Delicious Cornbread

The days are definitely getting longer, but the cold is still with us.  There's nothing like a good pan of cornbread to combat the chill.  Especially when it's made with fresh ground cornmeal that was grown, shelled and ground right here at the farm. 

Dad is the official cornbread maker.  He doesn't actually measure anything, rarely consults the recipe, and occasionally forgets to include ingredients, but somehow it always comes out great. 

Tonight I went a different route from dad's classic, slightly sweet cornbread, and tried out Anna Thomas' Jalapeno and Cheese Cornbread. (Anna Thomas. "The New Vegetarian Epicure" Alfred A. Knopf, 1996.)  So, I've heard people say that you should never bring an untried recipe to a potluck, but I'm gonna live dangerously and do it anyway!

Jalapeno and Cheese Cornbread

Cornmeal and flour, jalapeno peppers, cheddar cheese, onions, fresh corn, milk and eggs-this bread is the entire food pyramid in one dish.  When you mix it up and bake it, it comes out crunchy, chewy, a little bit spicy, and a little bit sweet-in short, just a great cornbread.  The jalapenos, searingly hot when raw, lose a lot of their fire when baked in a batter, so don't be afraid to use them.

  • 1 1/3 cups white flour
  • 2 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 2tsp salt
  • 5 tsp baking
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 fresh jalapeno peppers
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 4 oz coarsely grated cheddar cheese

Sift together into a mixing bowl the flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder and sugar.

Heat together the milk, corn kernels and butter, until the butter melts.  Scoop out some of the corn kernels and set them aside, then process the mixture briefly in a blender, just enough to chop up the corn roughly.  Add back the whole corn kernels.

Beat the eggs in a bowl, and beat in the warm milk and corn mixture.  Stir the liquid into the dry ingredients.  Seed and chop the jalapenos, and stir them into the batter, along with the chopped onion and grated cheese.

Spoon the mixture evenly into a large (9 x 13 inch) buttered baking dish.  Bake at 425 degrees for about 35 minutes, or until the bread is puffed up, the top is golden brown, and a thin knife inserted near the middle comes out clean.  Serve hot or warm, cut in squares.

Bacon would also be a great addition, though I didn't think of it in time for this batch.  Adding scallions or chives would add some nice color to go with the onion flavor too.  Next time!  Fingers crossed that it goes over well at the potluck.

Another season gone

New Year's Resolution: Post more regularly.  Clearly I've been neglecting this. 

The holidays came and went in a bit of a whirlwind of food, friends, family and my folk's first grandchild.  My nephew is a cutie, but at only 6 months old, not a very disciplined farmer yet.  We'll see if we can shape him up when they come back in the spring! 


As usual at this time of year, I am full of ideas for next year.  How will we make 2015 an even better year than 2014?   What projects will we take on?  What new crops will we grow?  What events will we plan at the farm?  The list of possibilities is still too long to be practical, but we'll narrow it down.  We have started the process: after talking about it for the last 4 years, we have finally ordered up 4 colonies of honey bees. 

Our 2014 season was our most successful yet.  We continue to get a little more efficient every year, increasing the quality, quantity and variety of what we are able to grow.  Thanks to everyone who came out to support us all season at our markets and events. 

So welcome to 2015, and the start of our 5th growing season.  I'll have updated CSA information soon (being a bit technology challenged, it'll happen as soon as I figure out how) though the information hasn't changed much.  And in the meantime if you're interested in buying eggs, garlic, potatoes or carrots let us know and we can make arrangements for you to come out to the farm to get them.

You can also find our stuff in the fine fare from the folks at The Gleanery.  If you've never been, you're missing out!

CSA's are great!

Let’s talk about CSAs.   While it may seem early to you, it is in fact a good time to be looking into the possibilities if you’re interested in joining a CSA this summer.  So first, let’s begin with an explanation.

What is a CSA?

Seeding continues in the greenhouse as spring is right around the corner.

