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

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