Archive for October, 2011

Winter Share week 1; October 27, 2011

What’s in the box?

red and yellow onions -store out of the fridge in a cool dark place (not in a plastic bag) will keep for 2-3 months

salad mix – store in the crisper of your fridge. will keep for 5 days -1 week

broccoli side shoots – holds best in an open plastic bag in the crisper of your fridge. will keep for a week

spinach – plastic bag in the crisper.  will keep for a week

arugula – plastic bag in the crisper.  will keep for a week

pie pumpkin – on counter at room temp for a month, in a cooler spot (about 50 degrees) for 2 months

carrots – in plastic bag in the crisper.  will keep for 2 months

watermelon radishes (aka bleeding heart radishes) – top radishes and keep in a plastic bag in the crisper for a month

butternut squash – same as pie pumpkin

potatoes – in a cool dark place

leeks – in the crisper. will keep for a month

garlic – same as onions, but will keep 3-4 months

Notes on the box…..

After the main head of broccoli has been harvested, the plant continues to put on these side shoots.  They, like all the other brassicas, have been through a frost and so are extra sweet and delicious.  The purple tint is because of the frost.  Be sure to chop up the stems of the broccoli and eat them as well.

This week’s arugula is perfect for pesto!  See recipe below.

This is our first time growing watermelon radishes.  We planted them a little late, so they are smaller than you might find in the store (if you find them in the store!)  But they are still yummy.  They have a less spicy and more earthy flavor than other radishes and the texture is different.  They hold really well if you aren’t able to get to them right away.  But we do think they would make great snacks at a Halloween party!  

Recipes….

Arugula Walnut Pesto (this recipe makes quite a bit, so feel free to half it or make all of it and freeze the unused portion.  If you like less arugula flavor, use 1/2 spinach leaves and half arugula)

4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

1 pound of arugula

1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

juice of 1 lemon, about 2 Tbsp.

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Place smashed garlic cloves in food processor and pulse until garlic is chopped finely, about 30 seconds. Add arugula, walnuts and Parmesan cheese and pulse until chopped. Add lemon juice, then with the food processor running on low, add olive oil steady stream.  Season to taste with salt and pepper (we used about 1½ teaspoons salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper).  This is so good with pasta and chicken or on top of a scrambled or fried egg and toast or used as a sandwich spread or in a quesadilla or try it with slices of roasted squash!  

Carrot Halva Pudding  –  adapted from Indian Vegetarian Cooking from an American Kitchen by Vasantha Prasad

In a heavy bottomed 3 qt. pan, bring 2 cups whole milk to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 min or until milk is reduced by half.  Meanwhile, In a large saucepan, heat 2 Tbsp. Butter.  Add a handful of chopped cashews and 1/2 a handful of golden raisins and roast until cashews are golden and raisins are plump.  Add one and a half pounds of finely grated carrots (it’s a lot of carrots!  a good idea to use your food processor if you have one) to the saucepan and saute with the raisins and cashews over medium low heat for about 10 minutes or until carrots are tender.  Add the carrot mixture to the reduced milk and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add 2 Tbsp. butter, 3 Tbsp. sweetened condensed milk (optional), 1/2 cup sugar, a small pinch of ground cardamom (or cinnamon or cloves if you prefer) and a small pinch of ground nutmeg.  Cook until the milk is absorbed and the mixture has the consistency of pudding.  Serve warm or chilled.

A link for Spinach Stracciatella Soup.  Very easy and fast, especially since you have loose leaf, prewashed spinach in the box!

Why not try this recipe for Broccoli basil mac and cheese but try substituting Arugula for basil!

Other Ideas from the box:

a salad with spinach leaves, apples, smoked gouda and a simple oil and vinegar dressing

spinach or broccoli Quiche or  fritatta

potato leek soup

pumpkin bars

curried squash soup

try this easy breakfast of a “fake poached egg”  Saute washed spinach lightly in a pan.  Crack an egg on top of the spinach.  Put a lid on the pan and wait for the steam from the spinach cooking to “poach” the egg.  Put it on a piece of buttered toast.  Super easy and you’re eating veggies with breakfast.

On the Farm….

Good soil fertility? A Venus of Willendorf Potato!

Otto is trying to push his dad on the cart!

Boo! Happy Halloween!

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Early sign-up on hold for now….

Hey! It’s cold out, I thought that meant we were done with bugs!!!! 😦  We will let you know as soon as we get the early sign-up bugs worked out on the web site.

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Week 18; October 20, 2011 Last week for Summer Shares

Delivery is running about an hour behind because the van had a dead battery.  

