Wednesday, October 5, 2016

October 5 or 8 CSA

This is the last share of the regular season for this year.  Thank You Thank You Thank You for seeing us through another year on the farm.  It has been an ever-so challenging one on multiple fronts but we have still eaten well I think.
Your share this week includes:  1 long island cheese pumpkin, 2 pounds of strawberry paw potatoes, 1 small fennel bulb, 1 head of red bibb lettuce, 1 head of frissee endive, 1 bunch of collard greens, 1 head of garlic.

The pumpkin will keep up until january or so and will continue to get sweeter if it sits until november sometime.  That being said, we did bake one and make a pie with it this week and it is quite tasty right now.  These pumpkins also make great soup.

The endive, red bibb, and baby fennel are really good combined in a salad with a simple red wine vinaigrette.
The collards are tender and require only a short cooking time.  They are good with quinoa, sweet peppers and red onions chilled or warm.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

September 28 or October 1

This is the second to last box for the regular season share.  For Wednesday pick-ups, next Wednesday, October 5 will be the last box.  For Saturday pick-ups, Saturday, October 8 will be the last box.  Those of you who bought the extended share will just carry on for 5 more weeks.

Shares this week include:  4 pounds of Covington Sweet Potatoes, 1 pound of kale, 1 pound of green string beans (need strings pulled off), and 1 pound of yellow onions.

Yes, there are a lot of sweet potatoes in your share.  They will keep for months.  And they will get sweeter with time.  So, no hurry to eat them.  And, I know you've been getting a lot of onions.  These will keep also for months.  Keep them in a cloth bag or no bag at all in your refrigerator drawer.

We are having a difficult September in terms of crop diversity.  It has been really hot and REALLY dry.  Many of the things we planted for this month have died, done poorly, or succumbed to disease...I know excuses, excuses.  But true ones.  Sorry your boxes have been a little redundant and this weeks is only 4 different items.

We did get a much needed rain Monday night that has made the future look bright again.  It was nice splashing around in muddy paths harvesting yesterday.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

September 21 or 24

Fall is upon us!
Share this week contains:  2 pounds of nicola potatoes, 1 pound of red onions, 1 garlic, !/3 pound of spicy baby greens, 2 mini heads of romaine, 1 bunch of beets, 1 bunch of dill.

Storage:  everything but the garlic needs to be refrigerated.

Nicola potatoes make great potato salad with fresh dill and red onions.
Spicy greens make a great pesto with garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and salt.
Roasted beets, roasted beet greens, and romaine lettuce make a great salad with sherry dijon dressing.

To roast the beets, cut them in half or quarters depending on their size.  Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper.  (don't peel them!)  Roast in 425 degree oven until soft and a little shrunken looking.
To roast the beet greens, pull them away from the stems, tear into the size you want, toss with olive oil and s&p, spread in a thin layer on baking sheet and roast at 425 degrees for 5 to 10 minutes.  Chill the beets and greens.  Make the dressing.
Sherry-Dijon Vinaigrette
2 T cooking sherry
6 T red wine vinegar
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, quartered
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dijon mustard
black pepper
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Wash the romaine lettuce and spin out the water.  Combine beets, beet greens, romaine, and dressing.  Toast sesame seeds and sunflower seeds and top the salad with them.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

September 14 or 17

Share contents:  3/4 pound okra, 1 pint edamame, 2 small heads of lettuce, 3/4 pound sweet pepper, 1 butternut squash, 1/2 pound shallot.

Y'all, we are having a difficult day of people with the flu and so are short handed.  I will try to get back to this blog and put some recipes on.  I know I said that last week too...
We dug 1 variety of sweet potatoes so you'll get those in your share week after next.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

September 7 or 10

Share this week includes:  1 kabocha squash, 2 pounds of satina potatoes, 1 pound of sweet peppers, 1 pint of edamame, 2 pounds of onions, 1/2 pound of garlic.

Storage:  squash and garlic can be kept on your counter out of direct sunlight.  Peppers can be kept out too if you're going to eat them in the next couple days.  The onions can be kept out but will keep longer in the fridge (up to 2 months) and they don't burn your eyes as much when you cut into them if they are cold.

For the next couple weeks, we are in a lull with harvest.  The high temperatures of late July combined with the rain made it impossible for us to seed and plant for a couple weeks so now is when that is felt.  Your box this week and next will have a lot of vegetables that you can use over the next few weeks.  The garlic will keep until the new year if you keep you it in a dry, dark, cool place (not the refrigerator).  The kabocha squash is good now but will be great in 2 to 4 more weeks.  It is great baked and eaten plain but also makes a delicious pie.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August 31 or September 3

Share this week includes:  1 pint of roma tomatoes, 1/2 pound okra, 1 pound yellow onions, 1 butternut squash, 2 pounds Nicola potatoes, 2 small fennel bulbs, 1 pound red beets, 1 pound of october beans.

Storage:  Beans, if you're not going to eat them today or tomorrow, should be transferred to a paper bag so they don't get moldy.  Everything needs to be refrigerated except butternut squash and onions.

For Wednesday RAD market pick-ups, Amy will now be the one at our stand.  She asked that you peek around and tell her who you are and she'll check your name off for the week.

Hot peppers are still coming in so if you'd like some, please help yourself!

