Thursday, July 24, 2008

zucchini recipe update

I forgot to squeeze this into the newsletter --- In reference to the July 17th zucchini recipe:

Cella wrote to say that her mother parboils the zucchini before baking it!

More summer squash recipes are available if needed. Don't hesitate to drop a line if you're struggling to keep up with the food.

best regards, Coree

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Newsletter July 24-08, week #9

Red Springs Family Farm
July 24, 2008, Week #9

This week:
Green Beans Cucumber
Summer Squashes Peppers
Tomatoes Lettuce
Tomatillos Carrots
Sorrel Eggplant
Green Onion Celery
Parsley Basil

What a hot and sweaty week it’s been! We were so happy to sleep under a blanket last night and wear more clothes for early harvest this morning. It’s a pleasant reprieve. The rain has missed us again for now, but it looks like folks nearby got some pretty good showers. The gardens are in full swing. It’s a beautiful, busy, and productive time.

Lulah calls tomatoes “good-maybos”. We agree. Most of the tomatoes we offer are heirloom varieties. What you receive this week could be any of the following: Mule Team, Tappy’s Heritage, Paul Robeson, Black Russian, Woodle’s Orange, or Jet Star. Jet Star is a hybrid variety – the rest are heirloom. There’s an element of chance when working with heirloom seeds. We love to try new varieties, and the Black Russian paste tomato sounded great. However, every single fruit we’ve harvested has been split down the side so far, too damaged to bring to town. Woodle’s Orange has proved itself a keeper, though, and we hope to be sending you a great deal more of them from our late season tomato row. One of our personal favorite heirloom tomatoes is Paul Robeson. If you find a dark golden, almost striped, dark orange tomato with green shoulders, that’s a Robeson. We think their flavor is completely extraordinary. The green shoulders don’t need to be pared down too much – it’s all edible.

What a thrill to see the first eggplants hanging on the bushes. We hope that by picking these first fruits, the next flower buds will be encouraged to swell and MAKE MORE! If your eggplant is an apple green color, that’s just exactly perfect. One variety, Applegreen, is mature when green!

Since lettuce is slightly less abundant this week, we’ve combined your herb and lettuce bag. Basil is getting chowed by the Japanese Beetles, but there’s still plenty. You might also find some dark purple ruffled leaves in your herb sack – this is ruffled basil – it’s so shiny and luscious. Smells more like licorice than basil and has a deep complex flavor.

Allow these vegetables to speak for themselves in your kitchen. Try everything raw. Keep it simple. Don’t store your tomatoes or eggplants in the fridge; trust them to the counter top. Parsley is not a garnish – it’s a superfood – chop it into salads and sauces, or blend it into dips – it’s even a pleasant tea!

Here’s a few recipes from Alice Water’s The Art of Simple Food.

Tomato Confit
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel and core:
4 medium tomatoes
In the bottom of a baking dish just large enough to hold the tomatoes snugly, scatter:
A few sprigs of basil
Arrange the tomatoes core side down on top of the basil. Sprinkle with salt, then add:
About ½ cup olive oil. (continued on back)
Bake for about 50 minutes. The tomatoes are done when lightly browned on top and completely tender. Remove them carefully when serving. Te oil left behind can be saved to add to a vinaigrette or other sauce. Delicious.

The flavor of this dish increases with time – leftovers will taste even better – if there are any!
Cut into ½ inch cubes: 1 medium eggplant
Toss with salt. Set the cubes in a colander to drain for about 20 minutes.
Heat in a heavy bottomed pot: 2 Tbsp. olive oil
Pat the eggplant dry, add to the pan, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden. Add a bit more oil if the eggplant absorbs all the oil and sticks to the bottom of the pan. Remove the eggplant when done and set aside. Pour in: 2 Tbsp. olive oil,
then add: 2 medium onions, cut into ½ inch dice
Cook about seven minutes, until soft and translucent. Add:
4-6 garlic cloves, chopped ½ bunch basil, tied in a bouquet with kitchen twine
Salt A pinch of dried chile flakes
Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, then stir in: 2 sweet peppers, cut into ½ inch dice
Cook for a few minutes, then add: 3 medium summer squash, cut into ½ inch dice
Cook for a few more minutes, then stir in: 3 ripe medium tomatoes, cut into ½ inch dice
Cook for 10 minutes longer, then stir in the eggplant and cook for 10 to 15 minutes more, until all the vegetables are soft. Remove the bouquet of basil, pressing on it to extract all its flavors, and adjust the seasoning with salt. Stir in: 6 basil leaves, chopped, and extra-virgin olive oil.
Serve warm or cold.

