Wobbly Cart Farm CSA week 9

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8-9-16

Large shares: Italian plums, lemon cucumbers, snap peas, shell peas, red potatoes, Walla Walla onion, red onion, Italian parsley, gold beets, carrots, cabbage

Small shares: Italian plums, cucumber, new potatoes, red onion, snow peas, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, Italian parsley, jalapeno pepper, summer squash

Dear CSA members,

Brr! It feels like September around the farm. The weather has been quite cloudy and cool. We have even had a significant ammount of rainfall for August! This is a little bit more normal as I’ve said before, but is actually starting to feel quite a bit cooler than normal.We are all quite amazed at the contrast from the previous two hot and dry summers. All our hot weather loving crops (tomatoes, peppers, melons, eggplant and sweet corn) that we have been so spoiled with in the last couple of years are certainly feeling the lack of sun and cold nights of late. All the plants are loaded with fruit, but it is taking a long time to ripen it! I think this is what the old timers around here would call a “cabbage year” – because cabbage loves cool steady temperatures!

The forecast looks pretty good with warm temps and sun ahead so hopefully we have plenty of time to ripen up those heat loving crops. This time of year there is so much to do around the farm, the harvests are heavy, the weeds are ever growing, the irrigation must be kept flowing day and night… We also feel the pressure of time, time enough to complete all that must be done as well as the count down to the first frosts of the season ( which around here has been known to happen as early as Septemper 15th) and when the summer crops begin to shut down with with shortening days. We will keep up our end of the bargain, never know what nature is going to do!

This week we have Italian plums from the uber abundant plum tree that resides near our barn. Each year this tree produces enormous crops of these delicious plums and we get to share them with you! Italian plums are dark purple plums with a slight powdery blush to them. Their flavor is slightly sweet and sour and is excellent for fresh eating, baking, drying and canning. We tried to harvest a range of ripenesses so you wouldn’t have to immediately use them up. They do ripen off the tree so you may have a couple of days on the lighter colored plums. We also have lemon cucumbers for the large share. These yellow round cucumbers are an heirloom variety with a thin yellow skin and a mild flavor (they do not actually taste like lemon though!). Store and use them as you would a regular cucumber.

Large shares received gold beets. These are just like red beets but have a milder and sweeter flavor. They have an earthy nuttiness to them somewhat like a walnut and sweetness reminiscent of apples or apricots. The color is a phenomenal gold. The greens on these looked really nice and would be great to cook with as well.

Large shares also recieved snap peas – these can be eaten whole with out having to shell out the peas and make a great snack or addition to salads.

Have a great week,

Asha

 

Shaved Summer Squash with Pecorino Romano: In a large bowl whisk together 1 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp olive oil, and a pinch of sea salt. Using a vegetable peeler or a mandoline, shave a large summer squash into paper thin ribbons, about 1/16 of an inch thick, to yield 3 to 4 cups. Toss the squash ribbons with the dressing and marinate at room temperature for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, shave 2 ounces of Pecorino Romano into thin strips with a vegetable peeler to yield ¾ of a cup. Add to the squash and toss gently. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more lemon juice if desired. Garnish with thinly sliced basil and freshly ground black pepper.

Tabbouleh: Place ½ cup bulgur in a large bowl. Pour in 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice over the bulgur. Set aside for 10 minutes. Combine 3 medium tomatoes, cubed, 1 ½ cups finely chopped Italian parsley, 6 to 8 mint leaves, finely chopped, 2 scallions finely chopped, ½ tsp sea salt, ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper, 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, ¼ cup cold water. Set aside for 2 hours or until the bulgur has softened to your preference. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt, pepper, lemon juice, or olive oil as desired. Serve at room temperature. Keeps refrigerated for 2 to 3 days.

Spicy Cabbage Slaw: combine the zest and juice of one lime, 1 tsp cider vinegar, 1 tbsp sugar, ½ tsp salt, 1/3 cup canola oil, 2 hot chilies (stemmed and seeded), 1 plump garlic clove, chopped, ½ cup packed cilantro leaves in a food processor and process until well combined. Mix 4 cups thinly sliced cabbage, 1 cup shredded carrots, ½ cup thinly sliced red onion, and freshly ground black pepper. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight before serving.

Cucumbers Wedges with Chile and Lime: Wash 2 8 to 10 inch cucumbers and slice off the ends. Halve each crosswise and then slice each half lengthwise to make wedges. Place cucumbers in a large bowl. Halve a lime and discard any seeds. Squeeze lime juice over the cucumber wedges and toss gently to coat, dust with salt and a spicy flavorful chile powder such as Chimayo. Serve immediately.

Marinated plums over pound cake: mix sliced plums with equal splashes of pomegranate molasses and brandy and a sprinkle of sugar. Let steep for at least 10 minutes. Spoon onto grilled or toasted pound cake. Top with whipped cream and sliced almonds. From August 2015 issue of Sunset magazine

Fleur’s Summer Plum Cake: Preheat the oven to 350. Blend 2 eggs, ½ cup sugar, ½ tsp salt, ¼ lb sweet butter, softened, 1 tsp vanilla in a medium sized bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined. Add 1 cup flour and 1 tsp baking powder and stir by hand until just combined. Transfer the batter to a greased square baking pan. Place 20 plums that have been split in half and pitted into the batter on their sides, sleeping close together in rows (our plums are kind of big, so I would recommend slicing into smaller pieces). Combine ¼ cup sugar and ½ to 1 tbsp cinnamon and sprinkle the mixture over the batter and plums. Bake for 40 minutes. Do not over bake. Serve warm with vanilla or butter pecan ice cream.

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.