.  To honor that, I added “Eminently Adjustable” to her title, highlighting the excellent potential for local eating contained within.

You can easily get creative, subbing other onion family crops for shallots, other greens or broccoli for the bok choy or cabbage, something else flavorful for the peppers, and such. This here is a dish that is great fresh, but also as a lunch for the next day (or days if you like to make a bunch).

Sauce:
3/4 cup vegetable broth or water
1/3 cup low sodium gluten free tamari
2 Tbsp chili paste, or 1 Tbsp tomato paste and 1-2 Tbsp sriracha [use all tomato paste if you don’t want it spicy]
3 Tbsp coconut sugar or 80 milligrams pure stevia
1 Tbsp dried basil or 1/3 cup fresh chopped
1 Tbsp avocado oil or olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 Tbsp arrowroot

Lo Mein:
1 lb gluten free brown rice spaghetti, 14 oz brown rice fettuccine or Lo Mein noodles, cooked
12 ozs baby bok choy or cabbage, cut into 1/4″ strips
1 sweet red pepper diced or sliced thin
1 yellow pepper diced or sliced thin
1 lb carrots julienned (rainbow carrots would be good in this)
2 stalks celery diced
1/3 cup finely minced shallots
5 large garlic cloves minced

Directions:

Add ingredients for sauce, except arrowroot, to a bowl and whisk together. Add arrowroot, whisk and set aside. [a sub option for arrowroot powder is corn starch]

Cook pasta or lo mein noodles according to package directions, rinse and set aside.

While the noodles are cooking, prep vegetables as directed above. Put prepared vegetables except bok choy or cabbage in a large wok.  Cook vegetables on medium high 3 minutes, stir to keep from burning. Place cover on wok and cook 3-4 minutes. Remove lid, add bok choy or cabbage to wok and stir into other vegetables. Cook another 3 minutes. Add sauce to vegetables, stir, let simmer 2 minutes to thicken. Shut off heat, add noodles, stir until well mixed. Serve!

Recipe and photos from Cheryl Munn, 2018

2018 CSA Pick-Your-Own

Jun 5, 2018 | No Comments

Note: This PYO list is only available to Red Fire Farm CSA and Stand & Market members.


 As part of your Vegetable CSA membership, you have access to our Pick Your Own patches. The farm is family-friendly, so bring your little ones and check out our land. PYO includes herbs, flowers, berries, peas, tomatoes, tomatillos, hot peppers, and more (changes with the season).

June picking includes delicious strawberries, peas and herbs- and more fun on the day of our Strawberry Soiree!

Late July, August, and September are great months to come for pick your own, as by then we’re brimming with crops like cherry tomatoes, basil, tomatillos, hot peppers, green beans, herbs, flowers, and ground cherries.

Pick Your Own is a perk for members that can make it out – we still aim to give all members the value of their share in harvested and delivered vegetables :). But of course, we want you to come out to visit. The whiteboards located in barns have the most updated PYO limits and info, so please follow those if they differ from what is written online.

  • If you are traveling to the farm for over 1 hour to do the picking (Boston area and Worcester members), then you probably will come for picking only a few times during the season. This means that when you are here you can pick a lot at once, once the limits have gone up.
  • If you are a member from Franklin, Hampshire or Hampden County and you can easily make it to the farm each week, then we ask that you pick weekly but not as much each time. This is why there are different limits posted for each crop depending on where you are coming from.
  • Stand & Market Members ($300 level) can pick a lot at once if desired, but you must pay as you go (by using credit from your card). Prices are posted for each PYO crop on the board. There are sometimes limits on crops for Stand Members.

 

What to Bring and Where to Go
Come ready for outdoor weather. Also please bring containers to take your pickings home in, and leave the quart and pint containers for reuse if possible. If you have a car, share a ride! Meet some other local food loving people. You can post on our facebook seeking rides. Read below to find out which farm location you should visit based on your CSA pickup location.

GRANBY PICK YOUR OWN

Open to CSA and Farmstand & Market Members from Granby, Springfield, Holyoke, Worcester and the Boston area.

Pick Your Own details are inside the farm store in the center of the barn at 7 Carver St., including a map of field areas and a list of picking limits, and often containers for harvesting. Any time the farm store is open you can come pick! To find farm store hours you can check our farm store page. The PYO is all self-serve, but please be sure to sign in at the PYO station. There’s extra parking in the Brown-Ellison Park next door if needed.

