June 25th Market Recipes – Spinach Basil Salad and Fresh Pico de Gallo

Summer is officially here, and with it has come another slew of seasonal produce. It’s now that time of year when a few quick chops is all that stands between you and a meal of simple fresh food. The following recipes focus on quick raw dishes that can be enjoyed without turning on the stove, although I did break down and cook up some zucchini, I just missed it so much all winter.

  • Fresh Cucumber with Lemon and Salt20160622_090504 (2) 700 pixels wide
  • Fresh Kohlrabi with Lemon and Salt (June 4th post)
  • Cocozelle Squash Sauté with Black Kale and Garlic
  • Spinach Basil Salad
  • Pico de Gallo

FRESH CUCUMBER WITH LEMON AND SALT:

Cucumber season is in full swing! Eat them whole like an apple, slice them up with lemon and salt, mince them into a salad- cucumbers are good for everything.

COCOZELLE SQUASH SAUTE WITH BLACK KALE AND GARLIC:20160625_104941 (2)

Summer squash and garlic are soul mates, and when they are together, deliciousness is sure to result. Many people asked me, “One head of garlic? You must mean 1 clove?” No sir, no ma’am, I mean one head! Though garlic is most commonly treated as a seasoning, I prefer to treat it as a vegetable as it provides a savory flavor that makes vegetarian dishes feel especially filling. Feel free to add as much as or as little as you wish! I used Cocozelle in this dish, a type of zucchini that has thicker skin which helps the squash maintain its form without getting mushy in the pan.

  • 3 Cocozelle Summer Squash, sliced into discs
  • 1/2 Willamette Sweet Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 head Garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch Lacinato Black Kale, roughly chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Coat the bottom of the pan in olive oil and bring it up to medium-high heat.
  2. Once up to temperature, add in the chopped onion and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add in sliced squash and garlic, stirring around to coat everything in oil. Sauté for about 7 minutes.
  4. Stir in the black kale and add a couple pinches of salt. Sauté for about 3 minutes. Timing is somewhat key here, as we don’t want the squash to get mushy. Make sure to add in the kale while the squash is still a little bit raw so that both the kale and the squash finish cooking about the same time in the pan.
  5. My favorite way to eat this dish is for breakfast topped with two fried eggs and some hot sauce. However it is also delicious along side rice and chicken, or just by itself.

SPINACH BASIL SALAD:20160625_104933 (2)

Spinach is not the biggest fan of hot weather, so I made this dish in an effort to enjoy it in its prime before we all have to go a month or two without its tender greens in our lives.

  • 1 bunch Spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2/3 bunch Basil, finely chopped
  • ~6 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • ~4 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/4 Willamette Sweet Onion, minced
  • Salt to taste, 2-3 pinches

Directions:

  1. Mince the garlic and onion and place them in a medium bowl.
  2. Pour the olive oil, salt, and balsamic vinegar into the bowl, and mash the onion and garlic into the dressing a bit with the back of a spoon. This is the magic secret! All those onion and garlic juices will release into your dressing making it incredibly flavorful.
  3. Chop up the spinach and basil and toss them in the dressing.
  4. This salad is delicious as is, although if you let it sit 10-15 minutes before serving, the vinegar will break down the spinach a bit making for an extremely tender salad.

PICO DE GALLO:20160625_115024 (2)

Pico de Gallo is one of my main dinners during the summer. All you have to do is roughly chop up the following ingredients, dump them all in a bowl, and mix them around. Serve with tortilla chips, on top of tacos, or if you’re crazy like me, grab a spoon and experience just how fresh summer can taste. You’ll notice from this picture that I like my pico with heavy quantities of onion; for those of you who prefer less onion, feel free to add less.

  • 4 medium Tomatoes
  • 1 medium-large Willamette Sweet Onion
  • 2-3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 bunch Cilantro
  • 1/3 bunch Basil
  • Lemon Juice to taste
  • Salt to taste

2016 CSA – Week 2: Storing Produce

CSA Week 2 Graphic

CSA Newsletter – Week 2


Storing Produce

Storing produce is not only important for you to make the most of your box, but it is also an essential part of our farming operation. Throughout the season and especially during fall, we will harvest large quantities of a crop that matures at the same time such as cabbage, winter squash, beets, carrots, and other root vegetables. These crops are stored in large totes, cardboard boxes, or wooden crates. Some produce does best stored just above freezing while other produce keeps best at warmer temperatures.

Proper storage is so critical for our farming operation because we often harvest more produce than we can sell immediately. Proper storage techniques help us hold our harvest so that we can sell it gradually, over time. On the farm, we have two walk in coolers where space is at a premium, especially during fall harvest. But we also have to get creative when space is limited. In the fall we convert our propagation houses into winter squash storage and the shelves in our packing shed fill up with bins of onions.

This week is all about proper produce storage so that you can make the most of your CSA. So don’t feel overwhelmed if you have more potatoes or carrots than you can eat this week. Store them properly and you can eat them several weeks from now!  The backside of the newsletter has a storage guide that we have compiled over the years. If you have any storage tips or tricks that you would like to share, we would love to hear from you!

– Lily Walton, CSA Coordinator

 

Table of Box Contents:

☐ 1½ lbs Potatoes ($4.50)

☐ Swiss Chard ($3.00) separate the stems from the leaves for cooking. Great sautéed and cooks a bit quicker than kale.

☐ Bunch Beets ($3.50) roast or boil the beats and use the greens for sautéing. Balsamic vinegar and goat chèvre with beets is a personal favorite.

☐ Arugula ($3.00) Use as a salad green, in sandwiches, pasta salad, or even make pesto!

☐ Baby Onions ($2.50) Onions with a bonus! Use the greens as you would scallions.

☐ 2 Zucchini ($1.50)

☐ Kohlrabi ($1.25) Delicious fresh or dressed in salads

☐ 2 cucumbers ($2.00)

☐ Dry Garlic ($1.50) Bend this up with some arugula or basil for fresh pesto

☐ Storage Onion ($1.50)

☐ Bunch Basil ($3.00) trim the stems and place them in a glass or jar of water, just like cut flowers. Loosely cover it with a plastic bag and leave it on the counter.

☐ 1 Siletz Tomato ($2.50)

☐ 1 Pint of peas ($4.00) great for eating fresh, in salads, or in stir-fry.

☐ Lettuce ($2.00)

Box value at the farmers’ market: $35.75

 

Storage Tips:

VEGETABLE & storage time HOW TO STORE LONG TERM STORAGE TIPS (The big four: Freezing, Canning, Pickling, Dehydrating)
GREENS AND HERBS: Tender greens last about1 week; hardy greens 2 weeks. Store wrapped in a paper towel (or a mesh greens-bag if you have one) inside of a container or bag in the fridge.  Greens with their roots still attached keep well in a bowl of water. * Many types of herbs can be dried by hanging upside down with twine in a dry, sunny place.

* Many greens can be blanched and frozen. Or, make greens-pesto and freeze it.

* Hardier greens like kale can be coated with oil, salt & pepper, and baked to make chips.

DRY ROOTS

like potatoes, onions, garlic:

1-2 months

Keep them cool and dry. Keep potatoes in the dark lest the sunshine turn them green. * Potatoes do NOT freeze well.

* Make vegetable stock! Throw in almost any veggies and herbs, bring to a boil, simmer 30 min, strain, and freeze until you need it.

FRESH ROOTS like beets, carrots, radishes, onions:
1-2 months
Break off tops so the greens don’t continue to draw sugar out of the roots. Store in a closed container in fridge. Don’t scrub or peel until you’re ready to eat them, or they will get soft faster. * Many roots make good refrigerator pickles. Slice and cover with a mixture of your favorite vinegar, a spoonful of salt and sugar, and spices (like mustard seed, dill, coriander, etc.). After about 3 weeks the flavors will start to meld.

