|Squash -You’ll find all 3 of our varieties this week.
Butternut: Sweet orange flesh.
Acorn: Nutty, golden flesh
Delicata: Farmer’s Favorite. Sweet & nutty golden flesh.
Watermelon Radishes – Pink & Green flesh. Crispy and mild — almost sweet. They are perfect for thinly slicing atop a salad.
Potatoes- These potatoes are from our friends and fellow farmers Rob & Sarah River of Primitive Pastures. They are a russet variety.
Celeriac – Celery’s cousin bred for root development. The green tops are excellent for flavoring a stock. The gnarly root is great roasted or thinly sliced in slaw.
Magenta Romaine Baby Lettuce Heads
Apple Cider – Fresh from our cider run this past weekend. The apples come from Ecker’s Farm in Trempealeau, WI and Cattlaena Ranch in Omro, WI. It is raw & unpasteurized. Don’t leave too long in the fridge (over a week) — it will begin to ferment.
(see last week’s newsletter for tips)
Fresh off the [cider] presses from Field Notes Farm
The past few weeks we have spent coordinating, building and organizing the materials for our first commercial scale cider run. Along with 4 friends, we pressed about 9 bins (~7200 pounds) into about 470 gallons of cider in about 18 hours!
The apples came from a number of different locations. Our friends, the Whitefeathers, supplied a bin from the orchard they have begun managing just a few miles away, Tom & Susan Wrochata (Cattlaena Ranch) allowed us to come and glean hail damaged apples from their 1 acre orchard featuring over 100 different heirloom varieties. The majority of the apples came from Ecker’s Apple Orchard in Trempealeau, WI. Sara Ecker, along with her sister and brother-in-law, recently took over their family’s 40 acre orchard in the rolling bluffs of the Mississippi River valley. While most of their production is focused on hand eating varieties, such as Honeycrisp, she decided to trial a plot of organic production this season. We were eager to support the transition and so quickly committed to buying them all!
It is harder than you might think to find a small warehouse space (~600 sq. ft) with some cooler space and a drain in the floor that would work for our pressing set-up in our area. We found a good home for this year’s operation in Viroqua, WI at the Food Enterprise Center. The center converted an old printing warehouse to a commercial kitchen/cooler/warehouse space that houses over 12 producers of food and health products (WiscoPop, Kickapoo Coffee Roasters, Fizzeology, Driftless Organics & more). It made our set up a lot easier (pallets, pallet jacks, loading docks, room to maneuver).
The apples went from orchard to cooler to washer to grinder to press to pigs/fields. We borrowed a friend’s vegetable washer and purchased a Zambelli fruit grinder capable of grinding a ton-and-a-half of apples an hour. We all agreed the grinder work station was the most fun as it was something like apple-skeeball. We built a second 20-ton shop press cider press complete with oak basin and press plates to help the work flow. After squeezing out the juice, the leftover pomace went to a local pig farmer (and we brought some back to compost on our fields).
The cider now begins its fermentation! The cider is ‘unadulterated’ – we have added no sugar or yeast or shenanigans. The yeast present on the apples and in the air will convert the sugar of the apples into a tasty fermented beverage to be ready in about 10-11 months. We plan to sell bottles in a CSA share format and direct to consumers. We will let you know how you can get a taste in the weeks to come!
Homemade Apple Cider Donuts
1 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
1-1/4 teaspoons table salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/3 cup boiled apple cider
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Canola or safflower oil (for frying)
Cinnamon sugar (1-1/2 cups sugar mixed with 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon) or confectioners’ sugar
In a large bowl using a hand-held or standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat together sugar and butter until mixture is pale and fluffy, 4-6 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating a minute after each. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg; set aside.
Pour buttermilk, boiled cider, and vanilla into sugar/butter/egg mixture. Mix well, and don’t worry if the mixture looks a bit curdled; it’ll smooth itself out. Add flour mixture and combine gently just until fully moistened.
Line two baking sheets with waxed paper or parchment paper and dust generously with flour. Turn dough out onto one baking sheet and pat gently into 3/4-inch-thickness. Sprinkle dough with additional flour, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up. Remove dough from the freezer; use a lightly floured 3-inch doughnut cutter (or two concentric biscuit cutters) to cut out about 18 doughnuts with holes. (You may gather the scraps and roll again as needed, but you may need to chill the dough more to firm it up.) Place cut doughnuts on the other baking sheet as you go; then transfer to the freezer for 5 minutes to firm up again.
Line a plate with a few layers of paper towels and set it nearby. In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat 3 inches of oil to 370° (test with an instant-read thermometer). Drop 3 or 4 doughnuts into the oil, being careful not to crowd the pan. Cook until browned on one side, about 1 minute; then flip and cook until browned on the other side, about 1 minute longer.
Repeat with the remaining dough (if you find that it’s getting too soft as you work your way through the batches, pop it into the freezer again for 10 minutes). When doughnuts are cool enough to handle but still warm, sprinkle all over with cinnamon sugar or confectioners’ sugar. Serve immediately.
Note from Donut Recipe: Boiled apple cider gives these apple cider donuts a rich, slightly tangy flavor. Alternatively, you can boil your own cider by simmering 1-1/2 cups of fresh apple cider down to 1/3 cup in about 25 minutes–it just won’t be as concentrated as the commercial product.
Shredded Brussel Sprout & Kale Salad
1 lb. Brussels sprouts
1 bunch kale, stems removed and finely chopped
2 tbsp. whole-grain mustard
4 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper
Trim the woody ends off the Brussels sprouts. In a food processor fitted with the shredding disc, process sprouts until uniformly shredded. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can slice the sprouts using a mandoline, or very finely by hand.)
In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, lemon juice, and olive oil. Add the kale and shredded Brussels sprouts and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Watermelon Radish & Goat Cheese Salad
2 watermelon radishes (8 1/2 oz. total), peeled, quartered, and sliced
1/2 English cucumber, halved and sliced
3/4 cup dill fronds
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 head magenta romaine lettuce
4 ounces fresh goat cheese
Put all ingredients except cheese in a large bowl, tossing gently to combine. Assemble salads on 4 plates, and top each salad with crumbled cheese.
“He that drinks his cider alone, let him catch his horse alone.”