Monday, October 8, 2007

Wrap Up

From the Farm . . .

It is hard to believe that the last week of our CSA season is here – the air temperature, humidity, and sunshine all remind us more of August than of October. Most of the summer plants have peaked, reaching their maximum production several weeks ago. Although our temperatures remain warm, the season encourages us to move towards eating cooler weather foods - find several of those in your final basket.

After your heavily filled baskets during the first third of the season, we continued to harvest more-than-average amounts hoping that you all had a little time to pop some things into your freezer for later use. In June and July, our dry soil contained very little groundwater and no rainfall in sight gave us caution on how some late summer and fall crops would perform. We spent a lot of labor hours on hand weeding and moving water lines. With irrigation lines running across the field, tractor cultivation cannot be done without snagging a water line. In drought conditions, weeds take advantage of any water source and will try to crowd out the desired plant to suck up any moisture. To give you a little wrap-up on the growing season, we have a quick run-through on some of the vegetables we know faced challenges this year. Some items had an irregular growing season more as a result of heat than drought: spinach, lettuces, eggplant, herbs. Things that did not go as we intended despite our continued efforts resulting in less than desired yields, size, or item quality (we believe as a result of extreme soil dryness and high air temperature): onions, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes. Finally, the crops that were planted and cultivated but still resulted in no harvest include edamame, watermelons, artichokes, shell-out beans. Overall for the season we feel we had a fairly decent year production-wise; it was just extremely tough and expensive. Dry conditions coming into the spring resulted in having to irrigate to start and establish crops, not just to grow them. Then the hot, dry wind coupled with the high temperatures of June, July, and September, resulted in twice as much water needed when irrigating.

Some folks have been asking about the “entire state declared a disaster due to drought” as reported by local media. Many commodity crops like corn and soybeans are eligible for a government crop insurance program that will pay farmers in a disaster situation. Their payment (about 20% of expected sales) is to ensure the farm has enough cash flow to purchase supplies to replant the following year. Vegetable farms are able to purchase similar government insurance, but our experience has been that a 20% payment of the average conventional wholesale vegetable prices (not considering retail sales nor organic premium) is not enough cash to even cover the insurance premium.

Though we had a few crops fail this summer, we have to tell you that every basket we put together this year met or exceeded the value of your share size. Every single item in every basket this season was irrigated – otherwise we may have had very little to offer. With two out of the last three summers being so dry, we can’t imagine running a CSA program and asking for your season-long commitment without irrigation equipment, the commitment to put in the hours needed using it, and an adequate water source.

“Imagine for a moment if we once again knew, strictly as a matter of course, these few unremarkable things: What it is we're eating. Where it came from. How it found its way to our table. And what, in a true accounting, it really costs.”
- Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma

We would like to express our sincere thanks for your support this past season. Your commitment as a partner with the farm through CSA and your kind words at the weekly pickup convey your interest and care about sustainability of local farms, wholesome organic food, and the future of both.

In Your Basket . . .

Parsnips –organic – new this year!
In Europe, parsnips were once more popular than carrots as they can be the most sweet of all root vegetables. They are high in potassium and Vitamin C and contain fewer calories than other starches like potatoes. These will keep for several weeks in your refrigerator – peeling them before use is your choice. Parsnips can be prepared any way similar to a carrot or a potato. Boiling cut up pieces usually takes about 8-10 minutes; steam for 12-15 minutes if planning to puree. Sauté with butter, oven-roast, or mash. Find an easy roasted recipe below and a creamy soup.

Brussels Sprouts – organic
Try a stir-fry medley of garlic, sprouts, parsnips, and broccoli – season with favorite soy or sesame oil.

Broccoli – organic

Cabbage – organic
Fresh cabbage tastes wonderful in a refreshing cole slaw. Find a recipe below for vinegar based dressing rather than mayonnaise.

Garlic - organic


Bell Pepper

Cilantro - organic – new fall crop!
There are so many dishes now that use cilantro – it has expanded past salsa into soups, slaws, and entrees.

Larger Baskets Only:
Arugula – new fall crop!

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Coleslaw with Cilantro and Chives
recipe from Angelic Farm; add fresh bell peppers, celery, or even shredded parsnips.

4 to 6 C shredded cabbage
¼ C minced cilantro
¼ C chopped chives
3 T extra virgin olive oil
3 T white wine vinegar
2 T sugar
1 tsp salt

Toss the cabbage, cilantro, and chives in a bowl or container; refrigerate covered for at least 1 hour or overnight. When ready to serve, mix the oil, vinegar, sugar and salt in a small bowl until well combined. Pour the dressing over the chilled cabbage and mix well before serving. Serves 8-10.

Oven-Fried Parsnips
recipe from From Asparagus to Zucchini

2 pounds parsnips
2 T olive oil
coarse sea salt

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking 1 or 2 sheets with parchment paper. Peel parsnips. Cut them crosswise into 2 ½ inch chunks, slice the chunks lengthwise into ¼ inch thick planks, and cut planks into sticks. Toss with olive oil and a little sea salt. Spread into a single layer on baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes; toss well and add additional salt. Continue to bake, tossing occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, about 30 minutes total. Serves 4-6.

Curried Parsnip and Apple Soup
recipe from Pete Luckett’s Greengrocer’s Kitchen

2 T butter
1 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped finely
1 garlic clove, chopped finely
2 pounds parsnips, scrubbed and chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped

1 T curry powder
4 C chicken or vegetable stock
½ C heavy cream
salt and freshly ground pepper

Melt the butter and oil in a large saucepan, and stir in the onion, garlic, parsnips, potatoes, and apple. Cover and cook for 15 minutes over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened. Stir in the curry powder and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat. Season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are very tender. Transfer to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Return to saucepan and add the cream. Reheat gently, check the seasoning, and serve. Garnish with freshly snipped chives or other herb if desired.

Arugula Salad with Pear, Goat Cheese and Roasted Walnuts

recipe from Live Earth Farm

½ C toasted walnuts
¾ C extra virgin olive oil, plus little more for roasting nuts
1 T cranberry mustard or mild, sweet mustard

3 T balsamic vinegar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
2 handfuls of arugula, stems or end pieces removed

2 pears, washed, cored and sliced lengthwise
1 C crumbled goat cheese

Toss and coat the walnuts in a light amount of olive oil. Roast them in a toaster over or conventional oven. Take care not to burn them. Put all mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender and run until smooth. With the motor running, slowly drizzle ¾ C olive oil in until smooth. Toss the arugula with the vinaigrette, add a little at a time while tossing, so as to coat lightly. You can always add more, but you can't take it away. Divide the tossed arugula on individual plates. Place the pears, goat cheese and walnuts on top of the arugula and serve immediately.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Where does my food grow?

Farm Tour . . .

This coming Sunday, October 7th, from 2 pm to 5 pm, we invite CSA members and your families to come out to the farm for a tour of things and a visit with us - or with the chickens, whichever your group may prefer. This is an opportunity to view the crops, the high tunnel, the compost system, etc. Ask questions about the veggies, the season, and other things of interest.
We apologize for taking so long to firm up the time and plans for the day as we really wanted to offer you a bonfire harvest dinner – but the drought and lack of rainfall predicted this week makes the fire out of the question. As a result, we have cancelled the potluck portion of the plan. Rather, we want to focus on letting you see what goes on here in producing vegetables for you. Due to our livestock, please do not bring your dogs. Wear appropriate footwear for walking about and spend a little time in the country this week!

In Your Basket . . .

Broccoli –organic – new fall crop!
The recent cooler temperatures (in the 80s rather than 90s) have helped the broccoli. Loaded with Vitamins A & C, try not to overcook to enjoy the full flavor.

Stringless Green Beans – organic
Our last green bean planting is ready for harvest this week. The pods may not be as filled out as desired, but these beans cook up nicely. Snap the beans, blanch in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, rinse in cold water to stop the cooking, drain, dry and pack into freezer containers. Pull out in the middle of winter for a reminder of summertime. Find a new green bean recipe below.
Fall Greens Mix (kale, mustards, turnips) – organic
Your fresh cooking greens bundle contains a medley of curly kale, giant red mustard, green mustard, or turnip greens. Find an easy soup recipe below using your greens, red onion, and any root vegetables you might have on hand.

Garlic - organic


Red Onions - organic
These red onions are freshly harvested though beginning to dry as a storage onion does. Remove the tops for long term storage. We find these more of a strong rather than a sweet flavor. Use in any recipe calling for an onion, they are especially nice pan fried or caramelized.

Acorn Squash
Remember that this hard skinned winter squash can be kept in your pantry for weeks. It also can be refrigerated, but will suffer if allowed to freeze (this means don’t store in your garage).

