Thursday, July 12, 2007

First Post!!

Welcome to the brand-spanking new blog for Elmwood Stock Farm, located in the beautiful Bluegrass region of Kentucky! Hopefully, this blog will serve as another way that we can reach out to our past, present, and future friends. The content of this blog will primarily mirror that of our published CSA newsletter, but as it progresses
(and as we get better at this whole posting thing)
we hope it will take on its own life.

This first post is a combination all of the CSA newsletters from June and July, 2007. For more information on our CSA or if you want to know anything else about us, please visit our website

Week of July 9

Organic news. . .

You may be familiar with a recent news report of a long-term study on health and organic food. In the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a food chemist from the University of California found that organically grown tomatoes are better for you than conventionally grown. The 10-year study found double the level of flavonoids (an antioxidant) in the organic tomatoes.
Flavonoids have been shown to reduce high blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. They have also been linked with reduced rates of some types of cancer and dementia. Some research also shows flavonoids can help reduce the risk of cardio-vascular disease and more study is underway.
A possible explanation is that flavonoids are produced by the plant as a defense mechanism that can be triggered by nutrient deficiency, such as a lack of nitrogen in the soil. The study found that an excess of nitrogen from overfertilization probably causes the lower levels of flavonoids in conventional tomatoes.
Although this is the second recent study to offer nutritional benefits of organic produce over the alternative, there is always a competing viewpoint.
Several organizations and groups are are taking up an interest in organic food, food production policies, connections between food and health, and nutrition. Information sharing about the next national Farm Bill up before Congress can be found on many websites. Some are farm related, some food related, and some a little bit of both.

Organic Farming Research Foundation
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group – a regional organization whose annual farm meeting brings in over 1,200 farmers – will be in Louisville this next January.

Farm News. . .

We had our own 4th of July fireworks at the farm, offered up by Mother Nature! The bright lights and booms of thunder and lightning brought 2” of much-needed rain. We were lucky to escape the high winds that some folks received. But, crops still need full irrigation as the hot temperatures cause any moisture to quickly evaporate.
Spring plants are tilled under and late season crops are transplanted out this week. We don’t like working the soil when it is so dry, but sometimes it is necessary.

In Your Basket. . .

This week’s selection includes a small salad or pickling type along with a thin-skinned slicing cucumber. The variety we choose to grow for slicing is one of the best tasting out there. The smooth skin does not need peeling. The flavor is crisp, sweet, bitter free, and practically seedless.

Red Tomato

Enjoy this summer favorite – dry weather does real sign of summertime! Many of today’s recipes offer ideas to get the same enhance the flavor this year.

Green Tomato

Included are some green tomatoes – a crispness with less oil. We love a mix of corn meal and seasoned flour as our batter, and the olive oil-sesame oil-coconut oil for cooking. Top with a few drops of Worcestershire Sauce for lip-smacking satisfaction.

Yellow Tomato-organic
These yellow slicing tomatoes are growing in our unheated high tunnel. Many of you who have toured the farm in past seasons have seen the plastic covered high tunnel structure over one of our fields.
Your early season strawberries also came from the high tunnel this spring. That acreage is certified organic.

Green Bell Pepper
Enjoy the first pepper of the summer. These plants have survived the wind and heat to produce nice large bell peppers on the first fruit set. Enjoy sliced in salad or dips, or use in any of your favorite recipes.

Sweet Corn !!
This variety of white super sweet corn is sweet and tender. Corn keeps best unshucked in your refrigerator.

Cauliflower – organic
We really did not intend for this to be
the year of the cauliflower, but we are pleased with its bounty and flavor. Find a new recipe below and remember that you can always stick a head in the freezer to use later.

Kale Greens - organic
Our two varieties of Curly Kale, one a blue-green, the other a purple-red, both offer superior flavor and high nutrition. Kale has the highest protein of all vegetables and is rich in Vitamins A, B and C. Kale greens will keep well in the refrigerator. Remove the stems if using a quick cook recipe, leave intact if slow-cooking country style. Find two recipes below to get some kale into your more finicky eaters . . .

Recipes to Enjoy. . .

Cauliflower Soup
Adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe, 4 servings

2 T unsalted butter
1 small onion, coarsely chopped (about 1 C)
1 small head cauliflower cut into 1-inch florets
2 C chicken stock
2 ½ tsp coarse salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
2 C water
1 bunch fresh herbs, thick stems removed (Martha uses watercress)
Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add cauliflower, stock, salt, pepper, water. Bring to a boil. Cover, and reduce heat. Simmer, stirring once, until cauliflower is very tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in herbs.
Working in batches, puree soup in a blender, filling no more than halfway each time. Return soup to saucepan; cover to keep warm. To serve, garnish with sprig of fresh herb if desired, and pepper to taste.

