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Posted 4/29/2015 1:55pm by Kerry Gawalt.


Dear CSA members and farm friends,

We will be taking CSA sign-ups until Monday May 4th. We start the Localvore season next week.


Posted 4/14/2015 10:33am by Kerry Gawalt.


Can you imagine a world without the potato? And yet, for people of European descent, the potato is a relative newcomer in their cuisine. The potato was first cultivated in the Andes Mountain region some 7,000-10,000 years ago where it became a staple food of the Incan Empire. It is now an essential staple food across the Americas, Europe, and increasingly in Asia, with nearly 1/3 of the world’s annual crop being grown in China and India. The potato is a preeminent member of the nightshade family (Solanaceae). The edible portion of the plant is the starchy, nutritious tuber. The leaves, shoots, flowers, and berries of the potato plant contain noxious alkaloids that can cause severe poisoning and even death when consumed in sufficient quantities---but as long as the tubers are not exposed to direct sunlight (greening) they contain insignificant amounts of these toxins. In the Andes hundreds of regional varieties were developed. When the potato was brought to Europe a relatively limited number of cultivars were introduced. The potato quickly became an important staple and was partially responsible for the population boom that occurred in Europe between 1700-1900. A combined diet of potatoes and cow’s milk contains enough protein, starches, vitamins and minerals to sustain a healthy human. However, the limited number of varieties initially introduced to Europe left the crop vulnerable to disease, particularly funguses such as the late blight that was the initial catalyst of the horrific famine that struck Ireland---beginning with a near complete crop failure in 1845.(1)            In this article I will describe potato cultivation at Cedar Mountain Farm, where we grow four acres of vegetables with the help of our Norwegian Fjord horses. I will also provide information on alternate potato production strategies used on other contemporary horse-powered farms.

Preparing the Ground  

Most commercial growers buy in seed potatoes to grow their crop. Seed potatoes are guaranteed to have been cultured in a laboratory to ensure your crop is disease free at the outset (and also more resistant to disease once growing in the field). In other parts of the world farmers still save their own seed potatoes. Although the potential risk for disease is higher, this method has the advantage of developing regionally adapted varieties. Home gardeners and some commercial growers cut their seeds into pieces (with two or three “eyes”---sprouts---per piece) and cure them spread on tarps or a barn floor for 24 hours prior to planting. We have found it economical and time-efficient to plant uncut seed potatoes. Also, one of my early mentors in gardening was a Mayan gentleman from Guatemala. He felt strongly that one should use the whole potato for seed. We agree with him that the plants get off to a better start with the extra energy boost of a whole seed. Within our annual garden rotation potatoes follow onions. The onions are usually harvested by mid to late August which gives us plenty of time to establish a catch crop of oats in the ¼ acre section that will become potato ground. We choose oats because it is a cover crop that puts on quick growth in the cool fall weather but then winter-kills when freezing temperatures set in---this makes for easy incorporation of residue prior to the early season planting of potatoes. Soon after establishing the catch crop we spread the field with finished compost at a rate of about 9-10 tons/acre. For delivering the compost we are using a John Deere “H” series single axle spreader (hitched to the forecart) which has an approximate 60 bushel capacity. In the spring we will give this ground a moderately deep plowing to make the soil friable for potato production. If soil compaction is an issue in your garden you might want to invest in a chisel plow to break up the deeper layers of the soil profile. Generally speaking, you will need two horses to pull one shank of a chisel plow penetrating to a depth of 8”-10”. After plowing we go over the section with disc harrows. For the discing we use a 6’ single action disc pulled behind a forecart. This disc is on the large size for a team of Fjords, but as we are only asking them to work up a ¼ acre section at one time, they are able to handle it. Next, the field is worked with a 3’ section of spring tooth harrow. As with all the implements described above, we also use a team to pull the spring tooth harrow and usually hitch it directly off the doubletree and walk behind as we drive the horses. A final smoothing and pressing prior to marking out rows is accomplished with a cultipacker/roller, which is also towed behind the forecart.    

