Monday, July 15, 2013

Week 11, Reminding Us Why We Do This . . .

While loading CSA share for delivery one day this past week, we took a few minutes to marvel at the bounty of the produce, leading us to later begin considering all the attributes associated with each item. The discussion went beyond non-GMO, no harsh pesticides, or no questionable post-harvest handling procedures, all of which are tenants of Organic Certification. The conversation turned to the unique varieties we choose to grow. And, then to the system of managing the land to provide the balance of nutrients for optimum growth.  Eventually, leading to the topic of efficiency necessary to harvest, wash, pack, and cool each product in its proscribed method. We have shared before how important a system of washing and packing the produce to preserve that just picked quality is, while ensuring there are no food safety issues to contend with. The flavors alone speak to this freshness.  Finally we spent time talking about the individuals and families that count on us to follow this process of providing good food.

There is third-party inspection of our entire operation annually by our accredited organic Certification Agency. Product samples may be taken at any given moment to verify compliance. Usually the inspections are scheduled to ensure adequate time is given to verification of documentation and visual inspection of the fields and livestock to verify the plants and animals are well cared for. Unannounced inspections can happen at any time. Then there is the positive economic impact of producing the food right here in our community. The farm crew is well compensated for their work, with housing supplied to some, which must be inspected and verified as sufficient by the Labor Cabinet. Plus, the farm provides a well-balanced noon-time meal six days a week, prepared from our organic homegrown meats and produce. We support the local economy by purchasing what we need to run the business locally. 

When we set up at the weekend farmers markets with a bountiful series of tables, baskets, trays, and bins it can be a marvelous display of color, aroma, and wholesome goodness. There is a sense of satisfaction that we have the opportunity to design, engineer, and construct a system to give people access to such goodness.  Last week, a new customer, whom we did not recognize, approached the booth and declared she was recently diagnosed with an insidious metabolic disorder and was instructed by her physician to eat organic foods. While gathering up all kinds of vegetables, some of which she had never seen before (much less cooked), she commented that in the past she had spent more time picking out her hair care products or her new TV, than her food. She was scared. ‘What if it is too late’ was apparent in her eyes. She appeared to be a person of means driving an expensive car, and mentioning the neighborhood where she lived.  Food is the one thing that actually becomes a part of you, not just something around you, and unfortunately too many people give it little or no thought.  It is such a shame that many families have to encounter a medical situation before they begin to look at the quality of the food they ingest. We helped her make her selections, and hope we begin to see a lot more of her as she transitions to better food-buying choices.

As a CSA shareholder of Elmwood Stock Farm, we know you have begun to consider the importance of healthy eating habits. You are probably familiar with the Environmental Working Group’s dirty dozen list. You know how pervasive genetically engineered crops have pushed themselves into the marketplace with no acknowledgement on the label. You know how to travel and not succumb to settling for roadside restaurants, whether you order standing up or sitting down, the ingredients are the same. You no longer throw caution to the wind and eat roller food at the gas station “food store”. Really, is there anything in those places you should eat? The down side is having to be polite when encountering the aforementioned foods at a friend’s house or social event. You can decrease your portion size but you still gotta eat something. Luckily, our digestive systems are fairly forgiving if you don’t overly tax it.  People can even heal earlier damage by changing their eating habits today. 

So, please consume your Elmwood food products with pride, knowing you are eating the best of all possible options. You have taken time and evaluated what is going into your body for sustenance, vim and vigor, and you can rest easy knowing what’s not in your food.  We’ll keep working at growing and providing the best we can for you.  And you keep enjoying it.  And, be sure to tell your friends so they can eat in peace as well.

In Your Share


Green Beans – organic


Kale Greens – organic

Lettuce – organic

Green Bell Pepper – organic

Gold Potatoes - organic

Baby Squash Mix

Green Tomatoes - organic

Carrot and Radish Bunch – organic

Watermelon - organic


Recipes to Enjoy

Massaged Kale Salad, our thanks to a CSA member for sharing this Aarti Sequeira recipe. She suggests massaging about 5-6 minutes (a little longer than the original recipe) for fantastic results.