Herbs (Basil, Parsley, Oregano, Savory, Chives, Garlic Chives, Thyme, Lemon Balm, Mint)

  • CSA Members: Pick as needed.
  • Farmstand & Market Members: Pick as needed, no charge.
  • General Public: $10/lb

Husk Cherries (Pick tan pods fallen on ground, not still attached to plant)

  • CSA Members: Pick as needed.
  • Farmstand & Market Members: Pick as needed, no charge.
  • General Public: $5 pint or $3/half pint

Cut Flowers

  • CSA Members: 12 stems for regular share members / 8 stems for small share members  / 20 stems for Boston area members
  • Farmstand & Market Members: 5 stems for $1
  • General Public: 5 stems for $1

Cherry Tomatoes

  • CSA Members: Pick as needed.
  • Farmstand & Market Members:Pick as needed, no charge.
  • General Public: $5/pint or $3/half pint

Hot Peppers

  • CSA Members: 16 peppers for regular share members / 8 peppers for small share members / 24 peppers for Boston area members
  • Farmstand & Market Members:$3/lb
  • General Public: $3/lb

Tomatillos

  • CSA Members: 1 pint for regular share members / Half pint for small share members / 1 quart for Boston area members
  • Farmstand & Market Members:$3/lb
  • General Public: $3/lb

Sweet Mini Bell Peppers

  • CSA Members: 10 peppers for regular share members / 5 peppers for small share members / 1 pint for Boston area members
  • Farmstand & Market Members: $3.50/half pint
  • General Public: $3.50/half pint

Pumpkins

  • All pickers: $0.50/lb for jack-o-lantern variety / $0.80/lb for pie variety

MONTAGUE FARM PICK YOUR OWN


We now have a patch on our Montague farm at 184 Meadow Road. This section is small, so there’s capacity for Montague, and Northampton area members only!

Please park on the grass along Meadow Road, not blocking any thruways or driveways, or equipment access. 

Pick Your Own information is at the large old tobacco barn next to Meadow Road near the red hand-painted Red Fire Farm hanging sign. Pick Your Own details will be there, including an informational map attached to the side of the barn facing the road, a list of picking limits, and often containers for harvesting and measuring. Bring containers to take things home!

The PYO is all self-serve, but please be sure to sign in at the PYO station. You can come to pick any day 9am – 8pm. There will be a log book, so you can keep track of your picking if you are at the $300 Stand Member level, as those members pay at the posted prices per item. Please tally your purchases as you go, and we will process them periodically at the office. PYO for CSA level members is free up to limits provided.

Herbs (Parsley, Dill, Oregano, Savory, Chives, Mint)

  • CSA Members: Pick as needed.
  • Farmstand & Market Members: Pick as needed, no charge.

Hot Peppers

  • CSA Members: 16 peppers for regular share members / 8 peppers for small share members / 24 peppers for Boston area members
  • Farmstand & Market Members:$3/lb

Cherry Tomatoes

  • CSA Members: Pick as needed.
  • Farmstand & Market Members: Pick as needed, no charge.

Husk Cherries (Pick tan pods fallen on ground, not still attached to plant)

  • CSA Members: Pick as needed.
  • Farmstand & Market Members: Pick as needed, no charge.

Cut Flowers

  • CSA Members: 12 stems for regular share members / 8 stems for small share members  / 20 stems for Boston area members
  • Farmstand & Market Members: 5 stems for $1

Fun things to do in Montague:

  • Visit our Red Fire North farm store at 485 Federal Street, Montague, MA, with our produce and tasty local products.~ 4 miles from the farm.
  • Check out the Bookmill, a cafe with waterfall, used bookstore, cd shop, art gallery, beer. ~ 2 miles from the farm.

Enjoy the season and the fields!

In Blog

Pastured Meat Share Details

Apr 26, 2018 | No Comments

Pastured pork chops, uncured bacon, steaks, specialty sausages, ground beef, roasts, ribs and more come in the Summer Pastured Meat Share!

We are very excited to offer Pastured Meat Shares from our farmer friends at Walnut Hill Farm and their neighbors at Haystack Farmstead. By offering this new share, we are hoping to connect people to these farmers who we know are doing their best to make a sustainable system in raising local meat.

See pricing and details for Pastured Meat Shares here.

Sign up for a share.

They gathered these answers to common questions about how they raise the meat for our Pastured Meat Shares. Please learn more about the farms here.

Walnut Hill Farm and Haystack Farmstead FAQ

from the farmers, Jill and Rico, and Brian and Breya

About Walnut Hill Farm
Walnut Hill Farm is run by wife and husband team, Jill and Rico, and their two little boys in Vermont’s Mettawee Valley. Together, they raise heritage pigs on pasture with a mixed supplemental diet of non-gmo grain, vegetables, fruit and dairy, plus hay in winter.  Walnut Hill Farm is committed to agricultural systems that are humane, regenerative, and innovative. You might have known them as Little Lake Orchard before they changed farm locations.

