Winter Sweets and Treats

Welcome to March, and to the next-to-last CSA distribution. To celebrate, we’ve got a few exciting offerings for our Winter Share members:

Spring-dug Parsnips! During the long cold winter, parsnips pump themselves full of sugars (which act as a natural antifreeze) to prevent their cells from freezing. Overwintered parsnips are candy-sweet.

Sunchokes! Also called Jerusalem artichokes and earth apples, these little nuggets are the tubers of a flowering plant (Helianthus tuberosos) related to sunflowers. They’re sweet and earthy, low in starch, and rich in inulin.

Cake! Well, a recipe for cake from one of our fellow CSA members. (We ourselves were lucky enough to sample it, and can vouch for its delicious-ness.)

Have a favorite recipe of your own? Share it with your fellow Winter CSA members! If you’ve got a favorite recipe you’d like to share, submit your recipe here!

Happy cooking and baking!

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Featured Recipe Ideas:


By now you’ve probably got plenty of parsnip ideas. These super-sweet overwintered parsnips are best prepared simply, to allow their natural candy-sweetness to shine.

  • Cut into rounds (slicing bigger rounds from the top root into quarters for even-sized pieces)
  • Toss in coconut oil (with a dash of cumin or curry) or olive oil (with sage, salt and pepper)
  • Roast at 350 for 30-45 minutes until soft, tender, and slightly caramelized.

To prevent drying out, it helps to cover with foil for the first 15-20 minutes.

For more recipes including baked parsnip fries with rosemary, root vegetable tarte tatin, and spicy honey-glazed parsnips, click here.

 Spring-dug parsnips are candy sweet

Spring-dug parsnips are candy sweet

 Sunchoke flowers in late September

Sunchoke flowers in late September


Sunchokes sweet, earthy, nutty flavor is simply and wonderfully showcased in roasting. Pair with roasted potatoes and celeriac, mushrooms, or add to a roasted chicken.

  • Wash and scrub clean (no need to peel)
  • Cut into even-sized chunks, cutting out any discolored ends where the stems attached
  • Toss in olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt (also: pepper, thyme, sage)
  • Roast at 350 until tender and slightly golden in color.

For a slightly more rich and adventurous dish, try this Sunchoke Gratin featured in the New York Times:

  • Slice 1 lb sunchokes into ¼ inch thick rounds and grate ½ cup Gruyere cheese.
  • Bring 1 cup milk & 1 cup water to boil. Add sunchoke slices, reduce heat to simmer, and cook until tender but still firm (about 8 minutes).
  • Drain, and arrange in a buttered baking dish.
  • In small saucepan, heat ½ cup cream with a halved clove of garlic and dash of nutmeg just barely to a boil. Remove garlic and pour over Bake at 375 until lightly browned and bubbling (about 20 minutes)

Shirley’s Rutabaga Nutmeg Cake

1 c packed grated rutabaga
3 eggs
¾ c sugar
½ c plain, full-fat yogurt
½ c vegetable oil or melted butter
2 tsp vanilla
2 ½ c all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp salt


  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Grease a 9” square tin and line with parchment
  • Beat eggs, sugar, yogurt, oil or butter, and vanilla in a large bowl
  • Stir in grated rutabaga, breaking up the shreds
  • Sift in flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt
  • Stir gently to combine, making sure there are no streaks of flour
  • Pour into prepared cake pab and bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean
  • Cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then turn over and remove parchment paper. Cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Cream together ¼ c cream cheese and ¼ c soft butter
  • Sift 4 c powdered/confectioners sugar
  • Gradually add sifted sugar and 1-2 tsp vanilla to the butters
  • If necessary, thin out with milk or cream, a teaspoon at a time

Another similar cake calls for brown butter frosting. Thanks Shirley for sharing your recipe!

 Carrot cake can easily substitute shredded rutabaga for carrots

Carrot cake can easily substitute shredded rutabaga for carrots

Grower's Row: Spring is Springing!

March Grower’s Row: Spring is Springing

By Lauren McDonald

Happy almost spring! Just in case you missed the weather last week, here’s a quick recap:

It was 40. Then it was 80. The next day it was snowing.

Ah, March. It should come as a surprise to precisely no one than you, you wild crazy month, are responsible for this trickery.

Despite having experienced all four seasons in the span of a few days, it is still officially winter (we had to check the calendar to make sure) – but not for long. Increasingly longer days mean that our winter routine is already giving way to the considerations of spring.

