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Fall Planting

(Not-so) BREAKING NEWS! You still have time to plant fall vegetables!
At this point in the summer, when the days are hot and long and you are harvesting all the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor, it’s easy to forget that the planting season is not over yet. In fact, you still have several weeks to get fall vegetables started. Today we transplanted cauliflower starts from their home in the little greenhouse to the wondrous new world of the ground. The weather was beautiful for working outside, and it should remain so throughout the rest of the week (read: what are you waiting for?! Get going!!) It’s not just the days that are ideal; the nights will be cool as well, making a perfect combination for starting your fall vegetables.
Here’s what you can still plant this year: beets; Chinese cabbage; lettuce (head and baby); radishes (round and Daikon); spinach; Swiss chard; and turnips. The latest these should be planted is early to mid-August, considering that our first frost in the great region of Michiana usually comes around mid-October. So you still have plenty of time! For more detailed information such as exact planting dates, check out Johnny’s Seed Planting Schedule Calculator (, and enter the frost-free date as 10/15/2017.
Good eats and happy harvesting!


Fall Cabbage Planted Today


Swiss Chard Fritters

This recipe comes from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem: A Cookbook.

Note: The original recipe calls for Swiss chard. Spinach, kale, mustard greens, etc., can all be substituted. If using spinach, increase by about 1/2 and wilt in a pan rather than boil. For the herbs, adjust freely to what you have on hand or prefer.

  • 14 oz Swiss chard
  • ½ cup chopped Italian parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup chopped dill
  • 1½ teaspoons grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • Olive oil for frying
  • Lemon wedges for serving
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add greens, and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and squeeze the leaves.
  2. Place chard in food processor with herbs, nutmeg, sugar, salt, pepper, flour, garlic and eggs. Pulse until smooth. Fold in feta by hand.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Spoon in a heaping tablespoon of mixture for each fritter. Press down gently to get each fritter about 1 cm thick. Cook a few minutes, flip, and cook a few minutes more. They should be slightly golden. Transfer to a cloth or paper towels. Add more oil as needed.
  4. Serve with lemon wedges.

Garlic Green Beans

The best recipes can be the simplest recipes. Here’s proof.

Serves 4

  • 3/4 pound fresh green beans
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Coarse salt
  1. Snap off the tops of the beans. Melt the butter in a skillet, add the beans, and cook them over a medium to medium-high flame, stirring, until they begin to brown.
  2. Lower the flame, cover, and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until the beans are the desired tenderness, stirring occasionally.
  3. Mix in the crushed garlic, sprinkle with salt, and serve immediately.

Source: Penelope Casas, The Foods and Wines of Spain, by way of Food52’s Genius Recipes, posted here.

Recipe: Smothered Cabbage

The following traditional Venetian method for cooking cabbage is called sofegao, or “smothered.” This recipe comes from Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.

Serves 6

Smothered Cabbage, Venetian Style

  • 2 pounds green, red, or Savoy cabbage
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • Salt
  • Black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 tablespoon wine vinegar
  1. Detach and discard the first few outer leaves of the cabbage. The remaining head of leaves must be shredded very fine. If you are going to do it by hand, cut the leaves into fine shreds, slicing them off the whole head. Turn the head after you have sliced a section of it until gradually you expose the entire core, which must be discarded. If you want to use the food processor, cut the leaves off from the core in sections, discard the core and process the leaves through a shredding attachment.
  2. Put the onion and olive oil into a large sauté pan, and turn the heat on to medium. Cook and stir the onion until it becomes colored a deep gold, then add the garlic. When you have cooked the garlic until it becomes colored a very pale gold, add the shredded cabbage. Turn the cabbage over 2 or 3 times to coat it well, and cook it until it is wilted.
  3. Add salt, pepper, and the vinegar. Turn the cabbage over once completely, lower the heat to minimum, and cover the pan tightly. Cook for at least 1 1/2 hours, or until it is very tender, turning it from time to time. If while it is cooking, the liquid in the pan should become insufficient, add 2 tablespoons water as needed. When done, taste and correct for salt and pepper. Allow it to settle a few minutes off heat before serving. Note: The smothered cabbage can be prepared 2 or 3 days ahead of the soup, or served as a side dish from here. It also freezes well.



What to do with beet greens?

After trying several recipes, we’ve finally found it: A beet green recipe we enjoyed so much that we’re looking forward to eating it again.

This is a simplified version of Silly Apron’s recipe, found here on Food52.

Serves 2

  • 3 bunches beet greens, red stems removed, rinsed, and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated
  1. Warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan. Add the garlic, cumin, and paprika. Stir a couple minutes.
  2. Add the beet greens and salt. Turn the heat to medium and stir to coat the greens with oil.
  3. Cover. Lower heat and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir and simmer another 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.
  6. Drizzle greens with olive oil and top with a poached or fried egg.

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!


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