CSA 2011 – Week 20: This Land is Your Land

As many of you know, we have added on small chunks of land here and there for the past few years now. One of our newest additions is right across the street from our main production greenhouse. This past spring, the owners of the property had the hybrid tulip poplars removed and we transplanted our fall brassicas into the field in July. Those brassicas are now thriving and that is where your past few week’s of kales and collards were planted.

This next year is going to be a whole new story for us. We are taking over the lease of a 70– acre plot of land formerly farmed by a transitional organic grain farmer. Much of this land is 3 years away from being certified organic, so we are coming up with what to do with it until then. For now, Dan and John are in the process of moving the whole compost operation and equipment over there right now. We may lease some of the land to livestock raising, or maybe grow some transitional organic sweet corn there.

The main goal and excitement behind this huge chunk of land is not to actually grow more vegetables, but to be able to give large parcels of land a rest. We could then grow cover crops for longer, while cutting disease pressure at the same time. This is still in the works, but there’s no doubt it leaves a lot of possibilities for the future at GTF.

Parsnip Puree
1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces.
2-3 medium baked potatoes
1/2 cup cream or sour cream
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (optional)
Pinch nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook parsnips in boiling salted water about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and puree in a food processor along with scooped out potato flesh. Add cream, butter and ginger and process until well blended. Season to taste. *Parsnips have a wonderful sweet flavor, and go great with carrots too. Try using them in soup, or roasted!

Squash Towels! Have any old large bath towels laying around the house that need a new home? Bring them down to GTF! We have been enjoying a wonderful squash washing season and are in need of old towel donations for drying them. We’ll gladly take them off your hands!

What’s in the Box?

1.5 lb Red Potatoes (Colorado rose or Rose gold) – Steam, roast, fry, mash, these are versatile.

Carrots, bulk (~1 lb) – Shred them on salad, sauté in butter with salt, or eat plain.

3 onions (2 yellow, 1 red)– Caramelize, eat raw sliced thin on sandwiches, or add to a slaw or potato salad.

1 bunch beets– Cut beets off greens. Boil, roast or fry beets. Try grating them raw. Use the greens too! Sautee with olive oil or butter, salt, and pepper.

1 ambercup squash– Cut in half, remove seeds, place on a sheet pan, flesh side down. You may oil the pan a bit so it does not stick. Add a couple cups of water too, so the squash steams slightly. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes-1 hour. You can use this squash in place of pumpkin in any recipe, or make a soup with it! Ambercup tends to be a bit on the dry side so it may need more moisture.

Bok Choy– Sauté in butter or olive oil and salt. It goes great with fish. Add chile flakes for a kick.

1 red Italian pepper, 1 red bell—Grill, roast, or just eat raw; they are sweet.

2 Leeks– Use in soups or sautés. Chop them, then rinse them a bit. Dirt gets inside leek layers easily.

Parsnip-Chop into small pieces and use in soups or roast with other vegetables.

1 tomato– Chop and put in soup or salad. Add to sandwiches or wraps.

Balsamic Carrot Salad
1 pound carrots, peeled and julienne small (thinly sliced pieces)
2-3 celery stalks, chopped fine
2 red peppers, seeded and cut into small slices
2 bunches green onions, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 cups balsamic dressing

For the dressing:
2 teaspoons Dijon-type mustard
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Mix the mustard and vinegar. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking or mixing the vinegar. Add salt and honey to taste.

For the salad, combine all the ingredients and serve. You may use grated kohlrabi in place of the celery. Try adding some finely chopped red onion, or grated beets!

Beet Soup
6 medium beets
4 tablespoons butter
1 quart filtered water
Sea salt or fish sauce and pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions or parsley for garnish
crème fraiche or sour cream

Peel beets, chop coarsely and sauté very gently in butter for about 1/2 hour or until tender. Add water, bring to a boil and skim. Simmer about 15 minutes. Puree soup with a handheld blender, or food processor. Season to taste. Garnish with chopped green onions and sour cream or creme fraiche.

