Friday, September 20, 2013

BGF News 9/17/13

Volume XXI, Number 16    September 17, 2013 

In this week’s box:
Basil: Genovese, Large Leaf or Thai Magic
Greens: Collards/Mustard Mix or Kale Mix
Eggplant: Orient Express (long, thin, dark purple), Listada (purple/white striped), Ping Tung (neon                                  purple) and/or Rosa Bianca (rounded, purple, fading to white)
Garlic: Northern White
Pears: Bartlett (a little fruity bonus this week)
Potatoes: Mountain Rose
Sweet Peppers: Ace (green/red), Golden Marconi (long, pointed, green/yellow), Islander (purple/orange) or      Sunray (green/yellow)
Tomatoes: asst, see descriptions in the 7/30 newsletter
and one of the following:                      
Beans: mix      
Broccoli florets
            Mini Bell Peppers (in plastic bag)         
            Okra: Burgundy
            Tapestry Salad Mix
For those with the Egg option [full]: one dozen free-range eggs (assorted colors)
For those with the Herb option: purple basil, orange thyme, mountain mint

Featured Recipe(s) (see below): Roasted Potatoes with Tomatoes, Basil, and Garlic
BGF's Favorite Kale Salad  
Romesco Sauce
Precipitation in the past week: 0.24" (finally! And looking forward to more this week!!) 

What’s up on the farm?

It actually rained on the farm this week. On Sunday, thunder rumbled, lightning flashed and rain fell from the sky in a measurable amount. The soil even stayed wet for more than 20 minutes! The reality is that it was only 1/4" of rain, so not enough to make a significant difference for established crops, but the crops that we re-sowed late last week will greatly benefit from it, even more so if we get some more later this week. It also made a big difference in the attitudes of the farmers and crew! The crew has even sworn that if it ever rains again, they won't even complain about it… we'll see how that pans out as it looks like we will be harvesting for today's CSA delivery in the rain.

So what else have we been up to, besides praying for rain? The past week has been mostly about weeding and harvesting (isn't this what most of our weeks are all about?) We are at the height of the fruit harvesting season and even though most of our fruit trees are quite young, some few are of production age. This year for the first time we harvested Asian pears, Whitney crabapples, pawpaws and Wealthy apples (from a new tree) though most of these produced less than a dozen fruits, it was still exciting. From some more established trees we are now harvesting white Iowa peaches, pears and Wealthy apples. The peaches and apples, while numerous for one household still didn't produce enough to supply the CSA, however the pears are another story. We have 2 young Bartlett pear trees and this year they went all out!  So while it isn't enough to can or make a pie, we wanted to share a little taste with everyone. We hope you enjoy this tasty little treat and we will all look forward to more fruit in the years ahead.

We also spent time this week re-sowing some of the fall crops that didn't germinate well due to the heat and lack of rain. These crops include beets, turnips, spinach and salad. We are hopeful that this rain will help speed them along to production.

So now let's go back to the weather, what does this recent change in the weather mean for the farm? Well, a few things. The first is that the fall crops now have a chance of actually producing something before the end of the season. They love these cooler temperatures and the rain will make a real difference. The change will mean something else for the warm-weather crops. Tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and basil are not so fond of the cooler temps. This will slow down their ripening and with the tomatoes, it will begin to dull their flavors. Basil is super sensitive to cold, and we are seeing a little leaf discoloration on some of it. The flavor is still fine, but it isn't as pretty and vibrant green as before. So what does that mean for you? You will likely start seeing smaller numbers of these items in each delivery and especially with the tomatoes, you will taste the difference. Our best suggestion is to start using them in cooked recipes which will really bring out their flavor, rather than fresh eating. We think they are still better than the standard grocery store tomato, but their best qualities are changing.

And finally, a little note of novelty. A couple of weeks ago we shared that we were the recipients of a fuzzy little black rooster who's crowing had outlawed him from his city home. Well, it turns out that that rooster had 2 more brothers in that little flock of four, who were also banished to the country when their crowing indicated that they weren't likely to produce eggs. So now BGF is the host to a small and exclusive Home for Wayward Fluffy Roosters. Our little black "Darth Vader" now has bronze "Alexander" and white "Sally" (or Sully) to keep him in crowing company. Mornings are like Roosterpalooza around here!

Farm Crawl is Sunday, October 6th from 11am-5pm.  Details can be found at
Every year we invite CSA members not only to come out and tour the farms, but also to be part of the BGF team. So here is your chance for 2012. In the past, individuals/families have helped out with greeting visitors, sharing information, helping out at the chickens, parking and other various tasks. And, even better, you can still "Do the Crawl"! We are asking for volunteers to come for a 2 hour shift, so there is still time to visit the other farms. If you (and/or your family) would be interested in helping out at the farm please let us know.

A little detail on your produce this week:
Pears: These fruits are all ready to be eaten, depending on how soft you like your pears. They will continue to ripen in the days ahead, refrigerate to slow the process, leave on the counter to speed it up. Test for ripeness by gently squeezing and by color (light green is more crispy, yellow is juicy and succulent).

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)

Roasted Potatoes with Tomatoes, Basil, and Garlic                    

Servings: 8

2 pounds red potatoes, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
3/4 cup fresh basil, chopped    
Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
In a baking dish, toss the potatoes, tomatoes and garlic with the olive oil. Sprinkle with the rosemary.
Bake 20 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, turning occasionally, until tender.
Stir in basil right before serving.

Recipe Source:

BGF's Favorite Kale Salad  

Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings

2 tablespoons dried cranberries
5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
3 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 bunches kale (about 1 pound), center ribs and stems removed, leaves thinly sliced crosswise
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, (if using salted, cut down on the 1tsp salt above)
Parmesan cheese shavings
Place cranberries in small bowl; add balsamic vinegar, seasoned rice vinegar, honey oil and salt and allow to soak several hours (overnight is even better).
Place kale in a large bowl, add cranberry mixture and toss to coat. Let marinate 20 minutes at room temperature, tossing occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cheese shavings and sunflower seeds just before serving.

Recipe Source:  adapted from an epicurious recipe by Dan Barber

Romesco Sauce
for Crostini, Pasta, or as a vegetable dipper
4 large roasted yellow, orange, and or red peppers
1/2 cup toasted almonds
2 cloves garlic
1 ripe tomato
1 tsp salt
2 thick slices from a baguette
1 tsp paprika
½ cup or less olive oil
Fresh basil leaves if available
2-4 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
Whirl everything in a food processor. Serve with vegetables such as carrot sticks, lightly steamed broccoli and caulifower florets, etc. Bread and crackers work well too.
Recipe Source:

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