Monday, August 8, 2011

Week 14, CSA

Good Stuff Behind the Local Food Movement

Most of you know that our farm is not open to the public, as we don’t have an on-farm store. We are not organized to offer tours of the farm, don’t have adequate parking lots & restrooms for school groups and u-pick. Maybe one day in the future, but not right now as all of our efforts are needed in growing good organic food in a sustainable manner.

However, this past week, we hosted a tour for university researchers and educators from around the country. As part of the Sustainable Agriculture Educators Association annual meeting held at the University of Kentucky, we opened the gate for about 1 hour to share our sustainability philosophy with many of them. We barely finished loading that day’s CSA boxes on the truck for delivery before they arrived, then we could take a few minutes to tell our story. These brief encounters with knowledgeable professionals are one of our ways of giving back for all the help we have received over the years to develop the sustainable organic system of farming we employ.

Kentucky has much to offer as a vibrant organic and sustainable agriculture community. UK, Kentucky State University in Frankfort, and Berea College all have certified organic acreage for research and demonstration purposes. Each of them has strong student programs as part of their mission. Diversification dollars available to producers through the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the Governor’s Office of Agriculture Policy have spurred not only infrastructure growth for farmers, but expanded the conversation about sustainable development of the local food movement.

At the researcher/educator’s dinner program last week, it was obvious that Kentucky has something special going on as local chefs prepared a Kentucky Proud meal with food stations bursting with dishes of local flavor. Guests saw the leadership from the universities, state government, & non-profit groups sharing the podium declaring continued commitment of resources to further the cause of consuming locally grown foods.

What really got their attention was the reading of a short story by Wendell Berry. He graciously stayed at the podium fielding questions from the audience about specific aspects of developing local food economies. One guest at the dinner said it best, “Guess you folks got to get it right when you know you have to answer face to face with Wendell Berry!”

We thank you, our CSA members, for your support of the local food movement. Your partnership with the farm is an important piece that allows us to provide this food for you, your family and friends.

In Your Share

Items in shares may vary depending on your harvest day and share size. Each share may not contain every item listed below.

Fresh Berries – organic

Cabbage – organic
Prepare cabbage by cutting the head first into quarters, then diagonally across the wedge. Cut into thin slices for tossing raw into salads, or cut into thicker slices for steaming or boiling. Steam cabbage for 5-7 minutes, top with butter, a pinch of salt and pepper and some grated cheese. Over cooking will result in too strong of an odor and flavor. Cabbage is great sautéed and stir-fried with other veggies.

Sweet Corn – organic

Garlic – organic

Leeks - organic

Related to onions, leeks can be cooked whole on the grill, steamed, braised, or baked. They have a mild flavor and sweeten when cooked. Store refrigerated, leeks will keep for two weeks; can be substituted for onions in recipes for a different flavor.

Yellow Onions – organic

Red Bell Pepper – organic

Tomatoes – organic

Collard Greens – organic

Fennel - organic

Fennel is known to aid in digestion, cure poor eyesight, help a nervous condition, and even repel insects. Refrigerate realizing that the anise aroma will spread throughout your fridge, store in closed containers. Fennel is quite popular as a fresh herb seasoning for fish along with lemon. Visit our online blog, entering fennel in the search space to see several recipes.

Recipes to Enjoy

Fresh Tomato Pie
“The New Southern Garden Cookbook: Enjoying the Best From Homegrown Gardens, Farmers’ Markets, Roadside Stands, and CSA Farm Boxes,” by Sheri Castle. Makes: 1 pie, or 8 servings.

One 9-inch deep-dish pie shell
1 ½ pounds large sun-ripened tomatoes (peeling is optional)
½ tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
¼ C lightly packed basil leaves, coarsely chopped
½ C crisp bacon pieces (optional)
¼ tsp celery salt or celery seed
¾ C high-quality mayonnaise
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 ¼ C grated Asiago cheese, divided
½ tsp ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/3 C crushed Saltine cracker crumbs

1. Bake and cool the pie shell.

2. When ready to bake the pie, heat oven to 350 degrees.

3. Use a serrated knife to cut the tomatoes into ¼ -inch-thick slices. Cover a wire rack with several layers of paper towels and set the rack over the sink to catch the drips. Arrange the tomatoes in a single layer on the rack. Sprinkle them with the salt and let drain for at least 10 minutes. Pat the tomatoes dry with fresh paper towels.

4. Arrange half of the tomatoes over the bottom of the pie shell. Scatter the basil and bacon, if using, over the first layer of tomatoes, and arrange the rest of the tomatoes on top.

5. Stir together the celery salt, mayonnaise, lemon zest and lemon juice in a small bowl. Stir in ¾ C of the cheese, and season with salt and pepper. Spread the mayonnaise mixture over the tomatoes.

6. Toss together the remaining ½ C of cheese and the cracker crumbs in a small bowl; sprinkle over the top of the pie.

7. Bake until the top of the pie is nicely browned, 30 to 35 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool to room temperature before serving.

Scalloped Tomatoes
Here is an easy-to-prepare Southern recipe for those of you craving the flavors you grew up eating before we were told not to eat our fats. Nutritionists now say that not all fats are the same and your body actually needs good fats for true health. Use organic, pasture raised pork bacon if you can find it, and your favorite tomatoes.

4 slices bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 small onion, chopped
¼ cup seasoned dry bread crumbs

3 medium tomatoes, sliced ¼-inch thick

1. In small bowl in the microwave, cook bacon, covered, on High 3 to 4 minutes until crisp. Remove bacon; set aside.

2. Discard all but 1 tbsp fat. To fat remaining, in bowl, add onion. Cook, covered, 1 minute.

3. Stir in breadcrumbs. Cook 2 ½ to 3 ½ minutes until brown and crisp, stirring often during cooking.

4. Around edge of 9-inch pie plate, arrange tomato slices overlapping. Sprinkle crumbs and bacon on tomatoes. Cook on High 3 to 4 minutes until heated through.

Fresh Tomato Sauce for Pasta
Our thanks to Wash House Herb Farm in Scott County for sharing this tasty recipe – special since it does not require cooking. Serves 2.

4 ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped, use more if you like it
¼ C fresh basil, chopped
¼ C extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients, cover and let set for about an hour. Do not cook. Serve over hot pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Enjoy.

Cherry Tomatoes in Oil & Vinegar

Wash House Herb Farm

Mix together and marinate overnight:
¼ C olive oil
2-3 T balsamic vinegar
1 T minced garlic
1 T chopped fresh basil or other favorite herb
salt and pepper to taste
2 pounds cherry type tomatoes

Fresh Cabbage Slaw
Recipe from Barbara Boltjes. We’ve tried this with both savoy cabbage and green cabbage, interchanging the radishes for kohlrabi, or whatever we have on hand that day. It is very versatile.

2 C shredded cabbage
½ C shredded carrot
½ C sliced green onion
1/3 C sliced radishes
¼ C chopped fresh cilantro
¼ C coarsely chopped peanuts (optional)
¼ C rice vinegar

Add vinegar to all other ingredients; toss.