CSA 2017 – Week 6: The Life of a GTF Tomato

 

CSA Newsletter – Week 6


The Life of a GTF Tomato

Before I worked at this farm I had no idea why organic produce was more expensive than conventional. Conventional herbicides and pesticides are really expensive, so to me it seemed like it should balance out that organic doesn’t spend money on expensive chemicals but spends more on labor. What I have come to understand is that the issue is so much more than just a question of organic vs. inorganic. Methods of production is a huge factor in differentiating our farm from others. As an example, this is an extremely abbreviated list of all the work that goes into producing a GTF tomato. The full version is available on our blog.

  • Seed selection—takes years of farming knowledge
  • Seeding—make compost, make potting mix from that compost, seed the tomatoes, graft them, up-pot them, and plan for disease rotation in the fields.
  • Grafting—grow disease-resistant rootstock and splice desired varieties on top and let graft union heal.
  • House preparation—soil testing, ground tillage, irrigation installation, plastic mulch installation, trellising installation
  • Transplanting—we transplant all our tomatoes by hand. Hundreds and hundreds
  • Trellising & Pruning—as the plants grow we twist them around hanging strings and prune them as we would a perennial.
  • Greenhouse Mudding—Either by hand or via a mud-cannon, we throw mud onto our hoop houses so the temps don’t get to crazy high for the plants in the summer.
  • Weeding—regularly throughout the growing season.
  • Pest & Disease Monitoring—throughout season
  • Irrigation—constant vigilance!
  • Harvest—It’s really hard to walk through a greenhouse packed 10 feet tall with tomato plants while carrying a flat that weighs 30 pounds!
  • Grading—every tomato we harvest gets sorted by quality by hand, depending on where it’s destined to end up.

-Laura Bennett, markets@gatheringtogetherfarm.com

Table of Box Contents

  • Eggplant—“Eggplant may be the trickiest vegetable to cook, and therefore it can inspire some ambivalence. But when handled correctly, it is sublime.”—Joshua McFadden
  • Jalapeño—They’re a little milder than they will be later in the season, which can be nice for certain dishes especially.
  • Fennel—Use both the fronds and the bulb! The bulb is great grilled or roasted, or even slice thinly raw on top of meat. The fronds can make a delicious addition to pesto, salad, or soup.
  • Chard—Chard, spinach, and beets are all cousins in the same plant family, and all can be used in similar ways.
  • Carrots—sweet and wonderful raw or roasted with a little crunch still maintained.
  • 2 Sweet OnionsHigh sugar content that makes them perfect for caramelizing, and they’re great roughly chopped in Pico de Gallo.
  • Cucumbers—Eat fresh like an apple or slice into salads for a nice, sweet crunch.
  • Summer Squash—Though there are many types of squash that are great for different dishes, all can be used interchangeably.
  • 5 lbs New PotatoesThis week we have Nicola potatoes.
  • Lettuce—Various varieties
  • Tomatoes—Sweet & fresh!

Recipes

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Peak-of-Summer Roasted Ratatouille

From The CSA Cookbook.  Though this dish is traditionally sautéed, roasting the vegetables brings out a richness and sweetness that you just don’t get from the stove top. Little more is needed than a generous glug of olive oil, a fresh sprig of rosemary, and some salt and pepper to marry the flavors while they caramelize. You can serve ratatouille as a side dish or make it a full meal with a loaf of crusty bread and a glass of red wine. Leftovers go great on a bed of mixed greens the next day.

Author Linda Ly

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs tomatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 lb summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 lb eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 yellow onion, cut lengthwise into eighths
  • 10 garlic cloves, smashed with a knife
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 rosemary sprig (or another herb of choice)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.

  2. As you prepare all the vegetables, cut the tomatoes first and let them drain in a colander while you break down the remaining ingredients.

  3. In a large bowl, gently toss all the vegetables with the garlic, oil, salt, and pepper until evenly coated.

  4. Strip the leaves off the rosemary sprigs and scatter them on top.

  5. Spread the vegetables across two large rimmed baking sheets in a  single layer, with the  tomatoes cut-side up. You want the vegetables packed in tightly, but not piled on top of each other.

  6. Roast until most of the vegetables are soft, shriveled, and slightly browned, about 45 minutes. If your baking sheets are on two separate racks, swap their positions halfway through the roasting time for even cooking.

  7. Transfer the vegetables and all their juices to a serving bowl and toss with the basil. Serve warm or chilled.

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Caramelized Fennel and Onion

—Adapted from The CSA Cookbook by Linda Ly.  Many people shy away from fennel, which they describe as having too strong of a licorice-like flavor. When you put that same fennel in the oven under high heat, however, its love-it-or-hate-it aroma mellows out into a warm slice of sweetness. Fennel bulb caramelizes beautifully the way onion does, turning soft and fragrant with only the slightest hint of anise. After a long roast, the sumptuous flavors of fennel and onion marry and make a deep, rich, and smoky sweet side to a savory steak.

Ingredients

  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced lengthwise into 1-inch wedges
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced lengthwise into 1-inch wedges
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425° F.

  2. In a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the fennel and onion with the oil, salt, and pepper until thoroughly coated.

  3. Scatter the vegetables across the baking sheet in a single layer and roast until golden brown and slightly charred on the edges, 35-45 minutes. Halfway through the roast, give the fennel and onion a quick stir for even caramelization on all sides.

 

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Chard, Basil, and Boysenberry Salad w/ Hazelnuts

Author Laura Bennett

Ingredients

  • Onion
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1 bunch Swiss Chard
  • 1 bunch Fresh Basil
  • Boysenberries
  • Hazelnuts

Instructions

  1. First, mince up some onion and smash with the back of a spoon in a large bowl with some balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt. This changes the flavor of the dressing and you can smell this change almost instantly. 

  2. Then finely chop up your chard and basil (an entire bunch of each) and toss in the salad dressing. The longer the greens sit in the dressing the more soft and delicate they will become; I recommend serving at least twenty minutes after you finish making the salad.

  3. Top with sliced up boysenberries (or any fruit, really!) and some chopped up hazelnuts. This is a wonderful salad to bring to parties as it only gets better with time.

CSA 2017 – Week 5: The Next Village Square

CSA Newsletter – Week 5


The Next Village Square

For the first time at market this weekend we had tomatillos, eggplant, jalapeños, and tomatoes overflowing from our stands, and I was filled with a warmth that only a bustling summer farmers’ market can provide. Across our five weekend markets our crews woke up before the sun and rushed to set up tents and tables, followed by beautiful veggie displays. Throughout the day the community absorbed our produce and all you lovely people picked up your CSA boxes.

Looking up from my register out at the whole market scene on Saturday, I couldn’t help but feel like there was something so beautifully human happening, something that before I started working at this farm I personally had missing in my modern, suburban, millennial life.

In this world we no longer know our neighbors and we no longer gather in village squares. But it’s plain to see that through farmers’ markets we are successfully rebuilding our communities. Vendors and customers alike know each other by name and genuinely care about each other. The farmers’ market is our village square, a place where we can all gather together, share in food, and watch the seasons roll by. It could seem like the marketplace is first and foremost a place of commerce, where we come to buy food to sustain our bodies, but it is providing so much more than that. Families come and spend the day at market. There’s live music, often fountains to play in, grassy knolls on which to picnic, and an endless stream of fresh, local goods that you get to take home and enjoy with your friends and family. So thanks for being a part of our community, for taking joy in the food we have to offer, and for making the time to read these letters.

-Laura Bennett, markets@gatheringtogetherfarm.com

Table of Box Contents

  • Green Bell Pepper—You know it’s summer when peppers start rolling in. Enjoy these sliced raw as a snack
  • Napa Cabbage—Napa is known for its crisp bok choy-like stems and especially sweet flavor. This is the main ingredient in Kimchi.
  • Basil—Cut the bottom of the stems off and place in a glass of water on the counter as a functional bouquet.
  • Kohlrabi—Great raw in slaws.
  • Carrots—“When you think “carrot,” you may think orange, but I also think green. Early in the year, carrots come with lacy tops that are delicious,”—Joshua McFadden
  • 2 Sweet OnionsHigh sugar content that makes them perfect for caramelizing, and they’re great roughly chopped in Pico de Gallo.
  • Spinach—succulent leaves perfect raw in salads or lightly braised to become melt-in-your-mouth tender.
  • 4 Cucumbers—Eat fresh like an apple or slice into salads for a nice, sweet crunch.
  • 2-3 Zucchini—Great for grilling, just slice lengthwise into spears. Or spiralize into zoodles. Or stir-fry with onion and egg to make a frittata. Zucchini does it all.
  • 5 lbs New PotatoesThis week we have Nicola potatoes.
  • Lettuce—Various varieties
  • Siletz Tomato!!!!

Recipes

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Kohlrabi Home Fries w/ Thyme Aioli

—The CSA Cookbook by Linda Ly

Author Linda Ly

Ingredients

For the Fries

  • 2 lbs kohlrabi, peeled & cut into 3" spears
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper

For the Aioli

  • 1 egg
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sunflower oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

  2. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the kohlrabi with the oil, salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Scatter the kohlrabi across the baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 35-40 minutes until lightly browned, shaking them up halfway through to evenly brown all sides.

  3. Meanwhile, make the aioli by adding the egg, garlic, thyme, lemon juice, and salt to a blender. Blend on medium speed for a few seconds until well combined. 

  4. While the blender is running, add the oil in a very slow, steady, and thin (think needle-size) stream until the mixture emulsifies. Don’t try to rush the stream of oil; the emulsification starts slowly, but you’ll hear the sound of the motor change as the aioli thickens and starts slapping the sides of the blender. When the aioli turns opaque and smooth transfer to a small bowl.

 

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Spinach Basil Salad w/ Balsamic Dressing

A simple salad I make all the time

Author Laura Bennett

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch spinach
  • 1/2-1 bunch basil
  • 1/4 sweet onion, minced
  • balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil
  • salt

Instructions

  1. First mince up your onion and place in a large bowl. Pour a good amount of balsamic vinegar into the bowl and smash the onion into the liquid with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle some salt into your mixture.

  2. With a sharp knife slice your spinach into very thin strips, and do the same with your basil. Add them both into the bowl with the dressing and toss. The longer the leaves sit, the more the vinegar will break them down making them become melt-in-your mouth soft. Add fresh berries and toasted nuts of any kind to make the salad even brighter.

 

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Simple Cole Slaw (serve with tacos!)

—Make it up!

Author Laura Bennett

Ingredients

  • Napa cabbage
  • green bell pepper
  • kohlrabi
  • carrots
  • cucumbers
  • basil (and parsley and any other herbs!)

Instructions

  1. Mix up the veggies, sliced or shredded into fine strips, and dress up the slaw with whatever you’d like. I make a mixture of mayo, vinegar, hot sauce, salt, and random spices. If you’re into putting this on a taco, make some chicken mole or tempeh.

 

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Zucchini Scramble with Garlic Chévre, Tomato and Basil

My personal breakfast of the week.

Author Laura Bennett

Ingredients

  • onion
  • garlic
  • oil
  • zucchini
  • 4-6 eggs
  • tomato, sliced
  • basil
  • garlic Chevre cheese
  • bread, sliced and toasted optional

Instructions

  1. Roughly chop an onion and a head of garlic and heat up a pan with oil in it. 

  2. Let sauté for a few minutes while you slice 3-4 zucchini into discs. Add the zucchini into the pan and toss to coat with oil. Cover and let cook a couple minutes, remove the lid, stir, and then let continue to sauté until the zucchini is nicely done. 

  3. Wait to add salt until the very end of the cooking process! That’s the magic zucchini secret! If you add salt early on it will make the zucchini all mushified, and you don’t want that, no no.

  4. Then whisk up 4-6 eggs, add some salt to the eggs, and dump them over the veggies in the pan and scramble around until done. 

  5. Divvy out onto plates and top with raw slices of tomato and basil, and a plentiful heap of garlic Chévre if you can find some at your local farmers market. 

  6. I also top that with a dollop of spicy chilis and oil. Even better, get some of our Altamura loaves or bread from a local bakery and serve some toast on the side. Enjoy!

 

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

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!

 

Lunch Menu: June 6-9, 2017

 

Creamy carrot soup & bread

Antipasti

chad fell’s bread & olives  5

mixed greens with balsamic   6.5

creamy carrot soup & bread   5

GTF salad- apples, cucumbers, walnuts and balsamic vinaigrette   9.5

pork pate, mustard, pickles & bread   8

 

Pizze Rosse

garlic & basil   10.5

kalamata & sausage  11

bacon & kale   11

goat cheese & caramel onions   11

 

Pizze Bianche

egg, scallion, arugula   11

prosciutto & olive  11

sausage & onion  11

–add an egg or anchovies   1

 

Seafood brodetto of prawns & trout with potatoes, tomatoes and aioli


Secondi

spaghetti & meatballs with fresh basil, zucchini and marinara sauce  11

duck ravioli in a thyme brodo with pea tops & xxx  11

seafood brodetto of prawns & trout with potatoes, tomatoes and aioli  12

creamy polenta with *poached egg, spinach, peppers and balsamic reduction  11