Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Blue Gate Farm News 6/12/12

In this week’s box:
Chard: Bright Lights mix (large green leaves with bright colored stems)
Garlic Scapes: asst varieties (the green curly things)
Oregano: Greek
Purslane (small, succulent green leaves on short pink stems)
Senposai (large green leaves with green stems, a cabbage/mustard cross)
Spinruts: Hakurei (white) & Scarlet Queen (red) (small, round, roots with green leaves)
Tapestry Salad Mix
Snow Peas or Sugar Snap Peas (remaining group)
For those with the Egg option [full]: one dozen free-range eggs (assorted colors)
For those with the Herb option: Herb share will begin in week or so
For those with the Honey option: Deliveries will start in July

Featured Recipe(s) (see below):         BGF Easy Black Beans and Rice
Great Chard E'scape

Precipitation this week:  .3”

What’s up on the farm?

This week we finally got a bit of much needed rain, but much of the past week's focus was again on irrigation installation.  Weeding also topped the list as it will for much of the season.  We also got in second sowings of beans, lettuce, edamame, beets and broom corn before the rain.  Most of the crops are looking really good, despite our lack of rain.  There are a few exceptions, mostly due to the early, extra warm temps.  Vegetables that we normally get into the first few deliveries that we will not have this year include asparagus (which finished three weeks ago) and spinach which crashed and burned two weeks ago).  The salad mix is struggling with the early onset of summer-like weather as well.  We cut it back hard for today's delivery and are hoping it will rally, but depending on the weather, this may be the last of it until early fall.  Never fear, we do have head lettuce coming on, so you won't be without summer salad options.  Not to leave on a down note, the tomatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic and basil look fabulous and we have high hopes for their upcoming productivity.

We have been seeing quite a number of Cedar Waxwings (Jill's favorite bird) on the farm in the past several weeks and just this week we spotted one pair's nest in one of our peach trees.  We look forward to seeing the fledglings make their way out into the farm and hope they will continue to return year after year.

A little detail on your produce this week:
 Spinruts: keep best if separated from their greens.  Greens are stored in a plastic bag and can be cooked like mustard or collard greens.  Trimmed roots can go into a lidded container or zip-close bag You are probably also wondering what the story is with the Spinruts?  Well, “spinrut” is just the word turnip spelled backwards and we borrowed this from a larger CSA in northern Iowa.  They decided that people have some pre-conceived notions about turnips and many of them are not very nice.  But most people have also only experienced the old stand-by “purple-top turnip” and these glowing white orbs that we are growing are a totally different eating experience.  This is a Japanese spring (or salad) turnip.  It is sweet, crisp and juicy and our favorite way to eat them is straight out of hand, or maybe chilled with a quick sprinkle of sea salt.  It is tasty sliced or grated into salads and even thin-sliced on sandwiches.  Of course you can also use them in any turnip recipe, but fresh is when they really shine.

Purslane: Considered an invasive weed in many gardens, purslane is a valued green in many parts of the world.
The plant is rich in vitamin E, vitamin C and beta carotene, and quite high in protein.  Most noteworthy of all, it is considered a better source of essential omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy plant.  Enjoy raw or cooked in any recipe calling for greens.  Store in a paper towel-lined plastic bag in your crisper drawer and use within a week.

Greens: As last week, all of your greens will keep best if stored in a plastic bag, with the top folded over and placed in the produce drawer of your refrigerator.  The insects have been really hard on the greens during the dry spell, we hope you can overlook their cosmetic shortcomings.

Oregano: wrap in a damp paper towel and then in a plastic bag in your refrigerator for 10-14 days.

Is a weekly newsletter not enough for you and you want to read more about our daily adventures?  Follow us at our blog at and on Facebook (just search Blue Gate Farm) and “Like” us.

That’s about it this week, if you have any questions or comments be sure to let us know. 

Best from the farm,
Jill & Sean (and Blue & Luci)

BGF Easy Black Beans and Rice
Serves 6.

1 cup uncooked white rice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
3 cloves minced garlic
2 16-ounce cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
A few dashes of Sriracha sauce or Tabasco or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 heaping Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1 handful of purslane, in bite size pieces (or other hearty greens like mustard, senposai and turnip greens)
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional Lime wedges for garnish

Cook rice according to package instructions. White rice usually takes 15 minutes to cook once the water is simmering, and 10 minutes to sit.

Heat oil in a large skillet on medium high. Sauté onions and bell peppers for 3-4 minutes, until just beginning to soften, then add garlic and sauté a minute more. Add the black beans, vinegar and Tabasco or cayenne. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir in rice and oregano. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, place purslane on plate and top with beans & rice mixture

Recipe Source: adapted from a recipe at

The Great Chard E’Scape
½ lb Swiss chard
1 tbs olive oil
5-6 fresh garlic scapes (or more to taste) or 1-3 cloves minced garlic
Sea salt

Cut garlic scapes into 1” chunks. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic scapes. Trim large stems from chard leaves. Cut stems into 1” pieces. Add stems to skillet. Stack chard leaves and roll into a tube. Cut into ½” strips. As scapes and stems just begin to soften, add leaves to skillet. Cook until leaves wilt. Sprinkle with salt to taste.
Great served over pasta with a red sauce or as a side dish. Leftovers area tasty in eggs the next day.

Recipe Source: Blue Gate Farm

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