Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Health is Our Wealth

By Andrea Yoder

“People are fed by the food industry, which pays no attention to health, and are treated by the health industry, which pays no attention to food.”—Wendell Berry

Since the 1990’s our food supply has changed dramatically.  When I was a kid Cheerios were pretty safe to eat, but now they are laced with glyphosate residues.  Now foods made from GMO (genetically modified organisms) crops are widespread within our food system and until recently we had no way of knowing if a food contained GMOs or not.  Some products are now labeled, but there is still a big void for most consumers about the negative impact GMO crops and their production system are having on both human and environmental health.  The six main GMO crops being produced now are corn, soy, cotton, canola, sugar beets and alfalfa.  Additionally, GMO salmon, papaya, potatoes, apples, sweet corn, zucchini and yellow squash are also being produced but in lesser amounts. 

Jeffery Smith is the founder of The Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT) which has become “a world leader in educating policy makers and the public about genetically modified (GM) foods and crops.”  Mr. Smith recently released a film entitled Secret Ingredients that is now available to the public.  Richard and I had the opportunity to watch the movie earlier this week and would like to share a little glimpse of the movie as well as encourage everyone to take the time to watch it. 

Kathleen DiChiara (photo from her website)
The goal of the movie was to bring greater awareness to the public about the relationship between foods containing GMOs and toxic chemicals, such as glyphosate, and the vast array of chronic illnesses and health problems that are on the rise in our country including obesity, infertility, cancer, digestive disorders, autism, brain fog, skin disorders, gluten sensitivity, allergies, chronic fatigue, asthma, anxiety and many more.  The movie starts off with the story of Kathleen DiChiara  and her family including three young sons.  Kathleen was a well-educated person, a loving mother, an athlete attentive to health and thought she was eating a healthy diet.  Then the health of her family started to unravel.  She herself experienced an array of debilitating symptoms leading to a surgery that left her with paralysis as well as chronic pain in addition to the other symptoms she was experiencing including irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, rashes and more.  She went from participating in triathlons to being in a wheelchair and lost her job due to her disabilities.  At the same time she was trying to raise a young family, but was challenged by caring for her oldest son who was diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder, an autism spectrum disorder.  She also had a son struggling with asthma as well as a third son who had extensive and painful skin rashes covering his body.  Altogether, their family of 5 had 21 chronic health disorders.  As she and her husband struggled to figure out how to heal their family, her research led her to their food.  She didn’t realize the food she was eating and feeding her children was what was making them so sick.  When their family committed to eating an organic and GMO-free diet, their bodies healed and they were able to regain their health.  Their story is both heartbreaking as well as full of joy as they now living strong, vibrant lives they can enjoy.  In the movie, Kathleen made the statement “I chose to take my family out of this human experiment.” 

This movie also included interviews with physicians including Dr. Michelle Perro, author of “What’s Making Our Children Sick?” and Dr. David Perlmutter, renowned neurologist and author of multiple books including his most recent entitled “Grain Brain.”  Both of these physicians have years of clinical experience and have seen the dramatic improvements on health in patients who remove GMO foods from their diet and eat only organic food.  They speak extensively in the movie about the gut microbiome.  The healthy bacteria in our bodies are the gate keepers for our system, keeping our digestive tract intact and preventing foreign proteins, toxins, and allergens from entering our system.  They regulate inflammation in our bodies and have an extensive role in our brain chemistry.  The problem is that the chemical glyphosate, which is used extensively in conjunction with GMO plants, relies on a pathway to kill plants (weeds) called the shikimate pathway.  Humans don’t utilize this pathway, thus it has been said that GMO crops and glyphosate are safe for humans.  Unfortunately, this is a lie.  The bacteria in our gut are impacted by this pathway and exposure to GMO crops and glyphosate can cause extensive damage to our gut microbiome, leaving our systems vulnerable to attack from all the things these bacteria are meant to protect us from. 

