Archive for July, 2010

Week 8, July 29

What’s in The Box?

red cabbage

cucumbers

New Potatoes

summer squash

zucchini

beans

red bunching onions OR sweet onions

cherry tomatoes OR the first slicers of the season

green top carrots

A few notes on this weeks box….

Potatoes,   The skins are still soft, they tend to rub off when we was them this time of year. That will be better as the season goes along. Some of them have had a rough start, grubs tried to eat them, quack grass tried to grow through them and potato beetles and blight have ravaged the vines. We hope that doesn’t bother you too much. The appearance should get better as we go along. But the flavor and rich butteryness of new potatoes doesn’t last long at all.  Enjoy that while you can! We love them mashed or roasted with garlic and butter. (Garlic is dried now and will be in the boxes in the coming weeks as soon as we get it cut and sorted.)  They also make extra yummy potato salads.

The tomatoes are just starting to come on. But with all this wet weather blight has been a big set back for the tomato plants. At moments today it felt as if the tomato season was over before it ever started. We will just keep our heads high and hope for the best. There are lots of fruit on the vines, eventually it will ripen, but hopefully, not all at once. The cherry tomatoes are really having a rough go of it as well. Splitting from all the rain, yields were lower than expected.  In coming years we are thinking of moving to tomato growing in high tunnels to stop wasting so much time and effort on such lousy yields and unpredictable weather and therefore unpredictable quality.  The first tomatoes to come on are always the little guys.  The flavor of early tomatoes are fine (especially after not having fresh tomatoes since last October), but they get a lot better as the season goes on, they size up, and different varieties including heirlooms start coming on.

Your green top carrots will store best with the tops removed.  The tops are edible and have a flavor similar to parsley.  If you happen to have some packaged, store bought carrots in your fridge, try doing a side by side taste test.  I know who wins in my book, but let us know what you think.

This should be it for the cabbage, we could do another week. Give us some feed back on the that. Too much cabbage? We skipped last week for some of you. If you want more, we can pack it, but if not let us know and we won’t.

Cucumbers should be on again for the next couple weeks, but are entering a slow downward decline. (although it is hard to tell as we pulled out over 2000 lbs cucumbers this week and eventually just stopped picking).  We backed off a little on the squash thinking you might be a little overwhelmed with it.

Recipes

Balsamic Bean and Potato Salad:

  • 2 cups new potatoes
  • 2 cups beans (green, wax, or dragon tongue), trimmed and cut into halves or thirds
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped OR any other fresh herbs OR try some carrot tops!

Boil the potatoes until tender, 10-12 minutes. Add the green beans and cook for 3-5 minutes. Drain and let stand.  While the potatoes are cooking, combine the vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, mustard, sea salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until combined.  Mix the dressing and the potatoes/beans and basil or other fresh herbs.

Whole carrot salad – tabouleh style

carrots with their leaves

fresh mint leaves (can be replaced with another herb, to taste)

1 handfull of raisins
olive oil
lemon juice

salt to taste

Wash the carrots and chop them in the food processor until they have a couscous-like texture. Put aside in a bowl. Chop finely the carrot tops (Remove the hard stems if there are any). Add to bowl with the carrot “couscous”, raisins and chopped mint leaves. Season to taste with lemon juice, olive oil and salt.

Do you have a good recipe including any of the ingredients from the box this week?  Post it in the comment section!

On the farm…

We had a really wonderful time at “Dinner on the Farm” last Sunday.  Joe Hatch-Surisook of Sen Yai-Sen Lek came with his team of genius cooks and they made a meal out of Turnip Rock pork and produce for around 75 guests.  The guests were blown away by the meal.  We heard so many great comments about the meal and the beautiful weather.  Monica did an astoundingly excellent job of coordinating the event.  And we were happy to have David Huckfelt of The Pines play us some music at the bonfire after dinner.  It was a really lovely evening and we hope that those who were not able to make it out to the farm will head over to Sen Yai Sen Lek in NorthEast Minneapolis and taste some of the amazing food.

