CSA 2011 – Week 6: Water, Water Everywhere…

In the Willamette Valley, most of the time we are spoiled with beautiful, warm, and dry summers. That is really most of the allure of living here. The summers are phenomenal; they warm your soul up enough to last the six rainy months of the year. This past weekend was not the summer that I know. It is interesting to think about how the rain really affects all of the vegetables in the fields. It doesn’t affect them all in a negative way, as it does my personal vitamin D level.

One vegetable that is affected in a negative way is garlic. Our garlic that is trying to dry has a hard time drying in rain, even if it’s covered or under a tarp. The moisture in the air and ground can easily seep its way into that freshly harvested garlic. Luckily the crew is on top of making sure the garlic is covered before rains, but like I said that doesn’t always keep it dry. The tomatoes are not so fond of downpours either. Of course they need water to grow well, but when it pours and then warms up that causes the skins of tomatoes to split. This type of occurrence has the same effect on cherries as well. Some crops thrive in cool rain, for example potatoes and most brassicas (such as kale and cabbage). Lucky for us we grow such a variety of crops that when one crop has a difficult season, there is another crop booming. I guess this goes along with the saying,…

…‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket.’

*CSA Tour and Tasting: Sunday August 28th 2-5pm *
Join us for a farm tour, melon and tomato tasting!

What’s in the Box?

1.5 lb Potatoes (Nicola and fingerling) – These are best steamed, fried, or boiled.
Purple Carrots, bunched – They are great raw, on salad, slaw or stir fried.
1 bunch baby Walla Walla onions – chop the onions and eat raw on salads or soups. The top green part goes well with eggs, cheese, stir fries, or pasta.
1 red cabbage – make slaw, braise it, or use it in a stir fry
2 Leeks – They go great with eggs in a scramble, omelet, in soup, or stir fried.
1 pint sugar snap peas – Eat them raw or do a quick sauté with olive oil and salt.
Summer squash (1lb) – Try them sautéed, grilled, grated raw, soup or stir fried.
Red or Green Leaf lettuce – Make a salad, or add to sandwiches.
2 cucumbers – Eat raw, on salad, or marinate them.
1 bunch dill – Yummy addition to potato salad, cucumber salad, or slaw!
1 Siletz tomato – Chop raw on salad, eat plain like an apple!
1 pint of cherries – picked from the trees down the road at Fritz and Beverley Lonsway’s house.

Recipes:

Stir-fried Sugar Snap Peas

1 pint sugar snap peas, ends and strings removed
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch baby Walla Walla onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Stir fry onions and peas in olive oil for about 3 minutes. Add sesame seeds and cook another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the toasted sesame oil. Season to taste.

Vegetable Leek Medley

2 medium leeks
2 summer squash
2 carrots
4 Tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut top and root end off the leeks and set aside. Cut the leeks in half length wise and chop into 1/4 inch size slices. Rinse the chopped leeks and set aside. Finely chop carrots and zucchini. Sauté carrots and leeks in butter. When they are almost cooked all the way through (5-10 minutes) add the zucchini and cook for another 2 minutes. Season to taste.

Zucchini Cakes

4 cups grated zucchini
1 Tablespoon salt
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cups bread crumbs
Sea salt and pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Mix zucchini with salt and let stand 1/2 hour. Rinse well with water and squeeze dry in a tea towel. Mix with eggs, onion, bread crumbs, cheese, and cayenne pepper and season to taste. Form into cakes and sauté a few at a time in butter and olive oil.
Variations: You could add chopped or roasted garlic, sautéed leeks, shredded carrots, chopped onion tops, or even dill to this recipe!

