CSA 2011 – Week 13: Melons, Melons Everywhere!

The theme of the past few weeks here at the farm has been melons! I personally have been trying to eat at least one melon a day for the past couple of weeks, and I think that I’m succeeding. We plant four staggered plantings of melons in the season, intended to spread out our melon season for four weeks or more and assure that we will get a good harvest.

This year we transplanted them into the fields a little late and the lack of warm weather seemed to drag us behind with the melons, resulting in our first good melon harvest the last week of August. The amazing thing about all of this is that our 3rd and 4th melon plantings are both ready to be picked now! The hot weather ripened up those melons in a hurry. Thank you to Joelene and Sarah for spending their Sunday and other countless hours of their time devoting to the melon picking and boxing. We grow several different varieties of wonderful melons here. Those of you who attended our tasting last month got to try them all. For the melon type, we grow charentais, honey orange, honey pearl, and gaila. The watermelon varieties are sunshine, little baby flower, starlight, new orchid, and sorbet swirl. These melons are very special and are treated with special care. This week’s box contains the 4th melon for you all this season, and there will be more to come!

Assorted Veggie Casserole from CSA member Ruth:
1 lb potatoes
Several tomatoes
2-3 summer squash, chopped
Cheese (optional)
Herbs (marjoram, or thyme)
Salt
Olive oil

Slice the potatoes thinly, salt them, and layer in a casserole dish. Layer the dish with the tomatoes and squash, or any other appropriate vegetables. Sprinkle some layers with chopped garlic, salt, pepper, and herbs. Add some shredded cheese if you’d like in the layers – mozzarella works well. Drizzle with a significant amount of olive oil so that the layers all get some. Bake at 400 degrees covered for about 45 minutes– 1 hour.

What’s in the Box?

1.5 lb Potatoes (Nicola or Colorado Rose)– steam, roast, or mash.

Beets, bunched – They are great raw, roasted, or boiled.

2 onions– chop the onions and eat raw on salads or soups. Try them caramelized.

Watermelon, assorted types– Eat just like it is!

2 jimmy nardelo peppers– Chop and put on salads. (see recipe)

2 colored peppers— Grill, roast, or just eat raw, they are very sweet. (see recipe)

1 lipstick pepper– Chop raw for salads, add to a sauté or potato salad. (see recipe)

1 globe eggplant– Roast with olive oil, salt, and garlic. Try sautéing with tomatoes and onions.

2 Japanese cucumbers– Chop and add to a salad. Marinate and combine with tomatoes! Try combining with melons and eat together.

Bok Choy-Sauté with squash, and onions, serve with rice or quinoa.

Squash (zucchini and cocozelle)– Grate and make fritters, or zucchini bread. Bake or sauté with onions, olive oil and salt.

Romaine, Cardinal, or Red leaf lettuce– Make a salad, or add to sandwiches, make lettuce wraps!

Tomatoes (approximately 2 lbs)- Chop raw on salad, or sandwiches.

Cucumber Melon Soup
1 watermelon, rind removed and cut into chunks
2 cucumbers, peeled, cut in half, seeds removed
Pinch of salt
Spoonful of honey
Few sprigs of mint and/or cilantro
Tiny pinch of cayenne pepper

Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. For an even
smoother texture, strain after blending. Serve this soup cold. Add some
club soda or sparkling water before you serve for an extra kick!

Assorted pepper “slaw”
2 colored peppers
1 lipstick pepper
2 jimmy nardelo peppers
Aioli or mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Cut the colored peppers in half and then remove the seeds before slicing. Then, cut the peppers into thin strips (julienne). Mix with Aioli (recipe below) and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Aioli
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4-1 cup extra virgin olive oil or sunflower oil, or a combination of the two.
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped.
Pinch or two of salt

Place egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Drizzle in the olive oil slowly, while the motor is still running. Taste for seasoning. At this point you can add herbs if you’d like. Once the mixture gets thick it is just about done. Scoop out of the machine and into a container and put it in the fridge. Add to the peppers once they’re ready and chopped.

CSA 2011 – Week 12: Sugar Beet Case #3

Many of you know of Frank Morton, owner of Wild Garden Seed. Wild Garden Seed and GTF have been working together since 1994. Not all of you may be aware of the current court case going on between Frank Morton (represented along with others by the Center for Food Safety), the USDA, and the Sugar Beet Industry (Monsanto and other companies that financially benefit from the industry). The Center for Food Safety (CFS) originally filed a suit against the USDA when Frank and other growers of beet seeds realized that some growers in the Willamette Valley switched to GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) sugar beets. The USDA had allowed farmers close by to start growing these GMO sugar beets without any sort of testing. They sued the USDA simply because they did not want the sugar beets to contaminate their beets by cross pollinating.

