Monday, September 2, 2013

BGF News 8/20/2013



Volume XXI, Number 12    August 20, 2013


In this week’s box:
Basil: Genovese and/or Large Leaf
Beans: Mix (green & yellow), Maxibel (green filet) or Marvel of Venice (yellow, Romano/flat)
Cabbage: Storage 4 or Gonzalez
Edamame
Eggplant: Orient Express (long, thin, dark purple), Listada (purple/white striped), Ping Tung (neon                                  purple) and/or Rosa Bianca (rounded, purple, fading to white at the top.)
Leeks
Potatoes: Desiree
Tomatoes: asst, see descriptions in the 7/30 newsletter
and at least one of the following:                       
            Broccoli florets
            Cucumbers: Suyo Long (Asian-style, long & bumpy) or Diva (English-style, torpedo-shaped, smooth)
            Melon: Cream of Saskatchewan, Athena (sm cantaloupe) or Moon & Stars (dk green w/ yellow spots)
            Okra: Burgundy
            Summer Squash: 8 Ball (round, green) or Sebring (yellow zucchini)
                       
For those with the Egg option [full]: one dozen free-range eggs (assorted colors)
For those with the Herb option: purple basil, sage & salad burnet

Featured Recipe(s) (see below): Aromatic Leek and Potato Soup
Colcannon
Edamame, Tomato and Basil Salad

Precipitation in the past week: 0.00" (we're starting to get a bit desperate)

What’s up on the farm?

A couple of weeks ago, looking at the crops that were coming on, we had decided that this week's delivery would be a bit of a "Fall Preview" box. The evening temperatures were so lovely and cool that a hot, hearty recipe or two sounded pretty good. So here we are, with the "Fall Preview Box and temps are warmer than they have been for a month! Ah well, best laid plans and all that. To add to that, normally we wouldn't give you edamame two weeks in a row, or in the same week as beans, but when the edamame is ready, it has to be harvested, as do the beans, and since the later sowing of it was very popular with the deer, this will likely be our last shot at edamame for the season, so we hope you will enjoy them all! Besides, there are few things that make the farmers happier than nice full boxes, even though the crew refers to packing them as "Vegetable Tetris." The last of the melons is going out this week as the vines are succumbing to the lack of rain and the heat will likely finish them off by week's end. Everyone should have gotten at least a little taste of one melon or another, so now we will just have to look forward to a better season for them next year.

The whole farm has really been enjoying the moderate temperatures over the past weeks. It is so much more compelling to do heavy work like digging potatoes or composting beds in 80° rather than 95°. So we really took advantage of the conditions and got some big jobs done. The activities this past week focused mainly around harvesting long season crops (potatoes & onions) putting them up to cure, clearing/prepping those beds and re-sowing for more fall crops. We are down to just two remaining potato beds and one last bed of onions to come in. Recently sown or transplanted crops include broccoli, napa cabbage, chard, choi, and turnips. The new fall crops have also been appreciating the weather, the soil is warm enough that (with lots of irrigation) the seeds germinate quickly and then aren't stressed by a blazing sun which is often a challenge with fall sowing. It sounds like the stretch has come to an end as of today, though. We will have to be very attentive to all those new plantings now, with the temps headed back into the 90's. The crew too has gotten used to the comfortable temps and no one is very excited about the returning heat. Speaking of the crew, at the end of this week we have to bid farewell to one of our veteran members. Chelsea has been with us for several summers now and next week she returns to her "day job" as a college student at Simpson. We will miss her sunny disposition, willing disposition and mad salad harvesting skills. Good luck this year, Chelsea, we'll miss you!


A little detail on your produce this week:
Cabbage: Store dry, unwashed cabbage in the refrigerator, preferably in the vegetable bin. The outer leaves may eventually get floppy or yellowish, but you can remove and discard them to reveal fresh inner leaves. Cabbage can keep for more than a month. Once it’s cut, seal it in a plastic bag and continue to refrigerate for several weeks. Rinse the cabbage under cold running water just before use. Peel away a few of the outer leaves, then cut the cabbage according to your needs with a big, sharp knife, and then chop, sliver, or grate. Our (ok, Jill's) favorite ways to eat cabbage is either to spread a single leaf with peanut butter and roll up for a walking snack. Or for small cabbages, pull apart the leaves and sauté them in butter until wilted…divine!

Leeks: Loosely wrap unwashed leeks in a plastic bag and store them in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator. They will keep for at least a week. Cut the leek about 1 inch above the white part, where the leaves begin changing from dark to light green. (Save the unused greens; they’ll give great flavor to your next vegetable stock.) Fan the leaves under running water to dislodge any dirt collected there, then pat thoroughly dry. You can julienne a leek by cutting it lengthwise, or slice it crosswise.

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)

Aromatic Leek and Potato Soup
4 large boiling potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 large leeks, cut in half, cleaned, and sliced into long, thin strips
4 cups (1 quart) water
1 cup buttermilk, or 1 cup low fat or nonfat plain yogurt, whisked until light and thin
Garnish:
S & P to taste
1 cup minced fresh herbs: parsley, chives, cilantro, chervil, dill, or a mixture
In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes, leeks, and water. Bring to a boil over med-high heat, cover, and turn the heat down to med-low. Simmer until the potatoes are tender enough to cut with a spoon, and the leeks are equally soft. This should take about 40 minutes. In a blender or food processor (or julia’s favorite: with an immersion blender!), puree the vegetables in the cooking water, doing this in batches if necessary, then return to the saucepan if you’re not using an immersion blender. Add the buttermilk or yogurt, and heat hte soup slowly over low heat, uncovered, until just warmed through. Season with S & P, and serve warm, sprinkled with the fresh herbs. Or, chill the soup, covered, and serve it cold. Serves 4.
Recipe Source: Almost Vegetarian by Diana Shaw

Colcannon
You’ll find this classic dish on the menu at any real Irish restaurant. It’s a recipe that takes two staples of the island, potatoes and kale (or sometimes cabbage), and transforms them into a dish truly worthy of the word classic.
Serves 6

1 1/2 pounds medium boiling potatoes (about 3 medium potatoes)
2 teaspoons salt, divided, plus more to taste
1 1/2–2 pounds kale (15–20 large leaves) or cabbage
1 cup chopped leeks or scallions
1 cup half-and-half or milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup butter, melted

1. Put the whole potatoes in a large pot, cover with water, and bring to boil. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt and boil until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and mash. Put in a heatproof dish and keep warm in a 200°F oven.
2. Meanwhile, put the kale in a pot, cover with water, and bring to boil. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and cook until the kale is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. (There you go Mrs. Nesbit, it’s in the directions. Don’t worry, everyone will do it this way now that it’s spelled out exactly.) Drain and finely chop the kale.
3. Place the leeks or scallions in a small pot, cover with the half-and-half, and cook over low heat until very soft, 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Add the kale to the warm potatoes and mix well. Add the halfand- half with leeks or scallions. Add pepper; season with salt.
5. Spoon a little of the melted butter over each serving and serve hot.

Recipe Source: unknown

Edamame, Tomato and Basil Salad

1 cup shelled edamame
1/2 cup cherry or teardrop tomatoes, sliced in half
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredient in a bowl. Serve immediately or chill for a couple hours before serving.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups (4 heaping-1/3 cup servings)

Recipe Source: http://robinsbite.com
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