Saturday, June 27, 2009


We got a nice full inch of rain Friday afternoon - what a wonder!!! We're so grateful.

newsletter week #5

Red Springs Family Farm
June 25, 2009, Week #5

This week:
Lettuce Beets Garlic
Patty Pan Zucchini Yellow Wax Beans
Basil Sorrel Shungiku Chrysanthemum
For iced tea pitcher: mint and catnip

Happy Summer Everyone! From here to almost Christmas, the days get shorter. Summer has declared itself rather abruptly, we think, with this intense heat. We hope you’re staying cool.

We’ve shifted our hours to earlier and later, leaving room for down-time in the heat of the day. The creek is the place of respite and revival after a spell in the hot field. The fields are growing greener. We’re happy to report that the last plantings of sweet corn have emerged in shining brilliance. The tomatoes are growing larger (completely exciting), and the eggplants are blooming. The beds of garlic and peas have been cleared to make room for MORE, and the late tomatoes are almost ready to go into the ground.

There will be more beets and carrots to come – here are some tips on the beets:
Storage & Handling of Beets ~ Cut off any greens, leaving an inch of stem. Refrigerate the unwashed greens in a closed plastic bag. Store the beet roots, unwashed, with the rootlets (or “tails”) attached, in a plastic bag in the crisper bin of your refrigerator. They will keep for several weeks, but their sweetness diminishes with time. Just before cooking, scrub beets well and remove any scraggly leaves and rootlets. If your recipe calls for raw beets, peel them with a knife or vegetable peeler, then grate or cut according to your needs.

Use these beet greens! Cut them into salad, or cook them as you would spinach or chard. Beets are like magic – sweet and earthy and so good for you. Grate them raw on a salad. Bake them whole in the skins until tender, or boil them, then peel and slice and dress like a salad. Yummmm.
This is an untraditional use of beets, but I keep running into these kinds of recipes, so here you go:

Chocolate Beet Browniesfrom: brownies are rich, chewy and secretly nutritious!
1/2 cup butter (or 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup applesauce) 4 oz. unsweetened chocolate4 eggs 1 cup brown sugar (packed) 1 cup applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla 1-1/2 cup unbleached white flour 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg 1 tsp. cinnamon 1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup cooked beets or 15 oz. can beets packed in water, drained and mashed;
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds 1/2 cup wheat germ
Melt butter and chocolate over low heat. Set aside to cool. In a separate bowl, beat eggs until light in color and foamy. Add sugar and vanilla and continue beating until well creamed. Stir in chocolate mixture, followed by applesauce and beets. Sift together flour, salt, spices and baking powder and stir into creamed mixture. Fold in wheat germ and almonds. Turn into greased 9x13-inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Cool before cutting into squares.
As for yellow wax beans, tell your children they are like French fries. They need very little treatment to be delicious. Some butter and salt are all we’ve used so far. I’ll share more recipes another time.

Patty Pans are pouring in, and the zucchini are so beautiful. Share good recipes if you’ve got some – we love to print your suggestions. One simple and good one on the back…

Aunt Joan's Zucchini,
1.5 pounds summer squash, mixed or all one variety 3 cloves garlic, minced 2 Tablespoons olive oil some chopped fresh basil grated fresh parmesan cheese salt and pepper

Thinly slice the summer squash. Heat oil over moderate heat in medium-large frying pan. Add the minced garlic, and let cook for just a few seconds, don't let it brown. Then add the squash, spreading out in the pan so it can all cook evenly. Once the first layer is browned up a bit, stir it around the pan, letting the still-uncooked squash hit the oil below for a little browning. You can add a bit more oil at this point if you like. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Once it's all cooked (7-12 minutes), remove to a serving dish and top with the fresh chopped basil and the parmesan. Serves 3-4

Our lettuces are bound and determined to reach for the sun. Each week we wait with baited breath to see which ones will make it through to Thursday morning. We apologize in advance if you find a bitter head in your bags. Lettuces don’t tolerate heat well at all. They want to flower and set seed instead of stay in tame little round sweet heads that we enjoy. Who can blame them? Sending up the flower stalk chases the lettucey sweetness away. Sometimes, early on in the bolting, the bitterness is just on the very outer edges of the leaves. You might be able to use a head with a warm sweet dressing. An old mentor of mine (of Japanese descent) used to take hearts of lettuce and fry them whole in butter. The bitterness was cut by the salt and heat.

