I always love when I can find unique ingredients that have never before been featuring during Thirty Days of Food and today I have one of those: chestnuts!! I am not super familiar with chestnuts outside of that Christmas song we all love about them roasting on a fire, so I was excited to experiment and try something new. I paired them with cauliflower in a soup and melted some smoked gouda in at the end. Holy yum! Today Theresa shares with us about their family farm Freund’s Farm Market and all the things their family is involved in in Connecticut!
THERESA FREUND OF FREUND’S FARM MARKET
East Canaan, Connecticut
When did you start farming? What brought you into farming?
I got a job on a small dairy farm when I was in high school. I came back during the summer after my first year at Purdue and the farmer didn’t have enough work for me, so he brought me down the road to Eugene Freund’s farm. I started working at Freund’s Farm that summer with chores and milking cows in 1979. I graduated from Purdue in 1982 and 1 month later married the farmer’s son, Matthew. I was full time on the dairy farm until I had baby #2 (of 4) and decided to expand on the family’s roadside stand which would allow me a bit more flexibility for raising our children on the farm. I have since expanded the ‘stand’ into a 2 story post and beam farm market which houses a commercial kitchen and bakery as well as a 60′ x 120′ greenhouse.
Who farms with you and what are their roles?
We have 3 unique businesses on our farm; Freund’s Farm (dairy farm), CowPots (manufacturing of biodegradable pots made from cow manure) and Freund’s Farm Market & Bakery. Currently my husband and brother-in-law own the dairy farm. My daughter Rachel is the herdswoman, my son Isaac is the crops and mechanics guy, my niece is part time as a bookkeeper and her husband Andy helps as a general contractor/fix-it guy. My daughter Amanda splits her time between the dairy and the CowPots business. My brother Michael is the mechanic and operations guy for CowPots. And lastly, my daughter Rachel’s boyfriend works in my farm market. I think that’s everyone 🙂
What has been the most satisfying part of farming for you?
Watching my children return to the farm and sharing the story about the crops harvested from our fields with my customers through my catered meals.
What crops (or animals) do you grow and why?
There are 300 cows on our dairy farm, we have 2 beehives, 60 laying hens, 1200 tomatoes, 6 acres of sweet corn, a few acres of vegetables, gourds and popcorn, 100 yards of raspberries, cut flowers, garden center and greenhouse with annuals and perennials for retail sales, and 3 chestnut trees.
What is your favorite thing to do with the food crop you grow?
Chestnuts for chestnut stuffing! I typically prepare 8-10 full Thanksgiving dinners in addition to our family’s meal. Chestnut stuffing has become a popular request.
I used smoked gouda for this recipe to finish it off, but you can use any yummy white cheese. I think Emmentaler, Gruyere, or Swiss would be just as yummy! If you don’t have an immersion blender (which I HIGHLY recommend) you can use a blender to puree the soup.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 head cauliflower
- 4 cups chicken broth (can use vegetable broth too)
- 1 cup roasted chestnuts
- 3/4 cup smoked gouda cheese
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- In a large heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and saute for 3-5 minutes or until softened. Add the salt, garlic powder, smoked paprika, white pepper, and thyme. Cook, stirring for a minute until spices are fragrant. Add the wine, being sure to scrape any browned bits off the bottom.
- Reduce heat to medium low, add the cauliflower, broth, and chestnuts. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until cauliflower is tender. Puree the soup with an immersion blender (or a regular blender).
- Stir in the cheese and heavy cream, remove from heat and serve.