CSA Week 3

In your share week 3:

Cucumber
Kale
Baby Bok Choy
Sugar Snap Peas
Basil
Raspberry or Cherry Tomato

Full shares only:

Radish
Romano Green Bean

Finally we have some sweet summer goodies to share with you! Many people’s favorite veggies are the sweet things that come in boxes: raspberries, peas, and cherry tomatoes. These are some of our favorites too, and some of the things our farm does best.

Our peas are finally taking off, the plants are about 8 feet tall and have been growing since March but we’re just now getting picks large enough to share with the CSA. These are sugar snap peas, the kind you eat pod and all. We mostly eat them raw, by themselves, but they are also delicious in stir fries, pastas, and salads. To keep them from getting limp, put them into a plastic bag in the fridge (if you don’t eat them all right away!).

Since starting the farm in 2010, we’ve wanted to grow fruit. It’s been a long time coming, but we finally have a raspberry crop! The plants are still getting established, and I really don’t know how productive they’re going to be this year, but we have enough for most of you to enjoy today. As you probably know, raspberries have a short shelf life, so I recommend eating them up. A few folks got some of our first cherry tomatoes instead, more of both coming soon. If you don’t use them right away, keep raspberries in the fridge and keep tomatoes on the counter.

Everyone has a nice head of baby bok choy, which I would probably grill or stir fry with soy sauce and ginger. Make sure to eat the succulent stems. You could also eat it raw, try slicing it up and mixing it into a cold noodle dish.

Kale is usually a staple crop in our CSA, but it’s been a bit pokey this year. We gave it some TLC recently in the form of weeding, extra fertilizer, and mulch, and it seems to be rallying. Today everyone has the red Russian kale, which is my favorite. I find it is more sweet and tender than other kales and is best suited for salads and quicker cooking. I usually chop up the stems and include them in my cooking, but you can also strip the leaves if you prefer. Like other leafy greens, keep kale and bok choy in a bag in the fridge.

The cucumbers are quickly picking up steam, so we’ve got a full pound of them again for everyone. Basil is also looking great, we’ve given double basil to full shares so you can make a batch of pesto or just use more of it in everything you make! Remember, keep basil in a bag on the counter, don’t put it in the fridge.


Mike’s Pesto a la Alice Waters

Mike and I love the book The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters. She recommends making pesto in a mortar and pestle, which sent Mike on a year-long mission to find one big enough to use for a large batch. When he didn’t have any success, I spent a day searching all over Portland to get him one for Christmas. I finally succeeded in my quest at the Fubonn Asian Shopping Center, and Alice was right: pesto made in this way is to die for. But it is also excellent (and easier) made in the food processor. This is Mike’s adaptation of Alice Waters’ recipe. Makes about 2 cups.

Pick the leaves from:

            1 bunch basil, to yield about 2 loosely packed cups

In a mortar and pestle or food processor, grind to a paste:

1 garlic clove, peeled

            Salt

Add and continue to grind:

½ c walnuts or pinenuts, lightly toasted

Add:

            ¼ c grated parmesan cheese.

Transfer this mixture to a bowl. Coarsely chop the basil leaves and put them in the mortar. Pound the leaves to a paste. Return the pounded nut mixture to the mortar and pound the two mixtures together. Continue pounding as you gradually pour in:

            ½ c olive oil


Wintergreen Farm Kale Salad

Kale is excellent raw, especially if nights have been frosty.  The frost changes the chemistry of the leaf and makes it extra sweet.  When I worked at Wintergreen Farm, this salad was a favorite among the crew.  The dressing is strongly flavored, with raw garlic and lemon.  If you don’t like raw garlic, you can try roasting it first, reduce the amount, or omit it altogether.  Serves 3 to 6.

To make the dressing, mix together:

            3 Tbsp olive oil

            Juice of 1 lemon

            2 cloves garlic, chopped finely or crushed

            salt and pepper

Remove the stems and rip into bite size pieces:

            1 bunch kale

Toss in a bowl with dressing and:

            1 avocado, sliced

            ¼ c feta cheese, crumbled

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