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Archive for the month “June, 2017”

The Broilers Have Arrived

This week at Bertrand Farm 170 new broiler chicks were added to the livestock family. Unlike the numerous female hens – known as “layers”, which are continually kept on the property for fresh egg availability, the broilers’ stay is much briefer. Typically, white, male, and larger than layers, broiler chickens are bought and raised for their meat. Raised in large open structures known simply as houses or tractors, the broilers roam and interact with other chickens until they reach maturity which is normally 6-8 weeks, at which point they are prepared for the market. Because purchasing organically raised broilers is significantly more expensive than caged raised, Terri and other local sustainability activists are in the process of developing creative and innovative cooperative solutions. By lowering the cost of bringing the broilers to market, lower costing options are available to those who desire to eat organic but struggle to fit the higher costs into their budgets.

chickens week 2

When chickens get to live like chickens, they’ll taste like chickens, too Michael Pollan




Strawberry Fields Forever

A couple of weeks ago we interns were introduced to the strawberry field seen here.

tyler strawberries

We were told that in a week or two all of the beautiful white flowers would mature into strawberries! This patch of strawberries is a crop that was planted last year. It takes about a year for the first fruit so in order to be successful in the strawberry market you might have two patches, one for harvesting and one for planting. As the weeks rolled by we were brought out to the field again to see a new sight. Strawberries hidden away under the leaves in abundance!

tyler strawberries 2        tyler-strawberries3.jpg

In just an hours we were able to pick more than 12 of these boxes and then some. Leaving the green on the strawberry is important because it helps keep the strawberry fresh for longer. It is also important to pick the strawberry at the right time, unlike most fruit, the strawberry stops maturing after it is picked so make sure its  ripe when you pick it!

tyler strawberries 4

Once we had lots of beautiful, fresh strawberries we were able to make jam with them. We were given a recipe to follow and with simple things like sugar, pectin and naturally smashed strawberries you can have fresh and delicious freezer jam! We also made a cooked batch of jam that would qualify as a preserve because it can last a long time without refrigeration. The cooked jam is made similarly to the freezer jam but you boil it all in a big pot and let it thicken. Then you carefully pour the hot jam into mason jars to and seal airtight. In order to get a good seal you must wipe off the top of each jar. Any particles of sugar will keep it from a tight seal and might compromise the longevity of your jam. Canned jam can last at two years or more on the shelf.

This was an amazing experience learning about strawberries and everything you can do with them. Can’t wait for more to come and to keep on living sustainably!


CSA Week 7

Cropping up …

Beets and greens, green onions, kale, lettuces, sugar snap peas, Swiss chard, and turnips are in full swing and will continue to fill our baskets in coming weeks. New produce includes carrots and garlic scapes.


Remove tops, since the greens will pull moisture from the roots. Store in the refrigerator, tightly sealed with a dry cloth or paper towel in the container.



Garlic Scapes

Garlic scapes are the bud and stem of the flower of the garlic plant. Scapes have the same flavor as garlic and can be substituted for garlic cloves in recipes. Due to their more fibrous texture, they may require longer cooking, puréeing, etc., when substituted.

Store garlic scapes in refrigerator sealed in a bag with a damp cloth or paper towel. Alternatively, for longer storage, place in a glass with stems in water and a plastic bag or dampened cloth bag over the tops (like asparagus or green onions).




Grilled Romaine Lettuce

While salad is always an easy go-to for a head of Romaine, it has plenty of other potential. It is great for lettuce wraps, and it even works on the grill. The following recipe is essentially a grilled Caesar salad.


For the dressing:

  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 6 anchovy fillets, rinsed and minced
  • 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

For the salad:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, tops and bottoms trimmed neatly, the heads cut lengthwise into quarters
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan


1. Build a fire in your grill, leaving one side free of coals. When coals are covered with gray ash and the temperature is medium (you can hold your hand 5 inches above the coals for 5 to 7 seconds), you are ready to cook. (For a gas grill, turn all burners to high, lower cover and heat for 15 minutes, then turn burners to medium.)

