Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Aug 24 CSA

Opalka Tomato  (a Polish heirloom paste tomato)

Late summer is setting in with these cooler nights and foggy mornings. We can tell the days are getting shorter because things are growing more slowly...the okra doesn't need to be harvested everyday anymore.
We are planning an "open farm" day for September 17 from 2pm to 6pm.  We'll prepare lots of food and be available to show folks around the farm and hang out and talk.  I'd love to know if you think you can make it or if we should choose another date.  Please let us know at market or by email.
this week's box has:  2 lbs of heirloom paste tomatoes, 1/2 lb jimmy nardellos sweet italian frying peppers, 1 lb. onions, 2 garlic, 2 italian eggplant, 1 1/2 lb cucumbers, 1 lb. green tomatoes.
Full shares get in addition: 1 melon, 2 more lbs. tomatoes, 1 1/2 lbs. more cucumbers.

The tomatoes this week are by far my favorites of the year.  They are great for eating raw, make delicious salsa, and the best sauce.  Their flavor is incredible and the texture is meaty.  The green tomatoes are small but thought they'd make good fried green tomatoes or good for pickling.
A delicious salad I had last week at "The Junction" restaurant was:  green tomatoes cut into chunks and battered and fried sprinkled over cold black eyed peas and a sliced red tomato.  The dressing was balsamic vinegar, black pepper, olive oil, parsley. 
The peppers this week are incredibly sweet and best enjoyed sauteed with onions and eaten with ANYTHING!    

Jimmy Nardello Sweet Italian Frying Pepper

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

August 17 CSA

Red Maria Potatoes ready to put in boxes
 We got all the potatoes dug and stored in a cool, dark corner of the barn last Thursday; a good feeling!  Fall carrots, beets, and radishes are sprouting.  The winter squash is harvested and curing in the barn loft.  And the beat goes on.
Your box this week includes:  1 lb. purple viking potatoes, 1 bunch leeks, 1 garlic, 3 lbs. tomatoes (some defiant, some japanese black trifele), 1 lb. chinese eggplant, 1 bunch thai basil, 1 bell pepper, 1 hot serrano.  Full shares get 2 lbs. potaotes, 2 garlic, 1/4 lb. shallots, 1 lb. okra, 1 melon.
Potatoes are unwashed so they'll keep better.  They don't need refrigerated.  The bell peppers will ripen all the way to red if left on your counter.


1/4 cup chopped walnuts (or pine nuts or almonds)
1 lb. eggplant
1/2 lb tomatoes ( 2-3 small tomatoes)
1/4 cup apple juice
3 T balsamic vinegar
3 T thai basil
2 T prepared grainy mustard
2 T lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup e.v. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1.  heat oven to 375
2. toast nuts in dry, heavy skillet until they start to brown.  Trnsfer to a dish to cool ( only takes a minute)
3. lightly oil a baking sheet.  Cut eggplant in half lenghtwise and place on sheet.  Pile diced toamtoes around eggpalnt.  Roast in oven until eggplant is soft (about 30 minutes)
4. mix juice, vinegar, basil, mustard, and garlic in a small bowl with salt to taste.  slowly pour olive oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly, until dressing is thick and no longer separates.
5. remove veggies from oven and drizzle with some of the dressing.  Let cool.
6. when veggies have reached room temp., transfer to plates and drizzle the remaining dressing over them to taste.  sprinkle with toasted nuts and black pepper.
Phelan, Veronica, and Aaron preparing for potatoe harvest

Late beans in the field

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

August 10 CSA

This week's box includes:  garlic, red and yellow onions (don't need refrigerated), 2 Italian eggplant, 1 lb. juliet roma tomatoes, 1 1/2 lb. red slicers, your choice of an heirloom tomato, 1 lb. okra, 1 head cabbage.
Full shares get more garlic, 2 lbs. onions, 1 lb. heirloom "jimmy nardello sweet italian frying peppers", 2 heirloom tomatoes.
The juliet tomatoes are small romas that make great sauce, oven-roasted, or dehydrated ("sun-dried") tomatoes.  For sauce, I grind them up skin and all in food processor and add them to my sauce.  They cook down  fairly quick.  For oven-roasted, I sprinkle salt n pepper, olive oil, oregano on them and cook til a little browned and juicy.  They're a great addition to pasta salad or on crusty bread or grind them up and add to sauce.
The onions and garlic you're getting now are cured.  This means they will keep for months and don't need to be refrigerated.  They keep best in a dark, dry place.
The italian frying peppers are delicious sauteed with onions and served with pasta, beef, or bread and butter.
The recipe I gave several weeks ago for refrigerator pickles works well with the okra too.  I use white vinegar instead of apple cider for pickled okra.

slice 2 eggplant

cook until tender in boiling water to cover and 1 tsp vinegar

drain eggplant and  mash

beat in:
2 eggs, 1/2 tsp salt, 6 T flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander

drop by the spoonful into hot oil (I like safflower oil)
cook until brown on all sides

serve with fresh tomato slices and sour cream or plain yogurt

Hope you all have a great week!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Okra and eggplant in the field

August 2 CSA
I apologize for being so late in posting this!  Your box this week has some unusual things in it.  The round grayish-green item is a "charentais" melon.  A very sweet french melon similar to canteloupe.  The bag of green round fruit in a husk are tomatillos; the main ingredient in salsa verde.  Also in the box are:  a couple hot peppers, sweet onions, tomatoes...a few heirlooms, hybrid slicers, and cherry tomatoes, garlic, chinese eggplant.  Full shares also get leeks and german butterball potatoes.

Salsa Verde
remove the husks from the tomatillos and wash the fruit
cut in half and place on a flat pan
peel a few cloves of garlic and put with tomatillos
peel and cut into quarters an onion and put with tomatillos
sprinkle with salt and olive oil
roast in a 4oo degree oven until slightly browned and juicy (about 30 minutes)
let cool and grind up in food processor, blender, or by hand
put in a bowl and add the following:
dice 1/2 an onion
chop several sprigs of cilantro
dice 1 jalapeno or hot banana pepper
juice of 1/2 lime
salt and pepper to taste

this is great on tacos, with chips, or as a marinade for chicken or pork.
I'm sorry we can't provide you with cilantro, we are having a terrible time getting it to germinate.

The chinese eggplant is delicious grilled or oven-roasted.  Just drizzle with some oil and sprinkle with salt and cumin.  The skin is tender so no need to peel.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

July 27th CSA

July 27, 2011
We have gotten 3 inches of rain since Sunday night and today is predicted to be in the mid 90s.  This will be excellent growing conditions for okra and eggplant as well as many diseases.  We are trying to pre-emptively treat crops in the hopes to stave off powdery mildew and late blight.  Here's hoping for a good winter squash harvest and continued tomatoes!
Anne's neice, Adrian, has been working on the farm for several weeks.  Sadly, she had to go home to Virginia to prepare for her senior year of high school. 
A beautiful coxcomb celosia

The Crew: from left Veronica, Phelan, Aaron, Anne, Meredith
in wheelbarrow Adrian and Addiebelle
This week's box includes:  1 lb potatoes, 3 lbs tomatoes, 1 1/2 lbs sweet onions, garlic, 1 yellow-fleshed honeydew, 1 savoy cabbage.  Full shares also get 1 lb chineses eggplant, more garlic and potatoes, 1 pint cherry tomatoes.
The sweet onions need to be stored in the refrigerator and are great raw in salads and very mild to cook with. 

