CSA Week 9

In your share week 9:

Carrots
Cipollini Onion
Green Onion
Zucchini
Kale
Green beans
Fennel (some shares only)
Broccoli
Tomatoes or cherry tomatoes

Full shares only:

Cilantro
Cucumber

Week 9 puts us about halfway through the CSA season.  I’ve had several members asking recently, so I’ll remind you that your share goes until November 6 or 8 (depending on your pick up location).  We then take a week to regroup and get ready for our Thanksgiving shares.  You can still sign up for them here at our website, these are one time shares with lots of goodies for your Thanksgiving table and beyond.  We typically pack them with lots of store-able crops to hold you after the CSA season ends.  These shares are a real deal, usually 15 – 25% off retail value.  The price is going up in a few weeks, so sign up now if you want one!

And speaking of deals, you should know that this year’s CSA has been a steal!  The farm has been so abundant and I’ve wanted to get you as many of the popular crops as I can (tomatoes! broccoli!), so each week’s share has been a major discount.  You’ve been getting as much as 30% more than what you paid for each week.  So if you’ve had to compost a few zucchini or kale here or there, don’t feel too bad.  We compost a lot of veggies here too, and you’re still getting a great value!

The farm has been so abundant this year that we’ve been able to donate more fresh produce to the local food pantries than ever before.  We’ve brought in over 300 pounds of fresh organic produce to the Lincoln City and Tillamook food pantries, and I have a couple more boxes in the cooler for this week.  We care about getting fresh healthy produce to as many people as we can, and while we have to make a living ourselves, we also recognize that not everyone can afford the full price of our produce.  We try to make it more accessible by offering half priced CSA shares, giving extra value to folks using SNAP and other assistance programs, and donating what produce we can to our local food pantries so their clients have access to healthier choices.

I’m sure some of you are getting overwhelmed by the sheer amount of veggies.  I encourage you to consider doing some preserving: that’s a big part of eating seasonally!  We preserve lots of fruit and some veggies, mostly by canning, freezing, and drying.  Zucchini, eggplant, and fennel freeze beautifully grilled or roasted (I usually pull them out of the oven about 75% done, let them cool, and then portion them into freezer bags).  I think cauliflower (and green onions?) would work well this way too but I haven’t actually tried it.  Kale, beans, and broccoli can all be blanched, cooled, and frozen.  Tomatoes can be packed raw into ziploc bags and frozen.  Most vegetables can be made into pickles, either fermented or vinegar brined and canned.  Cilantro and other green herbs can be ground up with oil in the food processor or made into pesto.  Lots of people freeze them in ice cube trays for convenient servings: transfer the frozen cubes to a freezer bag or jar.  Kale can be made into kale chips, and tomatoes and onions can be dehydrated.  Dry onions (or onions tops) and then grind them in the coffee grinder for your own onion powder!

There’s nothing totally new today but a few variations.  Everyone gets a couple of cipollini onions.  These are particularly sweet and flavorful onions, which are especially good roasted or caramelized. Our bean picks are getting bigger, and I finally didn’t put any cauliflower in the CSA (more coming, but I’m giving you a chance to catch up).

Today’s broccoli pick was one of the biggest we’ve ever had from our non-heading Piracicaba variety.  You’ve mostly gotten the more standard hybrids in the CSA this year, but the Piracicaba has much larger beads and a more open head.  The stems are tender and delicious so they require very little prep time, and I absolutely love it.  Many of my customers compare it to broccolini.  I usually grill or roast it: if you have smaller pieces you can leave them whole, larger heads can be split lengthwise into spears.  Toss it with olive oil and salt and cook it at 400 degrees for 6 or 8 minutes.  It’s also great raw or steamed.

We had a big pick of roma tomatoes today, so Tuesday folks are getting them (not sure what Thursday will get yet).  Romas are sauce tomatoes, which are less juicy than the usual slicers.  They are just fine for fresh eating, but are especially good for sauces, salsas, and roasting.  They all came on at once, so I’m not sure how many more we’ll have.


