Friday, October 15, 2010

Week 20:the Last Week of CSA for 2010!

In Your Share this Week (final newsletter coming soon- keep an eye out):

Winter Squash (either butternut, kabocha,sweet dumpling or acorn)
Onions- yellow and/or red
Celery OR Celeriac
Radishes - Small (French Breakfast or Easter Egg) OR Large (Daikon or Spanish Black)
Cabbage OR Broccoli
Golden Grex (rainbow) Beets with beautiful Greens attached- use just like chard
Rutabagas- just a few, and they're small, but so, so good (time for a fall root roast!)
Potatoes - Yukon Gold and/or Red Gold
Herbs: Chives OR Parsley (for the potatoes, of course)

Friday, October 1, 2010

CSA week 18: in your share this week

Katie Sulau has officially dubbed this month "Crocktober." It's time for soup and stew, friends.

Saturday people: shares may not be ready until 9 tomorrow, try to come on the late side if possible.
Also,please come to the hoophouse plastic pull on Sunday at the farm! (11-3)

Ok, here goes:

Celeriac- "celery times ten!" (the flavor) this weird, gnarled root is closely related to celery- some just call it "celery root," maybe because it's easier to pronounce. Use stalks as you would celery for cooking (it's super fibrous, not so fun for fresh eating, but great for soup, stew, stock, etc). Use root as part of your soup/stew base, or chop and roast just like potatoes, in fact, it's great as part of a mixed-roots roast. It also stores for months in plastic in the fridge, or in your root cellar, without the stems/leaves.

Leeks- more potato-leek soup? Or try caramelized leeks drizzled over potato soup or chowder.

Potatoes-same! or chop and mix with other roots, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast/bake at 375-ish for 30-60 min (dep. on size chunks).

Carrots- please don't tell me you can't figure out what to do with carrots.... ? ok, give them back, then, we'll eat them, they're delicious. :)

Herbs: Sage or Thyme- both excellent in soup stocks and roux, or try crispy fried sage (from The Splendid Table last week) sprinkled on your soup or tomatoes as garnish.

Garlic- enjoy the rest of the garlic season, then come to the Garlic Planting Party here at the farm on Halloween- come in costume!

Heirloom Tomatoes
- this may be the end, my friends. If we really get the frost that's predicted for Sunday early morning, the plants will be toast, and whatever we've harvested and stored inside will be what we get the next week or so. If we don't get that frost, we could see another week or two of tomatoes (until the frost does come). I hope you've enjoyed the variety this year; we'll be asking your feedback to inform our variety choices for next year, so be thinking of what have been your favorites, least favorites, and what you'd like to try next year.

Kale, Chard, or Collard Greens- the mothership of nutrients, fall collard greens are finally starting to mature! Use just as you would kale, just cook a little longer; the leaves are heartier and require a little more cooking. Unless you're into the raw food thing, in which case, I'd recommend (for any leafy greens) chopping coarsely and massaging the leaves well with salt in a bowl (til tender). Massaging (or kneading) the leaves breaks cell walls somewhat, making digestion easier, but doesn't kill any live enzymes, like cooking with heat does. Best of both worlds. Dress massaged greens with vinegar, lemon juice, and/or chopped tomatoes, and let marinate an hour to overnight. The acid helps make the calcium in green leafies more digestible by breaking the bonds of the molecules in which it's normally bound. AND it tastes good!

Sweet peppers- colored bells, Carmens (long horn-shaped sweet red pepper), and/or pimiento (somewhat flattened, round, thick-walled red pepper). This may also be our last week of sweet peppers if we get a frost- enjoy!

Basil- almost certainly the last week of basil, as basil doesn't even like 35 degrees, let alone 32. It's been a great pesto season! p.s. if you still want to squeeze in a batch of pesto, we will have enough for one or two more preserving shares (1 lb basil for $10), but let me know this weekend!

Bon appetit everyone- and yes, we WILL keep going at least one to two more weeks, possibly more. We'll keep you updated when the end is near. For now, enjoy the turning of the season into bona fide fall.

Friday, September 24, 2010

CSA Week 16: In your share this week

The long-awaited return of Baby Salad Mix! It's been a long time, I know. The mid-season heat discouraged planting for so long, and this recent planting then took a long time to size up, but it is gorgeous and delectable right now, with red and/or green leaf lettuce, tatsoi, choi, baby red russian kale, red mustard, arugula, and possibly a few baby beet greens for extra red. Enjoy!

Winter Squash: you may see green or tan Acorn Squash (tan variety is called Paydon; it's our first year growing it; let us know what you think), Delicata, or Sweet Dumpling

Potatoes: Red Gold or Carola (yellow skin and flesh)

Broccoli! Beautiful fall heads, with tender stalks- peel and use stalk insides along with florets. Yes, even the leaves are edible- chop and toss in with florets.

Beets! Either Red Ace (classic red) or Chioggia (pink, bullseye-patterned inside) with beautiful greens- use greens exactly as you would Swiss chard. (next week: carrots)

Turnip greens! My southern grandmother's favorite way to prepare these is to boil beyond recognition in a pot with a ham bone, but I suggest chopping, then a gentle saute or steam, just enough to cook til tender and bright green, then add an acid like lemon or vinegar (esp. vinegar that's been soaking hot chiles and extracted some spicy goodness)

the last of the Sweet Onions- just enough for one more batch of salsa

Tomatoes- the cold weather is slowing them down, but they'll still produce until frost hits- enjoy these last few weeks!

Peppers- sweet Carmen (long, horn-shaped reds), Pimiento (squat, flattened, ribbed reds- super super sweet), red or orange bells, or sweet yellow peppers
and some hot chiles too!