CSA 2011 – Week 5: Oh the Places Veggies Go

Yesterday morning was a lovely day in the lettuce field. We had over 500 heads of lettuce to pick, but it was Monday, my personal favorite day, and we were all ready to go. Claudia picked a wonderful head of off-type ‘cardinal’ crisp leaf lettuce that was huge and beautiful. It looked as if an artist had come to paint the shadows of red illuminating over the green heart of it right into the soil in which its roots sprang. Later on in the morning we got into a discussion about all of the possibilities of where the produce could go. When I really get to thinking about it, the options seem endless. Just take a head of romaine lettuce for example. Each week we send romaine lettuce to the eight different weekly markets.

So, this lettuce has the possibility of being eaten by people from Portland all the way down the Willamette Valley and out to Newport. We’ve also been selling lettuce to various restaurants and stores in the area. These may then go to other families, probably within the same areas as the markets. There are also some weeks where a head of romaine lettuce ends up in the CSA boxes – that’s 340 different households! That romaine will then get eaten by folks from the Portland vicinity to Newport, Yachats and back out to Corvallis.

What happens when these CSA members have visitors in town to share the produce with? Then the lettuce may get eaten by someone visiting from a different state or even country. There is always the chance that the lettuce won’t get eaten by a person. A head or two could end up not selling and may be too wilted to save. In this case we would compost it, feed it to Joelene’s chickens, or the neighbor’s pigs. These amazing animals will then turn the lettuce into fertilization and the whole cycle starts over again with compost, soil, a seed, sunshine, and water. That’s just romaine lettuce. Imagine where all the other veggies could end up: carrots, garlic, potatoes, oh my! It seems no matter where they go, something or someone enjoys them, whether it be a family, an employee, a customer, an earthworm, or a pig. That is what makes picking lettuce so fun.

Oh the places they go, the smiles they make!

Farmer of the Week: Kim Lamont
What is your job here at GTF? Farm Stand Manager
When did you start working at GTF? In 1988, I started cleaning garlic for John and Sally; we met at an organic gardening club meeting.
What do you do in your spare time? Play with my grandbaby, Luca, who grew on GTF food!
What would you be doing if you weren’t here?
Making yaro tincture, or picking red clover.
If you were a vegetable what would you be and why? A beet because they’re earthy, cleansing, and sweet at the same time!

What’s in the Box?

1.5 lb Potatoes (Nicola) – These are best steamed or fried.
Carrots, Bunched – They are great raw, on salad, slaw, or stir-fried.
1 Bunch Baby Onions – Chop the onions and eat raw on salads or soups. The top
green part goes well with eggs, cheese, stir fries or pasta.
1 Bunch Chioggia Beets – You can grate the beets raw on salad or slaw, boil or roast them in water, then peel and eat with greens or on salad. Eat the greens! (see recipe)
1 Pint Sugar Snap Peas – Eat them raw or do a quick sauté with olive oil and salt.
1 Fennel– The bulb is the most desirable part, chop it, and stir fry it or make a raw
salad with it. You can use the whole thing with experimenting – the stalk can be
stringy. (see recipe)
Summer Squash (1lb) – Try them sautéed, grilled, grated raw, soup or stir-fried.
Assorted Lettuce (green or red leaf, green butter, or green oak) – Make a salad, or add to sandwiches.
3 Cucumbers – Eat raw, on salad, or marinate them.
1 Garlic Head – Add it to stir fries, roast whole.
1 Siletz Tomato – Chop raw on salad, eat plain like an apple!
1 pint of Cherries

Recipes:

Marinated Beets

  • Cut the beets off of the greens.
  • Set the greens aside; save and use them by sautéeing or steaming.
  • Boil the beets in salted water for about 30 minutes or until a knife can slide through a beet easily.
  • Strain and let the beets cool until they are cool enough to handle. Peel the skins, they will slide right off.
  • Chop beets into pieces and add extra virgin olive oil, rice wine vinegar, a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar, honey or maple syrup.
  • Use these as a topping for a salad; they go great with blue or goat cheeses.
  • You can even sauté the beet greens and then add the marinated beets at the very end.

