Thursday, June 20, 2013

BGF News 6/18/2013



Volume XXI, Number 3    June 18, 2013 

In this week’s box:
Baby Beets & Greens: Chioggia & Golden
Basil (asst. trimmings)
Choi
Garlic Scapes
Peas: Snow or Sugar Snap
Purslane
Tapestry Salad Mix

For those with the Cheese option: Roasted Red Pepper Chevre & Chive Chevre          
For those with the Egg option [full & half]: one dozen free-range eggs (assorted colors)
For those with the Herb option: deliveries will start in a couple of weeks
For those with the Honey option: Deliveries will start in July

 Featured Recipe(s) (see below): Purslane Salad with Yogurt Dressing
Spring Garden Noodles
Garlic Scape Pesto
Precipitation in the past week: 0.94” 

What’s up on the farm?

Again this week, the rain gave us a window and we did some fast and hard cultivating, seed sowing and transplanting. Plots I & III had all of their open beds tilled, and the planted beds were all hoed. Plot VI also got tilling and hoeing attention, as well as succession crops of beans and edamame sown and the remaining melon and winter squash transplants put in. Friday it rained on us a bit during our harvest for farmers market, but not so much that it slowed us down so that we were able to spend the afternoon prepping and planting the satellite melon patches that were started by Jill's grandfather. As of Friday, all of the mid-season transplants are in the ground! Now the maintenance work on all those crops begins. Our current big project is getting all of the tomatoes, peppers and eggplants mulched. It is a significant job that involves many hours of hauling year-old straw down 100' beds, but luckily we only have to do it once a year. Once the mulch is in place, then we need to get the tomato trellises constructed, which will be the next big project.

Most of the crops are doing pretty well now.  The peas have really kicked into high gear to the extent that it looks like everyone will get peas this time around! We're pretty pleased to have enough of that special crop to fill nearly 50 boxes in the same week. The patty pan squash that we thought we had lost to the onslaught of cucumber beetles have mostly rallied and are now setting blooms and baby squashes. Likewise, the beans, peppers and eggplant are growing nicely. We are having a few challenges.  As we thought last week, the spinach is giving up for the season, the warm and humidity just put it over the edge. We had one bed of potatoes that was in a wetter part of the field that had so little germination that we tilled the entire bed under to make room for something else. Finally, we are having some surprising deer damage this season. Just today we noticed the centers eaten out of several of our beautiful head lettuces. It is the strangest sight, the outer leaves just look like empty bowls. We've never seen anything like it! The ornery beasties have also found and nipped the tops off of a bunch of edamame and some of the snap peas. We'll be working on getting the electric fence charged up and baited to try and hold back the hungry hoards.

Upcoming Event: CSA member Ice Cream Social- Sunday, July 14th from 2 – 5pm at the farm. Come on out for an afternoon filled with fresh country air, homemade ice cream and farm-fresh desserts. We will be sending out an email in a few weeks to gather RSVP’s for this event, but we wanted to give you time to get it on your calendar.

A little detail on your produce this week:
Baby beets & greens: Generally beets and their greens store best separated, but these babies are so small that I would leave them intact. Store them in a loose plastic bag in your produce drawer. These will be used mostly for their greens, this time around.

Garlic Scapes: One of our favorite crops of the year. These curly green things are the emerging flower stallk from a hardneck garlic plant. We remove them to redirect more of the plant's energy into the bulb, but it also provides us with a delightful fresh garlic treat. These keep very well in a plastic bag in your produce drawer and can be used in any recipe calling for garlic. They would be perfect in last week's garlic salt recipe, make a great pesto and can be minced and added to room-temperature butter, which is then stored in log shape, in the freezer for a last minute dollop of goodness for vegetables, breads or meat.

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.

Basil: (trimmings). The basil needed to be pinched back, so everyone gets a little preview of summer. Basil is incredibly sensitive to cold, so normally we suggest treating it like cut flowers, in a vase on your kitchen counter. The trimmings are too short for that though, so just leave them in their plastic bag and then tuck the whole thing into a small paper sack and store in the door of your fridge (the warmest place). Or you can just wiz it into some pesto (with your scapes) or butter and be done with it. Today's basil does have some dirt, since the plants are so short, the rain splashed soil up on the leaves. Basil hates to be washed as it causes the cell walls to burst, so we never wash before sending it to you, even if it is dirty. If basil needs to be washed, try to do so just before using and then pat dry.

Is a weekly newsletter not enough for you and you want to read more about our daily adventures or see pictures of the farm?  Follow us at our blog at http://beyondthebluegate.blogspot.com/ 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)

Purslane Salad with Yogurt Dressing (Yogurtlu Semizotu Salatasi)
Serves about 6
A big bunch of  fresh purslane
2 cups or more plain yogurt
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed (adjust the amount to taste)
Salt, to taste
Extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle
Paprika, to sprinkle
Snip off the stems of the purslane and discard. Chop the leafy parts into big pieces. Wash the leaves thoroughly. Drain and allow to dry (I arrange it on paper towels and gently pat dry to speed up the process).
Make the dressing:  In a bowl, combine the yogurt with garlic.
Add the purslane and gently stir to coat the purslane with the dressing. Season with salt to taste. Arrange the salad on a flat serving plate. Drizzle some olive oil,  sprinkle with paprika and serve.
Recipe Source: http://www.azcookbook.com

Spring Garden Noodles

1 pkg soba noodles
2-3 baby beets with greens (slice beets and greens thinly)
2 garlic scapes (chopped into ¼” – ½” pieces)
4-6 snow or snap peas (de-stringed and broken into bite-sized pieces)
1 can tuna or salmon (or broiled tofu)
¼ c. your favorite Asian stir fry or brown sauce (see our favorite below)

Cook soba noodles according to package instructions. When cooking is complete, remove pan from heat but do not drain. Use tongs to lift noodles from pan into a serving bowl. Place all vegetables into a heatproof strainer and lower into pan of noodle water. Return to heat and stir until veggies turn bright green, but are still a crunchy. Remove from water and add to serving bowl of noodles. Add tuna and stir fry sauce and toss until all ingredients are combined. Serve warm, room temperature or cold.

“Bruno” Stir Fry Sauce

2 parts oyster sauce
1 part Thai light soy sauce
1 part dark soy sauce
1 part Chinese rice wine or sherry
½ part sesame oil
¼ part ground white pepper

Place all in a glass jar and shake to mix. Store in refrigerator until needed.

optional: fresh garlic, fresh chillis, fresh ginger, Thai herbs ect.
Recipe courtesy of www.shesimmers.com


BGF Garlic Scape Pesto

1 bunch tender scapes, cut into pieces, and processed in a food processor until finely chopped
Add the following and process until well blended:
1/3 cup olive oil (add more if you like a thinner pesto)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
optional, toss in some basil for additional pesto flavor if you have it.

This can be served now or frozen for future use. I freeze it in small zip-top plastic bags, flattened. Then you can just break off whatever amount you need.

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