Garlic and Greens Pizza

Shared by a member last season, this popular recipe is from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home.

Choose a crust from one of the following:
6 (6-inch) pita bread halves
3 (10-inch) whole-wheat tortillas
1 (16-20 inches) loaf French bread
1 (15-inch) pre-baked pizza shell

For the toppings:
4 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
3 T olive oil
4 C, packed coarsely chopped kale, rinsed and
stems removed
¼ tsp salt
¼ C chopped fresh basil or 2 T dried basil
1-½ C grated mozzarella cheese
¼ C grated Pecorino cheese (Parmesan worked)
1/3 C sun-dried tomatoes, not packed in oil
(optional) and ½ C boiling water (optional)
Preheat the oven according to the directions for the crust that you chose. If you’re using sun-dried
tomatoes, put them in a heatproof bowl, cover with the boiling water, and set aside.
In a large skillet, sauté the garlic in the oil
for about a minute. Add the kale and the salt, and
sauté on medium-high heat for 5 to 10 minutes,
stirring frequently, until just tender. While the kale cooks, drain and chop the sun-dried tomatoes. Add the chopped basil and sun-dried tomatoes to the kale and remove the skillet from the heat. Spread the kale topping on the pizza crust using a slotted spoon. Sprinkle the cheese on top. Bake according to the instructions for the crust you’re using. Serves 2-3 as a main dish, 4-8 as an appetizer. Preparation time is 20 minutes.

Kale Crunch

Use for snacking or sprinkling on a savory dish, from Mollie Katzen’s Vegetable Heaven, 1997

olive oil, a little for the baking tray
1 giant bunch fresh kale, stemmed and minced (about 1 pound)
2-3 T grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 350. Line a large baking tray with foil and brush or spray with oil. Add the kale, and spread it out as much as possible.
Bake for 10 minutes, mixing it up once or twice during that time. Sprinkle with Parmesan, if desired, and bake for 10-15 minutes until it’s as crisp as you like it. The kale will continue to shrink and crisp the longer it bakes. If you watch it closely and stir it often enough, you can get it quite crisp without burning it.
Remove from oven, and let cool on tray. Yield: 2-4 cups (depending on cooking time)

Week of July 2

News from the farm and kitchen . . .
This week’s basket items seem to take you on a tour around the globe. With fennel so popular in Mediterranean cuisine to fresh tomatoes featured in the Italian countryside, we take you from Europe to Asia for Japanese mizuna greens and Savoy cabbage.
It is interesting to learn the origins of our vegetables, particularly as we find items that flourish when grown in Kentucky soil and with our particular climate. Also we see things that cannot handle high humidity and the quick changes from cold spring to hot summertime. It is good to try items that are not your regular corn, beans and tomatoes. Each season we have some successes and some “experiments” going on at the farm.
Cooking greens used to be the workhorse of a traditional diet, eaten at least once daily. They are highly nutritious, easy to prepare, and often quick to cook. As our modern lifestyles have moved away from cooking in the home, the diversity of greens offered in supermarkets has also decreased. Some ideas for using chard, spinach, kale, mustards, and Asian greens include the following:
• Add to soup, pasta, quiche, pizza
• Make pesto, juice it, make sauce
• Use in casserole or omelets
• Add to sandwich, wrap, or salad
Sauté, steam, wilt, stir-fry
Share with us your ideas too!

In Your Basket

This week find both an English burpless type along with the small salad or pickling cuke. You might compare the difference in flavor and texture to pick your favorite!

Red Tomato
The heat has brought both early tomatoes and the regular planting ready at the same time. With warm over-night temperatures for the past month, a red ripe tomato can be picked before the 4th of July holiday. Allow to further ripen at room temperature, never in the refrigerator. We think first to eat them raw, but tomatoes can be sautéed, baked, broiled or even put on the grill. A small tomato offers 75% of your daily Vitamin C (about half found in an orange) along with Vitamin A and potassium. The more ripe the fruit, the more vitamins it has. Use a serrated knife to cut a tomato, as you will have an easier task and more perfect slices.

Cabbage – organic
The wonderful Savoy continues to ripen. Try cutting a head into quarters but leaving the stem end still together; stuff 4 T butter inside; wrap the whole head with foil and place on your grill. Yummy!

Green Onions - organic
Slice with cucumber and tomato for flavorful salad.

Fennel – organic
Fennel is often found in Greek and Italian dishes, popular in a Mediterranean diet. This low calorie item is enjoyed worldwide as a digestive aid and offers high Vitamin A, iron and calcium. Fennel can be baked, steamed, or sautéed or use raw in dips or in salads. The leaves can be used as a fresh herb season-in in place of dill. The bulb can be stored (for several weeks) separately from the tender feathery leaves. Use fennel with butter and lemon on baked fish!