There is much more depth of information in the movie than I can present here, but I do encourage you to take the time to watch the movie and see it for yourself.  Throughout the movie, it becomes clear that organic and non-GMO food is no longer just a lifestyle, but rather can be a life saver.  They also acknowledged that food can be deceiving.  If you put organic food and GMO foods side by side you likely won’t be able to tell the difference.  You can’t see the pesticides and herbicides they contain and you can’t see the allergens or novel proteins that can harm you.  Food is supposed to be our life force and bring vitality, not disease and destruction to our bodies.  Kathleen made an interesting point that it can be “Socially Inconvenient” to eat organic.  It’s hard to eat out and it’s hard to eat on the go or when you are traveling.  However, for those who are committed to eating this way, there are ways to overcome these challenges.  Kathleen and her family are very intentional about their diet.  They eat before they go out or pack snacks to take with them.  If going to a birthday party or the like, they take their own dessert made with organic ingredients.  They’ve also made friends with other families who are like-minded and they have dinner parties together.  They have experienced first-hand the impact high quality, nutrient dense food that is free from chemicals and GMOs can have on their health and ability to enjoy their lives, and that isn’t’ something they’re about to trade for a little bit of convenience.

I’m going to close with a few lines from a song that was played at the end of the movie.  The lyrics are simple, but powerful.  “Health is wealth, it’s the gift we give ourselves.  Health is wealth, don’t leave it to no one else….Give me food that’s grown on farms with butterflies & bees.”

November 29, 2018 - This Week's Box Contents, Featuring Storage Turnips

Cooking With This Week's Box

Italian Garlic: Roasted Garlic Hummus

Spaghetti Squash: Spaghetti Squash Fritters

Scarlet Turnips:  Chicken Pot Pie (see below);  Cornish Pasty (Meat Hand-Pies) (see below)

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Did you stick with the familiar traditional foods or did you try some new recipes? We’re entering into our final month of the year, the cold has set in and the snow is flying.  Doesn’t it make you want to hunker down and cook comfort food?! 

Lets kick off this week’s cooking adventure with two traditional recipes for winter comfort food that will make use of the sweet scarlet turnips which are this week’s featured vegetable.  The first recipe is my version of a Chicken Pot Pie (see below).  While I usually make pot pie with chicken, you could also turn this into a vegetarian dish by omitting the chicken and using vegetable stock.  Pot pies usually have a pie crust topping, but I’ve never been a fan of that so I always make mine with a crispy biscuit topping that includes a little cheddar cheese.  This is hearty enough for a full meal, so we generally just eat it for dinner with a little bit of cranberry jelly on the side to complement the rich, creamy gravy.  The second featured recipe this week is for Cornish Pasties (pronounced past-E) (see below).  These are kind of like the original hot pocket and are a traditional food of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula thanks to the Cornish miners who immigrated there in the 1800’s.  Pasties are one of their national dishes and they took them with them for lunch when they were working down in the mines.  They generally consist of some kind of beef and/or pork along with potatoes, rutabagas or turnips, carrots, onions and in modern versions there may be some dried herb and garlic.  They have a flaky, crispy, buttery pastry that encloses a hearty filling.  They are sturdy enough that you can hold them in your hand and they reheat well.  In one source, I read that they would sometimes cut the initials into each one of the person who was intended to eat it so they didn’t get them confused!  In the original recipes, the pasties are quite large which makes sense for a hardworking man.  In the recipe below, I offer the suggestion to make them half of the original size, which I find to be a more manageable size for those with a smaller appetite.

Roasted Black Radishes with Brown Butter & Rice
Moving on, I’m going to tackle the mysterious black Spanish radishes next.  Earlier in the spring I featured a recipe for Roasted Black Radishes with Brown Butter & Rice.  My original recipe was written for spring cooking and included chives.  You can omit them since they are out of season!  If you taste the black Spanish radish raw and think it’s too strong for your tastes, give this recipe a try.  The black radish will mellow out when it is roasted. 

Chili-Lime Sunchoke Salsa with Pan-Roasted Salmon
This week we have another root vegetable that may be less familiar to some and may be mistaken for a piece of ginger.  This vegetable is the sunchoke, otherwise known as a Jerusalem artichoke.  I will forewarn you if you’re trying them for the first time, they contain inulin.  Inulin is a non-digestible fiber that is really good for our bodies as they feed prebiotic bacteria in our colon and help to maintain our digestive health.  It is best to eat them in small quantities at first as some may have a bit of digestive discomfort if they eat too much.  I recommend making this Chili-Lime Sunchoke Salsa which is great on pan-roasted salmon or as a topping for tacos.  Another great recipe that is fitting for this week’s box is this Cabbage & Sunchoke Pizza.

