Lunch Menu: Week of April 5, 2016

gtf kitchen shirts from three years running
GTF kitchen shirts from three years running

Antipasti

bread-olive oil-salt  3.5

pepper and parmesan puffs  3.5

farro risotto with pork and duck  6.5

muffaletta    6.5

fennel and paprika potatoes  5.5

salt cod croquettas  5.5

bruschetta/duck liver/apple/arugula  5.5

bruschetta/carm onion/peppers/goat  5.5

grilled kale raabe with lemon and almond   5.5

mixed field greens with balsamic vinaigrette  6.5

GTF salad –apples/blue cheese/pumpkin seeds/honey dressing  9.5

lentil soup with artisan bread  4

carrot soup with artisan bread   4

Pizze Rosse

garlic/oregano/mozzarella    9.5

bacon/blue/mozz  10.5

leeks/kale raabe/mozz10.5

 

Pizze Bianche

peppers/mozz  10.5

kalamata/new potato/mozz 10.5

ham/egg/mozzarella 10.5

 

–add an egg or anchovies

for  2.

 

Secondi

ravioli with tomato, leek, kale, parmesan and olive oil 9.5

semolina gnocchi with ragú, mozzarella & spinach 9.5

potato involtini with grilled kale raabe and caramelized shallots   9.5

rye tagliatelle with smoked trout, kalamata olives, thyme and parsley  10.5

pork sausage with spaetzle,  fava tops and whole grain mustard sauce 10.5

confit duck leg over lentils with potatoes and spinach 10.5

Kale and Collards: Varieties, Growing Practices, and Culinary Inspiration

‘winter red’ kale

Kale and collards have always been and will always be staples at Gathering Together Farm. Oregon’s frosty nights and wet climate produce sweet and tender greens when other more glamorous vegetables aren’t available. GTF grows ten varieties of kale and collards on two to three acres of ground annually, and the extended harvest is sold at farmers’ markets, to our restaurant and grocery store clients, and through our wholesale distributer.

bunches of ‘lacinato’ kale headed to several restaurants in the Portland area

Having a diverse variety list of kales and collards (as wells as most vegetables grown on the farm) allows GTF to offer distinctive tastes and looks to our customers. Often times, different varieties of the same crop will have slightly staggered maturity schedules, allowing for a longer and fuller harvest season. Additionally, if for some reason seed of one variety or another isn’t available for a year or is discontinued altogether, Joelene (GTF’s seed, greenhouse, and irrigation manager) won’t have to scramble to fill in with an unknown variety or seed source. A good majority of GTF’s kale and collard seed is produced on-farm by our partners at Wild Garden Seed, but we also buy seed from Johnny’s Selected Seed and Osborne Seed Company.

‘winter red’ kale
‘white peacock’ kale

Kale: ‘Lacinato‘ and ‘Lacinato Rainbow                                            Seed Source: Wild Garden Seed

Lacinato kale (aka black kale, Tuscan kale, or dinosaur kale) is exceptionally flavorful and is the most sought after by our restaurant clients. Unfortunately, it is one of the lower-yielding varieties that we grow. It takes the longest growing period of the kales to reach maturity, and overwintered lacinato is the first variety to bolt in the spring, producing a nice raab and then dying off early.

Kale: ‘White Russian                                                                                    Seed Source: Wild Garden Seed

White Russian kale is arguably the sweetest flavored kale that we grow. It’s also the most vigorous and cold hardy of our kale varieties, and overwintered white Russian kale produces an abundant spring flush of new growth. Both seasoned and novice gardeners would be well-served by growing this variety.

Kale: ‘Winter Red                                                                                            Seed Source: Wild Garden Seed

Much like white Russian, this red Russian-type kale is delicious and produces heavily in the spring.

Kale: ‘Red Ursa                                                                                                Seed Source: Wild Garden Seed

Red Ursa kale is very showy and attractive with its signature frills. It is the last of the kale varieties to bolt in the spring, producing the last raab.

‘green Russian’, ‘lacinato’, and ‘winterbor’ kale bunches at the farmers market
‘lacinato’ kale

Kale: ‘Winterbor‘ (hybrid)                                                                              Seed Source: Johnny’s Selected Seeds

Winterbor kale is a favorite among the field crew because the leaves are so ruffled and dense that only a few of them make an entire bunch.

