A Wood Chopper’s Breakfast

Heavy-Duty Splitting Maul

Heavy-Duty Splitting Maul

As a young farmer, I can’t help but get excited about vegetables.  And with the current trend towards eating seasonally and locally, I get extra excited about vegetables that I (or someone I know) grew.  So when I was assigned to make brunch at my extended family’s Christmas reunion, I thought hard about including as many vegetables as possible from the farm where I work in northeast Iowa.

You might be wondering what vegetables are seasonal at the end of December (or January, or February…) in Iowa.  I’ll be honest, I’m not harvesting much these days, but the walk-in cooler at work is filled to the brim with root vegetables from our early November harvest—turnips, rutabagas, sweet carrots, and celeriac to name a few.  In addition we have a couple high tunnels where spinach is kept sheltered from the elements just enough to provide a harvest all winter.

I’m a huge fan of big, protein- and carbohydrate-filled breakfasts, so the menu I chose was a simple one:  breakfast sausages, scrambled eggs, and hash browns.  So where did I put all my locally grown vegetables?  First off, I added red onions and spinach to the scrambled eggs to add color and flavor.  Secondly, my hash browns were only half potato.  Mixed in with the spuds were onions, rutabagas, winter squash, and carrots.  Instead of grating the vegetables for the hash browns, we cut them into small cubes with an onion chopper to save our arms the strain of grating and to be able to distinguish the different vegetables.  We fried the whole mess of it in a cast-iron skillet with plenty of butter, salt, and pepper, to make for a flavorful start to our winter day.

My aunt called it a holzhackerfreuhstueck, which roughly translates from German to “woodchopperbreakfast.”  I think it’s an apt name—using what’s on hand for the season to make a nutrient-packed breakfast, good enough for a day of activities like wood-chopping, snow-shoeing, and hiking.  So, if you have a source for local vegetables, don’t forget about it over the winter!  Breakfast is only the start of the wonders you can make with stored roots, greens, and a little creativity.

2 thoughts on “A Wood Chopper’s Breakfast

  1. I just love this site… I really want to road trip there before Spring! You ought to see the beautiful lamps they have.