Friday, October 9, 2009

Lack of newsletters 18, 19, and 20

Well, we're having some technical difficulties these past two weeks that are making it challenging to post these final few newsletters. Our apologies. If I can retrieve them and get them up here in the future I will.

Meanwhile, we're excited to be heading off to the great big chilly neighbor country - Canada - to see colors in the trees, frost on the ground, family and old friends.

No deliveries October 15.

We'll be back on the 22nd - and will try to remember your basil then, too. Look for an email.

Have a great week!


Paul, Coree, and Lulah

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Red Springs Family Farm

September 17, 2009, Week #17

Vegetable medley:

Lettuce Green Beans Garlic

Summer squash Sweet Pepper Cucumber

Acorn squash Swiss Chard Okra/Tomatillos

Melon or tomato Herb bag: Basil Arugula Parsley

Well, it’s a good day for ducks. Your leafy greens today will need a good washing, tho they’ve been washed well in the field over the last few days. We’ve received over three inches of rain, and it is still falling. This tropical remnant seems to have parked in our region.

We hope that this new Farmer’s Market works out well. It’s exciting to change, and nice to be able to spread out. We are grateful to New Century Books for supporting us over the past three years. It was a great incubation. Lulah can still be found over there with her Momo, if you want to go visit, browse, and support local business. We do encourage that.

We’ve done a lot of growing this year, besides all the veggies. We outgrew our old truck, and outgrew the veggie nook in the bookstore. We’ve utilized almost every patch of arable land on our property now, too. What will we grow into next?

If you take the time to look, you can see what a predicament we are in over our tomatoes. It’s sad. From the edge of the garden, looking at the row, there seem to be some pretty red blushing tomatoes. But upon closer examination, they’re all damaged by the blight. To add insult to injury, now most of them have split from the excess rain. When it dries up enough, we’ll probably quit torturing ourselves and just take them OUT. It will be a sad relief.

Summer crops are on fast decline now. The good news is that the Fall crops look great. As long as the seeds and baby seedlings survive this hurricane, there will be a nice selection of herbs and greens to come for the fall.

Acorn squashes, yummmmmmmy. This variety is called Paydons. It is an heirloom that some friends of ours grew last year. It looked good and has proved up well by us, out-producing the standard Table Queen variety in both size and number. If you’re not sure what to do with acorn squash, the answer is NOT TOO MUCH. Our experience is that their nutty flavor and creamy texture doesn’t need much help. Some basics and a recipe included below.

You will be seeing more winter squash in the baskets to come. These tips apply to all of them. Store winter squash in a cool, dry, dark place with good ventilation. Acorn squash will keep for a few months. Butternuts and pumpkins will keep for 6 months or more, thought their taste peaks in mid-winter. Once squash has been cut, you can wrap the pieces in plastic and refrigerate them for five to seven days. To make it easier to prep winter squash for your recipe, try the pre-baking method: pierce the squash to allow heat to escape while it is in the oven, then bake the squash whole at 350° F until it is just barely tender to the poke of the finger, 20 to 30 minutes. This softens the shell and makes cutting and peeling much easier.

To get more specific, acorns are among the easiest to handle of the winter squashes. They don’t take too long to bake. They’re not terribly difficult to cut. They’re not overwhelmingly LARGE. So, take your squash, cut it in half lengthwise, spoon out the seeds, and plop it into a baking pan with ½ inch of water in the bottom. Bake in a medium oven until the squash pokes completely soft (1/2 an hour or so?). Let it cool abit then turn the squash over, dress with butter, salt and pepper, or just butter and a little cinnamon. The squash keeps well in the fridge once baked. It can be a nice quick fix to just scrape out the cold baked squash flesh into a hot pan with some butter or oil, seasoned to your liking. Hope you will enjoy.

If you want something unique, try this:

Acorn Squash Salad from The Real Dirt on Vegetables

2 medium acorn squash ½ cup olive oil

1/3 cup fresh cilantro 6 Tbsp orange or tangerine juice

3 Tbsp maple syrup 2 Tbsp minced candied ginger (1 Tbsp fresh raw sub)

½ tsp salt 1/8 tsp cayenne

Salad greens, washed, dried, and lightly dressed in olive oil

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2) Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash halves cut sides down on a baking sheet. Bake until tender, 30-45 minutes. Cool completely, scoop out eh soft flesh, and roughly chop. Place the squash in a bowl and set aside.

3) Combine the olive oil, cilantro, orange juice, maple syrup, ginger, salt and cayenne in a blender or food processor. Blend well.

4) Pour the dressing over the squash and toss gently. Chill for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to combine. Serve on a bed of lightly dressed greens.

And, to re-introduce cooking greens, here’s a nice idea that could probably be used with several kinds of cooking greens:


2 tbsp. canola oil 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 onion, peeled and chopped 4 cups chard, coarsely chopped

1 tbsp. butter 1 tbsp. flour

1/2 cup milk 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated

6 corn tortillas 1/2 cup hot salsa

Preheat oven to 375 F. Heat oil; saute garlic and onion until golden. Add chard (in small amounts) until it is cooked down. Make a bechamel sauce: melt butter, stir in flour, add milk and cheese. Stir until thick, then mix into cooked greens. Fill center of each tortilla, roll up, place in lightly oiled baking dish. Spread salsa over all; bake in hot oven for 25 minutes.

Recipe developed by Ellen Ogden. In "The Cook's Garden" catalog. Vol. 8, No. 1. Spring/Summer 1991. Pg. 7.

Next week we may be sending out the first of the butternuts. More white potatoes to come, and cooking greens, too. Hopefully another small run of green beans.

Thanks for your support. Eat well and be well.

Paul, Coree, and Lulah Entwistle

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

~Michael Pollan

Newsletter #16

Red Springs Family Farm

September 10, 2009, Week #16

Oops - forgot to post this last week!

Vegetable medley:

Lettuce Green Beans Garlic

Summer squash Sweet Peppers Cucumbers

Potatoes Eggplant Okra/Hot peppers

Herb bag: Basil Cilantro Arugula Green Onions Parsley

Well, we got our anniversary wish – while we were in town doing veggie delivery, an inch and a half of rain fell on the gardens. By the looks of things, it fell pretty fast, but we won’t complain. Another inch fell Sunday night. It feels good out here.

We are officially in the September slump. We are sad to not be bringing in ANY tomatoes, but glad to see the eggplants are trickling their production out just a little bit further. Fall greens are up and growing, but not quite appropriate to harvest. Most summer crops are waning, particularly dramatically this year with excess insect infestations and blight from the wet cool spring and summer. Nevertheless, the lettuce has turned beautiful again, and there’s always something thriving.

Ah – an update on last week’s pear recipe – rose petal wine comes from southern France. Bordeaux will work to cook with the pears, just let the sugar and spices take over.

The herb bag is diverse this week. We finally succeeded with a stand of cilantro. We love cilantro, but it has proved elusive this season. One crop dried up, another got pounded by rain. This one has finally made enough beautiful shiny leaves to enjoy. Arugula is beginning. This is just the first little pick. We’ll look forward to sending these pungent tangy soft leaves to you for the rest of the season. The basil has completely outgrown us. Trim down the flowers – their taste is bitter to us. If you haven’t made pesto yet, please consider it.

This marinade can be used to marinate tofu and meats, as a sauce for noodles or rice, and as a dressing for a green salad.