From a CSA member

SMOKY BEET BURGERS // Makes 8 Recipe

barely adapted from The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia

3 T. extra virgin olive oil

1 yellow onion, very roughly chopped

1 cup walnuts

1/2 cup golden raisins

1 cup grated beets

3 cloves garlic, smashed

2 tsp. sweet smoked paprika

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

1/2 cup cooked green lentils

1 egg

2 cups cooked short grain brown (or white) rice

 feta spread

1 cup/ 8 oz. feta cheese

1/4 cup whole milk greek yogurt

squeeze of lemon juice

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

few grinds fresh ground pepper

buns, sliced cucumber, greens, tomato for burger building.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add the onions and cook for about 10 minutes until just golden. Add the walnuts, raisins, beets, garlic and paprika and cook another 10 minutes, stirring often. Let the mix cool slightly. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and pulse a few times until chunky. Put the mixture in a large bowl and stir in the salt, pepper and half the lentils. Replace the food processor (dirty is fine) and pulse the other half of the lentils, egg and rice together a few times to make a coarse puree. Note: Louisa has you add all the lentils whole to the mixture, I felt like some of them in the rice puree helps it all hold. Add the rice mixture to the onion mixture and mix well. Make the feta spread by mixing all ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Set aside. Use lightly oiled hands to form 8-10 small patties just under 1'' thick. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet or cast iron over medium-high heat and add oil to coat the bottom. Place the burgers in the skillet (doing so in batches if necessary) and cook undisturbed for 5 minutes. GENTLY flip the burgers, turn the heat down, cover and cook for 10 minutes until the burgers have a firm, brown crust. Serve warm with your favorite condiments.

Have a recipe you want to share?

Email or    

Posted 4/2/2015 5:17pm by Kerry Gawalt.

We've got a new member of our farm team for 2015!! Levi Fioravanti comes to us from Royalton, VT. Born and raised in the Upper Valley, Levi is passionate about learning to run a diversified farm and work with dairy cows. We're proud to have him join us for the upcoming growing season. In other, way less exciting news: seeding is happening in earnest in our heated greenhouse. Tomatoes, Brussels sprouts and lettuce are all in the mix. Plenty of baby photos to come as our little seedlings break into the world. Make sure to stop in the barn to check up on expecting cow mothers Dora and Daphne.             Seeds never cease to amaze me – the potential of life in each tiny vessel and the variety of forms that sprout from those simple shapes. I love planting seeds in little pots in the greenhouse and obsessively checking them for moisture and temperature levels. I love planting seeds directly into the earth and protecting them with from pests with row cover and defending them from infringing weeds with lots of hoeing. I love when crops get left growing for too long and the next generation of seeds appear (not that this would ever happen here...). What Jada really likes most of all is saving seeds from her favorite crops, or better yet from “sports” which are off-types that sometimes pop up within a crop. Some veggies are easier to save seed from than others, while certain cultivars are near impossible (hybrids, for example will not produce true-to-type offspring from their seeds). Here is the first in a series on how seeds work and how to save your own seeds.             First, let's decode some buzzwords you might hear in relation to seeds:             Open Pollinated means that a plant is pollinated by natural means. This can be wind, insects, birds, a human with a Q-tip and a lot of dedication etc.             Heirlooms are varieties that have been passed down from seed-saver to seed-saver for a long time. This phrase is amorphous and has no concrete definition. Heirlooms must be Open Pollinated, but not all OP varieties are heirlooms.             Hybrids are the result of two genetically distinct varieties cross-pollinating.             F1 hybrids are the first generation of such a cross. F1s are often quite vigorous but the seeds they produce are not viable. They are the mule of the seed world. Hybrids can become open pollinated through years of breed and selection, but typically this is done on large scale, specialized farms.             Sports are off-type vegetables that appear by chance in a crop. An example of this would be a striped tomato growing on a tomato plant that typically does not have stripes.             Perfect flowers contain both male and female components and often self-pollinate. Other flowers contain only male or female components and must cross pollinate to produce fruit and therefore seeds. Plants with imperfect flowers are more difficult to save seeds from because they often require isolation or hand pollination to ensure that no unintended crossing occurs (squash are an example of this). Look out for more seed talk throughout the season.    

