Recipe: Vinegret

Not to be confused with the salad dressing that shares its name, vinegret is a traditional Russian salad that's always found on the table at a dinner party or festive gathering. It's popular both because of its colourful look and the fact that it's made from hardy storage veggies that can be pulled out of the cellar in the depths of winter. Growing up in a household of Russian emigrees meant vinegret was present at every single celebration, although picky kid eater that I was, I usually wanted nothing to do with its vinegary flavour. With a more grown-up appreciation for this vibrant salad, I decided to oven roast the beets and carrots instead of boil them so as to better bring out the earthy sweetness of these delicious root veggies. It takes longer, but the taste is well worth it. If you're interested in other more traditional touches you can try adding some peas and sauerkraut, although if adding the latter I would dial back on the white vinegar and pickle brine.

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

- 2.5 cups (375 g) each of beets, carrots, potatoes
- 1-2 dill pickles
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 2 tbsp pickle brine liquid
- 2 tbsp diced white onion
- salt and pepper to taste


1) Drizzle unpeeled beets in olive oil and wrap individually in aluminum foil (if beets are large, cut in half or quarters first to save time in the oven).

2) Peel carrots and place in shallow baking pan, drizzle with olive oil. Place foil wrapped beets in same pan and roast at 425 F until tender. The carrots will likely take about 30 minutes, the beets about 60 minutes.

3) Peel potatoes and boil until tender, about 20 minutes.

4) While the veggies are cooking, assemble dressing ingredients and dice pickles. Set aside.

5) Drain potatoes and dice when cool enough to handle. Place in colander and rinse under cold water to wash off the starch and separate the diced cubes.

6) Remove carrots from the oven and dice when cool enough to handle.

7) Remove beets and take foil off. Rub peels under running water to remove. Dice beets when cool enough to handle.

8) Combine ingredients with dressing in a salad bowl and mix well. Chill until ready to serve. Can be stored in the fridge for 3 days.

Recipe: Smashed Potatoes

These crispy roasted potatoes are sort of a cross between hash browns and baked potatoes. Easy to whip up and very versatile too with lots of options for toppings either before and after they come out of the oven. Try smashing different types of potatoes and enjoy the different, tasty results. The fingerlings I used for this post are waxy potatoes and hold their shape better, ending up thicker and more tender. Russet style potatoes are the classic ones for roasting and will be deliciously crispy without any burnt edges.

- potatoes
- olive oil
- salt
- additional suggested toppings: garlic (minced or dried), oregano, thyme, rosemary, parmesan, zatar, chopped onions, ground pepper, paprika, cumin

1) Chop potatoes into 2-3 inch segments and boil until tender but not quite cooked through. The total time will depend on the type of potato used and thickness of the segments, but typically 10-15 minutes.

2) Strain potatoes into a colander and leave until cool enough to handle. You can also refrigerate for up to two days and then smash and roast later.

3) Line a cookie sheet or shallow roasting pan with parchment paper. With the heel of your hand lightly press down on potato segments until resulting smashed potato is about 1/2 inch thick, or the thickness of a fat hash brown.

4) Drizzle with olive oil and rub oil over each potato to ensure an even coating. Sprinkle salt and whatever additional toppings you want (see ingredient list for suggestions).

5) Roast at 425F (ideally on convection setting if your oven has it) until golden on top and brown around the edges, about 20-30 minutes.

6) Serve immediately. Delicious whether eaten plain or with a variety of toppings. Try sour cream, crème fraiche, salsa, avocado, smoked salmon, roast chicken or just a few drops of hot sauce. For a fresh garden topping finely chop the parsley in this week's box and sprinkle it on liberally.


Summer is officially here and so is the heat! The garden is soaking up the sunlight on these ultra-long days and growing fast.

In Fields 2 and 3 are potatoes, garlic, onions and various cover crops. Nearby are the two greenhouses. The old greenhouse in front is home to the tomatoes and the new greenhouse behind is still where seedlings mature before moving out to the field as transplants.

Through the roll-up sides of the old greenhouse (put up in the daytime for ventilation and put down at night for warmth) you can see the tomatoes are getting tall.

Inside view of the tomatoes growing up the string trellises.


In Field 1 are the peas, broccoli, eggplant, radishes, lettuce, spinach, bok choy, kohlrabi, beans, turnips, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, corn, carrots and beets. Most of the mid-late summer veggies are still small but growing by leaps and bounds every day.

Lettuce is one of the first late spring veggies to appear and we've been eating it for the past couple of weeks. It's so exciting to start digging into fresh garden produce after a long winter of root cellar veggies, preserves and pickles and the few things we buy at the grocery store. I'm never disappointed at the amazing taste of the food our land gives us.

Veggies aren't the only thing growing at the farm this season. Baby #3 is due to arrive in two months with all my late summer favorites like corn, peppers and zucchini.

The kids have started their own little garden in the front near the house. They check daily on the progress of the cherry tomatoes, beans, peppers, cucumbers, peas, carrots and lettuce. There's also a small corn plot nearby.

Stay cool during these sweltering days! Visit our CSA page for info on our local pick-up options.

Root Cellar Soup

On this frigid Saturday evening deep into February, I'm warming us up with a soup made from some of our stored fall harvest veggies. Into chicken stock seasoned with tamari, sesame oil and kombu seaweed I tossed some lentils, potatoes, beets, carrots, winter radishes and garlic. I could have added some onions too, but the kids always pick them out with wrinkled noses, so I decided to pass for tonight and challenge them with onions another time. All but the lentils came from our basement storage and all were fresh and ready to be used.

Yum! I hope everyone out there is staying warm and dreaming of spring!

Recipe: Mustard Potatoes

A twist on the classic oven roasted potatoes, this recipe uses a lemony-mustard glaze to add flavor to an old standby. Pre-boiling the potatoes cubes in water with a splash of vinegar shortens the overall cooking time and produces evenly crisped potatoes with tender, fluffy insides, in other words, the perfect roasted potato. I now use this pre-boil method every time I roast potatoes - the extra step is well worth it for the delicious final results as well as the slightly faster prep time.

- 2 lbs potatoes
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 L water
- 2 tbsp. vinegar

1) Preheat oven to 450 F. Bring a pot of water with vinegar to boil while you cut potatoes into roughly 1 inch cubes. Add potatoes to boiling water and vinegar and set timer for 10 minutes once the pot has started boiling again.

2) Combine mustard, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and whisk until well mixed.

3) After 10 minutes of boiling, drain potatoes and pour mustard glaze into pot, stirring until potatoes are well coated. Lightly grease a roasting pan and place potatoes in it.

4) Roast potatoes until crisp, about 20 minutes. Don't worry if the glaze sticks to the roasting pan a little bit, just scrape it up. Serve immediately.

Hilling Potatoes

Hilling potatoes always makes me appreciate how much work a small tractor can get done in a short time.  The usual way to grow potatoes (although there are many alternative techniques) is to plant the seed pieces a couple of inches deep and then repeatedly mound or "hill" the soil up the growing plant. The reason to do this is that the tubers are formed along the stem above the seed. If they are exposed to light, they turn green and are inedible. Also, the stem has the ability to continue producing potatoes on any part in contact with the soil so continually burying it can stimulate a larger yield. If the seed were simply planted deep to begin with, the plant would expend too much energy reaching the surface, so hilling is a good solution. As an added benefit, it also prevents weeds from growing.

This would have been a back breaking amount of work to do by hand:

I'll be hilling a couple more times. Other than bug scouting, that's about it until I start checking for new potatoes, ideally in early August.