Flowering Kale: ‘Red Peacock‘ and ‘White Peacock (hybrids)   Seed Source: Osborne Seed Company

Confusingly, flowering kales are so named because of their ornamental leaves not because of any exceptional flowers. Gathering Together Farm grows flowering kale types only in the fall because the varieties won’t transform into the vibrant shades of pink unless they’re chilled at night. Peacock kale varieties are sold in bunches at the farmers’ markets and to restaurants, but much of it is cut at a young stage for salad mix.

Collards: ‘Champion‘                                                                                      Seed Source: Wild Garden Seed

Collards: ‘Flash                                                                                                 Seed Source: Johnny’s Selected Seeds

‘red ursa’ kale
‘lacinato’ kale

For fall/winter-harvested kale and collards, Joelene seeds one planting in the greenhouse in late June that gets transplanted out about three weeks later. She seeds a second planting in the greenhouse in mid July that also gets transplanted out about three weeks later. She also direct seeds a third planting the first week in August. (Jolene recommends that home gardeners direct seed fall kale and collards in mid-July or the very beginning of August.) Johnny’s Selected Seeds advises spacing plants every 8″ in rows 18″-30″ apart.

The field crew begins harvesting kale (and collards) in mid-September, but the greens don’t reach their peak of flavor until they get consistent nighttime frosts. The plants will go dormant because of lack of light and heat in December and January, but the fall kale that doesn’t die off due to extreme cold will begin growing again in February. Depending on the variety, kales will begin to bolt in March or April, producing edible kale raabs (the bolting stems and buds on any plant in the brassica family–kale, turnips, broccoli, etc.).

‘winterbor’ kale
frosty ‘lacinato rainbow’ kale being grown for seed

Joelene seeds another batch of spring kale and collards in the greenhouse in late February that gets planted out three or four weeks later. The tender transplants spend the first few weeks outside growing under floating row cover. Around the time that the overwintered kales and kale raabs are winding down (early May), the field crew begins harvesting the new crop of spring kale. Though it will keep growing over the summer, its taste intensifies as its sugar content decreases with the warm weather, so spring kale is usually abandoned and eventually tilled under in late June or early July.

flowering ‘peacock’ kales
‘flash’ collards

Kale has a mostly undeserved reputation of being tough and having a strong, unpleasant taste. That may be due to the fact that some folks are eating kale in the summer or in climates that don’t get frosty nighttime temperatures. The reality is that good kale is tender and sweet. It is easily prepared in a quick stir fry with a splash of soy sauce and a sautéed leek, or in the recently trendy form of “kale chips”, but if you’re looking for some slightly more complex inspiration, check out these kale-centric recipes:

Lemon Kale Salad + Seared Salmon from Sprouted Kitchen

Kale and Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes from 101 Cookbooks

Kale and Sweet Potato Soup from Joy the Baker

Potato and Kale Skillet Gratin from The Year In Food

Roasted Yam and Kale Salad Rolls from The Bounty Hunter

Enjoy!

CSA 2011 – Week 19: Pumpkin Picking and Potluck

We had our pumpkin party last Sunday, and it turned out to be a great day. We had cider and great food. When people started showing up, the children went right for the doughnuts and pumpkins. They each picked out their very own pumpkin from the field. Then, John went to go start the big red truck. The tour mobile’s battery was dead, so he got it charging right away. Unfortunately it did not charge up in time.

So, plan B was to try to pop the clutch. We started up one of the old Ford farm trucks we call the U-Haul. Then, John connected a large chain running from that truck to the tour mobile. Greg, a CSA member, kindly drove the Ford around with John riding in the tour mobile trying to pop the clutch. After one lap around the farmstand the tour mobile was still not running, so we resorted to plan C, a walking tour.

The walking tour was quite pleasant. It was a great day for a walk around the farm, and we even picked a few carrots while we were out there. The kids got to run through the ‘tomato jungle’! We turned around and headed back to the farmstand where we had the potluck part. There was some exciting food and an assortment of desserts. As the sun started to descend it warmed the deck. What a beautiful day!

Split Pea soup Recipe by CSA member Stephanie
1 delicata squash (2 sweet potatoes or 1/2 butternut squash can be substituted)
1/2 large onion
2 carrots, peeled
2 stalks celery
2 cups ham or thick cut bacon cut into 1 inch pieces (optional)
6 cups water
16 ounces dried split peas
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
1 tablespoon fresh sage
1 tablespoon fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Cube the potatoes or squash. Chop the onions, carrots and celery. Rinse the split peas and combine all ingredients into one big pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer covered for about an hour. If you like chunky split pea soup, keep it the way
it is, or use a hand blender to smooth it up.

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

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

1 shallot– Chop and add to soup, or use as base in sauces.

1 butternut 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 make a soup with it!

1 bunch black kale– Sauté in butter or olive oil and salt.

2 Italian peppers, 1 ruffle pimento—Grill, roast, or just eat raw; they are sweet.

1 kohlrabi– Shred raw and use in slaws or stir fries. You can also chop it up and roast it too.

1 Broccoli– Chop into small pieces and use in soups or roasted roots vegetables.

1 celeriac/celery root– Cut the bottom roots off. Peel the outside and then chop into cubes for roasting or soups. You can also make a wonderful potato/celeriac mash.

1 tomato– Chop and add to salads or sandwiches.

Potato and Celeriac puree
4 medium potatoes, chopped into cubes
1 celeriac, peeled and chopped into 1-inch cubes
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper
2-3 tablespoons butter
2-3 tablespoons cream or milk

Boil the potatoes and celery root in two separate pots since they cook at different speeds. The celery root should take about 25 minutes to cook. The potatoes should take 35 minutes to cook.
Once both are cooked all the way through, strain and combine in a large bowl together. Mash either by hand with a potato masher or use a hand blender or mixer with the whisk attachment. Add the garlic while mashing along with the butter, cream, salt and pepper. Season to taste and serve.

Kohlrabi and Apple Slaw
DRESSING
1/4 cup cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon good mustard (coarse stone ground, or Dijon will do)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Salt & pepper to taste – go easy here
Fresh mint, chopped

1 pound fresh kohlrabi, trimmed, peeled, grated into large pieces
2 apples, peeled, grated into large pieces (try to keep equivalent volumes of kohl-
rabi:apple)

Whisk cream into light pillows – this takes a minute or so, no need to get out a mixer. Stir in remaining dressing ingredients, the kohlrabi and apple. Serve immediately.

Sautéed Black Kale

1 bunch black kale
1 shallot, chopped finely
Handful of mushrooms if you have them
Splash of white wine (optional)
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Chop the kale into strips. Heat up the olive oil or butter on medium heat. Add the shallots and mushrooms and sauté until light brown or about 5 minutes. Add a splash of white wine and let it simmer down. Add the kale and continue to cook for about 2-3 minutes or until kale is cooked lightly, but not brown at all.

 

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.

Thicker than Water?

Monday the 21st was summer solstice, the first day of summer, and the longest day of the year. It seems hard to believe because it just doesn’t feel like it should be the end of June.  I checked out the official NOAA website and they confirmed what we can all feel, precipitation totals are well above normal. All this wet has me thinking about how much of our bodies, and how much of what we consume is water. We know that drinking contaminated water (even in small amounts) can have lasting harmful or deadly effects on humans. Our bodies are largely water, and so are many of the foods that we eat. It seems that we often  deceive ourselves into thinking that we are something stronger or greater than our chemical components. I wonder why we are not more cautious overall about the purity of all the water that surrounds us, because it directly feeds the seeds that will become us.

In your box this week, you have Cucumbers (95% water),  Carrots (84%  water) Lettuce (96% water) and strawberries (90% water), and a handful of other water dense vegetables…You’ll take these home to eat, and they will become a part of the water that makes up 60 % your body, and 83% of your blood. These vegetables are fed by the soil, air and water. Soil itself is 25% water the (rest is composed of 45% mineral material, 5% organic material, and 25% air) . We can greatly alter how a plant grows by boosting the minerals in the soil by using fertilizers, mainly nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. It makes sense that people would need a type of fertilizer to grow also, but we don’t because we get everything we need from the plants we eat, and plants take everything in from their environment. Plants do all of the work to process the basic elements of life and make them available to us. But what about when our plants are feeding from an environment that has lingering chemicals left by pesticides or herbicides?

Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the USA; but you may recognize it by its other name, Roundup. While it’s claimed that Roundup becomes inactive quickly in the soil, a study in the Ecologist found that it is more accurate to say that it is usually absorbed into the different components in the soil (water, mineral, organic, and air). That means it’s still active. So active that glyphosate residues have been found in lettuce, carrots, and barley that were planted a year after the field was treated. A different article in the journal, Environmental Pollution, showed that glyphosate also leaches through the soils; so the molecules may be potential contaminants of groundwater.

This brings us back to the idea of water purity. Now I know I’m preaching to the converted, but even if you go out of your way to eat organic produce, if your neighbor, or farmer across town uses a glyphosate based herbicide, the odds are it will slowly make its way into our soil and groundwater. When you eat vegetables that have grown from soil & water that have been exposed, do we really have any idea what the long term effects are?

Naturalist John Muir once said,  “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe”.  And that seems to be the case with the water system. Maybe the unusual amount of rain we are having this year is connected to a greater issue. Either way, the water that keeps falling down on us is the same water that keeps your cucumber crunchy, it’s the same water that is rising out of the ground, and running into our rivers; it’s the same water that is circulating through your body.  Nothing is separate from everything else, and we ourselves are, no thicker than water.

Devon Sanders, CSA Coordinator

What’s in the box?

Fingerling Potatoes— 4.50$ (these are real gems, bake and enjoy with butter.)

Garlic Scapes—2.00$ (see recipe)

Fava Beans—3.00$(see recipe)

Basil—2.00$

Black Kale—2.00$

Cucumber—1.50$

Carrots—3.00$

Lettuce—2.00$

Walla Walla Onion—1.50$

Radishes—2.25$

Strawberries—3.00$

If you were shopping at the market, this box would cost—26.75$

Recipe Suggestions

Garlic Scape Pesto

1 bunch garlic scapes
1 tablespoon of  lemon juice
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
enough extra virgin olive oil to blend smoothly
coarse salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Blend garlic scapes, parmesan cheese, and lemon juice in a food processor or blender. Slowly drizzle in the oil with the motor running, and blend until smooth. Add a little more oil if you like yours a little looser, Taste and add coarse salt and pepper as needed. Mix this into your pasta,  use for a dip, or spread.

Fava Beans

Fava beans have a delicious buttery texture and lovely nutty taste. Although the require a bit more work to prepare, take the time to try this old world favorite. When preparing fava beans you need to first remove the beans from the pod. After you have shucked your beans, dispose of the pods and start a pan of water boiling so that you can partially boil the beans to make removal of the outer shell easier. Fava beans have a outer shell that needs to be removed before you eat them. Boil the beans until they turn bright green (about a minute or so), then remove them, run them under cold water until they are cool enough to touch. Now you need to remove the skin surrounding each bean. Fava beans have what looks like a little seam on one side of the bean. Make a slit in the seam at one end of the bean and then squeeze the bean out. It should pop right out of the skin.  Then the beans are ready to use in any recipe.

1.5 cups shelled fava beans (roughly 1.5 pounds unshelled)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove of garlic chopped finely
salt & pepper to taste

In a skillet on medium heat, add oil and garlic and let cook for 1-2 minutes. Add fava beans and sautee for 7– 10 minutes, or until they are done to your preference. Add salt and pepper to taste, and these beans are ready to eat!           Good ideas include an Italian inspired cold salad with goat cheese, olive oil, lemon juice , and parsley.

Or throw your cooked beans in a food processor with lemon, garlic, and olive oil and spread them on a piece of toasted French bread. Yummy!

Black Kale Salad

1 bunch of black kale
Several baby onions, thinly sliced
A handful of pitted kalamata olives, chopped or ripped into quarters
1/4 cup of feta cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of grey poupon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash your kale and remove the bottom stalk.  Chop the rest into 1 inch sections and put into a large bowl.  Chop onions and kalamata olives and add to the kale.  In a separate bowl mix or whisk the mustard and olive oil together until they are emulsified, pour mixture over the kale, olives and onions.  Coat kale leaves completely with the dressing,  then and add feta cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.

This salad is best when you make it in at least 6 hours in advance, so that as the kale wilts, it absorbs the dressing. This makes it more tender and easier to eat.