Thursday, May 31, 2012

People & Planet CSA - May 31, 2012

Edible Lupins & Sunflowers

What's in the box

Early Tropea Rosa Onions, very early Garlic from Poland,  Scotland Leeks,  Butter Lettuce,  Nutribud Broccoli & Calabrese Broccoli,  Violetto Cauliflower, Snow and Snap Peas,  Paris Carrots, Mara des Bois Strawberries, Rhubarb (finally!)  and flowers.

And this week's special gift:  Strawberry Jam (I made it last night, but dated it June so that you didn't throw it out prematurely!)

What to do with Rhubarb
Combine the spring rhubarb with sugar and water to make a pretty pink sugar syrup. After that the possibilities are endless.

Violetto Cauliflower
Rhubarb Syrup
Makes 2 cups
4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup water 
1 cup sugar
Combine and bring to a simmer in a medium pot over medium heat. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, strain through a fine mesh sieve, and cool before using.
*Add a knob of ginger or a third of a vanilla bean to ramp up the flavour.
Rhubarb Iced Tea
Makes 4-5 cups
2 cups rhubarb syrup
2-3 cups brewed, cooled iced tea
Combine the syrup and the tea. Add more or less tea depending on how sweet you like your iced tea. Fill a glass with ice and serve.  Naturally this also makes a great cocktail for a late Saturday BBQ.

Violetto Cauliflower
We had it last night for dinner, lightly steamed with butter and found it to be sweet and nutty!

The sudden hot weather, yes it's 93 here today has brought the leeks on very very suddenly.  I picked so many it looks like we're going to have dried leeks again this year.  I know several of you have been waiting for them, but I love them so fresh that I'm a bit disappointed.

Harvesting Garlic
The garlic harvest continues and it looks like we will have some nice storage garlic.  I'll make sure that I give out all the early garlic first the stuff I don't think will keep.  I'm even working on a spice blend of dried garlic, chilis and onions, carrots and parsnips that I think will go great in soup.

On the farm
We have completed planting the peppers and eggplant, most of the early squashes and lots of beans.  The weather is now ready to plant melons, so we'll continue on with that over the weekend.  We've cleaned out 4 more beds by harvesting early potatoes which you should see in the first boxes of June.  Unfortunately this heat is making the lettuce bolt, so I'll have to begin again.  Leo's got a great shady bed almost ready for me by the asparagus (which is now 6' tall! and ferny).

We are not ready to go every week yet,  I'm waiting for a few more things!  See you June 14!

Have a great week.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

SCVWD CSA - May 23, 2012


What's in the box

Early Tropea Rosa Onions, very early Garlic from the former Soviet Republic,  Scotland Leeks, Heirloom Dried Beans, Eggs,  Butter Lettuce,  Nutribud Broccoli,  Student Parsnips, Snow and Snap Peas,  White Radishes, Turnips, Paris Carrots, Mara des Bois Strawberries, and flowers.


2 leeks, chopped
1 onion, chopped use one of these small onions
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup thinly sliced potatoes
2 1/3 cups chicken stock or vege broth
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
1 c. sour cream
Gently sweat the chopped leeks and the chopped onion in butter or margarine until soft, about 8 minutes. Do NOT let them brown. Add potatoes and stock to the saucepan. Salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to the boil, and simmer very gently for 30 minutes. Puree in a blender or food processor until very smooth. Cool. Gently stir in the cream before serving.   This can be served cold or hot.  I made it for my mom for Mother's Day.  I think it was the hit of the day.  There was hardly enough left over to put away! 

Peppers & Eggplant, Leeks on the right
 Summer Produce

Gee Holly when do we get summer produce, you know tomatoes and stuff?....the answer is, in the summer.  The tomatoes are in the peppers and eggplant are in, the green beans are in (3 kinds!).  By Memorial Day, more beans, squash, zukes, and cukes will be in.  I suspect as usual we will have tomatoes by late June and cukes and zukes about the same time.   Yes there will be melons and corn and all the stuff you've come to love. 

Coming Soon
Potatoes,  Leo did some preliminary archeology out in the field we put in this winter and behold and low there's taties out there, so they'll be coming soon.  Also more broc, cauliflower, cabbage, beets and lettuce.  The lettuce this year has been very good.  Eat it up while you can, as soon as the heat comes on, well, the lettuce is done.  I did plant a lot of summer substitute veges: huauzontle, Epinard-Fraise, Golden Purslane, Ficoïde Glaciale, Amaranth, as well as some great lettuce's we are testing like "Sucrine".  Now does that sound sweet? 

