2017 CSA – Week 2: The Gathering Together Story

CSA Newsletter – Week 2


The Gathering Together Story

With this being our 30th anniversary farming, I thought it would be nice to tell you all the tale of how Gathering Together Farm came to be such a well-known farm in the valley.

Owners John Eveland and Sally Brewer both come from farming families—John being from Iowa and Sally from New Hampshire— and though they loved to farm, they wanted to break free from the limited selection of vegetables that were commonly grown. GTF grows many of the same types of foods that we are all used to, but they grow almost 500 different varieties of them, from newly bred black tomatoes to nearly forgotten heirloom varieties of Asian greens.

In the eighties, John, his sister, and a couple friends started Nearly Normal’s Restaurant in Corvallis, and they were dissatisfied with the lack of organic produce available for them to use. John and Sally decided to start their own farm to provide the restaurant with quality, organic produce, and before they knew it, thirty years had gone by and they had one of the most well-known organic vegetable farms in the valley. This is largely what gives Gathering Together its human feel; for a farm as big as GTF, John and Sally have managed to maintain a small family farm feel. After all these years they are both still sweating in the sunshine every day with the rest of us!

Working at GTF is unlike working at most any other place. We are all fed breakfast every day, lunch three days a week, and we get free vegetables to take home to our families. I couldn’t imagine more amazing benefits, and we are all grateful for the generosity that John and Sally put forth into the world.

From all of us at the farm base who have put endless hours working in the sun and soil, rain or shine, flood or freeze, thank you for being a part of our farm and for enjoying the produce that we grow. We are forever grateful for the time that you’ll spend with Gathering Together Farm. Enjoy your weekly bounty. Thanks y’all!

-Laura Bennett

Table of Box Contents

  • Chard—Chard greens and stems are both delicious. The stems are like a beet-flavored rainbow version of celery. The greens are similar to spinach and are amazing raw in a salad.
  • Bunch Carrots—Oh my goodness you guys, they’re so sweet! Such a special spring treat.
  • Scallions—In my opinion scallions are best enjoyed raw, sliced thin on top of everything.
  • 5 lbs New PotatoesThis week you’ll be getting Nicola potatoes, a yellow skinned and yellow fleshed potato.
  • Romaine lettuce—Everyone loves romaine lettuce for its crunch, making it perfect for caesar salads, etc.
  • Cilantro—Excellent on top of almost any dish. If you’re having a hard time using the whole bunch up, try making a cilantro pesto. You can use local walnuts or hazelnuts for a cheaper pine nut alternative.
  • 2 Sweet OnionsThe high sugar content in these onions makes them perfect for caramelizing.
  • 2 Cucumbers—Eat fresh like an apple or slice into salads for a nice, sweet crunch.
  • 2 Zucchini—Make sure when you cook zucchini to salt at the end of the cooking process so it doesn’t turn to mush!

Recipes

Spring Pad Thai

This is my personal pad thai recipe that I’ve adapted over the past few years. It’s definitely alternative (I don’t use tamarind because I never have any on hand), and it’s super easy to make. Alter to your own taste as always! You can use almost any selection of vegetables, green beans are a great addition but they aren’t in yet, but we’re in luck that we have many other perfect  veggies.

Ingredients—Veggie Sauté

  • 1 bunch Cilantro (roots in sauté, leaves raw as garnish)
  • 1 bunch Scallions (1/2 in sauté, ½ raw as garnish)
  • ½ bunch Carrots, sliced long and thin
  • 1 Zucchini, sliced long and thin
  • 1 Sweet Onion, sliced thin
  • Oil (I use coconut)
  • Fish Sauce, Tamari, garlic, or whatever you’d like

Ingredients—Pad Thai Sauce & Noodles
(If you like things light, follow this recipe; if you like things super saucy, double the sauce recipe!)

  • 2/3 cup Stock (pork, chicken, or veggie)
  • 6 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 6-8 Tbsp Brown Sugar (it may sound strange, but you can supplement the sugar for strawberry jam and it’s delicious!)
  • 2 Tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce/Tamari (use 4 Tbsp if you don’t use fish sauce)
  • 1 Tbsp Hot Sauce/Chili Oil
  • ~1 cup Nut Butter (I use peanut or sunflower seed)
  • 1 8oz package Pad Thai noodles (or if you have a spiralizer you can make carrot and zucchini noodles!)

Directions

  1. Chop all your veggies up beforehand. With Pad Thai, I have found that taking care to slice things thin and long really affects the final product’s taste and beauty! Set aside.
  2. Put all sauce ingredients together in a pot (omit nut butter) and bring up to a simmer. Once it’s hot, add in your nut butter and stir around to dissolve into the sauce. You can control the thickness of the sauce depending on how much you add.
  3. Meanwhile, heat up some oil in a big pan and get your veggie stir fry going. First add in your sweet onion, and after a minute or two add in some tamari or soy sauce and let sauté another few minutes more.
  4. Then add your cilantro root (everything below the twist tie), carrots, scallion, and zucchini. Let sauté about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a sprinkle of salt, and don’t let the veggies lose their fresh crunch!
  5. Boil some water and cook your noodles, careful not to overcook them. Drain noodles, mix into sauce to coat them.
  6. Plate noodles, put veggies on top, and garnish with raw cilantro and scallions. Enjoy!

