Carrots Clean for the Eating

by Rebecka on August 4, 2014 · 0 comments

GTFDirtyCarrots This is our summer carrot harvest straight from the ground.  In dry times like these it takes very little effort to release these sweet root vegetables from the soil.  During our high season, we typically harvest 800 to 1000 bunches of carrots two or three times a week.  It takes about 10 field crew members about 2 hours when the harvest is easy, the weather is good, and the crop is healthy.  GTFCarrotsonTruckThe crew bunches the carrots as they harvest from the field.  We don’t weigh or measure specifically, but our crew ties together about of pound of carrots in each bunch.  These bunches are loaded on a flat bed and delivered to barn for a high-pressure hose wash.

CleaningCarrots1We get remove the majority of the soil with the hose, and then the carrots are put through and additional wash as they move down the rolling table where it is received and packed.

CarrotsConveyerBeltThe rolling table works well for us because it give the produce a chance to drip dry before packing, and it decreases the amount of product handling, making our process more labor efficient.

 

Market2photocontestCorvWednesdayOnce packed our carrots are stored in our cooler until they are shipped to their final destination, such as the farmers’ market, restaurants, or our CSA or farmstand.

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Strawberries Sweet for the Eating

by Rebecka on May 29, 2014 · 0 comments

Our strawberries crop is abundant this year.  It is the best we have seen in a while.  You can find these ever-bearing Seascape strawberries at our markets or at our farmstand.  While prices may vary from market to market, you can get some good deals if you by in bulk.  If you are able to, buying in bulk is great way to stretch your market dollars; and canning or freezing is great way to stretch the strawberry season! Read Daniel Blaustein-Rejto’s blog post Cost-Saving Tips for Shopping at Farmers’ Markets for some more great ideas to stretch your budget.

strawberries for marketIt can be hard to not eat all the strawberries fresh from the pint!  When I have a little excess of  fresh seasonal fruit, I like to blend the sweet goods into a morning smoothie.  Smoothies are great way to pack in some protein, and other less-tasteful, nutrient dense supplements.  It makes for a great workout recovery beverage, if that is your thing.  The little ones will think they are getting desert for breakfast.

strawberry smoothie

STRAWBERRY PROTEIN POWER SMOOTHIE

1 Pint Fresh Strawberries
1 Frozen Banana
1/2 Cup Yogurt
1 Cup Liquid (Milk (cow’s, almond, coconut, water… your preference!)
1/4 Cup Hemp Seeds (optional: choice protein supplement)
2-3 Teaspoons of supplements (optional: I like to use mix it up and spirulina, maca, superfood blends, and/or mesquite powder)

Use blender and process until desired consistency, add more fruit to thicken or more liquid if too thick. I like to add fresh market greens when they are around. I have found that you can get away with adding a few leaves of almost any greens without compromising the flavor of the smoothie.  I like to use kale, collards, or chard.

Our local natural foods co-op in Corvallis, First Alternative has a great smoothie supply section in the bulk cooler at their North Store.   You can find raw powders of acai berry, camu camu, maca, mesquite, wheatgrass, and cacao, whole hemp seeds, bee pollen, soy lecithin, and cacao nibs.  They also have carob powder and great superfood smoothie mix from Bright Earth Foods.  Buying in bulk eliminates packaging waste, is less expensive because you are not paying for individual packaging costs, but perhaps best of all you can assess the product before you buy it, for freshness and for color and you can buy exactly how much you would like to try or use.  It is a good thing!

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Muffuletta on the Menu.

by Rebecka on May 21, 2014 · 0 comments

muffuletta If you love a good ol’ muffuletta, you better get yourself to the GTF Farmstand for lunch this week!  Featured on the menu is a muffuletta inspired GTF porchetta sando, complete with mustard aioli, a caper-olive-mint spread, and our house pickled peppers.  This hefty sandwich is served with ceci (garbonzo bean) and carrot salad and only $9.50.

rickypizzaandchowderPictured above clockwise: Chef Ricky slices the poached tarragon and garlic dressed pork shoulder to be placed in between two slices of our very own pugliese bread, baked fresh on the farm.  Seafood chowder with rock fish, white shrimp, manila clams, and topped with farm fresh kale.  This chowder is creamy but not rich, with a hint of sweet tomato.  And finally our lamb  sausage pizza with mozzarella and balsamic onions.

We love it here and we hope you do too!

