Wednesday, July 10, 2013

BGF News 7/9/2013

In this week’s box:
Basil: Genovese and/or Italian Large Leaf
Carrots: St Valery (orange), Rainbow (mix) and/or Purple Dragon (burgundy)
Green Garlic
Head Lettuce: Bronze Arrowhead, Crisp Mint or Concept
and at least one of the following:
            Beans: mix (Carson (yellow) & Empress (green))         
            Broccoli florets
            Cucumbers: Suyo Long (Asian-style, long & bumpy) or Diva (English-style, torpedo-shaped, smooth)
            Eggplant: Orient Express (Asian-style, long, thin, dark purple)
            Patty Pan Squash (dark green, yellow or light green round, flattened summer squash)
            Peas: Snow or Sugar Snap
For those with the Egg option [full]: one dozen free-range eggs (assorted colors)
For those with the Herb option: basil: lemon, sage & peppermint

Featured Recipe(s) (see below): BGF Easy Black Beans and Rice Recipe
Grilled Summer Squash “Burgers”
BGF Pesto
Precipitation in the past week: 0.15"

What’s up on the farm?

This has been another week of forward progress with some good hellos and goodbyes thrown in. Hello to the fresh bean crop! We started harvesting Carson (yellow) and Empress (green) beans this week. They make up our popular Green Bean Mix and will be going into a number of CSA boxes this week. This should be just the start of our bean crop and everyone can look forward to beans aplenty in the coming weeks. Greetings and welcome also to the Orient Express eggplant. These are producing not only in the high tunnel but also in the field and are looking primed for a bountiful season. The cucumbers are coming on with a mission and though a few went out last week, this is really the start of their run. A fond farewell to the salad mix this week. We spent some fine sweat-time clearing those beds yesterday and adding the remains to the compost pile. The spinach, senposai and mustard beds have gone the same way this week. A not-so-fond farewell to the multitudes of weeds that we have also "liberated" from the beans, potato, squash, cabbage and melon beds this week.
An early greeting to the crops-to-come as all of the fall transplants were seeded this past week. They germinated quickly and now we have to be sure to check on those infant crops multiple times a day to ensure they don't overheat or dry out in the heat. It is one of the challenges of vegetable farming, we are nearly always sowing, cultivating and harvesting at the same time. It is helpful to be able to multi-task, or as the crew calls it, "Oh look, a bunny!"

The bees are staying busy converting the multitude of blooms about into delicious honey.  The time has come to start harvesting some of the liquid gold.  Next week will be the first of four deliveries to those with the honey option.  We'll plan on sending liquid honey this first round (we'll have limited comb honey but happy to send it to those who let us know they want comb instead of liquid next week.)

We had a number of friends/CSA members visit the farm last week with another expected this week. We love it when folks are able to come out and enjoy what the farm has to offer. And on that note we hope everyone will be able to join us this weekend…

This Week: 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 tomorrow 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:
Basil: Basil is a special case, and should not be stored in the refrigerator, as it will turn black.  We like to keep ours in a vase of fresh water on the kitchen counter.  For some, a loose plastic bag on the counter works well for a couple of days; otherwise, put basil in a plastic bag inside a paper bag for insulation, and store in the warmest part of the refrigerator (usually the door).
Carrots: Remove greens and store carrots in a sealed bag or contained in your refrigerator. Carrots do not need to be peeled before use, but you will want to give them a quick scrub to remove any dirt we might have missed.
Green Garlic: this is a little different than the spring garlic from earlier in the season. Now the bulbs are formed and are pretty much full-sized. This is still "fresh" garlic, so should be stored in a plastic bag in your produce drawer. Use it like you would conventional garlic, using only the cloves inside, the rest will be tough.
Eggplant: Eggplant prefers to be kept at about 50° F, which is warmer than most refrigerators and cooler than most kitchen counters.  Wrap unwashed eggplant in a towel (not in plastic) to absorb any moisture and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator.  Used within a week, it should still be fresh and mild.
Many people like to peel, salt, and drain their eggplant to draw out any bitter flavor; however, bitterness develops only in eggplant that has been stored for a while, so with farm-fresh specimens this is generally not necessary.  Many recipes call for salting in order to make the vegetable less watery and more absorbent—much like draining tofu.  Salting is not an essential step, but it can greatly enhance the taste and texture of your dish and is well worth the extra effort.  The shape of an eggplant determines how it is best prepared.  Slice a straight, narrow eggplant into rounds for grilling or broiling, and cut a rounded, bulbous eggplant into cubes for stews and stir-fries

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)

BGF Easy Black Beans and Rice Recipe
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 and/or senposai)
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

Grilled Summer Squash “Burgers”
(2 servings)

Summer squash (or eggplant), cut into burger-sized slices 1/2 to 5/8 inch thick
1/2 cup your favorite Italian salad dressing
1 tsp. finely minced garlic
1 -2 tsp. Italian seasoning (optional)
4-6 fresh basil leaves
2-4 slices provolone cheese
Crusty bread or large rolls

Cut zucchini into slices, making sure the slices are the same thickness. Combine salad dressing with garlic and herbs, if using. Put zucchini slices into ziploc bag, pour in marinade and let zucchini marinate 4 hours or longer, can be as long as all day.

To cook zucchini, preheat grill to medium-high.

Place zucchini on grill. After about 4 minute, check for grill marks, and rotate zucchini a quarter turn. Cook 3-4 more minutes on first side.
Turn zucchini to second side, place 1-2 basil leaves on top side and cover with provolone. Cook about 4 minutes more, or until zucchini is starting to soften quite a bit, with the outside slightly charred and browned. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper and serve hot on bread or rolls.

This recipe is also tasty with eggplant.
Recipe Source: BGF, adapted from

Blue Gate Farm Pesto

2 Tbs Sunflower seeds-toasted (can substitute pine nuts)
2 cloves Garlic (garlic lovers can add more)
2 c. Basil (any variety, a mix is particularly nice)
½ c. Sorrel (optional)
½ c. Olive oil
1 tsp Salt (if using pre-salted sunflower seeds, can reduce salt amount)
½ c. Parmesan cheese, fresh grated (not the stuff in the can)

Place sunflower seeds and garlic into food processor then pulse several times. Add basil and sorrel, drizzle with half of oil. Pulse several times.  Add remaining oil, Parmesan cheese and salt if desired.
Pesto should be stored for a week or less in the refrigerator in a sealed container.  If storing longer, freeze in snack-sized, zip-top bags (about 1 1/2 TBS per bag), pressed flat. Once frozen, they can be stored upright in a larger plastic bag. To use a little, just break off the amount needed and return the rest to the freezer.

note: once tomatoes are ripe, we like to add 1 medium sized tomato into the food processor as part of this recipe. It makes an out-of-this-world pesto and increases your yield!
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