Marinated Tofu with Swiss Chard

Source Note: This savory vegan dish calls for marinating the tofu a few hours ahead. It can be served over white or brown rice, or with any type of noodles…like Pad Thai!

Ingredients

  • ½ pound firm tofu
  • Marinade
    • 1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
    • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
    • 2 tsp Sesame Seed Oil
    • 2 Tbsp Garlic Chives/Scallion, minced
    • 2 tsp Ginger, minced
    • Pinch of red pepper flakes
    • 1 ½ Tbsp Tamari or Bragg Liquid Aminos
  • 1 bunch Swiss Chard
  • 1 Tbsp Sesame Seeds

Directions

  1. Drain the tofu and cut into cubes.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix all of the marinade ingredients.
  3. Set the tofu cubes in the marinade, toss gently, and marinate for at least 2 hours at room temperature, turning the cubes over occasionally.
  4. Setting aside the tofu, pour the marinade into a skillet on medium heat; simmer 1-2 minutes, until reduced by about half.
  5. Add the Swiss Chard and cover the pan. Continue simmering, stirring occasionally, until the green wilt.
  6. Add the tofu back in, sprinkle with the sesame seeds, stir to combine, and heat through. Serve immediately.

Recipe from Bounty From the Box: The CSA Farm Cookbook by Mi Ae Lipe

Lunch Menu: June 20-23, 2017

Shrimp-n-grits with roasted peppers, black kale and tomatoes

Antipasti

chad fell’s bread & olives  5

new potato & caramelized leek soup & bread   5

chilled cucumber soup & bread   5

mixed greens with balsamic   6.5

GTF salad – cucumbers, strawberries and pumpkin seeds with a strawberry vinaigrette   9.5

pork pate with pickles, mustard and bread   8

 

Pizze Rosse

garlic & basil    10.5

bacon & baby onion    11

 

Pizze Bianche

ham, egg, garlic scapes   11

zukes & roasted peppers    11

 

–add an egg or anchovies   1

 

Secondi

duck ravioli in a thyme brodo with garlic scapes, zucchini and croutons 12

semolina gnocchi with walla wallas, basil, walnuts and ricotta cheese    12

shrimp-n-grits with roasted peppers, black kale and tomatoes   12

garlic sausage with new potatoes and green cabbage with house ketchup and mustard  13

salmon brodetto with carrots, tomatoes, chick peas and aioli   13

Dinner Menu: June 15-17, 2017

 

Antipasti

chad fell’s bread & marinated olives  5

creamy curried carrot  6

mixed greens, balsamic vinaigrette  6.5

cold cucumber soup 6.

country pork terrine & extras 8

baked chevre with caramelized walla wallas, roasted garlic,pears and crostini 9

GTF salad with  cucumbers, apples, roasted hazelnuts, parmigiano cheese with balsamic vinaigrette   9

 

Pizze Rosse

garlic & basil  10.5

zucchini & peppers 11.5

bacon & kale  11.5

 

Pizze Bianche

egg, scallions, arugula  11.5

ham & walla walla 11.5

goat cheese & caramel onion 11.5

 

–add an egg or anchovies
to any pie for  $1

Secondi

Potato  Gnocchi with mushroom, tomato, fava beans, and sherry cream  17

Salmon with beluga lentils, braised leeks, fava puree, and lemon beurre blanc   20

Flat Iron, smashed potatoes, roasted carrots and zucchini, and carrot-top chimichurri  22

Duck Breast and Roast Potato with mushrooms, zucchini, and cherry sauce 20

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin  with polenta, kale and mustard jus  22

 

To Finish

Spiced Rice Pudding  with fresh strawberries and rhubarb gelly  6

Buckwheat Cake with  poached pears and white wine reduction  7

Rhubarb Meringue Tartlette and strawberry sauce   7

Ice Cream Platter: Milk Chocolate, Orange Chocolate Chip, and Cinnamon  6

The Magic of Microgreens

Imagine a tiny little seedling, just emerged from the soil using the energy stored in a single seed. The first leaves are just beginning to unfold, and on the cellular level the tiny plant is bursting with newfound life. Cells are differentiating, nutrition levels are skyrocketing, and flavor is incredibly concentrated. There’s something so invigorating about eating one of these little life bursts, something almost magical.

Microgreens can be that final splash of color atop a gourmet dish, or they can be added onto a salad or into a green smoothie easily at home. Not only are they packed full of flavor and five times the nutritional content as the same plants in their mature form, but they’re tiny and pretty and we’re simply in love with them! Out at the farm we have microgreens on our salads for farm lunch (GTF provides a home-cooked meal for all employees three days a week), and we top most all of our dishes with microgreens in our own farm to table restaurant.

