Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October 31, 2012 SCVWD CSA

Mma Tutsie, ditches the broom and goes for a Halloween Ride

What's in the box?

Onions, Potatoes, Butternut Squash, Invernale Cortona Melon, Rugoso di Cosenza Melon, and a few casaba melons,  Peppers - Bells, Anaheims, and Anchos, and NZ Spinach, Beets, Assorted dumplings and delicata Squash, and tomatoes

This week's special gift:  Corn Soup Mix, Salsa or Jam & Baked Goods  - Pumpkin Bars or Oatmeal Raisin Bread.

Corn Chowder

The contents of this bag were all grown on the farm.  To use it.  The night before you plant to eat it, bring 6 cups of vege or chicken broth to a boil.  Pour it over the contents and let it sit overnight.  The next day bring it to a 20 minute simmer and serve.  It's quite good with fresh chard, chunks of cooked chicken or?  For long term storage, put it in a jar.  This is the first of many soup mixes that have been rolling around my brain.  Leo gave it 3 stars.

Invernale Cortona Melon

cortona picture, city gate, piazza della repubblica, cortona
Cortona Italy

Cortona is a place in Italy.  My friend Cortona is really named Emanuele.  His family have farmed and garden as far back, well as far back as his family goes.  Every year he sends me something from his family's garden or something that is grown locally.  I think these melons are pretty darn good.  They rated 10.2 on the brix scale for sweetness,  that's pretty darn good in my opinion.  This is one of the melons we've selected to grow again in future years.  Still waiting to hear of any of your favorites. 

Onions and Potatoes

These are the onions and potatoes that will not be replanted at the farm.  These are not for storage, they've been scrubbed within an inch of their life, so please eat them soon.  No matter how careful I am, some onions always get bruised, so please make something with onions this week.  These won't keep long.

Butternut Mac & Cheese

Squash in the Glass Museum of Murano

1 small butternut squash (about 1 pound), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
1 cup homemade or l canned chicken stock,
1 1/2 cups  milk
t. of freshly grated nutmeg
1 chopped ancho chili
1 chopped onion
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound elbow macaroni
4 ounces   heddar cheese, finely grated (about 1 cup)
4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, finely grated (1 ounce)
2 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon olive oil
Olive-oil, cooking spray
1/2 cup ricotta cheese

Saute onion and ancho (or anaheim pepper).
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine squash, stock, and milk in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Mash contents of saucepan; stir in nutmeg, and Onion, chili, salt, and season with black pepper. Stir to combine.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles; cook until al dente according to package instructions, about 8 minutes. Drain, and transfer to a large bowl; stir in squash mixture, cheddar, ricotta, and 2 tablespoons Parmesan.

Lightly coat a 9-inch square baking dish (4 inches deep) with cooking spray. Transfer noodle mixture to dish. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan, and oil; sprinkle evenly over noodle mixture.

Cover with foil, and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil, and continue baking until lightly browned and crisp on top, 30 to 40 minutes more. Serve immediately.

Wishing you all clear sailing

On the farm

We are trying to wrap of this season, there are still millions of seeds to deal with.  I haven't seen the kitchen table in months.  Beginning tomorrow we will start shelling the corn for early spring cornmeal.  At last, I will have a clean house.   Have a great season, see you in 2013.  Anyone who wants to request a vege for next season, now's the time to do it, before seeds get ordered!

Happy Halloween!  Thanks for a great season.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

People And Planet CSA, October 25, 2012

The Grey Pumpkin in front is Piacentina

What's in the box?

Carrots, Leeks, Radishes, Popcorn, Piacentina or Whangaparao Crown Pumpkins, Villaconejos Melon, Rugoso di Cosenza Melon, and or Verze de Noel Melon,  Peppers - Bells, Anaheims, Habaneros, and Anchos, and Eggplant.

