Grower's Row: Welcoming New Helping Hands

The demands of the farm skyrocket in June.

With the arrival of longer, hotter days and warmer nighttime temperatures, the plants take off, sizing up quickly each day. We leave the plants on Friday, and come back Monday to noticeably larger, leafier, greener plants and fruits that seem to have nearly doubled in size.

This same boom in growth isn’t limited to the crop plants. It’s even more true of the weeds. Unlike our crop plants, which are bred to be succulent and delicious, these rough-and-tumble weeds have to survive out in the wild, where they self-select for their ability to gather nutrients more quickly than their neighbors, and to grow leafier, taller, and faster. They’re tough, and they’re survivors. Once established, they’re tough to kill -- and can take twice the staff-hours just to manage them.

Getting weeds at the right stage, when they’re very young, requires vigilance -- but more importantly, it requires getting lucky with the right (hot, dry) weather, and juggling multiple high-priority tasks that all need attention RIGHT NOW.

Because of course, weeding isn’t the only thing we’re trying to get to on time. We’re planting, every week, to make sure we have new successions of plants to provide our CSA members with a continuous supply of fresh produce all season long. We’re seeding in the greenhouse, to have plants to plant. We’re pruning and trellising, to keep up with plant needs. And finally we are harvesting (and washing and packing and distributing) hundreds, and soon thousands, of pounds of produce every week.

All of this is way more than our core farm team of 6 can do alone. We need HELP! And here at PFP, those helping hands come in many different shapes and sizes.

In the winter, we had help from volunteers, which included CSA members who came out to work just for fun; CIA students and college students home for winter break; and a shy, smiling au pair from China who showed up unexpectedly one day, determined to work. Then in the spring, we received help from four dedicated (and very enthusiastic) Vassar students Alie, Kristina, Mad and Zoe, through the Community Engaged Learning program. They helped us sort through our winter storage crops, wash and pack produce for winter share, and manage weeds in our high tunnels.

 Editor's Note: Heck ye Demier and Lucas, look at those tomatoes now! (Please refer to the  Green Jobs Post )

Editor's Note: Heck ye Demier and Lucas, look at those tomatoes now! (Please refer to the Green Jobs Post)

In March we welcomed Lucas, Demier and Isiah. These curious, energetic men with big hearts and bright smiles are the first members of our brand new Green Jobs program, intended to provide young people with an outdoor farm classroom to learn to grow food for their community. The team has since expanded to include Kitana and Savannah, whose positive energy and hard-working hands have already brought so much to the farm, including planting all the PYO tomatoes! Do yourself a favor and take a moment to read our feature post on the Green Jobs program, and to see more photos and amazing moments from their first few months here.

As of last week, our core team of 6 has expanded to include two new Interns, Kira and Laura, who will be with us every day from June through August. In addition to helping us plant, seed, subdue weeds, harvest all the things and trellis tomatoes forever, they’ll be gaining knowledge and building skills in greenhouse management, irrigation, crop rotation, soil structure and soil biology basics.

 CSA members co-carry heavy bins of lettuce during a morning harvest

CSA members co-carry heavy bins of lettuce during a morning harvest

Last but not least, our main season work is made manageable by the many helping hands of our CSA work share members! From helping with morning harvest and afternoon fieldwork projects, to delivering donated produce to our Food Share partners, and helping soup kitchens wash and chop raw produce as part of the Green Machines, our work share members allow us to do and accomplish so much more than we ever could without them. Any garlic or scapes you receive this year will have been grown from a clove that was split and sorted by one of your fellow CSA members last fall, and any strawberries and raspberries you pick will be sweet and delicious because CSA members helped weed them and give them access to all the soil nutrients and sunlight they need.

Like the crops we grow, the farm work itself is seasonal, swelling in the summer and dwindling in the winter. One of my favorite things about PFP is the diversity of different hands we have all pitching in to keep this farm running. Everyone has something different to contribute, whether it’s hard-working hands, a sense of enthusiasm, big smiles to brighten the overcast days, curiosity that helps us all see things differently, or a sense of gratitude for the ability to get out of the office and into the dirt. All the different hands and hearts that find their way here make for a stimulating learning experience, a rewarding work environment, and a rich on-farm community.

