Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October 23, last regular season box

Small shares:  1 carrot bunch, 2 fennel bulbs, 1 radish bunch, 2 lbs. beets, 2 lbs each of japanese and all purple sweet potatoes, 1 garlic, 2 onions, 1/2 lb baby swiss chard, a handful of sugar snap peas.
Regular shares:  all the above plus 1/2 lb more swiss chard, 1 lb. more beets and more onion and garlic.  Also,1 lb. of broccoli, 1 pint of sugar snap peas, 3 eggplants.
sunrise October 23, Catherine and Cate picking sugar snap peas
This morning at 7 am it was lightly raining as we headed to the field to pick the peas in your boxes.  As the sun started rising, the sky turned this gorgeous pink and there was a rainbow behind us.  It is worth the cold hands and feet to see beautiful mornings like this.
Your last box of the season has lots of roots in it.  The sweet potatoes are dirty because they keep better that way.  These are ready to eat but will get sweeter if you wait a couple more weeks and keep them in a dry, warmish place.  Both the Japanese and all purple varieties are not as sweet as the orange.  The Japanese ones have a chestnut like flavor and both are more starchy in texture.
One of the plastic bag has swiss chard and the peas in it.  The other has beets in it and these will keep for weeks in your refrigerator.

Great Radish Salad
-1 bunch of radishes,washed and thinly sliced
-with the tops, cut the section off that is just stem and discard then chop the leaves and wash.
-1 small red onion, thinly sliced
-1 or 2 raw gold and chiogga beets, shredded (no need to peel)
-a small handful of sugar snap peas (optional)
-a few sprigs of fresh cilantro or parsley
- 1 tsp ume plum vinegar and 2 tsp. olive oil
- juice from 1/2 a fresh lemon
- freshly ground black pepper to taste

 combine all ingredients, tossing lightly.  let sit 15 minutes before eating

Thank you for being part of our CSA this year.  In 16 years of farming, this has been by far the most challenging.  The weather has presented us with one challenge after another and though I feel a little beaten down, I know we have made it thru and learned a great deal too.  Thank you for sticking with us and we hope you have a healthy, happy fall and winter!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

October 16th CSA

small shares this week:  3/4lb. lettuce mix, 1-2 heads tatsoi, 1 bunch of carrots, 1 bunch of beets, 1 kohlrabi, 1 bunch of french breakfast radishes, 2 lbs. orange "covington" sweet potatoes.
regular shares this week:  all the above plus 1/4lb more lettuce, 1 head red radicchio, 1 small head of broccoli, 2 more pounds sweet potatoes.
Beet in the field
The sweet potatoes will be sweeter if you wait a few weeks to eat them.  They keep best at 50 - 60 degrees and dry (not in the refrigerator).  The longer they sit, the sweeter they get.  Next week we'll put some japanese and all purple ones in the boxes so you have a sample of all the varieties we grow.

The tatsoi is best stir-fried with some onion, salt and pepper.  Add a little lemon juice or vinegar before eating so that the iron becomes available to you rbody.

The radicchio, in my opinion, is best enjoyed raw.  We make a salad of 1 head of chopped radicchio, 1 to 2 pears or apples cut into chunks, 1 cup of toasted walnuts, 1 T. balsamic vinegar, a sprinkle of salt, a drizzle of olive oil, and if you like, crumble blue cheese on top.

The kohlrabi is small and so tender it doesn't need to be peeled if you eat it within 2 days.  It is a nice addition to salad raw or lightly pickled.  It is good in tuna or chicken salad.  It is good roasted with potatoes.

MARINATED CARROTS from the Talisman cookbook
1 bunch carrots
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 T wine vinegar
1 tsp oregano

Wash carrots and cut into thick slices.  Boil in water for 10minutes or until tender but not overcooked.  Drain well and place in bowl with all other ingredients, stirring and mixing well.  Let stand in marinade for 12 hours before serving.

I hope you have a good week and we'll see you next week for the last regular season box!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

October 9th CSA

Small boxes this week have:  1 mixed root bunch, 1 bunch of Danver's half long (variety name) carrots, 1 head of escarole, 1 head of romaine and some smaller heads of lettuce mix, either 1 zucchini or 2 patty pans, 1 eggplant, 1 head of garlic and 1-2 red onions, 1 small fennel bulb, a few german butterball potatoes.
Regular boxes have:  all of the above though larger quantities of onion, garlic, potatoes, and fennel as well as 1 lb. of october beans, 1/3 lb. shallots.

There is a bag in your box containing from top down: 1 head of escarole, various varieties of small lettuces, and 1 head of romaine.  The escarole is a bitter green that can be used in salad if you like bitterness or can be added to soup or braised to mellow the bitter flavor.  If you are unable to tell the difference between the romaine and escarole by sight, pinch off a piece of leaf and taste it.
I know I said the summer squash was thru but we were surprised to see a good harvest yesterday so I thought we would give it to you one more time.  Also, we were surprised by an abundance of eggplant here at the end of the season so there is 1 more for you!
The diagram of the root bunch is hopefully helpful.  Not everyone got a white beet but all bunches got atleast 1 of everything else.  Some of the watermelon radishes are pink on the outside and some are all white; they are all pink inside hence the name.  The radish can be eaten raw or roasted with other roots.  The scarlet turnips add a nice color and zing to soup broth.  I like quartering all the roots along with carrots and potatoes, tossing with olive oil and s & p and roasting at 425 for 30 mintues or so and eating them.  You can also do the roasting and then puree and use as a soup base.
 Escarole Soup Recipe