Seeding continues in the greenhouse as spring is right around the corner.

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  The basic concept is that you as a consumer make a commitment to a farm in the form of paying in advance (usually in the winter when a farmers working capital is low) for the right to a “share” of fresh produce every week for a prescribed number of weeks.  Many of the farmers you meet at farmers markets also have a CSA program. 

The concept was born in the 1960’s in Japan at a time when more of the food available was being imported to Japan rather than being grown locally, which corresponded with a loss of active farmland in the country. As this phenomenon was recognized, community members got together with farmers to address the situation in ways that were mutually beneficial.  Contracts were signed where farmers agreed to provide fresh local produce when the families made a commitment to support the farm. Together they took a risk (as agriculture always involves risk) in the hopes of gaining something they’d been missing: fresh food and financial support respectively.

It didn’t make it the US until the mid 80’s where it was renamed Community Supported Agriculture, and since then has continued to grow in popularity. It’s a wonderfully flexible concept that can be tailored to farmers needs, and with so many options available to the consumer, folks who are interested are very likely to find the CSA that best fits their needs as well. 

That’s my synopsis of the concept, but if you’re interested in some words from Robyn Van En, one of the founders of community supported agriculture here in the US, some 30 years ago, check out this website:

This site has some background on the concept as well:

Our CSA program

At the Lost Barn Farm our CSA runs for 20 weeks, or most of June thru October.  We offer 2 share sizes, plus the option of a “market share” for folks whose families are perhaps less flexible about their vegetable choices.  We include fruit in the shares when we have it, and offer a limited number of separate egg shares. 

Full share example shares from 2013:

  • week 2: 1 lb rhubarb, pint strawberries, 1/4 lb garlic scapes, 1 bunch salad turnips, 1 lb cauliflower, 1 1/2 lb fennel, 1 bunch kale, 1/2 lb pea shoots
  • week 10: 3 cloves duganski garlic, 1 1/2 lbs Augusta potatoes, 2 european cukes, 2 lbs summer squash, 1 bunch edamame, 1 bunch Swiss chard, 1 lb tomatoes, 1 bunch Walla Walla sweet onions, 6 ears sweet corn
  • week 20: 1 butternut squash, 1 stalk Brussels sprouts, 1 1/2 lbs parsnips, 1 bunch atlas carrots, 2 lbs sweet potatoes, 2 lbs red & yellow onions, 1 bunch celeriac, 2 lbs peppers, 1 bunch kale, 1 bunch broccoli rabe

Most of our CSA members pick up on Wednesdays, either at our booth at the Brattleboro farmers market in front of the Bratt Co-op, or here at the farm in East Putney.  Members can also choose to pick up at the Saturday farmers market in West Brattleboro, or the Sunday farmers market in Putney across from the Co-op.  

For more specifics about our program, as well as our 2014 CSA agreement form, toggle on over to our CSA page, under the header "What we Do" at the top of the page.  You'll also find some of the reasons to join a CSA, and a list of the crops we plan to grow.

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Hello from East Putney


Happy New Year!  And holy cannoli has it been a cold one so far.  Neither the chickens nor the guineas have been venturing far from their coops (though the weather hasn’t slowed the egg production in our hardy hens.)  For that matter, we humans haven’t been spending much time out of doors either.  Definitely indoor project weather, though we did have a snap of milder weather that allowed our friend to come prune our young orchard earlier this month.  (Thanks Gay!)  The poor peach trees in particular took a beating this past summer when they set so many fruit that branches were broken from the weight of the peaches.  They should all be happier this year now that they’ve had such excellent “haircuts.”  We should all be so lucky!


After much time spent comparing the offerings of the many seed catalogs we received (somehow the number grows every year), the seeds are ordered and mostly delivered. The seeding greenhouse is ready to start planting tomorrow.  Celery, celeriac, onions, shallots, and leeks, as well as a few herbs, the artichokes, and for the first time here at the Lost Barn Farm, cardoons will all be started anew this week.