About Haystack Farmstead
Haystack Farmstead is a small family farm located in the beautiful Mettawee Valley of Southern Vermont just up the road from Walnut Hill. Brian and Breya produce grass-fed beef from animals raised in a rotational grazing system. During the summer months, the herd is moved to fresh, leafy pasture every day. During the winter months, they are fed hay harvested on the farm and preserved to exacting standards.

Q:  What exactly is pastured pork?  How is it different from grass-fed beef?

Jill, Rico, Julian and Leo run Walnut Hill Farm, raising heritage-breed pork on pasture in southern Vermont. They contribute the pork aspect of our Summer Pastured Meat Share.

A:   Pastured pork generally refers to pork that is from animals raised outdoors for at least part of the year.  Actual practices relating to animal welfare and the environment can vary greatly from farm to farm. At Walnut Hill Farm, we raise our animals outdoors—on rotated pasture—from April to October.  While outdoors, the animals are moved to fresh pasture when the green cover wears thin, and recently vacated pastures may be seeded down with interesting grasses or forage crops for the next group.  In the winter, our animals have ample shelter in a large, airy barn with outdoor access. In addition to mixed grains, the pigs have constant access to hay and are provided with fun extras from nearby farms like apples and sweet potatoes.

Pastured pork is a little different from grass-fed beef.  Unlike beef cows (and dairy cows, goats, and sheep) pigs don’t have a rumen that enables them to live exclusively on a grass diet.  They require a more varied diet that includes grains and may include fruits, vegetables, nuts or dairy products like milk or whey. We have always found that pasture, greenery, and fruit, nut, vegetable, and dairy supplements make our pigs happy and provide our customers with incredibly delicious meat.

Q: What are the advantages of eating grass-fed beef?

A: Cows evolved to thrive on grasses alone. In our experience, animals are healthiest when allowed to do what nature has designed them to do. Beef raised on properly managed pasture are both healthier and happier than those raised in a feedlot setting. This reason alone is worth choosing grass-fed over conventional. However, there are other benefits that include the meat’s healthier fat profile, environmental benefits such as a lightened carbon footprint and net soil improvement and erosion reduction.  And, good grass-fed beef simply tastes better!

Q: What breed of animals do you raise?

A: Haystack Farmstead’s cattle are a cross between Holstein, Black Angus, and soon to come, Wagyu. The Holstein heritage gives our brood cows excellent milk production which enables us to raise healthy, thrifty calves. The beef heritage adds vigor and heartiness that enable these cattle to thrive in a natural pasture system.

Walnut Hill Farm raises pure-bred Berkshires and Gloustershire old spot, large black, Tamworth and Berkshire crosses.  These breeds are vigorous and well-adapted to life outdoors; they love browsing grass and rooting in the dirt.

Q:  How do you manage animal health and welfare?

A:  Both of our farms make animal welfare a priority through calm handling, ample feeding and bedding, and dedication to pasture management. Our animals never receive any hormones and are never treated with unnecessary antibiotics.  We work closely with our local large animal veterinarian, and we find that an attentive eye and a little extra TLC generally prevents any need for medical intervention. Walnut Hill Farm is committed to the stringent standards of the Animal Welfare Approved third party auditing program and is in the process of being certified.

Q:  How do your farms protect the environment?

A:  Our farms protect the environment in many ways.  Both Walnut Hill Farm and Haystack Farmstead are conserved farms; this means that the land is preserved intact for farming in future generations.  Both of our farms rotate animal pastures, which conserves soil and requires fewer energy inputs overall than non-pasture systems. Both farms also practice regenerative agriculture, which emphasizes soil health through cover cropping and reduced tillage—practices that increase biodiversity and sequester carbon.

Q:  What is the difference between this meat and the meat I can purchase at a specialty grocery store?

Brian and Breya manage Haystack Farmstead, with rotational grazing for their beef cattle. They grow the winter hay for their grass-fed herd and store it with specific conditions for the best winter eating.

A: Fundamentally, there is a difference in quality; even if meat carries an organic label, it doesn’t necessarily mean the animals live a healthy life, or that the workers on the farm are paid fairly.  Our meat is single source, meaning it only comes from animals born and raised gently on our farms. Additionally, as a CSA customer, you already know that through this arrangement, you develop a relationship with your farmer and his or her family.  This relationship provides you with transparency and security and enables your farmer to produce the highest quality product while making a living and offering fair wages to employees. It sounds simple, but CSA is still a revolutionary idea in the world of food.