The October beans need to be shelled and are a nice addition to soup or cooked alone.  They have a creamy, pinto like texture and a unique flavor.  I like all beans and these are one of my favorites!  I hope you enjoy them.
Justin picking and bunching Danver's half long carrots
We hope to finish the sweet potato harvest this week and get them curing so that we can put them in your box atleast once.  Otherwise, we are weeding and maintaining.  The fruit trees we planted in spring need weeded and to have gravel put around their bases to keep the mice and voles from girdling their bases this winter.  We are starting construction of a potting shed / intern housing.  And we are watching the leaves change, keeping out from under the walnut trees so as to not get knocked out by falling walnuts, and eating well.  Hope you all are too!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October! 2 CSA


Small boxes this week:  1 bok choy (some have 2 small), 1 bunch carrots, 1 bunch baby beets, 1 head of romaine or butterhead lettuce, 1 bunch cilantro, 1 head of garlic, 2 red onions, 1 pint of hot peppers.
Regular boxes have: all the above and 1 bunch of japanese white turnips, 1 costata romanesca zucchini, 1/2 lb. spinach.

My thought was that you could make a small batch of hot sauce for your winter.  If you totally will not use the hot peppers, you can exchange them for something else at the stand today.  Here is a recipe for hot sauce:
Peel the cloves of 1 head of garlic.
Peel and quarter 2 red onions.
Wash and cut the ends off  1 bunch of carrots.
Wash and de-stem 1 pint of hot peppers. (the box has red serranos, orange habaneros, green and red jalapenos)
Put all the veggies on sheet pans 1 layer thick and toss with a little olive oil and salt.
Roast at 400 degrees until sizzling and starting to brown.
Let cool.
Squeeze the juice out of 4 limes.
Combine all ingredients with 1/2 to 1 cup of chopped cilantro leaves.
Grind in a food processor, adding apple cider vinegar to get desired consistency.
Add salt to taste and 1/4tsp of mace or nutmeg.
Let simmer on stovetop for an hour or so to blend the flavors.
Let cool and store in your refrigerator in a mason jar.  It will keep for several months.

We are transplanting next springs' onions today and beginning the large task of digging all the sweet potatoes tomorrow.  If anyone wants to get your hands dirty and earn extra sweet potatoes, we can use your help tomorrow cutting vines!  Let me know if you're interested.

Hope you have a great week!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

September 25 CSA

We welcome a new member to the family!  Aaron's sister Jeanine had a baby girl this week named Cana Joy.
 Fall has officially arrived.  The crickets are singing during the day.  A few of our cows have had late calves and its really nice to see the little ones in their red fur coats navigating the pastures in between the purple iron weed and thistle flowers.  We will plant next years' strawberries tomorrow and then begin the sweet potato harvest.  We are busily working to stay ahead of the newest flush of weeds after Saturdays' rain. 
Addiebelle testing the beets for sweetness.

small boxes this week:  1 lb. patty pan squash, 1/2 lb. yellow wax beans, 1/2 lb. spinach, 1 head of romaine, 1 daikon radish, 1 head of garlic, 1 red onion, 1 lb. potatoes.
regular boxes this week:  1 lb. patty pan squash, 1 lb. yellow wax beans, 1 lb. spinach, 1 head romaine, 1 daikon radish, 2 heads of garlic, 2 red onions, 1 lb. potatoes, 1 bunch of beets, 1 head of curly endive, 2 bok choy.

In the small boxes the beans and spinach are in a bag together.  In the regular boxes the endive and bok choy are together.  Daikon radish is a strong flavored radish.  I like to shred it and toss it with rice vinegar and salt and let it pickle for an hour or so and eat it as a side or add it to cabbage and or carrot slaw.  There is a Chinese proverb that says: "Eating pungent radish and drinking hot tea, let the starved doctors beg on their knees."  They do have anti-oxidants in them and are low in calories.

I made a good soup this weekend of:

4 patty pan squash, cut in chunks
3 potatoes, cut in chunks
3 stalks of celery
2 onions, quartered
salt and pepper and a pinch of mace or nutmeg
fresh thyme sprig
1. combine all ingredients in a pot and cover with water or stock
2. bring to a boil and let simmer until everything is soft enough to puree
3. let cool a little and puree; adding a little cream if you like
4. return to the pot and re-heat
5. serve as is or add some sour cream and cayenne powder to each bowl

This is probably the last summer squash of the year and definately the last beans.  Everyone will get carrots  and bok choy next week.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

September 18 CSA

small boxes this week have:  2 small heads bibb lettuce, 1 small bunch cilantro, 1 yellow onion, 2 garlic, 1 lb yellow wax beans, 1 lb. green beans, 1 1/3 lb patty pan squash, 1 mix bunch carrot -beet -celeriac.
regular boxes have:  2 small heads bibb lettuce, 1 regular bunch cilantro, 2 yellow onions, 2 garlic, 1 1/2 lb. each of yellow wax and green snap beans, 2 1/2 lb. patty pan squash, 1 bunch beets, 1 bunch carrots, 1 celeriac, 1 mix bunch kale and collards.

Onions and garlic do not need to be refrigerated.  All else needs to be. 