I get every bit as excited about seed catalogs as an adult as I used to get about the toy section of my grandmothers old department store catalogs as a child.  While I can’t get everything in them that looks good, I can at least get some of the wondrous things, which makes the seed catalogs much better than grandma’s “wishbooks” that never yielded any actual toys.  Seed catalogs are really books full of possibilities.  What new adventures will be realized in the fields this year because of them? Stay tuned to find out more updates on the comings and goings, and a few meanderings from here on the farm.

Stay warm, Marisa


Guest Post: September 18th Share

Greetings, folks! 

The mystery CSA blogger has returned at last. Apologies for my long absence: the summer was much more full than I had anticipated when I agreed to write for this blog. Is that normally the case these days? Life can become overrun with commitments if I'm not careful; something I fall prey to easily.  

Which is actually one reason I've been super thankful for my CSA share this season-- I've been busy! In a previous post, I started off the season with a sort of caveat emptor, reminding readers that share pickup day is a pretty big commitment (you've got to process fresh food quickly if you want to use it, rather than compost it!). While that has certainly proven true, I also have not had to worry about purchasing very much in the way of fresh veggies this summer (sorry co-op and farmers' market!). Even better, my paltry attempts at a garden didn't stress me out in the least. Each week we've had plenty of fresh veggies to eat, and by the time Wednesdays roll around, we've been ready to see what's new in the share and, as most of you know, the food has been just incredible.

So for my first post in over 2 months, I'd like to share with you my new favorite go-to ingredient: Miso Butter. This is more than a one-hit wonder, folks. Give it a try next time you find yourself cooking up another "boring" vegetable dish, and you'll soon find reason to use it again and again. By simply combining equal parts white miso and soft, unsalted butter, you create a substance that is as good spread on toast as it is tossed with pasta. Pair it up with some scallions and corn (and bacon, if you like) and you've got something truly divine on your plate (a la David Chang). 

I discovered this post on last week, titled "1 Batch of Miso Butter, 6 Dinners,"  in which Kristi Mucci created six very different meals using this one, all-star ingredient. I realized then that I had come late to the game as far as Miso Butter goes, but I won't let that stop me from sharing it with you here. Because good news is always welcome.

The September 18th share, minus 3 gorgeous Russet potatoes.

The September 18th share, minus 3 gorgeous Russet potatoes.

Since Food52 does such a great job showing a variety of preparations for miso butter, I'll let you head over to Kristi's article for recipes. Tonight at our house, we'll be making homemade pasta noodles (already cooked and leftover from the weekend) with currant tomatoes from today's share and miso butter. On the side, a little salad with those wonderful, spicy salad greens, and some sliced radishes atop sourdough toasts with fresh goat cheese.  

Tomorrow night I plan to cook up those purple green beans with, you guessed it, miso butter, to go with poached eggs from the farm and another spicy salad with a sweet, peachy vinaigrette. 

Later in the week we'll pan fry those gorgeous russets (cheers to that new potato digger, Marisa!)  and maybe finish them with chopped garlic and miso butter. I'm also thinking that the salty-sweet condiment would be a good finishing butter for those radish greens, which are a favorite of mine.

How about those pears, though? Can you think of ways to slather miso butter on them? Let me know in the comments, and happy cooking all!

Guest Post: June 26th Share

When I got to the farm last Wednesday, the clouds had just parted after a major rainfall. A huge puddle, the size of a miniature pond, had formed in the driveway. Given the weather we've had since then I'll bet that pond's grown, and then some!

Not such great weather for strawberries, which were on their way out when I spoke to Marisa that day. Ah, the fleeting fruits of summer. I've read some pretty fun-sounding recipes for fancy jams and preserves this week (Pickled Strawberry Jam whaa?), but ultimately I prefer my berries one at a time, shared with someone I love.

