Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Week 4--The Seasonal Palate

Thanks to all who could make it to our farm tour! As you can see, we had a blast! AND thank you to shareholder, Kris Nusskern, we even made it to the Lewiston Sun Journal!

Introducing--Dora the Adorable! This farm drop off has made her gregarious self right at home. She is a slug muncher and plays "little sister" to Simon. He has been very patient : )
Okay, I admit, I am getting tired of the rain and no sun weather! Before I start whining, I would like to say that I have been very impressed with all of your "bravery". Many of you have tried new vegetables and have even loved them. Being adventurous will allow you to make the most of the farm share.

Part of joining a CSA means that your diet becomes a seasonal diet. There are sooo many benefits both personally and environmentally to eating seasonally. Studies show that eating what is in season in your local area helps with allergies and seasonal depression. It cuts down on transportation emissions. Plus you are getting the freshest food possible, packed with nutrients before they float away while the veggies sit on a truck, then on a shelf. Eating seasonally also evokes patience. Cucumbers aren't ready yet. And tomatoes are a long way away. And this lack of sun is keeping the peas from fattening up! BUT the chard is tasty and the lettuce is crisp and the radishes are full of flavor.
So I hope you are finding joy in this season's palate and your bellies are happy.

What's with all the RADISHES? So yes, radishes are an early crop and they are easy to grow. But, behold! I am not growing them just as a "filler". Radishes are supposed to keep away cucumber beetles, a nasty pest in winter squash, cucumbers and summer squash. So this year, I am experimenting with interplanting. I seeded radishes right in the row with the squashes and voila! Hardly any cucumber beetles there, but my cucs, where I didn't plant any radishes, there are many! I am constantly trying to find ways to evade the insects and not resort to organic sprays.
Just in case you are still not sold on those red globes of crispiness, here are some nutritional benni's to eating them...
  • Low in cholesterol and calories
  • Extremely high in dietary fiber, they are found to ease the digestive process.
  • Vitamins present in radish includes, riboflavin, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Vitamin B6.
  • Essential minerals are potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper and manganese, iron, phosphorous, zinc and sodium.
  • Plus they are very pretty : )
Radish Dip/Sandwich Spread

4 cloves garlic, peeled (use the garlic scapes)
6 radishes, quartered
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened or try sour cream, or add some goat cheese

Place garlic in the container of a food processor, and pulse until finely minced. Add radishes, and mince. Add cream cheese, and mix until well blended. Transfer to a serving dish, and chill until serving

Radish Salad
2 medium shallots, minced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups thinly sliced radishes
1 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley (whole leaves, washed, patted dry, stems discarded), lightly packed
4 large hard-cooked eggs, in small dice

Whisk shallots, mustard and vinegar with a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper in a 2-cup measuring cup. Gradually whisk in oil in a slow, steady stream to form a thick dressing. (Can be covered and held at room temperature several hours.)
Place radishes, parsley and chopped eggs in a medium bowl. (Can be covered and refrigerated for several hours.)
When ready, toss with dressing, adjust salt, pepper and vinegar to taste, and serve.
Radish Top Soup
6 Tbs Butter
1 cup chopped onions
8 cups loosely packed radish tops
2 cups diced potatoes
6 cups liquid
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
Melt 4 Tbs butter in a large saucepan, add onions and cook until golden. Stir in radish tops, cover pan and cook over low heat until wilted.
Cook taters separate (you can use this water as a part of the stock). Combine with radish tops and cook for another 5 minutes. Puree. Add cream, last 2 Tbs of butter, salt and pepper. Omit the last butter addition if serving cold.
Next Week's Harvest: Peas, Chinese Cabbage, Lettuce

Friday, June 19, 2009

Week 3--The Farm Animals

6 am. Out harvesting in the pouring rain. Not too bad really. I can hear Simon barking in the woods. Satisfaction, he must be getting a groundhog! Here he comes...wait, since when do groundhogs leave quills in your nose! It's been a few rough days for Simon--last night we spent a good half hour in the shower scrubbing "parfume de skunk" out of him : )

Peep! Peep! Peep! The Baby turkeys have arrived! These day old birds are born without an immune system so they need to be pampered for the first few weeks of life. They are kept under a heat lamp at 95 degrees. (I wish I were under a heat lamp!) For seven weeks, I will keep these furry little guys in the barn, protected from the "elements". Then they go out on pasture where they romp around and chase bugs.

Reserve your turkey now! They will be ready for pick up on October 31st. $4/#, I will try and keep them around 18#. $40 deposit.

