Sunday, December 20, 2015

Winter Week Five: Christmas Time is Here Again

The snow came!!!

It's 6:30 at night in December, so it is too dark for me to take a picture of it, but I bet you've all seen it by now anyway.

We were enjoying the fall weather, but it felt wrong. I'm glad the world is right now. I really do like to have a white Christmas.

For your share this week you can expect the following:

Half share: 1 lb Onions, 2 lbs Carrots, One Acorn Squash, One Squash Choice, Cabbage, Dry Beans (a baking variety).

Full share: All the half share items plus more Carrots, One Long Pie Pumpkin, Kohlrabi, Kale Chips, and Daikon Radishes.

I've braided together some of the smaller red onions we harvested this year into one pound braids.We're distributing them with this week's share as a sort of Christmas decoration. You can hang them up if you'd like to, just cut onions from the top down so the braids hold together while you use them up.

The change in weather has not only put me in the mood for Christmas. It's also put me in the mood for stew, which is what I made for the share recipe this week.

I used lamb because we trade vegetables for meat with one of our neighbors (which is the sweetest deal ever!) and usually get a lot of lamb, but you can feel free to swap in beef or venison if that is what you have on hand. This is a super simple stew, in which the vegetables play the starring role, so put in your favorites. I've written the recipe with the vegetables I used (many of which are, of course, in this week's share) but you can change it however you like. Other ideas include potatoes, sweet potatoes, daikon radishes, rutabaga, turnip, or mushrooms.

Stew for a Snowy Day
  • 1 pound cubed stew meat (lamb, beef, or venison)
  • 4 small onions (such as those in your braid) peeled and halved
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 4 cups stock or water
  • 1 storage kohlrabi, peeled really well and cut into one inch cubes
  • 1 pound carrots, cut into large chunks
  • 1 acorn squash, peeled and cut into one inch cubes

Place the meat, onions, flour, salt and pepper into a large pot over medium heat. Stir to coat the meat with flour.

Cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is lightly browned and the flour is toasted. Watch carefully, turning down the heat if needed, do that the flour doesn't burn.

When the meat is browned, add the stock and remaining chopped vegetables. Don't worry if your vegetables are not quite covered with liquid at this point, they will release a lot of liquid as they cook and cover themselves.

Bring the stew to a boil, turn down to low, cover, and simmer until everything is as tender as you'd like it to be. This will take at least an hour of simmering.

When the stew is done, put it in a bowl and pose with it.

Seda likes to be in the blog. She also likes to decorate the table
with tangerine stickers. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Winter Week 4: This is Fall

For those of you who are life long Yoopers. This is the kind of November and December weather that the rest of Michigan refers to as fall.

I'm used to wondering whether or not I'd have a white Christmas when I lived downstate, but it feels completely wrong up here.

Christmas lights look silly without snow around.

On the plus side, the unusual weather allowed Scott to get some fall projects done. 

Which meant that I could take this awesome
picture of him.
And it was the warmest ever weekend for Ontonagon's annual Hometown Christmas fireworks and parade.

Hometown Christmas  is always a wonderful time.

Turns out it's even more wonderful when no
one has to worry about cold noses or toes.
This weather also means the December fields look a lot different than we're used to and the most cold hardy vegetables we grow are actually still growing. So, even though it's December 8th, members will be getting some fresh greens in their shares this week.

Half Share Members can look forward to: Onions, Rutabaga, Cabbage, Buttercup Squash, Jester OR Carnival Squash, 3 pounds Daikon, Dried Tomatoes, and 
Baby Kale. 

Full Share Members will get all that good stuff as well as: Brussels Sprouts, Parsley, An additional Squash choice, and more baby kale. 

This week's recipe focuses on the daikon radishes. We have been growing them for some time now because they are a reliable crop for our area that store exceptionally well and are quite versatile. It's easy (for me at least) to look at them and automatically think stir fry or salad because of their Asian radishy-ness, but they're also great cooked in ways you might think more suited to a turnip or potato. As in this recipe.

Roasted Pork Shoulder with Daikon Radish and Balsamic Vinegar
  •  One 2-3 pound Pork Shoulder Roast
  • 1.5 lbs Daikon Radishes (about half of what is in the share this week) cut into 3/4 inch rounds
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • .5 ounce dried tomato (about a third of what is in the share this week) chopped finely
  • 1 or 2 small onions (red is best) chopped finely
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place the sliced daikon radishes in the bottom of a roasting pan that is large enough to accommodate the pork roast. Set the roast on top of the radishes.

Combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dried tomato, chopped onion, salt and pepper.

Pour the olive oil mixture over the top of the roast.

