Wednesday, September 11, 2013

BGF News 9/10/13

Volume XXI, Number 15    September 10, 2013 

In this week’s box:
**all new-pre-cooked vegetables this week!** (just kidding, it only feels like it)
Beans: mix
Cherry Tomatoes (Golden Rave, Juliet, Blondkopfchen & Black Cherry)
Hot Peppers: Wenk's Yellow Hots (lt yellow to bright orange) and/or Georgia Flame (dark red)
Sweet Onions: Ailsa Craig
Sweet Peppers: Ace (green to red), Golden Marconi (long, pointed, green to yellow), Islander (purple to orange)          or Sunray (green to yellow)
Tomatoes: asst varieties, see descriptions in the 7/30 newsletter
and perhaps one of the following:         
            Broccoli florets
            Cucumbers: Suyo Long (Asian-style, long & bumpy) or Diva (English-style, torpedo-shaped, smooth)
            Mini Bell Peppers (small, sweet, red, yellow & green) bagged to differentiate from hot peppers
            Melons: Cream of Saskatchewan or Moon & Stars      
            Okra: Burgundy           
            Summer Squash: Sebring (yellow zucchini) or 8-Ball (small, round, green)
            Tapestry Salad Mix

For those with the Cheese option: Plain Chevre and Cracked Black Pepper Chevre
For those with the Egg option [full & half]: one dozen free-range eggs (assorted colors)
For those with the Herb option: sweet basil, curly cress, lemon balm

 Featured Recipe(s) (see below): Arugula & Cherry Tomato Pizza
Heirloom Tomato Panzanella

Precipitation in the past week: 0.00”  (thanking our lucky stars for even more irrigation!)

What’s up on the farm?

Boy, we are good and ready to kiss this hot weather goodbye! It was a bit alarming when we read the water meter for August. Over the course of the month, we put more than 60,000 gallons of water on the ground, drip by drip. Thank goodness drip irrigation is the most efficient method of watering, but holy cow that is a heck of a lot of water and we are just barely keeping up with it. Some of the new crops are doing pretty well with the current situation, like head lettuce, arugula and broccoli, mostly crops that were transplanted last month. The direct seeded crops are struggling more, as the soil moisture is dissipating before the seed coats can soften enough and the tiny first roots start growing. Most challenged seems to be carrots, spinach and turnips. We finally installed tiny 180ۜ° sprinklers on the salad beds to try and keep the beds moist enough to germinate and grow, as we just couldn't keep up with hand watering those beds with the heat and wind. The germination on the first sowing was wildly uneven, which is why only some of you will receive salad this week. The salad greens that germinated earliest need to be cut, but there just wasn't enough that took off early for everyone to get some, so we will put that on the "perhaps one of the following" rotation list and we will continue to work through the membership list on a weekly basis until everyone gets some or until the salad really takes off and we can hit the whole CSA at one time.

The beans and summer squash are likely coming to an end, as the plants are just too stressed to continue, no matter how much water we pour on them. We thought the melons were done too, but a few more fruits miraculously appeared in the beds so we are sending them out in a few random boxes this week. We are also sending out the gleanings of the cucumber beds that we cleared this past week. They aren't beautiful, but they should still taste good as we bid them farewell for the year.

A little detail on your produce this week:

Really nothing new this week, just a reminder to store arugula like other greens, bagged in the produce drawer.

FYI, cheese share members, the black pepper chevre is amazing stuffed into little peppers or tomatoes and roasted!

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)

Arugula & Cherry Tomato Pizza
Pre-baked pizza crust/shell (you can also use english muffins, pita, Italian bread, tortillas or make your own)
Olive oil
Parmesan cheese
3 cups Arugula from your garden -- coarsely chopped
15–20 Cherry Tomatoes from your garden -- halved
2 tsp Lemon juice
2 tsp Olive oil
Pinch Kosher salt
Fresh ground Black Pepper, to taste
Optional toppings: Pine nuts, Olives, Feta Cheese, chopped fresh Basil from your garden

• Take the pizza crust and brush with olive oil. Warm pizza crust per package instructions. Remove from oven.
• Cover with parmesan cheese. Bake for 2 minutes until cheese is lightly brown.
• While the cheese is melting, toss the arugula, tomatoes, lemon juice, olive oil and optional toppings together. Season with salt & pepper.
• Gently cover the pizza with the topping while crust is still warm. Serves 4 as a light lunch.
Recipe Source:

Heirloom Tomato Panzanella
4 to 6 servings
2 pounds ripe heirloom tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
1/4 cup minced red onion (or sweet onion)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh lemon balm or tarragon
1 teaspoon sea salt, preferably gray salt
Several grinds black pepper
Panzanella Croutons, recipe follows
2 cups trimmed arugula
Wedge Parmesan, for shaving
Drain the tomatoes in a sieve to remove excess liquid while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, basil, tarragon, salt, and pepper. Add the croutons and toss well.
Divide tomato mixture among 4 plates. Top each serving with an equal amount of the arugula. With a vegetable peeler, shave the Parmesan over the salad. Serve immediately.
Michael's Notes: I've used basil and tarragon here, but you can use any herbs you like. Parsley and marjoram come to mind as good alternatives.
Panzanella Croutons:
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
6 cups crustless cubed day-old bread (1/2-inch cubes)
Sea salt, preferably gray salt, and freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and preheat a cookie sheet in it.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and cook until it foams. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the bread cubes and toss to coat with the butter. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the bread to a baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle with the cheese and toss again while warm to melt the cheese.
Bake, stirring once or twice, until the croutons are crisp and lightly colored on the outside but still soft within, about 8 or 9 minutes. Let cool. Store in an airtight container.
Michael's Notes: I use a serrated knife to remove the crust from day-old bread, then switch to a chef's knife to cut the cubes because it doesn't tear the bread. Also note that I recommend grating the Parmesan finely so that it will stick to the bread better.
Recipe source: Michael Chiarello
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