Try roasting the root vegetables. If you have potatoes to throw in with them that's good. The celeriac is the strange gnarly looking vegetable. It needs to be peeled and then cut into long strips about 1/4 inch around. I cut the beets into quarters and the carrots in half and toss it all with olive oil and salt and pepper. You can add whole beans to this too. If you have pine nuts, almonds, or walnuts add those too! Roast in a 450 degree oven for 25 minutes or so and enjoy plain or with hot sauce or ketchup.
Catherine and a bean

Aaron washing beets
This morning harvesting, we could feel fall in the air. The breeze was cool and the shadows longer. We were in the field before light and got to watch the sunrise as we picked cilantro, lettuce, and greens. Beautiful. It made me think about what a strange summer it has been with very few HOT days. I thought I'd be so happy to see fall come and I am but with a tinge of sadness as I know the shorter days brings a different pace. And a need to find the warm clothes that have been forgotten for months.

sept 11 cut and paste from email

 For some reason, I cannot open our blog this morning to update it so I'll do it in this email.
Small boxes this week have: 1 lb. yellow wax beans, 1 lb. green beans, 1 lb. red onions, 1 garlic, 1 1/3 lb. patty pan squash, 1 zucchini, 1 bunch of dill, 1 small head of romaine.
Regular boxes have: 1 1/2 lbs. of each bean, 1 1/2 lbs red onions, 2 garlic, 1 1/3 lb. patty pan squash, 1 zucchini, 1 bunch of dill, 1 head of romaine and 1 head of buttercrunch, 1 bunch of baby beets, 1 bunch of baby japanese turnips.

Almost all the boxes got costata romanesca zucchini. It is light green with dark green stripes and is typically harvested and eaten at a bigger size. It keeps its shape well when cooked (doesn't get mushy).
This is a favorite squash dish for us. Those of you who have been in the CSA before have seen this one. It is easy to make.
1 lb. squash or zucchini, 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 olive oil and garlic and cook gently until squash is tender. Add vinegar, salt, sugar and mint and cook 2 minutes longer. serves 4.

There are alot of beans in your box. If it is more than you think you will eat this week, blanch some and freeze for later. Our favorite way to prepare beans, both wax and green, is to take off the stem end and steam whole with a thinly sliced onion. When they have reached desired tenderness, remove from the steamer and toss with chopped dill, butter and salt.

This is the last box for peak share holders. There are 6 more regular season boxes to come.
I hope you all have a great week!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sept 4 CSA

Small shares:  1 bunch mustard and tatsoi greens, 1 head of lettuce, 1 bunch radishes, 1 garlic, 2-3 yellow onions, 1 pint tomatoes, 1/2 lb. okra, 1 lb. summer squash, 2 peppers.
Regular shares:  all the above plus 1/2 lb. more okra, another garlic, another pepper, 1 lb. pickling cucumbers.

The mustard greens are the green curly leaves and the red tinted leaves and the tatsoi is the smooth leaf green.  The mustards are spicy and the tatsoi sweet and mild.  They are delicious lightly sauteed together.  They also make a good pesto by themselves or in combination with basil or parsley (and the garlic, salt, olive oil, lemon etc.).
This is THE END of the tomatoes.
There is a bell pepper and an antohi romania pepper in your box.  They are both sweet; the antohi very sweet.  The regular boxes also have a yellow bell that will ripen all the way yellow if left out on the counter for a few days.
Check this link for a vegetarian gumbo recipe.  I made some a few nights ago using yellow squash instead of zucchini and I added some oyster mushrooms I bought at market last weekend.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

August 28 CSA (14th week)

  This is the 14th box of the 22 week season.  We started 2 weeks later than anticipated so the season will go 2 weeks later.  That puts the last regular season box at October 23rd.  For those of you who purchased an extended season share, that was slated to start Oct 23 but will now be Oct 30, Nov. 6, 13, and 20th. 

Small shares this week contain:  2 fresh garlic bulbs, 1/2 lb. yellow onions, 1 head of romaine, 1 bunch bok choy, 1 bunch multi-color carrots, 1 pint edamame, 1/2 lb. okra, 1 bell pepper.
Regular shares contain:  the above plus more onions, 2 lbs. german butterball potatoes, 1 lb. summer squash, 1 quart cherry tomatoes.

This is the last of the fresh garlic.  Next week it will be cured garlic and can be kept out of the refrigerator.  Everything should be refrigerated this week.
Peas and radishes in the field

Anne using the 1954 cultivating tractor to weed the fall broccoli

Tiny carrot seedlings in the field
Try this recipe for Bok Choy salad!

Try roasting your okra.  You wash it and pat it dry then toss it with some olive oil, salt and pepper and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Roast in a 425 degree oven until a bit browned and sizzling (about 20 mins.  You can add whole garlic cloves and carrots halved lengthwise if you'd like.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

August 21 boxes of healthful veggies

Small shares:  1 bok choi, 1 head of romaine lettuce, 1 bunch of arugula, 1 bunch of french breakfast radishes, 1 garlic head, sweet and torpedo onions, 1 italian eggplant, 1 bell pepper, 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, 1 pint of edamame.
Regular shares: 2 bok choi, 1 head of romaine, 1 bunch of arugula, 1 bunch of radish, 1 garlic, sweet and torpedo onions, 2 italian eggplant, 1 bell pepper, 1 pint cherry tomatoes, 1 pint edamame, 1 bunch of carrots.
Everything except the cherry tomatoes needs to be stored in the fridge.  Remove the radish tops if you don't think you'll use them within 3 days (you can eat them!  see recipe below).

French breakfast radishes are crisp and refreshing and a bit milder than round radishes.  They are delicious dipped in a little butter and eaten with bread.  They are also great in salads and great in a salad composed of themselves. 