 

Thank you for reading!

 

Oven Roasted Parsnip Fries

Mar 22, 2018 | No Comments

One of the most delicious spring things is here! Roots hidden underground all winter gathering sweetness from the frosty cold. We just harvested these and baked the first batch – spring-dug parsnips! Fall and winter parsnips have lots of great flavor for this dish also, though the spring-dug ‘nips are the next level of sweetness. I love to roast them in the oven this way…

Ingredients:
Parsnips – as many as you’d like
Coconut oil (or other higher heat oil)
Salt

Preheat the oven to 400, while you wash and chop the parsnips into fries. Put a couple tablespoons worth of coconut oil on the baking pan and set in the oven to melt a minute. Take pan out and stir the parsnips around in the oil to get some coating, then cover with tin foil to roast for about a half hour until parsnips are very soft to tines of a fork.

Then uncover and roast more until you get that awesome caramelizing of the natural sweetness. Sprinkle with kosher salt or other coarser grind salt, serve hot. 

Also excellent dipped in a spicy mayo spiked with RFF hot sauce ;).

Colcannon with Shallots

Mar 15, 2018 | No Comments

For St. Patrick’s Day, a classic recipe from Ireland, perfect for our  seasonal ingredients. Colcannon is a recipe with so many variations, because it is beloved and made in many homes. Make your own variation!

2 lbs gold or white potatoes
6 tbs unsalted butter
5 large shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 cups of shredded savoy cabbage (packed in)
1 1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper

Chop the potatoes in large chunks and boil in salted water until very soft to the tines of a fork, then drain water away (reserve for a soup stock if you like).

Melt 4 Tbs of the butter in a pan that will fit all the ingredients. Add the chopped shallots and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic and cook until shallots start to brown. Then add 1 cup of the shredded cabbage. Cook the cabbage down til it is wilted.

Add the milk and cream and start to simmer. Put in the cooked potato chunks and remaining cabbage. Mash it all, and season with salt and pepper, topping with the remaining butter at serving time.

Variations: Add chopped spinach with the cream at the end to make it green! Saute kale with the shallots to add green at that stage. You can replace the milk and cream with 1 cup or so potato cooking water, adding a little olive oil. Add in cloves of roasted garlic. Peel the potatoes if you don’t want peels in there. Top with crumbles of cooked bacon or tempeh.

Roasted Winter Veggie Tacos

Mar 1, 2018 | No Comments

One of our Deep Winter Share members shared this recipe, describing it as “my new favorite meal.” It’s inspired by the taco share we do in the winter time, a great way to enjoy the winter roots. You can swap any other roots you have in for the ones listed below, to good effect. Thank you Emily Pollock for sending it over!

TACO FILLING
Chop into smallish pieces, toss in olive oil, and roast at 425 for about 40 min, stirring occasionally:

1 large sweet potato
1 potato
2 carrots
1 rutabaga or gilfeather turnip
1 large onion
(sometimes I throw in watermelon radish or beet too)

Add the juice of 1/2 of a lime, salt, and pepper.  Serve with corn tortillas, cheese, and re-fried black beans below (I make a new mexico hatch chili sauce with this as well, because I like my tacos really spicy, but I don’t think it is necessary).

RE-FRIED BLACK BEANS
1lb black beans, soaked overnight
1T vegetable oil
1t cumin (preferably freshly toasted and ground)
about 1t salt (to taste)

Cover the beans with water, and bring to a boil.  Simmer for about 3-4 hours, making sure there is still enough water.  Drain away excess water if applicable. Add vegetable oil, salt, and cumin, and puree with an immersion blender. Add the beans to your tacos!

From CSA member Emily Pollock, 2018.

Potato Leek Soup

Nov 28, 2017 | No Comments

This is a well-loved recipe around the farm that folks make to warm up for lunch, and enjoy with friends.

5 large white potatoes or equivalent (peeled and chopped)
5 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth or water)
1 Tbs butter
3 large leeks (sliced using whites only)
1 Tbs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tsp celery salt
pepper and salt to taste
1 cup light cream
mushrooms (can be optional, but so good)

Peel and cut potatoes, slice leeks. Melt butter over medium heat in pot. Add leeks and let sit for several minutes. Add potatoes, chicken stock, thyme, bay leaf, celery salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are soft (about 20 minutes). Once potatoes are soft, remove from heat, remove the bay leaf, and use an immersion blender or food processor to liquify.

In a separate pan slice mushrooms into tiny chunks and sauté. Return the soup to heat, add cream and mushrooms and simmer on low until desired consistency is reached. Season with salt and pepper if needed, to taste. Enjoy!