Mizuna - organic
This type of Asian green can be used in a salad mix or slightly wilted served with a warm pasta. The Japanese mizuna has a nice, mild but sharp flavor. A little can be added to a green salad; most often cooked.

Arugula – organic
Remember that this nutty flavored mustard-type green is very rich in Vitamin C. Its spicy flavor holds up well when paired with pasta and can be balanced with something sweet added to your recipe. Find recipes in newsletters on 6-4 and 6-11 along with new recipe below.

Cauliflower – organic
These white and purple varieties are finally reaching a nice size. Review last week’s news for two recipes.

Broccoli - organic
We continue to be surprised at the broccoli’s attempts to ready itself during the hot weather. Though not planned for this week’s basket, we will keep adding it when available.

Recipes to Enjoy

Arugula Pesto
from Angelic Organics

¼ C pine nuts
2 C mature arugula
½ C freshly grated Asiago cheese (1½ ounces)
½ C olive oil
1 clove garlic, smashed
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Toast the pine nuts in a dry, heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat until they start to brown in spots and become fragrant. Transfer the nuts to a dish to cool. Combine the arugula, cheese, oil, garlic and pine nuts in a blender or food processor; process until thoroughly combined and smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Roasted Fennel with Parmesan
From Ina Garten’s The Barefoot Contessa. Can use this recipe for any amount of fennel bulbs.

4 large fennel bulbs
½ C good olive oil
1 tsp salt, kosher if available
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
2 to 3 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Remove the stems of the fennel and slice the bulb in half lengthwise. With the cut side down, slice the bulb vertically into ½ inch thick slices, cutting right through the core. Spread the fennel slices on a baking sheet, coat with olive oil, salt and pepper and toss with your hands.

Roast the fennel slices for about an hour, turning them once after 30 minutes, until the edges are crisp and brown. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and roast for 5 more minutes. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve.

Fresh Fennel Bulb Salad
Recipe from Shooting Star Farm

1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs
2 T white wine or red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon type mustard
salt and pepper
2 T frozen orange juice concentrate, partially thawed
2 T olive oil

Remove fronds from the fennel bulb. Cut away the root and slice fennel into very thin pieces; it also can be grated. Make dressing by combining vinegar, mustard ¼ tsp salt and orange juice concentrate in a bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Pour over fennel and allow to marinate at room temperature 20 minutes or longer. Season to taste with pepper and additional salt if desired. Makes 3-4 side dish servings.

Savoy Cabbage and Fennel with Parsley-Lemon Butter
from Deborah Madison’s Local Flavors. She says this tender mess of pale green ribbons flecked with yellow lemon zest is the kind of dish to make a meal with some egg noodles thrown in. It also makes a delicious bed for monkfish, cod, or wild salmon.

½ head Savoy cabbage
1 large fennel bulb, quartered
1 large leek, white part only (use the green onion)
4 T unsalted butter
salt and freshly ground pepper
juice and zest of 1 lemon, Meyer if available
3 T chervil or parsley leaves

Cut cabbage, fennel, and leek (onion) into very thin slices and wash. Don’t dry though. Melt 1 T of butter in large, wide skillet. Add the vegetables and sprinkle with ½ tsp salt. Cover the pan and cook gently for 10 minutes. Check after 5 minutes and make sure there’s a little moisture so that the vegetables steam and don’t brown. Meanwhile, simmer the lemon juice in a small skillet until only 1 T remains. Remove from the heat and whisk in the remaining butter. Finely chop the lemon zest with the chervil. Stir half into the butter and add the other half to the vegetables. Toss well, taste for salt, and season with pepper.

Week of June 25

Farm News. . .
Many of you have expressed concern and inquired about the lack of rainfall and dry conditions at the farm. We wish we could report more favorable news, but we still have extremely dry soil. This does create a stressful situation for plants, for microbial life in the soil, and for the farm in general. We received a little rain this past week that will definitely help! John continues to rotate the crop rows that receive water through irrigation lines. Everything that we are harvesting right now is only available due to his watering.
About two-third of the spring lettuces have turned out to not be harvestable. The unseasonably hot temperatures caused many lettuce heads to begin to put energy into flowering, which is the plant’s natural cycle of perpetuating itself. Once this happens, the flavor of the leaf becomes not the best quality. We have had reduced salad mix this spring as a result.
Most of the transplants for summer crops have been put out. Late peppers and the late tomatoes were the last to go out. The mid-summer tomatoes have been staked and strung with twine between the stakes to give the plants a trellis on which to grow. Keeping the fruits off the ground is important for both disease prevention and a clean harvest. The early tomatoes are turning color earlier than we can remember for along time. Our “early” rows in the high tunnel (protected) were harvested the same day as the first field tomatoes.
Those of you that pickup at the farm may see the yellow and white balloons hanging out over the sweet corn fields. These are decorated with big eyeballs and metallic streamers meant to scare off the birds that pull open the top of each corn husk as it is almost ready. We are also using electric fencing around each corn patch hoping to deter the de-structive raccoons. As few as two or three can wipe out 1200 ears of corn in one night by taking a bite out of each ear. We have had raccoon trappers visit the farm for advice, but with the farm’s proximity to the Elkhorn Creek, we will probably always have pressures from the pesky predators.
We grow several varieties of potatoes and save our own seed potatoes each winter. We would like to begin to do the same with sweet potatoes, but need the organic parents to get started off. We are still waiting for our organic sweet potato slips – these are transplants that are produced from an organic parent potato. Fall squashes and cole crops are also planted in June and early July.