What’s growing on…

Sweet corn will be ready on Sunday…. but will wait to pick on Weds. Not ideal, but it seems to happen every year. It’s ready right when you don’t want to pick it.  We will monitor it closely and those of you in NE might get to sample some before week 9’s box at the BBQ this weekend.

Beans are all but done for until next season. We have to focus our picking energy on tomatoes and sweet corn and those delicious green peppers that are just about ready.

We kind of trying to clear out that Early/ Mid summer stuff and move into some of the stars of peak season. So this box isn’t our favorite but definitely is packed with some useful and tasty items.

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Week 7… July 22, 2010

What’s in the box?

a BIG bag of beans

cucumbers

summer squash

zucchini

green onions

green top beets

A few notes about the box… The tops of the beets are delicious.  Beets are related to spinach and the tops can be cooked in a similar way.  Beet root is good raw if you shred them and put them on top of salad.  They can also be snuck into baked goods if they are shredded, as can zucchini.  Chocolate beet cake(most recipes have you boil then puree the beets, but I just shred them and they add the same moistness and sweetness without so many dirty dishes), beet brownies, zucchini bread and zucchini brownies…  yum.  zucchini or Summer squash savory corn muffins are good.  zucchini and Summer Squash are also GREAT grilled.  Slice them lengthwise, marinade in some olive oil and herbs, salt and pepper then grill them.  You can do the same thing but broil them, if you don’t want to grill.  Then you can eat them on sandwiches or burgers or on their own.  There are A LOT of beans this week. We should have more next week, but not in this quantity.  If you are overwhelmed with them, you can freeze them.  Just rinse them, snap off the stem, blanch them in boiling water for a couple of minutes then rinse in cold water, place in freezer bags, and enjoy later.  They are also quite wonderful made into “dilly beans”  You can use your favorite pickle recipe and replace beans for cucumbers.  refrigerator pickles are nice this time of year if you don’t want to get the kitchen too hot doing canning.  The beans will also keep for quite some time in their bag in the crisper droor.  Cucumbers are a nice cool treat.  Slice them up and put them on sandwiches.  We really like cream cheese and cucumbers on toast for breakfast.  You can slice them and put them in ice water for a little bit of flavor, and there are quite a few nice summery cocktail recipes that include cucumbers.

Recipes

Here is a link to two really nice salads from Stone Soup.  One if for a shaved beet salad and the other is for a shaved zucchini salad. fantastic

refrigerator Pickles

  • 6  cups  thinly sliced cucumbers (about 2 pounds) OR snap beans, rinsed and chopped or left whole
  • 2  cups  thinly sliced onion
  • 1 1/2  cups  white vinegar
  • 3/4  cup  sugar (or less depending on how sour you like them)
  • 3/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  mustard seeds
  • 1/2  teaspoon  celery seeds
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground turmeric
  • 1/2  teaspoon  crushed red pepper
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 4  garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Put the cucumber in a glass or other non-reactive bowl; top with onion.  Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan; stir well. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Pour over cucumbers or beans; let cool. Cover and chill at least 4 days.  Note: Pickles may be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Here are some nice pictures of some of our farm field friends

We found a nest in the Kale last week!

We found this big toad hoppin around in the beans.

The sunflowers started to bloom and the bees showed up!

A visitor on a zinnia.

Jenna bunching beets


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Week 6, July 15th

Whats in the box

Green Cabbage

Summer Squash

Cucumbers

Beans

Green Onions

Curly Kale

Strawberries or Red Cabbage….. Half of you got the last of the Berries. Now don’t get jealous. Those of you that got the last of the berries will miss out on the first of the cherry tomatoes (probably next week). Thats the deal, and we should be square.

Some notes about what’s in the box and also about what’s going on at the farm…

The summer squash is suffering from inadequate pollination. That is why some of you may have received ‘odd’ shaped squash and why all of you received less squash than what we had hoped for. We have over 2400 feet of summer squash planted and only ended up with only about 200lbs that were good enough to put in the boxes. that equates to about .09 lbs per row foot. miserable.   To correct this we are planning on moving some bees in for next season.  We had plenty of bees last season and didn’t see a need for them this year, but now we know we need to get our own pollinators so we aren’t dependent on someone else’s whims of having bees or not.