Events: Pizza Night will be on Friday in the Common House at 6:30. Please let us know if you're coming and what you'd like to bring.  

***Recipe*** Roasted Veggie Tart  

1 small-medium turnip

4 carrots scrubbed and peeled if that's how you like them

2 beets scrubbed

2 potatoes (try all blues for a veggie rainbow affect)

1 small red onion

2 or more cloves of garlic

salt, pepper to taste


olive oil

bleu cheese or goat cheese

brown sugar

balsamic vinegar

1 pie crust  


Preheat oven to 425. Cut up the veggies into equal size chunks. Toss with oil and seasonings and spread on a baking sheet. Roast 'em for 45 minutes or until you can pierce them with a fork. Meanwhile, make up your pie crust, roll it out and place it on another baking sheet, flat. Mix the brown sugar and balsamic up in a small bowl. When the veggies are done, take them out of the oven and spread them evenly in your pie crust, leaving about two inches of crust all the way around. Sprinkle your brown sugar mixture, and cheese on top and fold the crust over your veggies. You can brush the crust with melted butter if you're fancy. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 and bake about 30 minutes until you can see some bubbling action in the veggie juices. Remove and let sit for a few minutes.    

What's cooking? Send us your recipes:, or OR bring a print copy by the farm!  

Posted 3/30/2015 9:37am by Kerry Gawalt.


Dear CSA members and farm friends,

This is the last chance to sign-up for our Spring and Summer CSA. You can sign-up online, download a paper form or I can mail you a paper copy. We are busy planting all the spring broccoli, cauliflowers, tomatoes and lettuce.

Kerry- for the farm crew

Posted 3/9/2015 3:00pm by Kerry Gawalt.


Dear CSA members and farm friends,

Thank you to everyone who signed-up so far. We would like to have everyone new and returning to sign-up by the end of the month. This will help us order to right amount of seeds and make the best farm plan possible. There are many choices for the CSA:

Summer shares

localvore shares

Omnivore shares

free-range shares

fruit shares

meat shares

see all the details on the website.


Kerry for the farm crew

Posted 3/9/2015 2:54pm by Kerry Gawalt.

       This respite from grizzly winter weather has certainly been a catalyst for us on the farm. Something about warmer (above freezing) weather is a great motivator to do the jobs that your winter self may have put off until tomorrow. Sure signs of spring on the farm are plenty: we got a shiny new bucket for the tractor (trac-taurus as Stephen calls it), the first lambs from Cobb Hill's flock of Icelandic sheep were born, maple sugaring has begun at the Cobb Hill sugarhouse, and we've started our greenhouse preparations! Sifting the compost we moved inside last fall (in a stroke of sheer genius, Kerry!) to prepare it for starting mix is the first step in growing our delicious veggies. We'll mix the screened compost with other natural ingredients and fill up our seed trays so we can get planting hopefully this week! First to be planted will be onion, and other long-season and slow-germinating crops like Brussel sprouts, parsley, celeriac, etc. It won't be long before the inflated tunnel is filling up with bright green things!            

We've finally compiled the results of the survey! To see them: We've really enjoyed learning more about what you all want from your CSA membership and we are excited to implement some new crops and ideas into our model.

Here's some of the new things you might see in your share this year:

Sweet onions

Lunchbox sweet peppers

Yellow wax

Napa cabbage

Baby bock choi

Vates green kale

Lots of new tomatoes

Golden beets

Sunshine winter squash

Patty pan squash

Snow peas .  

