This is a real transition week up here in Vermont. The leaves are moving to past peak and beyond to the north of us. We have had a very turbulent and wet fall, which subdued the colors – our apologies to all the leaf peepers. Late each fall we typically get a series of heavy rain storms with high winds that strip the trees of their colored leaves, but this year those storms came earlier – just as the leaves were revealing their color after the equinox.
We are also in a crop transition. A number of hard frosts and freezes have ended the lettuce, celery and bean crops, and created a real rush to harvest the squash crops before they were frozen and lost. Squash is very susceptible to rot after a freeze. One important note is that when we deliver you squash – it gets cold in the truck, so should be eaten within a week or two. If you are looking for squash to store, find some that has been kept warm and dry – then store it in a warm and dry place in the house, and it will last months. Our Partner Farmers store it in heated and ventilated barns and storerooms, and we pick it up fresh each week for you.
We have been very pleased with the quality of the pork from Meeting Place Pastures. A number of customers have commented on the pork chops and sausages as being some of the most flavorful they have had. It seems that we are so use to flavoring our meats and vegetables with sauces because of the usually bland or off flavors of the actual food, that we are all pleasantly surprised at the complex and truly satisfying flavors of this artisanally produced food. Remember that flavor is a marker of nutrition density – learn to trust your taste, and it will grow more sensitive over time. Our great grandparents did not have endless health advice telling them what to eat when… they had to rely on their own taste and traditions, and intuition. Exercise yours!
Marc and Cheryl of Meeting Place have also been working on Veal which we will offer after next week. Veal often gets a bad name because it is, after all, young cattle, but there is a new movement out there for something called Rose Veal. This is humanely raised, pasture fed, free range veal that offers an excellent alternative. The meat is pink, rather than white, because these animals are healthy and active. White meat in a bovine is not a sign of health. These young animals would otherwise be “culled” at birth from a dairy herd, so Marc and Cheryl take them and raise them using a nurse cow (read here “nice step mom” ) and then let them graze and romp on their pastures with their pigs, till they are a few months old. They do not get raised in the ubiquitous little pens and boxes that have earned veal a reputation of inhumane treatment. So for those of you who would like to eat veal, but want to make sure you are not adding to the problem, here is an excellent solution. More on their story next week – look for ground veal and veal cutlets with the full story of how these animals are raised and cared for.
Another recent issues that has affected most of you has been our faltering egg supply. Vermont Compost has made some changes to their farming and composting operations, and what we do know is that these integrated farming systems are delicate. Change one system, and it ripples through the whole farm. Also this time of year, with the declining light, and molting hens (shedding their feathers for a new winter coat) also works to diminish the number of eggs they lay each day for you. Their numbers will slowly increase as the hens re-grow their feathers, but won’t really recover till the light begins to come back – around mid February. But… Eric Rozendaal of Rockville Farm Market – is coming to our rescue, and by the beginning of November we will supplement with his eggs. Eric’s farm is in Starksboro, Vermont, and he specialized in cut and peeled butternut squash – which we will also carry. It’s a real time saver.
Till next week – enjoy the Hunter’s moon as it wanes, and the crisp, cool nights that help to harden and form the buds and seeds that store all the beauty and potential for the spring to come. Notice the sounds, and smells.