Well since this blog seems to be featuring the farm animals...the pigs! We have had these rambuncious guys and gals for 1 month. They are living high on the hog in their leisure palace and loving life.

And then we have the cows. They are across the street, on pasture that I borrow from the neighbor...thank you neighbor!!! They have lots of room to roam, so you may see them across from the barn on pick up days, if you're lucky : )

This Week's Loot: Radishes, head lettuce, chard, tarragon, rutabaga greens, garlic scapes
What IS a garlic scape? It is the flowering part of the garlic plant. It shoots out the top of the plant and if were to let it go, it would open into a purple flower and eventually go to seed. Studies show that by breaking off the scape, more energy goes into the bulb, thus making it larger. So, off with their heads! And into our mouths! They are juicy and have a wonderful strong garlic flavor. You can chop them and use them just like garlic, or puree them with olive oil and parsley and eat it like pesto. I usually puree mine with olive oil and keep it in a jar in the fridge (it lasts forever) and spoon it into the pan while cooking--YUM!

Swiss Chard Torta
1# swiss chard
3 Tbs Olive Oil
1 c chopped onions/chives
2 tsp chopped garlic
salt and pepper
1# sauasage (optional)
5 eggs
1 1/4 c ricotta cheese
1/2 parmasean cheese
chopped tarragon
2 10" pie shell
cook onions in oil until wilted, stir in garlic
add chopped chard and cook over high heat, stirring constantly
season with salt and pepper then set aside to cool
Add sausage to chard
Beat 4 of the eggs, combine with the cheeses and add to the chard mixture
Pour into pie shell
Cover with 2nd pie shell, cut slits for steam and glaze the top with the last beaten egg
Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 40 minutes
Swiss Chard Salad
1# chard
2 Tbs olive oil
6 cloves garlic
salt and pepper
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
Coarsly chop the chard and cook it on high heat in the oil, stirring constantly
When chard becomes limp, add garlic and cook just a bit longer
Transfer to a bowl and add salt pepper and vinegar
Serve hot or cold
Next Week: Beet greens, lettuce, mustard mix?, peas? rhubarb, herbs

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Week 2--The Stink

This spring we brought in some picked crab and lobster shells to spread on some of the fields. As the crow flies, we are only 10 miles from the ocean, but on hot days, the ocean seems far, far away. This 40 yard pile of crustaceans brought the wonder..and smell...of the ocean right to our back yard...and our neighbor's back yards!

Luckily once we spread it on the fields, the smell dissipated and the soils are swimming in good ocean nutrients.

Although wet, this week was a positive week. It was so fun to meet all of you AND the peas came into flower yesterday! That means, we SHOULD have peas by the 4th of July!

Please come to the farm for a farm tour Saturday June 27th.
We will have two tour times, one beginning at 10am and one beginning at 1pm, starting from the Community Barn where you pick up your vegetables. We would like to give you a quick farm introduction so that each time you visit, you may feel comfortable to walk the fields, visit the animals and pick your own flowers and herbs. Feel free to bring a packed lunch to have before or after tour. We don't have any tables yet, so bring a blanket! There also should be PYO strawberries by then...yum! (Bring your own container)
This week's harvest brings us more greens...rutabaga greens! I just ate mine sauteed in butter and served under a leftover parsnip pattie--YUM!

What is the difference between a rutabaga and a turnip? Turnips are in the mustard family and have been eaten since ancient times. They are White inside and have a high water content so they do not store. Rutabagas originated in the 1700's in Scandinavia. They are orange inside and store for a VERY long time : ) Both the turnip and rutabaga are moderately good sources of food fiber, calcium, and vitamins A and C; but, nutritionally, rutabagas are superior, having almost twice the amount of nutrients as the white turnip.

Baby Rutabaga Greens:

A bunch of greens, they shrink when you cook them!
Wash thoroughly!!!!!

5 Tbs butter

Salt and Pepper

Chop greens and toss into melted butter
Cook on low heat with a lid, just a few minutes
Add a little bacon grease for added flavor!

Glazed Rutabaga Ovals:

1 large rutabaga

3Tbs butter

1 tsp sugar

salt and pepper

Slice the rutabaga in 1/4 inch discs
Roll then in the butter and sprinkle on sugar
flip and cook on medium heat until browned, about 10 minutes

Next Week's Harvest: Beet greens?, head lettuce--hopefully!, chard, radishes, herbs and probably more rutabaga greens : )