Basil- either regular Italian, purple, lemon, or Thai
*one more reminder: preserving shares ARE still available - one generous pound of basil for $10, first come, first served.*

Garlic- a heads up: the Garlic Planting Party is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 31 - yes, hallowe'en- come in costume!

One more heads up: the Hoophouse Plastic Pulling Party is scheduled for Sunday Oct. 3. We'll aim for a morning work party, as wind tends to be calmer in the a.m. but the whole thing is weather-dependent. Save the date, and we'll be in touch that week when we'll have a better idea of what the weather may allow us to do.

Friday, September 17, 2010

CSA Week 15: in your share this week

Daikon or "watermelon" radishes!
Red onions!
Green Beans!
Sweet peppers OR eggplant!

*** remember your boxes (Sat people)***
reminder: only 3-7 more weeks of CSA- we're estimating 5 more wks right now.

detailed newsletter coming soon

Salsa throwdown

For those of you not compulsively signed up for emails from CUESA (San Francisco's lovely farm market email) thought you might enjoy today's salsa recipes. Here's the people's choice winner. For more check out their link! Happy eating, Dawn

"Gutsy Red Salsa" or Roasted Red Ranchera Salsa

Recipe from Soul Cocina. It was prepared as part of the SF Food Wars Salsa ChampionChip on September 12, 2010. This salsa won the People's Choice award!


4 roasted Roma tomatoes
2 slightly roasted garlic clove
3 roasted Chiles Serranos
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped


  1. Roast the tomatoes on an iron griddle (comal) over a medium flame, turning them as they char on each side. You can also use a broiler.

  2. Add the tomatoes to a blender with the remaining ingredients (except onions and cilantro) and blend until it becomes a chunky sauce (do not puree).

  3. Then add and mix a 1/4 cup of small diced sweet yellow onion, and 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro and serve.

    Hint: If you make the salsa too hot throw in some sugar!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

CSA Week 14: in your share this week

This Week’s Share: It’s Fall! The calendar may still say summer, but we all know what’s going on here. It’s soup season.

Leeks! The first of the season- use just as you would onions- and yes, you can use all but the very ends of the green section, as well as the white. The farther toward the tips of the leaves, the more fibrous they are, but you can a) use the dark green leaf tips for soup stock (simmer with other veggies and herbs, then discard leaves), or b) slice very, very thinly and cook til very tender. Leeks are reputed to be milder than onions in flavor, but that depends on the leek (and onion) in question. I find them generally delicious and flavorful, often mellow, but not always. It’s nice to “sweat” leeks (cook in butter/oil over low heat in a covered dish to soften them completely and draw out every possible drop of leeky goodness into that fat) before adding other ingredients to a soup base or other dish. See Recipes section for my favorite simple veggie soup stock.

Potatoes - Did you really think we’d give you leeks without potatoes? This week you’ll see either more Caribe (early-season purple-skinned, white-fleshed spud), Red Gold (red-skinned, gold-fleshed), or possibly we’ll do a first harvest of the longer-season “storage” potatoes, Yukon Gold, Carola, or Sangre. Potatoes will keep for months if stored at very low temps and very high humidity (the fridge is actually not a bad place for potato storage as long as they’re not in plastic, and you have the extra space there). They’ll also keep for weeks in a paper bag or breathable bin, out of the light, at a cool room temp. See Recipes for my favorite Potato-Leek soup.

Celery- A second round! Remember when you got celery a month or so ago, and we said we’d harvested loose leaves to see if the plants would continue to grow, so you’d get more celery per season than if we’d cut the whole plants at that point? See what you think about the size of these heads- you may see more loose leaves, or whole plants. Either way, celery keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge for one to two weeks. Cut off the leaves from the stems to maximize storage life. If you plan to cook it, you can blanch and freeze it, then store in plastic in the freezer til winter stew or soup calls.

Kale or Swiss Chard- we try to offer a mix of cooking greens (kale, chard, cabbage, Asian greens, etc) but every time we try to skip kale/chard, someone asks for more! I love our CSA members- not everyone has such an affinity for greens. You guys are awesome. And healthy, I suspect. You might toss some of those greens into your soup, concocted from the first three share items (above)….Check Recipes section for a reminder about Greens Patties, or “Leafburgers” as someone called them last year. Will you share your favorite greens recipes on the blog? The best way to post a recipe is to “comment” on an existing post.

Beans- the beans are back, with a vengeance. And these aren’t even the pole beans I promised you- it’s the bush beans again! You may see classic green, a few different varieties, Royal Burgundy purple beans, or Dragon Langerie, a streaked flat-podded bean classically grown for fresh shelling (if you get some exceptionally large ones, you may want to try that), but we like the flavor of it as a green bean so much, we harvest it that way instead of waiting for them to mature into shelling beans. Who wants to make Dilly Beans? Beans will be available by the bushel or half bushel soon for canners and freezers.
Garlic- how’s the garlic dosage? Anyone overloaded, not enough, just right? See Recipes for my favorite garlic roasting method. We’re already looking forward to planting this fall, probably on or around Halloween, and you are all invited (look for an invitation soon). In addition to the excellent hardneck garlic we’ve done the past 3 years, I’m excited to plant some softneck garlic for making garlic braids next season!

Tomatoes are still giving us juicy, luscious slicers, sweet cherries, and the start of the roma/paste varieties. (knock on wood) so far, no late blight, the fungal disease that completely wiped out our crop last year. As long as the plants are healthy, we’ll continue to harvest until the first frost, which is usually late September/early October (but who can say, anymore? It was the 3rd week of October last year!). See Recipes section for the tomato soup we’ve been enjoying at the farmt this week.