Green Beans with Toasted Almonds and Lemon
Trim the stem end from:
1 pound green beans
Melt, in a heavy pan, over medium heat:
3 Tbsp. butter
When the foam has begun to subside, add:
¼ cup sliced almonds (pecans or hazelnuts work as well)
Cook, stirring fairly often, until the almonds begin to brown. Turn off heat and add:
Juice of ½ lemon
Cook the beans until tender in salted boiling water. Drain well and toss with the almonds and butter. Taste for salt and adjust as needed.

That should do! Enjoy it all. We look forward to seeing you next week.

Thank you for your support,
Paul, Coree, and Lulah Entwistle

“It is a question whether the time at which tender plants shall go into the ground is a matter of prudence or of courage.” ~ Ida D. Bennett, The Vegetable Garden

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Lulah cooling off

Lulah thought it was too hot one day and took a dip into a soapy bucket of water on the porch. Funny darling!

newsletter and photos 7-17-08

Red Springs Family Farm
July 17, 2008, Week #8

This week:
GARLIC Green Pepper
Summer Squashes Cucumber
Tomatoes Lettuce
Tomatillos Beets
Celery Parsley Basil

Another three inches of rain fell on us over the weekend and we enjoyed the great relief of just watching the garden grow. The squashes burst forth in a frenzy of blossoms, which are all full of bees. The squash patch is buzzing every morning.

ORGANIZATIONAL UPDATE: We would like to change the way that we all think about missing a veggie pick up. If you see that you cannot make it to a pick up, we would like you to try to find someone else to pick up your basket for you BEFORE you drop out for the week. This way, more people get to experience fresh local food (and meet our charming daughter!), and we are saved the scramble of trying to sell extra (growing is enough work). If you cannot find a surrogate veggie eater, and you give us enough notice (at least 48 hours), that’s fine. We have fallen under our goal of 20 baskets per week several times this season, which adversely affects our budget needs, especially for the long winter of no sales. Thank you for helping us out.

In the common CSA model, there is an agreement between the grower and the consumer for the length of the season. Customers pay for the entire season up front and carry the responsibility of picking up their food, come what may. We have made a more flexible system. However, your assistance in consistently getting the veggies baskets distributed is a big help. When you send a replacement, we can treat them as a first time guest. The basket they receive can be paid for separately, and not deducted from your basket count, unless you request otherwise.

ALSO – we’ve got a blog! It’s pretty simple so far, but it is UP, and I will endeavor to keep it updated weekly with the latest newsletters and occasional new photos. Look up: . If you have missed out on a newsletter, or tossed one already and want to find a recipe, let this be a resource for you.

Local corn is beginning to hit the market. We’re still a little ways out from our corn harvest in this hollow. The first planting was hit hard by the heat and drought. The second planting looks great. Enjoy what’s out there and we’ll be bringing you some sweet pearly ears before too long.

Poona Kheera cucumbers were a new one for us this season. It’s taken awhile to figure them out, but finally, I think we understand. My theory is that Poonas are a predecessor of the modern cucumber. They are at their best when they look completely weird. I couldn’t believe I was slicing this round brown skinned fruit to put in a salad, but wowee – the white flesh was crisp and sweet and really tasty. Be bold!

The variety of garlic available this week is called Chesnok Red. It is considered the premier roasting garlic and it photographs well when peeled down to its beautiful inner red paper. We hope you will thrill as we do to the full flavor of fresh garlic.

Tomatillos are coming in. We are delighted by them. We use them in fresh salsas – made with whatever is at hand and enjoyed immediately. At their peak they are sweet and fruity. When still a little green, there’s a twist of tartness that is unlike anything else. I have had great success slicing them into half moons and throwing them in a light stir fry with summer squashes and peppers. Unless the flesh is split they keep well on the counter. Experiment, and enjoy.

Here’s a recipe for Zucchinis from Cella…a simple zucchini recipe, how my mom fixed it:1. wash zucchini, striate skin with fork and halve lengthwise.2. lay in pan, inner sides up, and top with tomato chunks, salt, oregano and parmesan cheese3. bake until zucchini is softened and cheese is melted (@ 350 degrees @ 20-30 min?)my mom used canned tomatoes, but fresh is better! i don't have the baking numbers written down, but i think these would work.

A couple of creative dressings and a beet idea from Kripalu Kitchen:

Kukatahini Yields four cups
¾ cup sesame seeds, 1 ½ cups cucumber
toasted and finely ground ½ cup lemon juice
1 cup tahini ½ cup oil
1/8 cup tamari 1/8 cup honey
¼ tbsp. cumin 3/8 tsp. Paprika

Peel and cut cuke into small pieces. Blend all wet ingredients in a food processor first, then add spices and finally blend in the sesame seeds gradually. Blend for quite some time so that all the seeds and other ingredients are well-absorbed. This dressing is also good over cooked vegetables or grains.

Parsley Tahini Dressing Yields 1 ½ cups
¾ cup parsley ½ cup tahini Chop the parsley fine, add the other
1 tbsp. lemon juice ½ cup water ingredients and blend together well.
1 tsp. Tamari dash of cayenne

Pickled Beets (refrigerator – style) Yields 5 cups
4 cups cooked beets 5 cups water 1 tsp salt
½ cup lemon juice 1 cup vinegar ¼ cup honey
½ Tbsp dill (or more) ¼ tsp. Mustard powder

Cook the beets, and remove them from the heat. Soak and chill the beets in salt water for several hours and them drain off the water. Prepare all the ingredients needed for the marinade, mix them together and pour marinade on top of the beets. Allow this mixture to marinate overnight and serve the next day. This has a tangy sweet taste, perking up your lunch or dinner.

Next week – we’ll have green beans and carrots again. Have a great weekend.

Yours ~ Paul, Coree, and Lulah

“One of the failings of modern culture is that it deprives us of the time that we need to take care of ourselves. We are caught in a process of expending energy but not of renewing it. However, if we really value our well-being we will take the time. The responsibility is ours, and there is no one else to blame if we do not make the effort.”
– Dr. David Frawley, Ayurvedic Healing

Red Springs Family Farm, PO Box 351 Red Boiling Springs TN 37150 ~

Monday, July 14, 2008

Newsletter July 10, 2008 week #7

Red Springs Family Farm
July 10, 2008, Week #7

This week:
Summer Squashes Cucumber
Lettuce Green Beans
Savoy Cabbage Green Onions
Basil Celery
Sorrel Parsley
The First Tomato

THERE WILL BE MUD! Wednesday brought us 8/10” of rain, and then last night another 2 ¼” fell bringing us up to just over 3 inches of rain! It’s usually not great fun to harvest in the rain, but we were more than glad to get a little wet this morning. There’s more mud than we’d like on your produce, but the vigor of the garden after a storm is well worth it.

Thank you all for your interesting advice towards improving our organizational efforts. Both of us have lived varied and interesting lives and tried on several occupations, but neither of us has ever been a business major. We are transitioning to keeping our books in a spreadsheet format and even starting up a Blog to post our newletters and some photos for folks to check back into at will. We will let you know how this unfolds.

The model of vegetable/customer interaction that we are most closely modeling is that of Community Supported Agriculture. In some ways, this way of sharing veggies is as old as time. The re-organization of this ancient relationship began in earnest in the 1970’s. The basic idea is that a group of people who want to eat good, fresh, local food agree to support a nearby farm in exchange for whatever that farm can produce in the course of a season. By saying this, I am inferring that the vegetables are yours while they’re STILL IN THE FIELD. You can feel a connection to our gardens, not just the stuff that comes in the bag each week; just as we feel connected to you and your family as more than just grocery store customers in a check out line.

