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.