You should be able to get possibly several meals out of the head of cabbage in your box.  In addition to the pizza, use some of your cabbage to make this simple Kohlrabi & Cabbage Slaw or try this recipe for Cabbage Pad Thai with Tofu.

Festival Squash with Kale & Sausage
Photo from
This recipe for Festival Squash with Kale & Sausage was shared by a member in our Facebook group.  If you don’t have any kale or collards hiding in your refrigerator, try substituting green savoy cabbage for the kale.  The original recipe calls for acorn squash, but the festival squash in this week’s box is an acceptable substitute.  Some boxes this week will also receive spaghetti squash.  I want to try this recipe for Spaghetti Squash Fritters.  As with most fritters, we’ll probably eat them with a little scoop of sour cream and they’ll probably go with either a quick seared pork chop or maybe a burger!

I love roasted garlic and am anxious to try this recipe for Roasted Garlic Hummus. This will make for a quick lunch spread on a piece of toast or a bagel or simply served with slices of raw carrot and kohlrabi.

We’re going to give onions center stage this week with this recipe for Jamie Oliver’s World’s Best Baked Onions or this creamier recipe for Creamed Onion Gratin.   Either recipe could serve as a side dish along with roast beef or chicken or make it a main dish with a salad on the side.

Quick Kohlrabi Kim Chi Salad
Photo from
As with your cabbage, you’ll also likely get several meals from the kohlrabi.  In addition to the Kohlrabi & Cabbage Slaw mentioned above, you could use kohlrabi to make this Quick Kohlrabi Kim Chi Salad or try cooking kohlrabi with this recipe for Cider-Braised Kohlrabi.

This week is the last week we’ll be including parsnips in the share.  I always tend to keep it simple when preparing parsnips and roasting is my favorite method, such as in this recipe for Roast Parsnips with Chili Maple Butter.

I’ve saved the orange vegetables for last and am anxious to try this recipe for Thai Sweet Potato & Carrot Soup with Curry Roasted CashewsI also want to try this recipe for  Raw Carrot Pasta with Ginger Lime Peanut Sauce.   If you have a spiralizer, you can use it to make carrot noodles, or you can just simply make long ribbons of carrot with a vegetable peeler. 

That’s it for this week.  Stay warm and I’ll see you back here in two weeks for our final box of the 2018 CSA season!

Featured Vegetable: Storage Turnips

Scarlet Turnips
Friends, it’s that time of year.  We’ll be ushering in the first day of December before the week is finished.  We are officially done harvesting vegetables, but this week’s box is still brimming with abundance as we pull from our stores of roots, cabbage, alliums, squash, etc.  We plan for this time of year and make sure we have plenty of vegetables stashed away when the snow starts to fly.  This is a new season of local fare and this week I want to turn our attention to the humble storage turnip.  Some vegetables seem to scream “Look at me!” while others, such as turnips, seem to hang out in the shadows.  But turnips are an important part of our winter diet and deserve a mention.  They are much different from the tender, mild baby white salad turnips we grow in the spring and early fall.  Storage turnips are much more dense and have a stronger flavor.  They also have the ability to store for months (literally!) in cold storage.  We grow three different colors of storage turnips including the classic and familiar purple top turnips, golden turnips, and the hot pink sweet scarlet turnips included in this week’s box. Purple top turnips have the strongest turnip flavor while golden and sweet scarlet turnips are more mild.  Golden & sweet scarlet turnips are our two preferred varieties, which is why we’ve chosen them for your last two boxes of the season!

Yes, we realize turnips are sometimes a challenging vegetable for CSA members to embrace.  I’ve heard longtime members say “I can conquer everything in the box, but those late season turnips are a challenge for me!”  Most likely this stems from a bad experience early in life.  Perhaps overcooked turnips or canned turnips.  Turnips are part of the Brassica family and, like many other vegetables in this family, it’s important not to overcook them thereby releasing those strong sulfur compounds that can be strong and unpleasant.  I hope you’ll approach turnips with an open mind this year as they have a lot of great health and culinary qualities and can be used in a wide variety of ways throughout the winter. 

