Yesterday we officially said goodbye to the 2020 season by sending off 2500 pounds of produce off to our storage share members. There is pretty much nothing left in the fields to harvest or sell, and the majority of our fall clean up has been completed.
Life has officially slowed enough that I can come up for air on a regular basis, and spend a little time thinking instead of just rushing into action at warp speed. I literally can’t remember the last time I worked at a pace this reasonable. IT FEELS GREAT.
Plus, I’m pretty sure I’m actually accomplishing more somehow (which is exactly what all my self-help books and coaching sessions promised would happen, but I deftly ignored anyways for 5+ years).
Though my life is rolling along at a much lovelier speed, there is somehow still an absurd amount of things to update you on, so I’m going to do so now– in list form.
- Hey friends, we launched a hemp business!!!!!!!!! It’s called Raleigh’s Hillside Hemp, and I cannot believe I haven’t told you about it yet! As some of you may know, we experimented with growing certified organic hemp last year. That experiment went wonderfully and we wound up with a pretty great yield of beautiful, hand-harvested, hand-trimmed local hemp flower.
Over the winter we spent a lot of time trying to figure out the best thing to do with our 2019 harvest, and ultimately decided we wanted to have it processed into a CBD oil product that we could sell to our local community. Over the spring, we developed relationships with a small-batch, certified organic local processor, tried samples of our product, and worked with a dear friend to design our logo and packaging– all leading up to opening sales on a 1000 mg Full-Spectrum CBD Hemp Oil this August!!!!!
Sales have been steady and we’re so excited to keep expanding our offerings in the future. We love how hemp compliments our current business (hello, shelf stable product- so nice to meet you!) and fits into our greater life mission to make the world a more sustainable place while helping people live healthier lives.
- The modest position I accepted at Edible Madison this past spring has expanded to not only include social media and digital strategy, but also helping with ad sales and writing a regular column for the magazine!!!!!!!!! The column is called Cook at Home, and it allows me to both develop recipes and collaborate with some of our region’s best chefs, farmers, bloggers, and prominent foodies to deliver delicious recipes folks can make at home. It’s so friggen fun and you should definitely follow along. You can find my first piece from the September issue here.
- Our farm received a grant through the NRCS EQIP program to purchase a hoop house! This is the third consecutive year we applied, and since every year it becomes harder and harder to get funding, we had largely given up even thinking about it. We were super shocked when our agent left us a voicemail telling us we’d received the grant. We’ll be purchasing a hoop house this fall and beginning construction either this November or early next spring. It would appear the annual building projects may never come to end.
- We opened the 2021 up to our current CSA members last week and are already nearing 70% full. Oh my gosh. HOW!? We had such an exciting and successful (albeit a bit overwhelming) CSA season this past year, and I expected a lot of members to renew, but 200+ members all signed up in less than a week. That’s a new record for us. We’ll be closing the early bird period soon and not doing anything related to CSA sales until the new year– at which point we will open the CSA up just to our CSA Waiting List. If you’re at all interested in joining our CSA next year, we highly encourage you to join that list. We’re guessing we’ll sell out before we open to the public.
- And perhaps most significant of all, my Carrot and I are finally ready to take more serious action in our infertility journey. After four years of trying naturally and one year of basic interventions and testing with my regular doctor, we are finally ready to admit to ourselves and to each other that this baby making road just might be a bit harder than we’d like it to be. We have an appointment scheduled later this winter with an infertility clinic in Madison and will be learning what options we have available. It feels really hard and really sad, and honestly, really healthy. After a lot of years of sunny optimism, I’m no longer wasting any energy being in denial. I’ve accepted this journey with all the hope, sadness, and anger it deserves. And letting that fuel us forward into the next steps of creating a family.
Yup, we’ve slowed down. Isn’t it obvious? A hemp business, a recipe column, a new hoop house, a 70% full CSA for the upcoming year, and a growing acceptance over our infertility journey? What a nice, manageable past three months.
And with that, I will stop talking and get to the food! Because it’s fall: the most delicious time of year!! (Okay, maybe it’s a three-way tie with the first spring vegetables and tomato season, but let’s not worry about that right now.)
My Carrot and I have been keeping things pretty decadent in our household lately. (You saw the pot pie recipe, right? So there was that, and then we had to celebrate the end of the CSA season twelve different times with slightly different groups of people. Plus my friend started a cookie business and brought us many, many samples.) Anyway, this recipe was developed very much as an overcorrect.
I pulled every single piece of produce we had in our fridge out onto the counter and told myself it was time for some nourishment. I found a recipe for a grain bowl in one of my favorite cookbooks and adapted from there. It turned out better than expected. With no vision other than to loosely follow a recipe and use up everything healthy in my fridge, I actually can’t believe how great the end result tasted. It’s got every texture and flavor imaginable, and is a great reminder (to me specifically, but perhaps also to many of us) that one can eat well without relaying on butter (from time to time).
FALL GRAIN BOWL WITH MILLET & MUSHROOMS
Adapted from the Asian Grain Bowl recipe in Melissa Clark’s Dinner: Changing the Game
Takes 1 hours
Serves 4-6 (as a main dish)
1-2 large carrot, shredded
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 2 cups)
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved (about 2 cups)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 tablespoons butter, thinly sliced
1 pound cremini, shiitake or oyster mushrooms, sliced
1 cup millet (or other favorite grain)
2 cups water
1 tablespoon chicken (or vegetable) bouillon
1 bunch mustard greens, stems removed and leaves finely chopped
1 bunch scallions, sliced
1/2 cup toasted pepitas (or other favorite seed or nut)
Lime Maple Dressing:
1/4 cup walnut or hazelnut oil (or other neutral oil)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 fresh lime, juiced
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- In a small bowl, combine carrots with vinegar and sugar. Toss to combine and let sit while you prepare the rest of your meal.
- On a large rimmed baking sheet, combine sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts with oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Place in oven and roast for 30-35 minutes, until Brussels are crisp and sweet potatoes are tender. Rotate pan at least once while cooking.
- On a second large rimmed baking sheet, scatter butter slices across. Sprinkle mushrooms across the pan and finish with the remaining salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes until mushrooms are softened (but not dried out) and butter is browned.
- While the veggies and mushrooms roast, prepare your millet. Toast dry grains in a medium saucepan for 5 minutes over medium heat, being careful not to burn. Add water and stock, and give it a good stir. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, cover and reduce to low. Cook for 15 minutes then turn off the burner, but leave the millet covered for 5 minutes to finish absorbing the liquid.
- In a small bowl, prepare your dressing by whisking all ingredients together until smooth.
- To serve, top millet with roasted vegetables and mushrooms. Add grains, scallions, and dressing and toss to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature. Add pepitas right before eating.