The october beans are typically a dry bean similar to a pinto.  When fresh, the green ones can be strung (like last weeks' beans) and snapped.  The ones with the yellowish pods and pink stripes need to be shelled ( don't eat the pods on these as they are rather tough).  I love these beans cooked with onion, salt and pepper.  I also love them stewed with okra and tomatoes.  Following is a link to a recipe.  I would substitute fresh october beans for the kidney beans and fresh romas for the canned tomatoes and sauce.  Also, I prefer just oregano to the italian blend of herbs and fresh hot chilis to chili powder.
A recipe for Okra -Bean Stew

The fennel and beets are good together in a salad.  Grate the beets, thinly slice the fennel bulbs up to where the leaves start, combine with some thinly sliced red onion, 1 T lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and fresh parsley.  Let it sit for 30 minutes at room temperature before eating.

The butternut squash is ready to eat but also will keep a few weeks on your counter.  We are having some difficulty with rot in the stored winter squash.  This is because of all the rain a couple weeks ago keeping the plants and fruits wet for days on end.  Keep an eye on your squash and if you see any signs that it is starting to rot, cut that spot out and cook it immediately.  If you don't feel like eating it now, you can freeze the cooked squash to use later.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

August 24 or 27

This weeks' share includes:  1 bunch of carrots, 2 delicata squash, 1 pound of heirloom string beans, 1& 1/2 pounds of sweet peppers, 1 pound of torpedo onions, 2 garlic heads, 1 globe eggplant.

Storage:  Garlic and Delicata out of fridge.  All else refrigerated.

The heirloom string beans are a few different varieties.  The largest ones that are slightly flat with somewhat to very formed beans inside are Goose Beans.  The short, shiny ones are Greasy Beans.  The third, round variety is from a seed swap last fall in West Virginia and I'm ashamed to say that I have temporarily forgotten the name.  At any rate, they are all flavorful and contain more protein thanks to the formed beans within the pods.  You do need to pull the strings off of them.  Video on how to String beans
Pole beans are one of my favorite foods all year even though they require a bit more work.  Their flavor is worth it.  We would grow lots more of them if it were easier to grow them organically.  There are 2 challenges (at least!) which are that they must be trellised and that there is no organic control for Mexican Bean Beetles other than killing them by hand.  It takes time to build a trellis and once trellised, you cannot cultivate that bed with a tractor so the weeds can be prohibitive to the beans growth.  Pole beans take longer to grow and form beans than bush varieties so the bean beetles can do a lot of damage before the beans are of edible size.  Despite these challenges, we have a good enough crop this year to put them in the shares!  I hope you love them as much as we do!
There are many recipes and methods for cooking them.  We keep it simple.  I just string them, snap them in half, and put them in a skillet with an inch or so of water and a couple of onions cut in quarters, a little salt and pepper.  I let them simmer until they're soft...30 to 40 minutes and then eat.
There is a great recipe in the Root To Leaf cookbook by Steven Satterfield for "Pole Beans in Eggplant-Pepper Broth".  Its too involved for me to type out but if you're interested, look it up or let me know.  

Delicata Squash are the earliest "winter squash" ready to eat.  They are so sweet and need only be cut in half, seeds scooped out, and baked in a 4oo degree oven face down on a sheet pan until soft.  It takes about 20 to 30 minutes.  We eat them plain or with a little butter.

Sweet peppers!  Try them roasted, try them sauteed with onions, try them stuffed, try them as the main ingredient in pasta sauce, try them raw dipped into hummus or baba ganoush.
Beans just after trellising

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

August 17 or 20

Share contents:  1 bunch of leeks, 1 celeriac, 2 pounds of beets, sweet peppers (jimmy nardello frying peppers and sweet italia), 1 quart of juliet romas, 1/2 pound cucumber, 1 garlic, 2 pound potatoes.

Storage:  peppers, romas, garlic outside of fridge.  All else requires refrigeration.

Do you know the Jimmy Nardello pepper?  If you've been in our CSA more than this year, you would.  If not, they are the skinny red peppers that look like they'd be hot.  They are an heirloom of some acclaim these days (for good reason).  Just saute them in a little oil and eat alongside other foods or all by themselves.  yum yum.

Juliet Romas are really good oven roasted and eaten on bread or with pasta.

Celeriac is an unusual one...flavor is an earthy version of celery.  I will include our 2 favorite ways to eat it.
1 celeriac
3 cucumbers
2 T capers
salt and black pepper
lemon juice
sour cream or buttermilk or mayonnaise
a little parsley or dill
remove the green tops of the celeriac (save to use in a soup stock)
peel the celeriac and slice into 1/8 inch thick rounds
put in a pot with enough water to cover and sprinkle a little lemon juice in as well
bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and let simmer about 5 minutes, until tender but not falling apart
remove from the water and cool in cold water or an ice bath
slice into matchstick size pieces and place in a bowl
slice cucumbers and add to bowl
add capers, juice of 1 lemon, 1/4 cup of creamy substance of your choice, and herbs if you have them
stir all together and enjoy chilled

serves 4 to 6 
3 T butter
1 celeriac, peeled and roughly chopped
2 pounds potatoes 
3 leeks,sliced
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1/4 tsp mace or nutmeg
1/2 cup cream, milk, or unsweetened rice or almond milk
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
1. Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat.  Add the onions; cook until soft, 5 to 7 minutes.  Add the celeriac, potatoes, stock; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 25 minutes.
2.  Let the soup cool slightly and then puree in a food processor or blender.  Return to the soup pot, stir in the cream, salt, mace or nutmeg, and pepper to taste and heat on low until heated through.