 Precision seeder with Brassica greens mix

Precision seeder with Brassica greens mix

 Newly germinated greens in the high tunnel

Newly germinated greens in the high tunnel

Over the winter, our days have been occupied with harvesting greens and washing roots for our bi-weekly Winter CSA, and filling wholesale orders (including deliveries to Vassar College, where our produce appears in the dining halls). Thanks to our Vassar students and volunteers, we’ve also been chipping away at projects like fence clearing, bed prepping, organizing, and cleaning. On particularly inhospitable days, we take cover indoors to update our record keeping, prepare for the arrival of new staff, and prepare ourselves for a change in responsibilities, as many of us transition to new roles.

Now, as the days lengthen, we’ve been watching things shift in the high tunnels. The few remaining Asian greens are starting to flower, meaning we get to eat the delicious raab, or flowering stalks. Beds that have been cleared of winter greens have been direct seeded with arugula, mustard mix and radishes – which are germinating beautifully, and will hopefully grow fast enough to be harvestable and cleared out by the time we need to plant tomatoes in early April.

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Yes. That means we are seeding tomatoes THIS WEEK, the very first week of March. About 3 weeks later we’ll pot them into larger cells, and by early April they’ll go into the protected grounds of the tunnels. Some of these tomatoes—as well as a diverse array of other vegetables, herbs, flowers, deer-resistant plants (ones that often have strong oils or textures that deer can’t digest) and plants that are good for pollinators—will be destined for our Plant Sale in early May.

This will be our second year growing high tunnel tomatoes, and we’ve learned a lot from last year. Here are a few changes we’re making to incorporate lessons we learned last season:

  • We’re growing heirloom varieties that are more consistent and better suited to tunnel production
  • We’ve timed our plantings to better balance wholesale markets and CSA needs
  • We’ve adjusted our bed spacing plans and pruning methods to use the systems that worked best last year

If all goes well, we’ll harvest them from July through October. Hard to picture that right now in March!

What’s even harder to believe is that we’re also starting seeds for CSA crops that members won’t actually eat until September (onions), October (leeks), and even next January (celeriac)! Between tunnel and CSA plantings and plant sale crops, we’ll be starting 50,648 seedlings during the first three weeks of March.

In short, spring is most definitely springing… and we, too, are springing to action, ready to meet it. To get in on the fun, sign up for your 2018 CSA share here, and mark your calendar for the PFP Plant Sale May 5 and 12. It’s not too soon to start thinking about your own gardens, or about welcoming the summer bounty that we’re already setting in motion.

Pass the Potatoes

March’s Harvest of the Month is potatoes. Harvest of the Month is an initiative of Poughkeepsie Farm Project’s Farm to School program. A different local farm product is served in school meals at area schools each month and we are helping to promote these locally available farm products.

Pass the Potatoes

By Allison Herries, Dietetic Intern, The Sage Graduate School

Potatoes! We love them mashed, fried, baked, smashed, boiled, and roasted.  So how did these humble tubers become one of the most popular vegetables in the world?

Potatoes are the most consumed vegetable in the United States.  The average American eats about 48 pounds of potatoes per year, but mostly in the form of fatty French fries or potato chips.  This has led to potatoes getting a bad rap as a food that is expanding our waistlines and contributing to the obesity epidemic.  However, potatoes are naturally fat free and chock full of nutrients that are good for our bodies.  They are also an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium when consumed with the skin intact.  One medium baked potato with the skin contains about 620 mg of potassium or about 20% of the daily requirement.  This is more potassium than a banana which only has about 420 mg! Research suggests that diets high in potassium and low in sodium may help reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke. By limiting fried foods in our diets, such as French fries and potato chips, and focusing on healthy cooking techniques, potatoes make an excellent addition to a balanced diet.  

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White potatoes make up most of the potatoes eaten in the United States.  But did you know that potatoes come in almost every color, including white, yellow, orange, red, and purple?  Different varieties of potatoes boast different nutrition contents.  For example, sweet potatoes are known for their beta-carotene (aka vitamin A) and fiber.  In fact, beta-carotene gives the sweet potato its vibrant orange coloring.  However, no one type of potato is best for health.  Focus instead on including a variety of different types of potatoes in your diet. 

Fun fact: Potatoes originated in South America thousands of years ago! The Spanish imperialists returned to Europe with the potato crop which flourished and eventually became a staple in many European cultures.  Today, there are still about 4,000 varieties of potatoes that grow in the Andes Mountains of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Chile.   

