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!