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.