It will look like this going into the oven. Though maybe your oven
 door is cleaner than mine.
Roast, uncovered, at 425 for 20 minutes. Turn the heat down to 350 and continue to roast, uncovered, until the meat is cooked through and tender, which took about 3 hours in total for me. The time it takes will depend on the size of your roast. Turn the meat every hour or so and spoon the liquid from the bottom of the pan over the roast as it cooks. The dried tomatoes will caramelize and soften as they cook and you will be able to spread them across the surface of the roast while it cooks. Do that, it's delicious.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Week 3: In which we give thanks and Pooh gets stuck in a tight place

Andrea wants you all to know that this is a guest post, by me, Scott.

This week, you will receive:
Brussels Sprouts
Butternut Squash
Acorn Squash

Full share members also get:
"Other" Squash

Some of you have asked about potatoes in the future, and I am afraid to say that you have seen all you will from our farm this year. Despite a dry spring, excellent planting team, and good hilling, the plants never seemed to recover from the cold and too wet June weather. Next year will be perfect.

This week, we are distributing one of my all time favorite vegetables, the mighty celeriac, aka celery root. With it's mild celery flavor and somewhat nutty qualities, it gets it's own part of my heart. On the bottomland farm that we worked at in Grand Rapids, MI, the celeriac grew to the size of softballs. We've never achieved that on our own mineral soil. The flavor of our much smaller roots continues to make it worth growing though. You can slice them thin and eat them raw, with cheese and crackers, or add them to soups. You can roast them with other root vegetables. I tried a new approach this evening, sauteed in olive oil with salt and pepper.

1/4 cup Leeks, cut into 1 inch long pieces, large ones sliced in half lengthwise
1/2-1 cup grated Celeriac
3-4 tbls Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

I tried to grate the celeriac using a cheese grater with limited success, and ended up slicing most of it into thin pieces, however, the grated pieces were much better than the sliced, so I highly recommend using a food processor to shred or grate it if you have one.

Heat the frying pan and olive oil to low-med heat and then add the leeks. Stir after 1 minute and add the celeriac. Cook for around 5 minutes for grated and more for sliced.

I envisioned this to be served with mashed potatoes and gravy, and although I didn't try it, I stand by the vision.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Winter Week 2: Farm Fairies

I frequently joke about farm fairies. Mainly the jokes tend towards irate mutterings about the fact that farm fairies do not exist.

I'm pretty sure that most non farmer folks who fantasize about bucolic farm life are unwittingly imagining farm fairies.

You see, unless a farm has fairies to take on some of the workload, farmers have very little time to simply bask in the pleasures of farm life.

But this harvest season, we've had fairies.

That's not me and Scott harvesting carrots!!!
Jake and Ashley, the fabulous farmers of North Harvest CSA in Calumet have been moonlighting at Wintergreen. They're helping us bring in the harvest.

Skilled workers are about as close as we can get to farm fairies :)

This week, half share members will receive 3 pounds Carrots, Carnival Squash, Rutabaga, Brussels Sprouts, 1 pound Winter Radishes, Cabbage, Leeks, and Chard.

Full share members will get all of that plus 2 more pounds Carrots and 1 more pound Radishes, Acorn Sqush, additional Leeks, and Celery.

Our members have seen more than a few winter radishes over the years, and this year's winter members will be seeing several more of them. I get that they are strange things to cook with if you aren't accustomed to them. I try to feature them frequently in the share descriptions with preparation ideas and recipes.

If you like them raw, I'm especially fond of the slaw recipe in this post.

If you prefer your veggies to have slightly less heart-burn-inducing fire to them, then you should cook your winter radishes. We like to cut them into chunks and roast them along with rutabaga, carrots, and whatever other root vegetables we have on hand. 

They're also good like this:

Orange Glazed Carrots and Daikon

  • 1 lb carrots, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 lb daikon radishes (I used a mix of white and purple), also cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium/low heat. Add the ginger and cinnamon and stir until well combined. Add the sliced vegetables, stir together well.

Add the salt and orange juice. Cook, stirring frequently until the vegetables are just tender and the orange juice has reduced by about half, thickening into a glaze, about 10-15 minutes.


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Winter Share 1: Sunny Days

I love that I get to look at this tree everyday.

I also love the weather this fall, strange as it is. Though we have certainly brought in a lot of produce for storage already, this lingering warmth and sunshine means that much of this first winter share is actually going to be harvested fresh from the fields the day before distribution, just like a summer share.

Some lucky full share member will receive these
very Brussels sprouts on Tuesday.
This week's half share members will receive: Kale, Celery or Parsley, Leeks, Carrots, Kohlrabi, Honey Bear Acorn Squash, and a Pie Pumpkin.

