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 1: Welcome to the Family

Greetings from Sally and John

Hi….  This is the official greeting from John and Sally.  We want to welcome back our old members and send greetings to our new ones.  The first boxes of the new year were packed today and are going out tomorrow.   Everyone around the farm and particularly the packing shed crew was remembering how much effort and time it takes to pick, clean, and pack the produce for 200 CSA boxes.  They were really relieved the other 135 boxes get packed at the end of the week.

Right now we are really happy we delayed the start of your boxes for two weeks.  If we had started when we had planned to, it would not have been nearly as abundant.  At this point we are wondering why we haven’t done this earlier and are thinking mid-June to mid-November might be the wave of the future. We will be definitely looking for your opinions on this matter at the end of the season. Thanks for being flexible and supportive of our late season start up. You passed your first test for being high quality CSA members.

Even though we plant virtually all year long, last week was probably our biggest planting week of the year. That week usually occurs a couple of weeks earlier than it did this season, but things are in the ground and, with sunshine, good things will happen. Now is a great time to wander around the farm: plants are young, succulent, and vibrant.  We are not having any organized events until later in the season, but we have maps for self-guided tours, and you are warmly invited to drop on by.

By way of events, we are going to be bringing back the work party scenario for those of you who would like to put a little of GTF’s finest dirt under your fingernails. We will also have a big harvest party around pumpkin time. Last year’s pumpkin crop was a long delayed afterthought and pretty much a total bust. We have them in the ground right on time this year! Enjoy your first box and plan on a great summer of eating and trying new recipes.

Welcome from Lisa

Hello from Lisa! I’m your new CSA coordinator. Let me share a little Winter overview and my little story of how I landed here at the farm. We had a pretty good winter (despite the late cold rains), and now we’re gearing up to kick off this season. It seems as though the rain started late and went on longer this year, because as I recall, January was quite nice. In the meantime, the Johns (John E, B, and P) and some of the crew managed to build a new office basically upstairs from the old office. I was amazed at how fast they put the whole project together – not to mention it looks great! We were all ready and moved upstairs by the middle of March.

Meanwhile, I spent most of my winter milking a couple of cows down the road and working on the CSA registration. It was quite meditative to milk the cows. I thoroughly enjoyed making lots of cheese, butter, and yogurt. I may be able to continue this hobby through the season, but I won’t have near as much time to devote to it!

It’s hard to believe that this will be my fourth full season working here at the farm. I remember when I was just traveling through for a couple of months back in the summer of 2007. I came to talk to JC, Sally, and John about a possible job. I came straight from Maryland and it just so happens I was staying with some people right here in Philomath for a couple of months. I had never been to Oregon before, and I was taken aback by how nice everyone is here. I remember Sally describing the farm as a ’vortex’  and in my fourth year here. I can definitely agree with that! I’ve been privileged to work with almost everyone here, and they are all wonderful. It’s so nice to have a family here. With that being said, I would like to welcome all of you to the GTF family, and I’m sure we are going to have a great season!

Logistics

I would like to remind everyone to bring their own bags or container for transferring the veggies into so that you can leave the blue tubs with us! Also, please notify me a week in advance when you are going to miss a week so that you can receive your credit. Remember we allow up to 2 credits throughout the 22-week season. Salad members, I would also like to emphasize that “salad addicts” get salad every week and “salad lovers” get salad on the 1st and 3rd full weeks (Monday-Sunday) of each month. The check off sheet will indicate if it is a “salad lovers” week.

What’s in the box?

  • 1.5 lb Colorado Rose Potatoes ($5.25) – Best steamed or fried.
  • Baby Onions ($2.50) – Enjoy raw or cooked, a great addition to any salad, stir-fry or soup. Chop onion tops and add to soft cheese, salad, soup or stir fry.
  • Spinach ($2.50) – Eat raw as salad or gently cook until they wilt, go great with garlic
  • Dill ($1.00) – Goes great with potatoes or cucumbers
  • Mustard Greens Bunch ($2.50) – Sauté or braise with olive oil , garlic and salt, they go great in stir fries or cooked with beans.
  • Carrots ($3.00) – Soups, stir-fried, raw to snack on.
  • White Turnips ($3.00 ) – Each raw on salad or see recipe.
  • Red Leaf Lettuce ($2.00) – Great for salad or on sandwiches.
  • Green Garlic ($1.00) – See recipes.
  • 1 Cucumber ($1.00) – Eat raw on salad, marinate in dressing below.

 If you were shopping at the market, the total cost of this box would be:  $23.75

Recipe Suggestions

Salad Dressing

Salad dressings can either make or break a meal or dish. However, they are simple to make and quite versatile. The basis is always an acid and an oil or lipid. You can add various additions such as honey, mustard, herbs, garlic, shallots, or whatever your heart desires. Be creative! I’ll share with you a simple salad dressing to start with, but it goes well with a lot of different veggies.

Lemon-Garlic Dressing

1 lemon (meyer lemon if available)

Pinch of salt

2-3 cloves green garlic, chopped

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • Squeeze juice out of the lemon and into a small bowl. Take any seeds out.
  • Chop garlic and add to lemon juice, add pinch of salt.
  • Whisk olive oil in and season more to taste. If it’s bitter add a little honey.

This dressing will go great with the cucumbers, add dill to the dressing if you want! It would also go well with the white turnips,  carrots, spinach, and red leaf lettuce.

Roasted White Turnips

The first time I ate these turnips I vowed to never cook them because they are so good raw. Then, just this last year I ate them roasted, and man they are scrumptious roasted too.

1 bunch white turnips

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Pinch of salt

Pinch of red chile flakes

2-3 cloves green garlic, chopped

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  • Chop white turnips off of greens and set greens aside.
  • Chop turnips in half  if small or in quarters if large.
  • Toss with olive oil and salt,  place into pan and in the oven.
  • Chop turnip greens into strips, and set aside.
  • After turnips have roasted for about 10 minutes, add turnip greens, a pinch of chile flakes and chopped garlic.
  • Allow to roast for another 3 minutes or until turnips are roasted to your liking.
  • For even better results try blanching white turnips first. Add Parmesan cheese on top to kick it up a notch.

Announcement from Wild Garden Seed

Our Own Frank Morton still has some spaces in a seed saving workshop on Saturday June 25th from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Here at GTF. He is gearing this workshop towards home gardeners interested in seed saving. The cost is $120 including lunch catered by the chefs here at the farm. You can sign up online by going to www.wildgardenseed.com. If you have any questions, e-mail Anaka at anaka@wildgardenseed.com