Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October 24 the first extended share box

So we begin the "extended season" with the weather gone back to being quite mild.  We are working on getting the garlic planted this week for next year's harvest.  All the fallow ground is planted in a cover crop of crimson clover and wheat.  We are almost ready to slow down a bit.

planting garlic
Boxes today have:  1 bunch beets, 1 head radicchio, 1 head lettuce, 1 bunch leeks, 3lbs. fingerling potatoes, 3lbs. small orange sweet potatoes, 2 lbs red onions, garlic and shallots.

Radicchio Salad

1 head radicchio, cut into bite-size chunks
1or 2 ripe pears, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup walnuts
blue cheese
balsamic vinegar
extra virgin olive oil

1. toast walnuts over medium heat, flipping periodically until they smell good. ( we use a dry cast iron skillet and it takes about 5 mins.. be careful because they're easy to burn.)
2. combine in a bowl the radicchio, pears, walnuts, and blue cheese.  drizzle vinegar and olive oil over and a light sprinkle of salt and toss.

its good to make the salad about 10 minutes before you'll eat it.

we love this salad!  it has it all; the bitter radicchio, the salty and creamy blue cheese, the sweet pear, the earthy walnut and the tangy vinegar!  yum!

We also really enjoy the combination of sweet potatoes and fingerlings roasted in the oven with some olive oil and salt at 425 degrees for 30 minutes or so.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October 3 CSA

I meant to write last week that the winter squash you got in your box 2 weeks ago is a buttercup squash.  The flesh is sweeter and a little drier than butternut and is delicious roasted.

Your box this week contains:  1 head buttercrunch lettuce, 1 bunch swiss chard, 1 bunch radishes, 2 lbs orange sweet potatoes, 1 lb. japanese sweet potato ( purple skin, yellow flesh), some sweet onions.   Regular shares also get: 1 head romaine, 1 bunch leeks, 1 lb. zucchini, 1 bunch fresh dill.

Remember to get your onions and garlic from our market stand.

Also, please return any extra wax boxes you have; we are running low again.

Addiebelle inspecting sweet potatoes
The sweet onions in your box need to be refrigerated.  The sweet potatoes this week need to sit for another week atleast before they'll be sweet.  Just keep them on your counter or in a cabinet, unwashed until you're ready to eat them.  The japanese sweet potatoes are more dense and starchy and less sweet in flavor than the orange ones.

Next week is the last regular season CSA box.  The extended shares start Oct 24th and you'll get a box 4 out of 5 weeks until Nov. 21st.  Its your choice which of the weeks you don't want a box.  We did it this way so that if you're out of town Thanksgiving week, you won't miss a box but if you're in town and want a bunch of fresh veggies for your Thanksgiving dinner, you can get a box the day before Thanksgiving.  You'll just need to let us know at some point which date you're missing.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sept 26 CSA

Sorry we haven't been keeping up with the blog.  As it turns out, life with 2 children is more than twice as much work as with just one. There are 2 weeks left in the CSA after today.  Anyone with an egg share who didn't get your reimbursement or credit, please be sure to!  We have gotten cover crop sown in most of the fields we are finished with and we are preparing ground for strawberries to get planted as well as garlic, onions, and leeks that will live winter outdoors.  We got a much needed rain last week and hope for more.

boxes this week contain:  1 long island cheese pumpkin, 1 lb. german butterball potatoes, 1 lb. eggplant, 1 head romaine lettuce, 1 lb. summer squash.  We didn't have enough of either okra or braising greens to put them in every box so your box will either have 1 bag of braising greens (young and tender kale and collards) or 1 lb.of okra.  We will do the same next week so if you tell Ally which you want, you'll get the other next week. 
regular shares also have:  1 bunch beets, 1 red bell pepper, 2 lbs. potatoes.

*remember to get your onions and garlic from the stand at market*
we've been noticing some bad spots in 1 layer within the red onions.  as your picking your onions out, gently press on the stem end and make sure its firm and no juice is coming out of the stem

Cyril and Addiebelle

Long Island Cheese Pumpkins curing in barn loft
The long island cheese pumpkins are excellent for soups and pies.  They have a creamy texture and will keep for a few months, getting sweeter as time wears on.  They're best stored in your kitchen in a cool spot out of direct sunlight.  If you notice the skin starting to develop spots, it needs to be cooked.


cut the pumpkin in half or quarters and roast in 400degree oven til soft; scoop out the seeds

2T butter
2 onions or 4 shallots
2T sherry or dry vermouth
1 roasted pumpkin
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp ground ginger
3/4 to 1 c milk; maybe more

1. saute onion in butter until soft
2. remove seeds from squash; for a thicker soup, use skins.  for a thinner, more delicate flavored soup, remove skins
3. combine onion, squash, vermouth, broth, salt, pepper, ginger
4. puree in food processor.  add milk as needed to get desired consistency.  ( you can use water instead)
5. return to pot and heat thouroughly.

