Thursday, July 14, 2011

Good Eats Newsletter - July 13, 2011

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains:

Bag of Mesclun Greens; Bunch of Basil; Bunch of Oregano; Bunch of Celery; Zucchini; Green Pepper; Cabbage; Shelling Peas; Bunch of Onions plus...


Tomatoes


Localvore Offerings Include:

Elmore Mountain Honey Oat

Bonnieview Farm Feta

Stateline Farm Sunflower Oil


Pete's Musings

We have a short growing season but my goodness do plants change fast when it is 85 degrees and so humid the air is like soup. I used to hate this kind of weather but now I'll take it anytime over the other summer extreme which is high 50's and raining. Nothing grows then. The weather has been completely perfect for almost a month. Warm, dry during the day, consistent enough evening rain, couldn't ask for more. We seeded 2 acres of storage carrots yesterday at our remote field and I was worried because we don't have irrigation there. In the night we got a perfect 1/2 in. of rain and the carrots will pop up in no time.



We are in the last week of using our commercial kitchen to wash and pack produce. Kudos to Tim, Deb, Annie, Theresa and the amigos for getting so much done in such a small space. They have had a great attitude and we have been shipping alot of produce. They are excited for the elbow room that will come with next week's move to our new building.


Barn is coming along great. Parts of the project that we thought we'd have to put off until later (equipment porches, offices, employee spaces) will all get at least mostly completed this summer. It is being wired and plumbed this week and the first refrigeration will be installed. This building is going to be a game changer for us, allowing us to work efficiently, comfortably, and to be able to keep everything in its proper place. Isaac, Shawn, my brother Andrew, Ben and Kevin have been a small crew for the past month but are still getting alot done.


Believe it or not it is time for winter crop planning and I have been pondering that while cruising around on a tractor sweating like crazy. We have to move at least a couple greenhouses because the new building is in their way and we are making plans to grow alot of greens this winter. Stay tuned. ~ Pete

Storage and Use Tips


Cabbage - It's a great week for coleslaw this week given this heat! You'll all receive a cabbage in your bag this week and you'll just have to wait and see what kind you get. We have smooth green cabbage, red cabbage, pointy Arrowhead cabbages and pretty frilled Savoy cabbages going out. You will receive just one of these cabbages in your bag







Tomatoes -
Despite the tomato disease, we had enough good ripe tomatoes to send you all some this week! I hope the trend continues. Store tomatoes on the counter, not in the fridge. The cold of the fridge takes the flavor right out of them. If you slice one up for a sandwich and have half left, then you should store remainder in the fridge. There are a mix of heirlooms going out.

Basil - Fresh basil to go with your tomatoes this week! Please don't put your basil in the fridge! Basil does not like cold and will turn black. It's really best to use right up. If you must try to keep it, either put the stems in water on your counter, or put it in a plastic bag in the coolest place you can think of that is not cold. But not for long. Or put it in a blender or food processor, grind it up and add some olive oil to preserve it as a pesto.

Shelling Peas -
This week we have shell peas for you. Which is not to say that you can't eat your pods... but they will not be as tender as snap peas or other edible pod peas. Eats your peas soon. The sugars in fresh peas turn to starch fairly quickly so they will lose flavor and quality as days pass.


Summer Squash -
you will receive either green zucchini, yellow summer squash or patty pan squash in your bags or a mix!


Celery - Very fun to have celery going out this week. I don't think celery really needs an introduction or how to. Just crunch away and enjoy.

