Author: Danielle Levitt

Hot Tatsoi Salad Dressing

Hot Tatsoi Salad Dressing

This recipe is a twist on warm spinach salad.  It is quick and easy, saving you a step by not cooking the greens.  Instead, you warm the dressing and toss with fresh, young Asian greens, wilting them slightly.  Older, larger greens are still best cooked as they tend to be tougher. (more…)

Asian Pickled Cabbage

Asian Pickled Cabbage

Here’s a recipe for Asian Pickled Cabbage from thekitchn.com. It’s tangy from the vinegar, sweet from the sugar, and just a bit spicy from the ginger — a perfect balance of flavors.  It’s super easy and refreshing as a side dish on a hot day.  The recipe serves 2-4 but can easily be doubled.   (more…)

Wilted Kale with Lemon

Wilted Kale with Lemon

Here is a quick but tasty recipe using kale, from the William Sonoma cookbook, Cooking from the Farmers’ Market; it can’t get much simpler!  The recipe serves 6. (more…)

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi is neither a root nor a leafy vegetable but a swollen stem (a member of the cabbage family) that grows perched on top of the ground.  This versatile veggie is underutilized in the U.S. but is common in Central Europe and Asia.  Some claim it tastes a little like a turnip, others like a cabbage. Not surprising since it was bred from a combination of the German “kohl” (cabbage) and “rabi” (turnip). It is an excellent source of potassium and vitamin C and also includes some calcium and vitamin A.  The taste and texture is similar to that of a broccoli stem, accented by radish, but is much sweeter and milder. (more…)

Earth Day Message From Farmer John

Agriculture is one of the largest sectors contributing to environmental deterioration and energy consumption that contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Our industrialized food system and the long distance transportation of our fruits and vegetables needs to change. But while agriculture is a part of the problem it also has the potential to be a big part of the solution.

When I first became interested in organic farming it was because I believed we needed to learn to grow food without the use of toxic chemicals that not only poison the consumer but also proliferate in the environment and pose a threat to other species.  As time went by I came to believe that organic Ag had a role to play in the battle against climate change by maintaining high levels of organic material, i.e. carbon and keeping it out of the atmosphere.  High organic matter has many benefits to the soil; better water retention, less compaction and slowly released nutrients to name just a few.

Research over the past several decades has now demonstrated what organic enthusiasts have believed for years is true – that the soil is a living entity; a microbiological ecosystem.  A healthy, balanced soil produces healthy plants and when the system is disrupted, bad actors (bacteria, fungi etc.) take over causing disease.   In conventional farming this then leads to use of more toxic chemicals to control the disease and further degradation of the ecosystem.  This is very similar to the understanding that we have come to have regarding the microflora of our gut and it’s relation to human health.  The implication for the carbon cycle is that this soil food web ties up lots of carbon in the bodies of the microbes (and larger animals like earthworms) and keeps it out of the atmosphere.

The Rodale Institute has been researching the carbon cycle for decades and is convinced that transition to organic farming practices and proper grazing of animals can not only account for current carbon emissions but actually begin to reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere. A new paradigm for farming has emerged and has been dubbed Regenerative Agriculture.  Through cover cropping, re-mineralization, composting and reduced tillage we can restore our soils and begin to mitigate the deleterious effects of CO2 and other greenhouse gases on the atmosphere.

This is what we will be moving towards here at Circle Brook Farm. It is not easy; it requires new equipment, more fallow time for the fields, additional expenses for cover crop seed and rock dusts and most of all the courage to abandon tried and true practices and risk failure by implementing new planting systems.  For these practices to be implemented on a wide scale local organic farmers need the support of consumers.

If you are already a CSA member I thank you and if you are still reading this lengthy tome I thank you for that as well.   If you are thinking of joining the CSA program I hope you will. But if you cannot, please seek out local organic produce at a farmer’s market or demand it at your local grocery store. Please do not buy over packaged meal kits that don’t contain local produce.  Please help to spread the message. Word of mouth is the most powerful advertising we have. Please take the time to speak with your family and friends about the importance of eating local and organic and share the message on social media.  For your health and the health of the planet!

Best, Farmer John

Beet and Cabbage Soup

Beet and Cabbage Soup

This recipe was recommended by a CSA member and can be found on epicurious.com.  This soup can be served hot or cold, and you can adjust the amount of jalapeño peppers (or season with cumin or chili powder) to spice it up.  Get creative!
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Celeriac Soup

Celeriac Soup

A fairly easy and quick recipe for those cold Winter days, courtesy of the Food Network Magazine.  As presented, the recipe serves 4. (more…)