Potato-Fennel Soup (from Moosewood)

1 Tbs. butter or olive oil
1-2 thinly sliced onions
2 tsp. salt
4 medium potatoes (1 lb), chopped
1 cup minced fennel bulb
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
4 cups water or stock
3 cloves garlic, minced
Optional toppings:
Sour cream, or fennel fronds, minced

  • Melt the butter or heat olive oil in large soup pot.
  • Add onions and 1 tsp salt.
  • Cook over medium-low heat, stirring 15-20 minutes or until the onions are very soft and light brown.
  • Add the potatoes, garlic, another pinch of salt, minced fennel bulb, and the caraway seeds.
  • Sauté over medium heat for another 5 minutes, then add the water or stock.
  • Bring to a boil, partially cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender (10-15 minutes).
  • Season to taste

CSA 2011 – Week 4: More than Just Farming

When you think about farms and farming, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For me six years ago, it was fields of plenty, chickens, cows – you know the picturesque version of Old McDonald. Since I began working on farms four years ago, my vision is a little different. Don’t get me wrong, I still love it; I love getting up at the crack of dawn to go pick lettuce, or getting to feel the warmth of the morning sun while washing potatoes. However, farmers, small and large, have to deal with regulations, certifications and logistics constantly, probably just as much as any other business if not more.

One of these logistics is our basic organic certification. Oregon Tilth visits us every year in order for us to hold our organic standing. We have to list everything we grow and everything we use in growing our vegetables. We are also in the process of being certified by the AJP (Agricultural Justice Project). AJP is mostly all about treating employees fairly, similar to a fair trade certification. We completed the process for AJP, and we expect to be certified soon. OGC (Organically Grown Company) is going to be requiring all of their produce providers to have the AJP certification by 2012. This is a must for us, since we sell them quite a bit of overflow produce throughout the year. The ODA (Oregon Department of Agriculture) also pays us a visit just about every year, but mainly to inspect our on-site kitchen.

Last week, we had a surprise visit from an OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) inspector. OSHA mainly ensures worker safety, and this inspection went pretty well, but it reminded us that being safe in a work place, especially a place with a lot of equipment, is key. This is just one of many hurdles that any organic farm that wants to function as a business must deal with. On top of worrying about seeding, transplanting, prepping ground, composting, harvesting , weeding, washing, and conducting all eight weekly markets, we have these certifications and inspections annually.

Overall, these certifications are positive because they are made to ensure proper treating of the land and workers, a type of check and balance. However, it makes one realize that in order to make a business out of farming, there are a lot of little details to work out and make note of. At the end of the day, it all seems worth it when you get to settle into a lovely bowl of salad greens, cucumber salad and grilled zucchinis. I will be dreaming of August heat and melons and forget all about the acronyms until they come knocking next year.

Lisa Hargest
CSA coordinator

What’s in the Box?

1.5 lb Colorado Rose Potatoes – These are best steamed or fried
Carrots, bunched – They are great raw, on salad, slaw or even stir fried.
1 bunch Baby Onions – Chop the onions and eat raw on salads or soups. The top green part goes well with eggs, cheese, stir fries or pasta.
1 Cabbage – Make slaw! I like my slaw with a oil and vinegar dressing
1 pint Snow Peas – Eat them raw or do a quick sauté with butter or olive oil and salt.
1 bunch of Basil – Make pesto, add to pasta dishes, salads, or even sandwiches. See recipe.
Assorted Summer Squash (1lb) – Try them sautéed, grilled, grated raw, soup or stir fried.
Romaine Lettuce – Great for salads or on sandwiches, Romaine is the traditional Caesar salad lettuce. See recipe.

 

Recipes:

  • Basic Basil Pesto
    1 bunch of basil, leaves removed
    3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    3 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
    2 Tablespoons chopped nuts (almonds or pine nuts work best)
    2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
    Juice of 1 lemon
    Pinch of salt
  • Combine olive oil and garlic in a blender or food processor, blend for 1 minute, or until garlic is fine.
  • Add basil leaves and nuts, pulse until the basil is as fine as you would like it. Add lemon juice and cheese and pulse a but more.
  • Salt to taste.