Mondays at the Farm

Early week at the farm is pretty well dictated by Good Eats. In order to deliver Wednesday, we have very full days Monday and Tuesday. Many of us begin at 6am on Monday and the washhouse crew often wraps up as late as 7 or 8 pm. On Monday morning I send weekly Good Eats reports to the rest of our gang at the farm so that they may start picking according to the numbers we have for the week. Tim contacts wholesale accounts by email and then by phone and begins to compile wholesale orders and these numbers get added to the harvest list. Theresa takes inventory in the farmstand and determines what restocking she needs and gets that harvest list to the team. By mid morning we have a crew of 6 and sometimes 8 in the fields harvesting, and soon thereafter part of the crew returns to the washhouse to start washing. From Monday midday through Tuesday our washhouse is a busy place as crop after crop takes its turn in the washtanks and the process of sorting, trimming and culling occurs. And finally, the packing of Good Eats bags takes place on Tuesday afternoon after all produce has been gathered. Meanwhile, Pete, Chuck and Steve are busy doing fieldwork, and the construction team continue to build.


The photos below were taken Monday afternoon. I wish I'd made it a point to catch everyone on the team, that would be fun!





















By mid afternoon Monday, the harvest crew had already made at least 20 trips to and from the field, rushing field crops from harvest to the cooler climates of the washhouse and coolers. In the field Annie, Nicole, Socorro and Apolinar harvest radishes. Alejandra and Sabina were just out of view doing the same. On my walk back from the fields thru the barn, Isaac returns on his bike from farm house office land. Isaac is overseeing the construction and every time he needs to make a phone call or order something he has to zip back to the soon to be old office. Pete and Isaac have taken to driving motorcycles this year as easy, cheap fast means of traveling everywhere on the farm and to more distant fields.























I found Kevin working with the electricians drilling holes to make their work go faster. Shawn... well I don't know what Shawn was doing with that sawsall, but that cavernous space behind him will be the freezer. Meanwhile Andrew was outside moving construction material around with a forklift
.





The new building is looking great. This photo looks down on the soon to be veggie washing area.



















I tracked down Pete on a tractor spreading manure, finally preparing our river bottom field for planting. This field has only recently dried out enough after all the flooding that it can be planted for the first time this year (!). Back at the washhouse, Theresa and Deb were going full tilt in the midst of beet washing. Towers of beets were glowing everywhere.



Changes to Your Delivery?
If you will be away some upcoming week, and need to make changes to your share delivery, let me know at least 1 week before the change. You can have your share donated to the Food Pantry, or I can stop your share delivery and you will retain a credit on your account toward the purchase of your next share.

If you are splitting your share with someone.....

If you split your share with someone weekly and you actually physically split your share at pick-up, please take care to label the half share you leave behind and place it somewhere away from other shares. We haven't had any problems this share period but would hate to have someone go home with a partial share unwittingly.


Localvore Lore


Our bread this week comes from Elmore Mountain Bread, and Andrew and Blair are busy with the loaves now as I write this. This week they are baking Honey Oat for the share. They are using Milanaise whole wheat and white flour, Quebec oats, sea salt, and honey from Butternut Mountain Farm.

The organic sunflower oil comes from John Williamson's State Line Farm in Shaftsbury, VT. This is a good all purpose mild flavored oil that you can use wherever a recipe calls for vegetable oil. We will send it in a plastic quart container, but we recommend transferring it to a glass container. If you will not use the oil quickly in your household, it's best to store it in the fridge. This is an unrefined product and it can spoil. In the fridge it will last indefinitely. It may get a little cloudy in your fridge but this is normal and the cloudiness will dissipate as it warms up. John and partner Steve Plummer did not start out with the intention to make sunflower oil for consumption but instead built Vermont's first on farm biodiesel facility pressing oilseeds grown on site to be used as bio fuel. But they are able to press the same seeds to create a very high quality oil for consumption, and we all are lucky beneficiaries. Photo at left of John's fields.

Once each share period I send out Bonnieview Farm's Ewe's Feta cheese. Neil and Kristen make this superior feta from the ewes they milk each day. I have become dependant on this cheese, and always have a container in my fridge. I use it to add depth to salads. I crumble it into various pasta dishes and use it on bruschetta and other open faced toasted sandwiches.


Recipes

The other couple recipes I see in this share that I didn't write up are a veggie pasta with the tomatoes, onion, pepper, zucc and herbs. Or pizza! Lots of options with beautiful vegetables...


