Thursday, June 16, 2011

weeks 3 and 4

Red Springs Family Farm
June 16, 2011 week 4

Lettuce Lacinato Kale Kohlrabi
Carrots Broccoli Red Onion
Green Coriander Sorrel Basil & Mint

Beautiful! What a break! We’ve enjoyed the cold snap, and the good soaking rain yesterday, and the garden has too. The summer transplanting is almost complete and now with a good hoeing and a little more mulch, the summer crops will be “laid by” as they say ‘round here. Early tomatoes are swelling, but still green. They’re setting a tremendous number of blooms (exciting news for future harvests). Squashes, peppers, and eggplants are also blooming, and will be set to grow as we emerge from these wonderful cool days.

Today you’re getting the first handful of carrots, the first bulbed onions, and their yummy greens, and a little taste of fresh basil. The broccoli is just a bite. It falls short of what we had hoped for, and is nowhere near the perfection of a good autumn broccoli, but it’s a sincere reflection of the temperature fluctuations and growing conditions of the season so far. Tall and willowy, reaching for the sky, going to bloom before it makes a full head. We’ll be glad to pull out the remaining stalks and leaves (the chickens will turn them into good eggs) and give the space to another vegetable. Enjoy this special taste of broccoli.

The broccoli isn’t the only thing aiming for the sky down in the hollow. Lulah’s feet seem to touch the sky as she pumps herself up on the swingset, and lettuce has been bolting skyward as well, so we’re moving on into the summer lettuce selection of crunchy sweet butterheads. We like to dress our salads with a pinch of salt, a splash of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and nutritional yeast. The garlic will be out of the ground shortly, and then the salads will really sing!

Both the broccoli and the kale could use a good soaking before you cook them. Put a generous pinch of salt in your soaking water and it will cause any remaining cabbage lopers (green caterpillars) to float to the top of the bowl. It’s nicer to find them in the rinse water than on your plate!

As a matter of full disclosure – we do use an organically approved caterpillar killing spray (Dipel) on the cabbage family vegetables. It is based on bacillus thuringiensis (BT for short) – a naturally occurring soil-born bacteria that kills caterpillars, and has been used to do so since the 1920’s. Its effect is very targeted, and it is deactivated by sunlight, so it is active for a very short period of time. We use it only on a need-to basis. If we didn’t, there would rarely be kale, collard, broccoli, or kohlrabi to enjoy. Rest assured, we are extremists about what we use in the garden and this is the only pesticide, fungicide or herbicide that we use. We rinse these well and eat them without reservation. Any organic food you buy in the grocery store has certainly been sprayed with BT or some other variety of organic approved chemicals, and conventional produce has been treated with what the organic board did not approve, which can be some really poisonous stuff.

BT has gotten some bad press lately because it’s being used in Genetic Modification – particularly in potatoes, corn, and cotton – and due to that strange technology, the bacteria is now showing up in human blood stream samples. This is, in our opinion, one of the many potential ill effects of short term thinking in the world of modern agri-business (we don’t believe that sort of science can aptly be called ‘culture’).

Enough of that! How about a Broccoli Tofu Stir Fry?

Prepare: 1 ½ cups broccoli
2 carrots, thinly sliced 1 ½ cups kohlrabi, peeled, cut to 1 inch cubes
Drop vegetables into 2 cups boiling water. Boil for 2 minutes, drain, reserve cooking liquid.

Add to liquid for sauce: 2 Tbsp soy sauce
½ tsp garlic powder ½ tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp sugar 1 Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot

In a large skillet or wok, cook a few minutes: 3 Tbsp. oil and 2 onions, cut into thin wedges.

Add the drained veggies to the onions, stir. Add 2 cups tofu, cut in 1 inch cubes.
Stir in the sauce and cook until sauce is bubbly. Serve on hot rice.

You could vary the vegetables used in this stir fry quite abit and still have great results. The greens would be just fine in here, and probably would not need the 2 minute blanch.
(adapted from The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook)

If you’re wondering what to do with sorrel – try this recipe. We put some finely sliced sorrel into a chicken soup (along with green coriander seed) to a very nice effect. You don’t have 2-3 cups of sorrel in your herb bag, but you could mix in some kale or even broccoli to bulk it up.