The full share members will receive: All that yummy half share stuff plus Potatoes, Beets, Brussels Sprouts and a Spaghetti Squash.

So, this is a lot of food coming at you. If you're not sure how to store it, here are some tips:

Squash store well for up to a month on the counter. Try to keep them out of direct sun and away from a hot stove or other appliance that causes temperature swings. Of the squash you are receiving this week, the spaghetti squash will keep the longest and the pumpkin will keep for the least amount of time.

Beets, carrots, kohlrabi, and leeks will all keep nicely in a crisper. So will Brussels sprouts. The sprouts do best stored on the stalks. Leeks store best with any yellow leaves trimmed away before storage.

The kale and celery or parsley will not keep as long as the other items in your share. Protect them from drying out in the fridge with a plastic bag and try to eat them up within a week of getting them.

Now, what should you do with this bounty you are about to receive? Eat it, of course :)

I know some of the items in the share can be challenging to cook with, so I came up with a recipe that uses some of the hardest to use stuff. It's simple to make, but kind of time consuming. There is a lot of peeling and chopping involved. That's kind of how it goes with the winter veggies. Food that stores well tends to require a fair amount of breaking down to become tasty. This recipe makes plenty though, so the hard work is worth it.

You'll be lunching on pumpkin, kohlrabi, kale and leeks all
week long :)

Curried Pumpkin and Kohlrabi Stew

Neither pumpkin nor kohlrabi have a ton of flavor on their own, so pairing them with strong seasonings like curry works really well. If you like spice, throw in a bit of jalapeno or cayenne to add some heat. The pumpkin softens as it cooks, which is what adds body to this all vegetable stew.
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried ginger, or a half inch piece of fresh ginger peeled and minced
  • 2 leeks, washed well and roughly chopped
  • 4 stalks of celery with leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 large kohlrabi peeled! (always peel the kohlrabi well, the peel is very woody) and cut into bite sized cubes.
  • 1 medium pie pumpkin peeled (I peeled mine whole with a vegetable peeler before cutting into it. It took strong hands and about ten minutes.), seeds removed and cut into bite sized cubes.
  • 1/2 bunch kale, with stems, roughly chopped
  • 3 large carrots (about 1/2 pound), cut into two inch pieces
  • 2 cups of water
  • Salt to taste (I used a teaspoon)
In a large cooking pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks, celery, curry powder and ginger. Stir constantly until the leeks and celery begin to wilt and the spices are very fragrant. About three minutes.

Add the remaining vegetables, the water, and the salt. The vegetables will release a lot of liquid as they cook, the water you are adding at this point is just enough to get their juices flowing. 

Let the water come to a boil, turn the heat down to low, and cover. Cook, stirring every 15 minutes or so, until the pumpkin begins to break down. About 45 minutes.

Eat for a week.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Week 16: First Frost of Fall and Last Share of Summer

As is usual, it's been an unusual year as far as the weather is concerned. Planting season was slow to get going (really, really slow if you recall) but, once the weather started to cooperate, we plodded along and planted everything as planned--even if it was later than we'd like.

And we're so glad we did! This has been the warmest fall we've ever seen, and the latest first frost--allowing the crops a little bonus time to ripen up. In fact, we haven't even had our first frost yet this fall. Though, we're pretty sure it will happen tonight.

Which is why the main activity on the farm over the last few days has been bringing in squash. It won't keep if it gets frosted.

And we have far more than we can eat in the next few days :)
Even with help from the members, who'll be getting plenty of squash in the shares this week. This week's share will include: Spaghetti Squash, Honey Bear Acorn Squash, Pie Pumpkins, Celeriac, Cabbage, Rutabaga, Kale, Tomatoes, Winter Radishes, Carrots or Beets, and Leeks or Scallions.

This is the second week that we're giving out these lovely flowering kale:

We hope you are enjoying last week's kale. They are a bit different than the more familiar, broader leafed kales like winterbor or lacinato. I've found that they don't make good chips or salads because they're more stem than leaf. Happily, these  particular kales have some of the sweetest stems we've ever tasted and they are especially good in soup. Like the Pumpkin Apple Soup I made for this week's recipe.

Pumpkin Apple Soup
  • One Pie Pumpkin
  • One Leek
  • Three small (or one normal sized) Celeriac
  • Two tart Apples
  • 4 cups Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ginger
  • Salt, Pepper, and Cayenne Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Milk or Cream
  • 12 stems Kale
Halve the pumpkin and cook it at 350 degrees until soft, about one hour.