Anne's Radish Salad
1 bunch radish (any small variety)
1 small red or sweet onion
1T fresh orange juice
1T ume-plum vinegar
1T extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. separate radish tops from the roots.  wash and chop radish tops and place in a bowl with the ume plum vinegar; bruise greens slightly while mixing with vinegar; let sit.
2. thinly slice radishes and red onion; place in a bowl with other ingredients; add radish tops and combine everything well.  let sit 10 minutes before eating.

The bok choi is an excellent stir fry addition added near the end so it stays crispy.  It makes great slaw too!  Use it instead of cabbage or combined with cabbage.  We are having a stir fry tonight with eggplant, peppers, edamame beans, black bean tempeh, and bok choi over rice I suppose because we are out of quinoa.
truck full of vegetables today heading back to the wash-shed

I hope you enjoy the new things in your box this week.  Everyone will get carrots next week.  The squash and cucumbers are blooming so we'll be harvesting them again soon.  Have a great week!
box of yellow onions

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

August 14 CSA

Small shares:  1 bunch arugula, 1/2lb. okra, 1lb. tomatillos, 1 jalapeno, 1 bell pepper, 1lb. yellow onions, 1 garlic, 1 pint edamame, 1 pint cherry tomatoes, 1lb. heirloom tomatoes.
Regular shares:  in addition to the above, 1 bunch french breakfast radishes, another 1/2 lb okra, 1 lb. heirloom tomatoes and pint of edamame.

Everything should be stored in your refrigerator except the yellow onions and tomatoes.  The tomatoes need to be eaten within 3 days.  The arugula will be best today or tomorrow.  If you're going to keep it longer, you can put it root down in a glass with a little water inside the fridge.

Tomatillos are in the purple mesh bag.  They taste like a sour green apple on their own.  Most commonly they are used to make salsa verde or green chili sauce.  You must first remove the husk before preparing.
Salsa Verde Recipe

I have had a lot of questions about the garlic so I'll address Garlic again here.  The bulbs you are getting in your box right now are "uncured" garlic which means they have not been hung in the barn to dry or "cure".  When we harvested the crop during all that crazy rain in early July, it was too wet and conditions were perfect for disease to spread throughout the crop.  For this reason, any questionable bulbs had their tops removed immediately and we are storing them in our walk in cooler.  This garlic is called "fresh" or "uncured" and is perfect for eating NOW.  It has a slightly less strong flavor because it has more water in it than garlic that has been air dried or "cured".  There is the added benefit of it being easy to peel.
The garlic we deemed worth trying to cure is in the old tobacco drying barn with fans on it and looks like it is doing well.  Eventually you'll see that in your box and it will look more like what you're used to seeing in the store.  It will not need to be refrigerated.

Speaking of garlic, try caramelizing some and adding it to tomato sauce.
To caramelize garlic, peel as many cloves as you want to caramelize.
Over medium heat, warm enough olive oil in a skillet to half way cover the cloves you are preparing.
When oil is hot enough to sizzle when you add the garlic (try adding 1 clove to see) add it all and let it do its thing.  The cloves will start to brown and blister a little.  Be sure to flip them (carefully!) so that all sides get in the oil.  It takes about 20 minutes.  You can add a little salt and fresh herbs too!  I like oregano.  You can take 1 clove out and cut into it to see if its soft.
When it done caramelizing, I add it to my tomato sauce and eat!

I hope you all have a good week.  Lettuce will be back in your boxes in 2 to 3 weeks.  Also beans, cucumbers, squash, radishes, bok choi.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

August 7 CSA

Small shares this week get:  1 lb. of slicing tomatoes, 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, 3 bulbs of garlic, 1 lb. of sweet onions, 1 italian eggplant, 1 celery, 1 pint of edamame (green soybeans).
Regular shares get:  all the above plus 1 bunch of cilantro, 1 bunch of red beets, 1 purple bell pepper, 1 lb. of roma tomatoes.

To prepare the edamame, wash it.  Bring 1 quart of water to a boil, add the beans, return to a boil and let boil for 5 mins.  Strain, salt lightly, and eat by breaking the pod open in your teeth and getting the beans out.  (do not eat the pod)

Store everything in your refrigerator except the tomatoes.  Those keep on your counter out of the sun and eat within 3 days.  The roma tomatoes are great for eating raw, in salads, in sauce, in salsa.

If you haven't tried roasting garlic yet, give it a try.  Wash the bulb then cut the very tip off of the entire bulb.  Put in an oven proof pan, drizzle a little olive oil over, sprinkle with salt, add some herbs (oregano, marjoram, thyme) and black pepper.  Cover the pan and roast at 400 degrees until soft (about45 mins).  To eat, pop the cloves out of their skin and spread on bread, put whole in tacos, add to hummus...
We hope to have enough tomatillos next week to put them in all the boxes.  Sweet peppers are 2 weeks away.  I think there will be arugula next week.  Hope you are all well!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July 31 CSA

Justin, Anne, Aaron, Ellen, Cate, Catherine
Your box this week:
Smalls:  3 lbs. red maria potatoes, 1 bunch of leeks, 2 lbs heirloom tomatoes, 1 each of garlic, torpedo onion and sweet onion, 1/4lb basil.
Regulars: 3 lbs. red potatoes, 1 bunch leeks, 3 lbs. heirloom tomatoes, garlic and onions, 1 italian eggplant, 1 lb. tomatillos and 1 jalapeno, 1 bunch beets, 1/4 lb. basil.