 

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The Farm Stand New Look

by Rebecka on July 8, 2013 · 2 comments

We have been working on improving your experience at our farm stand and restaurant.  If you haven’t already, please stop by and check it out.

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We started working with Jonathan Bryant Jensen early this year to make some improvements.  Jensen, a self-employed carpenter, has been resourceful remodeling and designing built environments for the last 15 years, and he is a dedicated Gathering Together Farm customer to boot!

He was first approached by John Eveland to work on replacing the plastic paneling and installing a glass facade to the farm stand.  Jensen was able to re-purpose wood panels from dairy in Lewisburg and salvaged glass from a local glass business.  Now you can enjoy your meal with a crystal clear view of our bustling farm!

Jensen replaced our old, small and poorly functioning gutters with retired irrigation pipe. These sort of projects fit right into our farm’s vision for sustainability  and gives Jensen the work he loves best:  giving new life to the old.  Let the water flow!

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As a customer Jensen noticed the South West corner of the farm stand, where we store and sell our freezer goods was a little too dark and gloomy.   He redesigned the corner and created a built-in display for our value-added jams, sauces, and pickles and other locally produced goods.

IMG_4306A new produce island sits in a more open and bright farm stand. Jensen hand crafted this work of art with reused copper and wood.  IMG_4309

So please come in and check it out!  Our summer hours for the Farm Stand and restaurant are in full swing: Tue – Fri, 9 – 6 and Sat 9 – 5. Click here for more details.

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The best thing about rhubarb for me has always been that it is red.   In the usual Pacific Northwest Spring through to “Junuary” (A common term used by market folk) the weather is usually cool, Spring feels “late”, and the dedicated GTF market crew will do all that we can to keep the donuts from getting rained on. At sunrise when you open a market tub full of rhubarb, you are excited to see the rich and vibrant red amongst the sea of green you will need to display before the crowds start rushing downtown.

Unlike many of the market shoppers, I don’t have great memories of strawberry rhubarb pie.  I am not sure we ate much pie- at all- in my childhood. And to be honest, I always thought it strange for the combo; rhubarb and strawberries don’t have much overlap on the market shelves.  I have since tasted strawberry rhubarb pie and it is no fail tasty treat, don’t get me wrong, but it isn’t what drives me to pull rhubarb off the shelf.

For many years, I passed rhubarb up altogether, until I met and studied with Laura McCandlish, an incredible blogger, writer, and radio personality.  She has a way for turning me on to almost anything.  Several years ago in a Master Food Preserver class she demonstrated making rhubarb syrup with the same variety of rhubarb that we grow and sell at Gathering Together Farm.  The color again was incredible, a hot magenta-pink.  She suggested using it sodas and mixed drinks.  Two years ago, she used the same the syrup to make Italian ice with fresh mint.  The flavor combo was perfect, and the frozen treat hit the spot for this 8 month preggo, at the time.

I started cleaning out my freezer early this year, because unlike the usually Oregon Spring, this May feels more like July and I want to make room for the blueberry harvest.   I found two quart bags of rhubarb and was inspired to make freeze pops to break this unusual heat. I boiled them down, added mint and honey to taste, strained, and viola: the taste of a cool sweet spring in a summery spell.  Tonight I had the joy of watching three young boys gobble them down and my 2 year old son keeps dragging a chair to the freezer begging for more.

The Rhubarb Honey Mint Syrup Recipe

8-10 ribs of red-ribbed rhubarb, chopped
½ cup honey
3 Tbsp dried mint or double with fresh mint

In large sauce pan, cook the rhubarb with some water on low heat. I used about 1 cup of water.  Add mint.  As the rhubarb starts cooking and more juice collects in the pain, raise heat to medium.  When fully cooked, mash rhubarb and mint together.  Strain juice into a bowl.   Return to pot, and honey and warm until the honey is fully blended.  Taste.  This is the concentrated rhubarb syrup.  Add more honey if you like it sweeter.   It should be a nice blend of sweet and tart.

For popsicles, you can make a more concentrated pop, or light and refreshing pop.  It’s up to you.  I added a little bit of water to the syrup. Pour into molds.  If this is your first time using freezer pop molds, make sure that you warm the popsicle by running it under warm water to get it out of the mold.  Don’t rush this, you will see the pop starting to release from the sides.  Gentle tug on the pop to remove.  Enjoy!

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