Saturday, December 4, 2010

week 27

Red Springs Family Farm
December 2, 2010 week 27

Lettuce Broccoli Garlic Kale
Butternut Tatsoi Daikon Radish
Herb bag: Arugula Parsley Cilantro Dill

We have to wait until the veggies thaw to harvest them these days. And we were alarmed to find the broccoli quite frozen this morning. We ate some to see how it was – and wow, was it ever yummy. So, it’s probably best to eat it up quickly. Depending on how the side shoots survive the cold, this could be the last week of broccoli.

The cold weather will begin to change the garden now. Dill plants are still alive, but getting lower to the ground. All the growth is slowing down substantially. We still have some monstrous Chinese cabbages to bring to town, and more beautiful varieties of kale to share. Green is the color of the season!

Daikon radishes… what are they about? Not your average radishes, that’s for sure! The taste is milder, so they can be used as you would any other root vegetable. They’re plenty good sliced into salad, and also stir-fried. Here’s a recipe to give you some basic guidelines – modify as needed:

Stir-Fried Daikon Serves 4
2 tablespoons peanut oil 1/4 cup sliced scallions
1 medium daikon, thinly sliced (about 3 cups) 10–12 red radishes, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons water 2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar 1/4 teaspoon hot chili oil to taste (optional)

1. Heat the peanut oil in a wok over high heat. Add the scallions; stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the daikon and red radishes; stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the water and continue stir-frying until all the water has all evaporated.

The other wonderful thing to do with Daikon is brine it. We like to make a simple radish relish. Grate the daikon, salt it, and pack it into a jar quite tightly. If the juices don’t completely cover the grated radish, then stir up a brine (2 Tbsp salt to one quart of water) and make the water cover the daikon. Leave loosely covered (let it breathe, but keep bugs out) on a room temperature counter for three days. Cover more tightly and refrigerate. Enjoy with hearty bean dishes and spicy meats. It’s got lactobacillus, a healthy living bacteria (like yoghurt) that helps keep digestion healthy (and has been part of the human diet for centuries, if not millenia).

Brining, or fermentation, is also how sauerkraut and kimchi are made. Turnips are also wonderful fermented. We’ll tell you more about that later. You can find fermentation information and resources at Sandor Katz’s website: Check it out.

Please forgive the lateness of our newsletter. Levon was having the sort of day that six week old babies have from time to time – one that leaves little room for a mother to do more than tend to a baby. Enjoy your weekend – stay warm – we’ll see you later!

With best regards,
Paul, Coree, Lulah and Levon

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving week

Red Springs Family Farm
November 24, 2010 week 26
Happy Thanksgiving!

Lettuce Broccoli Garlic
Sweet Potatoes Red Round Turnips and their greens
Herb bag: Arugula Mizuna Parsley Celery Cilantro

Time for gratitudes…
We’re grateful for such a beautiful, bountiful Autumn, so sweet after the extreme heat and toil of the summer.
For such lovely broccoli, a surprise after such difficult late summer conditions – heat and grasshoppers and numerous broccoli challenges in years past.
For the flavorful celery which sat in the ground since early Spring and is just now worthy of sharing.
For turnips that amaze us with their brilliant color and long full leaves.
For garlic, holding its place in the ground all winter, then holding its bulbs firm for the whole season.

For a quick and trouble free labor and the healthy, happy baby boy who joined our family this year.
For the helpful support of family and friends.
For the dedication of a small group of good eaters who make our work worth the while!
We wish you all a wonderful Thanks-giving.

The broccoli is still coming! We’ve sent extra, in lieu of kale this week, because we’re not sure how long it can possibly hold out. If the weather warms up abunch it could easily go to flower. If it freezes too hard, those heads of flower buds could get nipped. Enjoy.

The turnips and their greens are so beautiful, if you don’t want to eat them, you could just put them in a flower arrangement on your table. We know not everyone loves turnips – this recipe is said to help ease the way of the un-turniped (butter, salt and pepper seem to be key ingredients in every turnip recipe):

Au Gratin Turnips and Potatoes
(off the line)
4 c Sliced turnips & potatoes (any combination,) peeled and thinly sliced
1 md Onion peeled and finely sliced, 2 tb Melted butter
1/2 c Milk 1/8 ts Grated nutmeg
1/4 ts Ground white pepper 1/2 ts Salt
1/2 c Grated Swiss cheese
PREHEAT OVEN TO 375F. TOSS together turnips, potatoes, onion with melted butter and place in a 9-inch square or round baking dish. Cover tightly and place in preheated oven for 30 minutes. In a small pot on top of the stove combine milk, nutmeg, pepper and salt and bring to a boil. Immediately remove from heat. Remove turnip-potato mixture from the oven, remove cover and mix in half the cheese. Pour the milk over the potatoes and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Replace in oven, uncovered, another 20 to 25 minutes. If the gratin is golden brown, it's ready to serve. If not, preheat broiler. Place gratin under broiler about 3 minutes to brown top before serving.

Next week we’ll be back with more East meets West stir fry options. Spread the word to other veggie eaters you know… it’s going to have to get pretty darn cold to make the greens out here quit.

Have a beautiful, safe, fun holiday.
Paul, Coree, Lulah and Levon

Praise the bridge that carried you over. ~George Colman

Thursday, November 18, 2010

week #25

Red Springs Family Farm
November 18, 2010 week 25

Lettuce Broccoli Garlic Yokatta Na
Mustard Greens Misato Radishes Paydons Acorn
Herb bag: Arugula Mizuna Parsley Dill Chives

A pleasant rain, though we’ve missed the sun! Levon is one month old and smiling so nicely lately. Lulah is basking in her new five-year-old-ness. The broccoli just keeps looking more beautiful. What a sweet Autumn.

Those of you interested in a basket next week – we’ll come into town on Wednesday. We’ll bring more broccoli, sweet red turnips (and their greens), some more diverse cooking greens, and sweet potatoes. Let us know.

This week – mustards! They smell strong – and they are one of the more potent greens we grow. We’ve heard stories of old timers around here who like to eat them raw with some hot bacon drippings on top. Whew! Here at home we prefer to cook them lightly – softening the taste. They love to be eaten with garlicky olive oil or butter, and some vinegar.

The shiny dark greens are Yokatta Na. We’re appreciating this versatile vegetable this year. You can treat it like spinach, arugula, or bok choy, and it will be delicious. Thin slices add a nice color, texture, and flavor to a salad. Braise it quick and hot for an omelet or stir-fry. Asian flavors work well, but it’s also soft enough to be an agreeable quiche green (substitute for spinach). I suspect that Yokatta Na might even work in place of broccoli in this delicious dish:

Broccoli and Tofu with Peanut Sauce
1/4 cup unsalted cashews 3 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup) 1 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
1–2 cloves garlic, minced (1/2–1 teaspoon) 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 pound herbed firm tofu, well drained, cubed 3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce, divided,
1/2 cup peanut butter (preferably chunky) 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock or water
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
4 cups chopped broccoli, including peeled stalks

1. Toast the cashews 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.) Let cool and then roughly chop.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic to taste, and pepper flakes; sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.
3. In the same pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and 1 tablespoon of the tamari; sauté until the tofu starts to brown in spots, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the tofu to the bowl with the onion and bell pepper mixture.
4. In the same pan, mix the peanut butter, stock, rice vinegar, and remaining 2 tablespoons tamari. Heat over medium heat, stirring, until the mixture reaches a gravy-like texture and comes to a boil. Immediately turn off the heat and stir in the tofu mixture and sesame oil. Season to taste with more tamari.
5. Place the broccoli in a steamer basket set over 11/2 inches boiling water and cover. Steam for 5 minutes. Transfer the broccoli to the pan with the peanut butter mixture and mix well. If necessary, heat through before serving. Garnish with toasted cashews.

Have a beautiful weekend…
The Entwistles

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was,” thank you” that would suffice. ~Meister Eckhart

Thursday, November 11, 2010

week 24 newsletter

Red Springs Family Farm
November 11, 2010 week 24

Lettuce Broccoli Peppers Garlic
Baby Bok Choy Misato Rose Radishes Sweet Potatoes
Herb bag: Arugula Mizuna Parsley Dill

Amazing weather! It was 20 degrees first thing in the morning on those two or three really cold days. Now it’s warming up so nice during the day ~ t-shirt weather again, but still frosty cold each night. The garden has barely noticed the change. We have enough food to keep those of you interested going into December, or whenever the weather actually freezes the garden down.

Beautiful blueberry chutney, jams, and jellies are now available from Hidden Springs! Place orders through us and Brinna will deliver at Thursday pick ups. All variety of preserves are in ½ pints, chutney is $6/each, and jams (chunky) and jellies (not chunky) are $5 each.

Also remember Kenny’s Cheese as you do your Christmas shopping. Kenny’s offers some sweet gift packages – look at their website for details: We would also consider making another cheese order/delivery if you all express enough interest.

Check out the Misato Rose Radishes this week. They are beauties. Here’s the Fedco catalog description: “Fine tasting and good looking, with plenty of spiciness, a rich sweet vegetable undertones and no harsh sharpness.” Again – the greens are edible, and interestingly enough, not as prickly as a lot of radish greens. They would nicely complement your bok choys in a stir fry.

Sweet Potato, Broccoli, and Tomato Stew Serves 4
2 tablespoons olive oil 1 large onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 1 28-ounce can stewed tomatoes
2 cups cooked/canned garbanzo beans, drained 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock or water
3 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound), cubed 1 medium head broccoli, cut into large chunks
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion; cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
2. Add the tomatoes, garbanzo beans, stock, and sweet potatoes. Simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes. Add the broccoli, cover, and simmer until the sweet potatoes and broccoli are tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Next week, we anticipate MORE broccoli, more salad greens, some beautiful kale and mustards, cilantro, maybe celery, and another sweet selection from the storage crops. This really is the final pepper delivery – and we mean it this time! We’re on the fence about making a delivery sometime the week of Thanksgiving. If you have a preference, let us know. We’re so grateful to have this abundance now. Thank you for enjoying it with us.