We are growing so much more than vegetables. Thank you for being a part of it.

Now: back to the weeds!





Green Jobs for a Greener Poughkeepsie!

Dear Farm Community,
We have some folks we’d like you to meet.

They’re the first participants in our new Green Jobs program, which provides young people with an outdoor farm classroom to learn to grow food for their community. In addition to growing and propagating food crops using sustainable practices, they will deepen their understanding of local and regional food systems and learn to educate others about organic gardening, healthy eating, and using urban agriculture for community building. This project will provide intensive training to 34 youth over the course of two years.

At PFP, we believe that every person has a right to real food. This right extends beyond the consumer's purchasing power: every person has the right to access the space, knowledge, and resources for growing the food they eat and to access fresh and nutritious food grown by others. As part of our commitment to supporting young people in our community in this endeavor, we’ve launched this important new Green Jobs program.

Meet Demier, Isiah, Lucas, and Kitana, the first four participants of the Green Jobs program. They joined us in March, and have been a total delight to have working with our team!

 Lucas Ramos!

Lucas Ramos!

 Demier Harrison!

Demier Harrison!

 Isiah Hawley!

Isiah Hawley!

 Kitana Zachary!

Kitana Zachary!

These young adults have such a great attitude. They are always smiling, and always ready to learn something new. It has been an honor and a whole lot of fun to learn and grow alongside them so far!

According to them, the never ending learning opportunities play a big role in their excitement. Isiah remarks, “There is so much you have to know about each individual crop to grow it successfully! It’s a whole new world to me, and I feel like I could spend years here and still be learning. It’s seriously awesome.” If you ask them their absolute favorite part of the program however, it is a tough call to make. Isiah again,  “This is the first job I’ve had where I wake up and I’m so excited to get to work.... I didn’t know that was possible! I wake up, I’m excited, and the day just gets better and better.”

The Green Jobs program is the first project we have created as a complete collaboration between the farm and education department at PFP. If you ask Lucas, it’s this cohesion, it’s the times we all come together, that creates the true magic.  He says, “Mid-day we all come together as a big team. Everyone sits together like a family, and you can probably hear us laughing from miles away.” The rest of the crew agrees but can’t hold back in sharing more of what makes this place special to them. According to Demier, “There is something about this food itself!!”.... So every day we work we try new foods at lunch, right? Well after I eat here my body feels CRAZY. It is ready TO GO! I feel unstoppable.”

The Green Jobs crew is in complete awe of the farm, and meanwhile, we are in complete awe of them. It has been obvious from day one that this is a team completely devoted to community. From Isiah, “Every day there are at least four stories I can’t wait to run home and share with my family members, and now they can’t wait for me! They need the magic too.” After just one week on the crew, Ellie ran into Demier on Main Street, where he was already plotting to begin a space to share hands-on training from his experience. “ELLIE! What are the chances! I was just talking about you and the farm! Do you have seed catalogs I could have? We need to start growing food on Main Street so everyone can get in on this good feeling.” 

 Demier and Lucas, kings of the tomato tunnel.

Demier and Lucas, kings of the tomato tunnel.

Free Cooking Workshops at the Mobile Market!

Do you need tasty new recipes for your farm-fresh produce? 
We are thrilled to offer FREE cooking demonstrations and tastings at the Dutchess Outreach Fresh Market every Wednesday (11:30-1:00) when it stops at the Family Partnership Center, 29 N Hamilton St, Poughkeepsie. 

The Dutchess Outreach Fresh Market distributes local, farm fresh fruits and vegetables to residents of the City of Poughkeepsie. The goal of the mobile market is to provide affordable, healthy food access to everyone, regardless of social status or income. The market operates from June-November making stops throughout the city of Poughkeepsie and accepts all forms of payment, including food assistance benefits like SNAP/EBT and WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program Checks from Seniors and Mothers with Infant Children. 