Turnips are seldom a featured vegetable in a meal, rather they play their greatest role by hanging out in the shadows of your culinary creations.  If you’re still learning how to use and appreciate turnips, use them in recipes where they are combined with other ingredients as opposed to being cooked on their own.  Turnips pair well with apples, cheese, cider, cream, garlic, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, and lemon as well as other root vegetables, bacon, ham and roast beef.  They make a delicious addition to winter soups, stews, root vegetable gratins, root mash and pot pies.  Turnips are also a great vegetable to use in a winter stir-fry, or pickle them and use them as a condiment for sandwiches or alongside rich meats, etc. 

Apple & Turnip Quiche
If you’re looking for a recipe and not sure where to start, I’d like to suggest the recipe in this week’s newsletter for Chicken Pot Pie (see below--may also be adapted to be vegetarian).  My other all-time favorite recipe utilizing turnips is the Birchwood Café’s recipe for Apple & Turnip Quiche.  I serve this frequently during the winter.  Richard also likes this simple one-pan recipe for Pan Seared Pork Chops with Turnips, Apples & Cider Cream Sauce and if you really like the flavor of turnips and want to give it more of the center-stage, try Roasted Turnip Ganoush

Turnips should be stored in a plastic bag or container in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.  I seldom peel turnips, however if you find their flavor to be more pungent than your liking, peeling may help decrease some of the characteristic turnip bite.  Also, with extended time in storage you may find some turnips may develop some browning due to oxidation or some surface scarring, which is sometimes a reason to peel the turnip.  The defect is often only on the surface and the rest of the turnip is totally usable.  If your turnips start to dehydrate a little bit in storage, either re-hydrate them in a bowl of cold water in the refrigerator or cut them up and put them in a stew or soup.

We hope you’ll choose to embrace turnips this year and try some new and different ways to prepare them!

Cornish Pasties (Meat Hand Pies)

Yield:  6 large or 12 small pasties

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling dough
1 cup butter or shortening
Salt, to taste
1 cup cold ice water
12 ounces ground beef (uncooked)
½ cup carrot, small dice
½ cup turnip or rutabaga, small dice
½ cup parsnips, small dice
½ cup potato, small dice
1 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper
1 large egg, beaten
  1. For the pastry:  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.  Cut in the butter or shortening using a fork or pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add half the water and stir gently with a fork.  Add the remaining water and bring together the dough into a large ball.  Flatten into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.  In a large bowl, combine beef, small diced vegetables, thyme and season with salt and pepper.  Thoroughly  mix to combine and set aside.
  3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide into 6 even pieces (if making large pasties), or 12 pieces (if making small pasties).  Flour a work surface and roll out each ball of dough into an 8-inch circle (for large pasties).  Put about ¾ cup filling on one side of the circle of dough.  Fold the dough over to cover the mixture and crimp the edges to seal the pasty.  You may flute or gently roll the edges for a decorative touch.  Carefully lift the pasty onto a baking sheet (lined with parchment for convenience if you wish).  Repeat with remaining pasties.
  4. Brush the pasties with the egg wash using a pastry brush.  Cut 3 small slits in the top of each pastry to prevent steam from building up and splitting the dough.  Bake for 1 hour until the crust is golden brown and flaky and the filling is firm and thoroughly cooked.  Serve warm, with ketchup or brown gravy if you like.
  5. If you have leftovers, wrap in foil and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze in an airtight container for up to 2 months.  You can reheat these in a 350°F oven.

This recipe was adapted from a recipe for Michigan Pasty found at and a recipe for Cornish Pasties found at

Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuit Topping

Yield:  4 servings

½ cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 pints chicken stock
½ tsp dried thyme
2 ½ cups root vegetables (turnip, carrot, parsnip, celeriac, rutabaga), medium dice
8 ounces cooked chicken, diced
Sea Salt, to taste
Ground Black Pepper, to taste
Biscuit Topping (See Recipe Below)

  1. In a small sauce pot, melt 2 Tbsp of butter.  Sweat onion and garlic in butter until softened.  Add the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter and melt.  Stir in whole wheat pastry flour to make a roux.  Gradually add chicken stock, stirring constantly to combine.  Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently to keep from scorching the bottom of the pot.
  2. Add thyme, diced vegetables and season with salt and pepper.  Simmer for another 10 minutes.  Stir in chicken and pour into an 8 x 8 inch baking dish.  Drop spoonfuls of biscuit dough evenly on top of filling.  Bake in a 400°F oven for 35-40 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Biscuit Topping
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
2 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
3 Tbsp unsalted cold butter
½ cup buttermilk
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper.  Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or fork until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.  
  2. Add cheese and toss to coat.  Add buttermilk and stir to combine.  Mixture should be stiff.
Recipe by Chef Andrea Yoder, Harmony Valley Farm