* Slice, coat with oil and dehydrate for chips.

TOMATOES

1-2 weeks

Store at room temperature. Don’t put them in the fridge or they will get watery and weird! Keep them dry. Tomatoes are superstars for canning or dehydrating. Sauce can also be frozen, but the texture and flavor will not be quite the same.
MISCELLANEOUS VEGGIES  (broccoli, fennel, cabbage, etc.) and FRUITS (any “vegetable” with seeds inside, like zucchini, pepper, cucumber, etc.):
1-2 weeks
Most veggies like to be kept dry in the fridge with limited air exposure. DO NOT GET FRUITS WET. Plastic or glass containers are great; plastic bags are not quite as good because they limit air circulation too much.

Melons, eggplant, tomatillos, and peppers can stay at room temp a few days, but they prefer it cooler for longer storing.

* Many veggies can be blanched and frozen.

* Grate carrots or zucchini into muffins, and freeze to pull out for breakfast later.

* Refrigerator pickles (see above). Pickled peppers and cucumbers are especially popular, but there’s no reason not to get creative with veggies like broccoli, green beans or fennel!

* Make sauerkraut out of extra cabbage by slicing and keeping it immersed in salt water.

* Brush thinly-sliced veggies like squash, beets, parsnips, etc. with oil and salt. Dehydrate for chips.

* With tomatillos, make salsa verde for canning or blanch and freeze.

 

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 8: Crop Rotation and Irrigation 101

Last week’s discussion with John was so interesting that I decided to follow Joelene Jebbia, our Irrigation manager, around for an hour to learn more about what she does. She began similarly to John, socket wrench in hand out to fix a spigot in the circle garden’s irrigation riser. I spent most of this time just watching what she was doing, and gazing at the amazing array of tools she has in her truck. Once she changed the spigot, we headed out to a greenhouse thatrecently had a fall crop of potatoes planted in it. Joelene was setting up the drip irrigation in it since the seedlings had started to pop out of the ground. As she was busy doing her thing, I got to pick her brain about how she decides what gets planted where and how intensive irrigating all 50 acres really is.

She explained to me that she keeps a record of everything that we plant each year, how much of it, and when it is planted. This aids her in the winter when she plans out where everything is going to go. For next season, for example, it is good to know where brassicas (kale, cabbage, broccoli, etc.) were planted so that we do not plant onions in those places because they seem to do poorly in an area where brassicas once were. It is also important to not plant the same crop into the same ground consecutively. For example, if you plant arugula in one area, and the last of the planting got flea beetles, as it often does, and then you plant more arugula into that same soil, then that new crop will not thrive because there are already existing flea beetles in the soil that will eat it before it gets a chance to thrive.

As Joelene pulled the drip lines down the rows of potatoes, she elaborated that she also takes into consideration the micro-climates of each field. For example, how much sun the field gets, and what time of day it gets sun, compared to how much sun the potential crop likes. Thinking about whether the field is on high or low ground, therefore if it will be wet or just moist early in the season, is another huge factor.

Joelene explained that every year her plans get thrown off a little just by the weather patterns. For example, this year she planned to plant our onion crop just west of the compost piles, but when it was time to plant, the ground was way too wet to plant into. So, she shifted the plan slightly and it will work out. When deciding where everything gets planted, she also thinks about ease of watering, her other main task at the farm. She has to make sure that she will be able to access all of the crops with either overhead or drip irrigation and make it logistically workable for her.

Irrigation takes up a lot of her time year round, and most intensively this time of year. We grow crops in 31 different hoop houses that need to be watered on top of our outdoor crops. For the outdoor crop irrigation, Joelene and Sarah will start laying pipes down in April and continue through June until all the fields are set. Of course, there are a lot of repairs on pumps, drip lines, and pipes that go along with this.

This time of year is the busiest for keeping up with all of the watering, and outdoor watering will usually continue well into October depending on the season. The variability of the weather patterns plays a huge role in all of this, and working with mother nature seems to be your best bet. The potato house was all set up for watering, 2 of 4 that would get done today. After she placed her tools back in their locations, she drove to the tractor where she would begin her next task.

What’s in the box?

1.5 lb Potatoes (Rose Gold) – Steam, roast, or mash. These are versatile.
Carrots, bunched – They are great raw, on salad, slaw or stir fried.
1 bunch Walla Walla onions – Chop the onions and eat raw on salads or soups. Try them grilled! The top green part goes well with eggs, cheese, stir fries or pasta.
1 bunch chard– steam, or sauté these greens, much like spinach but not quite as tender.
1 purple pepper– It is wonderful grilled, sautéed, roasted, or raw.
Assorted Summer squash – Try them sautéed, grilled, in a soup or stir fried. Try hollowing out and stuffing the round ones with a grain mixture, goes well with cheese, meat, mushrooms, then bake or grill them for 15-20 minutes.
1 cucumber – Eat raw, on salad, or marinate them.
1 radicchio– They are wonderful grilled and topped with balsamic vinegar.
1 bunch cilantro– Make salsa with the tomatoes! Eat with cucumbers or squash.
Romaine lettuce – Make a salad, or add to sandwiches.
2 tomatoes – Chop raw on salad, sandwiches, or make salsa with cilantro and onions.
1 pint blueberries – I would be surprised if these made it home!

Stuffed Squash
4-5 assorted summer squash
3-4 small-medium Walla Walla onions, chopped
3/4 cup nuts, (almonds work best) ground
1 cup cooked brown rice, quinoa, or bread crumbs
3/4 cup grated cheese, (your choice, Swiss, cheddar or parmesan work well)
2 eggs
2 cloves finely minced garlic
Salt and pepper

For Zucchini, cut ends off and cut them in half long ways and scoop out the inside and set aside. For the rounded squash (patty pans or 8-ball) cut the first inch top off and scoop the inside out. Sauté the onions in olive oil, chop the squash flesh and squeeze any water out. Add this to the onions and cook a little longer. Beat the eggs and add to the nuts, rice (or grain of some sort), cheese, garlic, pinch of salt If the mixture is too runny add more of the grain. Stuff the squash with the mixture and bake in a slightly oiled pan at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Variation: add other spices if you would like, cilantro would go nicely, or even add some chopped tomato or chard.

Radicchio Salad
1 head of radicchio finely shredded
2 oranges, peeled and divided into sections
3 baby onions, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Dressing:
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Pinch of salt
Touch of sugar or honey

Place onions on an oiled cookie sheet and brush with olive oil. Bake at 300 degrees for several hours, until onions are dried out and brown. Mix radicchio with dressing and top with orange wedges and onion slices.
Variations: Add cucumber, grated carrots or peppers to this salad. Also, chop your head of lettuce and mix it in with the radicchio for a larger size salad for more people.

 

CSA 2011 – Week 7: Soil Fertility and Cover Crops

I had the pleasure of following Farmer John around the barnyard this morning to get some knowledge of our soil fertility tactics here at GTF. We first discussed cover crops. John says that cover crops work well for farms that have long rotations, or space that they do not need to plant anything into for up to 6 months. In the traditional cover cropping system you let the crop go for awhile, sometimes until as much as 6 feet high. Then, you would disc it down and let the green material break down for another 6-8 weeks before it’s ready to plant in.

We have a bit more of an intensive rotational system because most of the land we farm is planted almost all year round without much of a break, since we over winter quite a bit of crops. We do however have some parcels of ground clear of food crops in the winter that we will utilize cover crops in. When we use cover crops we usually plant field peas, vetch, and rye. Our cover crop system is a little bit more modified than other farms. We will let them grow until just before we need to use the parcel to plant in, and then we use a forage chopper to truck away the greenery as one of our compost feed stocks. We can then plow, disc, and prepare the land to be ready to plant in the next day. This saves us the 6-8 weeks of waiting for the plants to break down in the field. In our case the cover still serves the purpose of holding the soil from eroding in the winter rains as well as keeping the micro-organisms healthy and happily eating away.

As I followed John around to assess a manure spreader that went out of commission last night, he explained that we will use this tactic especially in fields where we will be planting later summer crops such as melons. There is a point in the fall, towards the end of October, that it gets too late to plant a cover crop. If we don’t plant early enough the cover crop will not have a developed root system, and we will end up with an insignificant crop that will not hold the soil or build it. If we don’t plant anything into an empty field, winter weeds can serve the same purpose; or in fact chickweed, which grows in plenty around here, makes a great winter cover.

As John got out from under the manure spreader, diagnosed the problem, and then made a phone call to our loyal mechanic, he added that we tend to rely more on compost than cover cropping. Our compost is a stable addition to the soil. We do two main types of compost: your basic compost and composted chicken manure. The chicken manure compost along with a fish fertilizer that we run through our irrigation are our two main fertilization tactics for crops that need more nitrogen to thrive. We also apply gypsum to all of our fields since our soil is low in calcium. The good thing about gypsum is it doesn’t change the pH of the soil either, which is another important factor. As I wrapped up brain-picking with John this morning, socket wrench still in hand, I was just amazed with the amount of interesting information I had learned. Maybe I should do this more often!

Lisa Hargest
CSA coordinator


What’s in the Box?

1.5 lb Potatoes (purple viking) – See below.
Carrots, bunched – They are great raw, on salad, slaw or stir fried.
1 bunch baby Walla Walla onions – chop the onions and eat raw on salads or soups. Try them grilled! The top green part goes well with eggs, cheese, stir fries or pasta.
1 bunch beets – They are great boiled, roasted, or even grated raw and dressed. Eat the greens too; they are great sautéed with olive oil and salt.
1 green pepper– It is wonderful grilled, sautéed, roasted, or raw.
Summer squash (1lb) – Try them sautéed, grilled, in a soup or stir fried.
2 cucumbers – Eat raw, on salad, or marinate them.
1 bunch parsley – Chop it raw as an addition to a sauté, use in pesto with or without basil. See recipe.
1 bunch basil – Make pesto! Eat with tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar and salt.
Romaine lettuce – Make a salad, or add to sandwiches.
2 tomatoes – Chop raw on salad, eat plain like an apple!
1 pint of strawberries

On Purple Viking Potatoes
These purple Viking potatoes were freshly harvested this week. The skins are sensitive and have not hardened yet. These potatoes are a bit more starchy, but do well baked or boiled. I would mash them up with some butter and salt. If you wanted to try something different you could boil them whole, then chop and add some balsamic vinegar, mustard and salt while still warm. They are also quite tasty roasted with the usual rosemary, salt and olive oil.

Tabouli
1/2 cup bulgar
1 bunch parsley, chopped finely
1 bunch baby onions, chopped, greens and all
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, julienned (optional)
1/4 cup or more lemon juice
1/4 cup or more extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves chopped garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: chick peas, cucumbers, a pepper

Boil 3/4 cups water, add to bulgar and cover. Let sit for 15-20 minutes, or until bulgar is tender. Add lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Place in
refrigerator. Add the rest of the ingredients about 30 minutes before serving. Serve cold.

Raw Beet Salad
1 bunch beets, greens chopped off and beets grated
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Pinch of salt
2 Tablespoons honey, maple syrup or sugar

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and season to taste. This is a very simple salad. It goes great on any green salad.
Variations: add grated carrots or chopped parsley to switch it up.