Ambercup Leek Soup
1 ambercup squash
2 leeks
2 tablespoons butter
6 cups water, or stock
1 cup milk or cream
Salt and pepper

Chop the leeks into small slices. Heat a large pot up with the butter. Once the butter is melted, add the leeks. Meanwhile, cut the rind off of the squash; either a knife or a peeler may work. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Cut the squash up into 1-inch size cubes. Once the leeks are soft and cooked, add the squash and continue cooking for another 15 minutes or so. Add the water/ stock and milk. Bring to a boil and then turn down to low and cover. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the squash is cooked all the way. Puree with a handheld or standup blender. Season to taste and serve.

CSA 2011 – Week 18: Fun with Fermentation in Your Own Kitchen!

For at least 6000 years now, people have been making sauerkraut and other fermented foods. In fact, in most cultures it would be very rare to eat a meal that does not contain at least one type of fermentation. Bread, cheese, wine, ham, sausage, beer, sauerkraut, pickles, and kimchi – all of these foods are produced through fermentation. Before there were refrigerators, people figured out ways to preserve foods. Salt and time were usually the two main ingredients besides vegetables and fruits.

This type of preserving is called lacto-fermentation. Lactic acid is a natural preservative and keeps bad bacteria away. The lactobacilli found in fermented vegetables makes the vegetables more digestible and increases vitamin levels as well. These organisms produce helpful enzymes, antibiotic and anti-carcinogenic substances. Not only are they super tasty, but they are healthy too! Kimchi and sauerkraut are two of the most popular types of fermented foods around and they are fairly simple to prepare. These dishes may be a great way for some of you to use up your overload cabbage, carrots or onions that you have not gotten to yet! You can make larger batches with an investment in a 4 or 5-gallon bucket or a crock pot. Also, when making these do not use any type of metal container or tool. If you are interested in kraut-making gear, check out Lehman’s catalog!

Sauerkraut
1 medium cabbage, cored and shredded
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
2 tablespoons salt

In a bowl, mix cabbage with caraway seeds and sea salt. Pound with a wooden spoon or a wooden meat pounder for about 10 minutes to release the juices. Place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth jar and press down until the juices come to the top of the cabbage. The top of the cabbage should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage. For the ‘cold storage’ you can place it in the refrigerator, or for best results in a place between 40-50 degrees until the kraut has the flavor you are looking for. The sauerkraut may be eaten immediately, but improves with age.

Kimchi 

1 head Napa Cabbage (any cabbage would work), cored and
shredded
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
1 cup carrots, grated
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon dried chile flakes
2 tablespoons sea salt

Place vegetables, ginger, garlic, red chile flakes, and sea salt in a
bowl and pound with a wooden pounder or wooden meat hammer to release the juices. Place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar and press down firmly with a wooden pounder or a meat hammer until juices come to the top of the cabbage. The top of the vegetables should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage.

CSA potluck and pumpkin picking this weekend!
Sunday October 16th.
Tour and pumpkin picking: 3-5pm  |  Potluck: 5-7pm
Please RSVP to me at csa@gatheringtogetherfarm.com or call the office: 541-929-4273

Squash Towels! Have any old towels laying around the house that need a new home? Bring them down to GTF! We have been enjoying a wonderful squash washing season and are in need of old towel donations for drying them. We’ll gladly take them off your hands!

What’s in the Box?

1.5 lb Potatoes (Nicola or rose gold)– Steam, roast, fry, mash; these are versatile.

Carrots, bunched – Shred them on salad, sauté in butter with salt, or eat plain.

4 onions (2 wallas, 2 candy)– Caramelize, eat raw sliced thin on sandwiches, or add to a slaw or potato salad. (see recipe)

2 leeks– After you chop leeks, wash them out a bit before cooking. Dirt seems to get stuck in between the layers of the leeks.

1 buttercup squash– cut in half, place on a sheet pan, flesh side down. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Scoop out the inside, puree, season and serve. You can use this in place of pumpkin in any recipe, or even make a soup with it!