Meanwhile, chop the leeks, celeriac and apples into 1/4 inch pieces. Combine them with the chicken stock and seasonings in a medium saucepan. Bring them to a simmer and simmer until the celeriac are tender, about twenty minutes.

Chop the kale, stem and all, into bite sized pieces.

When the pumpkin has finished cooking, remove the seeds and discard. Then scoop out the flesh and puree it with the milk or cream until it is very smooth. 

Stir the pumpkin puree into the chicken stock, apples, celeriac and leeks. Then stir in the chopped kale.

Return the soup to low/medium heat and cook until it just barely begins to simmer, then serve.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Week 15: Dinosaur Egg Buritos

It's squash time! We are beginning the process of pulling in all the winter squash we grew. As usual, we're starting with spaghetti and acorn squash because they are ready the earliest and don't require time in storage to become delicious.

The spaghetti squash were particularly fun to harvest. We plant our squash in black plastic because the plastic heats the soil to allow for earlier planting and keeps weeds down. The plants grow out of holes we poke in the plastic but, because spaghetti squash make big rambling vines, most of the fruits form in the paths between the plastic.

Like this.
And because the ground on which our squash grew this year was newly turned from hayfield into vegetable field this spring (and so is extra weedy), there is a dense mat of wild carrot in those paths.

Finding the squash that lurks beneath the carrot fronds is like hunting for Easter eggs. 

Laid by dinosaurs.
This week each member will receive: Spaghetti Squash, 2 Honey Bear Acorn Squash, Kale, Kohlrabi, Celery, Tomatoes, Red Cabbage or Kraut Cabbage, Beets or Carrots, Leeks or Scallions, and Basil or Parsley.

If you'd like to make sauerkraut but aren't sure how to go about it, this website has an excellent tutorial. 

If you'd like to make Dinosaur Egg Burritos, do this:

Spaghetti Squash Burritos

The quantities of seasonings (salt, cumin, garlic, cayenne) in this recipe are approximate because the size of a spaghetti squash can vary widely. My squash was on the big end of medium. Taste as you go and use the amount of seasoning that suits your taste buds.

For the filling:
  • One Spaghetti Squash
  • Two teaspoons butter
  • Two medium or one large Tomato, diced
  • One or more sweet or hot Peppers, diced (optional)
  • One teaspoon salt
  • One teaspoon garlic powder
  • One teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream
  • One can Pinto Beans, drained and rinsed
For serving:
  • Flour or Corn Tortillas
  • Diced fresh tomato
  • Sliced scallions
Halve the spaghetti squash, scoop out the seeds, and bake in a 350 degree oven until it is very soft, about one hour.

When the squash is cooked and cool enough to touch, scoop the flesh into a large bowl. Add chopped tomato and pepper (if using) as well as salt, garlic. cumin seeds, and cayenne.

Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the seasoned spaghetti squash. Cook, stirring frequently, until the tomato and pepper is just tender, 5 to 10 minutes.

Turn the heat to low and add the sour cream and pinto beans. Stir until the beans and sour cream are well mixed with the spaghetti squash and everything is heated through.

Serve with tortillas and fresh tomatoes and scallions.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Week 13: Farmer Food

I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

We did! Mostly we labored, but we enjoyed it :) There is a lot to harvest this time of year.

And this year has kept us extra busy, as we balance the increased production of Wintergreen Foods products with our usual CSA activities. 

Products like Kale Chips!
(I'm especially enthusiastic about these.)
Not surprisingly, we have found that with new endeavors come new challenges and new heights of busyness, but, while we certainly haven't achieved perfection (there's always next year...) the fields are in good shape as we transition into fall.

The dry beans are drying, the winter radishes are maturing, the acorn squash are ripening and the late planted (remember when June rains kept chasing us out of the fields?) fall crops are heading up nicely.  

Like the cauliflower :)
This week's share will include: Cauliflower, Rutabaga, Kale or Chard, Potatoes, Leeks, Tomatoes, Cucumbers and/or Summer Squash, and Fresh Herbs.

Now, we know that we're not the only family that is extra busy this time of year. Harvest time is also back to school time. So this week's recipe could not be simpler, and it makes use of the sometimes-challenging-to-cook rutabaga in a kid friendly way.

I called this post Farmer Food because I used some extra weird looking cauliflower and rutabaga when I made the recipe. We always feast on the funny looking stuff :)

Curly cauliflower and a rutabaga light bulb.

Maple Roasted Rutabaga and Cauliflower

1 Rutabaga, cut into one inch pieces
1 Cauliflower, separated into large curds
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees

Toss chopped rutabaga and cauliflower curds together in a bowl. Stir together the maple syrup, olive oil, and salt until they are well mixed.

