2013 Oxbow Newsletter #19 – Farmer Food & Fennel Flowers

This week we have the musings of Mariana, our harvest-processing coordinator. Her job on the farm is to manage the harvest board, which communicates to the crew exactly what needs to be harvested for the day and where it’s going. When the produce comes in from the field in big plastic totes she coordinates the washing and packing, and then somehow manages to fit it all in our cramped walk-in cooler awaiting delivery. It’s a massive undertaking, especially on days when we’re harvesting and packing produce for 125 CSA boxes + 10-15 restaurant orders + a farmers market and our farm stand! But she does it with grace and calm. She is also responsible for setting aside “farmer food” to feed our hungry crew. Farmer food is the extra produce that came in from the fields but was quite good enough to be delivered to our customers. So at the end of her large processing table Mariana has a big box of goodies that go into our farm lunches and go home with us for dinner.

Mariana is also one of the ring leaders organizing and cooking pot-luck lunches on the farm – like any good farmer she likes to eat good food and feed people! Below is an excerpt from her blog “The Muddy Puddle” about her latest farm food obsession…

Fennel Flowers & Goat Cheese
I have many favorite veggies that we grow here on the farm but I would have to put Fennel high in the ranks of my favorites. 2013 has been a stellar year for our dear little fennel friends here at Oxbow. So as a farmer and fennel lover, I was really happy that one of our longtime CSA members took the time at the harvest party to tell me how much she has been enjoying all the fennel in her box this season.

I was introduced to fennel a few years before I started working at Oxbow, but now that I am coming to the close of my 2nd season here, I have come to appreciate it on a whole new level. I am always finding new and interesting ways to use it, whether they come from some crazy idea that pops into my head, a coworker tells me about a recipe they like, or I stumble across something online. Some of my my favorite fennel recipes are roasted and served with lemon pepper chicken, candied (bulb and/or stems) with lemon rid, and this year fennel flowers served over goat cheese.

I had never used fennel flowers before this summer, but once they started coming in from the fields, it seems I couldn’t get enough of them. Over the past several weeks, I have brought different variations of goat cheese and fennel flowers to our weekly lunch potluck. Every time I thought I was done experimenting with this dish and it was time to move on, a new idea would pop in my head and I had to try it the next week. Luckily, people either genuinely enjoyed it or did a really good job humoring me (I choose to believe the former). I hope that you enjoy the fennel flowers in your box this week. They will make you feel like a fancy gourmet cook with very little effort. 

Click here for Mariana’s evolving recipe for goat cheese with fennel flowers.

Luke, Adam, Sarah, Megan, Bridget, Tino, Yolanda, Valentin, Julio-Cesar,Mike, Marianna, Lisa, Alice, Sarah D, Dana, Joshua, Arwen, Grace, Brandon, (and our inspiration Pearl, Emuna, Avi Ray & Zoe Rose).