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.