Veggie Feast September 26, 2018

Notes from the Farm

The deer is still in the field with the cows and then explores the rest of the farm once we have gone inside.  Last night Bambi was wandering right outside our bedroom window.

Three nights ago a flock of Sandhill cranes flew over the fields, taking a test flight for their impending migration.  Canada geese are flocking, as are the abundant sparrows and resident California quail.  The corn stalks are papery and brown and elicit saliva from our cows.  Every autumn they get to clear the corn field, munching until the stalks are little stobs in the ground.  All of these transitions of the season!  Alas this is the final week of veggie feast.   We have had an abundant and successful season and we hope you have enjoyed the bounty.  Thank you for supporting us and supporting local.

This Week’s Veggie Feast

Last week of Veggie Feast!!

Radishes, sunshine winter squash, spicy mustard greens plus lots of new varieties!

New This Week

Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts are a member of the brassica family along with cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower.  They grow on a long, thick stalk, the little cabbage-like buds attaching right above each leaf node.  Pop off the sprouts and store in a container/bag in the fridge.  Brussels can store for weeks, but eventually the outer leaves turn yellow.  It’s a pain to pick the yellow bits off (but can be done!) so try to use them while they are still fresh.  Great steamed or roasted.

Celery Root, or Celeriac

Celery Root is just what it sounds like, the root of a celery plant.  This variety is grown for its root, and unlike celery you buy in the grocery store it doesn’t taste like water.  In fact it has quite a distinct, strong flavor.  The stalk and leaves can be used to flavor soups and casseroles.  The stalk is quite stringy, so use it as a flavoring agent, not as a tender morsel.  The leaves dry nicely for future usage.  Here are some note on using the stalk from our website.

the familiar celery ribs.

Celeriac Usage

Celeriac can be eaten both cooked and grated raw for salads. For cooking purposes, this root vegetable takes well to soups, purees, and gratins. The root needs to be scrubbed well and peeled. To peel the root, cut the top and bottom ends off to create a stable surface and then using your knife, cut away the peel in a downward motion. If you have a heavy-duty peeler, you can try using that if the root is not to knobby. Cut pieces turn brown quickly, so place cut pieces in a bowl of water acidulated with lemon juice or vinegar. If you prefer to use the entire vegetable, any pairings from peeling can be put in a vegetable stock. Take time to remove and save the green ribs before storing, which can be added to stocks or soups.

Celeriac Storage

The root will store for several weeks in a plastic bag in your refrigerator. Celeriac goes well with butter, cream, walnuts, hazelnuts, Gruyère cheese, parsley, mustard, potatoes, apples, mushrooms, and wild rice.

Yellow storage onions

Red storage onions

These red and yellow onions are not quite cured for storage.  They need to dry out a bit longer.  Simply place them in a cupboard or pantry for 2-3 weeks until the tops are completely dry, clip the tops and voila, you have storage onions.  Of course you can also use them up right away if you an onion lover like we are.

Carnival Squash

Carnival Squash is a type of delicata winter squash.  The flesh is a light yellow and has a delicate flavor.  The outside, as you can see is a festivity in and of itself, hence the name.  Carnivals will store well thru Thanksgiving and possibly into the New Year.

Recipes

Creamy Squash and Celery Root Soup

Ingredients

1 carnival squash, peeled and cut into chunks

1 celery root, peeled and cut into chunks

1 – 2 green apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunks

3 carrots, chopped into thin coins

2 onions or leeks (or both!), chopped coarsely

olive oil

2 cups veggie stock – optional

cream – optional and to taste

salt and pepper

homemade croutons – optional

dill or chives – optional

instructions

Saute the onions or leeks in a large soup pot with some olive oil.  Add the carnival squash, celery root, carrots, apples and veggie stock to the pot.  Add enough water to cover the veggies by an inch.  Boil this mixture until all the veggies are very, very soft.  Blend all of it with an immersion blender or in a regular blender in batches until super smooth.  Add the cream and stir to combine, if using.  Season with salt and pepper.  After the soup is served in the bowls, top with a few homemade croutons and some bright herbs, such as dill or chives.