In Your Basket

This variety of Asian cucumber produces a glossy, thin-skinned long fruit with a crisp, fresh flavor. These are well known as a burp-less type with smaller seeds. You may see a similar variety (English) wrapped in plastic at a supermarket since they lose moisture throughthe skin. Enjoy with a salad!

Green Tomatoes (and maybe a Red Tomato!)
It is very unusual to have ripe tomatoes this early in the season. You can slice and prepare green tomatoes either skillet-fried or oven roasted. They are wonderful sprinkled with Worcestershire sauce, or use on a sandwich with pesto and mayonnaise. Green tomatoes can also slowly ripen on your countertop, or be pickled or canned.

Cabbage – organic
Varieties of our green cabbage this season include a Savoy type. These heads are a blue-green with crinkly leaves. We are also harvesting the green cabbage heads that offer delicious flavor and a shorter core. Both types will keep for several weeks in the coldest part of your refrigerator.

This week, why not try some zucchini bread or zucchini brownies? Or, add to your grilled or roasted vegetable medley.

Lettuce – organic
We are harvesting from the fourth planting of our Green Romaine lettuces. This variety is ideal for tolerating hot weather while offering excellent taste.

Swiss chard - organic
Enjoy this multicolor rainbow chard, Bright Lights. Your 5-28-07 newsletter offered three recipes; find another one for chard below.

Cauliflower – organic
These heads will keep well for you. Wash and serve raw with dip, or add to a green salad. Find a recipe below for a cooked cauliflower dish with cheese sauce.

Kohlrabi - organic
This item is proving to be quite popular once folks try it for the first time. Remember to peel the bulb, and cut into sticks or slices to enjoy raw like carrots. Grate over a green salad or cole slaw. Pan sauté or steam with a little onion or garlic, or just in butter for an easy side dish with unexpected sweetness.
This will keep for up to a month refrigerated.

Recipes to Enjoy

Asian Fish in a Packet
(Serves 2) adapted from The Moosewood Collective’s Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home

2 firm fish steaks or fillets (5-6 oz each) or 1 larger fillet (10-12 oz), cut in half
1 cup cooked rice
2 cup coarsely chopped greens (Swiss chard)
2 scallions or green onions, chopped
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp grated fresh ginger root
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp dark sesame oil
chili oil (optional)

Preheat the oven to 450. Take two 12 x 24-inch sheets of aluminum foil, and fold each sheet of foil over to make a square. Brush a little oil on the center part of each square. Rinse the fish and prepare all of the ingredients.
Spread half of the rice on the center of each square and then layer the greens, fish, and scallions on top of the rice. In a small bowl, combine the vegetable oil, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, and a few drops of the optional chili oil. Pour half the sauce over each serving. Fold the foil into airtight packets. Bake about 20 minutes. Carefully avoiding the steam that will be released, open a packet and check that the fish is cooked.
To serve, carefully open the foil and transfer the contents to plates or bowls. Water chestnuts, julienned turnips or kohlrabi, or slices of shiitakes placed on the greens beneath the fish make a nice addition to this recipe. Use just about any fish: scrod, haddock, or other firm fillets, or fish steaks such as salmon or mahi-mahi.

Headed Cauliflower
Greene on Greens by Bert Greene - serves 4-6.
1 ½ to 2 pound head of cauliflower, leaves trimmed and core removed
4 Tbsp butter, melted
½ C grated Gruyere or Jarlsberg cheese
2/3 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat over to 400. Cook the cauliflower in 3 quarts boiling water until just tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Rinse under cold running water. Drain.
Very gently pry apart the flowerets, but do not detach them from the head. Place the melted butter in a bowl large enough to hold the cauli-flower and place it upside-down in the butter. Let stand 10 minutes.
Turn the cauliflower upright and place on a sheet of waxed paper; pour any leftover butter over it. Put the Gruyere between the flowerets and dust the whole head with the Parmesan. Sprinkle generously with black pepper. Transfer to a shallow baking dish and bake 15 minutes.

