Our market and garden share space with the residents of Kingfisher Farm. We are a group of families who co-own and choose to care for this 10-acre plot of land together. When we moved here in 2011 there were 11 kids under the age of 13 years old - now our youngest kid is 14! Many of us, before purchasing the land as a group, had strong connections with A Rocha (a local conservation organization that used to be located on this land and can now be found on 192 and 16th). It was important to us to continue to find ways to care for and preserve this piece of land (with forest, wetland and fields).
Paul and I (Angela), are the farmers here. We are often joined by farm-mates to help with weeding, or a building project, or when we need extra hands to spread compost! Other residents here at the farm work primarily off-site (at least pre-COVID). We felt drawn to living in this way; moving towards interdependence in a culture that often tends towards isolation and independence. We seek to be a place of hospitality and care for the earth that we have been entrusted. It’s in this place that our little farm produces oodles of veggies and flowers for the neighbourhood to enjoy. We are so grateful to be located at the mouth of this neighbourhood where folks value the roadside vegetable stand and look forward to Tuesday markets. Kids grow up running out to see the goats and farm market customers learn the value of knowing their farmers.
Paul has cleaned up the maple sap buckets. It was a good harvest this year and the shelter was filled with the aroma of warm maple sugar as he boiled it down on the fireplace for days. It's one of our winter rituals. One of those things that Paul does for fun; connecting us with the rhythms of the season.
And now the days are lightening. I can hear the song of the frogs getting louder in the clear, dark evenings. The tulips are all pushing up through the frost covered earth, daring winter to come back. My kids are itching for spring break and a chance to run barefoot down to the river and use the tents they received for Christmas gifts. I know you are restless to eat fresh vegetables again, grown of this land. First will come the rhubarb and the sorrel, the asparagus and the nettles. As we wait for the soil to dry out, for seedlings to germinate; we will be attentive to the signs of spring.
I love cooking Indian food. The warmth and richness of the spices (and the paneer) gets me every time. I came across this cookbook at the library this week and I have a few squash left in my pantry so it's on my menu this week.
Pumpkin, Black- Eyed Pea and Coconut Curry from Meera Sodha, Fresh India
1.2kg pumpkin or squash
1 tbsp garam masala salt and ground black pepper coconut or rapeseed oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 green Indian chillies, slit lengthways
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1x 400g tin of black-eyed beans, drained
150g ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges ⅓ tsp ground turmeric
1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk
Optional: 10 fresh curry leaves
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6 and line two baking trays with foil.
Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out and discard the seeds, then cut it into crescents around 2cm at the widest part. Transfer to a big bowl, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with the garam masala, 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper. Toss to coat evenly, then arrange in a single layer. Roast for 30 minutes, or until soft and tender.
Meanwhile, put 2 tablespoons of oil into a large lidded frying pan over a medium heat and, when hot, add the mustard seeds. When they pop, add the slit green chillies and the onion. Cook for 12 minutes, or until the onion is soft and golden, then add the garlic. Cook for another couple of minutes, then add the drained beans and stir to mix together. Add the tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes until soft and jammy around the edges.
Next, add the turmeric, ⅓ teaspoon of black pepper, ½ teaspoon of salt and the coconut milk. Tip the roasted pumpkin into the pan and stir to mix. Cover with the lid and leave to heat through for 5 minutes. Check for salt and chilli, adjusting if you wish, then transfer to a serving dish.
If we're talking about eating local and in season then leeks are going to be on the menu in January. So dust off your favourite leek vegetables are look here to try some new ones. Last week Brent, (one of our farmmates) messaged out to the farm chat asking if anyone wanted to join him in a leek challenge. We were invited to bring a leek dish to our long table on Thursday evening and we could come help ourselves to portions of everyone's offerings. It was a lot of fun. We had leek frittata, sausage, leek and potato soup, leekie pie and everyone's favourite; carmelized leek and bacon dip! I'd love to add your favourite leek recipes to the mix!
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