It’s rare for people, un-related by kinship, to actively rely on one another in this fast paced world. We believe that we are more interdependent than we know or openly acknowledge. This work that we do of gardening with you in mind brings that interdependence into the light of day. We know that what we bring to you is not what you might purchase by choice in a grocery. It’s our hope that you can enjoy the effort of bending with each season’s flavors, and that you can feel the vitality of not just the food itself, but also your relationship to it.

Out of the average dollar spent on food in a grocery, about 19 cents goes to the farm where the food originated. The remaining 81 cents is distributed over the various labor costs, transportation, packaging, and marketing that gets it to the right place at the right time, looking good enough to be placed in your basket. If the economics seem poor, the quality and safety seems even worse. There’s not a chance that these tomatoes (there will be more next week) are infected with salmonella. Locally grown food is fresher, safer, and friendlier than petroleum-doused supermarket fare, by a long shot. That’s enough of me on this soapbox!

This is the first time we’ve grown this savoy (crinkly) head cabbage. It hasn’t grown to its fullest head, but we really need to get it out of the field so we can move onto other crops. If you like it, let us know so we can try to grow more for the fall. Please, rinse them well and enjoy those big green outer leaves as well as the little heads.

We thought we would have beets today, too, but we hesitated to pull them and disturb the mud (sensitive micro-organisms are easily destroyed in muddy soil), and then we just plain ran out of room! There will be more beets, really.

Thanks to Emily for some fantastic green bean recipes today:

Green Beans and Tomatoes
Olive Oil 1 medium onion
1 can tomatoes 1 pound green beans (ends snapped off)
Salt, pepper, and tarragon leaves

Sauté onion in olive oil until translucent. Add tomatoes and simmer until the juices thicken. Steam green beans about two minutes. Break in to pieces. Add to tomato mixture. Season.
(This is a good accompaniment for egg dishes such as Zucchini Frittata with parmesan or Frittata with Swiss Chard and Roasted Garlic)

Green Beans and Potatoes with Pesto

Boil Potatoes in water. Cook until a skewer slides through them but not until they are mushy. Steam green beans two to three minutes. Mix with basil pesto.

(To make Pesto: put 2 cups fresh basil, 2 Tbsp. pine nuts, 1 medium garlic clove, ½ cup grated parmesan all together in a food processor. Grind to a rough puree. Slowly add olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.) (We’ll give you more pesto recipes later, as basil becomes more prolific.)

Summer Squash with Garlic and Herbs (from Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters)

Choose any combination of very fresh summer squashes (crookneck, straightneck, green or yellow zucchini, or patty pan). Trim and slice or cut julienne. Saute in generous olive oil until tender and just beginning to brown. Add a generous amount of freshly chopped garlic and basil or marjoram, and season with salt and pepper. Cook just a minute more, until the garlic releases its aroma; squeeze over a bit of lemon juice, and serve.

A couple of these zucchinis are worthy of zucchini bread making. Send in your favorite recipe to share, or ask if you don’t have one. It’s wonderful stuff!

Next week, we’re looking forward to the first sweet peppers, more tomatoes, and maybe even garlic in the baskets. Thank you for sharing in this harvest. Bring us your questions and comments as needed. Above all, enjoy this food!

With best regards,

Paul, Coree, and Lulah

“One should eat nutritious food and exercise regularly to have sound health.
Virtuous deeds performed with intelligence shall naturally bring good wealth.”
~poetic advice from the Rig Veda

Red Springs Family Farm, PO Box 351 Red Boiling Springs TN 37150 ~ ~

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Newsletter July 3 2008, week #6

Red Springs Family Farm
July 3, 2008, Week #6

This week:
Senposai Greens OR Chard
Zucchini OR Cucumber
Lettuce Green Beans
Carrots Green Onions
BASIL Celery

We wish you all a very happy Fourth of July weekend!
Please pray for rain to swamp out the fireworks!

We’ve ordered the equipment to set up drip irrigation. It’s not something we WANT to do, but the situation in the garden demands some strong action now. We’re feeling fortunate to still be harvesting what we have.

The cabbage lopers finally found the Senposai. I don’t know what’s eating the Chard, but the wearing out of the greens is the natural course of deep summer weather. This will be some of the last spring greens you will see for abit. We do hope to send you a head of beautiful savoy cabbage in the next week or two, but beyond that, we’re moving into the summer crops now.