It’s really feeling like summer is over, right?  This is officially the last week for the Summer Share boxes.  Thanks for participating in the 2011 Summer Season with us!  We are still getting responses to the 2011 member survey.  If you have not gotten the chance to fill it out, please do!  It’s only 10 questions and we read them all and take every response into careful consideration for the future.  THANK YOU!

Also we will be doing a pork delivery this weekend.  Click here to order and have your selected package delivered to your home on Saturday!  Note:  We are OUT of Bacon, so no orders except for those already placed will include bacon.  

What’s in the box?

full share:

Brussel Sprouts,  hold best in the crisper of the fridge, or in an open plastic bag.  They taste best when stored on the stalk until use.  They will taste best used within a week.

Potatoes, hold best at 55 in a dark location

Green top Turnips, remove the tops to keep the turnips from getting soft. hold them in the fridge in an open plastic bag.

Spinach, holds best in plastic bag, OPEN. lack of air will turn them to mush, too much will wilt them

Salad Mix, same as spinach

Green top carrots, same as turnips

Broccoli store in a plastic bag in the crisper of your fridge.  don’t forget to peel and eat the stalks along with the florets!

Butternut, Acorn and or pie pumpkin Depending on size.  They hold best on your counter for 3 weeks or so, or at a cooler temp (around 50) and low humidity for 3 months if conditions are right. If they start to go soft, you can roast and freeze for addition to soups in the winter.  They don’t like to be in the fridge.

single share:

Brussel Sprouts

Potatoes

Turnips

Carrots

Spinach 

Salad Mix

Pie Pumpkin and Butternut Squash

Notes on the box….

Brussel Sprouts from the farm are way different from the ones you get at the store.  They are on the stalk still!  (The stalk is not edible)  To eat them, pull each sprout off of the stalk.  If the little stem didn’t come off, you can cut that off of each sprout.  Cut the larger sprouts in half.  The key to delicious brussel sprouts is to roast them in the oven or on the stove top.  They are SO GOOD when they get a little carmelized.  We really don’t recommend steaming them.  These have been through a frost and are nice and sweet.

Don’t forget the best way to get that winter squash eaten is to have it roasted and ready when you need it.  Anytime you have the oven on (like if you are heating up a frozen pizza!) just half the squash, scoop out the seeds, and put it in an oiled pan with the cut sides down (with or without a little water) and let it roast until it is tender.  The time will vary according to what type of squash and the temperature of the oven, but let it roast until you can poke a fork into the squash easily.  Then you can let it cool, scoop out the soft squash, and store it in the fridge or freeze it until you want to use it.  Then you can use it for any recipe that calls for canned pumpkin.  You can use it to make soup, or you can try that pumpkin smoothie recipe from a few weeks ago!

Recipes….

Root Roast!

Here we are again.  Late October and STILL holding out and not turning the heat on yet.  Every morning when we wake up it feels like we are camping.  So every meal has had something roasted so that at least one room in the house is warm.  Heat oven to 400.  Wash your potatoes, Turnips, and Carrots.  Cube them in about 1/2 inch pieces.  mix together in a roasting pan with a drizzle of oil or butter and a sprinkle of salt.  Roast uncovered stirring every 15 min for about 45-50 min or until veggies are fork tender and browned.  You can dress this up with any spices that go well with the rest of your dinner like chili powder, garam masala, or thyme.  I really like it with just butter and salt so that the flavors of the veggies shine.

A recipe for Sweet Pumpkin Butter.

A recipe for Roasted Brussel Sprout Gratin IN a Roasted Butternut Squash!  YUM!

Stuffed Winter Squash

A very versatile way to eat your winter squash is to stuff it.  You can do this with carnival, acorn, delicata, pie pumpkins, just about any kind of winter squash.  Heat oven to 400 and follow directions for roasting squash in the notes section.  In the mean time, get the grain of your choice cooking.  Brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, couscous are all good options.  Then chop and onion, some garlic, celery, or whatever else you have on hand and would like in your stuffing. Get that sauteing.  Add some ground meat and let that brown (we always use sausage, but any ground meat or tofu would be great.  You could chop and wilt greens of your choice.  Then when the grains are done, mix the grains with the meat or veggies or you can mix it with some raisins and chopped nuts.  Season it to taste.  You can add some tomato sauce or stock if you think it needs some moisture.  You can mix in grated cheese or feta cheese (great option if you are using wilted greens).  Remove your squash from the oven when it is soft, but still holding it’s shape.  Stuff with your stuffing and top with grated cheese or buttered bread crumbs, or nothing.  Put it back in the oven to roast until the top is browned and it smells so good that you can’t wait anymore.  While it’s roasting, dress your salad greens and set the table.  Dinner!