 Click on this link for some different ways to cook beets

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

August 10 or 13

Share this week includes:  1/2# okra, 2# eggplant, 1 pint cherry tomatoes, 1 1/2# heirloom paste tomatoes, 1# silver slicer cucumber, 1# onions (red and yellow), 1 garlic, 1 antohi romania and 2 amish pimento peppers (both are very sweet).

Storage:  peppers, tomatoes, and garlic can be kept on the counter.  The rest needs to be refrigerated.

The paste tomatoes make really good salsa or sauce but are great for eating plain as well.  The peppers are both heirloom varieties and are superior in flavor/sweetness to a bell pepper.  They do not keep as well so eat them in the 1st few days.
I know we are sending you lots of eggplant.  It is what is growing really well right now.  If you are tired of eating it, you could make the recipe below and freeze for another time. Or try cutting them in half lengthwise, drizzle with olive oil and salt and roasting at 400 degrees until soft.  We eat them straight out of the oven and even the kids like them.  They have an earthy, almost mushroom taste.  The okra is good like this too and the okra and eggplant are a nice combination, especially with a quick sauce made of the paste tomatoes, garlic, onion, and oregano...maybe a little hot pepper.

The offer for hot peppers still stands, just ask whomever is working market where to get them from.
Click on the link below for a good recipe.
Eggplant "meatball" Recipe

We will begin harvesting winter squash today and putting it in the barn to "cure".  This is the process by which the squash turns its starches into sugar and makes the sweet flavor come out.  Straight from the vine, most winter squashes do not taste sweet at all.  You'll see them in your share in early September.  We wait as patiently as we can for this rainy spell to break so that we can get fall crops in the ground.  Coming soon will be orange carrots, string beans, celeriac. Hope you have a good week!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

August! 3rd or 6th

Share contents this week: 1 bulb of garlic, 1&1/2pounds Austrian Crescent fingerling potatoes, 1 pint cherry tomatoes, 1&1/2 pounds of fairytale and gretel eggplant, 1 bunch of shiso, 1 japanese cucumber, 1 very ripe cantaloupe melon, 1 yellow bell pepper, 3 yellow onions.

Storage:  All things but the garlic need to be kept refrigerated.  Shiso needs to be in a bag with air squeezed out.  Melon needs to be eaten today.

Shiso is an herb with a light cumin flavor.  It lends that flavor as well as a pink color when added to liquid.  It is good with cherry tomatoes tossed in a vinaigrette, great with eggplant, and pretty in a jar of pickles.

A recipe for Eggplant Caponata

Again this week, we are rich with tomatoes.  It will all be over soon so if you want tomatoes to put up, you need to do it this week.  A 20 pound box is only $35!  (market price is $3/pound)
We aren't putting big tomatoes in the share this week because many of you seemed exhausted with the tomatoes as you unpacked your box last week.  If you want some big tomatoes, please let us know at market and we'll get you some!

Creamy Eggplant Dip
1. Cut the small eggplant in half lengthwise, arrange on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Roast in a 450 degree oven until browning and somewhat wrinkled (about 20 minutes).
3. While the eggplant is roasting,thinly slice 1 to 3 yellow onions and 4 cloves of garlic.
4. Caramelize these in a skillet.
5.  If you have a food processor, transfer the eggplant, skin on, into it with the caramelized onion and grind to a creamy consistency.  If you don't have one, scoop the eggplant out of the skin and put in a bowl with the onion and mash by hand.
6.  You can add a spoon full of tahini or yogurt to make it more creamy.
7.  Season with more salt and pepper if you think it needs it.
8.  Lastly, chop the leaves of 1 stem of the purple shiso and stir into the dip.  Eat with warmed pita bread.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

July 27 or 30

Share contents this week:  1 pound of torpedo onions, 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, 3 pounds of slicing tomatoes, 1 pound of silver slicer cucumbers, 1 green zucchini, 2 zephyr squash, 1 head of savoy cabbage.

Storage:  onions, cucumbers, and squash store in the fridge.  Tomatoes can stay on the counter but if you're going to wait a few days to eat them and your kitchen is warm, put them in the fridge.

We are in the heart of tomato season.  If you want an extra tomato or 2 please help yourself.  If you want tomatoes to can, please email me and we'll arrange it.  A 20 pound box of tomatoes for CSA members
will cost $35.  If you're interested, it probably needs to happen within the next 10 days.
And if you want a few hot peppers for the week, please grab them!

With all the tomatoes in your box, its the perfect time for tomato pie or tomato soup.  The small yellow tomatoes are "garden peach" and will ripen a bit more to all pale yellow with a little pink blush on the blossom end.  The larger golden ones are yellow brandywine.  The red ones are celebrity.  In the recipe below, I substitute torpedo onions for vidalia.
Tomato Pie Recipe

The cabbage is a little spicy because of the serious heat we've been having. The spice goes away in cooking.

