CSA 2011 – Week 20: This Land is Your Land

As many of you know, we have added on small chunks of land here and there for the past few years now. One of our newest additions is right across the street from our main production greenhouse. This past spring, the owners of the property had the hybrid tulip poplars removed and we transplanted our fall brassicas into the field in July. Those brassicas are now thriving and that is where your past few week’s of kales and collards were planted.

This next year is going to be a whole new story for us. We are taking over the lease of a 70– acre plot of land formerly farmed by a transitional organic grain farmer. Much of this land is 3 years away from being certified organic, so we are coming up with what to do with it until then. For now, Dan and John are in the process of moving the whole compost operation and equipment over there right now. We may lease some of the land to livestock raising, or maybe grow some transitional organic sweet corn there.

The main goal and excitement behind this huge chunk of land is not to actually grow more vegetables, but to be able to give large parcels of land a rest. We could then grow cover crops for longer, while cutting disease pressure at the same time. This is still in the works, but there’s no doubt it leaves a lot of possibilities for the future at GTF.

Parsnip Puree
1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces.
2-3 medium baked potatoes
1/2 cup cream or sour cream
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (optional)
Pinch nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook parsnips in boiling salted water about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and puree in a food processor along with scooped out potato flesh. Add cream, butter and ginger and process until well blended. Season to taste. *Parsnips have a wonderful sweet flavor, and go great with carrots too. Try using them in soup, or roasted!

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, bulk (~1 lb) – Shred them on salad, sauté in butter with salt, or eat plain.

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

1 bunch beets– Cut beets off greens. Boil, roast or fry beets. Try grating them raw. Use the greens too! Sautee with olive oil or butter, salt, and pepper.

1 ambercup squash– Cut in half, remove seeds, place on a sheet pan, flesh side down. You may oil the pan a bit so it does not stick. Add a couple cups of water too, so the squash steams slightly. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes-1 hour. You can use this squash in place of pumpkin in any recipe, or make a soup with it! Ambercup tends to be a bit on the dry side so it may need more moisture.

Bok Choy– Sauté in butter or olive oil and salt. It goes great with fish. Add chile flakes for a kick.

1 red Italian pepper, 1 red bell—Grill, roast, or just eat raw; they are sweet.

2 Leeks– Use in soups or sautés. Chop them, then rinse them a bit. Dirt gets inside leek layers easily.

Parsnip-Chop into small pieces and use in soups or roast with other vegetables.

1 tomato– Chop and put in soup or salad. Add to sandwiches or wraps.

Balsamic Carrot Salad
1 pound carrots, peeled and julienne small (thinly sliced pieces)
2-3 celery stalks, chopped fine
2 red peppers, seeded and cut into small slices
2 bunches green onions, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 cups balsamic dressing

For the dressing:
2 teaspoons Dijon-type mustard
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Mix the mustard and vinegar. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking or mixing the vinegar. Add salt and honey to taste.

For the salad, combine all the ingredients and serve. You may use grated kohlrabi in place of the celery. Try adding some finely chopped red onion, or grated beets!

Beet Soup
6 medium beets
4 tablespoons butter
1 quart filtered water
Sea salt or fish sauce and pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions or parsley for garnish
crème fraiche or sour cream

Peel beets, chop coarsely and sauté very gently in butter for about 1/2 hour or until tender. Add water, bring to a boil and skim. Simmer about 15 minutes. Puree soup with a handheld blender, or food processor. Season to taste. Garnish with chopped green onions and sour cream or creme fraiche.

Ambercup Leek Soup
1 ambercup squash
2 leeks
2 tablespoons butter
6 cups water, or stock
1 cup milk or cream
Salt and pepper

Chop the leeks into small slices. Heat a large pot up with the butter. Once the butter is melted, add the leeks. Meanwhile, cut the rind off of the squash; either a knife or a peeler may work. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Cut the squash up into 1-inch size cubes. Once the leeks are soft and cooked, add the squash and continue cooking for another 15 minutes or so. Add the water/ stock and milk. Bring to a boil and then turn down to low and cover. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the squash is cooked all the way. Puree with a handheld or standup blender. Season to taste and serve.

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 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.

