Not Quite Spring

The work in our soap kitchen is winding down, as the new farm season is winding up.  Each April 1st regardless of the weather, we start filling trays and planting 17 varieties of heirloom tomatoes.  Today was blustery, dark and cold with snow, rain and hail all making their appearance.  Thankfully the greenhouse temperature was 70 degrees, allowing us to pretend that spring was indeed here.  We are impatient this time of year.  We have had enough of indoor activities and want to put our plans into action.  In the course of one month all 7300 plants will be transplanted from their 48 pack trays to individual 4 1/2 inch pots.  Some of these will be sold at market, while the rest will be planted in our fields in late May.  This is only the beginning.

We are expecting our shipment of 650 pounds of seed potatoes to arrive any day now.  We grow 7 varieties of potatoes that include early, mid-season and late season varieties.  These will be planted as soon as we can get into the fields.  I’m itching to start tilling.  It seems we hit the ground running April 1st and slow down somewhere around the 31st of October.  The hard-neck garlic that we planted last October is starting to push out of the ground, and our spring vegetables are ready to plant.  Farming teaches you patience, as we are always waiting on the weather.  Hopefully good things will come to those who wait.

During this cold windy day, we have gotten a good start on the tomato plants.  We head in to make our favorite pork Bolognese.  Don’t be daunted by the long ingredient list.  You can actually make it in less than an hour.  I love using tomatoes that we put up last season.  I can almost feel the sun on my shoulders as I stir.

Pork Bolognese

  • 4 oz good quality pancetta, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cups onion, chopped
  • 1 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • 2 lbs ground pork
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp fennel seed
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 quart homemade tomato sauce
  • 2 4oz cans tomato paste, plus two can water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lb penne pasta
  • 1 cup freshly shredded Pecorino cheese
  1. In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, cook pancetta 7 minutes or until crisp.  Drain on paper towels.  Add butter and olive oil to pot.  Add onion, carrot and celery, saute 4-6 minutes.  Turn up heat to medium-high.
  2. Add ground pork, salt, pepper and garlic, Italian seasoning, cinnamon, red pepper flakes and fennel seed.  Saute until pork in no longer pink.  Add pancetta, red wine, heavy cream, tomato sauce, tomato paste and bay leaf.  Turn heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain.  Pour pasta into large serving bowl.  Top with sauce, removing bay leaf.  Sprinkle with fresh parsley.  Pass shredded Pecorino.

Serves 6-8“Food is our common ground, a universal experience.”   –James Beard

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