A recipe from 101 cookbooks for Golden Crusted Brussle Sprouts.  How to cook those brussel sprouts (especially if you think that you don’t like them!)

On the farm…

Well, it’s officially cold. We are getting ready for the Winter Shares.  We have sold out of them!  We are also thinking about next season and reflecting on the summer.  The survey responses are super informative and helpful.  We have gotten a huge positive response, and we are super thankful for that!  It makes us feel great to know that the majority of people responding had a good experience and are planning on joining us again next season.  We’ve gotten lots of encouragement and many of the types of comments that make us LOVE this work.  We love hearing about your kids who will actually eat vegetables because they taste better and because they know where the veggies are coming from!  We love hearing about people who are eating more veggies than they normally would because they have them on hand.  We love hearing about people whose grocery bill has gone down because they don’t have room for processed stuff with the fridge stocked with veggies!  CSA farming is a stressful job, but your comments make it worth it!

We have also gotten some constructive criticism that is helping us set goals for next season.  We thank you for the criticism as well!  Our goals are as follows:

1. Do a better job at giving single shares all of the same items as the full shares, but in lesser quantities; This was the first season of doing a SMALLER single share, in the past we have done an every-other-week half share and our biggest complaint about the smaller box is that… it’s SMALLER. It’s hard to fit everything without damaging the produce.  It’s hard to fit the value and variety in those small boxes. But we will think hard and come up with something… perhaps a tad bigger box?

2. Offer more variety in general throughout the season.  Our members like the familiar favorites, but don’t mind getting something new now and again.  Also, 4 weeks in a row of the same veggies is too much.  We should note that we planned on having beets, carrots, eggplant, new potatoes, dill, and cilantro during that time; but lost those crops to rain, weeds because of rain, or heat or being able to get in to plant in time.  Perhaps that means that we should do a better job of communicating what effects the weather is having (without complaining too much!)

3. Better and more consistent customer service.  We did loose a few emails this season and we very honestly regret that.  It has been a bit of a struggle with organization and staying on top of communication.  We have learned that relying on our memories does not work for the sleep deprived!  We are working out more solid systems to respond to our members requests and concerns. The farm store was bumpy and we hope to have that more stream lined going into 2012.

4. Storage tips for each veggie each week in case people don’t get to read the blog each week. and perhaps a ‘printable version’ for those that like to carry it around with them.

5. Don’t be afraid to use the organic approved sprays on potato beetles (so that we get a better crop of potatoes = more for our members) and on brassicas (too many loopers!)

4. Less cucumbers next season!

5. More egg shares!  We are getting 150 baby chicks in the mail next week and they should be laying by next Spring!

As for other quantities, our respondents were split down the middle on their love or dislike of Kale and other greens.  We have had an even number asking for more and less!  It’s impossible for us to please everyone, but we think that staying on the track that we are on is working out for us.  There were some members who asked for more things like fennel bulbs, romenesco, endive, and kholrabi, pac choi etc…  We love those things, but there are many other CSA’s (most, I’d say) who will give those sorts of things.  We are going to stick to more simple fare because it seems to satisfy most of our members and helps people be able to eat all the veggies every week, also it would increase our production costs and therefore increase the price of a share.  We know it can be a challenge to cook and eat all those veggies, especially if you have to learn a new one or even two every week!  We work very hard growing many different crops and we want you all to be able to use as much of it as possible.  So, that’s our specialty, and we will stick with it.  But that doesn’t mean we will stop growing those heirloom varieties, and trying new varieties that you can’t get in the store.

70% of responses said definitely will sign up next season, about 25% said maybe and 5% said not again.  This is good considering that the average retention for a CSA is 51%-65% depending on who’s doing the research.  We are working toward 100% retention.  We are staying small and in the future plan on offering you more variety of  food items, such as cheese, beef, chicken and eggs.   We want to be the personal farmers every season for a core group of members.  This will help us get to know our members and better serve you from year to year.  Next season we will not be adding more members.  We may even cut down and do 20 or 30 less shares.  We will have to raise our price for the season(we expect about 10 dollars more) to keep up with our operating costs going up, but if you want to ensure that your share is held for you at this seasons price and that there is space at your prefered drop site, we invite you to sign up for next season now.  You can reserve your spot with a $50 down payment (e-check or mail in a check) AND you can reserve an egg share as well.  Also, you can use the coupon code RETURNIP for returning members and save $15.