Hope you have a great week!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sept.12 CSA

This week's box:  1 lb. sweet potatoes (2 orange/ 2 white), 1 butternut squash, 1 bell pepper, 2 pints edamame, 1 lb. okra, 1 large or 2 medium summer squash.  Regular shares get: 2 lbs. sweet potatoes, 2 lbs. okra, jimmy nardello peppers instead of bell pepper, regular potatoes.

Remember to get garlic and onions from the stand.

Things are going great with the new baby.  He sleeps a lot which is a complete switch from our first and he is intigrating into the family with ease so far.  I will work on getting pictures and spicing up the blog again next week...

The sweet potatoes and butternut have been harvested for 10 days atleast and will be sweet.  They will get sweeter though, if you wait another week or 2 to eat them.  They are best stored at room temperature.

Pickled Okra
1 lb. okra
1 garlic clove
1 small hot pepper
1 cup white vinegar
2 cups water
1  tsp. dill seed
1 Tblspn salt

Wash okra and pack firmly in a hot, sterilized quart jar.  Add garlic and hot pepper if desired.  Make a brine with the vinegar, water, dill seed, and salt (taste to see if salty enough for you).  Boil. Pour boiling brine over okra leaving 1/4 inch headspace at top. Let cool before putting lid on.  Refrigerate for several weeks before eating.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August 29 CSA

This week's box:  2 bell peppers, 1/2 lb. okra, 1 pint edamame, 1 1/2 lbs. summer squash, 2lbs. golden delicious apples.  Regular shares also have: 2 pints cherry tomatoes, 1 1/2 lbs. cucumbers.

Also, please get your onions, garlic, shallots, and hot pepppers at the market stand.

To prepare the edamame, wash it and then steam for 5 minutes; toss with salt if you like and pop the beans out of the pod with your teeth.

We like to eat okra lots of different ways.  If you want it to be less slimy, cut it into 1/2 inch wide pieces and soak in salt water for 10 minutes before cooking.  It is an excellent thickener for soups and gumbo.  It is delicious sauteed with onions and sweet peppers and served with rice or quinoa. 

In the coming weeks of the CSA (there are 6 left after today),  you'll get winter squash, sweet potatoes, leeks, celeriac, more edamame, lettuce.
We are working on getting the winter squash harvested.  We'll have butternut, long island cheese pumpkins, and buttercup.
The sweet potato harvest will probably begin next week with the O'Henry variety which is white.  We will also have purple, orange, and japanese (purple skin with white flesh).

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

August 22 CSA

The weather is cooling down...we'll see if it's a permanent change toward fall or a short reprieve from this hot summer.  The days are getting shorter and our daily start time is pushed up to 7 am.  Also noticeable is the slowed rate at which crops are growing and ripening.

Your box this week contains:  1 red cabbage, 1 bell pepper, 1 lb. summer squash, 1 lb. mixed beans (yellow wax and green snap), 2 lbs. red skin potatoes, 1 pint cherry tomatoes.  regular shares have an additional pound each of beans and summer squash as well as 2 lbs. of tomatoes.
Also, we have LOTS of hot peppers and would love for any of you who want them to get those at the market stand too.  If you want a large amount, let me know and we'll put that together for next week.  I'm just not sure who likes them and who doesn't so we didn't put them in the boxes.  There are jalapenos, serranos, and poblanos.  You do not need to pay for the peppers or the onions etc..

ASIAN CABBAGE SLAW (from Farmer John's cookbook)

2 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 cup minced red onion
1/2 red bell pepper
2 T minced fresh mint
2 T minced fresh cilantro
2 T rice vinegar
2 T peanut oil
1 T rice wine (mirin or sake)
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
salt and pepper
1. Combine the cabbage, onion, pepper, mint, cilantro in a large bowl.  Toss well.
2. Mix vinegar, peanut oil, rice wine, honey, sesame oil in a small bowl until well combined.  Pour over the cabbage mixture and toss.  Season with s and p to taste.
3. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Other vegetables are great in this slaw too such as cucumber and carrot.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

August 15 CSA

This week's box has:  1 bunch leeks, 1 lb. sweet peppers, 2 lbs. heirloom paste tomatoes, 2 lbs. red and blue potatoes, 3/4 lb green beans, 1 lb. japanese eggplant, 1 pint cherry tomatoes.  Regular shares also get:  1 lb. yellow wax beans, 2 lbs. summer squash, 2 lbs. more paste tomatoes.

We thought we would just let you pick your own garlic and onions at market from the table.  You can get what you need each week and then store them as you wish.  The sweet and long red onions need to be kept in the refrigerator.  The round red and yellow onions as well as garlic and shallots do not need refrigeration.  They are best stored in dark, dry, cool location.

Jimmy Nardello sweet Italian Frying Peppers.
All the peppers in your box are sweet.  The long thin ones are an italian heirloom frying pepper, delicious in all applications.  The paste tomatoes are great for sauce and also delicious fresh in sandwiches , salsa, and salads.  The japanese eggplant have tender skin and do not need peeling.  They are excellent sauteed with onion and garlic and salt and pepper.  They're also good roasted and ground up and added to dips or veggie patties; delicious cut in half, marinated and grilled; delicious cut into coins and breaded and fried.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

August 8 CSA

All share boxes have:  3 lb. tomatillos, 3 lb. red tomatoes, 2 jalapenos, 2 lb nicola potatoes, 1 bell pepper, 3 onions, 2 garlics, 1 celery, 1 pint cherry tomatoes.   Regular share boxes also have:  1/2 lb. sweet jimmy nardello peppers, 2 italian eggplant, 1/2 lb. basil.