You can do this by hand if you don’t have a blender or food processor, by hand chopping everything and mixing. Note, you don’t have to use the lemon juice if you don’t wish to, but it does keep the pesto from turning brown on top.
Use Basil Pesto as a topping for roasted or steamed potatoes, or a dip for carrots, cucumbers or peas.

  • Dan the Man’s cucumber salad
    3 thinly sliced cucumbers
    1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
    2 Tablespoons sesame oil
    2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    1 teaspoon maple syrup/ or honey
    Pinch of salt
  • Combine all the ingredients and let marinate for 30 minutes before eating.

    Variations:
    Add chopped baby onions or onion tops.
    Add snow peas, chopped cabbage or shredded carrots to make a more slaw-like dish.

Caesar Salad Dressing:
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, chopped
Pinch of black pepper to taste

Use this dressing on Chopped Romaine lettuce for a lovely Caesar salad. Add parmesan cheese or home-made croutons out of leftover bread on top.

Grilled Caesar Variation:  Try cutting the head of romaine into quarters and brushing with olive oil and grill about 1-2 minutes on either side. Take off the grill, chop or keep whole and dress the salad, serve warm right away.

CSA 2011 – Week 3: Scrounging for Strawberries

It was about 5:30 yesterday, and it had been raining for a half an hour. I had just finished up taking the compost out with Robyn, our compost queen. So I headed up to the office to hopefully tie up some loose ends. Then Sally came into the office and seemed in a hurry. She was talking strawberries with Rodrigo on the phone. She hung up and asked me if I’d be interested in picking strawberries with the crew. Of course I wanted to go pick strawberries!

Knowing I had a couple more hours of work waiting for me in the office I joined the crew to Fairfield farm U-pick strawberries so that you may all get some fresh fruit this week! We had to hurry for fear of the rain clouds rolling in and watering down your delicious fruit. We got all 14 flats picked in about an hour and luckily we were barely rained on. We ideally wanted to provide you with our crop of seascape strawberries. They were planted late, although they are an ever-bearing crop, so we are still hopeful for a good late strawberry crop.

Of Favas and Fennel

Featured in this week’s box are two of my personal favorite spring vegetables: Fava Beans and Fennel! These two are not as straight forward as other vegetables.

Fava beans:

First you peel the outer layer of the bean to remove the inner beans. The outer shell will open up by simply popping it with your hands or you can cut it with a knife along the side. The outer shell can then be set aside for compost.

Now that you have all the inner beans, you can blanch them in salted boiling water. Drop the beans into the water for about 2-3 minutes and then pull them out and submerge them into ice water. Now you need to peel them again. Once they are blanched, the outside white layer of the bean should come off with ease. Compost the white outer layer and save the bright green inner bean! These beans can be used in stir fries, on salads, with soup, or just sautéed in some olive oil with a little salt and garlic.

Chef JC makes a wonderful spread using mashed up fava beans, chopped garlic, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. This spread goes great on bread, fish, or meat. It could also be used as a lovely dip!

Fennel:

Fennel is a wonderful vegetable with a mild anise flavor. The bulb is usually the most sought after part of the vegetable. To use the bulb, cut off the bottom 1/2 inch or so, and cut the top stalks and fronds as well. Then you can cut the bulb in half and proceed to chop it as you would an onion. Fennel can be sautéed in olive oil or butter with  salt and garlic. It makes a great addition to a simple soup or stir fry. Another tasty way to eat it is sliced thin and then dressed with a vinaigrette such as the lemon vinaigrette (featured in our Week 1 Newsletter). If you want to try using the stalk and fronds, the stalk can go in a stock of some sort. Also, the fronds make a great addition to a salad or even potato salad. For those out there with juicers, try juicing the fennel stalk. Carrot/ Fennel juice is quite lovely, but I would do a 2:1 ratio of carrot to fennel since the fennel can be a bit strong.

