2019 CSA – Week 12: Embodied Knowledge & the Art of Noticing

CSA Newsletter – Week 12


Embodied Knowledge & the Art of Noticing

Hello, veggie-lovers! We’ve got an amazing box of peak season Pacific Northwest produce for you this week! August and September are our biggest months. At no other time of year is there this much to harvest, so much work to do, so much to eat! We’re tired all the time, but we’ll sleep later when the plants do. Maybe we’re crazy, but we love it.

Our Mediterranean summers are a marathon of long, hot, dry days. With so much sunlight being captured every day, the crops seem to double in size before our eyes, as do the weeds. We have over a hundred different crops to harvest every week, only when they’re at their best, in their prime, not too young or too old. There are so many things to notice right now, and through exhaustion we must keep our eyes peeled. It’s time to make hay while the sun shines!

To farm is to always be thinking ahead to the next season while keeping your balance as you walk on the ground in front of you. Time changes when you watch plants grow. You experience time at their scale, their frantic scramble to photosynthesize that we follow in our own chaotic choreographed dance around our patch-worked fields.

There is such an art and a science to knowing exactly how to harvest everything at its peak perfection, to know how the crops change throughout the season, it all becomes embodied by those who have spent years honing their craft. Growing vegetables requires a combined mental and physical knowledge that only time and experience can give you. It requires the science of harvest, the engineering of tomato pruning, the mindfulness of weeding, knowledge on par with any complex calculus.

Every single vegetable and fruit that made it into your box was first looked upon by someone who was deciding whether or not it was ready to harvest. As we each make our way through tightly packed rows of plants bursting forth with life and fruit, we take years of experience and embodied knowledge and shove it into a single glance where we ask ourselves—should I pick this? All the while knowing that what is not ready today only awaits our asking of the same question tomorrow. Food is embodied knowledge, a physical bridge that connects us. Our relationships are always embodied in our food.

Best,
LB

Table of Box Contents

  • 1 Candy-loupe—Part cantaloupe, part Galia (a green-fleshed cantaloupe from Southeast Asia), this larger cantaloupe is intensely sweet and everything one could want in a melon. If you somehow don’t just devour it all in one sitting sliced up or with a spoon, this is an amazing melon to slice up into a salad with feta and basil, or to have for breakfast in the morning cut in half with yogurt and granola in the center.
  • 1 bu. Basil—Although basil is amazing chopped into salads in large quantities, whole leaves and all, pesto really is the bees knees. A true pesto with pine nuts is always lovely, but never feel boxed in when making a pesto! I often blend up whatever nut I have (walnut, almond, not peanut for some reason), and blend it with basil, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic, and parmesan cheese.
  • 1 Shallot—We’ve been waiting for these flavor bombs all season! Dried shallots are even more potent like their garlic parent than their fresh-bunched past selves were. Enjoy!
  • 1 Sweet Italian Pepper—This week you’ll get either a yellow or a red sweet Italian. On the farm we often eat these sweet treats like apples as is. But they are also delicious sliced thinly into salads, and slaws.
  • 1 head Broccoli
  • 4 ears Serendipity Sweet Corn
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper
  • Tomatoes
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • 1 bu. Carrots
  • 2 Willamette Sweet Onions
  • 1.5 lb. Potatoes

Recipes

Pesto Potato Tomato Salad

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.

  2. In a glass baking dish, toss quartered tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer. On the other sheet pan, toss the potatoes with the remaining olive oil, salt and
    pepper, and place cut-side down.

  3. Roast for 20-25 minutes until the tomatoes have let loose some of their water and are looking golden to a bit charred. Continue roasting the potatoes for an additional 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown and tender when pierced with a paring knife.

  4.  In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the pesto, and gently fold in the tomatoes and chives.

 

Broccoli & Caramelized Onion Baked Eggs

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Sweet Onion, sliced
  • 1/2 Shallot, sliced
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 head of Broccoli, broken into small pieces
  • 2 Eggs
  • Salt & freshly ground Pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a frying pan, add the onions, cook covered for 5-10 minutes over a medium heat, stirring occasionally.

  2. Remove the lid, add balsamic vinegar, season with salt and freshly ground pepper, cook over a high heat for another 5 minutes, stirring often, until caramelized.

  3. In the meantime, place the broccoli in a heatproof bowl, pour over boiling water to cover the broccoli completely. Let it stand for 5 minutes, then drain the water.

  4. Add the broccoli in the pan. Make two wells and crack in the eggs. Cover with a lid and cook over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes, depending on how runny you like your yolk. Enjoy!

2019 CSA – Week 11: On Melons—the Queens of Cucurbitaceae

CSA Newsletter – Week 11


On Melons – the Queens of Cucurbitaceae

You’ve got a fully packed August box this week, complete with sweet corn, heirlooms, bell pepper, melons, and so much more. As always, I like to notice when we have multiple members of a plant family present in one box, and though Solanaceae may be the leading star of summer, including such gems in your box this week as heirlooms, peppers, eggplant, potatoes, and cherry tomatoes, Cucurbitaceae, home to melons, cucumbers, and squash, comes in at a close second.

Winter squash is beyond amazing, so dense, creamy, and filling. Cucumbers are so refreshing, so crisp and full of sweet, summer water filtered through the vine. Summer squash are so tender and buttery, so versatile in muffins or on the grill. But, as much as I believe in vegetable equality, let’s be real— melons are the best. Melons mean summer! You don’t do anything to them except impatiently wait for your body to slice them up so that you can finally devour the sweet fruit waiting inside. No cooking. No prep. They’re just perfect. They woke up like that.

This is the side of melons that most people enjoy—the tasty part. Here at the farm, we’re lucky to get to enjoy an entirely different aspect of what it is to bring melons into existence—the fun part! Unlike any other item we grow, harvesting melons is like our farm’s version of a company baseball game.

For those of you who have driven past during melon season, you may have seen the joy that is melon tossing. First, our select melon whisperers go out and harvest all the melons that are perfectly ripe, gently picking each one up for the first time. We’re all used to having to try to tap out a tune on melons at the grocery store in fear of buying a bland one picked before it was ripe, but at our farm our melon whisperers weave through the fields and pick only what is perfectly ripe. They stack the ripe melons in piles to await the great toss.

Because our melons are picked ripe and full of sugar, they are quite fragile to transport. It is for this reason that we take as many as eight people out to a field, stand in a long line from the melon rows to the flatbed truck lined with bins, and we toss melons from one end to the other for hours. It’s super fun!

The melon gets touched for its second time when pulled from the ripe pile and tossed to the next person, and, depending on how far the row is from the truck, another seven people might gently catch and then toss each precious orb. We all talk and laugh as we toss melons in the sun, a task that feels much more like play than work. From harvest to consumption, melons are so precious, thus they receive the utmost care. Only the best for the Queen of Cucurbits. Enjoy!

As always, all my best
—LB

Table of Box Contents

  • Watermelon Surprise!—You’ll have to cut open your melon to see what’s inside, whether it be red, yellow, or orange fruit. All our melons proudly bear seeds, as the development of seeds is what triggers the plant to produce more sugars in the fruit. And don’t worry, if you’ve never had an orange or a yellow watermelon and it seems unnatural to you, be assured these melons are as normal as can be! There has long existed a vast diversity of melon colors, shapes & sizes. It’s just the reds that have dominated mainstream grocers.
  • 1 bulb FennelBe sure to use the bulb as well as the fronds if you can! Thinly slice the bulb raw alongside pork chops, or in a slaw. For those of you who are into brewing kombucha, I highly recommend using fennel fronds in your secondary fermentation process—it’s amazing.
  • 1 pint Cherry Tomatoes
  • 2 Heirloom Tomatoes—Harvesting our heirloom tomatoes is such a treat. To walk up to a plant and find this giant warped tie-die piece of art, to try to approach it from the right angle with your scissors like a game of Operation so as not to damage the fruit—it’s a joy. We are so lucky!
  • 4 ears Serendipity Sweet Corn
  • 1 bu. Purple Carrots
  • 1 Sweet Colored Bell Pepper
  • 1 Eggplant
  • 2 Willamette Sweet Onions
  • 1 head Red or Green Leaf Lettuce
  • 1.5 lb. Nicola Yellow Potatoes

Recipes

Heirloom Tomato & Fennel Panzanella

Ingredients

  • 2 large Heirloom Tomatoes, sliced or chunked as you prefer
  • 2-3 inch chunk of a nice creamy Feta (I prefer the kind kept in water)
  • large handful of Basil leaves, chopped
  • 4-inch chunk of Sourdough (or other loaf bread, fresh or day-old, doesn't matter)
  • 1/2 large Fennel Bulb, sliced
  • a few Fennel fronds
  • Olive Oil
  • Fennel Seeds, crushed using a mortar and pestle, or simply broken between your fingers
  • Sea Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Tear the bread into crouton-like chunks and toast in a toaster oven until gently browned.

  2. Mix tomatoes, basil, fennel bulb, fronds, and seeds with a good drizzle of olive oil and some sea salt, to taste.

  3. When the bread is done toasting, add it into the mix, with more olive oil if
    needed. Plate and top with feta and black pepper as desired. [optional: add raw
    sweet corn]

 

Baba Ghanoush with Purple Carrots & Bell Pepper

Ingredients

  • 2 roasted Eggplants, or 1 large
  • 1-2 heads Garlic
  • 1 tbsp Paprika
  • 2 tbsp Tahini
  • splash of Lemon Juice
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.

  2. Cut the eggplants in half and score them diagonally. In a bowl mix together whatever herbs you have on hand, such as thyme, rosemary, cumin, salt, pepper and half of the olive oil.

  3. Cut the head of garlic in half and place on baking sheet with eggplants. Roast for about 50-60
    minutes. Halfway through check the eggplants and pour the rest of the olive oil over them. 

  4. When slightly cooled, scoop the eggplant meat out of the skins and add into the rest of the
    ingredients for the Baba Ghanoush in a blender: garlic, paprika, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, & pepper. Blend until smooth, adjust seasoning if needed. 

  5. Serve with roasted or raw multi-colored carrots.  [The purple carrots you have are GORGEOUS sliced in half-lengthwise with bright orange centers. Also serve with raw slices of sweet bell pepper.] Enjoy!

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.