Mini Decorative Pumpkin
Our larger pumpkins just won’t fit in your baskets! We will have some available at the farm tour though.

Your Choice Basket:
Red Tomatoes – new fall crop

We estimated it would be the first of October before the last tomato plants offered ripe fruit. With night temperature reaching into the 40’s, these will finish ripening inside your house better than outdoors.

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Green Beans with Caramelized Onions
from From Asparagus to Zucchini

2 pounds green beans, stem ends snipped off, snapped into bite sized pieces if desired
2 T butter
2 medium onions, sliced as thinly as possible
1 C chicken stock
1 ½ T sugar
1 T red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Cook beans in boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 2 to 4 minutes (check to make sure pods are cooked, may need a little longer). Drain; immerse in ice water. Drain again and let stand to dry. Melt butter in skillet over medium flame. Stir in onions and cook them slowly until very wilted and deepened in color, about 15 minutes. Boil stock in a saucepan until reduced to ¼ C; stir in sugar and vinegar. Stir in onions. Simmer until slightly reduced. Combine onions and green beans; heat through. Season with salt and pepper. Makes 8 servings.

A Simple Greens Soup
from From Asparagus to Zucchini, makes 4 servings

2 T butter or oil
1 small onion, medium-diced
1 pound peeled Jerusalem artichokes or other root vegetables, medium-diced
4 C water or chicken broth
1 bunch greens, washed and chopped (suggestions include watercress, sorrel, red kale, nettles)
salt and pepper
½ C heavy cream (optional)

Heat butter or oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onions; cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until they are translucent (don’t let them brown). Add the artichokes or other roots and water or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the root vegetables are soft when pierced with a fork, approximately 15 minutes. Add the greens and cook them until they wilt, about 5 minutes. Puree the soup with an immersion blender (or in batches in a blender) until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Optional: You may pass the soup through a strainer to take out the little bits and make it smoother. If so, you may skip the peeling of the root vegetables, as the skins will strain out.
Creamy option: Add heavy cream at the end and heat through.

Garlic-Onion Tomato Pizza
We enjoy pizzas many nights during the summer months with a variety of toppings from fried eggplant to basil pesto. This recipe from Taste of Home Magazine.

2 pre-baked pizza dough, homemade or purchased, about 14 inches
2 medium yellow or red onions
8 garlic cloves
6-8 plum tomatoes
herb mixture (oregano, parsley, pepper)
1½ C shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ C grated Romano cheese

Thinly slice onions. Halve garlic cloves. Broil both 3-4 inches from heat until softened and lightly browned. Cut tomatoes into eighths and remove seeds. Broil tomatoes for 2 minutes on each side. Finely chop garlic. Arrange onions, garlic and tomatoes on pizza crusts. Sprinkle with herbs and cheeses. Bake at 450 degrees for 8-9 minutes until cheese is melted.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Farm Report

Farm News . . .

The view from the tractor seat in the hayfield is not much different that the one from the driveway - brown fields, brownish-orangey trees, small clouds of driveway dust or field dirt left in the wake of a vehicle moving through. The patches of green on the farm are the rows of vegetables in the crop fields, the weeds that take advantage of a drought situation, or the patch of Johnson grass at the end of the field where the irrigation pipe connects to the water drip line that stretches out the length of the row. We still watch the weather forecast hopeful that some rain will come, but continue our work with the assumption that the dryness will continue.
John operates the irrigation systems regularly. So far, the Elkhorn Creek that runs along the southern border of the farm seems to offer plenty of water. This probably has to do with some rains that occurred upstream a couple of weeks ago and helped to recharge its flow. Ironically, we were rained on twice at CSA basket distribution at the farmers market when several strong rains came through Lexington. Unfortunately at the farm we received only one-tenth of one inch – hardly a measurable amount. That same system brought 3.5 inches to a friend’s farm located several miles to the southeast of Elmwood – he jokes that his farm is an oasis compared to those around here. The key is that just one good rainfall can make a huge difference to so many things.
We continue to plant for fall harvest and plant crops that are started in fall but not harvested until next spring. Each seed gets watered at planting, of course, and several crops have been replanted since cool weather veggies are difficult to germinate when air temperatures continue to be in the 90’s. Some crops are direct seeded in the field and some are started in tray cells for transplanting later. We have started onions and leeks for next spring and transplanted strawberries into the high tunnel. More work for ’08 crops is yet to come.
Agriculture leaders around the state are as concerned as farmers about the poor condition of soils, lack of water, livestock health, and the future of Kentucky with the drought situation. Those that monitor such things point out we are in the midst of one of the top ten years in drought conditions and one of the top ten years in high temperatures – but this is the first to have both extremes occurring at the same time resulting in a serious situation. State government officials, university deans, and farm group representatives are getting together in emergency meetings to assess the problems and research solutions.
There is a huge lack of hay in the entire region, not just the state of Kentucky. Lack of rainfall throughout the year has resulted in maybe 1 cutting of mixed grass rather than 2 with only 50% yield in that one harvest – overall only 25% production of a normal year. Legumes like alfalfa are yielding only 50% or less of normal amounts with less cuttings overall. For those farmers that can find someone willing to sell hay, current prices are up to 300% higher than a normal season. This shortage in hay to feed livestock through the winter means that farmers are forced to sell their cattle, hogs, sheep, and goats. Farmers sold off most lower quality livestock earlier in the summer when they did not have grasses in the pastures to graze. Several farms have been feeding their winter hay supply over the last month or more, as the pastures are parched, dry, and offer no nutritional value to the animals. Since rain has not come, now farms are being forced with the decision to sell their highest quality cattle too – the best breeding stock cows that they have been selecting over the years to create a top-notch herd.

In Your Basket . . .

Red Beets –organic – new for everyone!
Beets contain lots of natural sugars and sweeten up to taste yummy when roasted. Try baking 350 for an hour or more until easily pierced with a fork. Rub off skins and serve sliced. Another option is to slice into bite sized pieces, cover with olive oil, and oven roast at 400 degrees for 15-30 minutes until tender. Serve with garlic powder or salt and pepper to taste.
The beet tops are edible and can be mixed with your Swiss chard. Beets should be refrigerated and use the tops within a few days – the beet roots can be stored for weeks.

Sweet Bell Pepper – organic

Green Cabbage – organic
These are small heads, but densely tight. Keep in the refrigerator in a cool spot and cabbage stays fresh for weeks.

Sweet Basil - organic


Swiss Chard - organic

Sweet Corn
This is the last harvest of the year is a bicolor variety. Some ears have a little worm damage and some do not but we trimmed them all for you just in case. Enjoy this last bit of summer!

Your Choice Basket:
Hot Peppers

Larger Baskets Only:
Easter Egg Radishes - organic
Romaine Lettuce - organic

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Fried Beets and Carrots
From Asparagus to Zucchini

2 T olive oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 medium beets, quartered, slice ¼ inch thick
2 medium carrots, sliced ¼ inch thick
tamari sauce
(optional) beet tops, fresh spinach or Swiss chard

Heat olive oil in skillet. Add cumin; cook about 1 minute. Add beets and carrots; fry until tender. Remove from heat, sprinkle on a little tamari and serve. Optional: When beets and carrots are tender, add chopped greens, cover and cook until soft. Toss mixture, sprinkle with tamari, and serve. Makes 2-4 servings.

Salad Mix with Beets and Feta
from Rock Spring Farm

2 tsp red wine vinegar
3 Tbs. olive or nut oil
1 lb baked red beets
3 cups salad mix
1/4 lb feta cheese, crumbled
Whisk together the vinegar and oil to make a
Vinaigrette. Add salt to taste. Slice the beets thinly and toss with a little bit of the vinaigrette. Combine the greens with the vinaigrette, and arrange over the beet slices. Crumble feta on top.

Blanched, Buttered Cabbage
from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook by Marion Cunningham – she writes that cabbage results in a beautiful color, mild taste, and this is a marvelous method for those who are dubious about cabbage.

2 pounds cabbage, cored
4 slice bacon, optional
4 T butter, melted
salt to taste
½ tsp freshly ground pepper

Bring a big pot of water to boil. Tear the cabbage leaves into large pieces. If you use the bacon, fry it until crisp; drain, crumble, and set aside. Plunge cabbage into the boiling water for only 30 seconds; drain immediately. Return to the pot and toss with the melted butter, salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Outside the Cart

In The News

It seems that about every day, current event reporting highlights a consumer product recall, a newly diagnosed health condition, or a linkage between poor health and a convenience lifestyle. Below are some observations by John Hendrickson published in the seasonal cooking guide From Asparagus to Zucchini, that may help explain why.

