Week 6 ~ June 28 – July 3 CSA Newsletter

This Weeks Share: A Big green, A Brassica, An Allium, Peas or Fava Beans, Lettuce, Cilantro and Fennel.

  • Lettuce:  This week promises more lettuces for the spring share. Enjoy a fresh salad…again.
  • A Big Green: We will have a braising green for you this week in addition to the lettuce. Spring, spring …it’s full of greens…how we love greens, our Spring full of greens! It might be a combo bag or just one kind of kale, collard, chard, endive or escarole. Braising greens can be steamed, sauteed, stewed,  or braised. They are great on their own or in soups, sauces and stir-fries. I know that for some of you, the weekly addition of greens other than lettuce can be a little daunting at first, and many of you have become quite creative adding them into your diet. They are actually more versatile than lettuce and can be incorporated with many things once you acclimate to their constant presence. I have a great recipe for a hearty soup sent in by our member Kimberly from Garden Home. I have linked it here http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/portuguese-chourico-and-kale-soup-recipe/index.html I think this recipe would be great with any of the big greens, kale, chard or collards. I have made soup similar to this with other beans and chicken. I love the ease of soup for dinner in the summer time with crusty bread and salad…yum! Thank-you Kimberly!
  • Allium: The Allium this week is likely to be a combo or just onions or just garlic scapes. They are both genera Allium and the botanist in me is going technical today. The Alliums are loosely referred to as the onion genus. The genera name Allium is the Latin word for garlic. Garlic and onions are very similar genetically. All parts of the onions or the garlic are edible. I am sure that you crafty cooks have found many ways to use your share of garlic and onions. They both accompany almost every single meal I cook. Garlic and onions contain a variety of natural chemicals that are capable of fighting infections and healing the human body. I once rid flea’s from my dog with raw garlic. He didn’t like swallowing it much tho!
  • Brassica: The Brassica this week will likely be broccoli, turnips or cabbage. These vegetables are from the family Brassicacea also commonly called the Cruciferous vegetables. The family takes the alternate name (Cruciferae,  Latin for “cross-bearing”) from the shape of their flowers, whose four petals resemble a cross. You may get a mixed bag of broccoli and cauliflower florets. We have grown a few heirloom varieties which have more open florets and have some with different colors in them. The flavor is really unbeatable. Some of you may get kohlrabi or cabbage. Or the turnips may be in your share. I was pleased to find that all brassica plants are very high in vitamin C, and soluble fiber containing many antioxidants, anti-bacterias and acting as an anti-viral in the body as well. Fresh vegetables are sooo good for us!!
  • Peas or Fava Beans: It will be either/or for this week. Hope you are pleasantly surprised! I found a helpful site that explains the fava bean ‘routine’ as it can be labor intensive. However, it is worth your efforts to get to the final taste and flavor of these spring beans. The author of the ‘Seasonal Chef ‘explains fava beans well and gives us nine ways to use them… http://www.seasonalchef.com/recipe0506b.htm Please have a look. Here’s a little info…Fava beans are one of the oldest plants under cultivation, and they were eaten in ancient Greece and Rome. Despite the name, fava beans are a member of the pea family, though they are also known as broad beans, pigeon beans, horse beans, and windsorbeans. They are popular in Mediterranean cuisine, with many summer dishes celebrating the seasonal bean, although they are also dried for winter use. Fresh consumption Fava’s are usually planted in February and come to peak in early July.  Fava beans have a distinct flavor and creamy texture that makes them a great addition to a wide variety of dishes. When the flat, wide beans are shelled and blanched, they adopt a vibrant grassy hue and buttery texture that enriches any meal, and their rapid cooking time makes it easy to incorporate them into a quick weeknight dinner — or into lunch the following day.
  • Cilantro: This herb is a great addition to salads and soups. Here is a recipe for cilantro-pesto http://www.indepthinfo.com/cilantro/recipe2.shtml . This sounds like it would be lovely on fresh pasta! If you didn’t try it last week, try it this week. Our Forest Grove member Heather told me she tried this and really liked it. What else can I say about cilantro…..we use it for the classic addition to salsa and find it delightful in scrambled eggs with tomatoes. If you find some other great recipes or ways to use cilantro, please let us know.
  • Fennel: This delicious and delicate herb is great as is in salads or added to soups and sauces. Fennel is a highly aromatic and flavorful herb with culinary and medicinal uses and is one of the primary ingredients of absinthe. Culinary uses for fennel incorporate the bulb and the foliage. I have two recipes below sent to us from our beloved member Elaine from Garden Home. We’ve tried the first one, Fennel Salad with fresh thyme and found it delightful. Thank-you Elaine!

Fennel Salad “As an appetizer or accompaniment to a pasta dinner….