All in all, we are fairly satisfied with the boxes this season and we are very happy that we have put time and money into soil building so that the veggies we deliver are nutritious and flavorful!

Thanks so much to our awesome members!  Our farm would not exist without YOU!

And now it’s time to say goodbye!

This will be Larry’s last day!  Some of our members may have been lucky enough to meet Larry as he delivered the veggies in the Turnip Truck.  Larry, thanks so much for your hard work, your wealth of information, your ability to deliver the veggies to the members, and your ability to deliver the gossip about what’s going on around town!  Also thanks for being such a great salesman!  We will miss you and we wish you the best!

Thanks for the laughs, Larry!

Sticking around for a little longer will be Steve, Lauren, and Craig.  We had a fantastic crew AGAIN this season!  One thing we are really excellent at is hiring hard working, resilient, fun people with amazing attitudes.  We could never pull it off without our crew.  THANKS!!

Steve, Craig, and Lauren bunching carrots

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Week 17; October 13, 2011

Please take a minute to fill out the 2011 survey!  It’s only 10 questions and we learn a lot from your responses.  We want to be the best CSA for our members and we would love to know what you think!  Thanks!

What’s in the box?


Full Share:

Leeks

Arugula

Salad Mix

Turnips with their greens

Acorn Squash

Baby Blue Hubbard Squash

Purple Cabbage

Kennebec Potatoes

Spinach

Garlic

Single Share:

Purple Cabbage

Baby Blue Hubbard Squash

Acorn Squash

Salad Mix

Kennebec Potatoes

Leeks

Garlic

Spinach

Notes on the box…

We’ve been enjoying lots of salads!  As you may have noticed, we finally got an industrial salad spinner (an old washing machine with spin cycle still intact) and so the washing and drying of the salad greens and spinach is going a lot easier than in the past and making for cleaner greens.  We’ve been eating them without doing the standard double wash that we always recommend and we have yet to get any dirt crunch in a salad.  Go ahead and give it a try!

These Kennebec Potatoes are really tasty potatoes.  They have a very thin and tender skin, so they peel easily, but it’s so thin that you might not even want or need to peel them.  They are a good all-purpose potato.  They mash, bake, roast, and fry well.  Potato leek soup for dinner this week?

We are always pleasantly surprised with the turnips that we grow here.  They seem to size up so quickly and taste so nice and sweet.  We hope that you enjoy them.  To store, remove the tops from the roots.  Roots will store for a long time, greens should be eaten within the week.  A nice side dish to do with them is to cube up the roots into small pieces (we don’t peel them) and slice up a leek.  Saute both in butter until really nice and carmelized.  Add the chopped greens at the end and cook till tender and season with salt and pepper to taste.  It’s a nice sweet and slightly bitter/spicy mix.

The Hubbards are a new squash for us this season.  We grew baby ones so that they would fit into the boxes.  The full size ones weigh in at about 20 lbs!  This squash has a dry, almost flaky texture.  They are great for pies and so add to a fall veggie mash-up including potatoes, turnips, and squash!  The peel of this squash is not edible.  Let us know how you like this squash, as we are on the fence about growing it next season.

baby blue hubbard

Full shares are getting the Arugula this week.  This green can be added to your salad mix, or you can cop it up with your spinach for a nice salad, or you can cook it!  Makes a great pizza topping or a great pesto.  It’s quite versatile.  Some say that it’s too spicy, but we have found it o be quite mild this fall.  Give it a try!

Arugula!

Recipes…..

Acorn Squash Salad

Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds.  Cut into half moons along the ribs about a half inch thick.  Toss lightly with oil and roast in the oven at 375 for about 30 min or until fork tender.  Meanwhile make a dressing by pureeing in the blender 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro (or you can use your arugula),  6 tbsp. orange juice, 3 tbsp. maple syrup, 2 tbsp candied ginger (or 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger), 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper.  Remove squash from oven and allow it to cool.  pour dressing over squash and toss gently.  Serve on a bed of lightly dressed salad greens.

Fall Veggie Mash-Up

 Essentially what you are doing here is making mashed squash (boiled or roasted), mashed potatoes (boiled), and mashed turnips (boiled) all with milk and butter.  To make it especially yummy, make all the mashes separately then marble them together maybe with some shredded Gruyère cheese and serve.   You can also boil and mash the potatoes and turnips together.

Check out this link to a page from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone the section called “Flavorful Additions”  for some really beautiful and poetic suggestions to fancy up your salads.

Pumpkin Cake with Brown Sugar Icing – Otto is having his first birthday this weekend!  Time for pumpkin cake!