§ In the conventional food system, food travels 1,500 or more miles on average from farm to table.
§ Only about 10% of the fossil fuel energy used in the world’s food system is used for producing the food; the other 90% goes into packaging, transporting, and marketing.
§ On any given day more than half the US population eats no fruits or vegetables.Only 1 of 10 children ages 6 to 11 eats the recommended daily servings of fruit and vegetables.
§ Since the turn of the 20th century, 97% of fruit and vegetable varieties have become unavailable commercially, replaced by only a few uniform varieties.
§ In a typical year, more than 10,000 new food items are introduced in grocery stores – mostly highly processed, packaged convenience foods.
§ Conventional farmers receive less than 25 cents of your consumer food dollar on average.
§ The average US citizen spends less than 12% of his or her disposable income on food.

By joining a CSA, you and your family have taken steps to ensure a weekly supply of fresh, nutritious vegetables. CSA households do increase their intake of fruits and vegetables. People are introduced to lesser known crops, tasty heirloom varieties, and unique varieties of common vegetables. Thanks for thinking outside the shopping cart!

In Your Basket . . .

Brussels Sprouts –organic
These firm little treats are nutritious and can be fun to eat! Remove any damaged leaves, trim the stem end, and if desired cut an X in the stem to speed up the cooking process. The key is to cook just enough but not over-cook them – this avoids the unpleasant aroma that waffles throughout the house.
Sweet Bell Pepper – organic

Celery – organic
This crisp flavorful celery will keep best in the coldest part of your refrigerator, even packed on ice if desired. Slice the stalks and spread pieces out on tray. Place in freezer, then pack into freezer bags for later use in soups and stews. The leaves can be chopped and frozen, or dried.Once you try fresh, local celery, you cannot believe the wonderful flavor. It does not compare to the item with the same name on supermarket shelves.
Garlic - organic
Store in your pantry, not refrigerated, preferably out of direct light. The dry season has affected the heads with less paper covering, but flavor and health benefits are still ever present.
Acorn Squash
Kale Greens - organic

We have both a curly green leaf and a curly red Russian type ready for harvest this week. You may have one or the other or a mixture of both. Sauté or steam and enjoy with vinegar sprinkled on top. Find a new recipe below.
Tomatoes – organic The summer plants are finally giving out after wonderful production in the super high heat, so less to offer now.
Your Choice Basket:
Hot Peppers
Larger Baskets Only:

Stringless Green Beans - organic

Recipes to Enjoy...

Pasta with Caramelized Onions and Bitter Greens
Thanks to CSA member, Kim, for sharing this Martha Stewart recipe from What’s For Dinner. Try using Swiss Chard or Kale Greens.

1 T olive oil
1-2 T unsalted butter
4 medium onions, peeled and cut into ¼ inch rings
1 tsp sugar
4 C chicken broth (preferable homemade) or water
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound fettuccine
1 head chicory, mustard greens, kale or arugula – washed, with tough ribs removed, leaves torn into pieces

Heat oil and 1 T butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and sugar and cook; stirring once or twice, until well browned, about 10 minutes. Turn heat to low; continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 10 minutes.
Remove half the onions and set aside. Add broth or water to the pan and bring to a boil. Cook over high heat, scraping bottom of pan for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until a little underdone, and drain. Add to the broth and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Add greens and cook, covered, until wilted, about 1 minute. Stir in additional tablespoon of butter, if desired. Divide among four shallow bowls, garnish with reserved onions, and serve.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette
from Angelic Organics Kitchen, serves 4

1 pound Brussels sprouts
3 T olive oil
3 T balsamic vinegar
2 T maple syrup
2 T red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp prepared Dijon type mustard
¼ C water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Soak the sprouts in a large bowl of water for 10 minutes; drain. Spread the sprouts in a large baking dish and drizzle them with olive oil. In a large bowl, combine the vinegars, maple syrup, garlic and mustard; mix well. Pour over the sprouts. Add the water to the bottom of the baking dish. Bake until tender-firm, 30 to 45 minutes.

Golden Pepper and Yellow Tomato Soup
In this recipe from Deborah Madison’s Local Flavors, she suggests that the yellow-orange peppers and tomatoes offer a softer flavor than traditional red tomatoes with green bells. You can also roast and peel the peppers first if desired, or just chop them fresh with skins on.

1 pound yellow or orange tomatoes
1/3 C white rice
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
3 yellow, orange or red bell peppers
2 T olive oil
pinch saffron threads
1 bay leaf
2 thyme sprigs, leaves plucked from the stems
1 tsp sweet paprika or ½ tsp smoked paprika
1 T tomato paste
1 quart vegetable stock, chicken stock or water
chopped opal basil, marjoram or parsley

Bring 2 quarts water to a boil. Slice an X at the base of each tomato. Plunge them, 2 at a time, into the water for about 10 seconds, then remove and set aside. Add the rice and ½ tsp salt to the water, lower the heat to simmer, and cook until the rice is tender, about 12 minutes. Drain.
Chop the onion. Mince the garlic with a pinch of salt until mushy. Dice the peppers into small squares, removing the seeds and membranes first. You should have about 2 cups. Peel and seed the tomatoes, reserving the juice, then dice the walls and mince the cores.
Warm the oil in a soup pot and add the onions, peppers, saffron, bay leaf, thyme and paprika. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion has begun to soften and color, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, then stir in the tomato paste and 1 tsp salt. Give it a stir and add ¼ C water. Stew for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes.
When ready to serve, reheat the soup with the rice, then ladle it into bowls. Or make a mound of rice in each bowl and spoon the soup around it. Season with pepper and garnish with fine slivers of basil leaves or marjoram chopped with a few parsley leaves.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Eat Local Challenge

Farm News
The month of September is a good one to eat locally. Summer vegetables are usually still prolific, the fall squashes and potatoes are ready, and apples and pears are ripening on the trees. Eating local can be defined in different ways, but on the Eat Local Challenge website, there are many suggestions of how to incorporate such ideas into your lifestyle. The tips for eating with-in 100 miles (or whatever geographic area seems manageable) contain several ideas that are underway in Central Kentucky. By belonging to a CSA, you already seek out healthy food that comes from a farm in your area grown by people that you know. Many of you attend local farmers markets, including the Lexington Farmers Market (which will be open outdoors on Saturdays through Thanksgiving weekend.) Several of you have preserved your basket items or obtained more produce to freeze, can, pickle and preserve for your use later on in the year. And, a lot of you already seek out thought-provoking and influential writings on food, health, the environment, and our economy.
Other suggested actions from the Eat Local Challenge folks include:
· taking a field trip to a local farm, orchard, or vineyard;
· finding out what restaurants use locally produced foods and patronize them;
· commit to preparing and eating one local-only meal each week;
· share with family, friends, and co-workers your finds and experiences;
· keep track of your food sourcing and meal preparing as it becomes a valuable resource; &
· start simple and small by replacing one food item each week.

Organizations, events, websites, and books provide more resources for each of us to learn about what is available in our area and explore our own potential to meet the challenge of eating locally. For a starting place to find local in Kentucky visit:

Registration is now underway for the annual Healthy Foods, Local Farms conference hosted by the Kentucky Sierra Club at Bellarmine University in Louisville along with a Kentucky Harvest Festival co-sponsored by Slow Food Bluegrass the evening before the conference. Both events are open to the public, but registration and payment are required by Sept. 15. Go to for more information and registration forms. We are pleased that Elmwood Stock Farm was paired with a local chef serving farm food for the evening meal. The event is an opportunity to meet Chef Alice Waters, Wendell Berry and other speakers of the Healthy Food, Local Farms Conference, talk to local chefs and farmers, and enjoy an evening of great local food and music.

In Your Basket . . .

Acorn Squash - new this week!
This hard squash can be stored in your pantry, no need to refrigerate. Cut in half, remove seeds, and place face down on baking dish with a little water. Bake 45 to 90 minutes depending on size. Enjoy it with butter, brown sugar and a little nutmeg or other spice.
Bell Peppers – organic
Remember that the red peppers can be roasted, peeled and frozen for later use. Sweet pepper makes a wonderful addition to wraps, fajitas, pizzas, soups, or other fresh recipes.
Green Onions – organic
Use these green onions in any recipe. Store in your refrigerator.
Garlic - organic
Swiss Chard
- organic
Tomatoes – organic

Your Choice Basket:
Hot Peppers

Okra – organic
Slice into bite-sized pieces to put in your freezer for vegetable soup later in the year!

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Zucchini Bread –1 Loaf

1 C all purpose flour
1 C whole-wheat flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 egg
¼ C vegetable oil
½ C sugar
1 C grated zucchini, skin on
½ C milk

In one bowl combine first 7 ingredients and set aside. In another bowl, beat egg. Add oil, sugar, zucchini and milk. Blend well. Add to dry ingredients, stir just until moist but don’t overdo it. Spoon in greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour, or until tests done.

Pasta with Greens and Ricotta

Recipe serves 4-6 and is from The Moosewood Collective’s Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home, 1994. The watercress, nuts, and tomatoes add wonderful flavor but can be omitted if not readily available.

1 bunch watercress, tough stems removed
1 bunch Swiss chard, tough stalks removed (about 4 cups chopped)
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste
¼ tsp grated fresh nutmeg
¾ c ricotta cheese
1 lb pasta (fettuccine, penne, fusilli, farfalle, or shells)
grated Parmesan cheese or crumbled ricotta salata
chopped fresh tomatoes
toasted walnuts or pine nuts

Bring a large pot of covered salted water to a boil. While the water heats, rinse the greens well, shake off any excess water, and chop coarsely. Sauté the garlic in the oil for a minute, until soft and golden, taking care not to scorch it. Add the damp greens and sauté, stirring often, until they are wilted but still bright green. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and remove from the heat. In a blender, puree the cooked greens with the ricotta until smooth and evenly colored. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
When the water boils, cook pasta as per package instructions. Cook until al dente, drain, and immediately toss it with the sauce in a warmed serving bowl. Top with Parmesan or ricotta salata, tomatoes, and/or toasted walnuts or pine nuts.

Cranberry Acorn Squash
From Asparagus to Zucchini

½ C raw fresh cranberries
1 small apple, cored, chopped into pieces
¼ C currants
½ C orange juice or apple cider
1 ½ T honey or maple syrup
1 T melted butter
pinch salt
2 acorn squash, cut in half, seeds removed

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients except squash in a saucepan. Heat until berries are just tender. Place squash in ovenproof dish. Fill cavities with fruit. Cover dish and bake until squash is tender, about 35-45 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Farm Life Cycles

Farm News . . .
Each winter as we evaluate our business plans, peruse the seed catalogues, enjoy a nice fireside chat, and try to visualize what the upcoming season will be, there is an unspoken excitement and optimism. We know there will be drenching rains, scorching sun, howling winds, and rumbling thunderstorms. The ever present chess match with Mother Nature, using the various technologies and sixth sense bestowed us keeps us watchful and pressing forward to ensure we are on our game. The vast array of crops we grow, each with its own approach to health and seasonality, expects that we provide that optimum environment to thrive.
The “drought of ‘07” will have lasting effects on the farm. The first rains that soak into the soil will awaken the tens of thousands of species of bacteria, fungi, microbes, and insects that have entered the protective mechanism of dormancy. As they begin to grow and reproduce, the root systems, with their own nutritional triggers, will begin to absorb the moisture and nutrients to bear fruit or prepare for winter.
Wildlife which have been more exposed to their predators due to lack of plant cover and limited water availability, may have fewer young and less body condition in preparation for winter. There are no walnuts, acorns are small, weed seeds did not mature to be good seeds for the birds. Rabbits and quail cannot hide from their prey nor build protective homes to hide.
The consistently high temperatures have accelerated the life cycles of the insect world, while depriving them of the moisture vital to their existence. Don’t worry about them. They always return, sometimes a little late, sometimes a little weak, sometimes a little stronger.
All of the creatures on the farm, from the mighty oaks to the tiniest bug, from the majestic deer to the lowly earthworm, will return next year.
So will we! - Mac

We did not receive any rainfall last week and are still managing irrigation equipment daily. We’ll update you more next week.

In Your Basket . . .

New Potatoes –organic
This week find some red, gold and blue new potatoes. The skin can remain on, as it is so tender right now. The blue and red potatoes are blue and red on the inside also. Do not overcook them or the blue and red will turn to gray. All three are good all-purpose potatoes that you can enjoy steamed, boiled, oven roasted, or sliced and fried into chips.
As we are digging our summer potatoes, we are finding very low yields this season. Also, the size of much of our potato crop is much smaller than desired. We do have fall potatoes out and are watering them as much as we can.
Sweet Basil – organic
Enjoy with sliced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and a nice vinaigrette for a taste of old Italy!
Onions – organic
Use these mild onions in any recipe. They should be stored in your pantry rather than your fridge. The small size of many of our onions is a large disappointment to us this season. Even with consistent watering, the heat and drought have taken their toll. It seems that the root crops and in-ground crops are really affected by the heat and dry soil conditions. The onions, potatoes, and garlic all are having difficulties this season in sizing up.
Garlic - organic
This variety of Music garlic has a mild flavor. Remember that garlic is one of your 5 top foods for optimum health and disease prevention. Try to eat it weekly and eat it raw if possible. Well-known benefits include infection fighting, cancer prevention, stimulating the immune system, use as a decongestant, and reducing blood pressure. Also raw garlic applied to a bee or wasp sting helps to alleviate the stinging!
Spaghetti Squash
This hard squash can be stored in your pantry, no need to refrigerate. Enjoy it with butter, olive oil, or any favorite pasta sauce.


Squash and Zucchini

Green Tomatoes

Tomatoes – organic
This weeks tomatoes could include red slicers, Green Zebra, Old Ivory Egg, Garden Peach, Pink Lady, Pink Brandywine, and Paul Robeson.

Your Choice Basket:
Hot Peppers

Larger Baskets Only:

We do have more melons planted and are tending to the plants with great care. Early watermelons were a total crop loss. Many of our early muskmelons cracked with the one week of rain. These are small but tasty.

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Squash Fritters
recipe shared by Wash House Herb Farm in Stamping Ground, Kentucky

3 T vegetable oil, divided
1 egg, beaten
2/3 C milk
½ C self-rising cornmeal
1 C packed grated yellow squash or zucchini
2 T grated onion
2 T sour cream
2 T finely shredded Parmesan cheese
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt
¼ tsp black pepper
prepared salsa

Combine 2 T oil, egg, milk, cornmeal, squash, onion, sour cream, cheese, cayenne, salt and pepper; mix well. Add additional milk for a thinner consistency or another tablespoon of cornmeal if batter is too runny. Heat remaining oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Spoon ¼ C batter per fritter on first side and 2 minutes on second side. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with salsa. Serves 4 as an entrée or 8 as a side dish. Makes a great appetizer.

Fried Green Tomatoes
from Greene on Greens, using bread crumbs rather than corn meal, and a spicy wet coating

3 medium firm green tomatoes
1 egg
2 tsp heavy or whipping cream
¼ C V-8 or Bloody Mary Mix
dash of hot pepper sauce
½ C fresh breadcrumbs
1/8 tsp ground allspice
4 T butter
1 tsp chopped fresh chives

Cut the tomatoes crosswise into ½ inch slices. Beat the egg with the cream, V-8, and hot pepper sauce in a shallow bowl. Combine the crumbs and the allspice in another shallow bowl.
Melt 2 T of butter in heavy skillet over medium heat. Dip the slices in the egg mixture, shaking off any excess. Then lightly coat with the breadcrumbs. Fry, a few slices at a time, until golden on both sides, about 4 minutes. Keep warm in a low oven. Continue to fry slices, adding more butter as needed. Sprinkle with chives before serving. Serves 4.

Mac’s Backyard Bruschetta with Roasted Garlic

1-2 heads garlic
olive oil
thinly sliced bread good for toasting
mixture of dried herbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove outer papery skin from garlic heads. Cut the top off each head to expose the cloves. Place heads on aluminum foil; drizzle with olive oil. Tightly wrap up the garlic in the foil. Roast until the cloves are soft and creamy, 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on size. After roasting, let cool until able to handle. Remove all skin from garlic.

Cut bread into desired size pieces. Spread bread with a little butter. Spread roasted garlic onto bread also. Sprinkle with favorite dried herbs. Sprinkle with just a little of salt. Put on cookie sheet and turn oven to broil. Broil for 3-5 minutes until slightly browned.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Farm Chef

Farm News . . .

This is the second season that Taylor has prepared the mid-day meal for all the farm crew, and farm family each day. With a background in fine dining restaurants and dealing with wholesale purveyors, Taylor really appreciates the access to fresh ingredients. He especially notes the increased freshness and better taste of onions, garlic, sweet basil, corn and okra. By cooking with the seasons, Taylor is limited by what is ready to harvest, but has free choice to prepare whatever he wants. He believes in “home cooked” meals with flavors related to traditional Latin American cuisine. Our farm chef seems to thoroughly enjoy what he does, and we all benefit from the fruits of his labor!