This week's special gift:  Apple Butter


Villaconejos Melon is Spanish keeping melon from Villaconejos (now a suburb of Madrid) but once a wild area where wolves and rabbits (the conejo) ran wild.  On Hispanidad Day, the 12th October, a national holiday in Spain, the town of Villaconejos  hosts the Melon Festival.  The Verze de Noel Melon (Green of Christmas),  is an heirloom melon that came to me from a Canadian Gardener, "Extreme Gardener, Leigh Hurley"  As always, let me know what you think


The Whangaparao Crown Pumpkin is from New Zealand and came to me from a NZ seed saver.  A beautiful Pumpkin, great for pie and other savory pumpkin dishes.  The Piacentina is an heirloom Italian Squash, one of my favorites. Both of these are great for savory or sweet recipes and keep well for at least 3 months.  Store in a cool place, like the garage.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Bread

More Peppers
1 ½ cups water, warm (110F), divided
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
½ cup milk, warm (110F)
¾ cup pumpkin butter
1 tbsp salt
1 ½ cups rolled oats
1 tbsp butter, melted
5-6 cups flour

In a large bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the water, 1 tbsp active dry yeast and 1 tsp sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes, until foamy. Add remaining water, milk, pumpkin puree, salt, oats and 2 cups of flour. Mix thoroughly, then add thre remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and begins to feel slightly firm but spongy to the touch. This can be done in an electric mixer with the dough hook attachment.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, before placing it in a lightly oiled bowl, covered with plastic wrap, to rise until doubled, 1 1/2 hours.
Turn risen dough gently out onto a floured surface. Divide dough in two and gently shape into two round or slightly oblong loaves. Place on an oatmeal dusted baking sheet and, covered with a clean towel, let rise for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375F.
Slash the top and sides of the loaves and bake for 35-40 minutes at 375, until loaves are browned and sound hollow when tapped.  Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Lettuce making seed

How much longer?

The People and Planet CSA will officially end November the 8th 2012.  Coming still, Baked goods, dry goods - beans, corn, and much more,  canned goods, and of course more melons and more squash and lots of greens and roots.

Another Pumpkin Soup

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 medium yellow onions, chopped

2 minced garlic
1/2 chopped Anaheim pepper
2 teaspoons curry powder

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 jar pumpkin butter
 - or one cup of cooked pumpkin with nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon added
3 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian option)

1 cups of milk

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 Melt butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes.
Add spices and stir for a minute more.
2 Add pumpkin and 5 cups of chicken broth; blend well. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
3 Transfer soup, in batches, to a blender or food processor. Cover tightly and blend until smooth. Return soup to saucepan.
4 With the soup on low heat, add brown sugar and mix. Slowly add milk while stirring to incorporate. Add cream. Adjust seasonings to taste. If a little too spicy, add more cream to cool it down.

See you next week!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

SCVWD CSA October 24

George & Company

What's in the Box

Beets, Popcorn, Ireland Creek Annie Beans, Winter Luxury Pumpkins, Ornamental Edible Squash, Valencia Winter Melon, Rugoso di Cosenza Melon, Tomatoes, Peppers - Bells, Anaheims, Habaneros, and Anchos, and Eggplant.

This week's special gift:  Apple Butter


Yes that was rain,  and we all know what rain means, the end of CSA season.  So for the SCVWD folks, next week will be your last week of the season.  If you folks at People and Planet are sneak reading, this, I believe we may have at least one or two extra weeks in November left.  Last year the SCVWD folks got to go a little longer, so we'll switch it up.

Broccoli, Cauliflower & Cabbage
If you don't normally get a box next week and you want one, please let me know.

And with the change of seasons, means the end of the tomatoes.  If any more are produced, it will take longer than a week.

During the season I made you folks a lot of dried and canned goods, and we'll see some of those next week, along with all the good greens that are coming up.

Over at Smitten Kitchen she was cooking up a Farro (Emmer) Squash Salad and it's pretty yummy.  Since you all have your pepita pumpkins and will probably be cutting them soon for Halloween, I figured this is a good time to pass this recipe on.  Emmer is available at that organic grocery store in Felton.  Hopefully, we'll have it next year.  They also have it at Whole Paycheck and some other specialty groceries.  That said, I never ever use "pearled farro".  I always buy the whole thing and just cook it longer.  All the nutrients are in the outer bit. 