Market Stops:

MONDAYS 3:00 PM–6:00 PM The Poughkeepsie Waterfront Market at the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum, 75 N. Water Street Poughkeepsie. Market runs June - August. All other stops are open into November!

EVERY WEDNESDAY 11:30AM–1:00 PM Family Partnership Center 29 North Hamilton Street, Poughkeepsie.

1ST AND 3RD WEDNESDAY 1:30 PM–3:00 PM Maplewood 475 Maple Street, Poughkeepsie Westbound Arterial

2ND AND 4TH WEDNESDAY 1:30 PM–3:00 PM Benny’s 10th Inning, (Benny’s Parking Lot) 4 Lincoln Avenue, Poughkeepsie, New York 12601

EVERY WEDNESDAY 3:30AM–4:30 PM Adriance Public Library 93 Market Street, Poughkeepsie

THURSDAYS 12:00 PM–1:30 PM Interfaith Towers 66 Washington Street, Poughkeepsie

THURSDAYS 2:00 PM–3:30 PM Wildcard Stop Follow @DutchOutreach on Twitter to find out where they’ll be!



May Share Sneak Peak (+ Recipes!)

April showers bring May flowers… and our first vegetables! Want in on some of our earliest harvest? May Share is a two-week pick-up the last two weeks of May (May 22 and 29), and is a great way to get a head-start on what the growing season has to offer. The mild weather means tender young greens, fresh spring radishes, and more.

Here, we’re giving you a sneak peek into some of the crops you can expect to see in the May Share, along with a few recipe ideas:

 French breakfast radishes are tender and juicy

French breakfast radishes are tender and juicy

Baby Bok Choi
These bite-sized bok choi are lovely in a quick saute. Follow this basic idea, or try adding ginger and fresh chili to the garlic and replacing the water with mirin or soy sauce. Finish with a squeeze of lime. Or halve and simmer into this lemongrass-turmeric soup.

French Breakfast Radishes
These beauties are a treat, however you slice them. Add them to your favorite salad; slice them thinly and quick-pickle with a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lime for a fantastic taco topping (or try your hand at these fun pickles!); layer sliced radishes onto a sandwich of crusty bread and good butter -- or enjoy them fresh and whole.

Red Butter & Oak Leaf Lettuces
Small tender head-lettuces are on the way! Use in your favorite salad, or try this one with radishes and buttermilk dressing.

If all goes well with our newest perennial patch, we hope to have some tart ruby-hued rhubarb for you at the end of this month! Not familiar with this delectable spring vegetable? Try a classic strawberry-rhubarb crumble, or get fancy with this rhubarb honey panna cotta or these rhubarb bars with cream-cheese shortbread crust.

Go classic, or try topping your popcorn with a dusting of curry powder, Old Bay seasoning, nutritional yeast, or salt + sugar for kettle corn. Never made popcorn on the stove before? Here’s a fun step-by-step guide. Try using a heavy-bottomed pot and oils with a high smoke-point for best popping results. (Editor's note - if you can't give up microwave popcorn, shop around for a silicone popping bowl...I have one, I use it with my home-grown corn, and it's great.)

Click here to sign up for May Share (or any of our other CSA shares), or here to submit a recipe you’d like to share with fellow shareholders!

 Rhubarb centers just starting to unfurl new leaves

Rhubarb centers just starting to unfurl new leaves

 Baby bok choy

Baby bok choy

Grower's Row: May Means Plant Sale

By Lauren McDonald

Happy Spring… hopefully?

 Broccoli babes

Broccoli babes

 Tunnels starting to fill up with cucumbers

Tunnels starting to fill up with cucumbers

For much of April, the cold weather has kept us from getting into the ground, delaying our planting schedule by two, then three weeks -- which has been fairly nerve-wracking. While waiting for the soil to warm up, we’ve been preparing for the Plant Sale, and continuing to transition the high tunnels from arugula and radishes to main season crops like tomatoes and a moderate planting of cucumbers. We wouldn’t have been able to get this work done in such good time without help from four dedicated Vassar students and our two new crew members from Nubian Directions (whom we will introduce in next month’s newsletter). Finally, a break in the weather gave us one day (!) to get three weeks’ worth of plants in the ground -- and we did it! One acre, eleven hours, and 18,000 plants later, and our farm is finally starting to look like… well, a farm.

