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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.

 

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.

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 15: ‘Ode to the Johns’

Most of you are all aware of Farmer John, Sally, Rodrigo, Joelene, Frank, and all of the other characters that float around the farm daily. I wonder, however, how many CSA members are familiar with the Johns, meaning John Petillo and Jon Boro. These guys have a huge role in keeping the farm running, or shall I say, farm trucks running. These guys fix trucks on a daily basis. In fact, it wasn’t until this year that we even started tracking the repair jobs and since May there have been over 200. Most of these repairs are on trucks or tractors, although you would be surprised at the number of restorations that the Johns are responsible for all over the farm. For example, they have been known fix ovens, stoves, cash registers, CSA scales, building repairs, electrical appliances, anything with a motor, weed eaters, welding on market racks, computers, and much more. John P is a long time friend of Farmer John’s, and he tends to pop in almost every day. Jon B has been working here at the farm for a few years now. Together the Johns make quite a dynamic duo; needless to say we are lucky to have them here.

Mark your calendars for our CSA potluck October 16th!
3-5pm, pumpkin picking, 5-7pm potluck! We have a limited supply of pumpkins this year so if people could RSVP with the number of children coming so that we can try to assure that each child will receive a pumpkin that would be great! You can RSVP by e-mail or phone.

Acorn Squash Purée
1 acorn squash
2 eggs
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped

Cut the squash in half, remove seeds and set cut side down in a buttered glass baking pan with about 1/2 inch of water. Bake at 350 degrees until tender, about 1 hour. When squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out into a food processor and blend until smooth. Add eggs and nutmeg and season to taste. Transfer purée to an ovenproof serving dish. Melt the butter and pour over purée. Sprinkle on pecans. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

What’s in the Box?

1.5 lb Potatoes (Rose Gold)- Steam, roast, fry, mash, you can do just about anything!

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

2 onions (white)– Add to any sauté, or eat raw sliced thin on sandwiches, or add to a slaw or potato salad.

Cantaloupe– Eat just like it is!

1 acorn squash– Roast in halves or chunks with salt, pepper, olive oil and/or butter. You can use the acorn squash purée in place of pumpkin for pies, bread and more! (see recipe)

1 bunch of spinach– Sauté quickly in butter or olive oil with salt. Try using garlic and white wine.

2 colored peppers, 1 lipstick pepper— Grill, roast, or just eat raw, they are sweet.

1 shallot– Caramelize, or eat raw. They are wonderful!

Chinese cabbage– make slaw, steam in chunks or add to soup or stew. (see recipe)

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

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

Stuffed Cabbage
1 Chinese cabbage, outer 12 or so leaves
2 lbs ground meat, sausage, tempeh, or tofu
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 onion or shallot, chopped finely
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
1 bunch cilantro
Salt and pepper
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons arrowroot or corn starch mixed with 2 tablespoons cool water (optional)
*Add any vegetables into this recipe for some variations.*

Remove several leaves from the outside of the cabbage and set aside.
Bring 4 quarts of water or so to boil. Blanch the leaves in the water for
about a minute or two, or until the cabbage leaves are malleable. Level out the leaves by cutting some of the thicker stalk part off or slicing it sideways. Anything cut off can be used in the stuffing. In a large skillet, cook the ground meat or tempeh until done to your liking. Add the onions, chopped trimmed cabbage, rice, sesame oil, ginger, soy sauce, chili flakes, and cilantro. Season to taste. Place a spoonful of stuffing in each cabbage leaf, fold in sides and roll up. Arrange in several layers in a ovenproof casserole dish and cover with stock. Bring to a boil and transfer to the oven. Bake at 300 degrees for about an hour. You can serve the rolls just like this, or you could remove the cabbage rolls from the dish, platter them, and place in the oven to keep warm. Bring the remaining stock to a boil and add the arrowroot/water mixture little by little to thicken. Ladle sauce onto cabbage rolls as you serve, or whenever desired.

Chinese cabbage soup
2-3 cups finely chopped cabbage
2 cups finely chopped carrots
1 onion, or shallot chopped
1 cup celery chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
6-8 cups water or stock
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat olive oil up in a large pot. Add onions, garlic, carrots, and celery. Sauté on medium heat for about 5-10 minutes or until cooked halfway through. Add a pinch of salt while cooking. Add a splash of white wine and let it simmer for a minute. Add the stock or water and bring to a boil. Once the vegetables are cooked, add the cabbage and turn the burner off. Salt to taste and serve. Variation: Add 1 cup of finely chopped potato in with the onions. Or try putting chopped pieces of bacon in when you add the onions. Other veggies or seasonings can go great in this soup as well. For a spice, add a pinch of red chili flakes.

