Week 9 ~ July 23 – July 29, 2012 CSA Newsletter

This Weeks Share:  Lettuce Mix, Head Lettuce or Endive/Escarole, Summer Squash, Cucumber, Fresh Garlic, a Brassica, a Big Green, Marion-berries, and a Farmer’s Choice item.

Lettuce Mix: Still mixing bags of lettuce for your salad eating pleasure. Always wash and spin dry before eating.

Head Lettuce or Endive/Escarole: More salad greens for your meals. The lettuce heads are mild and sweet. The chicory’s (endive/escarole) can be a little bitter. Try a delicious Ceasar salad this week.

Endive/Escarole Ceasar Salad adapted from The Farm to Table Cookbook

For the Croutons:

  • 1/2 small loaf (4 oz) crusty bread
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Salad:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 small garlic clove chopped (1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1 anchovy
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • about 12 ounces endive/escarole
  • 1 small block Parmesan cheese, for garnish
  1. Method for croutons: Preheat oven to 375*F. Remove the tough bottom crust from the bread and feed to birds; cut the bread into bite-size cubes (you should have about 2 heaping cups). Melt the butter in a large saute’ pan over medium heat; add the garlic and saute’ gently for 30 seconds. Add the bread and toss to coat. Spread the bread on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake, stirring once until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Combine the egg yolk, garlic, anchovy, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and lemon juice in a blender. With the blender running, hold the lid slightly ajar and add the oil in a very slow, steady stream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Tear the endive/escarole into bite-size pieces. Swish the leaves in a large bowl of cold water and then drain well.
  4. Place the greens and croutons in a large serving bowl and add enough dressing to lightly coat the leaves. Toss well. (Refrigerate the remaining dressing in airtight jar for up to 2 weeks.) With a sharp vegetable peeler, shave large, thin cheese slices over the salad for garnish. Enjoy!

Summer Squash: More zucchini’s, paddy-pans or crooknecks await your recipes. The thin-skinned, tender squashes of summer contine coming on in our fields.

Cucumber: Fresh, cool, crisp, non-bitter cucumbers for you. We have the regular English types, and many shapes and sizes of slicing cucumbers. Yum.

Fresh Garlic: Again, the fiery, young (relative to short cure time), delicious garlic heads are awaiting your recipes. We love garlic!

Brassica: This week we have a few different Brassica’s that might make it into your kitchen. Although sometimes we provide a selection for you, PLEASE only take one. When you don’t take one thing and take more of another, you cause your neighbor to go without. That is not fair, not how a CSA works, nor the way that will keep Kip and I offering you a market-style pick-up. Please be considerate of fellow member’s. Your Brassica will be either Broccoli, Cabbage, Kohlrabi or Bok-Choi. We sincerely hope that you take a variety from week to week, ensuring your chances of cooking new and ‘out-of-the-normal’ foods for your family. That’s part of what eating seasonally is all about. Right?

Cabbage Slaw from From Asparagus to Zucchini

  • 1 head cabbage
  • 1 pound carrots
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon ancho chili powder
  1. Quarter and core the cabbage. Slice thinly by hand, mandolin or food processor. Peel and grate carrots. Chop cilantro.
  2. Toss all ingredients together. Let stand 1 hour.
  3. Toss again. Serve as garnish for tacos or a side dish for sandwiches, or as a picnic salad. Makes 3-4 quarts.

Big Green: We will have a big aka braising green for you this week. It will be either chard, Komatsuna mustards, or young kale. These are the greens most people like to cook a bit before eating. In the recipe below there are no quantities here; each batch of greens will have a different flavor and quantity; just sprinkle the other ingredients sparingly on the greens until you have a flavorful blend.

A Versatile Recipe for the Hearty Greens You Don’t Know What to do With from The Farm to Table Cookbook

  • 1 bunch/bag hearty greens – kohlrabi, chard, kale, turnip greens or mustards
  • toasted sesame oil
  • good quality soy sauce
  • Furikake* or toasted sesame seeds
  1. Tear leaves from their tough ribs and stems.  Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the leaves and boil until tender, 1-3 minutes depending on the type of greens.
  2. Drain the greens in a colander and push on them to remove as much water as possible.
  3. Roughly chop the cooked greens and place on a serving plate. Sprinkle lightly with sesame oil and soy sauce; toss to coat. Sprinkle with the Furikake and serve as a side dish or salad.

*    Furikake is a Japanese condiment made from sesame seeds, nori seaweed and sea salt; it is used as a seasoning for rice and salads. It is available at most Asain grocery stores. You can substitute toasted sesame seeds and a sprinkle of seas salt.