Garlic Lemon Broccoli and Green Beans

From The PKP Way blog, this is a simple but delicious way to eat some green veggies.  Yields 4 servings.
  • 2 broccoli bunches, stalks removed, florets separated
  • 4 ounces fresh or frozen green beans, not thawed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl. Fill a large pot about halfway with water and bring to a boil. Lower to a gentle simmer and add the broccoli florets and green beans. Let simmer for 2 – 3 minutes, until bright green. Using a slotted spoon, immediately remove the greens and place in the prepared ice bath for 2 minutes.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and cook until just beginning to golden (do not let brown). Using a slotted spoon, transfer the greens from the ice bath to the skillet. Add the zest and sauté for 2 minutes. Off the heat and sprinkle with cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cipollini Onion Hummus

By Leah Koenig for Saveur: “Gently browned cipollini onions add an unexpected hint of caramel sweetness to hummus, deepening its earthy flavors.”

1⁄3 cup plus 2 Tbs olive oil, divided
3 small cipollini onions (about half a pound), thinly sliced or chopped
1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
juice of 1 lemon (approx 14 cup)
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
4 tbsp. tahini
12 tsp. salt
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet set over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 12-15 minutes. Remove onions from heat.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, tahini, salt, remaining 13 cup olive oil, and 23 of the browned onions. Process until smooth and creamy. (If the hummus seems dry, add additional tahini one teaspoon at a time, reprocessing between teaspoons.) Taste and season with additional salt, if desired. Serve topped with remaining browned onions and drizzled with additional olive oil.

CSA Week 8

In your share week 8:

Potatoes
Fennel
Onion
Eggplant
Zucchini
Cucumber
Cherry Tomato
Kale
Beets or cauliflower

Full shares only:

Green Onion
Baby Turnips

This is the point in the season where I don’t have a whole lot to share in the share notes.  We are just staying the course here at the farm, harvesting and bringing the vegetables to the people just about every day. There’s no new crops right now, but there’s lots of all our favorites.  We finally had a bigger pick of cucumbers today, cauliflower is still going strong, we’re about to mow down half the zucchini because we have way too much, and the kale just keeps on pumping.

There is actually one new crop for half shares, so I’ll write about it again!  Eggplant is one of my absolute favorite vegetables, and I love its succulent texture.  I tend to like it roasted or grilled and eaten on top of or beside just about anything, but it’s also lovely in stir fries and curries or turned into baba ganouj.  Last night we made eggplant and cabbage crepes with fresh tomatoes and basil, and they were delicious.  Ours are the long slender Japanese type, and I always eat the skin.  To prepare them, cut off the stem end and either slice them into slabs or cut them into cubes.  Eggplant absorb quite a bit of oil in cooking, so some people like to salt them and let them sit for 15 or 20 minutes to cut down on that.  Store eggplant in a bag in the fridge, though they’ll be all right on the counter for a day or so.

Pretty soon we’ll be switching from the fresh onions with green tops to the more familiar cured type.  I love the fresh ones, though, so I’ll keep putting them in the shares for as long as we’ve got them.  A lot of our onions have laid down their tops and are starting the curing process, if we see a big rain in the forecast we’ll pull them out and let them finish curing in the greenhouse.  Hopefully there will be rain soon…

Right now we’re mostly focused on harvests and sales, but I’m getting everything lined up for cover cropping and winter plantings.  I just ordered lots of flower bulbs to plant for blooms next spring; my flower experiment has been a lot of fun and I’m planning to expand on it for next year.  I’m even planning to offer a bouquet add-on for the CSA so you can get fresh, local, organic flowers with your veggies next year.  I’ve also ordered shallots to plant in the greenhouse for early harvests, and I’m working on ordering cover crop seed.  We just pulled down the pea trellis and I tilled them in today, and we’re trying to stay ahead of the weeds so we don’t build up a seed bank for next year.


Warm Cauliflower & Kale Salad with Soft-Boiled Eggs & Sauce Meunière

From Blue Apron, this is a salad that is a full meal by itself.  The combination of browned butter, lemon juice and parsley is known as meunière—a classic French sauce that turns tonight’s simple roasted cauliflower into sophisticated fare.

2 Eggs
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 head Cauliflower, cut into florets
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
1 bunch Kale, stems removed and chopped
1 bunch Parsley, finely chopped
3 Tbsps Roasted Almonds, roughly chopped
2 Tbsps Butter
1 Shallot, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp Caper, roughly chopped
⅓ cup Panko Breadcrumbs
¼ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 475°F. Roast the cauliflower: Place on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and salt to taste; toss to coat. Roast 20 minutes, or until lightly browned and tender. Remove from the oven, transfer to a large bowl.

 

Meanwhile, in a medium pan, heat 2 tsp olive oil on medium-high. Add breadcrumbs; season with salt and pepper. Toast, stirring frequently, 2 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cheese. Wipe out the pan.

 

Boil a small pot of water. Add the eggs whole. Cook for exactly 6 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water for 30 seconds to 1 minute to stop the cooking process. When cool enough to handle, carefully peel the cooked eggs and set aside.

 

In the bread crumb pan, heat 2 tsp olive oil on medium-high. Add shallot and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes, or until softened. Add kale and ¼ cup water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes, or until kale has wilted and water has cooked off. Turn off the heat; stir in lemon zest. Add to cauliflower. Toss to combine. Wipe out the pan.

 

In the same pan, melt the butter on medium-high. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until the butter is deep golden brown and nuttily fragrant. (Be careful not to overcook, as the butter can burn easily.) Turn off the heat. Stir in capers, parsley and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

Divide the cauliflower and kale between 2 bowls. Top with parmesan, breadcrumbs, almonds, peeled eggs and sauce. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Enjoy!


Eggplant and Cauliflower with Tahini

I may have mentioned in an earlier post that I’ve been pretty smitten with tahini recently. I made this all vegan dish over the weekend and it was oh so tasty.  Served with quinoa it makes a pretty filling meal.

1/2 onion, halved and thinly sliced
3 scallions, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 head cauliflower, broken into small florets
1 tomato, diced
2 -3 eggplant (about 3/4 pound), cut into 3/4″ cubes

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet or saute pan. Saute onion, scallions, garlic, and salt to taste until soft, 4 minutes.  Add cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to stick, 8-10 minutes. Add the tomato and 2 Tbsp water and continue to cook until almost tender, 8-10 more minutes.  Add the eggplant and 1 Tbsp olive oil, continue to cook until eggplant is tender, 8-10 more minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together:

1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp tahini

As mixture thickens, whisk in 1 – 2 Tbsp cold water to thin it out.

Add tahini mixture to vegetables.  Stir and cook for another minute or two and serve hot.

Optional: add parsley, basil, or cilantro to the cooked veggies.

 

CSA Week 7

In your share week 7:

Carrots
Broccoli
Green Onion
Parsley
Tomatoes and/or cherry tomatoes
Green beans
Zucchini
Romaine Lettuce
Kale

Full shares only:

Cauliflower
Cipollini Onion
Cabbage

Well, I thought the share size was going to be more under control this week, but I was wrong!  We could barely fit it all into the full shares, and half shares are pretty bursting as well.  Half shares got a week off from cauliflower, but full shares are experiencing the true meaning of CSA!  Every year there’s a crop or two that doesn’t stop giving, and this year it’s cauliflower.  I’ve sure been eating it every week, hopefully you’re enjoying it!

 

Part of the fun of the farm and the CSA is the abundance that it gives us.  Eating off the farm is such a different mentality than shopping at the grocery store.  I plan carefully and work hard to keep a consistent supply for you all, but there’s a lot that’s out of my control.  A produce buyer at a store can order exactly what they think they can use from a large national supplier.  We have to work with what nature gives us, so there’s always some losses, but there’s always some great surprises.  It’s really such a short season that we can enjoy the overflowing food, I try to take advantage of it as much as I can!

 

Last year’s overflow was green beans, so I overcompensated a bit by planting way less.  But they’ve finally arrived, and they are so wonderful!  We won’t have nearly so many as last year, but we have 2 beautiful beds that we’re just beginning to pick so we should have plenty to share with you.

 

We grow 2 types, a French filet variety called Maxibel (these are long, round, and slender) and a Romano type (these are large and flat and often called Italian green beans).  The Maxibels are more sweet and tender and are especially good raw, while the Romanos have a wonderful, robust beany flavor that holds up well to grilling and cooking.  You can use both in just about any recipe calling for green beans.  I love to grill beans whole, especially the Romanos.  Toss them in olive oil and cook them over medium low heat for a few minutes a side: yum!  You can also eat them raw, slice them into salads, steam them with butter, use them in stir fries, pickle them, or whatever you like.  We are careful in our picking, so all the beans you get from me should be at prime eating stage without starchiness or bitterness.

 

We’ve been lighter than usual on kale for you this summer, partially because we got hit early with aphids and partially because we’ve had so many other things to share.  But our fall rotation has just come into production and our spring bed is going strong, so expect to see a little more of it going forward.  We have to plant the fall kale earlier than we need it so that it’s strong enough to continue producing once the days get short and cold. On the farm, you always have to be a couple of steps ahead.

 

Full shares have another head of green cabbage and a yummy cipollini onion.  These are particularly sweet and flavorful onions, which are especially good roasted or caramelized.  Everybody has more green onions, since that’s another crop we have in abundance.  And they are so versatile…if you haven’t tried grilling them, that’s the easiest way I’ve found to use the bunch.  I just leave them whole, toss with a bit of oil and salt, and grill for a few minutes on each side.  The grilled onions are good on their own or added to burgers or salads.


Green Bean, Potato, and Kale Puree

This recipe, recommended by my aunt, is adapted from Start Fresh by Tyler Florence. It makes a lovely green puree, with a flavor “like something an Italian grandmother might make”. Makes eight 1/2-cup servings or four 1-cup servings.

1/2 pound green beans

2 large potatoes, peeled and sliced

8 large kale leaves, stems removed and coarsely chopped

2 cup organic chicken stock

6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

In a saucepan, combine beans, potato, kale, and stock and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat. Cook uncovered until potatoes are fork-tender, about 10 minutes.

Transfer contents of saucepan to a blender and add Parmesan and olive oil.

Puree until as smooth as you prefer.

Serve warm.


Broccoli Braised with Fresh Herbs and Toasted Walnuts

From The Complete Vegan Cookbook by Susann Geiskopf-Hadler and Mindy Toomay, this simple recipe makes a great side dish. You can cook other vegetables, especially leafy greens, in a similar way. Serves 4.

 

In a small bowl, combine:

2 Tbsp dry sherry

            2 Tbsp water

Set aside. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat in a skillet that has a tight fitting lid. Add:

            1 clove garlic, minced

Saute for about 1 minute. Add:

1 pound broccoli, chopped into uniform bite size pieces

            Salt

Stir briefly, then add the sherry mixture. Immediately cover the pan, and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, until the broccoli is lightly browned and fork-tender. If the liquid dries our before the broccoli is tender, add a little water and replace the lid. If the broccoli is cooked but there is still liquid, cook it uncovered for a minute to dry it out.

Toss the broccoli in a serving bowl along with:

            2 tsp minced fresh marjoram, oregano, or thyme, or a combination

            Black pepper

            3 Tbsp chopped walnuts

Serve with a wedge of lemon.

CSA Week 6

In your share week 6:

Austrian Crescent Potatoes
Zucchini
Cucumber
Cauliflower
Broccoli
Onion
Green Onion
Basil
Romaine Lettuce
Tomatoes and/or cherry tomatoes

Full shares only:

Italian Parsley
Eggplant

We have SO. MUCH. PRODUCE. coming off the farm right now.  And that’s reflected in your shares, which are again full to the brim.  We’re unusually light on leafy greens, with just a head of romaine lettuce and a bunch of basil (and parsley for some).  The consistently warm, dry weather has been great for most of our crops, except for the salad mix.  We’re working through a couple weeks worth of stressed greens, but hopefully we’ll be back into some nicer rotations by the end of the month.  In the mean time, we have lovely heads of romaine lettuce, which I’d rather use for salad in the summer anyway!

Our cauliflower is the most prolific it’s ever been, so we’re giving it to you for the 3rd week in a row.  Personally, I’d love that, since it’s one of my favorite vegetables and I eat it several times a week.  But I’ll try to give you a break next week if I can.  If you haven’t tried roasting it yet, that’s my favorite use for it.  I also used a huge head in a tuna casserole this week, and a few members have suggested cauliflower purees, kind of like mashed potatoes.  I’ve also meant to try making fermented pickles, I’m told it’s easy (just add salt and water and wait), but I haven’t done it yet.  There’s lots of instructions on the internet for making ferments with things you already have in your kitchen.  Here’s one.

This week’s broccoli is our more standard hybrid type.  These are beautiful, fresh heads great for all kinds of things.  We’ve got lots of other well loved veggies this week, including zucchini, cucumbers, a lovely fresh yellow onion, and basil.  We’re also getting into bigger picks of tomatoes, so we’re including more of them for everyone this week.

Our potatoes this year are not the prettiest.  They have a lot of scab and scurf, which cause the black spots and brown scarring on the skin.  These don’t usually go more than skin deep, and they can be easily peeled off if you like.  They are fine to eat, though the texture can be unappealing.  Unfortunately, all of our potatoes so far seem to be affected, and we’re having to cull out a lot of ugly ones.  The ones you’re getting are the prettiest we have, and at least they are delicious.

Full shares have an extra delicious treat: eggplant!  Eggplant is one of my absolute favorite vegetables, and I love its succulent texture.  I tend to like it roasted or grilled and eaten on top of or beside just about anything, but it’s also lovely in stir fries and curries or turned into baba ganouj.  Last night we made eggplant and cabbage crepes with fresh tomatoes and basil, and they were delicious.  Ours are the long slender Japanese type, and I always eat the skin.  To prepare them, cut off the stem end and either slice them into slabs or cut them into cubes.  Eggplant absorb quite a bit of oil in cooking, so some people like to salt them and let them sit for 15 or 20 minutes to cut down on that.  Store eggplant in a bag in the fridge, though they’ll be all right on the counter for a day or two.


Savory Crepes

I love crepes, both sweet and savory.  I like to make a batch of batter and keep it in the fridge for a couple of days to make crepes with whatever I have around.  This is a simple savory crepe recipe adapted from The Joy of Cooking, and you can fill it with whatever you like!  I make mine by putting all the ingredients in a large jar and using the immersion blender, but you can whisk them in a bowl too.

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup lukewarm water
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) butter, melted
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth.  Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 30 minutes, or refrigerate for up to 2 days.

To cook, heat a large flat pan over medium heat and add 1/2 tsp butter (or use the stick to lightly coat the pan).  Using a ladle or small measuring cup, pour in about 1/4 cup batter.  Quickly tilt and rotate the pan to spread a thin, even coating of the batter, then return it to the heat and cook until the crepe bubbles and the bottom in lightly browned, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.  Turn the crepe with a spatula, your fingers, or with a butter knife.  Cook the second side until browned, another minute or 2.  Serve immediately, or store in a stack on a plate wrapped tightly in plastic.

Filling ideas:

  • Eggplant, cabbage, basil, and tomato
  • Roasted zucchini, caramelized onion, and goat cheese
  • Bacon, lettuce, and tomato
  • Chimichurri, Manchego cheese, and grilled broccoli

Cauliflower Tuna Casserole

Albacore tuna is in season right now and available fresh!  I canned some last weekend, and a few jars didn’t seal.  I combined them and some fresh tuna with cauliflower and other veggies to make a super tasty casserole.  You could make this with canned or fresh tuna.  This is enough for a very large dish, you could cut it down if you like.  The sauce recipe is a simple white sauce from The Joy of Cooking.

Chop and combine in an 11 x 17 baking dish:

1 large head cauliflower
1 large fresh onion (including the tops)
1 bunch Italian parsley
5 cloves garlic
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms
1 1/2 pounds tuna, fresh or canned
1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
Fresh ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375.  Meanwhile, make the sauce.  Melt 1 stick butter in a saucepan over medium low heat.

Whisk in 1/2 cup all purpose flour until smooth and well blended, about 1 1/2 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in 1 quart (4 cups) milk.

Return the pan to the heat and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly to prevent lumps.  Continue to cook, whisking, until the sauce is smooth and hot and has thickened, 6 to 8 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour the sauce over the veggies and tuna in the baking dish.  Stir until everything is evenly distributed.  Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes.  Remove the casserole from the oven, top with 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese and return to the oven.  Bake until veggies are soft and cheese is browned, another 15 to 20 minutes.  Serve hot.