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December 19th, 2022
Dear Friend of NOFA-VT,
We are just a few moon rises shy of the Winter Solstice. The days are short, dark, and hopefully restful. For farmers, the short days are a welcome gift that forces us to slow down. In the summer months, I tend to work in the gardens until dark, often until 9:15 pm. I take the 4:30 pm sunset as a message to settle inside to cook, craft, and plan for the next growing season. The animals also take the dark as a sign to slow down, settle into a cozy bed of straw inside the animal barn and sleep more. The ground is gifted a long rest, time to rejuvenate for fresh life to come in many months.
Our root cellars are full of crops like carrots, onions, garlic, squash, potatoes, canned foods, and more. Our hi-tunnel has the last of the spinach to harvest in the next few weeks and then our plates become less green. I long for the crunch of fresh green leaves. Beyond the occasional domestic head of broccoli and cucumber that I buy at the store, I love to grow and eat microgreens. Microgreens have a short growing window and some only need minimal heat. At our farm, we leave the seedling house heat set to 40 degrees and grow trays of microgreens to brighten our plates and diets.
Pea shoots, arugula, and lettuce greens are all easy to grow with less light and heat. They are easy enough to grow by a window in your house. There is a difference between sprouts and microgreens. Microgreens are grown in soil whereas sprouts are grown in water.
To grow your own microgreens, find a small tray that can drain excess water. I just use seedling trays. I fill the tray halfway with soil, about 1.5 inches deep. I sprinkle the seeds on top and water. Peas for pea shoots have a tougher seed coat so I tend to soak them in a bowl of water overnight. I allow my greens to grow to about 2 inches and I cut with a lettuce or serrated knife. Pea greens will grow again for a second or even third cutting.
I wish you a Happy Winter Solstice and a season of rest, reflection, and growth!
Misse at Drift Farmstead
Recipe: Butternut Squash Soup with Italian Sausage & Pea Greens Recipe
From Drift Farmstead
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 2 medium potatoes, cubed
- 1 medium butternut squash - peeled, seeded, and cubed
- 1 cup of veggie or chicken stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 package of Sweet Italian Sausage, our favorite is our farm Sheep Sausage (available at the Drift Farmstead farm store)
- 4 ounces of Pea Shoots
- Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat, and cook onion, celery, carrot, potatoes, and squash until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Pour in enough of the stock to cover vegetables.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer until all vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes.
- Transfer the soup to a blender, and blend until smooth. Return to the pot, and mix in any remaining stock to reach desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cook sausage, cut into quarter sizes and add as garnish to finished soup
- Top each soup bowl with pea shoots.