Tuesday, November 19, 2013

In the Share - Week 30

LEEKS:  One of the last crops we harvest in the field.  Cold-hardy and so tasty!

HAKUREI TURNIPS:  These are coming out of the high tunnel.  The caterpillars munched on the greens a bit, but they are still very edible.

SPINACH:  More big leaves from the high tunnel spinach.

RADISHES:  Baby red and pink radishes out of the tunnel.  They are amazingly not spicy for a change!

BEETS:  A bag of beets for your culinary adventures.  I made chocolate beet cake awhile back (use a bit of shredded beets in the icing for a pretty pink chemical-free icing).  Yumm!

CARROTS:  More glorious orange roots, now going topless!

GOLD BALL TURNIPS OR BULB FENNEL:  We hope this is a good choice for you all.  Some folks would like both, but I think there are more of you who would be happy with just one or the other.  If you get the fennel, see Tom's post for a recipe from one of your fellow CSA members.

HERB CHOICE:  Cilantro, dill, sage, thyme or a dried herb.

CAULIFLOWER, CABBAGE OR LETTUCE:  So, don't get your hopes up for being able to choose among these items.  We have a few of each and will be doling them out by distribution point based on how quickly they need to go.  Wednesday folks will get mainly cauliflower, Saturday folks will most likely only see cabbage or lettuce.

NEXT WEEK:  Don't forget!  The CSA is on hiatus for the week of Thanksgiving.  Have a great holiday and we will get you all one last share the first week of December:  sweet potatoes, garlic, watermelon radishes, carrots, beets, greens and herbs. 


The freezing weather last week marked a turning point on the farm from the flurry of fall harvest to a retreat into winter.  A few crops remain outside, some carrots and leeks that we hope to finish digging this week, but the majority of the harvest is either in cold storage, in the high tunnel, or in our collective bellies.  That reminds me of a CSA farm in CA not far from where I use to live called Full Belly Farm. I always thought that was a great name because it makes you smile and maybe think a bit.  CSA is kind of like that.  The bounty of the harvest can make you smile, even giggle when you get that odd-shaped carrot, but it also perhaps opens a door to another way of living on our little planet.   Next week we will all sit down to our family tables and give thanks.  I know Tom and I will be thinking of the soil, the sun and the rain, but we will also be thinking of all of you.  Thank you!!

What to Do With Your Share---Fall Extended Season Week 3

Thanksgiving is nearing. The weather, north flying geese, leaves on the ground, and southerly receding sun all tell us so. As does the harvest, where roots abound in the share. Most all of the greens in the fields are gone, and much has already been harvested from the high tunnel.

Fields ready for spring
So we turn to a wonderful array of hearty roots this week...leeks, beets, carrots, turnips and radish. A good way to start your day is with a hearty leek frittata. Match up your veggies with some farm fresh eggs purchased at the Bad Seed Pre-Thanksgiving Market this Friday (4pm-9pm).  BTW, we will be there hoping the general public likes our produce as much as you do. Be sure to stop by our table. As a member you will pay bulk list prices, not our market table prices.

Leek cross-section

For dinner you can take member Crystal Leaman's advice and try the tasty fennel dish she is sharing.

Fettucine with Fennel and Bacon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 ounces thinly sliced pancetta or bacon, cut into matchstick-size strips
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 large fennel bulbs, fronds chopped, bulbs cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1/8 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 cup whipping cream
1 pound fettuccine
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add pancetta and garlic; sauté until garlic is pale golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in 1/3 cup chopped fennel fronds, fennel wedges, fennel seeds and crushed red pepper. Cover and cook until fennel wedges are soft, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Add cream; cook until reduced by half, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook fettuccine in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water. Toss pasta with fennel mixture and enough reserved cooking water to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Serve, passing Parmesan cheese separately.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

In the Share - Week 29

YELLOW CLOVER CARROTS:  Planted after incorporating a yellow clover cover crop, we like to give credit where credit is due.  These heirloom carrots are sweet and hefty like fall carrots should be.

O'HENRY SWEET POTATOES:  More creamy white sweets.

GARLIC:  We planted all that we needed and some nice heads remained for sharing.

RED CABBAGE:  brilliant magenta meets your salads this week.

KALE OR TAT SOI:  Try eating them raw.  They have been cold-sweetened. 

LETTUCE:  The very last of the lettuce are romaines and butterheads.

ENDIVE:  A new French variety we are trialing.  We are trying to pronounce it as the French say we must ("ahn deev" or thereabouts).  Tastes like lettuce to us and it is spectacularly frilly.

BROCCOLI OR CAULIFLOWER:  Most likely the last of both.

HERB CHOICE: cilantro, dill or dried herbs.

NEXT WEEK: leeks, hakurei turnips, spinach, gai lan, watermelon radishes, beets, fennel, herbs, greens.