We have been enjoying this simple salad almost daily at the farm.
Simple Summer Salad
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, cut in half from blossom end to stem end
1 torpedo onion, sliced very thin
2 to 4 cucumbers, sliced thin
whatever herb is laying around ie: parsley, chive, basil, dill, cilantro
1 tsp ume-boshi vinegar or salt
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
black pepper
a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Combine all ingredients and let sit a few minutes before eating.
Cherry tomatoes before mixing colors

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

July 20 or 23

This weeks' share:  1 bunch of carrots, 2# gretel eggplant, 1# red onions, 1 fennel bulb, 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, 3# tomatoes, 1 japanese cucumber, 1 sweet italia pepper, 1 garlic bulb.

Storage:  The tomatoes, eggplant, and pepper do not have to be refrigerated if you eat them within 2 days.  All else, store in the refrigerator.

As we start to bring hot peppers to market, please feel free to take a few if you like them.  We rarely put the hot peppers in the boxes because many people do not eat them.

The tomatoes in your box today are a few different varieties.  The large pink ones are brandywines.  The brick red to orangey brown ones are Paul Robeson and the larger reds are a hybrid named celebrity, the small red ones are new girl.  All are great for fresh eating.  They make great sandwiches, salsa, salad.

Roasted Fennel and Tomato Sauce

The eggplant is great cut in half lengthwise and roasted with olive oil and salt.  You can scoop it out of the skin and eat it plain, make baba ghanoush dip, add it to pasta sauce.

Traditional Baba Ghanoush Recipe

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

July 13 or 16

This weeks' share includes: 1 Paul Robeson heirloom tomato, 1 bunch of leeks, 1 green celery, 1 bunch of purple basil, 2# Satina potatoes, 1# lemon cucumbers, 1 bulb of garlic, 2 yellow onions, 1 pint of baby squash.
Storage:  garlic can be kept un-refrigerated now. We keep ours in a basket on the counter. The basil will keep best in a paper bag or go ahead and make it into pesto now and keep that in your refrigerator.  The tomato will keep best on your counter for another day or two until it is a deep orange-red color.

The baby squashes are a bit dirty from getting splashed in some heavy rains we've been having.  We don't wash them at the farm because they won't keep well.  Just wash them before preparing.

The lemon cucumbers are so named for their looks.  They do not have any lemon flavor but just a nice fresh cucumber flavor.  The ones that are darker yellow have a tougher skin and you may want to peel those. 

We have been talking about cold soups at the wash shed lately and the leeks are looking so nice that we thought we'd give you the ingredients for vichyssoise.

To make your own vegetable broth:
Into a large soup pot, combine: the green parts of the leeks chopped into 1 inch pieces, the head of celery chopped into 1 inch pieces and washed well, 1 T salt, some black pepper, a bay leaf, and cover with 2 gallons of water.  Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer.  Let simmer uncovered for an hour or so until it is smelling good and somewhat reduced in liquid.  Strain all of the solids out and save the broth for your soup.  Taste for flavor and add salt if need be.  Any extra broth can be used for making flavorful rice or frozen for another soup.
To make Vichyssoise:
3 to 4 medium size leeks: white and light green part only
2 yellow onions
Stir and saute them 3 minutes in:
2 tablespoons butter
Slice very fine or dice into small cubes:
4 to 6 medium yellow potatoes
(some recipes say to peel the potatoes.  for a finer texture soup, you'd want to but more greater nutrition, keep the peels on!)
4 cups of your celery and leek broth
Simmer the vegetables, uncovered, until tender. Put them through a food mill or blender to make a puree.
1 to 2 cups of cream or unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon of mace or nutmeg
salt and white pepper to taste
chopped parsley or chive for a garnish
This soup can be served hot or cold.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

July 6 or 9

Box contents this week:  1 bunch of golden beets, 1 bunch of cipollini onions, 1 head of savoy cabbage, 1 pint of baby eggplant, 1/2 # tomatoes, 1 japanese cucumber, 1 # of green beans.

Storage:  everything in the refrigerator except the tomatoes. The beets will store best with  the greens removed and kept in a separate bag with the air squeezed out.  The onions will store best with the greens removed. Tomatoes can be kept on the counter.

Cipollini onions are on the sweet side for onions. Which makes them incredible for roasting or caramelizing.  Roasted whole in the oven or cooked in a little butter on the stove top, cipollinis become soft and practically melt in your mouth.  Those residual sugars caramelize and concentrate, leaving behind none of the astringent raw onion flavor.
 Try steamed green beans with roasted cipollinis and thyme.  To roast the onions:
Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 325°F. Melt butter in a large non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add onions and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to oven and roast, tossing occasionally, until deeply caramelized and tender, about 30 minutes.
To steam the beans:
Wash and de-stem the beans.  Cover the bottom of a skillet with water and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and add beans.  Add a sprig or 2 of thyme.  Cover the skillet.  Let steam until desired tenderness.  You may have to add more water.  When beans are done, take lid off and let any remaining water evaporate.  Salt and pepper to taste and stir in the roasted cipollinis.  Some toasted nuts would be good on this too.

Golden beet Salad recipe
I changed a little of the recipe.  I used the beet greens and stems instead of spinach.  I tossed them with the  beets while the beets were still hot, to wilt them a little bit.