Cajun Succotash
Saute diced onion and minced garlic. Add corn cut off the cob and okra sliced in bite-sized pieces. Finish with diced tomatoes. Salt and pepper to taste.To freeze, cut all fresh ingredients (except tomatoes) and put in plastic bag. Add tomatoes when ready to cook later.

In Your Basket . . .

Sweet Corn
We know you will be pleased to see more sweet corn this year. A little background for you on corn production – each kernel of corn is pollinated individually in order to grow. The silks inside connect each kernel to tassels at the top of the ear. Really hot air and wind will make the tassel end dry up before the pollen has traveled down the silk to the corn kernel. So, if you have an ear with spotty kernels, you know why. Also, the heat speeds up the life cycle of the corn earworm. It will travel into the tip of the ear of corn before the corn is mature enough to harvest. Earlier in the year, the corn is ready to pick before the earworm tries to enter the husk. We cut off the top ends for you.

Green Onions – organic
Enjoy these versatile onions in any dish. The longer an onion is cooked, the milder it becomes and the natural sweetness comes forth. Store refrigerated and in a container to prevent the flavor from transferring to other food items.

Celery - organic
Enjoy this celery in a wonderful soup recipe shared by a CSA member last season. Remember that adding a fresh green to any soup will enhance the flavor of every ingredient in the pot!Use the celery leaves in place of fresh parsley. Store in the coldest portion of your refrigerator or place upright in a container with a little water and cover with a plastic bag. It will keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or more.

Bell Peppers – organic


Squash and Zucchini

Tomatoes – organic
Enjoy a medley of tiny tomatoes including the Sungold, Pears, Black Prince and Ivory Egg.

Your Choice Basket:

Okra – organic - new this week!
Low in calories, this popular Southern vegetable is high in amino acids and minerals. Try slicing into bite-sized pieces, tossing in seasoned corn meal, and skillet frying until slightly browned and a little crisp. Enjoy as a fun snack, a side veggie, or appetizer. Can be eaten alone or dipped in favorite dip or sauce.

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Celery Roquefort Soup
recipe from Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special shared by CSA member, Dorothy

2 T butter
1 C diced onions
2 C diced celery
1 C water
2 C milk
4 ounces Roquefort or blue cheese
8 ounces Neufchatel or cream cheese
salt and ground black pepper to taste

In a soup pot melt the butter on medium heat. Add the onions and celery, cover, and cook, stirring frequently, until soft but not browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the water, cover, and bring to a simmer.
In a blender, combine the milk, blue cheese, and cream cheese and puree until very smooth. Stir the puree into the soup and add salt and pepper to taste. Reheat gently and serve hot.

Fried Eggplant Salad
from Greene on Greens

1 large eggplant or 2 small (about 1 ½ pounds)
½ C olive oil, approximately
1 medium onion, halved, thinly sliced; or green onions
1 large clove garlic, minced
juice of 2 lemons
salt and freshly ground pepper
chopped fresh parsley
lemon wedges

Cut the stem from the eggplant and slice it in half lengthwise. Cut each half into ¼ inch thick slices. Place the slices in a colander, sprinkle them with salt, and let stand 30 minutes. Brush the eggplant with paper towels to remove the salt; pat dry.
Heat 2 T of the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add enough eggplant slices to cover the bottom. Sprinkle lightly with more oil, and sauté until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Continue to sauté the eggplant slices, adding more oil as needed.
Pour off all but 2 tsp of oil from skillet. Add the onion; cook over medium-low heat 1 minute. Add the garlic; cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Place one fourth of the eggplant in the bottom of a deep, narrow serving bowl. Sprinkle with the juice of ½ lemon. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Top with one fourth of the onion mixture. Continue to layer, squeezing lemon juice over each successive layer of eggplant, until all ingredients are used up. End with the onion mixture. Chill well. Serve garnished with parsley and lemon wedges. Serves 4 as an appetizer.

Hearty Eggplant-Zucchini Toss
from Asparagus to Zucchini

1 small eggplant
3 medium zucchini
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic
3 medium tomatoes
1-2 stalks celery
1 T olive oil
2 T tomato sauce (optional)
2 T oregano
salt and pepper

Peel the eggplant and cut it into chunks. Cut zucchini into ¾ inch rounds. Chop onion coarsely. Mince the garlic. Quarter or halve the tomatoes. Chop the celery. Heat oil in large skillet over medium and add all the chopped vegetables, the tomato sauce, plus the oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Toss well; cover the pan, and cook, stirring occasionally. You must keep watch over this dish, it will form a watery sauce at first, and the vegetables should be stirred in it until they are all somewhat cooked, about 10-15 minutes. Then remove the cover and cook a few more minutes until the sauce is reduced. Serve as a sauce for pasta or rice. Makes 4-6 servings.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Crop Report

Farm News
We probably need to give you an update on the hot dry conditions at the farm. Everyone in Central Kentucky is well aware of the continuous heat over the past four weeks and you should know that some crops are being affected. The high air temperature and high soil temperature prevents seed germination of some items. We will continue to replant and keep you posted. An extremely high temperature during the day makes any moisture from humidity, irrigation, or even an occasional rain shower evaporate very quickly. We continue rotating the overhead irrigation system among several fields. We also move water lines between crop rows several times a week, and we turn on and off each block of rows receiving the drip line irrigation. As you know, we would not have anything growing if we did not have water available.

Each season we test out a few new varieties of different crops. We assess different attributes including growth performance, yield, thriftiness of the plant in an organic system, disease resistance, and most important – flavor. Last year we tested four new organic white potatoes, and while a couple rated high on the production side, only one met the taste test with superior flavor. You will find that one in your basket this week – try baking it for a fluffy, delicious potato meal. Rub the skin with butter or oil to crispen.Traditional advice says to not wash your potatoes until ready to eat so that they keep longer in your basement or pantry. We have found that removing the soil and plant residue at harvest allows us to pull out any lower quality potatoes. We recommend keeping your newly dug potatoes in the refrigerator until ready to cook. Do not leave them out in the light or the skin will turn green. Non-organic supermarket potatoes are chemically treated to prevent this. But, if you do get some color change, remove the green portion before cooking.

Recipes to Enjoy . . .
Brussels Sprouts – organic - new this week for everyone!
These tender, yummy little sprouts are being rediscovered. For the most basic preparation, peel the outer leaves and score an “x” in the bottom of any larger sprouts to even out the cooking time. Place in boiling water and cook 2 minutes. Drain and season with butter, salt, and pepper.
Store refrigerated, un-washed, in a container for up to a week.

Potatoes – organic - new this week!

This week’s harvest is the Butte potato, a dry russet baker with out-standing flavor. It’s great baked, mashed, or fried and is one of the highest in Vitamin C. Pronounce it as in “Beaut”-iful.

Mild Onions – organic – new this week!
These fresh onions are similar to a green onion as they should be refrig-erated. Our white and red onions will be a little sweeter than the yellow varieties this week.

Bell Peppers – organic – new this week!Find both green and sweet red bell peppers this week. They have significant nutritional value and are high in Vitamins A and C, iron, and potassium. Peppers can be easily frozen for later use. Find a recipe below for stuffed bells.


Swiss Chard - organic

Tomatoes - organic

Larger Baskets:

Leeks - organicThese leeks can be cooked whole; steamed, braised, or baked. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks, but wrap lightly to avoid aroma spreading to other foods. Popular in soup recipes, leeks also offer a complimentary flavor to many meat dishes. Substitute for onions in recipes for a slight flavor change.Leeks and onions are cousins, but leeks actually belong to the lily family. Leeks are milder than onions but also sweeten when they’re cooked. Smaller leeks are tenderer and have more flavor than larger ones.

Your Choice Basket:
Hot PeppersJalapeño, Serrano, Hot Banana, New Mexican Green Chiles to choose from this week. Try roasting the Green Chiles using the recipe below.

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Brussels Sprouts with Garlic, Onion and Bacon
recipe from our farm chef, Taylor

1 quart Brussels sprouts, trim stem ends and any loose or damaged leaves; cut large sprouts in half
¼ C butter
1 small onion, sliced in ½ inch pieces
1 garlic cloves, chopped
2 strips cooked bacon, chopped
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper

Place Brussels sprouts in saucepan of boiling water. Cook for 3-5 minutes until tender, but not mushy. Drain water. In a sauté pan, cook onion and garlic in butter until soft. Add Brussels sprouts, bacon, salt and pepper. Cook just a minute or two until sprouts are warm and flavorful. Serve immediately. Makes 2-4 servings.

Stuffed Peppers

½ pound organic ground beef (can substitute cooked sausage or cooked chicken if desired)
1 small onion, chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

Cut tops, stem, and hollow out 4 bell peppers. Stuff each pepper with the mixture and put them standing up in a deep pan or dish. Cook about 50 minutes at 350 degrees. Coat the top with a couple Tbsp of ketch, tomato sauce or salsa. Cook 10 minutes more. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top and cook 5 minutes more till melted.
Note: Almost anything can be added to the stuffing such as sweet corn, hot peppers, or cooked rice, especially if making vegetarian dish.

