July 14, 2009 Box #4
An early morning harvest before market this past weekend reminded me that the Pacific Northwest weather has worked its way into my heart. The methodical sounds of pulling up beet roots was broken by a slow thunder rolling in, then the sky filled with flashes of lighting and finally an anticipated break of rainfall. I glance over to see giant cucumber and squash leaves stretching up and taking in each raindrop. After loading up the market van, we took refuge in an armor of flannel, rain gear and rubber boots to continue the days work. Now my refuge has become a cup of coffee as I write this week’s CSA newsletter.
Box #4 contains:
green cabbage new red potatoes
purplette onions sugar snap peas
Because of symphylan damage to our second planting of carrots, we didn’t have any to offer last week. Today carrots make their come back, this time a mix of the orange heirloom variety Scarlet Nantes and the beautiful Purple Dragon carrot. Symphylans are one of the many pests Pacific Northwest farmers face. They are related to the centipede and live just under the soil surface. They thrive in moist, heavy clay soils (common in the Pacific N.W.), and feed off seedlings, roots and root hairs. It is always a sad discovery to go out to weed and thin baby carrots and instead find that they have all been eaten by sypmphylans. Fortunately for us the third planting of carrots had already begun sizing up. Pests remind us that even if the weather is amazing, many factors play into a successful crop. Some of our other common foes at the farm are flea beetle, cabbage maggot, carrot rust fly, cucumber beetle, leaf miners, slugs, and aphids. As organic farmers our typical lines of defense against these arch enemies consists of: row cover (creating a physical barrier so the insects can’t get to the plants), crop rotation, variety selection and an acute knowledge of the life cycle of pests.
The purplettes are a delicious, pungent tear jerker of an onion. Eat fresh or lightly sautéed or grilled to enjoy the full flavor. This week we are also excited to add new potatoes to the box:
“Potatoes were everything. Planted with the moon in cushioned rows, dirt pulled up on them all summer to make the right beds, there can be nothing, ever, to compare with new red potatoes as big as a circle with thumb and forefinger; brand new from the hot summer dirt, pulled out sideways so the plant won’t know and taken in to be cleaned and boiled with the skin on and served with fresh churned butter and coarse salt and pepper. It is impossible to stop eating them until they are all gone. Until the pan is empty and the butter is wiped up with fresh bread and it is not possible to move and the feeling won’t come again until next year, the first new potato meal feeling. There will be many other good meals, and good potatoes, white potatoes because they store in the root cellar better and last all winter and red potatoes because they taste better but only once a year, once a year are there new potatoes.” – Gary Paulsen Clabbered Dirt, Sweet Grass
New potatoes are best eaten fresh. Treat them like any fresh vegetable, keep refrigerated. Their skins are thin and they’re not suitable for storage. They are a delicious hallmark of summer. Perhaps this week you will find yourself out on a picnic with some fresh potato dill salad.
There never seems to be a dull moment at the farm. This Saturday after returning back from the Olympia Farmers Market, we found the rest of the crew refreshed from the river and ready to turn from fish into monkeys. Next thing I knew the entire crew was climbing from limb to limb clamoring for cherries. Lauren’s family visit helped instigate a cherry heist for pie. We also ate the first ripe tomatoes, and shelling peas for freezing keeps hands busy during evening thunderstorms. And just when things seemed almost too serious Liza managed to get attacked by the hose this morning at the beet washing station.
Check out USA Today, we are a featured farm in an article about young farmers, in news stands today.
We still have CSA shares available. Members that sign up now will be pro-rated the full amount.
Thanks for returning your boxes at the drop site.
Wobbly Cart Recipes
Dilled Potato and Green Bean Salad
– Steam 1 lb green beans until tender-crisp. About 3 to 5 minutes. Run under cold water and drain thoroughly. Cut into thirds lengthwise and place in a serving bowl.
-Cook 1 lb of small new potatoes( unpeeled) in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 8 minutes, or until tender. Drain and when cool enough to handle, cut the potatoes into ¼ inch slices.
-Combine the potatoes with the green beans and 1/3 cup of coarsely chopped walnuts in the serving bowl.
– in a food processor or blender, combine ¼ cup olive oil, ¾ cup minced fresh dill, 1 to 3 tsp of dijon mustard, 1 ½ tbsp white wine vinegar, sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
-Toss the dill-mustard vinaigrette into the potato-bean mixture.
-Let the salad marinate at room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving. Adjust seasonings before serving, adding more dill, mustard, and vinegar as desired. (Serves 4).
Sweet and Sour Coleslaw
-Quarter 1 medium cabbage, remove and discard the central white core. Shred the cabbage by cutting very thin slices along the length of each quarter. You should have about 6 cups, tightly packed; reserve any extra for another dish.
-Place the shredded cabbage in a large bowl. Toss in 2 large carrots that have been coarsely shredded, 1/3 cup of dried cherries.
-In a small jar combine 1/3 cup canola oil, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp cider vinegar, ¾ tsp of sea salt, and 1/8 tsp of ground allspice. Shake thoroughly to bland, and then pour over the cabbage. Taste and add more vinegar and allspice if desired.
-Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. For optimum taste serve at room temperature. (Serves 6 to 8 ).
Brilliant Beet Dip
4 small beets, soft cooked, peeled, and cut into chunks
4 ounces soft tofu, drained
1 to 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp minced baby purple onion
½ tsp dry mustard
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried tarragon
Sea salt to taste
-Puree the ingredients (using 1 tbsp vinegar) in a food processer or blender until smooth. Serve immediately or refrigerate in a tightly sealed container for up to 3 days. Serve it with sliced veggies, crackers, or fresh bread.
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 round 9×2 cake pans or one 13×9 baking pan.
-In a large bowl whisk together, 1 1/3 cup flour, ¾ cup sugar, 11/2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, ½ tsp ground cloves, ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg, ½ tsp allspice, and ½ tsp salt.
-Then stir in 2/3 cup vegetable oil, 3 large eggs, 2 cups grated carrots and 1 cup finely chopped walnuts.
-Scrape the batter into the pans and spread evenly.
-Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.
– Let cool completely and frost with cream cheese frosting , or serve warm sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Cream Cheese Frosting
-Zest 1 lemon and sift 1 cup powdered sugar.
-Squeeze the lemon so you have 1 tbsp lemon juice.
-In a food processer, blend until creamy 8 ounces cold cream cheese, 5 tbsp unsalted butter, 2 tsp vanilla and the 1 cup powdered sugar, lemon zest and juice.