Blue Potatoes and Organic Certification


By Clotilde Hryshko

The following is the CSA newsletter I gave out during pickups the week of 8/30/10. 

Last year I finally found a blue flesh/blue skin potato that tasted great and was versatile in the kitchen.  I celebrated Labor Day with the CSA by giving them to you that week.  I continue the tradition again this year.  These Purple Majesty potatoes are excellent for potato salad, mashed, roasted, fried or any other use on a (expected) cool Labor Day weekend.  It’s also my not so subtle way of reminding you to honor the physical labor of others.

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How I Spent My Summer Vacation


By Clotilde Hryshko

Thanks and recognition goes to some of the friends of my daughter Marya – Ellie, Gabe, Kim, Marya and Nick – for their efforts on the wood stacking and garlic harvest. These jobs are perfect for the young teens – a chance for some money, camaraderie, and that critical opportunity to do a job and see its completion. I’m sure they won’t remember them as the best days of their vacation but the other parents and I will continue to be smug about its importance.

My summer vacation is really more of a flip-flop. Jim took the girls away for 10 days. They traveled to Alaska where he has a brother and a sister. They camped and went salmon fishing, meeting up with more family. Marya caught 2 fish this year and the youngest, Yelena, caught one (fly-fishing).

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Beets Not Radishes


by Clotilde Hryshko

The picture is of a bunch of Chioggia beets, destined for Rachel and Shale’s house. They are my favorite beet for summertime beets, though not for winter storage. You slice thinly – no peeling! – sauté with garlic, and add a dash of plum vinegar. Serve warm or cold.

But this isn’t about beets, except they made a great picture the day my elder daughter, Marya, was helping me with CSA prep. People seeing them for the first time easily mistake them for radishes – unless they look at the leaves.

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Solstice Greetings


By Clotilde Hryshko   

In the 1991 movie Raise the Red Lantern, the character played by Gong Li was wife #4 to a lord of a powerful family in 1920’s China.  The wives all ate together and they knew each other’s status partially based on the food served.  Gong Li’s character always desired spinach and tofu.  The movie stuck and replayed in my head for many reasons but her continual requests for this dish became my fixation.   

Many years later at the end of a rainy June market we had lots of spinach left.  I wasn’t in the mood to freeze it and took the opportunity to finally come up with my version of “spinach and tofu”.  I crumbled tofu with scallions in a skillet and cooked them until the water had evaporated.  The spinach I steamed in batches and when cool squeezed out any excess water.  I added the chopped spinach to the tofu, salting to taste.  From there I used this as my filling for egg rolls.  It became one of my favorite dinners to make for Father’s Day.  I take no credit for how well the tofu and spinach work together.  Nor is there any claim to authenticity.  I serve the egg rolls with a sesame-chili paste, sometimes adding peanuts.  Continue reading

Tribute to a Working Woman


By Clotilde Hryshko 

Jim’s grandmother, Earline, recently passed away. This is said not to elicit a reaction but to explain my current thoughts and possible obsessions. 

Simply put, she worked. She was a college educated woman who became a mill worker. She and her husband enjoyed gardening. They subscribed to Organic Gardening, planted an apple orchard and a blueberry patch. They earned extra income tending a market garden and selling the produce to The Woodstock Inn in Woodstock, Vermont. All this before these activities were fashionable or part of a marketing campaign.  Continue reading

Late Frost and Two Spring Dinners


By Clotilde Hryshko

[Clotilde began chronicling her Vermont farm last week. Here she brings some of her earliest crops into the kitchen, and it sounds wonderful. -mb]

Last Sunday it spit snow until mid-afternoon. I spent some of that time finishing my onion transplanting, going inside twice for more layers. Before heading in I planted two Ann Magnolia trees I had received that morning for Mother’s Day. But the evening meal was mine to make because the previous week I had been unable to find the time to cook a proper birthday dinner for Jim. I had made wontons stuffed with a pea-shallot filling that would be served in a garlic-lemon broth and a fun appetizer of jalapeño poppers, and I was rounding out the offerings with a farm version of spring rolls. 

We were expecting a cold week with several nights of frost. I picked all the asparagus I could, snapping off anything above the ground (these would be lost otherwise); I sautéed them in sesame oil. Other fillings for the rolls were rice, pan-fried tofu, cashews, carrots, and pickled ginger. I had cilantro to make a dipping sauce with. I had extra seedlings of Thai and lime basil that I snipped to also contribute.  Continue reading

Twenty Years


By Clotilde Hryshko

[Clotilde runs a farm near my father-in-law’s house in central Vermont. I drive over and buy whatever she has when I’m there, and it’s always amazing. (I’m still using garlic and potatoes she sold me in December.) She works the farm with her husband Jim and two daughters. (And those kids work!) When she’s not farming, parenting, or cooking, she teaches at Vermont Technical College. And we’re lucky enough to have her as a weekly contributor here at – mb]

In less than a month, Jim and I will have lived in the same place for 20 years. At the time, the field was plowed to the road, the backyard a semi-circle that protected some rhubarb and the leach field. That Memorial Day Weekend, Jim built a stone wall off our front porch that sits twenty feet from a state highway. I spent the weekend putting in our vegetable garden and  the start of a flower garden. When we when back to our day jobs on the Tuesday, we were naievely satisfied with our progress.

Summer commenced and we continued to work outside: That’s why we bought the place. We’d walked the land many times, examining the soil, checking the quality of the sugar maples, verifying that we could have a swimming hole – and digesting our first impressions. The land was our interest; the 15 minutes we’d spent walking through the house was enough to know that we weren’t buying it for the interior luxuries.

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