Monday, July 30, 2012

CSA News, Week 13

Yes, some sweet corn was blown down last week during the storm.  Wait . . . a storm?  a rainstorm?  with rain? 

There was rain at Elmwood the end of the week, and though we lost a little corn, the much-needed water will go a long way towards helping several other crops.  Luckily, no other serious damage.

How Can I Do More?

You belong to an organic CSA program, you might shop at a local farmers market, and you may purchase organic products from the local natural food store or food-buying club.  How else can you be involved in changing the future of food for yourself and your family?  Learn more about local and national groups and organizations that work in the areas of food production and food policy.  Some advocate for policies to help organic farming, some give technical advice for organic production, some help shoppers make better informed decisions when in the marketplace.  Collectively they help shape a different type of food production system that ultimately leads to healthier people sustained by nutritious foods, and a cleaner, more sustainable world.  Yes, thinking globally while acting locally.  No matter our age, there is always more to learn!

(1) OAK:  According to the mission, the Organic Association of Kentucky(OAK) promotes organic production and consumption in Kentucky as part of a food and farming system that strengthens communities by being economically viable and environmentally sound.  OAK is a member-driven nonprofit organization. Members work together to:
* Promote Kentucky’s organic farms and farmers
* Share information with one another
* Guide research programs related to organic agriculture
* Educate consumers about organic food and farm products
This fairly new organization holds an annual conference, maintains an active blog-based website, and is welcoming membership to anyone interested in supporting organic farming in Kentucky.

(2) SSAWG:  The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, commonly known as Southern SAWG, was founded in 1991 to foster a movement towards a more sustainable farming and food system – one that is ecologically sound, economically viable, socially just and humane.   It functions as a regional entity, working with and through hundreds of associated organizations across 13 southern states.   Southern SAWG focuses attention on issues and differing perspectives around food production, marketing, and distribution, and
brings sustainable solutions to farmers, families and communities in the southern U.S.   SSAWG has provided education and outreach to more than 10,000 farmers and food advocates in the past 20 years. The annual Conference is hailed as the South's leading sustainable and organic agriculture event, bringing together over 1,200 people annually for peer learning, networking and cross-pollination of ideas.

(3) OFRF:  Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) has a very clear vision -- that organic farming will be the leading form of agriculture in America. OFRF cultivates organic research, education, and federal policy that bring more farmers and acreage into organic production. Founded in 1990, OFRF is a leading champion of American organic family farmers.  Its four areas of focus are: policy in Congress and federal agencies; education work to integrate organic farming programs into all agricultural universities; grantmaking that expands the adoption of organic farming and practices while addressing urgent issues faced by many organic farmers in America; and building community to cultivate a broader and deeper connection among organic supporters.

(4) LFM:  The Lexington Farmers Market, where Elmwood sets up a booth several days weekly, is the largest outdoor market in the state, continuously open since 1975.  A special upcoming event “A Taste of the Farm Dinner” will be held on Saturday evening, August 25th in the Pavilion at Cheapside Park.  Tickets are now available online

Another way to become involved includes volunteering at one of the markets through the partner organization, Friends of the Farmers Market, at the information booth, or as an ambassador for local food.

Your farmers at Elmwood Stock Farm have been involved with each of these groups through the years, including serving on the Board of Directors, attending or presenting at the annual conferences, and giving time and resources whenever we can.  Having a network of resources helps in every profession, even organic farming!

In Your Share

Blackberries- organic
Sweet Corn – organic
Onions - organic
Green Bell Pepper
Salad Mix - organic

Heirloom & Hybrid Tomatoes – organic
Beets – organic
Collard Greens -organic
Hot Peppers – organic

Recipes to Enjoy

Heirloom Tomato Salad, a Heidi Swanson recipe, serves 4-6 as a side, visit her website, 101 Cookbooks.