“Trim 2 medium size fennel roots (6 oz), discarding all the tough outer leaves and all but 1 or 2 of the feathery stems.  Slice roots into razor thin rounds, bathe in a dressing compounded of the following:”3 tbs olive oil, 2 tbs lemon juice, 1 tbs wine vinegar, a pinch of dry, crumbled thyme, 1 1/2 tsp sea-salt, 1 tsp honey.  Shake together in a closed bottle till emulsified, pour over the fennel.  Chop the feathery fennel stems, sprinkle over the top.  Allow to marinate 1-2 hours. (Serves 4)  From  “The Vegetarian Gourmet” by Sally and Lucian Berg (published in 1971 by Herder and Herder, New York; originally published in 1967 by Victor Gollancz, Ltd., London).  This recipe is on page 34.

Italian Fennel Casserole
“Serves 4
“1 lb or 3 bulbs of fennel
“2 tbs olive oil
“1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
“3 cloves garlic, crushed
“14 oz (400g) tin of tomatoes
“salt and freshly ground black pepper
“2 oz (50 g) fresh brown bread crumbs
“2 oz (50 g) grated Cheddar cheese
“Preheat the over to gas mark 6, 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
“First prepare the fennel by discarding any coarse outer leaves and the root base and slice the bulbs very thinly.  Keep some of the feathery tops for a garnish.  Heat the oil in a large pan and gently fry the chopped (or sliced) onion and garlic.  Add the slices of fennel and cook these for a few more minutes, turning them over in the pan.  Put the tin of tomatoes into a small bowl and break them down slightly with a spoon. Add the tomatoes to the fennel and onion mixture and simmer for about 10 minutes, then transfer the vegetables to a lightly greased 3 pint (1.75 litre) oven proof dish.  Mix the cheese and breadcrumbs together and sprinkle over the top, then bake the casserole for 15-20 minutes until the top is nice and crisp.  Serve immediately. From “Vegetarian Kitchen” by Sarah Brown (published in 1984 by the British Broadcasting Corporation, London).  This recipe is on page 64.

Berry Share: We are in week 3 for the berry share now. It will be strawberries again this week for those of you who purchased the extra-berry share. This is likely to be the last week of strawberries and we will hopefully be on to black raspberries next week.

FARM NEWS: All things at the farm seem to be going well. I got to get on a tractor on Sunday and cut some of the tall grasses that our production rows seem to get swallowed by. The grasses grew so well in the temperate moist conditions this spring, effectively getting away from us. We can somewhat see better what is going on around the greenhouse and in some of the fields now anyway. Competing with Phalaris and other perennial grasses isn’t the easiest way to farm, that’s for sure. Some of our early fields were and remain wetlands and pastures. We have more genuine farmland this year, however, so we are moving away from the losing battle to the grasses more and more. Horray! This helps our production emmensely. The difference in labor hours of cultivating with a tractor versus hoeing with a couple hand crew is almost night and day. Inevitably, organically farming the good soil, the actual farm’able land will help us better work out consistency. We’re getting there, slowly but surely. Things our vision is made of are starting to materialize. We are putting systems to work, into place, freeing up a little more time to do the other 50 million things we can always be doing on the farm! So much thanks goes out to you who have stood by us over the years!! Thanks everyone for your support!

Chickens are looking good and growing well. I had to give some away several weeks ago, and may have to yet again. Silkies sure love to go set on a pile of eggs, effectively bringing new chicks into this world. We have gone from 4 in the original brood in the back pen behind the house to now 16!  That’s after giving 6 away already! I feel like were raising rabbits…..chickens aren’t even part of our actual business model! I think they soon have to be though…..any takers? There is nothing quite like farm fresh eggs. The yolks are gorgeous dark orange and they taste better, richer. I’ll never buy eggs again, if I can help it. I can set you up with your own urban brood (hens only) and help you build an easy pen/tractor for them…. for a small fee. Inquire within. 🙂

We have a nice long row of artichokes in. They are a biennial and since they were put in late, we won’t likely see fruit on them this year. It is a tricky timing and seed strain crop that we would love to work out so that we can have them for our member shares someday in the near future. Having more actual farmland for overwintering crops is going to help readily with things like artichokes, parsnips, rutabaga, brussel sprouts and the like. We will keep you posted. While we like to remain in the now with the seasons as far as what we grow for folks, we would be open to providing more overwintering vegetables in early spring or even a winter share if the season and the ground allows it.

The days are getting shorter…..it turns so fast. No worries….there are plenty of weeks ahead yet for farm fresh organically grown goodies from your farm. Thanks for your support……..and we really do LOVE you! Enjoy the nice mild week of summer we have forcasted for the days ahead. We’ll talk again soon.

Cheers!

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