Creamy Leek, Potato, and Sour Cream Chive Soup recipe from From Asparagus to Zucchini
3 T butter
2-3 leeks, thinly sliced, about 4 C total
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 pound potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced
4 C chicken stock

½ - 1 C sour cream
4 T chopped fresh chives, divided
salt and pepper

Melt butter in pot over medium-low. Add leeks and tarragon; cover and cook slowly, 15-20 minutes. Add potatoes and stock; bring to simmer, cover and cook until tender, 10-15 minutes. Puree mixture. Return puree to pot; stir in sour cream and 2 T chives. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle each serving with additional chives. Makes 6 servings.

Roasted Peppers
These are excellent in soups, sauces and vinaigrettes; use them wherever you would use fresh peppers. You can roast almost any pepper using this same method.
To roast peppers: Over a gas range top, place fresh peppers directly onto the flame. Char the peppers all the way around each side, the pepper skins should turn black and blistered. After the peppers are charred, place them in a paper bag and allow to steam for twenty minutes. Steaming allows the skins to be removed more easily. After the peppers have cooled, remove them from the bag and peel them. Discard the seeds and the charred skins, remember to save the pepper juice, it has a lot of flavor. You can also roast peppers in the oven, lightly oiled on a sheet pan. Roasting peppers in the oven works well if you do not have a gas range, but over an outdoor grill has better results.

Roasted Pepper Vinaigrette
from Harmony Valley Farm. This recipe works well for a salad dressing as well as a sauce for savory entrées.

Fresh peppers (roasted, skins and seeds removed)
1 C quality olive oil
1/3 C white vinegar
Juice of 1 fresh lemon
¼ C chopped fresh mixed herbs
1 tsp sugar
Salt & pepper to taste

In food processor or blender, combine all the ingredients and emulsify. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Farm News

It seems lately we get more inquiries and surprise when people learn that we grow garlic along with our other produce items. Although we had to set up irrigation several times this spring and summer for the garlic field, this season was sure a tough one for the garlic due to the region’s continued drought – and the lack of papery skin covering the cloves sure shows it.In the fall, we prepare our fields for planting. Garlic cloves are separated from the bulb and planted one at a time in rows or beds. We mulch the plantings with organic straw or hay to moderate the soil conditions. In spring, we pull back the mulch to allow plant growth without smothering. We weed, fertilize, weed, irrigate, weed, break off the flower top (garlic scape), and eventually hand harvest the entire plant. We lay out the garlic in one of the greenhouses to cure. We then clean off the dirt and outer skin, cut the stalk necks, and separate into quality grades. Some is saved for the coming fall to plant for next year’s crop. Most are stored for baskets and sales. And the farm chef uses the heads that come apart when cleaning in our crew lunches. One reason many farms do not attempt a garlic crop is the commitment it takes: your crop field is tied up for 9 months including over the winter, which makes it difficult to get a cover crop in; weed management is necessary at several points during the growth cycle and entails much hand weeding work; and although all of your effort is required up front, you don’t know what you have until you harvest. But, we enjoy fresh garlic as a companion to many other veggies, so it is well worth the work!

In Your Basket

Spaghetti Squash – new this week!
This orange-skinned variety of spaghetti squash is a fun treat for those new to it. Oven roast or boil in water for about 45 minutes until fork tender, or the outer skin cracks. Once cooled, cut in half length-wise and remove seeds. Using a fork, scrape the strands of squash onto a bowl or plate separating into pasta-like strands. Serve with butter, olive oil, or sauce. Store your spaghetti squash in a cool, dry place (not refrigerated) for up to a month or more.

Sweet Basil – organic-new this week!
We harvest mostly the top leaves of our basil in order to lessen the stems you have to deal with. We have found that keeping the basil in a double container allows you to store it in the refrigerator without the leaves turning dark. Put your sealed plastic bag into another sealed bag or a Tupperware-type sealed container. The pocket of air helps to buffer the cold air from the leaf surface of your basil. To dry, lay out in a single layer at room temperature.Find a basil pesto recipe below using your basil and garlic. Serve over your spaghetti squash for a filling, fresh meal.

Hard Neck Garlic – organic
This is our fourth variety of garlic we produced this year. It should store for you longer than other types, but you should have more later on also.

Swiss Chard – organic
Sometimes it seems we just crave the taste of a leafy green. Your rainbow Swiss chard is holding up well in the heat and can be sautéed with a little olive oil and garlic for an easy side dish.

Green Beans– organic
These stringless green beans do not take a lot of time in preparation for cooking. Just snap the ends, if desired, and blanch, steam, or sauté for fresh and crisp bean flavor. These small, tender beans are often referred to as haricot vertes and desired by chefs for their flavor, color and versatility.

Summer Squash
Enjoy steamed, grilled, oven roasted, or stuffed. Find a recipe below.

This late cucumber planting is a new variety that you have not seen yet this season. It has a little thicker skin that you may want to peel. It will also keep longer for you refrigerated.

Your eggplant this week is a traditional shaped variety. You may have heard of peeling and slicing your eggplant, salting the slices and laying out on paper towels to drain out any bitter flavor. Usually a farm-fresh eggplant will not have bitterness, but if you store it for a week or more, the salting step might enhance the texture when ready to prepare it. It is best stored refrigerated.

EXTRA Basket:
Hot Peppers
Jalapeño, Serrano, Hot Banana and Poblano hot peppers to choose from this week.

Roma Tomatoes – organic
We intentionally have fewer tomatoes ready this time of the year. Our experience shows that most home gardens, neighbors’ or relatives’ gardens, and all farmers markets offer an abundance of tomatoes during the dog days of August. We don’t want to overload you and take away from the other seasonal items ready for your baskets. We have plenty on hand though, so we offer them as an extra to add to your baskets this week. The roma is best for sauce, salsa, pizza topping, oven drying, roasting, and mighty tasty for fresh eating as well!

Recipes to Enjoy

Grilled Summer Squash Salad
recipe from Harmony Valley Farm Kitchen

2 summer squash, halved lengthwise
1 T balsamic vinegar
2 T olive oil
2 T Parmesan grated
2 T fresh finely chopped herbs of your liking
1 T green onion, chopped

Lightly oil squash and place on medium hot grill, cooking all sides until tender. (Browning will occur but avoid burning.) Remove from grill and allow to cool. Dice into bite-sized pieces. In bowl, mix remaining ingredients and toss with squash to coat. Serve cooled.

Easy Pesto Sauce

1 ½ C lightly packed fresh basil leaves (approx. 3 ounces)
2 minced garlic cloves
3 T freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
¼ C olive oil
Puree all ingredients in food processor, adding more olive oil if necessary for proper blending. Serve tossed with fresh hot pasta, and topped with grated Parmesan cheese. (If desired, pine nuts or walnuts can be added during processing).

Baba Ganoush - Eggplant Dip

1 ½ pound eggplant
olive oil
¼ C tahini
¼ C juice of fresh lemon
½ tsp salt
2 cloves fresh garlic

Slice eggplant lengthwise in half. Roast face down in olive oil in baking dish in oven for 20 - 30 minutes at 350 degrees until soft. Scoop cooked eggplant out away from skin with spoon. Process with tahini, lemon juice, salt, and garlic until well mixed. Serve at room temperature as dip for fresh vegetables or wedges of pita bread.

Roasted Tomato Basil Pesto
recipe adapted from Seed Savers Calendar, 1998

2 tomatoes, pre-roasted
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled, halved
3 T pine nuts
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 C fresh whole basil leaves
½ C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 T butter, softened
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine tomatoes, garlic, pine nuts, and oil in a processor until combined. Add a handful of basil and process briefly. Continue until all basil is combined. Stir in the cheese and butter and season with salt and pepper to taste. Use on pasta, on pizzas, over grilled vegetables, or on a sandwich or wrap.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Not ready for Prime Time

Farm news. . .
We received a phone call from a California television producer last week about doing some filming at Elmwood for one of their shows. The concept was to let the Supernanny come out with one of her TV families to tour the farm and learn more about vegetables, nutrition and healthy food. While we definitely support the idea of connecting nutrition and behavior, we are not at all set up for tours, TV, and playground-type kid activities.

