Wobbly Cart Farm CSA box #6
Large shares: lettuce, cauliflower, green cabbage, carrots, fresh basil, summer squash, Walla Walla onions, cucumber, 1 pint sungold or red cherry tomatoes, garlic
Small shares: lettuce, Walla Walla onion, green cabbage, cucumber, green beans or romano beans, garlic, fresh basil
“True stability results when presumed order and presumed disorder are balanced. A truly stable system expects the unexpected, is prepared to be disrupted, waits to be transformed.” -Tom Robbins
Dear CSA members,
This weeks’ box represents the beginning of some of our favorite summer offerings. We have the first Walla Walla sweet onions, fresh basil, pints of cherry tomatoes for the large shares, as well as green or romano beans for the small share. The onions are fresh and uncured and must be kept in the refrigerator. They will be excellent freshly sliced on a burger or in a salad. The basil won’t take the cold of your refrigerator and should be used as soon as possible!
Most of the small shares got green beans, but we came up a little short on poundage and had to substitute some romano beans as well. The romano beans are large and flat podded. They are used often in Italian cooking and are delicious and robust, similar to green beans. I think they are excellent marinated and then roasted!
While out in the field after packing CSA this morning my eye kept falling to various problems that were obvious to me; diseases that were present, weeds, and pests. It seemed to me that it is too easy to fixate on the negative. Stepping back to take a broader view, looking over the expanse of acreage that is in production at Wobbly Cart, the tomato plants loaded with fruit, sweet corn putting on good growth, the crew diligently weeding a bed of cilantro, bumble bees busily pollinating melons, cucumbers, peppers and eggplants. I was amazed by the abundance of excellent food that we do produce, despite the difficulties and imperfections. I was also amazed by the diversity of crops out there in a relatively small space, when thinking on the scale of farmland that is.
I believe that is one of our strong points as a small organic farm. Our diversity, experience and adaptability allow us to remain successful. When one area/ crop dosen’t produce as desired, another will pick up and shine for us. For example, while the heat and drought we have been having may wreak havoc on our lettuce beds, in the meantime we have watermelon and cantaloupe for the first time ever, and our earliest eggplant harvest of all time! When our brassica plantings look like crap due to flea beetle damage, we can beef up later plantings of chicory and radicchio to fill that space.
Further, as a farm we don’t rely necessarily on any one market for our produce each year. We are diversified by farmers’ market sales, CSA and wholesale accounts. While there may be difficulties and conflicts every once and a while over what will go where after harvest, by and large, the three balance each other out when one isn’t providing the sales that are expected and needed. So far, this philosophy has worked for us and will hopefully carry us into the coming years with the ability to persevere and adapt to the inevitable changes we will encounter.
Have a great week,
Asha, Joe and the crew at Wobbly Cart
Pesto: place 3 cups fresh basil leaves, 3 to 4 cloves garlic in a blender or food processor and mince well. Add 1/3 cup pine nuts or chopped walnuts and continue to blend until the nuts are ground. Drizzle in 1/3 cup olive oil as you keep the machine running. When you have a smooth paste transfer to a bowl and stir in 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Summer squash and pesto pasta: boil water for pasta and make a batch of pesto (see above). Saute I medium chopped onion and 3 + cloves of chopped garlic. Add 3 cups cubed summer squash and sauté until tender. When pasta is done, pile a generous helping on your plate and mix with the vegetable sauté and pesto.
Lemony pasta with cherry tomatoes: in a large bowl, whisk together the zest and juice of one large lemon, 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, ¼ tsp sea salt and pepper to taste. Gently fold in ¼ cup finely chopped basil leaves, ¼ cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley, 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, and 4 cups halved cherry tomatoes, and set aside. Cook 1 lb penne pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta and immediately place the pasta in the bowl on top of the tomato mixture. Let sit for 1 minute to soften the tomatoes, then toss until well combined. Sprinkle with ¼ tsp red pepper flakes and a pinch of sea salt. Serve immediately with additional Parmesan cheese if desired.
Honey roasted carrots: preheat oven to 425. Twist the tops of 16 carrots, leaving a 2 inch nub; wash and scrub the roots. Place the carrots on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tsps olive oil. Roll the carrots back and forth to coat before placing them in the oven. Melt 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp honey together in a small saucepan and keep warm. Shake the carrots occasionally as they roast. Remove from the oven when they are browned in spots and a sharp knife easily pierces them ( 15 to 20 minutes). Drizzle with honey butter over the carrots, roll them around to coat and place them back in the oven. Shake the baking sheet frequently and remove the carrots when their skin begins to caramelize and a knife easily slides through them, about 5 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Basil-Blackberry Crumble: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine 2-3 apples, chopped, 2 pints blackberries, 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 large handful of chopped basil leaves, ¼ cup of honey, or more depending on the tartness of the berries. Put all of this in an oven-proof dish, mix and set aside. Cut 1 stick of cold butter into 5 Tbsp flour and 3 heaping Tbsp brown sugar, then rub with your fingers to make a chunky, crumbly mixture. Sprinkle it over the top of the fruit, bake 30 minutes until golden and bubbly. (from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.)
Sesame ginger romano beans: preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, in a small pan over medium high heat, heat 1 cup vegetable oil. Add 3 small shallots, thinly sliced, and fry, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Meanwhile, on a rimmed baking sheet, toss 1 lb fresh romano beans (stem ends trimmed), with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger, and 1 tsp salt to coat. Roast beans until tender but still green, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer beans to a serving dish and toss with sesame seeds. Top with reserved shallots.
Cucumber Salad with caramelized onions and herbs: slice onions into ¼ inch thick slices (enough to yield 1 cup) and toss to separate into rings. Have a slotted spoon and double layer of paper towels ready. Heat 2 cups vegetable oil to 275 in a small, deep heavy saucepan and drop in onion rings. Cook onions, stirring often, until they turn a uniform light brown, about 8 to 12 minutes. They’ll brown faster toward the end, so be careful. Lift onions from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Reserve 2 tsp onion oil for vinaigrette; let cool. For the vinaigrette: whisk together 1 tbsp each champagne and rice vinegar, 2 tsp sugar, 2 tbsp lemon juice, ¼ tp salt, and ½ tsp pepper together in a bowl until salt and vinegar dissolve. Add reserved onion oil and 1 tbsp minced onion and whisk well to blend. Season to taste with more salt, pepper and lemon juice. Slice several fresh cucumbers into ¼ inch thick slices with a knife. Toss cucumbers and 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes with vinaigrette. Add 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint, 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil, and 1 tbsp roughly chopped red or green shiso (optional). Arrange salad on a platter and top with finely diced mild cucumber pickles and fried onions.