Your gardeners, Paul, Coree, Lulah and Levon

(Farm Humor) An old farmer wins the lottery. A reporter interviews him about his new-found fortune, asking “Well, sir, what do you intend to do with your millions?” The farmer replies, “ I reckon I’ll just keep farming until it’s all gone!”

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Newsletters, extension weeks 22/23

Red Springs Family Farm
October 28, 2010 week 22

Lettuce Collards Sweet Peppers
Garlic Eggplant Baby Bok Choy
Arugula Mizuna Green Tomatoes
Radishes Parsley Sweet Potatoes

What beautiful sparkling Autumn days! The gardens look better than they have all year. We’re grateful to have made it through, and encourage you to enjoy what we consider the BEST time of the 2010 gardening year.

Levon Augustus arrived with a good loud yell. Our midwife called it a “precipitous” labor, which mostly means he came too fast for her to get here from Hendersonville to catch him. Paul has sharpened his skills as a baby catcher, once again. Levon seems to have approved of the situation and has proven to be a really good baby, sleeping plenty, eating well, and growing from 7 lb 10 oz to 8 lb 3 oz in one short week. Lulah loves to kiss his soft head and is growing skilled at holding his wobbly newborn-ness. She is a proud big sister.

Paul is still hard at work putting the gardens to bed for the season. It’s a relief to have crops in the ground that will just stay for awhile. Still to come this season: broccoli, rose heart radishes, red turnips, more kale kale kale, mustards, and beautiful Chinese cabbage. Looks like we’ll have a harder frost tonight and tomorrow. We can kiss the eggplant and green tomatoes good-bye. Paul and Wilson harvested the peppers in their entirety yesterday, and the harvest was abundant, so we’ll try to keep enough of them fresh to last another week or two. If you know any other people who love greens and aren’t getting enough, please send them our way.

We’ve finally succeeded in growing radishes! To store them, separate radishes from their greens. Store the radishes in a plastic bag in the fridge. Eat the greens within 1-2 days of their harvest. Radish greens are delicious to eat, but they don't 'hang out' for long.

Arugula and Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, quartered 1/4 cup butter
1 1/4 cups whole milk 5 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup packed chopped arugula leaves
Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain. Return potatoes to pot. Stir over low heat until excess moisture evaporates. Add butter; mash potatoes until smooth. Bring milk to simmer in saucepan. Remove from heat. Add goat cheese; whisk until melted. Add milk mixture to potatoes; whisk until smooth. Stir in arugula. Season with salt and pepper.

Radish Salad

1 bunch fresh radishes 2-3 very sweet carrots 2 bunches arugula
salt and pepper to taste E.V. olive oil 2 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
Trim the radishes and slice them thinly. Peel carrots and cut them on the diagonal into very thin slices. Snap off tough stems from the arugula. Gather the arugula into a bunch and cut it crosswise into strips. Arrange the arugula on a platter. Scatter the sliced radishes and carrots over the arugula. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with enough olive oil to lightly moisten the vegetables. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the top. Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over the salad.

Enjoy your veggies ~ best regards Paul, Coree, Lulah and Levon Entwistle

Red Springs Family Farm
November 4, 2010 week 23

Lettuce Broccoli Peppers
Garlic Giant Lettucey Chinese Cabbage
Arugula Mizuna Radishes
Chives Cilantro Butternut
Well, it looks like November is going to begin acting like late Autumn ought to act. We’re anticipating a real freeze this weekend and actually taking precautions to cover the less hardy of the hardy garden.

Enjoy your broccoli – it’s been a long time coming, but there are rewards for those who wait! We’re thrilled to see these beautiful heads emerge from the toil of the desperately long and hot summer. The outer leaves are good to eat as well.

And, this is the season of the Chinese Cabbages that take over the town. Fortunately, these beauties are multi-purpose. The leaves and thick white stems are GREAT mixed with lettuce and other fixings in salad. AND, they make a very nice stir-fry or stew green as well. Here’s a couple nice recipes:

Choi with Gingery Butter

2 medium choi (1/2 or less of your cabbage), sliced crosswise into 1-inch strips
6 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon grated or finely chopped fresh ginger 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro salt & freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the choi; cook until the choi is tender but still crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the choi in a colander and immediately run under cold water. Drain well.
2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and choi; cook, stirring constantly, until the choi is well coated and heated through.
3. Remove the skillet from heat. Stir in the cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Coleslaw with Cilantro and Chives
(we thought this might be a winner with Chinese cabbage substituted for a head of cabbage)
4 to 6 cups shredded cabbage 1/4 cup minced cilantro
1/4 cup chopped chives 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar 2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1. Toss the cabbage, cilantro, and chives in a large bowl or container; refrigerate, covered, for at least 1 hour or overnight.
2. When ready to serve, mix the oil, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl until well combined. Pour the dressing over the chilled cabbage mixture. Mix well just before serving.

Other important news:
Hidden Springs has more blueberry goodness for us. Blueberry Preserves and Jellies ($5/half pint) and Blueberry Chutney ($6/half pint). Let us know what you would like and Brinna will have it next week.

Thanks for your good veggie eating! We hope to see you soon. Paul, Coree, Lulah, and Levon

“To myself I am only a child playing on the beach, while vast oceans of truth lie undiscovered before me.” (I. Newton)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

newsletter catch up!

Wow - we got behind on posting these...

Red Springs Family Farm
September 30, 2010 week 19

Lettuce Tomatoes Sweet Peppers
Eggplant Garlic Sweet Potatoes
Acorn Squash Yokatta Na & Daikon Greens
Basil, Arugula, & Chives Hot peppers and Okra, choice

What a beautiful week. We’re so happy to be able to work in the garden without watering it with our sweat. The garden is due another rain, but it is so encouraging to see the greens finally thriving as they ought to in Fall. In the morning, if one looks closely, the intelligence of plant forms reveals itself. The soil all around the plants and the paths through the garden are dry, but the morning dew is funneled down the leaves to the stem and into the ground right at the base of the plant. Isn’t that fantastic?

New cooking greens for you this week are Yokatta Na (you might remember it from Spring – dark green oval leaves with nice thick edible stems) and Daikon Greens. The Daikons are thinnings from a hearty row of daikon radishes. The sun had been a little too hot for too long on the row by the time we got it picked, so some of the greens wilted abit. Soak them in cold water and they may perk back up abit. Otherwise, throw them straight into the wok and enjoy them wilted. You can use these greens together, steamed or stir-fried, or separate them to explore the different flavors and textures. You could use either of these greens, or both, in this recipe, which has been waiting since the early weeks of the season to finally be printed…

Yokatta Na Delight (from the Davis household)
2 heads Yokatta Na with stems, thinly sliced 1 Tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 2 Garlic scapes (or cloves), thinly sliced
3 Green onions (or chives?), thinly sliced 1 Red pepper (at least), thinly sliced
2 Skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2" strips 1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil

Heat olive oil in frying pan over med/high heat. When hot add ginger. Garlic, and green onions. Stir fry 2 mins.
Add red pepper and chicken and cook until chicken is done.
Add yokatta na, soy sauce, sesame oil and salt to taste.
Serves nicely over basmati rice. It would be also good with chick peas instead of chicken.

The sweet potatoes are almost ready to eat now. Keep them warm, dry, and dark and they will last a long time, probably all winter, and continue to get sweeter by the day. We haven’t sampled ours this week, but we hate to keep them back from you any longer. A slow bake is the best way to enhance the sweetness. This variety of sweet potato has been grown in Macon County and this region for well over 100 years. Some slips were passed to friends of ours who has shared them freely ever since. They are well adapted and very successful here. It was a good year for them – enjoy your sweets!

Another new flavor in your basket this week is Arugula. It’s in the herb bag with the basil and chives. It’s the salad herb that bites back. We love it and hope you do too. Primarily, arugula is a salad green, but if you have a notion, all sorts of other uses are possible. In Italy, they throw it on pizza, right on top at the end, so it gets a little mellower and somewhat crispy. It also mixes well into lasagna, just a thin layer on top of each layer of noodles. And, if you really want a taste bud thrill, there’s this one:

Arugula Pesto (from the Angelic Organics Kitchen)
In this recipe, the strong, peppery snap of mature arugula finds its counterpart in Asiago cheese. Blended to creamy smoothness with garlic, olive oil, and toasted pine nuts, this vibrant pesto will make something brilliant of a basic pasta meal. You can also try it tossed with roasted potatoes or steamed vegetables. If you plan to freeze it, don’t add the cheese until after the pesto has thawed. Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1/4 cup pine nuts 2 cups mature arugula
1/2 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese (about 1 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 clove garlic, smashed
Salt freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
2. 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. Transfer the nuts to a dish to cool.
3. Combine the arugula, Asiago cheese, oil, garlic, and pine nuts in a blender or food processor; process until thoroughly combined and smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Next week, October 7, is week 20 – the end of our projected “main season”. We hope to make a seasonal report, summarizing our experiences with the garden and the land this year, and also give you a survey to fill out and return to us, so that we can learn from your experiences of the season as well. Your feedback is invaluable to us, especially as we plan ahead for future seasons.

If you ordered cheese, it will be here at next week’s pick up.

Picking greens is a more time consuming task than we had remembered from Spring, so we are short on time today. Enjoy the harvest and we’ll see you next week!

