Thursday, August 11, 2011

week 12

Lettuce Tomatoes Cucumber Sweet Peppers Garlic Eggplant Potatoes

Cantaloupe Onion Okra/Tomatillo/Squash

Basil Parsley Summer Greens

The rain's been so sweet, there's just not quite enough of it. So the drip tape is down and the tap is open. Our water comes from the little creek branch right next to our house. We don't mindusing it as needed. It's just a short diversion of the water from it's original course. It sure makes a big difference in how the garden grows!

The season's turn is fast approaching. This week we all remarked on the change in the quality of the air, just a smell or a feeling of Autumn, even when it's still so hot. The greens of the leaves aren't as dark as they were a month ago.

It's been a busy week and we're grateful to feel so much getting done around the homestead. A friend of Branden visited over the weekend and was good help hauling down a HUGE tomato and cantaloupe harvest. Friends with kids (always a boon for Lulah) visited early in the week, as did long-time shareholder John, who lended his hands generously to a number of the tasks of that day. Our jolly good friend Wilson reappeared on Wednesday and helped bring down the peppers, eggplants, and yet more tomatoes. We're really grateful for the extra help. It makes our days lighter, and brighter.

Corn lovers, your day is coming. The corn looks like it will be ready next week. Tomatoes are peaking and will ramp off some, and watermelons and corn will come on in bursts. The peppers are ramping up on color (and sweet flavor), and the summer squash are coming back into production as well. The gardens look good, if a little dry.

In your herb bag this week you'll find some new greens. We're trialing some summer greens this year and these were the first ones to look good. You can use them as you would turnip greens. They're very “green”, not too sweet, but not overly bitter or spicy either. Let us know what you think. Here's a nice simple recipe from Mariquita Farms in California:

Summer Greens Meal

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil 3 Garlic cloves, minced

1 cup shitake mushrooms, sliced 1 Tablespoon Red Raspberry or cider vinegar

1 large red onion, sliced 1 can black beans

2 Tablespoons soy sauce 1 large pototo, cubed

1 bunch of cleaned greens

Put all ingredients in a large pot, in the order listed. Bring mixture to boiling point, stir, lower heat to simmer, cover and cook for 15 or 20 minutes, or until potato is tender. Serve with a chilled fruit and yogurt accompaniment.

The plague of grasshoppers has come to our gardens. They have eaten a couple of plantings to the ground, and have done quite a lot of damage to this week's lettuce. We're sending it anyway. Those of you who love lettuce will make the most of it, like we do. Those of you who don't love lettuce won't be sad. All new plantings are being immediately covered with remay (polyspun row cover), giving the seeds and seedlings some protection in their early weeks.

The book Radical Homemakers has lately come to our home, and it's some juicy night time reading material. Here's some food for thought about our food system:

~ The average American ingests approximately fourteen (14) pounds of chemicals per year in the form of food additives (coloring, flavorings, preservatives, and emulsifiers), pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, hormones and heavy metals That does not include our annual per capita consumption of 58.2 pounds of high fructose corn syrup.

~ Over the last 100 years of modern agriculture, 75% of plant genetic diversity has been lost and now 30% of livestock breeds are at risk of extinction.

~ 75% of the world's food comes from 12 plants and only five animal species.

~ Six companies control 98% of the world's seed sales, four companies slaughter 81% of American beef, and four companies control 70% of American milk sales.

~ Up to 40% of the food grown in the US is lost or thrown away (WOW, yeah?).

~ 28% of American families share a meal together daily, and food companies spend $10 billion per year on advertising directly targeting children.

This is the stuff that makes us glad to work hard in the hot sun for the sake of real food.

Indian-Style Okra and Tomatoes

¾ tsp cumin ¾ tsp coriander 1/8 tsp cayenne

1/8 tsp ground fennel 1/8 tsp turmeric 3 Tbsp vegetable oil

½ lb okra ¾ cup chopped onion 2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 Tbsp chopped ginger 1-2 diced tomatoes

Measure dry spices into a small bowl. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large heavy skillet over med-high heat. Add okra in a single layer and fry without stirring for 1 minute. Continue cooking for 3-4 minutes, tossing and turning okra until it is lightly browned. Remove okra from the pan.

Add the remaining oil to the same pan along with the onions. Cook onions until light golden, then add the garlic and ginger and cook stirring constantly, until the mixture caramelizes (8-10 minutes). Add the spices; stir for a few seconds and then add the tomatoes and ¼ cup water.

Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring for 3 minutes, or until the mixture thickens. Ad the fried okra and salt to taste. Return to a boil and cook, covered, over low heat, until the okra is cooked and the sauce thickens about 20 minutes. Stir in some cilantro and garnish with more, if desired.

A Big Tomato Sandwich

1 large loaf ciabatta bread Herb Vinaigrette 2 or more big ripe tomatoes

1 large red/yellow pepper, roasted, peeled, quartered 4 oz fresh mozzarella or goat cheese

salt and pepper to taste

1. Slice the top third off the bread and set it aside. Pull out the inside (make bread crumbs).

2. Paint the inside of the bread with some of the dressing, then make layers of sliced tomatoes, pepper, and cheese. Bathe each laye with dressing and season with salt and pepper.

3. Add the top, press down, and cut into quarters or sixths. This packs well if wrapped tightly.

Herb Vinaigrette: ¼ cup basil leaves, 1 Tbsp marjoram, 1 Tbsp parsley, 1 clove minced garlic,

1/3 cup olive oil, 4 tsp. Aged red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.

Finely chop and mix well all ingredients.

Have a great weekend! The Entwistles

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