CSA Newsletter – Week 8
Hot Problems & Muddy Solutions
We’re coming to you from down at the farm, where it is hot hot hot and all of summer’s most precious crops are loving it! We grow many of our heat-loving crops, such as tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, zucchini, and peppers in hoop houses, long plastic tunnels that capture a ton of sunlight & heat to turn into food.
Right around this time of year, the hoop houses that once provided just enough extra warmth for cold-weather crops to make it through the winter are now far too hot, both for our heat-loving crops and for us workers. It is crazy hot in there, you guys! To harvest all the way through a row and make it out the other end, you step outside the house into the full beating sun of a hot summer day and you feel relieeeeeeved. So we have to do something to cool things down, for everyone’s sake. We have too many hoop houses to buy fancy expensive shade cloth for them all, so we engage in the strangely jovial practice of mudding.
There are many different ways to sling mud onto a house, and they all seem a little bit ridiculous. The saga of mudding technique evolution continues today. When I first started working at the farm seven years ago, we would load a flatbed truck up with four large totes of home-made organic mud. Four folks on the back would attempt to maintain their balance as a fifth slowly drove between two greenhouses. One Nancy’s yogurt cup at a time, we would mud all six acres of greenhouses this way. It was actually really fun!
A few years ago, a large mud-cannon of sorts was created, but its functionality is spotty at best. Most recently we’ve returned to simplicity. Two folks go out with a wheel barrow of mud, and one pushes as the other slings the mud. Another shout out to the hands that harvest and the souls that sweat! Gratitude goes well with food.
Table of Box Contents
- Napa Cabbage—This very special sweet cabbage has a crisp crunch similar to romaine, with all these lovely little savoyed rumples that are perfect for soaking up whatever seasonings end up on them. Also, napa cabbage is used to make kimchi, a product near and dear to my heart. (For those of you out there interested in making kimchi at home, check out Maangchi’s YouTube channel.) Otherwise, see recipe on back for a delicious slaw
- Bodacious Basil—This week while we were harvesting your basil, we found a little bird nest with three tiny eggs nestled in between the plants. Mama bird wasn’t far off and wasn’t happy, so we quickly flagged the area to protect it from accidental stomping, moved down the row, and kept on bunchin’ basil.
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Fresh Shallots—For those of you who have yet to discover the magic that are shallots, get ready! These lovelies are a cross between onions & garlic. You can tell by the way they grow, attempting to clove out into two or three large bulbs. And you can tell by the potent garlic flavor, a great addition to any dish.
- Willamette Sweet Onion
- Summer Squash
- Colorado Rose Potatoes
- Green Leaf Lettuce
Savory Summer Couscous Salad
Adapted from the recipe in my Week 8 CSA Newsletter in 2018 http://blog.gatheringtogetherfarm.com/2018/07/31/csa-2018-week-8-beyond-nutrition-food-flame-friends/
- 1 cup reduced-sodium Chicken/Veg. Broth
- 1 cup uncooked Couscous
- 1 head Lettuce, sliced thinly
- 1-2 medium Cucumbers, halved and sliced
- 3-5 Carrots, grated or sliced into matchsticks
- 1/2 cup Feta Cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup Onion, chopped
- a good pile fresh Basil, roughly minced
- halved Cherry Tomatoes, tossed in last
- sauteed Zucchini & Shallots
- Olive Oil, to taste
- Lemon Juice to taste
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Pepper
- other dressing additions to play around with that I commonly use in this dish: Toasted Sesame Oil, Tamari or Soy Sauce, Apple Cider Vinegar, Spicy Chile Oil, Avocado
In a small saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Stir in couscous. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for 5-10 minutes or until water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool slightly.
Slice up 1-2 zucchini and 1-2 shallots and sauté on medium high, stirring/tossing as
needed until browned and beautiful. Salt after you’ve turned off the pan, otherwise your zukes will be mush.
In a large bowl, combine the cucumber, carrot, beet, onion, parsley, and lettuce.
Stir in couscous. Toss in the zuke-shallot sauté.
In a small bowl, whisk the oil, lemon juice and seasonings. Pour over couscous mixture; toss to coat. Add more of anything to taste. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until chilled.
I like to serve this with cheese, more fresh basil (or whatever herb is on hand), & sunflower
seeds on top.
The Best Napa-Cabbage, Garlic-Basil, Apple-Walnut Slaw Ever
Adapted from LB’s home kitchen
- 1/2 to 1 head Napa Cabbage, chopped into thin strips
- 4-5 Carrots, grated
- 1 Apple, chopped into small chunks or thin slices, whicheva
- 1-2 cups Walnuts, roughly chopped
- handful Dried Craisins, if you're into that kind of thing
- 1-2 cups Mayo (store-bought or home-made)
- 3-5 fat Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1/3 to 1/2 bunch Basil, minced
- 1/2 Lemon, juiced
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
Slice your head of napa cabbage in half lengthwise. Depending on the size of your head, you may only need to use one half of it for this dish. Let your largest bowl be the deciding factor of how much can fit. Cut the half lengthwise again, and then slice another lengthwise cut to make long quarters. Chop down each strip finely to make thin, shredded slices. Place in a large bowl.
Grate carrots on a cheese grater and add into the large bowl. Mix around evenly with your hands and then set aside.
In a medium bowl, plop in your mayo.
Mince your garlic and toss it onto the mayo, along with salt, pepper, lemon juice, and your minced basil. Stir until well-mixed, dip a finger in to taste. If it needs more of anything, add it. Remember, you’re going for strong, it has a lot of crisp sweet veg to coat.
Stir in the garlic-basil mayo into the shredded veg in the big bowl until mixed through.
Chop apples and walnuts and toss in last. Enjoy!
This slaw is delicious served right away, later that night, the next day, and the day after that! I always have a container of slaw in the fridge in the summer to munch on, and the type of cabbage and specific ingredients vary each time. Just yesterday I added grated gold beets, and it was delicious!