Wednesday, July 10, 2013

BGF News 7/2/2013

In this week’s box:
Chard: Bright Lights
Romaine Lettuce: Crisp Mint (green, crinkly romaine) or Concept (green, wavy romaine)
Scallions: Evergreen
Tapestry Salad Mix
and possibly one of the following:
            Broccoli florets
            Cucumbers: Suyo Long (Asian-style, long & bumpy) or Diva (English-style, torpedo-shaped, smooth)
            Patty Pan Squash (dark green, yellow or light green round, flattened summer squash)
            Peas: Snow or Sugar Snap

For those with the Cheese option: Plain Chevre & Classic Feta
For those with the Egg option [full & half]: one dozen free-range eggs (assorted colors)
For those with the Herb option: genovese basil, par-cel, dill
For those with the Honey option: Deliveries will start in July

 Featured Recipe(s) (see below): Soba Noodle Salad with Snow Peas
Grilled Scallions with Sesame Oil
Grilled BBQ Romaine Lettuce

Precipitation in the past week: 0.2”

What’s up on the farm?

What a beautiful week we've had on the farm. The weather has been nearly perfect for the work we've needed to get done, not that we got it all finished, but we are making progress. A good deal of our focus was on the tomato field. Despite some rather wet conditions last week we were able to auger and set the big hedge posts for the ends of the tomato trellis. We tore up the sod between the plots "a bit" but all thirty 10'-15' posts were set without incident, other than the crew getting "a bit" muddy. Over the following days the first three levels of trellising strings were installed and just yesterday we got the plants pruned and all tucked in to their strings. All of the plants are blooming and many are already setting fruit, so the forecast for the tomato season ahead is good.  The crew was able to spend a day last week attending to Plot VI. This is our farthest "afield" field and the one that retains the most moisture. Great in a drier year, it has remained rather soggy this year which makes it a challenge to cultivate. What that translates to this year is much hand-weeding rather than hoeing or tilling, which go much faster. The crops out there are doing "ok" but not great. Unfortunately that is where the broccoli is, and why it is feeling/looking a little peaked. We started putting broccoli in boxes this week, and when you receive yours, you'll notice it doesn't look like grocery store heads. Because of the moisture stress, the heads are maturing and trying to flower when they are quite small, so we need to get them cut and off the plants or they will be no good at all. The flavor and texture should still be great, they just look different, so we hope you enjoy your "ready to use" florets.
The cucumbers and patty pan squashes are just starting to produce so we will continue to share those out as they come in. The basil is finally getting big enough to start harvesting, so herb share members will get their first "bouquets" this week and we anticipate the rest of the membership will start getting basil next week.

As we say hello to some of the mid-season crops, we are saying goodbye to some of our spring favorites, including the salad mix, as it is becoming too mature to use any longer. Don't worry though, if you are a salad lover, the mix will be back towards the end of the season and we will continue to deliver head lettuce for your salads as long as we have it.

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 the next week to gather RSVP’s for this event. We hope everyone can join us!

A little detail on your produce this week:
Broccoli: Wrap broccoli loosely in a plastic bag and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator for up to a week. Immediately before cooking, soak broccoli, head down, in cold, salted water (1 teaspoon salt to a 8 cups of water) for 5 minutes. Any [organic] critters will float to the top where you can rescue them or allow them to suffer a salty death. (Note: If you soak broccoli in salt water before storing, it will become too rubbery and
wilted to enjoy.) Slice the juicy, edible stems and use them wherever florets are called for. Peel particularly thick skin before using.

Cucumber: Store unwashed cucumbers in a sealed plastic bag in the vegetable crisper bin for about a week. Keep cucumbers tucked far away from tomatoes, apples, and citrus—these give off ethylene gas that accelerates cucumber deterioration. You can do a lot of fancy things to the skin of a cucumber, and when it is young, fresh, and unwaxed, it really only needs to be thoroughly washed. However, if the skin seems tough or bitter you can remove it; if the seeds are bulky, slice the cucumber lengthwise and scoop them out.

Summer Squash/Zucchini: Refrigerate unwashed zucchini and summer squash for up to a week and a half in a perforated plastic bag or in a sealed plastic container lined with a kitchen towel. Before using, rinse zucchini and summer squash under cool running water to remove any dirt or prickles; then slice off the stem and blossom ends. Slice the vegetable into rounds, quarters, or chunks according to the specifications of your recipe. Patty pan squash can be used in any zucchini recipe.

Herbs: Generally, except for basil, set unwashed bunches of fresh herbs (with stems) upright into small jars filled with 1 to 2 inches of water, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to two weeks. Rinse fresh herbs right before use. To release their scents and flavors, rub them between your hands before mincing or chopping. If you have no idea what to do with fresh herbs, there is one great default answer "compound butter." Finely mince leaves and knead them into a stick of room temperature butter. Roll the butter into a log in plastic wrap and store in the freezer. Then simply slice off the amount you need to add delicious, ready-to-use flavor to vegetables, bread or meats.

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 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)

Soba Noodle Salad with Snow Peas
Soba, the Japanese buckwheat noodles most often served in both hot and chilled broths, appear here in a salad. They are widely available, usually sold in boxes or plastic bags in the Asian section of the supermarket. I've kept the vegetable additions basic, but feel free to put in slivered radishes for more color or to substitute slivered green beans for the snow peas.

6 ounces snow peas cut into 1/4-inch diagonals (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon coarse salt
12 ounces soba noodles
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
¹/³ cup unseasoned Japanese rice vinegar
1/4 cup mild-flavored extra-virgin olive oil or other vegetable oil
3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove grated
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
4 scallions (white and green parts) cut into thin (¹/8-inch) diagonals (about 1/2 cup)
1 medium carrot finely shredded (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup thin matchsticks (¹/8 by 1 inch) crisp seedless cucumber
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1. Bring a medium saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil. Add the snow peas and salt and simmer until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Remove the snow peas from the boiling water with a perforated spoon or skimmer and place in a bowl of ice water. Add the noodles to the boiling water and cook until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the noodles in a strainer. Rinse with cold water. Transfer the noodles to a bowl and toss with the sesame oil. Refrigerate until ready to mix with other ingredients.
2. To make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk the rice vinegar, oil, tamari, ginger, garlic and salt until blended.
3. Drain the snow peas and pat dry. Add the snow peas, scallions, carrot, cucumber and half of the sesame seeds to the soba noodles. Add the dressing and toss with your hands to thoroughly blend. Top with the remaining sesame seeds.
Serve cold.
-Substitute diagonally sliced asparagus, 1-inch lengths of green beans or whole sugar snap peas (cooked until crisp-tender using the same technique as in this recipe) for the snow peas.
-Sesame seeds (an excellent source of protein) are the garnish of choice, but feel free to substitute peanuts, almonds or other nuts.
Recipe Source: Fresh & Fast Vegetarian by Marie Simmons, 2011

Grilled Scallions with Sesame Oil
Serves 2

8 scallions, greens trimmed to 5 inches, cut in half lengthwise
toasted sesame oil
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the broiler or lightly oiled grill to medium-high heat. Arrange the scallions on a shallow baking sheet or aluminum foil.
Use a pastry brush to coat the scallions with a thin layer of sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper. Broil or grill until golden
brown on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes.

Recipe Source: “The Real Dirt on Farmer John Cookbook”

Grilled BBQ Romaine Lettuce

1/2 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar         
1 tablespoon brown sugar (packed)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3 small heads romaine lettuce, halved lengthwise

In a blender or food processor mix soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, brown sugar, and ginger until thoroughly combined.

Brush lettuce with marinade. Place romaine lettuce cut-sides down, in center of cooking grate. Grill 5 to 7 minutes, turning and brushing with marinade halfway through grilling time.

Recipe Source:
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