French Fried Cauliflower
from Favorite Recipes

1 head cauliflower
2 eggs, beaten
¼ C milk
seasoned flour

Separate cauliflower into florets. Mix eggs and milk together, and then dip cauliflower in mixture and then into seasoned flour. Drop into hot oil and fry 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.

Week of June 18

Food Miles? Make Mine Local!

According to the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, a food mile is “the distance food travels from where it is grown or raised to where it is ultimately purchased by the consumer or end-user.” It is relatively easy to calculate food miles for a product that remains intact from the time it leaves the farm until its purchase. It is more difficult for processed food or meats. Using lettuce as an example, a conven-tional head travels 2,366 miles – from Monterey County/Salinas, California to Central Kentucky while your Elmwood lettuce travels from only half a mile up to about 18 miles depending on where you live. Many fruits transported by ship and truck to our area supermarkets begin in Chile and travel about 7,500 miles.
People are interested for several reasons including an awareness of the fossil fuels utilized in cooling of fresh vegetables and transportation to the end-user. Often the social, economic, and environmental costs of eating a fruit or vegetable out of season (which means grown many miles away) may not be included in the purchase price of that grocery item.
A recently published book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year in Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver begins to address some of these ideas. The author and her family spoke in Lexington last week about their year of sourcing all of their food from their local community, neighboring farms, and their own 2-acre garden. To answer the big questions up front: they did eat well in January; they are still eating in the same manner; they do not feel like they missed out or suffered; they each picked one item not available locally to enhance the experience (coffee, spices, chocolate, dried fruits); and the written story is intended to show that one can make a choice about where one sources food and does not have to be a farmer to eat seasonally, locally, and sustainably.
By being a member of a Community Supported Agriculture program, you already have taken a big step by making a commitment to eat seasonal, local food that is produced using sustainable farming methods. We want to bring to your attention a local effort recently underway to share information about sourcing local foods. Visit the website here. This is an interactive website, nicknamed a “wiki,” that continues to grow as people add their own knowledge. Based here in Central Kentucky, this valuable resource will evolve as more folks add tips. Much, much more is available in this area, both on the internet and in print. From your local independent book-sellers pick up:

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

Some online resources:
Slow Food
Savoring Kentucky

In Your Basket

Sugar Snap Peas – organic
These edible-pod peas keep surprising us during this hot spring. They have managed to keep on producing withjust a little trickle irrigation. Although the pods are edible, remember to pull the strings on either side before eating.

Beets – organic
You may have a mixture of Heirloom Chioggia (pink outside, striped on the inside), Dark Red Beets, Golden Beets, or the Sweet White Beets. They all can be cooked whole; steamed, sautéed, or oven-roasted. Refrig-erate for up to 2 weeks, but cut off the tops 1-2 inches just above the root for long-time storage. Use the greens mixed with chard or spinach, or add to a lettuce salad. A new idea is to slice finely and make a beet green pesto.

Green cabbage - organic
This green variety has sized up nicely. With irrigation, the burst of needed water caused a few of the larger heads to split-you may have seen this on tomatoes in your home garden after a rain. This happens in one day and is difficult to prevent. Wash well and know that it will not affect flavor.

These small veggies can be sliced into half-moons and sautéed in olive oil with a little garlic scape for an easy side dish. Or add to a steamer pot with broccoli and cauliflower!

Butterhead lettuce – organic
This soft lettuce head has come through the hot weather to offer what may be our last head for a while. More seedlings are out but the drought makes their growth un-predictable right now.

Garlic Scapes - organic
Garlic scapes are the center stalks of the garlic plant. You can use the scapes in any manner as you would garlic cloves. Chop finely since the stalk is fibrous. You can make a sauce or pesto or sauté like onions.

Cauliflower – organic
This veggie is one of the most nutritious, said to contain cancer preventing compounds and many essential minerals. We have 3 spring varieties of white and purple (turns green when cooked).

Recipes to Enjoy

Garlic Scape Pesto
This recipe is shared by CSA member, Deb, who found it on the internet when learning more about garlic scapes last spring.

1 cup garlic scapes (about 8 or 9 scapes), top flowery part removed, cut into ¼ inch slices
1/3 cup walnuts
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 -1/2 cup grated parmigiano
1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
Place scapes and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and whiz until well combined and somewhat smooth. Slowly drizzle in oil and process until integrated. With a rubber spatula, scoop pesto out of bowl and into a mixing bowl. Add parmigiano to taste; add salt and pepper. Makes about 6 ounces of pesto. Keeps for up to one week in an airtight container in the refrigerator. For 1/2 pound short pasta such as penne, add about 2 Tablespoons of pesto to cooked pasta along with 2 Tablespoons of the pasta water and stir until pasta is well coated.

Cabbage Pancakes
Thanks to CSA member, Beth, who adapted from Greene on Greens, by Bert Greene. She reports, “Here is the ultimate cabbage dish. If you say it is fit for a king, I will argue. That's a low estimate." Serves 4-6.