Stir the maple oil mixture into the cauliflower and rutabaga to coat. Spread the coated vegetables onto a baking sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, stirring after about 10 minutes.

When it's ready, the rutabaga will be toasty and golden.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Week 12: Happy September

With the beginning of September has come a grey sky over yellow fields of goldenrod...

At least that's what today looks like at our place.
...and a share packed with fall vegetables.

Just like early September, this week's share is a lovely mix of summer and fall. It includes: Kale, Potatoes, Leeks, Rutabaga, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Broccoli, and Fresh Herbs.

The rutabagas are our usual variety, a lumpier than average heirloom called gilfeather's turnip (though they are true 'bagas and not turnips). I know some members find rutabagas especially challenging. Check out our rutabaga pinterest board for several ideas if you need some inspiration. My favorite is the baked rutabaga fries. I made some seasoned with oregano a while back, they were heavenly.

Or you can make some soup with your 'baga, like this:

Potato and Rutabaga Soup with Kale and Bacon Crumbles 

For the soup:
  • 3 strips of bacon, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 Leek, well cleaned, white and light green parts only, chopped small
  • 1-3 cloves garlic, minced, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 pound potatoes, chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 rutabaga, chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • 5-6 Kale Leaves, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 4-6 (or possibly even more) cups of milk
For the kale crumbles:
  • 3 strips of bacon, chopped into small pieces
  • 5-6 kale leaves, stemmed and chopped into bite sized pieces
In a large pot over medium heat, cook the first three strips of chopped bacon, the chopped leek, garlic and nutmeg until the bacon is cooked but not crisp and the leek is softened.

If you weren't sure, the leek should look like this
before cooking.
Add the chopped potato, rutabaga, and first six leaves of kale to the soup pot, then add milk to cover. For me that was just over four cups of milk. Bring the milk to a simmer, turn the heat to low and simmer until the rutabaga and potato are very soft, about 30-45 minutes.

Meanwhile, make kale crumbles. In a small saute pan over medium heat, cook the second three strips of bacon and the second six kale leaves until both are crisp.

Once the rutabaga and potato are tender, blend until the soup is smooth. Add milk as you blend until the soup is as thin as you like it, this took about two cups of milk for me. Taste and add salt if needed.

Sprinkle a bit of kale and bacon crumbles over each serving of soup, along with some grated cheese if you like. We used smoked Gruyere on ours, Parmesan would be good too. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Week 11: Zucchini Fritters Take Two

Usually I do the blog on Monday night, but this Monday night my hubby had the urge to cook chicken and s'mores (not all together, thankfully) over an open fire in a windy rain storm.

Seda used the pillow case as a windsock to catch the gusts. Just before
I took this photo it was sleeting :(
After that, it was definitely bed time. So, I decided to do a blog post for breakfast. I hope it wasn't too much trouble for the members to wait an extra 12 hours to find out what will be in the shares this week.

Drumroll please...(Since I left you in suspense, I thought I'd go ahead and make the most of it.)

This week's share will include: Beans, Kale, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Zucchini/Summer Squash, Mini Cabbage OR Brokali, Onions, and Fresh Herbs

We started the onion harvest this week.

Some are going into this week's share and some will be left to cure for winter. Those that are going into the share are not cured, so (unless you keep them in a warm dry place with excellent air circulation for a few weeks) you don't want to keep them sitting around for too long, stick them in the fridge and try to use them within the week.

You can use up one in this week's recipe.

I know that I featured a zucchini fritter recipe this time last year with ingredients that are very similar to the recipe below, but the results are, I think, significantly different. They're both delicious, but while last year's zucchini fritter recipe turned out savory pancakes with chunks of zucchini, the results of this year's recipe are more of a cross between zucchini hash browns and crepes. I think your best best might be to try them both and choose your favorite. 

Zucchini Fritters II

  • 2 small or 1 medium zucchini or summer squash, shredded (about 4 cups)
  • 1 small onion, shredded (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped parsley (from about 5 stems of parsley)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • butter, as need for cooking
Whisk the eggs together until they are light yellow and somewhat fluffy. Whisk in the cake flour, milk, nutmeg, salt, and baking powder one ingredient at a time. Whisk well after each addition to make sure the ingredients are well mixed and the batter stays as fluffy as possible.

Fold in the shredded zucchini and onion and the finely chopped parsley. 

Melt a generous pat of butter in a saute pan over low/medium heat. Place large spoonfuls of zucchini mixture in the pan, be sure to stir well before scooping out each spoonfull because the batter will settle to the bottom of the bowl. Cook each side until the batter starts to turn golden, about 3-5 minutes.

