November 15th, 2013

And all of a sudden, winter is here!  We received our first good frost 3 weeks ago and this week we had a good hard freeze with low temps that hit 23 on Wednesday, and Thursday morning.  One of the many reasons I like North Carolina is that our seasons change and each one has its own unique weather signature.  In the summer I love those thunderstorms that pop out of nowhere and dump 2 inches of rain in an hour.  In the fall and winter what I love most is when a cold, artic, high pressure system rolls in.  That is what happened on Tuesday.  There is an old saying to describe the weather on days like Tuesday and it is:  "The hawk is out!"

To correctly use this phrase it means the wind is blowing hard and the temps are dropping fast because a cold front is coming.  Once it's cold and the wind has died down then this term really doesn't apply.  Winter weather in North America is dominated by the movement of cold, dry air masses that form just east of the Canadian Rockies.  As these cold air masses grow in size, they eventually start to get pushed by the jet stream.  As the cold high pressure system tumbles south a great deal of wind is created at the "front" of the air mass.  Since cold air sinks, hawks and other migratory birds fly up high to escape the cold, turbulent, dense air.  So it is very common to see hawks flying very high as the Canadian cold front approaches as it gets windy and the temps begin to plummet. 

Here at the farm, the evening freezes have taken their toll.  The leaves are almost off the trees and most of the grasses have turned brown.  We've planted some cover crops and now we are beginning the process of "putting the farm to sleep" for the winter.  We're still harvesting plenty of your fall and winter favorites and while the farm share program technically ends next week (Saturday before Thanksgiving) we plan to attend a few markets into December. 

Today I am going to recycle a couple of recipes that we posted from earlier in the year.  These are personal favorites:

Kale Chips

Olive Oil

Pull stems from Kale and arrange on a baking sheet in a single (or so) layer, toss with a little olive oil and salt, and bake at 375° for 10 minutes or 15 minutes, giving the cookie sheet a shake or two if you remember, until the edges get crispy.

Sauteed Chard with Garlic and Red Pepper

2 tbsp  olive oil
2 stalks green garlic (white part finely chopped)
2 pinches red pepper flakes
1 lg bunch chard cut into small pieces
Juice of 1/2 lemon or a few teaspoons red wine vinegar

Heat the oil with the garlic and pepper flakes in a wide skillet over medium-high heat until the garlic begins to color. Add the chard and toss to coat it with the oil. Add 1/4 cup water (carefully) and cook until it's absorbed and the greens are heated through. Season with salt and a little lemon juice or vinegar.

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