Your gardeners,

Paul, Coree, Lulah, and the little mysterious Entwistle

Go With Muddy Feet

When you hear dirty story
Wash your ears.
When you see ugly stuff
Wash your eyes.
When you get bad thoughts
Wash your mind.
Keep your feet muddy.

-Nanao Sakaki

Red Springs Family Farm
October 7, 2010 week 20

State of the Farm Report

Lettuce Sweet Peppers Eggplant
Garlic Mustard & Kale Potatoes
Pumpkin Green Tomatoes
Mizuna, Arugula, & Green Onions
Hot peppers and Okra, choice

As this is Week # 20 and technically the end of our main season, we will make a “State of the Farm” Report. We will be emailing a season’s end survey to each of you. Your feedback means a lot to us. Your comments will help shape our future garden plans. We hope you will continue to share veggies with us this Fall and next Spring.

Before delving into the details, it is important to make some general statements, primarily of gratitude, to the people who have helped make this season possible. This includes you, shareholder-veggie-eater, as well as Coree’s nearby family who graciously and generously support us with their time and energy and willingness to help Lulah make it through long days of Mom and Dad’s work. We are also extremely grateful to our good friend Wilson who has made the trip down to our home each Wednesday, all season, to work with us, doing whatever needs to be done, and helping the extremely busy harvest day happen with much greater ease. As Coree’s belly has grown rounder, and the crops heavier, we have relied on him, and he has come through for us. He, as well as a couple other friends who have given hours of their mornings and afternoons for the cultivation, weeding, and care of our gardens have been life-savers.

This season, we found the limit. We wanted to grow the CSA, and succeeded. Had the weather been co-operative, we could have supported about 40 families from this land for the duration of the season. As it was, we were pushed to allow our numbers to fluctuate in order to better serve. We will not try to grow more than forty veggie shares from our current location. Besides the realities of finding enough space for potatoes, sweet corn, and lettuce, we also found the limitations of our work energy. As Coree’s work potential declined through the season, the weight of the manual labor fell squarely onto Paul, and it was a load. We realized at some point that we would have had less work later if we had more help earlier. Some crops did not receive the mulch they needed to stay weed-free throughout the season. Mulching is a heavy and hot job, and goes slowly alone. Timely cultivation of un-mulched rows is another crucial job that was often difficult to keep up with as a one man show. Sometimes maintaining the planting and harvesting schedule was nearly all that could be done. So, we have learned that we cannot do another season without MORE help. Many of our farmer friends welcome interns, young people looking to learn the crafts of gardening and farming in exchange for the season’s experience, room and board. Next season, we will be joining that club.

Now, for specifics. There’s really too many details to delve in a double sided page, but we’ll try. It was a good year to be diversified. Had we been green bean growers, we’d be in deep trouble now. We’re grateful the season gave as much as it did. We were pleased with basic crops – tomatoes, lettuces, garlic, basil, and potatoes all came through well.

Our spring greens suffered some, first from the flood, then from the heat. Cucumbers and green beans were what we missed the most this season. Those of you who have been with us for awhile can attest that we are fond of these fruits! Our timing wasn’t perfect for summer squash in either of our plantings, but we enjoyed what we got of those.
We finally succeeded in planting enough sweet peppers, and almost enough eggplant (some of our second planting succumbed to the early heat as well) for the season. We grew more tomatillos this year than ever before, and for completely unknown reasons, they failed to thrive.

And OKRA – well – we’d never really grown okra in enough quantity to consider before this year. The Star of David okra has reached nine feet tall in the field now and is finally slowing down. We know now that it’s a winner, and will learn how to modulate production to meet seasonal demand without overwhelming you. Meanwhile, it will likely take a chainsaw to get the stuff out of the field!

Halona muskmelons rocked our world this summer after two years of ho-hum results. We will be growing them again. We wish they were not a hybrid, and so we will continue to grow some heirlooms along with them. Watermelons were one of the crops that needed an extra hand to keep weed free, and they also suffered from excess rain and heat. We were pleased to give them as long as we did and look forward to seeing your feedback about their quantities and qualities.

It was a moderate year for sweet corn, not the best, not the worst. It was a tough year all around for caterpillars and the corn had it’s share of ear worms. We ran out of room altogether for our rainbow field corn, which pains us. The seed will keep and we’ll try again next year.

Planting the fall crops felt like a gamble in 100 degree grasshopper-ridden heat, and it was. Several areas needed re-seeding, and some more time and space intensive crops, like broccoli, could not be sprouted and tended in time to repair the damage. Still, the greens have come through and there’s a beautiful garden-full growing now. We hope to share more with you as Autumn progresses.

Lulah has grown like the weeds (or should I say, like the okra?) and thoroughly enjoyed the company of your children at the Farmer’s Market Pavilion. She dabbled with planting her own garden this year and learned to pitch compost from the tractor bucket with her pint-sized shovel. Our children are the most important crop to tend.

Here’s a recipe for you this week:
Fried Green Tomatoes with Crispy Cornmeal Crust Serves 4 to 6
1/2 cup milk, or 1 egg beaten with 1/4 cup water 1/2 cup cornmeal or flour, or a combination
1 1/4 teaspoons salt plus more to taste 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
mild-flavored vegetable oil 4 large firm green tomatoes, cored, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1. Line a plate with paper towels.
2. Put the milk or the egg-water mixture in a shallow bowl; set aside. Put the cornmeal or flour in another small, shallow bowl and stir in the salt and pepper.
3. Fill a large skillet 1/4-inch deep with oil. Heat over high heat until the oil just begins to smoke, about 3 minutes.
4. Dip each tomato slice into the liquid, then into the cornmeal or flour. Carefully place the tomato slices in the oil and cook until golden and soft (but not mushy), 3 to 4 minutes on each side (working in batches as necessary). Adjust the heat as necessary to prevent burning.
5. Transfer the fried tomatoes to the paper towel– lined plate to drain. Season with more salt to taste. Serve immediately.

Thanks so much for participating in our farm this year. We hope to see you soon.

The Entwistles

Season Extention...
Red Springs Family Farm
October 14, 2010 week 21

Lettuce Sweet Peppers Garlic Mustard
Turnip Greens Potatoes Arugula Mizuna Radishes Green Onion Sweet Potatoes

One cold snap was all it took. The leaves have changed and the canopy is rapidly thinning. Our fingers were wet and cold this morning during harvest and the early light through the trees has turned from green to yellow.

It’s all-you-can-eat greens time! We hope you know how much we appreciate those of you who appreciate these greens. The gardens are beautiful right now, and we will endeavor to bring in more abundant dark leafy greens as our family time allows. There are some stunning collards and kale and even a few heads of broccoli looking promising out there.

The turnip greens are thinnings of the RED turnip patch, so they look like radishes, but the real radishes are in the herb bag with the arugula, mizuna, and green onions. Some folks may not believe us, but those radish greens are really good to eat too! The mustards are listed in our seed catalog as “Pink Lettucy Mustard Gene Pool”. Last year they were much more pink, but much less prolific; they are a breeder’s work in progress. The description reads: “terrific salad fixings, mild but with just enough tang to keep you interested.” We’ve found that they just need to be wilted for a satisfying cooked green. A topping of garlicky seasoned olive oil suites them well.

Here’s a few tips for excessive amounts of greens:
Greens Tacos
You could use more or less of any one of these ingredients. Serves 2-3
3/4 pounds greens, cleaned and sliced into approximate 1 inch pieces
2 chopped garlic cloves, or whatever you have on hand (onion, green onion...)
2 teaspoons cooking oil Pinch red pepper flakes or cayenne
2 Tablespoons cream cheese 4-6 small corn tortillas or 2-3 larger flour ones
Heat the oil and add the garlic, having the greens ready to go, and cook garlic for about 30 seconds. Then add greens and cook until bright green and wilted, add red pepper (and salt and black pepper if you like). Take off heat and stir in cream cheese. Heat tortillas, divide filling among them. Eat and enjoy.

Quick Greens
(less than 10 minutes from start to finish)
Wash any type of greens that can be cooked (kale, radish greens, mustards, chard, spinach, etc.).
Saute with olive oil and garlic until wilted. Transfer to serving platter and add cracked black pepper and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Easy yet delicious!

Take left-over greens, sauté them with onions, garlic, mushrooms and sliced sweet peppers, and freeze them in proportions to make a couple of omelets. Thaw them overnight (or in the microwave) and you’ve got a fresh green omelet anytime in the winter!

Enjoy! We’ll keep you posted…
The Entwistles

For my kingdom Thou gav’st me Nature,
Power to feel and delight in her wonders;
Thou sendest me, not as a stranger,
But as one who is privileged to search
Deep in the heart of a friend.
(Goethe, from Faust)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

week #17

Red Springs Family Farm
September 16, 2010 week 17

Lettuce Tomatoes Eggplant
Sweet Dumpling squash Potatoes
Roma Beans Garlic Sweet Peppers
Basil & Chives Hot peppers and Okra, if you like

It’s been a very busy but quite pleasant week on the homestead. Last weekend’s rain was just about the most agreeable one we’ve had all year. When it poured, it was brief and not so severe a pounding as we’ve experienced before. It was just enough rain to give everything a boost. The one piece of excitement that accompanied the nice rain came with the brief electrical storm on Saturday. We had just gotten off the phone, and unplugged the modem, when lightning struck near enough to the house to literally shock our telephone, sending a burst of light and smoke through the phone and throwing the receiver off the hook and across the room. We had heard stories about that happening, but never actually seen it! So, it was a quiet weekend, knowing the phone would not, could not, ring, until the phone company sent a repair guy Monday morning.