Now that the first planting push is behind us, we’re all getting excited for the next big event: our Plant Sale! This week we’ve been potting up hundreds of flowers, herbs, and vegetables from open trays into pots. Even after moving thousands of plants out to the high tunnels, the propagation greenhouse is busting at the seams.

 It's "thyme" for the Plant Sale!

It's "thyme" for the Plant Sale!

Here are some highlights you can look forward to!

 Calendula seeds

Calendula seeds

  • 20 varieties of heirloom tomatoes of every color of the rainbow! Most of these grow well in containers with some trellising (even in a 5 gallon bucket), so if space is limited you can still give them a try. We’ve chosen varieties that are known for their flavor, productivity, and/or disease resistance.
  • More flowers that are great for drying: Statice, Strawflower, and Calendula. Harvest the blooms from these when they are partially open and hang them upside down on lay flat on screens to keep their stems straight.
  •  Flowers that are deer resistant. We know deer are a challenge for many gardeners in our area, so we’re growing several flower and herb varieties with strong odors, bitter flavors, or tough leaves that are less palatable to deer.
  •  Flowers that are especially good for pollinators. (Pollinator habitat is something we’d like to promote in the region.) Look for these flowers that fall in both categories: Alyssum, Bee Balm, Blue Balloon Flower, Blue Flax, Cosmos, Heliotrope, Lupine, Marigold, California Poppies, and Yarrow
  • All of the usual favorites, from arugula and artichokes to yarrow and zucchini, plus melons, strawberries and herbs.

In case the dates aren’t already on your calendar, the sales are the first two Saturdays in May (May 5th and 12th) from 9am-2pm. Come visit us and pick up a few plants to take home! Or take a walk around the farm with us, and admire our newly pruned and mulched blueberry patch, and all of the new baby plants that will soon be appearing in May Share and main-season CSA distributions. (If that’s not reason enough, did we mention there will also be a food truck?)

Hope to see you there!

 Our first planting: 18,000 plants in the field!

Our first planting: 18,000 plants in the field!

Join Us for Spring Fever 2018

We are super excited about our 2nd Annual Spring Fever Family Day and Book Fair on ***May 19th*** (please note we postponed this event to May 19th, rain or shine!). This day of festivities for children and families coincides with the second day of our Plant Sale and will run from 10am to 2pm. We will celebrate nature, animals, gardening and taste delicious fresh snacks! There will be fun workshops for children from 4 to 12 years old offered by local community organizations. Register for the workshops here. Spring Fever is a FREE event; however, we will be accepting donations to help cover the costs of the event. Want to volunteer at Spring Fever? Sign up here.

spring fever 11.jpg

Ongoing activities throughout the event will include:

  • Book Fair: Browse and purchase new books at discounted prices with Inquiring Minds Bookstore.
  • Bubbles Bubbles Everywhere! Come join The Art Effect to learn about printmaking and make a unique print from colored bubbles.
  • Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Family Services. Learn the history of the holiday and create traditional paper flowers.
  • Plant seeds to take home with the Childcare Council of Dutchess and Putman Counties!
  • Make native seed balls with clay, soil, and native seeds to plant around town with the Student Conservation Association.
  • Visit with and pet miniature donkeys with Little Brays of Sunshine from Donkey Park.
  • Help make a giant clay flower pot by decorating a coil of clay and adding to the coils other children have made with Art Centro.
  • Taste fresh vegetables with differently seasoned dips with Eat Smart NY.
  • Browse and purchase fresh vegetables and fruit on the Mobile Fresh Market with Dutchess Outreach.
  • Stop by the smoothie station for tasty fruit and vegetable-based smoothies with Poughkeepsie Farm Project (by donation).
  • Get some delicious snacks or lunch from two food vendors: Essie’s Restaurant and Farmers and Chefs Food Truck.
  • Take photos as Super Veggie or as one of our local beaver neighbors.
  • Nature body paint: Get pollinators, flowers, or vegetables painted on your face or hands with the Environmental Cooperative.
  • Plant Sale: Browse and purchase PFP-grown flower, vegetable, herb, and fruit plants for your garden or as gifts.

