Monday, August 29, 2011

Week 17, CSA News

Certified Organic . . . The Best of the Best

We try to be clear in our newsletter each week of what is organic, and the few items that are not. Though we grow 5 vegetables that do not yet meet the criteria for certification, we do employ lots of the same earth friendly techniques. Let’s look at what we must do and who determines if we fulfill our obligations to achieve organic certification and use the word “organic” in referencing products.

Each year we submit our farm plan to Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association (OEFFA) which is accredited to administer the USDA Organic Certification production and labeling program. OEFFA staff evaluates our plan to verify we document the purchases of inputs that will not contaminate our fields or products, maintain and enhance the environment and farm ecosystems, and harvest and deliver items to you with assuredness they meet standards. An inspector is sent at least once a year to visually inspect the farm, look at records, and document we are following the plan submitted.

The farm plan is based upon “The Rule.” The rule is a comprehensive Federal regulation agreed upon in the mid 1990’s and fully implemented in 2002. The rule addresses everything from GMO exclusions, environmental stewardship, animal welfare, food processing, packaging, and labeling. The volume of record keeping, auditable activity logs, and worker training is a tremendous burden, especially since we produce such a wide variety of crops and livestock. But we feel that the benchmark of organic certification is worth the hours of time and extra effort.

Mac administers the Kentucky Dept. of Agriculture Organic Certification Program for KY farmers, which is why we use an out-of-state agency to prevent any conflict of interest. Earlier this year, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack appointed Mac to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), a 15-member board that oversees “The Rule” and makes recom-mendations to the Secretary and the administrative branch of the USDA National Organic Program. This board deals with international compatibility issues, new products being requested to be allowed, and general guidelines that give the 53 accreditation agencies (like OEFFA and KDA) the tools they need to effectively monitor the operations they certify as organic. Members of the board range from chemists to food manufacturing professionals, consumer advocates, livestock and crop professionals and certified organic farmers.

So rest assured when you see the logo, there is a tremendous degree of scrutiny from thoughtful caring individuals that you are consuming the best of the best!

In Your Share
Items in shares may vary depending on share size and harevst day. Each share may not contain every items listed below.

Sweet Basil–organic
This week find a little fresh basil to use in your favorite dishes, not enough to make pesto for the freezer. Basil can be stored in your refrigerator as long as there is an extra cushion of air to protect from below 40°. Keep in the bag and put into another container. If the leaves do dry, remove from the stems and use as dried basil all year long.

Swiss Chard–organic


Edamame – organic

Leeks - organic

We have enough of the small French cantaloupe type melons today for all shares. They are picked ripe and have a thin skin, so go ahead and cut up into a container for your refrigerator now. We like the size, taste, & growth habits of this variety, so probably will grow again next season. As you know we continue to try out melons looking for non-GMO varieties that grow well for us in Kentucky.



Tomatoes – organic
We have at least 4 different recipes for Tomato Pie on our web blog (also a Chard Pie recipe), just enter Pie in the search spot at the top of the screen. Scroll down. You can enjoy these like quiche, served hot or cold, for dinner or breakfast, or pack for your lunch!

Garlic – organic

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

African Pineapple Peanut Stew
Our thanks to a CSA member for sharing this recipe she adapted from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home.

1 cup chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T vegetable or olive oil
1 bunch chard
2 cups undrained canned crushed pineapple
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 T Tabasco or hot pepper sauce
1/2 cup cilantro
chopped salt

Sauté onions and garlic in a saucepan in oil for 10 minutes until lightly browned. Slice greens into 1-inch thick slices. Add pineapple and its juice to onions and bring to a simmer. Stir in greens and simmer for 5 more minutes. Mix in peanut butter, Tabasco, cilantro and salt and simmer for 5 more minutes. Serve over couscous.

Tomato and Bread Salad

¼ lb Italian bread, torn into chunks (4 cups)
¼ cup olive oil
½ small red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 large tomatoes (1 ½ lbs), diced
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar ½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and sliced
¼ cup thinly sliced basil leaves

1. Toast bread on baking sheet in 350-degree oven for 5 minutes.
2. Heat olive oil in large skillet. Cool onion and garlic over medium-high heat, 2 minutes.
3. Remove from heat, then stir in tomatoes, vinegar, slat, and pepper.
4. Place bread in large bowl and toss with tomato mixture, cucumber, and basil.

Steamed Leeks with Ginger Sauce
Recipe from the editors of Cook’s Illustrated who researched and tested all the best recipes for leeks prior to recommending this one.

3 to 4 small to medium leeks
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
3 T soy sauce
1 T sugar

1. Trim the leeks about 2 inches beyond the point where the leaves start to darken. Trim the root end, keeping the base intact. (Did you know that the root ends can be dropped into oil and pan-fried similar to tiny French fries or okra? Very trendy these days.) Slit each leek lengthwise upward through the leaves, leaving the base intact. Rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of dirt.

2. Fill a large pot with enough water to come to a depth of 1 inch. Cover and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Arrange the leeks in a single layer in a steamer basket. When the water comes to a boil, carefully place the steamer basket with the leeks into the pot. Cover and steam until the leeks are tender and the tip of a knife inserted into the thickest part of a leek meets no resistance, 10 to 12 minutes.

3. While the leeks are steaming, whisk the ginger, soy sauce, and sugar together in a small bowl.

4. Place the leeks on a serving platter, drizzle the ginger sauce over the leeks, and serve hot or warm.

Cool Cucumber Spaghetti,
a Bert Greene recipe, serves 4

4 cucumbers, each about 7 inches long
½ C plus 1 T red wine vinegar
½ tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 large shallot, minced
2 T water
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 T chopped fresh dill

Peel the cucumbers, then scrape the flesh with a vegetable zester lengthwise to form long spaghetti-like strands. Place the strands in a colander; sprinkle them with 1 T vinegar, the salt, and ½ tsp sugar. Let stand 30 minutes.

Shake the colander to remove any excess liquid. Do not squeeze the cucumber strands. Transfer them to a bowl and add the shallot.

Combine the remaining 1/3 C vinegar, 1 ½ tsp sugar, and the water.

Pour the dressing over the cucumbers; add the pepper and 2 T dill. Toss lightly with two forks. Refrigerate, covered, 30 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 T dill.

Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Recipe from Sunny Season Flavors, serves 6

6 vine-ripened tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 T brown sugar
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T olive oil
1 T torn basil leaves, to serve

Preheat the oven to 300°. Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Halve the tomatoes horizontally and place, skin-side down, on the prepared tray. Add a piece of garlic to each half, sprinkle with the sugar and drizzle the vinegar and oil over the top. Season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 1 hour or until softened and lightly charred. Set aside to cool. Serve tomatoes at room temperature garnished with the torn basil.