Corn drying for corn meal
Butternut Salad with Farro, Pepitas and Ricotta Salata
Serves 4 to 6, generously
Like most salads, this recipe works well as a template, meaning that many of the ingredients can be replaced with likeminded ones with little trouble. You can use other winter squashes in the place of the butternut (or even sweet potatoes), the farro could be replaced with barley, freekeh or another grain of your choice. The red onion could be shallots. The pepitas could be another toasted nut, roughly chopped and the ricotta salata could be feta or soft bits of goat cheese. The sherry vinegar could be a white wine vinegar.
The pearling process removes the inedible hull that surrounds the wheat, and farro is generally sold either pearled, semi-pearled or regular. The pearled will take the shortest time to cook. If you’re not sure what you have, just use the cooking directions on the package. Below, I have the cooking times/process for semi-pearled.
1 medium butternut squash (about 2 pounds)
5 to 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup semi-pearled farro (see Note up top)
1/3 cup toasted pepitas (I used, and love, the salted ones)
3 ounces ricotta salata or another salty cheese, crumbled or coarsely grated (about 3/4 cup)
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

Bouquet of Amaranth for the Birthday King
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Peel squash, then halve lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Cut squash into approximately 3/4-inch chunks. Coat one large or two small baking sheets with 2 tablespoons oil total. Spread squash out in single layer on sheet. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast until pieces are tender, about 30 to 40 minutes, turning them over halfway through the cooking time. Set aside to cool slightly.
While squash is roasting, cook farro in a large pot of simmering salted water until the grains are tender but chewy, about 30 minutes. (Since there are so many varieties of farro, however, if your package suggests otherwise, it’s best to defer to its cooking suggestion.) Drain and cool slightly.
While squash is roasting and farro is simmering, in a small bowl, whisk together sherry vinegar, water, 1/2 teaspoon table salt and granulated sugar until sugar and salt dissolve. Stir in onion; it will barely be covered by vinegar mixture but don’t worry. Cover and set in fridge until needed; 30 minutes is ideal but less time will still make a lovely, lightly pickled onion.
In a large bowl, mix together butternut squash, farro, red onion and its vinegar brine, the crumbled cheese and pepitas. Toss with 3 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil, use the 4th one only if needed. Taste and adjust seasonings. Eat now or later. Salad keeps in the fridge for up to a week.

And speaking of the Smitten Kitchen they have the best birthday cake recipe ever.  I know because I'm practicing for a certain person who's going to turn the big Five O on October 27.  If you see Leo about, wish him a happy day.   And, there will be cake!

Check out the butterflies

Rugoso di Cosenza Melon

This is the yellow melon in your box.  This is a melon that is very rare here.  Inside it's creamy, sweet and white, outside it's yellow.  Cosenza is a province of Calabria in the boot section of Italy.  It has a similar climate to this region of California.  At the confluence of 2 rivers, it still has one of the largest riverside farmer's markets.  This is one of their heirloom melons.  It's ready to eat today, but will keep for a bit longer as well.    This is a canary type melon

Valencia Winter Melon

Many catalogs say that this melon originated in Italy.  This melon will keep all the way till Christmas....well if you can wait that long.  It has a hard green outer shell and is pale creamy and sweet inside.  Both of these melons are from the inodorus group.  Melons will last longest kept cool and with humidity.  Those of you in the mountains, well you live in the perfect climate to keep melons.

Beautiful Orb Spider in the Carrot Patch
Melons (Cucumis melo) predominantly originated from the desertland savanna regions of Africa and southwestern Asia and include cultivated, feral and wild populations. Wild strains occur in Africa from south of the Sahara to the Transvaal in South Africa and in Southwest Asia ranging from Asia Minor to Afghanistan. Melons are thought to come from Africa because there are wild forms there, though the earliest references to melons are from China. In the 11th century the Chinese began growing cantaloupes and honeydews that originated in western Asia. The name cantaloupe is mentioned as having originated from the city of Cantaluppi in Italy or from the estate and castle of Cantalupo, also in Italy.  Since Italy is close to Africa, it makes sense that melons traveled through Italy on their way around the globe.   

In their text, the followers of Mohammed, wrote that eating a melon produces a thousand good works.  I think then I have promoted at least that many with the amount of melons I grew this year! 

