Monday, July 29, 2013

BGF News 7/23/2013

Volume XXI, Number 8

In this week’s box:
Basil: Genovese and/or Italian Large Leaf
Beans: mix (Carson (yellow) & Empress (green))
Cucumbers: Suyo Long (Asian-style, long & bumpy) or Diva (English-style, torpedo-shaped, smooth)
New Potatoes: Banana (tan fingerling), Desiree (red), German Butterball (tan) or Mountain Rose (Lt pink)
Shallots: (Ambition (tan) and/or Prisma (purple))
and possibly one of the following:                     
            Broccoli florets
            Eggplant: Orient Express (Asian-style, long, thin, dark purple)
            Summer Squash: Patty Pan(round, flattened), 8 Ball (round, green) or Yellow (bumpy, pear-shaped)
            Peas: Snow
For those with the Egg option [full]: one dozen free-range eggs (assorted colors)
For those with the Herb option: purple basil, parsley & bronze fennel

Featured Recipe(s) (see below):

Pasta with Pesto, Potatoes, and Green Beans 
Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots
 Shallot Vinaigrette

Precipitation in the past week: 0.35" 

What’s up on the farm?

This week was all about heat and water for both the crew and the crops. The rain on Sunday afternoon was much welcomed, but not nearly enough, so irrigating continues. The crew worked hard all week in the heat, weeding and clearing spent beds (lettuce, turnips, choi) to get them ready for their next crop. New crops of carrots and mixed greens have been sown in some of them, with fall turnips, beets, daikon next to go in the ground. The biggest task though was the garlic harvest, which came out over a period of several days last week. The ground was so hard from the lack of rain that every plant had to be removed from the ground with a digging fork. It was slow growing, but the crop looks great. Once out of the ground, the 3' tall, leafy stalks are bundled in groups of ten, tied with a string loop and hung in the barn to cure for about a month. Right now, the barn is the designated vampire-free zone as there are more than 3,000 garlic plants hanging in there, it is an impressive sight! Once dried, they will be taken down, trimmed, sorted for seed/culinary use and stored in mesh bags. It is
quite the process from planting back last October, though sending them out in boxes this summer & fall.  Not nearly as big a job as the garlic, we spent yesterday afternoon digging all of the Plot VI potatoes. This plot has the least impressive drainage of our garden areas and definitely suffered during the excessive moisture of the early summer. The potato crops in that plot were dying back and weren't going to improve so we took advantage of the little bit of soil moisture from Sunday's rain and dug the whole lot of them. It was a low yield for so much square footage, but just enough that everyone gets a nice little bag of new potatoes in their boxes this week. They are small, tender and quite tasty! Use them in the next couple of weeks though, as they haven't been cured, they won't store as well. Don't worry, the rest of the potato crops are doing well and you can look forward to larger baking potatoes down the road.

A little detail on your produce this week:
Potatoes: Keep unwashed potatoes in a cool, dark, dry place, such as a loosely closed paper bag in a cupboard. They will keep for weeks at room temperature, longer if you can provide their ideal temperature of 40 to 50 degrees. Beware: the low temperature of your refrigerator will convert the starch to sugars. However, new potatoes—which are young and thin-skinned—can be refrigerated if you don’t plan to eat them within a few days. Moisture causes potatoes to spoil, light turns them green, and proximity to onions causes them to sprout. (You can still use a potato that has sprouted, however; simply cut off the “eyes” before use.) Scrub potatoes well and cut off any sprouts or green skin. (Clean delicate new potatoes gently.) Peeling is a matter of preference. Cut potatoes according to your recipe. If baking a whole potato, be sure to prick the skin in at least two places to allow steam to escape.

Shallots: A "high-brow" member of the onion family, shallots have a smooth, rich onion-y flavor that is perfect with egg, vegetable and salad dressing recipes. Cured shallots are stored like a cured onion or garlic (at room temp) for many months. If your shallots have green tops, please hang and store at room temperature until the greens have dried, then trim and store like onions. Once you cut into a shallot bulb, store the remainder in a sealed container in the fridge.

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)

Pasta with Pesto, Potatoes, and Green Beans
Serves 4
2 waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon salt          
8 ounces cavatappi  (or other pasta)     
8 ounces green beans, trimmed and halved       
1/2 cup Pesto  

Peel and cut 2 waxy potatoes into 1-inch cubes; place in a large pot of water; bring to a boil.

Add 1 tablespoon salt and 8 ounces cavatappi or other short tubular pasta; return to a boil; cook 2 minutes.

Add 8 ounces trimmed and halved green beans. Return to a boil; cook until vegetables are tender and pasta is al dente, about 6 minutes.

Drain; toss with 1/2 cup Pesto; season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.
 Recipe Source: unknown

Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots

Serves 4.

3 tablespoons butter
2 lg or 5-6 sm shallots, peeled and thinly sliced into rings
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound green beans, trimmed

In a medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat; swirl to coat bottom of pan. Add shallots; cover. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook green beans until fork-tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Drain; return to pot. Toss with remaining tablespoon butter. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer green beans to a serving dish; top with caramelized shallots.

Recipe Source: Martha Stewart Everyday Foods

Shallot Vinaigrette

1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
1 tablespoon
Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil (preferably French) or safflower oil

Recipe Source: unknown

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