1 bunch kale stalks removed and discarded, leaves thinly sliced
1 lemon, juiced
¼ C extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Kosher salt
2 tsp honey
freshly ground black pepper
1 mango, diced small (about 1 Cup)
Small handful (about 2 rounded T) toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

In large serving bowl, add the kale, half of lemon juice, a drizzle of oil and a little kosher salt. Massage until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside while you make the dressing.

In a small bowl, whisk remaining lemon juice with the honey and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Stream in the 1/4 C of oil while whisking until a dressing forms, and you like how it tastes.   Pour the dressing over the kale, and add the mango and pepitas. Toss and serve.

Grilled Summer Squash, thank you to a CSA member for sharing this recipe she goes to as everyone loves veggies from the grill!  Adapted from a Martha Shulman recipe, July 2004 Cooking Light.

1/4 C fresh lemon juice
1/4 C plain fat-free yogurt
1 T olive oil
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 tsp salt, divided
3 small yellow squash, halved lengthwise (about 1 pound)
3 small zucchini, halved lengthwise (about 1 pound)
Cooking spray

Prepare grill.  Combine the first 6 ingredients in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Add ½ tsp salt.  Make 3 diagonal cuts 1/4-inch deep across cut side of each squash and zucchini half.  Place squash and zucchini halves, cut sides down, in baking dish. Marinate squash and zucchini at room temperature for 15 minutes.  Remove squash and zucchini from marinade, and discard marinade. Place squash and zucchini on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 5 minutes on each side or until tender. Sprinkle evenly with 1/4 tsp salt.
Korean-Style Crisp Vegetable Pancake (Pajun), a Mark Bittman NY Times recipe, March 2007, our thanks to a CSA member for sharing.  Makes 6-8 servings.

2 C all-purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 T corn, grape seed, canola or other neutral oil, more as needed
5 scallions, green parts only, cut into 3-inch lengths and sliced lengthwise or chopped
20 chives or 5 chopped scallions
1-2 medium carrots, peeled and grated
1 small yellow or green squash, trimmed and grated
1/2 pound chopped shrimp, optional
1 T rice or white vinegar
3 T soy sauce
1 tsp sugar

In a medium bowl, mix flour, eggs and oil with 1 1/2 cups water until a smooth batter is formed. Stir scallion greens, chives, carrots, squash and shrimp, if using, into batter.
Place an 8- inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, then coat bottom with oil. Ladle in about a quarter of the batter and spread it out evenly into a circle; if first pancake is too thick to spread easily, add a little water to batter for remaining pancakes. Turn heat to medium and cook until bottom is browned, about 3 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter.

As pancakes finish, remove them, and, if necessary, drain on paper towels. In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar, soy sauce and sugar. Cut pancakes into small triangles and serve with dipping sauce.

Quick Fix, Fried Green Tomatoes This is a fast and simple way to make Southern style fried green tomatoes

Wash and slice tomatoes in ¼ inch slices.
Put cornmeal in a bowl; dredge each slice in meal, covering both sides.
Heat ½ inch depth of your favorite cooking oil on medium in a heavy iron skillet.
Gently lay tomato slices in pan covering bottom but not overlapping. Cook until brown and turn once, browning the other side. Watch carefully as they cook quickly.
Drain on paper towel. Serve warm.
Sprinkle with Worcestershire Sauce.

Herb and Cheese Green Tomatoes This recipe takes more a little more time than the one above because it calls for draining the tomatoes before frying and adding a few more ingredients.

Wash and slice tomatoes in ¼ inch slices. Sprinkle slices with salt and drain 30-60 minutes

Mix the following in a bowl:
¼ cup cornmeal
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp all purpose flour
¾ tsp garlic salt
½ tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp black pepper

Beat an egg. Dip each slice in egg, then flour mixture covering both sides.
Heat ½ inch depth of cooking oil on medium in a heavy iron skillet.  Gently lay tomato slices in pan covering bottom but not overlapping. Cook until brown and turn once, browning the other side. Watch carefully as they cook quickly.

Drain on paper towel. Serve warm or room temperature.