The last cheese order of the season is DUE. Since it is the last one we anticipate making for awhile, we’re cracking it open. You can order whatever cheese you want this month. To view the full selection, go to Kenny’s website: To list briefly, there are Cheddars, Bleus, Monterey Jack, Colby, Goudas, Havarti, Gruyure (Norwood), Tomme, Brie, Asiago, and Swiss, with variations on several of those themes. The prices we offer tend to be comparable to the web store prices, sometimes a little better. Most can be had for $10/lb or less, with some exceptions. Inquire as needed. We need your orders no later than next Thursday, for October 7 delivery.

It’s also time to start thinking about storage crops. There are three more deliveries (after today) remaining in our main season. We hope to be back, after taking a break for our New Arrival, with at least some greens and the like, but it would be best to order your storage crops sooner rather than later. We can offer an assortment of winter squashes (butternuts and acorns primarily, with limited Tennessee pumpkins available), white potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Everything is $1 per lb. This means about $25 per half bushel, and $50 per bushel basket full. To see exactly how big those quantities are, ask at pick up.

The winter squash coming your way today are Sweet Dumplings, and they are ready to eat now. They are slightly blemished specimens picked up at Long Hungry Creek Farm (just downstream from us) so they won’t keep as well as most. Our tomato supply was also augmented from Long Hungry today. We’re grateful to be in a neighborhood where we can share abundances like this.

One of the tricks to eating locally and seasonally is to continually regard the gluts of the season as good fortune, even when we are overwhelmed by their quantity (sweet peppers and okra this year). Seasonal eating also keeps us aware of what a real treat foods like sweet corn and watermelons are. They are not the same when they come from California or Florida in April or November. This year, though not every year, green beans have been a rare delight. Enjoy!

Here’s a couple of nice simple ways to prepare winter squashes:

Oven Roasted Squash with garlic and parsley

Choose a favorite winter squash – butternut, acorn, whatever it may be – and peel and seed it. Cut into 1-inch chunks and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the chunks evenly on baking sheet and roast at 375 degrees for 40 minutes, until tender throughout and lightly browned, stirring occasionally with a spatula to prevent burning.
Peel and chop very fine a few cloves of garlic and sauté in olive oil for just a minute, being careful not to brown. Toss the squash with the garlic and a handful of chopped parsley, taste and adjust the seasoning, and serve.

Winter Squash Puree
2 lbs winter squash of choice 6 sage leaves
Salt and pepper ¼ lb unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic ¾ cup milk
Preheat oven to 400. Cut the squashes in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds, season the flesh with salt and pepper, and fill the cavities with the garlic cloves, peeled, and the sage leaves. Place the squashes skin side down, in a shallow ovenproof dish, and add just enough water to barely cover the bottom, to prevent burning. Bake for abut 45 minutes, or until completely tender. Allow to cool. Remove and discard the garlic and sage.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter in the milk over a low flame. Scoop the squash flesh out of the skin and put through a food mill or a ricer. Whisk in the milk and butter to give a soft texture to the puree. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Sweet potatoes came out of the ground yesterday. It’s a beautiful crop this year and we’ll cure them briefly (give them a little chance to sweeten up) before sending them out to you.

In the next few weeks, you can expect to see more beautiful lettuce, as well as cooking greens, more squashes, including lovely butternuts and Tennessee pumpkins. Also look for fresh cowpeas, sweet potatoes, and more green onions.

The Entwistles are heading out for a last minute family vacation this weekend. It is no small deal to leave the chickens and turkeys and farm cat behind, and it marks a definite turn of season in that we cannot leave until all the Fall transplanting is done. We’ll still be scrambling to finish it all up tomorrow, but with luck, we’ll make it toward the mountains by Saturday afternoon. Wish us luck! We’ll be back to harvest cowpeas and see you next week.

Eat well and be well.

Your gardeners,

Paul and Coree

PS – Hidden Springs Orchard will be bringing us pints of little kiwis ($3 each). These are a GREAT seasonal fruit and we hope you’ll take full advantage of the opportunity to enjoy them.

"So here are the questions you could ask... Does this food build or destroy topsoil? Does it use only ambient sun and rainfall, or does it require fossil soil, fossil fuel, fossil water, and drained wetlands, damaged rivers? Could you walk to where it grows, or does it come to you on a path slick with petroleum?" - The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice and Sustainability by Lierre Keith

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Chocolate Beet Cake

Ok - Coree confesses - we've not made the time to make this cake yet, but a friend of mine did and said it was great.

Here it is:

Chocolate Beet Cake

oil and flour for preparing pan
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup mild-flavored vegetable oil, divided
3 eggs
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 cups pureed cooked beets (3 medium beets)
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
powdered sugar

1) preheat oven to 375. Lightly coat a 10 cup bundt pan or tube pan with oil and dust it with flour.
2) Partially fill the bottom of a double boiler with water and bring to a boil over high heat; reduce to a simmer. Put the chocolate and 1/4 cup of the oil in the top of the double boiler. heat just until the chocolate melts; remove from heat and stir until well combined.
3) combine the eggs and sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until fluffy. Slowly beat in the remaining 3/4 cup oil chocolate mixture, beets, and vanilla.
4) Sift eh all purpose flour and whole wheat pastry flour int o a large bowl. Stir in the baking soda and salt. Gently stir the flour mixture into the egg and chocolate mixture just until flour is mixed in. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
5) Bake until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and set it on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes.
6) Carefully remove the cake from the pan and let cool on the rack. When completely cool, dust with powdered sugar.

week #16

Red Springs Family Farm
September 9, 2010 week 16

Lettuce Tomatoes Eggplant Acorn squash
Potatoes Garlic Peppers Beets
Basil & Green Onions Cantaloupes, as available
Hot peppers and Okra, if you like

We’re making okra optional this week because we know that you, like us, may be just about okra-d out. The peppers have made themselves somewhat more reasonable with the cool snap this week, too. They’re just gathering themselves up to make more. If you’re feeling pepper-d out, too, please remember to freeze your sweet peppers. They work great for pizzas, omelets, and pasta sauces in the winter. Just wash them thoroughly, cut them into the size you like, and store them in a labeled zip lock or freezer box. Break off the amount you want, whenever you want it, after fresh pepper season is long gone.

Autumn is certainly fast approaching. This week’s weather has been so crisp and comfortable. It’s been awhile since it was so pleasant to work outdoors. We’re grateful. The creek is cold now, though it doesn’t bother Lulah in the least, and we’ve been fortunate to find some perfectly ripe paw-paws floating downstream from an over-hanging tree. The paw-paw is the closest thing to a tropical fruit we have in Tennessee. We hope you’ve had a change to try one. We wish we could find enough to share – ask around the Saturday farmer’s market if you’re curious.

Dark, succulent cooking greens are growing strong, and we hope to be able to give you all a bundle soon. Herbs are experiencing a resurgence of growth, too. The winter squash are getting more delightful by the day. If you want to hold onto your acorns, keep them dark and dry, not too cold, and they’ll keep and maybe even get sweeter, for several months. Butternuts keep all winter if held at a steady temperature with not too much direct light. We hope to dig sweet potatoes this weekend or next. The rewards of seeing through a season of CSA changes can be so sweet. If you haven’t had these sweet potatoes before, you’ll soon understand.

Until we have the sweets, there are the beets! These are the last of them for the season. Some of the roots have taken on a funny hourglass shape. We suspect the great fluctuations in temperature and moisture have something to do with it. Here are Alice Waters excellent instructions for basic beets to be prepared for a salad:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash the beets thoroughly and put them in a baking pan with a splash of water. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until they can be easily pierced through with a sharp knife. Uncover and allow to cool.
Peel the beets and cut off their tops and the bottom tails. Cut them in halves or quarters, depending on their size; sprinkle generously with vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Add a pinch of sugar if the beets are at all bitter. Do not add any oil until the beets have sat for about ½ an hour and have had a chance to absorb the flavor of the vinegar. The beets will never be as good if the oil is added too soon. The vinegar brightens and accentuates the beet flavor; the oil should be added sparingly, for balance only. Adjust the seasoning. Prepared this way, the beets are ready to be combined with other ingredients in salads. A few suggestions:
Beets, sherry vinegar, orange zest, and tarragon, with the option of some crushed garlic.
Beets, balsamic vinegar, shallots and toasted walnuts.
Beets, white wine vinegar, and chives; with smoked fish, cultured cream and lemon juice.

If that seems nice and all but doesn’t sound like anything your kids will eat, go look at the blogsite for the chocolate beet cake recipe. There’s not enough room to post it here. They’ll never know what hit ‘em. Yum.

If you’re tired of making pesto, we hope you’re freezing or drying your basil. If that doesn’t even appeal to you, we can thank Angelic Organics up in Chicago for this recipe, too:

Basil-Garlic Cream Cheese
The possibilities for this classic, creamy dip-spread-sauce are endless. You can even stir it into warm tomato soup. Vary the texture and flavor by changing the amount of olive oil or by using the oil from preserved sun-dried tomatoes or anchovies, or experiment with using cottage cheese, ricotta, or yogurt cheese in place of the cream cheese. It’s fresh basil—you can’t go wrong.
Makes 1 1/3 cups

8 ounces cream cheese, softened 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh chives 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper

Stir all the ingredients in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon until smooth. (You can also do this in your food processor.) Transfer the herbed cheese to a small dish and put it in the refrigerator to let the flavors develop for about 1 hour.

As for eggplant, you may want to know some storage tips: 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.

Broiled Eggplant (from The Real Dirt on Vegetables)
oil for greasing the baking sheet mayonnaise
eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch slices freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)

1. Preheat the broiler. Lightly oil a baking sheet.
2. Spread mayonnaise sparingly on both sides of each eggplant slice, then dip the slices in the grated Parmesan cheese, thoroughly coating both sides.
3. Arrange the slices in a single layer on the oiled baking sheet and place under the broiler until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip the slices and broil until golden brown and crunchy on top and the eggplant is soft, about 3 minutes more.