Like this.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Week 10: It's Delicious!

The beans and cucumbers are in big time!

A Bucket of Beans.

Boxes of Cukes.
Mid-August is an awesome time of year for the CSA. For everything but our backs ;)

Scott picking down a row of Dragon's Tongue Beans.
While I pick Royal Burgundy Beans, to match
my watch.
This week's share is all about summer. Members can expect: Beans, Cucumbers, Summer Squash/Zucchini, Tomatoes, Basil, Scallions, Chard, Mini Cabbage, and Brokali OR Kale.

Actually, most members will get brokali. We're pretty sure there is close to enough out there for all 60 shares that are going out this week. We'll use a bit of kale to fill in.

The peak of summer harvest is a somewhat easy time to be a CSA farmer. Most members have very few questions over what to do with basil, beans, or cucumbers. However, we do usually have several folks ask what to do with chard. Which is why I am featuring it in this week's recipe.

As we ate this evening, we debated what this new recipe should be called. When Scott suggested Bean and Rice Lasagna with Swiss chard I mentioned that as I was putting it together Seda had asked if I was making vegetable cake (I made it in a cake pan), at which point Seda said "Whatever it's called, it's delicious!" And so it was named.


  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 2 15 ounce cans of no salt added beans, drained (I used one can pinto and one can kidney) OR 3 cups pre-cooked beans of your choosing
  • 1 1/2 cups high quality salsa, separated (I used a low sodium corn and black bean salsa--I really don't like it when food is too salty!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 to 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil OR coconut oil
  • 1 bunch chard
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I used monteray jack)
  • 1 large or 2 medium tomatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium saucepan, over medium/high heat, combine the rice, water, beans, 1 cup of the salsa (reserve the other half cup for later in the recipe), garlic and cumin. Bring to a full boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the saucepan. Simmer until the rice is completely cooked, about 45 minutes.

In the meantime, separate the chard stems and leaves. Chop the stems into small (about 1/4-1/2 inch wide) pieces and place in one bowl. Chop the leaves roughly and place them in another bowl. Slice the scallions into 1/4 inch pieces and combine them with the chard stems.

Heat the olive or coconut oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the scallions and chard stems. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chard stems are just starting to soften, about 3-5 minutes. Add the chard leaves and remaining half cup of salsa. Stir well until the chard is evenly coated in salsa and has begun to wilt. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the chard is tender, about 15 minutes.

Once the rice and chard are both done, layer them into a 9x9 (or there abouts) baking dish thusly: First put half the rice and bean mixture on the bottom of the pan, then add all of the chard mixture, sprinkle half the shredded cheese over the chard, layer on the remaining rice and beans, add a layer of sliced tomatoes, sprinkle on the remaining shredded cheese. 

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

I knew there was no way I was going to make this plate of food look
pretty, so I went for a spooky skull face instead. See how the chard
leaf in the center kind of looks like a nasal cavity? Bon appetit!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Week Nine: A Beautiful Day with Choices

Perhaps I am a bit biased or something, but it was an absurdly beautiful day at the farm today.

I mean, look at these!

The tractor looked like candy.
The birds danced with the trees.
And sunshine turned cabbage leaves to stained glass.
Hopefully, this week's share captures something of that loveliness for the members. This week includes several choices, which always makes for a fun (or surprisingly stressful for some indecisive folks!) pick-up. 

Members can expect: Mini Cabbage, Zucchini/Summer Squash, Thai Basil, Scallions, Tomatoes, Head Lettuce, Kale OR Chard, Frisee OR Radicchio, and Purslane OR Brokali OR Fava Beans. 

Usually we try to keep the choices similar, as in kale or chard, but sometimes it doesn't work out that way. This week our small planting of favas is producing nicely, but it isn't quite enough for everyone (and we know from years past that not everyone wants them...) while at the same time our second two varieties of cutting broccoli are just getting started and our purslane patch didn't recover quickly from last week's heavy picking. Members have some real decisions to make :)

So, because I know you'll all be stressed from all that difficult choosing, I made this week's recipe extra simple.

 Halibut with Thai Basil

We were fortunate enough to have some wild caught halibut gifted to us by a generous fisherman who works on a trail crew in Alaska, but this recipe would work equally well with any mild fish, or even chicken.
  • 1/2 bunch Kale or Chard, stems removed
  • 3 large stems Thai Basil, leaves and flowers only
  • One bunch Scallions
  • Juice of one Lemon
  • One Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • About 1 pound Halibut Fillets
  • Salt to taste
Finely chop the kale or chard, Thai Basil leaves and flowers, and scallions. Toss them together in a bowl with the lemon juice and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over high heat. While the pan is heating, salt the flesh side of the halibut fillets lightly.