Graceful Scallions

June 26th Share: 

Baby Bok Choy


Garlic scapes

Kohlrabi (with greens)

Mustard greens

Sugar Snap and Snow Peas (green and yellow!)



So what did we do with our share?

The food coming out of our kitchen has been super simple as of late. Whether it's the weather, or just the freshness of the ingredients, I've been craving super-simple combinations. Easy on the budget, and the dishes too!

Have I mentioned how much I love greens? I do. I eat them daily, and my favorite might be greens and eggs for breakfast. I've done this with the mustard greens, kohlrabi tops and bok choy (mixed greens are extra yummy!). Simply wash and chop, then steam in a pan until any water clinging to the leaves has evaporated. Add some oil, salt, pepper, soy sauce, maybe a dash of vinegar, and once they're cooked just toss them on a plate, rinse the pan and cook your egg (scrambled or over-easy, depending on the day). I call it "superhero food." 

The photogenic Kohlrabi

The garlic scapes I diced and fried in a cast iron pan with Two-Potato Hash (russet and sweet potato). The remaining scapes I plan to cook two ways: half I'll use to gussy-up some leftover roast chicken and olives. And I've got a real hankering for Sweet Pea Risotto, one of my favorite dishes ever, which will only be enhanced by adding garlic scapes.

I don't have any formal "recipes" to share with you today, but never fear brave reader! There is an extensive library of recipes, tailored just for you CSA shareholders, right here on this website. So after you're done here, I hope you'll head on over to the CSA Recipe Library and find some inspiration. 

 Until next week! Ever faithfully,  The Mystery Blogger


Guest Post: June 19th Share

The first thing I thought when my hubby brought our share home this week: Strawberries! Those ruby-red jewels are the most welcome sign of summer I know. The weather has been perfect for strawberries, and the flavor of these really shows it; they're lovely and sweet. Perfect with a drizzle of honey and a dollop of yogurt for breakfast.


Not that I got to have any for breakfast; between the three of us, my family quickly demolished our share. But if I were planning to share a recipe for the strawberries with you this week, it would be for a salad of Pea Shoots, Strawberries and Goat Cheese, using some of those fabulously tender pea shoots pictured above. (Side note: if you don't currently know a good supply of fresh, local goat cheese, Hollyhock Farm Chevre is sold at the Putney Farmers Market on Sundays, and it is so very good. Do try it sometime!)

What I'll share with you this week are two recipes that are simple, delicious, and easy to modify based on what's on hand in your kitchen. The first is using the garlic scapes which I was so very happy to see in this week's box from Marisa. You simply grill the scapes, chop them up, and combine them with other savory/salty/briny/acid/grilled ingredients to create a sort of condiment, which is wonderful enjoyed with other grilled things, like meat, veggies and bread. Best of all, though, it only gets better after a few days in the fridge.

Tying the scapes in knots helps them stay on the grill (rather than falling between the grates)

Tying the scapes in knots helps them stay on the grill (rather than falling between the grates)

Grilled Garlic Scape Relish 


A bundle of garlic scapes, tied in knots

Olive oil, for misting

Salt and pepper 

A fire and grill grate

Optional ingredients: Fresh or dried herbs like parsley, basil, thyme, oregano, chives; chopped olives; grated parmesan, crumbled feta, or soft chevre; other grilled things like red onions, bell peppers, zucchini and squash, or fresh corn, all chopped up; oil and vinegar; red pepper flakes


Heat your grill grate over a hot fire. Brush or mist olive oil onto clean, dry garlic scape knots. Once the fire has died down to coals, grill the scapes. Transfer to a bowl and toss with some coarse sea salt, if you've got it. (Kosher works too.)

Chop your scapes into 1/8th-inch bits. Toss the scapes with any of the previously mentioned ingredients. Taste as you mix, and adjust the seasoning, adding olive oil and vinegar as needed. The longer you let it sit, the more the flavors will develop. Store any leftover in the fridge; keeps for about a week.