Some of the tomatoes in your box are black krim which is purplish-brownish-pinkish when ripe.  The shoulders usually stay green.  There are some brandy wines  which are pink when ripe, and some small round red ones.  Not all boxes got the same because we didn't have enough of any one variety.  Keep the tomatoes out of the fridge and eat within 3 days.  We store them with stem end down on the counter.

The basil should be used within 2 days.  I make a simple pesto using garlic, olive oil, salt, a tiny bit of lemon juice to keep green color, and of course the basil!  I blend it together in a food processor and put in a mason jar.  I pour a little olive oil on top to keep air out and store in our fridge for a month or so using as we want it.  You can also freeze it.  I add nuts and cheese when we are about to eat it.

We are transplanting cucumbers and squash today.  We planted lettuces, radicchio, leeks, and bok choi yesterday.  And the beat goes on...

Vichyssoise Soup recipe
If you look at the soup recipe, also check out their heirloom tomato salad recipe!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

July 24 CSA

This weeks' small share:  1/4lb basil, 1 1/2lbs lemon cucumbers, 2 lbs red maria potatoes, 1 lb summer squash, 2 to 3 yellow onions, 2 heads garlic.
Regular shares get all the above plus: 1 pint of cherry or roma tomatoes, 2lbs fingerling potatoes, 1/4 lb more basil, 4 torpedo onions.
 The yellow onions can be kept out of the fridge but everything else needs to be refrigerated.  This is the last summer squash you'll get for awhile.  We will be planting more on Monday so in late August we'll have it again.  We hope to have enough tomatoes next week that everyone will get some.  Eggplant is starting to make fruit and the okra is blooming.
  Last Thursday we were able to make beds and I seeded all kinds of things including salad mix, arugula, and radishes that will hopefully be ready to harvest in 4 weeks.  I planted more beans, beets, carrots, and spinach.  So there will be more to eat in a few weeks but the next 2 to 3 weeks will be slim as we feel the effects of the crazy rain of early July.  We transplanted a lot of leeks and parsnips and lettuces.

Catherine getting ready to harvest squash

 Anne cleaning basil
Check out this potato soup recipe!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

July 17 CSA

Amazing what a difference a little sunshine can make in our attitudes!  In 16 years of farming in WNC I've never seen rain like this.  We were able to till a few beds yesterday and seed some carrots and beets so 70 days from now, you will see carrots again.  We are seeding lots of things in trays of potting soil to transplant when the fields dry out enough to work again.  And we are working hard to save anything that survived all the rain.  Today we are weeding the sweet potatoes and celeriac.

Your box this week:
small shares:  1 bunch sweet onions, 2 bulbs of garlic, 1 lb. nicola potatoes, 1 lb. red gold potatoes, 1 head of celery, 1 sm. bag of basil, 1 1/2 lbs. patty pan squash, 3 cucumbers
regular shares: 1 bunch sweet onions, 2 bulbs of garlic, 2 lbs. nicola potatoes, 2 lbs. red gold potatoes, 1 head of celery, 1 sm. bag of basil, 1 1/2 lbs. patty pan squash, 3 cucumbers, 1 watermelon, 1 bunch white beets

everything in your box needs to be kept in the refrigerator

The nicola potatoes have a waxy texture and make great salad because of it.  They are also great roasted, fried, mashed.  The celery is more flavorful than what you'd buy in the store.  We use all the green leaves too.  I hope we will be able to give you more basil at some point but it may succumb to powdery mildew so I wanted to put some in each box this week.  The white beets are just as sweet as red ones.  They do cook a bit faster than the red ones.  The watermelons are hit or miss on sweetness because of, you guessed it, all the rain!  Even the less ripe ones are good though, used in salad or made into watermelon lemonade.

Patty Pan Squash recipe

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

July 10 CSA

It has been a difficult 10 days here at the farm.  We have gotten 13 inches of rain since Monday July 1.  The creek has gotten into part of our field twice.  There are areas of 1 foot deep standing water just because the ground cannot soak up any more rain water.  We spent part of yesterday sucking water from the field with our irrigation pump only to have it rain 1 more inch in the afternoon.  Our crop losses are significant though we are not experiencing complete devastation.  We harvested all the garlic only to find that most if not all of it is fermenting from too much water.  We are hopeful about some of it and are trying to cure that.    4 beds of carrots and 3 beds of beets are rotting in the ground which translates to 4 weeks worth of those vegetables in your boxes.  Some of the varieties of potatoes are rotting in the ground because they are in standing water 6 inches under ground.  The early tomatoes have late blight which we have been trying to combat but now the fruits are just so waterlogged they fall off the plants with white foamy fermenting water coming out of them.  We are holding our breath about the storage onions and hoping for things to dry out and the sun to shine and get things growing again.
As soon as possible, we will be working in the fields again.  We will plant lots more vegetables. There are losses we cannot regain this year in garlic and onions but plenty of other things to eat. The melons and winter squash are looking good so far.  The peppers, okra, and eggplant look good.  And the fall crops look great.

Your box this week:
small shares:  1lb. green beans, 2lbs. red gold new potatoes, 2lbs. zephyr squash, 1lb. lemon cucumbers, 1/2lb pickle cucumbers, 1 bunch of torpedo onions, 1 bulb garlic, 1 zucchini
regular shares:  2lbs. green beans, 4lbs. red gold new potatoes, 2lbs. zephyr squash, 1 lb. lemon cukes, 1/2 lb. pickle cukes, 1 lb. tomatoes, 1 bunch torpedo onions, 2 bulbs garlic.

Everything should be stored in your refrigerator.  The garlic is for using now.  Do not try to cure it.