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Here at our farm, we grow a variety of potatoes including whites/yellows, reds, and blues.  Each variety has its own differences and strengths, but in general, they are all good for soups, roasting, boiling, and mashing.  Our potatoes are planted in the spring at the end of April.  Fun fact- some say that potatoes should be planted when the first spring dandelions start to bloom. Each potato plant starts from a single seed potato.  What exactly is a seed potato? A seed potato is a piece of a potato leftover from the previous growing season.  A new potato plant sprouts from the eyes of the potato seeds.  You may have noticed this process occurring if you ever left a potato on the counter too long and it started to grow another plant!  Since potatoes are highly susceptible to disease, it is important to choose a reliable seed potato.  Look for “certified seed potatoes” when planting potatoes in your own garden.  We get our seed potatoes from Sparrow Arc Farm in Copake, NY.

The potatoes are harvested once the plants start to die in the fall, usually at the beginning of September through October.  Since it is the tubers that we are interested in eating, the potatoes are collected by digging them out of the ground.  Digging potatoes is a favorite activity of many of our CSA shareholders!  We also invested in a new potato digger last season which makes harvesting potatoes faster and safer.  Potatoes can last a long time when stored under the proper conditions.  This allows us to distribute our potatoes throughout the fall and winter months. 

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At the PFP we love roasted potatoes for their wonderful flavor and nutrient content.  Roasted potatoes also make a great comfort food, which is great for these last few weeks of winter!  Furthermore, it couldn’t be easier to make roasted potatoes.  Simply begin by preheating the oven to 450˚F.  Cut potatoes into cubes and toss with oil (we prefer olive oil for heart health!), pepper, rosemary (preferably fresh), and a pinch of salt. Spread in one layer on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasional.  You can also experiment with a variety of different spices and herbs, making roasted potatoes a versatile dish that can accompany any meal.  Enjoy!

And potatoes are never boring.  With so many varieties and colors to choose from, there is a potato for every occasion. Not feeling like roasted potatoes tonight? Check out these additional recipes for another of our favorite vegetables, sweet potatoes, instead!


February is for Fermentation

Hello, Winter CSA Members!
This week, we are providing you with nearly all of the ingredients you’ll need to try your hand at simple, safe fermentation: try your hand at sauerkraut, kimchi, or “kraut-chi”, a creative combination of the two!

Simply put, fermentation “cooks” the food, making certain nutrients more available to us and adding/changing the probiotic character of the food, using microbes instead of heat. Yogurt, bread, beer, wine, sake, cheese, meat and pickles are all products of fermentation.

Fermentation is a great way to add vibrant flavors and textures to your plate (without the addition of fats or processed seasonings), get creative in the kitchen, and diversify gut bacteria to aid in digestion. If you’ve never made your own sauerkraut or kimchi before, we hope this week you’ll consider giving it a try.

Have a favorite recipe of your own? Share it with your fellow Winter CSA members! If you’ve got a favorite recipe you’d like to share, submit your recipe here !

And now, let’s get the creative (and culinary) juices flowing:

Parsnip and Celeriac Soup

For those of you who won’t be trying your hand at fermentation this week, we suggest this Parsnip and Celeriac Soup: a sweet-and-savory winter soup with a creamy potato base.


Sauerkraut & Kraut-Chi

Making sauerkraut, while it may seem intimidating at first, is really something anyone can do! Put simply, you’re using a salty brine solution to keep out the “bad guys” and allow the “good guys” (the microbes that occur naturally on the cabbage) to work their magic.

For step by step instructions with photos, read “Kraut-Chi: A Step-by-Step Guide” from From The Land We Live On which offers some helpful tips, or “Making Sauerkraut” from Wild Fermentation from the fermentation guru himself. Here’s the basic process you’ll follow:

  • Remove the outer two leaves and clean off any damaged, discolored or otherwise bad-looking spots. Reserve one whole leaf for later.
  • Using a mandoline or a sharp clean knife and a clean cutting board, slice your cabbage very thinly into a big (clean) bowl.
  • Sprinkle in some salt . Be sure to use non-iodized, also “canning” or “pickling” salt. You’ll want 1.5-2 tsp per pound of cabbage.
  • Massage salt into cabbage with clean hands until it starts to release liquid. This is your brine.
  • IF MAKING KRAUT-CHI, follow additional steps below.
  • Pack cabbage and brine into a clean (sterilized) glass jar, ideally one that has just come out of a dishwasher or been washed thoroughly and swirled with boiling water.
  • Massage a pinch of salt into that whole cabbage leaf you saved at the beginning, and fit it down over the sliced cabbage like a cap .
  • Use a smaller jar filled with pebbles or some other heavy material to press and weight the kraut down: your goal is to keep the cabbage submerged below the liquid. Any chunks of cabbage sticking up in the air could begin to mold.
    • If after 6 hours your cabbage hasn’t generated enough brine to cover itself, make a salt solution to supplement. Mix 1 heaping tablespoon salt with 2 cups boiling water, allow to cool fully (this is important, as you don’t want to cook your microbes!), and pour over kraut.
  • Put a large paper bag, if you have one, over the jar. It helps prevent any ambient dust from settling into the kraut. I Also I enjoy writing fun things like “Ssshh I am fermenting” or “Burp me often!” on the bag.)
  • Now, wait. Let it sit. In 1-2 days you’ll see bubbles forming, and can press down on the weight to “burp” your kraut if the brine is in danger of overflowing. It should stop bubbling in 2-5 days.
  • Start tasting after a week. The longer you leave it out, the more sour it will get. You can start eating it at any time it tastes good to you. If you want to slow/stop the fermentation, put a lid on it and place it in the refrigerator.