1 1/4 lbs green cabbage, trimmed, shredded (about half a large cabbage)
2-3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup flour
3 T butter, melted
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 T chopped chives or scallion tops
Cook the cabbage, uncovered, in boiling salted water for 5 minutes. Rinse under cold running water; drain, pressing out all liquid with your hands. Place the cabbage in a large bowl.
Combine the eggs, milk, flour, butter, and salt (in that order) in a blender. Blend till smooth. Combine with the cabbage. Stir in the chives or scallions. (You can add more chives, scallions, onions, shallots, peppers, or other seasonings to suit your taste at this point.)
Melt more butter or oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Spoon the batter, 1 large tablespoon for each pancake, into the skillet. Cook three or four at a time until golden on both sides. Keep warm in a low oven while frying the remaining batter, adding more butter as needed.

Quick Pickled Beets
This Martha Stewart Living easy recipe is not for a jar of beet pickles, but rather a cool summer side.

6 medium/3 large beets, trimmed to 2 inch stems
1/3 C cider vinegar
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
1/3 C olive oil
Place beets in large pot and cover with cold water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat; add 2 tsp salt. Reduce heat slightly to maintain a rolling boil. Cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain, and let cool slightly. Trim stem ends, then peel beets using a paring knife or a vegetable peeler. Cut beets crosswise into ¼ inch thick slices. Arrange on a platter. Whisk together vinegar, 1 ¼ tsp salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until emulsified. Pour vinaigrette over beets, and serve.

Week of June 11

The Buzz on Bees

By now many have heard one story or another about the reduction in honeybee populations around the country, including in our region of Kentucky. Many theories continue to make headlines on what is happening to our bees. As we learn in primary school, plants need bees for pollination and reproduction. Many of our vegetables and fruits are the direct results of flowers pollinated by honeybees. Imagine a healthy, green-leafed cucumber plant, snaking along maybe 8 to 10 feet with many small yellow blossoms only open to daylight for possibly one day. Once the bee visits a blossom, the flower begins to grow into a tiny cucumber, soon making a full sized salad slicer or possibly a future pickle. Without bees, we would have luscious green plants, but wonder where is the fruit?
Conversations among our oldest local beekeepers center on last year being the worst honey production year ever. In 2006, most beekeepers obtained only one-third the amount of honey of a normal production year. Some of the loss of last season is attributed to natural phenomena. Early rains kept bees from leaving the hives and getting enough to eat. Wildflowers and growth in planned bee habitats were abundantbut the flowers contained low amounts of nectar. Other issues also contribute to low honey years like 2006.
Toxins get into the beeswax from farm and lawn pesticides or air pollution. Problems may spread from migratory bees that are trucked around the country and rented out for pollination rather than kept for honey – there is less incentive to keep the wax frames well maintained. Urban development reduces the available forage areas; well-maintained grass lawns do not provide the desired diversity of plants; drought and/or heavy rains; mites; cell phones; global warming . . .
Many beekeepers are optimistic about honeybees and their habits this spring. A conscientious beekeeper seeks out organically managed habitats to locate hives. Good beekeepers will avoid the uses of pesticides and chemicals, maintain a diverse foraging area for bees with a variety of clovers or flowering plants, provide shade and access to fresh water, replace the frames (where the bees build up honey) when needed, use hygienic practices, and maintain and keep up their hives. We are encouraged by recent reports and hope that the benefits of an organic farming system will mitigate the stresses of the essential honeybees. Many farm foods will not grow without them.

In Your Basket

Broccoli – organic
This favorite food is coming on quickly with the hot weather. Some years an entire planting will be ready to harvest all at the same time. Other years (like now) it seems to be hit and miss. Some heads are dark green and tight; others never make ahead but go straight to the yellow flowers – a loss altogether. Broccoli likes cooler temperatures and is not predictable with our current weather. Enjoy it now and we’ll see how the three spring plantings progress.

Spinach – organic
Another favorite, your spinach can be enjoyed as a fresh salad, in wraps, or sandwiches. Steam or sauté lightly but it will drastically reduce in portion size!

Sugar Snaps – organic
Sauté with summer squash in olive oil for a fresh taste of spring! Remember to string before cooking.

Arugula –organic
Find a pasta recipe below to enjoy with arugula.

Kohlrabi – organic
Kohlrabi is very tasty and can be used raw or cooked. We’ve heard reports that peeled and sliced raw kohlrabi is a favorite “fancy snack” for 7 year-olds. This is a keeper – store the bulb in the fridge for up to a month, the leaves should be removed and cooked sooner. Peel before using.

Bok Choy – organic
This item will also keep very well for you. Packed full of nutrition, bok choy matches well with soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil, garlic, or hot chiles. Find a new recipe below.