Have a great week. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

October 17 & 18, 2012 CSA

What's in the Box

Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower
Naked Seed Pumpkins, Melons! Melons! Melons!, Eggplant, Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Peppers - sweet Hot and Bell, and Carrots  Group one your melons are Marygold - the first of the Casaba Melons and Golden Honeymoon Honeydew.

The Golden Honeymoon is my favorite and I think Marygod is just yummy.  I can hardly find the seeds of this one anymore, so those of you who actually read the blog, please save the seeds of your melon.

To save melon seeds, you just separate the seed from the placenta, give them a bowl to wash, toss any that float, strain the water out and put the seeds on a piece of parchment paper to dry.  Put them in an envelope and put them back in your box and I will store them and replant next year.  I have only one of these melons left, and I like to save the seeds from several to insure genetic diversity.
More Melons
In the coming weeks of what's left of the CSA there will be more melons, greens, dried and canned goods.

I'm shelling beans as fast as I can.  Ireland Creek Annie is the first of the dry beans that will come your way.  Here's an easy recipe for bean soup.  Next week, dry beans.

Ireland Creek Annie Cuban Bean Soup

Cook the Beans:
(1 pound) Ireland Creek Annie Beans
8 cups of water
3 or 4 bay leaves

Rinse the beans and put them in a large pot with the water and the bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat off. Leave them covered for an hour or two. Repeat, until the beans are fairly soft. Once they are close to being done, leave them on a simmer for an hour or so until completely cooked. This can be done a day in advance.

Make the Sofrito:
2 stalks of celery
2 medium onions
2 to 4 peppers
4 to 6 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
2 teaspoons rubbed oregano
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, ground
1 teaspoon smoked sweet Spanish paprika
1 cup tomato sauce

Wash, trim and finely dice the celery. Peel and finely dice the onions. De-stem and de-seed the peppers, and cut it in fine dice. Peel and mince the garlic.

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Cook the celery, onions and pepper until soft but not browned. Add the oregano, cumin, paprika and garlic, and stir until well combined and fragrant. Add the tomato sauce and cook for another 20 minutes or so, until the whole is well amalgamated and somewhat reduced.

Finish the Soup:
4 cups ham, chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup rum
finely chopped sweet onion, steamed rice, OR sour cream

Meanwhile, drain the beans and return them to the pot with the broth. Pick out the bay leaves. Bring the beans to a simmer.

When the sofrito is ready, add it to the beans. Simmer for a few minutes. Remove about one third to one half of the soup, and purée it, or at least mash it very thoroughly. Return it to the pot.

Just before serving, add the lime juice and rum and heat through. Serve traditionally, with chopped raw sweet onion and spoonfuls of steamed white rice, or with sour cream.  Thanks to Ferdzy at Seasonal Ontario food for this great recipe.

Zack, Dennis, Katherine & Ken

 Our life

On October 15, 2012 Leo's father, Ken Dumont passed onto the next plane of existence.   Ken lived to be 85 years old, and I have never met anyone with a better wit.  We'll miss you Ken, especially your stories of San Francisco and the early days.  See you round the farm.

Have a good week.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

October 10 & 11th CSA

Iroquois - A fine melon

What's in the Box

Naked Seed Pumpkins, Melons! Melons! Melons!, Eggplant, Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Peppers - sweet Hot and Bell, and kale.  Group one your melons were Sweet Freckles, Iroquois Cantaloupe, and Morning Sun Watermelon and Jo received a wee Bidwell Casaba. 

The Iroquois Melon was released in 1944 and was the hard work of the late Dr. Henry Munger at Cornell University.

Sweet Freckles was bred by Tim Peters, one of those genius growers, his Winter King & Queen Watermelon was terrific (sorry, there was only one).  Sweet Freckles is very cute, it's aromatic and freckled and pear shaped.  It's a crenshaw type of melon.  This is a very rare melon that we hope to keep going.  Let me know how you like it.

For those of you who haven't seen a Bidwell Casaba, there will be a few more of those this season.  They're still ripening.  That makes them at the very very end of what's possible to grow.  After this year, they won't be back for three years.  Oh, and they are the size of a large watermelon

Group Two at People and Planet you'll get Assorted Watermelons, Marygold - the first of the Casaba Melons.  This one is from the University of Maryland.  And Fresh Onions and NZ Spinach.

