Spring is (almost) here!

by Sarah Nunes March 14, 2017

Spring is (almost) here!

Well it’s a little strange to be talking about spring in the midst of a snow storm but inevitably spring is coming and we are starting to get the farm ready for another season. In just a few short weeks we will be getting our spring chick delivery so we have been getting the brooder prepared for their arrival. We are also readying the pig pen for spring piglets. Nothing says spring like baby chicks and pigs!

Our biggest spring project, however, is our plans to fence the entire pasture. This will allow us to move away from the current portable fences which we have to relocate each (and every) time we move the chickens within the fields. Permanent fencing also allows the birds to have more space within the paddock to forage and roam. This new fencing strategy is only possible because Lucy, our herding dog, is now fully trained and able to herd the birds inside each night quickly and efficiently.

For now we will wait out the last throws of winter by finalizing our plans with a hot cup of coffee and a good, hot meal. This recipe could easily be used as a light spring dinner, but considering the current weather, try it as a hearty side dish alongside some roast chicken or pork.

Farro with Asparagus, Hazelnuts and Kale Topped with Roasted Mushrooms

  • Salt
  • 1 1/4 cups farro (the original recipe calls for pearled farro but I buy whole and adjust the cooking time as needed)
  • 1 1/2 pounds mushrooms, sliced (see Notes below)
  • About 1/3 cup EVOO, plus extra for serving
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped (I use ½ of a medium onion if I don’t have shallots on hand)
  • 1 bundle thin asparagus trimmed and sliced on an angle
  • 1 small bundle flat kale, stemmed and finely chopped
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup dry sherry or Marsala
  • 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts (optional)
  • Lemon juice, for serving
  • Sherry vinegar, optional

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. 

Bring a pot of water to a boil, salt the water and cook the farro to tender, 20 minutes or so. (May need a little longer if using whole farro, check occasionally for doneness)

Meanwhile, toss the mushrooms with about 1/4 cup EVOO or just enough to lightly coat, and then season with the thyme. Roast to deeply fragrant and brown. Season with salt and pepper. 

While the mushrooms are in the oven, heat about 2 tablespoons EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, shallots and asparagus and cook to tender crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the kale and wilt, season with salt and pepper and nutmeg to taste. Deglaze with the sherry.

Toast the nuts in a small skillet until browned and fragrant if using.

Drain the faro and combine with the vegetables. Cool and store for a make-ahead meal. The farro can be served room temperature or reheated in a microwave or skillet. Store the toasted nuts in an airtight container at room temperature. Reheat the mushrooms in a skillet to warm through. Serve the farro and vegetables sprinkled with the nuts, a little lemon juice and top with roasted mushrooms.

Alternatively, the farro can be served as a cold salad and the mushrooms can be roasted off the night you want to serve it. If the cold farro is too dry, dress with sherry vinegar or lemon juice, and more EVOO.


Notes: The original recipe calls for a mix of mushrooms such as shiitake, crimini, and hen of the woods. These can sometimes be hard to find and button or baby portabellas can be substituted. If using assorted mushrooms slice the criminis and coarsely chop the hen of woods and shiitakes

Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray, Rachael Ray’s Week in a Day

Sarah Nunes
Sarah Nunes


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