And more of everyone’s favorites:

Green beans






Yellow onions

And many other things too.                

**Events** Pizza Night! It's happening! Friday at 630 at the Cobb Hill Common House possibly with movie screening to follow  

**Recipes** from

Sausage and Cabbage Skillet

· 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

· 4 Andouille sausages

· 1/2 head of cabbage, cut into thin slices

1 small yellow onion, diced

· 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

· 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

· 1 1/4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

· 1 (15 ounce) tomatoes in their juices

· 1 cup rice, cooked


1.    Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add the sausage slices and cook for a few minutes on each side, until brown. Remove to a plate, blot with paper towels if needed, and set aside.

2.    With a paper towel, carefully wipe out the skillet. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil on medium high. Add the cabbage, onion, salt, and pepper and cook the onion begins to soften and brown, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of the chicken stock, cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the remaining 1/4 cup chicken stock, canned tomatoes in their juices, and rice, stirring well. Bring to a boil, stir again, then cover and simmer on low heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the reserved sausage slices mixing well, then recover and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes, until most of the remaining liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender. Serve warm.  

What's cooking? Send us your recipes:, or OR bring a print copy by the farm!

Posted 3/3/2015 4:41pm by Kerry Gawalt.

We have created a new look for our mail-in CSA form. Click on the link below if you want to mail in your CSA membership.




Posted 3/3/2015 12:11pm by Kerry Gawalt.

March 3,2015

            There's nothing like a cold and the cold to make you dread every detail of the day ahead. On the farm there's no such thing as “sick leave” so when you're feeling down (as we've all taken turns doing these past few weeks) you just have to buck up and get it done. While summer is definitely busier, when there are animals involved, winter still means work. Here's a basic run-down of what a day in life is like here these days, complete with potential hazards: Day starts at 4AM and there are emails to respond to, and a quick coffee to chug before getting to the barn to start milking. Just getting out of the house takes a few minutes to put on two sweaters, long underwear and the insulated pants plus crampons on the boots for the ice. First thing at the barn is to check the maternity pens. When there is a calf, it is dried- off, a coat put on and fed a bottle of colostrum. Then feeding the dam and giving her buckets of electrolyte water. There are many cows to milk and if it's a busy morning, like when Cobb Hill Cheese and Dairy Farmers of America are both taking milk, there's no room for dawdling! Additionally once a month the milk tester comes. On the day that all three things happen, the morning starts at 3:30 AM. The horses get an early feeding when it is below 10 degrees. Next the grain is put out in the parlor and to let the first group of cows come in. The sanitizing cycle runs in the milk house while the 40 animals in the barn get grain. This is also a good time to do heat check on the cows and heifers that are ready to breed. Milking continues while the middle barn chores go on. Barn chores include mucking maternity and heifers pens and making sure all the middle-barn residents have fresh, warm water, plenty of hay and their morning grain ration. Everyone in the pack barn also needs fresh water, so that means dragging out the hose, breaking through the ice with an ax in the tanks, pumping out any dirty water, and topping everyone off. On truly frigid days this can be a real race, even a extra-thick hose like we have can freeze up solid if you're not careful. We take care to remove any cow pies from the pack to keep the girls clean and make sure they all have enough hay. Fresh pine bedding is added every other day and once a week we remove any wasted feed from the troughs. The alley in the pack barn is scraped every day. The horses need their pen mucked too, they get grain and hay. Their water is changed every third day. When milking is finished, the parlor is cleaned and we do a check through the middle barn to make sure everyone has what they need. Bringing in more hay, or bedding too. Once the morning routine is through we can move on to any jobs that need done. Usually this will include some kind of snow or ice management. Even a small bit of snow can freeze in a door jamb and make the door unusable if not taken care of. Paths need to be kept clear to ensure safe and easy movement around the barnyard. Inside jobs can include vaccinating, breeding, dehorning, cleaning, sweeping out cobwebs, and making updates to the barn and farm stand. There are days, though, when the cold and wind is so punishing that we turn to desk work. At mid-day we give the smallest calves a bottle of milk to make sure they have enough calories to keep warm. The feed alley is scraped while the cows are ruminating on the pack. A million pounds of compost starts here. An hour will move a lot out to our stacking pad. We double check everyone's water and feed hay and then stop for lunch. We take a few hours in the middle of the day to rest( or work through lunch at the desk) and then it's back to the barn at 3 to start evening milking and chores. If all goes well, everyone is home by 6. There is a final barn check at 11 PM (sometimes more if there is an expecting cow mother) to make sure everyone's okay.