There is a recipe in the blog from a few weeks ago for tomatillo salsa for those of you who just started getting the peak share.  The nicola potatoes are excellent for potato salad, soup, or homefries as they have a waxy texture and hold their form well when cooked.  The bell pepper will ripen all the way to red if kept out on the counter for a day or two.  The jimmy nardello peppers are the long thin peppers that look like they should be hot though they are very sweet.  These are one of my favorite vegetables of the year and I like them best just sauteed with some onion and eaten as a side or on top of anything.  The celery has the same problem as before due to so much rain.  The leaves can be used in soup or stock but aren't very good fresh.  The stalks that have blemishes should be cooked too because they'll be tough but the hearts can be used for potato salad or anything fresh.  This is probably the last week that you'll get alot of tomatoes.  We really like to make a roasted tomato sauce.  I'll put a recipe for that below.

 Mom's Roasted Tomatoes
(recipe compliments of Aaron's mother)

Large roasting pan
In bottom of pan place 1 large slivered onion tossed with 1 Tblspn olive oil, salt and pepper.
Halve tomatoes and place cut side up on the onion.
Throw 4 cloves chopped garlic on top.  Drizzle with 2 Tblspn ollive oil, salt and pepper.
Roast at 425 degrees for 1 1/2 hrs. until all juice evaporates.
Use in soups, sauces, on pizza.
This freezes well for later use.
Strawflowers drying for wreaths
Next week the boxes will have leeks, hopefully beans, and maybe summer squash from a new planting.  We are in a bit of a lull right now because we've lost some things to the rain and heat and because we were unable to get new crops planted on schedule because of the fields being too wet.  Please bear with us, new crops will begin to appear in your boxes soon!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August 1! CSA

Here we are in August!

We have all the potatoes harvested and stored; the new litter of barn cats has been discovered, the onion field is disced in and sown in a cover crop of buckwheat, and we are planting fall crops!  ( turnips, daikon radish, beets, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower)

Boxes this week:  3 lbs. tomatoes, 1 canteloupe melon, 1 lb. fairytale eggplant, 1 bunch thai basil, 1 head of green cabbage, 1 pint of mixed cherry tomatoes, garlic, onions.  Regular shares also get:  2 lbs. purple peruvian fingerling potatoes, 1 celery, 2 lbs. of sauce tomatoes.

The tomatoes are hanging in there but probably only for another week or two.  The melons are pretty good but not as sweet as they could be were it not raining so much.  If you get a totally bad one, please let us know next week and you can get another one.  The thai basil is an excellent additon to stirfries and curries and also makes a pleasant pesto.  The purple fingerlings are an almost wild potato that will be best roasted whole tosssed in some olive oil and salt n pepper.
Look at all the potatoes!
 Roasted Eggplant and Tomato with Nuts
from Farmer John's cookbook

1/4 cup chopped pine nuts, almonds, or walnuts
1 lb. eggplant
1/2 lb tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup apple or white grape juice
3 Tblspn balsamic vinegar
3 Tblspn chopped parsley
2 Tblspn prepared grainy mustard
2 Tblspn lemon or lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

1. heat oven to 375 degrees
2. toast the nuts in a dry heavy skillet over high heat until they become fragrant.  about 1 minute.  transfer immediately to a cool dish.
3. brush a baking sheet with oil.  cut the eggplant in half and arrange on the sheet.  Pile the diced tomatoes arounf the eggplant.  roast until the eggplant is soft, about 30 minutes.
4. Mix the remaining ingredients for the dressing.  add the olive oil last by pouring in a thin stream, whisking constantly, until the dressing is thick and doesn't separate.
5. Remove veggies from oven and spoon 2/3 of dressing over the cut surfaces.  let the veggies cool.
6.  when the veggies have reached room temp., transfer to individual plates and drizzle remaining dressing over them.  sprinkle toasted nuts over top, season with salt and pepper.  serve at room temp.
this is delicious with chevre sprinkled on top.
Aaron and Addiebelle inspecting the tomatoes

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July 25 CSA

     These are the people who start at 6 am every morning and work all day to grow food for your boxes.  They work in the heat and rain to grow the veggies, harvest them, wash them, and put them in your boxes.  They work hard and complement each other very well.  We feel so lucky to have them to work beside.  They come to us from Northern Virginia, Chicago, Baltimore, and Vermont.  They bring with them many different experiences to share, and insights into what's going on around us.  We don't believe everything that they have to say, but some of it isn't half bad.  You might have seen them at market, but here is your formal introduction:


Garrett and Daniela


Peak shares begin today for those who bought the shortened CSA version.
Please return any boxes you have.  We are running low ...