I harvested a lot more garlic yesterday and still one bed to go.  As Leo tills these beds I'm planting more artichokes for next year.  As you can see, the artichokes are really petering out.  Well, it's been several years since we planted them.  None the less, everyone should get them at least once, I hope.

Next Week's Beets
Tips for Preparing Turnip Greens
Rinse turnip greens under cold running water.  Get the grit out!   Chop greens into 1/2-inch slices for quick and even cooking.  To get the most health benefits from turnip greens, let them sit for a minimum of 5 minutes before cooking. Sprinkling with lemon juice before letting them sit may be able to help activate their myrosinase enzymes and increase formation of beneficial isothiocyanates in the greens. Turnip greens are loaded with Calcium (19%) and Vitamin K (661%)  No, that's not a typo.  Actually they are packed with vitamins.  An entire Alphabet of vitamins.

Turnip Greens

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small leek or onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 pounds turnip greens, washed, stemmed, and chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard or Mtn Mustard from Paicines
1 cup chicken stock or vege stock
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted or Pumpkin Seeds toasted
Last Bed of Leeks and then Melons

Heat olive oil in Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add onion or leek, garlic and pepper flakes
and saute until tender and fragrant. Add the washed and cleaned turnip greens . Mix together. Cook until they have wilted down, about 3 minutes. Add pepper to taste.   In a small bowl, whisk the Dijon mustard with the stock.   Add to the wilted greens and cook until the liquid has all but evaporated. Add the toasted pecans and serve immediately.

Lots left to do
Have a great Memorial Day,  Hopefully, I'll be bringing back Rhubarb from the cabin!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

People and Planet CSA - May 17, 2012

What's in the box

Favas, Early Cippolini Onions, very very early Polish Garlic & Garlic from the former Soviet Republic,  Eggs, last of the D'ancy Tangerines & Blood Oranges, Lettuce,  Nutribud Broccoli,  Snow & Snap Peas,  White Radishes, Beets, Paris Carrots, Mara des Bois Strawberries, and flowers.

This is probably the last week for favas, so enjoy them.  I need to leave many of them for seed for next year.

Early Onions & Garlic
Of course the early onions are small, and not storage onions so use them up.  Same goes for the garlic.  I'm not sure that we will have a good year for storage garlic. 

The garlic seed sent to us by a well known commercial company was infected with rust, our fields are devastated.  Our trial for true seed garlic is just about ruined.  We have two likely looking candidates from Joseph Lofthouse of Paradise, Utah.  Joseph has been breeding his own landrace vegetables for years.  He generously provided us with garlic this year.  However, due to the rust,  there's a whole section of the farm that we will never be able to use for garlic again, as the rust lingers in the soil, waiting for conditions to be just right.  These 2 garlic that you see with flower spikes are just what we are hoping for.  With true garlic seed, we can escape the cycle of disease.  Leo and I have banned all garlic from Oregon from the farm.  Luckily we do have beds of bulbils in the front garden that are not infected, so we have a source of garlic for next year.

Coming Soon - Leeks, cabbage, and potatoes.  There may even be fried mini chicken if these guys don't stay in their pen.  Just kidding,  Leo captured the young adventurers last evening and put them in the "Penitentiary".  We'll return young Jefferson here when he's too big to squeeze through the bars.  Until then, he and his 4 best friends are in lockdown.

Nutribud Broccoli
Early maturing variety developed by Alan Kapuler.  High in free glutamine, a building block of protein and an important  healing nutrient.  Alan Kapuler is my hero and probably one of the best breeders of the 21st Century, especially as he is breeding OP vegetables with more nutrition.  There are also some Calabrese Broccoli mixed in.  We are so happy with the Nutribud, that we plan to put more in next year.  Of course we will continue to plant the heirloom Italian Broccoli, diversity is a good thing.  We never know what the weather will do, so it's good to have a lot of selection.  We wouldn't want to put all our broccoli in one bowl.
There are both snow and snap peas in your bags this week.  I planted Sugaree, Caroby, Arbogast Sugar, Schweizer Riesen, Cascadia, Southland Snow (courtesy of a fellow farmer in New Zealand, thanks Cesar!) and Taichung 11 & 13.  Everyone got some of each.  Leo and I are going to do a tasting and try to select the very best to add to our farm grex of amazing peas.  In a few years, no one will remember their names, but we will remember how we got to this amazing group of peas.   Try to eat these soon, as they start loosing their sugar.  We had them stir fried last night with Very Yaki Terriyaki. 