**Events** Pizza Night! It's happening! Friday, at 630 at Jada's house. RSVP and we will let you know what to bring to this community feast. Come hungry.

**Recipes** Slow Cooker Jalapeño Cheddar Cheese Soup

• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

• 1 yellow onion, chopped

• 2 carrots, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)

• 2 jalapeños, seeded and diced, plus additional jalapeño slices for serving

• 1 teaspoon minced garlic

• 1 teaspoon kosher salt

• 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

• 1/4 cup flour

• 1 cup milk

• 4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth

• 3 small Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped

• 1 3/4 cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese, plus additional for serving

• Green onions, for serving

• 1. Melt the butter in a large, deep stockpot or Dutch over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrots, and jalapenos and sauté until just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, and cayenne pepper and cook the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle the flour over the top of the vegetables, then cook 1 additional minute until lightly golden. Slowly stir in the milk and cook until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. 2. Transfer the mixture to a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Stir in the chicken stock, then add the chopped potato. Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, 5 to 6 hours on low. 3. Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and puree in batches until smooth (alternatively, you can use an immersion blender directly in the slow cooker). Stir in the cheese a half-cup at a time, allowing it to melt completely before stirring in the next half cup. Serve garnished with jalapeño slices, green onions, and additional cheddar cheese.


What's cooking? Send us your recipes:, or OR bring a print copy by the farm!

Posted 2/25/2015 10:48am by Kerry Gawalt.

              Sitting in the kitchen staring at a bowl of beets slowly wither away. I'll cook them this week, possibly in a pasta sauce. Eating local food in the winter means making compromises, dew-kissed greens and shiny, tomatoes are not always feasible if we choose to commit to local agriculture. Storage crops will sometimes loose their perk as they respirate in storage or are improperly stored. This translates into softer out-sides and formation of blemishes. These items are usually fine and delicious to eat but they appeal less to our conceptions of perfect produce. This often leads to wasted food – items that get thrown away when they still hold significant value as food. Food waste is a big problem worldwide – enough food is produced globally to support the (albeit skyrocketing) population, but much of this sustenance does not make it to consumers' bowls. The reasons for this vary in different parts of the world. In developing nations, lack of equipment, infrastructure, or transport is often the reason for un-eaten food crops. In developed nations, customer behavior is the leading cause. The demand for physically perfect and identical items drives sellers of foodstuffs to go through inventory at an astonishing rate. Foods are discarded, often in the trash (though in some cities, composting ordinances are being established). I'm not advocating that everyone eat the moldy carrot that fell in the crack in the refrigerator door, but I do think that it's important to be aware of food waste and the simple ways we can be better and more economical consumers of food. The most important step is to be aware of our consumption habits and to be as efficient as possible with the foods we bring into our kitchen and eat. For one, it's good to have a sense of how you actually eat. It's okay to not like broccoli, and it's okay to not buy broccoli because you do not like to eat it. Buying broccoli at the store every week when you know you are going to throw it out is crazy, so be true to yourself and your preferences! Next, use what you have. It's tempting to cook up the newest recipe from the newspaper, but if you've got beets staring at you (ahem), maybe better to cook those up first, stash 'em in the fridge and get to your hot new dish a little later. Then, know what options there are to make use of unused or surplus foods. There are lots of religious organizations that accept donations of food and food shelves that do the same.         