Tomato and Basil Salad


Ok, this might seem obvious but in case any of you have forgotten about this delicacy...


Sliced tomatoes

Fresh Chopped Basil

Balsamic vinegar (the best you have available)

Olive oil

A sprinkling of fresh ground pepper

Optional but a bonus - fresh mozzarella or crumbled feta

Optional but awesome if you are a garlic fiend - chopped garlic


No fixed recipe needed here... Just slice the tomatoes and arrange on a plate. Chop the basil and optional garlic and sprinkle on top of the tomatoes. Drizzle the balsamic and olive oil on top (a couple generous TBs of each). I use maybe a bit more balsamic than oil. If on a plate, I just turn the tomatoes a few times to coat both sides in the vinaigrette. If using the mozz, tear pieces and arrange on the plate, or crumble some feta on top. If the balsamic is good, you can skip dessert and just eat this.


Creamy Feta Dressing


Here's a perfect recipe for this week, pulled from our recipe archives. This dressing would be fantasic on a simple mesclun salad and tomato salad. If you have fresh mint in the garden, use some here. Cucumber would be great too. Makes about 1 cup.



1/3 cup feta cheese, finely crumbled

1 clove garlic, minced

1/3 cup sunflower oil

2 TB cider vinegar

1/4 tsp salt, or to taste

3 TB yogurt

1 TB mayonnaise

fresh black pepper

fresh minced or dry herbs: mint, dill, chives, parsley



Blend together vinegar, garlic, yogurt, mayo, salt, pepper, & herbs. Blend in the oil in a drizzle until emulsified, then stir in feta. Keeps 1 week in refrigerator.


Coleslaw Two Ways

You have the cabbage and that's all you really need to make a slaw, but but you could liven things up and add other veggies to a slaw mix if you are headed in the slaw direction (shredded carrots, slices snow or snap peas, shredded beets (especially golden and white and chiogga because they don't bleed as much). Scallions would be great with the Asian dressing, as would a sprinkling of toasted chopped almonds. A little onion would be great with the NY Creamy.


New York Style Creamy Dressing

1/4 cup mayonnaise

3 tbsp. vinegar

2 tbsp. sugar

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice (1/2 a lemon)

3 tbsp. dry mustard

Salt and pepper, to taste


In a large bowl, whisk ingredients together. Add slaw and toss well. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.



Asian Coleslaw Dressing

1/4 cup tamari
1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 tbsp. grated fresh ginger

3 tbsp. white vinegar

2 tbsp. dark brown sugar

2 tsp. sesame oil

3 tbsp. sesame seeds, optional


Place all ingredients in large bowl and whisk until well incorporated. Add to your coleslaw blend and toss until well coated. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. This slaw is best served within 15 minutes of making.

Bruschetta


Such a great bruschetta week with all the tasty things in the share! There are lots of ways to make great bruschetta. I have an easy way that works great for me that I'll share here. 



1 Baguette, or crusty bread sliced on the diagonal (for larger slices) or in rounds 1/2 inch thick.



1-2 fresh chopped tomatoes (seeds pushed out with your thumbs first to lose some of the juice)

a clove or two of garlic minced

small handful of basil chopped

olive oil

black pepper

balsamic vinegar



optional - fresh mozz, goat cheese or feta



Chop the veggies and mix them all together. Taste a spoonful and decide if it needs zing. A bit more black pepper or a drizzle of good balsamic will go a long way.



Toast the baguette/bread slices in the toaster lightly. Lightly is important because you will toast them again. After toasting the first time, brush them with olive oil. Then spoon some of the tomato mixture onto the toasts. At this point you can also place some crumbled feta (or goat cheese or fresh moxzz) on top of the tomato mix. Return the toasts either to a preheated oven or toaster oven and bake at 400F for 5-10 minutes until everything is heated through but before toasts start to burn.

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