Kraut-Chi Additions

Note: Some processes call for salting your cabbage, letting it sit, draining it, rinsing it, and then proceeding with the following steps. For the sake of simplicity, we’ve omitted those steps here.

  • Add any/all of the following: Chinese cabbage or bok choy (thinly sliced), daikon or other radish (thinly sliced/shredded/julienned), scarlet turnip or carrot (thinly sliced/shredded/julienned), green onions/scallions (chopped), garlic and ginger (finely chopped), gochugaru (or some red pepper flakes or finely chopped fresh hot pepper), and/or seaweed flakes or fish sauce (optional).
  • A more complicated process calls for making a paste out of the garlic, ginger, green onion, chili/gochugaru, fish sauce, and some of the vegetable brine, and stirring this into the sliced cabbage/radish/carrot mixture. This gives kimchi its distinctive reddish color. Make your own, or you can purchase kimchi paste from any number of sources.

To make straight-up kimchi, which traditionally includes the draining process and paste-making, check out ”How To Make Easy Kimchi At Home” from The Kitchn .


Tips and Notes on Safety

Fermenting vegetables is a very safe, low-risk endeavor. Sandor Katz, the guru of Fermentation (and author of Wild Fermentation and The Art of Fermentation), asserts that, according to the USDA, there has never been single documented case of food poisoning from fermented vegetables. That said, here are some tips regarding cleanliness and safety.

Cleanliness is key! Make sure all materials (knives, cutting boards, jars, hands) are clean and/or sanitized with hot water or vinegar. There are ample online resources that provide information on best practices with regards to safety.

Smell: A funky, stinky-but-yummy fermented smell is good! Bad bacteria will smell… well, bad. Trust your nose, which should tell you if something is off.

Mold: Any material not submerged in the protective brine could start to mold. If you see any mold, just pull these pieces out, or skim off the top until what’s left looks fine. A little mold on top shouldn’t compromise the kraut that’s submerged.

Sliminess: Slime is bad! The kraut should have firm texture, and the brine should stay thin, like salty water. If anything gets slimy (and smelly), compost it and start again.

Happy Fermenting!

Introducing the Black Spanish Radish

Hello, Winter CSA Members!
This week, we are featuring one of our less familiar, more mysterious root vegetables: the Black Spanish Radish. Here are some notes on this vegetable, including preparation tips and recipe suggestions.

Have a favorite recipe of your own? Share it with your fellow Winter CSA members! If you’ve got a favorite recipe you’d like to share, submit your recipe here!

And now, let’s get the creative (and culinary) juices flowing:

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The Black Spanish Radish (Raphanus sativus niger), otherwise known as the “Black Mooli”, is a uniquely beautiful root vegetable with a robust flavor and fascinating history.

The textured, matte-black exterior of the Black Spanish gives way to a smooth, bright cream-colored interior that is high in Vitamin C. The meat of this radish is firm, yet also tender: this a toothsome, almost velvety radish -- not a crisp, juicy winter radish like the watermelon or daikon.

It has been used by the Europeans, the Chinese, and the Ancient Egyptians as a medicinal vegetable to promote the health of everything from the gallbladder and the liver to the pulmonary and respiratory systems. This radish is known for its ability to help fight off infections, and to promote a healthy digestive system.

To eat raw, we recommend the following:

  • Radish sandwiches! This is the winter version of a French breakfast treat: slice very thinly and serve on a piece of crusty bread with good butter and a sprinkle of salt
  • Serve thin-sliced and tossed with a bit of olive oil and salt over a bed of greens
  • Shred into a sauerkraut mixture or as addition to meat broth-based soups

If roasting, wash and cube the root (without removing the skin) into bite-size pieces. Toss with olive oil, salt, and a bit of dried thyme or chili pepper flakes and roast at 350 until tender. Variations:

  • Adding cubed celeriac and thick-sliced orange carrot to the pan creates a deliciously full-flavored winter roasted vegetable mix that is both savory and sweet.
  • Adding Black Spanish radish cubes to the bottom of a pan of roasting chicken (and allowing the radish to cook in the juices) elevates the complex and savory notes of this vegetable.
  • Enjoy roasted Black Spanish radish as a side, or mixed with rice.

Or try making them into chips! Slice thinly (into ¼ or ⅛ inch rounds), oil well, salt, and bake at 400 degrees until crispy (but not burnt). Watch these carefully as the time between perfect and burnt is very narrow. You can also follow this recipe.

For more recipe ideas, consider making them into soup or check out Cathy Erway’s article, Three Ways To Cook One Tough Radish.

Happy eating, and stay tuned for more recipes for the 2/17 distribution!

Harvest of the Month: Ode to Onions

February’s Harvest of the Month is onions. Harvest of the Month is an initiative of Poughkeepsie Farm Project’s Farm to School program. A different local farm product is served in school meals at area schools each month and we are helping to promote these locally available farm products.

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Ode to Onions
By Allison Herries, Dietetic Intern, The Sage Graduate School

Onions are an ancient crop that has been grown by civilizations for at least 5,000 years.  The onion is part of the genus Allium and is related to other popular vegetables including garlic, shallots, leeks, and chives.  There are over 300 different varieties of onions that vary in shape, size, taste, and smell making this vegetable a versatile addition to almost any dish. 

Did you know that onions are the third most popular vegetable in the United States?  As a nation, we ate around 7.7 pounds of onions per person in 2015.  That’s a lot of onions!  And it is no wonder that we love onions so much when you consider the sweet and savory flavors that they bring to a dish.  However, an onion is so much more than just a delicious addition to any meal.  Onions are also high in vitamin C and fiber, and have only 45 calories per serving.  This means that onions can add tons of flavor to a meal without the additional fat and calories.  Onions are also rich in the antioxidant, quercetin.  This is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect our bodies from free radical damage.  Research suggests that quercetin may help protect against diseases including cancer and heart disease.

Having trouble cutting your onions through all the tears?  Slicing onions makes us cry because of the release of sulfuric acids from the cut onion.  These gases are a natural defense mechanism of the onion used to ward if hungry pests in nature.  When sulfuric acid interacts with the moisture in our eyes, it results in tears. One way to avoid this reaction is to chill the onion in the refrigerator before cutting into it. Another solution is to slice the onion under running water or while the onion is submerged in water.  These approaches will lessen the release of sulfuric acid.  No more tears!

Fun fact:  Onions held a sacred place in the ancient Egyptian culture. Ancient Egyptians believed that the many concentric layers of the onion represented eternity.  In fact, archaeologists have found evidence of onions being placed in the tombs of pharaohs because they were believed to bring luck in the afterlife.

 Irrigating the onion crop

Irrigating the onion crop

 Mini-onion harvest!

Mini-onion harvest!

Here at PFP, we grow a variety of both yellow and red onions.  We start our onions in the greenhouse around the first week of March and transplant them to the fields at the end of April.  Onions are harvested in the months of July and August, cured (the process where the outer layers are dried out into the papery layers), and then stored for use throughout the fall and winter months. The onions we are eating now are actually from this August’s harvest!

One of our favorite ways to enjoy onions is to caramelize them.  Here at PFP we think that caramelized onions make a flavorful addition to almost any dish.  Caramelizing or “browning” the onions takes away the sharp, raw flavor of the onions and replaces it with a savory, sweet taste.  All you need for this recipe is onions, a knife and frying pan, oil (we prefer olive oil for heart health), and salt to taste.  No added sugar necessary! The secret to great caramelized onions is to cook them slowly over low heat.  Remember low and slow is the way to go! Begin by washing your hands and all equipment.  Thinly slice onions, making sure to separate the layers.  You can make the onions as thin as you would like.  Heat the olive oil over low heat.  Once the oil is hot, add the sliced onions and cook uncovered on low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Adjust the heat as needed so that the onions don’t burn.  Finally, add salt to taste.  Try adding caramelized onions to sandwiches, salads, and sides for a flavorful addition!


Grower's Row: Quiescence (and Kohlrabi)

Here at the farm, it’s the calm before the storm.

Already, the light is longer, and the sun is setting later. Soon, the spring seeding will begin. Soon, we’ll be joined by a bright-eyed and eager group of Vassar students, who will be working on the farm as part of a Community Engaged Learning program. Sooner than we realize, the bell curve of the season will slope steeply uphill, and before we know it we’ll be knee-deep in onion transplants and harvesting hundreds of pounds of cucumbers.

