Our fields finally have something growing that we can eat!!! We may not have much planted outside just yet, but that doesn’t mean our perennials aren’t rocking.
Our little chive batch has burst to life and I am absolutely giddy to have a bit of our own fresh produce back in our lives. Sure, we’ve been getting by just fine with a freezer full of frozen peppers and tomatoes and a basement full of potatoes and onions, but a girl still needs some green things in her life– especially when going to the grocery store has become a major, super intense event.
I’ve never been more grateful for my own food and I can’t wait for the next crops to spring to life. The rhubarb is close. I might be able to harvest a little for a beet salad next week. The asparagus has got to be right around the corner! And we think, just maybe, it will be a great abundant crop this year.
It’s the third year of our little patch and we finally have the management under control. My Carrot ripped up the (miserable) landscape fabric experiment we did on those fields two years ago. It turns out with our massive weed pressure of thick grasses, the landscape fabric actually limited our weed management more than it helped. After what feels like a hundred time-consuming, sufferable hand weedings, we decided the landscape fabric had to go.
My Carrot ripped up all the fabric with the tractor and then set the weeds aflame. Fire is an amazing weed management tool. We bought a flame weeder a few years ago and don’t use it for much (mainly just for flame weeding the carrots rows before they sprout), but we had heard burning the weeds a couple weeks prior to asparagus harvest was a great trick– so we gave it a try! Fingers crossed for so much tasty asparagus this spring!
In other news, I’m in the middle of creating a course (in real time) with my friend Corinna on how to start a CSA farm in the middle of a global pandemic for a class of 50 farmer students. It’s amazing and gratifying and I’m learning so many new skills I’ve always dreamed of learning. It’s also one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I don’t know if anyone else has ever simultaneously built and launched a massive 5-week course in the string of 7 days, but it’s sheer insanity.
Apparently I only needed to wait 2.2 seconds after announcing the departure of one job to take on two more sizable commitments. The same week we launched our course, I officially joined the new Edible Madison team as their social media and email marketing guru. Oh yeah, and our employees just started for the year, and the planting season is officially underway.
Whatever beautiful spaciousness I was feeling a couple weeks ago is officially over, but it’s hard to complain about life being total chaos when all the dreams you had hoped would maybe materialize in the couple of years after leaving your off-farm job come together in less than a month. It’s a super exciting, super wild ride, and I’m just going to hang on as tight as I can.
The food of our little quarantine has shifted quite a bit since all this began 10 days ago. We’re not cooking as much as we were at first. We’re ordering from the local restaurants in town a lot and it feels nice not to feel any guilt about doing so. We’re supporting our community and keeping ourselves easily fed.
And when we do cook, we focus on simplicity. We use chives and microgreens pretty much every meal. We make things that scale easily. A giant batch of cabbage patch soup. A roast chicken to go into this chicken salad and this bowl of goodness. Two quiches quickly prepared in one afternoon? Yes please.
I hope you enjoy this simple quiche recipe we whipped up on Easter with the first chives from our field alongside some leftover cheese from our Fromagination Social Distancing Cheese Kit. Hook’s Cheddar and Landmark’s Sweet Annie made a pretty decadent quiche, but you can use whatever you have on hand.
CHIVE & CHEDDAR QUICHE
My cousin is a pie genius so I followed her lead and tried a new crust recipe and technique this time around. It’s an amazing, relatively easy crust to make so I’m sharing it here, but don’t forget– store bought crust is ALWAYS an option if you are tight on time or don’t feel like making the crust in advance.
If you do make the crust from scratch, let it chill in the fridge for at least two hours. If you use a store bought crust, pre-bake according to package directions and then start at step 4.
Makes two 9-inch quiches
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2-1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons Kosher salt, divided
1/2- 3/4 cup ice cold water
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
15-20 twists of freshly ground black pepper (or 1/2 teaspoon ground)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar (something nice and aged is preferable; I used Hook’s One Year Sharp Cheddar)
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan or other favorite aged hard cheese (I used Landmark’s Sweet Annie)
2/3 cup chives (or a combination of other favorite herbs), thinly sliced
- First grate the butter with a cheese grater in a medium bowl and place in the freezer.
- Combine flour, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add butter and incorporate with your hands, working quickly so it doesn’t get warm. Add in water, starting with 1/2 cup and then drizzling in more as needed until the dough comes together. A dry dough is better than a wet dough. You also might need to use your hands to gently knead things together. Again, working fast, you want the butter to stay cold. Divide in two and place in the fridge to rest and chill for at least two hours.
- When ready to pre-bake your crust, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Add pie weights (or foil with dried beans or rice you don’t plan to use) and bake for 10 minutes. Remove pie weights and cook 5 minutes longer. Remove pie crust and reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and cream. Add remaining 2 teaspoons salt, pepper, cheese and chives and stir until combined. Divide filling into two pie crusts.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the middle is set and it does not wiggle too much. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.