The Beans, we have three different kinds, some of you may only have one some may have all. They all eat like your typical green beans. Green Beans, traditional straight forward delicious. Then the yellow wax bean. Some of you may have seen before. They are good. and we also have the Dragon Tongue (purple spotted) They seem to be okay eating wise, but came in last in the taste trials between the three. Let us know what you think. We might not grow them again next year.

Storage Tips

Beans Store them in the bag in your fridge. Wash before eating. They are grittier than usual because of the rain splashing dirt up onto them.  Sorry!

Kale stores best in a bag in the fridge and should be washed well before eating, also.  We washed it, but nothing ruins a dish like grit, so double wash it!

Everything else in the this weeks box would store fine just in the fridge, no bag.

Recipes

So…  you have some cabbage.  If you have not tried the Peanut Slaw recipe from last week, I urge you to try it.  Otherwise, slice the cabbage thin and eat it was you would a salad green.  Try it with this nice vinaigrette (which would also be good with sliced cucumbers)…

Celery Seed Vinaigrette (adapted from Gourmet, November 2009)

  • 1/2 garlic clove (or small garlic clove)
  • 2 teaspoons celery seeds, toasted
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Mince and mash garlic with kosher salt to form a paste. Add celery seeds, honey, vinegar and oil and whisk until combined.

Here’s a recipe for Fiesty Green Beans from 101cookbooks.com.  It sure sounds good, though we have not tried it yet.  I’m sure it would be great with all the different beans in the mix this week.

Baked Rigatoni with Kale

Serves 4 to 6

1 pound tube-shaped pasta, like rigatoni
a bunch of washed kale , thick stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
2  tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1 clove garlic, minced
salt
freshly-ground pepper
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
1 to 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, freshly shredded

Perheat oven to 400 degrees.  Butter a 2- to 3-quart baking dish; set aside.

In a large pot of boiling water that has been well-salted, boil the pasta until it is just tender (not yet al dente).  Add the kale to the pot with the pasta and cook for an additional two minutes, until the kale is bright green and the pasta is nearly al dente.  Drain, transfer to a large bowl and set aside.

In a medium pot, melt the butter over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour and then the milk.  Add the garlic and season with salt and pepper.  Cook over medium heat, whisking, until the liquid has become thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Add the cheddar cheese, whisking until the sauce is smooth.

Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and kale and stir to thoroughly combine.  Pour the pasta into the buttered baking dish and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and freshly-ground pepper.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the pasta and kale are lightly browned.

Kale is great!  It’s SO GOOD for you.  It is wonderful washed, stems removed, chopped, and sauteed in a little olive oil till wilted and salted to taste.  Maybe add some garlic if you like.  It’s great wilted and topped with a little toasted sesame oil and some sesame seeds.  Make a Kale pesto or add it to your favorite soup recipe.  Just be sure to eat it!

As we were harvesting the last of the cabbage to go in the boxes it started to rain…. and rain and rain…. that equates to about 3 INCHES of rain in less than 3 hours. Buckets of rain.  We put in irrigation so that we would be able to make it rain when we need it, but there’s nothing that we can do to make rain stop coming.  Lots of puddles in the field. We aren’t sure of the extent of the damage yet…. We’ll keep you posted.

Those of you in North East Mpls… we are having a BBQ at the drop site there on Aug 1st. Hope to see you there. Contact us if you have any questions. T rock pork will be served.

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Week 5… July 8, 2010

What’s in the box?

head lettuce

green cabbage (Tendersweet Variety)

red cabbage

green onions

beans (green, wax, and dragon)

collard greens (the BIG flat leaves bunched with a red rubberband)

summersquash/zuchinni OR cauliflower

strawberries!

