Thursday, September 25, 2014

Update from the Farm

This is a picture taken during our 18th week of CSA.  Lots of things going on.  Roots and greens are were coming back strong after several days of rain.s.   I have posted some pictures here of some of the day's work.

This is Dawn, who is largely responsible for making sure that you get the best produce we can provide for you each week.

Gorgeous Shunkyo Radishes

Shunkyo and Zlata Radishes 

Shunkyos again

Shunkyo and Zlata cleaned, bunched and waiting

How they looked when they came in from the field this morning.....

Ditto the previous photo

And now you know the rest of the story. Farming is hard, dirty work sometimes and when it is rainy, mud happens.  Not only do we hand pick your veggies, they are sorted, bunched and cleaned to go into the CSA share boxes, our farm market (here at the farm) and to the farmer's markets we attend.  We eat this stuff, too, so we make sure it is as good as we can get to everyone.  

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What Can I Do With Carrot Tops?

This is possibly the most frequently asked question this season. In a quest for an answer, I have complied a list (below) of links to yummy sounding recipes using the aforementioned greens.  Since carrots are going to be making their come back between now and the end of CSA (in three weeks) I thought this would be a worthwhile endeavor. And FYI, everywhere I looked, as to whether carrot tops are toxic are not, the answer was a resounding "NO!". They remind me of parsley, so I wasn't particularly inclined to eat them before (don't like parsley) but seems that they are pretty good for you so I may give one of these recipes a whirl.  Like any other greens, there will always be some segment of the population who are allergic or sensitive to them.  No different that kale, it seems.

Here you go:

That should get you started! Just click the links above and have a food adventure!

Bunches of beets and carrots from our 2014 season

Friday, September 19, 2014


This week you have turnips and turnip greens in your share.  If you are from my part of the country, you know how delicious and healthy these cruciferous veggies are.  In other parts of the country, however, they are not so readily consumed and that is a shame. These roots veggies and their greens are powerhouses of nutrition and should be consumed with gusto!   They are high in calcium, just like collard greens and have an amazing nutrient balance.  See what The World's Healthiest Foods  website has to say about them.

Like any other greens, once you cook them, the volume is dramatically reduced but you have enough this week to stick your toe in the water to learning to eat them.  If you can eat kale, you can eat turnip greens.

Below are some links to recipes you might like to try using your greens for:

Personally, I am a purist and just like my greens cooked my grandmother's way.  Washed, wilted, drained, placed in an iron skillet with a bit of olive oil (she used butter but I don't do dairy).  Saute until the liquid starts to absorb, salt to taste and add just a sprinkle of sugar (this oldest trick in the book takes the bitterness out of most all dark greens...kale, collards, etc. Doesn't take much, either). Sprinkle with a bit of organic apple cider vinegar.   Good and good for you.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Season is Changing

The season is changing, you can feel it in the air.  This time of year always makes folks a bit nostalgic. We start to feel that little bit of anticipation of cooler (and wetter here in the PNW) days and nights that will be here soon.  It is almost like somebody flipped a cosmic switch on the weather from hot to cool. I personally love this time of year because I love fall and it is "officially" less than 2 weeks away.

This time of year also means that our CSA is coming to an end.  It has been such a pleasure to have gotten to know all of our members this year. That is one of the best things about being involved with a CSA, the relationships that are form between farmer and members. I have made lifelong friends over my years of running CSAs and it has been a most rewarding experience for me.  I sincerely hope that all of our members have had a good time with us this season and that they go away at the end of CSA feeling that way.  Here at the Farm, we have worked hard this year to provide for our members with the best CSA experience we could. Things haven't always been as smooth as silk but those bumps in the road are what makes life interesting, they are the lessons we learn from and hopefully, grow.   All of us here at the farm have enjoyed getting to work with our members this year and while the end of the season is in sight, there is so much more still to come!

Even though CSA will be over soon, the Farm Store will remain open until Thanksgiving.  We are still producing some beautiful and amazing food from our field. The high tunnel has recently been seeded and those varieties are already up and growing. Things like lettuces, kales, all manner of delicious greens, winter squash and root veggies flourish this time of year (and there are a whole lot fewer things trying to eat everything before we can get it picked...). There is such an abundance of local food in this area, we are able to stock the farm store with apples, pears, winter squash and other items from other farms.  This part of the country is one of the most productive agricultural regions of the country and those of us who prize locally produced food are so lucky to live here!