Once the pan is hot, place the fillets flesh side down in the pan. Sear until the surface of the fish is just golden and the fillets begin to release from the pan, about one minute.

Carefully turn the fillets over so they are skin side down in the pan (they are very delicate at this point) and turn the heat to low.

Spoon the basil mixture over the fish, cover the pan and cook over low heat until the flesh is white throughout but still juicy, 10-20 minutes depending on the size of your fillets.


Monday, August 3, 2015

Week 8: An Unexpected Salad

I know I said salad season was over. 

And it is if you think of salads as requiring lettuce, but we still have a few luscious leafy things to harvest this season.

Like Frisee
And Purslane
And these leafy things make a delectable summer salad.

Before I get too far into this week's share description, I should mention that the share includes plenty of non-salad items too. Along with the frisee and purslane, this week's share will include: Snow Peas, Basil, Kale, Cabbage, Tomatoes, and Peppers OR Eggplant.

But back to the frisee and purslane.

Frisee should be familiar to members by now. We have grown it for several years and it was in the shares last week. It's an endive, a bitter green, which makes many folks apprehensive, but it needn't be a source of stress. Bitter flavors can be overpowering, but they can also be delicious when paired with equally assertive sour, sweet, salty, and/or creamy flavors, as in this week's salad recipe.

Purslane is a newcomer to the shares, at least this cultivated variety is. Nevertheless, some of you may recognize it as a garden weed. It is a common weed, originally introduced to North America as a vegetable that escaped cultivation. It has a mucilaginous texture (think okra), a mild flavor, and high level of omega-3s. The entire plant, stem and all, is eaten raw or cooked. It's also featured in this week's recipe.

Frisee Salad with Purslane and Nectarine

  • 1 Head Frisee Endive, chopped roughly
  • 1 Handful Purslane, chopped roughly
  • 2 Nectarines, 1.5 chopped into bite sized pieces, remaining half reserved
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
Toss together the chopped frisee, purslane, chopped nectarine, and grated Parmesan cheese.

Prepare dressing by pureeing the reserved nectarine half, sour cream, lemon juice, maple syrup and salt together.

A very grown up Fruit Salad

Monday, July 27, 2015

Week Seven: Black Magic

It's kale time.

It took a while, but all those kale transplants we put in after the June rain finally subsided are ready to start harvesting.

Let us know what you think of the new lacinato variety we're trying this year.

It's called black magic.
In addition to kale, members will receive the following in this week's share: Snow Peas, Brokali, Frisee Endive, Napa Cabbage, Kohlrabi, Fennel and a Hoophouse Treat.

The hoophouse is just starting to produce for the season. We were able to harvest enough tomatoes, banana peppers and eggplants for everyone to get their choice of one this week. I know this early harvest is kind of a tease, but I promise there is plenty more to come as the season progresses.

Just the beginning.

If you are apprehensive about getting another fennel in your share, fret no more! I added a few more fennel recipes to our Pinterest board if you need some ideas.

There is also an extensive endive board, should you need some inspiration with that this week.

If you aren't sure what to do with your Brokali, try this recipe:

Chicken and Brokali with Ginger Citrus Sauce

  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced orange zest
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar or honey
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into large cubes
  • 1/4 pound brokali (include florets, leaves, and tender stems)
  • 1 banana pepper
  • a large handful of snow peas (there were about 12 peas in my handful)
Combine the ginger, orange zest, orange juice, soy sauce, olive oil, and sugar. Stir well and pour over the cubed chicken. Marinate for half an hour.

In the meantime, chop all of the vegetables into bite sized pieces.

When the chicken is done marinating, heat a large skillet over medium/high heat. Pour in the chicken and all of its marinating liquid.

Cook, over medium/high heat, until the chicken is browned on all sides and the sauce has begun to boil, about five minutes. 

Turn the heat down to medium and continue to cook until the sauce is reduced by about a third and the chicken is completely cooked, 10 to 15 more minutes.

Push the chicken to the side of the pan and pour in the chopped vegetables. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are just heated through and covered with sauce, about two minutes.

Serve with plenty of rice to soak up the sauce.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Week 6: In Between Time

During our field walk this morning Scott and I found baby peas and baby zucchini growing.

I am a sucker for morning sun on the field photos.
The long salad season is drawing to a close for this year and the shares are starting to get just a little bit chunkier. We haven't quite gotten into the summer vegetables yet, but they're close.