Peppers- both sweet (bells, pimientos, and/or long, narrow “frying” types) and hot (jalapenos, citrus-scented limons, streaked “fish” hot peppers, or a few random other hot chiles) peppers may show up again this week. I like to add a little heat to winter soups, in the form of a chile or two chopped and tossed in with time to infuse the pot with extra warmth. If you’re still feeling summer, try roasting peppers over an open flame and making salsa!

Eggplant (possibly)- you’ve probably noticed this hasn’t been much of an eggplant year! As beautiful and healthy as the plants are, the flower and fruit set has been scant. It may have been the heat wave at the time the plants wanted to set their main flowering (too much heat inhibits them), it may have been a cosmic anti-eggplant year, or both. Either way, I wish we had more to share with you; perhaps they’ll kick out another wave of flowers and fruits this fall.

Melons- thanks to your fellow CSA members who came to the planting party in early June, there are a LOT of melons this year! That rain last week caused many of them to come on all at once (we had to harvest them b/c of splitting rinds, whereas normally they would’ve held in the field another week or two), but there are still a few cantaloupes and honeydews, and enough watermelons for everyone to get at least one more week’s worth. If we get another heat wave, I’d recommend “agua de melon” or “agua de sandia,” two Mexican treats- simply toss a handful of melon flesh (seeds removed) into a blender with plenty of ice and cold water (still or fizzy), and voila, a refreshing summer beverage.

Herbs: Basil and/or Parsley and/or Cilantro- there’s definitely basil for everyone, and depending on how fast the parsley is growing (it’s been slow the last month, hence the lack of parsley in shares), you may see parsley and/or cilantro as well.

Friday, September 3, 2010

CSA Week 13: In Your Share Thsis Week

Week 13.... has to be odd, by nature! This week's share includes a few new things, and a few weird things (some both), along with old favorites. Enjoy!

EDAMAME- a Japanese delicacy: edible soybeans, on the plant! To prepare: pick beans off of plant,and wash. Boil in heavily salted water for 5-20 min, depending on how soft/buttery or fresh/crunchy you may like them (taste test along the way). Drain, serve whole, and to eat, either open pods and pick out beans, or gently scrape beans out of pods with your teeth, artichoke-style. Keep in mind that un-cooked soy can be hard to digest (I'm in the 20-min, soft-buttery camp), but find what works best for you.

WINTER SQUASH- either spaghetti squash (sunny-yellow and oblong) or Delicata squash (small, narrow, creamy-yellow with dark green stripes). To cook either one (or any winter squash, really), slice in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds and pulp, place face-down on a baking sheet or in a shallow baking pan, add a little water to keep cut edge from drying out, and bake at 375 or so for 30-60 min, depending on the size of the squash. Delicatas rarely take more than 30 min; spaghetti could be 30-45; test for softness by poking the skin - if it yields to touch, it's probably done. For delicata, enjoy right in the skin, or scrape out and serve with butter, maple, both, neither, or seasoning of your choice. For spaghetti squash, scrape out stringy, noodle-like flesh with a fork, fluff in a bowl, and add your favorite seasonings or toppings. A primavera-style spaghetti squash (lots of fresh veggies, perhaps some feta or parmesan, olive oil) is nice, as is an Asian-style dressing of tamari, ginger, sesame oil, hot chiles, and cumin.

KOHLRABI- both purple and green this week! These are the first of the "fall brassicas" (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, cabbage, kohlrabi) to mature- and it did feel like fall while we were harvesting! Enjoy these fresh (peel, slice, and eat like a carrot stick, with or without salt), or use any way you'd use a broccoli stem- grated in slaw, salad, or hash is lovely, chopped and stirfried, roasted, etc.

MELONS!!!!! We have melons, yes we do. You may see more watermelons (red, white, or yellow-fleshed), classic orange canteloupe (either Charantais, "Maverick," "Athena," or "Minnesota Midget"), green-fleshed, yellow-skinned "Arava," off-white fleshed, white-skinned "Honey Pearl," or possibly others I'm forgetting. This rain caused several otherwise perfect fruits to split, so in addition to the perfect melons, you may see a few "eat today" melons in your share. For those,you can either eat them today, or cut up and refrigerate up to a week. Please tell your friends about Birch Point melons- there is truly a ridiculous number of ripe melons coming to market with us tomorrow!

Either CABBAGE or KALE- the last of the little summer cabbages or the first fall kale

TOMATOES- more of those delectable, mostly heirloom slicers (including Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, Penny's Yellow, Green Zebra, Rose de Berne, Valencia, and Rutgers), sweet orange and red cherry toms, yellow pear toms, and possibly some roma/paste tomatoes- remember to let us know if you'd like to order preserving quantities of paste tomatoes. Thankfully, the rain didn't cause all of them to split, but you may see a few "eat today" tomatoes in shares this week (fruits with a split, burst from too much rain, perfectly good, but won't keep).

BASIL- so many people asked "where's the basil?" last week, when we thought we were giving you a basil break, that it's back in full force. Now that fall weather seems to have arrived, I recommend putting up a little pesto while you can. Or enjoy it fresh with those luscious tomatoes, and order a preserving share of basil ($10 for a 1-lb bag, toward the end of the season, limited quantity available, first come, first served).

SCALLIONS or RED BUNCHING ONIONS- the very tail end of the summer scallions. The fall scallions are still thread-like ideas, and perhaps they'll end up in the hoophouse, not the field, after all, for winter harvest, so this may be the end of scallions for the normal season.
SWEET ONIONS, however, are here in full force! Enjoy for at least one more week, then we'll move into red onions and LEEKS! And then fall will really be here.

