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