Summer Squash
Find green zucchini and yellow squash this week. This summer staple is very low in calories and a great source of vitamins A & C, potassium and calcium. You do not need to peel, just remove the stem end.

Green Leaf Lettuce head and Red Leaf Lettuce – organic
Properly cooling and storing lettuce is the key to keeping it fresh. Wash greens once you get them home under cold running water. Discard any damaged leaves. Dry the leaves with a salad spinner, or lie out and pat dry with paper towels. Refrigerate in a plastic bag with a paper towel inside to absorb any moisture, or in a perforated bag that allows air to circulate.

Recipes to Enjoy

Linguine with Arugula and Lemon
Thanks to CSA member, Jenn, who adapted this favorite pasta dish from an Amanda Hesser recipe in Cooking for Mr. Latte. She reports that it works equally well with spinach instead of arugula. Since the recipe depends on the heat of the pasta to wilt the greens, get everything ready before the pasta cooks.

1 lb linguine
Parmesan-reggiano cheese (a wedge for grating)
2 lemons (Meyer if available)
1 cup pasta water
3 handfuls arugula or spinach, roughly chopped
½ cup cream or crème fraiche
freshly ground black pepper
Fill a large pot with water and season with enough salt to taste it. Cook pasta until al dente. While it cooks, finely grate a handful of cheese into a large serving bowl. Zest the lemons into the bowl, then add the arugula. Scoop out about 1 cup of the pasta water and reserve. Juice 1 of the lemons and reserve. When the pasta is cooked, drain and tip it into the serving bowl with the cheese and lemon. Working quickly, sprinkle lemon juice over the pasta with a little pasta water. Add the cream, then begin to fold all of the ingredients together. Fold over and over again until the pasta is slicked with sauce, the cheese is melted, the arugula wilted and the flavors harmonized. Add more lemon juice, salt, pepper, and cream to taste as desired. If the sauce is too sticky, add a little more pasta water and mix again. Serves 4.

Coconut Curried Bok Choy
Harmony Valley Farm

1 head bok choy
3 teaspoons olive oil
1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
2 tbsp yellow curry powder
2 tsp sugar
¾ tsp salt
2 tsp lime juice
½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
½ cup cilantro, chopped
Cut bok choy into bite size pieces, keeping the stems separate from the leaves. In a medium sauté pan, heat oil. Stir in curry powder, salt, and red pepper flakes. Cook about 1 minute. Add bok choy stems on the bottom of the pan and layer the greens on top. Pour coconut milk over the top. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until stems are tender and the greens are wilted. Remove from heat and stir in sugar, lime juice and cilantro.

Vanessa’s Grilled Bok Choy

1 large or 2 small bok choy
olive oil or sesame oil
salt and pepper
soy sauce (optional)
Just cut lengthwise down the bok choy, brush both sides with olive oil or sesame oil, salt and pepper both sides, and grill (cut side down)until the outside begins to caramelize. Serve with soy sauce, if desired. An easy & unusual veggie side!

Sugar Snap Peas with Wilted Lettuce
adapted from Candace McMenamin recipe

2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp pine nuts
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 quart sugar snap peas, strings removed
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup dry white wine or water
2 cups loosely packed salad lettuces
2 green onions, finely chopped
2 Tbsp shredded fresh basil
Melt butter over medium-high heat in large saucepan. Add pine nuts and shallot and cook, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes or until browned. Add peas, salt, pepper, and wine or water. Heat until just simmering; cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in greens and simmer, uncovered, until greens wilt slightly, 1 minute. Stir in green onions and basil. Remove from heat and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Week of June 4

News from the Farm

The summertime warm weather during the spring month of May, with unseasonally hot temperatures have made everything feel a little out of whack. Not only is it misleading to our own sense of season on the farm, but some plants themselves are confused. Where is the season? Did I miss my time? The broccoli, the cauliflower, the peas, the spring onions have to be asking these questions. The cold April weather put their early growth on hold, then the hot dry climate we now have usually belongs more to beans, squash, potatoes – the late June crops.
Some transplanted crops like the sweet basil and the okra may be a little later to harvest. We often have it in mid-June, but we kept the transplants in the heated greenhouse longer into the spring this year. High yields should make up for the late start.
We will try to keep you up-to-date on how things progress, but don’t be surprised if several items ripen at an unpredictable pace.
The blackberry patch has some blooming! Actually about one-half of the plants are showing some blooms, and we can expect some fruit to set as long as the blossoms are pollinated. We did lose several berry canes to the freeze and are concerned about how the others will perform. By having 5 varieties we can compare their growth, disease resistance, and performance in the cold weather. We intend to replace our lost canes with more of the Triple Crown variety. The berry harvest season is not until later in July.