We get inquiries almost weekly from school groups (from primary school all the way through college graduate students), educators, social organizations, garden clubs, tourists, politician tours, chefs-in-training, those new to farming wanting to learn the “secrets”, and even a few potential customers. Years ago the decision was made to not set up an on-farm market and we just do not have the infra-structure (bathrooms, parking lots, staff) to accommodate folks. Farms can also be dangerous to the uninformed, from groundhog holes to electric fencing, large equipment to large livestock.
We have nothing to hide about production practices. In fact, we feel being open and transparent are key components of what we supply to our customers and our fellow producers as well. We want to grow as healthy and wholesome food as possible. We want to make this food available to anyone who wants it; we are glad to share and even encourage other producers to adopt similar sustainable production practices. This openness is offered by many different methods. First, many of our fields are readily visible from a major highway. Second, we are selling at several different farmers markets where we meet our customers face to face with every transaction. Third, we consistently participate in winter conferences both as attendees and as presenters. Finally, we have hosted past “open houses” on our farm.
We do not do a lot of advertising, do not have festivals, and don’t seek out publicity to generate business at our farm because that is not the way we are set up to operate. Instead, we rely primarily on word-of-mouth and product display at the farmers markets to make ourselves known to those seeking wholesome, local, fresh farm foods.
This is the long story of telling you why we will not be featured on the upcoming season of Supernanny. We declined the inquiry and referred the show to a local agri-entertainment farm. But, we do invite you to the CSA member farm tour this season. Mark your calendars for the CSA Harvest Potluck and Farm Tour – Sunday, October 7, 2007.
In the future we may develop on-farm educational programs about beneficial bugs, our Easter Egg hens, the hidden world of microbes underneath grasses, and other keys to organic systems. We’ll keep you posted.

In Your Basket
Cabbage – organic
Your cabbage this week is a very dense, tight head. It will store well for you in the fridge. It contains a significant amount of Vit. A and C, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Try a new recipe for cabbage.

Kohlrabi - organic
Remember to peel the kohlrabi bulbs before using. Their flavor will sweeten when sautéed in olive oil or butter. Or shred or slice for a healthy snack. They will store in your crisper drawer for several weeks.

Roma Tomato – organic
These meaty tomatoes are the best for sauce. Tomatoes can also be frozen whole. Wash, core, place on cookie sheet, and freeze. When solid, place in zip lock freezer bag and place back into freezer. Remove only as many as you need. Don’t plan on eating fresh after thawed, but use for cooking.
Heirloom Tomato – organic

Varieties of pinks include Arkansas Traveler and Rose. Black tomatoes include Black Krim, Black Plum, Cherokee Purple, and Paul Robeson. Yellows include Mr. Stripey, Old Ivory Egg, and Peach Tomato. Other specialties include Sungold and Green Zebra.
Garlic – organic
This week’s bulb is Elephant Garlic which is technically not garlic, but in the leek family. It forms very large cloves and sometimes only a single large round clove which can be used like pearl onions. While not a very beautiful bulb, the Elephant is very mild.

Find a wonderful recipe below for a sweet way to enjoy zucchini.
Sweet Corn
The last harvest for a few weeks, but the kernels are filled out nicely and easy to cut off the cob. Do not remove the husks until ready to cook as it keeps the moisture in best.

Larger Baskets Only:
Brussels Sprouts -organic
The easiest way to prepare is to rinse and throw into a pan with either butter (the best!) or extra virgin olive oil. The larger sprouts can be scored on the bottom to help cook at the same speed as the smaller ones.

EXTRA Basket:
Hot PeppersJalapeño, Serrano, and Poblano hot peppers to choose from this week.

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Corn Fritters
recipe from Cook’s Country

1 ½ pounds fresh corn (2 large or 3 to 4 medium ears), husks and silks removed
1 large egg, beaten lightly
3 T all-purpose flour
3 T cornmeal
2 T heavy cream
1 small shallot or onion, minced
½ tsp salt
pinch cayenne
½ C cooking oil

Using a chef’s knife, cut kernels from most of corn and place in bowl. Use box grater to grate remaining kernels to mix the textures. Using back of knife, scrape any pulp remaining on all cobs into bowl. Stir in egg, flour, cornmeal, cream, onion, salt and cayenne.
Heat oil in large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Drop 6 heaping T batter in pan. Fry until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Transfer fritters to plate lined with paper towels. If necessary add more oil to skillet and heat until shimmering; fry remaining batter. Serve immediately. Makes 12 fritters. Can dip into salsa, sour cream or maple syrup.

Duo of Garlic Preparations

Garlic-Salt Rub for Beef Roast:
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp salt
Mix minced garlic, thyme, and salt together in small bowl. Rub all over roast. Place on large plate and refrigerate uncovered, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Garlic Paste:

12 large garlic cloves, peeled, cloves cut in half lengthwise
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
½ tsp salt
½ cup olive oil
Heat halved garlic cloves, thyme, bay, salt and oil in small saucepan over medium-high heat until bubbles start to rise to surface. Reduce heat to low and cook until garlic is soft, about 30 minutes. Cool completely. Strain, reserving oil. Discard herbs and transfer garlic to small bowl. Mash garlic with 1 T garlic oil until paste forms. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Cover and reserve garlic oil.
Suggested use includes rubbing meat or fish with oil before roasting or grilling. Use paste on meats or fish before oven cooking to give flavorful crust.

Surprise Chocolate Sweet
Thanks to CSA member, Dorothy, who shares this wonderful dessert! She recommends Ghiradelli sweet ground chocolate cocoa.

1/3 C margarine/butter
4 T and 1 tsp cocoa
½ C sugar
½ C brown sugar, packed
1 egg, beaten
1 C flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 C shredded zucchini
2/3 C chopped walnuts

Cream together first four ingredients. Blend in egg, flour, powder, salt and vanilla. Sir in zucchini and walnuts. Spread in an 8” x 8” pan. Bake in 350 oven for 20-25 minutes or until top crust is dry and edges begin to pull from sides. Interior will be moist.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Makin' Compost

Farm News . . .
We sometimes are asked about our organic production practices as it relates to compost, cattle, and soil amendments. We make compost here on our farm that we sell to other farmers, landscapers, and home-owners. We also use it ourselves in our organic system of crop rotation and building healthy soils. We lay out long rows of agricultural matter-mostly vegetable culls and used hay from neighboring horse farms. Once our ingredients are compiled, we begin turning our compost rows with our tractor-pulled compost turner. We monitor the temperature, carbon dioxide, and moisture of each row. Early in the process we may turn the pile daily as it heats up, later on we turn it weekly. Once finished composting, it is a stable product – entirely different than the raw ingredients we started off with. We have our compost lab tested for nutrient and microbial makeup as well as any pathogens. We spread the compost on our fields using the timetables before the next harvestable crop set out in our certified organic farm plan. We do not spread manure on any of our farm. Let us know if you want to learn more about the production or use of compost!

In Your Basket . . .

Celery – organic
This green cutting celery variety will impress you with its full flavor and crisp stalks. If you have never had fresh-picked celery you will be surprised that it can pack such a flavorful punch! The leaves are used as well as the stalk in place of fresh herbs. Stalks can be sautéed or braised or chopped finely for your salad recipes.
Carrots – organic

Enjoy these sweet carrots as a healthy snack. Though very popular they are difficult to grow for a variety of reasons. Your share of this crop survived the early drought; we expect more later in the fall. Carrots will keep in your refrigerator up to a month and are a good source of Vit. A and beta-carotene.
Red Onion – organic
These mild purplette red onions are meant to be used soon as a fresh onion rather than a storage onion. They will add a sweet flavor to any roasted veggie medley. Refrigerate as you would a green onion.

Included this week is either glossy black or true white eggplant. It is low in calories, high in fiber, and not a source of many vitamins or minerals. It will store refrigerated for up to a week. Cut into chunks and oven-roast with other veggies or slice for the grill. Find a recipe below.
Green Beans - organic

This week’s green beans are an heirloom variety of pole beans. These corn field beans were tradi-tionally planted along side the field corn to use the corn stalk as its trellis. You do need to remove the string along each side of the bean before cooking. Break the end and pull the string down until it snaps off the other end. Break the beans into bite-sized pieces – checking then to see if any more string needs to be pulled. If any pods are too dried out, shell out the bean and add it to your pot, then discard the pod.
Roma Tomato – organic

These meaty paste-type tomatoes are the favorite for juicing, canning, making sauce or salsa. Less juice and more solids result in more flavor. Romas can be oven roasted, oven-dried, dehydrated, or eaten fresh.
Garlic – organic

This week’s variety is a soft neck – often you may see this type braided for a decorative display. Try roasting your whole garlic head in the oven to use as a spread on crusty bread.
Sweet Corn
This week’s bi-color corn has an extra sweet flavor. The varieties of corn that we choose to grow are not genetically modified. We try to find those that are tender, delicious, and the seed is produced through traditional breeding techniques.