White Radishes 
Try them peeled.  Turns out all the heat is in the skin of this variety, underneath they are sweet and yummy.
Barley ready to pick
We are picking the barley we planted this fall.  Alas, none of you will get to try it.  This year we have to grow out enough seeds for next year.  We've purchased a small grain thresher, which Leo must assemble.  These grains are all older grains, pre-genetic manipulation by splicing.  I hope by this time next year to be sending out Foothill Farm breakfast cereal.   No, it won't be barley o's!  I'm purchasing and trading for as much Emmer as I can get my hands on.  I have a friend in Italy who has promised to send me some when it's ready.  We trialed Emmer in a Pasta and sent it out to one lucky CSA customer.  She said that all her family could say is "More!"  So over the next few years, I hope to add these grains to our CSA.  We have also put in a small amount of upland rice once again to see if it will go.  The corn is in and more waiting in the wings.

Lots more to do
As I'm feeling better every week, I'm spending more like my normal hours in the field.  Still there's lot's to do.  Veges to plant, beds to hoe, corn to fertilize, tomatoes to cage.  There's lots more beans to plant, peppers, eggplant and herbs are all waiting in the wings for me to quit fooling around on the computer and get to work.

So far, I think we will go to the every week schedule in June.  Have a great week. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

SCVWD CSA - May 9, 2012

Garlic Scapes from Polish Garlic

What's in the box

Favas, Early Cippolini Onions, very very early Polish Garlic with Garlic Scapes,  Eggs, Last of the D'ancy Tangerines, Lettuce,  Polenta,  Cauliflower or Broccoli,  Peas,  White Radishes, Ottawa Chinese Cabbage, Parsnips and First strawberries of the season, and flowers.

This weeks special gifts:  Frozen Pumpkin Butter.  Yup, I froze it.  You can put it in your fridge when you get it home if you can use it up in 2 weeks, or put it back in the freezer.

Itty bitty Garlic from CZ and the former USSR

Garlic Scapes
This is the flower portion of the garlic, removed to make the garlic's bulb up.   Try dicing it into mashed potatoes, adding to a veggie saute or using as garnish for rice.  I love it with short pasta.

Pasta with Garlic Scapes
10 ounces dried pasta
1 c. cooked beans  (or canned beans)
1/2 of a lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
3 or 4 chopped garlic scapes

Cook pasta according to package directions, adding beans for the last 2 minutes of cooking time. Remove 1/2 cup of the cooking liquids; set aside. Drain pasta and beans; cover to keep warm.
Meanwhile, finely shred peel from the lemon half (about 2 teaspoons). In a small skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Add lemon peel and garlic; cook and stir 1 minute, or until lightly golden.
In a food processor combine cooked lemon peel, basil, the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, the juice from the lemon half, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover and process until smooth. Add reserved cooking liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency, processing mixture after every addition.
4. To serve, toss hot cooked pasta mixture with lemon-basil-scape mixture. Makes 4 servings.

Muffins w/artichoke hearts

Corn Meal/Polenta
This is the last of the Polenta, there is probably just enough flour corn for one more week.  Anyone, please e-mail and let me know what you think, as I'm just about to replant it for this season.  So what's the difference between the 2 corns?  Flour is for baking, Flint is for boiling.  The polenta corn is a boiling corn, so if you want to use it for baking,  mix hot liquid in it and let it sit for a bit.

Bacon and Egg Muffins
(Note if using vege bacon, don't pre-cook the bacon, just chop defrosted bacon and add it in)
4 slices bacon, chopped
5 eggs
1 C. all purpose flour
1/2 c. yellow corn meal
1 T. dry buttermilk (or nonfat dry milk)
2 T. sugar
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1 c. boiling water
1/4 cup oil or melted butter
1/2 c. shredded cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Boil the water and add the cornmeal and set aside 10 minutes.  In a large skillet, cook the bacon short of being crisp.  Drain and reserve the drippings.

Mix 3 eggs, with a splash of water and a dash of pepper.  Cook in the skillet until done but still moist, lifting and stirring (please don't turn them into cat food and no browning!).  Set aside in a bowl.

Brush the muffin cups with the bacon grease (or use spray non-stick coating).  In a medium bowl stir together the flour, sugar, and baking powder.  Add the cornmeal/boiling water, oil and 2 remaining eggs.  Stir a bit.  Fold in the cooked eggs and cheese.  Spoon into muffin cups.  Top with bacon and bake about 15-16 minutes.  Cool slightly.  Run a knife around the edges of the muffins to loosen and serve.  Zack eats his with maple syrup.  I've also made these with lightly steamed spinach.