Boxes this week have:  1 Italian eggplant, 1 bunch of basil, 1 garlic, 1 red onion, 1 bunch of leeks, 2 lbs. of purple potatoes, 2 Paul Robeson tomatoes, 1 Brandywine tomato, 1 Cherokee purple tomato, 1 1/2 lbs. of new girl tomatoes.  Regular shares also get:  1 cantaloupe, 1 Charentais melon, 1 bunch of beets.

   The tomatoes are hanging in there so the boxes have alot this week. We hope you enjoy them! The melons may be less sweet than last week because we have had so much rain the last few days. 


Potato and Leek Soup

1 bunch of leeks, roots and tops removed, chopped in thin slices and washed
2 lbs of potatoes, washed and chopped
2 stalks of celery chopped or 1 tsp celery seed
2 quarts of chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups of cream, milk, or water
2 tblsp of butter

1.  melt butter in a large pot and add leeks and celery.  saute until leeks are translucent.
2. add potatoes and stock and simmer until potatoes are soft enough to put a fork thru.
3.  puree the contents of the pot, adding cream, milk, or water to make consistency of soup desirable to you.  return to the pot and add salt and pepper.
4.  let all ingredients cook on low for 15 minutes to bring out flavors.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

July 18 CSA

Yellow Onion crop hanging in barn to cure
 As of today, we have all the yellow onions harvested and hung in the barn.  It's about 40 bushels or 2000 lbs.  though they won't all be good...some will rot.  We are 1/3 thru with the red onions which will probably be about 70 bushels.  It is a monumental job and we'll all breathe a sigh of relief when its finished!
The rain of last week has brought some challenges with it though it was good to have the water.  The tomatoes do have some late blight and we're not sure if we can control it so there may not be alot of tomatoes...enjoy whats in your box this week and keep your fingers crossed for more!  We are combating powdery mildew in the winter squash and melons.
The  eggplant, okra and celeriac absolutely loved the rain/heat combination and are thriving!  
Ripe Heirloom Tomatoes!
 Your box this week:  small shares: 1 lb. tomatoes, 1 lb. chinese and fairytale eggplant, 2 lbs. tomatillos, 1 jalapeno, 1 bell pepper, 1 savoy cabbage, 1 canteloupe melon, 1 head of garlic, 1 sweet onion.  Regular shares:  3 lbs. tomatoes, 2 lbs eggplant, 2 garlic, 2 sweet onion, 1 lb. squash.

The bell peppers all have a blemish of some kind but are mostly edible.  I didn't attach a monetary value to them, but thought you might be able to use / enjoy one and there were more than we could eat.  More peppers will be coming later!
The fariytale eggplant can be used the same as any other.  They are especially good in stirfries and curries.
We hope you enjoy the melon as much as we do.  It is a welcome treat in the middle of a hot job of harvesting to find a ripe melon and break it open to share right in the field.
Tomatillos are a relative of tomatoes that possess a flavor like sour green apples on their own.  Most commonly they are used to make salsa verde, a Mexican food staple.  I will attach a recipe that can be used for salsa or cooked a bit more and used for chili sauce.  They are also a great additon to roasted chicken or pork.
Fairytale Eggplant

                                  SALSA VERDE

2 lbs. tomatillos

1 to 4 jalapeno peppers, peeled, seeded, minced

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

1 tsp. salt

1 cup finely chopped onions

2 cloves garlic

Juice of a lime (more or less)

1. peel husks off tomatillos and wash

2. Boil in lightly salted water for 7 to 10 minutes or until just soft.  Drain, puree in blender.

3. Put ground tomatillos and all other ingredients together in a bowl and let sit 1 hour before serving.  Add more salt and lime juice to taste.

This salsa makes a great enchilada sauce when you leave out the lime juice and let all ingredients simmer together for 45 minutes.

For a more robust flavor, roast the tomatillos in a hot oven until brown and soft (about 20 minutes at 450).

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

July 11 CSA

The first planting of cucumbers has stopped producing and the squash is slowing down just in time for us to shift to picking tomatoes, eggplant, and tomatillos.  We are almost done harvesting and hanging the shallot crop that will hang for about 5 weeks to cure and then be good eating until next spring.  Next will come the red and yellow storage onions.  The weeds are giving us a run for our money and there are definately things beyond saving...there's not enough time in a day sometimes.

The small shares this week have: 1 lb of green beans, 1 lb of patty pan squash, 1 lb of fingerling potatoes, 1 head of garlic, 2 onions, 2 japanese eggplant, a handful of beets.  Regular shares have:  1 lb green beans, 2 lbs of patty pan, 1 lb of fingerlings, 2 heads of garlic, 4 onions, 2 eggplant, 1 lb of carrots, 1 bunch of young leeks, 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, 1 heirloom slicer tomato.

Fingerling potatoes have unequaled flavor and great texture for roasting, boiling, soups, or frying.  Leave the skins on and cook whole or cut in half.  Store them in the refrigerator until use.  Our favorite way to prepare them is roasted.  We toss them in olive oil, salt and pepper, and herbs and roast in a 4oo degree oven until soft when pricked with a fork.  These are teh last green beans you'll get for awhile because we are late with our second planting.  The eggplant most of the boxes have is a japanese variety but works fine in any recipe calling for eggplant.

