Weekly CSA Newsletter: July 23-29, 2006 (Week #7)

In This Issue:

  1. This week's share may include: ...
  2. Pick-Your-Own Crops and Information
  3. Note on the Flower Garden
  4. Notes from the Field
  5. Recipes
  6. Upcoming Events: Third Sunday Gathering August 19th at 4 PM
  7. Book Review: Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots by Sharon Lovejoy
  8. CFO Contact Information

1. This week's share may include

  • Lettuce
  • Swiss Chard
  • Beets
  • Cucumbers
  • Summer Squash
  • Early Tomatoes?
  • Early Peppers?
  • Onions

2. Pick-Your-Own Crops

  • Herbs
  • Beans (Green, Purple, Yellow)
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Selected Hot Peppers

All shareholders are invited to pick your own from 9 AM to 7:30 PM on Sundays and from 3 PM to 7:30 PM on Thursdays. Please visit the PYO station near the red shed for locations of crops and all PYO tools and materials.

3. Note on the Flower Garden

The flower garden is open for the season! Please harvest flowers carefully to be respectful of the plants and the other shareholders. What you see is what there is — the flowers are gorgeous, but there are not enough for a huge bouquet each week for each shareholder.

Be creative with your flower picking — consider harvesting a bouquet for special occasions, or picking one or two favorite blossoms for a simple and striking arrangement. In general, harvest flower stalks as high on the plant as possible to preserve the rest of the plant, but low enough to encourage the plant to branch and create more blossoms. Please use scissors to harvest — don't break stems and don't pull plants up by the roots.

If you have questions about flower varieties, quantities or harvest techniques, talk to our flower expert, Jen Smith.

4. Notes from the Field

This is the toughest couple of weeks of the year on our farm, so I'll keep the field notes short. Our apologies for the weediness of the pick-your-own area; we know it's tough going, but we just are not able to get in there to weed right now. Here's what's going on on the farm, which may explain why that is:

  1. Major weeding of crops like sweet potatoes, winter squash, peppers, etc.
  2. Tomato staking, mulching and twining
  3. Harvesting garlic and stringing it in the hoophouse to dry
  4. Transplanting and direct seeding all of our fall crops, including beets and carrots, rutabaga and turnips, broccoli, kale, cabbage, collards, kohlrabi, radicchio, endive and escarole, etc. as well as final rounds of beans, summer squash and cucumbers
  5. Buying a replacement tractor
  6. Dealing with very fast-growing weeds in all our crops

Although the days are very hot, they are getting noticeably shorter (now it's dark when I get up to harvest at 5 AM), and in only a couple of weeks, the vigorous growth of some of our weeds will slow. After about the 25th of July, we will have passed a critical window for getting some crops into the ground. We'll still be planting lettuce, salad greens and spinach through the fall, but our big fall planting push will be over and we'll be able to focus more on harvest and weeding. This is the peak activity level for the farm for the entire season, and it also comes on the week of the biggest heat wave yet this year. Let's hope it cools off just a little for the people's sake (but stays warm for the sake of those tasty tomatoes. Thanks to folks who've shared their lemonade and popsicles with us these past couple of weeks - it means so much to us! Wish us luck, and we'll see you on the other side of the midsummer rush.

— Amanda Cather
For the farm staff

5. Recipes

FARM AND BACKYARD SUMMER SALAD

by Martha Creedon

'Twas the night before pick-up, I looked in the fridge
and grew pale,
Not a farm green was waiting, not even some kale;

Six beets sat there waiting, on the shelf all alone,
Their tops were our dinner many days ago.

The bok choi was gone, as well as the chard,
The lettuce a memory, I turned to the yard.

There I found arugula, now somewhat wild,
Plentiful, pickable, and not the least bit mild.

Some cherry tomatoes were ready to dazzle,
Back to the fridge, there was mozzarella and basil.

So hear me exclaim, as I write the next morn,
Happy summer to all, a new recipe is born!

  • 6 beets
  • a handful of raspberries
  • a few cherry tomatoes
  • arugula or other salad green
  • fresh basil
  • fresh mozzarella (small 'appetizer' size)
  • clove of fresh garlic, minced
  • olive oil

Wash beets to remove any lingering soil, but do not peel. Cut into halves, maybe thirds, depending on the size of the beet. Steam for about 20 minutes, until just tender. Meanwhile, place cherry tomatoes, raspberries, mozzarella, garlic and basil in a bowl and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Add cooked beets and mix lightly. Place arugula or other salad green on serving plate and arrange beet mixture on top. Serves 2. Happily.

Savoy Cabbage Gratin

from "All About Braising" by Molly Stevens
Submitted by Kathy Diamond

This cabbage dish tastes like French gourmet food. It calls for Saint-Marcellin cheese, which is sold at Russo's in a little ceramic crock. Alternative triple-cream cheeses are Explorateur, Brillat-Savarin, or Pierre Robert. The author says "Don't use Brie or Camembert-neither has enough character."

  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 head Savoy cabbage (1.5 lbs), quartered, cored, and sliced into
  • ½-inch-wide shreds
  • 1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, sliced into ½-inch-wide pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1¾ cups chicken or vege stock (one Swanson can)
  • 1 ripe Saint-Marcellin cheese (about 3 oz)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a large 10" x 14"gratin dish (I used 9" x 13" pyrex).

In a very large skillet or dutch oven, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the cabbage and scallions, season with salt and pepper, and saute 10 to 12 minutes, stirring often, until the cabbage is just beginning to brown in spots. Pour in the stock, bring to a steady simmer, and cook for about 2 minutes.

Scrape vegetables and juices into gratin dish. Cover tightly with foil and cook on middle rack of oven for 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue to cook until the liquid is mostly evaporated, another 20 minutes.

Cut or tear the cheese into ½-inch small lumps (or puddles) and scatter them across the cabbage. Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees, and cook until the cheese is thoroughly melted, about 10 minutes. Serve hot or warm. Also good as microwaved leftovers.

Green Soup and Green Soup with Mushrooms

This is what I use on most of the great armfuls of greens from the farm. I've taken it from Anna Thomas's fantastic website, www.vegetarianepicure.com . It's got lots of other recipes for farm produce, and her own newsletter is wonderful. From the recipe archive, I can also strongly recommend Corn And Zucchini With Cherry Tomatoes, Mojo Verde With Mint, Fresh Fava Bean Pesto, Risotto With Roasted Root Vegetable And Fried Sage...
-Christine Clements

Green Soup

  • 1 big bunch chard (about 1 lb.)
  • 1 bunch kale (1/2 lb.)
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro (about 1 cup, loosely packed)
  • 5-6 cups water
  • 1 tsp. salt, more to taste
  • 1 large potato
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 tsps. olive oil
  • 3-4 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice, more to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • pinch of cayenne

Wash the greens thoroughly, then cut the chard and kale off their stems and slice the leaves. Combine the chard, kale, green onions, and cilantro in a soup pot with the water and salt. Peel the potato, or just scrub it well if you prefer, cut it into big pieces and add it to the pot. Bring the water to a boil, turn down the flame, and let it simmer for about half an hour.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan and cook the chopped onions in it slowly, with a sprinkle of salt, until they are golden brown and soft. This will take up to forty-five minutes - don't hurry; you only need to give them a stir once in a while, and it's the slow cooking that develops the sweetness. If you like, you can deglaze the pan at the end with a bit of Marsala or sherry - not required, but a nice touch.

Add the caramelized onions to the soup. Put another teaspoon of oil in the pan and stir the chopped garlic in it for just a couple of minutes, until it sizzles and smells great. Add the garlic to the pot and simmer everything together for a few minutes more.

Add enough broth to make the soup a soup, and puree it in the blender in batches. Don't overprocess; anything with potatoes in it can get slimy if you work it too much.

Return the soup to the pot, bring it back to a simmer, and taste. Add salt as needed, grind in a little black pepper, add a pinch of cayenne, and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Stir well and taste again. Now you're on your own - correct the seasoning and serve big steaming bowls of green soup.

I like to garnish this soup. Some kind of crumbled white cheese is a natural - my favorites are Cotija, a dry Mexican white cheese, and feta. Parmesan cheese is also good. So are croutons, especially if they're made from rye or pumpernickel bread. Garlic croutons are the bomb, as my kids say. And of course, there's always sour cream, but since I like the low-fat quality of the soup, I use a spoonful of yogurt cheese instead.

This recipe makes about 8 generous servings.

Green Soup with Mushrooms

  • 1 large bunch chard (about 1 lb.)
  • 2 bunches spinach (about 1 1/2 lbs.)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, more to taste
  • 12 oz. mushrooms (Italian browns or portabellos are good)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 tsps. olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. Marsala
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2-3 leeks, white and light green only, chopped
  • 3-4 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice or rice vinegar, more to taste
  • black pepper
  • pinch of cayenne

Wash the chard and spinach thoroughly, and cut the chard off its thick stems. Simmer the greens in the water, with half a teaspoon salt.

Meanwhile, clean and slice the mushrooms and chop the garlic. Heat two teaspoons olive oil in a non-stick pan, throw the garlic in and stir it for a minute or two, until it just starts to turn golden. Add the mushrooms with a dash of salt and sauté them, stirring often, until they are sizzling and browning. Sprinkle the Marsala over them and stir again as it cooks away. Add the mushrooms to the soup.

In another pan, heat the remaining two teaspoons olive oil and add the chopped onions and leeks, with a sprinkle of salt. Cook them over low heat, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and golden brown - a long time. Add the onions and leeks to the soup, deglazing the pan with some of the broth if you like.

Add the vegetable broth - a little more or less as needed - and simmer everything together for about ten minutes, then purée it in the blender in batches. Return the soup to the pot, add a dash of lemon juice, more salt if needed, fresh ground black pepper and a pinch of cayenne. Taste, and adjust to your own palate.

Serve this soup just as it is, or garnished with crumbled cheese, sour cream, or croutons. This makes 8 to 10 servings.

6. Upcoming events

Sunday, August 19th, 4:00 pm Third Sunday Gathering

Third Sunday Gatherings The third Sunday of every month we host an informal gathering of members, shareholders and supporters. This is a chance to connect with other farm-friendly folks. The gatherings are scheduled to begin at 4:00 PM. Meet near the distribution shelter. Third Sunday Gatherings begin in May and are held through the third Sunday in October. The Third Sunday of November is CFO's Annual Meeting and Potluck.

7. Book Review: Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots by Sharon Lovejoy

Book Rave: Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots by Sharon Lovejoy
reviewed by Christine Davis

Editor's note: My apologies. I received this months ago and did not scroll back far enough in my inbox to get to the bottom of the pile. This would have been great back around the time of the first newsletter in June. It may make a good gift item for those of you looking for gifts for the holidays! I may add it to my own list.. Saskia

You don't need to have a child to fall in love with "Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Activities to Do in the Garden." You only need to have been one. Sharon Lovejoy's 1999 Workman paperback describes 12 amazing layouts for gardens that children can plan, sow, and harvest, all illustrated with full-color watercolors by Lovejoy. Grow a pizza garden with six wedges for tomatoes, eggplants, and all the herbs. Or grow a moon garden in a crescent form with a towering floral tepee hideout inside the moon's arc. There's a snacking and sipping garden with suggestions for kid-friendly veggies and edible flowers to grow, and an herbal medicine cabinet shaped like a reversed horseshoe and lined with delicious green & growing things. Each of the 12 garden ideas includes a suggested stroll in and around the garden, inviting kids to notice all kinds of interesting activity taking place as their gardens grow.

At the front of "Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots" is a list of 20 easy-to-grow crops that are especially rewarding for kids. At the back is information about how to prepare a garden bed so it's ready to plant. Scattered in margin notes and insets throughout the book are more simple tips for composting, harvesting, and visiting the garden to watch its everyday miracles unfurl.

I don't have a child, though I know a few. This book called to me in the Museum of Science bookstore last night, and since then I've been reading it hungrily and imagining the whimsical little garden I'll plant just as soon as I acquire a little space. Although Lovejoy says that lack of land shouldn't stop me: an entire chapter is dedicated to container gardens, with fun suggestions for creating tiny gardens in old colanders, worn-out work gloves, even a pair of colorful rubber boots.

Spring is here and the land is thawing out. Go find this book and share it with a kid you love. Make a little bit of soil come alive.

8. Contact Information

To reach us:

Community Farms Outreach is a nonprofit organization dedicated to farmland preservation, hunger relief, and education.

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