Marion-Berries: This is the lovely part of having a nice and gradual berry harvest, rather than a fast and furious one. What first appeared to be a ‘gone in a blink’ harvest, has turned into a steady comfortable harvest and for this we are truly grateful. One half-pint of our Marion’s goes home with each half-share.

Farmer’s Choice Item: A mystery component to your week of vegetables…isn’t that exciting?! Some of you will go home with more fava beans, but we don’t quite have enough left for everyone. Some of you may get fennel bulbs. Some of you may get our late flush strawberries. Some of you many get scallions and some of you may go home with the very first of the summer root crops, carrots and beets. This week is a catch-up week, so a little for this day and a little for that day. Next week we can ensure that everyone will get the summer roots as they are looking pretty nice coming on in the fields. Hopefully whatever you get you will enjoy.

Lettuce Share: A big Green, which means kale, mustards, chard or more lettuce.

Berry-Share: Two full pints of Marion-Berries or possibly Black Diamond blackberries for some of you.

NEWS FROM THE FARM:  Well here we are at week 9. Many things are happening on the farm. This nice change into somewhat cloudy skies has really been great for putting the time in out in the fields. But we do love the sunshine too. You just sweat so much more! All weekend we worked busily. We have laid down green and black plastic on both sides of our field tomato rows. This will help greatly with the weed pressure and also expedite more bloom and ripening. The tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers in our cold-frame are really gaining size and with some plants up to our chest. The fruit set is heavy, but so far only small and green. We don’t usually have tomatoes ready until early September, so we believe the cold-frame will in fact help with sooner sightings in your share’s. Cucumbers are coming in strong now in the cold-frame. The pickling types and other varieties of cucumbers that we have in the field are much slower, but getting there. We are talking of a pickling party again this year. I should know better the exact date soon, but tentatively we are thinking August 11 or 12.

The corn is doing amazing getting tall against many odds, especially not enough early feedings. It finally pulled through. The potato rows are looking full of weeds, as we have needed to ‘let them go’ in exchange of more important crops. This happens regularly as moving around priorities takes place. We are going to dig some spots this week to try and better understand  what we will be looking at in a couple months potato bounty wise. Root crops are gaining momentum and looking promising. At least for a week or two, we will be feeding you carrots and beets. We hope for more. The fresh, string beans are doing well and all flowering. The fall, shelling beans are steadily sizing up, and for the first time ever in our CSA, we hope to give everyone at least one bag of dried beans in late fall or even early Spring. We are figuring that out as we go (grow). I am hopeful for more fresh herbs or even some flowers in the share yet. The basil, dill and fennel are on track and probably some coriander. I hope we didn’t burn you out on herbs with all that cilantro!

Pests have been hitting us hard again this year. Let me first say, we have incredibly poor soils when it comes to the ideal for farming vegetables. Our yearly amendments add up slowly over time, and they will boost organic matter and better drainage in our soils. In the long run. With those ideals in place, we will see less damage from pests and be able to have more ‘perfect’ food. Maybe we should try more catch-crops. Perhaps the answer is to spray more neem oil or other ‘organic-approved’ toxins. We hate the idea of doing this, as we strive to always maintain zero spray’s on the food you eat. But with some things we consistently, over and over again end up at a huge loss. Sixty hours of man-power and hoeing into one 1000 ft. row of chard to finally end up with 85% loss is depressing, to put it mildly. We chin up and pull the boot straps and out we go for more, because we really love to grow food. Yet, occasionally we can’t help but get let low down. Some things we just have to completely write off entirely. When you continue to tell us what matters most to you, what you are willing to see or have in your food, in your environment, that really helps. Our values together with our member’s values are enevitably what we pull from to help us make the hard decisions on the farm. And, of course, as usual, we will continue to grow a huge variety of different foods, so as to always have plenty which succeeds and makes it into your share’s.

Farmer Kip and I have been pushing really hard this year to get everything that we possibly can into the ground. We are hoping for the best, but as the future is always uncertain (especially for the farmer dependent on mother Nature), at this point it is still really hard to say how it all will be faring for us. However, we’re beginning to feel a gradual slowing down of the planting push, hopefully to culminate by early next month. The light at the end is in sight. Of course there is still and always will be tons to do. It is truly a labor of love. 🙂 I’ll read this over and maybe add or subtract some this evening. ENJOY your food friends and thanks so very much for supporting our farm. We’re in this together.

Your loving Farmer’s

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