In Your Basket

Arugula –organic
This bitter flavored green is considered to bring good luck to those who eat it. It is well balanced in a salad with a sweet flavor like the currants in the recipe below. Or, just add to a lettuce salad to offer a spicy punch!

Kohlrabi – organic
This ball-like item with the leaves coming out of the top and sides can be described as having a radishy bite, a crisp turnipy texture, and a sweet cucumber taste. It is a member of the cabbage family and the greens can be prepared just like other types of heavy greens, similar to collard or kale.
Peel the skin. Kohlrabi can be thinly sliced and used in dips or as a snack. You can grate it and put it on top of salads. Once cooked, the flavor really sweetens in a surprising taste! Store the globe and leaves separately. Wrap the leaves in a damp towel in a container and store in your refrigerator for a few days. The globe can be put stored in a containerin the refrigerator for up to a month.

Turnips with greens -organic
Turnips are also members of the cabbage family and like other cabbage relatives, tend to grown best in cooler weather. Fall turnips usually are small and sweet, while this year our spring turnips grow large quickly due to hot temperatures. Turnips are often cooked with other foods and they tend to absorb the flavor of those other foods. They don’t need to be peeled, but you can if you want to. Turnips can be eaten raw like an apple, can be added to chicken salad, lettuce salad, or cole slaw. The bulbs keep well in the refrigerator and are a nice addition to a slow roasted meat dish (think pot roast or baked chicken).
Turnip greens are milder than mustard greens and kale. They are too coarse to eat raw, but they can be steamed or sautéed.

Summer Squash
We grow over 10 types of summer squash including the yellow squash, round patty-pan type, and zucchini. This week’s harvest is the first walkthrough over the entire field. We expect different sizes and shapes today. Don’t worry about peeling at this young age, and seed develop-ment is also small and tender. Sauté, steam or oven roast for the best flavor.

Green lettuce head and Red leaf lettuce – organic
This type of red lettuce has shiny, lightly puckered red-tinged leaves. At full size, they form a whorled, conical head with a crispy, green heart. We find the flavor superior.

Sugar snap peas – organic
Three types of peas: Shell peas have an inedible pod. Snow peas are flat edible pods with small, undeveloped peas inside. Sugar snap peas are sweet and juicy peas inside an edible pod – you have these! You need to string your snap peas before eating. Simply snap off the stem tip toward the flat side of the pod and pull downward (like stringing green beans). Peas are best if you eat them immediately. But if you must store them, put them unshelled in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Sauté for only a few minutes. To retain bright color, drop into boiling water for 1-2
minutes, remove and plunge into cold water to stop cooking. Chill before adding to a summer salad.

Recipes to Enjoy

Tuscan Bread Salad
This recipe is from Chef Melissa Kelly, owner of Primo in Rockland, Maine. The restaurant grows as many of its own vegetables as possible and utilizes foods from local farms and local fisheries.

½ loaf sourdough or other hearty bread, crust removed and torn into chunks
¾ C plus 1 T extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
2 shallots, peeled and minced (use green onions)
½ cup white wine vinegar
1 T whole-grain mustard
1 tsp Dijon-style mustard
2 bunches arugula (use lettuce also if desired)
½ C pine nuts, toasted
½ C dried currants, plumped in 2 T warm water for about 10 minutes
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss bread chunks in bowl with 1 T olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Spread bread chunks on a baking sheet, and toast in oven until light golden brown, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, place shallots in a mixing bowl, add vinegar and mustards. Steep at least 10 minutes. Whisk remaining ¾ C oil into mixture; add salt and pepper. Arrange arugula in a large salad bowl with bread, nuts, and currants. Toss with shallot mixture and serve.

Oven-Roasted Roots and Spuds
This farm favorite can be adapted to any assortment of beets, turnips, or potatoes. Try beets and potatoes, or just beets, or turnips and potatoes. The root veggies will sweeten up and be packed with flavor.

assorted beets, turnips, potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
garlic powder
Cut tops and long root off beets and turnips. Scrub any dirt away but skins can remain. Clean potatoes same way. Slice or cube veggies into bite size pieces. Toss in bowl with olive oil until well covered. Spread onto baking sheet in single layer. Sprinkle with garlic powder. Roast in 400 oven 8-10 minutes. Toss and turn to brown all sides. Roast 7-8 minutes more until done – longer if pieces are thick. Add salt if desired to taste.

Braised Kohlrabi with Tarragon
From Greene on Greens by Bert Greene

1 ½ to 2 pounds kohlrabi, trimmed & peeled
2 T butter
¼ C chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp minced tarragon
salt and pepper
Cut peeled kohlrabi bulbs into strips 3 inches long and quarter inch thick. Melt butter in heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add kohlrabi and toss well to coat. Add stock and tarragon. Cook, covered until just tender, about 15 minutes. Remove cover and raise heat slightly. Cook until golden. Add salt and pepper to taste.