Source:  Adapted from Full Belly Farm

Advertisements

Veggie Feast September 19, 2018

Notes from the Farm

Life continues to be busy.  Lots of activity on and off the farm.  Some of the fall greens are here, so you will get some yummy tatsoi in your basket of goodies.  We continue to harvest storage vegetables before the voles get to them.  The little rodents love beets and carrots.  We will start to winterize in the coming weeks, pulling up hoses used for irrigation and and stacking irrigation pipe.  The frost has visited a couple of times, so far no damage.

This Week’s Veggie Feast

Veggie Feast September 19, 2018

Tomatoes, pears, beets, purple potatoes, leeks, nardello sweet peppers (oops, we forgot to put them in the photo shoot) ….

New This Week

Tomatillos

Hello tomatillos!  Perfect little orbs of tang for that salsa verde.  Tomatillos are a distinctive and indigenous ingredient in Mexican cuisine. The fruit goes by many names, including tomato verde and husk tomato since it remains green while ripe and it grows inside a papery calyx or husk. Mexican green tomatoes grow in the wild but most cultivated varieties you find in the store are green, yellow, or purple and remain in their husk. The fruit itself is thin skinned with a mild acid and lots of seeds. If you plan to use them quickly, tomatillos can be stored at room temperature in a cool place. For longer storage, keep inside a paper bag or perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator. The fruit can be used raw but it takes well to cooking too.  Roasting or simmering tomatillos can help mellow their slightly tart bite.  They make a great addition to many Mexican dishes and can be used as burrito or enchilada filling or to supply the base ingredient for sauces and pork verde. However you prepare them, the husk needs to be removed and the tomatillo rinsed of the slightly tacky substance around the base. If adding to a stew (i.e. chile or pork verde), tomatillos can be chopped and added raw. If making verde or other salsa, tomatillos need to be cooked first; roasting or boiling are two typical methods.

Shallots

Shallots are the perfect storage vegetable.  If you still have your sweet onions to use you can put these alliums aside for a later date.  With proper storage (cool and dark) and a bit of luck shallots can store thru the winter into spring.  Use as you would an onion.

Buttercup Winter Squash

One of our favorite winter squash.  The buttercup flesh orange and a bit moister than the sunshine from last week.  Just as sweet and delicious.

Recipes

Salsa Verde

(makes about 2 cups)

Courtesy of Diana Kennedy, From From My Mexican Kitchen: Techniques and Ingredients

This sauce is a great table salsa and goes well with tacos, grilled meats, burritos, and grilled vegetables. It will last for a few days in the refrigerator.

1 pound tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed

3 or more jalapeno chiles, finely chopped

½ cup loosely packed, roughly chopped cilantro

1 garlic clove, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons white onion, roughly chopped

Salt to taste

Put the tomatillos whole in a small saucepan, barely cover with water, and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and continue cooking until soft but not falling apart, about 5 minutes, depending on the size. Drain over a bowl to reserve the cooking water!

Using a blender or food processor, put 1/3 cup of the cooking liquid in the processor bowl. Add the chiles, cilantro, garlic, onion and grind to a paste. Add the tomatillos a little at a time, blending with about 1/3 cup more of the cooking liquid until you have a textured sauce of medium consistency. Add salt to taste.

Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa

(Serves 6)

Courtesy of Mustards Grill Napa Valley Cookbook by Cindy Pawlcyn

12-14 tomatillos, papery husks removed and rinsed well

2 small ripe avocados, pitted and peeled

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup rice vinegar

3 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground

1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves only

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To make the salsa, combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth and liquid, but not thin.  Refrigerate until needed.

Veggie Feast September 12, 2018

Notes From The Farm

One of the best things about living on the farm is observing the wildlife that often visits.  Due to the abundant sources of food: grain, hay, fruits, vegetables, and open space we get our share of visitors.  The sparrows have been flocking, the young ones still not quite as fast and sure of themselves as the adults.  Every time I drive down the driveway I play “dodge the sparrow.”  The families of quail are out foraging in the corn patch as are the pheasants.  Our resident skunk occasionally makes an appearance, or leaves his/her scent lingering on our cat.