2. Meanwhile, make the dressing: Put the minced garlic into a bowl, and add the minced anchovies. Using a whisk, mix and mash these ingredients together until they form a paste. Add the mayonnaise and the mustard and whisk. Add the olive oil, whisking all the while, and then the vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

3. Make the salad: Drizzle the olive oil over the quartered heads of lettuce. Lightly grill these directly over the hot coals for 15 to 20 seconds on each side, until they are lightly golden, then remove to the cool side of the grill. Using a pastry brush or a small spoon, paint the dressing over the lettuce, making sure to get dressing between the leaves. Sprinkle the lettuce with Parmesan and cover the grill for 1 or 2 minutes to allow the cheese to melt and the lettuce to soften further. Remove lettuce to a platter and serve.
Source: Sam Sifton, NYT Cooking

The Wonderful World of Local Cooking

Hi everyone! My name is Maria, I’m lucky enough to be one of the interns on Bertrand Farms this summer. One of my favorite things about this internship is the opportunity to learn more about the local food movement. Eating local is a great way for us consumers to combat environmental degradation. While traveling to far-off places might seem fun for us, the transportation involved in moving all those exotic or processed foods to your local grocery store isn’t doing great things for the earth. While eating local might seem like a limitation on what foods you can use, I try to think of it as the opposite. How fun to explore the new foods I’m finding right here in our neighborhood, to meet the wonderful people growing this food, to experiment with new recipes and ways of cooking these nutritious, delicious foods!

Barley RissotoAs a part of the intern program, Theri has us rotate making lunches for the crew working on the farm that day. The goal is to not only get us more comfortable in the kitchen, but also to encourage us to think seriously about our local food system. We are only allowed to use ingredients grown locally (a loose term, but we try to stick to things that are grown or could be grown in the Midwest) in our meals. We have been given two exceptions, deemed necessary for life according to Theri: olive oil and coffee. I kicked this summer’s intern lunches off on Wednesday with a recipe I adapted from Martha Stewart (link here!), who adapted the recipe from one of my favorite vegetarian cookbooks, “Feast.” I had to make some changes, however, to abide by the local-only rule (lemons are a no!!). Despite its origin, this recipe is not vegetarian due to its use of chicken broth. Theri had just finished some homemade broth the day I was cooking, and it made this dish. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

 Barley Risotto

(makes 4 side servings) (total cook time: 1hr) Ingredients:

-6 cups chicken broth (for best results, make your own!)

-2 Tbsp olive oil

-1 cup pearl barley, rinsed and drained

-10 to 12 small radishes

-1 bunch (6 cups) swiss chard, de-stemmed and torn into large pieces

-salt (optional)

-10 large lemon mint leaves, torn



  1. Bring broth to a simmer in a saucepan. Remove from heat, but cover to keep warm.
  2. Heat oil in medium pot over medium heat. Add barley and stir to coat until toasty, about 2 mins.
  3. Add 2 cups broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Stir frequently and simmer until broth is mostly absorbed, about 5 mins.
  4. Add radishes. Add remaining 3 cups of broth, ½ cup at a time, letting each addition to absorb before adding more. Keep the pot simmering, stirring frequently, until barley is tender and creamy. This whole step should take about 30 mins.
  5. Add chard and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 5 mins.
  6. Optional: add salt (I used about ½ tsp) (we decided this wasn’t reallllly local, whoops!)
  7. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon mint.
  8. Serve warm. Enjoy!


Turnip Greens Frittata

Note: This recipe calls for white potatoes, but sweet potatoes work well, too.

Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large or 2 small white potatoes, skin on and finely diced (no larger than 1/4-inch; 1 1/2 cups total)
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and chopped
  • Salt
  • 1 to 2 bunches turnip greens, stems discarded and leaves sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch strips (you should have 4 cups loosely packed sliced greens)
  • 8 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Warm the oil in a large skillet. Add the potatoes and cook over medium high heat until browned on the edges and soft in the center. Add the garlic and season with salt after the potatoes have been cooking for 2 minutes. Stir in the turnip greens and cook until wilted and tender, about 3 minutes.

2. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Pour the eggs into the pan, sprinkle with the cheese and transfer to the oven. Bake until the frittata is just set, about 10 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, then slice and serve.

Source: Amanda Hesser, Food52

Bertrand Farm Summer Interns 2017

Welcome to our intern crew this summer. We are already busy working and learning about agriculture and health.