Grilled scapes in the bowl.

The second recipe I'd like to share was alluded to in my last blog post. It's a riff on April Bloomfield's Radish Salad, from her incredible book, A Girl and Her Pig. The basic idea is to use your hands, rather than a spatula or spoon, to squeeze and work the ingredients of the salad. What results is a well-dressed salad that is savory and satisfying. You can substitute this week's Haikurei Turnips for the thinly sliced radishes if you've already eaten the radishes from last week. Fresh herbs make a nice addition, and salad mix will work if you're not lucky enough to possess the pea shoots.

Radish and Pea Shoots Salad 


2 or 3 radishes, thinly (and I mean thinly) sliced

A few ounces feta cheese, crumbled

A large handful of pea shoots

A glug of good oil (I used untoasted Sesame Oil; olive is fine) 

Coarse sea salt

Cracked Pepper

A dash of Cider or White Wine (or Chive Blossom?) Vinegar

Instructions:  Toss the radishes in a bowl with a pinch of salt. Add the feta and mix with your hands, squeezing and squishing to distribute the flavors. Add the pea shoots, pour on some oil and a dash of vinegar, and mix with your hands until the oil and cheese seem distributed. Taste, adjust seasoning, and pile high on a salad plate. Pour yourself a glass of wine, grab a fork, and dig in. Radishes (or salad turnips!) have never tasted this good. 

This simple salad is unconscionably delicious!

Guest Post: Chive Blossom Vinegar

Cooking with fresh herbs is certainly one of my favorite things about summer, and chives I love especially, since they are the first perennial to pop up in my garden each spring. For months I add them to omelets, soups, sauces; their versatility is unmatched. Chive blossoms are delicious too, but who could possibly keep up with their prolific nature?

Luckily herb vinegars are a great way to preserve large quantities of flavor, without having to break out the solar or electric dehydrator. They also take up relatively little space in the cupboard (as opposed to bags and bags of dried herbs), and vinegar is something that most of us use at least once a day.

Here is my simple recipe for Chive Blossom Vinegar. (You can use this method for other fresh herbs as well, even creating your own blends!)

Step 1: Wash Chive Blossoms

Step 2: Spin them dry (or allow to air dry on towels) 

Which vinegar you choose to use might just depend on what you've got on hand...

Which vinegar you choose to use might just depend on what you've got on hand...

The trusty salad spinner is your friend. 

The trusty salad spinner is your friend. 

Step 3: Pack blossoms into a mason jar (the June 12th CSA share provided enough for one pint) 

Step 4: Fill with vinegar-- any old kind will do. Heck, even go for a mixture of vinegars, if you're feeling frisky. (For this batch, I used a mixture of white wine and cider vinegar.)

Step 5: Cover with a tight lid and label with the date. 

It's really that easy. 

If you use metal lids and rings, put a piece of parchment paper on the jar before tightening the lid (the acid will corrode the metal). If you're using plastic lids, no parchment necessary.

Two weeks really isn't that long to wait.... 

Two weeks really isn't that long to wait.... 

Once you've finished this very complicated procedure, store your work in a cool, dark cupboard. After only a few hours, you'll notice the vinegar turns a lovely violet color. After a few days, it deeps into an almost magenta. After two or three weeks, this garnet-colored liquid is ready for you to strain and enjoy. Store it in a clean bottle at room temperature, basically until....

If you're not experienced with using herb vinegar, I would suggest that you start with a simple vinaigrette; tossed with some of Marisa's Outstanding Salad Mix, you'll be able to appreciate the not-too-subtle nuance of this peppery concoction. 

I hope you're enjoying these blog posts so far. And I hope to see all of you faithful Lost Barn CSA subscribers this Saturday, at the first Farm Potluck of the season! And if you'll bring a dish using ingredients from this week's veggie share, I'd love to swap recipes and share yours on the blog!