Chef Haidee Hart shares her recipe for Winter Fennel, Apple and Cabbage Salad.
EARLY EVERY MORNING, when the farm is quiet, Haidee Hart starts the fire in the wood stove. The barn kitchen glows with light and warmth, even though it’s dark outside. She makes breakfast for guests, and soon the farm begins to buzz with activity. Hart talks with farmers about what the garden offers that day and then plans lunch and dinner.
Hart is the chef at Stowel Lake Farm, an organic farm and retreat center on Salt Spring Island, B.C. She and her husband, Josh, have raised their four children on the farm, living and working alongside two other families for many years.
It is a special place where young and old live and work together to care for the land and each other.
This vision — of free-range children and sustainable farming in an intentional, intergenerational community — came from Lisa Lloyd, a B.C. native who bought the 115-acre property 40 years ago. After decades of hard work by many, the family-owned farm, retreat center and farmstand are thriving.
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As chef on the farm, Hart sees her mission as sharing the beauty of vegetables with guests. “We hope to inspire people to learn the story behind their food and to bring a connection with real food into their lives,” she says.
From the barn kitchen, Hart can see the overwintering celeriac root and parsley in the 4-acre garden. In her cooking, she focuses on the beauty and simplicity of what the garden gives. “When baby carrots first come in, I’ll make a carrot-top pesto, and guests can experience that incredible moment.”
Last year, Hart and Lloyd co-authored a beautiful cookbook with two other women who run the farm: Lloyd’s daughter, Jennifer Lloyd-Karr, and Elizabeth Young. In “Seven Seasons on Stowel Lake Farm,” the four women tell stories about the farm, and Hart shares favorite recipes of each season.
In her cooking, Hart is vegetable-focused, although she uses eggs, rabbits, trout and chickens from the farm, and supports ethical meat farmers nearby. Her sons supply her with salmon and make wooden platters for food service from maple and fir trees that have been sustainably harvested on the property.
In February, Hart likes to prepare cabbage that has been overwintering. “Cabbages that stay in the ground get so much sweeter and crunchier after a heavy frost or snow,” she says. She encourages home cooks to look for locally grown cabbages at farmers markets.
By presenting the beauty of simple ingredients, Hart shares the magic of the Earth and the hope that more people can live and work together, taking care of the land and each other.
Winter Fennel, Apple and Cabbage Salad
Serves 6 to 8
“Cabbages, like kale, become sweeter with the cold,” says Stowel Lake Farm chef Haidee Hart. “It’s pretty magical to walk out to the garden in the winter and harvest a cabbage out from under the snow. We try to grow enough cabbages on the farm to keep us all supplied year-round, as it is such a great staple; our favorite variety at the moment is the January King, which keeps incredibly well through the colder months.”
1 medium head cabbage (green, red or both)
1 fennel bulb, greens attached
½ cup dried cranberries
1½ cups yogurt
3 tablespoons honey
2 to 3 lemons
1. Finely shred cabbage (a mandolin works very well), dice the fennel and its greens, and thinly slice the apples.
2. Zest and juice the lemons, and combine zest and juice with the rest of the dressing ingredients. Toss with shredded cabbage, fennel, thinly sliced apples and cranberries, and let sit about half an hour before serving to allow the flavors to come together.
Recipe from “Seven Seasons on Stowel Lake Farm”