But for now, everything is still cold and quiet. Quiet is nice… but it’s also a little lonely.

The woodchucks and wild turkeys are nowhere to be seen. The songbirds are quietly snuggled into their shelters. Rarely these weeks have we seen runners, dog-walkers, or frolicking students around the preserve. It seems only the geese (and, once every two weeks, our intrepid winter CSA members) are braving this cold snap to venture out and visit us!

And so, in an effort to bring some fresh new (human) energy onto the farm, we recently decided to offer a volunteer day.

Our awesome Education team answered our call, and came out with a bounty of positive energy and enthusiasm (along with a few representatives of Vassar College, Dutchess Outreach, and our new Interim Director, Ray Armiter) for some mid-winter farm work. The tunnels were buzzing! In just a few short hours, this amazing group of 15+ completely cleared out and prepped Tunnel 4, removing roughly 200 lbs organic materials to the compost pile and broadforking all three beds to be ready to receive transplants -- and still had time to clear out nearly half the chickweed in Tunnel 2.





For the farm team, it was energizing to have some new (and familiar) faces out working with us -- and everyone who came out to help left with dirty hands and big smiles.

In fact, it was so much fun that we’ve decided to do it again: every Tuesday. We’ll be here, holding open volunteer hours, every Tuesday from 10am-12pm. If you’re interested in joining us, please email me at crew(at)farmproject(dot)org to let us know you’re coming -- or just show up.

 Don't you want to have this much fun?

Don't you want to have this much fun?

Or, if “down time” is more your speed, consider getting cozy in your kitchen with one of these recipe suggestions! All this cold weather is a great time to do some roasting, boiling and baking, and to experiment with foods like celeriac, kohlrabi, and rutabaga. Tune in next week for another round-up of recipes to accompany the February 3 CSA distribution.

However you choose to spend the rest of your winter, we hope you find ways to appreciate these darker, colder days (after all, what would the first tomato of the season be without it?) and joy in the little things -- like the harsh honking sound of a flock of geese, flying overhead, or a feather of frost, or the snap of a bright bite of watermelon radish, or a warm bowl of curried carrot soup. 

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Winter CSA Recipe Ideas

Hello, Winter CSA Member!

This week, you may see some less-familiar crops in your share. Featured vegetables for this distribution are celeriac, kohlrabi, rutabaga, Black Spanish and watermelon radishes, Bok Choy and Tokyo Bekana. We’ve pulled together some preparation ideas, as well as links to some of our farmer-favorite and staff-pics recipes.


Have a favorite recipe of your own? Share it with your fellow Winter CSA members! If you’ve got a favorite recipe you’d like to share, submit your recipe here!

And now, let’s get the creative (and culinary) juices flowing:

German’s pick is Mashed Rutabaga, a simple mash of soft-boiled rutabaga with butter, sugar and salt. Reserve the cooking liquid as a base for a pureed squash soup with coconut oil and red curry paste, or add a touch of sweetness to a potato leek soup.

Lauren’s pick is this Celeriac Apple Slaw. Quick and easy with lively sweet flavors, this raw recipe is a great way to enjoy some fresh winter crunch.

LK can’t choose between Kohlrabi Fritters from Early Morning Farm (to which she highly recommends adding some grated Pecorino or Romano cheese and black pepper) and this Root Vegetable Gratin from Smitten Kitchen: a great way to marry your celeriac, rutabaga, potatoes and sweet potatoes into a heavenly, hearty dish perfect for these freezing temperatures.

Zoe’s pick is Japanese Cabbage Rolls, for which you can use regular cabbage or Tokyo Bekana leaves. Enjoy as-is or serve with rice, quick-pickled radishes and carrots, and a bit of sriracha or chili oil.

Here are some additional preparation tips and general serving suggestions:

Asian Greens

Bok Choy and Toyko Bekana are both members of the cabbage (Brassica) family, mild-flavored, crunchy and tender. Wash and chop, keeping ribs loosely separate from leaves, as you’ll want to add ribs first. Then...

  • saute with garlic, soy, and lemon or rice wine vinegar. Enjoy as a side, or...
    • serve over rice topped with pickled vegetables, sriracha, sesame oil and a fried egg
    • add to a chicken- or beef-based broth with ramen-style or rice noodles, chili oil and a poached egg
  • blanch and wrap Tokyo Bekana leaves around ground beef, rice, and pickled vegetables to make wraps (or see this Japanese Cabbage Rolls recipe!)
  • chop and add to kimchi, a fermented mixture made from Chinese cabbage


This celery-flavored knob is from the carrot (Apiaciae) family. With a consistency not unlike a dry, hard potato, this is a most excellent, savory vegetable when cooked. It tends to be a bit “thirsty”, soaking up oils during cooking. Cut off bottom roots and peel to remove rough skin, then...