Acorn squashes this week are Paydon’s Heirloom. They are the golden delicious of the acorns. For a decadent treat, try them stuffed: cut off the top, or cut in half, scrape out the seeds, and add apples or pears, walnuts, butter, a few raisins, more butter, and cinnamon and nutmeg. Bake them in a medium hot oven until the squash is nice and soft and maybe drizzle some honey on top after they’re done. They’re also nice JUST baked and topped with butter, salt and pepper. These are the simple tastes of fall.

Thank you for eating with us ~ Have a great weekend.
Paul, Coree, and Lulah Entwistle

Thursday, September 2, 2010

week #15

Red Springs Family Farm
September 2, 2010 week 15

Lettuce Peppers Eggplant
Garlic Potatoes Okra
Tomatoes Tromboncini Basil &Chives
Cantaloupes, as available Hot peppers, by choice

It seems strange to say, but it’s hard to really ever see it coming, this change in season. This year has been especially extreme of course, but it happens each year, and almost always in September. One week, the garden looks green and feels like summer, and over the course of a few days, the summer crops melt into the ground and are gone. This week we saw the end of cucumbers and summer squash from our gardens. Paul began tearing them out to plant more fall crops in their place. It’s good to see things turning over for the new season. We’ve seen the first red and purple leaves on the sweet gum trees and a few red tinges in the dogwoods, too. Black walnuts are always first to jettison their yellow leaves, and in wind gusts, they fly around our hollow.

So much work has been done, so much still to do around here. We covered all the fall transplants with remay to protect them from the ravenous grasshoppers before the last flood, and have been working our way through the rows, uncovering them, cleaning out the weeds and loosening the rain-packed soil so that they can grow more and better. The squash and cukes are being pulled out and later, faster fall plantings sown, with hopes of a gentle rain Friday night to tuck them in. Okra has to be picked every other day to keep it from becoming really too big. The plants are towering over everything else in the garden now, and still producing a profusion of beautiful yellow hibiscus-like flowers each day. A good piece of the upper garden is ready to be mowed, now that the winter squash have been pulled from the field and watermelons are finished. The eggplant will appreciate the breathing room. Very soon it will be time to dig the sweet potatoes and sow cover crops for fall and winter.

These unusual summer squashes are Tromboncini. At this stage, they are good and tender, zucchini-like, stir-fried or roasted, tossed with olive oil, garlic, and herbs. Our neighbor grows them for both summer and winter squash, but they are most delicious at the summer squash stage. Later in the season they become good keepers (though not as tasty as our favorite acorns and butternuts) and grow into some zany contortions, too.

A couple of nice recipes for this week’s fare:

Sautéed Peppers and Pears (off the line)
4 medium fresh red or yellow peppers, cored, seeded, and cut to 1/4-inch strips
3 medium firm-ripe pears or Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and cut to 1/4-in-thick slices
3/4 cup (3 oz.) shredded jack or Munster cheese 3 tablespoons butter or margarine

In a 12- to 14-inch frying pan, combine peppers and 2 tablespoons of the butter; stir over medium heat until peppers begin to get limp, 7 to 10 minutes. Add remaining tablespoon of butter and fruit. Cook uncovered, stirring often, until fruit is soft and tender when pierced, 5 to 7 minutes longer. Pour into dish and immediately sprinkle with cheese. Serves 6. (NOTE: If you’re using our pears, only cook them until warmed through – they won’t last 7 minutes in the heat.)
And this is a wonderful eggplant dish from 108 Recipes:

Sesame Noodles with Roasted Eggplant
1 large (or 2 small) eggplant 2 cloves garlic
The Marinade:
½ c. dark sesame oil ½ c. soy sauce
¼ c. balsamic vinegar 3 T. brown sugar
½ t. salt 1 t. hot chili oil
1 bunch scallions ¼ c. chopped cilantro, plus leaves for garnish
3 cloves garlic, pressed 2 T. freshly grated ginger root

1 12 oz. Package Japanese soba noodles 1/3 c. toasted sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, and place the pieces flat side up in an oiled baking dish. Peel the garlic, slice it thinly, and stuff it into the eggplant flesh. Brush the eggplant with olive oil. Bake uncovered at 375 for 45 minutes, or until the eggplant is soft but not mushy.
Whisk together all of the marinade ingredients, except the ginger and garlic. Boil the noodles according to package direction – al dente, not too soft. Divide the marinade into two. Pour one half of it over the noodles and toss well.
Add the ginger and garlic tot eh other half of the marinade. When the eggplant is done and is cool enough to handle, peel it and cut or tear it into narrow strips. Place the strips in the ginger and garlic marinade so they are entirely covered.
For best results, the two main parts of the salad should now be covered and refrigerated, overnight if possible. Two hours before serving, combine them. Add the sesame seeds, and garnish with whole cilantro leaves.
As with all dishes that contain acidic marinades, use glass, ceramic, or stainless steel mixing bowls to prepare and to store this salad. In the unlikely case that there is some left over, it does keep well for several days.

If you are overwhelmed with the okra, put it up for winter. Don’t miss the great benefits of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, folates, and fiber that these pods provide. Here are a couple of preservation tips:

Wash. Remove the stems at the end of the seed cells, being careful not to expose the seed cell. Water blanch small pods 3 minutes and large pods 4 minutes. Cool promptly and drain. Leave whole or slice crosswise. Package, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Seal, label and freeze.
To freeze for frying: Wash and remove stems. Blanch small pods 3 minutes and large pods 4 minutes. Cool promptly and drain. Slice crosswise and dredge with meal or flour. Spread in a single layer on shallow trays. Place in freezer just long enough to freeze firm. Package quickly leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Seal, label and freeze.

There’s something about this time of year and purple foods. The eggplants are glowing purple globes in the garden, and the red/purple lettuce leaves seem especially vibrant. They contrast well with the red and yellow peppers. We hope to clean out the last bed of beets next week, adding another shade of purple to the show. The first batch of acorn squashes is ready for you too, but they are yellow, not purple. We’ll keep spinning the color wheel. Enjoy your food!

Yours, the Entwistles

“Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature” ~ Michael Faraday, 1849

Thursday, August 26, 2010

week #14

Red Springs Family Farm
August 26, 2010 week 14

Tomatoes Lettuce Peppers
Garlic Potatoes Okra
Eggplant Basil Pears
Melons, first come first serve Hot peppers, by choice

What a week! We’re grateful to have gotten off as easy as we did in that last flood. We’re still assessing garden damage. The summer squash and cukes took a hard hit, and the second half of the parsley row seems to have drowned. The ground still isn’t really dry enough to continue planting, but we’ve been clearing the ground of what is old, getting ready for the new greens of Fall. Considerable time was spent this week picking up winter squashes. The barn loft is stacked with baskets of acorns and butternuts now. We had never seen nor heard of butternuts splitting their skins from too much rain, as tomatoes and melons do, but this year it happened. It’s just not ordinary to get 11 inches of rain in August! There were still plenty of beautiful brown nutty squashes intact in the field. They will cure and sweeten up for a couple weeks before we begin to send them.

It’s been an amazingly busy week. We got the call from our neighbor on Thursday that the pears were ready to be picked, so we got up the hill as soon as we could on Friday and picked these beautiful pears. If they hit the ground, they bruise and don’t keep well. If they are picked straight from the tree, these Maxines and Magness (please don’t ask us which is which!) pears ripen into such succulent good fruits! Stock up on them while they last (we don’t have enough refrigeration to keep them for long) for $1 per lb.

Saturday some friends from Nashville came out to work and enjoy the weekend. Monday, Lulah had company that kept her mercifully occupied so Coree could get work done, and Tuesday our regular helpers were busy with picking up winter squash. Just after they left, a friend from eastern TN stopped by for an unexpected visit and helped Paul load the heavy squash baskets into the barn. Wednesday brings the arrival of Wilson, our trusty harvest helper, who sees us through the intensity of picking, counting, and packing your veggies each week. Whew!

Please take note: those of you on a quarterly payment plan – NEXT week is your last week paid for. Please bring the check for your last quarter either to the September 2nd or 9th pick up. 

Recipes this week are for some of the prolific plants we’re glad to be growing this year:

Simple Chicken Groundnut (Peanut) Soup or Stew (off the line)
3-4 lbs. of chicken pieces 2 onions (enough for 2 cups, chopped)
3-6 cups of water 1 ½ teaspoons salt (or to taste)
½ to 1 cup of creamy natural peanut butter (no sugar) a couple of Tbs tomato paste
1 8-oz can tomato sauce (or substitute fresh tomatoes) okra
ground red pepper to taste), or fresh hot chili pepper
(NOTE: a few garlic cloves, peeled and chopped or pressed, and a teaspoon or 2 of fresh grated ginger, a sprinkling of salt or seasoned salt and ground red pepper are nice options too)

(continued on back)
1) Remove skin and fat from chicken and put pieces into a heavy pot with a cup of the water. Peel and chop one of the onions and add them to the pot along with any additional seasonings (like a little salt, garlic, ginger, red pepper, etc.) and steam the chicken in a covered pot for a few minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
2) Add the tomato sauce and paste, the rest of the chopped onion, the red pepper, and the remaining water (start with 4 cups for the soup). Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer.
3) In a medium saucepan, ladle about 2 cups of the soup broth into the pan, and mix it with the peanut butter. Heat the broth and peanut butter mixture on medium heat, stirring constantly, until the oil separates from the nuts and rises to the surface. This may take 15 or 20 minutes. NOTE: you can simply stir the peanut butter/broth mixture directly into the soup, cooking it separately somehow flavors the peanut sauce more, like browning would. Keep stirring or the peanut butter will scorch, and add a little more soup broth to it if necessary.
4) Ladle some of the soup into the sauce, stir it, and stir the mixture into the soup, taking care not to splatter yourself.
5) Add the okra, if cooking in the soup. Allow the soup to simmer for about 20-30 minutes, until the flavors blend and the chicken and okra are cooked. Add more water if you prefer a thinner soup. Check the seasonings and add more salt, red pepper, etc., to taste.

When this is prepared as a stew (thicker) it can be served over rice like a curry. Also, when serving this as a stew and for large numbers of people, I often debone the cooked chicken. There are several short-cut options, especially if you wish to use this as a first course/starter: use prepared chicken broth, add all the other ingredients but omit the chicken pieces, and simply add the peanut butter after mixing it with the hot broth. Use cooked okra or fresh chopped scallions as a garnish and instead of bread or rolls, serve the soup with mini-rice balls. If made a day ahead and reheated it seems to taste even better.

Bell Peppers Lemonly Dressed and Cumin-esque
This versatile recipe will add just the right amount of color to any dish in need of some visual pizzazz. What’s more, the lemony cumin in the peppers will pizzazzify the flavors on your plate. Angelic Organics Kitchen (adapted from Recipes from a Kitchen Garden). Serves 4

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon virgin olive oil, divided 2 red or purple bell peppers, thinly sliced
2 green or yellow bell peppers, thinly sliced 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced parsley 1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon honey (optional) 1 clove garlic, minced (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions or red onion 1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the peppers; sauté, stirring until slightly soft, about 3 minutes. Let cool.
2. Combine the remaining oil, lemon juice, parsley, cumin, honey, and garlic in a large jar. With the lid tightly screwed on, shake the jar vigorously until the oil and vinegar have combined and thickened.
3. Toss the peppers and scallions or red onion with the vinaigrette in a large bowl; add the salt and season with pepper to taste. Cover; refrigerate for 1 hour.

Thanks for eating with us. Have a wonderful weekend.
Paul, Coree, and Lulah

“Burn down the cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.” ~William Jennings Bryan

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Week 13

Red Springs Family Farm
August 19, 2010 week 13

Tomatoes Lettuce Peppers
Garlic Potatoes Okra
Cucumber Summer Squash
Sweet Corn Green Beans
Herb bag: Basil Parsley

Well, we asked for rain and we received rain. Saturday night we were on our way home from an outing and witnessed the rapid approach of the large black storm cloud. Rain poured, the creek rose. We hunkered down until Sunday morning, then ventured up the hill to find all the corn laying down on the electric fence and a lot of tomato cages knocked over. Fortunately, the corn is far enough along that laying down doesn’t affect the crop too adversely. We just have to pick it off the ground instead of off the stalk. The ground dried up enough by Tuesday that we were working hard to clear another round of summer garden for Fall planting when the next rain began. We’ve seen at least nine inches of water fall from the sky since then – it’s hard to get an accurate count. The gardens are a mass of mud. We’re grateful, as I type, to hear the road grader come through. There would have been no getting out of our hollow (on wheels) yesterday at all. With luck, the harvest is only slightly abbreviated. Considering conditions here and around, we’re extremely fortunate.

A summary of this year so far paints a picture of great extremes. First, we had the coldest winter in twenty, some say thirty, years. Then the largest flood in at least that long, followed by the hottest stretch of summer for about fifty years, and now another flood. All things considered, the difficulty we’re having growing green beans seems fairly trivial. The grasshoppers ate a lot of small broccoli plants before the rain, and now much of the Fall garden is in standing water. We’ll see what happens. It is certainly not within our control. Thanks for eating with us. The direct support of the local community is what keeps small diverse farms going through strange and difficult times.

There will be enough beans in your bag today for this good recipe from Barbara Kingsolver’s very fun family memoir, 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.

There’s not quite a full pound of okra for everyone this week, but enough to modify into this wonderful curry:

Okra Curry (from the Washington Post recipe archive)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil 2 medium onions, cut into 1/2-inch dice
4 green (cayenne) chili peppers, chopped 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 tablespoon garam masala*
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste 1 lb. okra, cut to 1-inch pieces, ends trimmed
1 large tomato, seeded and diced 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until it thins out across the pan, then reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions, chili peppers, turmeric, cumin, garam masala and salt. Cook the onions until they are soft, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the okra and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the tomato and lemon juice and combine well, simmering for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro, if desired. Serve warm. May cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

*Note: Garam masala is a mixture of dry-roasted spices, usually including black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, mace, nutmeg, coriander, cumin, cardamom, fennel and dried chilies. We make our own just the way we like it, then store it in the fridge – yummmmm.

A quick note about corn: the ear worms are unusually pernicious this year. If they gross you out too badly, you can save yourself a little trouble by whacking off the top of the ear before you even shuck it. This is it for the corn! Enjoy!

Next week we will have pears. Depending on harvest we will give you a few then offer them for sale. They are organically grown and extremely delicious – not hard grocery store Bartlett pears – soft, succulent Magness pears. We’d like $1 per lb for them. We might be able to go down on the price if you order by the half bushel or peck. They freeze well, make wonderful pear butter, and even store fairly well if kept refrigerated.

We send our empathy and support to all the folks suffering under rough weather conditions, here and around the world. Special thoughts especially go to Brinna and Hidden Springs Orchard (our excellent blueberry source) for a quick recovery from way too much rain.

We wish you all a wonderful weekend.

Paul, Coree, and Lulah Entwistle

“The farmer has to be an optimist or he wouldn't still be a farmer.” ~ Will Rogers

"There seem to be but three ways for a nation to acquire wealth. The first is by war, as the Romans did, in plundering their conquered neighbors. This is robbery. The second by commerce, which is generally cheating. The third by agriculture, the only honest way, wherein man receives a real increase of the seed thrown into the ground, in a kind of continual miracle, wrought by the hand of God in his favor, as a reward for his innocent life and his virtuous industry." ~ Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

week 12

Red Springs Family Farm
August 12, 2010 week 12

Tomatoes Lettuce Peppers
Garlic Potatoes Okra
Summer Squash
Cucumber or Eggplant Melons by choice
Herb bag: Basil Parsley Tulsi Thyme

Ah, another scorching week in August. This side of Macon County did not receive the torrential downpour we saw in Cookeville last Thursday, so we’re ready for another RAIN. Lulah is an excellent rain-dancer, when she’s focused. Anyone else with talents in that direction is welcome to send their foot-stomping this way.

The sweet corn is slightly shy of its peak. Next week will be the corn extravaganza! The upper garden is carrying on as well as it can. Eggplants are swelling, but have indicated a need for rain. Peppers and melons seem oblivious to everyone else’s suffering in the heat. They just keep rolling. Halona and Amish cantaloupes are in a blooming frenzy, and preparing to ripen another round of succulent fruit. The watermelons are struggling with pressure from the butternuts, the morning glories, and the raccoons, but they keep blooming too, so with luck we will have at least a trickle of melons coming. Though it seems early, acorn squashes are almost ready for harvest. Amazing how just when summer seems completely overwhelming, we are reminded of the reality of Autumn’s eminence.

We’ve laid drip tape in the lower garden to help the greens along. Often just laying out the drip tape helps summon a rain. The greens are out there, waiting for a drenching. Okra and summer squashes are thriving, and their beautiful flowers attract a beautiful diversity of insect life. This is just about the worst cucumber year we can remember. We’re grateful that they are still coming. Green beans are trying, but seem to be having some trouble with making fruit in the heat. We can’t win them all.

September’s cheese selection is Cheddar (either mild or aged) for $9/lb ($5 for ½ lb) and Asiago for $10/lb ($5 for ½ lb). The Asiago is not quite as hard a grating cheese as Parmesan, but still great for pesto-making. Please tell us what you want by next week (August 19). We will bring the cheese to the market September 2nd. If you are interested in a larger quantity of cheese, we can order 2 or 5 lb blocks of these varieties at a slight discount. Inquire if you’re interested.

To continue the food preservation notes from last week:
Says Lynne Rosetto Kasper of ‘The Splendid Table’: “Right now is the time to freeze fresh herbs for winter while they are cheap and prime. Just wash them well, drain well, strip leaves into heavy-duty plastic bags, press out all the air and seal. Rosemary and thyme can be frozen right on their branches. To use, don't defrost, just break off what you need.”

And some handy-to-know potato equivalents:
1 lb potatoes yields: 2 cups French fries, 3 cups sliced, 2 cups mashed or 2 ½ cups diced.

Potatoes were one of Coree’s most tolerable early pregnancy foods, so the next recipe, with a few modifications, is dear to her senses.

Cheesy Potato Spoon Bread (from Vegetarian Times)
4 cups mashed potatoes 1 cup all purpose flour 2 Tbsp butter or substitute
½ tsp onion powder Salt to taste ½ tsp ground pepper
4 large eggs, beaten ¼ cup minced fresh parsley (optional)
6 oz Pepper Jack cheese (Chipotle Colby?) 10 oz softened cream cheese
1. Preheat oven to 425. Butter a 2 qt. Soufflé dish or casserole.
2. If using cold mashed potatoes, heat them, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.
3. Meanwhile, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Put flour, butter, onion powder, salt, pepper and cayenne in mixing bowl, and pour boiling water over mixture. Using electric mixer on low, beat for 1 minute, and add very hot mashed potatoes. Beat again well. Add eggs, and beat again, until thoroughly combined. Set aside to cool slightly.
4. Mix parsley, shredded cheese and cream cheese in mixing bowl. Scoop 4 cups of potato mixture into prepared casserole. Make well in center, and spoon in the parsley cheese mixture. Top with remaining potato mixture. Place casserole on a baking sheet.
5. Bake for 50 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with sprigs of parsley.

The yellow crookneck summer squash have arrived. Those fruits seem to ripen by the hour. Refrigerate unwashed 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. Before using, rinse the fruit under cool running water to remove any dirt or prickles; then slice off the stem and blossom ends. Slice into rounds, quarters, or chunks according to the specifications of your recipe.

Here’s a nice one that satisfies that southern-fried urge we sometimes get. You could probably combine okra into this recipe with good results.

Summer Squash with Crispy Cornmeal Coating (from Farmer John’s Cookbook)
1 cup cornmeal salt, freshly ground pepper, and other herbs to taste
2 medium summer squash, halved crosswise, then sliced lengthwise into ¼ inch thick strips
1 cup all purpose flour 1 egg beaten Olive oil, or virgin coconut oil

1. Mix the cornmeal with salt and pepper to taste in a shallow bowl (mix in any other herbs and spices you might like at this time as well – garlic and paprika sound good).
2. Working with one piece of squash at a time, coat it lightly in flour and shake off any excess. Next, dip the floured squash in the beaten egg, letting the excess drip off, then dip it in the cornmeal and coat well. Set the coated squash aside. Repeat the process with the remaining squash slices.
3. Lin e a plate with a paper towel. Pour enough oil into a large skillet to thoroughly cover the bottom and heat over medium high heat. Transfer as many of the coated slices to the skillet as will easily fit and cook until they are brown, about 5 minutes. Flip the slices and cook until brown, about 5 minutes more. Transfer the cooked slices to the paper towel lined plate to drain and cool.
4. Scrape off any leftover burning pieces of cornmeal form the skillet, add more oil if necessary and repeat the cooking process with the next batch of squash.
5. Season with additional salt to taste and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

As always, we thank you for your support this year and hope you enjoy this week’s harvest.
With best regards for your good health,
Paul, Coree, and Lulah Entwistle

O thou who passest through our valleys in Thy strength, curb thy fierce steeds, allay the heat That flames from their large nostrils! Thou, O Summer, Oft pitchest here thy golden tent, and oft Beneath our oaks hast slept, while we beheld With joy thy ruddy limbs and flourishing hair. ~William Blake

catching up on Newsletters!

July 29, 2010 week 10

Tomatoes Lettuce Peppers
Garlic Beets Carrots
Cantaloupe Crimson Sweet Watermelon
Summer Squash Okra by request
Herb bag: Basil & Parsley

We’re at the mid-point of the season. It’s always a sticky time of year. There’s watermelon and cantaloupe juice to stick to your face, and salty sweat to stick to your skin and clothes. If you’re having trouble beating the heat – come for a visit and swim in the creek! It’s really hot out here too, but the creek is shaded and cool (and fun for kids).

The next planting of cucumbers are trying to fend off a case of powdery mildew, and we’re trying to help them. They’re blooming, as are the next summer squashes and zucchinis. All three of our cantaloupe varieties will be represented this week. The tiny ones with the bulge on the bottom are Golden Jennys. They are very small, but in years past their flavor has made up for their size. The really large ones are Amish, and the mid-sized ones are Halonas. Bigger watermelons have ripened now, too. These are Crimson Sweets, a great traditional sweet watermelon. As much as we love the little Petite Yellows, these pink Sweets are a welcome change. How far can you spit a watermelon seed?

We got SOAKED picking the tomatoes, peppers, watermelons, and cantaloupes on Wednesday. The rain started as a nice Hawaiian style light rain, then gradually increased pressure to a full on pour. It was a funny feeling, and everyone agreed that we were actually more comfortable soaking wet with rain than we had been soaking wet with sweat earlier in the morning.

Beets and carrots are back! This year isn’t our best for beets, and this particular bed seemed to grow weeds faster than we could pull them, but they still made some bulbs, so we’ll just be glad about that! This little refrigerator pickle recipe is versatile and forgiving and a great way to pick away at your beets if you’re not up for baking them or using them up all in one dish.

Pickled Beets (from the Kripalu Cookbook)
4 cups cooked beets, sliced 5 cups water 1 tsp salt

½ cup lemon juice 1 cup vinegar ¼ cup honey
½ Tbsp dill ¼ tsp mustard powder

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

“A native of Afghanistan and a relative of celery, parsnips, caraway, cilantro, cumin and dill, the carrot is a most useful, versatile, nutritious and popular vegetable, revered not only as an accompaniment to other dishes but as a base ingredient for sups, stock and stews. In hotel in the town of Vichy, France, carrots are eaten daily as part of a cure for overloaded digestion; and many cultures have valued them as an aphrodisiac. Research has shown that three raw carrots eaten daily lower blood cholesterol; and that a single carrot per day cuts the risk of lung cancer among smokers in half. Carrots are rich sources of carotenoids, B vitamins, phosphorus, calcium and all important iodine.” (from Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon)

Here’s an excellent carrot salad from that same book:
Carrot Salad
12 medium carrots, grated 1 cup fresh pineapple
½ cup raisins ½ cup pecans
1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley ¾ cup basic dressing
Mix all ingredients and chill well.

Basic Dressing

1 tsp Dijon type mustard, smooth or grainy 2 Tbsp plus a splash raw wine vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil 1 Tbsp flax oil

Dip a fork into the jar of mustard and transfer about 1 tsp to a small bowl. Add vinegar and mix around. Add olive oil in a thin stream stirring all the while with the form, until oil is well mixed. Add flax oil and use immediately.

The next round of corn is tassling now, and the melons are spreading into their adjoining rows. As usual, the butternuts dominate their space, as well as their neighbors’, but it bodes well for the Autumn harvest. Eggplants are blooming again, too. There will be more green beans soon. Gardens are at full tilt, and so are we!

Basil is beginning to grow faster than we can pick it on a weekly basis. If you would like to put up pesto for the winter, you may start ordering extras ($5/lb).

Here’s a nice basic pesto recipe:
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
2-4 cloves of garlic, peeled ½ tsp sea salt
¼ cup pine nuts ¼ cup good quality grated Parmesan cheese
¼-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Please basil leaves in food processor. Pulse until well chopped. Add garlic, salt, pine nuts and cheese and blend well. Pour olive oil into the processor in a thin stream until pesto forms a thick paste. Pesto will keep several days, well sealed in refrigerator; or it may be frozen.

Thank you for your good eating!

Paul, Coree, and Lulah Entwistle

“The true Southern watermelon is a boon apart, and not to be mentioned with commoner things. It is chief of this world’s luxuries, king by the grace of God over all fruits of the earth. When one has tasted it, he knows what the angels eat. It was not a Southern watermelon that Eve took; we know it because she repented.” ~ Mark Twain

August 5, 2010 week 11

Tomatoes Lettuce Peppers
Garlic Carrots Potatoes
Summer Squash/Okra Tomatillos
Cantaloupe or Watermelon
Herb bag: Basil & Parsley

I’d like to be more chipper about the heat, but honestly, it’s not easy. Things are holding up amazingly well in the garden, but anything that can be stressed by heat is definitely stressed now. The tomato harvest is lighter than usual and the squashes are stalling. The lettuce still wants to bolt, but that’s to be expected. For all that, we can also fairly speak of what plants LOVE the heat. Peppers are un-phased. Eggplants aren’t producing gobs, but don’t wilt in the midday sun and persist to bloom. Okra just keeps going and the sweet potato vines look wonderful. Tomatoes are getting a little bit blighty now, but tomatillos just get more vines, more fruits as the summer heat progresses.

We’re a little nervous as we begin transplanting thousands of tender young greens into the soil. These are the plants that will thrive in the cool weather, but if we wait until cool weather to plant them, then we’ll not get any until late October. It’s a conundrum that we face each year, tho this year is really putting us to the test. We plant with faith that the weather will break, and that there will be at least enough.

Next week we anticipate the possibilities of… green beans, sweet corn, and maybe new cucumbers, too. Remember to order basil by the pound if you’re ready to make pesto.

We’re not sure what to think of zucchini anymore. Five summers ago we had a great time with zucchini. Ever since then, we’ve had no luck at all. The early yellow crooknecks and patty pans do fine, but zukes all get mildew, blight, and bugs before they can set fruit. We’re still working on it – we have no explanation. We just share what we’ve got and thank you for eating with us.

These potatoes are courtesy of our neighbors at Long Hungry Creek Farm, who have room to grow an acre of tubers without interrupting their rotation. They’re great potatoes, completely organic, grown just a couple miles from here.

We have received some comments lately about too much food. As usual, we can’t honestly apologize for this problem, but we do want to help however we can. First, please don’t take what you can’t eat. Pass extras to neighbors and friends, or, (our favorite option) PUT IT BY. This is the phrase used to describe the ancient science and art of food storage.

Dry or freeze your parsley and basil for use in winter. Either can be chopped and mixed with olive oil in an ice cube tray or small freezer zip lock bag. Drying takes a little more time, but a paper bag in a fairly un-humid house (not like ours) will do the trick.

Tomatoes are fine frozen. We recommend slipping the skins first. To do this, dip the tomatoes in boiling water until the skin bursts, then quickly pull them from that water bath and dip them into cold water (a large slotted spoon works well for this). The skins should ‘slip’ right off. You can pop them right into zip locks from here and use them any time before next tomato season.

Store your potatoes in the dark, not the fridge, not the oven, just a dark dry place where they won’t be tempted to make sprouts and turn green on the skins. If some small places on the skins turn green, just slice off the green before you cook them.

Peppers don’t need to be blanched before freezing. Just wash the, chop them to your favorite size, pop ‘em in a bag and store them in the freezer.

Here’s another way to prepare peppers for storage, and general eating:
Roasted Sweet Peppers
1. Turn a gas burner on high (an electric stove will work too, but a gas flame produces better results) and place the peppers directly on the flame. Use any number of available burners to accommodate the peppers, or if the peppers are small you can place two on one burner.
2. Using tongs, turn the peppers as their skins blacken; you want to end up with a pepper that is completely black (the amount of time this takes depends on the size of the pepper, how hot the flam is, and how often you turn the peppers). Once they’re blackened, place the peppers in a paper bag and seal the bag tightly. Let them sit for about 10 minutes.
3. Remove the peppers from the bag, cut them in half, remove the stem and seeds, and flatten each half on your cutting board. Use a knife or your finger to scrape away the skin. The peppers are now ready for use.
4. To store your roasted peppers, place them in a container, cover with olive oil and seal tightly. Store peppers in the refrigerator for about a week, longer if they are completely covered in oil.

Peppers prepared this way are great on sandwiches, pizza, pasta, or in omelets, mixed in mayonnaise, or hummus. You can also freeze roasted peppers for a taste of roasty summer in the cold of winter.

Oh, and couple irresistible ideas if you’re tired of cantaloupes:
Cantaloupe and Cardamom
1 medium cantaloupe, cut into 1 inch cubes ¼ tsp ground cardamom
1-2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice fresh ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped cilantro Toss all ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate 1 hour.

Ginger Melon Sorbet
1 medium cantaloupe cut into 1 inch cubes ½ cup sugar
1 ½ Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 2 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until just smooth.
2. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and free according to directions. If you have no ice cream maker, pour the mixture into a tray or zip top bag and freeze it on a flat surface. Remove from freezer, thaw, then put it through the blender again. Repeat this process at least once more, or until the mixture is very smooth and blended with no separation.
3. Serve garnished with mint leaves.

Stay cool and enjoy the ride…
Thank you for your support.

The Entwistles

“All flesh is grass, and all its strength like the flower of the field.” Isaiah 40:6

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

newsletter week 9

Red Springs Family Farm
July 22, 2010 week 9

Tomatoes Lettuce Pepper
Garlic Summer Squash Sweet Corn
Eggplant Green Beans
Okra or Cucumber Cantaloupe/Watermelon
Herb bag: Basil & Parsley

Welcome to the mid-season abundance ~ full heat, unseasonably regular rainfall, rampant growth, and big production. Enjoy!

Okra plants grew a foot taller over the past few days. Watermelons and tomatoes began to split as the recent downpours saturated the soil. Sad as that is, there’s still plenty to eat, and canning season has begun. Eggplants are just beginning. They won’t be a regular, weekly item for quite awhile, but these nice plump black globes were weighing down the eggplant branches.

We didn’t think there would be enough green beans to send this week, but we were proven wrong this morning. You have all the ingredients for a small batch of ratatouille this week.

It’s been a busy-bee week on land. Sunday night’s thunder and lightning storm shook the house and kept us awake. We felt fortunate the next day when we learned that Tompkinsville, (not too far from here) got a whopping FOUR INCHES of rain. We got just over a half inch, which was perfectly sufficient considering how fast and hard it fell. We took a day easy for Coree’s birthday, and enjoyed a meal at a new restaurant outside of Nashville, the Farm House. It is a thrill for us to pay someone else to cook and do dishes, and we were particularly satisfied because the restaurant uses primarily locally sourced and sustainably farmed meats and vegetables. Support local business – the quality is well worth the price.

The next round of corn isn’t quite tassling yet – this round sure came in nice.

Grilled Corn on the Cob
To prepare corn for grilling, peel back the husks but do not tear them off. Tear out he discard the corn silk, and then pull the husks back over the cobs. Some cooks moisten the husks with water before grilling which helps keep them from burning, especially over a very hot fire.) Put the cobs on the hot grill over medium-low fire for 7 to 8 minutes, turning every few minutes. Before serving, check one to make sure it is done. Serve with sweet butter and salt. Or serve with lime wedges and a mixture of salt and cayenne to sprinkle on the corn.

We’re short on time today. Harvest is a time consuming process these days!

Best regards, Paul, Coree, and Lulah Entwistle

“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”
~ Wendell Berry, from his essay The Use of Energy

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Red Springs Family Farm
July 15, 2010 week 8

Tomatoes Lettuce Green Pepper
Garlic Summer Squash Melons
Green Beans Sweet Corn
Herb bag: Basil & Parsley

We are SO grateful for that rain. It was a good pleasant soaker, some a little fast, but not so fast that the ground couldn’t hold it. The cloud cover gave us a much needed break from the heat and the plants have all responded immediately. We are very glad, very grateful. Now, back to pulling weeds!

We took the rainy day opportunity to start the Fall garden. On trays in our living room and out in the shade shack in the yard are now many thousands of soil blocks with broccoli, Chinese cabbages, kales, collards, and kohlrabis sprouting within them. They are germinating well and we will be dedicating time in the next dry spell to preparing space for them in the soil.

Meanwhile, the gardens are exploding. As usual, there are booms and busts. There won’t be any more knowing what will come in the baskets for the next few weeks. We’ll just be taking up the harvest as it comes, and bringing you the best we’ve got. Peppers and tomatoes are thriving. Melons have ripened faster than usual in the heat, and threaten to explode after the rain. Some of the smaller eggplants that we thought were goners seem to be sending new growth up. We’ll hope for an extended harvest from those. Bean beetles are hard at work on the green beans, so we’re hard at work on the bean beetles.

Sweet corn news flash: Paul went to check the sweet corn Saturday morning and found three unripened ears stripped and chewed in the patch. Because of the rain, the empty rows around the corn had to be hand-weeded before we could put up electric fence. So, he spent a good part of the day doing that. Sunday he went to put the fence up and found a carnage of 60 ears chewed on the ground. Don’t fret, there’s still more, but it was loss. We’re sending you the first pick this week. We can’t even pretend to supply those of you who are corn enthusiasts with ALL your corn needs for the season, but we do hope to provide you with an exceptional corn experience while it lasts. This week’s pick is small – there will be more next week.

The sugars in corn very rapidly deteriorate into starches. We try to bring you corn at its very freshest, and hope you will enjoy it almost immediately (like, tonight!). If you can’t get around to eating your corn right away, it might be a good idea to cook it right away and store it so those sugars are preserved at their peak. Really fresh corn required very little heat to make it tender – just a few minutes (four) at a boil, or a few more than that if you steam it. We like it raw, too, and you could just cut some of the corn into a salsa or stir fry with the peppers, tomatoes, or green beans.

These little pint sized watermelons are called Petite Yellow. YES, they’re supposed to be yellow inside. The cantaloupes are mostly a variety called Halona, which we picked up after some of our friends grew them last year with beautiful success. There are more of these to come as well.

For those of you enjoying this luscious blueberry harvest, we thought this recipe might suite you on a hot day…

Blueberry Granita
2 ½ cups fresh blueberries ½ cup sugar ¾ cup water
1 tsp grated lemon rind 1 Tbsp lemon juice

Combine blueberries and sugar in a food processor and blend until smooth. Strain through the sieve, stirring with a spoon to extract the pulp and juice. Discard seeds. Add water and lemon rind and juice to blueberry puree. Pour mixture into a shallow dish or pie plate. Place in freezer and freeze 8 hours or overnight. Scrape with a fork until mixture is like shaved ice. Serves 4.

As for these tomatoes – aren’t they grand? We’re so glad to be able to give so many so early in the season. So far the vines are holding well and the rain has certainly helped them along. Alice Waters shares pleasant and useful comment and recipes on tomatoes in her book on vegetables:

“The first ripe, locally grown tomatoes still come as a shock. They stimulate all the senses at once, and place us firmly in summer. And they are a reminder of how far agriculture has drifted away from seasonality. When tomatoes are available in the supermarket year round, we lose that keen anticipatory yearning for the juiciness of summer. Instead, we accept a pale approximation of a tomato, a tomato completely severed from our daily reality, grown by farmers thousands of miles away.
Never store tomatoes in the refrigerator; cold temperatures kill their flavor. Keep them at room temperature. Perfectly ripe ones may keep only a day or two, but less ripe ones should keep for a few days to a week. If you find yourself with too many ripe tomatoes at once, make them into a quick sauce.”

Tomato and Basil Bruschetta
Slice large ripe tomatoes into thick slices and season well with salt and pepper. Fry thick slices of crusty country bread in a heavy skillet in 1/8 inch of olive oil until they are golden brown on both sides (or grill it). As the bread fries, you will need to add more oil to keep the pan from going dry. Remove the bread slices form the pan and drain them briefly on a towel. Rub the bread slices generously with garlic. Top each slice of bread with a thick tomato slice and a basil leaf, and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle a little extra-virgin olive oil over the tomatoes and serve.

Pasta with Tomato Confit
Allow about 2 tomatoes per serving. Make a bed of basil leaves in the bottom of an ovenproof dish that will hold the tomatoes snugly in one layer. Peel and core the tomatoes and place them core side down on the basil. Lightly salt and pepper. Pour in enough extra virgin olive oil to come halfway up the sides of the tomatoes. Bake for 1 ½ hours in a preheated 350 degree oven, until the tomatoes are soft and lightly caramelized and have infused the oil with their perfume. Season to taste and serve spooned over cooked and drained fresh noodles.

Remember, we need your cheese order no later than next week. Colby-Chipotle and Farm Jack both for $8/lb ($4 for ½ lb). Cheese will come to delivery August 5. Kenny’s Cheese only comes once a month!

Have a great weekend! Paul, Coree and Lulah Entwistle

“A good end cannot sanctify evil Means; nor must we ever do evil, that good may come of it.”
~William Penn~