Volunteer Spotlight and Potato Leek Soup

Amy and Kate are joining forces this week to bring you a joint blog post. Kate spoke with Kristy Hawes, one of our regular volunteers. Amy concocted a delicious potato leek soup from the farm, and she’ll share the recipe below.

This season, I’ve become accustomed to seeing Kristy appear every Friday around mid-morning, with the work ethic of a former trail crew member, a smile, and a genuine enthusiasm for farming. Kristy moved to Montana last year from New England, but is relatively new to Missoula. While working for Montana Conservation Corps out of Kalispell, she volunteered at Purple Frog Farm in exchange for fresh produce. Upon moving to Missoula this year, she sought out a similar opportunity to connect with the local community and a quick Google search led her to Garden City Harvest and Orchard Gardens. Kristy has always relished being outdoors, whether on the trail or digging in the earth, so weekly farming adventures keep her grounded.

It turns out that a penchant for agriculture runs in Kristy’s family. Her great-grandparents once ran the largest carnation farm in New England! In addition to helping us weed beds, plant flowers, haul winter squash, and now, disband trellises, Kristy has been trying her hand at growing her own garden this year. She has been especially excited about her tomatoes, peppers, and herbs. Kristy has been using the fresh produce to expand her vegetarian cooking repertoire.

Thanks, Kristy for your hard work, and being a fantastic volunteer – we hope you’ll join us again next year!

It is officially the soup season here in Montana. As a consequence, our house soup pot has been rotating for weeks between different concoctions including vegetable lentil, squash chilli, and tonight, potato leek. This recipe is easy and delicious. Stay warm!

Potato Leek Soup

from The Kripalu Cookbook by Atma JoAnn Levitt

  • 3 cups sliced leeks (3-4 leeks, well washed)
  • 7 cups chopped potatoes (6-7 medium potatoes)
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup sliced celery
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried tarragon
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • Sprig fresh dill

In a large pot, layer 2 cups of the leeks and all of the potatoes. Cover with stock and bring to a boil. Add the salt. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, in a medium-sized skillet, heat the oil and saute the remaining leeks and garlic for 4-6 minutes. Set aside.

When the potatoes are tender, blend together half of the potatoes mixture and the milk in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy. Return the mixture to the pot and add the reserved leek mixture, the celery, herbs, and spices. Simmer for at least 10 minutes. Garnish with the dill and serve.