GARLIC- more stinking rose. IS anyone inundated with too much garlic? Not enough? Stay tuned for an invitation to the fall garlic planting party, probably on or near Halloween!

Optional Extras: (prob. Tues. only) Either Beet Greens, Small Loose Beets, or Small Loose Hakurei Turnips.

I think we may be over the hump of summer squash AND cukes! You'll see a few more this week, or perhaps we'll take a break entirely, but after that we're just waiting for the last planting to start yielding in earnest. Should be any day now.
Thanks for all your support so far this season! Please keep the feedback coming.
Remember: eggs go well with almost every vegetable- experiment, find your favorite recipe, share it on the blog or in person. Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Week 12: In this Week's Share

More TOMATOES- as long as warm, sunny weather prevails, we will keep harvesting luscious heirloom tomatoes. Some cherry tomatoes will show up in shares, but mostly slicers. If you're interested in canning, please inquire about paste/roma toms for preserving.

Peppers OR Eggplant- again, these are trickling in, so you'll see one or the other. You may see Nadia (classic dark purple Italian eggplant), Beatrice (lighter, rounder fuschia eggplant), or Rosa Bianca(heirloom pink and white eggplant). The peppers come from various varieties of bells- some that mature to red, others that mature to orange or yellow. (Did you know that green peppers are unripe fruit? Funny that so many people like them...)

Garlic! another fat bulb for salsa, roasting, or keeping vampires at bay

Onions- sweet Ailsa Craig or Bianca- both excellent raw, as they are extra juicy and sweet, not excellent keepers, but they'll be fine for a few weeks if you need to store them.

Cilantro! Are you getting the sense that it's a SALSA share this week? A great time to use up any extra peaches you may have laying around....

HOT peppers: either Jalapeno, Hot paper Lantern (similar to Habanero but more elongated), Czech black (blackish red outside, red inside), or Limon (lime green, maturing to schoolbus yellow, a delicious citrusy heat-packed pepper)

Potatoes! Either Caribe (purple skin, white flesh) or Red Gold (red skin, gold flesh)

Beets- the last of the early beet planting- these are mostly small beets that we finally gave up on waiting to size up- perfect for pickling (the smaller ones), boiling, or roasting

Baby Beet Greens (optional extra)- the thinnings from the new beet planting- use any way you'd use spinach. My favorite thing is to lightly steam or saute them with sweet onions, and serve with balsamic vinegar and goat cheese.

Cucumbers-these are finally tapering off (the first generation- the second is still on the upswing). Try finely chopped in salsa! If you're interested in pickling cukes for preserving, let me know.

Summer squash- this week you may see Costata Romanesca (ridged Italinan zucchini), Zephyr (yellow crookneck with a green butt- looks like an elongated Easter egg dipped half into green dye, patty pan (the "spaceship" squash), regular green or golden zucchini, "eightball" zucchini (small green ball-shaped zukes) or possibly things we've forgotten we planted!
That's it for this week= enjoy, and see you at market! cheers, Michelle

Friday, August 20, 2010

Week 11: In this week's share

They're here! the very first Birch Point Tomatoes of 2010! You'll see Sungold cherry tomatoes (the ridiculously sweet orange cherry toms), Fargo yellow pear tomatoes, or the first ripe heirloom slicers (most likely Cherokee purple, Rose de Berne, "Penny's Yellow," or Valencia- some of the earliest to ripen). There will be more each week; this is just the beginning. Enjoy as is, or sliced with salt, olive oil, basil and fresh mozzarella....

Scallions are back! These mid-season green onions are a harbinger of the autumn lurking right around the corner (just barely being held at bay by the onslaught of ripening tomatoes and peppers!).

Basil- to make another batch of pesto or enjoy with your tomatoes

Hakurei Turnips OR Radishes- we can't get enough of these- and they keep giving. You may see small turnips; we're coming to the end of this particular batch, but they are so tasty you can toss whole turnips into salad when they're bite-sized. And don't forget to steam or saute the greens and enjoy with vinegar or hot sauce! Radishes can be enjoyed fresh with salt, OR roasted whole with other root veggies- cooking mellows out the bite and lends sweetness to the spice.

Carrots- we're also getting to the end of this early carrot planting, so you may see small and/or funky roots- the next generation is coming on in the field, but may be a couple weeks away from harvest. Next week: either beets OR baby beet thinnings from the new fall beet beds.

Kale or Chard- did you even notice we took a week off from these last week? We thought you would enjoy the break and take the opportunity to clean out the past week's veggies, but so many people asked for more, they're back this week! What's your
favorite, kale or chard?

Cucumbers are not quite over yet- the first planting has peaked and declined, but the second generation is starting to come on. This week, I took all the old, funny-looking, and left-over cukes, sent them through the cuisinart (slicing not processing), and made a salad with them, with thinly-sliced red cipollini onion, a big pinch of fresh mint, minced, lots of salt, pepper, dash each of cayenne, ground mustard, and sugar, and cider vinegar to mix it all together. We enjoyed it for lunch today, then I added even more sliced cukes, and it's in the fridge right now, getting more marinated by the moment,perhaps dreaming of feta cheese.....

Summer Squash- so who tried the fritters last week? Not I, not yet. I followed my chef friend Abra's lead yesterday and made a gratin-style dish of pan-fried thinly sliced zucchini, baked in a dish with lots of grated parmesan. How could that go wrong, really, even with zucchini? :)

Garlic- please do let us know if it's too much, not enough, if you'd rather have it as an optional extra, loads all at once, or just as is. It will keep for months if properly stored in a cool, dry space (i.e. not the refrigerator- way too humid, and probably not the kitchen- usually too warm AND moist)

BEANS- will be available as optional U-pick for on-farm shares only this week. The first planting is on its way out, but a few stragglers are still there for hard-core gleaners to gather. The next planting is starting to flower, but will still be one to two weeks before harvest.