Because nearly five hundred varieties of vegetables wasn’t quite enough for us to juggle, we decided to start our own microgreen operation. For the past year we have been trying out different plant varieties and processing techniques, and now microgreens have become a solid piece of production at the farm. There are many varieties of micros that we have grown, but here are our main selections, complete with flavor profiles and followed by methods of production.

Microgreen Variety Breakdown

Amaranth – Burgundy

  • This dainty little microgreen wins the micro award, coming in at a towering 1-2 inches. It has become quite the favorite among chefs, as its deep burgundy stems and leaves provide a beautiful contrast atop many dishes.
  • Amaranth is most commonly grown for its grain, though we grow it for greens in our salad mix as well as a microgreen. It is related to beets and therefore has a very mild beet flavor.

Mustard Medley

  • We’ve been playing around with various ratios of different mustard greens for a while now, and we have finally landed on a winner—Mustard Medley #4, a combination of Arugula, Ruby Streaks Purple Mizuna, Miz America Green Mizuna, Ho Mi Dragon Tongue Mustard, and Golden Frill Mustard.
  • This microgreen has such a great wasabi-like kick to it, combined with some of the milder yet savory flavors of the more mellow mustards. Beyond the amazing flavor, the color variation in this medley is unique from all the other micros we grow.

Peas

  • Pea microgreens have very soft leaves, and a deliciously mild pea flavor. Due to their leguminous nature, these micros have especially high protein levels making them great for green smoothies.

Radish – Purple Leaf

  • This is another favorite among chefs for its deep purple color and mildly spicy flavor. The dark purple leaves fade down the stem to a lighter purple at the base, and little light green mutants shine through the sea of purple expressing the genetic diversity still present in the seed.

Radish – Purple Stem

  • These multi-colored radishes have slightly darker green leaves than the daikon radishes, only with bright pink stems. The spice level seems to be higher than the purple leaf, but milder than the daikon.

Radish – Daikon

  • This radish is my personal favorite. Both the stems and leaves are such a bright chartreuse color, the smooth, supple seedlings almost glow. Beyond the eye-popping color, daikon radish microgreens provide an intense, feel-it-in-your-nose wasabi spice reminiscent of purple roots that they could one day become.

This selection of microgreens works the best for us currently, though in the outskirts of the season it’s likely that we may play with cooler-weather crops such as micro dill and micro cilantro. We may even toy around with special kale mixes, beets, orach, chrysanthemums, and sunflowers, the possibilities are quite literally endless!

 

The Low Down on Growing Microgreens

Best office ever!!! We built cages to go over our greenhouse tables to keep mice off the microgreens. But we do like to open them up often so that the microgreens can feel free 🙂
Micro peas and beets on one of our house-made pasta dishes at our restaurant.

We make a special soil media for microgreens, heavy on peat moss, mixed with perlite and compost. This way the medium drains well and doesn’t keep the micros too wet, which can lead to dampening off.

We tamp the soil in the flats down to make a solid, flat layer that we can seed the micros onto. To seed the microgreens we simply shake seed onto the flat by hand, doing our best to sprinkle as uniformly as can be.

After we seed the flats, we cover them with a light layer of topper to protect the seeds, and water them in. We have to be careful not to water the flats in too hard, otherwise the nicely uniform seed that we worked so hard to sprinkle will get pushed around in the flat, leading to uneven germination. Microgreens are delicate little souls, they need everything to be just right.

Our pea process is a little different from the rest of the microgreens. First we have to soak them (check out the before and after soaking photo), and then we put them in flats without any topper. The flats must then be stacked and weighted down with bricks so that the peas root down into the soil and don’t pry themselves up into the air, which would make them very difficult to cut later. After a couple of days, we unstack the flats and let the peas do their thang!

We do micro beets in the cooler ends of the season, both spring and fall. Beets really hate being inside a greenhouse in a flat in the middle of summer, so they’re a special treat when we can have them. Beet microgreens have such succulent stems and leaves and a fully bright beet flavor.
Most weeks we have microgreens for sale at the farmers market, generally just PSU Saturday and Hillsdale Sunday. You can purchase greens by the pound or by the flat.
Mustard Microgreens sitting patiently on a creamed carrot soup at our restaurant.

I’d like to give a big thanks to all of the wonderful restaurants and individuals who have been taking advantage of our microgreens. Every week our order boards have been full and we’ve had to turn away customers, so we can only assume it’s time to up production. You can expect to see our microgreens atop dishes at the restaurants listed below and many more in the Portland area, as well as at our own restaurant, The Farmstand.

Thanks everyone for your support!

Here are some photos from Instagram of our microgreens at restaurants in Portland. It’s an honor to have our produce displayed so beautifully.

Lumos Wine Dinner

We’d like to announce that reservations are open for our June Wine Dinner featuring Lumos Wine Co. The dinner will be held at 6:30 PM on Saturday, June 24th.

Come out and enjoy a five-course dining experience and four wine pours from our guests at Lumos. The evening begins with a relaxing tour of our farm at 5:30 PM, included at no extra charge.

All of this for a price of $72 per person. Seating for the wine dinner is very limited, so please call the Farmstand at 541-929-4270 to reserve your place. It’s bound to be a delightful evening!