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.