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

November 15, 2018 - This Week's Box Contents, Featuring Tat Soi

Cooking With This Week's Box

Red & Yellow Onions: Spaghetti with Roasted Butternut Squash & Tat Soi (see below)

Italian Garlic: Spaghetti with Roasted Butternut Squash & Tat Soi (see below); Chili Lime Sweet Potato Gratin with Goat Cheese

Butterscotch Butternut Squash: Spaghetti with Roasted Butternut Squash & Tat Soi (see below); Grandma Yoder's Squash PieRoasted Butternut Squash and Shallot Soup

Tat Soi:  Spaghetti with Roasted Butternut Squash & Tat Soi (see below)

It doesn’t seem possible that we’re down to our last three CSA boxes.  Weren’t we just harvesting ramps not too long ago?  Thanksgiving will be here next week and Christmas will follow close behind.  Whether you’re looking for recipes to make for the holidays or just looking to find some tasty, seasonal recipes to try for weekly meals, this is a great time of the year to collect recipes from blogs, cooking magazines, etc.  One of my favorite sites to peruse this time of year is  I’ve already made a list of new recipes to try from their Food52 Thanksgiving Menu Maker.  Check it out and you’ll find a lot of really good ideas for fall and winter vegetables.
Ok, time to get cooking with this week’s box and first on the list is our featured vegetable, the beautiful tat soi!  If you aren’t familiar with tat soi, please take a moment to read this week’s vegetable feature article.  Tat soi is a tasty and versatile green.  This week I used it to make the featured recipe below, Spaghetti with Roasted Butternut Squash & Tat Soi (see below).  This turned out to be a pretty simple dish to make and very beautiful with contrasting colors of dark green, orange and purple from the red onions.  Unlike many pasta dishes that contain dairy, this dish is not only vegetarian but also vegan.  The chopped nuts with lemon zest that are used as a garnish is a perfect finishing touch to complete the dish.  This can stand alone as dinner itself or is tasty side dish with a seared pork chop, grilled salmon or roasted chicken.

The other green in this week’s box is collards.  Farmer Richard always tells us to “eat your greens every day,” so we’re doing our best to extend greens season as long as we can!  This week I want to use them to make this recipe for Collard Greens with Lime & Peanuts.  This is a simple, tasty recipe we featured in a previous newsletter.  I like it served over rice and will sometimes add a little fish or chicken as well.

It’ll be awhile before we see those pretty little fresh red radishes again, so we turn our attention to storage radishes to get us through the winter.  This week’s box contains beauty heart radishes which are more mild and sweet than other winter radishes.  If you aren’t familiar with this radish and aren’t sure what to do with them, you might want to refer to this article in a previous newsletter from several years ago which includes a list of things you can do with a beauty heart radish.  This radish has become a staple ingredient at Richard’s family’s Thanksgiving celebrations.  We eat them as snack food when we travel during the winter---radish slices with cheese.  It has to have more antioxidants than a wheat cracker!!  You could also use this radish to make this simple, attractive salad for Winter Radishes with Sour Cream Dressing & Poppy Seeds.  This is a tasty salad to enjoy throughout the winter when you’re looking for something fresh and crunchy.

Celeriac and Apple Romoulade
Photo from Romulo Yanes,
If you don’t already have something in mind for this week’s celeriac, consider making one or two of my favorite dishes for celeriac.  Throughout the winter we often make Celeriac and Apple Remoulade.  Basically, it’s a creamy slaw made with shredded celeriac and apples.  I also like to put fresh, chopped cranberries in it.  It is simple enough to make for a regular, weeknight dinner, but classy enough that you could use it for a holiday dinner as well.  I also like to take leftover chicken or turkey and add it to this Wild Rice & Celeriac Gratin.  Consider putting this on the menu for the week after Thanksgiving.