We spied a baby deer about 6 weeks ago, tucked near the south fence in the pasture.  We assumed its mom was out foraging in a more secluded area and would eventually led it toward the river.  So far that hasn’t happened and the fawn is calling the pasture home.  I know, we are all sad because we grew up watching Bambi, well this is the farm version.  Instead of Bambi making friends with all the forest animals the fawn has become a member of a cow herd.   We see them out grazing together, a tiny fawn and three hulking mama cows.  Yesterday I watched as Honeysuckle, the young calf who has been in a separate pasture with her mom, tentatively approach the spotted fawn.  She reached her neck way out, sniffing, trying to determine friend or foe.  I was driving away to a scheduled meeting so I could not watch the entire interaction, but they seemed pretty interested in finding someone closer to their own size.  Who knows, maybe we will name the skunk Flower afterall.

This Week’s Veggie Feast

A fun assortment of veggies and fruits.

Veggie Feast September 12

In addition to carrots (new variety), yellow crookneck squash, sweet white onions, Swiss chard and lemon basil we have….

New This Week

Pears

Our friend Mary has the most beautiful, abundant pear tree.  Every year she plays the Pear Fairy harvesting the bounty and delivering pears to friends.  This year we thought it would be nice to help her out.  Leon, Mary and I spent a couple of hours gathering pears and thinking of every word that has a pear sound in it.  It became quite apparent that I was no match for the pair of punsters, but it does rub off.  These are grown to organic standard and simply divine.  Thanks to Mary and The Great Pear Tree!  Enjoy.

Harlan apples

After we got done picking pears we drove off into the sunset. Actually no, we drove off to Laura Mae’s to pick Harlan apples.  The apple tree is in a corner of her garden and seems to produce every year.  These little golden apples are early, bruise easily, and taste delicious.  They are not for storing, but will last a bit longer in the fridge.

Sunshine Kabocha

Sunshine is the epitome of a beautiful winter squash.  Dazzlingly bright orange on the outside and in.  This squash is one of our favorite, great flavor.  They store pretty well, so if you are resisting autumn foods these squash will make it to Thanksgiving or longer.

Jimmy Nardello’s

Nardellos are a sweet, thin-skinned pepper.  They do not have the great juicy crunch of a bell, but they are considerably more flavorful.  Eat raw or lightly saute.

 

We hope you are enjoying your vegetable share.

Veggie Feast September 5, 2018

Notes from the Farm

Watch out for the chicks!  Our baby chicks have graduated from the safety of their greenhouse shelter into the great outdoors, and they are everywhere!  These little fuzzballs are fast and curious so watch your step (and your toes if you are wearing sandals).

 

Nali and a chick share the water bowl

Chicks on the run

Autumn is here!  Last week we harvested the sweet onions and shallots, they are drying in the shop and will soon be suitable for storage.

Curing onions

 

This Week’s Veggie Feast

Veggie feast September 5

Lacinato and Red Russian kale, Red Ace beets, red onions, tomatoes, cucumber, red potatoes…

New This Week

Baby Pam Winter Squash

Baby Pam Pumpkins are the best!  Early, bright orange and tasty. The easiest way to bake any winter squash is to put it in the oven whole, yep, whole.  Place a baking dish underneath to catch any drips.  Bake at 350 – 400 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the flesh is soft and you can easily pierce the skin with a fork.  Let it cool and then split it open.  Remove seeds (you can still roast these for a yummy snack) and scoop out the flesh to use in a pumpkin pie, soup or casserole.

 

Leeks

These are the best leeks we have EVER grown.  Kinda exciting.

The edible part of a leek is the white part plus an inch or so of pale green.  Smaller leeks are more tender, making them perfect for grilling or braising, while larger leeks are perfect for soup and gratins.  Due to how leeks are grown, they often have lots of dirt between the leaves so they need to be washed well.  Cut off the greens an inch above the white part and slice off the roots, leaving a thin piece attached so that the leaves remained joined at the base.  Halve the leeks lengthwise down the middle to the root end.  Rinse well under running water while you fan the leaves to make sure you are getting dirt stuck between leaves.  Cut leaves can also be rinsed after cutting.  If using in a soup, leeks do not caramelize well so they are best lightly cooked.  In addition to the classic Vichyssoise and Cock-a-Leekie soups, leeks go well with potatoes, fennel, celery, capers, parmesan, goat cheese and olives.