Frank and the CFS wanted an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to be done in order to protect organic growers and farmers from contamination. The Judge ruled in favor of CFS and Morton. However, then the USDA changed the rules and issued special permits to allow the commercial sugar beet growers to continue despite the judge’s ruling. The CFS and those who they represent decided to sue again after they had won, when nothing was going to be enforced. The goal was to make the growers remove what they had illegally planted. In this second case the Judge ruled in favor of Morton and the CFS again. Although, once again the USDA had completed a preliminary environmental assessment and said that the GMO sugar beet growers did not have to pull up the stecklings (roots of transplanted beets) because of safe guards (from cross-contamination) implemented by the USDA. The judges ruling was considered to be moot, or not valid, because of the rules being rewritten once again.

Following the second ruling, Morton and the CFS were getting ready to try again. Before they had time to file again, the sugar beet industry decided to sue CFS and the USDA for making it too hard for their industry. This means that the sugar beet industry got to choose where the case would be heard, and they chose Washington D.C, as opposed to San Francisco, where the previous cases had been heard. The D.C location makes it a bit harder for CFS and Frank, but I think that was their intention.

Contamination of Frank’s seed by the sugar beets would be terrible. The sugar beets could not only cross and contaminate his beets, but also chard seeds since they are all in the Beta vulgaris family. This threat of contamination could scare off customers, and he believes it does. Sugar beet contamination could affect his seed stock and future plantings. The whole thing is a sticky situation as well because of the patents that Monsanto has on the genes in the GMO sugar beets.

Because of these patents, no one but Monsanto can actually do any safety testing on their crops and publicize it. This patent also poses a threat to Frank and other growers like him; what if his crop does get contaminated? Does Monsanto own the rights to those seeds, or just the contaminated ones, or what? It’s not very clear, but one thing is – the USDA is obviously making up rules to keep the sugar beet industry in business while leaving Frank and many other growers like him feeling unprotected and unheard by the government. Hopefully the third time will be a charm!

What’s in the box? 

  • 1.5 lb Potatoes (nicola) – Steam, roast, or mash. These are versatile.
  • Carrots, bunched – They are great raw, on salad, slaw or stir fried.
  • 3 onions(1 walla, 1 superstar, 1 red ) – Chop the onions and eat raw on salads or soups. They are very good caramelized.
  • Honey Orange Melon – Eat just like it is!
  • Charentais melon – Very flavorful French melon. Try salting it slightly before eating.
  • 1 colored pepper – Grill, roast, or just eat raw, they are very sweet.
  • 1 poblano pepper– Grill, roast, or add to a sauté for an extra kick. These can be slightly spicy and have a great flavor.
  • 2 Japanese cucumbers– Chop and add to a salad. Marinate and combine with tomatoes!  Try combining with melons and eat together.
  • 1 lb green beans– Blanch them and then sauté with olive oil, salt, garlic and herbs.
  • Squash (zucchini and cocozelle) – Grate and make fritters, or zucchini bread. Bake or sauté with onions, olive oil and salt.
  • Celery– Snack on raw, or use in soups!
  • Green Leaf lettuce– Make a salad, or add to sandwiches, make lettuce wraps!
  • Tomatoes (approximately 2 lbs)- Chop raw on salad, or sandwiches.
  • Corn– Grill in husk or steam. Add some butter and salt if you’d like.

Stuffed Onions
4 large onions
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups whole grain bread crumbs or brown rice
1/4 cup toasted nuts (almonds work well)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 teaspoons parsley, finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
Sea salt and pepper

Cut onions in half along the equator and remove the inner part of the onion, leaving a shell two or three layers thick. Make a small slice on the bottom of each onion shell so that it will stand upright. Place shells in a buttered glass oven dish.Chop the onion taken from the centers and sauté in olive oil until tender. Add rice or bread crumbs, nuts, oregano, cheese and parsley and mix well. Remove from heat, stir in the egg and season to taste. Fill the onion shells with the stuffing. Add a little water to the baking pan and bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour.

Stir Fry Green Beans with Cashews
1 pound string beans, each end cut off
1/2 cup crispy cashews, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup filtered water, orange juice or chicken stock
1 tablespoon arrowroot mixed with 1 tablespoon filtered water
1 teaspoon raw honey
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

Combine ginger, soy sauce, water or stock, honey, sesame oil, garlic and rosemary. Mix thoroughly with a wire whisk. Heat the oil in a skillet or wok. Stir fry the beans until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add cashews and the sauce mixture and bring to a boil. Add the arrowroot mixture and simmer until the sauce thickens and the beans are well coated.

CSA 2011 – Week 11: Melon and Tomato Tasting Recap

Well, the delayed heat finally set in last week to help ripen up our outdoor tomatoes and peppers along with our melons too! The melon and tomato tasting was a success as well. About five families showed up to try our offerings, and we took a tour of the farm in the big red truck!