  • cube and pan roast with bacon fat, fresh thyme, and black pepper
  •  cube (with or without potatoes, carrots, and Black Spanish radishes), toss with a bit of oil, and roast with a whole chicken, basting in the juices
  •  shred equal parts celeriac and potato, mix with a little egg and flour, season with salt and onion powder, and fry into latke-like fritters
  • steam/boil and puree with (or without) potatoes and butter/cream for a mashed side dish
  • This.


This member of the broccoli (Brassica) family is mild, juicy, and slightly sweet, raw or cooked. Use a knife to slice off green skin and any tough-looking white parts at the base. Slice and eat raw, or...

  •  shred raw into salads with apples, walnuts, broccoli and a cream dressing
  • make a raw slaw with shredded watermelon radish and carrots
  • cube and roast simply with oil and salt, alone or with celeriac, potatoes, carrots and radishes
  • cube, steam until tender, simmer with onions sauteed in butter and vegetable or chicken stock, and puree with a touch of cream and a splash of sherry for a creamy soup (great with garlic toast or croutons, or an herb oil swirl!)
  • shred, squeeze excess water, mix with egg, flour, onion and garlic powder and grated Romano or Parmesean cheese, and fry into these little fritters.
  • roast with a whole chicken or piece of beef or venison


This close cousin of the turnip (also a Brassica) is sweet with a savory, earthy undertone when roasted or steamed. Use a vegetable peeler to remove skin, then…

  • cube and roast with carrots and potatoes, or steam and mash with butter and black pepper
  • cube, simmer with water, sugar, salt and butter until tender, and mash (see Mashed Rutabaga recipe!)
  • shred with equal parts carrot and sweet potato, mix with flour, egg, salt, onion powder, cumin and paprika, and fry in coconut oil for a savory-sweet fritter
  • Did we mention this?

Tune in next distribution (February 3) for some suggestions with what to do with all of your winter radishes!

Harvest of the Month: Apples

January’s Harvest of the Month is apples. Harvest of the Month is an initiative of Poughkeepsie Farm Project’s Farm to School program. A different local farm product is served in school meals at area schools every month and we are helping to promote these locally available farm products.

 Photo credit: Eilif Ronning

Photo credit: Eilif Ronning

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. A ½ cup of sliced apples is an easy way to add fiber to your diet everyday. Pro tip: apples are best when eaten with the peel, as that is where most of the fiber and antioxidants are found. A ½ cup of apples a day may sound like a lot but, one of the amazing things about apples is that they can be eaten in a variety of ways - as whole (fresh!) apples, unsweetened applesauce, dried apples, or in my personal favorite: apple pie.

At PFP, the apples we distribute through our fruit share during the regular CSA season come from Glorie Farm in Marlboro. Their low-spray apples (and other fruits) also make their way to our educational programs.  Not only are apples good for you, they are a great educational tool for kids. We like to use apples to teach students about pollination, the plant life cycle, and how trees produce the fruits we love to eat. Apples are also also a great addition to many vegetable recipes we use in our cooking workshops from smoothies to salads.

Fun fact: Domestic or table apples are of the species Malus pumila and are one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits across the world. There are over 7,000 varieties of apples (that’s a lot of apple pie) the oldest originating from the mountains of Central Asia. Apples were first introduced to the U.S by European settlers during 1600s to share their cultivation and traditions.

We can’t talk about North America’s history with apples without mentioning one of our fondest folk heroes: Johnny Appleseed. Johnny Appleseed was a pioneer apple farmer in the 1800’s and his dream was to grow so many apples that no one would ever go hungry. Unlike most legends Johnny Appleseed was a real person named John Chapman. In his lifetime  Chapman planted over 1200 acres of apple orchards.

Contrary to common belief, Chapman’s apples wouldn’t be recognizable as the conventional apples we are accustomed to in the grocery store. Chapman grew apples that were very small and tart - nicknamed “spitters” because that’s probably what you would do if you took a bite out of one. However, “spitters” were perfect for hard cider and applejack which was valued more than edible apples. Fun Fact: until the 1920s, most apples in the U.S were used for making cider. Especially in rural areas, cider replaced water because the water often wasn’t safe to drink. The cider they were drinking was what we would not call hard cider.

