Thursday, June 17, 2010

Newsletter week 4

Red Springs Family Farm
June 17, 2010 week 4

Lettuces Broccoli Kohlrabi
Green Beans Fresh Garlic
Herb bag: Basil Tulsi

Alright. It’s hot. With luck, maybe the early heat will mean a break in July or August. We’d like to think that way. Meanwhile, we spend some time each day refreshing ourselves in the creek. It is a lifesaver.

The May flood washed away our old swimming hole at the creek. What it left behind was a great improvement! The new hole is longer and deeper (over navel deep), and there’s a great kiddy pool right beside it. The fish and crawdaddies have all readjusted from the move and are happily nibbling our ankles again at every opportunity.

It has been great to hear you all chatting at pick ups. This is where the “community” part of “community supported agriculture” begins. We appreciate those of you who have been with us for awhile (fourth season for some of you!) sharing your experiences with new-comers. We know that it is often a big adjustment to eat from your basket. But we believe it is an adjustment for the better (it sure has been for us!), and one you will come to enjoy more and more in time. The food you receive each week from our gardens is fresher than any that can be bought at a grocery store. It has more vitality. Also, your food money stays local. Grocery store dollars go a lot of different places; not much of it sticks around. A good deal of what you pay for your membership with us goes right back into the maintenance and care of the land.

A word about medicinal uses of food and herbs…. The garden has long been the poor man’s apothecary. It is certainly ours. Last week a few of you pointed out medicinal properties in Burdock Root that we hadn’t noted in our newsletter. Thank you. We tracked down the information in our favorite exhaustive herbal. Burdock is a mild uterine stimulant. Coree’s confident that is quite mild, as we ate more than a couple pots of miso soup with burdock root during the late winter, early in the first trimester of this pregnancy. That said, burdock, and many of the plants and herbs we will give you throughout the season, DO have medicinal properties. We will highlight them on occasion, but generally, we do not give enough of any herb or food to make a radical change in your chemistry, and we are careful not to give you anything with a high chronic toxicity. We love and trust gentle herbs like catnip, mint, and tulsi.

Those serrated little fragrant leaves and long purple flowers in your herb bag are Tulsi. Tulsi has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda (traditional medicine of India). It is considered helpful in adapting to stress, and believed to promote longevity. We love it in tea (iced with a squeeze of fresh lemon) and think it’s smell is simply heavenly. Tulsi is also called Thai holy basil (not the same as Thai basil or lemon basil), and commonly used in Thai cuisine, especially in poultry, beef, or pork stir fry dishes.

The first sprigs of sweet basil are also included in this week’s herb bag. Just a taste, and enough of a clipping to stimulate the growth of the basil plants. You will be seeing MUCH MORE basil in your baskets in the weeks to come.

We will need your cheese order no later than next week. You can drop us an email to let us know what you would like, or just tell us at the next pick up. Aged cheddar is $9/lb, and
Blue is $14/lb.

Blueberries will start in July! Yippeee! I’m already eyeing recipes for raw blueberry pie.

This week we’re cleaning out the brassicas. The intense heat and sent everything through the roof. The kohlrabi couldn’t take much more, so this is the last of them. The broccoli may decide to make side-shoots, or maybe not. Could be the last we see of these crops until Fall. But green beans are harbingers of summer and we’re so glad to have them. Considerable time was spent on our knees this week, pulling particularly persistent (but fortunately shallow-rooted) weeds from between bean rows. The beans are free and clear now, and blooming well.

I’ve been hearing some trepidation about using your kohlrabi. Have no fear. Just peel it and grate it on a salad if you can’t bring yourself to try this:

Kohlrabi ‘n’ Carrot Slaw
1 lb kohlrabi (about 4 medium bulbs), peeled, grated 1 red bell pepper, diced
2 large carrots, grated 1 small red onion, diced (1/2 cup)
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme 1 large clove garlic, minced
½ cup sour cream 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cups wine vinegar 1 ½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp salt ¼ tsp black pepper

1) Toss the kohlrabi, carrots, bell pepper, onion, thyme, and garlic in a large bowl.
2) Whisk the sour cream, oil, vinegar, chili powder, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
3) Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

Also, please try this great green bean recipe:

Green Bean Salad (Loobeye Mutabali – From the Tables of Lebanon)
¾ lbs fresh green beans 1-2 small cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup fresh lemon juice 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste

Trim the ends off the green beans and wash in cold water. Break into 2-inch pieces. Cook in salted water until tender (guesstimate: 4 minutes). Drain and cool.
Mix the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Pour over the green beans, and toss well.

Carrots and beets may be ready next week, fennel too.

And even though it won’t be next week, we have to report our excitement about the early tomatoes. They are doing great, and we very much look forward to sharing them with you.

Your gardeners, Paul, Coree, and Lulah Entwistle

“I’m a great one for places. This farm’s just full of places I’ve picked out to spend a day sitting in, if I ever get time to do it. Cool places or quiet ones, with water running or an overlook. I’ve thought of some of them nearly all my life. And looks like I’ve never had time to sit down and be still very long in a one.”
~ Wendell Berry, A Place on Earth

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