Also, if anyone has not been receiving the newsletters in their e-mail and wants to, please let me know by e-mailing me at: csa@gatheringtogetherfarm.com. I’ll get you on the list.

CSA 2011 – Week 14: Hybrid vs. Open Pollinated vs. Heirloom seeds

Many of you have been receiving some of our specialty ‘heirloom’ tomatoes each week. They seem to come in all sorts of crazy shapes and colors. Along with these some of you also get some of our big beef tomatoes as well. The big beefs are fairly uniform in color and shape and the plants have a high yield. What is the main difference between these two types of tomatoes? The seeds. The heirloom tomato seeds are old varieties from which the seeds have been saved. On the other hand, big beef tomato seeds are a hybrid variety of seed. This means that the seed was produced by the mating of two “parents” in the same species.

So, one would purposefully cross a high-producing tomato plant with one that is disease resistant in order to create a tomato that would be both high producing and disease resistant. Nowadays, from a legal standpoint, the pollination of hybrid must be controlled and the parents must be known. Hybrid crops seem great from one angle: more tomatoes, disease resistance – what could be better? However, one fallback is that the seeds saved from hybrids do not stay true to their type. So, if you tried to save seeds from a big beef tomato, the seeds may not germinate, and if they do, they may not produce fruit. If they do produce, they may not be ‘big beefs’. On top of that, hybrid seeds are generally more expensive than open pollinated or heirloom seeds.

Now, a little bit about open pollinated seeds. ‘Heirloom seeds’ is just a name for old varieties of open pollinated seeds. Open pollinated seeds are ones that are true to their type in the way that you can save their seeds, replant them and they will produce the same plant that you saved the seeds from. Some species of plants are self pollinating (beans, peas, tomatoes, and lettuce), so these do not have to be isolated by types in order to keep from crossing. On the other hand, species such as beets, brassicas, carrots, corn, and squash are cross-pollinating species, and they need to be isolated in order to keep the resulting seeds true to their parent plant.

We grow a combination of hybrid and open pollinated vegetables here at GTF. I think that there is something very valuable about being able to save seed from your own crops. But at the same time there is something very valuable about a plant that will readily produce and be vigorous. I guess you can find both qualities in some hybrid and open pollinated varieties of vegetables. I think that it’s safe to say that both seem to have their place in the vegetable farming world today.

What’s in the Box?

1.5 lb Potatoes (Rose Gold)- Steam, roast, fry, mash, you can do just about anything!

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

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

Charantais melon– Eat just like it is!

Lemongrass– Use it as a seasoning in curry or Thai dishes, try steeped in soup too! Make lemongrass tea!

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

1 cippolini onion– Caramelize, or eat raw. They are sweet when cooked.

1 Broccoli or cauliflower– Steam, eat raw, or blanch and then sauté in butter or olive oil. It’s tasty roasted as well.

1 green cabbage– make slaw, steam in chunks or add to soup or stew.

Cardinal or Red oak compact lettuce– Make a salad, or add to sandwiches, make lettuce wraps.

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

1 pint of cherry tomatoes– eat on salads, cut in half and make a tomato salad with basil.

4 ears of corn– Grill in husk or steam; add salt and butter or just eat plain.

Vegetable curry
2-3 cups of chopped cabbage
3-4 carrots, sliced into 1/8 inch rounds
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 head of broccoli or cauliflower
1 small tomato
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can coconut milk
1/4 cup chopped lemongrass, chopped
4 tablespoons red or green curry paste
1-2 cups of water or stock (vegetable or chicken work well)
Salt to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large pan or wok on medium. Add the onions, carrots and cabbage. Sautée for 10 minutes or so, or until the carrots are about half cooked. Add the broccoli and garlic and continue cooking for another couple of minutes.

Add the stock, coconut milk, curry paste, chopped tomato, and lemon grass. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Salt to taste. You may add more or less curry paste depending on how spicy you would like it to be.
*The lemongrass can be put in some sort of a cheesecloth baggie and steeped or put directly into the curry. It will stay woody even when cooked so I usually don’t eat the lemongrass, but infuse the flavor into the dish.
*Add some sort of cooked meat to this if you’d like! Cilantro or Thai basil goes well in this dish too.

Roasted pepper ‘pesto’
2 colored peppers
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1/4 cup toasted nuts, almonds or filberts (optional)
Pinch of salt

Roast the peppers in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes, or until skins start to brown. Place in a metal or glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit until somewhat cooled. Peel skins off of the peppers and remove the stem and seeds. Place the peppers aside.
Meanwhile in a blender or food processor, place the oil and garlic, Pulse until the garlic is no longer visible. Add the peppers and pulse a few times longer. Add the cheese and nuts, pulse a few more times and then salt to taste. This spread goes wonderfully on sandwiches, as a topping for many veggie dishes, or even as a dip for carrots or broccoli.