Patchwork Green is a hillside and ridgetop farm overlooking the beautiful Canoe Creek Valley several miles north of Decorah, Iowa. Our family grows five acres of vegetables on a farm near Decorah, Iowa. We grow a wide variety of high quality, chemical-free vegetables using sustainable techniques.

Monday, February 8, 2016

February news from Patchwork Green Farm

What a beautiful, windy day.

The root cellar is holding steady at 35 degrees, seemingly irregardless of outdoor temperature swings.  The potatoes, garlic and shallots stored there are snug...It's only about two weeks before I head to the basement to start the first onions, shallots, leeks and flowers in flats, germinate them on a heat mat, and encourage the first green growth under grow lights. Makes the winter seem less endless to know that, don't you think?

Hopefully, you received a letter and CSA order form from us this week in the mail. If you participated in the Luther College CSA Reimbursement program in the past, here's an update for 2016:  the program has not yet been fully funded, and we'll let you know as soon as we do when reimbursement can be assured. We expect to find out in the next few weeks, as we did last year.  You can sign up for the CSA now, indicate that you would like to participate in the Luther program on the order form, and we'll send a receipt once the program comes on-line. Or, you can wait until the program is confirmed to sign up.

There is a new coalition of Decorah-area CSA's, called (wait for it...), CSADecorah. This is a promotion group, and the 6-7 members are interested in sharing resources and collaborating to most effectively market our individual CSA's around town. There is a website that is now live, found at: where you can see the farms profiled. Our first big event will be held next Saturday, 2/13, at the Oneota Coop Kitchen Space from 10-2:00: a CSA Fair!  
You can meet all of the farmers, catch some live music and sign up for the season. There are several other vegetable-centered CSA farms (we sure hope you'll stick with Patchwork Green Farm, of course!), but you might be interested in a garden-help CSA, a meat CSA and a cut flower CSA.  Nothing wrong with utilizing this model to diversify your local food consumption and beautify your table. Of the new local farms featured, two are run by former PGF employees and one by a mentee of ours. It's very exciting and gratifying to have the next generation putting down their farming roots and finding their place in Decorah. 

While we're waiting for the local produce season to kick in, we still need to be eating our veggies. Although you and I try hard, it is certainly more challenging to get our recommended 3 servings of veggies every day in the winter. Iowa, however, is ranked 49th among the states for per capita consumption of fruit and vegetables. Not a good place to be.  Do your part to bring up the state rank, do your body a favor, and have a better lunch today!

Here's an easy, slightly exotic recipe with two great winter vegetables:

1/2 cup pistachios
1 tsp. plus 1/2 cup olive oil
Kosher salt
1 Tbsp. curry powder
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
4 small beets, peeled, thinly sliced on a mandoline
4 medium carrots, peeled, shaved lengthwise into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
Lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350.  Toss pistachios and 1 tsp oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt.  Roast, tossing once, until pistachios are golden brown, 5-7 minutes.  Let cool, then coarsely chop.  Meanwhile, bring curry powder and remaining 1/2 cup oil to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling occasionally.  Let cool.  Blend garlic, vinegar, and mustard in a blender, then, with motor running, stream in curry oil.  Blend until dressing is very smooth and thick; season with salt.  Toss beets and half of dressing in a medium bowl; season with salt.  Let sit until beets soften slightly, 8-10 minutes.  Add carrots and remaining dressing and toss to combine; season with salt and lemon juice.  Serve topped with pistachios.

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