30 Jul

2014- CSA – Week 7

My grandaughter, Katie, is here visiting from Costa Rica.  I set her to task picking raspberries.  Isn’t she beautiful?  She is a born gardener.  I wish she would move back and help me in the gardens.  Summer here is off season there.  It could just work!

It’s been another hot week here!  We could use some rain to give us a break from watering.  We have been reseeding and weeding.  The dreaded purslane tends to take over so we try to get it out before it sets seeds.  It is an annual weed and spreads its seeds prolifically, so this time of year is a good time to get it out!  I planted a trap crop of nastursiums to attract the flea beetles and keep them off of the brassicas.  It is working fairly well, but the new seedlings of radishes that are just coming up are already riddled with holes.  Drats!   Just one of the many challenges of growing organically.  We get so used to seeing the perfect produce at the grocers that we have come to expect the same from organically grown crops.  Even though there may be some cosmetic damage, the vitality and flavor that you get from locally grown organic produce is a thousand times better, and the environment is not harmed by the use of toxic herbicides and pesticides.

If you are not completely satisfied with your weekly share, I want to know.   I want to make sure that you are happy with the produce.  Your comments help me get better at what I do.

Eggs will be available every week for $3 per dozen.  Please return your egg cartons, as Marlene, the egg/chicken goddess, recycles them.  Ditto on any plastic cartons that are used to package produce in your weekly basket.  I try not to purchase plastic packaging, so recycling those clamshells that you get at the market is a win for you and me and a win for the environment.

This weeks share includes carrots, red cabbage, beautiful purple, yellow and green French beans, yellow and green summer squash, cucumbers, kale and Italian basil.  Pick up your share between 4 & 6 PM.  Please let me know if you are not able to come, so that I don’t wait for you.

 

 

23 Jul

2014 CSA – Week 6

Hot! Hot!  Hot!  Need I say more?  We have been trying to get as much done in th early part of the day, as we begin to wilt by early afternoon….the plants, too!  With the heat also come the bugs, and the flea beetles  have arrived in full force.  They love to chew on all of the brassicas, mustards, radish and even the lower leaves of the tomatoes.  I treated some of the beds this past weekend with biological organisms that are supposed to weaken the immune systems of the soil dwelling beetles so that they stop producing and eventually die.  As with all organic methods it will be a slow process and I am sure there will still be some damage to the plants.  However, seeing a few holes in the leaves is so much better that eating food sprayed with toxic chemicals.  The plants don’t have to look perfect in order to be nutritious.  The vital goodness will still be there.

As a result of the heat, the summer squash and peppers are finally starting to grow!  Still not enough for your share this week, but I should have some for you next week.  I am hoping for beans, too!  Keep your fingers crossed.  Every year the garden has its successes and challenges.  This year the broccoli was not great, but the cauliflower and cabbages have been beautiful.  I have never experienced slow growing summer squash.  This year is the first time for me!

Your share this week will include garlic, braising greens, Parisienne carrots, beautiful beets, Swiss chard, scallions, cauliflower, small early tomatoes and herbs including basil.

Thursday is a long day for me, so if you are not going to be able to pick up your share by 6 PM, please call and let me know.

I am getting rid of several rows of large lavender plants, in order to make room for more strawberries.  You are welcome to come and dig out  as many as you would like.  They are big, healthy plants.  Otherwise, I will be throwing them out.

I will continue to have fresh eggs for you at $3 per dozen, and you can either return your egg cartons here or at the Good Earth Market so that they can be reused.

I hope you enjoy the recipes below.  I have been  roasting the cauliflower and it is delicious and so quick and easy to make.

 

Potato, Bacon, and Greens Frittata

You can substitute sliced Canadian bacon for a lower-fat alternative in this hearty Spanish egg dish.

Serves: 6

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups roasted or boiled potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3/4 cup cooked greens, such as mustard, chard, spinach or kale, chopped
2 slices crisp cooked bacon, crumbled (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large sweet onions, thickly sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
8 large eggs, lightly beaten

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350º. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet with ovenproof handle over medium heat. Add onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; cook, turning with tongs, 10 minutes, or until well browned. Stir in vinegar and cook 1 minute longer. Stir in potatoes, greens, bacon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

2. Pour eggs over vegetables and stir to blend. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to set, 3 minutes. Place skillet in oven and cook until set, 15 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. To serve, loosen around edges with rubber spatula and turn out onto plate.

 

16 Jul

2014 CSA – Week 5

It’s been another fast and furious week of planting, harvesting, fertilizing and weeding.  The cooler weather on Monday and Tuesday provided the opportunity to do some foliar fertilizing.  The tomatoes needed to be tied up to the fencing and the suckers pinched.  I dug all of the garlic that was planted last fall and it is drying on screens in the shade under the Blue Spruce.   The beans are starting to flower and there are tiny little summer squash and cucumbers on the vines.  Today Barbara seeded new plantings of more beans, carrots and radish….scallions will go in tomorrow.  Successive planting is ongoing as we want to make sure that we have a nice selection of veggies for you throughout the summer.   I hear that the heat that we experienced today is going to stay with us all through next week.  I was hoping for some rain, but don’t think it will be coming any time soon.

I hope you enjoyed your cauliflower last week.  I roasted mine with beets, onions, scallions and of course, garlic!  It was wonderful finished with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkling of fresh dill.

This weeks share will include cabbage, kale, scallions, radish, beets, carrots and rhubarb.   I have included some recipes that use some of this weeks selection.