There, perhaps I'm forgetting something.... if so it'll be a surprise for us both. Real newsletter on its way this weekend. :) buon appetito.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Week 10: In This Week's Share

Note: There IS a full-on newsletter on its way to you- it's in the hands of our editor, being made beautiful right now. Be sure to check "announcements" for how to order organic peaches if you're interested.

In This Week's Share:

The first Peppers or Eggplants of the season! Finally, the nightshades are starting to produce! You may receive one or the other this week, and more of both in upcoming weeks. Peppers: sweet green bells, sweet red “Carmen” horn-shaped sweet fryers, and/or jalapenos. Eggplants: either the classic dark purple “Nadia,” the bright magenta “Beatrice,” or the heirloom pink-white “Rosa Bianca” (yes, that’s redundant). Try eggplant on the grill, or fried and served with cheesy pasta, or classic eggplant Parmigiana.

The first Celery of the season- pungent, sweet, fresh. Did you know you can use the leaves in soup? They’re delicious in veggie soup, clear broth, or minestrone. Two strange things though: red stems (a variety called “Redventure” – yes, it’s supposed to be red!), and bunched stems, rather than the whole celery plant. Rather than behead the poor things, we decided to try harvesting individual stems for bunching and allow the plants to keep growing, to see if we could give you celery at least twice this season, instead of only once. We’d appreciate feedback about the keeping quality of loose stems.

Basil: week two! Regular Italian basil, lemon basil, or Thai basil this week. See “recipes” section for pesto recipe- if you’re like me, you’ll love using lemon basil in pesto; if not, perhaps you’ll love it for other reasons… Thai basil is fantastic in coconut curries, among other things! If you’re interested in a preserving share ($10 for a 1-lb bag) please let me know; we’ll do at least one round of preserving shares- a limited quantity on a first-come, first-served basis, to make sure there is still plenty for weekly shares. Some downy mildew has been spotted on the basil- it shows up as rusty-brown discoloration of the leaves, is completely harmless to humans eating it, but will soon kill affected plants if not promptly removed from the field. So some basil you receive may look a little suntanned, but is still tasty and makes perfect pesto.

Beets: Either classic red, or pink, candy-striped Chioggias, with greens. Hint: goat cheese and beets is never a bad idea, no matter how you slice it…. or crumble it. We’ve embarked on an alternating week carrot-beet cycle, so next week: carrots!

Cucumbers! They just won’t stop. Since we’re between lettuce seasons, we’ve been enjoying bodacious cucumber salads- with fresh herbs, onions, oil and vinegar. I’ve included a crazy-sounding, but delicious, recipe for “Cucumber Curry” in the recipes section. Three different varieties: Marketmore, a classic dark green slicer, Diva, a smooth-skinned sweet slicer, or Lemon Cukes- small, round, and yellow, still tastes like cucumber, not citrus. And the picklers are starting to come on- let us know ASAP if you’re interested in a preserving share in the next few weeks.

Summer squash/zucchini- I have to confess: I’ve hit a summer squash wall- both harvesting and eating them. We’ve fried them in butter, had zucchini cookies, steamed them, grilled them, eaten them in burritos, grated them on salad….. but not fritters, not yet- maybe that’s our hope for the rest of the summer squash season! See recipes section.

Cipollini Onions- an Italian open-pollinated onion, sweet and flavorful. The distinctive flattened shape is beautiful and saves time chopping! Cipollini means “little onion” in Italian; despite the name, some of these are huge. These are also an excellent storage onion, so we hope to hold some over for fall/winter.

Garlic- another fresh bulb. Please let us know if you like getting one bulb a week, a bulb every other week, a large quantity all at once, or a bulb or two trickled out at a time- we want to know what works best for you.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Week 9: In your share this week

Basil! Is finally here. Regular Italian basil, lemon basil, or Thai basil this week. See “recipes” section for pesto recipe- if you’re like me, you’ll love using lemon basil in pesto; if not, perhaps you’ll love it for other reasons…

Cabbage- the first of the season! Either the small Early Jersey Wakefield (conehead cabbage) or Des Vertus savoy (crinkly-leaf) cabbage. Enjoy cooked or raw. My current favorite slaw recipe is in the recipes section this week.

Potatoes- Caribe (purple skin, white flesh) or Red Gold (red skin, yellow flesh). Try hot buttered potatoes (roasted or boiled) with salt and generous quantities of fresh, chopped Italian parsley.

Beans! It is bean season, and you may see classic green beans, purple beans, "Tongue of Fire" streaked red-yellow beans, or Maxibel (a tiny French "haricot" type bean). Enjoy raw or lightly steamed. The purples will turn green if cooked- even a little. To maintain the purpleness, either steam lightly til just hot, or enjoy raw, perhaps in a marinated bean salad with cucumbers and onions? We may see a lull in beans after this week- the planting we’ve been picking from is slowing down already, and the next succession isn’t quite ready (but be prepared for LOTS of beans in about a month when the pole beans start coming on).

Kale OR Swiss Chard- As David Hambleton from Sisters Hill Farm in western NY once said, “No one can imagine a CSA without kale.” We take him at his word, but try to switch it up with other cooking greens once in a while, like chard, collards (later this fall; they’re so much better after the frost!), turnip and mustard greens, etc. See “recipes” section for my all-time favorite greens recipe.

