Author: Bryan Housel

Circle Brook Farm

Farm News – November 12, 2018

Hi Folks! So, we have arrived at the end of another CSA season. While every season has its particular challenges, primarily weather related, this has been one for the books. While I’m not generally in favor of book burning I might be willing to make an exception in this case. Usually a particular type of weather is bad for some crops and beneficial for others. If there was any doubt, we can now state unequivocally that buckets of rain and days on end with no sunshine is not conducive to growing any crop. And now for the final dirty deed of the growing season we are hit with frigid temperatures (21 degrees) and some sleet and snow later this week. I’ve kept so busy complaining about the bad weather I haven’t even had a chance to fill you in about any of the other challenges we face, such as trying to keep the trucks, tractors, and other equipment functioning. This is something that is currently pertinent as the delivery truck is out of commission and the backup is barely road worthy! (more…)

Blue Potatoes

Blue Potatoes

Because of their color, blue potatoes add a unique flair to everyday cuisine.  In their native land of South America, they are often used in conjunction with herbs and spices to make salads and potato cakes, or they get sliced up, dried and eaten as they are.  (more…)

Circle Brook Farm

Farm News – November 5, 2018

Hi Folks – So torrential rains delivered another 4 inches of water this past Friday night into Saturday morning. By Saturday afternoon, the creek behind the house overflowed and flooded the part of the field where we have been trying to harvest the sunchokes. After last week’s unseasonable warmth, the fields were just starting to dry out a bit. We are forecast to receive more heavy precipitation from strong storms overnight and through Tuesday. The monsoon season heads into a fourth month! I’d like to cry, but I don’t want another drop of water to hit the ground. (more…)

Spinach

Spinach

Calorie for calorie, leafy green vegetables like spinach provide more nutrients than any other food.  Spinach is thought to have originated in ancient Persia.  Spinach made its way to China in the 7th century when the king of Nepal sent it as a gift to this country.  Spinach has a much more recent history in Europe than many other vegetables.  It was only brought to that continent in the 11th century, when the Moors introduced it into Spain.  In fact, for a while, spinach was known as “the Spanish vegetable” in England. (more…)

Bacon and Egg Coconut Flour Muffins

Bacon and Egg Coconut Flour Muffins

Found on thecoconutmama.com food blog, these bacon and egg coconut flour muffins are easy to make and are wonderful high protein breakfast option.  I make a few batches of these every month so my family has a healthy, protein rich, quick breakfast option on hand.  They freeze well too!

This recipe is very flexible.  You can omit the sour cream if you don’t have any on hand.  The sour cream makes these muffins a little less dense and more fluffy.  You can also swap sausage or steak in place of the bacon if you prefer. (more…)

Circle Brook Farm

Farm News – October 29, 2018

Hi Everyone, So the bizarre weather pattern continues — frequent rain and consistently gray skies with very little sunshine. And we continue to be frustrated that crops are growing so slowly. At least there’s no extreme cold forecast for the moment. We are waiting impatiently for the cauliflower to head up and the spinach to grow large enough to cut. It’s a small share this week, sorry. (more…)

Yacon

Yacon

Easy to grow and store, high-yielding, supernutritious and crunchy like an apple, yacon root (pronounced ya-kon) is one of the many “new” vegetables coming to us from South America.  In reality, this fruitlike vegetable has been cultivated throughout the Andes for more than a millennium.  South Americans eat it as a fruit; they also use the huge leaves to wrap foods during cooking, in the same way cabbage leaves are used in Germany, grape leaves in the Mideast and banana leaves in the tropics.  Only recently – thanks to some adventurous green thumbs – have North Americans begun to see yacon in produce markets.

In addition to its distinctive flavor – a satisfyingly sweet cross between celery and Granny Smith apples – yacon is noted for its high fiber and low calorie content.  The tubers and leaves contain high levels of inulin, a form of sugar humans cannot easily break down, making it low in calories.  Inulin also aids digestion and promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestine, while inhibiting toxic bacteria.  Recent research also has found that yacon tubers and leaves are a good source of antioxidants.  Yacon is an ideal food for diabetics and weight watchers, but it will make a delicious addition to anyone’s diet.  Plus, the tubers only get sweeter in storage.

In South America, yacon tubers can have yellow, orange, red, pink and even purple flesh, all with distinct flavors.  Unfortunately, only one or two varieties of yacon are available in the United States, and they are white-flesh varieties.  All varieties have a crunchy texture, and the water content is high enough that the tubers can be crushed to make juice.

Yacon is delicious eaten fresh with a little sugar or honey and a bit of lemon juice sprinkled over it. (Yacon recipes often contain citrus, because acidity prevents the discoloration that results once the pared tubers are exposed to air.)  Many South Americans put yacon in a fruit salad called salpicón, because the tubers add a crunchy texture to the mix.  Yacon also can be stir-fried, roasted, baked or made into pies and healthy chips.  Teas made from the leaves can reduce blood sugar by increasing the amount of insulin circulating in the blood stream.  Yacon syrups or powders also can be used as low-calorie sweeteners, and are increasingly available at natural food stores.