In the spirit of the true story of Johnny appleseed here is an easy apple cider recipe. This cider may not be what Johnny Appleseed used to drink but it’s non-alcoholic and quick to make and enjoy with kids. All you need is about 6 cups of apple juice or enough to fill a large saucepan, ½ teaspoon whole cloves, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg and 3 cinnamon sticks. Place everything in the large saucepan and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Once it begins to boil reduce heat and let it simmer uncovered 10 minutes. Pro tip: Heating the mixture brings out the flavors of the spices. The longer you let cider simmer the more fragrant it will become.

Happy Holidays! - PFP

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Johnny Appleseed Story

Apple cider recipe

PFP Welcomes New Staff

We are thrilled to welcome seven new members of the Poughkeepsie Farm Project team!! Zoe is our new farm crew member and our education department has hired six new team members to run brand new after-school garden clubs in City of Poughkeepsie Schools.

Aozora (Zoe) Brockman, farm crew member,  was raised on an organic vegetable farm in Central Illinois, and spent most of her life planting, weeding, and harvesting alongside her brothers, parents and grandparents. Immediately after graduating from Northwestern University with a degree in Creative Writing, she returned home to look after the farm while her parents spent a “sabbatical” year in Japan. Once her parents returned home, she worked as a full-time farm hand for a season before moving to New York to live with her partner, Austin. Zoe worked as a part-time crew member at Glynwood before joining the PFP team. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to learn from PFP’s model of community-engaged farming, and dreams of someday merging her two loves—farming and writing—and operating a community-focused farm of her own.

Maria Cali, garden assistant, is a senior at Vassar College, where she studies Sociology. She has been working at PFP since Spring ’16 with the education team, with one semester off when she went to study abroad in India, Tanzania, and Italy to learn more about food sovereignty and food systems. Maria hopes to be a lead teacher in a classroom, as she thinks education is one of the best ways in which to enact social change. She is passionate about the presence of youth in social justice work, and celebrates the many ways in which food is a part of that.

Sevine Clarey, garden assistant, loves food: cooking with it, studying it, teaching with it, and eating it. If she is not in her kitchen trying finding different variations of cooking sweet potatoes, she is drinking tea, hiking, climbing, or at PFP. Sevine is currently a sophomore at Vassar College and started working at the PFP fall of 2016. She has loved every experience she has had with them. The team is amazing and she cannot wait to see what new adventures lie ahead!

Christine (Chris) Gavin, garden educator, is a lifelong resident of Poughkeepsie with a BA from Vassar College, and she has been working as a farmer and educator in the region for over a decade.  Her passion for agriculture grew from her academic interest in social justice and the desire to create tangible positive change in her local community.  Her educational philosophy is rooted in the belief that we are all stewards of the natural world and that it is essential that we pass that sense of responsibility to the next generation to help build ethical global citizens.  Chris was a farmer and an educator at Sprout Creek Farm for many years and most recently she taught in Beacon public schools as a Garden Educator with Hudson Valley Seed.  When she's not teaching,  Chris dabbles in urban farming in the City of Poughkeepsie with a yard full of veggies and a small flock of chickens.  

Isiah Hawley, garden assistant, was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. As a teen, Isiah moved to he moved to Poughkeepsie to live with his older sister. When he was 17, he started working on his GED through Nubian Directions. In his time there, he learned how to do construction work and built many different structures. During his time at Nubian Directions, Isiah earned many construction-related certifications. When he was a child, Isiah and his sister use to eat broccoli all the time together; it is still his favorite vegetable. Isiah’s passion is music and he has an ear for any genre of music. Isiah also makes his own music with his brothers; he says it is "good bonding time." Isiah loves to make people laugh always has a smile on his face.

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Larissa Pitcher-Alvarado, garden assistant, fell in love with PFP after attending the Farm Fresh Home Chefs program they held at Clinton School with her niece and nephews. This program is amazing because it brings families and the community together delivering education about food, healthy eating, gardening, and cooking. She has always had an interest in healthy eating and community. She is thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful establishment and is looking forward to learning and sharing really cool stuff!

Briggin Scharf, garden educator, is thrilled to join the PFP education team and grow sacred gardens with Poughkeepsie youth! After spending several seasons farming in the Hudson River Valley -- at Phillies Bridge Farm Project in New Paltz and Hawthorne Valley Farm in Ghent -- Briggin is excited to return to the outdoor classroom to share her passions for food sovereignty, celebrating nature and chowing-down on home-cooked delicacies with her new students and co-instructors. Briggin previously managed urban elementary school gardens in San Francisco and New York City, as well as held a range of  jobs from brewing kombucha to milking dairy cows to installing art exhibits in museums. She loves to hike, sing, discover new herbal remedies, draw, and travel!