The farm quickly shifted from autumnal splendor to a frozen wintery blast this week.  In  advance of the forecast of two nights in the mid-teens, we harvested like mad and battened down the hatches.  Row cover was added to the high tunnel beds and the entire week's share was harvested from the fields.  The coolers are full to the ceilings with cabbages, roots and greens.  Sweet potatoes are all clean and stacked in the cave.  Darkness was on us with many more carrots to harvest in the field.  We are hopeful that the soil kept them safe and we can get the rest of them out later this week.

Today your farmers retreated to the indoors and worked on a grant proposal to the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program of the USDA for demonstrating new cover cropping methods.  The carrots in the shares this week are a testament to the benefits of cover cropping and we are ready to take the next step in their use.  Wish us luck!

What to Do With Your Share---Fall Extended Season Week 2

As of Monday night a corner has been turned. All non-cold hardy plants on the farm that are not under special protection have died. An event a bit early, but not unprecedented. For us at the farm, it signals an end to the field lettuce, broccoli, arugula, Asian green, kale and fennel harvest. The tasks click down toward a short winter rest.

Still plenty to do though to work off a hearty bowl or two of soup. If there was ever a soup season, right now would fit the bill. A great time of year to combine cauliflower and leeks into an "yummmm" inducing meal. You can follow the recipe from our September 22, 2004 newsletter for Leek and Potato Soup, substituting cauliflower for potatoes and fennel for celeriac.

Core out the stem of the cauliflower and then break into florets
The endive this fall is mild, and can be mistaken for a curly lettuce. Make your own salad mix by combining it with lettuce, Asian greens, kale and/or spinach from last week. These field picked greens are packed with flavor and nutrition.

What leaves don't make the cut during harvest end up in the compost, or are fed to our young chickens. They make short work of most any vegetative material we offer them. They have to eat too, so we work to give them a share each week.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

In the Share - Week 28

SPINACH:  the first harvest out of the high tunnel with lots of huge leaves.

LETTUCE:  green romaine from under row cover in the fields

HAKUREI TURNIPS:  nice bunches from the high tunnel

BROCCOLI OR CAULIFLOWER:  your choice of a pound of broccoli or a cauliflower head.

SWISS CHARD:  big leaves from the high tunnel

LEEKS:  we will be pulling these from the muddy soil tomorrow.  Wish us luck!

KOHLRABI:  sweet storage types.  The outside looks a bit rough, but once peeled they are very tasty.

BOK CHOY:  green and purple varieties from the high tunnel.

FINGERLING POTATOES:  roast these whole for a treat.

NEXT WEEK:  sweet potatoes, garlic, carrots, beets, fennel, herbs, red cabbage, arugula and lettuce.

Week 28!  Can you believe it?  The extended season threw our old numbering system for a loop and now we are getting back on track.  Last week was week 24 of the 24-week season.  For those in the extended season, however, it was week 27 if you count the 3 weeks of the extended season in the Spring.  So, here we are in week 28.  By the end of it all we should clock in at 31 weeks of continuous produce.  Whew!

November arrived with more beautiful fall weather.  These mild, sun-filled days won't last and so we are packing a lot in to the time we have.  We have been burning through bales of straw and hay, mulching the plants that will over-winter.   

We spent a good part of Monday morning graduating the chickens to the next level of free-ranging.   At two months old, they are big enough that they can't walk through the netted fencing that surrounds their yard.  So out went the chicken-wire covered "run" that they had been confined to when outside. 

They are now tall enough that we can hang up their feeder, keeping it off of the ground keeps it cleaner.  Before they got their freedom, we clipped one side of their wings so that they can't fly over and out of the fencing.  It doesn't hurt any more than a fingernail clipping and it saves them from becoming a dog treat if they were to land outside the fence.

What to Do With Your Share---Fall Extended Season Week 1

It's hard to pick a favorite time of year, but right now certainly meets a lot of the criteria...a warm house, well-stocked larder, cooler full of veggies, and a high tunnel with pre-Cambrian sized chard leaves. Despite the low hourly wage we make, we nonetheless are truly part of the 1 percent.

And what better time for a warm and hearty soup. The recipe below is compliments of member and former apprentice, Dani Brownhurst. We have made similar soups many times and can say that the combo of leeks, garlic and potatoes of any kind is always good. If you don't have a blender you can simply mash some of the potatoes to thicken the broth and leave the rest of the soup chunky.

Sweet Potato, Apple, Leek and Fennel Soup

3 tablespoons canola oil or butter
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned and sliced
4-5 cloves garlic
2 1/4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 pound regular potatoes, peeled and diced
1 to 1 1/4 pounds tart apples, peeled, cored and diced
Fennel fronds – however much you want to add
2 quarts broth or water
Salt to taste

1. Heat the oil or butter in a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leek and cook, stirring, until it is tender. Add the garlic, stir until fragrant. Add the sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, apples and broth/water and bring to a simmer.

2.  Add fennel fronds and salt to taste, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes to an hour, until all of the ingredients are thoroughly tender 

3. Using an immersion blender, purée the soup until very smooth.