What are you going to do with those rosy pink shallots?  We packed these in this week’s box so you’d have something a little extra special to use for your Thanksgiving creations.  There are a lot of fun things you can do with shallots.  You could give them center-stage and make Herb-Roasted Turkey with Shallot Pan GravyIf you’re making a traditional green bean casserole, consider trading those canned onions for Crispy Fried ShallotsShallot Marmalade is another option that could add some class to a leftover turkey sandwich or serve it as an appetizer with bread and cheese throughout the holiday season.  Lastly, this Roasted Butternut Squash and Shallot Soup offers a more reserved and simple option that is simply delicious.

Lets move on and tackle the orange vegetables in this week’s box starting with the carrots which are large, crispy, sweet and delicious!  If you’re into spiralizing, these might be a good carrot to sprialize into a salad.  This week I want to use these big carrots to make Carrot Fries.  These will go great with grilled cheese or a cheeseburger.  I also want to make these Apple and Carrot “Superhero” Muffins featuring oatmeal and almond meal.  The blog this recipe comes from also includes options for using whole wheat flour in place of the almond meal. Serve these for breakfast or brunch.

Sweet Potato Flan, photo from food52
Last year I made Deborah Madison’s Sweet Potato Flan and it’s on the list to make again within the next two weeks!  While it’s intended to be a decadent dessert, I also like eating it for breakfast!  Bake it in squatty half-pint canning jars so you can put a lid on it and send it in the kids’ lunch…like pudding.  Earlier this week I came across this recipe for Chili Lime Sweet Potato Gratin with Goat Cheese which would be great for Thanksgiving or just a regular weeknight!

I’ve already suggested a few uses for the last orange vegetable in the box, butternut squash.  If you aren’t feeling like Roasted Butternut Squash and Shallot Soup or Spaghetti with Roasted Butternut Squash & Tat Soi (see below), may I make my annual suggestion to try my Grandma Yoder’s Squash Pie.  I think about Grandma a lot this time of year and am thankful she shared this and many other family recipes with me that our family continues to enjoy.

We have reached the bottom of the box, so all that’s left is to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!  We’ve been very blessed this year to have the opportunity to be your farmers and I’ve enjoyed sharing recipes and cooking ideas with you each week.  I hope you’ve found nourishment for your bodies as well as your souls throughout the season.  Please meet me back here again in two weeks as we roll into the home stretch of the 2018 CSA Season with our final two deliveries.  Happy Thanksgiving—Chef Andrea 

Featured Vegetable: Tat Soi

Tat soi is one of my favorite fall vegetables.  This is a gorgeous vegetable, but it’s also delicious and packed with nutrients.  You’ll recognize the tat soi in your box this week as the large, dark green flower-like vegetable with long slender light green stems and rounded spoon-like leaves.  Tat soi is a relative of bok choi and has a mild mustard flavor that has been sweetened by a few frosty nights.  Both the leaves and the stems are tender and may be eaten raw or cooked. 

Tat soi is one of the last greens we plant during the season with the intention to harvest it from the field as late as possible—early to mid-November.  As the temperatures start to decrease, the plant lays itself flat to hug the ground for warmth.  The result is a very open, flat rosette that has a deep, dark green color that intensifies with cold weather.  Tat soi is very resilient to cold temperatures and can recover after being frozen.  We did put hoops and a field cover over them to offer them some protection from the really cold nights.  If you see some outer leaves on your tat soi that have a white to grayish hue, you’re looking at a little frost damage.  You might also see some stems that have kind of a wrinkled, loose appearance.  This happens sometimes when the stem freezes and then thaws.  These stems and leaves are still good to eat and those frosty, cold nights are what make this green taste so mild and sweet!  We hope you’ll be forgiving of a few frosted leaves as you appreciate the beauty and taste of this late season vegetable.