Sorrel and Goat Cheese Quiche
2-3 cups sorrel, coarsely chopped a few scallions, chopped
3-4 ounces goat cheese (chevre) 3 eggs
1½ cups milk ¼ teaspoon salt
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread goat cheese (or any strong flavored cheese) in the bottom of a piecrust. Cover with chopped sorrel and scallions. Beat eggs, salt and milk together. Pour over greens. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until top is golden brown.
Source: A Luna Circle Farm original recipe

Next week, we’ll likely pull more carrots, maybe beets, and hopefully the Chinese cabbages will be full enough to share.

Thank you for participating in our CSA. We know that the increasing speed of the world does not lend itself to cooking meals from scratch at home, and we commend you for continuing to value authentic and high quality food. Please feel free to contact us with questions about your basket’s contents – we want to encourage you to eat well and enjoy your share of the harvest. If you’d like to help spread the word about our farm and its service, please look us up at and drop a good word on our page there. By the time tomato season begins, we will have WAAAY too much food around here, and the local harvest site is a nice way to get our name out to the surrounding community. We appreciate your support.

Have a lovely weekend.

“…Lightning, then the rain-laughter. Dark earth receives that clear and grows a trunk. Melon and cucumber come dragging along on pilgrimage. You have to be to be blessed! Pumpkin begins climbing a rope! Where did he learn that? Grass, thorns, a hundred thousand ants and snakes, everything is looking for food. Don’t you hear the noise?...” ~ excerpt of Rumi

Red Springs Family Farm
June 9, 2011 week 3

Lettuce Rainbow Lights Chard Kohlrabi
Baby beet greens Mizuna Sorrel
Green Coriander Anise Hyssop Day Lilies

The gardens are looking better all the time. Paul and Branden are sweating it out for the love of good food. Sunday brought us a sweet little downpour. We were grateful for that ¼ inch of rain. The newly transplanted sweet potatoes were grateful too. Thanks to a little help from some friends, the tomatoes are all mulched and caged up and setting loads of little green fruits. Branden went to visit a neighboring farm’s interns and brought back a “crop mob” for an afternoon of work on the hill. Six folks with hoes and pitchforks sure can accomplish a lot of work in a short time! The home table was full of lively discussion, swapping travel plans and college stories over a late dinner of scrambled eggs and homemade tortillas. We all slept well that night.

There is no doubt that summer is here. Besides the little rain over the weekend, the days have been clear and hot hot hot. The cold creek is our best refuge and we enjoy it often. Please feel free to come out for a splash. In the meantime, stay hydrated. Here’s how Paul maintains:
One quart of good water dash of sea salt dollop of sorghum or molasses
Stir these three together and drink as needed. Don’t add ice or refrigerate. This is a homemade electrolyte drink. It hits the belly easier than water, and is very satisfying in this deep heat.

I know that most of you don’t eat your day lilies, but please remember that they are safe and lovely on a salad. Throw the anise hyssop flowers on too and you’ll have a veritable masterpiece of flavor and color in one bowl. Even if you don’t put the lilies on a plate – you might enjoy them in a vase. Each flower only lasts one day, but if you persist to pluck them off, you’ll be amazed at how many of even the smallest buds will burst into bloom for you over time.

The little purple aliens are back! These are kohlrabi. They’re fun. We like to eat kohlrabi grated in a salad. We put it in a teriyaki stir fry a couple nights ago. It’s just fine peeled and eaten like an apple, straight out of the lunchbox. We have not actually tried this recipe, but have used kohlrabi in slaw-like (what is coleslaw but kohlslaw anyway?) fashions and this sounds like a winner:


Makes 4 cups

1/4 cup cream 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon good mustard 1/2 teaspoon sugar
Salt & pepper to taste - go easy here Fresh mint, chopped
1 pound fresh kohlrabi, trimmed, peeled, grated or cut into batons with a Benriner
2 apples, peeled, grated or cut into batons (try to keep equivalent volumes of kohlrabi:apple)

Whisk cream into light pillows - this takes a minute or so, no need to get out a mixer. Stir in remaining dressing ingredients, the kohlrabi and apple. Serve immediately.