Lemon cucumbers are the round yellowish-green fruits in your box.  They are really great in salads or just eaten by themselves.
Check this link for some good recipes with squash:
Aaron cleaning torpedo onions

Laying out the garlic to cure

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July 3 CSA


Your box this week:
1 bunch mixed color carrots, 1 bunch beets (some are mix colors, some are all chiogga), 1 bunch of sweet onions, 2 heads of fresh garlic, 1 small head of red cabbage, 2 lbs. cucumbers, 2 lb. mix of zephyr and patty pan squash (value $19)
"Regular" boxes also get:
2 costata romenesca zucchini, 2 fennel bulbs, and 1 pint of blueberries (value $29)

     Carrots, beets, and sweet onions will all keep well in your fridge for a week or more but you need to remove the tops if you're going to keep them longer than 2 days.  The tops start to go bad faster than the roots and will make the roots go bad.  The garlic is uncured and should be kept in your fridge and used within 3 weeks.  You can use it just like cured garlic however the flavor is slightly milder and it is MUCH easier to peel.  Cabbage, cucumbers, and squash all need to be kept in your fridge and eaten within the week.  The patty pan squash is the round cup-like squash and has a very sweet flavor.  The zephyr is the long yellow with green tip squash; also quite sweet and tender.  The costata romanesca in the regular boxes is an open pollinated squash with a sweet and mildly nutty flavor that holds its form and texture well when cooked.   It is the light green deeply ribbed long squash.                                                                                                        
     We hoped to put new potatoes in the boxes this week for 4th of July but we had such a heavy rain on Monday night that we could not get into the potato field today to dig them.  You can look forward to some creamy new potatoes next week!                                                                                   
    The sweet onions are one of our most anticipated vegetables of the year.  The variety name is Ailsa Craig.  They do not "cure" well so we only have them fresh with the tops on and then for a little while we'll have those that we can store in our walk-in and dole out until they're gone.  They are very mild and taste great raw in any salad.  They are also delicious lightly sauteed or grilled.     
Check this great and simple recipe for beets: 
It is good using the sweet onions and with some goat or feta cheese sprinkled on top.                      

Thanks to those of you who came out last weekend to see the farm!  It means a lot to us that you came!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

June 26 CSA

Boxes this first week of summer include:
small shares:  2 lbs summer squash (some zucchini, some zephyr), 1 lb. pickling cucumbers, 1 english cucumber, 1 bunch of red onions, 2 garlic bulbs, 1 pint blueberries! (value $18)
regular shares get all the above plus:  a second pint of blueberries, 1/2lb. of basil, 1 bunch carrots (value $32)

Addiebelle is our resident berry picker and eater.  It is hard to keep up with her appetite for whichever berry is in season, but we managed to pick more than she can eat so enjoy!  The bushes were really loaded this morning.

The pickling cucumbers are great for eating fresh.  The skins are tender enough to eat and the seeds are small.  We eat them in salads, on sandwiches, in salsas.  The english cucumbers are amazingly sweet and have very tender skin.  They are also great for salads and great for juicing.
Check the above link for info about the nutrition value in cucumbers.

Marinated Summer Squash Salad
you make this 24 hours before you plan to eat it.
no cooking required

-thinly slice zucchini or summer squash into long flat slices and place in a bowl
-mince 2 or 3 cloves of garlic (for 6 medium size squash) and add to zucchini
-sprinkle with salt and black pepper
-coarsley chop or tear a few sprigs of basil and parsley and add to bowl
-drizzle with olive oil
-combine all ingredients and taste to see if you like the amount of salt (add more if you need)
-cover and refrigerate for 24 hours

this makes a fine side dish with any meal; it can also be grilled and served hot or cold
Hoeing Okra this morning

The onion field

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

June 19 CSA

We are starting to feel like its summer!  The weeds are growing at a rapid pace and we are trying our best to keep up.  The first tomatoes are starting to blush slightly.  We picked the first cucumbers today so they will be in abundance next week and you'll see them in your box.

Your box this week: 
small shares:  1 head of sugarloaf radicchio, 2 lbs. summer squash, 1/2 lb. broccoli, 2 fennel bulbs, 1 bunch long red onions, 2 bulbs of garlic, 1 bunch of rainbow chard
regular shares:  all the same as the small share plus 1 bunch of beets, 1 lb. of cauliflower, 2 english cucumbers

Sugarloaf radicchio is the oblong light green head.  It is in the chicory family so it has a bitterness to it.  It is delicious as a bitter salad green.  It's also great brushed with  olive oil and sprinkled with salt and grilled.  The combination of radicchio, blue cheese, toasted walnuts, fresh pear, and balsamic vinegar as a salad is outrageously good too!
Some of your squash is "baby" size.  We have been cutting those in half lengthwise and sauteeing with some onion, parsley, and salt and pepper.  So Good!
This is the last fennel you'll get.  Try making fennel risotto if you have time.  It is also good grilled.
Check out this recipe for fennel. For those of you who don't eat meat, this is great without the chicken!

Everything in your box needs to be kept in the refrigerator.

A reminder about the CSA party at the farm on June 29th from 3 to 7.  We are going to grill a bunch of stuff and have all the fixings for tacos.  Please come out and see where your food is growing.  Let us know if you plan on coming so we prepare enough food!  We hope you can make it!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

June 12 CSA

Open Garden on June 29th 3-7 come out and see where it all comes from.  RSVP so that we will know how many to expect, we will have light food and drinks, byob

We are finally planting sweet potatoes after getting the field ready between rain storms the last 2 weeks!  I'm excited !  We are planting japanese (purple skin and yellow/white flesh, covingtons (orange), o'henry's (white), and all purple.  We will harvest these in mid to late September.  Farming is a combination of living in the moment and trying to see 3 months in the future and plan a year out...

Anyway, your box this week:
small shares:  1 head of green bibb lettuce, 1 bunch arugula, 1/2 lb. spinach, 1 bulb fennel, 1 bunch red scallions, 1 bunch green garlic, 1 pint strawberries  (value $15.50)
regular shares:  1 head green bibb lettuce, 1 bunch arugula, 1 lb. spinach, 2 bulbs fennel, 1 bunch red scallions, 1 bunch green garlic, 1 pint strawberries, 1 lb. yellow squash, 1 lb. broccoli, 1 bag curly kale (value $29)
All items will keep best in the refrigerator.
Soon to come to all boxes are broccoli, summer squash, beets, and carrots.  This week is probably the last lettuce you'll get for a couple months.

Strawberry Bibb Salad
-wash the lettuce, dry, and tear into pieces of desired size
-slice strawberries and add to lettuce in a bowl along with some crumbled blue cheese
-toast almonds in a dry cast iron skillet over medium heat (when you can start to smell them they are toasted);  let cool and add to salad
-make a dressing of:
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp maple syrup
salt and black pepper to taste
-dress and toss the salad and enjoy!

The view from the seats of the transplanter.  Aaron driving.

Addiebelle and Cyril!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

June 5 2013

Boxes this week contain:
1 head green bibb lettuce, 1 head romaine lettuce, 1 bunch of yellow onions, 1 bunch of garlic scapes, 1 small fennel bulb, 1 kohlrabi, 1 bag of kale, 1 pint of strawberries.
Regular shares also have:  3/4 lb. of little cauliflowers, 3/4 lb. baby squash and zucchini, 1 bunch of arugula.

Garlic scapes are what would become the flower on a garlic plant.  We remove them so the plant puts its energy into growing a bigger bulb.  It just so happens that they are a delicious treat as well!  They are far milder than garlic cloves but can be used in all dishes that you would use garlic.  They are used well in pesto as well as sauteed or roasted.  We like to saute a couple of them and add to kale.

Everything in your box this week will keep best in the refrigerator.  The romaine should be eaten sooner than the bibb.

cut 5 scapes into 2 inch long pieces (using all parts but the flat bit beyond the pale yellow/green bulbous portion)
peel 3 to 5 russet potatoes and cut into long 1/2 inch thick strips
combine the scapes and potatoes and toss with olive oil and salt n pepper
roast at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or so (until taters are golden brown and scapes are sizzling)

remove leaves from1 kohlrabi and peel
julienne the kohlrabi
slice 1 fennel bulb thinly, starting at the bottom of the bulb and going up until you hit the leaves
combine the kohlrabi and fennel in a bowl
sprinkle lightly with salt
make a dressing of 1 T extra virgin olive oil, juice of 1/2 lemon, 1 tsp. mustard (like dijon), and black pepper to taste
toss the dressing with
the veggies and let sit 30 minutes before eating

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

First CSA box of 2013, May 29

We are at the beginning. The first vegetables harvested for you! Your boxes all contain: 1 bunch of swiss chard, 1 head of romaine lettuce, 1 head of red bibb lettuce, 1 bunch of spring onions, 1 bunch of green garlic, 1 pint of strawberries. (value $14.50) The regular shares also have: 1 bag of spinach, 2 baby fennel bulbs, 1 purple and 1 green kohlrabi. (value $23)

 The swiss chard needs to be stored in a bag in your fridge until eating it. The green garlic can be used just as the garlic you're used to seeing and using. It is not as strong and can be chopped like an onion as it hasn't started forming cloves yet. Chop up the stalk until it gets hard to cut thru to use in cooking. You can use the green tops to make a broth or stock, straining them out before using the liquid. Use all parts of the green onions except the roots. The kohlrabi needs to be peeled. It is delicious shredded and added to slaw or eaten by itself with a vinegar dressing. It is also great with the fennel. A simple olive oil, lemon juice, black pepper and salt dressing is best, I think.

 Chard salad
 lightly steam the chard; cool immediately in cold water. ring out excess water toast 2 T sesame seeds make a dressing: juice of 1/2 orange 1 tsp balsamic vinegar drizzle of olive oil pinch of salt make the dressing and pour over cooled chard; add toasted sesame seeds and toss.

Welcome to the 2013 season a little delayed. The boxes you get your produce in each week are coated in wax to prolong their lives. If left in hot sun, they will melt thus shortening their use. Please store them out of the sun and heat. Each week you need to return your empty box from the previous week. These boxes are not cheap or easily replaced. They have “hinges” so if you want to make them flat when you empty them, carefully unfold them from the bottom without tearing. If you are going to miss a week, you need to let us know by Monday of that week at 6pm. If you are going on vacation and will miss a box, you can let us know you don’t want one that week and either get 2 boxes on another week or have someone else pick it up for you. We need you to stick to the same pick up day each week. It is nearly impossible for us to keep up with the details if there is a lot of change. If the day you’ve chosen isn’t working well for you, please let us know and we can change it for the rest of the season. If you don’t let us know you’ll be missing your pick up and we’ve made you a box, we will bring it back to the farm after market and put it in our cooler. It is up to you to arrange to come get it or pick it up at one of our Saturday markets. WE WILL NOT MAKE YOU A NEW BOX IF YOU MISS PICK UP. The value of the boxes (in monetary terms) will vary from week to week. For the small share you made an investment of $15 a week; the regular share an investment of $24 a week. On some weeks you will get a lot more value than if you shopped at market. Some weeks it will be exactly the same value. Over the course of the season, you will see a significant savings over shopping at market. We will put a dollar value on your box each week so you can see that. We work hard to grow healthy and interesting vegetables as well as tried and true staples. We will provide recipes as much as we can. If you have recipes to share, please pass them our way and we’ll put them on the blog. We will update our blog every week with box contents and recipes. We’ll email a reminder every week as well. Please let us know if we need to add anyone to our list. Please feel free to contact us with questions or concerns any time throughout the season.