Italian Stuffed Patty Pan Squash

Serves 4

  • 4 small to medium-sized Patty Pan Squash

  • 1/2 pound Italian Sausage or Ground Beef

  • 1 cup marinara sauce

  • 1/2 cup shredded mozarella cheese
To prepare the patty pan squash for stuffing, wash and then cut a circle around the stem, leaving a bit of the edge - as you would cut open the top of a pumpkin. Use a small spoon to scoop out the seed cavity and dispose of the seeds. The inside should now be hollow. In a pan, brown the meat. Then add the marinara and stir to combine. Stuff the marinara sauce into the hollowed-out patty pan squash. Top with shredded cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until the squash is soft. To eat, cut with a knife and fork, eating the squash along with the stuffing. Enjoy!

Quick Pickled Squash and/or Eggplant

1 lb. summer squash or eggplant
1 T salt
 1/2 tsp sugar
1 T minced fresh dill or 1 tsp dried dill
2 tsp any vinegar

1. Wash the veggies and slice them as thinly as possible.  Place in a colander and salt them.  Toss the slices with the salt, kneading the salt into them with your hands for a minute.
2.  Let sit for 15 to 30 minutes, tossing and squeezing every few minutes.  When little or no liquid comes out of the veggies, rinse well in cold water.  Place in a bowl.
3.  Toss with the sugar, dill and vinegar; serve immediately; this does not keep well.

Patty Pan Squash


Friday, July 6, 2012

July 4 CSA

I hope everyone had  a good fourth of July!
The box this week contains:  1 red celery, 3lbs red maria potatoes, 1 lb. green beans, 2 lbs. zephyr and patty pan squash, 1 head of garlic, 1 bunch of red torpedo onions, 1 head of green cabbage.  Regular shares also get:  1 bunch beets, 2 lbs. new girl tomatoes, an extra 1/2 lb. beans.

The celery has some blemishes on the leaves that are the result of a huge rain we had sunday night.  You can just cut the leaves away and use the stalks.  It has a stronger flavor than green celery and is great in potatoe salad and any other place you'd use celery but use a smaller amount.
The zephyr and patty pan squashes are both sweeter than zucchini and yelloe squash.  We use them the same way, our favorite being just sauteed with onion, salt and pepper.
The green cabbage is great for cole slaw and also makes good kraut.  There is a great and easy method with good directions in Sandor Katz' book "Wild Fermentation".

Asian Cabbage Slaw (from Farmer John's Cookbook)
serves 2 to 4
2 cups shredded cabbage
1/3 cup shredded carrot
1/2 minced red onion
2 T fresh mint minced
2 T fresh cilantro minced
2 T rice vinegar
2 T peanut oil
1 T rice wine (mirin or sake)
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
salt and pepper

1. combine cabbage, carrot, onion, mint, cilantro in large bowl and toss well.
2. mix vinegar, peanut oil, rice wine, honey, sesame oil in  asmall bowl until well combined.  pour over the cabbage mixture; toss.  season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
Jesse and Ally washing Red Maria potatoes

Things to look forward to:  canteloupe melons, cherry tomatoes, tomatillos.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

June 27 CSA

Boxes this week have:  1 lb. lemon cucumbers, 1 lb. green beans, 1 head purple cabbage, 1 head persian star garlic, 2 sweet onions, zucchini and yellow squash, 1 bunch of carrots.  The regular shares also have: 2 lbs. rose-finn apples fingerling potatoes, 2 lbs. pickling cucumbers, a bag of basil, an extra 1/2 lb. beans.

A few tomatoes are ripening this week so you should see them in your box in 2 weeks!  Next Wed. is July 4 but pick-up will be the same as usual.  Boxes next week will have potatoes, cabbage, squash, long red onions, cucumbers.  We'll put enough taters in for a big bowl of potato salad in case you're doing a fourth of July meal.
Lemon cukes are round and pale yellow and have a slightly tangy flavor.  We find them very refreshing on a hot day just raw and plain.  There is actually some chemical reaction in your body with cucumbers that lowers your body temperature so they should come in handy later this week if it gets as hot as predicted.  They are also a great addition to vegetable salad and good combined with fruits in a salad ( like nectarine, lemon cuke, and sweet onion salad with a balsamic vinegar dressing).  The sweet onions are a variety dating back to 1887 called Ailsa Craig named for an island off the west coast of Scotland.  They are very mild and almost as sweet as vidalias.  Keep them refrigerated. 
Persian Star garlic is one of the new varieties we are growing this year.  It was collected in Uzbekistan by Seed Saver's Exchange and is "a good all around garlic with a pleasant zing".

Those of you who've been in the CSA before have seen this recipe but its a good one and a great way to fix squash.

from The Talisman Italian Cookbook,  Italian Squash Sicilian Style ( zucchini and yellow)

1 lb. squash, sliced thin
2 T olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 1/2 T wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar (optional)
1 tsp chopped mint leaves

Place squash in skillet with oil and garlic and cook gently until squash is tender.  Add vinegar, salt, sugar, and mint leaves and cook 2 minutes longer.  serves 4.

Garlic just harvested waiting to be tied and hung to dry
We will finish the garlic harvest this afternoon!  2 more varieties to go.  We grew a total of 6 varieties this year for a total harvest of about 1500 lbs.  it will all ahng in the old tobacco drying barn for about 3 weeks with fans on it.  It will then be considered "cured" and we'll cut the tops and clean it and you'll get garlic the rest of the season.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

June 20th CSA

     Hi All,  Suddenly the focus is off of the over- wintered and spring crops, and has moved onto the summer.  We are plowing under the broccoli and cauliflower beds and suckering and trellising tomatoes.  The strawberries have been pulled up to make way for leeks for the fall.  We got 2" of rain in under an hour the other night.  We had just turned on the irrigation because we were worried that we weren't going to get the precipitation that was promised, then we got it all at once.  Everything responded well enough, but we had to scramble to drag irrigation away from the creek before it was swept away by the creek.   
    I am sorry we didn't update the blog last week.  Every time I sat down to do it, a small human came and turned the computer off and clapped for herself.

Poppy in bloom
June 20 Box Contents:
all boxes have:  2 lbs. yellow crookneck and /or zucchini squash, 2 lbs. cucumbers, 2 lbs. new potatoes (yukon gold and red marias), 1 bulb red chesnok garlic, 1 bunch long red onions, 1 bunch multi-color beets.  full shares also have:  1 head of red cabbage, 1 bunch of baby carrots, 1 head of celery.
Long Red Onions; an Italian heirloom onion
I know its a lot of squash.  If it is more than you think you can eat this week, you can shred it and freeze for making squash bread or fritters later on.  The potatoes need to be refrigerated and will keep a few weeks in there.  The cucumbers we grow are called "pickling" cucumbers but are delicious for all purposes;  even just with some butter and salt on a piece of bread!

If anyone is interested in getting enough cucumbers to make a batch of pickles, we have copius amounts right now and for 2 more weeks.  There are a few options for you.  One would be to get a box of just cukes one week; another to come help us harvest the cukes one day and get 1/2 bushel for your labor; the third option is to purchase a 1/2 bushel for $15 which is a great deal as they cost $35 for non-CSA members.  The same offer is available for squash for canning or freezing.  This week we will harvest cukes Wed. and Fri. mornings and squash Thurs and Fri. mornings around 8am.  Next week cukes will be Sun., Tues, Thurs. and squash will be Mon., Wed., and Fri.  Let us know if you plan to come.
One of our "red Devon" heifers grazing
Sauteed Beet and Potato Hash
from Farmer John's cookbook
serves 4

3 T oil
2 small onions, diced
4 medium potatoes, grated
2 medium beets, peeled, grated (2-3 cups)
2 tsp fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
2 cloves minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions; cook and stir until soft and translucent, about 5 mins.
2.  Stir in the potatoes, beets, thyme, and garlic.  Season with salt to taste.  Cook, turning it occasionally until the potatoes and beets are tender and slightly crispy, 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Remove skillet from heat.  Season generously with pepper, and salt to taste.

This is great served with steamed beet greens and if you eat meat, an italian sausage; if you eat soy, seasoned and broiled tofu or tempeh.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

June 6 CSA

Baby Squash!
 It's June!  So far, June has been cooler than alot of April.  We are not  complaining.  The first lettuce beds have been tilled in to make room for carrots, beets, and edamame soybeans.  We harvested the soft neck garlic and seeded okra, sweet corn, and flour corn.  The tomato plants have small green fruits on them and the huge job of trellising the tomatoes has begun.  We dug the first new potatoes today and you'll see them in your box!
Harvesting greens for your boxes at 6 am in the rain
This weeks' box contains:  1 bunch collards or kale, 1 bunch arugula, 1 bunch red onions,  1 lb. of new potatoes, 3/4 lb. of baby squashes, 1 head of garlic, 1 yellow onion, 1 bunch mixed beets.  Regular shares have 2 lbs of potatoes and 1 &1/4 lbs of squash as well as 1 bunch italian parsley, 1 fennel bulb.

Baby squashes are sweet and delicate in flavor.  I think they are best cut in half lengthwise and sauteed with some onion, salt and pepper.  The new potatoes need to be kept in the refrigerator.  The beets are very sweet right now and need very little dressing.  The garlic is uncured and needs to be used this week.  It does need to be peeled similar to cured garlic but an easier job.  The arugula and garlic make a great pesto combined with olive oil, salt and toasted walnuts.  Have you tried kale or collard "chips"?  Surprisingly good and simple, you tear the leaves into chip size pieces, put them in a bowl and toss with olive oil and salt then place on baking sheets in a single layer and bake at 350 degrees until crispy (about 15 minutes).  If you like nutritional yeast, you can toss some of that in too.  Fennel is celery-like in texture and has a licorice flavor.  You use the bulb part and up the stalk until the leaves begin.  It is delicious raw if you like the flavor and also lends sweetness without much of the licorice flavor to soups, risotto, and pasta sauces.
Washing beets