5 tbsp. vegetable oil 1/3 cup packed fresh cilantro with stems
1/4 cup fresh lime juice 1/4 cup tamari soy sauce
1 inch fresh ginger in ¼ in. slices 6 lg. cloves garlic
1 1/2 tbsp. ground cumin 1 small jalapeno or other chile (optional)

Combine and blend all ingredients together in a food processor or blender until the chile, garlic, ginger and cilantro are finely chopped.


1 lb. Linguine 1/2 cup olive oil
4 oz. arugula, trimmed 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted 1-2 cloves fresh garlic, or to taste

Additional freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cook linguine in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add arugula and stir until just wilted, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat.

Drain pasta and return to pot. Add arugula and toss well. Add 1 cup Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste; toss well. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with pine nuts. Serve immediately, passing additional Parmesan separately. Serves 6.

Entwistle’s favorite one-pot-wonder meal

An onion or two, sliced, and maybe a clove or two of garlic

Family-sized portion of white potatoes, chopped to comfortable fork-sized chunks

As many green beans as you want to eat in a sitting, washed and snapped

A summer squash or two, sliced or cut into chunks

And maybe a sweet pepper, sliced

Olive oil and/or butter salt and pepper

Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet with a good lid. Saute the onions until they are translucent and sweet. Add the potatoes and green beans, all at once, with a little water so that they steam instead of fry. Sprinkle on some salt, stir the beans, potatoes, and onions together, turn down the heat and cover the pan. Check the pan frequently to make sure the potatoes aren’t sticking and see how things are coming along. When the potatoes are almost done, add the peppers and summer squash. Add garlic, any other herbs you’d like (parsley is nice here), and a sprinkle of pepper, now as well. Cover the pan again and cook just a few more minutes. Turn off the heat, keep the lid on a couple minutes longer. Serve with a little more butter or oil. A sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese can be excellent on this dish as well.

This week we enjoyed the company of some of our farmer companions and their interns for a farm tour. We have agreed to share this sort of time once a month – rotating to one another’s farms, giving us insight into each other’s operations, and giving interns (which we don’t have yet) a chance to see other ways that farms work. You might imagine, it’s a little nerve wracking to prepare for the company of our peers, but the event was very pleasant. We walked the gardens, chatting about what went right and what went wrong, then sat in the yard for a demonstration of our seed saving projects. The kids played like the wild little critters they are, and we had a great pot luck dinner at the end of the day. Before this program was implemented, it was rare for us to see our farmer friends during the growing season. Farmers’ socials are too rare. We’re grateful for the company of friends.

A few of you have been inquiring as to the duration of our season. We committed in the Spring to make 20 continuous deliveries. This is our 16th. Our final delivery of the main season will be October 8. We will go to Canada for a break and a visit with Paul’s family, and come back for a few more weeks of greens, squash, and sweet potatoes until around Thanksgiving. If you love kale, collards, Chinese cabbages, butternut squashes, and the like, you’ll want to stick around. If you’re really just here for tomatoes and cucumbers, then we’ll understand if your interest wanes.

Next week, we anticipate sending, more green beans, swiss chard, more acorn squashes, and hopefully the last few eggplant as well.

Keep in touch and enjoy your piece of the harvest.

Paul, Coree, and Lulah Entwistle

“The kinds of plants best suited to domestication are those that thrive in an open and disturbed habitat, like a farm; that grow rapidly and splendidly; and that make seeds in abundance. These also are traits of weeds. So crops and weeds are shadows of one another, and it is an irony of farming that the farmer must work so hard at this shadow play.

It is not just eh vegetable beds that need cultivating. The farmer must also cultivate himself, for he too has his weedy tendencies. He has to be vigilant at chopping out those coarse and hairy thoughts that threaten to overwhelm more tender notions, and at uprooting bitter and prickly attitudes that make him unfit for the table. Like weeding the beds, this is a task that will never be finished.” ~Mike Madison, from Blithe Tomato

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Newsletter Week #15

Red Springs Family Farm
September 3, 2009, Week #15

Vegetable medley:
Lettuce Tomatoes Garlic
Summer squash Sweet Peppers Acorn Squash
Cucumbers Last tiny Beets Green Beans
Herb bag: Basil Celery Oregano

Today is the Entwistles’ five year wedding anniversary. Some of you were there for the event itself – thank you for being part of our lives! Excuse us please for not making much of a newsletter. We’re in need of a rain for an anniversary gift. This is the last of the beets, cleaning out the beet row. More eggplant to come next week. First of the winter squash – Yippeeee! They’re really yummy.

Here’s one beautiful pear recipe from Cella. If anyone figures out where to get dry rose wine, please let me know.

Rose Pears
Combine in saucepan, boil, and then simmer @ medium heat uncovered until pears are soft, 30-60 minutes, depending on ripeness:
8 pears, peeled but retaining stem bottle of dry rose wine
12 cinnamon sticks 16 cloves
1 c. sugar water to cover (but no more than wine amount
Serve at room temperature.


On a day

when the wind is perfect,the sail just needs to open

and the world is full of beauty.

Today is such a day.

My eyes

are like the sun that makes promises;

the promise of life

that it always

keeps each morning.

The living heart

gives to us as does that luminous sphere,

both caress the earth with great


This is a breeze that can enter the soul.

This love I know plays a drum.

Arms move around me;

who can contain their self before this beauty?

Peace is wonderful,

but ecstatic dance is more fun, and less narcissistic;

gregarious He makes our lips.

On a day

when the wind is perfect,

the sail just needs to open

and the love starts.

Today is such

a day.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Newsletter Week #14

Red Springs Family Farm
August 27, 2009, Week #14

Vegetable medley:
Tomatoes Lettuce Corn
Summer squash Sweet Peppers Garlic
Eggplants Beets Cucumbers
Potatoes Hot Peppers (choice)
Herb bag: Basil Parsley Sorrel

What a week! We’re grateful for the approach of rain clouds again. There are not enough hours in a day, or night, this month to accomplish the busy farm to-do list.

Where to begin – we’re glad to still have a few tomatoes to give. The blight seems to be loosening it’s grip, and the plants that are still alive show signs of successful blooming again. We hope to supply a trickle of tomatoes, maybe supplemented by the row of cherry tomatoes that have been sorely neglected this season. A garden/farm magazine we receive carried on its front page this month a story about blight and how rampant it has been this year. It was good to hear that we’ve not been alone. The blight that killed the tomato harvest is the same kind that brought on the Irish Potato Famine. It’s airborne, and even conventional farms have suffered, as fungicides suppress but don’t completely destroy the disease. You might stock up on your store bought canned tomatoes now – prices may go up as the repercussions of the blight hit the markets.

Cherry tomatoes remind me of the parsley. Those of you who have been with us awhile know that we usually treat parsley as a vegetable, not a garnish. It’s a wonderful “superfood”, especially consumed raw. We have scarcely given any parsley this season because we underestimated the vining potential of our cherry tomatoes, next row over from the parsley. They grew so big so fast, and then the catnip and mint on the other side of the row bushed out, and the parsley barely stood a chance. It’s still in there, and we’re hoping to cut it back hard and get some nice leaves out of there yet, as the tomatoes wilt back abit and we clean up the herbs for the Fall.

On the other side of the cherry tomatoes is a row of OKRA. If you like okra, please just let us know. We don’t have a long enough row to supply everyone with okra every week, but can arrange to send a bag here and there upon request.

Eggplants are slowing down, we’re sad to say. The flea beetles that we worked so diligently to protect the baby plants from are doing their worst now. I’ve honestly never seen such an infestation of them. Bit by bit they skeletonize the leaves, leaving the eggplant fruits with no protection from the sun. It’s very sad. I’m hoping a rain might knock them back a little. We’ll see.