CSA 2011 – Week 10: Cold Preparation Ideas

It’s official, it’s August and the heat is finally on. I think that everyone is feeling the pressure. We were able to harvest some of our first planting of melons that the crows attacked a few weeks ago. Meanwhile, we have been swimming in tomatoes, and yes, peppers are here! Hopefully soon we will be getting enough red and orange ones to give you all some of those!

This time of year I try to remind myself that it is normal to be stressed, and also that I am not the only one feeling it. I also tend to enjoy colder foods instead of hot prepared items. So here I will provide some cold preparation ideas for this week’s box. With a little innovation, you can pretty much prepare any vegetable in a cold manner, which is a nice relief in this hot weather. It’s sure hard to eat hot soup in the summer! More on cold soups next week.

Carrot/ Beet Slaw:
1 bunch of carrots, shredded
1 bunch of beets, shredded
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
This slaw would make a great addition to a sandwich
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
or wrap, or just eat it plain as a side dish.
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons stone ground mustard
2 Tablespoons honey
Salt to taste
1/2 cup chopped parsley

*Combine all ingredients and season to taste.

Bean and Potato salad
1 lb bag of green beans
1 lb or so of purple potatoes
1/2 red onion, finely chopped

Dressing:
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
1 tablespoon honey
Pinch of salt

Cut or snap tough ends of beans off. Blanch them in boiling water for about 2-3 minutes. Chill , set aside.

Boil potatoes whole for 20-30 minutes, or until cooked all the way. Cool and then chop into 1-inch cubes.

Combine beans with potatoes, onions, and the dressing. Serve cold.
Note: You may add more or less dressing to your liking, or use more or less vinegar or olive oil depending on how acidic you like your dressing.

If anyone has a recipe they would like to share with everyone else, feel free to e-mail it to me, and I will try to include it in a future newsletter.

*Reminder: CSA tour, melon and tomato tasting this weekend! August 28th, 2-5pm Be there or be square!*

What’s in the box?

1.5 lb Potatoes (purple majesty)– Steam, roast, or mash. These are versatile. (see recipe)

Carrots, bunched – They are great raw, on salad, slaw or stir fried.

2 Onions (1 Big Alsea craig white onion, 1 red) – Chop the onions and eat raw on salads
or soups. (see recipe)

1 Bunch Beets– Shred raw on salad, boil or roast and marinate. (see recipe)

1 Purple or Green Pepper—Grill, roast, or just eat raw. (see recipe)

1 Anaheim Pepper– Chop raw, and add to salsa, salad, or sauté with summer squash.

Assorted Summer Squash – Try them sautéed, grilled, in a soup, sautéed in butter, grated for fritters, or make muffins!

1 lb Green Beans– Blanch them and then sauté with olive oil, salt, garlic and herbs.

1 Bunch Fresh Shallots – chop and sauté in olive oil or butter, use in place of garlic with beans. Try roasted with potatoes, they have a wonderful flavor.

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

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

4 ears of Corn– First corn of the season! Grill in husk or steam for a few minutes. Eat plain or add salt and butter.

Recipes:

Peppers and Onions

1 large onion ( add shallots for more flavor), sliced
2 peppers (Anaheim and green or purple would work fine)
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried fine herbs (oregano, thyme, or sage work well)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1/2 cup finely shredded basil leaves
Sea salt and pepper

  • Sauté onions and peppers gently in butter and olive oil for about 45 minutes until soft.
  • Add herbs, crushed garlic and basil and cook another few minutes, stirring constantly. The consistency should be like marmalade. Season to taste.
  • Serve as a side dish or as an appetizer on triangle croutons.

    Variation: Add cooked sausage to the mix and eat all together, on top of some smashed potatoes, or just on a roll with some mustard. Even add some chopped tomatoes towards the end for more flavor!

Stuffed Tomatoes

3 large tomatoes
Sea salt and pepper
2 slices whole grain bread
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon fine herbs

  • Slice tomatoes in half around the equator, remove the seeds and place cut side up in a buttered baking dish.
  • Sprinkle with a little sea salt and pepper. Process bread in a food processor to make fine crumbs.
  • Add butter, cheeseand herbs and pulse a few times until well blended.
  • Spread a spoonful of stuffing over each tomato half.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

    Variation: Try using sautéed summer squash in place of bread crumbs, or sauté shallots and add them in as well. A soft cheese goes well in this too.