2 pounds tomatoes (a mix of small heirlooms & cherry tomatoes), halved
¼ C extra virgin olive oil
1 T brown sugar or maple syrup
couple pinches of fine grain sea salt
1/3 C toasted almond slices
2 T capers, fried in a bit of oil
6 oz good mozzarella, torn into chunks
a handful of torn lettuce leaves
generous drizzle of lemon olive oil or chive oil
herb flowers, to serve

To start, you're going to roast about 1/2 of the tomatoes.  Preheat the oven to 350°F, and adjust the oven rack to the top third of the oven. Toss the tomatoes you will be roasting gently (but well) in a bowl along with the olive oil, sugar, and salt. Arrange them in a single layer, cut side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, without stirring, until the tomatoes shrink a bit and start to caramelize around the edges, 45 to 60 minutes. Set aside to cool.
When ready to serve, gently toss the roasted and raw tomatoes with a bit of chive or lemon oil, most of the almonds, the capers, the mozzarella, and the lettuce. Taste, season with a bit more salt if needed. Serve topped with the remaining almonds, and any herb flowers you might have.

Pasta with Beet Greens and Raisins, our thanks to a CSA member for sharing this recipe, she highly recommends adding ricota salata, feta, or another crumbly cheese to make this significantly better!

8 oz uncooked pennette (mini penne)
¼ C raisins
1 ½ olive oil
2 C coarsely chopped trimmed beet greens (spinach or chard could also be used)
2 tsp minced garlic
1/3 C slivered almonds, toasted
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
cracked black pepper (optional)

Cook the pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. While pasta cooks, place raisins in a small bowl; cover with hot water. Let stand 10 minutes. Drain. While pasta cooks and raisins soak, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add greens and garlic; sauté 3 minutes or until greens are tender. Stir in pasta, raisins, almonds, salt, and 1/8 tsp black pepper; toss to combine. Sprinkle with cracked black pepper, if desired. Yields 4 one-cup servings.

Tomato and Sweet Corn Pie, recipe from Deb Perelman, adapted from Gourmet, August 2009. Visit her website, SmittenKitchen

2 C all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1 3/4 tsp salt, divided
3/4 stick (6 T or 3 oz) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus 2 tsp melted
3/4 C whole milk
1/3 C mayonnaise
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 3/4 lbs beefsteak tomatoes
1 1/2 C corn (from about 3 ears), coarsely chopped by hand (my preference) or lightly puréed in a food processor, divided
2 T finely chopped basil, divided (skipped this, no harm was done)
1 T finely chopped chives, divided
1/4 tsp black pepper, divided
7oz coarsely grated sharp Cheddar (1 3/4 C), divided

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 3/4 tsp salt in a bowl, then blend in cold butter (3/4 stick) with your fingertips or a pastry blender until it resembles coarse meal. Add milk, stirring until mixture just forms a dough, then gather into a ball.

Divide dough in half and roll out one piece on a well-floured counter into a 12-inch round (1/8 inch thick). Fold the round gently in quarters, lift it into a 9-inch pie plate and gently unfold and center it. Pat the dough in with your fingers, trim any overhang.

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Put the second half of the dough in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. Whisk together mayonnaise and lemon juice.

Cut an X in bottom of each tomato and blanch in a large pot of boiling water 10 seconds. Immediately transfer with a slotted spoon to an ice bath to cool. Peel tomatoes, then slice crosswise 1/4 inch thick and, if desired, gently remove seeds and extra juices.  (This is not necessary, but excessive juice will allow the piecrust to become slightly soggy in the center – though it will be very yummy). Arrange half of tomatoes in crust, overlapping, and sprinkle with half of corn, 1 T basil, 1/2 T chives, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper and 1 C of grated cheese. Repeat layering with remaining tomatoes, corn, basil, chives, salt, and pepper. Pour lemon mayonnaise over filling and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Roll out remaining piece of dough into a 12-inch round in same manner, then fit over filling, folding overhang under edge of bottom crust and pinching edge to seal. Cut 4 steam vents in top crust and brush crust with melted butter (2 tsp). Bake pie until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes, then cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.