Bok Choi Salad with Sesame Almond Crunch
Try this salad with the Tat Soi in place of Bok Choi!
If you’re looking for recipes that use tat soi, you’re search will likely turn up pretty slim.  Expand your search to include recipes that feature bok choi, spinach or even chard and you can use the tat soi in place of these greens.  Tat soi leaves and stems are tender enough to be chopped and eaten raw as a salad.  You can make a beautiful winter salad with tat soi, shredded carrot, slices of beauty heart radish and a light sesame-soy vinaigrette or even just a simple lemon vinaigrette.  I like to make a simple salad like this and turn it into an entrée by adding seared flank steak or grilled salmon and some chopped toasted almonds or sesame seeds.  Tat soi is also tasty used in stir-fries or wilted into brothy soups such as miso soup or hot and sour soup.  In a previous newsletter we featured recipes for Tat Soi & Chicken Stir Fry and Pan-Seared Sesame & Garlic Marinated Tofu with Wilted Tat Soi.  While I have a tendency to gravitate towards Asian ingredients and flavors when cooking tat soi, it also goes well with other flavors such as fennel, chiles and lemon as in the recipe for Spaghetti with Roasted Butternut Squash and Tat Soi (see below) featured in this week’s newsletter.  We have two recipes in our archives that have been very popular amongst our members and were written to feature bok choi.  You can use this week’s tat soi in place of bok choi in this recipe for Spicy Ginger Pork Noodles with Bok Choi or this recipe for Bok Choi Salad with Sesame Almond Crunch.

To prepare tat soi for use, turn it over with the bottom facing up and carefully trim each stem from the base.  Wash the stems and leaves vigorously in a sink of clean, cold water.  Remember, tat soi lives very close to the ground so there is often dirt on the stems at the base of the plant.  Once the leaves and stems are clean, spin them dry in a salad spinner or loosely wrap them in a large kitchen towel and shake them to remove excess water.  If you are cooking the greens, it is a good idea to trim the stems from the leaves and put them in the pan first to give them a 1-2 minute head start before you add the leafy portion.  To store your tat soi, place it in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. 

Spaghetti with Roasted Butternut Squash & Tat Soi

Yield:  3-4 servings

2 ½ to 3 cups butternut squash, medium diced
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium red onion, sliced thinly
¾ cup red wine
1 tsp fennel seeds
¼ - ½ tsp red pepper flakes
4 cups thinly sliced tat soi leaves & stems
8 oz dried spaghetti
Salt & Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Juice and zest of one lemon
½ cup toasted walnuts or almonds, finely chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.  Put diced butternut squash in a mixing bowl and drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil.  You want just enough to lightly coat all pieces.  Season with salt and pepper and spread the squash in a single layer on a baking pan.  Roast for 40-50 minutes or until the squash is tender and golden.  Remove from the oven and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the finely chopped nuts along with ½ tsp salt and the zest of one lemon.  The lemon zest is best done on a microplane so it is very fine.  Alternatively, chop the zest finely with a knife.  Set the nut mixture aside to use as a garnish when serving this dish.
  3. Next, put on a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil.  Cook spaghetti until al dente.  Before draining the spaghetti, remove one cup of the pasta water and set it aside.  Drain pasta and set aside. 
  4. While the squash is roasting and the spaghetti is cooking, heat 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil in a medium to large sauté pan over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic and sauté lightly until they are softened and starting to caramelize.  If they start to brown, reduce the heat.  This will take about 15-20 minutes. 
  5. Once the onions are caramelized, add the red wine, fennel seeds and red pepper flakes.  Simmer until the wine is reduced by half. 
  6. Add the roasted butternut squash and tat soi to the pan.  Place the cooked spaghetti on top and stir to combine all of the ingredients.  Add some of the pasta water and continue to cook over medium heat until the tat soi is wilted and tender.
  7. Season with salt and pepper and add 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice.  Add a little more pasta water if necessary and simmer for another 4-5 minutes.  Taste and further adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, and/or more lemon juice.
  8. Serve the pasta warm and topped with the mixture of toasted walnuts/almonds and lemon zest. 
Recipe by Chef Andrea Yoder


The article that follows was written by Shizue, Content Coordinator at Kickapoo Coffee Roasters.  In last week’s coffee newsletter, Shizue shared a glimpse into how pricing works in the coffee industry, connecting issues associated with commodity pricing to the impacts a volatile market have on the coffee producers.   We invited her to share a slightly expanded version of this article with our broader membership as her article represents issues in our food system that apply to all of us, whether you are a coffee drinker or not.  Commodity pricing plays a role in agriculture, perhaps more than any of us may realize.  Anything from raisins to chocolate, coffee to potatoes, avocadoes to lettuce, milk, and the list goes on.  As a farmer with fixed costs and family members to feed, working off of a volatile commodity market is less than reassuring and in many cases proves to be less than sustainable.  When prices are based on perceived values and market demands instead of the true cost of production, it often leaves producers holding all the risk.