I even learned some new information. For example, we have been having issues with spider mites in the summer for the past couple of years because they thrive and readily reproduce in hot, dry weather. John explained to us that they came up with a new solution this year: running a sprinkler periodically to keep the humidity up. And it works!

We also got a chance to look at the Wild Garden Seed lettuce field. It looks like they have started to harvest some plants out there that were laying down on some white cloth. This time of year the lettuce seed field is just beautiful. Most of the 4-5 foot tall plants are still glowing red, green, purple, or a combination of the three and a lot of them are displaying their white fluffy seed heads. It looks like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Just think, each of those plants will produce hundreds of little lettuce seeds that will then produce more and more lettuce or seed, and it will just continue on and on! We will be having a fall potluck and tour, date to be decided. We’ll keep you posted on that.
Lisa Hargest– CSA coordinator

Words from Sally:
I hope your weekly box is nourishing you and your family. It feels as if the GTF bounty has finally kicked into gear. I think I have “stressed” about this year’s box more than any other year. Again I want to thank you for accepting the challenge of eating with the season or whatever that particular season offers. Joelene, Dan, and I have started to pick the 2nd planting of watermelons as the 1st planting got eaten by our local crow mob. We have four plantings, so be looking for melons in your upcoming boxes. We would love to hear about some of your creative menus from your CSA box!

Enjoy your vegetables!
Sally

What’s in the Box?

1.5 lb Potatoes (nicola)– Steam, roast, or mash. These are versatile. (see recipe)

Carrots, bunched – They are great raw, on salad, slaw or stir fried.

2 onions (1 Big Alsea craig white onion, 1 superstar)– Chop the onions and eat raw on salads or soups. They are very good caramelized.

Honey Pearl Melon– Eat just like it is!

1 yellow or orange pepper—Grill, roast, or just eat raw, they are very sweet.

1 Anaheim pepper– Chop raw, and add to salsa, salad, or sauté with summer squash.

1 broccoli – Steam, roast, or grill with salt and olive oil.

2 cucumbers– Chop and add to a salad. Marinate and combine with tomatoes!

1 lb romano, wax, or green beans– Blanch them and then sauté with olive oil, salt, garlic and herbs.

1 globe eggplant– Roast, or pan fry. Try breading and frying for eggplant parmesan.

1 bunch cilantro – Use in salsa, try salsa verde with the tomatillos. It goes well with cucumbers too. (see recipes)

1 garlic – Add to salsa, sautés, or try roasting in skins.

1 jalapeño– Use in salsa, or anything that you would like to spice up!

1 lb tomatillos– Make salsa verde! It’s a wonderful topping for tacos.

Assorted lettuce (oak leaf, romaine, little gem, or crisp leaf) – Make a salad, or add to sandwiches, make lettuce wraps!

Tomatoes (approximately 2 lbs) – Chop raw on salad, or  sandwiches.


Recipes:

Salsa Verde
1 lb tomatillos
1 teaspoon (more or less) chopped jalapeño
1/2 c cilantro, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons lime juice
Pinch of salt

Peel the papery outer husks off of the tomatillos. Simmer them in boiling water for 8-10 minutes, and then peel the skins off. Add the cilantro and garlic and then puree in a food processor or blender. Heat the oil over low heat. Stir in the chopped onion, and jalapeño cooking slowly until slightly wilted. Add the tomatillo mixture, lime juice and the salt. Remove from heat right away, then refrigerate until chilled. Serve chilled. Salsa will keep up to a week in the refrigerator.


Broiled Eggplant Slices

1 globe eggplant
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup cilantro marinade

Peel eggplant and slice 3/8 inch thick. Sprinkle with salt and let stand 1 hour. Rinse and pat dry. Place on a well– oiled cookie sheet and brush half the marinate on top of the slices . Broil until golden, turn, brush other side with remaining marinade and broil again.


Cilantro Marinade

1 bunch of cilantro
Juice of 1 lemon
3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix all of the ingredients together. Refrigerate until needed.

Stuffed Potatoes
6 medium baking potatoes
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup crème fraiche or sour cream
1 onion, finely chopped                                                                                     1/2 cup parmesan or cheddar cheese
2-3 tablespoons basil, or parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper

Place whole potatoes in a clay pot, cover and set in a cold oven and turn on to 250 degrees. The potatoes will cook in 2-3 hours depending on their size. Cut butter into cubes and place in a large bowl. When the potatoes are done, cut lengthwise and scoop out soft potato flesh into the bowl with the butter. Mash with a potato masher, mix in cultured cream, cheese, herbs and onions. Season to taste. Spoon the potato mixture back into the shells and return them to a 150– degree oven to keep warm.

CSA 2011 – Week 10: Cold Preparation Ideas

It’s official, it’s August and the heat is finally on. I think that everyone is feeling the pressure. We were able to harvest some of our first planting of melons that the crows attacked a few weeks ago. Meanwhile, we have been swimming in tomatoes, and yes, peppers are here! Hopefully soon we will be getting enough red and orange ones to give you all some of those!

This time of year I try to remind myself that it is normal to be stressed, and also that I am not the only one feeling it. I also tend to enjoy colder foods instead of hot prepared items. So here I will provide some cold preparation ideas for this week’s box. With a little innovation, you can pretty much prepare any vegetable in a cold manner, which is a nice relief in this hot weather. It’s sure hard to eat hot soup in the summer! More on cold soups next week.

Carrot/ Beet Slaw:
1 bunch of carrots, shredded
1 bunch of beets, shredded
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
This slaw would make a great addition to a sandwich
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
or wrap, or just eat it plain as a side dish.
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons stone ground mustard
2 Tablespoons honey
Salt to taste
1/2 cup chopped parsley

*Combine all ingredients and season to taste.

Bean and Potato salad
1 lb bag of green beans
1 lb or so of purple potatoes
1/2 red onion, finely chopped

Dressing:
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
1 tablespoon honey
Pinch of salt

Cut or snap tough ends of beans off. Blanch them in boiling water for about 2-3 minutes. Chill , set aside.

Boil potatoes whole for 20-30 minutes, or until cooked all the way. Cool and then chop into 1-inch cubes.

Combine beans with potatoes, onions, and the dressing. Serve cold.
Note: You may add more or less dressing to your liking, or use more or less vinegar or olive oil depending on how acidic you like your dressing.

If anyone has a recipe they would like to share with everyone else, feel free to e-mail it to me, and I will try to include it in a future newsletter.

*Reminder: CSA tour, melon and tomato tasting this weekend! August 28th, 2-5pm Be there or be square!*

What’s in the box?

1.5 lb Potatoes (purple majesty)– Steam, roast, or mash. These are versatile. (see recipe)

Carrots, bunched – They are great raw, on salad, slaw or stir fried.

2 Onions (1 Big Alsea craig white onion, 1 red) – Chop the onions and eat raw on salads
or soups. (see recipe)

1 Bunch Beets– Shred raw on salad, boil or roast and marinate. (see recipe)

1 Purple or Green Pepper—Grill, roast, or just eat raw. (see recipe)

1 Anaheim Pepper– Chop raw, and add to salsa, salad, or sauté with summer squash.

Assorted Summer Squash – Try them sautéed, grilled, in a soup, sautéed in butter, grated for fritters, or make muffins!

1 lb Green Beans– Blanch them and then sauté with olive oil, salt, garlic and herbs.

1 Bunch Fresh Shallots – chop and sauté in olive oil or butter, use in place of garlic with beans. Try roasted with potatoes, they have a wonderful flavor.

Red Leaf Lettuce – Make a salad, or add to sandwiches, make lettuce wraps.

Tomatoes (approximately 2 lbs)– Chop raw on salad, or sandwiches.

4 ears of Corn– First corn of the season! Grill in husk or steam for a few minutes. Eat plain or add salt and butter.

Recipes:

Peppers and Onions

1 large onion ( add shallots for more flavor), sliced
2 peppers (Anaheim and green or purple would work fine)
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried fine herbs (oregano, thyme, or sage work well)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1/2 cup finely shredded basil leaves
Sea salt and pepper

  • Sauté onions and peppers gently in butter and olive oil for about 45 minutes until soft.
  • Add herbs, crushed garlic and basil and cook another few minutes, stirring constantly. The consistency should be like marmalade. Season to taste.
  • Serve as a side dish or as an appetizer on triangle croutons.

    Variation: Add cooked sausage to the mix and eat all together, on top of some smashed potatoes, or just on a roll with some mustard. Even add some chopped tomatoes towards the end for more flavor!

Stuffed Tomatoes

3 large tomatoes
Sea salt and pepper
2 slices whole grain bread
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon fine herbs

  • Slice tomatoes in half around the equator, remove the seeds and place cut side up in a buttered baking dish.
  • Sprinkle with a little sea salt and pepper. Process bread in a food processor to make fine crumbs.
  • Add butter, cheeseand herbs and pulse a few times until well blended.
  • Spread a spoonful of stuffing over each tomato half.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

    Variation: Try using sautéed summer squash in place of bread crumbs, or sauté shallots and add them in as well. A soft cheese goes well in this too.

Week 9 Correction..

Hello everyone,

I just wanted to correct a couple of things that I did not change before I posted the newsletter. One, the lettuce is not only Romaine; there are some other varieties of lettuce that some will be receiving. Also, everyone is receiving more like 2 pounds of tomatoes, not 1.

Thanks!
Lisa