1 bunch of beets, cut away from the tops
salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar
beet greens cut into thin strips

1. wash beets and place in pot with water covering them.
2. boil until soft; add the greens at the last minute and cook just until soft.
3. pour off hot water and soak in cold until you can handle; peel the beets and cut into wedges.
4. add salt and pepper to taste and 1 - 2 tsp balsamic vinegar.

this is good by itself or added to a lettuce salad.  also great with raw fennel slices added.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

CSA May 30 2012

CSA box May 30 includes: 1 bunch of dill, 1 head of napa cabbage, 1 head of romaine lettuce, 1 bunch of scallions, 1 bunch of garlic scapes, 2 lbs combined of cauliflower and broccoli.  The regular boxes also contain: 1/2 lb of spinach, 1 bunch of beets, red and yellow onions, as well as having 1 head of buttercrunch lettuce instead of romaine.

My current favorite salad is the napa cabbage chopped thinly with fresh dill and the typical slaw dressing of mayonnaise, mustard, cider vinegar and salt and pepper.  It is also good with a scallion chopped up and addded.
The purple cauliflower loses its purple when cooked and taste just like the white.  I most enjoy cauliflower divided into small florets and steamed with some butter on it.  It is also a fine addition to a risotto and great roasted or mashed.  It was exciting to harvest enough cauliflower to be able to put it in the CSA boxes!

Purple and white cauliflower and broccoli

Napa Cabbage
As I type this, a soft rain is falling and its really nice to hear and to think about the vegetables soaking it all up.  It had actually gotten pretty dry here and we 've been irrigating so its great to have rain.  The first variety of garlic is ready to harvest and cure.  We hope to get it out of the field this week.  This is about 3 weeks earlier than last year.  The first summer squash will be harvested tomorrow morning and hopefully by next week there will be enough for the boxes.  Cucumbers should be close behind.

Next week's boxes will have beets, broccoli again, maybe peas as well as more lettuce and arugula.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

CSA Pickup May 23

into black bio-degradeable mulch made from corn
Please return your empty wax box, berry pint container, and cloth bags when you come for this weeks' box!
CSA box week of May 23
The box contains:  1 bunch curly kale, 1 bunch swiss chard, 1 bunch arugula, 1 head of romaine lettuce, 1 head of oak leaf lettuce, 1 green kohlrabi, 1 bunch of red scallions, 1 yellow onion, 1 pint strawberries.  The regular shares also get:  1 head of napa cabbage, 1/2 lb. spinach, 1/2 lb cauliflower, and 1 bunch of green garlic.

The arugula still has its roots on to keep it fresh longer.  You'll want to cut them off before eating it.  The yellow onion is a somewhat hot onion.  The green garlic can be cut like onions and used up the stalk until it becomes hard to cut.  It has a milder flavor than cured garlic.  The napa cabbage is an excellent addition to stir-fries and makes a great slaw.
We hope you are in the mood to eat greens this week!  It seems to be what we have.  All the rain has made them grow leaps and bounds!

Chard with Sweet-n-Sour Sauce
1 cup stock or water
1 bunch of chard, stems removed, and leaves torn into small pieces
4 scallions, thinly sliced
salt and black pepper
2 T vinegar
1 T brown sugar
1 T finely chopped or grated ginger
1 tsp red pepper flakes

1. Bring stock or water to a boil  in a large skillet.  Add chard and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 1 min.
2. Drain chard, saving the cooking liquid.  Transfer the chard to indiv. plates and sprinkle with scallions.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3.  Pour reserved cooking liquid back into skillet and bring to a boil over high heat.  Boil it until reduced to 1/3 cup.  Add the vinegar and brown sugar.  Stir in the ginger and red pepper.  Boil for 30 seconds more and remove from heat.  Spoon the mixture over the chard and eat immediately.

This recipe is from Farmer John's Cookbook
It takes about 20 minutes to prepare.

We transplanted all the tomatoes this week which means you should be getting the first ones in your box in mid-late July.  We are using a bio-degradeable mulch made from corn as a weed barrier and to keep soil from splashing up on the plants in the rain.  Our hope is to lessen disease pressure.  We planted several varieties of cherry tomatoes, an early hybrid red tomato called "New Girl" and several heirloom slicing and sauce tomatoes.  We also planted peppers, melons, and eggplant this week.

The boxes next week should have butterhead lettuce, spinach, beets, maybe broccoli.

If you need/ want more info than you're getting via this blog, please email us and we'll try to give you what you're looking for.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

1st CSA Pick-up of the 2012!

