Monday, June 16, 2008

What a Difference a Year Makes!

CSA, Week 6, June 2008

The pop-up rainstorms have been good to the farm so far. We have not had storm or hail damage during the last week like others in the area. Last Friday evening brought 2.4 inches when it was very much needed. We received more on Monday morning (though a little challenging to harvest in). Even with a cool spring, several weeks of a contin-uous dry wind quickly dries out plants and the soil. Looking back one year ago, we were already in the midst of the ‘07drought. Unlike last year, we have been able to plant corn, beans, beets, and Brussels sprouts and achieve successful germination in the fields. We do contend with fast-growing weeds that often will outpace the desired plant if not addressed within 2 or 3 days, mostly with hand work of chopping and pulling. It is sad to know about farms in the Midwest experiencing the worst possible flooding; but from our own exper-iences with drought, both last year and in the late 1980’s when our spring-fed well ran out of water, we really don’t want either extreme!

The first cutting, raking and baling of hay is al-most complete. Grasses and clovers have contin-ued strong growth in the pastures for the grazing cattle and sheep (and the chickens and turkeys too). In general, most things look good!

In Your Share . . .
Items will vary depending on your harvest and pickup day and the share size - every share may not have every item listed.

Beets – organic – new this week!
We harvested today a mixture of Heirloom Chioggia (pink outside, pink and white striped on the inside), Dark Red Beets, Golden Beets, and some Sweet White Beets. They all can be cooked whole; steamed, sautéed, or oven-roasted. Roasting brings out a sweet flavor enjoyed by folks who think they don’t care for beets. Refrigerate the bulbs several weeks if desired, but cut off the tops 1-2 inches just above the root for long-time storage. The greens should be used fairly soon, are desirable as a mild salad or cooking green, and can be mixed with chard or spinach.

Cilantro – organic – new this week!
Found in many types of cooking styles, cilantro is more desired as a fresh herb in American cooking. It grows well in cooler weather and must be replanted often to withstand hot temperatures. Cilantro likes cool refrigeration to maintain freshness. Can be frozen or dried (but flavor is lost when dried).Use in green salad, pasta, or with sautéed veggies. Add to homemade salsas, marinade, or vinaigrettes.

Garlic Scapes – organic – new this week!
Garlic scapes are the center stalks of the hard neck garlic plant. Early in the season, you had the green garlic leaves of the garlic plant. Both grow above the ground and can be enjoyed in many dishes while we wait for the bulbs to fill out into cloves underground. Use the scapes in any manner you would use garlic cloves. Chop finely or use a processor since some stalks can be fibrous. The heads are also edible. You can make pesto; chop in salads; or sauté similar to green onions. Store refrigerated or in water in a vase.

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce Head – organic
This week’s healthy head is an heirloom variety that is unique in appearance and full of flavor. Bronze Arrow, a loose leaf rather than heading type, handles the heat better than some other types.

Red Butterhead Lettuce – organic
This week find a striking butterhead heirloom variety, Carmona Red. We are unable to grown iceberg type of lettuces here as the heat gets the plants before they can make a tight head. We think the butterheads are a nicer alternative.

Green Leaf Lettuce Head – organic
This week’s green leaf is the first harvest from our most recent planting.

Snow Peas – organic – new this week!

This variety, Oregon Giant, is a large pod, sweet pea similar to sugar snaps – you do eat the pod too! Some larger peas may have a string on one side that should be removed before preparing.

Spinach – organic
We continue to harvest from our spinach beds although the plants will not get much larger, nor produce a lot more. The heat and longer days cause the leaves to thicken and flavor to become diminished. Chop and enjoy raw or add to a pasta dish.

Summer Squash – new this week!
Our squash plantings include yellow straight-neck summer squash, green zucchini, pale green cousa, and round patty pan types. Today we are harvesting the early yellow squash/green zucchini squash. Store refrigerated for a week or more. Find a new recipe below.

Red Leaf Lettuce – organic
This week’s red leaf head is a French crisp head variety, Rouge de Grenoblouse. It is one of the more sweet red lettuces, which usually have stronger flavors. The more color in the vegetable, the more nutrition!

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Garlic Scape Pesto
This recipe is shared by a member who found it on the internet when researching garlic scapes.

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 saltblack 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 ½ 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.

Rice With Squash and Cumin

an excellent tasting recipe from The Food Network

5 to 6 assorted small squashes, zucchini, yellow summer squashes, patty pans

1/2 cup olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed (you can use your chopped garlic scapes)
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 to 2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cooked rice, (aromatic is nice)
1 bunch parsley leaves, washed and chopped roughly (substitute cilantro if desired)

Trim squashes and cut into small 1/4-inch diced.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a frying pan and add 1/3 of the diced squashes and some salt and pepper. Sauté small batches briefly over high heat stirring often until lightly browned and slightly soft. Transfer to a bowl.

Cook diced onion in remaining olive oil in frying pan over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook briefly. Add cumin, reduce heat to low, cook stirring about 2 minutes, and then add to squashes in bowl. Add rice and chopped parsley and adjust seasonings. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

Salad Mix with Beets and Feta

adapted from Rock Spring Farm

Wash, dry, and tear your lettuce ready for salad toppings. Plan ahead to roast beets in advance.
2 tsp red wine vinegar
3 Tbs. olive or nut oil
1 lb roasted red beets
3 cups salad mix
1/4 lb feta cheese, crumbled

Whisk together the vinegar and oil to make avinaigrette. 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.

To Roast Beets:

Scrub beets and trim tops to 1 inch (leaving a little stem prevents the bleeding common with red beets). Place in foil, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap tightly. Oven roast 350-400 degrees or put on grill for 30 minutes – 1 hour depending on size of beets. Beets are done when can be easily pierced with a fork. Let cool and remove skins.