Ottawa Chinese Cabbage
This cabbage is from my friend Ottawa Gardener, who's known otherwise as Tesling.  Tesling sent me this cabbage seed and we think it's great.  She writes a blog called "The Garden Re-imagined" and lives in the wild woods of Ottawa.

Ottawa Cabbage (front)

Cabbage with Onion Greens

4 cups chopped cabbage
2 New onions
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 cloves of garlic
2 to 3 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon mild vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon arrowroot or corn starch
1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil

Chop the cabbage. Chop the onion greens. Peel and mince the ginger and the garlic. Mix the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and arrowroot or corn starch in a small bowl.

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the cabbage and several tablespoons of water. Cook until the water is evaporated, and the cabbage is wilted, turning and mixing constantly. If necessary, add a little more water to get the cabbage done to your liking. Just before it has reached that point, add the onions,  the ginger and the garlic. Continue to turn and mix until the onion greens are wilted but still bright green. Stir up the sauce again and pour it over the vegetables. Mix it in well and as soon as it thickens, remove the veggies from the heat and serve them.   (I shamelessly stole this recipe from Seasonal Ontario Food).

Tomatoes (black plastic rows).  Taters in the foreground

On the Farm

Tomatoes are in!  Early Girl, Sungold, Black Cherry, Dona, Green Zebra Cherry, Burning Spear, Danko, Herman's Special, Cherokee Green, St. Columbe, Tennessee Britches, Milka's Red, Gianinni, Rose de Berne, Jaune Flamme, Thessaloniki, Me Tarzan, Joe's Early, Santa Ana, and Searching for the Blue Zebra.  Whew!  A few from last year and several newbees.  As you can see it's not just Italian Tomatoes anymore, there's French, Swiss,  Belgium, Bulgarian & Greek!  Now that's a smorgasbord!

TPS are in, short for True Potato Seeds.  I can't wait to see what we get.  True potato seeds cross and we might even have an orange potato out there.  Spring onions are in, first of the green beans are in.  The wheat and barley are almost done and we are getting ready to plant the Italian Heirloom Bean Trial, and other legumes...all of the overwintered onions have been harvested and replanted to make seed for the future.  Ohh, there's some beauties in here.  Leo was sad to replant them.  With this heat wave, the lettuce may all turn bitter, so enjoy it while it's sweet and delicious.  The red winged blackbirds are all back in town and I bet our field is full of fledglings.  Leo's waiting on the wheat and barley harvest till he can do a bird survey. 

Coming soon:  Leeks!
Well, I'm off to water seedlings.  Have a great week.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

People & Planet CSA - May 3, 2012

Favas and Crimson Clover

What's in the box

Favas, Celeriac, Rosa Longa Firenze Onions, Tangerines, Braising Greens,  2 cups Corn Meal,  Cauliflower or Broccoli,  Carrots & Beets, Ottawa Chinese Cabbage, and Flowers.

This weeks special gifts:  Paicines Dijon Mustard and Baked Goods.

Pod, Un-Shelled Bean, Shelled, Cooked Bean

Fava Beans:
Preparation & Handling
  How to Store To store Fava Bean pods, place them in a plastic bag in the crisper section of the refrigerator right away. The pods will keep for five to seven days in the refrigerator.
Store cooked and peeled Fava Beans in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to five days at most.
How to Prepare There are three steps to preparing a Fava Bean:
     1.     Removing the beans from the pod.
     2.     Blanching the beans to soften for easy removal of the outer shell.
     3.     Peeling off the outer shell before eating or cooking to end with a bright-green,
soft-scrumptious bean!
Cook beans in a large saucepan in plenty of boiling water until tender, about 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the size of the bean. Drain well and rinse with cold water to cool. Peel outer shell of bean before eating.  They can then be eaten like edamame, or Leo’s favorite...spring garlic & olive oil, lightly sauted and sprinkled with

Post Spider

Following the spider bite, I had more serious complications.  Needless to say, I have barely been able to get out of bed, let alone farm.  This weeks boxes and much of the spring planting have been brought to you by Leo, Zack, Casey, Emily & Julia.  Many thanks to all of you.  The good news is that it looks like I have turned the corner.  My brain is still a bit fuzzy and everyone has spent the week listening to me mix up words and sniggering at me when I say things like, "Can you please put the milk in the dishwasher when you're done?"  The quack says that this too will fade, and Casey found me some brain pills at People & Planet. 

Have a good week and many blessings to all of you.