In this article, Shizue poses the basic question “How do we value our producers?”  We encourage everyone to be an informed consumer and eater.  The system will only change when we as consumers demand the change.  How we value our producers—both those growing and producing in our local markets as well as those more distant from us who grow products we consume are important.  The fact that many producers around the world are forced to sell to a market at a loss for their hard work is heartbreaking.  Are we willing to pay the price our producers need to stay in the game and live a sustainable life?  We’re not talking about their ability to build extravagant homes, take vacations and drive expensive cars.  We’re talking about making sure the return they get for the product they produce is enough for them to continue to farm in another year, feed their families and provide for their basic needs, and hopefully have a little bit left over so they can invest in their future.  The reality is, if we don’t support our community of growers, we will continue to lose more small farmers.  We hope you’ll take a moment to read this article and want to thank you for being part of a more sustainable food system!—Farmers Richard & Andrea

By:  Shizue Roche Adachi, Kickapoo Coffee Roasters

A coffee farmer walks his fields in Peru.
On August 20th, the international price for green coffee (C-Price) plummeted to less than 97 cents per pound, the lowest it’s been in 12 years. And it’s not bouncing back. With an average cost of production hovering around $1.04 per pound, the market is now paying most farmers less than it costs to grow, cultivate, and process their coffee. Coffee farmers are already the least economically empowered players in the coffee supply chain, and now they are being asked to carry the financial burden of a system that’s failed them.

So, how did we get here? Like many industries, the true economy of coffee has been manipulated by speculation. Composed of a relatively small group of individuals, the financial sector holds an immense amount of economic power over the market. And they wield that power for their benefit, profiting off of a volatile commodity price while producers face uncertainty and instability.

At its foundation, the coffee industry is made up of an intricate web of relationships that tether coffee farmers and farmworkers to millers, roasters, exporters and retailers, and ultimately to coffee consumers worldwide. But the needs and interests of this interconnected community have been drowned out by those of speculators, traders, and investors. The C-Price, as with any commodity, dips and jumps in relationship to perceived value. It bears no responsibility to the true value of a coffee bean. And this is why our farmers can grow coffee in good faith, only to have to sell to the market at a loss. The market is not invested in the long-term sustainability and success of the coffee industry. It is interested in short term profits.

In an article published by the Specialty Coffee Association, the SCA’s Chief Sustainability Officer posited that we may lose half of our coffee farmers by 2030, forced out of livelihood that may have supported multiple generations before them. This loss is not only threatens the world’s coffee supply, it threatens the welfare of coffee producers around the world and the future of coffee farming as we know it.

While explaining the fluctuations in the C-Market demands a fuller explanation than can be captured here, what it really comes down to is a question of how we value producers. This is what happens when the market isn't held accountable to farmers. This is what happens when the industry confuses opportunities for quick profits with good business. This is what happens when we fail our producers and take their livelihoods for granted. And this is when Kickapoo Coffee's commitment to #RaisetheBar by setting a minimum price to farmers irrespective of the C-Price holds real weight.

In 2017, Kickapoo Coffee announced a guaranteed minimum price of $2.75 per pound to our farmers. This baseline commitment creates the economic security for farmers to see a future in coffee. And now, even though the C-Market price has fallen, we’re raising our minimum. This year, we’ll be writing contracts with a minimum price of $2.85 per pound.

While we can never rid ourselves of the commodity market, the specialty coffee industry can divorce itself from this degrading pricing model. Specialty coffee depends upon the producers who dedicate themselves to furthering their craft and exceeding market standards. And yet most industry players continue to base their prices on the commodity market.

This expectation to follow the commodity market is like expecting a local farmer selling heirloom varieties of popcorn to determine their price per pound according to the price of corn harvested for livestock feed. Or like asking an artisan chocolate maker to price their truffles based on the price of the Hershey’s bar at the gas station. Not only is this a ridiculous expectation, it’s a degrading one, with significant financial repercussions to those least empowered in the trade of coffee: the smallholder farmer.

The market won't change until we make it. Someone, somewhere, is always paying the true cost. So let’s put people above profits and give our farmers the dignity of a living wage.

To learn more about our minimum price guarantee to farmers and our campaign to #RaisetheBar, check out our website at

Kickapoo Coffee co-owner, Caleb Nicholes, visits with a
member of the Adenisa Association in 2018.