So, with those thoughts expressed, let me impart one more bit of useful information.  This year, we are again offering our Fall Harvest Share for Thanksgiving. The cut off for orders is October 31st.  This is a special box we put together to provide a good start to your holiday feast.  These will be available for pick up here at the farm (exact pick up dates T/B/A) and will come in two sizes, just like our regular CSA but this one is available to one and all.  Price is $30 for the smaller box and $40 for the larger one. Contents will include some type of winter squash, a pie pumpkin, apples and/or pears, sweet potatoes, onions, kale or broccoli (or both), carrots, beets, potatoes and possibly other items that have not yet been determined and a dozen fresh eggs.  You can purchase via PayPal on the website (Click this link to go directly to FALL HARVEST SHARE page ) or you can come by the Farm Store any day of the week, 10am-6pm.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Purple Majesty Potato

New Item in the box this week. 

"Another new potato variety from Dr. Holm in Colorado along with Mountain Rose. This one is a purple inside and out potato, also bred to be a fry type potato and tastes great baked or boiled. Very nice uniformity and yield. Purple Majesty™ potatoes are loaded with 235 milligrams of anthocyanidins per 148 gram serving (approximately 1.5 potatoes), nearly twice the amount found in any other produce item at a fraction of the cost. Anthocyanidins are a subclass of high-potency antioxidants shown to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease, lower cholesterol, strengthen the immune system and decrease age-related memory loss."

I trialed Purple Majesty at my farm, several years ago, before it was available to the general population. It is one of the best of the purple potatoes.  This variety doesn't turn a strange color with you cook it and retains much of the purple pigmentation.  It is not GMO, it is a standard hybrid, albiet a new one.  Many of the purple potatoes actually trace their lineage to some of the oldest Peruvian varieties, where they originated.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Preserving the Harvest

I know that you are all enjoying the goodies in your boxes each week but sometimes it can get a little overwhelming this time of year.  I would like to encourage you to preserve some of the harvest that you are receiving, so that you can have a taste of summer in the dead of winter. Canning can be daunting...been doing it for decades and am still a little leary of the pressure canner. Freezing is a great alternative and can be very simple to accomplish. No special tools necessary. Just freezer bags and some time.  Here are a couple of suggestions and some links to get you started.

Tomatoes may be frozen whole, sliced, chopped, or puréed. Additionally, you can freeze them raw or cooked, as juice or sauce, or prepared in the recipe of your choice. Thawed raw tomatoes may be used in any cooked-tomato recipe. Do not try to substitute them for fresh tomatoes, however, since freezing causes their texture to become mushy.

Tomatoes should be seasoned just before serving rather than before freezing; freezing may either strengthen or weaken seasonings such as garlic, onion, and herbs.
It is possible to quickly freeze raw tomatoes without blanching them first. They may be frozen without their skins or frozen whole with their skins. Frozen tomatoes are best used in cooked foods such as soups, sauces and stews.

Tomatoes should be washed before cutting. To wash, wet each tomato with water, rub its surface, rinse it with running water, and dry it with a paper towel. After washing, cut away the stem scar and surrounding area and discard it before slicing or chopping the tomato.

Washing tomatoes in a sink filled with water is not recommended since contaminated water can be absorbed through the fruit's stem scar. The use of soap or detergent is neither recommended nor approved for washing fruits and vegetables because they can absorb detergent residues.
Dry them by blotting with a clean cloth or paper towels.

Freezing whole tomatoes with peels: Prepare tomatoes as described above. Cut away the stem scar. Place the tomatoes on cookie sheets and freeze. Tomatoes do not need to be blanched before freezing. Once frozen, transfer the tomatoes from the cookie sheets into freezer bags or other containers. Seal tightly. To use the frozen tomatoes, remove them from the freezer a few at a time or all at once. To peel, just run a frozen tomato under warm water in the kitchen sink. Its skin will slip off easily.

Freezing peeled tomatoes: If you prefer to freeze peeled tomatoes, you can wash the tomatoes and then dip them in boiling water for about 1 minute or until the skins split. Peel and then freeze as noted above.

After preparation as described above, simply put into a high quality freezer bag (don't recommend the use discount store bags...they are not reliable), remove as much air as you can and pop in the freezer.  I generally freeze two whole tomatoes per qt. bag, peeled and quartered. That is just enough to add a fresh taste to soups, stews, sauces, etc.

Simply Canning  also has a great section on freezing, dehydrating, etc.