Creamed Cabbage
cut core out of head of cabbage and shred
drop into boiling water and cook about 10 minutes
drain the water

make a white sauce:
melt over low heat 2 T butter
add 1 1/2 T flour and blend over low heat
stir in slowly, 1 cup milk
add 1 small onion
cook and stir with whisk until thickened and smooth.
add a pinch of nutmeg

add the cooked cabbage to the white sauce and bake for 10 minutes.

this is delicious served with meatballs, stirfried vegetables, or tomato sauce.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Beet Ice Cream at The Hop

So The Hop bought golden beets from us a couple of weeks ago and have used them in a new ice cream flavor.  We got a pint today and it was great.  Here's a link and if you get a chance, go try it.

bird inthe hand is worth 2 in the bush

a nest in the potatoe patch

July 13
The heat has made some seemingly quick changes to the crops.  All of a sudden, tomatoes are ripening and the onions for storage are about ready to harvest.  Both of these things are 2 weeks earlier than last year.  Also soon to be ripe are eggplant, okra, and peppers.  All the brassicas of early summer (broccoli, cabbage) are over and tilled in and we are preparing ground for the fall crops to go in.  Its hard to imagine it ever getting cool again but we have to plan(t) now for the food we'll eat in 2 months.

This weeks' box includes:  2 lb green beans, 1 lb tomatoes, 1 head savoy cabbage, 1 bunch yellow onions, 1/2 lb basil, 1 lb red new potatoes
Full shares also get:  3 fennel bulbs, 2 lb potatoes, 3 lb tomatoes, 1 bunch beets

The tomatoes you eat are all grown in the field.  The early ones are a hybrid called "new girl".  There will be lots of heirloom cherry tomatoes and larger slicing tomatoes as they ripen.  It is significant to say field grown because the fruit is generally more flavorful than those grown in a hothouse but the trade off is in appearance.  The skin tends to have more blemishes when grown outside.  The potatoes were dug on tuesday and are "new" potatoes.  The skin is very tender and they need to be eaten this week.  The spots on the skin are edible and just because our soil is a little rough in texture.  Nutritionally, potatoes are high in vitamin C but it is all in the skin!  We thought a lot of basil would be nice so you can make pesto.  I usually make it without parmesan cheese or nuts and add those just when eating.  I make my pesto with olive oil, salt, garlic and a little lemon juice.  I keep it in a tightly closed jar in the fridge for a month or freeze in ice cube trays and put in a ziploc bag.  I'm just realizing we forgot to put garlic in the box this week...if you need garlic and want to get some at market just let us know who you are and you can get it free.  (Anne will be at north asheville and Phalen at the city on sat.) 

Baked Cabbage and Potatoes
shred 1 savoy cabbage
wash and thinly slice 3 potatoes
put in a large, buttered baking dish with cabbage on top
pour over it a mixture of:
3/4 cup cream
2 beaten eggs
salt and pepper to taste
a pinch of nutmeg
cover with bread crumbs if desired
bake at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes

Meredith harvesting potatoes

Tray of New Girl Tomatoes

Freshly washed basil

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

June 29 CSA

Heritage wheat hangin to dry in foreground; this winter's hay in background.
   The rain subsided and we are getting all kinds of work done that was on hold because the fields were too wet. We harvested all the garlic monday and it looks great so far.  Now we need to spend a day in the barn hanging it to dry.  It'll take about 3 weeks to "cure" and then the garlic in your box will look like what you see in the stores year-round.  We got several crops transplanted that have been waiting for things to dry up some ( celeriac, celery, fennel, and leeks) and planted carrot and black eye pea seed for harvest in late august. 
   There are new crops about to come in.  Today I saw 3 almost ripe tomatoes so it won't be long until you see them in your box.  Also green beans are ripening and should be plentiful next week.
   This week's box includes:  1 bunch sweet onions, 2 lbs cucumbers, 1 lb squash, 1 red cabbage, 1 bunch beets, 1 celery, garlic.  The full shares also get:  1/2 lb basil, 3/4 lb heirloom broccoli, 2lbs squash.
   PLEASE REMEMBER TO RETURN YOUR EMPTY WAX BOX EACH WEEK!  We bought 2 for each share and are running out.
   The garlic in your box was injured during harvest and will not cure well so needs to be eaten in the next week or 2.  I'm not attaching a monetary value to it (its free).  It is more than we can eat and don't want it to go to waste.  The celery will keep a few weeks in your refrigerator if kept in a bag in the crisper.  It is quite flavorful and a great addition to egg, tuna, or potato salads.  It also lends great flavor to soups and sauces.  The heirloom broccoli in the full shares is my favorite broccoli.  You can eat the stalks and leaves too.  I saute or steam them whole for 5 minutes and add a little lemon juice and salt.
A recipe:   Beet Slices in Creamy Mustard Sauce (from Farmer John's cookbook)
1 bunch beets, tops removed, scrubbed, trimmed
2 T butter
1 sweet onion, sliced
1 T all purpose flour
1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1/4 cup milk
3 T dijon mustard
salt and pepper
1. place beets in pan with 1/2 cup water and cover pan.  Place in a 400 degree oven and bake until tender (45 mins to 1 hour).  Allow to cool slightly and then run under cold water while slipping off their skin.  Cut into 1/4 inch thick wedges.
2.Melt butter in a large skillet over med-low.  Add onion: cook, stirring for a few minutes.  Add flour and stir constantlyfor 2 minutes.  Whisk in the stock, milk, and mustard.  Cook and stir mixture until slightly thickened.  Add beets and cook until warmed through (10 mins).
3. Remove from heat and season with salt n pepper.   
June 29 box contents

Mid-way through garlic harvest June 27

"House Field" with farmhouse rental and barns in the distance.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

CSA June 22-25

Addiebelle enjoying spinach

Monarch butterfly moments after hatching on our porch railing

June 22 and week 4 of the CSA!  The rain has come and will not quit.  It's great to get rain but now we are anxiously awaiting the chance to get back in the fields and plant the next round of crops.  We are also watching the weeds grow at an alarming rate!  We had a hailstorm last wednesday that injured many things and ripped the new bed of spinach to shreds.  Anne's 17 year old niece has joined us to work on the farm for the summer. 
This week's box includes: carrots, escarole, sweet onions (like a vidalia), garlic, 2 1/2 lbs pickling cucumbers, sugar snap peas, 1 fennel, 1 rossa lunga di tropea onion.  Full shares also get:  1 lb broccoli, 1 bunch beets, 2 fennel.
The sugar snaps are somewhat injured from the hail but taste sweet.  The pickling cucumbers are great for fresh eating and superior for making pickles.  I'll give you a recipe for making refrigerator pickles.  There are enough for 1 quart of pickles and plenty to eat in salads and sandwiches.  The rossa lunga onions are a lovely, mild onion great for salads or grilling.  They cannot be cured so are only around for  a few weeks a year.

Fresh-pack Dill Pickles
wash well 7 to 9 cucumbers
peel 3 to 5 cloves garlic
pack into a clean 1 quart jar
to jar add:
1 T dill seed
1 clove
1 whole allspice
1 bay leaf
a few black peppercorns
1/2 T mustard seed
in a sauce pan, bring to a boil:
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cup water
2 T salt
Pour over contents of jar.  When cooled, put on lid and refrigerate for 2 weeks before eating.  These will keep for 6 months in refrigerator.

This is the last box that will have escarole.  Following is another recipe using it.

Braised Escarole
1 head of escarole
3t olive oil
1 clove garlic, sliced
1/2 t chopped basil
1/4 t chopped mint
1/2 t salt
1/2 t black pepper

Shred not too finely and wash the escarole.  Place in stew pan with other ingredients.  Cover pan and cook over low flame 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  Serve with crushed red pepper and grated parmesan or romano.

Fennel in field

Rossa Lunga di Tropea Onions

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Week 3 CSA June 15

Early Jersey Cabbage on the plant

This week, the sky finally brought us some much needed rain.  We've been doing a lot of hand weeding and will be tilling  several of the spring crops in tomorrow to re-plant with summer crops.  A reminder that after this week, those of you who pick up at the Wednesday market will be picking up at the new location at the chamber of commerce on Montford Ave.  Our farm is on the Family Farm Tour this year June 25 and 26.  We'll have things tidy and will be available to give tours so if you want to come out, please do!
This weeks' box includes: 1 head early jersey wakefield cabbage, 1/2 lb spinach, 1 bunch onions, 1 bunch garlic, 1 bunch red beets, 1 lb yellow squash, 1 lb broccoli.  The full shares don't get broccoli and get in addition 1 lb purple cauliflower, 1 pint snow peas, 1 pint sugar snaps, 1 bunch carrots.  Everyone will get blueberries!
The cabbage is an heirloom, early variety with superior tenderness and flavor.  I think it makes the best slaw.  It is also delicious steamed with lemon juice and butter. The beets are sweet and tender and a great albeit unusual thing to do with them is make beet sandwiches!  Slice the beets in 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick slices and steam til soft.  Toast some bread and spread with mayonnaise and a good mustard.  Slice a dill pickle and add as much as you like.  Add a few leaves of spinach and a slice of swiss cheese and enjoy! 

Broccoli on the plant

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Week 2, June 8 CSA

   The  box this week includes:  1 lb of spinach, 1 lb of yellow summer squash, 1 bunch of green onions, 1 bunch of green garlic, 1 bunch of lacinato kale, 1 bunch of dill, 1 head of escarole.  The full shares also get: 1 lb of zucchini, 1 lb of broccoli, and 1 bunch of beets.
   Lacinato kale tastes similar to curly kale.  It needs a little longer cooking to get tender.  It has the added benefit of more vitamin A and calcium.  I like kale best just steamed to tender and then sauteed with a couple cloves of garlic in olive oil.  The escarole is a bitter green commonly used in soups.  If you like bitter salad greens, the heart is great in salad and the outer leaves great for soup or the dish in the recipe below.  We enjoy the tender summer squash sauteed in olive oil with an onion, salt, and pepper, and fresh dill.
1 head escarole, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
1 head escarole
1 can white beans (cannelli beans are best)
grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
crushed red pepper

1. saute the garlic in olive oil til lightly browned.  add the escarole.  let saute until wilted (about 5 mins).
2. add the white beans and spices.  let cook til warm and well combined.
3. grate parmesan over each potion and eat warm. 

2 different heritage wheat varieties we are trialing for bread flour

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

2011 CSA Week 1

So the CSA begins this week!  Welcome everyone!  We've had a great spring so far.  The weather up until now has been great.  Now the heat is on and we're irrigating several hours a day.  Once we get everything set up for each field, irrigating is fairly simple.  There is a filter that has to be cleaned every couple hours and gate valves are opened and closed according to where we want the water to go. 
  For those of you who have done the CSA before, this will be repetetive and for the rest, informative.  The wax box you recieve your veggies in each week needs to be returned empty the following week when you come to pick up.  It needs to be kept out of direct, hot sun as the wax will melt and render the box fragile.  We try to use as few plastic bags as possible.  Most things requiring a bag will be in muslin bags we made.  These need to be returned each week as well.  We will wash them before using them again.
   The first week's box contains:  1 head of napa cabbage, 1 head of romaine lettuce, 1 bunch of scallions, green garlic, 1 bunch of mix color beets, 1 bulb of fennel, 1 bunch of chard.  The full shares get additionally 1 pint of strawberries, 1/2 lb spinach, and a head of cauliflower.
   Green garlic is simply uncured garlic.  At this stage, you can use it any place you would use cured garlic AND you don't need to peel each clove.  It is milder in flavor than cured garlic.  It needs to be stored in the refrigerator and will last a couple weeks.
   Napa cabbage is great for stir-frying and makes a good slaw.  The beet greens can be cooked like any other green.  You can steam them and freeze for adding to a soup in the winter.
Napa Cabbage
Asian Cabbage and Fennel Slaw

1/2 head napa cabbage, shredded
1 bulb fennel, julienned
1 grated carrot
3 scallions, diced (green tops too!)
fresh mint and cilantro, minced
2 T rice vinegar
2 T peanut oil
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
Green Garlic Spinach Chard Fennel Napa Cabbage and Beets

Sunday, May 15, 2011

CSA Shareholder Meeting May 22

Come on out to the farm at 5 on the 22nd.  We will be discussing the upcoming season, our decision to move with the Wednesday market to the Chamber of Commerce, and listening to comments from the shareholders.  We look forward to meeting everyone and receiving your imput.