1405 SW Vermont St.
Portland OR 97219
United States



Ayers Creek Farm Newsletter November 24 2013

Sarah West


We hope you all join us at the Hillsdale Farmers' Market this Sunday; the opening bell at 10:00 AM. Here is what we expect to have in the van.

The Sweet Underground at Ayers Creek FarmRoots & Tubers: black radish, knob celery, spuds, sweet potatoes, beets, horseradish.

Not just less than lovely to look at, black radish a strong, coarse creature with a harsh bite best tempered by salting first. It northern Europe, it is served in beer halls, where the root is sliced paper thin and generously salted for about 20 minutes to an hour. The Boutard children grew up eating it that way, even before beer graced their evenings. It is amazing what a transformation a sprinkle of salt accomplishes. We also prepare a couple of salads/relishes by running the radish through the medium julienne blade of a Benringer mandolin and salting it for an hour. We peel it in a desultory fashion, pulling off the coarsest parts but leaving some of the black peel as decoration. When wilted, we rinse off the salt and dress it with lemon juice and olive oil, or sour cream. Both are delicious. Anthony enjoys it by the plateful as a salad while Carol prefers it in smaller doses as a relish.

Black radish is one of those very healthful vegetables that has a dedicated subterranean following, but no commodity commission loudly promoting its benefits. For what its worth, the root is high in vitamin C and is regarded as a good stimulant for liver regeneration. Both welcome at this time of the year.

Knob celery, aka celeriac, was another regular winter vegetable in the Boutard house. Anthony's mother cubed and cooked the root until just tender, and then dressed it with a vinaigrette while still warm. At Ayers Creek we most commonly eat it as a raw salad. We julienne the roots and dress them in lemon juice and olive oil with a generous amount of freshly ground cayenne. We also follow James Beard's celeriac remoulade recipe where he dresses it with mayonnaise seasoned by three different mustards: sharp English, Dijon and sweet German. We make generous portions of these salads and enjoy them over a two or three day period. A sprinkle of caraway is also nice variation.

When it grows large quickly, the root can develop a pithy heart. We generally plant our knob celery later than recommended so it grows slowly in the cool autumn weather, giving it a crisp texture all the way through. In trimming the roots, we retain the topknot of greenery whenever possible. It is not just that it looks like standard desert island cartoon image from the New Yorker, we like to chop up the green part into the salad.  

The theme for the market chef this weekend is side dishes. Kathryn will likely prepare salads from black radish and knob celery, among the other sides.

Onions & Shallots

Dried Cayenne Peppers

Cucurbits: Sibley and Musqueé. We will bring some smaller specimens to sell whole as well as some really big fruits to slice. We will have the ash gourd or winter melon, also whole or by the slice. Lovely in soup or roasted along with your roots, spuds or sweet potatoes. Add it to the turkey's dressing where it will add the crispness of similar to apple. We are also thinking about julienning it for a cucumberish sort of winter salad, maybe a bit of mint or seaweed.

Corn kernels: Amish Butter for popcorn, and both Roy's Calais and Amish Butter for hominy. In addition to popping well, Amish Butter makes a very good hominy, especially in a stock rendered from the leftover turkey bones.

Cornmeal: Both Amish Butter and Roy's Calais Flint cornmeal will be available.

Beans: Full selection. We have added adzuki beans and a large red kidney bean, both from the Island of Hokkaido.

Greens: A good but uncertain mix of bits and pieces. Similar to last week but add some heads of escarole.

Preserves: Full and bewildering selection of 17 different fruits plus the ever useful gift boxes of four different types. This year, the gift box is made up of raspberry, purple raspberry, loganberry and golden gage plum. No need to fret about red or white, these are our most lovable preserves, and better yet they are never corked.

Some other stuff too.

See you Sunday,

Carol & Anthony Boutard
Ayers Creek Farm