            Check out the UU church in Hartland or VT FoodBank for more information on this. Here are some more tips for rescuing food items on the brink: -bananas turning brown can go right in the freezer to await your next banana bread exploit. -Slightly squishy roots can get boiled up and pureed into soups and sauces, no one will ever know! -Stale bread can be used as bread crumbs, croutons, French toast, etc. -cabbage that is wilted or browning on the outer leaves is often bright and lively the next layer down, peel that sucker! We'll talk more about proper storage another time! Stay warm and enjoy the sunshine, all! Thanks everyone who responded to the surveys. We're still compiling your data and will show you the results soon!

Cobb Hill will be sponsoring a day-long spinning and knitting workshop on Saturday and Sunday February 28-29th. Jada's mom is teaching along with a friend of Cobb Hill.



King Arthur Carrot Cake Cake

1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) vegetable oil 2 cups

(14 ounces) sugar

4 large eggs

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

3 cups (11 1/2 ounces) finely grated carrots

1 1/2 cups (5 3/4 ounces) chopped pecans or walnuts

Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter one

8-ounce package cream cheese

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla OR 1/2 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia

2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups (10 to 14 ounces) glazing sugar or confectioners' sugar

milk or cream to adjust consistency of frosting, if necessary


Cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 9" round layer pans, or one 9" x 13" pan. Beat together the oil, sugar, salt, eggs, and spices. Mix the flour with the baking soda, and stir in. Add the carrots and nuts, and mix until just blended. Pour into the prepared pan(s). Bake the cake(s) for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Allow the cake(s) to cool completely before frosting. (If you're using round layer pans, remove the layers from the pans after about 15 minutes, and place them on a rack to cool. Frosting: Beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add the salt and vanilla. Beat in the sugar. Add a teaspoon of milk or cream if the frosting is too stiff to spread; add additional sugar if it's too thin. Frost the sheet cake right in the pan. For the layers, frost the top of one layer, top with the second layer, and frost the top and sides of the cake. Yield: 1 cake, 16 to 24 servings


What's cooking? Send us your recipes:, or OR bring a print copy by the farm!

Posted 2/24/2015 12:51pm by Kerry Gawalt.



Hartland, Vermont -February 23, 2015: Cedar Mountain Farm is pleased to join other farms from around the country for National CSA Sign-Up Day on February 28. The day encourages food consumers to buy a share of their local farm’s harvest for the 2015 season, a buying model known as Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA. CSA has become an important model to support local agriculture since it was introduced to the United States in the 1980s and since grown to over 6,000 farms across the country. To join a CSA, members buy a share of the harvest in the Winter and Spring and then get a box of local produce each week throughout the growing season. “CSAs are the most authentic connection between a farmer and eater available. CSA members get the freshest, high quality, seasonal local produce, but they also get a direct connection to their farmer. This model is economically important to farmers, especially small and beginning farmers, because they can grow with confidence knowing that they have a market for their produce ahead of time.”, says Simon Huntley from Small Farm Central, a technology company that works with CSA farms across the country, and the creator of National CSA Sign-up Day. February 28th was chosen as National CSA Sign-up Day because this day is the most popular day to sign up for CSA shares according to the 2014 CSA Farming Report. Buying a CSA share in late winter is important because farmers are making the capital investments for this year’s harvest now and the CSA model means they do not need to finance these costs with costly credit. “Sign-up is easy,” says Kerry, Stephen and Jada “To learn more and to join us for the 2015 season, you can reach us at, at our farm stand and payment can be done by check or credit card online. To learn more about National CSA Sign-Up Day and the CSA model, visit For information about National CSA Sign Up day visit:

or contact the organizer: Small Farm Central Simon Huntley 412-567-3864