1 bunch of collard greens– Sauté in butter or olive oil and salt. Try braised collards.

2 colored peppers—Grill, roast, or just eat raw; they are sweet.

1 purple savoy cabbage– Shred raw and use in slaws or stir fries.

Parsley root– chop into small pieces and use in soups or roasted roots vegetables.

Bulk beets– Boil, then peel, chop, and marinate. Try chopped and fried in olive oil and salt.

1 bunch cilantro– Chop and use in soup, salsa, or try making a cilantro pesto!

Tomatoes (approximately 1 lb)– Chop raw on salad, or sandwiches.

French Onion Soup
2 leeks
4 onions
4 tablespoons butter
2 quarts beef stock or vegetable stock
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup cognac
2 tablespoons arrowroot mixed with
2 tablespoons water
Sea salt and pepper

Thinly slice the onions and leeks. Melt the butter in a large stainless
steel pot. Add the onions and cook on the lowest possible heat, stirring occasionally for 2 hours, or until the onions are soft and slightly caramelized. Raise the heat a bit and cook a few minutes longer, stirring frequently. The onions should turn brown but not burn. Add wine, cognac and stock. Bring to a rapid boil and skim off any foam that may rise to the top. Add the arrow root mixture and season to taste. You can top this with homemade croutons and/or
cheese.

Braised Collard Greens
1 bunch collard greens
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
2 strips of bacon, chopped (optional)
Splash of wine (optional)
1-2 cups water or stock
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
Spoonful of molasses
Splash of orange juice (optional)
Pinch of chile flakes

Cook the bacon, onions, and garlic in the olive oil until the onions and garlic start to brown. Add the chopped greens and let cook for a couple of minutes. Deglaze with wine and stock. Let simmer and cook until the greens are nice and tender. Add the orange juice and/or molasses towards the end. Season to taste. Add a pinch of chile flakes for a kick.

Roasted Root Vegetables
3 medium potatoes
4 medium beets
2 chopped medium-sized onions
2 medium or 1 large parsley root
3 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1-2 teaspoons sea salt
Pinch of pepper
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary

Chop the veggies into quarter size pieces. Coat with olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary and garlic. Place in a 400 degree oven for about 40-50 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked all the way and they become slightly browned.

CSA 2011 – Week 17: More on Storing Vegetables!

It’s hard to believe, but melons are gone and squash is here! There will most likely be a winter squash in each box for the rest of the season. Provided below is more information on storing and keeping vegetables. These are storing tips from Johnny’s Seed catalog.

Vegetables that last…

1-2 months: Brussels sprouts, Chinese cabbage, kohlrabi, parsley, turnips, winter squash (acorn and delicata).
2-4 months: Leeks, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash (buttercup, hubbard, kabocha, and Spaghetti).
4 months plus: Beets, cabbage, carrots, celeriac, garlic, Jerusalem artichoke, onions, parsnips, dried hot peppers, potatoes, rutabagas, butternut squash.

Temperature and humidity play a big role in a vegetable’s ability to store. Here are some tips on how these vegetables store best below:

Cold and Humid: Beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, leeks, parsley, radishes, rutabagas, and turnips.
Cool and Humid: Potatoes.
Cold and Dry: Garlic and Onions (this is why these are best stored when dry in a paper bag, or a bag with holes; not plastic).
Cool and Dry: Pumpkins, winter squash.

Winter Squash Information:
Acorn: Last up to 3 months
Spaghetti Squash: Lasts up to 3 months
Delicata and similar types: Stores up to 4 months
Buttercup: Sweeter after storing for a few weeks; keeps up to 4 months
Kabocha: Gets sweeter when stored for a few weeks; green varieties keep from 4-5 months. Grey varieties will keep up to 6 months.
Butternut and Hubbard: Best a few weeks after harvest; will store up to 6 months.
All Squash stores best if it’s stem is still intact.