In addition to all of that, there will be four children’s workshop options in each of the three sessions. Registration is required for the workshops which include the following:

All about Donkeys: Hang out with the Little Brays of Sunshine and learn interesting facts about miniature donkeys including what they eat and how to care for them. For children 7-12 with an adult.

Eat the Rainbow: Celebrate of the rainbow of vegetables and fruits that you can grow in your own garden! Learn how to prepare a colorful snack-wrap using produce of all shapes and colors with educators from Poughkeepsie Farm Project. For children 4-12 with an adult.

Worms Rule: Come investigate real live worms. We’ll learn about their life cycle, what they eat, and how you can use their natural gifts at home for compost. For children 8-12. Presented by Poughkeepsie Farm Project.

spring fever 12.jpg

Pollinator Power: Learn all about native plants, the pollinators they benefit, and actions that you can take to beautify your environment and provide habitat for local pollinators. There will be an opportunity to build bee hotels on a first-come first-served basis. For children 8-12. Presented by The Environmental Cooperative.

Garden Explorations: Explore many vibrant wild weeds and cultivated Spring-time plants growing in the Discovery Gardens! Join a wild plant scavenger hunt, open your senses with herbs in the Meditation Garden, and create your own flower crowns! For children 4-12 with an adult. Presented by Poughkeepsie Farm Project.

Whoa, Go, Slow with the Very Hungry Caterpillar: What does it take to transform into a beautiful butterfly? Join us as we read the classic story and find out what foods can help us become strong and beautiful butterflies. We will sort food into categories, talk about eating the rainbow and make our own yummy butterfly snack. For children 4-7 with adult. Presented by Eat Smart NY.

Tales of the Rainbow Forest Musical Reading: Sing, dance, and read with local author McKenzie Willis and his musical story Tales of the Rainbow Forest in the Meditation Garden. For children 3-8 with adult. Presented by Inquiring Minds Bookstore.

Children’s Farm Tour: Explore Poughkeepsie Farm Project's fields on this guided farm tour. Look for pollinators, taste the freshest veggies, and discover the magic of plants! All ages. An adult must accompany any child on the farm tour.

We hope you will join us for this fun family festival!

*Activities and schedule are subject to change.

spring fever 7.JPG

Grower’s Row: The Joy of Watching Seeds Grow

By Aozora (Zoe) Brockman

The heat mats in the greenhouse are now covered with little seedlings. Swathes of dirt-filled trays filled with baby green plants are spread across low black tables. The newly re-potted tomatoes—hybrid, heirloom, and cherry varieties—relish the cooler air on pallets underneath the tables.

Soon every inch of the greenhouse will be taken up by tiny morsels of life, growing stronger and bigger each sunlit hour. And before long, the tomatoes will be transplanted into the tunnels, and the onions, beets, scallions and other spring crops will be pressed into the tilled dirt of the field.

 Newly sprouted onion seeds

Newly sprouted onion seeds

Spring is a time for quiet birthings, and for me, a time of exuberant joy. Watching onion seeds I dropped three at a time into plugs peek their heads up from a layer of vermiculite, then sprout like little green hairs, floods me with maternal happiness. I wish for them to keep growing towards the light, to eat and eat and drink and drink, to reach their white roots far and wide.

 A little bigger...

A little bigger...

It feels like a miracle, how a little seed knows to grow into an onion. Not just any onion, but a highly specific one: a gold, round, Cortland onion, for instance. And how marvelous it is that this onion, planted in the spring, will last until next spring, stored throughout the winter.

 Now we're cookin'!

Now we're cookin'!