The basil isn’t slowing down one bit. In fact, it may be speeding up. It’s definitely time to put up your pesto, if you’re a pesto fan. We’re happy to supply your basil needs. If you don’t so much love pesto and are swimming this sea of basil you can try drying it (single layer in a warm oven, or tied in a shady place in a paper bag), or freezing it – chopped, maybe doused in some olive oil. We like to put our pesto or basil into an ice cube tray. After it’s frozen, pop out the cubes and store them in a bag. This way the serving size is easy to control. If all else fails, scroll back through the archives of the newsletters, there is a recipe for basil cheesecake from last year about this time.

We were glad to clear out a part of the field of acorn squashes and baby pumpkins this week. The winter squashes look great. It won’t be long until we start sending them to you. In the meantime, we’re parsing out the melons to you in alphabetical order. Your turn will come.

Brinna, the bringer of blueberries, gave us the head’s up that September 10 is our last blueberry delivery. We’re so glad to have worked with Hidden Springs to bring this excellent crop to you.

Fall crops are growing in the fields. We keep clearing more space, making room for more and more. It’s exciting to see the season begin to change. Walnut trees are yellowing their leaves already and the hillsides have lost the verdant feel of summer. It will be great to have arugula and kale again.

We enjoyed a visit with shareholder John and his companion Pat this week. It’s a great exercise for us to see the gardens through someone else’s eyes. It is often difficult for us to slow down these days, but we really enjoy company and love to give a little tour of the gardens.

This is the last of our garden’s sweet corn. The variety is Candy Corn – all yellow. Eat up.

The cucumber harvest has slowed this week – but if you’re still storing waaaaay too many cucumbers in your fridge, this recipe, via Turtle, looks like a winning way to use them:

Easy Refrigerator Pickles
6 cups thinly sliced pickling cucumbers (about 2 pounds)
2 cups thinly sliced onion 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
3/4 cup sugar 3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Place 3 cups cucumber in a medium glass bowl; top with 1 cup onion. Repeat procedure with the remaining 3 cups cucumber and remaining 1 cup onion.
Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan; stir well. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Pour over cucumber mixture; let cool. Cover and chill at least 4 days.
Note: Pickles may be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month.

6 beets (each 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter), scrubbed and trimmed, leaving about 1 inch of the stems 3/4 cup water 2 cloves garlic, unpeeled1 tbsp. olive oil 1 tbsp. minced fresh coriander1 1/2 tsp. red-wine vinegar, or to taste 1 tsp. minced white part of scallion5 walnut halves, toasted and chopped (about 2 teaspoons)

In a 2-quart microwave-safe round glass casserole with a lid, microwave the beets with the water and the garlic, covered, on high power(100%), stirring every 2 minutes, for 6-9 minutes, or until they are tender when pierced with a fork, transferring them to a cutting board as they are cooked and reserving the garlic, and let them cool. Peel the beets, halve them, and slice them 1/4 inch thick. Peel the reserved garlic, mash it to a paste with the flat side of a heavy knife, and in a serving bowl stir it together with the oil, the coriander, the vinegar, the scallion, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the sliced beets and sprinkle the mixture with the walnuts.
Gourmet, February 1993

Next week – more green beans!

Thanks for sharing the harvest. Have a lovely weekend.

Paul, Coree, and Lulah Entwistle

“Below what we think we are we are something else, we are almost anything.”
~ D.H. Lawrence

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Newsletter Week #13

Red Springs Family Farm
August 20, 2009, Week #13

Vegetable medley:
Tomatoes Lettuce Corn
Summer squash Sweet Peppers Garlic
Eggplants Carrots Cucumbers
Watermelon Swiss Chard Hot Peppers
Herb bag: Basil Parsley

Should we apologize for having too many cucumbers?
It’s an ethical dilemma.

Lots of news around here this week. We found the veggie van – a white 1993 GMC Rally 12-seater (we wrestled a couple of the benches out of it to make room for the coolers) came into our possession this week. It’s not a young van, but seems to be well-maintained and strong, bought for a price we could manage. This is our maiden voyage. We’re glad to be able to ride together with greater spaciousness (and air conditioning).

Good news: We finally found some nice fat straight carrots out in the garden! Unfortunately, they’re the last ones we’ve got. August has taken a toll on the lettuce. We just eat it anyway, and hope you will do the same! Your patience will be rewarded with beautiful greens again in the Fall.

The tomatoes are taking a dive. We’ll feel lucky if we still have tomatoes to give next week. The tomato patch looks like it ordinarily would in late September, or even October. Our late planting is smaller, but doing OK, so there will be more tomatoes, just not quite so many.

This may be the last of the melons for the time being, too. We’re watching for another flush, and they should have a chance since the winter squash vines are dying back now.

This week’s corn picking is Ambrosia – our favorite. In spite of our well cleaned and charged electrical net around the corn, we are still giving up more of it than we’d like to critters. We have another week’s worth (maybe 2 weeks? Ask the critters.) of Candy Corn, on the way. The acorn and butternut squashes are beautiful. There will still be food, just different food.

We’re transplanting hundreds and hundreds of baby broccolis, cabbages, brussel sprouts, and kales into every open space we can find in the garden now. These spotty rains have been nice to moisten the soil. We’ll soon be ready for a real downpour, and it looks like one is coming our way today.

We’ve included some very creative cucumber recipes to help you with the harvest this week. You can find a truly astounding number of cucumber recipes at his web site (it will be hyperlinked on our blogsite):

Cucumber-Lemon Spritzer
3/4 cup water tablespoons brown sugar
1-1/2 cups diced peeled cucumber 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger 2 cups sparkling water, chilled
1 small cucumber, cut lengthwise into 4 spears
1. Combine 3/4 cup water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook until sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool.
2. Place sugar mixture, diced cucumber, lemon juice, and ginger in a blender; process until smooth. Cover and chill.
3. Combine cucumber mixture and sparkling water in a pitcher; stir gently with a whisk until blended. Serve over ice; garnish each glass with a cucumber spear, if desired. Yield: 4, 1 cup servings.

We haven’t tried this yet, but it sure sounds good. Recipe notes said it’s a well loved treat in Mexico.

Agua de Pepino (Cucumber Limeade)
1 cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks Juice of 2-3 limes
Sugar to taste (1/4 c or so is good) water and ice
Put cucumber, sugar and lime juice in blender with enough water to reach an inch and a half below the top. Blend well. Strain the pulp out of the mixture and serve over ice.

Su-no-Mono (Japanese Cucumber and Noodles)
1/4 c sake 1 1/2 oz cellophane noodles (mung bean thread)
1/3 c mild rice vinegar 2 T tamari soy sauce
2 T mirin 2 medium cucumbers
1/2 t salt 2 oz cooked crab meat OR 4 T chopped red bell pepper
Bring about 1/4 cup sake to a boil, immediately remove from heat, and cool. Reserve 2 tablespoons of boiled sake.
Cook the bean threads according to package directions (usually, boil for 3 minutes). Drain and place the noodles in a bowl of cold water. Run more cold water over the noodles until they are cool.
Combine 2 tablespoons of the sake with the vinegar, soy sauce, and mirin. Cool.
Peel the cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise, remove the seeds, and slice as thinly as possible. Place in a bowl, sprinkle with salt, and allow to sit for a few minutes. Squeeze the salted cucumber slices. Rinse well, squeezing out all of the excess water after rinsing.
In a (beautiful) bowl, place the noodles and then the cucumbers. Sprinkle on the crabmeat or bell pepper. Pour the marinade over all and serve.
From: Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant by The Moosewood Collective

Baked Eggplant Parmesan
3 eggplant, peeled and thinly sliced 2 eggs, beaten
4 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs 6 cups spaghetti sauce, divided
1 (16 oz pack) mozzarella cheese, divided 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried basil Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Dip eggplant slices in egg, then in bread crumbs. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes on each side.
In a 9x13 inch baking dish spread spaghetti sauce to cover the bottom. Place a layer of eggplant slices in the sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Repeat with remaining ingredients, ending with the cheeses. Sprinkle basil on top.
Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.

OH – Please note – Basil production has finally surpassed our ability to reasonably dole it out. If you want to buy extra, please let us know. We will sell it to you for $5/lb. Put up your pesto!

Thank you for your good eating and support. We appreciate you.

Your gardeners,

The Entwistles

“Man’s life on this earth – who has courage to face it? Yet there are the trees, against the dark sky, black bare trees, springing from the earth to flower, swaying in the wind, the low hollow moan of the wind. Who could live without this grace?” - Harlan Hubbard

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Newsletter Week #12

Red Springs Family Farm
August 13, 2009, Week #12

Vegetable medley:
Tomatoes Lettuce
Summer squash Peppers
Garlic Eggplants
Carrots & Beets Cucumbers
Cantaloupe/Watermelon Roma Green Beans
Herb bag: Basil, Green and Purple Dill Sorrel

Well, August feels like August after all, doesn’t it? July may have acted like September or even October, but August will not disguise itself. We’ve been back to the creek frequently. Busy in the hot kitchen, hot garden, grateful for every bit of shade, it’s definitely August again.

Have no fear, sweet corn will be back next week.

The upper garden is still a wild living chaos. Our friend and garden helper Wilson remarked that the watermelons were invading the tomatoes. It was clear though that they had little choice, since the Jumbo Pink Banana squashes had thoroughly invaded the watermelon rows. Squash vines are thinning a little bit, revealing loads of butternuts and acorn squashes. As we pulled out the first planting of corn this week, we found nearly full grown squashes growing almost all the way through the corn patch. We thought we were growing bushier varieties of acorns this year. If these are the bush varieties, the vining varieties must be amazing.


Thank you, Dessa, for this very good simple recipe:

Roasted Ratatouille From Cook’s Illustrated Family Cookbook

One large eggplant, diced into ¾” chunks 2 squash, diced into ¾” chunks
28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained, reserve 1/3 cup juice
one red onion, halved pole to pole then sliced ¼” thick and separated
5 cloves garlic, sliced 1 tsp. fresh thyme, minced
¼ cup olive oil 1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl, including reserved tomato juice. Place in 13x9 baking dish. Bake one hour, stirring halfway through cooking time.

As for cucumbers, try this one:
Refrigerator Cucumbers

Several cucumbers Several Onions dill garlicpeppercorns bay leaf salt Rice Vinegar, alone or mixed with white vinegar

Slice the cucumbers and onions. Layer in a large glass bowl or jar with the dill, sliced garlic, a few peppercorns, and a couple of bay leaves. Mix the vinegar(s) & salt (about 1/2 teaspoon per cup of vinegar) and then pour over cucumbers. They can be eaten within the hour or in several days. Keep in refrigerator. (Experiment with a salt/vinegar ratio and spices and flavorings that work for you.)

August is long, but fast. We feel the earth’s tilt toward Autumn speeding up.

We are so grateful to have found this simple little trailer for our truck. Today is its maiden voyage, so I can’t rave too much just yet. Nonetheless, it’s a relief to travel together again. Traveling in both the truck and car for delivery was no fun. Even though freezing, canning, and transplanting Fall crops has taken precedent for the moment, we’re still on the lookout for the perfect veggie vehicle.

Pulled from Epicuriuos:

Cucumber Gazpacho
1 3/4 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped (about 3 1/4 cup), plus 1/4 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into small dice for garnish (about 1/4 cup)
2 scallions (white and green parts), coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (loosely packed) assorted fresh herbs, such as basil, chives, and mint, coarsely chopped, plus ¼ cup finely chopped (for garnish) 1 (1/2-inch) piece fresh ginger, chopped
1 small clove garlic, coarsely chopped 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 pound large shrimp (31 to 40 count per pound) peeled, cooked, and cut medium dice (8 shrimp)
1/2 cup seedless watermelon or cantaloupe, cut into small dice

In blender or food processor, combine coarsely chopped cucumber, scallions, coarsely chopped herbs, ginger, garlic, olive oil, and yogurt and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, and hot sauce, then transfer to large airtight container and refrigerate 1 hour or up to 4 hours. Before serving, stir together shrimp and remaining cucumbers, herbs, and salt.
Fold watermelon or cantaloupe into soup. Divide soup evenly among 4 chilled bowls and top each with dollop of shrimp mixture. Serve immediately.

Dill is such a beautiful herb. I’m hoping we can manage another flush of it for a Fall harvest. I’ve used it with great success on poached salmon. It blends nicely with cucumbers. I recommend using it separately from the basil, so that the depths of its flavor are not overpowered. Rumor has it that the smell of dill can cure hiccups. It is a cooling herb, and a gentle digestive aid.

Please send us good recipes, bring us back blueberry clamshells, and clean grocery bags.

We wish you fun and good meals with these abundant mid-season harvests. Also remember that you have a standing invitation to visit the farm (pick your own cucumbers), wade in the creek, and see how we do things out here. Give us a couple days notice so we can make room for you in our day.

Thank you for taking part in our garden.

Paul, Coree, and Lulah Entwistle

Eating with the fullest pleasure - pleasure, that is, that does not depend on ignorance - is perhaps the profoundest enactment of our connection with the world. In this pleasure we experience and celebrate our dependence and our gratitude, for we are living from mystery, from creatures we did not make and powers we cannot comprehend.
– Wendell Berry

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Newsletter Week #11

August 6, 2009, Week #11

Vegetable medley:
Tomatoes Lettuce Carrots
Summer squash Green Pepper Cucumber
Garlic Cantaloupe/Watermelon
Sweet Corn Eggplants
Herb bag: Basil Celery Dill Tulsi

Happy August Everyone! The gardens are nearly at peak – we feel fortunate to have turned the open beds just before the Tuesday rains. We’re gearing up to plant the Autumn greens.

Eggplants, eggplants. It is the year of eggplant. Where as tomatoes have blight, carrots are twisty, peppers staying small, eggplants have been thriving. Here they are. They are a wonderful fruit, and if you’re not sure what to do, don’t worry – we’re here to help.

Storage and Handling of Eggplants
Eggplant prefers to be kept at about 50° F, which is warmer than most refrigerators and cooler than most kitchen counters. Wrap unwashed eggplant in a towel (not in plastic) to absorb any moisture and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator. Used within a week, it should still be fresh and mild. To use, rinse eggplant in cool water and cut off the stem. Many people like to peel, salt, and drain their eggplant to draw out any bitter flavor; however, bitterness develops only in eggplant that has been stored for a while, so with farm-fresh specimens this is generally not necessary. Many recipes call for salting in order to make the vegetable less watery and more absorbent—much like draining tofu. Salting is not an essential step, but it can greatly enhance the taste and texture of your dish and is well worth the extra effort. The shape of an eggplant determines how it is best prepared. Slice a straight, narrow eggplant into rounds for grilling or broiling, and cut a rounded, bulbous eggplant into cubes for stews and stir-fries. The long thin ones don’t need to be skinned – most folks like the standard round ones peeled.

One of our personal favorites:
Fresh Dilled Eggplant (from the Ayurvedic Cookbook)

1 bunch fresh dill 1 medium eggplant 3 Tbsp light oil
½ tsp turmeric 1/8 tsp. hing 1 cup water
¾ tsp sea salt 1 tsp curry powder 2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp lemon juice ¼ chopped green pepper 1 tsp coriander powder

Wash the dill and chop finely. Wash and peel the eggplant; cut in to 1 inch cubes. Heat oil in medium sized cooking pan. Add turmeric, hing, eggplant, dill, and water. Cover and cook 10 minutes over medium heat. Add rest of ingredients and cook 5 minutes more.

And to accompany the dilled eggplant, you might like some Cucumber Raita:

1 cup fresh plain yogurt ¼ cup cucumber, finely diced (I use a whole cuke here)
1 Tbsp fresh scallions, finely chopped ¼ dry ginger or 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1/8 tsp turmeric ¼ tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cinnamon (opt.) ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro leaves

Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. This goes well with most curries, dals, and Indian dishes. Other vegetables, such as grated daikon radish or carrots, can also be used here. Sorry our cilantro planting hasn’t come through in time for this recipe.

Baba Ghanouj
This is a traditional Middle Eastern recipe for baba ghanouj, a thick but light spread that is delicious as a dip for pita bread or vegetables or as a filling in a sandwich. Its distinct, nutty flavor comes from tahini, a sesame paste that is widely available in specialty stores and many supermarkets. Serves 4

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided 2 medium eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/4 cup pine nuts 1/4–1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup tahini 1–2 cloves garlic, minced (1/2–1 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon ground cumin (optional) 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
2. Rub 1 tablespoon of the oil over both whole eggplants and place them on a baking sheet. Roast, turning once or twice, until very soft, 30 to 45 minutes depending on size. Let cool.
3. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a dry, heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat until they start to brown in spots and become fragrant. (Be careful not to overtoast them, as they will burn very quickly once toasted.) Immediately transfer the nuts to a dish to cool.
4. Cut the eggplants in half and scoop out the flesh. Purée the eggplant flesh in a food processor or finely chop it on a cutting board. Transfer to a bowl.
5. Add the lemon juice, tahini, garlic, cumin, salt, cayenne, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix until well combined.
6. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with cilantro or parsley and toasted pine nuts.

Corn is another of our featured selections this week. We’ve been eating it for nearly every meal lately – it’s such a seasonal delicacy. What else is there in the world like fresh sweet corn? If you shuck some tonight (we hope you do), be sure to try a bite raw. So good. And please excuse our corn ear worms. They are our organic certifiers. If you have corn without them, it’s nearly a sure bet that some kind of poison has been applied. It is a little unusual for our sweet corn to be as infested with the worms as it is this early in the year. But, it’s just that kind of year.

Do you want more chard? The row has re-grown, and we could send it again. The baskets (AND the truck, AND the car) have been so full lately we’ve not felt it necessary. However, if you are missing the cooking greens, please drop us a line to let us know.

In the herb bag, the blooming tulsi is a brain clarifying tea or potpourri. Give it a try.

Jennifer sent a helpful note on celery: chop it up, lightly cook it in chicken broth (or vegetable broth) and freeze it in ice cube trays then put the cubes in bags in the freezer. Instant soup stock for winter!

Eggplant can also be frozen. Treat it as you would for Baba Ghanoush (see above), steps 1 and 2. Then just pop those cooled, soft eggplants into a freezer bag. The long skinny ones don’t need to be peeled – just roasted with a little olive oil and frozen. They thaw fast, and chop up nicely into lasagna or pasta sauce, or even eggplant parmesan if you don’t let them cook to complete mush!

Enjoy the bounty this week.

Thanks for your support.

Paul, Coree, and Lulah Entwistle

“This life is a thump ripe melon, so sweet and such a mess.”
~Greg Brown, Rexroth’s Daughter

Friday, July 31, 2009

Newsletter week #10

Red Springs Family Farm
July 30, 2009, Week #10

Vegetable medley:
Tomatoes Lettuce Beets & Carrots
Patty Pan Squash Green Pepper Cucumber
Garlic Watermelon Sweet Corn
Herb bag: Basil Celery Sorrel

We’re half way through the main season. It’s so hard to believe. So, we’re celebrating the mid-point with watermelons and sweet corn. It was a shock to us to find the melons ripe in the fields. A couple of them burst after the last rains. We weren’t sure we’d have enough for everyone this week, but as we thumped our way through the patch, relocating the ambitious butternut squash branches back to their row, peering through the dark jungle of vines, the melon pile grew to an astounding degree. If we hadn’t pulled these ones when we did, the winter squashes might have just dug in with their tendrils and eaten them instead.

Most of the melons we’re bringing this week are called Cream of Saskatchewan. Their flesh is crisp and white. They will be lovely cubed and sprinkled with cinnamon. Or tossed in a simple fruit salad with blueberries and lemon juice, maybe?

Sweet corn this week is Ambrosia. Please, try to eat it tonight. There’s not too much, so we’re pretty sure you can manage. Next week, there will be quite a lot more. Dessa handed down a good tip for sweet corn last year – cook it the first night, then refrigerate or freeze it, on the cob if you’d like, for later use. The natural sugar in corn changes very quickly to starch. We notice the different within a few hours. Cooking it fresh helps hold the flavor. We pick your corn the day you receive it – as late as we possibly can – in the hopes that you will enjoy the authentic sweet corn experience.

Tomato blight is eating our tomato plants from the ground up. It’s particularly bad this year, we suspect because of the moisture and temperature fluctuations. The tomatoes are hanging in there, and we’re working to keep them afloat as long as possible.

Finally, cucumbers this week! Next week there will be many more. If you have a funny looking white egg shaped-something-or-nother in your basket, it’s a Dragon’s Egg cucumber. We took a chance on them from one of our favorite heirloom seed catalogs, and so far they are proving out to be a winner – so tender, and burpless, to boot! The long, sometimes curvy cucumbers are called Suhyo Long – a Japanese heirloom, one of our long time favorites. You may not see as many of these this year as last, and that’s because we’re saving seed from them.

We save as many of our own seeds as possible. Those of you with gardens of your own may have noticed the price of seeds skyrocketing in the past couple years. We’re at a good scale now to have the genetic diversity we need to get a good set of seeds from several of our favorite plants. This season we’re selecting several lettuce varieties, a favorite kale, a brilliant yellow sweet pepper, Suhyo cucumbers, a special dry shelling bean, and of course, butternut squashes. We even grew our own seed potatos this year, which is truly an experiment. We have yet to dig (it will have to dry out abit), but we’re very curious to see how the spuds turn out. It has been our experience in the past five years that the more we carefully select seed from our own plants, the greater their vitality and yield from year to year. Just like gathering our electricity from the sun instead of the grid, it is such a wonderful feeling to create abundance from the resources at hand, and untie ourselves from the grip of the Monsanto/Seminis seedhouses.

This celery needed thinning, so here it is. It’s not the sort of celery to eat by the stalk with peanut butter. We love it in soups, stocks, and stuffings. It is full of flavor – use the leaves too. To your good health!

Oh well, this is not the year of the carrot. We have one more summer planting to pull, so we’re still hopeful to find some nice long straight carrots under here somewhere, but not this week. What they lack in beauty they make up for in character, and intensity of carrot flavor.

Beets are not so prone to misshapen-ness, and we’re so glad. Here’s a nice simple recipe if you’re wondering what to do with them. Most likely this treatment would work with carrots as well.

Sweet Steamed Beets (from The Ayurvedic Cookbook) serves 4-6

4 cups raw beets (5-6 medium beets) 2 Tbsp. butter or ghee
2 Tbsp. lemon or lime juice 1 Tbsp. coriander powder
Wash and slice beets to 1/8 to ¼ inch slices. Steam until tender (20 minutes or so). Drain.
Melt the ghee or butter in a small pan. Put steamed beets into a serving bowl and drizzle the ghee or butter and lemon juice over them. Add the coriander powder and stir well. Serve and enjoy.

I’ve heard some folks wanting help with the use of basil. Oh my. We put basil in almost everything these days. We chop the leaves fine for salad. We use them to season stir fries. Of course, there’s pizza, and one wonderful way to use, and store, basil, is to make pesto. I threw a pesto recipe into a newsletter a few weeks ago – scroll back through the blog to find it. Easy to make in a food processor, and freezes with ease for fresh basil taste all winter.

For a simple pizza:

1 heaping Tbsp active dry yeast 1 ¼ cups warm water
Stir together in a large bowl until yeast is dissolved.

2 cups flour 1 cup whole wheat flour 1 tsp salt
Add enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl, turn to grease both sides, cover with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 45-55 minutes. Generously grease pizza stone or baking sheet with olive oil. Roll of press dough onto pan.

Make pesto, then spread it on the pizza crust. Top with sliced tomatoes and a couple cups of shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake in a hot oven for 5-8 minutes and there’s one easy way to use up a lot of basil. Yummmmmmmmmm.

What a basket this week. We hope you will pile through with gusto and enjoy every bite.

Thanks for sharing our harvest. So far, so good.

Next week – eggplants!

Paul, Coree, and Lulah Entwistle

"The ambition for broad acres leads to poor farming, even with men of energy. I scarcely ever knew a mammoth farm to sustain itself; much less to return a profit upon the outlay. I have more than once known a man to spend a respectable fortune upon one; fail and leave it; and then some man of more modest aims, get a small fraction of the ground, and make a good living upon it. Mammoth farms are like tools or weapons, which are too heavy to be handled. Ere long they are thrown aside, at a great loss."
Source: Abraham Lincoln, Sept 30, 1859, Wisconsin State Fair

Friday, July 24, 2009

Newsletter Week #9

We forgot to bring in the garlic this week - sorry - we'll have it next week.

Red Springs Family Farm
July 23, 2009, Week #9

Vegetable medley:
Tomatoes Lettuce Green Beans
Patty Pan Squash Green Pepper Swiss Chard
Garlic New Potatoes
Herb bag: Basil/Purple Ruffles Parsley Fennel

Head’s up! If you ever get home to find that you are missing a crucial item from your basket, please let us know. If we still have it at the drop off, we can leave it at the store for you, or we will make it up to you next week. It’s not hard for us, in the midst of a rush, to miss a green pepper, a bulb of garlic, even a sack of herbs or chard. PLEASE – make sure you get what’s due!

This season is turning out so stunningly. We’re grateful for the rain and cool nights, for the blooming of cucumbers and heavy vines of tomatoes. We may have sweet corn next week. What a thrill.

Let us know what you think of fennel. It’s a new one for us – new to grow, and new to taste. A farmer we worked with on Maui grew it as a salad green, and we enjoyed that a great deal. Cut off the feathery leaves and store them separate for salad use. I enjoyed the fennel bulb roasted, buttery, lightly breaded, in Italy one summer, but have not experimented with it since. The unwashed bulb (stalks and leaves trimmed off) will keep in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for at least a week. Cut the bulb in half lengthwise and check the inner core. If it’s tough, remove the inner stem with a paring knife. The knife will guide you as to what is tough and what is tender. The long flowering stalks are usually tender and yummy, even if the bulb has gotten a little tough. Fennel should be washed carefully, because dirt can lodge between the layers of the bulb. Chop or mince the leaves.

Here’s a nice recipe, for BLT, or tuna fish sandwiches, as you like:

Fennel Mayonnaise, from The Real Dirt on Vegetables by Farmer John Peterson
2/3 cup mayonnaise 2 Tbsp. orange or lemon juice
4 tsp finely chopped fennel leaves 4 tsp very finely chopped fennel bulb
1 small clove garlic, minced
1. Mix mayonnaise and orange or lemon juice until smooth.
2. Add the fennel and garlic; mix thoroughly, store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

It’s time for tomato salads. Chop some basil leaves, a little fresh garlic, salt and pepper, oil and balsamic vinegar, a sprinkle of feta cheese. Soooooooo goooooooooooooooood. We hope next week to give you a cucumber to add to the salad.

Our thanks to Long Hungry Creek Farm for the new potatoes. Like fresh garlic, fresh new potatoes are a rare taste in the world of supermarket produce. We hope you will savor them.

The deep dark purple leaves in your herb bag are a variety of basil – Purple Ruffles. Their licorice aroma and pungent taste are distinct from sweet basil. To make a gorgeous basil vinegar: fill a jar with half white wine vinegar, half cider vinegar, then stuff it with purple basil and let it steep for a week. Strain it and pour the resulting gorgeous magenta vinegar into a pretty bottle with a few sprigs of fresh basil. Lovely in red tomato sauce, carrot salad,

Short on time today, so we won’t linger… Have a great weekend!

Your gardeners,
Paul, Coree, and Lulah Entwistle

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Newsletter week #8

Red Springs Family Farm
July 16, 2009, Week #8

Vegetable medley:
Tomatoes Lettuce Green Beans
Patty Pan/Zucchini Green Pepper
Swiss Chard Garlic
Herb bag: Basil Sorrel Tulsi

The weather! What can we say? Wow. Wednesday night rains make for muddy Thursday veggies. Wash them well and pour the nutrient rich organic rinse water on your houseplants.

Sunday’s rain was most welcome, but the wind preceding it was abit much. We’re conjecturing that we had something like a “micro-burst” in our hollow. It was dark dusk when the wind came, and we could barely see the corn twisting in the field. The gust was sudden and strange, and we knew that the corn had fallen. Often, corn gets blown down, but gradually stands back up again after a windy storm. This was not the case. This storm flattened about 2/3 of the Indian corn patch, leaving the remaining 1/3, and its sweet corn neighbor, nearly untouched. It looked like someone dropped a pick up truck in the middle of the corn patch, then drove away without leaving tracks. Fortunately, we had a very good crop of Indian field corn last year, so we’re not crushed by the loss. The unfortunate consequence of this weather event is that we won’t likely want to sell any cornmeal this year.

Most of you will be receiving a Paul Robeson tomato today. This is one of our all time favorite heirlooms. It’s technically called a black tomato – coloration being a stripey dark orange with green shoulders – deep red inside. Paul Robeson was an athlete (15 varsity letters at Rutgers), actor (played Othello in the longest running Shakespearian production in Broadway history), singer (world famous for his vibrant baritone renditions of Negro spirituals), orator, cultural scholar and linguist (fluent in at least 15 languages). He was blacklisted during the McCarthy Era, and in his testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee on June 12, 1956, when asked by one senator why he hadn’t remained in the Soviet Union, Robeson said, “Because my father was a slave, and my people died to build this country, and I am going to stay right here and have a part of it just like you. And no fascist-minded people will dry me from it. Is that clear?” An extraordinary tomato for an extraordinary man.

Most of you are receiving 1 ½ lbs of green beans this week. Larger bags are about 3 lbs each. If you want to freeze a couple bags, just wash and trim the beans, then submerge in boiling water for 4 minutes. Quickly cool them in ice water, drain, and bag them up for the winter. Here’s a creative use, with gratitude to Barbara Kingsolver’s excellent book on local food, Animal Vegetable Miracle.

½ lb. trimmed green beans Steam until tender
1 coarsely chopped onion 1 tbs. olive oil
Sautee onions over medium heat until they become slightly transparent.
3 hard boiled eggs 2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 tbs. lemon juice (optional)
Combine beans, cooked onions, eggs, basil and lemon juice in food processor and blend into a coarse puree.
Mayonnaise or yogurt Salt and pepper
Remove puree to a bowl and combine with enough mayonnaise or yogurt to hold mixture together. Add salt and pepper to taste. This spread is fantastic served on crusty bread, crackers, or rice cakes.

The basil is really popping out now. The day is coming when we may have some extra to sell. We’ll keep you posted. This week, here’s a little pesto recipe:

1 bunch of basil, to yield about a cup of lightly packed leaves
In a mortar and pestle, pound to a paste:
1 garlic clove, peeled, and salt
Add and continue to pound:
¼ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
Add: ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese.
Transfer this mixture to a bowl. Coarsely chop the basil leaves and put them in the mortar. Pound the leaves to a paste. Return the pounded pine nut mixture to the mortar. Pound the leaves and pine nut mixture together. Continue pounding as you gradually pour in:
½ cup cup extra virgin olive oil
Taste for salt and adjust if necessary.

Now, all of this can be done in a food processor as well, and much more quickly, but the sensory experience of pounding your own pesto may be worth it from time to time. Also, you could pick the leaves of the entire content of your herb sack this week and make a mixy pesto. You could also substitute walnuts for pine nuts, if it suits you.

This Swiss Chard is standing thigh-high in the field. It desperately needed chopping back. Some of the leaves are speckled. The damage is purely aesthetic. We hope you will enjoy it anyway. It’s re-growth will be more beautiful. Here’s another idea, from the same source as the pesto recipe above, Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food.

Chard with Parmesan
Pull the leaves from the ribs of one or more bunches of chard. Discard the ribs (or save them for another dish), wash the leaves, and cook until tender in abundant salted boiling water, 4 minutes or so. Drain the leaves, cool, squeeze out most of their excess water, and chop coarse. For every bunch of chard, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a heavy pan over medium heat. Add the chopped chard and salt to taste. Heat through, and for each bunch of chard stir in a generous handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Remove from the heat and serve.

The corn is tassling now, a mouthwatering sight. We’re waiting for the ground to dry so we can mulch the late season tomatoes. The next planting of squash looks promising, and the cukes are blooming nicely. Lulah swears there are watermelons ready to be picked, but we’re holding off, just to be sure.

Next week, more tomatoes, beets, fennel, and maybe some new potatoes on the way.

Thanks for sharing our harvest.

Your gardeners,

Paul, Coree, and Lulah Entwistle

“When you see that you’re making the other things feel good, it gives you a good feeling, too.
Opening a barn door for the sheep standing out in a cold rain, or throwing a few grains of corn to the chickens are small things, but these little things add up, and you can begin to understand that you’re important. You may not be real important like people who do great things that you read about in the newspaper, but you begin to feel that you’re important to the life around you. Nobody else knows of cares too much about what you do, but if you get a good feeling inside about what you do, then it doesn’t matter if nobody else knows.
~Terry Cummins, Feed My Sheep

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Newsletter Week #7

July 9, 2009, Week #7

Vegetable medley:
Swiss Chard Lettuce Garlic
Patty Pan/Zucchini Green Pepper Green Beans
Choice: Tomato or Cucumber
Herb bag: Basil Sorrel Catnip/Mint

We’ve rarely been so glad to see a rainstorm on a holiday as we were last week. The gardens really went “BOOM” with the moisture, and we’ve been busy ever since doing what we can to keep that moisture IN and pull the weeds OUT.

Raggedy basil is sure sign that the Japanese beetles have hatched. They are just about the only bug that bothers basil, and fortunately, they only bother it for a couple weeks, and then the basil resumes full beauty. Bear with it.

The tomatoes are so close! We still don’t have enough for a real harvest, but we were surprised by a flush of green peppers, and this little picking will help stimulate another bloom.

Think healthy cucumber thoughts. It’s almost as if our garden, after last year’s cucumber extravaganza, has rejected the first planting. They’re trying, but barely succeeding, to grow. The second planting looks good. It will just take awhile to mature.

Corn is tassling, strong and green. We had a little corn marathon, thinning an exuberant stand of corn before last week’s rain. We were amazed to find how much moisture the corn holds. It’s as if the leaves are perfect funnels to catch and preserve each twilight’s dewfall.

Red Springs Family Farm is searching for a couple of farm improvements. Many of you are better connected in Cookeville than we are. Please let us know if you have any leads on the following:

BREAD TRAYS – stackable, durable, just the right size to hold the hundreds of tomatoes (uncrushed, in single layers) that are about to come rolling in. We’ve got a few that stack, and several that don’t, but we’re definitely not prepared for the harvest this year.

A DELIVERY VEHICLE – some of you may have noticed that we’re tooling around in our old Ford Ranger – single cab, standard bed, pick up truck. It was our best option after retiring the Kia from its several years of good service. It’s dubious that the Ranger will suffice through watermelon season, and it’s an extremely uncomfortable ride for us (all three, in the front, standard shift and no AC). We’re thinking along the lines of a Suburban, or maybe someone’s well kept church van. We are on a farm budget, but we expect to pay for quality.

Any leads or ideas are welcome.

Care and handling of summer squashes:
Refrigerate unwashed zucchini and summer squash for up to a week and a half in a perforated plastic bag or in a sealed plastic container lined with a kitchen towel. Rinse zucchini and summer squash under cool running water to remove any dirt or prickles; then slice off the stem and blossom ends. Slice the vegetable into rounds, quarters, or chunks according to the specifications of your recipe.

Here’s one of our easy family meal additions:

Vegetable Fritters from Simply in Season
(serves 4, but we usually double this recipe)

½ cup flour ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt pinch of pepper
2 eggs, beaten
Mix to form a smooth batter. Add
3 cups shredded summer squash 1/3 cup onion, or 2 cloves garlic minced
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley or basil
Mix gently. Heat a lightly oiled frying pan to medium heat. Drop large spoonfuls of batter, cooking until golden on both sides.

Spicy Summer Squash Soup with Yogurt and Mint
From The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters, makes about 2 quarts

Heat in a heavy bottomed soup pot: ¼ cup olive oil
Add and cook stirring often, over medium heat:
1 large onion, sliced fine pinch of saffron threads
1 tsp cumin seeds 1 tsp coriander seeds
¼ tsp turmeric 1 tsp sweet paprika
½ tsp cayenne 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
Cook until very soft but not browned. If the onions or garlic start to stick, turn down the heat and add splash of water to the pot. While the onions are cooking, wash in cold water:
5 medium or 3 large green or yellow summer squash
Cut into thick slices. When the onions are done, add the squash to the pot with salt.
Cook for 2 minutes, then pour in:
3 cups chicken broth 3 cups water
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make the yogurt and mint garnish. Cut into julienne: 4 mint sprigs, leaves only.
In a medium sized mortar, pound half of the mint to a paste. Stir in the remaining mint and:
2 Tbsp olive oil 2/3 cup yogurt salt
Let the soup cool a bit, then puree in a blender until very smooth. Take care when blending hot soup to leave a vent for the steam to escape. Reheat, thin with water if desired, adjust seasonings, and serve hot with a spoonful of yogurt and mint. A lime wedge can be a pleasant garnish as well.

We hope you enjoy your veggies this week. We look forward to bringing you more and better as the season progresses.

Please remember, we love to return these clamshell blueberry boxes to Hidden Springs. We also appreciate your clean shopping bags for bagging lettuce. Recycle what you can’t return, please.

Thank you for sharing the harvest!

Paul, Coree, and Lulah Entwistle

“Like reeds in a basket, human life is interwoven with the life of the earth. All our food, water, clothing, and shelter come from its body, and arise with her natural rhythms. Our skina dn bones are likewise formed of its stuff. Our moods, thoughts, and capacities are not wholly independent of this relationship.
One gift that CSA gives to individuals, to families, and to culture in general, is a vehicle for re-establishing a conscious connection with the rhythm of life, the rhythm of the seasons, and the rhythm of the farm that gives rise to the food which eventually becomes the molecules and cells of our bodies. Thus, joining a CSA is an act not just of economy or ecology, but also of health at its most fundamental level.” ~Steve McFadden, Farms of Tomorrow

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Newsletter Week #6

Red Springs Family Farm

July 2, 2009, Week #6

Vegetable medley:

Cabbage Lettuce Garlic Patty Pan

Zucchini Carrots/little Beets Kohlrabi

Herb bag: Basil Oregano Tulsi, for tea

What a beautiful break in that hot weather. We’ve been able to enjoy our work so much more this week in the drier air and cooler nights. Beautiful sparkling days!

Big news around here is that we’ve eaten the first two standard sized tomatoes from the big patch. Sorry not to share them, but there will have to be at least thirty before we bring them into town. Tomatoes will be coming soon. The little yellow watermelons are fattening and beginning to feel more like water balloons. Eggplants sport their flirtatious purple flowers. Butternut and Acorn squash plants are robust, sending tendrils out to explore the neighboring rows. All’s well in early summer.

We got home last week to find that we had left a basket of summer squash under the house. Oops. It was an exciting week. Besides the tomatoes, we enjoyed some company. Emily and her husband Bill braved our rough gravel road and creek crossings for a garden tour. We passed some pleasant time over iced mint tea and surveyed the ever changing landscape of our small homestead. A couple days later, one of my old college friends passed through town with her seven year old son (whom I had never met!) and we felt the strangely satisfying sensation of catching up with time’s passage, and seeing our children play together around the garden. All the while, we were in the process of tearing out the spring’s detritus to make room for summer glory. Your company here is encouraged. Give us a few days notice of your visit and we’ll welcome you to our humble hollow.

In your basket this week, you’ll find the best remnants of our intended brassica crops: a head of cabbage and some kohlrabi. Now that we’re pulling out the last of the spring’s struggles, we’re almost ready to plant more kohlrabi, broccoli, cabbage, and kale for the fall harvest.

In a more perfect spring, we would like to have sent you the fixings for cole slaw as well as potato salad. Finding dry time to plant potatoes proved more difficult than usual, so they’re running late. We’ll make do with some cabbage and kohlrabi, which can both be grated into slaw. (Peel the outer skin off the kohlrabi and julienne or grate the white interior.) The carrots add color and sweetness. We wish you all a very safe and happy Fourth of July.

I’m not one to advocate much sugar-eating, but that heat spell did a number on our lettuces, so I am growing more curious about this variation that we read about in the Little House books:

From The Pioneer Cookbook, via The Little House Cookbook

Lettuce at Its Best

Lettuce, 1 full head fresh garden variety

Vinegar in a cruet

Sugar in a bowl

Large serving bowl; kitchen towels, 2

Wash lettuce by dipping leaves quickly in a basin of cold water (a running spigot wastes water; soaking leaves wastes vitamins). Drain on kitchen towels; pat dry. Arrange in bowl and take to the table with cruet and sugar bowl. At the table, take a leaf in your fingers, sprinkle it with some vinegar and sugar, roll it tight, and eat it as you would a celery stalk.

And how about these blueberries? It’s exciting to us to be able to offer more of a “one stop shopping” experience. We’re grateful for the cooperation of Brinna at Hidden Springs, and hope you will relish the fresh sweetness of these blueberries. Wow. Consider taking on a standing order (How many blueberries can you eat in a week? How many do you want to stash in your freezer for blueberry-less times?). As the season progresses, we will have offerings of blackberries, raspberries, and those amazing little kiwis. We’ll keep you posted.

As a tribute to the blueberries, we’ll include this recipe, also from The Little House Cookbook:

Blueberry Pudding

1 dry pint (10 oz.) blueberries 4 Tbsp. soft butter

1 egg ¾ cup homogenized milk

½ tsp baking soda 1 ½ cups unbleached white flour

1 cup sugar 1 tsp. cream of tartar

Sauce (recipe to follow) Pudding mold with lid, 1 ½ qt, or the like

Wash, drain, stem, and sort the blueberries. Generously grease the inside of the mold or can and its lid with some soft butter. In a smaller bowl, beat the egg; stir in milk and baking soda. In a larger bowl mix flour, sugar, and cream of tartar; work in remaining butter with fingers until mixture is uniformly coarse. Stir liquid into dry mixture until all is moist. Stir in blueberries last with a few strokes, taking care not to crush the berries.

Pour blueberry batter into mold or can and cover tightly. Set the container in the kettle and fill kettle two-thirds full with boiling water. Cover and simmer for 1 ½ hours or longer. As long as there is plenty of water in the kettle there is little danger that the pudding will overcook. Unmold the finished pudding on a platter and serve with the sauce.


1 cup sugar 2 Tbsp. butter

Pinch of salt pinch of nutmeg

2 Tbsp rose water (substitute lemon juice if needed)

1 qt saucepan

Simmer the sugar with 2 cups of water until it begins to thicken into syrup, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients. Serve warm in a pitcher.

Other notes on your basket: the sweetly fragrant little purple blooming twigs in your herb bag are tulsi. Tulsi is also called “holy basil” and many households in India keep a plant indoors to maintain a pleasant quality to the air. We’ve found it to be a wonderful tasting tea, but you could also dry it for a sachet or potpourri. The longer twigs with occasional white flowers and smaller leaves are oregano.

We hope the blog veggie directory has been helpful to you. I know some of the headings are off abit – I’ve not mastered the spacing of these things. However, I’ve now posted a photo album of vegetables and garden pics on Facebook – if you’re on there, look me up and you’ll be able to browse those (along with some embarrassing old pictures posted by a high school friend of mine).

Next week – maybe we’ll have tomatoes? We’re hopeful. A good rain (again, wishing, hoping, praying) will bring on the next flush of green beans, and freshen up the chard and sorrel.

Enjoy your veggies. Thank you for your support.

The Entwistles

“Whatever may be one’s condition in life, the great art is to learn to be content and happy, indulging in no feverish longings for what we have not, but satisfied and thankful for what we have.”

~Edmund Morris, Ten Acres Enough, 1864