Cilantro

Finally!  Third time is the charm.  The first two plantings never took off and we had to order new seed in July.  Cilantro is one of my favorite herbs and is used in many cuisines around the world.  It doesn’t store well so use within the week, or better yet the next few days.

 

 

Veggie Feast August 29, 2018

Notes from the Farm

Rye and I skipped town last week and hung out here …

the beach

while Leon enjoyed working on the farm.

We are still busy harvesting.  The tomatoes are coming on slowly due to the cool nights, the peppers are also later this year, but you will eventually see them in your vegetable box.  We are excited that we had a successful corn harvest despite the cooler temperatures.

This coming week we will be hauling in some of the onions to cure.

This Week’s Veggie Feast

 

August 29, 2018

The corn you are receiving this week was planted a week later than the Trinity variety, thus extending the crop for another week.  The birds have still been distracted by other food sources so we all lucked out.  This week’s variety is called Bodacious.  The ears are more uniform and the kernels are yellow.  All in all it is a pretty looking ear of corn, but during our taste trial Trinity won out as the sweeter, superior tasting corn.  Next year we will trial another variety to see if we can find one we like as well as Trinity.  Also carrots, basil, yellow crookneck squash, garlic, zucchini, tomato assortment and ….

New This Week

Elderberries

Leon wild-crafted these elderberries. They are a tart, small berry that is a bit crunchy due to the seeds.  The birds love them, so do herbalists.  The whole elderberry shrub has medicinal value.  The berries are great source of vitamin C and can be added to pancakes, muffins, other fruit pies or made into a sauce.  If you would like to use this product medicinally a tincture can be made using glycerin (for those who do not want to use alcohol) or vodka.  Recipe below.

John’s apples

These apples came from John’s trees.  They are not sprayed, he likes clean food just as much as you do.  They may be a little chewed by birds and bugs.  As many early season apples they are great for cooking, fried apples, apple tarts, apple pie.

Spaghetti squash

Spaghetti Squash, love it or leave it.

Recipe

Elderberry tincture

Elderberry tincture has traditionally been used to stave off colds and flus, or to help the body mend more quickly once you have contacted a cold or flu.  I am probably supposed to mention here that this information has not been scientifically proven, and the USDA has not approved the above writ statement.  But people have been using elder for medicine longer than the USDA has been in existence so here’s an herbal recipe for you to try.

Ingredients:

  • Elderberries
  • Vodka or Vegetable Glycerin ( if using glycerin use 4 parts water to 1 part glycerin)

Preparation

  • For type A’s: Pick berries off stem and rinse
  • For type B’s: Skip the step above
  • Put Elderberries in a clean mason jar
  • Pour vodka or glycerin mixture over berries, make sure the liquid completely covers the berries.
  • Cover with a tight-fitting lid and let sit for at least one month
  • Strain Elderberries from the alcohol in a fine sieve
  • Bottle the liquid tincture and label.

Note: Tincture jars are sold at our local grocer Rainbow’s End, they may sell glycerin too.

 

Veggie Feast August 22, 2018

Notes from the Farm

Last year we didn’t get any corn because of these guys….

Corn eating birds

Because we live in the river bottom we get to share the land with many other beings, including Red-winged and Yellow-headed blackbirds, a.k.a. corn munchers.  Leon has been watering the corn enough so the husks have grown past the tip of the corn, making it harder for the birds to see.  But they’re on to us.  If your corn is munched on the tip simply cut the end off and enjoy knowing that you have contributed to the migratory bird banquet.  We hope you are enjoying the summer’s bounty.

This Week’s Veggie Feast

August 22, 2018

Lettuce mix, Chiogga beets, sweet onions, Red Russian kale, red potatoes, yellow beans, summer crookneck squash and …

New This Week

Tomotoes

We grow Sungolds, Bellstar which are an Italian paste tomato and Cosmonaut, an heirloom slicing tomato from Russia.  This week you will get a small sampling of each.

Sweet corn

Leon’s favorite variety, Trinity, a bicolor corn.  Early, consistent and flavorful, but a little chewed, read “Notes from the Farm” if you haven’t already.