Wobbly Cart Farm CSA week 8

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8-2-16

Large shares: cucumbers, summer squash, Yukon Gem new potatoes, Purplette onions, cherry tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, shell peas, fresh basil

Small shares: cucumber, beets, carrots, shell peas, purplette onion, garlic, kohlrabi, fresh basil

 

Dear CSA members,

August is here!

Here we are in the time of the season when the boxes and crates just seem to get heavier and heavier. As farmers, our bodies begin to feel the weight of all the work as well around this time of year. I have learned the importance of self preservation in this profession as heavy lifing and repetitive motions start to take their toll on the finite resource of the body. Anything we can do to make our work more efficient and reduce lifting and moving things by hand really makes a difference over the long run.

As our days shorten in length plants all around prepare for the cold to come (despite summer temperatures) by going into overdrive to complete their lifecycle. Winter squash ripening in the field are seemingly huge all of a sudden, tomatoes come off the vine over a pound each at times, and pepper plants start collapsing under their own weight. I have also noticed that as the surrounding natural landscape gets more and more dry, pressure from insect and mammalian pests increases as they loose natural food sources. I can see the beetles, deer and voles attraction to our lush irrigated produce fields! They do look awfully tasty!

We have also recently participated in a bird survey called WSU Avian Biodiversity: Impacts, Risks And Descriptive Survey. The ornitoligists that came out were really impressed with the diversity of species found in our fields as well as the grassland habitat the fallow areas of the farm provided. She said “This survey I observed very high densities of birds in the crop areas including song sparrows, American robins, killdeer, American goldfinches, barn swallows, violet-green swallows (my favorite swallows!), Wilson’s warblers, Western bluebirds, and Savannah sparrows. I’m not sure I’ve observed such a wide range of species in the row crops in one field.” It’s nice to know we are able to provide habitat/refuge for bird species that may have increasing difficulty finding food sources as our area becomes more densly populated.

This week we have several new crops for you to enjoy, cucumbers, fresh basil, and cherry tomatoes and Yukon gem potatoes for the large share. I reccommend using the basil up asap and avoid putting it in the refrigerator as it has a tendenc to turn black with the cold. Yukon gem is a new variety of potato for us, it was actually shipped to us by mistake. The Yukon gem is very similar to it’s parent Yukon Gold with smooth tan skin and dense, buttery yellow flesh for baking, boiling and frying. But it has the added bonus of having pretty pink splashes of color around the eyes!

A couple of tips for the best uses of abundant and large summer squash ( these came from the August 2015 issue of Sunset magazine)
– grate it, let it sit, drain it, and freeze in 2 cup portions for zucchini bread
-slice it lengthwise on a mandoline and layer into moussaka, or substitute for noodles in lasagna
-make salt and vinegar zucchini chips in the oven or dehydrator. Thinly slice on a mandoline, toss with salt and vinegar and a bit of olive oil. Layer in the food dehydrator and dehydrate for 8 to 14 hours. Or bake in a single layer at 200 degrees for 2 to 3 hours. I’m going to make these tonight!

I also wanted to let you know: our neighbors at August Farm have pork shares available for their August harvest. Order a half or whole pig now before they’re gone and stock your freezer with delicious, pasture raised pork. Their pigs are hand raised on pasture and fed locally grown, Non-GMO grains. You can find out more information and place an order at www.august-farm.com.

Have a great week,

Asha

 

 

Algerian Carrot Salad: Thinly slice 2 lbs fresh carrots. Put the carrots and enough water to cover by 2 inches in a 2 to 3 quart saucepan and bring to a boil over mediums-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain and reserve until ready to use. Heat 2 tbsp of walnut oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add 1 medium choppedonion, 3 cloves of crushed garlic and cook, stirring, until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the reserved carrots and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring often. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing in a small bowl; whisk together ¼ cup walnut oil, 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice, 1 tbsp light brown sugar, 1 tbsp ground cumin, 1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper, 1/8 cup minced fresh cilantro, 1/8 cup minced fresh parsley until well blended. Combine the carrot mixture, dressing and 1 cup finely chopped pitted dates in a serving bowl, toss until well blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve at once or let cool to room temperature and serve. Makes 4 to 6 servings. From Cooking in Cast Iron.

New Potato Salad: Place 2 ½ lbs new potatoes in a large pot. Cover with cold water by 1 inch and season generously with salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Run under cold water to cool slightly, and then drain. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together ¼ cup olive oil, 3 tbsp Dijon Mustard, 2 tbsp sherry vinegar, 1 small minced shallot, 3 tbsp minced fresh parsley, and 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme; season with salt and pepper. Add potatoes and ¼ of a sliced red onion and toss to combine. Serve at room temperature. (To store, refrigerate, up to overnight.) Makes 6 servings. From Everyday Food.

 

Vegetable Kebabs with Mustard Basting Sauce: ( from Gourmet July 1995)

Prepare the Veggies: In a large saucepan of boiling salted water cook 1 bunch of topped carrots for 1 minute. Add 1 ½ lb of whole summer squash and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer vegetables with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice water to stop cooking and then drain well in a colander. Slice the cooled summer squash and carrots into ¾ inch slices. In boiling water that remains in the pan cook ¾ inch chunks of purplette onion or about 4 minutes. Transfer them into a bowl of ice water to cool and then drain well in a colander. Do the same for 2 sweet peppers cut in to ¾ inch chunks. These veggies may be boiled 1 day ahead and chilled in bags in the fridge.

For the sauce: In a small bowl whisk together 11/2 Tbsp of white-wine vinegar, 11/2 Tbsp of Dijon mustard, 2 tsp olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. The basting sauce may also be made 1 day ahead and chilled covered in the fridge.

Heat your grill to medium-high: Thread the vegetables, alternating them, onto skewers. Brush one side with about half the sauce and grill, coated side down on an oiled rack 5 to 6 inches over glowing coals 5 minutes. Brush kebabs with the remaining sauce and turn. Grill kebabs 5 minutes more, or until squash is tender.

Serves 4.

 

Pistou: 

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

3 garlic cloves

sea salt

2 cups basil leaves

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

freshly ground black pepper

To make the pistou, pound the pine nuts and garlic with a pinch of salt in a mortar. Add a few basil leaves and continue to pound. Alternating basil and olive oil, continue pounding until a smoothing past is achieved. Stir in any remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Makes about one cup. From thecooksatelier.com

Cucumber Lime Guacamole: chop 1 ½ cups seeded cucumbers. Place cucumbers in a colander, sprinkle with ¼ tsp salt, toss to coat. Let stand for 1 hour. Pat cucumbers dry with paper towels. Transfer to a medium bowl. Chop 2 medium pitted and peeled avocados, and mash 2 more. Add the avocado, 2 thinly sliced scallion, ¼ cup chopped cilantro, and 3 tbsp lime juice to cucumbers; stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 3 cups Rose’ Cucumber Cooler: combine 1 bottle dry rose’ wine, 1 cup St Germain elderflower liqueur , ½ cup lemon juice, 1 thinly sliced lemon, and about 6 inches of a cucumber also thinly sliced.

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