Wobbly Cart Farm CSA Box # 4 7-12-11
In this week’s box:
Carrots Italian Parsley Green Garlic
Beets Lettuce Strawberries
Purplette Onions Snow Pea
Radish Shell Pea
Hello to everyone,
Another week has flown by and were already to week four! We’re starting to see the results of months and weeks of hard work and preparation as the fields fill up with luscious and delicious produce. Many, many days of seeding, transplanting, weeding, thinning, watering, and planning go into every weeks’ harvest of the final products that you receive in your boxes. At this point in the season as we get caught up on planting and weeding, efforts turn to long days of harvest, washing and packing the veggies before heading off to markets and CSA deliveries. The schedule can get pretty intense but somehow, with the help of our experienced and dedicated crew we manage to get it done. The sun has finally kicked in for the most part, and that helps a lot too.
As for me, I began the season in the cold and dark days of early March. I run the greenhouse, which produces roughly half of the seedlings for our operation. The other half is directly seeded into the fields. Direct seeding works best for crops like carrots and beets that have long taproots and resent being disturbed. While I focus on crops like onions, tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and crops like broccoli and cauliflower. Just as the farm is kicking into full swing, the greenhouse is emptying out and looking deserted. I enjoy the break from constantly babying baby plants, while my seeding schedule is reduced to lettuce; scallions and then a small flush of fall crops like kales and cabbages. This year I am also tending to out garlic crop as well as the contents of two hoop-houses (giant greenhouses where we plant directly into the soil). These contain summer squash, tomatoes, and peppers and eggplants this year. We’re hoping we’ll have an early and long harvest of these crops with the help of the plastic covering. This ought to keep me busy well into the heat of summer. So far, so good.
New this week to CSA will be beets, parsley, and purplette onions. Normally, we have beets by now, but the first planting was just languishing for some reason. Then the other day Joe went to check the 2nd planting for weeding, and discovered it to be looking much better than the first planting. So you’ll each get a bunch of beets. Both the greens and the roots are edible and nutritious. The roots are great steamed or baked, after which you can easily slip the skins off if you desire. I usually cut the tops off and cook them separately in stir- fries or soups. I like sliced steamed beet roots on salads or layered into a sandwich for an interesting change. I also love them as refrigerator pickles with vinegar, honey and spices (see the recipe page). The parsley is an Italian Flat leaf type. It is excellent blended up into sauces and pesto-like concoctions, as a garnish, and added to salads and soups. It stores well as I previously described cilantro, with it’s roots plunged into a jar of water and the greens covered in a plastic bag, and then set on a shelf in your refrigerator. Purplette Onions are a yummy and cute spring onion that is a nice change from scallions this time of year. You can cook them just like regular onions, roast them whole with your beets and garlic, or add fresh to salads. I’ll have more ideas on the recipe page.
Well, that’s all for this week, Enjoy!
Asha, Joe and the Crew
Recipe page #4
Quick Pickled Beets: In a pressure cooker combine: 4 medium beets, scrubbed, trimmed, halved, and cut into ¼ inch slices. 2 purplette onions peeled and thinly sliced, ¾ cup apple juice or ¼ cup honey and a ½ cup water, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, 1/8 tsp ground allspice or ginger, a pinch of sea salt. Lock the pressure cooker lid into place over high heat and bring to pressure. Lower the heat just enough to maintain pressure and cook for 4 minutes. Reduce the pressure by running the cooker under cold water in your sink until lid will release. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to allow any excess steam to escape. If the beet slices are not quite tender, replace the lid and allow to steam in the residual heat for a minute or two. To serve, lift the beets out of the liquid with a slotted spoon. Or, transfer the beets and liquid to a glass container, cool, and refrigerate for up to two weeks. (adapted from a recipe in Recipes from an Ecological Kitchen by Lorna Sass).
White Beans with Parsley Pesto: In a blender, place 4 cups loosely packed Italian parsley leaves, trimmed of all but the slenderest stems, ¼ cup olive oil, 3 large cloves of green garlic, ¼ cup chopped walnuts, and 1 to 3 Tbsp of fresh lemon juice, 2 to 3 tsp grated lemon peel, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar, and ½ tsp salt. Process until smooth, scraping the sides of the blender once or twice. The volume will reduce to about ¼ cup! Taste and add more lemon, vinegar or salt as desired. It should be assertive since it will be tossed with unsalted beans. Have 3 cups firm cooked white beans cooled and ready (or use Wobbly Cart’s beans from the first box if you haven’t already!) Toss the pesto with the beans. Add more lemon and salt if needed. Serve nestled in lettuce leaves if desired. (also adapted from the above source)
Eggs in a Nest: Cook 2 cups of brown rice with 4 cups water in a covered pot while the other ingredients are being prepared. Saute in a large wide skillet 2 medium chopped purplette onions and as much garlic as you like in a few Tbsp olive oil until lightly golden. Add several chopped carrots and ½ cup dried tomatoes and sauté for a few minutes, adding just enough water to rehydrate the tomatoes. Wash, dry and coarsely chop one really large bunch of chard or beet greens. Mix with the other vegetables and cover pan for a few minutes. Uncover, stir well, then use a large spoon to make depressions in the cooked leaves, circling the pan like numbers on a clock. Break a farm fresh egg into each depression, being careful to keep the yolks whole. Cover the pan again and allow the eggs to poach for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve over rice. (Adapted from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver).
Fresh Pea Salad: Combine ¾ cup fresh shell peas (shelled), ½ cup diced carrots, ¼ cup diced red bell pepper, ¼ finely chopped fresh cilantro, 2 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, 2 Tbsp flax oil (you could also use extra-virgin olive oil) and ½ tsp sea salt in a large mixing bowl and mix well.
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp: Mix together 3 cups of strawberries, halved, 3 cups of chopped rhubarb, and ½ cup honey and place in a 8 by 8 inch ungreased pan. Mix until crumbly, ½ cup flour, ½ cup rolled oats, ½ cup brown sugar, ¾ tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp allspice, and 1/3 cup butter. Sprinkle over the fruit mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes, until golden. (also from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver).
Avocado and Radish Salad: In a bowl, whisk ½ cup fresh lemon juice and ½ cup olive oil. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. In another bowl combine 6 firm ripe Hass avocados-halved, peeled, and sliced 1/3 inch thick, and 3 thinly sliced scallions with half of the dressing and toss. Arrange the avocados around a large platter or shallow bowl. Add 6 bunches of thinly sliced radishes to the remaining dressing and toss. Mound in the center of the platter. Sprinkle with ¼ cup chopped cilantro over the salad and serve. (From Food and Wine Magazine).
Roasted Beets and Sauteed Beet Greens: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Wash 1 bunch of beets with tops, thoroughly, leaving the skins on, and remove the greens. Rinse greens, removing any large stems, and set aside. Place the beets in a small baking dish or roasting pan, and toss with 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Cover and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a knife can slide easily through the largest beet. After they cool a bit you can slip the skins off if desired. When the roasted beets are almost done, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add 2 cloves or more of minced green garlic and 2 Tbsp chopped purplette onion, and cook for a minute. Tear the beet greens into 2 to 3 inch pieces, and add them to the skillet. Cook and stir until the greens are wilted and tender. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the greens as is, and the roasted beets sliced with either red wine vinegar, or butter and salt and pepper.