A few notes about the box…

This variety of green cabbage is really excellent fresh.  Use if for slaws, springrolls, wraps…  The purple is good fresh, also.  We are really excited to get these collard greens to you.  If you haven’t tried them before, now is a good time!  They have yet to get tough and bitter from the hot weather.  They are packed with nutrients so please cook them up and enjoy!  We prepare them by removing the stem, slicing them nice and thin, saute with a little oil and garlic till tender, and season with salt to taste.  They are also good with some bacon added in or cooked in bacon grease.  The beans are a mix of green, wax, and the purple spotty ones are called “dragon tongue”.  Let us know how you like them.  It’s our first time growing that variety.  The Summer Squash is coming on eerily slow.  Usually with this weather we would be swimming in them by now.  The plants look great and are loaded with many lovely flowers, but we have not been visited by very many bees this season and their absence is being felt by the lack of polination going on.  Hopefully things will pick up soon.  This may verywell be the last of the strawberries for the season.  See ya next year, strawbs!

Recipes

Crunchy Peanut Slaw – a favorite around here

1/2 head green cabbage and 1/2 head red cabbage 

1 1/2 cups roasted peanuts

1/2 bunch green onions

1 cup chopped cilantro

0-3 minced hot peppers (or chilli sauce) depending on your taste

dressing:

1/2 cup canola, sunflower, or other light oil

4 Tbs rice vinegar

1 Tbs sugar (optional)

1 Tbs toasted sesame oil

2 tsp soy sauce

Cut up the cabbage in very thin strips cut into bit size lengths.  Add the chopped green onions (including most of the green parts).  Coursely chop the peanuts and add those, the cilantro, and the hot peppers.  Mix all the ingredients for the dressing and pour it over the slaw.  Mix together well.  Add salt to taste and garnish with some more peanuts.  This is the best!

Collard greens with Bacon and Cider Vinegar

 
5 slices bacon cut into 1/4-inch-wide chunks
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (or you can use some chopped green onions)
1 bunch collard greens, tough stems discarded, leaves sliced and rinsed, but not dried
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepot or deep skillet, cook bacon and onion over medium heat until onion is tender and bacon is browned, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to medium-high, add collard greens to pot, stirring until wilted. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, uncover and cook, stirring, until most of liquid evaporates (or you can leave the liquid in the pot and enjoy it with cornbread). Stir in vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Buster, thats a long row of beans to pick w/o thumbs

 

Whats shaking on the farm.

The weather has been hot and sunny. But we are getting rain as I am typing here, right on schedule. 

We know its July when the weeds are getting tall, the potatoe beatles  are starting to get to work on eating the potatoes and all the spring crops are coming to an end. 

We will be planting fall Broccoli here while your boxes are being delivered. 

Summer squash is getting soft tips, we would have had a lot more of it. It’s a new one to me, I will have to figure out what is causing it. 

We are really not trying to over due it on the Cabbage. But this time of year, think of it like ‘summer lettuce’ Cabbage doesn’t mind the heat of these days and most varieties will stay tender and sweet. 

   Whats coming up…

  Beans

  Squash

Cukes

Onions

 Kale

 Cabbage

  New Potatoes

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July 1, Week 4

What’s in the Box?

 

Week 4... Yum!!

 

romaine lettuce

spinach

garlic scapes

broccoli 

red cabbage

sugar snap peas

cauliflower OR summer squash

strawberries!

A few notes on the box:

This might be the last of the lettuce that you will see for a while.  Same goes for the broccoli.  The garlic scapes you won’t see again until next season, so enjoy them!  Make them into a pesto or chop them and use them as you would green onions (they are wonderful in potato salad or in cole slaw or broccoli slaw).  We recently tried marinating them in olive oil and fresh herbs then grilling them whole.  We all really enjoyed them thisway and they can add some artistic flare to the BBQ.  Store the spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and lettuce in open plastic bags in your crisper drawer.  remember to use the trick where you dunk them in cold water for a few minutes (this works for broccoli, too) if your greens are less than crisp.  Do you still have last weeks  spinach in your fridge?  A great wat to get rid of spinach is to saute it.  It wilts to almost nothing.  Cook it then add it to mac and cheese.  Cook it with scrambled eggs.  Add it to anything.  Just make sure you eat it!  It’s good for you!  The peas are sugar snap.  You can (and should) eat the shell.  They are soooo good fresh.  