EXTRA Basket:
Hot Peppers
More Jalapeño and Serrano hot peppers to choose from this week.
Sweet Corn
We expect to not have a corn harvest for the next couple of weeks since the rains pushed it along to all be ready now. It is rather unusual to have this much-desired item in surplus, but we do, so enjoy some extra!

Recipes to Enjoy . . .
Broiled Eggplant with Crunchy Parmesan Crust
from Angelic Organics Kitchen

oil for greasing a baking sheet
eggplant, cut into ¼ inch slices
freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about ½ C)

Preheat the broiler. Lightly oil a baking sheet. Spread mayonnaise sparingly on both sides of each eggplant slice, and then dip the slices in the grated Parmesan cheese, thoroughly coating both sides. Arrange the slices in a single layer on the oiled baking sheet and place under the broiler until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip the slices and broil until golden brown and crunchy on top and the eggplant is soft, about 3 minutes more.

Garlic Aioli
This spread can be used to liven up sandwiches, wraps, dabble on fritters, or even the broiled eggplant above. Adapted from a recipe in Martha Stewart Living. that uses raw egg yolks, we suggest coddling the eggs before using.

1 small head garlic
2 C plus 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
4 large egg yolks, room temperature
¾ tsp coarse salt
2 T plus 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 T heavy cream

Prehat the oven to 375 degrees. Place garlic on a piece of parchment set over a piece of foil, and drizzle with 2 tsp oil. Fold and crimp to enclose. Roast until tender, about 1 hour. When cool enough to handle, squeeze cloves from skins.(Put water in saucepan and heat on medium-high until boiling. Drop eggs gently into the boiling water for one minute until slightly gelled. Remove and run under cold water to cool and stop cooking. Remove egg yolks and follow recipe.)

Process garlic, egg yolks, and salt in a food processor until combined. With machine running, gradually add remaining 2 C oil, drop by drop at first and then in a slow, steady stream, until emulsified. Stir in lemon juice and cream. Aioli can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 2 days; do not leave unrefrigerated for longer than 1 hour.

Note: A shortcut for aioli is to add the roasted garlic cloves to mayonnaise in a food processor. Continue adding a little mayonnaise until the desired flavor and consistency is reached.

Simple Tomato Sauce
Also from Martha Stewart, this recipe can be doubled easily to match your available tomatoes.
6 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T minced garlic
3 pounds ripe plum/paste tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 8 C)
coarse salt
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic, and cook 20 seconds (do not let brown). Stir in tomatoes and 2 tsp salt. Raise heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer vigorously, stirring frequently, until sauce has reduced and thickened slightly, 15 to 20 minutes. If a smoother sauce is desired, pass it through a food mill. Season with salt if desired. Let cool. Sauce can be stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Blackberries are here!

Week of July 23

Farm News. . .

Blackberries are starting to ripen. In past seasons, our harvest usually lasts over three to four weeks. However, we are hesitant to predict this year with our odd weather. As mentioned before, we have lost about one-half of the crop due to the freeze in April. These were the earliest ripening varieties. So, we are seeing our later ripening varieties just beginning to turn from red to black. The fattest, darkest berries are the sweetest, while those still half-red/half-black will be tart.
We invite you to the farm to u-pick berries starting this week. We have quart containers here and will have an honor system set up for payment. Since the berries are limited, we ask that you phone ahead to check availability before making the drive out. If several folks come the first picking, it will take a few days for more berries to be get the picture.
Our blackberry u-pick is only for our CSA members. Please, no dogs or other pets at the farm.
Days and hours this week for picking:
Wednesday, July 25th 4 pm- 7 pm
Friday, July 27th 10 am- 6 pm
Sunday, July 29th 10 am- 6 pm
Monday July 30th 4 pm- 7 pm during CSA basket pickup

For your convenience, please phone ahead. 859-621-0755

Our Requests

It has become necessary to send out reminders:

1. Return your baskets please - we had to resort to some older storage baskets this week.
2. Please pick up during your scheduled time. If you have a problem, you can let us know - but it is not fair to our homeowners to come at odd hours. If you come to the farm early, you may not receive all of your share as we harvest the same day and it might not be ready.
3. If you do need to cancel, please do so at least 2 days in advance of your pickup day so that we do not harvest your share.

In your Basket

Green Cabbage - organic
Our third cabbage variety has sized up nicely. It will store in your refrigerator for several weeks and makes a nice slaw.

Sweet Corn
This week's corn patch is the gold and white mixed color kernels. Our taste test last evening declared this harvest one of the best bi-color ever!

Broccoli- organic
Our members have told us that broccoli is one of the items that you desire more of each year. Although it does not continue making single large heads, we like this variety that continues to offer nice flavor even the warmer weather.

We have several gourmet melons planted including a French muskmelon, Charentais, and some specialty dessert type melons, Sensation and Canary. These are ripe, sweet, and not your traditional cantaloupes. Cut soon into bite-sized pieces put in a dish in the fridge and enjoy during the week for breakfast or dessert! The recent rainfall ( which we were happy to have) made over 150 of our melons crack. This is considered a weather related crop loss. We decided to offer you a choice among these not so perfect melons rather than omit them altogether from your share this week.

These slicing cukes have a thin skin and small seeds. Although nice attributes, we grow them for the tasty flavor! Remember that cukes are 95% water and need to be refrigerated.

Red and Heirloom Tomatoes - organic
You have a variety of tomatoes to choose from this week. In general our heirloom tomatoes are usually a different color than red. The varieties have a thin skin that makes them delicate, ripen quickly, bruise easily, but taste wonderful! The pinks, yellows, blacks, and stripeys contain less acid than red tomatoes. These are wonderful eaten fresh or made into sauces or salsa for freezing. However, low acid tomatoes are not suitable for canning.

Garlic - organic
We harvested garlic this past week and have included a bulb in your share. We plant in the fall, mulch for the winter, and water and cultivate for much of the spring and early summer. Our dry conditions have affected the outer bulb wrappers around your cloves. This should not change the flavor or your enjoyment, but the bulbs may not store as long. Store in a dry, airy place not too warm. It will lose flavor in the refrigerator.

Larger Baskets Only

Cauliflower - organic
We hope you are enjoying the colorful violet heads. Serve raw with dips to retain the bright color.

EXTRA Basket:

Hot Peppers
Jalapenos, Serranos, New Mexican Green Chiles, Poblanos, and Hot Banana Peppers are available. This is good week for homemade salsa, with garlic, tomatoes, and peppers all available!

Recipes to Enjoy

Spicy Cucumber Salad
From Asparagus to Zucchini, by MACSAC

2 cucumbers
1 T white vinegar or rice wine vinegar
2 T sesame oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp soy sauce
1 T sugar
1 That Dragon or your preferred hot pepper

Peel the cucumbers, cut lengthwise in two, and remove the seeds. Cut cucumbers crosswise into half moons. Whisk the remaining ingredients but for the pepper together and toss with the cukes to coat them. Remove the seeds and membrane from the pepper to reduce the heat. You also can substitute hot red pepper flakes or hot sauce. Makes 4 servings.

Broccoli and Garlic Salad
from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa

1 head garlic, peeled
1 C olive oil
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp kosher salt
4 stalks broccoli, cut into florets

Put the garlic cloves and oil into a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered over low heat for 10-15 minutes, until the garlic is browned and tender. (Be careful not to let it burn.) Turn off the heat and add the red pepper and 1/2 tsp of salt. Immediately pout it into a heat-proof container to stop the cooking. Allow to cool to room temperature.
For the salad, blanch the broccoli in a large pot of boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes, until crisp tender. Drain well and cool in a bowl of ice water until the broccoli is cooled. Drain well. In a large bowl, toss the broccoli with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 C of the oil used to cook the garlic and the cloves of cooked garlic. Taste for seasoning. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Tomato-Garlic Bruschetta

1 ripe large tomato
3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 coves garlic
8 slices baguette, about 1/2 inch thick

Briefly plunge the tomato into boiling water, remove the skin and seeds, and chop finely. Mix with the olive oil, alt, and pepper. Peel the garlic cloves and cut in half lengthwise. Toast the bread, and rub with the cut side of the garlic cloves. Spread the tomato mixture on the slices of bread. Serve at once or toast lightly again, if desired, before serving.

Easy Tomato Salsa - Pico de Gallo

1 lb. tomatoes, halved, seeds squeezed out
1 jalapeno, seeds removed, minced
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1 T minced shallot or red onion
1/4 C cilantro leaves, chopped
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste

Cut tomatoes into even 1/4 inch cubes. Put all ingredients into a non-reactive bowl. Season to taste.