What’s in the Box?

  • 1.5 lb Colorado Rose Potatoes ($4.50) – These are best steamed or fried.
  • Chard ($2.50) – You can steam or sauté it, or use it in place of spinach.
  • Carrots, bunched ($3.00) – They are great raw, on salad, slaw, or even stir-fried.
  • Fennel ($2.50) – See recipe below, and instructions above.
  • Fava Beans (1lb) ($2.50) – See instructions above.
  • 1 Onion ($1.50) – Sauté, or use in soup. Rhese are also great just raw on salad or a sandwich.
  • 2-3 Summer squash (1lb) ($2.00) – Try them sautéed, grated raw, in soup, or stir-fried.
  • Garlic Tops ($2.50 ) – These are a great addition to any meal. Stir-fry, sauté with chard, or even eggs for breakfast. They have a mild garlic flavor. (see recipe)
  • Red or Green Leaf Lettuce ($2.00) – Great on salads or in sandwiches.
  • 1 pint of Strawberries ($3.50) – Eat them just as they are!
  • 2 cucumbers ($3.00) – Eat raw on salad, or marinate.

 If you were shopping at the market, the total cost of this box would be:  $29.50

 

Recipes:

Garlic Scape Pesto

1 bunch of garlic scapes
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon (juiced)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated small
Pinch of salt to taste

  • Chop the garlic scapes in small pieces, compost the very top flower part.
  • Combine the chopped scapes, olive oil, and lemon juice in a blender or food processor. (If you don’t have either you can finely chop the scapes and mix the whole thing by hand).
  • Add in the grated cheese and pulse a bit until the mixture is the consistency you would like.
  • Taste and add salt if it needs any. You’re good to go!

*This Pesto makes a great dip for those cucumbers, carrots and zucchinis!*

Raw Fennel Salad:

1 fennel bulb
1/2 onion
1 chopped cucumber

  • Thinly slice the fennel bulb.
  • Chop the onion fine.
  • Slice the cucumber into thin pieces.

Orange Dressing:

3 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange rind
1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon flax seed oil or sesame oil (optional)

  • Combine all ingredients into a bowl and whisk vigorously. Add salt to taste.
  • Dress the Fennel, onion and cucumber with the dressing and serve.

Hint: if you let the salad marinate for 1 hour before eating, the veggies will have more flavor. Add toasted sesame seeds to mix it up a bit. Or grate some carrots on top to garnish!

The Farmer
By: Wendell Berry

I am going to seed

into the beloved body

Remembering the fields,

I have come through

the dead and the dark,

the winter, the eye

of time, as through

a gap in the hills,

into the new land.

 

CSA 2011 – Week 2: Food is Your Best Medicine

About a week ago, I had a bumpy morning here at the farm. Things were just not going my way. Then Rodrigo, field crew manager, pulled me from the barn to have me help him pick some basil. While picking basil, he told me that when he’s feeling down or depressed, he just goes into the basil house takes a deep breath of the basil aroma and then everything is better. By the time we were done picking the basil, I felt much better. I don’t know if there is any proof that his theory is valid all of the time, but it definitely worked for me.

Basil is just one of many herbs and plants that can be used medicinally. There are several vegetables in the CSA box this week that can help with everyday ailments. For example, studies have found that spinach is a great vegetable to eat if you tend to have migraines or headaches. (Spinach is high in magnesium and people who tend to have migraines or headaches tend to be magnesium deficient.)

It has also been proven that vegetables with vitamin K are beneficial in warding off bruises and helping them heal fast. Vitamin K can be found in leafy greens such as spinach and chard (featured in this weeks CSA box)! Greens can also help to prevent or slow down cataracts as well. Cataracts is a condition in which the lens of one or both eyes becomes cloudy or opaque. A study done by the American Journal of Nutrition found that broccoli and spinach contain a high amount of carotenoids (an antioxidant), which can help reduce the risk of cataracts. Further studies found that turnip greens contain the highest amount of beneficial carotenoids. That goes to show you, those greens are worth saving!