We got a much needed rain shower yesterday afternoon.  We all breathed a sigh of relief.  A break from the heat and some good old-fashioned water from above make our job pleasant.  We hope you have a good week!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

June 29 or July 2

Bag contents this week:
3 pounds of red, white, and blue potatoes.  1 pound of green snap beans, 1 pound of squash, 1 shintokiwa cucumber, 1 head of garlic, 1 bunch of red onions, 1 bunch of multi-color carrots.

Storage:  Garlic is still fresh and so will keep best in the refrigerator out of a bag.  If you are going to eat the carrots in a couple days, you can store them with the tops on; if not, remove the tops and use in a vegetable stock or compost them.  Everything else, refrigerate in one of your drawers.

We thought that we'd put in the potato mix in case you feel inspired to make a potato dish for the 4th of July.  The Japanese cucumbers are growing on a trellis in 1 of our hoop-houses.  All the ones I have tried are sweet and delicious, so I hope yours is too!  You have zucchini and patty pan for squash this week.  Most shares got a costata romenesca zucchini.  It is an heirloom variety of nutty flavor and dry texture.  They are our favorite squash on the farm and we hope you like them too.  There weren't enough for every box so some got dark green zucchini.  If you'd like to try the costata another time, please just ask us for one!

Roasted Carrots with Red Onion and Thyme
taken from Root to Leaf
1 bunch of baby carrots
1 small red onion, diced
3 sprigs of thyme
salt and pepper
2 T olive oil
2 T fresh parsley, chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon

Heat the oven to 400.  Trim away the taproots and tops of carrots.  Wash thoroughly. Slice the carrots in half the long way.  In a mixing bowl, combine the carrots, onion, and thyme.  Season with salt and pepper, and toss with olive oil.  Spread on a baking sheet and roast until tender and slightly caramelized, about 15 minutes.  Toss with chopped parsley and lemon juice and serve warm or cold.

You can roast potatoes with the carrots too and then make a roasted root salad...

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

June 22 or 25

Bag Contents:  1 frisee, 1 celery, 1 bunch of purple basil, 1 head of german white garlic, 1 bunch of red beets, 1 head of red cabbage, 1 pound of cucumbers, 1 bunch of torpedo onions.

Storage:  Frisee, celery, beets store in the refrigerator in a bag with the air squeezed out.  Garlic, keep in the fridge not in a plastic bag.  Cabbage, onions, cucumbers keep in fridge drawer bagged or unbagged.  Basil will keep best in a paper bag on your counter.  It will wilt a little but keep its flavor.  In the fridge, it turns slimy and doesn't last as long.

I must apologize that the cucumbers aren't the best we've ever grown.  It is very hot and VERY dry for June and I tasted some cucumbers Monday and thought they were good so we put them in the shares this week and then last night I put some in a slaw for dinner and they were pretty bitter.  Some are good and some are not.  If we hadn't already made the bags up, I wouldn't include them but it is done so we'll leave them and just not consider them valuable (so we'll compensate next week).

So, yes, the lack of rain weighs heavy on our minds.  We can irrigate and are spending an enormous amount of time moving sprinklers and starting up pumps but it is not the same as rain.  Things grow much better with rain.

We put the basil and garlic in this week thinking you might be ready to make pesto.  The dark purple basil makes a good pesto and is a different color to experience.  Torpedo onions are great for use anywhere that you need an onion.  If you like to grill, try grilling them whole with some olive oil and salt and pepper.  The celery is stronger in flavor than that which you might buy in the grocery store.  The leaves are flavorful and make a nice substitute for parsley (though you use less).  It makes great soup broth, is good in potato salad, good sauteed with onions and added to beans or lentils.

Frisee and Flageolet Bean Salad

2/3 cup dry flageolet beans (sub navy beans)
3 T extra virgin olive oil
15 anchovy fillets
juice of 1 lemon
1 large garlic clove
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 T flat leaf parsley or celery leaves!, roughly chopped
1 head of frisee, washed and broken into individual leaves

1.  Cook beans in a pot with 4 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until tender.  About 1 hour.  Rinse in cold water, drain, and set aside.
2.  Place olive oil, anchovies, lemon juice, garlic, and pepper in food processor.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Place parsley, frisee, beans, and anchovy dressing in a bowl and toss to combine.  Serve immediately.
if you don't eat anchovies, this is still good, you'll just need to substitute some salt and add more oil and 2 T of the cooked beans to the dressing

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

June 15 or 18

This weeks' share includes:  1 head of Early Jersey Wakefield cabbage, 1 head of summer crisp lettuce, 1 bunch of swiss chard, 1 bunch of onions, 1 fennel bulb, 3 pounds of new potatoes, 1 pound of cucumbers.

Storage:  Everything needs to be kept refrigerated.  You can use all the green part of the onions as well as the bulb.

We finally got the cloth bags!  This means that you will be given a cloth bag today that you need to bring back each week.  If you pick up at market, you will be given a box who's contents you'll transfer to the cloth bag and give us back the empty wax box.  If you pick up at Catawba, you'll be given a cloth bag already filled and just bring back the empty bag next week.

Swiss Chard Frittata (of sorts)
1 bunch of swiss chard
4 to 6 eggs
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese

1.  Wash the chard.  Shake off excess water.  Chop the leaves and stems into ribbons.  Steam the chard and stems for a few minutes to wilt the greens.
2. Drain water from steamed chard and place in on oven proof baking dish.  I use a pie pan.
3.  Over the chard, crack whole eggs.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to your taste.  Grate Parmesan cheese over top.
4.  Place under your broiler in the oven until the eggs are cooked to your desired done-ness.  Eat just like this or over a cooked grain or mashed new potatoes.

