Greetings from the farm desk! In this week's blog post: share items, rye for sale, canning/preserving shares, children's garden, fall expectations, and recipes
In Your Share This Week:
Baby Salad Mix is back! This week's mix is especially beautiful to me- lots of red lettuces and red baby beet greens, green lettuces, baby kale, tatsoi, pac choi, and endive, not to mention edible flowers!
Sweet little cabbages- these guys are phoenixes, rising out of the ashes of a flame- or rather, of a field we'd abandoned to weeds partway through the summer. Last week I got the idea to check and see if anyone was still growing there, and lo and behold, I found cabbage. It's small from the drought and weed competition, but it's there- and it's yours this week. See recipe for cabbage and rye berries below.
Sweet Onions- more Ailsa Craig and/or Walla Walla- delicious raw OR cooked
Beans! It's been a good month for beans- there's another planting coming on, AND the old plants are sending out new flowers, so I bet you'll see beans in your shares for a few more weeks :)
Summer Cucurbits! Green, white, and yellow Cucumbers, and baby zucchini, pattypan, and yellow summer squash- just a few, but tender and delicious.
Tomatoes- more cherry tomatoes AND large slicers. This week's newcomers are Ananas Noire, Garden Peach, and Great White, in addition to the varieties we started harvesting last week.
Peppers- the very first sweet bell peppers of the season. Lime green bell peppers are called "Flavorburst," (I know- a dumb name, but a nice sweet, crunchy pepper!) dark green bells could be several different varieties (which will soon start ripening to red or yellow- stay tuned for colored peppers soon). Also- just a few hot peppers- Hungarian Hot Wax (long, yellow-green, semi-hot), jalapenos, serranos, or pasillas (long, finger-shaped, dark green), to name a few.
Kale or Chard- the green leafies are back! My favorite simple meal this past week was sauteed kale and sweet onions, with several different colored tomatoes and toasted walnuts chopped and tossed in at the last minute, with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, served over couscous. Simple. yum.
Basil- it just keeps coming. It's a great year for basil- the heat, the drought (as long as it got some water from time to time), all excellent for this mediterranean herb. I hope you get your hands on some delicious fresh mozzarella to make Caprese salad with those heirloom tomatoes and basil!
I think we'll keep this lineup, with some variations, for the next couple of weeks- it's the all-star list of summer hot crops, and it's so exciting that they are finally all here!
1. Canning/Preserving shares available: Tomatoes, Pickling Cucumbers, and Beans available by the lug (approx 1/2 bushel)for $30, or half-lug for $15. Basil available by the one-pound bag for $10. Put in your orders now, and when we have a critical mass of these things, I'll let you know, and you can pick up your order within a week of notification. You'll need to have some flexibility in terms of scheduling your pickling or canning project, as I don't know exactly when we'll have the critical mass of each crop, but it will be between one and six weeks from now!
2. Locally-grown whole rye berries available to CSA members: Farmer Marty Heller, who grew dry beans last year, is branching out into grains. This year he grew and harvested hundreds of pounds of rye from the field at the DeYoung Farm (on Cherry Bend Road). Cleaned, whole rye berries available for $1 per lb, at CSA pick-up (Sat or Wed people, email me to order). I'll sell what we've got (about 50# on hand) til we run out, then take orders for more. I normally soak rye berries overnight, then cook just like brown rice- a 1:2 rye:water ratio, brought to a boil, then simmered 45-60 min til tender but still chewy and slightly firm.
3. The Children's Garden is bursting at the seams! CSA members and farm friends are invited to not only stroll through but enjoy the beans from the bean teepee and cherry tomatoes from the beautiful branch trellis. Hang out inside the sunflower house, or dig a hole in the floor of the bean teepee. Smell and taste the herbs and edible flowers. Borrow a "Children's Garden Scavenger Hunt" sheet from the barn, and see how many things you can find. Colleen and Shelly, head garden magicians, may even host a garden program for kids and families before the end of summer- for now, stop by and snack!
4. We've passed the half-way point of the season! Right now it looks like we'll go through the end of October with shares (the full 22 weeks), especially since the squash and fall brassicas (cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, etc) will be maturing so late from the late planting dates, and I want to be sure you get as many of these things as possible before CSA is over for the season. We'll continue to be at the downtown TC market Saturdays til the end of October, and Wednesdays til the end of September. Wed CSA people: once Wed markets end, we'll switch you to either Saturday morning market pickup or Tuesday evening on-farm pickup for the very end of the season.
Rye Berries with Cabbage, Walnuts & Toasted Caraway (lifted from here)
by Michelle McKenzie
The rye berries are chewy and deeply nutty, the cabbage sweet, and the mustard perfectly pungent. Using a high-quality Dijon mustard is important; each grain becomes bathed an unctuous, deeply savory sauce. Great as a vegetarian, one-dish lunch or dinner, and as a side to roast pork.
1 cup rye berries
3 cups filtered water or vegetable stock
2 cups raw walnuts
1 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp + 1 tsp walnut oil
2 tsp unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, or to taste
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, duck fat, or lard
2 tsp caraway seeds, toasted over medium heat until fragrant
2 medium red onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, green germ removed and minced
4-5 cups shredded Savoy or Napa cabbage (MF note: you can use any cabbage, including those little guys in your share this week!)
¼ cup chopped parsley
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Heat a large Dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the rye berries and toast for approximately 5 minutes, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. When the berries have darkened considerably and a nutty aroma fills the room, pour them into a strainer and rinse well with cold water to arrest cooking. Return berries to the cooled pot; cover with 2 ½ cups water or stock and refrigerate overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bring the rye berries and soaking liquid to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and allow the rye to simmer for approximately 45 minutes. Add sea salt and pepper to taste; allow to simmer for 15 minutes more, or until the berries are tender and the liquid is absorbed.
3. Meanwhile, spread the walnuts onto a parchment-lined sheet pan and place in the oven. Toast for approximately 8-10 minutes, or until a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven, toss with 1 teaspoon walnut oil and a pinch of salt. Set walnuts aside. (MF note: you can also just dry-toast them in a med-warm skillet til browned)
4. Once the rye berries are tender, add remaining ½ cup of water or stock, honey, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, and remaining 2 tablespoons walnut oil; set aside and keep warm.
5. Heat olive oil (or duck fat or lard) in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add chopped onion and garlic; allow to soften slightly, about 2 minutes. Add shredded cabbage, a generous pinch of salt, a few grinds of black pepper, and toasted caraway seeds. Stir to coat cabbage in the onions and oil; cover the pan and allow the cabbage to steam in its own liquid, about 6-8 minutes, or until tender.
6. Add cabbage, walnuts, and parsley to rye berries; stir to combine. Taste for seasoning; add more salt, cider vinegar, or mustard to taste. Serve hot or at room temperature.
makes: 6 servings
Tomatoes, sliced. (cherry tomatoes: slice in half. Big tomatoes: slice in 1/2" slices)
Spread sliced tomatoes on cookie sheet, drizzle generously with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt. Roast in 400 degree oven for 30-45 min, depending on thickness of slices. Look for browned, crackly edges. I sometimes toss in halved garlic cloves and/or thick-sliced sweet onion rings in the same tray. Remove from heat, and enjoy hot or cool down and store in freezer til winter- way easier than canning AND it tastes amazing! Use for tomatoes in any recipe this winter (blend or food-process to make sauce in a pinch, after thawing).