We will have an “open farm” day on June 29. It will be for the afternoon and you can come out and see the farm and share some food. We’ll give more details when the time nears. Thank you for joining us for the season! We are excited to begin!

Monday, May 13, 2013

1st CSA Pick-Up Postponed......

Cool Spring. We have been talking and debating when to start the CSA this year, and the next two nights of freeze warnings have made up our mind. We were scheduled to begin the pickups on May 15. We will begin either May 29th, or on June 5th. You will be compensated for the missed weeks, and will be notified when that compensation is made either in market credit, extra produce in boxes, or the weeks missed being added at the end of the year. Those of you requesting eggs: we have a list of your names and will save a dozen for you weekly and you will pay at that time, $4.50/dozen. We appreciate your understanding and please know that we are chomping at the bit to start harvesting and putting together CSA boxes.

 Weather aside it has been a great spring. The greenhouse has functioned well and the plants coming out look great. We heat it with wood, and have burned much more than in years past. I put the last two sticks into the stove last night at 2 am and its on our list today to cut more wood. Garrett an intern from last year came through for six weeks this winter and gave us a huge boost with the greenhouse work. He is off to work in Colorado on another farm now, but the plants he seeded and stepped up are out in the field. The cows moved down the road to another farm that we are leasing and they are enjoying the lush pasture. We have been calving and everyone is vigorous and healthy. The chickens have been a struggle ever since our dog Loretta passed away last fall. She was really good at keeping rodents and varmints at bay. Since then we have been fighting a weasel that keeps weaseling it's way into the coop and stealing chickens heads. We were putting our cats in the coop at night to deter him for a little while. It only worked for so long, but it was cute to see the cats asleep in the laying boxes in the morning. We planted @ 100 apple trees earlier in the spring and are excited of the idea of harvesting that fruit 10 years down the road. The kids are good.....they definitely give us a run for our money daily but they are beautiful and healthy. They enjoy checking the cows, gathering eggs, and watering the greenhouse. Their help with these things doesn't speed up the process but makes it mean that much more. We have two great people working with us this spring. Catherine and Kate will be at markets throughout the season and you will get a chance to meet them and hopefully enjoy them as much as we do.

 In the ground we have transplanted, seeded, cultivated, irrigated, covered, fertilized, foliar fed, and begged to grow kale collards broccoli cauliflower carrots beets peas lettuce fennel squash celery zucchini cucumbers tomatoes potatoes onions garlic strawberries leeks celeriac chard cabbage kohlrabi. It all is doing well, but needs a couple of weeks of heat to get it to your table.

Thanks for your support. In years like this CSA members are especially important to the farm as we wait for the weather to allow us to start harvesting and selling at markets. Feel free to contact us with questions and we will be in touch. Anne Aaron Addiebelle Cyril

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sign up for 2013 CSA!

828-545-2362 contact Anne

Full Season Share:
There are 2 share sizes:  "regular" shares are intended to feed a small family (2 to 4 people).  The "small" share is great for individuals and couples. 
The full season share is 22 weeks starting May 15 and ending October 9.
Full season Regular: $525.  Full season Small: $325

Peak Season Share:
This share is great if you want to try the CSA out or if you're planning to be gone early summer.  It is less of a commitment in time and finance.  This share runs for 8 weeks from July 24 thru September 11.  Available in regular or small.
Peak season Regular: $250.  Peak season Small: $175

Extended Fall Share:
This share provides 4 boxes from October 23 thru November 20 (you choose 4 out of 5 dates).  Fall crops include carrots, beets, leeks, cauliflower, greens, sweet potatoes, shallots, winter squash, Irish potatoes.  Most of the veggies in these boxes will store into the holiday season. 
One size only: $120

In the past we have sold egg shares but had difficulty toward the end of the season providing them in 2012.  What we'd like to do this year is take "reservations" and you can pay weekly or monthly for your eggs rather than for the full 22 weeks at once.

Payment can be made by check to: Gaining Ground Farm, 298 Sluder Branch Rd. Leicester NC 28748
Down payment of 1/2 the total is due upon registration.  If you pay in full by March 15, receive a $20 discount for regular shares and a $15 discount for small shares.  Please include a contact number, an email address, and which share you're signing up for with your payment.

Boxes can be picked up at the Wednesday Montford Market between 2 and 6 pm.

You can look thru our blog entries to see what the boxes were like last year.

     Down payment of 1/2 the total is due upon registration. If you pay in full by March 15, receive a $20 discount for regular shares and a $15 discount for small shares.  If paying with paypal the early discount will be paid back in cash at the first pick-up.  Please include a contact number, an email address, and which share you're signing up for with your payment.
     Payment can be made by check to: Gaining Ground Farm, 298 Sluder Branch Rd. Leicester NC 28748

     Feel free to email or call with any questions