Tuesday, June 30, 2009

In the Share: Week 8

TOMATOES (F/P) First juicy globes of the season! Everyone gets a half pint of cherry tomatoes or one slicing tomato.
RED RUSSIAN KALE (F) Full of calcium, iron, anti-oxidants and tasty too.
NEW POTATOES (F/P) Fresh from the ground with their delicate skins. Keep these refrigerated until you use them. See Tom’s blog for more info and a recipe.
‘WALLA WALLA’ ONIONS (F/P) Oh so sweet.
GREEN BEANS (F) First of the season. Partial shares will get them next week.
CUCUMBERS & SUMMER SQUASH (F/P) Full shares get some of each, partials get a choice.
HERB CHOICE (F/P) Italian basil, summer savory or a dried herb.

Also this week: Parker Farms delivery

Next week: More carrots, summer squash, cucumbers, tomatoes and beans. Fresh garlic and cabbage.

Weather: After last week’s heat wave, the farm crew has been enjoying the beautiful cool, cloudless days. We are continuing to start work at 6 am, a practice that began to beat the heat but that we are now used to. Rising an hour earlier allows us to see some gorgeous sunrises, as shown here. This is a shot from the top of the farm looking east across the no-till beds of flowers, kale, chard and cherry tomatoes.

Which reminds me, the flower garden is now open for picking. Anytime you visit the farm, feel free to pick yourself a bouquet. We have lots of zinnias, yarrow, phlox and an assortment of others blooming now.

The Fields: We continue to seed more crops both in the fields and in the summer greenhouse. This week we planted the ‘Rattlesnake’ pole beans, some ‘Roma’-type bush beans and more cucumbers and summer squash. We seeded the fall cauliflower, cabbages, kohlrabi, bulb fennel and lettuces at the picnic table under the shade of the silver maple. Today I re-seeded the bulb fennel after a hungry mouse dug up and ate most of the seeds planted late last week. Today we harvested the first of the garlic: ‘Musik’, a hard-neck variety and one of our favorites. The bulbs are a nice size and appear to be in great shape. All 982 bulbs are now hanging in the upper barn where they will cure for a few weeks before they are ready for you all. We save the biggest for next year’s seed, label the mediums for eating and save the small ones for next year’s green garlic.

Reminders: With the month of July on our doorstep, it is time for a friendly reminder of the approaching deadline for CSA payments. We ask that the entire balance is paid by the end of July. Please send payments to: Fair Share Farm, 18613 Downing Road, Kearney MO 64060. Email Rebecca (that’s me) if you need me to look up how much you owe. If times are hard in your household, let me know if you need more time or would like to receive a Veggie Voucher. Veggie Vouchers cover $100 of the cost of the CSA share with money raised amongst the membership at the Spring Signup.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 8

New Potatoes
There are only certain times of the year you can get fresh, local new potatoes, and this is it. Freshly dug from still growing plants, these potatoes have very delicate skins that are easily rubbed off (but don't!) When I lived near the potato fields of upstate New York the local farmers would sell them with a small bag of salt in order to make salt potatoes (you would add the salt to the water you boiled them in). We have dug a combination of red and white ones (sorry no blue) for your Independence Day celebrations. If you want to save them for a few days, refrigerate them (something you don't do with regular storage potatoes).

Walla Walla Onions
When we are planting the onion seeds in the greenhouse, I dream of the week when we will be harvesting the Walla Walla's. A beautiful and sweet onion, it's an early summer treat. Like the new potatoes, these onions are fresh and should be kept in the fridge, unlike regular onions.

Herbs--Summer Savory
An herb that many people know little about, summer savory lives up to it's name, going well with many summer vegetables such as squash, beans, tomatoes and potatoes. It has a flavor similar to thyme. Try this simple recipe---steam new potatoes until tender, top with salt, butter and summer savory. Delicious.

Recipe---Stuffed Zucchini
The zucchini harvest is just now reaching its stride. You may get some of the round ones in your share (Tondo di Piacenza). They are especially good for stuffing, though you can stuff any squash. For the long ones, cut them in half to stuff them.

2 medium squash
1 medium onion
3 garlic scapes or 2 cloves garlic
1 cup grated bread crumbs
1 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese
1 tbsp summer savory
1/2 tsp salt
Olive oil

Cut the top off the squash and scoop out the inner pulp (you can discard the first scoop that will mainly be seeds). Rub the squash shell with olive oil, place on a cookie sheet, pour 1 cup water in the cookie sheet (helps the squash cook) and bake at 350 F for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the onions and garlic scapes, saute over medium heat for 2 minutes. Chop up the squash pulp and add it to the pan. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until squash is tender. Stir in all but a couple tablespoons of the bread crumbs.

Remove the shells from the oven. Fill them with alternating layers of the cooked squash and cheese. Top with cheese and bread crumbs. Put back in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the squash shell is tender and the top is browned.

Bulk Order List (week of June 29)
Kale - $3.00/bunch
Swiss chard - $3.00 per bunch
Spring carrots - $2.50/bunch
Green onions - $2.50/bunch
Walla Walla onions $3.00/bunch
Oregano, mint - $1.75/bunch
Basil - $2.oo/bunch

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

In the Share: Week 7

LETTUCE (F/P) Enjoy those salads while you can, the lettuces won’t last more than another week.
BROCCOLI (F) A bit more from the patch until it gets a reprise in the fall.

CUCUMBERS OR CHERRY TOMATOES (F) We’ll give you one or the other, depending on the first harvests of each – just a small tasting with many more to come.

SUMMER SQUASH (F/P) The ubiquitous summer vegetable – easy to prepare and good in so many ways.

SWISS CHARD (F/P) A gorgeous bunch from the splendid patch.

KOHLRABI OR BEETS (P) Your choice: clean and crunchy or complex and earthy.

CARROTS (F/P) Another round of carrots, this time topped for better storage in your refrigerator.

BASIL (F/P) Italian basil for a real taste of summer.

Also this week: Bread of Life delivery

Next week: More squash, cucumbers and tomatoes. Onions and beets.

Weather: It’s been a scorcher this week. The farm crew is now starting at 6 am to avoid the heat of the day. We harvest and hoe in the morning and save shady or low-impact jobs for the afternoon. If you are coming out to the farm this week, please come prepared with hats, water bottles, sunscreen, etc.

The Fields: The fall planting continues. This week brussel sprouts, kale, collards and chicory were seeded. We are also planting the last of the summer crops in the fields: another round of melons, squash, cucumbers and beans. We are thrilled to see the summer crops beginning to bear fruit. We have picked the first tomatoes, mainly the cherries but also a few of the bush varieties. There are young little melons growing in the melon patch and loads of flowers on the cucumbers. Today we planted the long-awaited sweet potato plants. We’re hoping that the tender sprouts will survive the blazing sun and heat while they get their first roots established. A heavy dose of irrigating will surely do the trick.

Links: We will be participating in the Urban Farms and Gardens tour this Sunday by helping out at Fairview Church Garden. Check out http://urbanfarmstourkc.com for all the events this week. Start your weekend right with a quick tutorial at the Bad Seed by FSF CSAer Emily Akins and others. Here’s the scoop:>Want to preserve the bounty of the season? You can learn the basics in no time at all!

Come to Badseed for bite-sized demonstrations including...
freezing greens
making jam

All that great info in just 90 minutes! Don't miss it!

Friday, June 26, 2009
6:00pm - 7:30pm
Badseed Market
1909 McGee
Kansas City, MO

What to Do With Your Share -- Week 7

This week the fare of the share is familiar items---carrots, chard, summer squash, broccoli, cukes, and a true harbinger of Summer---basil. The busy week and energy zapping heat has precluded us from creating a new dish this week, so we refer you to some past treats from the blog and newsletter.

Broccoli and Pasta...with Baby Meatballs
Classic Pesto
Cucumber and Summer Squash Marinated Salad
Ranch Dressing Kohlrabi Salad
Summer Squash with Lemon, Butter and Cream Sauce

Enjoy !

Bulk Order List (week of June 22)
Kale - $3.00/bunch
Swiss chard - $3.00 per bunch
Spring carrots - $2.50/bunch
Green onions - $2.50/bunch
Oregano, mint - $1.75/bunch
Basil - $2.oo/bunch

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

In the Share: Week 6

In the Share: Week 6
STRAWBERRIES (F/P) 1 pint for everyone
ASIAN GREENS or KALE (F) Enjoy the greens while they last
SUGARSNAP OR SNOW PEAS (F/P) More from the bumper pea crop
LETTUCE (F/P) 1 head for everyone. Hopefully we’ll get a few more weeks from the lettuce patch before the heat gets to be too much for them.
GREEN ONIONS (F/P) The bulbs are beginning to fill out now that the daylight is longer.
KOHLRABI (F) The first of the spaceship-shaped vegetables. Just peel them and eat them raw or lightly steamed.
BEETS OR HAKUREI TURNIPS (F) The first from the beet patch and a few more yummy Hakureis. Check Farmer Tom’s blog for a buttery mashed turnip recipe.
BROCCOLI OR SUMMER SQUASH (F/P) The broccoli is trying its best to make up for its chilly start this spring. Some heads are a little wacky looking but they taste just fine.
HERB CHOICE (F/P) Thai basil, tarragon, garlic scapes or a dried herb.

Also this week: Parker Farms delivery

Next week: More peas, lettuces, broccoli, carrots, kohlrabi and summer squash.

Weather: A couple more inches of rain fell this week. It is muddy but we are not flooded. The crops seem to be handling the moisture so far. The sun and heat are doing a good job at drying things out quickly. We are hopeful for a dry stretch of days so we can run our tools through the ground to knock down the weeds.

The Fields: The mulch spreading continues. This week it was time for the leeks, celeriac and okra. The Saturday work crew did half of the job after the harvesting was done. Mulching conserves moisture, prevents weeds from growing, provides good cover to the soil life and protects the soil from the pounding rain.
We also started the first of the fall crops in the shade tents. The shade keeps the seeds cool enough to sprout and protects the growing plants from pests.

Links: While we farm our rolling hills of vegetables in the quiet countryside, city folks are reclaiming urban areas for food production. Many hands are at work in back yards, reclaimed abandoned spaces and school grounds to grow food in the city. The Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture has organized a tour of the many green spaces cropping up in the metro for June 28th. Tom and I plan to lend a hand that day at one stop on the tour, Fairview Church Garden, a ‘church supported agriculture’ farm headed by our 07-08 farm apprentice, Jeff Hunter and his wife Stacey Schulz. For all the details on the week of urban farming activities and the tour itself, visit http://urbanfarmstourkc.com/ Also, Emily has a very nice description of her own involvement in the Urban Farms & Gardens tour at ‘Everything begins with an E’ (see our blog roll).

Week 6 - What to Do With Your Share

We are happy that the last several weeks we have had the maximum number of items in your share. We hope to keep the shares robust this year as we head into the summer, and plan for the fall.

Making its first appearance of the year, kohlrabi is no longer the unknown vegetable it used to be. For you first timers, try the kohlrabi pan au gratin, or eat it fresh. To clean it simply pull off the leaves and peel off the tough outer skin. The cleaned bulb can be cut into half-rounds and eaten with your favorite dressing or dip.

Thai Basil
A lead in to next week, when you will get Italian basil, the Thai basil is known for its purplish tint and licorice flavor. It is one of the must have ingredients for spring rolls. Check out The CSA Chef's blog for the spring roll how-to. It also is an excellent garnish for cooked Asian greens.

Recipe-Mashed Hakurei Turnips with Garlic Scapes
This is a recipe is one of many that seem to appear to us in the field, after a day of picking turnips and pulling garlic scapes. Our intern Kara tried it last week, and tonight we tried our hand at it. Here's our version.

1 large bunch hakurei turnips
3 to 4 garlic scapes
pinch of salt
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup water

Cut the tops off the turnips, save the greens. Cut the turnips into a medium dice (see photo), chop the garlic scapes, and coarsley chop 1/3 to 1/2 cups of the turnips greens

Saute the scapes and greens in the olive oil over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the turnips, mix. Add the water. Cover and cook over medium low heat for 20 to 25 minutes, or until tender.

Add butter and mash with a potato masher. Serve hot.

Bulk Order List (week of June 15)
Kale - $3.00/bunch
Swiss chard - $3.00 per bunch
Sugar snap peas - $2.00/half pound
Spring carrots - $2.50/bunch
Hakurei turnips - $3.00/bunch
Lettuce - $2.50/head
Green onions - $2.50/bunch
Oregano, mint - $1.75/bunch

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

In the Share: Week 5

In the Share: Week 5
SPRING CARROTS (F/P) The first of the season, young and tender.
STRAWBERRIES (F/P) 1 quart for everyone
TATSOI (F) Makes a darn good stir fry with some of those peas, radishes or turnips.
PEAS (F/P) Remember, you can eat the pod. Check Tom ‘s blog out for a tangy spring pea salad recipe.
LETTUCE (F/P) 2 heads for the full shares and a choice with chard for the partials.
SWISS CHARD (F/P) My favorite cooking green. Tart and earthy.
RADISHES OR HAKUREI TURNIPS (P) Love those Hakurei’s – no need to cook them, just 'eat em like an apple' as Bad Seed Farm says.
BROCCOLI OR SUMMER SQUASH (F) The first real offerings from the struggling broccoli patch. The first of the sunny summer squash planting.
HERB CHOICE (F/P) Oregano or parsley or a dried herb.

Also this week: Bread of Life bakery delivery

Next week: More peas, lettuces, broccoli and summer squash. Beets perhaps and kohlrabi.

Girl Scouts in the Pea Patch 6/3

Weather: We sure felt lucky to miss the hail and tornadoes to our north. Today’s .7 inches of rain fell gently and did not pool. While we always wish for more dry-weather days for getting the fieldwork done, the rain has been very pleasant. We were a bit caught off guard by a 30% chance in the forecast that ended up as an all-day affair. The cool mornings and evenings keep suprising us too. Where did I put my warm hat???

The Fields: During the rain we prepared the upper barn for the onion and garlic curing that will begin in a few weeks time. The old tobacco barn is a perfect setup for allium curing. Once cleared of a season’s worth of detritus. We found a brown recluse, collected items for Stacey’s yard sale, vacuumed up the winter dust and debris, and organized the various piles of salvaged lumber, old windows and doors. We left the back corner that is piled high with assorted farm junk. That will have to wait until the next rainy day. When it hasn't been thundering and lightning overhead, we lay out irrigation tape, weed and mulch. The newly sprouted okra was thinned to a foot between plants.

Links: This past Sunday afternoon, the FSF CSA Core Group met under a shade tree surrounded by lush green fields of Clay County. We mulled over the mid season survey, reviewed the Spring Signup, had a crop report from the farmers and discussed fundraising projects for this season. As always, Tom and I enjoyed meeting with a group of such dedicated and creative folks. We appreciate their work to organize the community around which our community farm depends. Look for notices regarding surveys, fundraising for the Veggie Voucher program, and the Harvest dinner in the future. If you haven't already done so, mark Oct 24th on your calendar for the best potluck in town.

What to do With Your Share -- Week 5

Bulk List
This week we are starting the 2009 bulk list -- a price list for extra produce items that you can buy. For many items we have planted enough produce for a CSA of 125 members (we have 105 this year). This extra will hopefully be available throughout the year.

For now, scroll to the bottom of the blog for this week's offerings. If you wish to purchase any items, please email me your order. Orders are filled on a first come, first serve basis and are subject to availability. Your order will be delivered to your distribution with a payment ticket. You can leave your money with the distribution coordinator.

Swiss Chard
As Rebecca said, our favorite green. There are many recipes for it out there, a favorite of the CSA being Stuffed Chard.

Herbs-Oregano and Italian Parsley
Unfamiliar to many as a fresh herb, oregano is a great addition to many cooked vegetarian dishes. It adds a savoriness to a dish. It is especially good with greens like chard. Italian parsley is good as a flavoring for soups and stock when cooked. It's sweetness and fresh flavor are best appreciated when added as a garnish, or cooked at the very end of a dish.

Snap Peas
We have to say that this year is a good year for peas. Despite sitting in the cold, wet ground ground for several weeks before germinating, they did not rot and produced as good a stand as we've had in awhile. They are great fresh, just string them and eat them.

An alternative is the recipe below, created by our intern Lori Watley. It is very simple, fresh and crunchy. Highly recommended.

Julienne Snap Peas
1/2 lb snap peas
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (sunflower and pumpkin are good too)

Put the sesame seeds in a small pot or skillet over high heat. After they warm up, shake the seeds around to prevent them from burning and toast them to a golden brown. When you can start smelling them you are close

String the peas (see photo) and then cut lenghtwise into thin strips. Mix with seeds and remaining ingredients.

It is good right away, or after a couple hours of marinating. We also added some julienned hakurei turnips.

Bulk Order List (week of June 8)
Kale - $3.00/bunch
Swiss chard - $3.00 per bunch
Sugar snap peas - $2.00/half pound
Spring carrots - $2.50/bunch
Hakurei turnips - $3.00/bunch
Lettuce - $2.50/head
Green onions - $2.50/bunch

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

What to do With Your Share -- Week 4

Garlic Scapes
One of the delicacies of the season, garlic scapes are a treat and a necessity. We need to pull these flower buds from the hardneck garlic so that their energy goes into making a head of garlic underground, instead of a flower top. In the process we get a tender garlic green with a beautiful white base, that shades to light green, and is topped by a long, pointy bud.

Its uses are many. Our annual treat is to make a pesto with it. It is also great chopped and added fresh to salads, as a garnish for soups, or as an addition to homemade salad dressing.

Fresh Strawberries with Homemade Yogurt
As homesteaders, we are always looking for ways to become more self-reliant, especially when it comes to our food. One way to do this is to become more and more proficient with food biology ie, fermentation. From bread making to wine making to kombucha, you can tap microorganisms to do your bidding.

One thing we’de been talking about doing for awhile is making yogurt. Lori heard us and bought us some yogurt starter the other day, and we are hooked. Now we can turn our local Shatto milk into a tangy and tart fresh yogurt. The yogurt is the perfect accompaniment to fresh strawberries (with a little mint for garnish). Our next project is labneh (yogurt cheese).

To make the yogurt take 1 quart of milk (you can use an old yogurt container to measure it into), and heat it in a saucepan to 180º F. Let it cool to about 110º F. Pour a small amount back into the yogurt container, add the starter culture, stir, and then add the remaining milk.

Stir again, cover, and place in your oven with the light on for 4 to 6 hours, or until yogurt is set and you can see liquid (whey) separating around the edges. Refrigerate to stop the fermentation and to cool.

Place 1 cup yogurt in a bowl, add 1 cup strawberries and top with chopped mint. You can also add granola, almond slices or other garnish.

In the Share - Week 4

In the Share: Week 4
STRAWBERRIES (F/P) Two quarts for the full shares; A quart and ½ for the partials.
PEAS (F/P) The first of the sugarsnap and snow peas. All have edible pods so just strip off the top, pop the whole pod in your mouth and enjoy.
LETTUCE (F/P) Two for the full shares, one for the partials.
GARLIC SCAPES (F/P) Just this week, the tender young flower stalks off the hardneck garlic. Use as you would green garlic. Makes a fabulous pesto. See the video below for the sounds of the scape pulling.
ASPARAGUS (P) The last of the season.
ARUGULA (F) A spicy treat to add to your salads.
HERB CHOICE (F/P) Mint or dill or a dried herb. Partial shares have the choice of arugula instead of an herb.
Also this week: Parker Farms delivery

Next week: More strawberries, peas, lettuces and turnips. Swiss chard.

Weather: Another week, another gentle rain. We really have been lucky the past few weeks. Just enough rain and sunshine to nurture the plants and allow us to get our work done.

The Fields: Every morning finds us crawling through the strawberry patch. The birds sing, the breeze blows gently and luscious berries beckon. Not a bad way to start the day. Thanks to the fabulous farm crew we have been able to pick the patch in 2-3 hours. The average is currently 70 quarts of berries per day. Not too shabby. All those berries do not pick themselves and we’ve been very lucky to have had an extra worker the past two weeks. Charlotte Weichert is a family friend visiting from Hamburg, Germany. Charlotte is taking a break between medical school and beginning her residency to travel our great United States. She has been with us for the past two weeks and will be continuing her travels this weekend when she heads for points west. You can see Charlotte in the center of the photo above along with the Saturday morning pickers.

Links: This week we are happy to introduce farm apprentice, Kara Jennings. We knew we had found a kindred spirit in Kara when we learned that she is a Spanish speaker and anthropology major just like farmer rebecca (me). Kara has been working alongside Tom and I since the end of March, commuting each day from her home in Gladstone. The closest photo we could get of the camera-shy Kara is her hand-modeling in the garlic scape video. C’mon, Kara, don’t be so shy! Alright, here she is in her own words:

Hello. I am excited about working with Tom, Rebecca & Lori this season. I have already learned so much in such a short time and look forward to learning more about vegetable farming. My husband and I hope to start our farm in the next two years. We plan on growing fruits & veggies as well as raising some alpacas for fiber (I have a very bad addiction to good yarn!). Wednesdays and Saturdays have become my favorite days here at the farm. I have enjoyed meeting the members who have been up to work and can't wait to meet the rest of you. Kara