Fennel is good for your digestion.  Fennel is juicy and sweet.  Fennel can be eaten alone or cooked into a dish.  It is a grand addition to chicken soup.  It is delicious in risotto with peas and shallots.  It is great to gnaw on like celery.  I often make a salad using the bulb of the fennel and a little bit of the frond.  I slice the fennel thinly starting at the bottom end and ending about 6 inches up the stems of the fronds.  This I place in a bowl and squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon over, add salt and pepper and let sit 30 minutes.  Eat it alongside anything.  Simply delicious.  For those of you who cannot find a love for fennel, the exchange box will be a good option for you.

Early Jersey Wakefield is an heirloom cabbage variety.  It is early, tender, and delicious.  Makes great slaw ans sauerkraut.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

June 8 or 11

Box contents:  2# new red potatoes, 1 head of napa cabbage, 1 bunch of lacinato kale, 1 bunch of red beets, 1 bunch of garlic scapes, 1 bunch of red scallions, 2 zephyr and 1 patty pan summer squash.

Storage:  everything needs to be stored in the refrigerator.  Potatoes were dug yesterday and will be best eaten this week.  If you think you'll keep them longer than this week before eating, transfer them to a paper bag.
Try making a slaw with the napa cabbage or enjoy it stir fried.
Napa Cabbage Slaw Recipe form Epicurious

Bulgur Wheat and Roasted Baby Beets and Their Tops
from Root to Leaf
1 bunch of small beets with tops
1 cup bulgur
2 cups vegetable broth or water
Kosher salt
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, diced
freshly ground black pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon
4 ounces of fresh cheese, such as chevre, crumbled
Trim the tops from the beets and reserve.  Wash the roots and roast.

Wash the tops well and separate the leaves from  the stems.  Reserve the leaves.  Slice the stems crosswise to make small dice, and set aside.

Place the bulgur in a medium bowl.  Pour the hot broth or water over the bulgur and add a pinch of salt. Cover and let sit until the grains swell and become tender, 15 to 20 minutes.  Taste for seasoning and set aside.

In a medium skillet over medium high heat, warm 1 T olive oil.  Add the shallot and beet stems and season with salt and pepper.  Cook until they are tender, 2 to 3 minutes, and add the beet greens.  Using tongs, turn the leaves several times until wilted.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Slice the roasted beets into quarters and set aside.  ( You can peel the beets if you want but the skins are very tender and full of nutrients.)

In a large bowl, mix together the cooked bulgur and sauteed vegetables and stir until combined.  Taste for seasoning.  Toss the roasted beets with the lemon juice, salt, and 1 T olive oil.
Here I deviate from the recipe.  It says to divide everything among 4 bowls and layer and top with cheese.  I combine all the parts in 1 bowl and toss together and top with cheese.

We had a much needed rain over the weekend that has everything growing well...including the weeds.  The first snap beans are starting to bloom.  The cucumbers are about to be in full swing.  There are little green tomatoes on the comes summer!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

June 1 or 4

Box contents:  1/2# spinach, 1 head of romaine, 1 bunch of kale, 1 kohlrabi, 1 green garlic, 1 bunch of scallions, 1 bunch of radishes, 1# broccoli florets.

Storage:  All will keep best in the refrigerator in bags with air squeezed out, preferably in a drawer.

We had a special guest helping us wash vegetables yesterday.  Maddy Miller, who worked with us all last season, came to visit for one day.  It was a pleasure for all of us and most for the kids!

What's for dinner this week:
sauteed spinach and green onion quesadillas
steamed kale with lemon and green garlic dressing
thinly sliced radishes and kohlrabi dipped in hummus
raw broccoli salad

RAW BROCCOLI SALAD from Smitten Kitchen
2 heads broccoli (3/4 to 1 pound each)
1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds
1/3 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup buttermilk, well shaken
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
Lots of freshly ground pepper

Trim the broccoli, and chop it into large chunks; then cut each chunk into thin slices. Cut the stems into thin slices, then stack the slices and cut them in the other direction, into thin matchsticks.  Cut the florets vertically into thin slices, slicing them from the stem up to the floret top.  Toss the sliced broccoli with the almonds and cranberries.  In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk, mayo, vinegar, sugar, and salt until smooth.  Stir in the onion.  Let the onion marinate for about 10 minutes in the dressing to mellow it. Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture, and add a generous amount of black pepper.  Stir the salad until the broccoli is evenly coated wiht the dressing  Serve immediately, or keep covered in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.

Yields about 8 cups slaw, serving several people. 
Maddy, Addiebelle, and Cyril cleaning red scallions

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

May 25 or 28

Castelline harvesting in the early morning light
Box contents:  1/2# spinach, 1/2# lacy arugula, 1 bunch of garlic scapes, 1 head of green bibb lettuce, 1 small bunch of chinese celery, 1 head of frisee, 2 pints of strawberries.

Storage:  Berries will keep best in refrigerator, unwashed.  A market customer told me she keeps hers in a tupperware container with a paper towel on the bottom and between layers of berries with the lid on and can keep them a week... All other vegetables in the box will keep best in a bag with the air squeezed out in the refrigerator.

The cloth bags we ordered should be here next week...until then, you can bring your own bag and leave the empty box with us or please remember to bring back your box from last week.

The exchange box:  If you have something you don't want in this weeks' box, you can exchange it for something you do want in the exchange box.  Please DO NOT bring back things you didn't eat last week to exchange for something this week.  

Frisee is a very mild member of the chicory family.  We eat it raw in salad.  It is also good added to soup in the last few minutes or sauteed with onion and garlic and eaten with beans.

The arugula has a lacy appearance because we didn't get the bed covered with row cover and there are some insects that like it as much as we do.  It has been washed twice and tastes great!  You can eat it as is in salad or wilt it in some warm pasta or make Green Goddess Dressing and eat it over your spinach.

Green Goddess Dressing
1 to 2 cups arugula leaves
1 to 2 chinese celery bunches
2 to 6 garlic scapes
1 T lemon juice
1 T champagne vinegar
1 to 2 tsp salt
1/2 to 1 tsp black pepper
1 anchovy or 1 T anchovy paste (optional)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Combine everything in a blender or food processor.  Blend until smooth.  Store in a covered container in the refrigerator until ready to use.  ( Use within a week).

Frisee and Martine in the distance

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

May 18 or 21

Please return your empty wax box and paper berry containers!
Box Contents:  1 head of romaine lettuce, 1 head of red butterhead lettuce, 1 bunch of siberian kale, 1 bunch of garlic scapes, 1/2# of broccoli, 3 pints of strawberries.

Remember to use the exchange box if you'd like.  Ask Martine at market today or Anne at Saturday market where it is.

Storage:  Refrigerator for everything.  Lettuces, kale, and broccoli in a bag with air squeezed out.  Garlic scapes are fairly tough but will last longer if you keep them in the fridge.

The Siberian kale makes great kale chips, great massaged kale salad, and is yummy in white bean soup.
Garlic scapes are what would become the flower of the garlic plant if left on.  We remove them so that the plant focuses its energy on developing the bulb.  It is a happy coincidence that they are delicious!  If you like to grill, try them on the grill with a little olive oil and salt and pepper brushed on.  They make a great pesto. And, if you have a food processor, you can make a garlic green goddess type dressing that is a great spring treat.
Recipe for Garlic Scape Pesto on Epicurious

Now that we are past the frost free date for this area, we are feverishly planting peppers, tomatoes, eggplant.  We are preparing beds for okra and sweet potatoes.  The winter squash seeds are germinating.  The potatoes are making little new potatoes under the soil.  Exciting times!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

First CSA box of 2016!

Box contents:  3 pints of strawberries, 1 pound of chinese broccoli, 2 purple kohlrabi, 1 bunch of kale, 1 head of green butterhead lettuce, 1 green garlic.

Storage:  strawberries should be kept, unwashed, in the refrigerator until you're about to eat them.  Everything else will keep best in the refrigerator in bags with the air squeezed out, preferably in one of the drawers.

Chinese broccoli is a tender, mild broccoli that is best cooked whole with stem and leaves as it is all good and good for you.  We usually steam it lightly and add a little lemon juice or vinegar, olive oil, and salt.  It is good warm or chilled.

Green garlic is a mild form of the dry garlic most commonly used.  It is still tender enough to use all parts. You can use it anywhere you would use cured garlic.

Here is a recipe from Steven Satterfield's cookbook Root To Leaf 
Sauteed Kohlrabi
If kohlrabi is cooked just until tender, it can be delightful, but if its cooked too long, it tastes and smells like overcooked broccoli stems.  If any leaves happen to be attached, chop them up and add to the pan at the last minute.  Do not overcrowd the pan.  It may be necessary to cook the kohlrabi in batches, depending on the size of your skillet.
1 T unsalted butter
1 T extra virgin olive oil
2 kohlrabi, peeled and cut into 1/8 inch thick slices
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
juice of 1 lemon
juice of 1 orange

In a wide skillet over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil.  Add the kohlrabi slices in a single layer across the bottom of the pan and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Cook on one side for 1 minute.  With tongs, turn each piece over and cook on the opposite side for 1 minute.  Then add the lemon and orange juices and cook until the kohlrabi pieces are tender but still have a little crunch.  Remove from the pan and repeat if cooking in batches.

Some logistical information:
We haven't gotten the cloth bags yet, so this week and probably next also, you will take the box and return it empty the following week.  Eventually, when we have the bags, you will be responsible for bringing the bag each week and unloading your box into the bag.  

If you haven't paid yet, please bring a check with you this week when you pick up.  If you are picking up at Catawba, please mail your check.  There will not be anyone from the farm at that pick-up.

If you are picking up at Catawba, you go to the bartender and tell them your picking up a CSA box and give them your name.  They will get it from the cooler for you.  Please get in touch with us if you have any issues at Catawba.  The bartender is doing us a favor and cannot help with issues you have related to the box. Also, YOU MUST get your box on Wednesday at Catawba.  They do not keep them in the cooler for you longer than that.  They do not have enough space to store them overnight and we do not go back there and get boxes that weren't picked up.

If you are picking up at market, look for Gaining Ground Farm and speak with Anne or Martine.  We will get you your box and show you where the exchange box is.  If you don't make it to market to get your box, we bring it back to  the farm and put it in our cooler.  It is up to you to arrange to come get it at the farm or have it brought to the Saturday market.