 The first box of 2012!  Today we harvested in fog, sun, and rain and got muddy through and through!  All the boxes contain kohlrabi, scallions, collard greens, garlic scapes, cippollini onions, 1 head of red leaf lettuce, 1 head of "bambi" lettuce, and strawberries.  The regular (large) shares also contain 3/4 lb of de cicco broccoli, 1 bunch multi--color beets, and 2 fennel bulbs.
   The kohlrabi has a cabbage-like flavor and is a good addition to any green salad and tuna or chicken salad.  Its also good in soup or added to mashed potatoes.  It does need to be peeled and the greens can be cooked too. Garlic scapes are what would be the flower of the garlic.  We remove them so that the garlic grows a larger bulb.  They have a milder flavor than garlic bulbs and can be used in anything you would put garlic in.   The large onions in your box are a mild, sweet onion and are good raw or used in cooking.  The "bambi" lettuce is a very dense mini-head lettuce that has a romaine flavor.  It is crisp and delicious.  We hope to have strawberries for a couple more weeks and hopefully in more abundance so that you get more. 
1 bunch collards; washed, chopped, and steamed for 5 minutes
1 onions, thinly sliced
olive oil
tamari or soy sauce
cider vinegar
1. saute the onion in olive oil over med. heat for a few minutes
2.  add the steamed collard greens to the skillet and combine well with onions
3.  add 1 tsp of tamari and 1 to 2 tsp cider vinegar
4.  mix well and let saute all together for a minute or 2



Friday, April 6, 2012

CSA Closed for 2012!

We have sold out of farm shares for the season.  If you are still looking First Blossom Farm has shares available. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

CSA Shares Available

We have been filling up fast, but still have shares available!  The greenhouse is in full swing, and the brassicas have already moved out to harden off.  Carrots and beets are sown, and potatoes are in the ground.  Beginning to harvest over-wintered spinach.  Please see below for CSA details.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 CSA Sign Up Begins!

Feel free to call or email with any and all questions! 828-545-2362


Community Supported Agriculture, CSA, is a way to buy your weekly produce directly from the farm.  You pre-purchase a share of  the season’s harvest.  Your early financial commitment allows us to buy the inputs we need to grow the crops.  Then, each week mid-May thru mid-October, you’ll get a box containing a wide variety of  freshly picked, organic produce. 

Pick Up:
Weekly boxes can be picked up at the Montford Market (at the Chamber of Commerce) on Wednesday  afternoons 2-6pm or at the farm on Wednesday afternoon or Saturday morning.

Share Types:
Full Season Share:  22 weeks, May thru Oct.
Height of the Season Share:  8 weeks, mid– July thru mid-Sept.
Extended Fall Share:  4 weeks, late Oct thru Thanksgiving
Flower Share: a bouquet for each of the 22 weeks
Egg Share:  1 dz eggs from our free-range chickens each week

Full Season Share:
There are 2 share sizes; “regular” share intended to feed a small family (2-4 people depending on your eating habits).  SEE SAMPLE BOXES BELOW  The “small” share is great for individuals and couples.

Share Price:
Down payment due upon registration.  If you pay in full by March 15, receive a $20 discount for regular shares and $15 discount for small shares.
Regular Share:  $525
Small Share: $325
Flower Share: $125
Egg Share: $82

Season Length:
Pick-ups begin May 16  and continue weekly thru October 10 (22 weeks).  Because you pay up front and essentially “buy in bulk”, you enjoy a considerable discount compared to buying our produce at market.

Peak Season Share:
This share is great if you want to just try the CSA out or if you’re planning to be gone early summer.  Also less of a financial commitment and boxes will contain more of the vegetables you’re “used” too.  This share goes mid-July thru mid-Sept. (8 weeks).

Share Price:
Regular: $250
Small: $175

Extended Fall Share:
This share is 4 additional boxes from late Oct until Thanksgiving.  Enjoy a wide variety of fall crops like carrots, turnips, beets, leeks, kale, collards, potatoes, sweet potatoes, shallots, garlic., celeriac.   Most of the crops in these boxes will store well into the holiday season.

Share Price:
Only 1 size: $120

Gaining Ground Farm grows  a multitude of vegetables including:  onions, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, spinach, carrots, beets, cauliflower, escarole, celery, strawberries, scallions, herbs (basil, cilantro, dill, parsley), tomatoes, summer squash, cucumbers, eggplant, okra, tomatillos, peppers, leeks, potatoes, edamame, green beans, wax beans, kohlrabi, fennel, turnips, radishes, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, shallots.
Sample Boxes from 2011– Regular Share (small shares receive smaller amounts)
Early June:
1 bunch kale, 1 bunch scallions ( 8 to 10 indiv.), 2 bulbs green garlic, 1 lb. spinach, 1 head escarole, 4  yellow crookneck squash, 1 bunch fresh dill leaves, 1 lb. broccoli, 1 bunch beets, 3 zucchini squash
1 bunch carrots, 1 bunch beets, 3 sm—med red onions, 2 heads garlic, 3 lbs. slicing tomatoes (about 9), 1 bunch baby leeks, 8 small cucumbers, 4 yellow crookneck squash, 1 melon, 1 lb. new potatoes, 1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 red onion, 1 yellow onion, 1 lb. green beans, 2 lb. Nicola potatoes, 2 pints edamame, 1 lb. fresh black eye peas, 2 red bell peppers, 4 heads garlic, 1 lb. okra, 1 bunch white turnips

Feel free to call or email with any and all questions! 828-545-2362

To secure your share for the season email us, then send a check to:

Gaining Ground Farm
298 Sluder Branch Rd
Leicester, NC 28748