And for some other unusual taste experiences, these edible Chrysanthemums make a hot topic in salads. For some reason they don’t like to bloom in our garden, but their leaves are prolific enough to be worth sending to you, just for a taste. Pluck the feathery leaves off the stem and throw them into your salad. Goethe said that flowers are food for the soul, but they a good number of them are also fine food for our bellies!

If you’re wondering which of the herbs is catnip and which mint, ask a cat! Actually, the catnip leaves are velvety soft. No matter, tho, both are wonderful summer tea herbs – very refreshing on ice. We’re making a habit to keep some in the fridge.

These first garlics are the small ones. We think the excessive spring moisture finished them off early. Savor that fresh garlic taste – and use them up – there’s more to come!

Baby watermelons are plumping on the vines in the upper garden. Tiny cantaloupes are covered with silvery fur. Tomato plants have a golden sheen on them that rubs off onto our hands in a green coating that is difficult to cut through. Plants are strong. Most of us couldn’t stand to be outdoors through these long hot humid days, but the vegetables are steadfast. We are grateful that they do so much of the work – pulling nutrients and moisture from the soil – metabolizing sunshine – tasting so good all the while. Three cheers for vegetables!

Enjoy yours – keep in touch.

We look forward to seeing you next week.

Paul, Coree, and Lulah Entwistle

“I often like to think of Biodynamics as a living plant: rooted in its philosophy and history; growing (stems and leaves) through education and demonstration offered by its organizations and teacher; flowering and fruiting uniquely on each individual farm in each individual garden through the work of each farmer, each gardener.” ~ Andrew Lorand, Ph.D.

Newsletter week #4

OOPS - looks like I forgot to post this last week!

Red Springs Family Farm
June 18, 2009, Week #4

This week’s selection:
Romaine lettuce, and others Swiss Chard
Carrots Patty Pan squash Zucchini
Sorrel Basil Thyme

Passing storms and steamy heat – dog days will be here soon!

The green tomatoes are swelling, and we noticed the first cherry tomatoes blushing today. It was a great relief to have finished mulching them all down, right before the last storm. Rows of clean hay beneath healthy green plants are a satisfying sight. Once the watermelon and cantaloupe vines are just a little longer, it will be their turn. The water table has been restored by the spring’s gushing rains, and we’re hoping to help preserve that moisture through the coming summer heat.

The carrot bundles are small today, with a fair share of lumpy two legged roots in there, but the crunch is still just right. This was the first planting of carrots, and the ground was cold and wet. The next planting is hilled, in the hopes to help the carrots grow straighter with greater ease.

Traditional Chinese Medicine uses Romaine Lettuce to treat alcoholism. As medicine goes, it’s a pretty easy one to swallow. Here’s one distinctly un-Asian preparation.

Caesar Salad (from Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon)
Dressing: ½ - 1 tsp Dijon-type mustard 1 Tbsp. raw wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice 1 Tbsp. finely grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup extra virgin olive oil 1 Tbsp flax oil (optional)
1 egg yolk 2 anchovy filets
1 clove garlic, peeled and mashed Puree all ingredients in a blender or processor until smooth.
Sauté 1 ½ to 2 cups of cubed stale bread (your choice what kind) in an herb or garlic infused olive oil until they are brown and crispy. Reserve them. Remove outer leaves of 1 or 2 heads of Romaine lettuce, carefully wash and dry the leaves and slice them across at one inch intervals. Freshly grated Parmesan (about 2 ounces) is preferred – tossed with the lettuce and the dressing. Add the croutons after tossing, as they will absorb too much oil and moisture otherwise. Enjoy!

Another good idea for Swiss Chard:
EGGS IN A NEST (This recipe makes dinner for a family of four, but can easily be cut in half.)
2 cups uncooked brown rice
Cook rice with 4 cups water in a covered pot while other ingredients are being prepared.
Olive oil – a few tbsp 1 medium onion, chopped, and garlic to taste
Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil in a wide skillet until lightly golden.
Carrots, chopped ½ cup dried tomatoes
Add and sauté for a few more minutes, adding just enough water to rehydrate the tomatoes.
1 large bunch of chard, coarsely chopped
Mix with other vegetables and cover pan for a few minutes. Uncover, stir well, then use the back of a spoon to make depressions in the cooked leaves, circling the pan like numbers on a clock.
8 eggs
Break an egg into each depression, being careful to keep yolks whole. Cover pan again and allow eggs to poach for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve over rice.

Or you might try a quick pasta we enjoyed last week:
Cut a patty pan, zucchini, or both, into ½ inch cubes, and sauté in olive oil a few minutes. Toss them with al dente Angel Hair pasta and some pesto (frozen from last year’s harvest, or whipped up quick from today’s) and it’s a fast and delicious meal that even a three year old will eat. This might be delectable as a pasta salad with the sorrel and some feta cheese crumbled on top, as well.

A few of you have asked some questions about how we grow this food. We are happy to talk about it – answer specific questions, or general ones, and even show you around. You’re welcome to visit our place and see the gardens that feed you. Some questions may be stimulated because we do not use the word “organic” in our name or any of our literature. Our practices are completely free of man-made chemicals, fertilizers, and poisons. We fertilize with composted animal manures and hay gathered from our farm and from neighbor’s free ranging animals. We use biodynamic compost preparations and field sprays, and we foliar feed with an organically certified fish and kelp emulsion. We do what we can to facilitate a diversity of life in the soil. Most of our pest control is done by hand-picking and careful crop rotation, but we, like most certified organic growers, also use BT, a bacteria that kills cabbage lopers, on some brassica crops.

The short answer to why we do not use the term “organic” is that we’re not allowed to. Because we have not yet chosen to pay the fees and fill out the immense amount of paperwork demanded to be certified by the USDA Certification Program, we are legally disallowed from using the word “organic”. Until last year, we were not a large enough farming operation to even have to file the paperwork. Now we are opting to not. We would rather have YOU as our organic inspectors. From our perspective, as conscientious growers, the organic standards leave a lot to be desired.

Here’s what renowned grower, and author, Eliot Coleman, has to say on this topic. For the most part, we agree with him, and hope that his commentary will be meaningful to you as well:

“The transition of "organic" from small farm to big time is now upon us. Although getting toxic chemicals out of agriculture is an improvement we can all applaud, it only removes the negatives. The positive focus, enhancing the biological quality of the food produced, is nowhere to be seen. The new standards are based on what not to do rather than what to do. They will be administered through the USDA, whose director said recently, "Organic food does not mean it is superior, safer, or more healthy than conventional food." Well, I still agree with the old time organic pioneers. I believe that properly grown food is superior, safer and healthier. I also believe national certification bureaucracies are only necessary when food is grown by strangers in far away places rather than by neighbors whom you know. (emphasis ours)
…Responsible growers need to identify not only that our food is grown to higher, more considered standards, but also that it is much fresher because it is grown right where it is sold. Therefore, we have come up with a new term, one we define to mean locally grown and unprocessed, in addition to exceptional quality. It's a term we hope will be used, as "organic" was used when we began, by those local growers who accept that if you care first about the quality of what you produce, a market will always be there. We now sell our produce as "Authentic Food." We invite other serious growers to join us.”

In other news, we are establishing a relationship with Hidden Springs Nursery/Orchard. They grow organic fruits, and fruit trees. If you would be interested in receiving seasonal fruits (blueberries are one of their primary crops) with your basket, please let us know. We will have more details soon.

Next week – yellow wax beans and probably beeeeeeeets!

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions about the contents of your basket. Remember that there is a new entry on the blogsite ( with photos to help you identify the harvest.


“It’s a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one’s life and to find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than “Try to be a little kinder.” ~Aldous Huxley

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

veggie and herb directory, early season

So, here are some photos of our veggies and herbs, first, tulsi, holy basil, a sweet tea, cooling herb, heavenly smell.

then patty pan squash, and thyme

The spiky leaves are mizuna, and the other herb is lemon balm, which is best recognized by it's lemony scent.

The bulb above the ground is kohlrabi.

Here's Lulah, celebrating abundance.

Feathery leaves of edible chrysanthamum...

and wrinkly leaves of chard.

Catnip is soft to touch.

Basil is just BASIL.

here are the pretty peas, and

here's what sorrel looks like.

And this is oregano.

Feel free to come for a visit, ask any questions you need to, and whatever you do, enjoy your veggies!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Newsletter week #3

Red Springs Family Farm
June 11, 2009, Week #3

This week’s selection:
Lettuces Snow Peas Sorrel Oregano
Catnip Swiss Chard Patty Pan sunburst
Garlic Scapes and Day Lilies!

Summer has arrived. These long humid hot days send us scurrying to the creek for relief from the sweaty hot fields. We’re busy getting tomatoes and melons mulched, beating back the weedlings, and contemplating where to put the okra.

Day lilies are so lovely. Their name suggests something of their nature, as well. Each lily only lasts a day. If you want to eat these blooms in a salad (they have a special taste all their own) – do so tonight. Put the stems in a vase and the other large blooms will emerge in a couple more days, making more salad adornments, or just eye candy.

These are the first summer squashes. There will be many more to follow. We may even have zucchinis next week. These are nice sliced or cubed and stir fried with the snow peas. Toss in a garlic scape, fresh ginger, some toasted sesame oil, and some rice vinegar or lemon juice and honey. Yum.

Catnip is more than just kitty entertainment. It is an excellent, mild nervine herb for tea. It is suitable as a mild mellower for children, or a headache remedy, and pleasant to taste with honey (On ice? With lemon, too perhaps?).

As for Swiss Chard – this just sounds too good to pass up:

Giant Crusty and Creamy White Beans with Greens
Adapted from Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson
½ pound medium or large white beans, cooked 3 tablespoons olive oil or clarified butterFine grained sea salt 1 onion, coarsely chopped 4 cloves garlic, chopped ½ lb chard, washed and roughly chopped Fresh ground black pepper Extra virgin olive oil for drizzlingFreshly grated parmesan for topping
Drain the beans, then heat the oil or butter over med-high heat in the widest skillet available. Add the beans to the hot pan in a single layer. If you don’t have a big enough skillet, just do the sauté stop in two batches or save the extra beans for another use. Stir to coat the beans with the oil/butter, then let them sit long enough to brown on one side, about 3 or 4 minutes, before turning to brown the other side, also about 3 or 4 minutes. The beans should be golden and a bit crunchy on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside. Salt to taste, then add the onion and garlic and cook for 1 or 2 minutes, until the onion softens. Stir in the greens and cook until just beginning to wilt. Remove from heat and season to taste with a generous does of salt and pepper. Drizzle with a bit of top-quality extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan. Serves 6-8 as a side dish.

I’m short on time today, so will keep this short. Next week ~ carrots!

Have a wonderful week. Your gardeners, The Entwistles

All of life is rhythm and pulse. ~Wolf D. Storl, Culture and Horticulture

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Red Springs Family Farm
June 2, 2009, Week #2

This week’s selection:
One bag: Lettuces
Another bag: Snow Peas Sorrel
Mizuna Spearmint
Third bag: Yokatta Na Radish Greens
Garlic Scapes Baby Beet Greens

First, THANK YOU ALL for making our first delivery of the season as stress free as possible. Thank you for picking up baskets for each other, holding doors, and waiting patiently. We hope you enjoyed the first harvest. Please feel free to send us your questions, comments, and recipe ideas for the newsletter.

The weather has been beautiful. Wednesday and Thursday rains make for a muddy harvest however, so we advise you to wash and dry your greens well. We’ve been busy, transplanting out the sweet potato slips, a last round of eggplants, and the final cantaloupe and watermelon starts. A lovely half inch of rain fell just as we were unloading the truck last night, tucking those seedlings into a moist bed for the night. Tomatoes and summer squashes are blooming and even setting small fruits. There are some watermelon blooms as well, which is very promising for this time of year. With some luck and care, the reward for this gray wet spring will be an abundant summer.

Let’s see, what needs introduction this week?

Mizuna is the light green pointy leaves in your salad mix bag. It is slightly peppery – a nice crunchy addition to salad, tho I’ve heard that some folks add them to stir fries.

Yokatta Na is the dark round - leafed green. The holes in the leaves are made by aphids (some of which may still be in residence!) who moved in under the row covering we used to protect the greens from flea beetles. (If one doesn’t move in, the other will!) The damage is purely cosmetic. The greens are wonderful. Not bitter – just crispy. They melt easily when steamed or lightly stir-fried. Treat them like spinach.

Part of the deal with this model of growing is that we share both our successes and failures with you. So, here’s our radish crop. Each of you should have a couple of radish bulbs to chop onto salad. It’s a sorry little harvest, but we are glad to share it with you anyway. A couple of our favorite spring crops have this nature –if they don’t get decent growing conditions throughout their primary growth period, they just don’t make it. Radishes are like little race-cars. They come up so fast, and then they are finished. Maybe if we’d planted one dry spell earlier, they would have come out perfect. Or maybe they would have all split open and rotted in the excessive rains. We can’t know now. BUT we CAN throw the greens into a sauté with olive oil and garlic scapes. Radish greens have a quality that most children abhor – prickles – but if you like turnip greens, you will enjoy this handful of greens. “There is no great loss without some small gain.” The loss of radishes will seem small next to the jewels of summer.

These baby beet greens are literally the thinning of a beet row. The greens are delicious. Treat them as you would chard. If you can wash them well enough it’s nice to leave the roots attached – after all, these are the starting of beets! Steam, sauté, or just throw them into the salad bowl for some extra color. There will be more of these to come.

For something fun to do with mint – try nipping off the pretty tops – dropping them into water in ice cube trays and freezing them. Or make a strong mint tea and freeze cubes of it on its own to add flavor later. Then there’s this sweet sounding drink…

Orange and Mint Punch with Ginger ale (makes 4 quarts)
3 ¾ cups water 2 ¼ cups sugar
3 cups fresh squeezed orange juice (about 9 oranges)
1 ¾ cups fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 7 lemons)
1 ¼ cup fresh mint leaves 1 Tbsp freshly grated orange zest 8 cups cold ginger ale

1. Combine water and sugar in a large pot and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove the pot from heat.
2. Put the orange juice, lemon juice, mint, orange zest and sugar water in a 4 quart (1 gallon) glass bowl or pitcher; stir. Cover the container and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to let the flavors develop.
3. Strain the orange-lemon juice mixture. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
4. Add ginger ale to the orange-lemon mix when you are ready to serve.
(I suspect that if you don’t want to use the sugar, you can get by melting about a cup of honey into some warm (not boiling) water – can’t confirm this – just a hunch.)

Steamed Greens with Ginger Tempeh and Brown Rice (if you can’t find tempeh locally – this is still a valuable recipe for some basic guidelines of flavor accents for cooking greens)

2 ½ cups stock or cold water 1 cup uncooked brown rice
¾ Tbsp mild vegetable oil 8 oz. Tempeh, cut into ½ inch cubes
2 medium red potatoes in ¼ inch cubes 3-4 cloves garlic (or scapes!) – 2 tsp minced
2 Tbsp. grated fresh horseradish 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
Ground cayenne to taste ½ tsp toasted sesame oil
large handful of cooking greens 2 tsp soy sauce or tamari

1. Combine stock, water, and rice in a 2 qt pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover; cook until the rice is tender and water absorbed, 46 to 60 minutes, depending on the type of rice.
2. About midway through the rice cooking time, heat the oil ina large skillet over medium high heat. Add the tempeh, potato cubes, garlic, horseradish, ginger, and a pinch of cayenne. Cook, stirring frequently, until the potatoes are tender and golden brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the the toasted sesame oil and cook for 2 minutes more. Remove the skillet from heat.
3. Put the chopped leaves in a steamer basket set over 1 ½ inches of boiling water, cover, and steam the greens until they are just tender (3 to 8 minutes for spinach or chard-like greens, 20 or so for kale and collards).
4. Transfer greens to the skillet. Add the soy sauce or tamari. Stir to combine.
5. When the rice is cooked, remove it from the heat. Let stand, covered 5 or 10 minutes.
6. Serve rice topped with greens.

Next week we may see the first of the patty pan squashes, and the last of the garlic scapes. There will definitely be more salad. We’ll see you there!

Paul, Coree and Lulah Entwistle

In the darkness of the earth the seed is awakened.
In the power of the air the leaves are quickened.
In the might of the sun the fruit is ripened.
Thus in the shrine of the heart the soul is awakened.
In the light of the world the spirit is quickened.
In the glory of God man’s power is ripened.
(Rudolf Steiner’s prayer before meals)