Just a reminder to remember to bring your boxes or bags and if you aren’t going to be able to pick up your share, please let me know ahead of time,  so that I don’t wait for you thinking you are coming.

 

09 Jul

Week 4 Summer CSA share

Snap Peas

It’s been out of the fry pan into the fire this past week.  The days have been so hot that Barb and I have found it callenging working in the garden in the afternoons.  With both of us now in our 70’s we just can’t take the heat like we used to.  That being said, the summer squash and peppers are loving it and really starting to grow.  I was really worried there for awhile, as they just were just sitting there.   This time last year we were almost ready to harvest the first of the zucchini….not so this year.  With the cool nights of the past few weeks, they just were not liking it!  Everything is looking pretty good out there right now.  The flea beetles,  which were quite bothersome in the early spring last year, are just now starting to show their nasty faces.  It’s a good thing that this is the final harvest for the braising greens, as the beetles love those crops!

This week will provide you with the last of the spring peas, beautiful heads of cauliflower, broccoli florets, radishes, swiss chard, a colorful mix of heirloom beets with their tops, baby carrots and, of course some herbs.  I am really pleased with the cauliflower.  In past years I have found it difficult to grow them perfectly…similar to the broccoli.  But this year I think I was blessed.  They look spectacular.

Be sure and top your carrots before storing them.  We leave the tops on because it is a great way to bundle and present them.  You can either put them in a zip lock bag, or store them in water for crisp snacking.

The beet tops are considered a green.  They can be braised, steamed, added to stir frys and Thai curries, or roasted with other veggies in a 450 degree oven.  The beets can be steamed, boiled, pickled and I even like them grated raw into a green salad.  If they are boiled or steamed, the skins slip right off.  Otherwise you may want to peel them.  I actually like the peels….just like carrots, as long as you scrub them good.

I am excited to announce that I will  have organic, free range eggs available here every week for you to pick up.  My friend Marlene Wilkin lives just down the road on Independent Lane.  She grows heritage birds and her eggs are wonderful.  I thought it would be a great way to introduce you to another local producer and give you the opportunity to cross one more thing off of your grocery  list.  The eggs will sell for $3 a dozen.

Don’t forget to bring your bags or boxes!

See you on Thursday…4-6 P

 

02 Jul

2014 – CSA : Week 3

It looks like summer might have finally arrived.  At least the peppers and winter squash think so, as I swear they have doubled in size!  They have really liked the warmer weather the last couple of days.  The wind did toss them around a little, but I think we are well on our way now for a beautiful season.

I began harvesting the lavender this past weekend.  I was in “La La Land” for a couple of days.  It is so fragrant and relaxing sitting amongst those flowers with the bees and butterflies.  It almost felt like I  was not working!   This is the perfect time to get some, as it is fresh.  Nothing better than hanging  a bunch in your bathroom or bedroom.  The humidity of the bathroom brings out the fragrance even more, and in the bedroom you are lulled to sleep by Lavender’s gentle aroma.  You can also hang some in your kitchen to remind you to stick a few sprigs in your sugar bowl or honey jar.  Its a wonderful addition to homemade lemonaide, too.    The bundles sell for $15.  I will continue the harvest over the next few weeks, so if you would like to preorder this season’s Lavender, let me know.  I will have some available on Thursday.

This weeks share will include spinach, the last of the lettuce (for a little while), braising greens, beets, scallions, rainbow radish, snap peas and herbs.  With all of the holiday celebrations going on this weekend, take advantage of all the veggies and greens and put together beautiful appetizer platters to munch on while waiting for those burgers and brats!  You can use the spearmint and lemon balm to make flavored waters and iced teas.  If you want to walk on the wild side why not muddle some up in a top shelf gin or vodka for a “to die for” martini.

See you on Thursday….4-6 PM.

5 Ways to Enjoy Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar snap peas are in season now and ready to enjoy in so many ways. Here are 5 delicious, easy ideas:

1. In the raw with a dip of 1 cup plain yogurt, 1/3 cup crumbled feta, and 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black peppercorns.
2. In succotash, sauté with freshly cut corn kernels (scrape the milk from the cob to make it creamy), scallions, and cherry tomatoes.
3. Blanched and tossed with buttered egg noodles, parsley, and garlic.
4. Roasted with olive oil and sea salt beneath the broiler until crisp-tender and lightly browned on the edges; drizzle with a few drops of toasted sesame oil before serving.
5. Tossed warm with fresh pesto and toasted pine nuts.
HINT: Before you eat them, snap off the stem and remove the stringy spines on both sides of the pod.

01 Jul

Spinach Salad Recipe

This is a classic salad that is hearty enough for a meal! Add some crumbled blue cheese if you like. Soup and bread complement this nicely.

• 1- 1 1/2 lbs washed spinach, either baby leaf or mature (if using mature leaves, rip up into smaller pieces)
• 8-12 pieces of bacon
• One small red onion, sliced thinly
• 4-6 hardboiled eggs, peeled and chopped or quartered

Warm Bacon Dressing

• 5 tablespoons reserved bacon fat (or use olive oil if you feel weird about bacon fat)
• 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
• 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• salt and black pepper, to taste
Cook bacon until very crisp in a skillet, in batches if necessary. Drain bacon pieces on a paper towel, and add 5 tablespoons of bacon fat to a small saucepan. Add the rest of the dressing ingredients, mix well, and warm over low heat.
Place the spinach in a large bowl with bacon and onion. Just before eating, add the warm dressing and toss to evenly coat spinach. Divide onto 4 plates and top with chopped eggs and blue cheese, if using.