The information above was obtained from a book about healing with food by James A. Duke. He also emphasizes over and over again the benefits of onions and garlic as well, especially raw he says. Garlic and onions have proven to help treat and or prevent asthma, bronchitis, colds, flu, coughs, depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, pneumonia and sinusitis! I knew they were good for you but man, I didn’t know they were that great!

It is really amazing how much eating good food can affect your every day health and mood. I know first hand I grew up eating pretty lousy frozen veggies and it seems since I’ve been actively eating fresh produce, I think I’ve gotten happier and healthier each year! Who knows what the actual reason is, but I’d like to credit it mostly to a good diet. Cheers to health and enjoy your veggies!

Lisa Hargest
CSA coordinator

 What’s in the box?

  • 1.5 lb Colorado Rose Potatoes ($5.00) – These are best steamed or fried
  • Chard ($2.50) – You can steam or sauté these, or use them in place of spinach in the recipe below.
  • Spinach ($2.50) – It tastes great with garlic sautéed. (see recipe)
  • Cilantro ($2.00) – Great addition to salads or soups. (see recipes)
  • Kohlrabi ($1.00) – Goes well grated on salad, or in stir fries.
  • 2 Summer squash ($1.50) – Try them sautéed, grated raw, in soup, or stir-fried.
  • White Turnips ($3.00 ) – Eat raw on salad, or see recipe.
  • Romaine or Cardinal Lettuce ($2.00) – Great on salad or in sandwiches.
  • Blueberry Jam ($5.00) – Use as a topping on toast or pancakes. Great in yogurt!
  • 2 cucumber ($3.00) – Eat raw on salad, or marinate. (see recipe)

 If you were shopping at the market, the total cost of this box would be:  $27.50

Recipe Suggestions

Glazed Turnips (from Sally Fallon)

1 bunch of white turnips

1-2 Tablespoons of butter

3/4 cup stock (vegetable or chicken)

Herbs (optional)

  • Cut turnips in half. Plunge turnips into boiled salted water for 3-5minutes. Drain and pat dry.
  • Sauté in butter until lightly browned.
  • Add stock and boil down until turnips are coated and liquid has almost completely evaporated.
  • Add herbs such as parsley or cilantro and serve.

If you would like to cook greens with the turnips, add in the last 3 minutes of cooking.

Kohlrabi Slaw

1 Grated Kohlrabi

2 Chopped cucumbers

Dressing:

1/4 cup Apple Cider vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon course mustard

Pinch of salt

  • Whisk vinegar, honey, mustard and a pinch of salt. Add  olive oil as you whisk.
  • Add dressing to cucumber kohlrabi mixture.

You can add chopped cilantro to this for a cooling effect. Or add chopped fresh garlic too if you still have some left from last week!

 

Spinach Feta Pastries (from Sally Fallon)

Serves 4-5

1 1/2 cups blanched spinach, finely chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup toasted nuts (almonds or pine nuts work well)

Salt and pepper

1 cup feta cheese

Pie dough or yoghurt dough, see below

  • Mix spinach with onion, and nuts. Season to taste.
  • Form dough into 1-inch balls and coat in flour. Roll into rounds.
  • Place a tablespoon of spinach filling on each and top with 2 teaspoons of crumbled cheese.
  • Fold edges to form a three-sided pastry, leaving a gap in the middle for air to escape.
  • Place on a well-greased pan and brush with butter. Bakes at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden.

*Note, you can use chard, turnip greens, or spinach in this recipe.

Yoghurt Dough

1/2 cup plain whole yoghurt

1/2 cup butter

2 cups fresh whole wheat or spelt flour

  • Cream the yoghurt with the butter.
  • Blend in flour and salt.
  • Cover and leave in a warm place for 12-24 hours.