Carrots- either Sugarsnax (long, skinny orange), Mokum (shorter, fatter orange), or Purple Haze (yes, purple carrots! Stay tuned for more purples and some whites along with the classic orange in the next wave of carrots). We’ve embarked on an alternating week carrot-beet cycle, so next week: beets!

Cucumbers! wow, are there ever cucumbers..... time for non-lettuce salads: pickled or fresh cukes with any combo of other veggies, a simple vinaigrette or bona fide marinade. Three different varieties: Marketmore, a classic dark green slicer, Diva, a smooth-skinned sweet slicer, or Lemon Cukes- small, round, and yellow, still tastes like cucumber, not citrus.

Summer squash/zucchini- time to get out the grill for summer veggies! Either pattypan (“spaceship”) squash, golden or green zucchini, “eightball” (round, dark green) zukes, or yellow crookneck squash. You'll see big zukes later for zucchini bread; for now enjoy the delicate, tender young ones.

Red and/or Sweet white onions- these sweet beauties are mild enough to enjoy raw, but of course can be cooked, grilled, or whatever you need them for.

Garlic- another fresh bulb. Please let us know if you like getting one bulb a week, a bulb every other week, a large quantity all at once, or a bulb or two trickled out at a time- we want to know what works best for you.

Baby Salad Mix – See “Note” about what makes this week’s salad so noteworthy.

Hakurei Turnips- these sweet, mild, tender white roots are about the best thing that’s ever come out of Japan (for me!). They are so mellow, we enjoy them raw, chopped, with or without salt (I recommend with), and in salads. You can of course roast or cook them, and they’re equally delicious that way (but why bother?). Like any turnips, the greens are excellent steamed or lightly sautéed, with a little hot chile oil and vinegar.

Herbs: either Italian flat-leaf parsley, cilantro, or dill.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Week 8 (it really is week 8!): in your share

Beans! It is bean season, and you may see classic green beans, purple beans, "Tongue of Fire" streaked red-green beans, or Maxibel (a tiny French "haricot" type bean). Enjoy raw or lightly steamed.

Escarole: This buttery-tender leafy green head is closely related to lettuce and may be used in fresh or wilted salad, or cooked. It has a stronger, more bitter flavor (remember Cherie's article about Bringing Bitter Back?), and goes wonderfully with pungent flavors like balsamic vinegar or lemon.

Beets: Once again, the earthy root! You may see classic red, light red bulls-eyed "Chioggia," or long, slender "Cylindra." Try them grated over top of a cucumber -onion-dill salad for gorgeous color.

Cucumbers! wow, are there ever cucumbers..... time for non-lettuce salads: pickled or fresh cukes with any combo of other veggies, a simple vinaigrette or bona fide marinade.

Summer squash/zucchini- time to get out the grill for summer veggies! You'll see
big zukes later for zucchini bread; for now enjoy the delicate, tender young ones.

Sweet white onions- these sweet beauties are mild enough to enjoy raw, but of course can be cooked, grilled, or whatever you need them for.

Garlic- another fresh bulb. Please let us know if you like getting one bulb a week, a bulb every other week, a large quantity all at once, or a bulb or two tricked out at a time- we want to know what works best for you.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Week 6: In your share (last week!)

POTATOES! The first early spuds, nicely sized up, either Caribe (purple skin, white flesh) or Red Gold (red skin, yellow flesh)
CARROTS- more lovely roots, either classic orange ("Sugarsnax") or purple ("Purple Haze")
BEETS are back on the scene- you'll see more of these as the season progresses. Try roasting them whole on the grill, on a skewer, or in the oven, brushed with a little olive oil to keep moist.
RADISHES or BABY TURNIPS- delicate red radishes or sweet Japanese turnips- use fresh in salads OR roasted with other roots - you can also use the turnip greens fresh or lightly cooked.
lovely little LETTUCE HEADS- either deer tongue (the kind that resembles a sea anemone) or Batavian (a heat-tolerant lettuce that's in between a leaf lettuce and an iceberg in form, but much nicer in flavor!)
SWEET ONIONS- the first "big" onions of the season- try these sliced thinly with thinly sliced cucumbers, with a delicate vinaigrette marinade, OR grilled or any other way you like onions
GARLIC is still fresh and juicy, even though we've cleaned the bulbs- try some minced with your cucumbers and onions. :)
CUCUMBERS- the first of the season! Look for Marketmores (classic dark green cukes with small spines), Divas (smooth-skinned, light green sweeties), and Lemon Cukes (round and light yellow) this week. Be prepared; there are many more where that came from. If you're interested in pickling, let me know- there will be picklers available soon.
SUMMER SQUASH/ZUCCHINI- same (there will be more more more!). Look for classic green zukes, golden zukes, yellow crooknecks, and yellow and green pattypans ("spaceship" squash)
KALE or SWISS CHARD- we've been loading you down with greens so far; what's your favorite way to prepare them? Mine is a simple saute with onions and garlic, greens, dried cherries, and chopped, toasted nuts, then the whole thing doused with balsamic vinegar or lemon juice at the end. We'll ease off the cooking greens next week, but they'll be back!
OPTIONAL EXTRAS- baby greens, arugula, broccoli/cauliflower

This coming week: the Return of the Newsletter! it has been a nutty past month, and the newsletter has fallen by the wayside, but look in your inbox later this week for all the news that's fit to eat. and pictures.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Week 5: In Your Share This Week

Carrots! hooray, they're finally sized up- and some are a bit funny-looking, but we thought you'd probably appreciate that, so some folks have carrots with legs and arms and other appendages. Remove tops before storing.

Garlic- the very first "mature" garlic- compare to your memory of the "green" garlic of a few weeks ago. (Remember SUNDAY is the garlic harvest party here at the farm, to get the rest of it out of the ground).

Mustard Greens these were grown under reemay (that lightweight white frost fabric that happens to grow very tender greens underneath) so they are melt-in-your-mouth tender, but still a little spicy, so I'd steam or saute briefly, then toss with vinegar and oil. For the truly hardcore, chop up and add to salad.

The return of Baby Salad Mix- and a beautiful mix it is this week- five kinds of lettuce, baby kale, baby tatsoi, baby beet greens and chard, and maybe a few sprigs of purslane.

Big Lettuce- either green leaf or red butterhead (our new favorite this season)

Cilantro- nice big bunches; try cilantro pesto (freezes great)

Kale or Chard- your choice, either one is a wonderful cooking green; kale can also be eaten raw. Chard can be eaten raw, but the oxalic acid present in the leaves (also in beets and spinach, in lower quantities) may irritate the back of your throat, so go easy at first on raw chard.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Field Report: A Michigan Teen Farms Her Backyard

Check out this link from the nytimes global edition on an entrepeneurial 14 year old and her CSA here in Michigan :) Great recipes at the end that will work for your CSA goodies too! Cold Pink Borscht in a Glass anyone?

Happy reading and eating!

Garlic Harvest THIS SATURDAY!

It's time to pull the stinking rose.
Come out to Birch Point this Sunday from 11 a.m. til 3 p.m. to help harvest, bunch, count, and hang garlic in the red barn. Snacks and drinks provided- bring a picnic lunch if you like! Friends, family, folks of all ages welcome. Bring gloves, work clothes, weather-appropriate clothing (hats, long sleeves, and/or sunscreen), water bottles.

I know this is short notice, but the garlic is looking GOOD! and if we wait til next weekend, it may be past its prime. So come out for any or all of the 4-hour harvest party, and take home the first garlic of 2010.

Looking forward to sharing the tradition of eating one raw, fresh clove of the first harvest with you all,

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Friday, July 2, 2010

This week's items:

-bodacious LETTUCE heads (Lettuce Wraps, anyone? Try using big lettuce leaves instead of springroll wrappers, and include all your favorite fillings, like rice noodles, kale, parsley, mint, dill, cilantro, peas, and purslane)
-beautiful SCALLIONS
-PURSLANE- not optional this week- and it is Excellent chopped up into your 4th of July picnic potato salad or egg salad, not to mention salsa, lettuce salad, and lettuce wraps. Google "verdolagas" for Mexican recipes using purslane
-PEAS- they just keep coming.... perhaps the hot weather this weekend will slow them down, perhaps not. Enjoy!
-HERBS: Parsley, Mint, or Dill
-optional cilantro, for your lettuce wraps, salsa, or salads (not for those who still have last week's bunch in the fridge- you know who you are) ;)

Remember to come to BUILDING 50 (the Mercato in the basement, on the back side, across from Pleasanton Bakery- if we're not in the basement, we'll be outside by the fountain near the salon entrance) between 8 and 12

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Saturday Pick Up!

Hi CSA friends,
just a heads-up:
This Saturday July 3 CSA pick-up will be at Building 50 at The Village at the TC Commons (old state hospital). (click for map/directions)
The market will be in the basement (Mercato- enter from south side of building 50) AND just outside by the fountain (near entrance to Salone di Capelli. Come find us there- that's where your share will be.
We'll be taking orders for organic cherries (2 varieties of sweet cherries, $3 per lb) and Higher Grounds coffee, both to be picked up the following week.

Tuesday people: same as always; see you here!

cheers, Michelle

Monday, June 28, 2010

Newsletter has gone out...

Just a heads up that the newsletter should be in your email inbox now. Highlights include:

The next two weekends (Cherry Festival), there is NO downtown TC Saturday farmers’ market. We’ll be at an alternate location (TBA) for CSA pickup Saturday morning. Normally the market picks up and moves to the barns at the old state hospital, but it sounds like that may not happen this year. Check email this coming week for an update!

Organic CHERRIES will be available by special order. Our friends at Omena Organics (where those luscious peaches came from last year) are offering organic sweet and tart cherries for $3/lb. Sign up on the bulletin board (Tuesday) or clipboard (Saturday) for delivery the following week.


Since Late Blight (Phytopthera infestans) wiped out Michigan’s tomato crop last year, we’re a little protective of them this year. In fact, we’re even prepared to spray an organic copper fungicide IF we get word that Late Blight is in the state. The only (organic) way to protect against it is preventatively spraying copper fungicide- once the blight has infected a plant, there’s no salvaging it. So we’d like to know how YOU feel about this- copper fungicide is still fungicide, even if organic. It kills fungus, including beneficial soil fungus, in the process of protecting crops, as well as posing some health threats to people who handle it regularly (over many years, not over a single season). The best breakdown I could find (in a quick web search) about health, safety, and efficacy of copper fungicide was from Oregon State University. This paints, in my mind, a rather grim picture, but keep in mind most conventionally grown tomatoes are doused with heavier-hitting, more persistent chemicals. I certainly don’t intend to spray without confirmation that blight is in the neighborhood, but I also want you all to have loads of delicious, beautiful, healthy tomatoes, AND be informed about what it takes to get them to you. What are YOUR thoughts about tomatoes and copper? Next step: finish mulching.

Let us know if you'd like more of the newsletter on the blog too...

Another take on Pesto...

Thanks to Bill Palladino for sending in this recipe suggestion as we head into heavy duty pesto season, but here with a spin.

Here's a recipe for sweet-pea sage pesto. Seems like we're about there.


  • 2 c Fresh sweet peas / green peas (could use 16oz frozen too.)
  • 1/2 c Sage leaves; washed and packed tightly1 Tbs Miso paste (mixed with 1/4 cup water)
  • 3 Cloves garlic (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 c Ground Hemp Seeds
  • 1 c Extra Virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper; to taste
  • Pinch of Cayenne pepper; to taste

  • 1/4 c Parmigiano reggiano; freshly
  • 3 tb Pecorino; freshly grated
  • 1/8 cup more Olive Oil


This recipe is a simple twist on pesto. It uses sweet peas as the base with Sage providing an aromatic taste. It can be prepared with or without cheese.

Combine Miso paste with water and bring to boil, reduce to simmer and add peas, mixing to combine flavor.

Place mixture into food processor, adding washed Sage leaves, garlic, and hemp seeds. Pulse until blended well. With motor running slowly pour in Olive Oil in a thin stream until incorporated. Season with salt, pepper, cayenne to taste. The peas are very sweet so you may wish to add more spices to taste. I often add a bit of Herbes de Provence too.


Hemp seed is a great replacement for pine nuts. They are loaded with essential amino acids and fats. Amazingly they are also half the price (or less) of pine nuts. In their ground state (as you get them from Oryana or other sources) they provide a sweetness and texture to the pesto something like course ground parmesan cheese.

Optionally add in ground cheeses with a little more olive oil.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Week 3 Share List

In Your Share This Week:

PEAS!! Snow peas and/or sugarsnap peas- Snow peas are the large, flat-podded peapods (eat the whole thing- peas AND pod), delicious in stirfry with garlic and sesame oil (see Recipes). Sugarsnaps are the fat, crispy ones (also to be eaten whole- the pods are even juicier than the peas themselves) that are so sweet they probably won’t even make it home, let alone into a recipe)

PAC CHOI (a.k.a. Bok Choy)- the crisp, juicy Asian cousin of cabbage, pac choi can be used fresh or cooked. I love to eat the raw midribs dipped in hummous or other garlicky dipping sauce. Our neighbors at Leelanau Cultured Veggies often add pac choi to their kim chee to supplement the Chinese cabbage. It’s perhaps best enjoyed in a simple stirfry with garlic, ginger, and your favorite source of spicy heat (see Recipes), served with rice or rice noodles. This particular batch got hit hard by flea beetles (remember them? The little monsters that ravaged your turnip greens earlier this spring….) so the leaves are….lacy. Don’t worry- it doesn’t make them any less tasty, but they may not store as long as usual, so how about a stir-fry soon?

LETTUCE- the first week of mature heads, not baby mix- you may see Black Seeded Simpson (light green, crinkly leaf lettuce), Italianischer (great big, funky deer tongue-type lettuce that resembles a sea anemone), Red Sails (traditional red leaf), or Skyphos (red butterhead). We’ve taken a poll at the farm, and it’s unanimous- your farmers all prefer big lettuce to baby mix! So in addition to the mesclun you’ve come to love, we hope you’ll also cultivate an appreciation for all the beautiful textures and colors of big lettuces this season.

SCALLIONS- we’ve been waiting all spring, and now it’s summer, and scallions are finally here! Did you know you can eat the entire green section? Some folks I know only use the white and toss the green- I think you’ll find these so fresh and tender you’ll wish there were even more green! We hope to keep you in scallions for the rest of the season. See Recipes for my favorite peanut sauce with scallions.

CILANTRO- the first of the season. While we often associate cilantro with hot –season crops like tomatoes and peppers, i.e. salsa, cilantro actually grows much better in cooler weather and also pairs well with anything remotely Asian or Indian. Try tossing it in with your spicy peanut noodles or on a salad with bean sprouts and lime juice.

And just when you thought you were off the hook… more GARLIC SCAPES. I’m pretty sure this is the last week for these; the plants are just about done producing scapes (they only make one each, but instead of coming on all at once, they’ve been trickling in over the past few weeks, and this is the fattest scape harvest yet). Luckily for us, these store really well in a plastic bag in the fridge if you can’t use them all at once. Has anyone tried the scape tempura recipe from the first week’s newsletter?

Optional Extra: Purslane! Remember this succulent beauty from last year? Also called verdolagas, purslane is popular is Mexican cooking, and can be enjoyed raw or cooked. It has a subtle lemony flavor and a juicy, succulent leaf and stem, all of which can be used. Did you know that purslane is the best land-based source of Omega-3 fatty acids? After seafood, fishes, and seaweed, purslane is your friend in good health.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Box Pick-Up Saturday June 19, 2010

Here's this week at the Sara Hardy Market...a little from the booth perspective! In your share this week are:

Baby Lettuce
Spinach or Chard
Beet Greens with baby beets
Green Garlic
Garlic Scapes
Snow or Snap Peas
Arugula Flowers

Welcome to summer!!

To get you started on those garlic scapes here's a little pesto recipe from last year's newsletter:

Garlic scape pesto

1 pound garlic scapes 1 cup grated parmesan cheese Olive oil (about 1/2 to 1 cup)

Pine nuts if available

Chop the garlic scapes into 3 inch lengths. Put it int he food processor and process until pureed. Add the parmesan and pine nuts and process until smooth. Slowly add the olive oil as the food processor runs and continue until all the oil is combined into the garlic. Store in an air-tight jar in the refrigerator.

And since spring and summer are all mixed up this year, go ahead and throw a handful of basil in there too!

Happy Saturday!


First Week of Blogging BPF: What's in the Box?

Farm Families!

Trying out a quick way to let you know what you got in your box today, ahead of the newsletter, so that you can google or bing or whatever the items that you're not quite sure what to do with. Would love feedback on how or if this is helpful, and would also love people to post recipes here as they use up their box. You can email them to me, or try out the comment section.

Thanks everyone!