This week's share will include: Pea Greens, Fennel, Nappa Cabbage, Kohlrabi, Spring Onions, Fresh Herbs, Brokali OR Collards, and Daikon OR Gold Ball Turnips.

Scott said he did a bit of a survey regarding the pea greens at last week's pick up. The general consensus was that they are good, but a little tough. We have definitely found that they toughen as they sit after harvest--just like fresh peas will, so try to use them up within the first couple days after you get them. We have also noticed that the toughest portion of the greens tends to be the fine tendrils that grow off the tips of the shoots. If you are having trouble with them, perhaps try trimming off the tendrils before you prepare your pea greens.

I've included fennel in this week's slaw recipe, I know it's one of the items we grow that members find especially challenging to use up. If you would like to go in a different direction with your fennel, this recipe for candied fennel and fennel syrup is fantastic. 

Napa Cabbage, the true cabbage rose.

The Napa cabbage we're growing this year is a variety called mini kisaku, and it makes a fairly small head compared to standard varieties of Napa cabbage, which can get fairly gargantuan. Small though they are, the mini kisaku are still substantial. I used one head to make a slaw to serve four adults plus Seda (my parents are visiting!!) and we had leftovers.

They bought her a kite :)

Napa Cabbage Slaw

  • One small head Napa cabbage, washed and chopped into bite sized pieces
  • One small fennel bulb, with feathery fronds included, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 2-3 spring onions, sliced finely
  • One package ramen noodles (discard the seasoning packet) broken up into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
Toss together the chopped Napa cabbage, fennel, onion, and ramen noodle.

Whisk together the oils, vinegar and spices.

Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to coat. 

Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds before serving.

Before it was slaw.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Week 5: Heat Wave

If you somehow didn't notice, it has actually been hot the last few days!

And the crops are loving it.

For example, these lovely potato flowers are thoroughly enjoying
the summer weather.
Though we are still playing catch-up a bit as we finish getting our fall crops in, this is the time of year when we primarily focus on maintaining what we've planted so that it will be at its best come harvest time. It's the time for weeding and trellising and hoping the weather cooperates by giving us a bit of summer heat, mixed with just enough rain, which is what it did this week :)

The hoophouse tomatoes (this photo is from last week,
tomato harvest looms ever closer!) are just one of
the crops that need trellising this time of year.
The transplants are putting on size. We'll be harvesting all your favorites soon.

The lacinato kale was late to get in this year, but
it's well on its way to harvest now.
And we have some new crops to look forward to.

New crops like purple peacock broccoli. 
This week's share is full of a mix of old favorites and new delacies as well. It includes Kohlrabi, Hakurei, Mesclun, Braising Mix, Pea Shoots, Bunching Onions, Fresh Herbs, and Joi Choi OR Nappa Cabbage OR Brokali.

No, brokali is not a typo. It's a broccoli kale cross. Instead of making big heads of broccoli, it makes lots of shoots and tasty kale like leaves. We are actually trialing a few of these sprouting broccoli varieties this year (the purple peacock pictured above is one of them). This first variety, which is called Apollo, is just starting to make its first shoots. We were able to harvest enough for 24 members, the rest of you will get the last of the Joi Choi pac choi and the first of the Nappa cabbage for the season. We're hoping the Apollo will continue to make shoots throughout the season and, along with the other varieties we're trying out, help us get more broccoli into the shares over a longer portion of the season.

This is where I would usually include an original recipe. But this week, I decided not to. If I had come up with an original recipe it would have featured the kohlrabi, because the kohlrabi are very much the stars of the share this week and because they are a vegetable that we tend to get a lot of questions about. However, when pondering what the recipe would look like, I realized I have featured kohlrabi recipes on the blog several times over the years.

The time has come for a best of!

When reviewing the kohlrabi recipes I noticed that I say the following things (that all bear repeating) about kohlrabi every time I post about it:

1. Peel it! Kohlrabi is the only thing we grow that I always peel. The outside is tough and stringy. The inside is tender and sweet. If you eat the peel you will not like it, I promise.

2. Eat it raw with a little salt and lemon juice or honey and lime juice and possibly some cayenne or fresh herbs sprinkled on it. This is kohlrabi at its best. If you feel fancy, season with salt, lemon juice, etc. and grill it for a few minutes.

3. Use the leaves!!!!!! Kohlrabi leaves are better kale than kale is.

And my two favorite kohlrabi recipes are:

Kohlrabi Salad (with apples!) from July 8th 2013


Kohlrabi and Chickpea Salad from June 25th 2012

Both of these are, of course, raw. If raw kohlrabi doesn't do it for you (a possibility I believe exists but honestly cannot imagine) I highly recommend using them in place of the hakurei in last week's curry recipe.