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What's In Season: Cedar Circle Farm Gives Us The 411 Plus a Recipie

Aug 07, 2019 12:51PM ● By Jessica Bowman

Photo by Ben Fleishman

Meal prepping can be a chore, learning what to cook and what’s in season even more so. That’s why Cedar Circle Farm, located in East Thetford, Vermont, 225 Pavilion Road, makes it easy for members of the community to view their resources on cooking, and gardening, and sustainable living. Cedar Circle Farm’s website has a treasure trove of knowledge regarding their produce, and how to cook or garden with it. However, we can make it even easier by going through a rundown of what meals you can be prepping each season and with what produce.

Cedar Circle Farm is a great candidate for this. They offer over 200 different types of vegetables, with produce in the farm stand May-December. During the fall to winter months, however, Cedar Circle is only open on weekends. In addition, during the fall-summer months, Cedar Circle has a pick your own section for strawberries, blueberries, pumpkins, and a flower garden.

The vegetables in season currently are summer produce. Summer produce like blueberries can provide a lot of great nutrients for our bodies. Blueberries are high in anti-oxidants which eliminates free radicals, unstable molecules that can damage cells and contribute to aging and diseases, such as cancer.

Don’t forget Cedar Circle has a pick your own section for blueberries during the summer months of July-August. Blueberries are a great fruit to pick and enjoy. They can be used in a lot of different meals, they can be frozen and preserved, and they are rich in nutrients.

In addition to being one of the most antioxidant-rich foods you can find, they are also high in vitamin c, fiber, and manganese. Freezing blueberries is a simple process. Rinse your berries first, place them on a cookie sheet on a flat tray. Place the tray in the freezer and wait for the blueberries to harden overnight. Freezing them on a single layer keeps them from clumping too much, so when you transfer them to Ziploc bags you will be able to enjoy the berries to their fullest.

Keep in mind you can also dry your blueberries and put them in your granola, cereal, yogurt, or muffins. If you use a food dehydrator to dry the berries, make sure to follow the directions that come with your dehydrator as each machine is different. You could also dry your blueberries in the oven, however, make sure you blanch them first. Blanching simply means you drop the berries into boiling water for 25-30 minutes, transfer them to ice cold water and let sit for 2 minutes. This will crack the skin of the blueberry so that they do not dry with a balloon of skin around them. After blanching, place them on a cookie sheet and dry with just the pilot heat from a propane oven. You can store them in glass jars for about a year, though they may not last that long.

Prepping and cooking with summer produce is great to know, but these products don’t grow year-round. So, it’s important to know what produce you can get throughout the year. Cedar Circle Farm shares great tips for preserving tomatoes, which you can get at their farm stand July-October.

Freezing tomatoes is one great way to store them and makes sure the tomatoes are perfect for use in soups, chilis, and sauces. There are multiple variations on how to freeze tomatoes depending on the result you want, roasted, pureed, with or without skin and seeds. Cedar Circle farm has all these variations listed on their site. The one we’ll talk about here is the simplest version.

The straight freeze method for tomatoes. Wash your tomatoes, core them and cut them to the size you desire. Place the chopped tomatoes in a freezer bag, remove excess air from bag by squeezing or sucking it out with a straw, and store them in your freezer. It’s a good idea to date the bag you put them in so that you can tell how close they are to expiring.

The next season features many different types of squash that you can choose from and cook with. Pumpkin, acorn, butternut, buttercup, spaghetti, delicta, and carnival are among the common varieties. You can cook and store all your squash in the same way.

Once a squash is cut open you can store it in a plastic bag and keep it in the fridge for up to a week, or you can cut it into cubes and keep it in the freezer, you can freeze cooked or uncooked squash just the same.

For cooking, make sure you start by cutting the squash in half, then cut out the seeds with a spoon. To cook whole, place the cut side down on a lasagna dish. Add about ¼ of water to the pan and bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until you can easily poke through the squash with a fork.

Squash can also be cut into pieces and steamed, boiled, or baked. If the squash skin is thin, like that of butternut or delicata you don’t have to peel it so long as you don’t mind the fibrous texture. When cooking the squash whole, you can scoop the flesh out of the skin after it is cooked and even save the skin to be pureed for use in a variety of other recipes that can be found on cedarcirclefarm.org.

Lastly, from May-June green garlic is grown and sold at Cedar Circle Farm. This garlic is harvested before the scape, or flower bud can form. According to their website, green garlic is the perfect crop to get you through the time between old storage garlic and the fresh garlic harvest which is still a month away. Use green garlic like you would scallions, including the green leaves which you can chop fine, sauté, or caramelize as you wish.

Now, after keeping these tips for storing and cooking food on hand it’s good to have a recipe on hand as well, one you can use as soon as possible. You can get bok choy right now at Cedar Circle Farm all through August. With bok choy, ginger, and garlic you can make a quick healthy saute.

You will need:

  • 2 tbsp of cooking oil (peanut oil works great for stir-frying)
  • 1 ½ lbs of bok choy
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely minced
  • 1-2 tsp of fresh ginger grated
  • 3 tbsp of water or any combination of water, broth or cooking oil
  • Soy sauce to taste
  • ½-1 tsp sesame oil

 

Trim the bottom stem of the bok choy (don’t remove it completely). Separate the leaves, keeping the baby leaves intact.

Add the oil, ginger, and garlic to a cold wok or large saute pan (this keeps the ginger and garlic from burning). Turn the heat to medium-high. Let the ginger and garlic gently cook until they become fragrant and lightly colored.

Add the bok choy to the pan, toss and turn very well until all the leaves are covered with the gingery, garlicky oil. Add the water, or liquid of your choice, cover, and let steam for a minute or two.

Season to taste with soy sauce or sesame oil.

Now you’re ready for some seasonal cooking with the help of Cedar Circle Farm produce and recipes.

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