The feathery little leaves in your herb bag this week are chervil, the symbol of sincerity. It does not love our clayey soils and excess heat, so we’re sending it in a little early, just in case. Here’s some more details: “Often referred to as the “gourmet’s parsley,” chervil tastes mildly of licorice combined with pepper imparting certain freshness to a dish. Fresh or dried, it is a bright green and quite delicate and should be added to a dish at the end of cooking. Chervil has a tendency to enhance the flavors of other herbs when used in combinations. The most notable case is fines herbes, the French blend of at least three herbs, ground fine, where one herb is almost always chervil.” It is a good partner with your kohlrabi, and is said to be a natural companion to carrots. With luck, the chervil will live to be picked again when the carrots are ready (which will be pretty soon!).

Since the broccoli isn’t behaving in the heat (who would?), we’re sending this beautiful chard. We need to speak a kind word about chard stems now. There were times in the late winter and early spring when chard stems were an important food item in our home. They are very good. I’ve used them as a vegetable in pasta salads, quiche, and stir fry. They need more cooking than the leaves, but not much. They’re best enjoyed with a little texture remaining. That said, here’s a deluxe chard leaf recipe from a beautiful cookbook. Go to it!

Lasagne with Chard, Ricotta, and Walnuts from Local Flavors by Deborah Madison
1 cup walnuts sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 lbs chard leaves 2 Tbsp olive oil, plus extra for the dish
3 large cloves minced garlic 1/3 cup white wine
1 cup whole milk ricotta 1 cup fresh grated parmesan
2 4 oz balls mozzarella, grated 1 ¼ cup milk
1 8 oz box no-boil lasagna noodles

1. Bring 2 gallons of water to a boil for chard and pasta. Pre-heat oven to 400, then toast the walnuts in a shallow pan until pale gold and fragrant. Chop finely and set aside.
2. When the water boils add 1 tbsp salt and the chard. Cook about 5 minutes, even if the water doesn’t return to a boil. Scoop the chard into a colander; press out and reserve water. Chop chard.
3. Heat oil in a wide skillet and add 2/3 of the garlic, then the chard. Cook over med-high heat, turning frequently for several minutes, then add the wine and allow to cook down. Turn off heat.
4. Combine ricotta, parmesan, all but ¾ cup mozzarella, and remaining garlic. Stir in 1/3 cup of the chard cooking water, then add the chard. Mix, taste for salt, and season with pepper.
5. Bring the water back to a boil. Lightly oil a 9X13 dish. Drizzle ¼ cup milk over the dish.
6. Drop 3 pieces of instant pasta into the water and boil for 1 minute. Remove them and fit them in the baking dish. Sprinkle with ¼ cup walnuts. Repeat twice more with the pasta, milk, cheese mixture, and ¼ cup of the walnuts. When you get to the last layer, add the remaining milk, mozzarella, and walnuts. Place 4 toothpicks in the pasta to make a tent, then cover with foil, and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes longer or until lightly browned on top. Let sit for 10 minutes, then cut into portions and serve.

We know that it’s summer vacation time for a lot of you. Please remember to take care of your baskets over your vacation. When you can’t make a pick up, we ask first that you find someone to pick up for you while you’re gone. If you can’t find someone, please give us AMPLE notice (preferably one week, but a few days at least is helpful) so we can try to fill in the gap. we can also arrange to donate your unused share to a shelter, if we have enough advanced notice to arrange the pick up. Thanks.

Have a great weekend – stay cool enough – and enjoy the harvest!
With love from Red Springs Family Farm

“It is wrong to think that bodily health is compatible with spiritual confusion or cultural disorder,
or with polluted air and water or impoverished soil.” – Wendell Berry

No comments: