Monday, May 31, 2010

What to Do With Your Share---Week 4

Quite a mix in this week's share, from broccoli to strawberries. For most all of the ingredients, I'm sure you know what to do. But sometimes, you just have to listen to the share, and come up with something new.

One option is lettuce wraps. A great recipe from our friend Heather Hands is here. We made some for Sunday brunch that was simply leftover stir-fry with some fresh greenery added. Simple.

Another option is this week's main recipe. I originally wanted to do a garlic scape dressing, and then thought that a few strawberries might be a good addition. I think it was a good idea.

Garlic Scape and Strawberry Dressing (over Endive)
One of the things that made this especially nice was the homemade yogurt. It is also a great dressing on the endive. You can adjust you dressing proportions to suit your taste.

3 garlic scapes
3 strawberries
1 to 1-1/2 cups plain yogurt
1-1/2 tsp sugar or 2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp lemon or lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil

Coarsley chop the garlic scapes and place in a food processor or blender. Chop fine. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
Chop endive coarsley and add dressing to consistency of a light slaw. Let site 5 minutes to 1 hour.

As promised in a recent email, here is a great strawberry jam recipe.

Strawberry Jam
5 lbs strawberries
8 to 10 cups sugar or organic evaporated cane juice

- Clean strawberries, removing leaves and white hulls
- Place berries in 6 to 8 quart pot.
- Crush berries with a potato masher (crush in separate layers)
- Add sugar and cook to boiling, stirring often
- Skim occasionally
- Cook until mixture thickens to desired consistency, about 3 to 4 hours over medium heat
- Fill canning jars and process in boiling water bath for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on your elevation.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

In the Share - Week 3

green garlic harvest
This week I will be brief. We are expending all of our energy on planting the crops and very little is left for the blogging. Finally the gods have given us a break from the wet and our fields are prime for planting. So far this week the winter squash, pickling cucumbers, melons and tomatoes are in. This adds to our earlier plantings of summer squash, cucumbers and tomatoes that have been sitting with cold feet. If we're lucky once the shares are harvested tomorrow, we'll get the peppers, eggplant and basil planted. Still on deck are pole beans, more squash, cukes and melons.
And there's the strawberries. The crop is starting nicely. We harvest the patch every morning. Everyone gets a pint this week. By next week we may be up to a quart per share. Also, the lettuce is much, much improved over last week's offerings. I apologize for the sad state of the lettuce last week. It was a muddy mess out there, I tell you. But this week, we've got some beauties and lots of them. So, the full shares are getting 3 heads, the partials 2. Here's the list:

HERB CHOICE (F/P) Cilantro, tarragon or mint

EXTRA: Shallot tops - 1 bunch for all if you who want them. They are the chive-like tops off the shallots. We have heard that trimming the shallots gives a boost to their root development, so we might as well eat them.
While the ground was still soggy we headed over to the Parker Farms picnic on Saturday. Their farm, as always, was beautiful. The animals seemed to be enjoying the spring. Here's the hen house where our eggs come from.

the lovely ladies

What to Do With Your Share---Week 3

Pooped. Not the best word to start a food blog, but one that applies this week. Our overtime work to catch up on planting, along with taking the engine block head and radiator out of our main tractor has been a bit exhausing. We borrowed a boroscope from a local shop and Keith Stubblefield spotted Grandpa's burnt valve problem. I took out the radiator and found a shop in North KC where they said it was 80% plugged. As we speak they are getting ready back East to rebuild the whole thing. Hoping we don't have any leftover parts when we put it back together.

But through it all we have eaten well, enjoying a wonderful Parker Farms leg of lamb. A main ingredient in the sauce was mint jelly. I made some in preparation of Bad Seed's Food Preservation Class series. Fellow member Emily Akins and I are teaching a series of 4 classes on how to do everything from making mint jelly, to pickling a cornichon, to making catsup/ketchup, to fermenting sauerkraut. The details are here, at

I have heard from more than one person that the stir fry recipe from last week's blog is good. Between this week's and last week's share you should have all the makings for an incredible fresh stir fry. Make sure you take advantage of the Asian greens, green garlic and turnips.

While we are lettuce heavy this week, it needn't be a bad thing. The Romaine lettuce is perfect for a Ceaser salad. You can add things like chicken or tofu to make it a meal. I searched on Google, and found videos for "tasty," "most bitchin,'" "delicious," "crispy," "killer," and "real" salads. Take your pick.

Bulk List---Week 3

Lettuce: $3.50/head
Green garlic (the last of it til next year): $3.00
Fresh herbs (mint, fennel, garlic chives, cilantro, oregano) $3.00/bunch
Dried herbs $2.50/tin

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bulk List---Week 2

Lettuce $3.50/head
Green garlic $3.00/bunch
Fresh herbs (mint, fennel, garlic chives,
oregano, lovage) $3.00/bunch
Dried herbs $2.50/tin

What to Do With Your Share---Week 2

Calling all Artists
This is a special year for the CSA, as we initate a new project, The Fair Share Farm CSA Art Competition. We are looking to tap into the creative energy of our membership, and find out what food means to you. Your fellow member Stacey Cook has volunteered for the daunting task of heading up this exciting venture.

We have started a website,, that we hope will soon be filled with artwork from members of all ages. The website outlines the basics to date: lots of art; a selection of the best adult, teen and kid entries by a panel of judges; and a showing of the winners at Bad Seed on the First Friday of September. Prizes to be announced, with 12 of them to hopefully grace a 2011 Fair Share Farm CSA calendar.

We would like to have every membership submit at least one piece of artwork. A photo, painting, poem, quilt, puzzle, dance, song or sculpture. Whatever medium best suits you to express your thoughts. We hope you will all join us in what is sure to be a fun community project.

And if you have any web design talents, we would love to have your help setting up our website, so that we can easily post all of the submissions for the world to see.
Tom and Stacey

In the Share
The items in this week's share includes a couple new items, both well known to the seasoned CSA member. Hakurei turnips are the white, radish looking vegetable that is not a radish. While sweet and succulent are not words you might associate with a turnip, they apply to the Hakurei. Great raw or cooked, they are a wholesome treat.

Tat soi, that deep green rosette of a plant is from the general family we call Asian greens. Yukina savoy is from the same family, but with larger, crinkled leaves. From top to bottom they are edible, from the crunchy stems to the spinach-like leaves.

Enjoy too the nice photo of Tuesday's asparagus harvest by our intern Emily.

Stir Fry Heaven
We've said it in the past, and will repeat it here--it is stir fry season for the CSA. This time of year the many wonderful vegetables of Asian cuisine are at their peak. Your chance to make a meal that will be tough to duplicate later in the year is now.

Stir frying is an art easily mastered by following some simple rules. If you know how to chop vegetables, add them to a pan, and stir, you are most of the way there. An excellent summary of the "rules" of stir frying, by Rhoda Parkinson, is a simple click away.

Fair Share Farm Spring Stir Fry
A recipe that uses 5 items from the share, it is a truly local dish. We can tell you too, that it made for a quick and delicious dinner tonight.

Remember that stir fry is a high heat cooking process, so keep the heat on. Also, as PBS cook Martin Yan says "it's stir fry, not stare fry." You need to be constantly stirring as you cook.

2 tbsp sesame oil
1-1/2 tbsp chopped ginger
2 green garlic (bottom half)
3 Hakurei turnips
1 bok choi
1 tat soi or yukina savoy
6 to 8 lovage leaves
cilantro for garnish

1/4 cup soy or tamari sauce
3 tbs water
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp red pepper flakes or 1/8 tsp cayenne
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp corn starch dissolved in 1 tbsp cool water


  • First step is to ready the ingredients. For the tat soi and bok choi you will want to chop the stems and the leaves separate. Likewise with the turnips, chop the white root and the tops separate.
  • Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside
  • Heat a wok or large skillet, add the sesame oil
  • Add the ginger, stir and cook for 30 seconds
  • Add the turnips and green garlic, stir and cook for 2 minutes
  • Add the bok choi and tat soi stems, cook for 1 minute
  • Add the greens from the bok choi, tat soi and turnip, and the lovage, cook 1 minute
  • Add the sauce and cook for 1 more minute

Serve immediately over hot rice and garnish with cilantro if desired.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

In the Share - Week 2

The first strawberry of the season, spotted by FSF apprentice Matt Maes
No strawberries in the shares yet, but not too long now!

LETTUCE (F/P) More of our pretty ladies from the lettuce patch
HAKUREI TURNIPS (F/P) Not your grandma's turnip, these are best raw 'eaten like an apple' or lightly stir-fried as in Farmer Tom's recipe.
TAT SOI/YUKINA SAVOY (F/P) Mildly mustardy spinachs that grows reliably for us. Good fresh in a salad or in Tom's stir fry.
BOK CHOI (F) The rest of the patch goes to the full shares this week. Our variety 'Mei Qing Choi' is a green baby type that withstands our crazy springs staying tender and sweet.
ASPARAGUS (P) We are just eeking out enough for the partial shares this week due to the cool temperatures. Hopefully when the heat returns we'll get one last burst of spears before the season is over.
GREEN GARLIC (F/P) the last of this version of garlic for the season.
GREEN ONIONS (F) the first of these springtime treats.
HERB CHOICE (F/P) More cilantro this week than last along with garlic chives, dill and mint.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Parker Farms delivery

NEXT WEEK: More lettuces, asparagus, turnips, green onions and greens. Perhaps the first radishes.

This damp weather makes for a frustrated springtime farmer. May should be the busiest month of year for us. When conditions are right, we wear ourselves thin planting the last of the spring and all of the summer crop. When conditions are as they are now, we struggle to keep busy doing whatever we can.

Thankfully, there is a long list of rainy-day projects. Lately we've focused our attentions on the wash area.



We also found time to finally solve the mystery with 'Grandpa', the Graff family tractor. My grandpa Graff bought the International Farmall 504 a few years after it was new in the late 1960s. He farmed with it until the day he died in the mid-1980s. The tractor passed down from him, to my dad, to us. 'Grandpa' has served us well, shifting from field crops to vegetable production without skipping a beat.


Until recently that is, when he started spewing steam after an hour or so of labor. We learn as we go on the mechanical front, so we are very lucky to have a gem of a guy in the CSA, Keith Stubblefield. Keith is a modern Renaissance man - beekeeper, computer wiz and motorcyle and airplane mechanic. He's been helping us trouble-shoot for the past few months. Oil and gaskets have been replaced, carbuerators rebuilt and, after he called in a favor from a friend, the compression tested. Turns out only 3 of Grandpa's 4 cylinders are firing. So, now we begin the process of finding parts and a mechanic to take on the project of either a valve replacement or possibly an entire engine rebuild. If we find the right parts and the right mechanic perhaps it can be done within a week or so.

photos this week thanks to Emily LeCuyer, FSF apprentice.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Week 1 Bulk List

Each week, when we have extra produce we will post a bulk list. These items may be purchased separate from your share. Just email me at tom(a) with your order.

You can pick the order up at distribution, and either mail us a payment or leave it with the distribution coordinators. Sorry if this week's posting is a little late for the Wednesday shares, but if we get your order by 11:00 am, we should be able to fill it.

Lettuce (large head) $3.50 each
Green Garlic: $3.00 per bunch
Dried herbs: $2.50/tin

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What to Do With Your Share --- Week 1

Welcome to all of our 2010 Fair Share Farm CSA members. We are ready for another 24 weeks of providing you with the fresh, local produce that you crave. Let's begin.

While in this part of the blog I can't tell you everything about every item in your share, I will tend to focus on a few items, and then give a tried and tested recipe. Last year's Week 1 blog talked about sorrel, lovage and chive flowers, so no need to repeat.

The garlic greens have sized up nicely this year, and are at their peak right now. The stalk is tender and oh so garlicy. There is enough to make a good batch of pesto with them. Just use our "classic pesto" recipe and substitute 4 or 5 stalks of garlic greens for the basil.

Of all the Asian greens we hand out in the shares, I suppose bok choi may be the best known. A standard stir fry ingredient, it is also good in kim chee or chow mein. Like many Asian greens the entire vegetable is edible, from the crunchy stalks to the tender leaves.

Asparagus and Leek Fritatta
Fritattas are a wholesome and easy dish, and are at their best when made with lots of vegetables. Essentially a quiche without the crust, they turn eggs into a main course.

This recipe calls for 2 cups of grated cheese. We use 1 cup of parmesan and 1 cup of Goatsbeard Farms Walloon aged cheese. Fritattas are a great way to take a high quality cheese like Goatsbeard's and spread it's flavor over an entire dish. You can buy it from Brooke and Dan at the Friday Bad Seed Farmer's Market.

1 medium bunch of aparagus
1 medium leek
1 stalk green garlic
6 eggs
1/4 cup milk
2 cups grated cheese
1-1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt

Clean and chop the leeks, green garlic and asparagus. Saute the leeks and garlic in the olive oil and butter for 5 minutes over medium heat in an oven-proof pan. Add the salt and aspargus and cook 3 more minutes.

Beat the eggs and milk. Add half the cheese to the eggs, stir, and then pour into the pan with the leeks. Cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. The eggs should be cooked around the edges of the pan, and the center will still be soft.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and place in the broiler for 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

In the Share: Week 1

LETTUCE (F/P) Folks, prepare your salad spinners. The lettuces are at their most succulent and juicy.

LEEKS (F/P) The winter was a cold one but the leeks we over-wintered weathered it nicely. About a pound per share. We won't have them again until the fall, so savor these hardy treats while you can.

ASPARAGUS (F) Cool temperatures are giving it a slow start. Partial shares will have to wait until next week for theirs. The full shares are getting enough to make Tom's Asparagus Fritatta.

GREEN GARLIC (F/P) For those of you new to the CSA, green garlic is like a green onion conceptually, but sweetly garlic in flavor.

BOK CHOI (F/P) A baby-type, tender and crunchy.

FLOWERING CHIVES OR SORREL (F/P) The green shoots from these two perennials are the earliest signs of spring. By mid-May they are in mid-flower, tasty and pretty.

HERB CHOICE (F/P) Cilantro, dill, mint and/or lovage

ALSO THIS WEEK: Bread of Life Bakery share delivery

NEXT WEEK: More lovely lettuces, herbs, asparagus and greens.

Well, here we go again! Welcome to the seventh season of the Fair Share Farm CSA. Every week, I (rebecca) will cover what is in the share for that week and also report to you all on how the crops are doing and any other goings-on at the farm. Tom in his own post covers how to use your share each week. He offers recipes and much more with special emphasis on the more unusual vegetables that we offer.


Generally speaking, the crops appear to be in good shape. The weather has been cool and relatively wet, although it is Springtime afterall. We haven't had any deluges or rogue frosts as in some year's past, for which we are grateful. The weather pattern of the past two years seems to continue with it's cool and wet theme, with no hint of the dry, hot years that characterized our first few seasons. Most of the crops seem to be doing just fine. The no-till areas are faring the worst as the soil stays cold and saturated under all of the hay.
The farm crew has been playing the old game of dodge the rain showers as we sprint to prepare the soil, plant and cultivate while the soil is dry. Wet weather allows time for seeding in the greenhouse, sorting irrigation tape and row cover and cleaning out the barn in preparation for the harvest. This year we managed to start the long process of painting the barn in it's original red color. So far we've painted just around the wash area but it looks great.

Here's a shot of a nice patch of cabbage and broccoli that should appear in your shares in June. We recently uncovered them after the final frost seems to be behind us.

The greenhouse is full of hot-loving plants waiting for the heat to be planted outdoors. Here you see eggplant in the foreground, peppers in the back.

The coldframe holds the last of the tomatoes to be planted. So far five rows are in, with 4 more to go.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Getting Ready for Harvest

The harvest season approaches here at the farm, and we are readying for the May 12 start to the CSA season. As is the case each Spring, there has been a lot of planting, growing, cleaning, painting, excitement and anxiety filling our days.

Below is a photo of Emily, Matt and Rebecca planting the cherry tomatoes in one of our no-till beds. They grew well in the greenhouse and are now covered with a heavy layer of row cover to keep them warm. We are a bit concerned that the over 300 tomato plants we have in the field right now won't like the predicted 36 degree overnight temperatures on Saturday. We will do what needs to be done to protect them.

Other crops are growing well. Rebecca took the electric G through the onions on Saturday, cultivating 5 beds in a matter of minutes. Rocky later conducted an inspection and luckily decided not to nap on them.

The strawberries are LOADED with flowers. Our virtually weed-free organic bed looks great. This is the third year for these plants, so we are hoping that the berries they produce aren't too small (slows down the picking). Expect these delights at the end of May.

The lettuce for the first week's share is sizing up nicely. It has been covered for over a month, and will remain covered until the latest cold spell is over. On Monday we harvested the leeks for the first week's shares. They have been in the ground since last May and about a third of them did not survive the bitter cold of last winter (but the rest did). As they are ready to form their flower/seed head, we needed to dig them up now while they are edible. We have about a pound per share. See you next week!