2015 CSA – Week 12

by GTF Office on August 27, 2015 · 0 comments

CSA week 12_

moss parsley

 

C.S.A. Newsletter Week 12

Vegetable Biodiversity

Many of us who work on a farm choose an agricultural career not because we want to hit the dirt with hoes, but because we love to eat amazing food. In the same way a chef’s goal is to come up with artistic plating and delightfully surprising flavor combinations, a good farmer or gardener’s goal is to preserve the beauty, diversity, quality and excitement-factor of produce so folks who care about their raw materials still have some options.

Last winter I watched the documentary “Open Sesame.” It’s about the importance of seeds for preserving all the unique produce varieties that exist in the world, and how many of those varieties are in danger of going extinct. If I remember correctly, the documentary showed that plant biodiversity has decreased by 90% over the past 100 years.

When you consider that 100 years is a relatively small chunk of history, you realize how fast the decrease happened. There are many potentially terrible effects of this decrease in biodiversity in addition to the most basic effect, which is that our food options are becoming limited. Part of enjoying food is having a variety to choose from, so we can combine flavors, shapes, colors and sizes as we like, and be delighted by finding a new vegetable on occasion.

Deborah Madison says, referring to home gardeners and farmers, “We don’t grow as many kinds of vegetables as what the supermarket offers, so we may find ourselves eating from a relatively smaller plant vocabulary. But the other side of that is that we might grow ten kinds of radishes while the supermarket offers only one or two varieties.” I love getting to work in a place that appreciates the diversity of vegetables. We get excited to see yellow-red streaked heirloom tomatoes dripping off the bushes, trucks piled with purple carrots, and pink-candy striped Chioggia beets in our crew lunch. As Earth’s wide and wild frontier of exciting food options dwindles, let’s enjoy what we still have!

Box Contents

Lettuce

Cucumbers: Top a slice of dense, molasses-sweet rye bread (like Daphne Miller’s recipe in The Jungle Effect) with a combination of sliced cucumbers, Greek yogurt, lime and honey for breakfast. Or, make lox toast with cream cheese, smoked salmon and cucumber.

Chioggia Beets: Combine roasted or steamed beets with banana, raspberries, frozen zucchini, chia seeds, cashew or almond milk, and bee pollen in a blender for a nutrient-rich breakfast smoothie.

Summer squash

Sweet Onion, Red Onion

Poblano

1 Colored Pepper

Moss Parsley: Parsley is nice in a quinoa salad with cranberries rehydrated in white wine and toasted pistachios or walnuts. To rehydrate cranberries, simmer them in a pot with a small amount of wine until all the liquid is gone. Dress with a combination of mirin, walnut oil, and a bit of salt.

Potatoes

Melon

Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes

Recipes

Week 12 CSA Newsletter_Vegetable Biodiversity

 

 

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2015 CSA – Week 11

by GTF Office on August 19, 2015 · 0 comments

 

CSA Week 11

cherry tomatoes pepper

 

C.S.A. Newsletter Week 11

Being Grateful

In her book Vegetable Literacy , Deborah Madison says, “The garden is an unending source of the miraculous, a joy that transforms our cooking and increases our pleasure at least a thousand-fold. Nothing seems to taste as good as what you’ve planted, tended, and coddled to maturity, even if it’s bug bitten, mouse nibbled, or just overgrown…”.

It’s true. We get attached to the plants we nurture. This is the first year that I’ve had a chance to grow my own vegetable garden at home. For the first time, I fully understand why gardeners describe their harvest as “miraculous.” I put in a small amount of sweat, anxiety and love; I dug a hole and poured water on it, and hoped. A few months later, my seed is a monstrous beast dripping with candy-sweet, golden cherry tomatoes. Did I do that? No. I am powerless to make a tomato happen. It is clear to me that a lot went into that plant that I did not put into it.

At the farm, with this great abundance, it’s easier for me to take for granted that of course there will be lettuce and tomatoes to harvest tomorrow, next week, and the week after that. At the store, where food comes in neat squares wrapped in plastic or cardboard, there is even more separation between our getting to have food, and the reality of the food’s source. There is a big difference being able to go to the store to buy a single-serving packaged meal, versus having to wait for your garden to ripen.

When you grow your own food you realize that, in truth, we are vulnerable to the weather, the abundance of water, bugs, weeds, the soil quality and our own physical ability. These are things we have no control over, and yet they factor hugely in whether or not we’ll have dinner later.

Wow, look at this summer’s harvest! Today I feel like it really is miraculous and a reason to be grateful.

Box Contents

Lettuce

2 lb. Potatoes

Carrots

Cucumbers

Squash

Melon: Popsicle time! Combine soft summer fruits like melons, berries, and peaches in a blender until smooth. Add lemon juice and honey to taste. Pour into popsicle trays or small paper cups with wooden popsicle sticks and freeze until solid. Once frozen, store in a plastic bag in the freezer.

1 White Onion & 1 Yellow Onion

Shallot

Jalapeno

Colored Bell Pepper: Your fellow CSA member Kathe S. told me about a delicious pepper pico de gallo she made. Throw together some diced pepper, onion, garlic, cilantro, and a cucumber, and you’ll have a fresh tomato-less pico ready to throw into a burrito or have alongside other dips for veggie crudites and chips.

1 pint Cherry Tomatoes Combine cherry tomatoes with pepper, cilantro, parmesan, olive oil, and salt. Stuff the mixture inside a halved avocado for a healthy snack.

Tomatoes

Corn

Cilantro

Recipes

Week 11 CSA Newsletter_Grateful

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2015 CSA – Week 10

by GTF Office on August 13, 2015 · 0 comments

 

CSA Week 10

CSA Week 10 - purple potatoes

C.S.A. Newsletter Week 10

Saving the Surplus

This is the time of year when I start to think about preserving food for the winter. The farm is overrun with towers of colorful peppers, aromatic tomatoes, corn, and all the good things the harvest brings. Seeing the bounty bursting at the seams makes my fingers itch to take home more than I need. Why? I guess I have an inner impulse to hoard stuff, and it always acts up around August and September.

For me, it’s all about having a more comfortable, easier winter. I like the idea of having bags of blanched, frozen bags of produce in my freezer, canned vegetables or sauces on my shelf, and dried or fermented foods at the ready to reduce grocery shopping trips and to make cooking take less effort in the colder months. It’s more cost effective in the long run, too, to bulk up when produce is plentiful and prices are lower.

When we can easily go to the grocery store in the winter, preserving food isn’t the pressing need it used to be, so it’s not always at the top of our minds. Still, with all the weather changes and worldly tumult we’ve been experiencing, my gut tells me this might be a particularly good summer to stock up on the bounty. Many vegetables like corn, beans, squash, tomatoes and peppers can be blanched or roasted and frozen. To keep your carrots or beets a long time, make sure you are removing the tops each week! With the greens removed, they will store for months in a closed container in the fridge. If they dehydrate and get rubbery, add water to the bottom of the container and let them soak it up to firm up again.

I also like to dry tomatoes. They are so much chewier and more flavorful than the store-bought variety! You can use a food dehydrator or an oven on its lowest setting. See a guide to homemade sundried tomatoes on the other side of this newsletter.

Box Contents

Lettuce

2 lb. Potatoes

Eggplant: Roast with zucchini and red onion wedges. Serve with black beans or pulled pork on tortillas.

Cucumbers

Carrots

1 Colored Pepper

Squash: I love to make Hannah Doyle’s healthful Chocolate Zucchini Bread for breakfast. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Mix 1 ½ c. almond flour with 1 ½ tsp. baking soda, ¼ c. cocoa powder, ½ tsp. cinnamon, and ¼ tsp. salt. In a separate bowl, beat 1 large egg until foamy. Beat in ¼ c. plain Greek yogurt, ¼ c. softened butter, 3 Tbsp. honey, and 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar. Combine well. Grate 1 whole, large zucchini. Stir it into the wet mixture along with 1 c. chopped pecans and a heaping ½ c. of dark chocolate chips. Fold in the flour mixture and stir until combined. Pour the batter into an 8 ½-inch by 4 ½-inch medium loaf pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack and serve.

Melon

4 Corn

Tomatoes

1 Superstar, 1 Sweet Onion

Recipes

Week 10 CSA Newsletter_ Saving the Surplus

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2015 CSA – Week 9

by GTF Office on August 6, 2015 · 0 comments

CSA Week 9

CSA Week 9 - bells tomatoes

C.S.A. Newsletter Week 9

To market, to market…

A couple weeks ago on Saturday, I went to the Corvallis Farmers’ market for the first time in almost ten years. It’s been such a long time because, after spending a whole work week at the farm, the farmers’ market isn’t where I usually want to spend my weekend. I’m always afraid it will feel like going back to work.

Much to my surprise, even though I was going to a farm-oriented place, and even though I was on the clock, it didn’t feel too much like work. I bought myself a scrumptious Razzle Dazzle berry pie, and then it dawned on me that I have been missing out all these years of avoiding the farmers markets.

I was persuaded to visit the market this particular Saturday was because they needed someone to pick up the fresh-baked bread from the GTF kitchen and bring it to sell at our market booth. That probably helped initiate my good experience, because everyone loves a baker’s helper. Instantly upon arriving, I was greeted with smiles and “mmmms!” of delight. Even though the goodness of the bread wasn’t to my credit, people were sure looking at me like it was!

After dropping off the bread trays, I had a few minutes to walk around and check out the goodies. The first thing that impressed me was how many people were there! All the hustle and bustle and music made it feel like a festival. With fragrant berries, raw honey, handcrafted cheeses and, of course, vegetables on all sides, it seemed like a delightful place to visit, on or off the clock.

It also struck me how very different the market is from the grocery store. I think our ancestors would probably not recognize or understand the food systems of today. They would have been familiar with the fact that all food comes from seeds and soil, and if they weren’t farmers themselves then they probably knew their farmers. What a good feeling to go back to a place where food is still “real,” known and appreciated. Many of you CSA members pick up your box at the market, so I guess you already knew this. Thank you for being part of preserving such a good thing!

Box Contents

Bunched Beets

1 Red, 1 Sweet dry onion

Tomatoes: Make Simply in Season’s Fresh Summer Salsa. Dice up 6 medium tomatoes, 1 red onion, 1 large sweet pepper, and 2 hot chili peppers. Combine with ¼ bunch chopped fresh cilantro, 4 cloves minced garlic, 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil, 2 Tbsp. vinegar, 1 tsp. lemon juice, and ½ tsp. salt. Let stand 30 minutes before serving.

2 Colored Bell Peppers

Melon! (Variety will vary by pick-up site.)

2 lb. Potatoes: To make a potato crust for a quiche or a vegetable pie, preheat the oven to 450 F and grease a pie dish. Grate ½ c. grated onion into a strainer and drain 10 min. In a bowl, toss onion with ¼ c. flour and 1 tsp. salt. Grate 1.5 lbs. potatoes into the strainer and press out any liquid. Combine with the onion mixture. Press into the pan and bake 25 min. to let steam escape. Brush with 2 Tbsp. oil and bake 15 min. until edges are golden brown. Now add your filling of choice, and turn down heat to 350 before baking 25-30 minutes.

1 lb. Green Beans

Lettuce, 2 Cucumbers, Squash

Basil

4 Corn

Recipes

Week 9 CSA Newsletter_To Market

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2015 CSA – Week 8

by GTF Office on July 30, 2015 · 1 comment

CSA Week 8

purple carrots

C.S.A. Newsletter Week 8

Fermenting Vegetables

I heard that our food gets eaten twice. It happens for the first time when we munch and swallow, and for the second time when the microbiota in our intestines get a hold of our dinner. Whatever we feed ourselves, we are feeding again to the community in our tummies.

Our critters have hobbies and food preferences. In their free time, the more sinister sorts enjoy making us susceptible to disease and digestive discomforts. These have been implicated in obesity, auto-immune diseases, cancers, depression and anxiety. Others are Super Citizens of the Gut, who fight against these villains to produce the exact opposite effects. Their resume is impressive, and too long to be listed here. To say it shortly: they process our food so we can absorb nutrients more easily, make vitamins we need, and help heal gut lining. They affect our brain’s neurotransmitters, make mood-improving serotonin, support the immune system, and relieve all sorts of neuro-chemical imbalances. Our microbiota are working overtime behind the scenes to keep us healthy.

Depending on what we eat, we are encouraging certain species to move in and thrive. Great news! Vegetables are the friendly bugs’ favorite munchies. So, as CSA members, you’re already well on your way to a happy tummy. To take that one step further, ferment your veggies! Fermented, “live,” foods are full of bacteria, yeasts or fungi. Many of the goodies in your box lend themselves well to fermentation.

Box Contents

Purple Carrots: Many folks insist these are sweeter than the orange variety.

Cabbage

Anaheim: These are not spicy, but have a pleasant tart bite that goes well with meaty or beany dishes.

Colored Pepper

2 Sweet Onions

Cilantro

1 lb. Green Beans: Make Shelley Adams’ “Glory Bowl.” For dressing, combine ½ c. nutritional yeast flakes, 1/3 c. water, 1/3 c. tamari, 1/3 c. apple cider vinegar, 2 cloves crushed garlic, and 2 Tbsp. tahini paste in a blender. Add 1½ c. oil in a steady stream until smooth. Prepare 8 c. cooked brown rice, 2 c. toasted almonds, 2 c. cubed and sautéed tofu, and 6 c. mixture of vegetables. The glory of a Glory Bowl is that you can combine what sounds good to you! Today, you might try grated carrots, steamed green beans and squash.

Lettuce

2 lb. Potatoes

Cucumbers

Squash

Tomatoes

Recipes

Week 8 CSA Newsletter_Fermenting Vegetables

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