This Week's Special gift :  Salsa

Melon Trial

Now that the melon trial is almost concluded, there's a bit more paperwork to do and summaries to write, but Leo and I have been keeping close track of what we believe to be the best melons.  In the future there will not be that many varieties planted every year, but we will rotate the best melons over the years, so that we can maintain the seeds.  Some of our favorites are the Grover Delaney Watermelon,  Zatta, Ananas, Iroquois, Winter King and Queen Watermelon.  We haven't even tasted the all yet!  Please let us know if you dislike or especially like any of the melons that are coming to you.

2 Kakai Pumpkins and One Little Green Seed 

Kakai Pumpkins
This is your designated Halloween Pumpkin.  The flesh is NOT edible.  However, the naked green seeds inside are fabulous.  For those of you who don't remember, scoop out the seeds, and put give them a quick rinse to separate them from the placenta.  Give them a quick stir fry in a dry frying pan until they pop, or toss them on a sheet in the toaster oven and bake at 350 degrees until you hear popping.   The Little Green Seed is the newest in this development, a pie pumpkin with naked seeds.  I just love it.   Everyone will get two of these, but I can only fit one a week in the box.

Lacinato Kale Salad with Bacon, Leeks and Potatoes 

Fall Sky
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. malt vinegar
3/4 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. stone ground mustard
1/4 tsp. salt

4 strips Bacon or fake bacon
1/2 lb. baby yellow potatoes, quartered
1 large leek, thinly sliced (white and pale green part only)
1 bunch Lacinato kale (flat leaf), coarsely chopped
3/4 cup julienne strips Cheese
Prep: 15 minutes Cook: 25 minutes Serves: 4 to 6
1. Place all dressing ingredients in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid; shake well to mix. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
2. Cook bacon in a medium skillet for 5 minutes on each side or until very crisp; remove from skillet and drain on paper towels. If using fake bacon don't cook for more than a minute.  Add potatoes to skillet and cook over medium-high heat for 5 to 10 minutes to brown, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and stir in leeks; cover skillet and cook for 5 minutes more or until leeks are soft and potatoes are cooked through. Set aside.
3. Toss kale with dressing in a large bowl and let marinate for 5 minutes. Add cooked potatoes and leeks and toss well to coat. Coarsely crumble bacon over salad and top with cheese; toss again very lightly.

Have a great week.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October 3 & 4th CSA

What's in the Box

Ornamental Edible Squash, Melons! Melons! Melons!, Eggplant, Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Peppers - sweet Hot and Bell, and okra.

Whew! hot enough for you?
Too hot for me.  100 degrees in the shade here.  Too hot for canning and too hot after 11 for picking.  I'm watching our greens fry in the sun.

This week's melons include Grover Delaney Watermelon (please save me the seeds), Emerald Gem,  Golden Jenny's and Chanterais.
and Zuccherino.  The numbers following the melon are the brix levels.

If you are in the People and Planet CSA you also got Ananas.  This is a melon that smells like a banana and tastes so sweet, it's like eating sugar.

I ate so much of this melon that well, the next day, I couldn't eat any fruit.  I love this melon.

We are still tasting Watermelons and storage melons.  So many melons left to go.

On the Farm

Well last week on Thursday after delivering the CSA boxes I got trapped in the recycling.  I got tangled in some insulation tripped over a concrete block and then the recycling bins fell on top of me.  So, Leo had to plant for me over the weekend.  On Sunday I tried to rally and was stung by a wasp while shelling corn.  Sheesh.  So I went down again.  Bruised and stung what a week.  I'm back up, but moving slowly.  I'm very thankful that Zack was not stung while standing on the ladder handing me down corn from the rafters.  Now that would have been a disaster.  This was all Joseph of Paradise Corn and I finally got it dried, shelled and mailed back to him, with plenty of seed left over for next year.

Last week we harvested the ancient Italian Flour corn and its now hanging where this one is, drying down.  As soon as this heat passes, hopefully on Thursday, we'll get the polenta corn out of the field and up to dry.

We've been shelling beans like crazy.  Boy fall comes on quickly.

Have a great week.