Squash Towels! Have any old towels laying around the house that need a new home? Bring them down to GTF! We are at the brink of a wonderful squash washing season and are in need of old towel donations for drying them. We’ll gladly take them off your hands!

What’s in the Box?

1.5 lb Potatoes (nicola)– Steam, roast, fry, mash; you can do just about anything with these!

Carrots, bunched – Shred them on salad, sauté in butter with salt, or eat plain.

2 onions (wallas)– Caramelize, eat raw sliced thin on sandwiches, or add to a slaw or potato salad.

1 bunch of scallions– Chop raw for salad, mix chopped green tops with cheese or eggs.

2 delicata squash– Roast with olive oil and salt, add onions, scallions, or even chopped peppers if you’d like.

1 bunch of red kale– Sauté in butter or olive oil and salt. (See recipe)

2 colored peppers- Grill, roast, or just eat raw; they are sweet.

1 bag baby onions – Cut them into quarters and add to vegetable roasts or sautés.

1 Cauliflower or Romanesco– Roast with olive oil and salt, top with cheese and scallions.

Red oak, cardinal, red Leaf, or green leaf lettuce- Make a salad, or add to sandwiches. Use to make lettuce wraps.

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

Roasted Cauliflower with cheese
1 large head or 2 small heads of cauliflower or Romanesco, cut into quarter size or larger pieces.
4 tablespoons of melted butter
Handful of baby onions(6 or so), cut in half and then sliced into quarters
1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped green onion tops
Pinch of salt
1 cup of sourdough or whole grain bread crumbs (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix the cauliflower, onions, scallion tops, butter and salt together. Place in a baking pan or dish and in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the cauliflower is mostly cooked but not brown yet. Add the shredded cheese on top and continue roasting until the cheese melts and starts to bubble and turn a light shade of brown. Add the bread crumbs in with the cheese if you want bread crumbs. This dish is versatile and a variety of seasonings can be used in it, such as chile flakes, chopped peppers, tomatoes, or even parsley. Mix it up! Try new things!

Roasted Delicata Squash
Cut the squash in half. Remove the seeds (you can save these seeds and roast them for eating or dry them for planting). Cut the squash up into 1/2 inch pieces. Place in a baking pan or casserole dish with olive oil, some pieces of butter and salt. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, checking the squash and mixing it every 10 minutes or so. For a crispier, more caramelized flavor turn the oven on broil for about 3-5 minutes at the end. Keep a close eye on it, the squash will brown fast. I like to eat the skins of the delicata, they are not tough and have a good flavor. Try seasonings with minced garlic if you want! But it’s wonderful plain as well.

Dan the Man’s Red Kale Specialty
1 bunch red kale
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 c rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil

Cut the leaves of the kale off where they end. You can remove the stem part if it’s too thick for your liking. Chiffonade (cut very thinly) the leaves and combine all the ingredients into one bowl. Mix thoroughly and serve. You can let it sit for 15-20 minutes before serving if you like, the kale will seem more cooked if you do. Dan says this recipe is a great way to eat any type of kale and the two acids in the recipe are what actually cook the kale. It is also great leftover the next day, the kale is tender as if it had been lightly cooked. Adjust the ingredients to your liking. If you like more soy sauce and less rice vinegar try that, or add some raw minced garlic if you want.

Enjoy!

Late Fall CSA Box 2011

Cannot bear to think of what you are going to do when your vegetable boxes end? Fret no longer…

We are offering a late fall CSA! These boxes will be perfect for those of you who love root crops such as carrots, beets, turnips, celeriac, parsnips and potatoes! It will also include winter greens: kale, collards, chard, bok choy, and cabbage. Winter squash, leeks, and onions will be included in these boxes as well, along with a bag of salad mix every week!

We will be able to offer 2 pickup sites on Saturdays only:

1) Portland Saturday Market
2) the GTF Farm
We may be able to add another pickup location in Corvallis if someone has a nice sheltered garage or space by their house that they could offer.
It will run for 4 weeks, from November 19th-December 10th, $100 for 4 weeks.

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.