RECIPES:

Enhanced Sugar Snap Peas  

About the only thing that could make the peas better is butter.  Cook the Sugar Snap Peas in a Tablespoon of butter until just bright green and warmed.  Sprinkle with a little coarse salt.  Eat them right away.  You can cook the broccoli, cauliflower, or summer squash this way.  We think everything is delicious cooked till tender-crisp with a little butter and salt.   

Broccoli Slaw
(recipe from Smitten Kitchen Blog) Try adding finely chopped garlic scapes to this recipe…yum!

Makes about six cups of slaw

2 heads of broccoli
1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

Buttermilk Dressing (Adapted from this salad.)
1/2 cup buttermilk, well-shaken
1/3 cup mayonnaise (this is more than is in the original, to thicken the dressing further)
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (or, you could just use a little extra red onion to simplify it)

Trim broccoli and cut it into large chunks. From here, you can either feed it through your food processor’s slicing blade, use a mandoline to cut it into thin slices, or simply had chop it into smaller pieces. I used the stem and the flowerets, but if you have a broccoli stem aversion you can just use the tops.

Toss the sliced broccoli with the almonds, cranberries and red onion in a large bowl. Meanwhile, whisk the dressing ingredients in a smaller one, with a good pinch of salt and black pepper. Pour the dressing over the broccoli (if you’ve skipped the stems, you might not want it all; I otherwise found this to be the perfect amount) and toss it well. Season well with salt and pepper to taste.

The following recipe is from 101 cookbooks.  It’s a favorite for great recipes.  Follow the link to check out more of 101 cookbooks.

Tassajara Warm Red Cabbage Salad

I’ve incorporated all my changes into this version the recipe, originally adapted from The Complete Tassajara Cookbook. This version is less cheesy, fruity, and rich – but feel free to experiment with the components in this salad until it is to your liking.

1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon natural cane sugar (or brown sugar)
fine grain sea salt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, diced
3 medium cloves garlic, minced

1 pound head of red cabbage or radicchio, quartered and cut into thin ribbons

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
2 ounces golden raisins (or other plump, chopped dried fruit)
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

a bit of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to garnish

Roast the sunflower seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until golden brown. Sprinkle on the sugar, and a couple pinches of salt. Stir until the sugar melts and coats the seeds (you pan will need to be hot enough). Transfer the seeds immediately to a plate so they don’t stick to the pan. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and saute the onion for a minutes or two with a couple pinches of salt. Stir in the garlic, and the cabbage, and a few more pinches of salt. Stir and cook for just a minute or so, or until the cabbage softens up just a touch. Then stir in the rosemary, most of the raisins, and the vinegar. The cabbage will continue to get more and more tender even after you remove it from the heat, so keep that in mind, and do your best to avoid overcooking it – where it collapses entirely. Fold in half of the feta cheese, most of the sunflower seeds, then taste. Season with more salt if needed. Serve garnished with the remaining raisins, feta, sunflower seeds and Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4 to 6.

This recipe was adapted from The Complete Tassajara Cookbook by Edward Espe Brown. Published by Shambhala (September 8, 2009)

This week on the farm…

Nick and Jenna getting some energy for the next big challenge!

 

Josh loves berries!

 

cabbage ready to go in the boxes on packing day

 

Wow.  The weather has been so nice.  Weeks like this one make it easy to love our jobs!  We were lucky to have some of our Amish neighbors help us out with picking peas and strawberries.  These items both take an amazingly long time to pick.  Hope you enjoy them!

What’s growing on?

cabbage

green onions

sugar snap peas

summer squash 

zucchini?

cucumbers?

beets?

kale, collard greens, or swiss chard

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