If you have someone picking up your box for you, PLEASE be sure they know our farm name and your name.  There are many farms doing CSA pick-up at market and it is confusing if they don't have the proper information.

THE BEST WAY TO GET IN TOUCH WITH US IS:  email: OR call or text Anne at:  828-545-2362

If there are other people sharing your share with you that would like the weekly emails, please let me know!

Thank you Thank you Thank you!   We are excited to begin again and thank you for joining us!  Cheers!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

CSA taking members. Next farm walk around April 3 at 3pm.

Our CSA is still taking members!  Contact us with any questions or to reserve your space.  Next meeting will be April 2 at 3pm.  Come out walk around the fields that grow your food and we will go over details of this seasons open farm days, monthly potlucks, and pick up details. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

CSA Information and sign up for 2016

     CSA Starting to fill up, Meeting is not required to reserve your spot.  But we still would love to see you!

We offer a wide variety of vegetables each week that are all grown in accordance with national organic standards.  More info about our farm is on our website:
Examples of weekly boxes, Regular and Small, from years past are posted as you scroll through this blog.
Hey All Happy New Year!  We have been placing orders with seed companies, lining up fertilizer and potting soil shipments, and reviewing this past season.  We have been critical through the years of so many aspects of our business of growing food.  The way we have been operating the CSA has been a main topic of conversation this fall and winter.   The CSA model is very important to our farm and we want to improve on it.  It is a commitment on so many levels for both the farmer and the member.  We are changing some things about the membership this coming season in an effort to emphasize the Community aspect of CSA.  We have done well in the past with receiving your financial Support, and we have been getting better over the years with the Agriculture part of it.  We are changing other parts of the CSA in order to free us up from some of the stresses of paperwork so that we can focus on growing great food.
     2016 CSA Changes:
We want you to feel a connection to our farm and us a connection to you.  We feel that the best way to achieve this is by sharing the physical place/space with you.
All members are strongly encouraged to attend one meeting held at the farm before signing up.  We will have a meeting once per month until all of our shares are accounted for.  These meetings will be structured in order to keep it short and sweet, then with time to walk around. The first meeting will be at 3pm sharp on Sunday, January 24th.   Location of the meetings is 222 Sluder Branch Rd. (same location as the party last fall).  Many of you have been to the farm in the past, many have not.  A lot has changed and we want to show you where and how your food is grown.  We are proud of what we are doing here and want you to experience it as well.  The meetings will be a chance for us to hear concerns from members, show you around the farm, and meet face to face before the season gets started.
We will be opening the farm up to members every Thursday afternoon May thru October so that you can feel free to come out, bring a picnic and walk around the fields.  In order to make this work as a positive experience for all of us, we need you to come to one of the meetings and get an orientation. Come and get to know the lay of the land because we won't be available to show you around every Thursday.  (Thursday afternoon our interns have off so often it is the day when both Aaron and I are doing tractor work and catching up.) 

The 4th Thursday of every month we will be hosting a potluck.  Come and lets share the food that we collaborated on producing together.  
We will not be doing substitutions, or packing special boxes this year.  Instead, we will have an exchange box at market where members will be able to take something they want more of, and leave something that they do not desire.  Those of you with food intolerance/allergies will need to choose a market pick-up in order to utilize this system.
There will be 1 share size this year.  Slightly larger than the small share of years past and a bit smaller than the regular size.  This means that all boxes will include 7 to 10 types of vegetables per week picked at the height of their flavor and freshness.  The CSA will still be 22 weeks and the cost will be $375 ( $17/week).  This means that your box will contain at least $17 worth of veggies and often a good deal more.
We hope theses changes are something that works for you and that we can continue to grow food for you.  We hope that these changes make for a more meaningful experience for all of us.

We offer 1 share size for the 22 week main season share:

Full Season Share:
The box will include 7 to 10 types of vegetables each week.  It is difficult to say for certain how many people this will feed because everyone's eating habits are different.  Generally though, this will feed 2 adults and a child most of your vegetables for a week.
It last 22 weeks starting May 11 and ending October 5. (Saturday pick up starts May 14 and ends October8.)

Full season share $375

Extended Fall Share:
This share provides 5 boxes from October 12 thru November 9.  Fall crops include carrots, beets, leeks, spinach, greens, sweet potatoes, shallots, winter squash, Irish potatoes.  Most of the veggies in these boxes will store into the holiday season.  You can sign up for this now or in early fall.

Fall share: $120

River Arts District Market, (All Souls Pizza Parking Lot, Clingman Ave)) 2 to 6 pm.
Catawba Brewery, (32 Banks Ave Downtown Asheville) 4 to 10 pm

Saturdays: (limited number of pick-ups)
North Asheville Market, (UNCA Campus) 8 am to noon

     If you pay in full by February 15 with a check, you receive an early bird discount.  The price with discount is $360.

     Down payment of 1/2 the total is due upon registration.   Please include a contact number, email addresses for share members who want to be on the mailing list, a snail mail address, and pick-up preference with your payment!
Payment can be made by check to:

Gaining Ground Farm,
298 Sluder Branch Rd.
Leicester NC 28748

Thanks for supporting our farm and please feel free to email Anne at or call at 828-545-2362 with any questions!