For the cake (makes two 9 inch rounds, a sheet cake, or cupcakes)  preheat oven to 325.  Grease pans well and lightly flour:

Mix together 2 cups all-purpose flour,  2 tsp. baking soda,  1 tsp. ground cinnamon,  1 tsp. ground nutmeg,  ½ tsp. ground cloves,  1 tsp. salt.  Mix together  1 ½ cups cooked and well mashed squash and 1 cup buttermilk.  In your mixer cream together 2 sticks unsalted butter,  1 cup brown sugar and  1/2 cup sugar.  Add 4 large eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl until incorporated.   With the mixer on low alternate adding the dry ingredients with the buttermilk/squash mash until combined.   Pour into pans and bake for 45 min or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cupcakes will bake faster.

To make the icing, heat 2 cups brown sugar, 1 cup heavy cream, 2 oz. of butter, and 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.  Bring mixture to a boil.  Allow the mixture to continue boiling while stirring constantly for 2 minutes.  Transfer the hot mixture to a stainless steel bowl and allow to stand at room temperature for 1 hour.  Place the cooled mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on low speed for 30 seconds.  Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes, adding 6 ounces of butter cut into one ounce pieces one at a time, until incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Increase the speed to high and beat for an additional 2 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on high for an additional 1 minute until light and fluffy.   Frost your cake when it’s cooled!

Here’s a recipe for a Squash and Turnip Gratin cooked on the stovetop.  Sounds really yummy!

On the Farm….

Wow!  Next week will be the last box of the Summer shares!  Next weeks box will have some more similar things to this week, but we will also have BRUSSELL SPROUTS!  Fun!

We still have 10 winter shares available to our members.  Check out the web site to find out more and to update your share.

Now for some pictures of salad mix time!

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Week 16; October 6, 2011

What’s in the box?

(half shares did not get collards, cauliflower, or broccoli rabe;  but did get arugula)

carnival squash

black futsu squash

radishes

broccoli rabe

salad mix

collard greens

celery

carrots

potatoes

onions

garlic

cauliflower

black futsu squash

carnival squash

broccoli rabe

Notes on the box…..

The Black Futsu Squash was a new one that we tried this season.  It’s an heirloom variety from Japan.  It has a really nice nutty flavor and a creamy texture.  Try washing it, cutting it in half, scooping out the seeds, and slicing along the ribs, then toss in a little oil and roast, stirring occasionally  for about 1/2 hour (or till tender) in a 400 degree oven.  You can cook your collards and mix it together and serve it, or you can let it cool and serve it with your salad greens and dressing.  You can eat the skin of this squash.

The carnival squash is great washed off, cut in half and seeded, then roasted and stuffed with corn pudding or wild rice stuffing and baked some more.  The skin of this squash is not edible.

The celery in the box probably looks a little different than the stuff you get from the store.  It’s not quite as tender and large, but it actually has flavor!  So while it’s not great for ants on a log, it is great cut into small pieces and added to tuna or chicken or tofu salad.  It’s also great added to stews or gumbo or stir fry.  The leaves at the top can be used in soup stock.  Store celery in your crisper drawer in a plastic bag.

The collard greens have been through a frost and so they are extra tasty.  The same bugs that like broccoli like collards, so there may be a hole in some of the leaves.  As the old timers like to say, “Don’t worry, the holes don’t taste like anything!”  Try making a soup with squash and collard greens, or try serving your collards with something sweet like bacon or a saucey barbecue.

You may be wondering about all these greens and why you are getting so many.  Well, when we had the very wet spell and couldn’t get into the field, we missed our window of time to put in our second fall planting of broccoli and head lettuce.  SO, when the rain stopped, we decided to plant some broccoli rabe and arugula that we knew would make a crop before the end of the season.  We also planted lots of spinach which you will see in the remaining weeks.  Hope you are enjoying the greens!

remember to remove the tops from your radishes so that they don’t get soft.

Recipes…

Celery Almond Pesto with Boiled Potatoes

Put the leaves and some of the chopped stems of celery into your food processor along with 1/3 cup blanched almonds, 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 cloves garlic.  Blend till smooth.  Mix in 1/3 cup parmesan or romano cheese and salt to taste.  Serve with boiled potatoes, pasta, roasted squash, as a topping for eggs, or as a sandwich spread.  OR try making a spread for crackers by putting some cooked  white beans in the blender and pulsing until it’s incorporated with the pesto.  If you want a little more flavor in the pesto, you can add your broccoli rabe or arugula in along with the celery.

You can substitute collards for kale and onions for leeks in this delicious soup.

A very nice day for planting garlic for next season!

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