Sugar Pumpkin Cheescake

Oct 2, 2017 | No Comments

Smaller sugar pie pumpkins have been bred for flavor in cooking! They are wonderful in pies, and also this special cheesecake recipe.

A rather stunning cheesecake for fall and winter holidays. Thank you to Wilhelmina Ryan for sharing with us!

1 cup sugar pie pumpkin puree, baked ahead
20-25 small ginger snap cookies, crushed
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 (8 oz) packages cream cheese (total 32 oz), softened
1 cup sugar or other dry sweetener, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves

Halve a sugar pie pumpkin and bake cut-sides-down at 350 for about 45 minutes until a fork goes through the flesh easily. Scoop the cooked pumpkin flesh out and puree in a blender or food processor. Excess pumpkin puree can be saved for adding to soup or other dishes. Turn oven to 325 after cooking the pumpkin.

Mix chopped pecans, ginger snap crumbs, and melted butter; press firmly onto bottom of a 9-inch springform pan to form the crust.

Beat cream cheese, 3/4 cup of the sugar and the vanilla extract with a mixer until mixed. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended.

Regular Batter:
Remove 1-1/2 cups of the batter; place aside in small bowl. This will be your light colored batter.

Pumpkin Batter:
Stir remaining 1/4 cup sugar, the pumpkin puree and spices into remaining batter. Pumpkin puree must not be so hot as to cook eggs at this stage.

Spoon half of the pumpkin batter onto crust in the pan; top with separated spoonfuls of half of the reserved regular batter. Repeat layers until you’ve used up the batters. Swirl through batters with a butter knife to marble the colors.

Bake 55 minutes at 325 or until center is almost set. Check doneness by gently shaking the pan – when it is done only a small bit in the center will jiggle and the rest will be set solid.

Cool completely. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator.

The Art of Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Jun 22, 2017 | No Comments

Chocolate + strawberries = heavenly.

Farm-fresh organic berries and decadent chocolate go together very easily for a wonderful dessert or gift.

We keep our fresh berries stocked at our farm stores in Granby and Montague and at summer markets during the month of June. You can also come and Pick Your Own! Or order in bulk on our website.  While this short season lasts, chocolate dipped berries are one of our favorite things to eat.

Six Tips for perfecting the art:

1.  Ripe strawberries are key!

You want sweet and flavorful berries.  When selecting the berries to dip in chocolate make sure they are ripe and red but not so ripe that they are mushy. Bright green greens of super-fresh berries are prettiest.

2. Keep them at room temperature.

Before covering them in chocolate, refrain from putting them in the fridge-let the berries sit on the counter for a bit, as water will condense on cold berries.

3. Wash AND dry!

When prepping your berries for chocolate make sure they aren’t wet.  Damp berries will cause the chocolate to clump and loose its smooth texture.

4. Choose the chocolate you love

– Use dark chocolate or milk chocolate bars or your favorite chocolate chips. Taza Chocolate is made in Somerville, MA, and their dark bars are wonderful for this.

5. Melt chocolate with a double boiler.

Put some water in a sauce pan and with heat-safe bowl on top.  The water in the sauce pan should be high enough to surround most of the bowl but not high enough that it gets in the bowl. Keep the water at a low simmer, put the chocolate with some milk in the bowl and stir until it melts!

6. Get creative!

Chocolate is perfect on its own on berries but don’t be afraid to personalize the recipe. Add some white chocolate drizzle, toasted coconut, sprinkles, slivered almonds, or crushed walnuts to your berries!

A Recipe for Making Chocolate Covered Strawberries

This recipe makes enough for a small batch. Double or so for more.

1 cup chocolate chips or broken up chocolate bar 
1 1/2 tsp coconut oil (this makes the chocolate smoother, shortening can be used also)
6-12 Strawberries

  Melt the chocolate in a double boiler with the coconut oil, mixing well ’til smooth. Prep a plate or baking sheet with parchment or wax paper on top. When the chocolate is smooth, hold the berries by the stem or greens and dip each berry in, twisting to coat each side. Then lay the berry on the parchment paper. They look pretty when you can still see some of the red top of the berry.
Put your full plate of berries into the refrigerator for 15 minutes or so to set the chocolate. Then they are ready to serve!

Additions to sprinkle on top right after dipping in chocolate:

Melted white chocolate, drizzled decoratively using a fork
Coconut flakes (toasted or untoasted)
Finely chopped nuts, like walnuts, pecans, slivered almonds, or cashews
Salt or sugar crystals
Sprinkles
Bacon crumbles (what?! 🙂
Pretzel shards

Enjoy!