These are the first bits of cucumbers and zucchini – more, many more to come. This is also the very first light cutting of the basil. Please give us feedback about how much is enough, or too much of the summer offerings. Soon there will be parsley, and more beets. We’ve eaten the first couple cherry tomatoes, and are very much looking forward to the ripening of tomatoes. A little July 4 rain might just send them over into the pink!

Here’s a sweet and salty dish I make to use whatever vegetables are available:

My Favorite Teriyaki Style Veggies

An Onion A few cloves of garlic
One inch of fresh ginger Green beans
Carrots Cooking Greens
Any other veggies of choice Tamari
Sorghum or equivalent Lemon

Prepare all veggies – washing and slicing – chop the garlic and ginger fine and slice the greens thin, if you are using them. Throw the onions, garlic, and ginger into a large deep skillet with some oil – I prefer coconut, but butter or olive oil is fine. Once they have browned just a couple minutes, toss all the rest of the veggies into the skillet, stir briefly, and pour in at least a ¼ cup of tamari. Let all this cook together, covered, until the hardest vegetables are tender enough for you, then turn off the heat, and stir in a dollop of sorghum syrup and the juice of one lemon.

I serve this with crispy sautéed tempeh over rice. Cilantro makes a nice garnish, but we won’t have that back in the baskets for another couple weeks! Green onions should work.

We hope you have used and enjoyed your carrots. Though they are not as beautiful as California carrots, they sure do cook up sweet! I cannot yet find a written recipe to back me up, but I believe that these carrots would be so delicious if they were steam fried in a skillet with water and butter, just a pinch of salt, and a few leaves of this fresh basil, finely chopped and stirred in.

As for Green Beans, try this one…
Green Bean Salad (from the Real Dirt on Vegetables, by John Peterson)

¼ cup coarsely chopped walnuts 1 pound green beans
1 tsp. Salt plus more to taste freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (1/2 lemon) 3 Tbsp. olive oil
4 ounces Parmesan cheese, thinly shaved (about ½ a cup)

1. Toast the walnuts in a dry, heavy skillet over high heat until they star to brown in spots and become fragrant. Be careful not to over-toast them. Immediately transfer nuts to a dish.
2. Add the beans and salt to a large pot of boiling water; cook until tender but still firm, 3-5 min.
3. Transfer the beans to a colander in the sink and run cold water over them. Trim if necessary.
4. Toss the beans and walnuts in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice and olive oil until well combined. Pour this mixture over the beans and toss until well coated. Transfer the salad to a serving platter or individual plates. Gently scatter the Parmesan shavings on top.

Your bags are loaded with lettuce this week. We’re trying to make the most of what is PERFECT in the field right now. A lot of these heads wouldn’t have made it another week in the heat. We eat a salad every day for lunch. If you’re tired of munching “bunny food” and loosing your raw food enthusiasm, you might like to try braising your lettuce.

Braised Lettuce: Remove tough or bruised leaves, and rinse the head whole. Tie a piece of string loosely around each head to hold the leaves together and promote even cooking. Boil 2 quarts of water; add salt and reduce heat to a simmer. Add the lettuce heads to cook for 3 minutes. Drain the lettuces in a colander. When cool enough to handle, gently squeeze them in your hands to remove excess water. Remove the string. Melt 1-2 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the lettuce heads. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy immediately.

Otherwise, you might like this sweet and tangy dressing:
Sweet Maple and Balsamic Vinegar Dressing
1 cup extra virgin olive oil 3 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar 2 Tbsp. finely sliced fresh basil
1 Tbsp. Fresh lemon juice 1 tsp. Dry mustard
1 clove garlic minced salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a jar, and shake well. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. This will store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Toss it with salad greens or cooked veggies.

Thank you all for your support! Have a safe and fun holiday weekend.

Paul, Coree, and Lulah Entwistle

“…Peter, who was rather naughty, ran straight away to Mr. McGregor’s garden, and squeezed under the gate! First he ate some lettuces and some French beans; and then he ate some radishes. And then, feeling rather sick, he went to look for some parsley.” – from The Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter