Saturday, June 27, 2009

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.

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