I smile thinking of how perhaps the hand who seeded a Cortland onion will one day place it onto a wooden chopping board, sizzle it in oil, and salivate as its aroma fills the kitchen. Or perhaps you will feast on the onion that was birthed in our greenhouse, that bulbed under the sun and rain in the black soil of our fields.

As the rush of spring and summer speeds towards us, I want to hang on to this time of seeding, of youth. In the calm before the storm, I hope to myself that we will all remember, when we eat, the journeys of the vegetables that sustain our bodies, that keep us growing, that keep us strong.

PFP's Garden Clubs Launch in Poughkeepsie Schools

By Chris Gavin, Garden Educator at Clinton and Krieger Schools

garden club 7.jpg

Recently the Poughkeepsie City School District was selected as a recipient of the Empire State After-School grant to bring extended learning time to its students for the next five years.  And PFP couldn’t be prouder to be one of the community organization chosen to work with the district on this new project. Since December, we’ve been bringing our love of food and farming to Poughkeepsie’s four elementary schools, and we are expanding our after-school programming to include the middle school and high school as well.  This is as large an undertaking as it sounds, and to support this ambitious endeavor PFP has welcomed eight new garden educators to its farm family. I count myself lucky to be a part of this new team that brings together farmers, educators, food rights advocates, local college students, and longtime members of the Poughkeepsie community.

Our after-school program is called “Garden Club”, though that simple name doesn’t convey the depth and range of learning we are bringing to our students. The established teaching gardens at each site are the foundation for our work, but as you may know, food connects to virtually any academic discipline and touches so many aspects of our daily lives.  Through Garden Club, our students gain practical hands-on skills as they develop positive social and emotional tools that can help them throughout their lives. We connect our lessons to the natural sciences and English Language Arts so that our program supports classroom learning. Most importantly, our club helps create a community where our students can feel safe and comfortable being themselves, where they can develop strong relationships with their peers, and where they can build social skills like kindness and respect.

garden club 3.jpg

The theme of our program is “FOOD IS LOVE”, and everything we teach connects to this central idea.  Cooking and eating food together is a way to build community and show people that you care about them.  Sharing recipes is a way to celebrate our own cultural traditions and learn about those that are different from our own.  Learning healthy eating habits is a way to love and support our bodies so that we can be our best selves. Growing food in a way that helps rather than hurts our environment shows our love for all living things.  These are some of the ideas we are sharing with our youth participants, and we hope that they will in turn share what they learn with their families and community.

On a personal note, I am a lifelong resident of the City of Poughkeepsie and I attended Poughkeepsie public schools for my entire K-12 education. To return as an educator to the schools that I attended as a child has been a powerful and humbling experience for me.  Sharing the joy of food and love of nature with the next generation of kids in my hometown brings me a level of pride and fulfillment that I haven’t before experienced in my professional life. I am so proud to be a part of the team that brings this educational experience to so many youth throughout the district.  Here’s to four more years of transformative learning!

 That's Chris and her son!

That's Chris and her son!

Staff Highlight: Sonya Key

Sonya (neé Katie) Key loves everything about wholesome food! She enjoys creating opportunities for collective return to health through personal connection to nature. With over 15 years of experience in hands-on and out-of-school time education, she weaves trust-building games and songs into participatory growing and cooking workshops for all ages. Uplifting ancestral African, African American and indigenous foodways is primary to her approach.

Sonya was professionally trained in health-supportive raw vegan cuisine at RawSoul of Harlem. She designed a non-traditional culinary education with multiethnic cuisine courses and a French culinary study abroad. She created and ran Sweet Mama’s vegan desserts in a women of color run co-op kitchen before branching out to provide creative personal cooking and private event catering throughout NYC, Westchester and the Hudson Valley.

As a child, you could find Sonya out in nature, the kitchen, library or onstage. Today, all these passions come to life while teaching in Poughkeepsie Farm Projects’ after-school garden clubs, farm-to-school program, community cooking workshops, and Jr. Chefs’ Cooking Club!

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