Week 4 – Roasted Beets and Carrots with Za’atar

Welcome to week four of the pie share and the second savory pie – Roasted Beets and Carrots with Za’atar.

You may not immediately think of beets and carrots as great summer vegetables, but they are wonderful, season-long staples that don’t mind the peak heat in the summer and only get sweeter with the cold temps of the fall!  Tomatoes and other beautiful late-summer veggies like eggplants and peppers are just around the corner.

This week’s pie has a Middle Eastern slant and features both labne, a strained yogurt, and a traditional spice mix called za’atar.  Za’atar formulations vary slightly throughout the region, but the Lebanese version we are using today features thyme, oregano, sesame seeds, and sumac.

The beets and carrots come to you by way of one of our two farm partners, Brookwood Community Farm.  Brookwood was started in 2006 on an historic dairy farm situated within the Blue Hills in Milton.  The farm has expanded from an initial CSA of under 10 members to more than 250 members taking part in a four-season CSA.  From one acre of cultivation initially, they now grow on three different sites totaling just over five acres.

Brookwood’s 2013 Farm Staff & Just-Washed Carrots

As a community farm, Brookwood is committed to more than growing delicious food.  The farm provides educational and volunteer opportunities for youth and adults and supports a variety of food access initiatives.  They helped found a farmers market in the nearby Mattapan neighborhood and now provide food for that market and for a bicycle-powered mobile market in the neighborhood. More than 10% of the farm’s harvest is donated to local food pantries.  For those of you unfamiliar with Brookwood, you can find more info on their website: www.brookwoodcommunityfarm.org.

Thanks, as always, to the dedicated farm staff at Brookwood and all of the farms we source from, who are growing some delectable vegetables.

Enjoy your pie and we’ll see you in two weeks on the sweet side (we’re hoping the apricot season hangs on until then…).

Week 3 – Cherry Clafoutis Pie

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Week 3 of the pie share brings you a sweet pie… Cherry Clafoutis Pie

Clafoutis (pronounced kla-foo-tee) is a traditional dessert from the Limousin region of France which is essentially a custard batter baked over fruit. A clafoutis is most commonly made with cherries and purists would insist that the cherry pit should remain inside the cherry, as it imparts a delicate, almond-y flavor. We thought you might not appreciate eating a dessert full of pits, so we’ve approximated that flavor with some organic almond extract. And we’ve made our clafoutis in pie form, which makes for easier slicing, as the fruit and custard are surrounded by a delicious, buttery crust.

Because this pie is essentially a custard made with fresh egg, yogurt, and cream, it should be kept in the refrigerator unless you are going to eat it right away.

cherries

This week’s cherries come from a wonderful farm located in Wrentham called The Big Apple. As the name would suggest, they are famous for their apples, but they also grow an incredible variety of fruits that are not widely cultivated in Massachusetts. They are one of just a small number of farms that grow cherries and apricots, as well as more common stone fruits such as peaches and plums.

The Big Apple is run by John and Peg Morse and has been in the Morse family since 1950. The farm actually sits on Pine Hedge Orchard, but has become known as The Big Apple for the large carved wooden apple that sits out in front of the farm store. The Morses have traced the farm back to the late 1700s and have a great farm history posted on their website. In the early 1900s the farm was largely run as a nursery and many of the trees ended up in the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain.

The Big Apple has a great pick-your-own operation and is currently picking raspberries and blueberries. Call ahead for picking information, as conditions may change rapidly with the weather.

eggs

Our eggs are again from Sweetfern Farm in Rutland. The idea for Sweetfern Farm started in November 2011 when Kate and Anthony bought their 1865 farmhouse.  Twenty short months later, these self-taught farmers find themselves tending to their flock of Shetland sheep, pasture-raised chickens and turkeys, beehives, large gardens, and of course, their fantastic flock of laying hens.

Named for the fragrant New England-native shrub found ubiquitous around the farm, Kate and Ant are committed to using sustainable farming practices to keep the animals, plants, and soil healthy so that they may farm there for many years to come. Though still very much in a growing phase, they welcome visitors to their mellow little farm.

Their award-winning eggs are available fresh at the farm daily.  Their fresh chicken and lamb will be available in late summer, and turkeys in time for Thanksgiving.  Plans for 2014 include pastured pork and Devon beef.  Wool products and wildflower honey will be available for the 2013 holiday season.

Week 2 – Chard, scapes, scallions, goat cheese

This week’s savory pie features beautiful produce – the chard, garlic scapes, and scallions are all from there – from one of our partner farms, Powisset Farm in Dover.  Powisset is a CSA farm run by the nonprofit Trustees of the Reservations.  Look out for more info about both Powisset and Brookwood Farms and their incredible farm staff in the coming weeks.

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In addition to the produce, the delicious eggs in the pie filling came from Sweetfern Farm in Rutland, MA. Their flock of happy, heirloom chickens gave us quite an assortment of colorful and huge local eggs.

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For those who purchased a sweet pie, the strawberries and rhubarb come to us by way of Lanni Orchards.  This is the tail end of the season for these two crops, so we were quite excited to get them in the nick of time.  Lanni Orchards is a 300 acre farm located in Lunenburg, MA.  The farm is celebrating its 50th year in production this year.  The third generation of Lanni’s are now running the farm, started by Pasquale and Rosa Lanni when they immigrated from Avellino, Italy in the early 1960s. Lanni Orchards is primarily known for its large apple orchard and extensive controlled atmosphere storage – allowing for premium quality apples to emerge from storage well into the spring. But Lanni grows and harvests a wide range of fruits and vegetables before apple season even begins.

If you have children in many of the greater Boston school districts, including Dover-Sherborn, Milton, or Brookline, they are likely to have sampled Lanni apples at some point in the school cafeteria.  Lanni is one of the state’s largest providers of local foods to schools – selling everything from apples and pears to farm fresh pickles.