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From left: Tyler, Leah, Lisa, Joseph, Maria


I choose to intern at Bertrand Farm because I saw the importance of local healthy food in our community. With all the talk about the harmful effects of high-fructose corn syrup and processed food, I feel a social responsibility to take part in the movement for responsible food production. Beside the fact that I love working on farms, I wanted to expand my limited knowledge of sustainable farming, seizing the opportunity to learn through first-hand experiences.          Joseph

I am a student at IUSB and am pursuing a minor in sustainability. The head of the sustainability department, Krista Bailey, suggested that I look into a couple internship opportunities in the sustainability field. One of the first examples she mentioned was working on a sustainable farm and I jumped on the opportunity right away. I am very excited to be involved in the program and am looking forward to learning about sustainable farming practices that I will strive to use in a career that will benefit not only me, but everyone and everything around me as well.      -Tyler

I am a senior undergraduate student at the University of Notre Dame. Originally from Indianapolis, I am a part time intern on the farm this summer. As a neuroscience major, I am involved in research with adolescent depression prevention and treatment; as a sustainability minor, I have interests in local food systems and sustainable agriculture.-    Maria

I had gardened organically (without knowing that’s what I was doing) when the kids were young, I want to learn how to translate that into a larger 2-5 acre farm setting.  Bertrand and a small degree in horticulture from Purdue are my last steps before starting out on my own. – Lisa

Hi! My name is Leah Fast and I just finished my freshman year at Notre Dame, where I am studying chemical engineering. I am from the metro Detroit area, and I am so excited to be at Bertrand Farm! My main interests in interning this summer are to learn about sustainable, organic agriculture and to help with farm camp. I am grateful for the opportunity to be here and I am looking forward to the rest of the summer! – Leah






CSA Week 6

Cropping up …

New produce this week or soon after includes beets and beet greens, turnips and turnip greens, strawberries, and nasturtiums. Green onions, kale, lettuce, sugar snap peas, and Swiss chard are continuing strong.

Remember to check the “Produce Index” page to find storage advice for this season’s produce to date, simple dishes, and recipe links all in one place. Helpful online recipe databases include Yummly (with personalized recipe searches) and Food52 (contains some good articles on food storage). Feel free to share other recipe or storage sources you’ve found helpful.

Beets and beet greens: Remove greens and store them tightly sealed in the refrigerator. Don’t wash until ready to use. If already washed, place a dry cloth or paper towel in the bag with the beet greens to absorb moisture; if not washed, place a slightly damp cloth or paper towel in the bag to provide humidity. Store beets sealed in the refrigerator. 

Nasturtiums: Store upright in a jar or other container of water (like flowers). These edible flowers provide a crisp, peppery flavor in a salad.







Strawberries:  Strawberries are best eaten soon after picking. Storing strawberries in the refrigerator will slow spoilage, but it will also compromise flavor. Store sealed with a cloth to absorb excess moisture. Don’t rinse until ready to use. Remove the green hulls only after rinsing to prevent berries soaking up rinse water.

Turnips and turnip greens: Remove greens and store them tightly sealed in the refrigerator. Don’t rinse until ready to use. If already rinsed, place a dry cloth or paper towel in the bag to absorb moisture; if not rinsed, place a slightly damp cloth or paper towel in the bag to provide humidity. Store turnips sealed in the refrigerator. 


Recipe: Asparagus with Pancetta and Pine Nuts

Serves 4

  • 4 oz. pancetta, diced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 lb. asparagus,  sliced into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups leeks, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Zest of a lemon
  • 1 tsp orange zest (optional)
  • 2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
  • 1-2 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Sauté pancetta, stirring frequently, over medium heat, until crisp and lightly golden.

2. Add butter to pan. Add asparagus and leeks and sauté until asparagus is tender crisp (about 3-4 minutes).

3. Add garlic, lemon and orange zest, toasted pine nuts, and parsley and sauté until fragrant (about 1 minute). Season to taste with freshly ground pepper and salt and serve.

Source: kaykay, Food52

CSA Week 5

In this week’s box:
arugula, asparagus, kale, leeks, leek scapes, lettuce, spinach, sugar anne peas, swiss chard,
& a bouquet of sweet william flowers

Remember to check the “Produce Index” page to find storage advice for this season’s produce to date, simple dishes, and recipe links all in one place. Below are storage tips for new produce.

Asparagus: Store upright in a jar or other container of water (like flowers) with a plastic bag over the jar to trap moisture and create a humid environment. Place in the refrigerator.

Leek Scapes: Store sealed (with leeks, if you would like) in the refrigerator. Or store like asparagus.


Leek scapes are long, thin stalks with bulbs that taper to a point. (In photo: The leek scapes are leaning against the basket.)






Sugar Anne Peas (sugar snap peas): For most varieties of peas, store tightly sealed in the coldest part of the refrigerator.

Note: Best when eaten soon after picked. Their flavor, particularly their sweetness, fades noticeably with each passing day.





Swiss Chard: Keep tightly sealed in the refrigerator. Don’t wash until ready to use. If already washed, place a dry cloth or paper towel in the bag with the lettuce to absorb moisture; if not washed, place a slightly damp cloth or paper towel in the bag to provide slight humidity.

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